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June 2012 Archives

June 3, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Inside Spaceship Earth

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Spaceship Earth (featuring my color photos) is a relaxing and slow moving dark ride that takes guests through the progress of mankind from cavemen to Steve Jobs/Steve Wozniak. It sits inside what some refer to as the giant golf ball which in actuality is a geodesic sphere.

My photographic contribution might look to some as an image to forget but it reminds me of my high school history books. Call me sentimental. It must be because I'm working on my reunion.

lkb-InsideSpaceshipEarth.jpg

Travel back here on Thursday for Scott's entry.

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Where in the World #232

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Hey, Players, Jennifer Harmon is going through the post-Disney vacation blues; she's on the part where you say, "This time last week, I was still in Disney, doing fun things and experiencing magic! And now..." C'mon, everyone, bring it in to support one of our own. Smiley from millan.net

Rebecca Keenan, I'm so sorry I missed your Kouzzina entry last week! I put you in with the winners, so you are in for the monthly drawing!

And speaking of the monthly drawing, we got behind on sending out the prizes. The Team is just traveling everywhere, but Deb Wills is back and personally getting those prizes out in the mail right now! So if you haven't received yours yet and you just want to make sure we have sent it, please contact me! You can reach me through any of the AllEars contact links! O'meara Family, I have your note and Deb is getting your prize in the mail! Thank you for Disney attitude in being patient!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #231

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS

There he is: Mickey in his Magical Express greatness! You see this logo on the signs for ME and on the buses themselves!

Now here's a confession. One of my 'unusual' Disney obsessions is Disney buses. Obsessions may be too strong a word... no, it isn't. ;) I have tons of pictures of each kind of bus; in fact, I have a screensaver of them. And yet, I take more each trip. :) Even though, like Deb Ragno, I've never been on a Magical Express bus. But if you ever need like, 50 pictures of one, you know who to come to. :-)

So many of you said this is the greatest and worst sight at Walt Disney World. It's the greatest when you're arriving for your vacation and that wonderful, blue bus whisks you away to Disney! And it's the worst when you are getting on it at the end of the vacation to go back to the airport. Sigh...

Larissa Huda was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Larissa and to all the readers who got the answer right: Evanna Huda, Al Desimone, Lily-pierre Couet , Debbie Desimone, Jen Cerce, Sharon Pierce, Deb Ragno, Meredith C, Chris Masse, G Smith, Mark Coffman, Jenny Brennan, Kevin Carter, The Strukel Family, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Laura V., Pam Vanaustin, Mary Beth Tarbet, Carolyn Como, Jennifer Harmon, Courtney Payne, Betsy Silvestri, Curtis Bille, James And Kathy Berry, Christopher Barnes, Bill Mckim, Kerry Mccaffrey, Brendan Abel, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Anne Marie Cronin, Hayley Valk, Aaron Harpel, Amanda Perkins, Derek Williams, Deb W, Jonah Rigby, Dan Mangini, Daniel Record, Millie Tenreiro, Nathalie Periard, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Les Stewart, Vera Williams, Emily Hudson, Tinkerbell Wells, Paul Dickson, Tim Johansen, Morgan M., Jeremy Reichelt, Jason Skow, Alan Mize, Matt Holley, The O'meara Family, Kristi Strembicki, Julie Johnson, Josh Weiss, Sandie Albrecht, Michele Delorenzo, Susie Howard, Tricia Petty, Vicki Edwards, Cynthia Hitchcock, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, and Agnes Ciotti. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Which leads to - Drumroll please! Time to announce the May winner! Congratulations to John Precise! You're the big winner and will be receiving your AllEars swag prize from Deb Wills herself!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #232: Where in the world is this?

Hmmm.... I know I've seen it somewhere.... I know it has to do with something...

 Where in the World #232

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 7th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 6, 2012

Composition at Character Meals

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Eight weeks after booking your dining reservations, it's finally time to lean back and breathe in the warm vanilla and cinammon goodness of your efforts. The character meal is comprised of characters appearing at a restaurant to match its theme and not a meal comprised of characters. Ya know, I just want to spell it out for the newbies. Welcome! For example, Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club has a seaside theme where Minnie, Donald, and Goofy show off their vibrant beach/swim wear.

Characters make their way to each and every table where they will sign autographs, pose for photos, replace anyone missing from your table (Donald stole my seat when I went for waffles), and on rare occasions knock over your glass of skim milk (I promised I wouldn't tell who it was) and then run and grab napkins, clean the table and show you how sorry he is.
lkb-ComposingPeopleCharacter-spilledmilk.jpg


This ia great opportunity to get nice family photos in a room temperature controlled setting without a stroller obstacle course. When Baloo (or Pluto or Stitch or Lilo or...) comes over, say hello and ask him or her to pose with said relative, friend, frenemy, or boyfriend/girlfriend you haven't yet introduced to your parents. If the character gets down to be level with your model (I find that in FL they do this with kids whereas in CA they do it with anyone seated) try to also be eye level with them. Should the character stand beside or behind your pal, you should also stand so you're not looking up Goofy's nose.

You know how much I love providing photographs of what does and doesn't work.

Location: Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Meal: Breakfast buffet
Characters: Pooh and Friends
Models: Susan (in blue) and Pam (in red)

Eeyore was the first to come by. Susan adores him and so we made sure to take a photo of them together. The average snapshot (based on 7 years of working in a retail camera store) looks something like this.

lkb-ComposingPeopleCharacter-No1.jpg

On the plus side, the photo is in focus because I held the shutter button down halfway to focus before snapping the photo. It's well lit from natural light and my camera's flash. On the minus side (Down side? There's 2 sides to every Schwartz.) Susan and Eeyore are off-center, there's a random arm on the left, and on the right sit other patrons who are probably all quite lovely but they don't need to be in my photo album. Years down the road someone will ask you who they are and then you're going to have to lie and make up names and backstories which lead to a deprivation of character lawsuit against you from "Mr. and Mrs. Brickhouse" and then you'll spend 3 years in jail without visitation rights. Don't photograph other diners.

