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February 2012 Archives

February 1, 2012

Solo Trip to Orlando - Outlet Shopping & Disney Resorts

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Yes, gentlemen, I used the "s" word. No need to hide your wallets, I have your credit card numbers memorized and the stores thank you for contributing to Florida's economy.

My morning began when I woke up without any cell phones chiming or buzzers buzzing. I took my time, ate my Cheerios, and enlisted driving directions from my GPS even though I pretty much knew how to get to Orlando Premium Outlets formerly known as Belz Factory Outlet World. I expected a herd of last-minute shoppers to be out early since it was the day before Christmas but I arrived to find plenty of parking.

By the time 11am rolled around, Disney's Character Warehouse started to pick up. I made my purchases and got out to find the parking lot had filled up and people were circling like vultures driving SUVs. Among my finds, a Donald Duck DJ t-shirt, a padded pink laptop case (that proved to be 1" too short for my mom's computer), a credit card case, a ghost Mickey popcorn/trick-or-treat bucket, and some pins.

Thinking I could additionally make out at Disney's Character Premiere shop over on Vineland Avenue I chugged on over and found the parking lot to be utter chaos. I drove up and down aisles and had 2 parking spaces snagged from me by ruthless drivers. Just as I was about to give up, a nice couple pointed me to their car as they were leaving. Sad to say I did not buy a single item. I was through wasting time.

I stayed at Coronado Springs for a couple of nights years ago in an emergency-type situation. I never wandered around the grounds but I did make it into the gift shop and Pepper Market. Determined to actually see the resort, I headed over and was greeted by Cast Members with free cookies and lemonade. Mmmm cookies. Num, num, num. But cookies weren't enough for me and so I found myself back at the Pepper Market talking to the staff and chef. I was the last person seated before they closed until dinner. While I waitied for my specially-prepared meal, I kibbitzed with one of the girls working. She looked like a taller version of one of my very best(est) friends and I picked up on her slight Puerto Rican accent which just increased the similarity. We yakked like we'd known each other for years. It was pretty cool since I was alone the large majority of my trip.

Full of food, I ventured out and wandered around some of the buildings. A housekeeping manager came by and I asked him what the building was across the lake. He said it was another style of guest rooms but actually I was pointing at something else. He told me I should go for a walk and enjoy the layout and guess what? I did. It was a long walk past various settings, the pool and bar, over a bridge, and a heart-pounding escape from pocket protector-wearing conference attendees.

lkb-SoloTrip-Coronado.jpg
This building houses genius kids who convinced their parents or other relatives to pay for their vacations including airfare, food, park tickets, and clothing they'll outgrow the following day.

Once back to the main building, I skipped into Panchito's Gifts and Sundries. Excited to please my love for The Three Caballeros in merchandise form, I discovered they carry next to nothing of my feathered friends. I fell to the floor sobbing in a major meltdown. Porque? Estoy enamorado con Jose Carioca. Necesito una figura de accion o arte que no me cuesta tanto. Porque?? 7 seconds later I was up and looking at shiny objects.

lkb-SoloTrip-CoronadoFlower.jpg
Ancient Mayan flower blooms before 21st century replica wall.

Am I the only one who is confused by Animal Kingdom Lodge's various driveways and entrances? Since they added onto it, I find myself driving right by the original entrance and landing in the parking garage. I did it again on this last trip. Having parked on the first level, I found the elevator and took it up. Wandering the halls, I found a small room where Cast Members were also giving out cookies. Another treat set up was for the sugar-enhanced children to create crafts with painted ostrich egg shell fragments. No one asked if I was a DVC member which was kind of surprising since that was a Disney Vacation Club "only" building.

I gave it another shot and found the entrance I was actually looking for. Yay! Inside there was a line of people and strobe lights going off. Santa sat in a high back chair for good posture and posed with guests. I went into the gift shop in search of something ultra cool for my future house but didn't find anything I wanted. Boo. There were some fun and games at the cash registers. A few Cast Members were taunting each other. I stood around to watch and egg them on. You won't find them on any entertainment schedule. It's spontaneous Disney magic.

lkb-SoloTrip-AKL-CMs.jpg
The old "Remove the Minnie Mouse pin while not looking trick" fell apart when he used her hand as a gameshow buzzer. I'll take "Don't Even Try It" for 1,000, Alex.

Before I left the lodge or village or whatever it is currently named, I saw Mickey and Minnie. Yeaaaah boy. I hung around as long as I could without making myself late for a dinner date with friends at Wilderness Lodge. I crossed my fingers that they might appear at my next stop.

lkb-SoloTrip-MickeyChristmas.jpg
Mickey Mouse demonstrates his newly-learned karate skills, wax on, wax off.

Winding my way over to Wilderness Lodge was fine. I made it without getting lost. Thank you very much. Hey I have been known to mix it up with Fort Wilderness. It's not my fault there are 2 resorts with the word "wilderness" in the title. It'd be easier for me if one of them was just named A Lot Like the Grand Californian. Then I'd know exactly what to expect and then be disappointed that the lobby doesn't connect to Downtown Disney. No, Minnie and Mickey did not make it over to Wilderness Lodge but Santa was there when I arrived and he looked really different. Perhaps it was all the flash bulbs.

I had a lovely first time dinner at Artist Pointe with my friends. My special meal was chicken and vegetables. The server had a good time with the list of things I can't eat and when it came time to order dessert and I passed, he passed as well... on the list of why I couldn't have any desserts on the menu.

It was nice to spend time with my friends, chatting, and catching up. I found myself winding down quickly and headed back to the hotel with the super long name to begin packing. It was the only "early night" I had and it felt good to unwind and go to bed at a decent time.

The answers to last week's quiz.

Which sitcom star voices Sideshow Bob? Kelsey Grammer

Why is the animatronic shark used in the Jaws movie named Bruce? Steven Spielberg named it Bruce after his attorney.

Name my favorite Brendan Fraser movie. George of the Jungle

What did Alfred Hitcock use for blood in the film Psycho? Chocolate syrup.

