I went through photos of fireworks and birthday cakes, sparklers and candles. Then I found this photo. I posted a very similar version of this a few years ago when my family traveled to Disneyland for the first time. My wife and I had both been before, but we took our kids for the first time. The experience was amazing. My son and daughter were the proverbial “kids in a candy store”. They didn’t know where to look first. They wanted to ride everything, see everything, experience everything.
By the end of the first day in Disneyland, the kids were exhausted but excited. They wanted to sleep but did not want to leave. As the fireworks were about to start to end the day, we came across this ride: The Astro Orbitor. My son and daughter stood, transfixed by the streaks of light. The only words were, “Awesome,” and, “Amazing.” It was a celebration of everything we’d done that day. One long party ending with a light show.
This little beauty lives in my classroom and has taken on a life of her own.
Here’s the story: three years ago a student asked me why Tinkerbell was mounted above my whiteboard. I answered, without thinking, that she was hot and she had a “badonkadonk.” Yeah, not my proudest moment. Badonkadonk? What the heck was I thinking? Probably nothing, as is often the case. My students thought it was hilarious (lucky I teach high school students).
Now she’s the unofficial mascot of my classroom.
Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/50 sec.
This is Space Mountain. My son had never taken a ride on a “real” roller coaster before, so I felt some trepidation about taking him on Space Mountain as his first roller coaster experience. We got on, rode up the first climb and felt the cold air at the top. As we peaked and took the first turn, Ben stayed quiet. As we were whipped through consecutive curves, Ben stayed quiet. As I screamed and yelled, Ben stayed quiet. When we came to a stop I looked over at Ben. He was looking straight ahead, eyes bugged out, and still quiet.
Thinking I had traumatized Ben, I asked (a little scared), “So, what did you think?”
Ben says, his voice a crescendo, “That…WAS…AWESOME!”
Ben’s a roller coaster nut. Yay!
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f8; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.
The force is strong with them.
My kids, the girl with the braid and the blond boy next to her, received their diplomas stating that their training as Jedi was complete. I’m pretty sure I was giggling and wishing that I could have been up their with them.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f9; ISO 100; 1/250 sec.
The trick to a night shot with a slow shutter speed, without a tripod and remote shutter release, is a steady hand. I don’t have a steady hand. Instead, I leaned against a pile of rock, or rock-like facsimile designed by some imagineer, and shot as steadily as I could.
This shot of the Astro Orbitor at Disneyland was the best of the bunch.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f8; ISO 1600; 1/2 sec.
I can’t believe I get to see Vader. The real Vader. Darth Vader. The Darth Va…what? He’s not the real Vader? But…(sob), but…
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f6.3; ISO 100; 1/125 sec.
Our first day in Disneyland was a long one. We stayed most of the day, from around eight in the morning until a couple hours after lunch. After resting up at the hotel for a couple of hours we went back in and stayed for the fireworks. We didn’t bank on the humongous lines, and ended up watching the explosive show from FrontierLand. The shot above shows what we saw: awesome fireworks with a foreground including one of our favorites, Big Thunder Mountain.
On a side note, the fireworks are far quieter in the park than they are when you’re in your hotel trying to sleep after a ridiculously long day of flying, shopping, walking and anticipating. The night before, at 9:30, when the family was quietly sleeping, gigantic BOOMS began, as the fireworks were echoing outside the park. I though we were under attack. All part of the fun, I guess.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f6.3; ISO 1600; 1/13 sec.
I posted yesterday that seeing the Disney parks through my children’s eyes made the whole experience really wonderful for me. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and their wonder and awe as they wandered was fun to watch.
The photo above was taken at California Adventure. At the end of our second day in Disneyland, we went to CA to plan our next day’s itinerary. We got to the park just as a High School Musical show was starting in the Sun Plaza just in from the main entrance. My children loved it. There was singing, dancing, and it was interactive, as I found out.
What I have discovered about the Disney parks is that the closer you sit to the show/parade/musical experience, the more likely it is that you’ll be participating. To the delight of my wife and kids, I was chosen to participate in the show, with a top hat and cane and a bunch of 20-something dancers dancing around me. It was awesome!
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55 AL II; f8; ISO 200; 1/400 sec.
I feel like I should work for Disney’s marketing branch. These are the three icons from the main square in Disneyland. Walt, Mickey, and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I understand that from 2001 to 2008 Disneyland had shut the doors on the castle, but it’s up and touring now.
I got to this point in the park and felt like a six year old. All of those Sunday nights watching The Wonderful World of Disney as a kid came washing over me. I remember watching Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Mary Poppins. At the beginning and end of the show, Tinkerbell would fly right over the castle here, wave her wand and the show would start (or end). Aah, nostalgia.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f9; ISO 100; 1/250 sec.
Disneyland has an attraction called “Jedi Training Academy.” Both of my children were called up, along with a couple dozen more, to the stage, given Jedi robes and lightsabers and taught to fight like Jedi.
I liked this attraction. Actually, I loved this attraction. After the kids have been trained, the Imperial Death March starts up and two stormtroopers (above) run down the aisle and onto the stage. The stage floor starts rising and Darths Vader and Maul jump out and duel with every one of the Jedi trainees.
I, overcome with emotion and joy, leaned over to my wife and quietly exclaimed, “I think I just peed myself a little.”
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 100; 1/250 sec.
I loved the attention to detail that is on exhibition at the Disney parks. My wife and son took a ride in a box of animal cookies, while I photographed them from a container of apple sauce. We were separated by a chinese takeout box.
I don’t know that I’ll ever write that sentence again.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 400; 1/30 sec.
Nothing witty. Just a photo of why I love this place.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f3.5; ISO 1600; 1/30 sec.