Just back. 14 days of pure Disney

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by rex008, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. VailaTigger

    VailaTigger DIS Veteran

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    Really enjoying your trip report! :thumbsup2 Looking forward to the next bit.

    [note to self: start your own trip report!] :lmao:
     
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  3. kdog_1981

    kdog_1981 Mouseketeer

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    Great pictures and details. Will be watching for more updates :)
     
  4. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Photography - a side note:

    Thanks for the comments about the photos and the report so far. Just hope I'm not boring anybody!

    Any non-photographers can tune out at this point and skip to the next post :). I'm about to get very geeky, and bore 95% of you :).

    I've been keen on photography for a couple of years now. Being an unashamed geek, I think I'm reasonably knowledgeable on the technical side, certainly not so good on the artistic side, and I'm also fortunate to be blessed with an understanding wife who has watched me gather a frankly ridiculous quantity of gear without complaining (too much).

    My hand luggage for the holiday consisted of my camera bag. And when I say bag I mean Lowepro Runner 300 backpack, pretty much stuffed with camera/technology. I wish I'd taken a picture, but all my cameras were in the bag :). A list, from memory:
    Canon 7D (DSLR body, 18MP 1.6x crop sensor)
    Tamron 18-270 lens (good all round 15x zoom lens)
    Tamron 17-50 F2.8 (high quality 3x zoom lens especially good for low light)
    Sigma 8-16 (ultra-wide angle)
    Batteries, memory cards, charger, for the above
    Panasonic Lumix compact + batteries, etc
    And my new purchase: Olympus Tough TG-1 + bits
    Then add:
    USB Multi-card reader
    Portable 500Gb USB hard disk
    Asus EeePad transformer (+ docking keyboard with 2 USB slots)
    Chargers, etc
    That last few items meant I could back up my photos during the holiday, which I did pretty much most evenings. Less stress this way!
    Then add a collection of power adaptors, cables, cleaning bits, etc etc.

    I'm glad it didn't get weighed, as I'm fairly sure I was over the hand luggage 6kg limit!

    I really wanted to take a waterproof camera this trip; I knew we'd be doing waterparks and it might be handy in other places. Being rather addicted to gadgetery I'd spent quite some time reading reviews, and of course ended up spending way more than I had originally planned to get one with really decent image quality. The TG-1 has the main advantage of an F2.0 lens (at the wide end), which if you're still reading might mean you are a photographer and know that that is very impressive for any compact camera, let alone a waterproof one. To non-photographers - that is a wide aperture that lets a lot of light on to the sensor, which means you can use lower shutter speed and ISO, which in turn means less movement blur and lower digital noise. It also has GPS built on, which I thought I'd not be fussed about, but it's pretty cool to be able to find photos on a map, and I've manually added GPS coords to other photos I've uploaded. Big thumbs up for the TG-1, but then it should be good, given the price (£300).
    The plan was to travel light for the first day in each park, then lug the SLR subsequently, which is pretty much what I did. Carried the 2 P+S cameras in my pockets, so no bag. So most of the photos so far have been on either the Panasonic or the Olympus. DS2 likes taking photos, so he often ended up with the Panasonic while I wielded the Olympus. Have to say I was very impressed with the TG-1, the image quality is fantastic.
    I have a Think Tank shoulder bag for the SLR, which is big enough to carry a second lens, but not too massive. I also have a BlackRapid shoulder strap for the camera, which is superb, and makes carrying it around on it's own very comfortable. Of course that meant going through the bag check line, which was a bit of a shock after having bypassed it for a week, but never really held me up for more than a couple of minutes, so not too bad.
    So for the second half of my TR, there will be more SLR photos, which might be noticable, and might not! I took a vast amount on the second time round the AK safari. All SLR photos are done in RAW format, which increases your processing options in terms of adjusting exposure and white balance after the shot.
    All the cameras are also capable of fullHD video, which is pretty much a ubiquitous thing these days, and means I no longer bother with a video camera.
    Between me and DS2, we returned with over 2000 photos.

