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March 2009 Archives

March 1, 2009

Where in the World #75

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #74:
 Where in the World #74

And here's the answer:
Map from Donald Duck's Boat in the Magic Kingdom
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/13s shutter, f/4.8

Inside the hull of Donald's boat, the S.S. Miss Daisy, is this giant map. The Miss Daisy can be found in Mickey's Toontown Fair at the Magic Kingdom. Click on the map to see the larger version so you can enjoy all the detail - it'll quack you up! (I couldn't resist.)

Angie Young was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Angie and all the readers who got the answer right: Anne Hainsworth, Evelyn Wilson, Ken Fischler, Sharon Dale, Paul Cooper, Maryann Eckenrode, Cara Richards, Susan Pitts, Stephanie Visco, Michelle Thompson, Amy Miller, Jill Linton, Scott Price, Brian Yesutis, Mike M., Brandon Emerson, Brenda Hawk, Marie Wolfe, Jen Cox, Leonard Sodrosky, Travis Grim, Emily Dagney, Kye Layton, Matt Cafone, Crista Kostrzewski, Kathy Berry, James Berry, Tim Wingfield, Michael Pyle, Megan Krainski, Monica Hatch, Irene Kleintop, Denise Owen, Hayley Lawson, Jeffrey Dunne, Jenny Leek, Jen Cerce, Chris And Alison, Lee Anastasi, Rich Kacprowicz, Ashley Pizzino, Jonathan Walker, Brittany Irish, Ann Fowler, Tim Johansen, Nancy Munger, Louise Barton, April Pangburn, Heather Young, Amy Schweizer, Sherry Klinefelter, Paula Munson, Rusty Podbelski, Scott Stubbs, Christi Ison, Ellie Argaluza, Alicia Roth, Kelly Montgomery, Emma Poprock, Charles Wright, Jennifer Tremley, Jamie Kelly, Alex Karr, Paul Moody, Willie Tople, Walter Fletcher, Karyn Christenson, Colin Christenson, April Tucker, Alicia Henderson, Jackie Purcell, Shannon Milair, Belicia Dawson, Scott Cullen, Dave Cole, Katelyn Anguish, Hollie Hinton, Scott Khachadourian, Kendall Huffman, Sharon Ray, Elizabeth Kormesser, Bruce Arnold, Lynn Barber, Scott Otis, Sharon Lee, Dylan Weidner, Danielle Aston, Louise Maxwell, Karen Hardy, Sabrina Bogart, Gabriella Rizzo, Julie Fahrner, Cam Lange, Tiffany Wakefield, Joann Albrecht, Elizabeth Scarborough, Tim Rachuba, Karen Schlumpf, Jennifer Schwing, Tracy Discher, Glenn Meyer, Gregg Mcglasson, Dana Schirnhofer, Chris Connors, Karen Dresser-smith, Deanna Simmons, Daniel Record, Gabe Widmer, Noreen Rachuba, Greg Stevens, Jen Norris, Deb Vacek, David Coates, Amber Keen, Jamie Poynton, Matt Cofone, Baines Family, Amy, Crissy Stout, Chloe', Carinne Kight, Lauri Gonzales, Julie Ellis, Tere Given, Jody Erdfarb, Bambi Eckelbarger, Jeannie Robbennolt, Karen Pizzuta, Jon Sison, Jeremy Coto, Dana Hall, Walter N Clark, Suzette Frey, Vickie Scioneaux, Abby Faulkner, Shannon Doyle, Heather Coursen, Chris J, Michelle Costello, Steve Knapp, Dina Grassi, Jim Thompson, Lisa Hoffman, Chris Auckland, Tracey Berton, Aruna, Theresa Rucando, Marie Phillips, Christine Dagney, Cheri Palmisano and Sue Daniels. Each of you were entered in the February winners' drawing.

And speaking of that monthly drawing" this month's big winner is Sharon Martinez! Congratulations Sharon, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

Picture This! reader Jeffrey Dunne pointed out that folks on the west coast were having to get up before five a.m. on Sunday mornings to have any chance of being the first to get in their answers. That seems pretty extreme, so starting this week, we'll be posting the Where in the World challenges a little later in the day. Watch out east coasters, that means you have more competition now! And just to make being first a wee bit more exciting, starting this week, in addition to bragging rights, the first person to submit the correct answer each week will get their name put into the drawing twice for that week. Good luck everyone!

Challenge #75: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #75

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 5, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

March 3, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Abstract Photography

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

If you really want to have some fun with photography at Walt Disney World, give abstract photography a try. It's a perfect place to find all kinds of interesting shapes and colors. So, just what is it that makes a photo abstract? If the first thing you notice is the shape, the lines, the texture or the color rather than being able to identify what it is a photo of, then it fits the definition of abstract. Abstract photography leaves more to the imagination and helps you concentrate on texture, form and color rather than the bigger picture. This week, Lisa, Scott and I will share a few of our abstract interpretations.

Cirque Abstract
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1.6s shutter, f1

This is the Cirque du Soleil tent in Downtown Disney. If you've seen this tent, you know that it is just massive. I decided to focus my attention on just a small bit of it and this is what I ended up with. I know abstract photography is not for everyone. If you give it a try though, you may find that you like it more than you thought you would - I did!

March 4, 2009

He Can Call Me a Flower If He Wants To

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Spring is in the air, my friends. Flowers will bloom, birds will sing, and insanely expensive outfits that no one will ever wear will stroll the runway. Ahh, yes, I can envision it all now and that hat is ridiculous.

Surely, a good number of you will journey to the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT starting in as little as 14 days. Get your cameras ready to capture all those glorious colors.

For close-ups, you'll need to use the Macro setting on your point and shoot. The symbol for Macro is a flower. That's easy to remember. By using this setting, you're informing your camera that you're going to be very close to your subject and need it to focus at close range. Make use of natural lighting as much as possible.


As much as this photograph is near to the center of the flower, it's possible to get even closer. The only croping I did was the way I shot the image. Nothing was changed later on.


These photos were taken with the Nikon Coolpix 7600.

For even tips on photographing topiaries, take a gander at my blog from last year.

March 5, 2009

Golden Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A lighted close up of the panels on Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A lighted close up of the panels on Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/8s, f/3.5, 1100 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Abstracts are not my strong point when it comes to photography. I am more along the lines of a photojournalist so this week's Disney Pic of the Week theme on Abstracts was a tough one. I wanted to make sure if you were a fan of the parks you would recognize it being from Walt Disney World. As I was walking under Spaceship Earth one evening, I looked up and there it was. Beautiful lighting transforming the daytime silver panels to a golden glow. The walk was close enough where I didn't need to zoom in allowing the widest aperture the lens had. I braced myself against the short fencing and got my abstract. Hope Barrie is proud of me!

March 6, 2009

Zoom Zoom!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Do you have a zoom lens for your digital SLR? Most people do as they tend to be purchased as a kit and the lens in the kit is usually a zoom lens either in the 18-55mm or 55-200mm range. Maybe you got both or have one with a different range.

Besides the advantage of having a variable range of focal lengths, zoom lenses can be a lot of fun in creating the Zoom Effect. The best way to do the Zoom Effect is to use a tripod and set your camera in Aperture priority mode. You want to set the aperture to give a long shutter speed. Something like f/16, f/22 or f/32 if your lens goes out that far and starting at the smallest focal length of the lens.