Fill the frame with your loved ones and whoever's vacationing with you.

lkb-ComposingPeopleCharacter-Yes1.jpg
You're too old to suck your hoof, Eeyore.

Are you traveling with multiple humans? Great! Get them all in the photo. With Tigger bouncing his way between Pam and Susan, I took 2 photos. Here we have too much space above Tig's (we're buddies) head, the group is off-center, and again there's excess empty space in the shot. We can also lose the table and wait for Susan to hand over her camera to Carl (who is off camera).

lkb-ComposingPeopleCharacter-No2.jpg

A nice close group photo works great. Tigger is the center and centered. Yes, you can gently crop the tippy top of a head or use the camera's viewfinder (if it has one) so as to not move the camera while shooting. Again, use the flash for proper lighting.

lkb-ComposingPeopleCharacter-Yes2.jpg

We now have a nice photo to print, put in the photo album, and cherish without going to prison. Now if little Ralphy would expand his palette beyond mac 'n cheese, you would be an even happier mommy or daddy.


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June 7, 2012

Inside Spaceship Earth: Gutenberg Press

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Johann Gutenberg examining a page from his printing press inside Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Johann Gutenberg examining a page from his printing press inside Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +1.0.

The Gutenberg Press scene inside Spaceship Earth shows a page of the Bible that Johann Gutenberg is examining. The page is an exact replica of one from the Gutenberg Bible on display in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Another example of Disney detail and makes for a cool Disney Pic of the Week from Inside Spaceship Earth.


June 8, 2012

Star Wars Weekend Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I finally got to attend my first Star Wars Weekends last month at Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you have looked into it, you know it is very crowded in the event areas and for the special Star Wars character meet and greets. Beyond that, the rest of the park is fairly normal. I got to do my favorite attractions and rides using FastPasses and patience.

I went to two Star Wars Weekend days. The first day was to photograph the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade which is lead off by Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse.

Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse leads off the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse leads off the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 85mm focal length, fill flash.

I was most interested in seeing the members of the 501st Legion who are people like Civil War re-enactors who are part of a world wide organization which promotes interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. Below is three examples of the their costume work of over 300 who participated in this motorcade.

Members of the 501st Legion march in the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Members of the 501st Legion march in the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade.

There are many special events and meets and greets. These have some unique photo opportunities. Like seeing the Bounty Hunter Janga Fett signing Disney autograph books.

A Bounty Hunter's work is never done as Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Bounty Hunter's work is never done as Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 116mm focal length, fill flash.

Waiting in line for Star Wars characters is a long and hot process. I waited for an hour to get my picture taken with Princess Minnie "Leia" Mouse or Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse as they were changing every 25 minutes. I caught this moment during one of the change overs.

Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse waving to Princess Minnie
Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse waving to Princess Minnie "Leia" Mouse during Star Wars Weekends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length, fill flash.

There are many shows featuring actors who are part of the Star Wars movies and animated series. The one I highly recommend going to is the Stars to the Saga show. Not only will you see stars like Ray Park who played Darth Maul but for the pre-show. The pre-show features some wayward Stormtroopers who enjoyed the park while on patrol bringing back some hilarious photos of their exploits.

Imperial Stormtroopers wearing Mickey ears during Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Imperial Stormtroopers wearing Mickey ears at the Stars to the Saga pre-show during Star Wars Weekends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 2000, EV -1.0, 250mm focal length.

If you or members of your family are big Star Wars fans as I am, you will throughly enjoy Star Wars Weekends. I even got to see the famous droids C-3PO and R2-D2 being escorted after a show on the main stage. Spent some money in Darth's Mall which is a huge tent full of only Star Wars merchandise especially for Disney. If you are interested in autographs of the Star Wars stars, there are special entrance stations to get FastPasses. I even enjoyed a Blue Milk Shake (tasted like Vanilla) in the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant as a nod to the blue milk Luke drank in the first Star Wars movie.

NOTE: I apologize for missing posting to the blog last week. Time got away from me after vacation. I have many great posts coming up over the next few weeks so I hope you will continue to come back to read Picture This! every day.

June 10, 2012

Where in the World #233

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Pecosace, look! Here's your name, big and bold as life! I got your entry. :)

Gabriella And Matthieu, thanks for the fantastic note! Wow!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #232

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f2.7, 1/320sec, 4mm, ISO-400

This is why they tell you that if you drop something in one of the Animal Kingdom enclosures, don't go in after it. Let one of the animal caretakers get it for you. Here I am, getting my shoe, and this gator guy thinks I want to play a game of tug-of-war.

Seriously, this stone friend is located by Beastly Bazaar, in Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Equally seriously, you just know my husband was so proud to be with me at that moment. LOL!

Mary Beth Tarbet, you couldn't have the answer more right if you tried. Kudos! ;)

Claire Gregory, I can't give you a secret mission in Cape Cod, so I'll just say have a good trip when you go! And we'll see what we can think of for your Disney trip later this year!

Larissa Huda was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Larissa and to all the readers who got the answer right: Mike Haeberle, Diane Tredore, Kenny, Hayley Valk, Nancy Johansen, Gabriella And Matthieu, Kathleen Wolfe, Tjm Johansen, Jacquelyn Law, Annette Nuenke, Ken Maikowski, Maryann Eckenrdoe, Dennis Weidner, Marian, Anne Marie Cronin, Becky Fuqua, Brian Fleming, Pecosace, Mike Cerce, Jen Cerce, Pam Vanaustin, Sherri Tatum, Sara Holloway, Lori Rienhardt, The Kertes Family, Jennifer Rowell, Belicia Cullen, Janice Alvord, Walter N. Clark, Kerri Coggins, Alison Rosenberger, Mary Beth Tarbet, Kathy Lubenow, Jason Skow, Wendy T Faler, Tim Widener, Amy Bolinsky, Deb Ragno, George Mundy Jr, Margie Larmon, Stacy Guarracino, Chris Rathsack, Paul Newman, Susie Howard, The Malesky Family, and Sarah Kuekes. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

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Challenge #233: Where in the world is this?

All right! We're staying in the parks! Do you know where this is in Walt Disney World?