    I then process these using Lightroom 4 on my home PC. Workflow here is:
    • Import all photos from all 3 cameras to date-sorted folders.
    • For the SLR ones, filter by lens and apply lens corrections (which fixes the small amounts of distortion that all lenses produce)
    • Go through each set, day by day, picking out ones I like, and rejecting ones that are total duffers (out of focus, accidental shots, etc). Delete the rejected ones, and copy the "picks" to a Lightroom Collection created for that day. I've been taking between 15-40% of each days output.
    • Go through the collection and filter them further, trying to get a good representative set for the day.

      For each photo left in the collection:
    • Crop and rotate. This means fixing wonky horizons, tightening the crop to get a good composition, sometimes turning a landscape photo into a portrait, etc. Generally I'll stick with a standard 3:2 aspect ratio, but I've played a bit on some photos.
    • For high ISO photos, do noise reduction. Look to see if there is any sharpening needed (I have a very light touch here, don't like oversharpening).
    • Check for any obviously bad white balance, although the 7D does a fairly good job here, so not much to do. For the JPEGs out the P+Ss, there's not a lot you can do here.
    • I generally start processing with the Auto-tone option. Lightroom 4 is very very good in this regard, much better than 3, so there's usually not much else to tweak. Again, RAW photos are a lot more tweakable than jpegs. Have a manual play on the sliders if I think it needs it. Clarity slider is good for non-people pictures, although you have to be careful not to overdo it.
    • Once I've done a day, I then go through and caption each photo, and add keywords. This means all the exports capture this metadata, which makes things easier to search for.
    • I export a jpeg at resolution of 1920 on the long side (HD on a typical monitor or TV these days) to a single subfolder.
    • I then use a plugin to export to Picasa (single album).

    Sounds a lot, but I'd say a typical day (100-150 originals) has been taking maybe 2 hours to produce maybe 20-30 shots I'm happy with. The second Wednesday is rather exceptional as I took my SLR on the AK safari, and we did MNSSHP, so I managed over 600 photos in one day! Might take a bit longer...

    Saying all that, it's amazing looking through the 2000 photos thinking - "oh, I wish I'd got a photo of...". I think DS2 probably managed to be more versatile in the stuff he was shooting than I was; I really need to work on identifying good shots, and also documenting stuff - there are long periods of time when I didn't take photos when I could have done, even if it was only a few to remind myself what we did and where we went. Oh well, just means I'll have to go back!

    For those who've got this far - question: can you see the ring around the moon in the Day 7 report? My home monitor is a proper calibrated IPS panel, and it is easily visible. (BTW: The ring fills most of the photo, it's not the small circle round the moon itself). My work one is not, and it's not. If you can't, and you do any photo editing yourself, I suggest you look at calibration. Amazing how much difference it makes to get the brightness/contrast/colour correct.

    Anyway, sorry about that. I started typing a side point and it turned into an essay!
     
  5. Mummycat

    Mummycat Mouseketeer

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    Loving the trip report and the pictures are great. Glad you mentioned your waterproof camera as the pics are amazing. My hubby is the gadget man so I'll get him to read your last entry as sounds a bit like blah blah blah to me ha ha!
    Starting to consider hoop de doo a bit more now as my kids love cheesy entertainment and it looks a good evening out. How many credits is it on the dining plan? Our favourite is Spirit of aloha as we got married at the Polynesian, but always good to try new things. Thanks Catherine
     
  6. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks. The TG-1 was very impressive as an all round camera, although [geek] the wide aperture was only at the widest zoom - at 4x tele, it goes down to f4.9, so it's generally better to keep it zoomed out, then crop later [/geek].

    HDDR is 2 credits each, but it includes both alcoholic drinks AND the tip, so I think it's quite a good value deal, depending on how much Sangria you get through :).

    Edit - or beer, or wine :).

