Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Disney Parks After Dark: Howdy from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on August 21st, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


For this “Disney Parks After Dark,” I wanted to find a place in the Disneyland Resort where I could take a series of photos while staying in the same place over a short period of time. My goal was to make each photo look different without adding additional lighting. The first photo is a typical example of what I would normally take of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was taken at 9:18 p.m.

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The second photo was taken at 9:22 p.m., but under the bright red glow from the finale of “Fantasmic!” on the nearby Rivers of America.

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The last photo was taken at 9:32 p.m., during the “Magical” fireworks spectacular. For these three photos, I made minor adjustments in the camera to vary the blur of the trains. For this last photo, I moved the tripod a bit to the left to get more of the fireworks in the shot.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Splash Mountain at Disneyland Park

posted on July 17th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


This “Disney Parks After Dark” post is in celebration of 25 “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” years of Splash Mountain at Disneyland park. Splash Mountain opened on July 17, 1989, in Critter Country and features the story of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear. Most Disneyland park guests ride Splash Mountain to cool off on a hot summer day, but I enjoy riding it after dark because it makes the five-story splashdown that much more thrilling.

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Can you name the other Disney Parks that have Splash Mountain and the name of the lands they are in?

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Disney Parks After Dark: Moon Over Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on June 19th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


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This photo seems to be all about a full moon … but is it? With a closer look, you’ll see that it’s framed by the neon lights on top of Luigi’s Casa della Tires – the entrance to Luigi’s Flying Tires in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. I wanted to share this photo with you as part of our “Disney Parks After Dark” series because even though it is a bit abstract, unique details still make it a recognizable location at the Disneyland Resort.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Mad Tea Party at Disneyland Park

posted on May 22nd, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


The Mad Tea Party is probably the attraction I have photographed the most at Disneyland park. But I’m almost always sitting in a pastel teacup, photographing guests as it spins around. When I photograph attractions, I try to show excitement, motion or action, so this time it was nice to concentrate on other things like composition and color. I really liked the way the gold light shimmers across the brick wall, leading your eyes to the attraction.

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Did you know that the Mad Tea Party has been in Disneyland park since opening day – July 17, 1955 – and that, although known by other names, the attraction can be found in every Disney park around the world. Can you name each one and the park where it can be found?

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Disney Parks After Dark: A ‘Frozen’ Royal Reception at Disneyland Park

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


The “Frozen” Royal Reception cottage in Fantasyland at Disneyland park takes on a different feeling in the early morning hours before sunrise. I love the light reflecting off the wet surface that makes the cottage enchanting.

In the “Disney Parks After Dark” series, one thing that stands out in the photos from the different parks is the beautiful lighting. The photo below is a good example of how Disney uses light to enhance the park after dark.
The Frozen Royal Reception Cottage in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park


See more of Disneyland park in out “Disney Parks After Dark” series:

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Disney Parks After Dark: Big Moon Over Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on March 20th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


This photo was taken a few months ago – in the middle of January – on a night with an almost full moon and one of the clearest night skies that I’ve seen in a long time here at Disneyland park. The moon was so bright that, instead of trying to get detail in the moon, I thought I would use a setting called the F-22 star. By setting the aperture somewhere between F-11 and F-22, any bright light source will result in a large “starburst.” I ended up using F-18 at 15 seconds with an ISO of 800. The camera was a Canon1DX with the 24-105mm lens set at 40mm and mounted on a tripod. While I was taking the photo along Big Thunder Trail, many guests stopped to comment to me about how beautiful the moon looked, take photos of the moon themselves and tell me how much they loved Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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Can you count the stars in this photo? I counted more than thirty, plus one light trail from an airplane in the top left corner.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Fireworks in Fantasyland From King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland Park

posted on February 20th, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


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When I say it’s really cool to see fireworks bursting above King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland at Disneyland park, I’m not horsing around. Photographing the show brings to mind a few historical facts about the carrousel and why it’s so special:

  • King Arthur Carrousel was one of the original opening-day attractions at Disneyland Resort in 1955.
  • At Walt Disney’s request, all of the horses are in a galloping pose and painted white.
  • Each horse on the carrousel has a name, and Jingles is the lead horse. You may remember that Jingles was painted gold for a short time in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland Resort in 2005. It was later repainted white, except for its gold bells and trim, and dedicated to Disney Legend Julie Andrews in 2008.

Here are a few more of my favorite images from this explosive shoot.

King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park
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Disney Parks After Dark: Holidays at the Disneyland Resort Steam Away

posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Before the holiday season ended here at the Disneyland Resort earlier this month, I had the opportunity to photograph the Disneyland Railroad Engine No. 3 – the Fred G. Gurley – in Mickey’s Toontown Station, lit by the thousands of ‘it’s a small world” Holiday lights, all around the train. I thought the photos turned out so nice, I wanted to share them with you now. Until next season – Happy Holidays!

(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

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Disney Parks After Dark: Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle at Disneyland Park

posted on December 19th, 2013 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


There are so many wonderful places to photograph during the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort. One of my favorites is Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, which is commonly photographed from the front. In some of my past Disney Parks Blog posts, I have talked about walking around a subject, looking at all the sides to see whether there may be angles that are more interesting. The photo below is one example; I took it from the left side of the castle, next to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

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I think what makes this photo unique is the composition you can capture from a different perspective. The settings were ISO 1600, aperture 4.0 and shutter 100, so I was able to hold the camera by hand.

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Disneyland from Walt’s View

posted on December 5th, 2013 by Paul Hiffmeyer, Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


A few months ago, I had a special opportunity to photograph Walt Disney’s apartment located above the Main Street Fire Station for the Disneyland archive. I know many guests have stood on Main Street, U.S.A., and looked up at the apartment window to see that the lamp has been left on in Walt’s memory. Today, in honor of Walt’s birthday, I’d like to share one of my favorite photos taken that day – showing the view as he would have seen it, looking out that very window.

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