 Where in the World #233

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 14th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 12, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Inside the Resorts

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Resort guests tend to fall into one of two categories, relaxed vacationers and full throttle park hitters. Certainly, some of us fall somewhere in the middle or change from trip to trip. Those who hit the parks from open to close (Hi. My name is Lisa) don't necessarily see more than our resort rooms and the check-in desk. People who take breaks and days off from the parks enjoy the pool(s), dining, activities, and other things that elude me.

Join Scott and I as we explore the inside of resorts.

My last visit to Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) included running amuck in the Disneyland Hotel. The lobby has been completely made over in silver, magenta, purple, and blue. The geometric carpet bears a striking resemblance to it's a small world's exterior. I want it.

lkb-InsideResorts-DLHotel.jpg


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June 13, 2012

Enchanted Tiki Room Lighting

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Buenas dias. My naps are getting more and more elusive. Look at all the people. Welcome to Lisa Berton's Enchanted Tiki Room Lighting blog entry. My goodness, you're all staring at these words, I'd better type faster.

The singing flowers and talking birds enjoy a cool and dark environment which is why you might find yourself having difficulty in taking their photo. As you know, flash photography is not allowed at this attraction, at least not during the show. If you ask nicely, a Cast Member might let you take a quick photo with flash as people are leaving.

So what do we do during the show? We use the manual settings and put all that we've learned to work. If you've forgotten, I'll give you these pointers.

A. Use a high film speed. High ISOs are designed for low light and/or very fast moving subjects (race cars, bullets, panthers, etc...)

B. Open up the lens to let in the most light. Lower f-stops (apertures) allow for more light to reach the digital camera's sensor.

C. A semi-slow shutterspeed (1/40, 1/50, 1/60) can stop slow-moving objects. Remember, these birds like to spin around on their perches.

D. If you find it challenging to hold your camera steady, use a mini-tripod. If the seat in front or beside you is empty, go ahead and take advantage of the space.

Here are two examples of hand-held shots taken at Disneyland.

lkb-EnchantedTikiRoomColors-1.jpg
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, f3.5, 1/60, ISO 1600

Lighting changes throughout the show so take multiple photos. The slighest difference can make one image "pop" more than the others.

lkb-EnchantedTikiRoomColors-2.jpg
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, f3.5, 1/50, ISO1600

While I did slow down the shutter a tiny bit on this second image, it is not the reason why the color looks altered. Colored gels illuminate our bird friends in various combinations, directions, and intensities.

Before you Heigh Ho your way out, re-visit my black and white challenge to you all from this previous blog. It runs all year long and your up-coming vacation is the perfect opportunity to show off what you can do. See what others have already submitted.

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June 14, 2012

Looking Down into the Grand Canyon Concourse

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Monorail Gold moving through the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney's Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Gold moving through the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney's Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

I took this from the 12th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort back in 2008. I remember watching when Walt Disney World first opened in 1971 and saw monorails going in and out of this huge A-framed resort. I thought to my 12 year old self back then, the future has arrived. Years later, I enjoyed dining in the Grand Canyon Concourse and watched as monorails quietly moved overhead with similar thoughts. A Back to the Future kind of Disney Pic of the Week for me about Resorts-Indoors.

June 15, 2012

Disney Cruising for Couples

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last time I sailed on the Disney Dream was for her Christening Cruise back in January of 2011. On that cruise there were fewer than 1,000 passengers and most of them were media and travel professionals without their families. As you can imagine, I wondered how a 4-Night Caribbean cruise would be with almost a full complement of passengers, nearly 4,000, and most of them being families would be like traveling as an adult couple. Could an adult couple enjoy a Disney cruise?

Passengers come out for the Sail Away Party show as the Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral, Florida.
Can Adult Couples really enjoy a Disney Cruise?
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I guess you can ask the same question to all of us adults who go to any of the Disney parks and resorts. However, on a cruise ship there is limited space and there are a lot of children, preteens and teens on board. I can tell you the Disney Cruise Line knows what it is doing. There are enough activities, locations and events to keep adult couples happy and relaxed. In fact, you have to take the attitude one would take at the parks and resorts. You do what you want and enjoy the experience. If it becomes to much to handle, you can return to your room or head to one of the adult only locations on the ship. One such area can be found on Decks 11 & 12 Forward.

Decks 11 and 12 Forward on the Disney Dream cruise ship are reserved for Adults Only.
Decks 11 and 12 Forward on the Disney Dream cruise ship are reserved for Adults Only.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

The adult pool and four bars are located in this area with lots of space for couples to lounge in the Caribbean sunshine or curl up together in an over-sized chair. Entertainment for this area was a singer/guitar player who sang island and easy listening favorites. A cool tropical drink or other adult beverages are just a few steps away. The area was quiet and calm unlike where the families were frolicking at the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck pools.

Note about the photo above: The extra Disney stacks you see in the background are from the Disney Magic who was berthed along side of the Dream when we visited Nassau, Bahamas.

When I travel to places, I like to seek out historical and cultural locations and events. With that in mind, my wife and I chose the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery excursion at the Port of Call of Nassau. We, along with two other families, were driven by a local tour guide to Fort Fincastle to learn about its history, walked down the Queen's Staircase and visited the Ivern House, which is an interactive museum that taught us about the Bahamian festival of Junkanoo. We, along with our fellow tourists, had a ball playing bells and drums as we learned about the origins and traditions of the colorful and loud festival. Even got to try on Junkanoo hats.

Scott and his wife try on colorful and heavy Junkanoo hats in Nassau, Bahamas.
Scott and his wife try on colorful and heavy Junkanoo hats.

Dining on a Disney cruise ship may be a concern to couples. It was not for us. Our table in each of the restaurants was located with other couples and families with older children. We had a most pleasant experience in part because of our Dining crew, who stayed with us each night for dinner. I remember grumblings from the very first Disney Dream cruises about the service. That is a thing of the past as we experienced excellent service. They were very personable, quick and remembered our preferences after the first night. We were so impressed with them, we called over the Head Waiter and voiced our pleasure to him directly. Then asked them all to pose for a photo to remember them by. A fellow passenger was kind enough to use my camera so even I could be included.

