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Old 10-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #31
Missus Toad
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It's funny how I keep happening upon your updates, and I'm glad because I'm enjoying this TR so much. The photos really put it over the top in my book.

I love the Nemo show. One of the very best things about AK. The puppeteers are so talented and expressive in every way, and the production design is wonderful. Your photos really captured that beautifully.

Those parade shots are terrific. The one of Pluto is my fave of the bunch-- it just makes me happy to look at it.

I don't blame you for not even trying on Dinosaur. That thing is a menace. I had never outright hated a ride until I got on that seizure machine. Of course, later I would experience the Tiki Room Under New Management and Stitch's Great Escape, and I became more familiar with the sensation of attraction loathing... (and yes, I know that could be taken as an oxymoron, but you know what mean)
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:09 PM   #32
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WOW!!! You are a fantastic photographer! You've done a great job with the fireworks and spectro. Can't wait to see what else you've captured!
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:21 PM   #33
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You really are an amazing photographer! Wow! The Nemo Musical pics are truly amazing! I really love all your photos ~ they're awesome!
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:28 PM   #34
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Hey, I learned how to use multiple quotes tonight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missus Toad View Post
It's funny how I keep happening upon your updates, and I'm glad because I'm enjoying this TR so much. The photos really put it over the top in my book.
Thank goodness for you MissusToad. I have not sparked too much other interest. Thank you for letting me know someone is reading this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missus Toad View Post
I love the Nemo show. One of the very best things about AK. The puppeteers are so talented and expressive in every way, and the production design is wonderful. Your photos really captured that beautifully.
I was very pleased with the way these came out. I totally agree on the talent in this show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missus Toad View Post
Those parade shots are terrific. The one of Pluto is my fave of the bunch-- it just makes me happy to look at it.
I also agree on the Pluto shot. I wish I had a better vantage point for the parade. Next time I will plan time in for this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Missus Toad View Post
I don't blame you for not even trying on Dinosaur. That thing is a menace. I had never outright hated a ride until I got on that seizure machine. Of course, later I would experience the Tiki Room Under New Management and Stitch's Great Escape, and I became more familiar with the sensation of attraction loathing... (and yes, I know that could be taken as an oxymoron, but you know what mean)
I actually love the Dinosaur ride but not for photography. I am right there with you on Stitch though. I had to subject myself to it twice on my previous trip since my son wanted to see it again. I made sure to avoid it at all costs this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris74 View Post
WOW!!! You are a fantastic photographer! You've done a great job with the fireworks and spectro. Can't wait to see what else you've captured!
Kris74, thank you so much that is very kind of you to say. I think I have a lot more to show that you will hopefully enjoy. Stay tuned.

Last edited by clearskies; 10-21-2009 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:31 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjzmgailey View Post
You really are an amazing photographer! Wow! The Nemo Musical pics are truly amazing! I really love all your photos ~ they're awesome!
Sorry, I did not see your reply jjzmgailey. Thank you again . The Nemo photos are probably my favorite from AK that day. I am so happy that others are enjoying the pictures.

Last edited by clearskies; 10-19-2009 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:01 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearskies View Post
Thank goodness for you MissusToad. I have not sparked too much other interest. Thank you for letting me know someone is reading this.
No thanks necessary. The pleasure is mine, and no doubt many more will join us as the TR progresses! Keep up the great work.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:27 PM   #37
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Bumping for an update!
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:52 PM   #38
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Hi Missus Toad,
Sorry, it has been a busy week at work. I have an update coming up now though......
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:00 PM   #39
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We left off last at the end of the afternoon parade in AK. As soon as the last float came through we immediately headed to the Lion King theater to catch the last showing of the day. The kids found a merchandise stand along the way that also had some small bags of snacks. Since I failed them as a provider earlier in my mission to get a snack before the Nemo show I wanted to get them something now. They opted for some small mickey pretzels so I got them a couple of bags while the others headed for a bathroom break before the show. It is somewhat a waste of a snack credit to get a 99 cent bag of pretzels but we have so many of these snack credits to use that there is no remorse in blowing through a couple of them on this. This meal plan throws an awful lot of food your way and we are not big eaters so I figure we are going to have a boatload of snack credits left over by the end of the trip. After we are all ready to head in, we made our way into the theater and it was not at all crowded. I guess that most people have seen the show already and the last show of the day does not get a big draw. Every single time we have gone to this show we get directed to the Elephant section and this time was no different. We headed on over to our usual section. I wanted to be close to the stage but the rest of the crew wanted to go up to the very last row. I decided to let them head on up and I sat a few rows from the floor. This is an outstanding show.























