« July 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

August 2009 Archives

August 1, 2009

It's Mush, Dude!

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Dude, All-Star Sports is one of the value resorts at Walt Disney World. Each building is dedicated to a different sport, dude. As you can see, this pool is at the totally radical Surf's Up! Duuuude, you can't catch a wave in this pool.


My entry for Disney Pic of the Week, Pools.

August 2, 2009

Looking for Where in the World?

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Hi everyone! In case you missed my note last week, I am on vacation and won't be posting a Where in the World challenge this week or next. That means you still have time to enter last week's challenge!

See you next on the 16th!

August 3, 2009

October Disney World Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boo to you! It's October and it's time for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom.

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.

October 2009 8.5x11 Calendar

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

October 2009 Jewel Case Calendar

August 4, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Germany

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In this week's Disney Pic of the Week, Barrie, Lisa and I will be showing you photos from Epcot's World Showcase's pavilion, Germany. Modeled after villages in Germany's Bavaria and Rhine regions, you get the feeling of being whisked to a quiet old-world place with friendly people and a unique culture. The shops are full of craftsmanship from Hummel collectibles, crystal to beer steins. The Volkskunst, where these guests are entering, features hand-painted eggs and ornate cuckoo clocks.

Guests entering a shop in Epcot's Germany pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests entering a shop in Germany.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/13s, f/3.5, ISO 640, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

August 5, 2009

Group Photos at Walt Disney World

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

It's very exciting when people comment on our photography blogs and ask questions because it means that you are not only reading us but you take the time to contact us and we're truly grateful. Recently we received a letter from Kathy Bonutti. She wrote:

We are visiting WDW in late August - all 11 of us! My son has a Canon Rebel XT. What places would you recommend we go for a great family photo? How would we go about having, perhaps, a cast member take the photo for us? Looking forward to your recommendations for these family photo memories! Thanks.

I loved these questions so much that I immediately wrote to Scott & Barrie and called dibs on writing an entire blog entry in response. Yeah, baby, yeah!

Finding a Photographer

Let's begin with an easy way of doing this, using Disney's PhotoPass photographers and/or program. These camera-armed Cast Members work in all four theme parks in specific locations including several that will place large icons like the Tree of Life or Sorcerer Mickey's Hat in the background. For a list of locations, click on the above link for details.

You'll be given a PhotoPass card the first time you have a photo taken by one of these Cast Members. Present your card to each photographer whose services you use so that all of the images are loaded onto the same account. While Disney's goal is for you to buy prints or a CD from them, you are under no obligation whatsoever to do so. PhotoPass photographers will happily take photos of your family and/or friends with your camera(s) too.

Another special crew of Cast Members you'll encounter are Character Hosts. Their job is help both Guests and characters by keeping crowds orderly, answer questions, escort characters, and assist with the meet and greet process. They will also take photos for you with your camera(s) of your party with a character. The image in my head of a Character Host has them wearing black pants and a white button down shirt with character sketches on it and yellow patches about the shoulders.

Check the daily entertainment schedule for a list of character meet and greets at each park. You can also research the info ahead of time at Steve Soares' website. I do.

By no means are Guests limited to asking a PhotoPass photographer or Character Host to snap a picture. The great thing about Disney is they want to make you happy so you can ask any Cast Member you see for assistance even the ones in shirts and ties.

I can't count the number of times I've been asked by other visitors to take a photo for them. If you're on the lookout for someone nearby to take the photo, your best bet is to find someone who is also carrying a SLR like a Canon Rebel XT. Why? He/she already knows how they work and you will (hopefully) get a better photo.

Where to Pose

Since there are lots of great locations already staged with PhotoPass CMs, I'm going to suggest other options that will accomodate large groups and hopefully not block foot traffic.

Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Railroad station seems to only be crowded when the parade marches passed. If you climb up the stairs, there's a great empty platform that looks out over Main Street.

The Invisibles from left to right are: Marcelo, Susana, Marie, and Doña Tecla.

In the back of Casey's Corner there's a small amount of stadium seating where folks can enjoy a hotdog and watch Goofy cartoons. It'd be a cute place for a group photo on a quiet day. If anyone completely lucks out and this idea of mine works out, let me know.

There's a lot of open space in Tomorrowland between Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority (People Mover to me), and Space Mountain. It would be pretty easy to find a location you like and have everyone pile into the shot. With all that room, you could get a variety of angles and backgrounds.

Hollywood Studios (aka MGM)

There are so many creative photo opportunities on Streets of America that you could probably spend a good hour running around, having fun, and taking lots of silly group pictures. Ever try to cram a whole family under the umbrella? I haven't but I bet it'd be pretty darn funny.

After you pick up the dry cleaning, can you stop by the post office and mail this package.

While you're seated, waiting for Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular or Lights, Motors, Action to begin, why not ask someone to take a photo of your group seated together.

