Discovering A Whole New World of Disney-An October 2013 Photo Safari **Updated 2/20

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by DaveinFallsChurch, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Despite the very short nights of sleep I somehow managed to get up early each morning. It’s amazing what you can accomplish on 4-5 hours of sleep as I had learned during my pediatric residency. Add Disney tours and conference sessions to that list. One morning before heading out to conference I decided that I wanted to stop at AK for a couple of hours at rope drop for a Safari. I showed up extremely early and was the first person in line at one of the turnstiles.

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    This has never happened to me before. I found myself chatting with the CM manning my turnstile whose name I just can’t remember for the life of me right now. This is why I should be taking notes.

    She was from New Zealand participating in the College Program for a whole year and was two months away from finishing her experience. She was getting a degree in neuroscience and was enjoying her experience in CP. I asked whether she goes out to the parks much when she’s off duty and she responded with a laugh that she usually is too tired after work to head out to the parks. We talked about her home country and I purposely did not bring up the subject of Lord of the Rings being filmed there since I wasn’t sure how New Zealanders feel about their beautiful country being defined by a Hollywood film filled with elves and dragons. Surprisingly, she brought up the subject on her own and how she found out about beautiful landscapes and locales that were just a drive away from her home that she never knew existed until the movies were released. Too funny. Maybe I should be paying closer attention to shows like House of Cards to look for hidden gems around our DC area although I probably would end up with a list of locations that are far more sinister than photogenic. Plus I hear most of the filming happens in Baltimore.

    I headed straight to Safari at rope drop and was able to snag a ride on the second vehicle out for the morning. I got seated on the far left end of the row which turned out a not-so-ideal side for this particular morning. There was quite a bit of delay after we got seated before the vehicle was allowed to drive on to the grounds. I kept myself entertained looking for items to photograph up close since I had my telephoto zoom lens on.

    The truck behind us.
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    The truck in front of us. Are you getting the feeling that I was becoming bored?
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    Above the Driver
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    I always feel conspicuous when I have this lens on. When the lens hood is on it just looks comically big and it’s very unusual to go for an entire minute with that lens attached to my camera without someone making a comment about how big my camera is. During the ride I had to catch myself a couple of times from whacking the face of neighbor sitting to my right with my lens. I did apologize a couple of times too and she was nice about it laughing it off. She even told her husband to stop standing up and crowding my camera’s view of the animals on their side of the truck. I smiled and told her that it was okay and that it just wasn’t possible for me to get pictures of animals on that side – too many heads and shoulders were in the way.

    Once the vehicle got moving I was ready with my camera. The elephants were missing in action for the most part. The lions were already settling into their naptime positions. The ride was quite bumpy. I always seem to forget how rough this ride is until I’m on it for about 30 seconds. Our driver also seemed to be in a bigger hurry than usual because when she stopped for any animal viewing it was for 3-4 seconds at most which made for a very difficult photography session.

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    We drove by the termite mound and the ostrich eggs as we always do. Without fail there were a good number of people snapping the cameras away at these “natural” wonders. Ahhhh, newbies. I used to be one of them until the third visit to AK when I started wondering how the location and appearances of these items never changed. Not. One. Little. Bit.
    The rickety bridge wasn’t working this morning which in Disney terms means it failed to even make an attempt of plunging our truck down the gorge.

    Some scenes on my way out of the Safari walking path.
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    Making a mental note for the next time I get thirsty.
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    I decided to take the long way around to Asia on my way to exiting the park.
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  3. DisneyKid4Life

    DisneyKid4Life DIS Veteran

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    Isn't it wonderful to have a moment to chat with a CM? They really are the difference maker of the whole Disney experience in my opinion.

    Funny, I always thought of the left side to be the best side siince I find most of the animals to be on that side.

    Bummer about the elephants, but you still saw giraffes!!!
     
  4. DDuck4Life

    DDuck4Life Fear The Brow

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    That's too funny talking to the CM about LoTR. Good thing she was able to bring it up for you.

    Seems like it was a rough few minutes for you on the safari truck. :lmao: Too bad about sitting on the left though still better than stuck in the middle you were able to capture some nice shots of the animals that were on your side. I always forget how bumpy the ride is until it starts up. For some reason I always think it's going to be smooth for some reason. Always tough to get decent shots when zoomed in all the way on the animals and bouncing off your seat, you have to time it just right when they hesitate for a second before speeding off again to the next group on animals.

    Fantastic shot of the sun coming through the trees and that star burst effect.

    Sounds like a fun quick morning before all the excitement of the conference takes over. :rotfl::lmao::rotfl2: how you were able to walk out of the park and head to the conference I do not know. Your a stronger man then me for being able to do that. :lmao:
     
  5. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Very cool that you met a cast member from NZ. Such an amazing country. I had the opportunity to visit there once and it was gorgeous.

    Beautiful pictures and you got the lioness. :thumbsup2 My luck at getting the lions is slim to none. They were finally out in October and I went out of the room without my long lens. :faint:

    That's a cool picture of the sunburst at the end!
     
