Friday, February 26, 2010

Diablo's Friends

Most visitors to Disneyland Park become familiar with the Snow White Grotto and its story. Located to the right of the castle, as approached from Main Street, is a tribute to Disney's masterpiece, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. Eight marble statues, an anonymous gift to the Disney Studios from Italy in 1961, are featured by a wishing well and a Princess meet-and-greet area. The size of the statues, which were all the same height, caused a bit of head scratching by the Imagineers until Walt decided to use his favorite park trick of forced perspective. A such, a grotto and waterfall was created with Snow White at the top and Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, et. al. closer to the viewer. Additional statues were carved by the Imagineering team and the deer, squirrels, frog, fish, etc., were added to complete the overall effect.

The grotto is a wonderful 'hidden spot' in the Disneyland Park but the effect continues across the face of Sleeping Beauty Castle through the placement of other small stone animals on the railings and fences that ring the moat.

Two additional animals, an owl and a squirrel with permanent grins, greet you as you view the Castle from across the moat. These little guys are part of millions of snapshots taken of the Castle but are also worthy of their own closeups. (Look at the far lower right, below.)

These sculptures are great for portrait mode shots, where the foreground is in focus and the background is 'fuzzy' and are also great places to take nighttime photos without using a flash.

Be on the lookout for these guys and add them to your next photo taking safari in the Disneyland Park; they're a great addition to any photo album.

And today's title? Diablo was Malificent's raven, who was turned to stone in the movie.

These photographs were taken by the author in July 2007 and February 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

WDW's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Butte

Celebrating its 30th year is Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The focal point of the attraction is the main butte, one of the tallest points in the Florida parks, is a great sight and a great picture taking opportunity.

The vast majority of shots are taken from three places:
1. The 'meet your party' landing just outside of the exit queue, as depicted below;

2. From the entrance of the attraction (which tends to be of the entry station only);

3. And from the ride itself , which can be very blurry.

There are other great places to capture this shot and some of the best include Tom Sawyer Island, the Liberty Belle Riverboat, and the Walt Disney World Railroad, which are where today's first and last images were taken.

A late afternoon or early evening trip on the WDW Railroad places you between the butte and the sun and offers a wonderful, warm picture for your collection. And, if you look closely, you can see where the Imagineers placed various projectors into the butte itself for key lighting effects in the evening.

These photographs were taken by the author in 2003, November 2007, and November 2008.