In the example below, I took a photo of the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney's Marketplace. This photo was taken at 1 second shutter speed, an aperture of f/16 and ISO of 200 at a focal length of 110mm using my Nikon 18-200mm VR lens.

Rainforest Cafe sign in Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Rainforest Cafe sign in Downtown Disney.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1s, f/16, 200 ISO, 100mm Focal length

Here's where the fun comes in. On this next shot, I set the aperture at f/32 which gave me a shutter speed of 3 seconds. Starting at a focal length of 18mm, I tripped the shutter and quickly and smoothly zoomed the lens out while the shutter was open. By the time the shutter closed, I had zoomed out to a focal length of 135mm. The results as you can see, give a great effect of the sign jumping right out at you.

Rainforest Cafe sign zoomed in at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Rainforest Cafe sign zoomed in at Downtown Disney.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 3s, f/32, 200 ISO, 18 to 135mm Focal length

Pretty neat, eh? The Exif data will only show the final focal length when the shutter closes but I knew where I started from. You can also start at the long end of the zoom lens and zoom to a lower one. I'll leave that to you as an exercise. Leave a comment below if you want to share your results.

I have found it best to keep your subject simple when doing this. Too many subjects and it gets hard to tell what you are taking a picture of. This is great to do in low light and especially with artificial lights like the sign I used above. The link above will give you more tips and ideas on how to use the Zoom Effect.

March 7, 2009

Taking a Break

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

You know, it's a bit funny but these "assignments" we've given ourselves each week is like going through photography school all over again. Take for instance this week's theme, abstracts. That's not something I normally go out and shoot often, as I'm a photojournalist and by nature, we record history in the making. Certainly we have the broadest range of stock from portraits to landscapes to events but abstracts...well, not so much. My point is that I had to make myself shoot in ways I haven't in a while and I liked it!

Canon EOS 30D, Canon 17-40mm USM L, ISO 400 1/50, f4

Barrie didn't tell us if we're supposed to inform you of where our abstacts were shot but here goes. I needed to escape from the cold and defrost during our photowalk at MouseFest. Inside the Beach Club lobby they have new fancy chairs. The chairs have tall backs and arch over your head. I looked up and grabbed the shot.

March 8, 2009

Where in the World #76

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #75:
 Where in the World #75

And here's the answer:
Wonders of Life Pavilion at Epcot
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/320s shutter, f/9

Before its closure in 2004, the Wonders of Life pavilion in Epcot was home to such attractions as Body Wars and Cranium Command. Its other exhibits were all related to life and health. Now this golden domed pavilion is used for special events. I'd love to see it brought back and updated. There's so much that could be done with this pavilion to get kids interested in health and fitness.

Jenny Leek was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Jenny and all the readers who got the answer right: Alex Weld, Alicia Henderson, Amy Miller, Amy Sapp, Andrew Bentz, Andrew Michuda, Anjanette Tournillon, Ann Fowler, Anne Hainsworth, Aruna, Ashley Pizzino, Austin O'blenis, Barbie Lawless, Becky Terjung, Belicia Dawson, Blair Howard, Bob Patterson, Bonnie Smith, Brandy White, Brian Eagen, Brian Haas, Brian Yesutis, Brianne F, Bruce Arnold, Bruce Dormuth, Bruce Lawson, Cara Richards, Carla Leger, Charrissa Lin, Cheri Palmisano, Chris And Alison, Chris Hall, Chris Masse, Christina , Cody Catherine Peterson, Craig Canady, Dan Mangini, Dan Owens, Daniel Meagher, Daniel Record, Danielle Destefano, Danusia Rogacki, Dave Carriere, Dave Cole, David Caffey, David Coates, David Tarbet, Densie Cayz , Derek Carty, Diane Cripps, Douglas Mcknight, Ed Aleszczyk, Ed Nawrocki, Elizabeth Scarborough, Eric Hoffman, Erica Andrews, Gary E Genteman, Gary Lindros, Hayley Lawson, Heather Coursen, Hillary W, Holley Blyler, Hollie Hinton, Howard Schreiber, Jacque Schmidt, James Berry, Jamie Kelly, Jamie Poynton, Jaron Goldberg, Jeff Blank, Jeffrey Dunne, Jen Cerce, Jen Cox, Jennifer Bogdan, Jennifer Haas, Jennifer Kaufman, Jennifer Schwing, Jennifer Tremley, Jerry Marceau, Jessica Reed, Joanne O'brien, Joe Jennings, John Dupre, Jonathan Thomas, Joseph F. Tempel, Joyanne Johnston, Joyce Tofflemire, Judy Koslowski, Julie Wickware, Justin, Karen Schlumpf, Katarina Whitmarsh, Kathy Berry, Kris Nixon , Krista Penno, Kristen Gainey, Kye Layton, Leslie Dameron, Linda Mac, Lisa Hoffman, Luis Rodriguez, Lynn Barber, Marc Silverman, Marie Phillips, Mary Jean Kanacel, Michael Joel Gainey, Michael Pyle, Michele Delorenzo, Michele Shea , Mickey Eckert, Mike Malampy, Mike Venere, Nancie Lymer, Nancy Mclaughlin, Nick Straka, Noreen Rachuba, Patrick Albrecht, Paul Cooper, Paul Moody, Paula Lorenzo, Peggy Saeger , Rich, Richard Nussbaum, Richard Tritschler, Richard Uhler, Rick Hemsley, Rick Shea, Ron Renz, Sabrina Bogart, Santiago (james), Sara M. Moore, Sarah, Sarah Smee, Scott Cullen, Scott Khachadourian, Scott Otis, Shane Stack, Sharon Dale, Sharon Pierce, Sherry Klinefelter, Stephanie Servaites, Stephanie Visco, Stephen Martin, Stuart Hale, Susan Thompson, Sydney Chambers, Terri Howard, Theresa Rucando, Tim Rachuba, Tim Wingfield, Tina Benco , Tricia Noble, Vickie Scioneaux, Vincent Maltese, Wendy Markwood, Wendy Snelgrove, Will Bennett, Willie Tople and Zachary Walzer. Each of you will be entered in the March winners' drawing.


Challenge #76: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #76

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 12, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

March 10, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Snacks!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you can not pass one of Walt Disney World's popcorn carts after smelling the fresh popped goodies or need an ice cream upon seeing a Cast Member loading up a cart on a hot Florida afternoon. Then this Disney Pic of the Week on Snacks is for you. One of the first memories of Epcot for me was getting ice cream from the carts that were frozen hard to last in the Florida heat long enough to eat. Of the six snacks this CM was selling, Minnie's Strawberry Bar is what I'd choose.

An Epcot Cast Member reaches in to take out one of a half-dozen frozen treats, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
An Epcot Cast Member reaches in to take out one of a half-dozen frozen treats for a guest.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 50mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday and Saturday to see which snacks Barrie and Lisa would eat at Walt Disney World.