    Oh, and for the photo geeks, all the pics are links to the Picasa page where you can see a higher resolution, plus get the full EXIF info.
     
  7. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Day 8 - Sunday 28/10 - Blizzard Beach, Biergarten, Illuminations

    We'd been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts, and although the first week had been hot and mostly dry, the forecast was for it to significantly cool down for the beginning of our second week, so we decided to do Blizzard Beach today, just in case it was too cool for the rest of the holiday. Considering hurricane Sandy was making it's way up the East coast of the US at this point, I think we got very lucky!
    BB opens at 10am, so we even got a bit of a lie-in after the 1am finish the night before. Got there just as it opened, seemed reasonably quiet considering it was a weekend. Found some decently located sunbeds near the bottom of the ski lift and dumped our stuff. Jumped straight on the ski lift to get to the top of the mountain.
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    Wow, you get an absolutely fantastic view from up there. All the tall buildings in Disney really stand out above what pretty much looks like a rainforest.
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    So in order to beat the queues we immediately did Summit Plummet. OMG. Going over that edge is probably the most intense thrill at Disney, IMHO. It's a BIG drop. Just remember to keep your ankles crossed if you want to avoid a serious water-wedgie! DW and both boys did it - very proud of DW - she's not a fan of heights.
    http://youtu.be/fEexY7irfyk

    Walked back up the mountain - lots of steps, but quicker than the ski lift, and we did Teamboat Springs, which is a big family raft ride. Very long, lots of fun, pile up to 6 people in a raft. We did find that the heaviest side of the raft always ended up going backward, so guess who that was :).
    Went up the back of the mountain and did Runoff rapids - these are 3 flumes where you go down either singles or pairs. The enclosed flume is singles only, and despite the rather confusing signage, both the open ones either side are doubles only. These were fun, quite fast.
    Had a relax on the lazy river - pretty much the same as the TL one, although you get sprayed with cold water a little more frequently!

    Had lunch at the Lottawatta Lodge QS place, which was decently efficient and had plenty of seating, which was good. The usual combination of burgers, hot dogs and pizza. Cookies and cheesecake for dessert.

    Had a break for digestion. Did the water-toboggan slides, which were fun. There is a set of 3 flumes, which on a toboggan seem really fast, then there is a race with 8 parallel bumpy lanes. Weight is definitely an advantage here - get a decent push off and then heaviest person wins :). This is a pic of them from the top of the mountain:
    [​IMG]

    Did Teamboat Springs again. This time the other 3 tried to counterbalance me, and we just about managed to get the raft to spin round a bit, which made it more fun. Think the wife was nearly dry at this point, hence the intensely girly screaming when she got splashed :)
    http://youtu.be/Xf-G7ulYOak

    Pretty much a lazy afternoon - let the kids go off and do their own thing. They spent quite some time in the wave pool, which is more the traditional kind compared to the monster waves at TL.
    [​IMG]

    Before we left, DS2 and I did the Slush Gusher, which is a straight drop slide with humps in it. Very slow queue. This one hurts! The landing after the second hump got both our backs a bit. Pretty fast.

    If I had to pick one park to go to out of TL and BB it would be a tough choice. The wave pool at TL is amazing, no doubt. The lazy rivers are pretty similar. For some reason I found the BB flumes more memorable, and the ski lift is something different. I'd probably go for BB personally, but it's close. We did end up doing BB again later in the week, but that's partly because TL was closed, and we met up with DS1's friend again, who hadn't done BB.