What childrens show (no longer in production) scares me more than Barney? Teletubbies


Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

February 3, 2012

Characters in Flight at Twilight at Downtown Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Characters in Flight balloon rising from its platform at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Characters in Flight balloon rising from its platform at Downtown Disney.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I have been planning to ride the Characters in Flight balloon from the time it was announced. Yet, since it's first flights in 2009, I have never been able to find the time or the right flight conditions to do so. That was until last month when it all came together on a visit to Downtown Disney including the time of day.

As Barrie, Lisa and I have mentioned many times, the hour before and after sunset is a magical time for photography. The Sun was just setting as my wife and I, another couple and the pilot started our ascent in the circular gondola below the 210,000 cubic feet red and yellow balloon decorated with flying Disney characters. The light towards the Sun was very harsh so I decided to photograph with it behind me. As you can see, it was a good decision.

About half way to our maximum altitude of 400 feet, I noticed the DVC ferry coming into the dock at Downtown Disney Marketplace as the last of the golden sunlight reflected off the Lake Buena Vista hotels.

A ferry headed to Downtown Disney Marketplace from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A ferry headed to Downtown Disney Marketplace from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

At the top of our ascent, the restaurants and shops of Downtown Disney Marketplace, the Lake Buena Vista hotels and the city lights of greater Orlando stretched out to the horizon .

Disney Downtown Marketplace and Lake Buena Vista hotels from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney Downtown Marketplace and Lake Buena Vista hotels from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Of to the north of the Lake Buena Vista hotels was the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Disney Vacation Club all lit up under the blue color of twilight.

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

The flight conditions were almost perfect for the ride with hardly any wind to speak of, a warm evening and clear sky. The flight was smooth, quiet and full of character and wonderful views of the Walt Disney World resort.

If you would like to see more photos and details about the Characters in Flight attraction, Jack Spence was on hand back in 2009 for the inaugural flights. Just one correction since Jack's blog was published, the Characters in Flight now costs $18 or $12 for ages 3-9.

February 4, 2012

A Grand Floridian Wish

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Grand Floridian Resort photographed from the Resort Monorail, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Grand Floridian Resort photographed from the Resort Monorail.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 11mm focal length.

Like many, I have visited the Grand Floridian Resort many times. Have enjoyed a special dinner at Narcoossee's and stopped in to see the beautiful Christmas decorations in the lobby. Oh, how I would love to spend a night or two inside its elegant walls and soak in the Victorian atmosphere. Maybe someday...

February 5, 2012

Where in the World #215

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Diane Ramos, you have a great week too!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #214

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 6mm, 1/60s shutter, f3.5, ISO 1000

Mural of Sleeping Beauty Castle by Herb Ryman, inside One Man's Dream at Disney's Hollywood Studios! This is one of the great additions added to Walt's tribute in 2010, bringing the beautiful concept art for "Disney Land's" castle to the public eye at the Florida resort at last. It's also, as Craig tells me, in the Disney University building. Oh, and in his family room. Way to go, Craig. I should do that when I re-do my family room! :-)

Like Mary Beth Tarbet and Luis Rodriguez, I never miss this attraction. It's a must see for this and any real Disney fan.

Larissa Huda was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Larissa and to all the readers who got the answer right: Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kye Layton, Agnes Ciotti, Peter Strukel, Matt Holley, Megan K, Mary Beth Tarbet, Dee Dee Kenney, Betsy Silvestri, Hannah, The O'meara Family, Clint Curfman, Craig, Emily Hudson, Analisa Louise, Evanna Huda, Paul Dickson, Louise Barton, Chuck Sands, Danielle Suscreba, Rob Blundin, Luis Rodriguez, Scott Otis, Diane Ramos, Tim Johansen, Sharon Dale, Wendy Palmquist, Kendra, and Sarah Holodick. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Speaking of which, guess what time it is?! Time to announce the monthly winner! That honor goes to: Joyce Matta ! Congratulations, Joyce! You've won AllEars® goodies from Deb Wills herself! I will contact you soon on how you can claim your prize!
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Challenge #215: Where in the world is this?

I know I said I'd do something outside of the parks this week. But... it didn't happen. I'll work on that, I promise. But meanwhile, we're still in the parks!

 Where in the World #215

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 9th, 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.

See you next week, Players!

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!

February 7, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Japan

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Japan Pagoda
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/500s shutter, f5.6,

The Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase is the theme for our Pics of the Week this week. This beautiful 5-story pagoda stands at the entrance to the pavilion and was inspired by an 8th-century shrine in Nara, Japan. Just step inside this Disney imagineered version of Japan to find a little peace and serenity. Later this week, Scott and Lisa will share their images from Japan too.


February 8, 2012

Solo Trip to Orlando - Disney Resorts, Downtown & the Last Bus

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

It was my last vacation day in the sunshine state and I managed to sleep in a little. I finished packing my bags, checked out, and loaded up the turbo charged station wagon. There was only one thing I wanted for breakfast and I headed to Saratoga Springs for it.

Mickey waffles are delicious and adorable. I got them from the kiddie menu accompanied by red grapes and a small carton of skim milk. From the physically over 9 menu, slow cooked oatmeal joined my tray. Everything was yummy and my tummy was quite happy. Back in the gift shop I looked for more cool stuff for my house I don't yet own and came up short.

I randomly selected a parking lot and wandered around a building and took photos for future blogs. People must have slept in or already hit the parks because I only saw 6 or 7 humans and 2 of them worked at the resort. It was a quiet visit.

One can never do enough shopping and so off to Downtown Disney I drove. Portions of Downtown Disney were packed and busier than I have ever seen. First I hit up the Marketplace and found a few spots that weren't too bad like Arribas Bros. The Christmas shop wasn't a zoo as I expected and the Hanukkah merchandise consisted of 2 small shelves on 1 endcap. Tren D was difficult to manuever through and Art of Disney had random clumps of shoppers.

lkb-SoloTrip-TrenD.jpg
Edna 'E' Mode wants you to say no to capes.