After the show I wanted to grab my tripod out of the locker so that I would have it for after the dinner. I have admired late pics of the park when EE and the Tree are lit up and I was hoping to get some nice pics myself. Even though my tripod head plate was sadly AWOL I devised a way to I wrap my gorillapod around my tripod legs for a makeshift tripod head. I was going to be very careful with this though. We already saw what damage I can inflict on my camera through spectacular acts of stupidity on my part. My Wife wanted to dump some extra things into the locker as well so my wife, son and I headed off to the lockers while I sent the rest of our crew to the Maharaja Jungle Trek to kill some time before we needed to check in for the safari celebration. Since we had to check in at the Flights of Wonder Theater and the Jungle Trek is close by it seemed like a good place to go. On the way out of Camp Minnie Mickey We saw these guys along the way and I thought they waved hello to us so I had to take their picture.



I think Donald has been on the trail too long. He looks like he needs a bath.


We got to the locker and let me tell you, a Disney miracle happened. While taking some things out of the locker something fell out to the ground. I picked it up and it was my long lost plate from my tripod head. It decided life on its own was too harsh and it came back to me!! Ok, I know what you are thinking. Sure, I do. You think it was caught up in something else on a bag or clothing or something like that and then it got dislodged. ok, I can see how you might think that but let me tell you instead that it was pure and simple Disney magic that brought it back to me ;-)

By the time we caught up with the rest of our crew they were done walking through the jungle trek. My BIL and SIL told us it was a bit of a waste of time because all the animals were sleeping and there is nothing much to really see. We have nowhere else to go though before it is time to report in so my wife, son and I headed in while they sat and relaxed outside. Fortunately for us a lot of the animals must have woken up when they saw us coming. They couldn't resist the photo op.





ok, perhaps he does look a little tired


I love the this bat picture












A CM along the path started talking to me about cameras and photography. We talked for a while until I realized it was time to check in. So we bid adieu to him and headed on over to the FOW theater where everyone else was collecting. They had created groups of people and named the groups after animals. We got put into the Giraffe group with 2 other families of 8. We still had to wait around a bit for other people to arrive so While waiting I walked to the water and took some pictures of the tree of life from a distance.



We eventually were corralled into the theater in our tour groups and did some intros with our Guide. We were asked what we are celebrating. Um, do we have to be celebrating something? My daughter whose birthday was earlier in the month decides we are celebrating her birthday. Ok, sure why not. Then my niece adds that her birthday which was 2 weeks earlier than my daughters is being celebrated as well. yeah, why not. Then my son adds that we are celebrating his birthday. Um, isn't that in November? Ok, but we'll keep my late September birthday off the list. I think we got the celebrations covered at this point.

Next our hostess Mama Dacia comes out and welcomes us all and gives us an intro spiel. She gave us details of the course of events and gave a good build up to get us excited to start. She was an entertaining hostess.

Here is our mama for the night


We all got a special Disney Grand Gathering pin. I had known this was coming but it was a good surprise for the rest of the crew. I have not been sucked into the pin trading craze but my wife and kids have a great time with it.

I took this picture afterwards to give you an idea of what the pin looks like. I imagine they had a different pin for each animal group since ours had giraffes on them.




