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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    Thank you for following! :thumbsup2

    I've been having so much fun posting these pictures and sharing the stories!
     
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  3. IheartDDuck

    IheartDDuck DIS Veteran

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    I'm definitely joining this one. I'm LOVING your pictures. I'm such a non-photographer, but I love and appreciate amazing photos. :thumbsup2
     
  4. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Welcome and thank you!! I'm so happy to have you on-board! I've been really enjoying your TR. :goodvibes
     
  5. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    This update will be light on pictures. This was the first time I ever stayed at one of the Epcot Resorts that are lined up along Crescent Lake. Even though the conference was taking place in Orange County Convention Center, they contracted through Disney Meetings and Conventions to secure rooms for Beach Club. And are you ready for this? At about half the rack rate. The room rate was $180 per night! Obviously, the rooms sold out pretty quickly as soon as reservations opened back in June but you know that being a well-trained DISer I was in front of my computer right at the time the reservations opened up and snagged a ressie.

    When I showed up to check in at the Beach Club after spending most of the day at the conference the place was packed. There were tons of people that were trying to check in most of whom were attendees from the same conference all sporting the same bright blue tote bags from the meeting. As expected for any hotel when they are booked to the gills the day before and the day of check in, the rooms werent ready. The front desk staff asked me how badly I wanted my room preferences. I told him that I would just lovvvve to have any room right now where I can dump my stuff in and head out to the parks. He called around then asked me if I would be good with a room in the Yacht Club instead because he could get me one in the next 30 minutes. Thats how I ended up in YC instead of BC.

    I hung around the Yacht Club lobby while my room was getting ready. As I found out sitting there YC was in the last day of hosting the Florida Democratic Convention. There were a lot of hobnobbing in that lobby between local politicians and aides. A big crowd gathered around Charlie Crist who spent about 20 minutes in the lobby shaking hands, signing autographs, and taking pictures which was sort of reminiscent of a character meet and greet at Disney.

    My room was ready and I quickly found out why this one was available right away. Right across from my door in the hallway and probably no more than 20 feet away was the ice vending machine that sounded like it was in dire need of some maintenance. I did have a balcony on the second floor. The view was of the parking lot and directly in front of me was the Disney Bus Station. Still I was perfectly happy with my room. After all I was in Disney!

    Hmmmm. So many beds to choose from. Which one do I pick?
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    IMG_8162 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    There were hidden mickeys everywhere in the room. I guess theyre really not that well hidden. Couldn't have been happier as I was paying half the price. I pretty much used the room for just sleeping anyway thanks to my busy itinerary of jumping back and forth between the parks and the convention center.

    The service was impeccable. I know youre supposed to expect a certain degree of high level of service at Disney but both the BC and YC had an abundance of CMs everywhere you turned that was ready to jump in even if you had a hint of confusion or question flash across your face which happened a couple of times in the morning for me as I tried to located some of the amenities. Mainly caffeine!!

    I didnt get a chance to photograph the resort much. I kept putting it off because each night I got back to the resort it was past midnight and I was just too exhausted. On my last evening, I just gave up. You can thank the creamy milkshake from Beaches and Cream for that which put me in a nightlong coma. By the way, for those of you who are familiar with the Beaches and Cream take out order section: They reeeeeally need to change the queue and the flow. Not enough room for everyone to be in line for both the register and the order pickup. Just asking for someones ice cream to get smeared on another persons shirt on the way out.

    After my first night at the resort I did get an opportunity to take a few of these pictures during sunrise. I was intent of sleeping in this particular morning (which for parents with young children means 7:00am) but my body clock said No way! DS usually comes into our room at home around 5:45am every morning. So naturally, my eyes opened at 5:45am and I couldnt fall back asleep. I decided to make the most of it by taking my tripod out with the camera to catch the sunrise. Afterwards I grabbed a cup of coffee and a muffin from the lobby area then I went off to the convention center.

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    IMG_8349-2 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8357 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    During the first evening I also got a chance to walk around the Boardwalk area after the great dinner at bluezoo and caught these images at dusk.

