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Old 06-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #1
MarkBarbieri
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Mark Barbieri's Disney Trip Thread (All 14 days + slideshow)

We're back. We got in today at around 4:00 PM. We spent 1.5 days in the car in each direction and 13 days in Orlando. That worked out to 2 days at the beach, 10 days at the theme parks, 8 days at the water parks (most of those were also theme park days), and 1 day at Disney Quest.

Despite being at the parks more, I think I took fewer pictures than past trips (which were usually 1 week trips). Part of that was because I didn't carry a camera at the water parks on most days. Part of that was because it was so blasted hot. I'm from Houston, where the weather is similar, but it's still just too darned hot and humid.

We stayed at Fort Wilderness campground. We tent camped. We use a window AC for the tent and a fridge to keep our food stuff cool. That worked well enough for a place to stay at night, but it was almost useless as a place to relax in the afternoon.

Our typical day consisted of a quick breakfast at camp. Then we set out for the 8:00 AM early entry park on most days. We hit as many rides as we could in the morning and collected as many fast passes as possible while doing that. In the afternoon, we took in shows, used our fast passes, and left for the water parks. We sometimes went back to a park in the evening. We didn't spend much time in the parks at night. We're a morning family, and the kids just couldn't handle being out much past 9:00. I made a couple of solo trips to the Magic Kingdom at night, but they weren't very productive. The park was amazingly crowded at midnight (50 minute wait for Peter Pan for example) and it was still really muggy.

I never really got my photography mojo going. I think I got a few nice shots, but nothing really stunning or exciting. I'm blaming the heat. Really good photography requires putting out extra effort to think things through and get things just right. When I get really hot, I just want to muddle through things and get them over with.

The kids were also a different dynamic this time. On our last trip, they were in strollers and basically did what we wanted to do. On this trip, they were walking and doing a lot more to call the shots. That meant more rides and fewer shows. They were also engrossed in their new iPod Touches between attractions, so there were a lot fewer cute kid photo opps.

When we set out, I had intended to shoot a fair amount of video. I ended up shooting very little. Good video is hard. It's not good when you are feeling hot and lazy. I had also planned to do interviews with the kids back at camp during down times, but we didn't seem to have many of those. When we did, it was too hot to sit around camp and do video work.

We got to almost everything we wanted to see. The big ones that we skipped were Wishes (10:00 PM was just too late for the boys) and Fantasmic. We tried during our last week, but it was rained out Tuesday, wasn't showing on Wednesday, and was rained out again on Thursday. Technically, the show might have gone on Thursday night, but we got there 1.5 hours early and were chased off because a thunderstorm erupted right over the park. Rather than wait it out in the rain, we packed up and went back camp.

We had another reason for heading back to camp that night. Tuesday night's storm flooded our tent. We left a corner of the rain fly unconnected (not sure how we missed that) and enough water got into the tent to soak two of the four sleeping positions. The kids had already fallen asleep in the van, so we left them there, cleanup the up the tent, and took the other two places. In the middle of the night, the boys woke up, so we let them have the tent while we did laundry and slept in the van.

On Thursday, we were chased out of Blizzard Beach by a particularly violent thunderstorm. On our way from there to DHS, we stopped by to check on the tent. This time the tent was intact, but our campsite's drainage was so bad and so much rain had fallen that the tent was sitting in about 2 inches of water. We shoveled away most of the water with a boogie board. The interior of the tent was damp but habitable. Our screen shelter over the picnic table was destroyed by the storm. It was a cheapie, so it was no big loss. The one significant loss was that my 5DM2 battery charger was plugged in under it and got soaked. I'm giving it a few days to dry out, but I have little hope that it will work again. After that, we battened everything down again and went to go see Fantasmic. After we were driven from the theater by another storm, we decided that it would be best to get back to the campsite to deal with any more water related issues. Everything turned out OK that time.

Overall, the trip was a moderate success. The heat was more bothersome than I had anticipated. On the other hand, the kids love the water parks and the beach. The water parks were less crowded than I expected, with most of the slides we used having 5 minute waits most of the time. The Typhoon Lagoon wave pool was a huge hit.

OK. that's enough yapping. I'll make future posts a lot more photography related. I'll probably be loading pictures onto the computer most of tonight and playing with them tomorrow. I'll start having things ready to post tomorrow.

While at the parks, I dumped pictures from the memory cards into Lightroom on my laptop. Because the laptop drive is small, I actually wrote the photos directly to 2 external USB drives. I used one as the primary Lightroom location and the other as the backup, so I automatically got two copies when I imported. The downside was that the drives are super slow, so I couldn't really work with the photos on the laptop. Then again, given the heat, I wasn't really going to spend much time with them anyway.
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Last edited by MarkBarbieri; 08-26-2009 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:27 PM   #2
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Great report so far.

I had the same problem with our last trip (few weeks ago) to California. I just got my first SLR this past Christmas and I was gung ho. Everything just fell apart. I got a few good shots but something wasn't right. We usually come home with loads of video but this time we had the equivalent of 2 hours shot. I secretly have been thinking it is time for a WDW return but after seeing how hot and humid it has been in KC and hearing your reports and seeing all the rain photos from others I am re-thinking things.

Bring on the photos Mark!
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:49 PM   #3
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Welcome back Mark!! Great report so far and can't wait for the pics. Too bad about all the rain and the heat....
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Sounds like you had a great, long vacation with the family regardless of the heat. You make some good points about how trips change over time. Most of my better Disney shots that have done well in our board contests came from just a few days in WDW by myself before a friend joined me for wine and food. It takes time, thought, and patience to make a good image. Often, re-visiting a subject a few times.