)ur Dining Crew on the Disney Dream taken in the Enchanted Garden restaurant.
Scott and his wife's Dining Crew on the Disney Dream taken at Pirate Night.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 3200, EV -0.6, 28mm focal length, bounced flash.

Do not forget to try one of the upscale restaurants of Palo or Remy, which cater to adults only. We enjoyed a leisurely meal in Palo as the Disney Dream left the Port of Nassau. Our server for the evening pointed out all the homes to the stars as we went by. The food was great everywhere on the Dream but Palo was just a notch above. Very flavorful and not too filling that we could not enjoy our Chocolate Souffle dessert.

Being a Disney-owned ship, you know you will see Disney's famous characters from animated shorts to full-length movies. Adults were just as happy to see them as the kids. Characters were around the adult-only areas as well as announced locations around the ship and on Castaway Cay. The daily Navigator newsletter kept everyone informed to what was happening and when.

Disney characters on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Disney characters on the Disney Dream cruise ship.

You are probably all familiar with Castaway Cay's adult beach called Serenity Bay. Again, a nice quiet place for adults to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle. They serve a BBQ Buffet right there so you do not have to go back to Cookies near the family beach to eat your fill. The Castaway Air Bar will keep you hydrated with its famous Konk Kooler drink made up of rum, coconut, pineapple, orange juices and passion fruit. Oh, yea, it's as good as it sounds.

There are many activities you can do on Castaway Cay. Before my wife and I settled at Serenity Bay, we rented bicycles and rode the trails out to the Lookout Tower. As the day was windy with a threat of rain, many others did the same. They have water locations all along the trails to keep people cool in the Caribbean heat and humidity.

A family riding rented bikes on Castaway Cay during a Disney Dream cruise.
A family riding rented bikes on Castaway Cay.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 48mm focal length.

All in all, my wife and I found lots of places to relax and enjoy ourselves as well as things to do. We took in two of the fabulous live Broadway caliber shows in the Walt Disney Theatre, watched the 3-D adventure movie, The Avengers, in the Buena Vista Theater, took in the fireworks show and dessert buffet on Pirates Night, grabbed an ice cream and a burger from the quick service locations and drank strawberry daiquiris while watching a beautiful sunset from the promenade deck. As you can see, couples can have a relaxing, enjoyable and, yes, romantic cruise on a Disney ship.

Oh, and let me not forget The District. An adult only nightclub and lounge area with places for every kind of adult fun; sports, cocktail lounge, comedy, dancing and games. I even watched a Stanley Cup playoff hockey game in the middle of the Caribbean at the 687 Sports Bar one night.

Scott and his wife sitting on a port hole in the District adult only nightclub area.
Scott and his wife sitting on a port hole in the District adult only nightclub area.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, bounced flash.


Click here for more information about the Disney Cruise Line.

June 17, 2012

Where in the World #234

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Deb Ragno, you weren't first with the answer and rightly so, since your three year old grandson was playing at your house. So here's to the two of you: the first note! :)

Players, it's birthday shout out time! It's someone all of you know, although maybe not personally, but... if you don't mind: Erin Blackwell --

Happy Birthday Smiley from millan.net

WHAT?! You guys! I am so surprised! I never expected - wait, flowers and chocolates?! Aw, stop, you're making me blush!

Speaking of shout outs: John Ames! So good to see you here! I didn't know you played the game!

Now, everybody wave hi to Rob And April of Team Vanderpool who are enjoying a Walt Disney World vacation! They are enjoying magical moments and I'm sure they are thinking of us!
Speaking of vacations: ALOHA, Kerri Coggins! Oh, I hope you do get to check out Aulani, but I know you are so enjoying yourself at Oahu!

Vera Williams, I'm glad you liked last week's photo! My foot is fine. The gator mostly just gummed it; it tickled. And Patti Mccaffrey, you have so been to Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Because as soon as you walk over the bridge and see the Tree, you are there! Ask Jeremy, he can tell you. :)

Sandie Albrecht, Kameo Crea, P.j. Popsuj, and Carolyn R. Conway, thank you for your notes! Everyone here at the photo blog loves you right back! Because without all of you, we wouldn't be here. :)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #233

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f2.7, 1/10sec, 4mm, ISO-1600

Clinton Dickinson, you chose the Indiana Jones section of The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios for 300. The answer is: The entrance music to the Team Hill wedding reception. "What is the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song?" Correct!

And thanks to Ainsley Poe singing it, I have that theme song stuck in my head. Thanks, Ainsley!

Indiana Jones Smiley from millan.net

As Matt Holley and Chris Kelly pointed out, there are two great Hidden Mickeys here. One is at the base of the Ark and the other is Mickey and Donald on the opposite wall from Indy. Have you guys also seen the wonderful hidden R2-D2 and C3PO on that wall? I've tried to take a picture of it, but it's so dark on that part of the wall that I can't get it clearly.

Gabriella wants to thank Matthieu for getting the answer right for the two of them! Mary Tackett is also very thankful for the "Mom, D'UH! Indiana Jones!" she undoubtedly got when she asked. LOL!

Jenn Steele, I never judge. Never. ...well, maybe occasionally, but NEVER you! And Annie Snodgrass, it's been FOREVER since I heard a good Easy peasy lemon squeezey! Booyah!