Sorcerer Mickey's Hat covers a pin shop and the whole thing is built up from the ground as a circle surrounded by a few steps. Stagger your group on the ground and steps and have your photographer either leave lots of room to include the hat or aim up, which isn't always a complimentary angle.

Animal Kingdom

Bare with me as I try to give directions here. After you enter the park and walk through the Oasis, you'll be on Fantasy Island, I mean Discovery Island. Just before you cross the bridge into Africa, take a right. You'll head down a path with a body of water to your left. Keep going and you'll find several macaws perched. Set up your group around their "habitat."

To the left of the theater where Finding Nemo - The Musical is performed, you can see Expedition Everest. There is plenty of foot traffic here but it's still a doable location for a group photo and lots of people passing by means you'll find yourselves a photographer.

Ask your tour guide on Kilimanjaro Safaris if when you finally return from your venture if he/she or another Cast Member can take a photo of your group once all other guests have vacated the jeep. If the park is busy, don't be disappointed if they can't accomodate your request.

When all else fails just photograph your driver.


Walking to/from International Gateway you'll see a body of water, a bridge, a parked bicycle, some art supplies and behind that, France. This walkway, across from World Traveler gift shop, is wide enough to let crowds pass while your group lines up in front of the black metal gate. All that I mentioned will serve as a backdrop.

In Future World over at the Imagination Pavilion there are jumping fountains. Also, if you angle it right, you can see beautiful flowered landscaping in the background. Turn another direction and the vibrant colors of the building housing Journey into Imagination with Figment is the background.

Last but certainly not least is United Kingdom where you can play around or maybe even inside the red phone both. Follow the street and it'll take you to a courtyard complete with a gazebo and various types of architecture. Be careful not to lose your loved ones in the hedge maze!

Thank goodness Yankee Doodle Laura put a paper feather in her cap.

Additional Reading

A few months ago, Barrie, Scott and I did a series on group photos. We each offer advice regarding posing, lighting, and composure. You'll find our entries here: Barrie, Scott, and Lisa.

This blog was so much fun writing that I'll be doing one for Disneyland next week.

August 6, 2009

Dragon Slayer

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

We had two brothers, Oliver and Marc. stay with us at different times through the high school exchange program. They taught me a few words in German that I can't use in my blog. Neither my brother or I even took German. We're just nice people.

Where was I going with this? I've no idea. My entry for Disney Pic of the Week - Germany is this shot of the square and it's statue of St. George.

If you walk around the statue, from one angle it looks like he's lost his head. I'm just sayin'.

August 7, 2009

Everest Sun

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One of the first things you learn in any basic book or course on photography is to keep the Sun at your back when taking an outdoor photo. Yet, there at times when having the Sun in your photo creates interesting light patterns, flare and, when stopping down the lens, star effect. Remember NOT to look directly at the Sun as that will cause damage to your eyes. Very carefully put the sun in a corner, lower or upper half of the frame. Use a small aperture in the f/16, f/22 or f/32 range to cut down the amount of light entering the camera when the shutter is pressed.

This is what I did when heading towards the summit of Expedition EVEREST in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle lens has a 9-bladed diaphragm and creates lovely stars of bright light sources at f/22 and you can't get much brighter than the Sun.

Sun near the summit of Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Sun near the summit of Everest.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/400s, f/22, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 11mm Focal length

I found this link to 25 Excellent Sun Flare Photography Examples showing some outstanding photos featuring the Sun. Here's more tips for achieving artistic lens flare. Have fun and be careful!

August 8, 2009

A Taste of Germany

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

 German Wine
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/8s shutter, f4.5, ISO 400

Germany is eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. My Pic of the Week was taken inside Weinkeller, the wine shop in the Germany pavilion. You can sample the wines here and take home a souvenir glass after your tasting.

August 9, 2009

One More Week

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Hi everyone! Just a reminder... I'm still on vacation, but I'll be back next week with a new challenge. You have until Thursday to submit your answer to the July 26th challenge. See you soon.

August 11, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Castles

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

It's what brings adults to tears and puts glowing smiles on children's faces. That's right, we're bringing you a week's worth of toy store photos. Just kidding! Castles are the theme this time around.

Whether you prefer Cinderella's castle or Sleeping Beauty's (I prefer the latter), it's the fantasy of being a princess and living in royal quarters that wins us over. For the boys, maybe they dream of riding in on a galant steed as the townspeople applaud him, Prince of...Nintendo.

When Disneyland hit the big 5-0 in 2005 it seemed that Walt Disney World and the other parks wanted to get in on the act of celebrating. While in California the castle was given a paint job that included golden highlights and crowning jewels, Florida added golden characters.

Wendy and Peter soar 'round the gargoyles.

White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat seem to be waiting for Mad Hatter to come back for his hat and a teaparty.