  6. IheartDDuck

    IheartDDuck DIS Veteran

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    I've never been the first person at the turnstile's before. It's a dream of mine, but I'm such a sleeper, I don't know if I'll ever do it.

    It sucks when you're on the wrong side of the safari truck! You walk in like "yeah, this is going to be amazing, I'm gonna see all of the......dangit!"
     
  7. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I love chatting with the CMs. Just don't get to do it as often since my mind and eyes are usually locked on the kids.

    It's so unpredictable which side of the Safari truck will yield better views on any given day. Oh well. At least I got a good view of one of the termite mounds. :lmao:

    It wasn't easy walking out and it's not a short walk either with soooo many temptations to stay on the way. :lmao:

    Lately I've fallen in love with shooting into the sun lately with the well positioned sun flares. Maybe too much. :lmao:

    For our trip in January there's only one day I'm really going to be try to be the first group at a turnstile - our DHS day. We'll see if I can drag the rest of the family out with me. :lmao:
     
  8. DisneySurbeck

    DisneySurbeck Earning My Ears

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  9. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    Great safari shots! The first time I went on the right - saw very little I could picture, my second trip on the left was much more successful..... However, I had this fear of the kids falling out on a bump and I was holding onto Zoey much of the time as well.... That's great you were chatting with a CM - I think they enjoy it, especially ones who are not in a position that they can be so chatty.... I think many of them appreciate it, makes them feel human and not just an accessory to a RFID reader! ;)


    And yes... Sleep is not required in Disney ;) this is proven time and time again! I'm still trying to figure out if you actually attended your conference!
     
  10. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!

    Haha! With everything I did at Disney I think it's a miracle that I actually got some conference time and continuing medical education credits in during the trip. :lmao:
     
  11. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    I don't know how you showed restraint in bringing up LotR when you found out she was from NZ, as that would probably be the very first thing I brought up. :lmao: Good thing she mentioned it for you. :thumbsup2 DH gets so annoyed with me because I will watch those movies any time they are on cable, even though I own all 3. And also because I say almost all of the lines with the characters as I'm watching. :rolleyes1

    Anyway, for such a bumpy and unpredictable ride, you still got some really great animal shots!! The crocs and the lioness are both really fantastic. And that hippo, because it looks like he is staring you down!

    Beautiful shot of the Tree of Life. After the Castle, that's my favorite park icon! :love:
     
  12. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    It was not easy holding back LotR with the CM. :lmao:

    I really miss being able to take the path that took us right up to and around the Tree of Life where you could really see the details of the animal carvings on the trunk. Ever since that branch came down, they've kept the path closed to guests. :sad2:
     
  13. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Over the past week and a half I had a chance to see some of the holiday and Christmas scenes here in Washington DC. With Christmas being only a couple of days away (which I'm being reminded of by my kids pretty much every 5 minutes :lmao:), I thought I'd share the pictures I took.

    First, we visited the United States Botanic Garden located across the street from the US Capitol. This was our first visit to this garden which had its annual holiday display which included a miniature train set made up of plant material and a recreation of DC landmarks.

    Can't have a train display without Thomas
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    Part of the train display had a New York City theme.
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    DC Landmarks
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    The Supreme Court
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    A couple of nights ago I drove down to the National Mall area to catch a glimpse of a couple of Christmas trees.

    The National Christmas Tree in front of the White House. Not surprisingly it was pretty crowded. Surrounding the tree are 56 smaller trees representing the 50 states, 5 US territories, and the District of Columbia. For my fellow DIS friends I spent some extra time in front of the Florida tree. ;)

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    The Florida Christmas Tree
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    Found some festive lighting at the Daughters of the American Revolution HQs.

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    Finally, I hopped over to see the tree in front of the US Capitol.

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  14. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    DC has so many gorgeous sights! Such a beautiful backdrop!
     
  15. DisneyKid4Life

    DisneyKid4Life DIS Veteran

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    HAHA, Honestly Dave for a second I thought I was looking at Epcot with the train and the globe.

    Thanks for sharing these photos Dave. Just lovely!
     
  16. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I love all of the sights inside and outside the Capital Beltway this time of the year! But my favorite city during the holidays remain NYC. :thumbsup2 Love taking in the sights along Fifth Ave and Rockefeller Center. I'm taking the kids up that way next week while DW works to visit my brother. Got plans for at least one evening where I'll take the kids to 30 Rock and Time Square. And of course, the Disney Store in Times Sq. ;)

    Now that you mention, there's a resemblance isn't there? :rotfl:
     
  17. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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  18. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Watching the Disney Christmas Parade yesterday made me think of Celebrate a Dream Come True. So here's the update with 40 pictures!!

    I’m going to miss this parade. There. I said it. I know this parade has mixed reviews and I am looking forward to the new MK parade debuting sometime next year. But this parade carries a lot of sentimental and nostalgic feelings for me mostly because of how much both DD and DS LOVED it. Even when they were at a young age and afraid to meet the characters one on one, they loved seeing those same characters in the parade. I have memories of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum both coming over to DD during the parade, each of them holding one of her hand and jumping and dancing with her as she giggled in delight. I remember when DS was sound asleep in his stroller along Main Street on our departure day when he fell ill with a stomach bug and had been feeling crappy all day. Yet, when the parade song started pumping through the speakers and the first float started passing by us he woke up and leaped out of his stroller to plop himself on my lap where I was sitting on the curbside to watch his favorite parade. So yes, I will miss this one when it finally bids adieu next month.

