The "crash test" in Test Track is a cool way to exit out onto the high banks especially after it got the Tron Effect-like updates back in 2012.
Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Test Track photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.
For this photograph, I was trying to find pictures I had taken while riding the monorail from the TTC that goes through much of Future World. Well, where most of those photos are remains a mystery.
However I did find this photograph of the original Test Track in my Test Track folder. This was certainly taken from the monorail as it circled Future World.
Back in 2013, I wrote about my ideas for using a Fisheye lens. What I did not say was how easy it was to leave the Fisheye lens on the camera. Case in point was this day in Epcot. My family started the day with a FastPass+ at Test Track. I had an idea for the Fisheye lens for ride shots. Why I was not thrilled with the ride photos I got, I did really like using the Fisheye on the cars in the show room area of the attraction.
After Test Track, we walked across the plaza on our way for our lunch dining reservation and I could not resist this photo. It is not often I have gotten such nice clouds in the middle of a Florida day on my visits.
Call me lazy or creative but I left the Fisheye lens on my camera for our lunch at the Garden Grill in The Land pavilion. I especially liked how the distortion of the lens worked with Pluto's nose.
What's a day at Epcot without a monorail photo? Right, not a good one so here it is. Yep, never did take the Fisheye off as we headed out of the park.
One of the best exercises a photographer can do is take a prime (non-zoom) lens and use it all day. If the prime lens happens to be a Fisheye lens, then enjoy the day!
For my Test Track blog, I'm going to share a pre-opening photo and also a couple photos from the Cast Preview held in December.
This first photo is of the huge banner that was outside the pavilion during construction. Many people, myself included, were anxious to see what this new attraction was all about.
In the Spring 1997 issue of the Magic Key Newsletter (for Magic Kingdom Club Holders) the headline said "Test Track on Track for Summer 1997! Of course, we all know now, that date slipped on by and no new attraction.
Finally in December 1997, a Cast Preview was held.
I was very fortunate to be able to ride Test Track during the soft opening. During that time, a Test Dummy was greeting folks at the exit. I have no idea if the "Dummy" stayed around during the early days, as it was months before I would return to WDW.
Want to relive more of the original Test Track? Visit our archives!
Or check out the lastest 2.0 version if you haven't visited in a while!
So there you have my photos (from my old film camera) for this week's Pic of the Week - Test Track!
Not everyone likes to see changes at Walt Disney World. I do as I like to see today's Imagineers try to out-imagine their predesessors. Take today's Test Track in Epcot's Future World. Test Track was the successor to the World of Motion which was one of the original attractions when Epcot opened on October 1, 1982. It was a delightful ride through the history of Mankind motion from the discovery of the wheel to a breathtaking IMAX sized launch of a NASA Space Shuttle.
The first version of Test Track, call it 1.0, was about the testing of cars. The queue had all kinds of displays showing how cars, car parts and people (played by crash dummies) were tested. The ride continued the story as you rode a test vehicle through all kinds of road, environmental and high speed tests. It was very popular. Guests loved going around the banked curves at up to 65 miles per hour.
The lastest version, 2.0, of Test Track sponsored by Chevrolet is about designing vehicles. In the queue, you see all kinds of concept vehicles (like the one pictured below) and what went into their design. There are interactive displays along the way to show the start of the design: A Line. Before going on the ride, your party designs the car or truck of their dreams and take it for a ride on the Test Track.
I really like how Test Track has evolved over the years. Exactly how I feel a Disney attraction should.
Walt Disney pioneered the use of sponsored attractions in his theme parks. When Epcot was built, sponsorship was taken to a new level. The latest version of Test Track is innovative, educational and fun. It is also the coolest showroom for Chevrolet automobile models in the world. This coming from a Ford guy.
Take this photo of a yellow and black Chey Camaro display themed to a city street in the post queue area of Test Track. I used a fisheye lens and got permission from the Cast Member to get in real close. I used an old landscape trick to start low and slowly move to a higher position over the subject to include the background. Works best with wide angle lenses.
Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week on Test Track.
A fisheye lens is an ultra-ultra wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. Fisheye lenses achieve extremely wide angles of view by forgoing producing images with straight lines of perspective (rectilinear images), opting instead for a special mapping (for example: equisolid angle), which gives images a characteristic convex non-rectilinear appearance (Source: Wikipedia).
Did you get all that? Fisheyes have been a favorite fun lens for Disney photographers for years. The lens, as the above definition says in a round about, distorts straight lines near the edges. That effect can ruin a photo unless used creatively. Earlier this year, I obtained a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens for my Nikon D700 FX (full frame) dSLR camera. Last week, I used it at Walt Disney World for the first time. Let's see how I did.
I look for three conditions when I am shooting with a Fisheye lens:
1. Compositions with curved or circular objects which wrap around the image.
2. Put something of interest in the center and let straight lines get bent to lead people to the frame's center.
3. When a Fisheye is the only way to get far enough away from a subject to photograph it in cramped quarters (like a ride queue).
The huge red guitar outside of the building containing the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios was a perfect subject for a Fisheye composition. The curves of the piano keys, guitar, palm trees and even the railing all work to create the uniqueness of a Fisheye photograph. You will also notice how close I got. I was learning over the railing to get as close to those piano keys as I could. Just like any wide angle lens, you want to get as close to the main subject as you can. It is easy to loose a subject in the extreme wide angle of a Fisheye and make a photo confusing.
With the Bust of Walt Disney at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I got in real close and let the Fisheye distort all the straight lines of the nearby celebrity busts, palm trees, lines in the pavement and building. Notice how the bust itself is relatively distortion free.
In the Test Track queue where you can use the giant touch screens to design cars, it is really tight quarters for even a wide angle lens. The Fisheye worked great to tell the story of how Disney entertains and educates even while waiting in line.
You will see more Fisheye photos in the future as I found it a fun and useful lens to have in Disney themeparks.
I know Buzz Lightyear is a cool toy but who does not want a Disney Monorail Playset running around in their home? I have seen them set up under Christmas trees and, with accessaries, as part of miniature Disney parks in people's homes. I found this one running in Epcot's Test Track Specialty Shop as I was exiting the ride.
Monorails are cool and make for my Disney Pic of Week on Toys.
For my Disney Pic of the Week on Test Track, I caught this crash dummy hanging around the ride queue. He better be careful, they might put him in the barrier test with the guests for goofing off.
I'm a big NASCAR fan. I even did Richard Petty's Driving Experience once at Walt Disney World. For my Disney Pic of the Week featuring a Ride, I picked the next best thing to feeling like you are on a big track which is riding the high banks on Test Track in Epcot's Future World. In this picture I sat in the back seat to get more of the car, slowed the camera's shutter speed down to capture the motion of the car on the track and rode it late in the day for better lighting. I secured the camera with the strap around my neck and looped around my wrists.