Keep a lookout for more castle photos from Barrie and Scott on Thursday and Sunday.

August 12, 2009

Group Photos at Disneyland

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

This time last week I offered tips on where to pose groups of Guests and who would be willing to take the photo so you can be in it as well, at Walt Disney World. Now it's Disneyland visitors' turn to learn and hopefully they won't get burned by...the sun. Ahem. Yeah so, there are a few things that remain the same no matter what side of the country you're on such as who's available to take photos so I'm going to give you the condensed version, just add water.


A Disneyland Resort PhotoPass Cast Member's job is to take photos of Guests. Ideally, Disney wants you to buy photos from them but you don't have to. Heck, you don't even have to look at them. Feel free to ask any PhotoPass CM to take photos for you with your camera(s).

Character Hosts will also help you by taking photos of you meeting heroes, villains, and everyone inbetween. Face characters like Mad Hatter may not have a Character Host because they can control a crowd themselves. They also make for hilarious conversations and moments like when I ask Jasmine to take a photo of Aladdin and I. Good times. Good times. Grab an entertainment schedule for a listing of most meet and greets. If you're looking for someone specific, ask at the attraction time board located just beyond Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner.

As is true at Walt Disney World, any Cast Member (including suits) will be happy to snap a shot or two of your crew at Disneyland and/or California Adventure. Don't forget about other moms and dads. They too might be willing to set up your shot, afterall, they've been through the very same situation.

Where in Disneyland

Be careful that you're not blocking any paths. Disneyland does have lots of turns and bottlenecks that lead to being run over by strollers. My foot knows from experience.

Innoventions' exterior ramps make for a great view of both what's in the distance and below, meaning this location has dual possibilities. You could smush your gang together on a ramp and have someone take a photo, perhaps with the Matterhorn in the distance or stand on the ground close to the building and have someone shoot down. Of coure you could reverse this and have someone take the photo from the ground aiming up but it's not generally a flattering angle.

Depending upon how long the line is at Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, there's a great spot along the fence that places the subs and waterfall in the background. Matterhorn will be behind you, foliage to your left and down the incline on your right, Tomorrowland Terrace.

Dive! Dive! Dive!

On Main Street, U.S.A. there's a small porch with seating. If you're heading towards Sleeping Beauty Castle, it'll be on your right. It's a very popular place to sit, eat, people watch and to view the parade. If by some miracle you find it unoccupied, set up your group using the furniture, stairs and all the space inbetween. Remember to make rows or layers so everyone can be seen.

Where in California Adventure

There's far more open space in CA Adventure and very few traffic jams. There's also little shade so remember to use your flash to eliminate harsh shadows.

As you make your way up the pier into Paradise Pier, you'll get to a flat surface with a shop on your left and Ariel's Grotto restaurant on your right. Pass them both and you can get everyone together over in a sort of corner with California Screamin's loop in the distant background.

In Sunshine Plaza you'll see a few large icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the sun that make for popular backdrops. Thinking outside the box a bit, I'd like to offer this suggestion, the silver train that houses Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream and an entrance into Engine-Ears Toys could make for a fun location. The front of the train faces some seating but also the rocks supporting the sign for Condor Flats.

Over at A Bug's Land, there's a small stage that looks like part of a barn. Flik and Atta perform Ugly Bug Ball here. There are crates you can move around and picnic tables that you can't. It's a cute out-of-the-way setting and there's lots of stuff to look at and possibly climb on in the area as well and it's called Bountiful Farm. Don't offer milkshakes to the plastic cows, it's just cruel and will make you laugh so hard that ice cream will come out your nose or so I've been told.

Happy picture taking. Now where did I leave my posse?

August 13, 2009

Dream Lights

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

 Cinderella's Dream Lights Castle
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 2.5s shutter, f8

Here I go posting another winter photo in the middle of the summer. I can't help it though. Our Pic of the Week topic is castles and I LOVE Cinderella's castle when it is decked out in the Dream Lights for the winter holiday season. I hope Disney continues to decorate the castle in the Magic Kingdom this way for many seasons to come.

August 14, 2009

2009 MagicMeets Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

All Ears photographer Linda E pulls a lucky number with the help of Mary Poppins during the Meet before the Magic reception the night before MagicMeets, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
All Ears photographer Linda E pulls a lucky number with the help of Mary Poppins during the Meet Before the Magic reception the night before MagicMeets.

Surprise and suprised celebrity contestant, Jill, gets an assist from Deb Wills of AllEars.net during the Magic-Tunes game the night before MagicMeets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Surprise and surprised celebrity contestant, Jill, gets an assist from Deb Wills of AllEars.net during the Magic-Tunes game the night before MagicMeets.

All Ears founder, Deb Wills, poses next to her poster of the Flying Dutchman before MagicMeets on Saturday, August 8, 2009, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

All Ears founder, Deb Wills, poses next to her poster of the Flying Dutchman sold as a fund raiser at MagicMeets 2009.