    Headed back to OKW and went out to EPCOT - our ADR for the evening was 7pm at Biergarten, in the German pavilion.
    I took a few photos with my ultra-wide angle on the way in. The golf ball looked particularly good approaching sunset.
    [​IMG]

    [geek]This lens manages a rectilinear (non-fisheye) 8-16mm, or 12.8-25.6mm non-crop equivalent. I was pretty much standing underneath the edge of the ball at this point. I regret not using this lens more, although it needs a very good eye for where it would work well, which I'm still working on. [/geek]
    [​IMG]

    Headed straight to Germany, and were seated fairly quickly.
    [​IMG]

    It's a german buffet, so a mix of meats, sausage, good salad bar. Quite pork oriented. Decent food although the kids weren't particularly enamoured of the choices. All the tables here are 8 seater, so you'll be with somebody else if you were less than this. We met a family from Massachusetts who were having to stay at Disney for an extra couple of days because of flights cancelled by Sandy, and we had a nice chat with them.
    There was a bit of dinner entertainment in the form of an oom-pah band, along with some audience interaction. Was quite fun. Not that you'd know it from looking at this guy's face :):
    [​IMG]

    We'd booked preferential viewing for Illuminations as part of the package, although we had no idea where we were supposed to go. I'd asked our hotel concierge to print off the ticket for this, but he didn't know either. So we headed out to the nearest roped off area, and they weren't sure but pointed us towards the UK pavilion (our tickets had UK on them, but that was in relation to coming from WDTC UK I'm pretty sure). Anyway, we get there and they "think" we should be in Morocco, to which we both said "but we've just come from there!". They took pity on us and let us into the bit next to the Pub. Got an excellent view from there. Lots and lots of photos. I rested the camera on a wall for some long exposures, these were a selection.
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    Finale:
    [​IMG]

    Superb show, think I prefer this to Wishes personally. Although Hallowishes was something else again (see Day 11, to come).

    EPCOT closed that evening immediately after the fireworks, so joined the 20000 or so other people and headed out the park and home.

    Next: Disney Quest, California Grill, very late night
     
  8. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    Brilliant photos from Epcot - although you lost me on the geeky bit :rotfl:
     
  9. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks. I'll try to keep the geek quotient low :).

    I've been very productive today, so Day 10 photos done, and Day 9 written up. I am NOT looking forward to Day 11. 693 photos to sort!

    Day 9 - Monday 29/10 - Disney Quest, California Grill, MK EMH

    Kids were keen to have a look round Disney Quest, and being a video game fan, I was too. DW isn't quite the fanatic the blokes are, but she likes the odd game. DQ doesn't open until 11.30, so we had a nice lie-in and a relaxing start to the day, before driving to DTD. Had time to have a quick shop around, including a look around the Lego shop (I'm a big Lego fan).