March 11, 2009

Home Printers vs. Minilabs

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Home Printers

Laser Printers

Laser printers are designed to print text, charts, and graphs. They are not to be used for printing photographs.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjets are by far the most popular of home printers. They print quickly, are inexpensive, and may include other features such as copying and faxing. Inkjets emit droplets of ink onto photo paper using ink cartridges. Prints often come out damp and need to dry before they can be handled. Ink can and will smudge and prints are ruined by liquid and long exposures to heat and light.

Ink tanks vary by printer. The best color reproduction comes from having individual color cartridges. Photo paper designed for inkjets range in paper weight, surface, and size.

Printers can be purchased in office supply stores, wholesale warehouses, camera shops, and computer/electronic stores.

You can purchase the HP Custom 95 Series 100-Sheet Photo Value Pack for a HP Photosmart C4180 printer. It includes 100 sheets of 4x6 photo paper and a multi-colored ink tank for $32.99. That's 33 cents per print however, you still need to buy the black ink separately for $23.99. Now you're paying 57 cents per 4x6 print.

I'm not even going to attempt the math on a printer that has 6 ink tanks.

However, the Canon PIXMA iP4600 takes 4 different inks. You can buy the multi-pack for $47.99 then buy paper. Get the Photo Paper Plus Glossy II package of 100 4x6 sheets for $18.99. You're now spending 67 cents per print to produce 100 pictures.

Dye-sublimation Printers

Dye subs, as they are commonly referred to, are quite different than Laser and Inkjet printers in that they heat up the photographic paper and colors are released as a gas. The papers have a laminate-like coating which when heated lock in the dye, making the photograph less susceptible to fading and also water-resisitant.

Dyes and papers are sold as a kit and state exactly how many prints it'll produce.

You'll find high-end dye-sublimation machines for customer use in drug stores and camera shops as they are faster alternatives to mini lab printing. Kodak and Fuji machines are the two manufacturers most frequently found in these locations. Smaller printers for personal use are sold in office supply stores, camera shops, and by computer/electronic retailers.

Kodak sells directly to the public on their website. A color and paper kit that will give you 80 prints sells for $39.99. That's 50 cents per print.

Epson's PictureMate 200 Series Print Pack costs $37.99 and delivers roughly 150 prints. That's 25 cents per print.


Tradtional photofinishing labs offer the highest quality print possible. Maintenance is extremely important in regards to how well these multi-million dollar machines operate. Manual color and contrast corrections can make nearly any image better or worse, depending upon who is printing - a person or auto pilot.

Minilabs print digital images by using a laser which exposes the photo paper which is then run through a series of chemicals to develop the image. This process is extremely similar to how negatives are printed. Those family photos you have from generations ago have lasted so long because of how they were printed.

Ritz Camera/Wolf Camera/Inkley's 4x6 print prices are 27 cents for 1-24 prints, 21 cents for 25-59, and 19 cents for 60 or more prints.

Target pricing is 25 cents for 1-30 4x6 prints, 31-99 for 20 cents and 100+ prints at 15 cents each.

1. Print your photos. Computers crash, CDs are being replaced by DVDs for storage, and memory cards can become corrupt but prints are highly visible and easy to obtain.

2. Nothing compares to the quality of a minilab other than a professional lab that does custom printing.

3. It's actually cheaper to print your photos in a minilab than it is at home.

March 12, 2009

Yo Tengo Hambre

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Last year at the Food and Wine Festival I tried a "Gypsy Arm" guava roll from Puerto Rico. It was very good, not cavity-causing sweet and had coconut all around. Que sabor!


Senor, I'll have another, por favor.

March 13, 2009

Photographing Disney Live Shows

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Timing is everything. To the performers in the various Disney live shows, everything must be rehearsed and the timing of each minute has to be perfected. For us guests, who may have never seen a show like Dream Along with Mickey which is performed several times a day in the Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella Castle, these shows can be a challenge to photograph. We don't know when things will happen. That is unless you see the shows over and over which I have over the last few visits. Which is why I knew the finale had three firework events. First, fireworks go off on stage right, then stage left and then....

Dream Along with Mickey fireworks finale in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Dream Along with Mickey fireworks finale in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

This is one of my favorites from the last trip. It took three trips to get it but I got it! Knowing the show also allowed me to be prepared for Maleficent's grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey stage show.

Maleficent makes her grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Maleficent makes her grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey stage show.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm Focal length

I know what you're thinking. Do I have to go several times to Walt Disney World before I am able to capture moments like these? A few years ago, I would have told you yes. Today, however, we have the Internet and youTube (you know the link) where people have posted videos of shows at the Disney parks. By watching them, you can get an idea of when things happen and when your favorite character or characters appear or does something you want to photograph. Have fun researching for your next trip!

March 14, 2009


Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boardwalk Bakery Cake
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/80s shutter, f5.3

I can sum up this week's Pic of the Week in one word - yum! Head on over to the Boardwalk Bakery to experience this little piece of decadence.

March 15, 2009

Where in the World #77

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #76:
 Where in the World #76

And here's the answer:
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor sign
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/60s shutter, f/5, ISO 400

This sign hangs in the queue of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club located in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. Come prepared with your favorite joke and you might just get to be part of the show. I think we might have broken a record this week - look how many people knew the answer!