    Since this would be my last chance to see this I made sure to make time for it. An amusing observation as I tried to find a good spot that would provide good lighting for my pictures. I wanted to position myself so that my “subjects” in the parade would be backlit and none of that harsh 3pm sunlight would fall upon their faces. This meant that I had to pick a spot on the one side of Main Street where there were no shades and direct sunlight was hitting. So I had no problem finding a spot for the parade on the curbside because guess where everyone was staking out spots? Yep, the other side of Main Street where it was shaded. I was baking in the sun for about 15 minutes waiting for the parade to start. Oh, the things we do for our pictures.

    The time went by faster because I ran into my Photopass photographer friend Les from earlier in the morning. He recognized me and came up to me to see if I ever found out where I could find an extra memory card for my camera. We chatted for a while before the parade began. My side of the curbside was now full with people. To my right there was a father with his two kids. He was trying to take a “selfie” with his kids but straining to do so. So I asked him if he would like me to take a picture of the three of them. Most people had been happy whenever I offered to take a picture of them. Oddly, this guy had a look of concern and suspicion flash across his face. I clarified “with your camera of course”. He then said “I don’t think we should because the parade is about to start”. Ummmm, dude, the music hasn’t even started piping in yet and the Grand Marshal hasn’t even made it to the flag pole. I told him it’s going to be another 3 minutes before they get here and he reluctantly agreed. Boy, you would think I was charging him a $100 for the service. Sheesh.

    I didn’t have much time to stew on what just had transpired because the music indeed kicked in and it was time to celebrate!!

    I’ve been looking forward to trying this shot again. Last time it was a bit out of focus. Do you see the hidden Mickey’s on the spare tire? By the way, they’d better have Grand Marshals for the new parade since we haven’t had a chance to be on one yet!

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    On a hot day I usually think these guys have the best job in the parade. While their friends are jumping, twirling, dancing, and sweating like crazy, these guys can just breeze through the whole thing by just holding on to the banner! And I’m pretty sure they take turns doing it because I recognized one of the banner holders this time who was a dancer in a previous parade.

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    So you know what my favorite part about this parade is? The dancers. I don’t know how they can dance so hard with a smile on their faces on warm days.

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    And now, the characters!

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    Lilo surfing along
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    The Sheriff
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    Hmmm, it appears that the fox has his cape stuck between his jaws. Either that or he’s trying eat through it.

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    Sadly I have a strong suspicion that Pinocchio will not make the cut for the next parade. Well, at least he still has a float in MSEP!

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    Continued in Next Post
     
  19. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Continued from previous post.

    Tired of the pictures yet? Because here comes more!!

    Ummm, is it really nice to be flaunting those RED APPLES around Snow White?? I think Dopey is due for some sensitivity training.

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    Dude, your 3’o clock shadow looks like a 5’o clock shadow!
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    I don’t think I noticed this cute Dumbo decoration before on Aladdin's float.
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    Aladdin is all pumped up!
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    Love Mary and Bert. I do feel for them as they have the worst spot on the parade. Right behind Genie’s (ahem) behind.

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    The next sequence of pictures with these characters were funny. Myself and all the other people standing near me were distracted by a float that just passed us. So we were all still looking in that direction oblivious to the Captain Hook who snuck behind us and placed his gigantic head right behind the woman standing next to me. When we all turned around she let out a yelp. Then Hook shoved his face pretty much right up against my lens. This picture? It was not zoomed in AT ALL. In fact I had it at the widest angle and yet here he is. Then the Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit decided to do the exact same thing. They would come up to me, position their oversized heads right in front of my lens and hold that position until I got the shot off and gave them a thumbs up! I tell ya, these Disney characters are always starving for attention aren’t they?

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    I do appreciate their efforts though. It makes my photography a whole lot easier. I have noticed it a lot more lately ever since I upgraded my camera and lens from a moderate size to a so-big-you-can’t-see-my-face-behind-the-camera size, a lot of the CMs and characters in parades, shows, etc will pose for me. They will strike a pose and hold it for a good 3-4 seconds. In fact they hold it so long that I have to give them a sign of acknowledgement that I got the shot I wanted by giving them a thumbs up, a smile, and yell out “Thank you!” before they move on.

    One of my favorite gals in the parade!
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    Wow - a rare smile from Drizella!
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    Perla posing for me.
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    I’m really going to miss this parade. Had so much fun watching it for the very last time.
     
  20. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Great update! :)
     
  21. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    great update and wonderful pictures!

    We aren't big "parade people" - or at least we haven't been in the past - but this last trip we did catch this parade and the kids loved it - just a great way to see so many characters at once kinda crammed together.

    I am excited about the posted drawings of the floats for the new parade and I am sure there will be new memories from it - just great that you have so many great pictures from this parade to remember it by
     

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