The Real Magic

I honestly believe it’s true that ignorance is bliss.  I spent the last week in Disney World where it was very apparent that they’re growing and expanding their offerings.  It seemed as though there was no space that was not under construction.  It could have been so easy for anyone to grumble their way through the experience, but kids don’t care if there’s a construction crane in the shot.  They couldn’t care less that the disguised construction wall doesn’t look quite real.  That stuff’s not important to the kids.  It’s when their eyes light up when they finally get to meet their favorite characters from Up, Dug and Russell.  It’s when they finally get to meet the real Elsa and Anna and they get a warm hug.  It’s when the get so excited when Chef Mickey visits them while they’re eating breakfast.  That’s the real magic.

castle fireworks

Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom. | Order a print of this image.

It’s Only Tuesday, It’s Snowing and I Don’t Have My Selfie Stick!

I’m amazed that this is only our second day in the parks – we’ve done so much already this week and a great deal of it has nothing to do with Disney.  Ya see, we’re selling our house and closing while we’re down here.  Geez.  Thank goodness we have a kick-ass realtor!  Anyway, I’ve been itching to get up in the air to shoot some awesome photos, but I’m more than slightly concerned about the Disney no-fly zone.  I’ve checked, and our hotel is outside the 3-mile radius, but still…ya know?  And I’ve only taken my good equipment into the parks once – to Hollywood Studios for the fireworks.  Didn’t get a really good angle, but still a great show.  So most of my images have been with my GoPro, which isn’t a bad camera, but it won’t shoot RAW – BOO – anybody at GoPro reading this? 😉  And yes, Disney has now banned all selfie sticks.  They even have pamphlets about it!  BOO – anybody at Disney reading this?  I can actually understand that rule, but I’m not the idiot who’d do something stupid with it.  It’s everybody else :P.

I have an awesome photo in mind that I'm still going to try to get before the end of the week - fingers crossed!

I have an awesome photo in mind that I’m still going to try to get before the end of the week – fingers crossed!  This one’s still cool though, right?  Snow at Disney in July…

Icon

This time last year I was at Hollywood Studios shooting a Marathon.  I never made it back to the hat to get the night shot that I’ve always wanted.  Guess I never will.  Bummer.

Long live the sorcerer's hat.

Long live the sorcerer’s hat.

Hidden Mickey

It’s a real thing.  At least as far as the public goes.  Disney has yet to officially acknowledge the Hidden Mickey phenomenon, although they do sell Hidden Mickey books in their gift shops.  hmmm….

Apparently it all started when EPCOT was being planned as more of an adult-targeted park including the sale of alcohol.  Since Disney characters and alcohol were taboo together it was established that none of the characters, especially Mickey, would ever be seen inside that park.  Well, the Imagineers took it as a challenge and started incorporating them into everything they could.  Voila!  Hidden Mickeys.

The general rule is that if it’s not associated with Disney then it’s not really an “official” Hidden Mickey.  It’s still fun though.

Not so hidden, but it makes for a great image. | Order a print of this image.

Not so hidden, but it makes for a great image. | Order a print of this image.

Customer Experience

“Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

– Walt Disney


If I’ve learned anything from any of my trainings throughout my entire life, it’s that successful businesses get that way by putting the customer experience at the top of their priority list.  The two companies that immediately come to mind for me are Apple and Disney.  Sure, they’re for-profit companies, but their ultimate goal is to deliver a customer experience like no other.  When you can put aside that “I’m gonna get rich doing this” attitude and focus on being creative and innovative it all tends to work itself out.  And Disney is exceptionally good at it.  To watch my dad over this past weekend was pretty cool.  At almost 80 years old, he enjoyed that park every bit as much as any of the adolescents who were experiencing it for the first time.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with today's post, but this image worked no matter which way I went.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with today’s post, but this image worked no matter which way I went.

Forward Thinking

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.”
Walt Disney


Even Walt Disney knew where TV & movies were headed. Even back in 1955!  Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge. 😉

Even Walt Disney knew where TV & movies were headed.  Even back in 1955!  ;)

In Character

The employee (aka cast) culture at Disney Parks fascinates me – specifically the characters.  I seem to only remember the fully costumed characters when I was young and visiting Walt Disney World.  You never actually saw a real person.  But times, and culture, have changed.  Now there are real life people portraying the Disney characters in the park, which creates an entirely different dynamic for interaction.  I never used to hear the characters make any sounds (especially speech) at all.  Now you can have an entire conversation with them.  The added fascination for me is the fact that now the real-life characters need to work harder to remain in character.  They can no longer hide behind the comfort of being silent and not being seen and can simply use body language to remain in character.  It’s just fascinating – which probably explains why I have a degree in psychology.

btw – this photo is horrible, but Alice is the one who prompted this post and this is the our selfie with her (which is technically really a “groupie”).

So we asked Alice if she knew what a selfie was.  She responded "Why yes, a self-sufficient photograph."  Awesome.

So we asked Alice if she knew what a selfie was. She responded “Why yes, a self-sufficient photograph.” Awesome.