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Behind the Scenes: Photographing a Blood Moon at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 4th, 2015 by David Roark, Manager of Photography, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


It has been a lot of fun working on these “Moon over Walt Disney World” images over the years. Photographing a Super Moon or Blood Moon event presents a unique set of challenges. Here are some behind-the-scenes tips on how we shoot an event like this.

  1. Time of the eclipse – If the eclipse is happening well after moonrise or well before moonset, it is usually too overhead to include any Disney subject matter. The best photos come when the moon is close to the horizon within an hour of sunrise or sunset so the sky is not too dark.
  2. Unique Disney subject matter – You may have seen Super Moon with the Holiday Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth, as well as Blood Moon behind Crossroads Mickey from Hollywood Studios. These are all locations that can be photographed from a variety of angles and with a telephoto lens (300-600mm).
  3. Camera location – It is rare that the moon and a perfect camera location all line up. The preference is to have a steady camera location on the ground or on a rooftop. Most times, I need to have a bucket truck to get into the perfect spot or just get around an obstruction.
  4. Weather conditions – Clouds and fog always add another element of uncertainty. I like to think Walt helps me manage this!

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The first step I use to plan one of these photos is to use specific photo apps that tell me precisely where the moon will be at a specific time. One of my favorite apps works with Google Maps, so I get a very specific map of possible locations.

For today’s blood moon, everything lined up perfectly at the new Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, other than a very tall stand of trees near the Ticket & Transportation Center. A quick call over to the Disney Arborists and my bucket truck operator, Carlos Lopez, and I was set for a 5 a.m. start this morning. Having the bucket truck allows me to get an elevated view (and work around trees, light poles, etc), but it also creates challenges because the bucket can cause a lot of camera movement when you are shooting at long exposure times. We usually have to move the truck a few times to get into the perfect spot. I prefer to shoot moonset because the Florida weather is a bit more predictable in the morning. The moon began to enter Earth’s shadow at 6:15 a.m. Moonset was at 7:13 a.m. The moon wasn’t in total eclipse until 7:58 a.m., well after the moon had dropped below the horizon. That is why you only see it partially shadowed in this photo. It was a very clear morning, but the moon became obscured by ground fog moments after this photo was taken.

See the posts below for more about moon photography at Walt Disney World Resort:

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: View of the Electrical Water Pageant from New Bora Bora Bungalows at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 26th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


We’re less than one week away from the grand opening of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World Resort.

When completed, the resort will feature 360 Deluxe Studios, as well as 20 over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows offering private decks complete with personal plunge pools and views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom Park area. Guests staying the Bungalows will be able to watch Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from their back decks (complete with the fireworks soundtrack pumped in for their listening pleasure), as well as the Electrical Water Pageant. Check out the view!

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This photo, shot last week, truly captures the beauty of this timeless nighttime parade combined with the classic South Pacific styling of our newest resort addition.

To read more about the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, visit the stories below:

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Filed: Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

This Week in Disney Parks Photos: U.S. Navy Blue Angels Amaze at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on March 21st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week at Disney Parks, some of the most compelling images were shot at Magic Kingdom Park, where on Thursday, March 19, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed two flyovers above Cinderella Castle.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels Soar Above Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort

The six F/A-18 Hornet jets were traveling from Pensacola, FL, to a Florida air show. Traveling at more than 250 mph, the team thundered down Main Street, U.S.A., in the Delta Formation on their first pass, then returned to execute a Delta Break on their second pass.

Don’t miss these amazing shots!

U.S. Navy Blue Angels Amaze at Magic Kingdom Park U.S. Navy Blue Angels Amaze at Magic Kingdom Park U.S. Navy Blue Angels Amaze at Magic Kingdom Park
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Disney Parks After Dark: Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on March 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


We’ve shared many shots of Disney castles from Disney Parks around the world here in this series over the past few years, but I have to say that this one, snapped at Hong Kong Disneyland, may just be my new favorite. I just love the lighting and the illuminated stained glass windows at the top.

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The castle at Hong Kong Disneyland is inspired by the Sleeping Beauty Castle at the original Disneyland park in California. (Fun fact: For the park’s 5th anniversary in 2010, Sleeping Beauty Castle temporarily transformed into Tinker Bell’s Pixie Dusted Castle, with effects added to it that made it shimmer day and night).

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Daylight Strikes Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris

posted on March 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Haunted Mansion, and the different versions of it at Disney Parks around the globe, are among my favorite to write about because they have such great storylines – and stories – to tell.

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In today’s sunrise shot, which was snapped by photographer Tom Bricker, you can see the sun rising over Phantom Manor at Disneyland Park (in Paris). Not only is it a lovely shot, but this photo actually illustrates a cool fun fact about the attraction: Unlike other Disney Parks around the world, this Haunted Mansion-type of attraction actually appears in Frontierland. (At Walt Disney World Resort, you can find it in Liberty Square, at the Disneyland Resort in California it’s located in New Orleans Square and at Tokyo Disneyland, it’s in Fantasyland).

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Disney Parks After Dark: Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin

posted on March 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Tonight’s “After Dark” images are a duo of shots taken of a Tomorrowland favorite – Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.

Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at Walt Disney World Resort Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at Walt Disney World Resort

Here, you can travel through Star Command headquarters to join Buzz Lightyear on his battle to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg. Have you tried it?

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks After Dark: Leave A Legacy

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Were you one of the thousands who participated in Leave a Legacy at Epcot and got you or your family’s photo placed on a tile here? The area sure looks beautiful at night.

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Carrousel Horses Ready for the Day at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 23rd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Did you know that exactly 87 royal steeds make up Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom Park and each one of them is completely unique?

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The horses, which were originally crafted in 1917 for Detroit Palace Garden Park, each sport looks all their own, dressed up in a myriad of colorful saddles, bridles, breast plates, armor and other festive gear. Is it me, or does the early morning sunshine cast just a touch more of a “fantasy” look to this classic attraction?

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Disney Parks After Dark: Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland

posted on February 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Check out tonight’s “After Dark” image, which was snapped at Hong Kong Disneyland after all the guests had gone home. This “land” features six attractions: Autopia, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Orbitron, Space Mountain, Stitch Encounter and the UFO Zone.

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Is Hong Kong Disneyland the international Disney Park you’ve dreamed of visiting? Tell us in the comments section below.

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A Morning View From the PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 9th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I always love having the chance to see our parks completely empty, just moments before thousands of guests arrive for a day of fun. That’s what makes this early morning shot of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and the Tomorrowland Speedway so neat.

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The cars are shined up and ready for guests this morning. What fun!

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