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    IMG_8174 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8179 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8185 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I did enjoy the convenience of being in walking distance to some awesome restaurants around the lake. Being able to walk back and forth to Epcot was a huge plus especially after Illuminations. I dont think though we as a family will be staying the Epcot Resorts for at least another 3-4 years. Our children are still young and still tend to gravitate more towards the themings of AoA or AKL. Plus Magic Kingdom continues to be our familys favorite park because of their age. I can imagine once they get older and their tastes and interests change we will find more things to take advantages of at one of the Epcot Resorts.
     
  6. quigs3

    quigs3 Winds in the east, mist comin' in, like somethin'

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    Love the beautiful pictures of the boardwalk area at sunset! Glad you were able to get a room at YC-it's one of my favorite resorts!
     
  7. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Well, with your conference and park schedule, it isn't like you planned on hanging out in the room much anyway. :thumbsup2

    And you'll be so tired when you get back, you'll crash so hard it won't matter anyway. :rotfl2::rotfl:

    I've always thought that. I mean they're not really hidden if they're intended to be found. To me, there are like 2 degrees of hidden Mickeys. The ones that are blatantly obvious, and not really hidden (kind of like the designs in carpet, wallpaper, etc.) and those that you have to look to find (like a mickey in the props in an attraction).

    That actually sounds really good right about now...

    My body clock usually just says no way because I'm in Disney World.

    And knowing that I'd be at a conference in a few hours, I'd know I'd have time to catch up on missed sleep anyway... :rolleyes1


    Beautiful sunrise/sunset pictures. Too bad you didn't get an opportunity to get more around the resort, but I totally understand. I don't think that would have been the top priority for me, either.

    I think you make a great point about the EPCOT resorts. I definitely want to stay at one, but it does lend itself more toward adults and older kids. I'm sure it was the perfect place to stay for a solo trip! :thumbsup2
     
  8. emmysmommy

    emmysmommy DIS Veteran

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    Oh Dave I was thrilled when you said they had a room at YC, noisy ice machine and parking lot view aside, it really is a lovely resort. That conference rate was awesome.

    Your sunrise photo by the lighthouse pier is spectacular! The Boardwalk area is very photogenic as well. I love the dusk photos showing both sides of Crescent Lake.

    Ha ha! I'm picturing the line at B&C and someone shouting out I've been smeared!! :lmao: I've not been to the walk up counter before but we've been seated on the other side of the little wall and worried that a drip of ice cream may find its way onto us.

    Completely agree that the ambiance and theming is definitely not marketed to the little ones here. Try to find a character incorporated into the theming anywhere at YC.
     
  9. DDuck4Life

    DDuck4Life Fear The Brow

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    Still an awesome room for the price. :thumbsup2 With as much as you were at the parks quite time in the room didn't seem like a priority. You could always have just went over an unplugged the machine for a little bit if it was keeping you up. By the time someone noticed and plugged it back in you would have already been asleep. :rotfl:

    The convenience of being able to walk back to your room at the end of the night is a big plus. Not having to fight the crowds out is always nice.

    Have to agree about the theming being much netter at some of the other resorts for the kids. Animals and characters are much more interesting.
     
  10. DisneyKid4Life

    DisneyKid4Life DIS Veteran

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    Light on pictures??? WHAT?!! I've been bamboozled! :p

    Wow what a great rate. I would love to stay in one of those resorts and be able to just pop over to Epcot or DHS. Not to mention how gorgeous the area is anyway. At $180 I may have pulled that off. Nice score Dave!

    Despite the lack of photos, I do love the ones you got. I so enjoy the atmosphere as the resorts "wake up" each morning. So peaceful and beautiful.
     
  11. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I really liked the atmosphere at YC! Oh and how I wished I had more nights there because there were a few more restaurants I wanted to try in the Epcot Resort area including a couple of steakhouses. ;)

    And that's exactly what happened each night. :rotfl:

    I have the same problem with that too which is why I can never seem to take a nap while at Disney.