Robert Anderson was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Robert and all the readers who got the answer right: , Abigail, Adam Mcfarland, Alex Karr, Ali S, Alicia Henderson, Allie, Allie Reckendorf, Allison Burgess, Allison Dibiase, Alyda Chimene, Amber Keen, Amie Mattson, Amy Gamble, Amy Lucas, Amy Sapp, Andrea Mayo, Andrew Bentz, Andy D, Angela Jones, Angie Young, Ann Fowler, Ann Thomas, Anne Hainsworth, April Tucker, Ashlie Huss, Austin O'blenis, Barbie Lawless, Becky Terjung, Belicia Dawson, Ben And Cori Wallis, Ben Howell, Beth Markelon, Beth Rothman, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Bill Androckitis Jr., Bob Fox, Bob Hentschel, Bob Venezia, Brad Brewer, Brad Weaver, Brandon Emerson, Brandy White, Brenda Double, Brian Gallant, Brian Haas, Brianne F, Brittany Irish, Bruce Arnold, Bryan Timko, Caitlin Barringer, Cameron Lange, Cari-ann Smith, Carie Chavez, Carinne Kight, Carla Leger, Caryn Schill, Catherine Chiarello, Cathy Michalski, Chad Steckler, Charlene Trycieckyj, Chelsea Dzaugis, Chelsea Wyatt, Cher Abell, Cheri Palmisano, Chloe, Chris And Alison, Chris Auckland, Chris Connors, Chris Grabowski, Chris Haley, Chris Hall, Chris J, Chris Masse, Chris Tampellini, Christi Jenkins, Christie Tatum, Christina Black, Christine, Christine Dagney, Chuck Deck, Chuck Sands, Cindy Dore', Cindy Motta, Clarissa K, Dallas Hamilton, Dan Grote, Dan Owens, Dan Potts, Dana Castillo, Dana Grandinetti, Daniel Biegun, Daniel Meagher, Danielle Aston, Danielle Murgia, Danny Gauthier, Dave Carriere, Dave Cole, Dave Smith Jr., David And Melissa Lizewski, David Coates, David Tomaschik, Dawn Burns, Debra Hayden, Dee Dee Chapman, Denise Cayz, Diane Cripps, Diane Ramos, Dolores Riccio, Donna Laguardia, Drew Deapo, Dylan Weidner, Ed Aleszczyk, Ed Nawrocki, Elaine Johnson, Elisa Dillon, Elizabeth Kormesser, Elizabeth Olney, Ellie Argaluza, Emily Dagney, Emily Nussbaum, Emily Wingerter, Emma Poprock, Eric Hoffman, Erica Andrews, Erin Hammer, Evelyn Wilson, Frank Radics, Glenn Meyer, Grant Smith, Hannah Crowley, Hayden Pronto-hussey, Heather Coursen, Heather Myers, Heather Stevens, Hillary W, Hollie Hinton, Hollis Ambrose, Howard Schreiber, Jackson Hart, Jaime Gunning, James Berry, James Steele, Jamie Kelly, Jamie Poynton, Jared Orth, Jeff Brashear, Jen Cerce, Jen Cox, Jen Norris, Jen Renaud, Jenn Labuz, Jennifer Romano, Jennifer Rupert, Jennifer S., Jennifer Tremley, Jenny Schell, Jerry Marceau, Jessica Dalziel, Jessica Reed, Jessica Ziomek, Jill Onega, Jillian Clark, Joanne O'brien, Jodi Cook, Jody Williams, Joe Varga, John Dupre, John Horaz, John Lacasse, Jonathan Thomas, Jordan Beckstrand, Jordan O'malley, Jordan Rodack, Jude Toups , Julia Wickware, Julie Fahrner, Juliet Frances Ohare, Justin Bryant, Justin Gates, Kalin Johnson, Karen Dresser-smith, Karen Fichter, Karen Schlumpf, Kate Brown, Kate Fischer, Kate Moran, Kathy Berry, Katie Olson, Kayley Heller, Keith Allard, Keith Buhler, Kelly, Kelly Jean Clarkson, Kelly Montgomery, Kelly Scola, Kelly Zanauskas, Ken Fischler, Ken Jackson, Kendall Huffman, Kristen Gainey, Kristen Gwizdak-imburgia, Kristin, Kyle Flodder, Laura Farro, Laura Walker, Lauren Cameron, Lauren W, Leonardo Menezes, Leslie Dameron, Linda Mac, Lisa Caldwell, Lisa Hoffman, Lisa Murphy, Liz, Lori Shepler, Lou Baker, Marc Lorenzo, Maria Root, Marianela, Marie Phillips, Marilyn Gray, Marisa Andrews, Mark Cullison, Mark Franklin, Matt Brethauer, Matt Cofone, Matt Evans, Matthew, Matthew Richards, Maureen Ohare, Max Gruenig, Megan Little, Melea Broekers, Melissa Armstrong, Melissa Destito, Melissa Dye, Melissa Karolak, Michael , Michael Deitz , Michael Joel Gainey, Michele Dunn, Michelle, Michelle Buchecker, Michelle Mcknight, Michelle Thompson, Michelle Wilinski, Mickey Eckert, Misty Mehelic, Molly Wolfe, Nicholas Cristea, Nicole Lopresti, Njcoach, Noreen Rachuba, Olivia Lobaugh, Pat Smith, Patricia Ovesny, Paul Herron, Paul Lalli, Paul Moody, Peggy Saeger, Quinn Urell, Rachel Resciniti, Renee Zarycki, Reynic Compton, Rhonda Harris, Rich Kacprowicz, Rick Sage, Rick Shea, Riley, Rob Skidmore, Rob Speed, Robert Green, Robin Black, Robin Mcconnell, Roye Ann Morris, Ryan Stevens, Sabrina Bogart, Sam Hougie, Sandy, Sarah Connors, Sarah D, Sarah Smee, Scott Cullen, Scott Otis, Scott Porter, Sharon, Sharon Dale, Sharon Leitgeb, Sharon Pierce, Shaun Leake, Sheamus Hunt, Sherry, Sherry Klinefelter, Spring Smith, Ssg, Stacey Van Dyke, Stacy, Stephanie C., Stephanie Visco, Stephen Hafke, Stephen J Wilson, Steven Rose, Susan Allizzo, Susan Crowe, Susan M., Tara Weaver, Taylor Martina, Tere Given, Teri Jo Fuson, Theresa Rucando, Tim Rachuba, Tom Carty, Tom Koval, Trace Hendrick, Travis Grim, Tricia Noble, Tyler Benson, Tyler Hallam, Valerie Cooke, Valerie Gugala, Van Loveland, Vicki, Vickie Mcgee, Walter N Clark, and Wendy and Marina Crober. Each of you will be entered in the March winners' drawing.


Challenge #77: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #77

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 19, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

March 16, 2009

May Disney World Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

For your May calendar, may I present my favorite character, Dory, and Nemo's worrisome dad, Marlin. This undersea sculpture can be found outside of The Seas with Nemo and Friends in Epcot. It's a great place for a group picture. In fact, you'll almost always find a Photopass photographer stationed there.

You will need to have Adobe Reader on your computer to download the calendar(s). Just click on the photo to download the calendar you want.

This one prints out at 8.5" x 11". It's handy if you need a calendar that you can write on.

May 2009 8.5x11 Calendar

This one prints out at 4.75" x 4.75", the perfect size for a CD Jewel Case frame.

May 2009 Jewel Case Calendar

March 17, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Audio-Animatronics

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Audio-animatronics are a substantial part of Disney parks as they are attractions. What would it's a small world or The Enchanted Tiki Room be without them? Nothing. And as the years go on they become more and more impressive. I only wish I saw Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew peddling their way around CA Adventure and/or EPCOT.

Most audio-animatronics don't move too quickly, so photographing them isn't much of a challenge unless you're moving and/or the lighting is dim. Thar be no flash photography of Captain Jack Sparrow or the redhead in Pirates of the Caribbean. What are ye to do? Pray yer boat gets stuck, that's what. Arrrrg.

This entry of mine was hanging around so I thought it'd shine some light on it and make the subject a star. Humans, put your hands together for....Flik!

Canon EOS 30D, Canon 75-300mm USM, f4, 1/100, ISO 800

You can see Flik and his bug-eyed pals at It's Tough to be a Bug located in the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Flik's Fun Fair in Disney's California Adventure. Not familiar with Flik? He starred in "A Bug's Life."

March 18, 2009

My Disneyland Birthday Extravaganza: Planning

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I've recently returned from a week-long vacation in California to celebrate my birthday with friends. Over the next few weeks I'll recap my days at Disneyland including Club 33, Paradise Pier Hotel, and my favorite things to see, do, and where to dine. I was baffled as to where to begin this blog until Linda (LindaLou to you) advised me to begin at the beginning. That's what friends are for when your mind is out the door.

Hotel and Airline Reservations

Generally speaking, I have a price already in mind for what I'm willing to spend on airfare whenever I travel. My goal is to find the flight that meets my needs and comes as close to that dollar amount as possible. www.sidestep.com is the first website I check as they pull multiple flights and pricing at once, it's a terrific tool. Then I begin checking individual airline sites that aren't included and sometimes those that are because there may be better flight times and routes that don't come up on Sidestep. Also, I keep constant tabs on specials through various e-mail lists like www.travelzoo.com and www.smartertravel.com just to name a couple.

