Magical Blogorail: Disney Photography Tips

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing tips to get great photos on your Disney vacation.


We all like to get our pictures taken with Disney characters! But with the long lines and the short time available for posing, it can be hard to get anything other than the standard stand-and-smile shot like the one above.

So today I’m here to help you one and all break out of the same-old same-old with tips on how to get great character photos:

T I P    o n e    T I P

Photograph Characters on Their Own

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve due to the popularity of the characters, especially with the youngsters, who tend to rush up almost before the last guest has cleared the posing area. But with patience and good timing, a great shot can be had!

The one above was taken just before the meet-and-greet officially opened, so Aladdin and Jasmine were waiting off to the side, away from the crowds.

    

The picture of Mary Poppins was achieved through the miracle of cropping. A little guest was rushing over to the Practically Perfect Nanny when I saw my opportunity. With just two feet remaining between this shot and the inevitable hug-filled greeting, I had room to isolate my subject in post-editing!

Donald was easier, as he was on the way down the ramp from the Aztec Temple in the Mexico Pavilion. He saw me lining up the shot and struck this pose. Thanks Donald!

T I P    t w o    T I P

Photograph Characters Interacting

Photo Credit: The Mousekatools Mom

We all know Olaf loves hugs, so this shot really plays to his strength. With everyone in on the premise, we have a great , and heartwarming, moment captured forever!

    

Most face characters will take the time to speak and interact with each guest, especially if the guest is a cute little child! Both Alice and Mary Poppins took the time to engage these little girls. One with a conversation, and the other by putting the little one to work! Can you imagine how thrilling it would be to hold Mary Poppins’ umbrella?

These kinds of shots capture a moment in time that will never be repeated by your child, and not exactly by another child. This makes each shot priceless!

T I P    t h r e e    T I P

Photograph Characters in Close-ups

If you just have to have the obligatory stand-and-smile shot, make it more interesting by cropping out the extra stuff that does not add to the finished product. Legs, for example, aren’t that interesting and so can be amputated in post-editing.

Another tip for making this kind of shot better is to, if possible, choose a neutral background. Nothing can wreck a great shot like an unintentional photo bomb from some other park guest who is unaware they are in the frame. Hence the weird facial expressions or nose-picking moments that are all too common among the background extras when taking a character shot!

T I P    f o u r    T I P

Photograph Characters Being Funny

Photo Credit: Home is Where the Mouse Is

Welcome to Alice in Funland as she introduces this guest to a new way of getting an autograph! As you can imagine, this was fun for the subject, and is much more interesting for those who will look at the picture later.

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

This is a nice shot because it shows a bit of the personality behind the character. Chip is being silly as he helps his littlest poser obtain the same height as her brother. Mischievous. And priceless!

T I P    f i v e    T I P

Photograph You Being Funny with Characters

Photo Credit: Love Our Crazy Life

Doing something funny with a character is a great way to get a unique shot. Of course, if you want to try the pose above, you might want to bring your own apple. I’m just saying.

Don’t be afraid to really ham it up! Most costumed and face characters love it when they get a ‘live one’ to break up the shift.

T I P     b o n u s     T I P

Utilize PhotoPass Add-ons

If you’re OK with spending some extra money to get the professional shots from the PhotoPass Photographers, be sure to check out all of the great add-ons and fun extras available to you.

For example, you can add borders:

You can add Disney characters, and pretend they are posing with you, or photo bombing you:

And don’t forget the ride photos. Because a ride is a character too!

And last but not least, be sure to ask your PhotoPass Photographer if they can add any special elements to your picture in post-production. Like this:

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

I hope these tips have given you some ideas for your next photographic adventure at Disney!

For more Disney photography tips, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Disney Photography Tips Loop:

Classic Movie References in Disney Movies

Disney filmmakers are notorious for slipping old movie references, in-jokes, and running gags into their projects. Most times even the avid viewer would never pick up on them, especially the younger ones, nor would the casual movie-goer.

So this post contains three of the best ones I have seen to date. We’ll start with the most obvious one first, and then move on to the most obscure.

R E F E R E N C E    O N E

Wall-E: Hello, Dolly!

We all saw the film clips (via hi-tech VCR tape) that Wall-E played again and again of the man and woman who make a connection by holding hands. This becomes pivotal to his romance with Eve:

The film clips were from the blockbuster movie Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand, and the man who taught Wall-E to hold hands was Michael Crawford (the Phantom of the Opera). The movie is a 1969 romantic comedy musical. It follows the story of Dolly Levi (a strong-willed matchmaker), as she travels to Yonkers, New York, to find a match for the miserly “well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. In doing so she convinces his niece, his niece’s intended, and Horace’s two clerks to travel to New York City.