The area formerly known as Pleasure Island and may someday be known as Hyperion Wharf which might be under construction was filled with folks walking around. I had lunch at Raglan Road at 1 o'clock. When I arrived it was about half-filled and then looked as though it hit or nearly reached capacity within an hour. As usual the staff was accomodating but Chef James wasn't around and while the food was good, it wasn't wicked awesome like my previous meal and I had to send it back to the kitchen because they forgot something. When it came back, some of my lunch was cold but I just couldn't be bothered to say anything.


lkb-SoloTrip-Raglantable.jpg
What you can't see is to my left is the fireplace with Christmas stockings hanging from the mantle. It's almost as funny as when Buca di Beppo put my birthday party in the Pope Room. Get it? Cuz I'm Jewish.


The plan was to soar with Characters in Flight but as I approached I found a long line and smokers in the area. Shops in West Side were bustling. In an effort to get the heck away from everyone, I boarded a boat to Old Key West. You should try it sometime. It's a nice relaxing 15-20 minute cruise that drops you off by registration and Olivia's Cafe.


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I wonder if this is Tarzan's idea of upper class.

A few photos, window shopping, and pin trading later, I found myself chatting up the fellas at bell services. One had to run off and transport guests but that didn't stop him form hamming it up.


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Randy in action. People need transport stat!


Back on the boat we sailed to West Side and crowds were still crazy. I opted to find dinner and more peace and quiet at Caribbean Beach Resort. During my September 2011 vacation I discovered that I love the mattress in my pirate ship. I put the gals at guest services to work as they tried to find out the make and model of the mattress but the housekeeping manager had left for the day. Ask me if I have called back. No, I keep forgetting. If anyone out there can verify it for me, drop me a note, please. That was the most comfortable mattress I can remember ever sleeping on.

I hung out by the pool, picked up some stuff in the gift shop, and I think I got something to eat on the plane. I can't remember. I do recall not feeling well and resting until it was time to return to Orlando International Airport.

This flight was much better. By the time we landed and I got my suitcase, I had missed the midnight bus back to Logan Express. There was 1 more bus at 1:15am and yes, I waited for it. Exhausted barely describes how I felt upon arriving home at 2am.

The End.

Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

February 9, 2012

Taiko Drummer in Japan

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Taiko Drummer performaing at Japan's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Taiko Drummer performing at Japan's pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/29, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 230mm focal length.

I wanted to show the speed of one of the Taiko Drummers in Epcot's World Showcase pavilion for Japan. To do that I switched to Shutter Priority mode and selected 1/30th of a second. These performers put their all into it as this photos shows.

February 10, 2012

Inside Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Dark rides are very hard to photograph at Walt Disney World. Not only is the lighting very moody and low but the ride vehicles move so you have to keep your shutter speed around 1/60th of a second. Remember, you can not use flash in a dark ride. Disney Cast Members will interrupt the ride experience with announcements if you do. Really breaks the magic of the ride for your fellow guests.

I am nowhere near close to getting the excellent results of other Disney photographers seen on flickr and Google+. On this trip, I rode through Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World to see if I can improve. I did get better results using a Nifty-Fifty (Nikon 50mm f/1.8) lens than in the past. At it's maximum aperture of f/1.8, it is the fastest lens I own. My camera, a Nikon D700, is pretty good with high ISO photography. Still, I needed to add some noise reduction via Noise Ninja to the photos below.

Oh, and the audio-animatronics figures move, too!

Renaissance Players scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Renaissance Players scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3
Renaissance Artists scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Renaissance Artists scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3.

I know what you are thinking. This is NOT Lieutenant Uhura of the Star Ship Enterprise though one has to think Disney Imagineers must have known we would all think it is.

Mainframe Computer scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mainframe Computer scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3.

As you can see, these are not the best photos of inside Spaceship Earth on the web. Just goes to show you, we all need to continue to practice, experiment and strive to do better.

February 12, 2012

Where in the World #216

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Smiley from millan.netGuess what, Players! I need you to think back to one year ago. What happened then? Hmmm..... oh yeah! I joined you on Where in the World Photo Fun! That's right, it's my one year anniversary hosting-posting-never able to fill Barrie Brewer's shoes here! Can you BELIEVE it? Me either!

Hi, Ken Maikowski! Thanks for the question! I get a different number of answers every week; it depends on the picture. This week, I had 281 people send in answers; last week, I had 48. One week, we had over 500! We have tripled in the amount of players since the game started, which is a HUGE thrill to all of us! So thank you to Kerri Coggins, Jeffrey Botelho, and all of you for supporting us each week!

Whoo hoo, Caroline Burmester is back!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #215

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 4mm, 1/40s shutter, f2.7, ISO 800

The start of the Yellow Brick Road in Munchinkinland! Courtesy of the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios! And thanks to Tiffany Gibb, Steve Jordan, and Danielle Ciotti, I've been singing the song all day!

Follow the yellow brick road
Follow the yellow brick road...

Kerrie Hogan, you were so probably RIGHT this week! Booyah! And Rob Vanderpool, that was just the right amount of information. :)

Janet Fosbender, I need you, your daughter, and Andrew Loft to come over here: there ARE some scary things in this ride like aliens, the Witch threatening to get us and our little dog too. So let's hold hands and get through this together... ready? OK, don't let go, 'cause the skeletons scare the beejeezus out of me. (you can also help me look for the hidden C3PO and R2-D2; I can't get a picture of it. Maybe you can.)

We're off to see the Wizard!
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Darn you, Tiffany, Danielle, and Steve!

Pam Tees, I'm so glad you like the picture! And James And Kathy Berry, new scenes in the Great Movie Ride would be awesome! Oh look, Kerry and Patti Mccaffrey just HAD to point out they were just in Disney on this ride. LOL! :)

Agnes Ciotti, did it work when you clicked your heels 3 times and said, "There's no place like Disney!"? Because if it did, I'm getting a pair of ruby slippers and joining you!

