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Photographing Festival of Fantasy Parade - Part 1

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When photographs of Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom first started to appear, I knew I would be photographing it from a couple of different locations. Each float in the parade is tall. In fact, they are the tallest floats I have ever seen come down Main Street USA. The floats are accompanied by dancers and characters which proceed them. Thus, you have interesting subjects up high and below.

Next week I will show you the Street level photos. For this week, I photographed from the Main Street USA Train Station Platform above the parade route. Plan on getting to the platform, at least, an hour before the parade to find a position. I suggest favoring the side towards Town Square Theater for a clear view of the floats as they come around the square. All the photos below were taken from that vantage point.

The first float features a few Disney Princesses and their Princes. The Princess Garden float has Belle in her summer evening dress with the Beast in front. Cinderella and Prince Charming revolve around to greet guests on both sides of the parade route. Tiana and Prince Naveen from the Princess and the Frog and Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from Frozen share another turntable. Music from all four movies is played when this float goes by. Notice how long this float is.

The Princess Garden float in the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Princess Garden float in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/160s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 65mm focal length.

The Princess Garden float is more of your traditional sized float. Not as tall as the rest of the parade's floats. Photographing the characters meant looking down which is not always a very flattering angle but worked quite well from this location.

Princess Anna and Queen Elsa on the Princess Garden float in the Festival of Fantasy parade in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Princess Anna and Queen Elsa on the Princess Garden float in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/200s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 105mm focal length.

The Peter Pan float has got to be the tallest of the Festival of Fantasy floats. It is not as long as the Princess Garden float so I could rotate my camera for a portrait orientation to better get the entire float in the frame.

Peter Pan float in the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Peter Pan float in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 50mm focal length.

Here is the other reason for photographing the Festival of Fantasy parade from the train station platform. You are level with the characters who are at the top of the floats. Peter Pan and Wendy were about level with my camera lens. I did not have to zoom too much either as the floats come very close to the train platform which allowed me to include Cinderella Castle in the background.

Wendy and Peter Pan wave from the deck of the Jolly Roger in the Festival of Fantasy parade in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wendy and Peter Pan wave from the deck of the Jolly Roger in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 38mm focal length.

For me, the highlight of the Festival of Fantasy parade is the steampunk inspired Maleficent Dragon of the Sleeping Beauty float. This float measures 53 feet (16m) in length and 26 feet (8m) tall when the dragon is breathing fire.

Sleeping Beauty float in the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sleeping Beauty float in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 50mm focal length.

It is silly to think of how excited I was to get face to face with such a beast. I could feel the heat from the dragon's breath I was so close as it passed by the train station platform.

Maleficent Dragon breathing fire in the Festival of Fantasy parade in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Maleficent Dragon breathing fire in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/500s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 82mm focal length.

Mickey’s Airship float caps off the Festival of Fantasy parade. Bright colors with both Mickey and Minnie Mouse waving to everyone from the gondola of the lighter-than-air craft weighed down by the dancing, pink hippos from Fantasia.

Mickey’s Airship in the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mickey’s Airship in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/400s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 65mm focal length.

I really enjoyed photographing the Festival of Fantasy parade from the Main Street USA Train Station platform. I still itched to get down to street level for all the dancers. I satisfied the itch later in the trip which I will share with you next week.

The previous post in this blog was President Lincoln vs President Nixon.

The next post in this blog is Where in the World #337.

Comments (1)

Becky Norman:

Hey Scott! Thank you for the great tips for photographing this parade! You got wonderful pictures in this spot, and I sure look forward to seeing the next edition of your pictures at ground level ! I am anxious to see this parade, and I will definitely be using your great tips :)
Thanks so much!
Becky

Scott replies: You are most welcome, Becky. I really enjoyed this parade and I am sure you will, too.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 20, 2014 5:29 AM.

The previous post in this blog was President Lincoln vs President Nixon.

The next post in this blog is Where in the World #337.

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