But did you know that these two clerks, Cornelius (Crawford, below far right) and his friend Barnaby (below far left) weren’t interested in holding hands? In the song “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” (the first song you hear on Wall-E’s tape) the boys sing about visiting New York City, and they vow not to return until they kiss a girl. So although Cornelius does eventually hold hands with his lady fair (below, second from right), he succeeded in his mission only after he kissed her.

I guess the makers thought it would be easier to show robots holding ‘hands’ than to have them kiss without lips.

FUN FACT: “It Only Takes a Moment” is the second song from Hello, Dolly! that you hear on Wall-E’s vintage tape.

R E F E R E N C E    T W O

The Emperor’s New Groove: The Fly

This movie reference is indeed classic, going all the way back to 1958 to the Vincent Price film The Fly. In this movie, an earnest scientist, intent on creating the first working teleportation device, gets over-confident and turns himself into a monster with a large fly head and one fly arm. In the process, he also creates a small fly with his head and arm on it. You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

The iconic scene from the film happens near the end when the scientist, now a fly, is trapped in a spider’s web. As the spider inches closer and closer, you can hear the famous “Help me! Help me!” plea that chilled audiences to the bone back in 1958. And it’s still one of the creepiest moments in film history today! If you dare, see it for yourself:

In The Emperor’s New Groove, Kuzco is lost in the woods and getting more creeped out by the minute, when he too comes across a spider’s web. He hears the famous “Help me! Help me!” line before witnessing, and hearing, the crunch of the fly’s demise. Ick. Want to see that too?

For the full impact, please pop in your copy of The Emperor’s New Groove. It really is more chilling if you hear the plea for help and the crunch!

FUN FACT: A theory about this moment in the film surfaced on Facebook. The writer postulates that the fly who dies in this scene must have been a human at one point in the film, and thus this was actually equivalent to watching a murder. He supposes that only animals that were once human talk in the film, like Kuzco (Llama), Yzma (kitten), and the guards (“Hey, I’ve been turned into a cow. May I go home?”). So if the fly is talking, it too must have been a human at one time. The writer goes even further to assume that it would be the old guy that Kuzco had thrown out the window earlier in the film (but that guy is seen by Pacha soon after, and returns in the end scenes).

Obviously, this theory is wrong, and the scene of the spider and the fly was only an homage.

R E F E R E N C E    T H R E E

The Muppets: The Fork Dance

For this last example, we have to go back to the silent era of film, to 1925 to be exact. The movie is Gold Rush and it stars the immortal Charlie Chaplin. One of the signature comedy gags in the film is the famous ‘Fork Dance’, pictured below:

These dancing ‘feet’ become one of the funniest moments in silent film history! Have a look for yourself:

It’s a small moment in the movie, The Muppets, but Amy Adams rocks this homage to Chaplin during her duet with Miss Piggy called “Me Party”:

Again, this moment in the musical number goes by pretty fast, but it is very funny and stuck out in my mind, but perhaps only because I’m such a huge Chaplin fan and remembered the iconic scene from Gold Rush.

FUN FACT: Although Chaplin is accredited by many as using potatoes for his ‘feet’, Adams definitely uses bread rolls.

By now, I think it goes without saying, that we all need to pay close attention while watching Disney movies! Did you catch these brilliant homages to earlier classic films? Do you have a favorite that you like to point out to family and friends? If so, please leave it in the comments below and we’ll all look out for it the next time we watch a Disney classic!

Prayers for the Week – Praying for Dennis

philippians-4-vs-6-7

6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

My friends, on this past Wednesday, my co-worker and friend Dennis turned 48 years old.  During that day, he started having heart problems, and towards the end of that day, he had a full blown heart attack.  When that happened, the incredible people that work with me sprang into action.  911 was called and staff members stood by looking for the medical teams to arrive.  Others grabbed our AED at work and put it to use, probably saving Dennis’ life in the process.  Still others assisted in ways that I can’t even imagine, and by the grace of God and all of the help by those incredible people, Dennis made it to the hospital okay.  He still wasn’t out of the woods, though, and throughout the night, myself and others prayed for Dennis, lifting up our petitions to God, and doing our best to have a positive outlook.  We learned that the medical team took incredible efforts to help Dennis, putting him in an induced coma so his body could calm down, and doing other things that I can only begin to imagine.