    I would have really liked to have explored the awesome swimming pool. Something to look forward to in the future.

    It worked out great for my solo trip. After our next trip at AKL in January, if we do decide to go deluxe again we'll probably shoot for one of the MK resorts, probably CR or BLT. We still spend the most time at MK of all the parks with the kids. It would be so awesome being able to just walk back to the room after Wishes and not have to deal with the crowds.

    As soon as the BC front desk CM said Yacht Club I thought of you and the Celine Dion suite! :rotfl: I thought to myself "Sweeeet! I'm going to stay in Brenda's resort!" ;)

    I think when someone yells "I've been smeared!" they should blare out the sirens like they do for the Kitchen Sink! ;)

    I did find Mickey himself holding up the desk lamp! But that was about it.

    :lmao: Now why didn't I think of that! It really didn't keep me up though. Too exhausted by the time I hit the bed that nothing could have kept me up.

    That walk back from Illuminations through International Gateway was beautiful. Especially since I watched Illuminations from the UK-France bridge. There was very little walking.

    DD's been lobbying for another stay at Art of Animation. There's a very good chance we may end up there in 2015. But for next January I'm standing my ground with AKL! :lmao:

    :rotfl: Or as Josh from EasyWDW would say "Vacation Ruined!!" :lmao:

    It was just too good of a deal. Oh and all those restaurants in walking distance - I was in foodie heaven. Got to eat at bluezoo, Kouzzina, and Flying Fish. More on the solo dining experiences in a future update!

    This has become somewhat of a ritual for me now every time we go on vacation. DW and the kids would still be sleeping while I explore the resort area around sunrise time. There's usually no one around and as you said very peaceful and quiet as the sun comes up. :thumbsup2
     
  12. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    While I know waking up at 5:45 am on vacation just HAD to be a bummer, I have to say, all your readers definitely benefit from your internal alarm clock when you get to share such beautiful sunrise photos with us! I also had to laugh that you mentioned 7 am being considered "sleeping in." SO TRUE!

    The inside of your YC room looks beautiful, despite the noisy location and the substandard view. The colors really pop in there with all of the white!
     
  13. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    I'm just getting caught back up on your TR…but

    • No Mickey treats or Dole Whips???
    • Boo to the rental lens being bad. That had to be a disappointment after the anticipation of the fun that you would have with it.
    • No candy from the party?? I would think with all that running around during the party you would need a sugar high.

    Wonderful pictures from the Nemo show. You caught elements that I don’t remember seeing watching the show and I’ve seen it several times. I think in person, there is just sooo much going on at once, that its hard to catch all the details. I love the details!

    Awesome pictures of the statues around the partner statue. I have some of these but I like how you have focused the entire picture on the statue being photographed. Without the competing background it makes the character in question come to life.

    I had to laugh at your reference to the character meet and greet with Charlie Crist. :lmao:

    Isn’t that the way it always is when you’re a parent and you get a chance to “sleep-in”…you never can and you’re still up early. :confused3 I don’t fight it anymore and just enjoy the quiet. Gorgeous sunrise pictures!

    Christine
     
  14. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    Those are some great Sunrise/Dusk photos!

    We love the location for the EPCOT resorts but do get what you say about little kids loving theming. When they are a bit bigger they probably will enjoy Storm Along Bay more as well
     
  15. Luvchefmic

    Luvchefmic DIS Veteran

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    I felt like I was standing right beside you at the YC when you took those shots
    It is such a pretty area and the beauty of getting up early is that you can get these

    Great idea about unplugging the ice vending machine so easy so obvious ;) of course it never would have occurred to me either :rotfl: yep " vacation ruined" ala Josh
     
  16. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    It's funny how I almost didn't go out for those sunrise pictures. I initially left the room without my camera gear just to find some coffee and a muffin. I was mumbling to myself that I was too darn sleepy to bother with trying to get the sunrise pictures. Then as I was passing by the windows in the lobby looking east I saw the faint but beautiful colors beginning to dawn on the sky. I just couldn't resist. I immediately ran back to my room and grabbed my tripod/camera. Two minutes later I was out and setting up the shots. :lmao:

    I'm still kicking myself for not stopping for a Mickey bar or a Dole Whip! :rotfl: Those are two of my favorite treats at Disney.