I am going to hit my picture posting limit so I will continue in the next post....
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:06 PM   #40
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Now for the actual Safari. I have been building up excitement for this all day. We left the Flights of Wonder theater and headed off on our groups for the start the safari at around 7PM. I was raring to go. The same vehicles that are used for the daytime safari are used for this safari as well. As we are driving through I was thinking hmmm, this is not as leisurely as I was hoping. There were a few times where we were moving off quickly before I could get a decent photo off. We did pause a little longer than the daytime safari in spots but it didn't seem a heck of a lot longer. I didn't time the duration of this but afterwards I thought that I would look at timestamps on my photo files and compare the daytime safari to this one. I can't match up photo spots exactly but I figure our safari from earlier was about 17 minutes and this one was maybe 20 minutes. Good grief Charlie Brown. So we basically bought ourselves a few more minutes of time with this. I'll admit that I expected a little more. The other perk of having more animals out and about was not the case either. Instead of a sleeping lion from the AM we had a spectacular view of a rock and that was it. They were nowhere to be found. The rhinos also had ended their work shift and headed home for perhaps a cocktail and then dinner. I don't expect Disney to be able to control which animals are seen but it would have been nice if there was more. Perhaps they can plop down some fake animals that look like they are sleeping that we could ooh and ah at. This is Disney, they can do magical things. Now, I will say that one plus is that we did get the opportunity to get more info from the guide and ask questions and it was a bit more informative but only a tad.

Here are some of my pictures.



Hey can one of you turn around please


Thank you











After the safari it was time to head to Tusker House for their celebration dinner. This was a buffet and I was hoping it would be similar to a scaled down version of Boma. I think Boma may be the best buffet that we have had in WDW and I have seen Tusker house described as a Boma-lite. Perhaps the grand gathering buffet is different from their normal buffet but I don't think it was even close to Boma. Actually, I would rank this meal as the worst we had on the trip. Don't get me wrong though. The food was certainly not bad or inedible. There was plenty to eat and it was all ok. So saying it is bad is doing it an injustice, It just was not as good as other meals that we ate on our trip. The others in our party agreed as well. Perhaps another factor was that after 3 consecutive days of eating at buffets we also were getting "buffeted-out". Good thing we will be taking a break from buffets for the next couple of nights after this.

They did have some music to entertain us and the kids enjoyed that.



Also some special guests came to join the party and danced with the kids for a short time and then lined up for autographs and photo ops.






Lastly, there were a couple of small animal exhibits (very small). One was spiders and the other was this animal but I did not catch what it was and I can't say it was captivating.




Overall, I think this not-so-Grand Gathering event suffered from inflated expectations on my part and a subsequent let down when it did not live up to them. Looking back on what I wrote I think I sounded awfully negative on this and it was not at all a bad experience. I did not come away from this angry and cursing at Disney for duping me into a second rate event. Instead I was just somewhat disappointed. Had I paid $60 per person for this instead of giving up 2 meal credits I may have been singing a different tune though. However, the pin was a good benefit, the safari was indeed a tad bit longer and the party afterwards was nice even though the food was not spectacular, oh and another plus was that the tip was included. We probably won't give up 2 credits for this in the future though and I doubt I would ever lay out the cash for this.

While the rest of the family was finishing dessert I took off a little early in hopes of getting some of those late pics in the park. Unfortunately there were CMs manning the paths and directing people who had left towards the exit. I did stop to take a couple pics but it was not what I hoped for. No one gave me a hard time but I did not want to linger too long and I had to stay on the paths that led to the exit. There are better vantage points that I hope to one day see at night during a PM EMH on a future trip.







Oh, one last perk was that they had busses waiting to transport us to whichever resort we were headed to. We had our own private bus back to Pop. Though we headed back to the resort, my night was not over. More to come..
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:34 PM   #41
Missus Toad
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This round: Frog, bat and watusi!