Wait a minute: Elaine Tomko-deluca, your son, when he was little, wrote a story where Dorothy took the Red Brick Road for a change? I give that a standing ovation! Good for him for creativity and thinking outside the box!

Virginia Pierce was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Virginia and to all the readers who got the answer right: Virginia Pierce, Chris Masse, Sharon Pierce, Jennifer Harmon, Barbara Ajak , Debbie Desimone, Tim Jeltes, Brian Haas, Julie Wickware, Maureen Handy, Al Desimone, Kathryn Perkins, Russ Morgan, Victor Gonzalez, The Kahle Family, Team Hill, Judy Koslowski, Caryn Schill, Peter Strukel, Jamie K, Brian Yesutis, Tim Johansen, Kye Layton, Larissa Huda, Nicole Ruzinski, Kris Nixon, Matt Holley, Dale Knight, Dee Dee Kenney, Kenny, Leigh Mertz, Emily Hudson, Billy Wills, Chris Wallace, Don Whiteman, Maryann Eckenrode, Jonathan Hommel, Bill Mckim, Richard Memmory, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Tim Wingfield, Josh Weiss, Jacquelyn Law, Vicki Edwards, Angie Young, Hannah Couture, Doublefamily, Dave Wang, Freya Schmidt, Lori Rienhardt, Mary Beth Tarbet, Shelly Metcalfe, The O'meara Family, Dawn Bach, Les Whitten, Heather Young, Scott Otis, Patty Carty, Michael Smart, Aaron Harpel, Jen Cerce, Linda Scrivano, Ken Jackson, Craig, Dawn Burns, Troy Parker, Ruth Woodhouse, Jonah Rigby, Matt Degrandis, Paul Dickson, Denise Cayz, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Curtis Bille, Kerri Coggins, Jared Orth, David, Michael Kertes, Jimi Mac, Tracy, Bruce Hinterleitner, Betsy Silvestri, Katie Bray, Tracy Discher, Sharon Dale, Penny, Lauren Thomas, Janet Fosbender, Paulnewman, Hoekzema Family, Jerry Felder, Tiffany Gibb, Kerry A., Bob Destephano, Pam Tees, Rob Blundin, Donna Currier, Erin Rix, James And Kathy Berry, Mary Virginia Clause, Vera Williams, Patrick Broaddus, Pollyanna Buff, Rick Shea, Steve Jordan, Kelsi B., Chris Kelly, Jacquelyn Law, Christopher Linscott, Sam Fritz, Suzanne Denham, Victoria Caputo, Mike O'brien, Paul Knott, Mike Walter, Ashley Hill, Barbara Sims, Brian Miller, Teresa Murray, Beth Mcmeekin, Ed Suscreba, Jodi Cook, Jennifer Lalli, Christie Condit, Evanna Huda, Stephanie Visco, Rick R., Wade A. Williams, Melesia Love, Paula Massarelli, Cameron Lange, Dallas Hamilton, Kerrie Hogan, Diane Ramos, Christopher Hall, Nancy Daniele, James Greene, Elyssa H., Heather Metzler, Karrie Duffey, Doug Olson, Kristen Mccoy, Nicole Duddy, Bob Henriksen, Samantha French, Rob Vanderpool, Jullie Pudem, Jodi Johnson, Diane Hunt, Shelly Borella, Dan Mangini, David And Melissa Lizewski, Andrew Pettit, Chris Forner, Chris Bauman, Jeffrey Beauchamp, Alan Mize, Phil Vickers, Antoinette Leblanc, Karen Aguiar, Jim Thompson, J Brizzle, Cathy Connors, Mickey Eckert, Michael Campe, Dan Johnston, Nicole Michael, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Tricia Petty, Dave Fullerton, Jennifer Tremley, Kathryn Hughes, Harry Wilson, Richard Smith, Amber Slifer, Kim Steiner, George Mundy Jr, Scott Sangston, Susan Petr , Patty Newton, Mark Franklin, Mandy, Amanda Campbell, Melissa Kirk, Christopher Barnes, Nick Bentz, Pam Lorenz, Morgan W., Philip Badcock, Scott Greenbaum, Michael Pyle, Clay Anthony, Mike Haeberle, Sharon Lee, Joshua Swainston, John Dupre, Carol Bolger, Brian Sheets, Wayne Chadourne, Andrew Loft, Ed Elder, Kelly Zanauskas, Kerry Mccaffrey, Rachel Hoover, John Sheridan, Jennifer Mercier, John Pasqueralli, Sarah Haas, Wendy T Faler, Davidw, Kelly Smith, Patti Mccaffrey, Jessica Iglesias, Robert Bostic, Diane Furtado, Leslie Hill, Jennifer Bogdan, Chrissie Smith, Alyssa Bibbee, Karen Hotchkiss, Ashley, Cyndi Baldwin, Jerry Weldon, Robert P. Flaherty, Tom Koval, Elizabeth Silhol, Denise Montgomery, Tracy Cegielski, Heather Hynes, David Ballard, Adam Inlander, Jamie Poynton, Barclay Bakkum, Carol Donoghue, Sarah Holodick, Dayna Guay, Wendy Mowery, Walter N. Clark, Les Stewart, Jon Solomonson, Angela Johnson, Caroline Burmester, Dave Carriere, Karen Adamakis, Nicole Shuler, Brian Skinner, Danielle Ciotti, Agnes Ciotti, Gary Bracknell, Shirley Garcowski, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Michgael Simmons, Amanda Laplante, Andy Hickey, Jeffrey Botelho, and Deary. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #216: Where in the world is this?

I promised you we would go outside the parks this week and we are! That's right, Alan Mize, I put the park tickets to the side, even though it's hard to leave those wonderful four places, but here we go!

 Where in the World #216

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 16th, 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.

See you next week, Players!

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!

February 13, 2012

March & April 2012 Disney Calendars

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Hi everyone! I have two calendars for you this week - March and April. I also have some news to share with you. I am planning to take a hiatus from AllEars in order to focus more on my business (Barrie Brewer Photography & Design - shameless plug!). The good news is that my work is keeping me very busy. Unfortunately, that is making it increasingly hard to keep up on my blogs - hence the two calendars this week! Not to worry though, my fabulous co-bloggers Lisa, Scott, and Erin will continue to keep you entertained.