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Chris and to all the readers who got the answer right: Teresa Plunkett, Audra Miller, Larissa Huda, Al Desimone, David W., Kenny, Dave Wang, Kevin Miller, Staci Plunkett, Debbie Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Emily Dagney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Paul Knott, David B, Emily Hudson, Jennifer Dealmeida, Brian Gallant, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Dale Knight, Linda Scrivano, Sam Fritz, Brenda Mcguire, Jen Tremley, Jennifer Rowell, James Schmidt, Jim Mcdermott, Kelsey, Janet Fishman, Frank Domizio, Matt Holley, Jen Cerce, Joe Black, Kathryn Perkins, Ken Maikowski, Ed Elder, Hayley Valk, Stephanie Newell, Amanda Sage, The Kertes Family, Laura V., Vincent Coppola, Scott Cullen, Katherine Pretzman , Mike Walter, Belicia Cullen, Margaret West, Marie Seilus, Paul Sankey, T.treloar-rhodes, Sharon Pierce, Russ Morgan, Brian Beck, Vera Williams, David And Angie, Kameo Crea, Antoinette Leblanc, Phil Vickers, James And Kathy Berry, Daniel Record, Deborah Boucher, Liz Weiter, Chris Hanna, Liana Imbrogno, Mackenzie D., Ali Yesutis, Tina Santacroce, Team Hill, Craig, Tiffany Gibb, Kye Layton, Gabriella And Matthieu, Courtney Payne, Emily Jabas, Christopher Tweedle, Lee Anastasi, Nicole Duddy, Sharynne Smith, Bob Hendrix, Megan Krainski, Kerri Coggins, Linda College, Amy Schweizer, Rebecca Smith, Stephanie Visco, Christoper Bourassa, Morgan M. , Chris Surette, Deb Ragno, The Malesky Family, Jason And Melinda Lenz, John Ames, Becky Noto, Mike Venere, Wendy T Faler, Anne Marie Cronin, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, Pam Vanaustin, Diane Marciuliano, Gaylene Gray, Nancy Johansen, Cara Richards, Hobbes And Snorky, Erika Loboda, Aaron Harpel, Kellie Harpel, Lily-pierre Couet, The Moore Family, Claire Gregory, Carla C, Paul Newman, Katie Bray, Josh Weiss, Annie Snodgrass, Scott Precise, Regina Seaner, Maggie Klotz, Donna Currier, Carolyn Como, Brendan Abel, Michael Gainey, Vicki Edwards, Melesia Love, Kelly Mager, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Bill Cudney, Christopher Barnes, Kim Kusser, Mary Virginia Clause, Liliana Rivera, Vickie Smialkowski, Caryn Schill, Susie Howard, Dan Johnston, Michelle White, Rob Blundin, Lauren Blundin, Rich Hall, Karen Ramirez, Dawn Bach, Jennifer Townsend, Laurie Walker, Gregg Mcglasson, Matt Cofone, Sharon Dale, Chris Kelly, Nick Bentz, Walter N. Clark, Brian Miller, Beth Mcmeekin, Bruce Arnold, Amy Miller, Vanessa Gordon, Robert Anderson, Doug Olson Family, Jeffrey Dunne, John Duncan, Scott Lau, Kathryn Willer, Jackie Purcell, Wayne Chadourne, Allyson Sodrosky, Cameron Lange, Clinton Dickinson, Ken Fischler, Dan Mangini, Andrew Drummond, Andrew Pettit, Jackie Knapp, Brian Grabowski, Zachary Ott, Jared Orth, Josh Carney, Alan Mize, Bonnie Tulenko, Dee Riccio, Christopher Hall, Mary Tackett, Michelle Roth-smoot, Michele Delorenzo, Austin O'blenis, Kristi Strembicki, Pamela Gerdes, Chuck Everson, Alison Rosenberger, Chuck Everson, Dick Smith, Earl Wilcher, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Gail Hirsch, Brad Scott, Regina Brown, Heather Calvey, Davida Kosa, Callie Conrad, Shelly Borella, Rachel Hoover, Carri Marotto, Kim Steiner, Greg Cusano, Dave Carriere, Regina Allen, Kelli Sangston, Erin Hammer, Anastasia Macneil, P.j. Popsuj, Andy Schumacher, Patti Mccaffrey, Kerry Finnamore, Stephanie Linares, Jeff Finger, George Mundy Jr, Allison Caputa, Ainsley Poe , Jennifer Chartier, Ed Suscreba, Jenn Steele, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Bob Henriksen, Mike Pennington, Matt Ciccone, Jackie Bastien, Erica Zielewski, Heidi Goodhue, Leach Family, Paul Dickson, Nicole Lopresti, Nicole Benoit, Matt Degrandis, Karen Hotchkiss, Lexi , James Greene, Carla Nale, Jenny Lopresti, Emma Ramsey, Tom Buck, M'shel Bowen, Carolyn R. Conway, Jenifer Moyer, Joshua Swainston, Mukta Mohapatra, Jeff Blank, Rick Shea, Bob Patterson, Scott, Hillary Waldroop, Chris, Heather Hynes, Karen Schlumpf, Patrick Broaddus, Lisa Zitek, Sam Thomas, Courtney Broaddus, Ashley Elizabeth, Bruce Hinterleitner, William Sharp, Mike O'brien, Jeffrey Martin, Clay Anthony, Patti Deluca, Cleopatra room, Robert Bostic, John Pasqueralli, Melissa Kirk, Maureen Handy, Kerry Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Kerrie Hogan, Kris Blamphin, Sandie Albrecht, Robert P. Flaherty, Mark Cullison, David Ballard, Kate Flanagan, Betsy Silvestri, Jennifer Bogdan, Walter N. Clark, Melissa Dye, Debbie Poole, Tom Koval, Sandy Kanigowski, Dave Kanigowski, Chris Bauman, Barclay Bakkum, Thomas Higbee, Wayne Witherspoon, Kristin Dormuth, Jessica Haywood, Paula B, Stacy Murphy, Mary Kay Samluk, Shirley Garcowski, Bill Gallagher, Emily Chronas, Derek Carty, Patty Carty, Jackie, John Foggo, Tina Horlick, Theresa Rucando, Tom & Susan Linder , Linda Mac, Mike Haeberle, Sarah Holodick, Margie Larmon, Barbara Sims, Chris Stockton, Agnes Ciotti, Melissa Love, Ryan , William Smith, Wendy Snelgrove, Stefan Owens, Mickey Eckert, Jamie K, Jane Johnson, Gerald Buford, Jack Foley, Cindy Nagel , J Brizzle, and Ben Sodrosky Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #234: Where in the world is this?

Keep your park passes out, because we are staying in them! So where in Walt Disney World would you see this?

 Where in the World #234

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 21st, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 19, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Streets of America

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have walked through the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios many times since the park opened back in 1989. The backlot facades of New York City and now including San Francisco adding to the atmosphere of Hollywood. I never really took the time to really look at those facades until I was researching for the photowalk I hosted last month. The Disney Imagineers put a lot more thought and detail in those facades than I thought.