Eventually, I locked down an outstanding deal on Virgin America. I flew roundtrip from Boston to Los Angeles, non-stop, for a whopping $206.20 including all fees and taxes. Thank you, thank you!

As this was my birthday extravaganza, I decided to treat myself to 2 nights in my favorite on-property hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel. The nights preceeding and following, I stayed at my friend Yoli's house.

Paradise Pier Hotel is one of the few places where you can stay on the 13th floor.

The last time I did this was in 2003 and I paid $79.00 for the night using the Passholder rate. When I called for current rates I nearly had a corronary. Sit down, are you ready? The regular price was $245.00, the Passholder rate was $199.00, and the military rate was $119.00. These increases are outrageous, it's the same standard room. Lucky for me, Yoli is retired from the military and I could use her discount since she stayed with me.


It cannot be stressed enough that if you put the time into preparing for your vacation, no matter where you go, that you'll find deals. Unsure as to whether I wanted a multi-day ticket or an Annual Pass I checked out all options online. In the end, I dragged Yoli to Costco the day before my birthday as they were offering the Deluxe Annual Pass at the normal rate of $269.00 but once you took your voucher to Disneyland's ticket window, you received a $50.00 gift card good for anything in the parks. Nice! I'll tell you how I spent it another time.

You're all familiar with Disney's ad campaign regarding free admission to Disneyland or Walt Disney World on your birthday, right? Due to the fact that I had bought my Annual Pass, I was now qualified to receive a Birthday Fun Card in the amount of a one-day, 1 park ticket which is $69.00. It can be used to buy merchandise and/or Photopass prints and CDs. In a future blog, I'll tell you how I made my Birthday Fun Card go even further.

Party Invitations

With my hotel and airfare booked and the knowledge of what my AP blockout dates are, I began creating invitations to my birthday party. The funny thing is that I have more friends in CA where I lived for 4 years than I do here at home. By incorporating photos I'd taken at Disneyland over the years along with pics of friends, and former members of Menudo, it made my invitations very personal and unlike anything available in stores. Printing on 5x7 card stock at home was simple and I already had a box of envelopes from photography promo pieces I had made years ago.

Here's the end result. The collage cover.

The inside of the invitation.

Goodie Bags & Treats

What's a birthday party without goodie bags! With a maximum of 12 "adults" attending, I bought enough of everything for a dozen people. At Target's dollar section I found packages of 4 colored pencils in Toy Story and Monster's Inc themes, tiny Strawberry Shortcake highlighters, temporary Incredibles & Toy Story tattoos, Cars magnets, and Cars kid's socks (for my friend's son). They also had Cars goodie bags packages of 8 for $1.69 and Finding Nemo gummi candy. Over at The Christmas Tree Shop I picked up a 16-pack of Cars tiny tissues for about $4.00, High School Musical stickers, and Care Bears chocolate balls with toys inside - 4 for $1.00. In addition to Disney, I respresented my childhood from the 80's.

After Valentine's Day, when all the candy was 50-75% off I picked up a bag of Blowpops. If you look at the cover to my party invitation, you'll see a "Lisa's Birthday Party" logo. I printed that design out on a sheet of paper, maybe 1.5 x 1.5". I took those tags, punched a hole in the corner, ran a Happy Birthday ribbon through them and tied them to the Blowpops. These were for Cast Members I'd come across on my birthday. As I handed out each one, I said, "Thank you for coming to my birthday party." They loved it!

Next week: Paradise Pier Hotel CM makes my day & Club 33 staff/celebrity sightings

Birthday party invitation pics, top row left to right: Me & my friend the other Lisa, logo, Paradise Pier from hotel window in 2003, my friend Yoli & I teaching Eeyore some classic Menudo dance moves, Pluto's close-up.

2nd row: Dana Daniels & Luigi at the Golden Horseshoe, MDO, sign for DL bday party, Nemo subs, Billy Hill (Kirk) of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe.

3rd row: Goliath buying drumsticks, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Wendy & Peter Pan, Sergio Blass, me & my fave Aladdin.

4th row: Club 33 mark, Ricky Martin (& Joselo for the fans), El Reencuentro, Mickey Mouse rockin', Pigs in Space aircraft, and Robi Draco Rosa.

March 19, 2009

Now That's Progress!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Carousel of Progress
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 50mm lens, 1/100s shutter, f5, ISO 1600

For my Pic of the Week, please allow me to introduce you to John, the audio-animatronic Dad from the Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom. That's his dog, Rover, on the floor in front of him. He's also an audio-animatronic.

March 20, 2009

Photographing the American Idol Experience

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There are lots of concerts held at Walt Disney World each day so knowing how to photograph one is a good skill to have. To show you how I do it, I selected the new American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. While concerts, unlike shows, are more spontaneous, the American Idol Experience does follow a script of sorts. That makes it a good place to learn this kind of event photography.

First, let's look at a couple of photos I took of the performers. Look closely at how they are lighted by the show's director and crew.

An American Idol Experience contestant performing at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 360, EV +0.0, 70mm Focal length
An American Idol Experience contestant performing at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
American Idol Experience contestants performing under stage lights.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV +0.0, 170mm Focal length

When dealing with stage lighting like this it is very important to make sure you properly expose the performer and let the other parts of the stage lighting fall where it may. To do this, I used something I have talked about before: Spot Metering. Using spot metering, I could get exposures right off the performers skin. This tends to make a lot of the background dark which is what the show's director wants us to see so it works out.

Spot metering worked even on the judges as the lighting was directly on them. Randy, Paula and Simon's stand-ins looked pretty good and entertained us with their words of wisdom about each contestant's performance.

American Idol Experience Judges at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
American Idol Experience Judges commenting on a performance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV -0.3, 130mm Focal length

When pulling back to take in most of the stage, I switched back to Matrix Metering (see the Spot Metering link for more about Matrix Metering) so the camera would give an overall exposure to balance out all the mixed lighting in the theater. Today's digital cameras do an excellent job most of the time with matrix metering. Notice how the camera can not capture the entire range from light to dark as the audience looks a bit underexposed. Something that can be fixed in a photo editor.

The American Idol Experience stage at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
American Idol Experience contestant listening to the judges under full stage lighting.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 720, EV -0.3, 18mm Focal length

Lastly, during audience preparation and when announcing the winner of the show, the entire stage has very even and bright lighting. I, again, used Matrix metering which resulted in a good photo of the winner of the show being interviewed by the Ryan Seacrest-like host.

An American Idol Experience winner being interviewed by the host on stage at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
An American Idol Experience winner being interviewed by the host.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 500, EV -0.3, 200mm Focal length

As you can see, to get the best photos during a concert or live show at Walt Disney World or any venue, you have to be aware of the kind of lighting being used at all times. For each of the three performers, the American Idol Experience director choose different lighting schemes to set the mood of the song they were singing.

Have any questions? Leave a Comment below (link on far right).