What is magical is how it continues to change. Now, my daughter has taken an interest in photography and we take photowalks in WDW togther. I love the shared hobby but sure do miss the days of princess dresses.

Looking forward to seeng your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Chuck

Last edited by pointandshoot; 06-20-2009 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:09 PM   #5
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I am on board an anxiously awaiting to see the pics... Even though you said they are not that great, i bet they are amazing!
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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Jeez Mark - sounds perfectly miserable to me. I'm sorry you didn't get to take as many photos and videos as you were hoping to, and that your trip was wet and the temperatures were hot.

Glad you did get to take some pics though, and I'm sure they'll be your usual stellar work!
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:01 AM   #7
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I finished loading the pictures into Lightroom. It was 5,212 pictures all totaled. I was wrong above; that is more than any of my prior trips. It totalled 94.3 gigabytes of pictures. My shots per day were:

619 - Saturday (AK)
281 - Sunday (Epcot, TL)
430 - Monday (DHS, MK)
142 - Tuesday (Beach, DQ)
178 - Wednesday (Epcot)
937 - Thursday (MK)
154 - Friday (TL)
794 - Saturday (AK, Epcot)
539 - Sunday (MK, BB)
128 - Monday (Beach, DD)
624 - Tuesday (MK, DHS)
211 - Wednesday (Epcot)
163 - Thursday (DHS)
12 - Friday
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
The kids were also a different dynamic this time. On our last trip, they were in strollers and basically did what we wanted to do. On this trip, they were walking and doing a lot more to call the shots. That meant more rides and fewer shows.
Ah, I remember that happening, too.

Were you tempted at any point to bag the tent idea and get a hotel room?

Your report so far is a great example of how you plan for things to go a certain way, but there's always some type of fly in the ointment regardless.

Let's see how you did....
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkBarbieri View Post
I took fewer pictures than past trips (which were usually 1 week trips).
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkBarbieri View Post
I finished loading the pictures into Lightroom. It was 5,212 pictures all totaled. I was wrong above; that is more than any of my prior trips. It totalled 94.3 gigabytes of pictures.
Classic! I can't wait to start seeing some of them.

Sorry to hear about the tent and weather related problems- but sounds like you guys had fun regardless.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:00 AM   #10
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5,212 pics - Mark has a tendency to under-exaggerate things. I'm going in the opposite direction, only 2,512 last drive. Hey Mark, here's a question - how many of those are separate photos and how many are series of burst shots? 937 seems like a lot of shots for one day unless you're really cranking out a lot of burst shots or fireworks shots.

Mark, if the laptop drive is small, it's easy enough to put a bigger drive in here... my wife's Thinkpad has only an 80g drive (chose on purpose as the drive upgrades were more than buying another drive separately.) I'm going to put a 320g or 500g drive in before our next trip. I almost bought a 320g drive a week or two ago for $70 but decided to wait a little longer to see how far the 500g prices come down in the next few months.

Plus, you can keep the original drive around as a spare - if you're really paranoid, you can even bring it on a vacation so you won't be out of commission if your new drive crashes!
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:21 AM   #11
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Ahhh...nothing like a good Barbieri trip report to get me out of 'lurkdom'!!

I hear ya about the heat- my New England familiy is highly heat/humidity sensitive so there isn't a chance you'll see us in FL in June thru Aug!!

Looking forward to seeing your 'un-photo mojo' pics- I'm sure they are still fab.

Happy Father's Day too!

Liz

P.S. We're a camping family too so I totally understand your battle with the elements!
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:53 AM   #12
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I'm with campinggal!

We were discussing our summer trip plans with friends recently and they were shocked that we aren't going back to Disney since it's been almost 2 years. Then DH pipes in with "She'd have us there in an instant if it wasn't summertime!"

He's so right! Not being a waterparks person, I will never set foot in Florida during the summer months. I can get all the humidity and heat for free here in the DC area.

But I love hearing about your trip Mark and seeing your pictures; they give me so much to think about and learn from; especially since you were camping this time in all that rain!

Other than going to camp with the Boy Scouts for a week soon I won't be in a tent at all this summer

Can't wait for the pictures!
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:56 AM   #13
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Your above report made me so scared to tent camp in October! We were considering it as a really cheap way to stay on property for 2 or 3 nights in October, but now I'm having my doubts!

Can't wait to see some of the shots and glad to hear that even though you had a hot and rainy trip, you still enjoyed yourselves.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I never really got my photography mojo going. I think I got a few nice shots, but nothing really stunning or exciting. I'm blaming the heat. Really good photography requires putting out extra effort to think things through and get things just right. When I get really hot, I just want to muddle through things and get them over with.
That is pretty much how I felt about our trip last October. I just couldn't really get into my photography groove. Most of my photos were pretty ho-hum. I didn't even bother posting any when we got back because there just wasn't anything noteworthy to post. And I couldn't even blame the heat. It was actually unseasonably cold when we were there. The night we went to MNSSHP, it got into the 40s. My excuse (and I'm sticking with it) is that my Dad became very critically ill while we were there and I didn't know if I should stay, get on a plane and go home or just what to do. So, I guess there's always next time.

On another note, I can't believe you tent camped in Florida in the summertime. Kudos to your family for their sense of adventure! I think I would need running water and central air!
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:38 PM   #15
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Your above report made me so scared to tent camp in October! We were considering it as a really cheap way to stay on property for 2 or 3 nights in October, but now I'm having my doubts!

Can't wait to see some of the shots and glad to hear that even though you had a hot and rainy trip, you still enjoyed yourselves.
Consider getting an annual pass. You can generally get decent hotel rates with an annual pass in the non-peak times.
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