I've met so many wonderful people through AllEars and it's been a pleasure getting to know you. I'm sure we'll see each other in the parks, but if you'd like to keep up with me in between trips, facebook is the best way for now: www.fb.com/barrieb

I know quite a few of you download these calendars so I will keep making them available. Look for links to future calendars and wallpapers on my facebook page. You never know, there may be some other goodies that show up there too.
Your friend, Barrie


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. When printing CD Jewel Case size, make sure "Page Scaling" in your print dialogue box is set to "None" to ensure that the calendar prints out at the correct size.


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

March 2012 8.5x11 Calendar April 2012 8.5x11 Calendar

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

March 2012 Jewel Case Calendar April 2012 Jewel Case Calendar


And finally, this desktop wallpaper is for your monitor screen.

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February 14, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Mary Poppins

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I remember the first time I saw Mary Poppins, Walt Disney's Oscar winning movie which mixed live action with animation, when my sister and her boyfriend set me up at a drive-in theater on a blanket with lots of food and soda outside the boyfriend's car. I was too young to understand why I was outside but happy with the arrangement and the magic of the movie. I figured out why a few years later!

I recall that memory every time I am on the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios when the audio-animatronic likenesses of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert come into view singing the Oscar winning song, Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Mary Poppins and Bert singing inside the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mary Poppins and Bert singing inside the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/80s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Disney Pic of the Week photos about Mary Poppins.

As you read yesterday, Barrie is leaving Picture This! to concentrate on her business. Both Lisa and I will miss Barrie's weekly contributions and the work she did behind the scenes to keep the weekly themes on track. For the immediate future, the Disney Pic of the Week posts will be on Tuesday and Thursday.

February 15, 2012

Sunlight on City Hall

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Lighting can make or break an image. The greatest moment caught on camera lands in the land of delete when you can't make out who it is or what's going on because the photo is underexposed (not enough light) or overexposed (too much light). Lighting can make the simplest of boring old items dramatic and pronounced.

On a September day, I entered the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World with the intention of looking up. Taking into consideration the sun's position, I walked forward and back, this way and that all while aiming my lens at the castle flag atop City Hall. I zoomed in and out, trying a variety of combinations of angles and distance.

Each photo has a different look and one is not necesarily better than the other. These are merely an example of how you can work direct sunlight to your advantage and have fun playing with the outcome.

The sun was roughly in a 10 o'clock position behind the building. The wind was blowing moderately, moving the flag sweepingly.

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February 16, 2012

Practically Perfect Poppins

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Picture it, just outside of London, sitting on a pedestrian-only hill, a young woman dressed in white from hat to boots carrying a parasole, stops to chat with a little girl

lkb-MaryPoppins.jpg

Write your own caption. Go!

Disney Pic of the Week - Mary Poppins


Come find me on Facebook page.

February 17, 2012

A Jolly Holiday with Mary in the United Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Been awhile since I have mentioned using Fill Flash to open up the shadows on those bright sunny days we encounter at Walt Disney World. Fill flash came in handy when I photographed Mary Poppins who was wearing a very pretty hat in the United Kingdom pavilion.

Mary Poppins at United Kingdom in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mary Poppins being supercallifragilisticexpialidocious in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 170mm, fill flash at -1.0 power.

February 19, 2012

Where in the World #217

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Players, especially Mary Beth Tarbet, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kathy And James Berry, Claire Gregory, Maja Kodani, Agnes Ciotti, and Susie Howard: thank you SO much for all the anniversary wishes! You had such wonderful things to say; it means a lot to me.

Of course, Danielle had to start singing "We're off to see the Wizard!", so now THAT's back in my head! Thanks for that, Danielle. ;)

But speaking of my anniversary - this is a segue into sad/good news: Barrie Brewer, who started Where in the World Photo Fun, has retired from the All Ears Team. She's gotten great customers for her photography business, and no one wishes her more good luck and pixie dust than all of us who love her here at AllEars. I miss you already, Barrie, and I can't wait for the next time we wander the Animal Kingdom trails, cameras in hand.

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #216

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 22mm, 1/400s shutter, f5.9, ISO 100

The main sign for Animal Kingdom Lodge! I have a real love for Disney signs, and when Barrie and I headed in for the Kidani meet in December, this was just begging for a photograph!

Kerry A. has 2 in a row! Hollah! :)

And Jennifer Rupert and her family will be arriving at the Lodge in a week! Maybe you can get Karen Schlumpf's room, she just left. Karen, would you recommend your room? If so, save it for Elyssa H. too; she'll be celebrating her 5th wedding anniversary at the Lodge in May! You guys need to talk to Kelli Sangston and her dad too, because they know all about spotting the animals there!

I'm not jealous of you guys being there; ok, I'm lying. I'm a liar and I'm jealous. Please don't hold it against me. :)