    We then headed to DQ for opening. We'd read a bit about it, but there are few reviews, so didn't have a detailed idea of what to expect. I've realised since getting home that although I took my P+S camera in, I didn't take a single photo. Too busy! Kicking myself a bit for that now.
    You go through normal park turnstiles, then there are a pair of lifts that take you up to floor 3 (of 5). It's a bit of a maze inside - there are some regular lifts between all floors, but finding the stairs could be tricky - each floor is laid out slightly differently.
    There are large areas of arcade machines, roughly in themes, but there are also some "rides". Kids had read about Cyberspace Mountain, so we headed here first (floor 2). This is a design-your-own simulator, very similar in concept to Sum of All Thrills in EPCOT. You have a much bigger choice though - there is a choice of about 20 section types (rather than 4), and you get to place about 12 in a row (rather than 4). The simulator itself is similarly on a robot arm, but on SOAT each passenger gets a hood with a screen, whereas this is one big box for both of you with a big screen. Works well if not quite so immersive. DW and I had a go as did kids, who also went back later for more. Goes fully upside down, if you so choose (of course we all did!).
    Next thing we did was the Virtual Jungle Cruise (floor 1). We all 4 got in a raft, with a paddle each. This rides on an air cushion, and you are supposed to paddle to move and steer. It didn't seem to work very well! Maybe we were a bit rubbish, but it just seemed to follow a course no matter what.
    We then did a Pirates of the Caribbean game. This was fantastic! You all get put in a room with a moving ship's deck on it. One person is the captain, who steers and controls speed. The others man the guns - there are 7 altogether, and you are expected to move about the deck to use the ones that are pointing in the right direction. Game is projected on 3 walls in 3D, so it's very enveloping. You shoot at other ships and sea monsters, collecting treasure when you sink each one. It's timed, and you get a score at the end. There is a bonus round where the captain gets to shoot as well. Definitely all loved this one, and stayed on for a second go (no queue at this point). Gets busy later in the day though - throughput is slow.
    We then headed back upstairs to floor 3 and did Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster. This was a lot of fun. Its quite a large floor area, and you sit in 2-person enclosed dodgem-type cars. Left person steers and has a forward/backward lever (unlike a dodgem car the wheels don't go all the way round). The right person is the gunner. The pilot has to steer over balls on the floor, which are them scooped into a bin between the seats (bowling ball sized, but light plastic). The gunner has to put a ball into the top of his gun, rotate the loading bin with a side wheel which drops the ball into the cannon, then press a button to fire. If the ball hits the side of another car, they go out of control for 10s. It's a bit crazy frantic, and surprisingly energetic, but we enjoyed ourselves. Did this a couple of times as well.
    There are a couple of virtual reality helmet games, where you put a helmet with screens on your head and do a team 3D thing. I didn't personally get on with these; the helmet was uncomfortable, and you didn't have a great deal of control of things - you had a handle or sword in each one that you could use, but the game itself was short and linear.
    There were also a couple of other interactive games that I didn't try myself, although the kids had a go. Human pinball thing, and another simulator thing I think.
    The rest of the place is filled with arcade games. There is an area of racing games (including a 10-man linked driving game), an area of physical games (guitar hero, dance dance revolution, etc), areas of shooting games, classic arcade games (original space invaders, pac man, etc). Whilst we were there they also had "real" versions of "Fix-it-Felix-Jnr", which is the 30-year old machine in the new Wreck-it-Ralph Disney film. Supposedly the only place in the world you could play it. Rubbish game, but kudos points for playing it :). Also area of pinballs, of flying sim games, and a few others.
    Basically heaven for me and the kids :).
    There is a typical QS place on the top floor with plenty of seating. Usual burgers, pizzas & hot dogs. DDP taken. They had the most ridiculous dessert I'd seen yet - a chocolate brownie that must have weighed about a pound and probably contained 2000 Calories. Had to get 1 each on the DDP of course, but no more than 1/4 eaten. I had a cupcake cheesecake that was probably only 1000 cals. Lunch was the only photo I took!
    Light lunch, Disney style...
    [​IMG]

    After lunch, the kids went off by themselves, and we told them to report back to the Wreck-it-Ralph statue at 2.30. Which they did, so we gave them another hour. And then another. Ended up leaving at 4.30, so got 5 hours in there, and there were still quite a lot of machines I didn't get round to playing. Queues were all fine - there was pretty much never a wait. Promising the kids we would get back at some point, we headed back to OKW.

    ADR this evening was for California Grill at 7.30, with a plan to watch Wishes from the roof at 9pm. Was our only Signature restaurant of the trip, so we got reasonably dressed up - I donned long trousers for the only time in the entire holiday! Timekeeping on our part was poor - we parked in the TTC as we thought we'd do MK after dinner, and then waited ages for a resort monorail, which then of course has to go 4 stops round to the Contemporary. Ended up checking in around 7.45 I think.
    Still, no harm done, got shown up and seated fairly quickly. Server we had was really nice. You don't normally get appetisers with DDP, but the server said we could have the cheese sampler plate on it for some reason. Which would normally be $22 for 5 small bits of cheese! Was very nice indeed, but not sure I'd normally have a $22 plate of cheese as a starter! For main course, we both had the posh $48 steak (make full use of the 2 credits, obviously), and it was really very nice indeed. Kids both had 1/2 roast chicken, which we ended up helping them out with, was also very nice.
    Just finished main courses when we got warning of Wishes start. Went out on the balcony walkway there, and did get a nice view, although it was packed. Didn't realise how far back some the fireworks are set off from, but you're kind of looking at it from the side. Great place to see them. Unfortunately there was no easy place to rest the camera, so although I tried to handhold a few, they were useless.
    DW and DSs had the Vahlrona Choc pudding. I can't even remember what I had; but a safe guess would be cheesecake :). All lovely. Great food. Worth 2 DDP credits? Probably. I certainly would have dined there more given the chance. Would have loved to try some sushi there, I'm a big sushi fan.