Reference Link: How To Photograph Rock Concerts

March 21, 2009

Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Buzz Lightyear Audio-Animatronic in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Buzz Lightyear Audio-Animatronic in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/5.3, ISO 640, EV -0.3, 95mm Focal Length

The Audio-Animatronic Buzz Lightyear in Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin interactive ride in Tomorrowland briefs the hundreds of new Space Ranger cadets daily on the mission to save the universe from the evil Emperor Zurg. To get this shot, I waited for Buzz's movements to pause so I could use a slow enough shutter speed to get a close up of him for my Disney Pic of the Week on Audio-Animatronics.

March 22, 2009

Where in the World #78

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #77:
 Where in the World #77

And here's the answer:
Kali River Rapids queue
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/13s shutter, f/3.5

This was a hard one. Many people guessed Morocco. If I hadn't taken the photo I think that would have been my guess too. These bird cages are actually located in the queue for Kali River Rapids in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

John Dupre was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to John and all the readers who got the answer right: Scott Cullen, Belicia Dawson, Sharon Dale, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Jeffrey Dunne, Scott Otis, Dave Cole, Jacque Schmidt, Melissa Dye and Thomas Hermes. Each of you will be entered in the March winners' drawing.


Challenge #78: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #78

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 26, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

March 24, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Watercraft

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Water, water, everywhere - it's Florida after all! Our Pic of the Week theme this week is watercraft. One of the things I love about Walt Disney World is how many different opportunities there are to ride on the water. Ferries and water taxis of all sorts transport guests from resorts to the theme parks and Downtown Disney. All over the property, there are marinas where guests can rent Sea Racers and canopy boats. There are fishing excursions and fireworks cruises. And on really special occasions, it's a treat to a sail on Breathless or the Grand1 yacht!

 Sun Trackers at Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 14s shutter, f8

Late one night I happened upon these pontoon boats docked at the marina at the Yacht and Beach Clubs. Earlier that evening they were used to take guests on Illuminations Cruises.

March 25, 2009

My Disneyland Birthday Extravaganza: The Big Day

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

As I briefly mentioned last week, a cast member at Paradise Pier Hotel made my day, my birthday. It also marked the first time I dined at Club 33 and rode in the Lily Belle car on the train. My actual birthday, March 6th, was filled with friends and fun. Come, let me show you.

Yoli and I went straight to Paradise Pier Hotel that morning to see if we could check-in early. The only people in line ahead of us were two teenage girls who were just hanging back from their parents at the front desk. I was waved over by Brian, a handsome and friendly fellow. As Brian was pulling up my information, I put the Blowpop on the counter, smiled and said as I would many times during the day, "Thanks for coming to my birthday party." He seemed surprised and delighted by my gesture. As he typed away, I handed them out to the two other girls working the front desk and a CM who was cleaning right next to me.

Brian told me he had some surprises in store for me. The first of which was that I had been upgraded from a Standard Room to a Park View. Awesome! I absolutely love seeing CA Adventure all lit up at night and sometimes you can hear the oceanside amusement park music they play. Then Brian disappeared for a while. Yoli and I chit chatted with the girls while we waited and tried to locate Drina who was also staying with us and the other Lisa who was waiting for us over at Disneyland. When Brian returned he was carrying 4 Mickey Mouse helium balloons, a CA Adventure mylar balloon shaped like one of the fish from King Triton's Carousel, and my birthday button. How incredibly cute!

As he handed me the keycards to the room, he said the room was on the 13th floor with a park view and a little more space. There's no way I wasn't smiling and nodding at the amazing news. Yoli & I quickly went up to the 13th floor and found our corner room. I opened the door and yelled out something positive. I don't remember what it was but take your pick from these possibilities: Yes!, Score!, Yeehaw!, Wepa! or a hearty laugh followed by "Nice!"

Brian gave us a sweet suite. The living room is composed of a sectional sleep sofa, an entertainment unit with a TV, DVD player, fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. There are 4 chairs and a circular table for dining and a full bath with a large glass encased shower.



The bedroom holds 2 queen size beds, another entertainment unit with a TV, and plenty of drawers and shelves, a desk with Internet connection, and another full bath with a tub, and dual sinks.


The room we had was 1322.

It was and is genuinely awesome! I prefer this hotel over the Disneyland Hotel because of it's decor. The colors are soft greens, blues, rust, and yellows with beach themeing and they use the same stripes in the comforter, window curtains, and shower curtain. Everything is very cohesive. I find the Disneyland Hotel uses darker colors and has far too many patterns going on at once and it makes me feel rather uncomfortable.

I'll try to shorten up all the things we did before lunch and after lunch otherwise this blog entry might take several days to read. Then again, you the reader can request that I write in more detail. Wink, wink.

We met up with the other Lisa, her son, my friend Drina, and Yoli's Club 33 pal at the Grand Californian. At CA Adventure we rode Soarin'. They flew up and down on Tower of Terror (Lisa and I are both chickens. Bawk! Bawk!). Then it was off to Disneyland and while part of the crew went one way, Drina and I had our photo taken with Mickey Mouse. Also, Flat Stanley had his photo taken with Mickey as Drina was trying to outdo her brother for her nephew's project.

Before we knew it, it was time for our reservation at Club 33. Yoli, Drina, and I were the ones dining. Yoli's been before but it was the first visit for Drina and myself. Yes, we were very excited and even a little nervous due to all the "secrecy" behind Club 33, its rules, and elite status of its members.

Have you ever walked past this door in New Orleans Square? It's the entrance to Club 33.

After being buzzed in we waited in the lobby until our table was ready. We took photos and had a nice conversation with Nadine who is the receptionist. When our table was ready, we went upstairs, were greeted by a hostess, walked passed the buffet, and taken to our table against the wall on the far end of the room.

This wasn't our table but it looked just like this.

The End.

Fooled you!

Our server was Robert, an adorable guy who picked up on our crazy sense of humor right away while still maintaining his dignity. Good job, Robert! He went over the important things like first we should visit the appetizer buffet, then our chosen entree would be served, and then try everything in the dessert buffet. He took care of my dietary needs which weren't much of a big deal based on what I ordered, the pan seared chateaubriand, truffle vintage port reduction. Mine was plain with vegetables and cinammon couscous. It was delicious. Yoli had the same thing but as it appeared on the menu. Drina had the Maine lobster melt with avocado relish, and house made Yokon Gold potato chips and she LOVED it.

The girls tried most of the desserts. I can't have chocolate so you'll have to ask them how good they were.

Servers appear to work as a team where someone is always standing by to help guests, refold napkins, and refill water glasses. I must tell you that I was extremely surprised to see SmartWater being served and not something of a fancier nature like Evian or Panna. When the Vintage Room still existed, they served Evian and you don't have to pay upwards of $10,000 to become a member. As I was saying, servers work as a team, and one guy stood out, Chase. With a dry sense of humor, an outgoing personality, a steady handsome face, and the body of a Chippendale, Chase became our new friend. When Yoli asked for more bread, he brought it but only after pretending there wasn't any more and surrendering defeat to her.

We'd hoped to see celebrities of any sort at Club 33 given the list of clientele. I spotted a blonde gentleman with a goatee or beard (how quickly the memory goes) who looked familiar but I couldn't quite place him. Therefore I decided he was either a wrestler or a country singer. Hulk Hogan? No, he was far too young and deflated to be Terry. John Schneider? Sadly, no, I'd recognize a good ol' boy never meanin' no harm.