Guests enter MagicMeets on Saturday, August 8, 2009, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania while Fred Block looks on.

Guests enter MagicMeets while Fred Block looks on.

A young MagicMeets attendee admires the Minnie and Me dress set during the Dream Team Auction.

A young MagicMeets attendee admires the Minnie and Me dress set during the Dream Team Auction.

A father helps his son draw Mickey Mouse in the Kid's Room at MagicMeets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

A father helps his son draw Mickey Mouse in the Kid's Room at MagicMeets.

All Ears feature writer, Michelle, doing some audio tweeting at MagicMeets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

All Ears feature writer, Michelle, doing some audio tweeting at MagicMeets.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the 2009 MagicMeets weekend. I'll be taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging. As Mickey would say, "See ya real soon!".

August 15, 2009

Blue Castle

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Cinderella Castle in blue as darkness falls over the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle in blue as darkness falls over the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/5.6, 1600 ISO, -0.6 EV, 130mm Focal Length

The Main Street WDW Railroad station gives a unique prespective of Cinderella Castle. Waiting until after the sun set, I captured Cinderella Castle in the Blue Fairy's favorite color for my Disney Pic of the Week for the Castle.

August 16, 2009

Where in the World #97

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #96:
 Where in the World #96

And here's the answer:
Earth Globe in Epcot
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/125s shutter, f/18

Hi everyone! I'm back from vacation and so is the Where in the World Challenge. I left you a couple weeks ago with a photo I thought was a little challenging but I had no idea just how hard it was. Only one person sent in the right answer, the Earth Globe from Illuminations, and that was Kristin Dormuth. Congratulations to Kristin! I've entered your name in the August winners' drawing.


Challenge #97: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #97

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 20, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

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!

August 18, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Discovery Island

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Discovery Island is the central hub of Disney's Animal Kingdom and our theme for Pic of the Week this week. Here you'll find the Tree of Life, It's Tough to Be a Bug and the Discovery Island Trails. When you get hungry, check out Pizzafari or Flame Tree BBQ and then wander through the numerous shops to find a perfect souvenir.

 Flame Tree BBQ at Night
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 4.2s shutter, f9

My favorite thing to do on Discovery Island is to wander around admiring the amazing artwork. You'll find it everywhere from inside the shops to the tops of the buildings, on the sides of carts and even tucked into the vegetation. There are beautiful carvings, colorful paintings and murals and gorgeous sculptures. One place I always take time to explore is the seating area behind Flame Tree BBQ. No need to worry about the ants getting your food when you eat in this pavilion - there are plenty of anteaters to keep them in check!

August 19, 2009

Interview with It's a Small World Cast Members

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

One of Walt Disney's most famous attractions of all time, it's a small world, conjurs up colorful, happy, and positive images of all the children of the world singing together in harmony. Whether you enjoy the soundtrack or it plays endlessly in your head, you can't deny it's message of peace and unity. While we know there are endless Imagineers who have worked on this attraction in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland but never before have the living dolls, the true stars of the show been given their turn to express themselves, until now.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with "Cast Members" from both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Each one has an interesting story about their job and even how they were hired.

It's 2:11pm and a normal humid day in Florida, specifically at The Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Wearing faded blue jeans, a T-shirt that reads "May the Schwartz be with You," sandals, and sunglasses, Adam Rosenbaum walks in smiling and waving the moment he sees me in the lobby.

Adam, let's start at the beginning. How did you get your job with Disney?

My roommate saw that Disney was looking for college students to be part of a special program. I hadn't given any thought into working for them but I agreed to go with Ryan. It was interesting enough and I could get credit for participating in the program so I signed up. The first job they gave me was playing the groom in the Israel portion of it's a small world. Ryan works as a line cook at Chef Mickey's but he should be getting promoted soon.


Where do you work now?

Well, I had the opportunity to study art in France once my committment to Disney ended so I left for two semesters. When I returned I went to Casting and was rehired for the same attraction only now I'm the gondolier in Italy. You know, what's really funny is that the wig I had to wear as an Israeli didn't cover my eyebrows which are black and the wig was a medium brown. Man, did my friends make fun of me! But it's all good, ya know. Now it's just me in a hat...yeah, well, and a costume. I don't think I'd get to keep my job if I just showed up in the hat. (laughs and applauds himself)


What's the best thing about your job?

Making people smile is the highlight of my day, for real. Oh, and seeing them try to fight off the temptation to sing along. Don't fight it, man, it's all good. (laughs)

What's the worst thing about your job?

Trying not to fall out of the gondola! My calves are rock solid from standing like that all day. Seriously, feel my legs.

Wow! They are solid. It's almost like they're made of wood.