One of my research tools was using fellow AllEars.net team member Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickey Field Guide to find and locate those fun Hidden Mickeys found along the Streets of America like this Mickey Mouse watch in the window of the Pawn Shop in New York street.

Pawn Shop Mickey Mouse Watch for sale on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Pawn Shop Mickey Mouse Watch for sale on the Streets of America.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 5000, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length, Selective Color.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with a Streets of America photo for her Disney Pic of Week.

June 20, 2012

Photo Album - Star Wars Weekend T-Shirts

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


It's been 6 years since I last experienced Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I'm not a big Star Wars fan but I do love events, especially those that are themed in detail. As I wandered about during this year's kick-off, I noticed that Disney shirts had been replaced by Star Wars ones and thought, Hey, this would make for a fun blog. here are just a smidgen of what I saw.

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I realize this is a Nike shirt but I'm giving this fella the benefit of the doubt that this was his attempt to blend in because it says "Force".

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The man wearing this T sat in front of me during the parade. His buddies kept acknowledging him.


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Available at Darth's Mall.


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Stormtroopers are very popular, especially as shirt designs.


Last but not least, this is the shirt I wore (although this isn't my body) that earned me 3 high-fives from Cast Members as soon as I walked through the turnstyle.

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June 21, 2012

Backlot-Style Cops

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


If you've ever toured a movie studio, you've seen the various falsified urban neighborhoods and cities they built on the backlot. With a change of window dressing and paint, a pawn shop turns into a pizzeria. Change out park benches, statues, and trees and you either set up for Ghost Whisperer or Eastwick. It's fascinating how Hollywood tricks us over and over again.

Streets of America is a backlot that's in constant use by visitors to Disney's Hollywood Studios if you think about it. People are always wandering around, sitting, taking photos, and listening to a traveling cover band. The only difference between this set and the ones in California is there's no film crew in Lake Buena Vista.

My entry for Disney Pic of the Week - Streets of America is this alley. I shot through the fence and around the fence but quite frankly, the fence gives the photo more character and texture.

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Canon PowerShot SX30 IS


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

June 22, 2012

Photowalking the Streets of America

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last month I hosted a photowalk on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios. It did not turn out exactly as people thought it would. I had planned a surprise but could not revel it until the time of the photowalk as it was not confirmed until a couple of hours before the meet was to start. You see, I had been in contact with a cast member at the Studios to arrange for special seating at Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show over the last few months. The problem was the weather as it was raining hard, as in Cats and Dogs hard, until about two hours before the Photowalk was to start.

Turns out as long as it is not raining, the show would go on at a slower pace for safety. I collected my group of 6 people who took a chance on the weather and we headed over to the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show entrance where we meet up with the cast member. He escorted us up to the VIP Seating area which is directly behind and above the show's control room. From there we had a clear view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show "stage". Four more people joined us late bringing the group to 10 people.

AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk participants in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk participants.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, fill flash.

Here is a photo I took during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show from the VIP Seating Area when the red Hero car comes nose to nose with the Villain cars while driving backwards. I pointed out when and where the action would be taking place to those who had never seen the show before.

The Hero going nose to nose with the Villians during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Hero going nose to nose with the Villians during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 105mm focal length.

I found out before the show my group was invited to a backstage tour of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show set. After the show ended, I gathered everyone up and meet one of the ushers at the bottom of the stands. He walked us over to a stage entrance where we were greeted by two of the stunt drivers. What a surprise to all of us (including me) that they would be giving the tour. Rob and Chad took us behind the town's facades where we got to see all the cars, motorcycles and other stuff stuff for the show. We even got a chance to get behind the wheel of the Hero car. Let me tell you it is a tight fit!

Behind the wheel of the red Hero car backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Behind the wheel of the red Hero car backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/4.5, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

The stunt drivers were perfect hosts answering all of our questions while showing us around. Did you know they use 3,000 tires a month and the bumper of the Hero car is replaced twice a week? They showed us the cleanest auto shop I have ever seen where they can fully take the cars, motorcycles and jet skis apart and rebuild them. Rob and Chad posed with us for pictures. This is Rob below with a young Photowalk participant.

A young Photowalk participant poses with a stunt driver backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A young Photowalk participant poses with a stunt driver backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 45mm focal length, fill flash.

I can not thank the cast member enough for arranging both the VIP Seating and the Backstage Tour. It was a thrill for all of us and made the day extra magical.

After saying our goodbyes to Rob and Chad and thanking them with the AllEars.net trading card for the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, we went over and explored the Streets of America. I gave everyone 10 hints of interesting things to find. You can see those hints and the photos by some of the photowalk participants at the AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk Online Gallery by clicking here. Feel free to leave us comments about them.

We caught the end of a performance by Mulch, Sweat and Shears on San Francisco street. The guitar player was really into it. Sure capped off an amazing photowalk for us.

Mulch, Sweat and Shears guitarist performing on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mulch, Sweat and Shears guitarist performing on the Streets of America.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, fill flash.

What a great group of people who took a chance and came to the photowalk even though the weather was far from ideal. I encourage you to check out the photo gallery (see link above) as the crew did a very good job of capturing the fun and excitement of the day. I hope to see some of you at a future photowalk.

June 24, 2012

Where in the World #235

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Thank you to Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Claire Gregory, and my favorite Mccaffreys: Kerry, Patti, and Jeremy for my birthday wishes! Cookies?! Cookies for my birthday, Annie Snodgrass? Thank you! Here's one for you. cookie And one... hundred for me! cookies

And a Very Merry Unbirthday to you, Lee Anastasi! Thanks for putting that song in my head!
Deb Ragno, you absolutely can try again with an answer! Especially with a Goofy Gawrsh!
Jennifer Rowell, I feel your pain. The pain of a long, long wait until your next Disney trip. Smiley from millan.net

But! Players, I told you Rob And April of Team Vanderpool would be thrilled at us waving hello while they're in Walt Disney World! They sent this message: "We have had such an amazing time here this week. We have enjoyed going through the parks and finding all the Where in the World photos we have been thinking of all of you. Have a Magical Day!"