The party beside us left not too long after our arrival. During our meal, it was filled with what looked like a family of four; mom, dad, and two daughters. After much oogling and whispering we couldn't put a name to "dad". I told Yoli, 9 o'clock. Alas, poor Yoli didn't understand and turned the wrong way. I suggested 11 o'clock. She's not very subtle and turned around 45 degrees. OK! I give up! The family got up and headed to the buffet so Yoli followed so she could get a better look. Upon returning to our table she said, "Kevin Pollak." I swear the next 2 tables all went "Ohhhhh riiiight." at the same time. You had to be there.

When the girls came over to ask Yoli where she got her ultra cool zippered Snow White hoodie (from me), I handed the younger one a Blowpop because it was her birthday, too. My psychic powers told me so and the birthday button might have helped.

There's a second room they use for large parties and for overflow. It's called The Trophy Room.

After lunch we somehow missed out on buying souvenirs. I'm not sure how we managed that but we did. Remember this in a week or so when I recall my second experience at Club 33.

You can walk around the verandahs outside Club 33.

We met up with Lisa and her son and headed over to the train station as we had the chance to ride in the Lily Belle car. I never even knew it existed. What's wrong with me? Luckily, we were able to get the last ride of the day (with that car) as a conductor has to be available to ride with us and give us a very detailed history about it. I'd offer to tell you what I was told but my memory is terrible. I do recall he said the EP Ripley is still a working train and is somewhere in a more northern part of CA. The car is named after Walt's wife, Lily.


The feeling in the car is that of high class with its warm woods and dark woods, velvet reds, and stained glass windows of gold, crimson, and green.


After a complete trip around Magic Kingdom we took on the refurbished it's a small world. This has always been one of my favorite attractions but now...eh. They changed the lighting and it's overly dramatic. This is a family attraction, not a rock concert. They've added Disney characters to scenes and they don't all blend in the way they claimed they would. When was the last time you saw an alien (Stitch) riding a surfboard? Don't get me started on the America or United States room. It's a bad combination of gaudy twinkling lights, cowboys, Indians, and children of the corn...uhhh... with corn.

Here's the newly enhanced Africa room. Do you spot Pumba and Simba? To their right popping out the top of a cone-like object is Timon.

And now, a very short description of the rest of the day/night so you can actually get to work on time. Is it too late?

Lisa and family left to meet her sister and nephews. Yoli and Drina grabbed snacks while I turned in that Deluxe Annual Pass voucher I got at Costco. Why now? How did I get into the parks without it? Guests at Club 33 are given 1-day Hopper tickets. As an AP holder I was also able to get the free Birthday Fun Card worth $69.00.

We went back to the hotel. Yoli was suffering even more from her crappy cold so she ordered room service. Our friend Jen came over with her teenage son, Corey. After much goofing around, we left Yoli to hit the hay while we went back to Disneyland to run amuck.

First stop was Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters followed by dinner at Tomorrowland Terrace while listening to and watching the cover band, Sandbox. Then it was time for the main event, my rematch against Corey on Dance, Dance Revolution. I lost, again. I also lost my balance and the power to jump on 2 squares at once. We took the late night cruise at it's a small world where I mistakingly called Jiminy Cricket, Ghepetto. Jen's never going to let me live that down. We caught the last sailing of the night at Storybook Land Canal Boats. It was now after midnight and the park was closed except for shopping on Main Street. We lolly-gagged about taking silly photos of one another before finally calling it a night.

What a birthday!

To learn more about Paradise Pier Hotel, click here. If you'd like to see more photos of suite 1322, click here.

March 26, 2009

On the Seven Seas Lagoon

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Ferryboat and Resort Motor Launch on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Ferryboat and Resort Motor Launch on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 56mm Focal Length

Walt Disney World was designed to use watercraft as a major way to move people around the huge entertainment and resort complex. In my Disney Pic of the Week on Watercraft I choose this photo showing two of the watercarft used on the Seven Seas Lagoon for guests. The large Ferryboat travels from the Ticket & Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom and back with up to 600 guests. The smaller Resort Motor Launches brings guests to the Magic Kingdom from the beautiful resorts on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.

March 27, 2009


Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hyperfocus is a term you may run across when reading about photography. It is a one word term to say everything in a photograph is in sharp focus from front to back. You see hyperfocal photos on the covers of travel magazines where a tropical beach is featured and everything is in focus from the people on the beach to the far away mountains. It is an easy technique to learn. In the "old" days of manual focus lenses, you had a distance scale where one of the settings was the infinity symbol. You set your focus to infinity at certain apertures and, even if it looked out of focus through the viewfinder, everything would be in focus once you got the film back.

These days, most lens manufacturers have done away with the distance scale and letting the camera do the work. For point and shooters, set to landscape mode which is the hyperfocus setting. For digital SLR users, it's a bit more complicated. The easiest way, is to put your camera into Aperture priority mode and use an aperture of f/16, f/22 or smaller. Then focus on a point about one third (1/3) into the scene you are photographing. The photo below of some Streetmosphere performers on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios is a good example of where to focus. Citizen of Hollywood Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks is about 1/3 into the scene of him and his fellow performers, the audience and the backdrop of Sunset Blvd. with the Hollywood Tower Hotel off in the distance.

Streetmosphere performers on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Streetmosphere performers Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks, Cloe Canard (big hat) and Tallulah Fruiti (blue dress) on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

Citizens of Hollywood are the troup of cast members in Disney's Hollywood Studios known as Streetmosphere. Here at the Picture This! Photoblog, Streetmosphere is a popular subject. Lisa talked about how the "shows" are put together, I featured them in a Pic of the Week and Barrie used a piece of a Streetmosphere performer's costume in one of her "Where in the World" contests. AllEars.net recently updated the Streetmosphere information with more photos which identify some of the popular Citizens of Hollywood.

March 28, 2009

Don't Rock the Boat

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

If there's one attraction at Disneyland that is overlooked more than the rest, it's the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. I've only done it once but I'd do it again. If you don't have any upper arm strength, you will after you paddle yourself around Rivers of America. That's right my friends, YOU have to paddle. Check it out next time you visit my home away from home.


March 29, 2009

Where in the World #79

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #78:
 Where in the World #78

And here's the answer:
50's Prime Time Café sign
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f/8

Looking for some great comfort food and some big fun? Have dinner at the 50's Prime Time Café in Disney's Hollywood Studios. The cast members there will keep you in stitches throughout your meal.

