Walt Disney World Trip Part III: Magic Kingdom

Wishes From Behind the Castle

This is my third of five installments of photos I took on my most recent Walt Disney World trip.  Earlier I posted about a day in Disney's Animal Kingdom and a day at EPCOT.

Magic Kingdom has always been my favorite park, both for the ambiance and for the sheer abundance of photo opportunities, even compared with the other parks.  This particular day in the Magic Kingdom was extra enjoyable because I got to meet up with some very talented local Disney photographers.  If you're active in the Disney photography community on Flickr and on other social networks, you've likely already seen their wonderful work, but just in case, here are the links to their Flickr Photostreams:        Ben, Kevin Davis, Cory Disbrow, Jeff Krause, Andy Sanchez, Wayne Wood, and Lenise Zika.

First up was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid ride. This was fun to go through for the first time, but probably not something I'd wait in line a long time for (I FastPassed it).  The 50mm f/1.4 was an obvious choice for this ride - great in low light and good focal length.

I love to catch the trolley show.  These guys are just so full of energy and really add to the ambiance of Main Street USA.  Using the 135mm f/2 lens singles out the performers but gives you a glimpse of the backdrop.

The Main Street Trolley Car Performers

Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley!

I can't resist photographing the balloons!

There's not always time to wait in line and meet characters, but with the 135mm lens, sometimes I can just stand off to the side and wait for the character to turn my way.  Hi Marie!

Tony's Town Square Restaurant - Tramp Loves Lady

Lunch was at Tony's Town Square Restaurant.  This is definitely a hidden gem!  I love the Lady and the Tramp theme inside, and the service and food were fantastic.

Tucking Her Brothers into Bed

I finally got to ride Peter Pan's Flight for the first time.  What a fun ride!  I had read that this was a very difficult ride to photograph, so I used my trusty 50mm lens, putting my settings to ISO 10000, -3EV, f/1.4 and manual focus and fired off a series of shots at different focal points, hoping for the best!  I think this worked a lot better than autofocus.

Peter Pan's Flight - Wendy on the Plank

I employed the same technique on the Haunted Mansion ride.

Haunted Mansion - A Hitch Hiking Ghost

I got lucky here, as the ride broke down right in front of the grave keeper, one of the hardest spots to photograph! I never could have gotten this shot otherwise.

Haunted Mansion - The Grave Keeper

Chip & Dale in the Move It Shake It Celebrate It Street Party

After the Haunted Mansion it was time to meet up with my Flickr friends.  The first thing we did was photograph the Move It Shake It Celebrate It Street Party (which has since been replaced by the Festival of Fantasy Parade).  The light was perfect for portraits.  I started with my 50mm, then switched over to my 135, which tends to be my go-to parade lens.

Minnie in the Move it Shake it Celebrate It Street Party

The MC Energizes Guests at the Move It Shake It Celebrate It Street Party

The Lady Birds in the Tiki Room

Next it was off to the Enchanted Tiki Room.  This is another ride where the 135 shines for its low-light capabilities and long (but not too long) focal length.

An Audio Tikitronic
The Train Zooms By on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Then, off to Frontierland, where I took in the afternoon light with my 17-40mm lens.  I always wanted to get a shot of the train going by on Big Thunder Mountain, and I finally did.

The Liberty Belle and Big Thunder Mountain

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in New Fantasyland is set to open in early May, but already guests can see how nicely it's coming along.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride at Dusk

Fantasyland at Dusk

On the way to dinner at Columbia Harbor House, I got a rare shot of Fantasyland with nobody in it.

After dinner, we took some night shots around the castle and in Fantasyland.  These turned out to be some of my favorite night time shots at the Magic Kingdom.

The Beast's Castle at Night

Come Embark on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid!

Prince Charming's Regal Carousel at Night
Prince Eric's Castle at Night

Photographing the Teacups ride is always fun!  I used a flash here along with a slow shutter speed.  I decided to use my fisheye lens for a wonky effect, which seems to fit this ride very well.

Magic Teacups Whirling By

Over at the Storybook Circus, I rode the Dumbo ride at its new location.

Dumbos Spin Round and Round

WDW Flickr Meet Up!

We grabbed a group shot before we split up for photographing Wishes fireworks from different locations.

Fireworks Friday:  Wishes Over the Beast's Castle

Jeff Krause helped me plan my Wishes shots. We started behind the Beast's castle then went to the back of Cinderella's castle for the rest.  I was pretty happy with my shots, and thankful to be working with a Disney fireworks expert like Jeff.

Fireworks Friday:  Red Wishes

Fireworks Friday:  Wishes Behind the Turret

Riding the TTA PeopleMover at Night
After Wishes and saying good-bye to my Flickr friends, it was off to Tomorrowland.  I rode the PeopleMover for the first time.  I had no idea what a cool ride this is!

Tomorrowland is more fun to photograph at night, and the fisheye lens lets you get it all in.

Disney's Electrical Parade Heading Towards the Castle

Main Street Electrical Parade:  Prince Charming Offers the Glass Slipper

Coming out of Tomorrowland, I sort of happened upon the Main Street Electrical Parade so I decided to stay and watch. It was a great vantage point too!

The last ride of the night for me was It's a Small World.  I used my 50mm lens, which I actually think is too wide for most of this ride, but I came away with a few shots I liked.


Whew!  I think this was where I started to get tired.  On the way out, I stopped to get a shot of this beautiful tiled mural underneath Cinderella's Castle.  And so ended my magical day!

Stay tuned for my next installment, Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Tools I used to create the photos this post:  Canon EOS 6DCanon EF 17-40mm f/4L USMCanon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, Zenitar MC 16mm f/2.8 FisheyeCanon EF 135mm f/2L USM LensAdobe Photoshop CS6


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