Tinker Bell, I passed along your note to Barrie Brewer who started Where in the World; you made our day!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #234

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell

The sign above the left tunnel entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Every time I see those words, I hear Walt Disney's voice saying them. In fact, a lot of you say how much this same sign affects you:

Marie Seilus: "Makes me cry ever time."

Claire Gregory: "I always read that plaque as we go under the train station and as we come out the other side and emerge on Main Street my husband gives me a kiss. And everytime I have to fight the urge to cry, it just makes me so happy. I feel like I'm the same 6 year old little girl entering the Magic Kingdom for the very first time."

Lily-pierre and Mathieu: "And you know, it just feels like coming home."
You guys! You got to me! Smiley from millan.net

Mary Beth Tarbet was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Mary Beth and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Team Hill, Deb Ragno, Larissa Huda, Bill Mckim, Jennifer Rowell, Evanna Huda, Shelley Diederich, Dawn Burns, Emily Hudson, Lisa Palmer, Jessica Kaltwasser, Katherine Pretzman, Craig, Mike Wingard, Michelle Raimist, Mike Wingard, Pam Vanaustin, Maggie Klotz, Kandis Dawkins, Chris Kelly, Lee Anastasi, John Ames, Jen Cerce, Tina Santacroce, Kenny, Jim Mcdermott, Annie Snodgrass, Kelly Montgomery, Pecosace, Diane Curfman, Julie Wickware, The Emich Family, Claire Gregory, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Audra Miller, Paul Dickson, Jennifer Harmon, Amanda Perkins, Brian Miller, Mickey Eckert, Ashley Pizzino, Daniel Record, Rebecca Keenan, Marie Seilus, Gerald Buford, Melissa Dye, Emily Simpson, Laura V., Carla C., Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Dee Dee Kenney, Michelle Thompson, Alison Rosenberger, Zachary Falcone, Kate Fischer, Megan, Melody O'donnell, Schuyler Stewart, Tinkerbell Wells, Chloe Mayhew, Stephanie Linares, Vera Williams, Kristen Carde, Derek Carty, Erin Connell, Jamie K, Courtney, Mary Kay Samluk, Kerri Coggins, Hannah Couture, Matt Holley, Alan Mize, Rich Hall, Hillary Waldroop, Tinker Bell, Dan Johnston, Tinker Bell, Sarah Holodick, James And Kathy Berry, Sharon Dale, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Daniel Mccormack, Sharon Pierce, Lily-pierre & Mathieu, Hoekzema Family, Laney, Al Desimone, Kerry Mccaffrey, Thomas Higbee, Maureen Handy, Les Stewart, Barclay Bakkum, Dave & Sandy Kanigowski,and Kathryn Willer. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #235: Where in the world is this?

Hmm.... hmmm.... certainly looks familiar.... What do you think?

 Where in the World #235

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 28th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 26, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Epcot's Norway

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


You know that old Norwegian proverb, We open the same time as Mexico and China. No? Well, it dates back to the 1980's at Walt Disney World. This week Scott and I will edumacate you on all things Norwegian that we know of from the Norway pavilion at Epcot. For example, I learned that I'm addicted to Kringla Bakeri Og Cafe's lefse and school bread, 2 items not available at IKEA.

The Stave Church appears to some as a facade but it holds historical information, weapons, and vikings who are really good at holding still for years at a time. Step inside and you'll discover interesting facts and a good place to wait out tropical storms. I could teach you more "but I'm not one to blow my own vetugenfluken*."

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*Quote by Rose Nylund, my favorite Golden Girl.

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


June 27, 2012

Dining at Disney World with Dietary Restrictions

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


The simple pleasures in life occasionally are overlooked like the saltiness of fresh sea air. It is unfortunate that for a countless number of people, something as enjoyable as sitting down to a good meal is rather difficult due to allergies and dietary restrictions. I myself cannot tolerate things like black pepper, white pepper, and onions. Nowadays it feels like food allergies are more abundant than ever but then again it just may be the result of incredible modern day medical care that we are able to pinpoint these problems.

A smart restaurant trains its staff to properly handle a customer's allergies and restrictions. Those are the ones I revisit. The rest get a letter or phone call informing them of a bad situation. Luckily, Disney Parks takes the matter very seriously.

When you first make your Advanced Dining Reservation at Walt Disney World, be sure to tell the Cast Member if you call 407-WDW-Dine or to enter the info should you book it online about any and all food allergies and restrictions. Sometimes I call and other times when it's late at night and I have finally made a decision, I book online. I recommend calling (you can call after booking online) if your problem doesn't fall into one of these categories.


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Checking "Other" does not open a box for comments.


If you're like me and you've had your fair share of both good and bad experiences, you might want to reach out to Walt Disney World's Special Diets Team, a department that only handles dietary requests. I'll save you the extra step I took in finding these folks. Write to the team at specialdiets@disneyworld.com. Along with a pre-written letter about talking to chefs and how best to meet your needs, you'll also receive a form to fill out and fax back. The Guest Allergy/Dietary Request Form requires your contact info, the specific allergies and/or intolerance, and Advanced Dining Reservation number/location/date. Once your fax has been received, it is their job to send the info to each restaurant listed.


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I asked during my trip in May if my list was received at every restaurant noted. No one could confirm but rather said they get requests all the time and would make me something to suite my needs.

For those wondering, I ate at Coral Reef, Sci-Fi Drive-In, Crystal Palace (a friend's reservation), Nine Dragons (walk-in), and Bongo's Cuban Cafe. Everything went very well at Coral Reef and the Sci-Fi. I waited 30 minutes at least at Crystal Palace to speak with the only chef on duty. I've never waited that long anywhere before. Nine Dragons' did a great job especially since I walked in without warning them ahead of time. Then there's Bongo's which failed miserably. I never saw a chef or a manager until the end when I requested to see one. They washed a marinade off the chicken and tried serving it as "fresh." Thankfully I have a keen eye and only took a tiny bite before calling the server.