Kenny was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Kenny and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Peter Strukel, Leigh Mertz, Brian Haas, Pollyanna Buff, Jamie K, Kris Nixon, Terry Blair, Dee Dee Kenney, Chris Kelly, The Perras Family, Nikki Parker, Mary Beth Tarbet, Sharon Pierce, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Troy Parker, Kerry A., Bob, Al Desimone, Kelly Mager, Debbie Desimone, Matt Holley, Heather Young, Craig, Jennifer Harmon, The O'meara Family, Daniel Record, Lee Anastasi, Steve Jordan, Cara Richards, Kathy And James Berry, Tara Petar, Clint Curfman, Emily Hudson, Jennifer Rupert, Tim Johansen, Bill Mckim, Donnie, Amy Schweizer, Michelle Mcspadden, Spencer Hart, Phil Vickers, Christopher Barnes, Emma Poprock, Stuart Hale, Lauren Thomas, Kelly Zanauskas, Rob Blundin, Beth Mcmeekin, Julie Wickware, Halo Barker, Claire Gregory, Karen Schlumpf, Karen Adamakis, Diane Ramos, Mike Obrien, Jonathan Thomas, Erin Hammer, Courtney Payne, Courtney Payne, Katie Bray, Donna Currier, Maryann Eckenrode, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Mark Diba, Ken Jackson, Erin Loring, Betsy Silvestri, Team Hill, Kelly Montgomery, Sam Fritz, Emily Hudson, Dawn Burns, Denise Cayz, Carla Nale, Erica Sipich, Paul Newman, Angie Young, Hillary Waldroop, Tom Buck, Joanne Duddy, Jen Cerce, Kerry Mccaffrey, Millie Tenreiro, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Suzanne Denham, The Moore Family, Kye Layton, Kevin Miller, Audra Miller, Pam Tees' husband who recognized the M and Pam Tees who got the rest of the answer!, Larissa Huda, Bruce Jones, Greg Strohmeyer, Kerri Coggins, Nancy Cox, Russ Morgan, Brian Miller, Dennis Loring, Shannon Thomas, Scott Otis, Hannah Couture, Linda Mac, Brenda, Cameron Lange, Bob Patterson, Dallas Hamilton, Elyssa H., Hoekzema Family, Andrew Pettit, Tom Hermes, Mike Gillardi, Andrea Kruszewski, Les Stewart, Kristen Carde, Jeremy Reichelt, Carla C, Tricia, Mackenzie D., Jullie Pudem, Maja Kodani, Happy Anniversary!, The Patterson Family, Sharon Dale, Melody O'donnell, Jason Skow, Angela Johnson, Mike Cerce, April Mcbride, Alan Mize, Jim Thompson, Jamie Poynton, Kathryn Hughes, Jennifer Bourg, Kelli Sangston, Jennifer Tremley, Kelly Smith, Theresa Rucando, Josh Weiss, Dayna Guay, Nicole Shuler, Matt Degrandis, Sarah Holodick, Heidi Goodhue, Brian Mcwithey, John Arena Jr, Thomas Housenfleur, Carri Marotto, Brian Grabowski, Patty Carty, Jeff Finger, Jennifer Mercier, Sarah Haas, Patti Deluca, Liz Moreau, Josh Carney, Tom Koval, Debbie Poole, Diane Tredore, Barclay Bakkum, Wendy T Faler, Allison Caputa, David Ballard, John Pasqueralli, Paul Knott, Jerry Weldon, Jen Cox, Evelyn Wilson, Paul Dickson, Dawn Bach, Agnes Ciotti, Jodi Cook, George Mundy Jr, Michael Campe, Teresa Cole, The Hicks Family, Vera Williams, Linda College, Susie Howard, Betsy Dross, and Vicki Edwards. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
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Challenge #217: Where in the world is this?

First for Team Hill and Tom Hermes who thought last week was too easy, here is the tough challenge: Where on Disney World property would you find this patch of grass? LOL!

 Where in the World grass

Now, the regular challenge:

 Where in the World #217

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 23rd, 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.

See you next week, Players!

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!

February 21, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Resorts at Night

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


As I sit here trying to write something amusing about shooting resort exteriors at night, the only thing running through my mind is the theme music from Knight Rider. I haven't even watched the smarter-than-the-average car show in a few decades. Let me steer my thoughts in a different direction.

When you're wiped out from a long day of playing in the parks, returning to your resort feels like a second thrilling time is just minutes away. Yes, you long to plop down on the Disney comforter-covered bed and kick off your shoes. There's a cold bottle of fruit infused water in the mini fridge calling your name. But before those things can happen, you need to get the kiddos ready for bed and check your work e-mail because your boss still doesn't know where you order takeout from after 8 years.

So this week, Scott and I are posting images of those magical wish-granting buildings you slumber in.

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Here she is, the backside of a Grand Floridian building as the sun goes down. She's waiting for you to come home.

I am hosting 2 meets at Disneyland on Wednesday, February 29th. These events will take place during Disney's One More Day in celebration of Leap Year. You can sign up via Facebook. RSVPs are not necessary but help with estimating how many people I should anticipate. I hope to see you there!

7:30am The Early Birds - Adventureland
Meet at the tiled court near the Jungle Cruise exit. We'll enjoy an attraction that's open early.

9:00pm The Night Shift - Tomorrowland
Meet against the wall between Star Tours and the gift shop, The Star Trader.

Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

February 22, 2012

Disney on Ice - Lowlight Action

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Before I begin, I want to let you all know that I am hosting 2 meets at Disneyland on Wednesday, February 29th. These events will take place during Disney's One More Day in celebration of Leap Year. You can sign up via Facebook. RSVPs are not necessary but help with estimating how many people I should anticipate. I hope to see you there!

7:30am The Early Birds - Adventureland
Meet at the tiled court near the Jungle Cruise exit. We'll enjoy an attraction that's open early.

9:00pm The Night Shift - Tomorrowland
Meet against the wall between Star Tours and the gift shop, The Star Trader.


Betwixt visits to Mickey Mouse's home (Disneyland) and his favorite vacation spot (Walt Disney World), one can catch up to him and his pals at a Disney on Ice performance. Each touring show has a different theme.

I enjoyed Dare to Dream this past Friday at TD Garden in Boston, MA. Three stories are condensed to create one show; The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and Tangled. Prior to the start of each tale, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy get things rolling with a brief summary, playfulness, and some snazzy New Orleans jazz-inspired outfits. The show closes with a huge production number including fireworks, and a plethora of Disney couples.

Photography without flash and videotaping are allowed for personal use. Lighting is low and often times characters are only semi-spotlighted or skate through projections or colored gels. When multiple ice skaters are on the floor, the difference between those in spotlights and those in overall lighting tends to differ by 1 to 2 stops. For instance, the spotlight skaters might register at f8 with lots of light while someone under general lighting reads f5.6 (the lens needs to open up to compensate for less light) on the camera's meter.