The next day, those of us that came into work worried about what might have happened overnight learned that things are getting better, even if it is slowly.  One of our staff, Vicki, organized an optional prayer for anyone that wanted to join her — there were at least 30 people that gathered around and we were praying for Dennis.  The business at work had to continue, but suddenly, the mood in the building was different.  For some weeks, I’ve felt like the mood in the building was one of fear — fear for those that are leaving, uncertainty over those that are staying behind, wondering what is next, and so forth.  But suddenly, in the span of a few hours, the mood in the building became one of camaraderie — Dennis was in trouble, and people across the building, in jobs that didn’t even work that closely with him, were pitching in to do things for him and to help him.  We communicated with his girlfriend, we stopped by to make sure she was okay, we delivered things for him that were in his office that she needed, we took care of his car, and the list goes on and on.  Through it all, the work was still progressing — people still had their jobs to do — but instead of an underlying fear of what was happening to us in our jobs, the fear, at least in my mind and heart, anyway, that fear turned to resolve that we were going to see Dennis through this, with God’s help.

At this point, Dennis is still fighting, and he still needs our prayers.  If you can, please pray with me:

Heavenly Father, we know that Your servant Dennis is still fighting for his life.  We know that You are hearing our prayers, and that through You nothing is impossible.  You are the God of second chances, Lord, and we know that You have Dennis close to you while he fights.  Lord, show the world what You can do, and if it is in Your Will, show the world the miracle of Dennis’ heart healing.  We also ask that You let Your Peace, Comfort, and Strength descend to Dennis’ family and friends so that we may wait on Your Miracle to occur for Dennis.  We ask these things in the name of Your Son Jesus with Thanksgiving!  Amen.

Thank you all for praying for Dennis with me.  Now, please pray for these other requests we have this week:

  • Kelli’s husband has some health concerns, please pray for his bulging disc that it would be healed.
  • Also please pray for Kelli’s daughter in her new job, pray for her stamina as she adapts to working on her feet for 8 hours a day.
  • Pam has an unknown prayer request, please pray for her.
  • Josie’s husband is battling cancer, and it is very serious.  Please pray for Josie, her husband, and their two sons.
  • My Brother in Christ Don passed away this week.  Please pray for his family, for their Peace, Comfort, and Strength in the days, weeks, and months ahead as they struggle in his loss.
  • Please pray for Mark, who had his shoulder surgery this week.  Please pray for his healing, and for Peace, Comfort, and Strength for him and his wife Jan.

Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

Book Review: The Mickey Mouse Club Scrapbook – SSE

M – I – C (“See what’s in this post!”)

K – E – Y (“Why? Because I need the blog traffic!”)

P – L – U – G – Geeeeeeeeee!

OK, that last line had one too many capital Gs (and lots of cute little e’s), but I had to make it match the famous chant. The Mickey Mouse Club started in 1955 with many of the original Mouseketeers being on board before Disneyland was actually opened. So it was a natural cross-promotional move to have them present at the parks grand opening.

And of course, the merchandise wasn’t far behind their own television debut!

Copyrighted 1975

The original Mickey Mouse Club was long off the air by the time this Special Souvenir Edition was sold for just $2.50 (I had to pay $4.95 in 2015 at an antique shop). This may have been an attempt to restore interest in the Club before the 1977 debut of the New Mickey Mouse Club. For the new show, the concept was modernized cosmetically, with a disco re-recording of the theme song and a more ethnically diverse group of young cast members. The sets were brightly colored and simpler than the detailed black and white artwork of the original. Like the original, nearly each day’s episode included a vintage cartoon, though usually in color from the late 1930s and onward.

According to the back cover, this book was intended to be a Where-Are-They-Now expose. The book starts with acknowledgments, and an introduction of what the original club was:

It has audition photos and stories for each of the original cast members:

It then gives a review of the show segments, as follows:

  • Monday: Fun With Music Day. Mickey says – “Big doings this week!”
  • Tuesday: Guest Star Day. Mickey says – “Everybody neat and pretty?”
  • Wednesday: Anything Can Happen Day. Mickey says – “Anything goes.”
  • Thursday: Circus Day. Mickey… stammers?
  • Friday: Talent Roundup Day. Mickey says – “You all pretty nigh ready?”

Next to be featured are the serials. These include:

  • White Shadow (1955)
  • The Hardy Boys (1956)
  • Clint and Mac (1957)
  • Annette (1957)
  • The Adventures of Spin and Marty (1956-7)

What comes next is very cool:

Three more songs are featured with music sheets: Anything Can Happen Day; Here Comes the Circus!; and Talent Roundup.