    Just watching Charlie Crist got me all exhausted and reminded me why I could never be a politician. I would get tired within two minutes of shaking strangers hand and my mouth would probably start spasming from all the smiling. :rotfl:

    Welcome and thank you!!

    I think I would LOVE to come back at one of the Epcot Resorts during Food and Wine Festival once the kids are a little older.

    Thanks Ruthie! The whole Crescent Lake area is very photogenic!
     
  17. Luvchefmic

    Luvchefmic DIS Veteran

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    Lots of wildlife and beautiful sunset/sunrise over the water behind the 50's building at POP I'll have to show you my shots from there someday
     
  18. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Great update! :)
     
  19. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Definitely! I have yet to have set foot on POP and I'm sure will be on our list of potential resorts for our trip in 2015!

    Thanks!
     
  20. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Even though the conference I was attending was taking place at the Orange County Convention Center, they had contracted with Disney Meetings and Conventions for accommodations at Beach Club at a greatly discounted rate. They also arranged a private event at Hollywood Studios on Saturday October 26th. If you were wondering why DHS closed so early that evening at 6pm, there you have it.

    After attending some of the conference sessions I drove to my resort hotel and checked in. Looking at the clock I realized I could squeeze out a couple of precious park time at DHS before my dinner ADR at bluezoo and the private event. An extra 1.5 hours can do wonders at DHS!

    As I moved between the handful of attractions I found myself walking at a speed that I was completely unfamiliar with at Disney. I think most of you call it “leisurely paced.” I called it “Feels awkwardly slow but I like it!” speed. You know what one of the benefits are walking at such a pace? Objects and scenes that would have been a mere blur in the corner of my eye at my normal Disney walking speed were coming into focus. So I thought I would bring together these “street scenes” I took while walking between attractions at DHS into this single update!

    As I was walking by Star Tours Tatooine Traders and looking up at the building I daydreamed about just how awesome it would be if DHS expanded and built “Star Wars Land” The late afternoon sun helped even more since the lighting made it feel like I was on the desert alien planet…..even if I saw only one sun instead of two (queue Luke’s theme music: waah-waaaaaah-waaaaaaah-wah-wah-waaaaah).

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    IMG_7963 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_7965 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I’m constantly amazed at the sheer number of snack stands in the parks at Disney. Here’s a new one I discovered along Echo Lake called “Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner.”

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    IMG_7988 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I bought a Coke Zero from them to commemorate the occasion and sat at one of the tables. As I gulped down the pure refreshment that is Coke Zero while looking across the lake I wondered out loud “What else have I been missing?” which was quickly replaced by “Oooooh! Gertie!”

    This other snack stand doesn’t even appear on the map and was closed this particular day. Or maybe it doesn’t appear on the map BECAUSE it is closed. It’s located right across from the entrance to Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. The design of the stand is such that it gives the impression of snacks and drinks being served out of the back of a military supply truck. The front of the truck spills into a median. That is where I found this. I would like to think that Disney was going for this look all along but I’m going to give mother nature the credit.

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    IMG_7990 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I took this picture as I was walking back towards the Swan/Dolphin resort for my dinner at bluezoo. Decided that the line at the dock was way too long so I took the walking path. I can never resist a photo op with my favorite haunted hotel.

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    IMG_8156 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    Later that evening I returned to DHS for the private event. I was very excited about it. Even though the conference draws close to 10,000 attendees and exhibitors, I figured it would still feel a lot less crowded than an average day at DHS. The nerd in me actually pulled up attendance figures for DHS from the previous year and divided it up by 365 which led to an average daily attendance number somewhere in the 22000 range. So that’s half of the average crowd level for the whole year!

