Walt Disney World Trip Part III: Magic Kingdom
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I employed the same technique on the Haunted Mansion ride.
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.
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 The first thing we did was photograph the Move It Shake It Celebrate It Street Party (which has since been replaced by the Festival of Fantasy Parade).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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Over at the Storybook Circus, I rode the Dumbo ride at its new location.
We grabbed a group shot before we split up for photographing Wishes fireworks from different locations.
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.
Tomorrowland is more fun to photograph at night, and the fisheye lens lets you get it all in.
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.