Hillary W was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Hillary and all the readers who got the answer right: Brianne F, Robin Mcconnell, Sharon Pierce, Jill Fogg, Dawn Bach, Mary Beth Tarbet, Callie Conrad, Belicia Dawson, Scott Cullen, Kathy Berry, Heather Young, Holley Blyler, Deb Wills, James Berry, Rich Kacprowicz, Barbie Lawless, Christie Condit, Steph Brontman, Kelli Olthoff, Alex Karr, Shannon Milair, Jamie Kelly, Stephanie Visco, Caryn Schill, Peggy Saeger, Nick Straka, Derek Carty, Tommy Carty, Chris Masse, Jeffrey Dunne, Elaine Johnson, Brandy White, Jackie Purcell, Steph, Angie Young, Jackson Hart, Christine Dagney, Cathy Skiba, Emily Dagney, Dave Beedle, Tim Rachuba, Jamie Mize, Sandra Shaw, Jennifer Tremley, Megan Evans, Patrick Mcclelland, David And Melissa Lizewski, Joyanne Johnston, Robin Fitts, Alicia Roth, Kristin Cola, Chad Coppess, Travis Grim, Anne Hainsworth, Cara Richards, Cameron Love, Scott Otis, Maryann Eckenrode, Benjamin Dameron, Danielle Murgia, Jennifer Schwing, Tim, Amy Lucas, John Dupre, Robert Anderson, Lily May Summer, Lee Anastasi, Jane Bradley, Krystal Thomas, Karen Scheetz, Jennifer S, Nathan Cripe, Kelly Montgomery, Julia Wickware, Daniel Record, Gloria Martin, Kris Nixon, Karen Adamakis, Denise Owen, Diane Furtado, Austin O'blenis, Louise Barton, Richard Uhler, James Steele, Jennifer Snapp, Jennifer Harmon, Andrew J Weed, Nancy Munger, Sarah Smee, Jennifer Rupert, Tim Wingfield, Susan Pitts, Mike Kaczanowski, Brian Gallant, Aruna, Jen Cerce, Hollie Hinton, Erin Kubicki, Megan Krainski, Noreen Rachuba, Kelley H, Sarah Haas, Michelle Thompson, Karyn Christenson, Christine Bishop, Melissa Karolak, Paul Moody, Stephen Martin, Becky Norman, Hailey Sult, Eric Bouchet, Suzen Woolley, Caitlin Barringer, Denise Cayz , Damon Carter, Joyce Tofflemire, Jared Orth, Lisa Hoffman, Michael Joel Gainey, Marie, Romie Brown, Alicia Henderson, Eric Hoffman, Paula Munson, Kameo Crea, Lynn Barber, Jeremy Hardy, Double Family, Phil Vickers, Lou Baker, Diane C., Bonnie Smith, Dawn Burns, Julie Fahrner, Marc Lorenzo, Cameron Lange, Ian Falk, Jaime Thomson, Chad Ryan, Sue Mcdonald, Carla Leger, Brooke Stahl, Sarah Connors, Ken Jackson, Ashley Pizzino, Brittany Irish, Kim Peters, Cheri Palmisano, Jen Cox, Kim Steiner, Danusia Rogacki, Sarah H, Brian Yesutis, Melissa Dye, Jeff Surgent, Nicole Lauzon, Dave Roach, Chris Hall, Elizabeth Scarborough, Stephanie Servaites, Blake Schmidt, Kimberly Kusser, Jenny Haas, Tim Johansen, Joanne O'brien, Daniel Meagher, Brian Haas, Jenny Schell, Dana Schirnhofer, Evelyn Cowdell, Misty Lyons, Kristen Gainey, Brendan Burke, Maryjean Kancel, Carri Marotto, Amy Miller, Jamie Poynton, Andrea Mayo, David Singer, Joey Price, Brad Weaver, Katarina Whitmarsh, Amy Smith, Cheri Weitkamp, Laura Pranaitis, Josh Schultz, Michele Delorenzo, Karen Kristoff, Paul Ignudo, Jr, Joann Albrecht, Stuart Hale, Stephanie Logan, Daria Hagemeyer, Jen Norris, Amanda Diresta, Kellie Carter, Douglas Beasock, Willie Tople, Nicole W, Juliet Frances Ohare, Dusty Cheatham, Sarah Steill, Sal Derose, Karen Coto, Stacey Hutchinson, Kelly Kobiela, Ssg, Betsey Pickard, Matthew Jadro, Bubbasboo, Andrew Michuda, Karen Hotchkiss, Ken Calden, Michelle Roth-smoot, Kathy Lutz, Amie Mumpower, Stephanie Chambers, Christa P., Allie Reckendorf, Kristen Carde, Ashley Deitchler, Jeffrey Beauchamp, Matt Goulding, Dallas Hamilton, Karen Schlumpf, Kristen Pagliaro, Nikki Powell, Jonathan Thomas, Karen Dresser-smith, Cindy Motta, Nancie Lymer, David Coates, Aubrey G. Cooper, Shane Schmidt, Jason Webb, Christina Marie, Debbie Desimone, Kerianne Magee, Chloe' , Janet Robinson, Carol Donoghue, John S Lund, Dana Hall, Liz Moreau, Emily Nussbaum, Robin George, Brenda Strohmeyer, Jerry Mckinley, Sharon Leitgeb, Sherri Pell, Becca Balber, Chris Freeman, Z Cheven, Dave Cole, Kaitlin Kirk, Linda Diantonio, John Arena, Kellie Harpel, Tom Higbee, Clare C, Susan Linder, Tom Linder , Kate Fanning, Bruce Dormuth, Melissa Rebelo, Chris J, Sharon Dale, Dan Owens, Tere Given, Kim Requa, Krista Penno, Jennifer Bogdan, Jessica Reed, Melissa Kuehnle, Bryan Fencl, Christina Cella, Barbara Cerimele, Jeff Blank, Al Desimone, Wendy And Marina Crober, Nancy Bennett, Heather Coursen, Mickey Eckert, Mary Dannahey, Shane Stack, Teresa Cole, Heidi Goodhue, Candace Dadswell, Karen Nelson, Allison Dibiase and Shana W. Each of you were entered in the March winners' drawing.

And speaking of that monthly drawing" this month's big winner is Marc Lorenzo! Congratulations Marc, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!


Challenge #79: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #79

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 2, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

March 31, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: National Treasure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I suggested this theme, Barrie and Lisa were not too keen about it. I kept telling them to think about the National Treasure movies and look for them at Walt Disney World. In the meantime, Disney unveiled the National Treasures exhibit in the American Heritage Gallery which is located inside the American Adventure pavilion. This exhibit features over 40 special artifacts on loan to Epcot. From Abe Lincoln's stovepipe hat to items representing the lives of Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Senator Daniel Inouye and much more.

Below is the National Treasure I choose for this week's Disney Pic of the Week. A part of a moon rock brought back by Apollo astronauts and given by NASA to honor one of their own.

A National Treasure found in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

See Text below for More Information.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/4.2, 1600 ISO, +0.3 EV, 32mm Focal Length

Ambassador of Exploration Honor bestowed on astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom is currently being displayed as part of the National Treasure exhibit in the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

These Ambassador of Exploration Honors are to recognize the sacrifices and dedication of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts. Each astronaut or a family member was presented a moon rock as part of a special ceremony honoring the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on July 16, 2004.

The moon rocks awarded were part of samples returned by the Apollo 17 mission from the Taurus Littrow Valley. Each will be encased in an acrylic sphere and attached to a plaque bearing images of a Saturn V rocket launch, an astronaut (John Young) jumping on the Moon, the planet Mars and the International Space Station.

The lunar samples will remain the property of NASA, but the astronauts and their surviving families, in coordination with NASA, will select a museum or other educational institution where their awards will be publicly displayed in their name to help inspire a new generation of explorers.

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About March 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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