Monday, May 19, 2014

Festival of Fantasy, Part 2!

Would you believe I made it all the way out to the opening day of Star Wars Weekends on Friday... only to realize within a few hours that I was sick and had to come home and wallow on the couch in sicky sickness all weekend? BAH.

After gallons of hot liquids and neti-potting and round-the-clock humidifiers, though, I'm mostly human again. (Head colds when you can't take decongestants are EXTRA fun, lemme tell ya.)

So let's pick up where I left off with Disney's new Festival of Fantasy parade!

After the Tangled float come two more spectacular costumes: the Lion Fish and Shelly:

Once again Disney steps up by giving us non-movie characters with jaw-dropping detail. SO. COOL.

I should note this parade moves FAST, so you're definitely going to miss stuff as it zips by. I've seen it twice now, and could barely take the camera away from my face either time - and even then, I still missed a few shots I wanted!

Check out that headdress! She even has orange feathers on her eyelashes!

Shelly is another of my favorites, so in trying to photograph her I've now completely missed the two Pink Coral Dancers - twice! Here's a quick side shot of one as she strode past me, though:

And here's the shot that made me miss the two Corals:

Worth it.

These are all a precursor to Ariel's Under-The-Sea float, of course:
Though small by comparison, this float still has motion and movement with an animatronic Sebastian driver and two rotating conga lines of dancing fish:

I like that so many characters are up high, allowing even shorties like me to see them through a crowd, but the blinding midday sun can also be a challenge. (Make sure you use spot metering for photos, or you could end up with dark silhouettes against the bright sky!) 

Wrapping up the Little Mermaid section are a pair of spinning seahorses:

The operators wear funky holographic track suits and sunglasses, and spin the seahorses by hand.

Next, Newsies-inspired Lost Boys segue into Neverland:

I like the look; definitely a fun new take for the Boys.

The Neverland float is another whopper. In the front you can see Skull Rock:

 ... topped with a pirate ship manned by Peter and Wendy:

The ship is balanced on a shimmery sequined rainbow, with Captain Hook swinging on an anchor underneath.

I missed Hook this time, so here's a shot from a different day on Main Street:

Tinkerbell sits at the other end of the rainbow in a garden of oversized flowers: 

(Psst. Hey, parade guy. DOWN IN FRONT.)

 I think Tink was upset that her wand wasn't working here:


And trailing behind was good ol' Tick Tock the Croc:

Again, this shot is from my first parade viewing at the flag pole on Main Street. I don't recommend standing there, though; I wasn't happy with most of my photos from that day. Too many crowds-in-the-shot, and most of the performers' faces were in heavy shadow from the side. The only pics that worked were straight shots down to the castle - but to be fair, those could be AMAZING:

So if you do opt for the Flag Pole area, I'd say forget side shots and just keep your camera pointed down towards the castle like this.

The Brave dancers start off the segment with some line dancing:

And they're followed closely by Merida's giant bagpipe float:

The bagpipe has a large crown platform for Merida, and is decorated with shields, tassels, and even a round target (with an arrow in the bull's eye) on the opposite side.

Near the top are the infamous plate of cakes from the movie, and if you squint you can see Merida's baby bear brothers peeking out from the pipes:

This is the most static float of all. I can't remember if the bears move or not -  I'll have to watch for that next time! - but if they do, they're the only animated element onboard. Not complaining, of course; I mean, look at this thing. o.0

K, that does it for this round! Coming up, the fire-breathing Maleficent I know you've all been waiting for, plus the parade finale! In fact, here's another teaser, which is one of my favorite shots of anything ever:

This = insta Jen happiness.

Click here for Part 3!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous pics, Jen! My wonderful hubby and I are really enjoying this series of yours!

  2. OMG a non beanpole dancer in the Brave set. :)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Jen! And your final photo could be a Chamber of Commerce postcard -- it was so fantastic! Your framing and ability to capture the vibrant coloring has just floored me. I can't wait to take my daughter to see all of this when she is older..but right now, we are living vicariously through your excellent photography!

  4. I felt the need to read this really fast because you kept saying the parade moved quickly! BTW your pics are amazing!

  5. AGH! SO GOOD! I didn't notice the seahorse men at all on first viewing, I have absolutely NO pictures of them. Thankfully dad was videoing the entire thing!

    Merida's float is pretty static... it looks like the plate of cakes spins, the bear moves a tiny bit and the shields on either side spin around. What I *DO* remember is that Merida was the THE MOST active of all the characters on a float. Maybe it was an illusion, thought, due to her enormous amount of hair and dress!! (man, I pity her!)

    They have DEFINITELY stepped up the walking characters and their costumes.. I was just blown away!! So colorful, SO many details!!

    1. I wasn't able to get a good picture of Merida in the parade just because of how active she was! Every shot I came away with had her hair flying around, obscuring her face.

  6. Possibly unwanted advise coming up (consider yourself warned) I don't know why you can't take decongestants - but have you tried saltwater? It's what you use for stuffy-nosed babies, who obviously need something gentle and non-toxic. And it works like a charm (so well I've started using it myself)

    You just mix a little bit of salt with some boiled water - it should taste about as salty as seawater. And then you just tilt your head back and drop a few drops in each nostril. No spraying or squirting or other nasty things. Wait a few seconds and the stuffiness clears. It's not permanent in any way, but it will give you a breathing spell. Repeat as necessary. No sideeffects whatsoever :)

  7. I love these photos! The parade looks amazing, I would never be able to get such good shots. But that will be Highland Dancing before the Brave float, not line dancing :)

  8. OMG, I love love love these photos. I am having some severe Disney withdraws!!!

  9. It looks like the bears must be moving because on your two different shots the bear is in two different pipes.

  10. These are great! Have you done a post on photography tips and what kind of camera/software you use? I'd love to get pics like these!

    1. Ah, I'm still learning, so no tutorials from me! I can tell you I use a Canon 7D with a 17-50 lens for almost everything, though, and I edited these pics with Lightroom 4. (Only my 2nd time using it, so it's all trial & error!) I usually use Perfect Photo for editing, though, which is more user friendly, and I also used it for touch-ups on some of these, since I still don't know how to do much with Lightroom!

      If you're looking for photography tips from a master, I HIGHLY recommend Tom Bricker. His Disney pics are the stuff that dreams are made of, and he writes a Disney blog with a helpful photography section.

    2. Thanks so much! His stuff is amazing. I just ordered two of the books he recommended, so hopefully those will be helpful.

  11. i really hope this parade is on for at least another year. we are already saving our pennies to bring my son next summer. i get so excited when i see your Disney shots!

  12. Wow - such nice shots, Jen. Thanks for showing those.

  13. LOL, I was reading when this happened:

    "And here's the shot that made me miss the two Corals:"

    [Image could not be loaded] (Or something technical-y like that.)


    Thankfully I refreshed the page, and the picture popped up like MAGIC!

  14. One word: LOVE!! Thanks so much for sharing all your Disney pics. They sure do brighten a boring day at work!

  15. Disney should buy some of these shots from you. The one of Shelly and that last one...wowzers! These are some seriously gorgeous photos. :)

  16. Jen,

    Sounds like you had the best time ever! Sorry you were sick and had to recoup. My daughter is on seizure meds and I can't give her any cold meds either. I have never been to any Disney themed anything so I am very glad that you take such wonderful pictures and post them. Thank you.


    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

  17. Gorgeous photos, Jen! Anticipating the next installment. :-)

  18. Hidden Mickey in the shells on the base of the Ariel float.


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