    MK was open from 10pm-1am on EMH, so we decided to travel all the way back round (4 stops again. Yes, we should have walked some dinner off).
    [​IMG]

    This turned out to be a great evening. It started off reasonably busy, but emptied out a lot and we were pretty much walking on most rides. We did at least 1 villain each on SOTMK as well. We did end up having to do some indoor stuff just so DW could warm up - was really getting quite chilly by this point. Kids in fleece jackets!
    [​IMG]

    We all stuck it out right to closing time. Final thing was riding at the back of BTMR twice without getting off at 1am :).
    Once we'd done the journey back, with a closed monorail so shivering on the ferry boat deck, think we finally ended up going to bed at 2am. Good day though!

    Sorry for a very light photo day. I will way overcompensate in a couple of days, believe me!

    Next: Hollywood Studios, all day. Mama Melrose, Fantasmic.
     
  10. petals

    petals Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!

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    luvin all your pics especially the ride photos.
     
  11. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    I've just caught up with your wonderful TR
    I particularly enjoyed the post on your camera kit, I'm trying to learn more and dabble a little in photography so found this really interesting
    I must admit that when I'm at Disney, I tend not to use my DSLR and just pop a point and shoot in my bag but your photos make me think I should make the effort!
    Looking forward to reading more
     
  12. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks both. I think my plan worked reasonably well; that is, travel light for week 1, and take more time (and weight) for photography on week 2. I guess if I was a repeat Disney visitor I might have a different plan, but it worked well for me.
     
  13. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies DIS Veteran

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    Hi :wave2:
    Joining your trippie and loving it!!

    I second Linda's request NOT to omit all your photo geek info. I'm also relatively new to learning photography properly and LOVE your pics! However I am still clueless with editing and at the moment, trying to choose between LR4, onONe Photo Suite 7 or both (and will need extensive training for whatever I choose!!)

    Did you get 6kg only for hand luggage? :lmao: I can assure you that your gear was in excess of that, lol. How do I know this? I had a similar line up, although I shoot Nikon and their camera bodies and lenses tend to be a lot heavier than Canon's. To give you an idea, I did actually take a (phone) photo of my kit and with the tripod my backpack weighed just under 14 kg, excluding the chargers, battery grip and stash of filters :rotfl2:

    I love your under water and water ride photos. :thumbsup2

    And your kids are such great sports at being fabulous subjects for vacation photos which is always a plus.

    You were right the first time with the location for Illuminations: it is indeed in Morocco, at the roped off area leading to the boat dock. There are usually CM's with a clip board there from around 7 pm but I can understand your frustration not being able to get information. This is not a well known extra with the cast members as we discovered last year when we were at MK and I realized I had left our vouchers behind. Half an hour at City Hall and nobody had a clue what I was talking about and eventually I just showed room keys and photo ID at the area and the CM there let us in.