Real funny. Har dee har har. I'm a real boy! (winks)

Thanks for your time, Adam. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, a message to the Guests, you wouldn't like it if I tossed wrappers, cups, bottles, and such in your house so don't do it in mine (referring to the Magic Kingdom).

Later that evening I returned to The Waldorf Astoria Orlando to meet with brothers Blake and Cassidy Trenton. Looking very dapper in a pin-striped navy blue suit with a white shirt, navy blue tie, and black dress shoes, Blake is the first to arrive. We make small talk about tourist attractions on International Drive until Cassidy arrives. In a navy blue Surfrider Foundation hoody, ripped jeans, flip flops, and his hair pulled back into a ponytail, Cassidy looks like the laid back California surfer dude that he is.

Thank you for joining me, gentlemen. I understand that you both were working at Disneyland. Why did you transfer to Walt Disney World?

Cassidy: Right, see we've been part of it's a small world since we were 19 years old so that's like what...5 years. Then they decided to redo the attraction so it closed for like a year, dude. Our boss offered everyone the opportunity to transfer to Florida, Hong Kong, Tokyo or Paris. So we chose Florida, dude!

Blake: Actually we were very lucky in that because Cassidy and I are identical twins, they knew they'd have two people to play one part. My girlfriend Peggy transferred to Walt Disney World as well but she's since moved back to California and is one of the new characters in it's a small world.

What's a typical day at work like for you?

Blake: I tend to get the morning shifts. On those days I'm up at 6am and out of the apartment by 7 o'clock. It takes 25-30 minutes to get from my front door to where I pick up my costume. I've got short legs obviously so instead of walking to the attraction they drive us all in golf carts. After a quick meeting, everyone's in place the moment the gates open and that changes according to the season and Extra Magic Hours but normally Magic Kingdom opens at 9am. Lunch breaks are scheduled for us. Mine is at 1pm and that's when Cassidy starts. So we spend the rest of the day switching back and forth covering breaks and I leave at 5 and he works until closing. If the park stays open late whether it's Extra Magic Hours or a private function, then a third guy will come in around 6 o'clock, switch back and forth with Cassidy and then finish the late shift.

Cassidy: I couldn't have said it better, dude. But you didn't tell the people who we arrrrrrre. Look for us, we're the blonde cowboy in the shiny duds, dude. Yeah, we're totally like rhinestone cowboys. (pretends to crack whip) Yeehaw! Get along little doggy. Ruff!

Is there any way for Guests to tell you boys apart?

Blake: No, we're identical. If we spoke to Guests then it would be clear but just from looks, no, you can't.

Cassidy: No way, you can totally tell us apart!

Blake looks completely puzzled and skeptical of what Cassidy is thinking.

Cassidy: I am tan and you my brother are pale. Annnnd, Mr. Suit and Tie falls asleep on the job.

Blake: Oh, thanks. It only happened once and I was heavily medicated with Benadryl for Children.

Cassidy: P'shaw!! Remember the time you fell asleep and tied yourself up cuz you dreamt train robbers tied you to railroad tracks?! (laughing hysterically) Whoooo. (wiping away tears)

Blake looks sternly at Cassidy who raises his hands in a "don't shoot" gesture.

lkb-smallwrld-blake.jpg lkb-smallwrld-cassidy.jpg

It's been a delight talking with you. Would you care to add anything?

Cassidy: You might want to talk with Peggy. She plays Cinderella at it's a small world in Disneyland. She'd be stoked for an interview.

Blake: We're trying to transfer back to Disneyland. We've put in our requests and are waiting for a couple of openings.

Cassidy: This is really important so make sure you tell everyone, don't touch the water or the pirate water (Pirates of the Caribbean). Keep the water clean dudes!

I flew to Disneyland to speak with several Cast Members regarding their roles in the newly updated attraction. Blake Trenton connected me to his girlfriend Peggy Donovan. We met up after her shift ended and I drove us to Ruby's Diner in Fullerton.

What do you think of the changes made to it's a small world?

Overall I do like what they've done. The boats are a huge upgrade as well as the tubes they float in. Everything will last another 50 years, hopefully.

Where did you work prior to the closing, while in Florida, and what are you doing now?

First I was a Can Can dancer in the White Room. That's where Blake first saw me. He's a leg man. (giggles) While the Imagineers worked on the attraction I transfered to Orlando along with the boys and some of our other friends. Paris sounded wonderful but being away from the United States for 11 months just wasn't something I could handle. While we were in Orlando I worked in the White Room again but this time as a Scandanavian. When the calls came in for us to head back to California, the boys didn't act quick enough, that's why they're still in Orlando. You know how boys are... But, now I'm Cinderella! And I don't have to dance all day long. It's soooo much easier. I just have to stand there and look cute! (primps hair)


Are there any behind-the-scenes stories or secrets you can share?