The Lion King show looks good-- I'll try to check it out next time!

Hooray for the prodigal plate returning home!

Sorry about your slight disappointment with the safari and the push out of the park. Sounds like you made the best of it all though, and next time you'll know what to expect. Still, those were some nice nighttime shots.

Thanks for the update. I always look forward to more.

P.S. - I think that was Daisy that needed a bath! Don't worry, I won't tell Donald what you said.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:57 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missus Toad View Post
This round: Frog, bat and watusi!

The Lion King show looks good-- I'll try to check it out next time!

Hooray for the prodigal plate returning home!

Sorry about your slight disappointment with the safari and the push out of the park. Sounds like you made the best of it all though, and next time you'll know what to expect. Still, those were some nice nighttime shots.

Thanks for the update. I always look forward to more.
Those are my favorites as well

You should definitely check out the Lion King. I think it is their best live entertainment. I have some good pictures from another day when we saw it again.

I still don't know how that plate got back to me but I was sure glad to get my hands on it again. I made sure that I kept an eye on it for the rest of the trip so that it did stray too far.

We still had a good time with the safari. I am glad we experienced it even if I wanted more from it.

I have some nice night pictures coming to wrap up the day that I should be able to post tomorrow so stay tuned.

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P.S. - I think that was Daisy that needed a bath! Don't worry, I won't tell Donald what you said.
Oh my gosh. I didn't look close enough at that. Forget about Donald, don't ever tell Daisy I said that ok?
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:44 AM   #43
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What lens are you carrying with you? I saw them in the earlier pic put can't make out the particulars. Thanks
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:15 AM   #44
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What lens are you carrying with you? I saw them in the earlier pic put can't make out the particulars. Thanks
Hi disneydentist.

I carried 5 lenses around
1. 24-70mm f/2.8L - This is my general use lens. It is a great walkaround lens.
2. 17-40mm f/4L - When I want to get a wider view.
3. 50mm f/1.8 - Mostly for dark rides where a larger aperture is needed.
4. 70-200mm f/4L - When I want to zoom in more than the 24-70.
5. 300mm f/4L IS - This is my largest lens and about as large as I want to carry around. It is a fabulous lens but since it is a prime lens there is no zoom.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:25 PM   #45
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Day 4 - Sun 8/30 - Less that 5 minutes??? (part 5)

When we got back to our room we had this little creature waiting for us. I am not quite sure what was. Perhaps a butterfly? My kids wanted me to take a picture so I obliged.


Our housekeepers were good about leaving us things most days. Note that the fact that I am pretty sure that the fact that I left a decent tip each day had something to do with this while my SIL next door did not tip as much and were not getting the creatures left in their room.

Sadly, I had to actually log into work to get something done for my job after getting back but I had absolutely zero motivation to do it at this point. I am sure many of you already think I am crazy for working on my vacation but it was a necessary evil. Since I am a champ at procrastinating I decided that while the rest of the family got ready for bed I would head off for more photo ops. I wanted to make my way over to the Magic Kingdom which was having PM EMH. Since it was just me I was able to avoid the Disney busses and drive over. I wasn’t going to actually get on any of the rides though. I am not really comfortable getting on rides by myself. Just one of my many idiosyncrasies. I somewhat got over this later in the trip though. For this night, I just wanted to wander around and enjoy the night atmosphere. I had a good time walking through the park and soaking it all in. I did stop and help a few people with their own photos along the way. I even lent my tripod to someone and provided some tips. Here are some of my pictures:













I like these 2 very different pictures of the carousel.




Missus Toad, this is the teacup picture I like better than the previous one.
















I stayed until a little after 12:30AM and then made my way back. I had to face the music when I got back and get my work done. I logged in and worked for about and hour but then started to get too tired. I think I procrastinated too much this time. I had until 9AM to send something out though so I figured I would get about 4 1/2 hours of sleep and then get up early and finish up. Yes I acknowledge that I am in need of professional help.
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