    Looking forward to the next installment :cool1:
     
  14. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    We have never been to DQ so it was interesting to read what you can do there :thumbsup2

    The CG sounds as good as ever - we have been a few times on Christmas Day and have always enjoyed it as a special treat. MK afterwards sound great. Looking forward to more :)
     
  15. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for all that. I got LR3 and since upgraded to LR4. I'd say the best way to get the best out of it is to read a book - I found Scott Kelby's to be very helpful indeed, if you can cope with his "wit" :).
    I did roughly weigh the bag and I think I wasn't much over, but then I didn't put a tripod in and I'd actually moved the tablet to DWs bag at that point.
    Thanks for the Illuminations info - I'll know for next time. It's a long walk round WS, twice!
    Having a waterproof camera certainly opened up some interesting possibilities. Would recommend it if you're likely to hit pools or waterparks a few times.
    The kids are reasonably happy to be photographed, most of the time. I'm not showing the outtakes where that's sometimes not the case :). They enjoyed suggesting new ideas for the ride photos - the EE one they came up with themselves, although it was plagiarised from a PP photographer who'd had us do the kissing/hiding thing a few days before.

    DQ surprised us a bit - we'd not read much about it (apart from that it was a big free arcade). Probably hadn't particularly sought out any more than that, but I thought I'd write it up in more detail as I hadn't really seen that done before. I thought a review of the other "headline" stuff in there might be useful. There are certainly some things we enjoyed more than others.

    I've done the Day 10 photos, but not written up yet.

    Still doing the Day 11 photos. Got >630 down to about 80 good keepers, which is still too many really. But getting through processing them and trying to be even more selective. I might break that post into 2 though - AK in the morning, and MK for dinner and MNSSHP.
     
  16. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

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    Day 10 - Tuesday 20/10 - Hollywood Studios, Mama Melrose, Fantasmic

    Our ADR today was a Fantasmic meal package booked at Mama Melrose. There are time restrictions on this, and the latest I'd been able to book it was 4.30pm, which seems rather horribly early for dinner, but we just had to make sure we had an early lunch as well to cope.
    Given our rather late night the night before, we didn't arrive for rope drop, but we did manage to make it for about 10am, which wasn't too bad. FP for TSM were still available, albeit for about 2pm. We hadn't really done shows on the first day here apart from Indiana Jones, so we'd got a couple to see. Of course the kids wanted to do their favourites - ToT and RnR, and we managed a couple of rides of each over the day.
    Weird wide-angle of RnR guitar:
    [​IMG]

    We watched the Beauty and the Beast live stage show, which I thought was very well done. How they keep this energy up for 4-6 performances every day 365 days a year I don't know, but it was very impressive.
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    We then had lunch, around 11.45am - looked in the ABC Commissary and it was packed. So headed back to the Backlot Express, where we went on the first DHS day and it was much better. Plenty of seating here. Was amused all lunch by the sight of two CMs struggling to refill a tomato ketchup dispenser. Literally working on it the entire time I was eating. It was like watching my grandparents try to fix a VCR :). I don't mean to be age-ist or anything, but...

    Then headed off to the Stunt Show. There were only 2 shows today and this was at 1.30, but it pretty much filled up; was amazed how full it got. We got a reasonable seat, although we were blocked by a pillar a little bit. We all enjoyed the show, although it could be a bit slow between the stunts while they were setting up. Some impressive stuff though.
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    We came out and did the TSM FP (I got the car high score of 182000, which I'm quite proud of for only the 2nd time on it!). We then did MuppetVision, which we hadn't done the first day. This was entertaining. I'm a big Muppets fan. No photos inside, but I like this detail on the building:

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    Think we did Star Tours again at this point. Enjoyed it again.
    Headed to Mama Melrose for dinner. We were seated fairly quickly, and I was quite surprised how busy it was, even at that time. One advantage of the Fantasmic package is that even though it's a DP booking, you get a starter. For this, we had 2 of the shared antipasto between the 4 of us. Given how fussy the kids are, at least they kind of ate the ham/salami on it. I did end up eating 4 people's worth of cheese and pickles myself. And I wonder why I'm the size I am!
    Kids had flatbreads (pizza), think DW had steak, I fancied something different so had the grilled tuna (rare). I love a nice bit of tuna, and this was pretty decent. We finished off with desserts, although my memory is failing me again. Probably something chocolatey for the kids (safe bet)!
    We got the voucher for the Fantasmic entry at the end of the meal, with a suggestion to be there 30 mins early (7pm for 7.30 start).
    Had some time and we had a quick wander round the Art of Animation bit, watched the presentation, but would have liked to spend more time there. We'd got fastpasses for RnR and ended up doing that about 6.30, on a stomach still full of food. Now that's a thrill ride! All came off intact though :).
    Headed to Fantasmic via the package entrance (next to ToT entry) and wound our way up to the special seats. It was probably already at least 1/2 full by this point, but people hadn't shuffled up into the spaces, so we got pretty decent seats about 1/3 way up and quite close to the centre, which was good.
    About 7pm they did some audience-participation pre-show stuff, with various cast members chatting around the audience. This was a good way to pass the time rather than just sitting there with bored kids, so we really appreciated this.
    How to review Fantasmic? I'd read mixed reports before going, so my expectations were not high. Initially I thought it was excellent, the water effects are very good, and there are some good effects when they do live stuff on the mountain. But considering it's only a 30 minute show, it doesn't half seem to drag! The water projection seems to go on and on and on, and the live stuff seems quite disjointed. That may be the intention I suppose, it is supposed to be a representation of a dream after all, but it seemed a bit weird.
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    Overall, I would say I'm glad I saw it, and I would recommend people who haven't seen it to go, but I don't think it's something I'd bother with again. May book the dinner package just for the value of adding a starter to a DP credit though! And then hand the seating ticket off to a "lucky" family :).
    This was to be our last visit to DHS, so we had a look round the shops - think the kids bought some souvenirs, and then we headed back for an early-ish night to catch up on some sleep. We knew it would be another long day tomorrow (MNSSHP!).

    Tomorrow - AK, safari with SLR means ++++photos. MNSSHP!
     
  17. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    5,587
    Yet more glorious photos :cool2:
     
  18. rex008

    rex008 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Thanks!

    I've been debating with myself about using 640x480 res in the TRs, or 800x600. Don't want to fill the page with too many big photos. I changed in the last post to the bigger format, don't know if anyone noticed. Anyway, think I'll stick with that, seems to work ok.

    Although Day 11 is likely to be full of photos, so maybe the wrong time! I'm still working through them. I'm trying to pick the best ones from the AK safari, out of a lot.

    [geek]All the photos are clickable to a 1280 res on picasa, btw. Picasa is a bit of a pain in that it doesn't give you BBCode for clickable images, but there is a Chrome addon that does it for you relatively simply.[/geek]
     
  19. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,488
    You seemed to get a lot done today. I know what you mean about Fantasmic - we didn't queue for it the last time and I haven't really factored it in to this years visit.
     
  20. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19,661
    Another great day and more fantastic pictures :thumbsup2

    I am VERY impressed with your Beauty and the Beast show and Fantasmic photos. I share your views on Fantasmic. We have watched it twice: once opting to skip the worst of the waiting time and enter for standing room only (still a 30 minute wait as the show used to only be on twice a week then) and last year we went with friends and sucked up the 90 minute advance queuing time for a fairly good seat. Having seen your photos however, I might add that to my list next trip purely to attempt some shots.

    We did the 4.30 LMA show this year in September so very low crowds and got there about an hour in advance and still ended up sitting more than halfway back. I also picked a pillar view seat (not any choice really) with a HUGE ugly fan mounted to it so lots of cropping of the right hand side of some of the images where I didn't quite manage to miss the fan :rotfl:

    I like the larger size photos, just in case this is going with a majority decision - thought I'd get my vote in. I can't wait to hear about your MNSSHP experience. It's such a blast :thumbsup2
     
  21. DISWolves

    DISWolves Dreams really can come true !!!!

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,725
    Just caught up with your trippie.......some nice photos :thumbsup2
    Another Canon user here who is keen on EXIF info :lmao:
    Been a loyal Photoshop user for a good few years now, but very keen to have a look at LR4 on the Mac
    Keep 'em coming! :goodvibes
     

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