Let me think. Oh! I know! One year for April Fools' about 15 or so of us went out and picked up the ducks that wander the park and put them in the attraction. You know, in the water. OMG! It was sooo funny. I think we had almost 30 ducks swimming around, quacking. You should have seen it.

Did anyone get in trouble?

We came close to being written up but we got the ducks out in time for opening. We just brought them over to Storybook Land Canal Boats and now thanks to Peter Pan they're called "really big ducks." Get it, cuz everything in Storybook Land is miniature...(giggles)

That is pretty funny. Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Yes, I'm not animatronic. All of the animals in my ride are animatronic and there are some actual toy dolls that you see but the rest of us are real. We like to call ourselves living dolls.

I had one more interview scheduled for this piece. After rescheduling a few times, the Kennsington Kids as they're fondly referred to and I finally got together for a quick chat and some dessert at The Block at Orange. The Kennsington Kids are dropped off by their parents with instructions to call as soon as they're done. The family is going to do some back-to-school shopping. All three teens are wearing khaki shorts and sneakers. The boys have matching green and black striped collared shirts on and Beth is wearing a purple top.

Before we get started can you each introduce yourselves?

Wally: I'm Wally, short for Walter. I'm the oldest. I'm a senior in high school, class of 2010. I've worked at Disneyland for almost 3 years now. I started out doing landscaping at Storybook Land Canal Boats and met some CMs from it's a small world when they were running around with ducks, as weird as it sounds. They told me I should work with them because they're crazy fun.

Willie: I'm Willie, my full name is Wilson. Technically I'm the second oldest but I'm not sure how you can differentiate time of birth for Siamese Twins! (glaring at Wally who is snickering) It's been about 2 years now since I've worked at Disneyland. I began as a Window Dresser on Main Street., U.S.A. and actually I still do that, too, in addition to working it's a small world.

Siamese Twins?

Willie: It's true. We were separated as toddlers. We were joined at the hip so it was a fairly simple surgery as far as those types go.

Beth: Hi, I'm Beth, I'm the baby of the family. I'm 17 and starting my junior year of high school. I'm a cheerleader. I work with my brothers but right now I'm being trained to fill-in for Cleopatra, Alice, and Jasmine. I know that sounds strange but we have a great hair and makeup crew.

You currently work together as the same character. Tell us about that.

Willie: Yes, we're all playing tin soldiers on the outside of it's a small world. When the clock strikes, several doors open up. On the left are 3 tin soldiers. In the middle there's a parade of nations, and then on the right there are 3 more tin soldiers and that's us.


Beth: I'm on the left, Willie is in the center and Wally is on the right. Playing the drum is so cool. I'm taking piano lessons in school but I want a full drumkit so I can ROCK!

You've got quite the view. Seen anything interesting?

Wally: Somehow people think if they're on a boat no can see them. Guess what? We can see you and all the things you do. Not only that but there are cameras in the attractions. You learn more while working at Disney than in Health class if you get my drift.

Will you continue working for Disneyland after you graduate?

Willie: Yes, I think I will. It's a lot of fun meeting Cast Members, making new friends, dressing the windows and you can play basketball inside the Matterhorn. C'mon, that's insane! I do want to go to college but work at the same time.

Wally: After graduation I'm going to travel. I'm thinking of asking for a relocation to Hong Kong or Tokyo. I need to check into it and get all the details before I talk to my parents.

Beth: I've got 2 more years before I graduate so I'm not sure. Maybe I'll be a rockstar by then.

Thanks for your time kids. Any final thoughts or advice for Guests?

Wally: Try a mint julep in New Orleans Square, they're killer.

Willie: There are two lines for the Matterhorn on either side of the mountain.

Beth: (in a deep scary voice) Beware of strollers. Baw ha ma ha nya.


On a serious note...

October 18th marks the annual CHOC/Disneyland Walk in the Park, a fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Orange County. I'll be taking part for the third time in this fantastic fundraiser. CHOC treats every patient regardless of the family's ability to pay. These are kids who may require regular treatment, testing, and medication. Please consider supporting me as I walk. Any amount you can contribute makes a difference. Thank you. Click here to donate. If you'd like to walk and join my friends and I, select Team Fairy Godmothers when you sign-up and then drop me a note.

August 20, 2009

White Stork Portrait

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

White Stork portrait on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
White Stork portrait on Discovery Island.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 200mm Focal Length

Discovery Island Trails are one of those Over-Looked Attractions you hear about. With a 200mm lens, you can get beautiful portraits of the animals and birds along them. This White Stork was a willing model and is my Disney Pic of the Week on Discovery Island.

If you don't know the animal or bird along any of the trails in Disney's Animal Kingdom, look around for a sign (like the one below) which will identify the animal and give you information on where it lives. It's also a good idea to take a photo of the signs so you'll be able to add captions of your Animal Kingdom photos at a later time.