Households that keep Kosher should call 407-939-3463 at least three days in advance for sit-down restaurants. Pre-packaged meals come from Webermans and are available at select counter service eateries.

Whenever I check in at a restaurant, I first tell the host or hostess that I have restrictions. She or he might not tell my server or more commonly, tell me to inform my server. Usually the server will ask for details and when I say it's complicated because I don't fit any list they have, he/she runs frantically to find a chef. See, in addition to what I can't tolerate, there's a crazy long list of restrictions as well. Most chefs are eager to please guests. If you come across one who gives you a hard time, inform your server that you need to see the manager.

As for counter service options, I approach a cash register-operating Cast Member and tell them I have an allergy. Out comes the manager or chef with the all-powerful book of ingredients. I love the book. It answers all my questions and I can zip thru it quickly because I know what I can't eat.

Give yourselves extra time for dining. In order to meet your needs a chef may have to gather ingredients from another kitchen and personally oversee your meal from start to finish. I find that it is worth the wait and you'll find that you got more food than everyone else.

Next week, I'll go over my dining experiences at the Disneyland Resort.

Have you seen my Facebook page?


June 28, 2012

Maelstrom Trolls in Norway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests meet trolls on the Maelstrom ride in Norway at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Trolls warn guests riding Norway's Maelstrom ride.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 12800, EV +0.3

In norse mythology, trolls are rarely described as helpful or friendly. The trolls guests meet on the Maelstrom ride in Norway send them into an exciting and backwards ride through a dark forest and almost over a waterfall. Not a very helpful trio are they?

This is an example of an extreme high ISO image for my Disney Pic of the Week on Norway.


June 29, 2012

Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery Tour

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I mentioned the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery excursion my wife and I did a couple of weeks ago when I talked about Disney Cruising for Couples. Thought you might be interested in a more in depth report.

The night before, our room steward left us our Port Adventure Tickets. The ticket tells you when and where to meet up for the start of the excursion. Ours said DK4 AFT 687, telling us to go to Deck 4, aft ship, in the 687 Sports lounge. Time to meet was 9:45am. At 687, there were two other groups meeting. We checked in and was told our group would follow the Disney Cruise Line cast member with the Beast sign (think tour group flags you see in Disney parks but with a cardboard image of the Beast).

The crew member lead us off the ship to a waiting local Nassau tour guide who took us to his van which comfortably fit us and the nine other people on the excursion. It was a hot and humid island day and we were all thankful for the van's air conditioning. The guide drove us through the narrow and maze like streets of Nassau to our first destination: Fort Fincastle. There he handed us off to Fort Fincastle's historian.

View from the top of Fort Fincastle on the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery Disney Dream excursion while visiting Nassau in the Bahamas.
View from the top of Fort Fincastle in Nassau, the Bahamas..
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

Fort Fincastle overlooks Nassau from Bennet's Hill and was built by Lord Dunmore around 1793 who named it after his second title, Viscount Fincastle. The Batteries covered Hog Island (now called Paradise Island) and all the town and road eastward though they were never used. The cannons you see in the photo are replicas of the original brass ones which were removed once the threat of attack to the island dissipated.

From Fort Fincastle, we were lead over to the top of Nassau's most visited attraction, the Queen's Staircase. The 65 stairs were carved out of solid limestone by slaves in the late 18th century, between 1793 and 1794. The stairs are also Fort Fincastle's escape route.

People walking down the 65 steps of the Queen's Staircase in Nassau, Bahamas.
People walking down the 65 steps of the Queen's Staircase in Nassau, Bahamas.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 900, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tone-mapped.

The 102 foot staircase was named in honor of the 65 years of Queen Victoria's reign. Construction of this monument is still regarded as remarkable. We were all happy the tour had us walk down the staircase! At the bottom we meet up with our tour guide who whisked us off to our next destination, the Junkanoo Discovery.

We were dropped off at the Ivern House which is an interactive museum about the Junkanoo Festival held each year at midnight on Christmas. The couple who run the museum have been participating in the festival since the early 1960"s. The festival features dancing in the streets with large colorful head and body costumes made from paper products. Some can be as tall as ten feet and weigh over seventy pounds.

Ringing the cow bells at the Junkanoo museum inside the Ivern House on the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery Disney Dream excursion while visiting Nassau in the Bahamas.
Ringing the cow bells at the Junkanoo museum inside the Ivern House on Nassau, Bahamas.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 5000, EV -0.3, 15mm focal length, cropped.

The highlight of the Junkanoo exhibit was learning how to play the cow bells and drums which is the other part of the festival. The kids in the group were encouraged and took to heart to make as much noise as possible. However, by the time we left, our group sounded really good!

While the Junkanoo fun was well worth the price of the excursion, the last stop would be at Fort Charlotte. Another 18th century stone fort built with slave labor which was never used for the purpose for which it was made.

Fort Charlotte on Nassau, Bahamas.
Fort Charlotte on Nassau, Bahamas.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 48mm focal length.

Fort Charlotte is the largest of the three forts found in Nassau. Built in 1789 again by Lord Dunmore and named in honor of the wife of King George III. It includes a water-less moat, draw-bridge, ramparts and dungeons and commands a fine view of Nassau Harbor.

View from Fort Charlotte of the Disney Dream and Disney Magic in the Port of Nassau, Bahamas.
View from Fort Charlotte of the Disney Dream and Disney Magic in the Port of Nassau.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 170mm focal length.

Our tour guide loaded us back in the van to be dropped off at the port. If I had one complaint about the tour, it was the length of time we were given at Fort Fincastle and the Queen's Staircase which were far more interesting photographically than Fort Charlotte. In all, the tour took 3 hours.

Not needing to be back on board the Disney Dream yet. My wife and I walked down to the famous Straw Market of Nassau and shopped the many kiosks for straw products, wood carvings and other trinkets.

The famous Straw Market in Nassau, the Bahamas.
The famous Straw Market in Nassau.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 34mm focal length.

We then walked back to the ship after passing through customs and back to our cool room to enjoy the rest of the day on the Disney Dream.

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About June 2012

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

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 2012 is the next archive.

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