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This is a fine example of how varying the lighting is at the show. My camera was set to Shutterspeed Priority at 1/320 and my ISO was 1250. Pattern Metering, which read many points in the image, set the aperture at f4.


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Again, we see variations in how brightly lit some skaters are compared to others. Those magenta and purple gels make people darker.


The basics for photographing action in low light using SLR manual controls are:

1. Use a fast ISO such as 800 or higher.

2. Open the aperature as much as you can. The lower the number (f2.8, f3.5) the more light is allowed through the lens.

3. Shoot fast! Action requires a fast shutterspeed. If 1/125 doesn't cut it, go faster and try 1/250 or 1/500.

4. Keep your camera focused on the subject and follow him/her with the camera (stay in your seat) as she/he moves.

5. Poise that index finger and keep it pressed half-way down on the shutter button so the camera keeps focusing and you don't lose that split second when you take the photo.

6. Try continous shooting and high continuous shooting. You'll grab a fast series of images.


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As soon as I saw the material drop from above, I knew they were going to take off flying. I changed my setting to high speed continuous and fired about 4 shots in 1 second.


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7. Give your moving subject room within the frame. You never know when an arm or leg might swing out. You can always crop the photo later.


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This is the original image. Yes they're a bit small in this shot but that's okay because it's in focus.


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Voila! An action shot of Minnie on one foot (although it'd be nice to see part of her left leg).


The same can be said for those using point and shoot cameras with a few added notes. Keep the camera at eye level and lock your elbows against your sides. You need to hold the camera steady. Holding the camera above your head is not only loose and shakey but you're now blocking the view of those sitting behind you.


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Standing on a stable, Tiana gives folks a chance to grab a great shot of her under bright lighting.
1/250, f4.5, ISO 1250


All images were taken with a Canon EOS 30D and Canon 75-300mm USM lens. Images of The Princess and the Frog were taken about 15-20 away from the ice. All others were taken from a suite on the 5th floor.

Media tickets were provided by Feld Entertainment and TD Garden.

You can find me on Facebook.

February 23, 2012

Rainy Night at the Yacht Club

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A rainy night outside the Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A rainy night outside the Yacht Club Resort.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/15s, f/2, ISO 800, EV +1.0.

The sidewalk outside the Yacht Club Resort on a chilly rainy night in December. I have not found myself often on a night like this at Walt Disney World but, when I do, I try and take advantage of the reflections from water on surfaces.

February 24, 2012

Photographing in the Rain at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Rain on vacation can be a bad thing if you let it. When it starts raining at Walt Disney World there is lots to photograph if you are prepared. It can go from sunny to storming in central Florida in a manner of minutes. I carry large zip locked bags with me to protect not only my camera but cell phones and small electronics. For point and shoot cameras, a small ziplock bag will work.

If you want to photograph in the rain. I suggest asking a family member to help by using an umbrella to keep you and your camera dry while photographing in the rain. If no one is available, a tripod can hold your camera while you use the umbrella like I did when photographing the rain dropping into the reflecting pool in front of the Universe of Energy.

Rain drops in the pool in front of the Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rain drops in the pool in front of the Universe of Energy.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length, tripod.

Another way to protect your camera in the rain is to put on a poncho like thousands of guests do at Walt Disney World when it begins to rain. Optech Rainsleeves are inexpensive plastic coverings designed for digital SLR cameras with or without a flash unit attached. They protect your equipment while giving you access to the camera's controls. They come in handy during long rainy days or when photographing around fast water or waterfalls.

People in Disney ponchos walking in the rain at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People in Disney ponchos walking in the rain at Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.33, 18mm focal length, tripod.

If you would rather stay out of the rain, Epcot has lots of interesting indoor locations to photograph from attractions like Spaceship Earth to these ideas around World Showcase:

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part I

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part 2

Don't let rain stop you from enjoying photography at home or while at a Disney themepark.

February 26, 2012

Where in the World #218

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Caroline Burmester: Smiley from millan.net

Diane Ramos left on her first Disney cruise yesterday! Quick, everyone wave Bon Voyage and she'll see it when she gets back!

Chris Kelly, I would send you a candy apple if I could! :)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #217

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 22mm, 1/1000s shutter, f5.9, ISO 400

The chicken thing, as Tom Hermes so wisely called it - :), is the rooster from the Germany Pavilion's Cuckoo Clock/Glockenspiel. Every hour, the bird comes out and flaps its wings while the Hummel boy and girl come out below , as Agnes Ciotti perfectly described it , just like the famous Glockenspiel in Munich. Sometimes, though, the clock doesn't work perfectly and you don't see the large Hummel figures come out, but the rooster does.

Let's hear it for Susan of Team Hill who wisely corrected her husband that this was not a penguin. You go, Susan! :)

NOW!

For all the Players who dared to play the Grass challenge, the answer is: Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, right outside the paddocks for the Tri-Circle D ranch where you can take horseback rides. Here's the full sized picture with my husband and little nephew who is helpfully pointing out that the Epcot bus just pulled up and we should go start his first Disney day.

Steve Jordan was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Steve and to all the readers who got the answer right: Bill Mckim, Diane Tredore, Larissa Huda, Tracy Henkel, Sara Campbell, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Brian Haas, Craig, Penny, Sharon Pierce, Tim Johansen, Tiffany Gibb, Doug Olson, Mark Haraway, Paul Dickson, Chris Kelly, Emily Hudson, Kerry A., Curtis Bille, Louise Barton, Mary Beth Tarbet, James And Kathy Berry, Linda Scrivano, Maryann Eckenrode, Evanna Huda, Angela Blevins, Kellie Harpel, Hoekzema Family, Scott Otis, Julie And Kody Rider, Theo Newton, Patti Mccaffrey, Tom Hermes, Jennifer Rupert, Kerry Mccaffrey, Tom Buck, Amanda Perkins, Anna Keene, Walter N. Clark, Kenny, Les Stewart, Nota Hudson, Mike O'brien, Mike Cerce, Vera Williams, The Kertes Family, Clay, Tim Jeltes, Team Hill, Heidi Goodhue, Nikki Parker, Troy Parker, Kerri Coggins, Will Gallagher, Elyssa H., Agnes Ciotti, Joseph M Zafia, Ashley Pizzino, Kelly Smith, Matt Cofone, Sharon Dale, Barclay Bakkum, Tom Higbee, Sarah Holodick, Jeremy Mccaffrey, and Josh Weiss. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
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Challenge #218: Where in the world is this?