White Stork informational sign in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
White Stork informational sign.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 34mm Focal Length

August 21, 2009

Auction Results

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Dream Team Project Auction volunteers on stage at MagicMeets, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Dream Team Project Auction volunteers on stage at MagicMeets.

Still out this week but I forgot to give the final results of the Dream Team Project last week. Graphics added using Picnik.com. Since MagicMeets, Lou Mongello announced the final tally of $27,000 to go to Make-A-Wish to help make dreams come true.

Be back photo blogging in a couple of weeks!

August 22, 2009

Why I Otter

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

If you're an animal lover then Disney's Animal Kingdom is the place for you. Although it's not a zoo, you won't be disappointed. Walking through the Discovery Island Trails will lead you to parrots, flamingos, storks, and Asian Small-clawed Otters among other species. Why, here's an otter now!

Hello little otter.

Hence my entry for our Disney Pic of the Week - Discovery Island

August 23, 2009

Where in the World #98

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #97:
 Where in the World #97

And here's the answer:
Miniature Train set in Germany at Epcot
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f/5.6

You can find this mountain climber looking out over the miniature trains in a little town just outside of Germany in Epcot.

Louise Barton was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Louise and all the other readers who got the answer right: Denise Owen, Jacquelyn Law, Amanda Campbell, Alison Rosenberger, Alicia Henderson, Michelle Mcspadden, Aruna, Caroline Dupre, Anna Mae Trievel, Baines Family, Brenda Van Hecke, Kristin Dormuth, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Curtis Bille, Bob Patterson, Natasha Bouchet, Bruce Arnold, Bryan Fencl, Brenda Strohmeyer, Nancy Bennett, Christian Baas, Christopher Hall, Chris Miller, Casey Sullivan, Rob Disanto, Daniel Record, Denise Dossat, Denise Cayz , Maryann Eckenrode, Kelly Zanauskas, Dan Mangini, Ashley, Kye Layton, Emily Wilburn, Ruth Cookson, Emily Currier, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Elizabeth Scarborough, Jim Felty, Phil Vickers, Jennifer Tremley, Gail Wuczynski, Allison Caputa, Greg Shukis, Heather Young, Dennis Blackburn, Harry Wilson, Lynn Barber, Ian Falk, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Danny Gleason Jr., Kristen Mccoy, Jared Orth, Jackson Hart, Jay Bradford, Christine And Erin Claeys, Jeanne Hartung, Jeremiah Good, Jessica Marcotte, Jaclyn Kelch, Jennifer Harmon, Joey Price, Kathryn Perkins, Vanessa Gordon, Jim Finley, Karrie, Matt Cofone, Kelly Taylor, Ken Fischler, Kirsty Butler, Kris Nixon, Kristen Baustert, Kelly H, Lee, Laney, Jenny Leek, Larry Sams, Karen Nelson, Jennifer Schwing, John Leach, Louise Maxwell, , Linda Scrivano, Joshua Swainston, Marie Phillips, Roy, Matt Degrandis, Matthew Brisbin, Margot Garofalo, The Chambers Family, Ben Dameron, Melody Salemi, Glenn Meyer, Brian Haas, Mike Fess, Misty Mehelic, Karen Hotchkiss, Amanda Penhale, Diane Ramos, Michelle Thompson, Paula Munson, Cara Richards, Nicole Lopresti, Noreen Rachuba, Donna Brandt, Duane Wisniewski, Patty Carty, Pete Haberman, Julie Ellis, Emma Poprock, Heather Coursen, Peggy Saeger, Betsey Whitehead, Robert Bostic, Robin Kennard, Paula Massarelli, Sarah Haas, April Tucker, Jodi Cook, Sharon Dale, Shane Stack, Bev Carson, Chloe, Amanda M., Michael Gainey, Bridgie Auckland, Ryan Ross, Tom Hermes, Danielle Murgia, Stacey Hutchinson, Tricia Gordon, Tricia Noble, Penny, Vickie Scioneaux, Wendy Snelgrove, Judy Koslowski, Dave Carriere and Matthew Ziegele. Each of you will be entered in the August winners' drawing.


Challenge #98: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #98

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 27, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

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!

August 25, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Resort Activities

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I am in Walt Disney World, I am on vacation. I know others have a different view of vacation and I do realize not everyone is there on vacation. Especially in Disney's Boardwalk and Epcot resort area where the Swan, Dolphin, Yacht and Beach Club resorts host many business conventions and seminars. Yet, it still surprises when I am returning from the Boardwalk Bakery with freshly baked goodies to see people out for their morning runs like this gentleman. This is one Disney Pic of the Week about Resort Activities you will never see me doing. Look for Barrie and Lisa to present their ideas of Resort Activities on Thursday and Saturday.