    Of course, what I didn’t account for was that every registered attendee could register family members at $10 each which usually means access to conference amenities such as gaining access to the convention center or signing up for certain tours. Well this year it meant spending 3.5 hours at DHS so you can imagine how many people would be interested in this.

    I quickly realized that this party would be just a tad more crowded than I had anticipated when I showed up at the gates 45 minutes before the event was supposed to begin only to find about 500 people already in line. I was worried that my plans of minimal standby waits were going to be foiled just by the number of people who showed early for this “rope drop” but then was quickly reassured from the comments I was overhearing from the people in front and behind me in the line that I would be okay. Comments like “What exactly is Toy Story Mania? Is it a ride?”

    You know I’m going to end up taking some pictures if I’m standing in one spot for more than 5 seconds. I had 45 minutes so I spent the time taking pictures of the same scenery mainly the entrance of DHS.

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    IMG_8190 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8192 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    There were multiple stages with DJs set up throughout DHS including one at the Sorcerer's Hat/

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    IMG_8195 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8323 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I think I counted a total of 4. Usually there would also be a table serving drinks right near by the stage as well as some tables that you normally see at cocktail parties where people could set their drinks or snacks down and mingle and be social. But seriously, who comes to a theme park (even for a conference event) to camp out at a table in the middle of the street when Tower of Terror is beckoning so nearby. Forget professional networking! That can wait for another time!

    There were a good number of people dancing it up in front of the DJs. Lots of kids but a good number of adults as well thanks to some liquid courage.
    Here’s one of my favorite pictures from the evening. That little girl was having a BLAST dancing and the DJ was feeding off her energy too.

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    IMG_8321 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    Another DJ was set up in front of RnR and this one had a lot more adults joining in on the dance madness.

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    IMG_8309 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

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    IMG_8311 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I’ve always had trouble in past trips of finding the photo angle that felt right for the RnRc limo displayed out front. This time I was exiting the ride and saw this angle. I think this is my favorite look of the limo so far.

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    IMG_8316 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    I was also very excited to see that Chewy and Vader were out for meet and greets which I thought was awesome. Not that I got over my self consciousness and shyness to get in line. But still enjoyed watching them quite a bit.

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    IMG_8298 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    Almost everything was open for business for the private event. This included three sessions of Jedi Training for the little ones, two showings of Indiana Jones (they usually don’t do this at night, right?), and one showing of Fantasmic. I didn’t see Fantasmic this time but I did take advantage of those 30 minutes by going on RnRC which had zero people in queue during that time.

    At 11pm the event was officially over and the CMs were waving us out with their magically lit batons. But I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to try a couple of tripod night time shots of Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd. After all I lugged around my tripod attached to my backpack all night! I had hoped to have stowed the tripod away in the lockers once I entered the park since I wasn’t planning on using it until the end of the evening. Unfortunately, the locker rentals were not available for the event I had to carry it around all night strapped to the side of my backpack. This pretty much became the norm for all of my evening tourings. So if you ever wonder whether you’ll be able to carry on your backpack on the rides, just remember that if I was able to ride RnRc and ToT with my gigantic backpack that had a tripod sticking out on its side, pretty much any backpack can fit. Although I’ll admit I was extremely nervous about the tripod when I was on RnRc. My active imagination kept conjuring up images of the tripod flying off and decapitating someone behind me on the coaster! So naturally instead of holding on to the handles of the coaster I had one hand on the top of the tripod.

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    IMG_8347-2 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

    While I was taking shots of this scene of Sunset Blvd, a CM unintentionally scared the crap out of me when he unbeknownst to me snuck behind me to watch me set up the camera. When I turned around, there he was. He was just curious to what settings I was using on my camera for the shot. Another photography enthusiast I guess. We talked shop for a little bit.

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    IMG_8344 by DaveinFallsChurch, on Flickr

     
  21. RatherBeInAK

    RatherBeInAK Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! I love your pictures! The picture of the fireworks over the tangled bathrooms is so beautiful! And I completely agree with you about the music in the Finding Nemo show. It just falls flat. With better music that show would be amazing.
     

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