For the people who got a good laugh out of the grass challenge, I present one like it (and this will be it, promise. :):

Where in Disney World is this seagull? :)

 Where in the World grass
Photo by C. Canady

Now, here is Challenge #218:
 Where in the World #218

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 23rd, 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.

See you next week, Players!

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!

February 28, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Fences

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ah, Canada! A country in World Showcase full of lively music, hockey merchandise, cold beer and the popular steakhouse, Le Cellier. It is also the home to the most unique fencing found around World Showcase as it is not made out of metal. Wooden fencing decorated with red maple leafs, a national symbol of Canada, aline the pavilion facing the World Showcase lagoon.

Looking over Canada's fence at World Showcase in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Looking over Canada's fence at World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 6400, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with a familiar take on the Disney Pic of the Week about Fences.

February 29, 2012

Training for 24 Hours at Disneyland

For centuries, athletes of all nations have put their bodies through extensive rigorous training and carefully selected nutrients to help strengthen muscle. Men and women alike spend endless hours in heat, humidity, and freezing temperatures, practicing at the sport(s) in which they compete. No hurdle is too high. No limbo stick is too low. Although each person hungers for victory, only one can be crowned winner.

True that One More Disney Day, the 24 hour event taking place at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, will not produce a winner per se, there is a competition within my brain.

My dear readers, fellow Disney enthusiasts, and friends who I am forcing to read this triumphant ensemble of words and imagery, I will be taking part in Disney's test of endurance in California. Oh yes, "they" are testing us. Can we, the I'm with Dopey T-shirt wearing, monorail spiel spieling Peter Pans handle attraction after attraction, show after show, turkey legs, ice cream sandwiches, special event merchandise offers, and Mickey in presumably a fashion show of his wardrobe so extensive that Ken bows down to him!? :breath: And most of all, will it be possible for us all to behave and refrain from becoming cranky? I asked you a question. I can't hear you. Ok, OK, no need to shout. Good, because I am sharing my exclusive training guide with you. (No, not you, you. Yes, yes, you. Stop pointing at yourself. I see you. Yes, that's a lovely haircut. Perhaps next time you should give a stylist a chance. They can work without bowls.) Behold my secrets! Read them. Absorb them. Share them! (use the icons at the bottom of the page and make this thing viral)

Hydration
Our bodies are our temples. Some of us have additional temples we visit but not as often as our mothers would like. When you are out walking or running away from invisible chasers, stop and smell the flowers. It doesn't matter if you're in a park, flower shop, or snooping around the neighbor's garden. Down some H2O to stay hydrated. No need to buy bottled water when it's free everywhere else. Turn on the sprinkler, find a bubbler, or grab a vase and chug. Floral arrangements don't last long anyway.

Animatronic Affiliation
Going into a Disney park without proper assimilation to mechanical ducks, feral cats, mother-in-law pacaderms and the like is dangerous. Do yourselves a favor and adjust even if it just once, a few short days prior to passing thru the turnstyle. Amazingly enough, animatronics can be located in restaurants, furniture stores, and Walmart.
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FastPass Sprint
The golden tickets are in high demand. Train your feet for mad dashes that borderline on jogging because running is not allowed in the parks unless you paid a hefty fee for the quickest visit ever and can't even go on a ride. Do laps around the office, continuously avoiding eye contact with co-workers or you'll never build endurance. Flee from your car, into the grocery store, and stop short at the ATM. Cash withdrawls are optional but make for great card insertion practice.

Stroller and ECV Escape
Getting from one land to the next is no easy task when you are trapped in a moving obstacle course. You must move like a gazelle and prance along, dodging strollers pushed by distracted moms who subconsciously seek injustice on your tired toes. Be sure and test out the balls of your feet, your human break pads, to avoid coliding with ECV drivers who aren't afraid to use their all-American right to beep at you, both electronically and verbally. Practice at your local mall on a weekend. Holiday sales events are reserved for advanced conditioning.
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Character Study
Disney gets a thrill from releasing cooped up characters during special events. You just never know who will be around the corner reliving all the glory of when he or she was the talk of the town. Dig deep and reach far, far back at the local movie and TV rental website for discs you've never seen or shamefully forgotten. You don't want to be the guy who people talk about on popular websites for yelling "Snoopy" at Goofy.
lkb-24HrTraining-Characters.jpg


Voluntary Insomnia
To fight for the gold, one must have stamina and determination. Toothpicks may also help. 24 hours without sleep doesn't come easily after 24 years of age. Like any athletic challenge, practice can make you or break you. Stay up late. Get up early. Wait a week or 2 and do it again. Challenge yourself to go 18 hours straight without a nap. Slap yourself silly (not the same as slap happy) if need be. The only one who can vote you off Tom Sawyer Island is Mr. Sandman. Reward your success with a long nap. You'll need to rest up.

Constrained Delirium
Finally, know the signs of losing your mind and control the urge to make irrational split-second decisions. Accepting a dare to determine just how many pickles fit in your mouth at 3am is not a good idea. Donald Duck is permanently pantsed. Leave the foul mood fowl alone. Stay in control and keep away from bad influences. Beware of elderly women who "want you to stay healthy" and offer you fruit, as well as a middle-aged chain smoker with dalmations in her van.

Now get out there and prove yourself a winner...at Walt Disney World. I'm taking home the crown from Disneyland.

Check in with me at 7:30am Pacific today (Feb. 29th) at the tiled court by Jungle Cruise's exit. We'll find an attraction that's open early.

Check in again at 9pm Pacific along the wall between Star Tours and The Star Trader gift shop. We'll shake ourselves awake on Star Tours.

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About February 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in February 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

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