Out for a morning run on Disney's Boardwalk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Out for a morning run on Disney's Boardwalk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/18, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

August 26, 2009

Vacationing with Teenagers

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, heroes in a halfshell. Turtle power! I've lost my mind. I just spent far too long in Hot Topic looking at neon clothes from the 80's that don't fit me and being forced to listen to deep, angry screams coming through speakers. Allegedly it is music. Okaaay. Let's face it, we've all been there before. No, not the store, teenage years.

I don't have any offspring so I borrowed a few. What I discovered is if you give them limited freedom, meaning they can run off on their own for a specific amount of time then they're much happier during the vacation as a whole. Now, I'm not here to tell you how to raise your kids or how to handle their mood changes. No, I'm here to show you how I had fun with them by showing you my photos. And by having fun, I am including torture and embarassment.

For 6 months I lived in Miami with my cousins. During that time I "kidnapped" Matthew, my 15 year old cousin and dragged him to Walt Disney World. I wanted to do a few things that would be special for him so we stayed at All-Star Sports because he's a bowler and plays basketball. Matt's pretty easy-going and was up for anything I wanted to do although he probably grew tired of all the photos. Heh heh

Here we are in March of 2005. Just a couple of cousins having fun.

As a gift for his Studly 16 (Sweet 16 doesn't work for boys) I planned a surprise element to his next kidnapping. I invited his best friend Greg aka Greggy Poo (he's 6'6") to join us and we kept it a secret from Matt until a few days before the trip. I had to tell Matt because he wouldn't tell me which WDW park he wanted to visit and Greg's aunt was generously signing us in as guests since she's a Cast Member.

I don't know what Greg said to Snow White but it made her nearly fall down from laughing so hard. The scan blew out the highlights. I fixed them as best I could.

Now that Matt had his best friend with him, he wanted the freedom to run around. With instructions to call me and an alotted time frame, I let them take off. I think all they did was have lunch at ESPN Club and hit a few attractions. The rest of the time they were with me at both Epcot and Universal Studios. I split our trip between The Crowne Plaza near Universal and another hotel that I'm totally forgetting.

I returned to Miami in 2007 for Matt's high school graduation. You'll never guess what my present was to him. Oh darn, you figured it out, I took him to Walt Disney World. It was just Matt & I again on a cousins trip. This time we stayed at Pop Century in the 50's.

Teen angst, it's a keeper. We watched The World Showcase Players perform in Italy. Not only are teens fun to photograph, but they also make good backpack carriers.

The third teen I borrowed is Zach, my friend Tracy's son. Zach doesn't ask to take off by himself but rather to spend time with his mom's friends. Torturing Zach isn't easy, unless you (me) and his mom are wearing matching Tinker Bell shirts and you threaten to get one for him as well. We were only kidding about making him wear it but the response we got was priceless.


If your teen or the one you're renting enjoys the parks and the characters then you're lucky. Enjoy the time you spend with your family because before you know it the kids are all grown up and then you have to wait until it's time for you to lead your parents through the parks. I'll be doing that in September. Be on the lookout for my trip report as I take my mom and her best friend for their birthdays.

No teenagers were permanently emotionally scarred in the making of these photos.

August 27, 2009

Caribbean Beach Resort Fun in the Sun

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Just when you thought doing laundry was all the action you could handle while vacationing, along comes a plethora of resort activities. Put down that box of fabric softener and check out what you can do at Caribbean Beach Resort alone.

Hammocking (just play along)

My entry for Disney Pic of the Week - Resort Activities

Barefoot Bay Marina is the place to rent watercraft. Personally, I just head towards the lighthouse and hope that Elliott will join me in singing "Brazzle Dazzle Day."

August 28, 2009

Self Portrait

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Self portrait of Scottwdw in front of Goofy's Candy Company in Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida./>
Self Portrait in front of Goofy's Candy Company in Downtown Disney.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 8s, f/16, ISO 200, +1.0 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

Still vacationing (not at Walt Disney World this time) and will return soon!

August 30, 2009

Where in the World #99

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #98:
 Where in the World #98

And here's the answer:
Cinderella Castle Ceiling
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/10s shutter, f/3.8

This week's challenge photo shows part of the Gothic ceiling from inside Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

Brian Miller was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Brian and all the other readers who got the answer right: Deb Ragno, Rich Kacprowicz, Christine Holzman, Julie Wickware, Jessica Reed, Tim Johansen, Lynn Barber, Scott Otis, Brenda Mcguire, Kristen Mccoy, Berry Morris, Dennis Blackburn, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Vickie Scioneaux, Melissa Dye, Barclay Bakkum, Jamie Poynton and Lee Anastasi. Each of you will be entered in the August winners' drawing.

It's time for the monthly drawing. This month's big winner is Dan Diehm! Congratulations Dan, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

Good luck to everyone as we begin another month! Here we go"


Challenge #99: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #99

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 3, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

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!

Return to Blog Central

About August 2009

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

July 2009 is the previous archive.

September 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.