Why not sing along, or better yet, sit down at your piano and play along!

Next comes The Mouseketeers Today, a great section with a head shot of the subject all grown up along with a brief blurb about their life today.

There were also 7 original Club members that the compilers of this book couldn’t find at the time of publishing:

Unfortunately, Jimmie Dodd passed away many years ago (1910-1964) but you can read all about this beautiful person at OriginalMMC.com by clicking the link.

All in all this is a wonderful keepsake with much insider information about everyone’s favorite mice!

To conclude, I just couldn’t end this post without publishing pictures of the other three song sheets included in the book. I apologize for the poor color quality in advance, but you can still enlarge them to read the lyrics or play along on your instruments:

This book was compiled by Keith Keller and published by Grosset & Dunlap of New York.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for being so full of nostalgia! Any fan of the show, Annette, or early Disney lore will love it!

Top 5 Disney Characters Frozen in Time

Every Disney character embarks on a journey of personal discovery and change. None are the same at the end of their movie. Usually the character is stronger and better for the effort, and we cheer when we see the ‘New Them’!

But do we always see them in their new and improved versions? Here is a list of my Top 5 Disney characters that we stubbornly insist on seeing as they started, not as they finished:

N U M B E R     F I V E

Rapunzel

    

Rapunzel went through quite a change in the course of her movie. From a shy, dominated shut-in to an independent go-getter with a frying pan! She chose to follow her dream and found true love by helping to redeem a lost soul. Not bad in just under 2 hours of screen time!

The most visible change was the cutting of her hair at the end of her movie, which robbed her of her healing powers (mostly) and her trademark long golden locks. But we refuse to see her as a short-haired brunette and so she is forever stuck in our minds and hearts as a blonde with mile-long strands of hair.

N U M B E R     F O U R

Ariel

    

Ariel is another Princess who had a lot to learn before she matured. Making the journey from an irresponsible daughter to a strong bridge between two worlds wasn’t easy, but Ariel made the journey one step at a time. And that brings us to our premise.

Ariel starts off as a mermaid, complete with tail and land-based mobility issues. But thanks to some undersea magic, she switches to legs and… what are those things called again? Oh yeah: feet! Ariel is lower on this list because we do see her in both configurations.

But with a nickname like The Little Mermaid, I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of us still see her with a tail, even though she walked into her happily ever after on two strong legs.

N U M B E R     T H R E E

Beast

    

For the majority of his time in the movie Beauty and the Beast, the Beast was, well… a beast, not a man. It wasn’t until he won the love of Belle in the last few minutes of screen time that he became the human prince of Belle’s dreams.

But we definitely see him as he was, not as what he became. And after all, if we didn’t, we’d have to change the title of the movie to Beauty and the Prince, which we all can agree just wouldn’t be the same!

N U M B E R     T W O

Bambi

    

The Prince of the Forest made quite a transformation in his movie, actually growing up into a majestic stag before our very eyes by the end credits. But just like overly possessive parents, we still think of Bambi as our little baby!

Bambi is high on this list, although not Number One, because he made one of the most drastic transformations, but we still refuse to acknowledge it.

N U M B E R     O N E

Pinocchio

    

So who went through more changes than our Number One Disney character stuck in time? Pinocchio started off as just a piece of wood carved to resemble a little boy. Then, this marionette came to life, walking and talking and getting into all sorts of mischief. But this wasn’t the end of little Pinocchio’s journey!

By the end of the film, Pinocchio achieves his fondest wish: To become a real boy. The Blue Fairy deems the puppet worthy because of his selfless act to save his ‘father’,  Geppetto. Now that’s a change, not only worthy of cheering, but remembering!

But poor Pinocchio! He is doomed to live out his time in our memories as an animated piece of wood, and not the real boy he worked so hard to become.

disH O N O R A B L E     M E N T I O N

Yzma

    

Yzma spends most of her screen time in The Emperor’s New Groove as a very old woman who most describe as ‘scary beyond belief’ before becoming a cute little white kitten. A cute little white kitten with homicidal tendencies, but a cute little white kitten nonetheless.

However, despite transforming into a completely different life-form, we still remember her as that scary-beyond-belief woman of our nightmares. Doesn’t seem fair somehow…

So did I miss any Disney characters that you feel are stuck in time? If so, fill us all in by leaving a comment below!