Fun with Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

My previous post on “things that spin in the night” was focused mostly on the Golden Zephyr with Mickey’s Fun Wheel in the background. I thought that it was time to put Mickey in the spotlight. This first photo was taken just 15 minutes after sunset, so there’s still some blue and pink in the sky. In addition, the dark clouds help make this photo more dramatic. I used a graded neutral density filter because I wanted to balance the light intensity between the lighter sky and the darker water.

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

This next photo exposure was 10 seconds long, a full 20 seconds shorter than the first. Since the attraction was stopping to load and unload guests, I used this shutter time to see what pattern would be captured with a shorter exposure. I was amazed by how the patterns changed with the different shutter speeds. When I was editing the photos, the patterns reminded me of a kaleidoscope.

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park

I picked this next photo because for the composition and the vibrant colors, for these reasons this is my favorite photo of the three. Which one do you like most?

Fun with Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park


  • Phil, I think I saw you taking photos of the Rocket ride in Disneyland Park on Friday night…perhaps another set of “spinning” items will show up soon?

  • That first shot would be absolutely stunning if the park would lower the World of Color fountains…

  • Love these photos!

  • The first picture is absolutely dazzling.

  • Dorothea–
    Yes, California Adventure is a theme park at the Disneyland Resort in California. 🙂

  • I would so LOVE to visit the Calif. park. I don’t mean to sound dumb, but is this in Disneyland?

  • These pictures are great. All of your pictures are great, Paul!

    I just have one complaint: I’d like to use them for my desktop wallpaper, but they’re too small. Any chance of posting future images at 900 pixels tall instead of 900 pixels wide?

  • I do love the first picture for the reasons listed above; however, I love the second picture even more because of the intricacy of the patterns seen in the wheel… the faint red loops created by the cars and the curves and lines made by the absence of light are my favorite part! 😀

  • Very cool! 🙂

  • What can I say… I’m literally stunned by these images. The colors are so vibrant and beautiful, everything is so crisp and perfectly in focus. And no noise! Which I think I’m the most jealous about.

    I would absolutely love to know how you achieved the vibrant colors without over exposing the static parts of the attractions, and how you erased any apparent signs of digital noise.

    That being said, I also like the third one the most. The contrasting colors really make it pop and you can see all of the crisp details.

  • I really enjoy these creative photo / video posts! Please keep them coming.

  • All the shots look great. Like most everyone else, my favorite is the first one.

    Question. With longer exposure times, how do you keep the static light sources, such as Mickey’s face, from over saturation? Is there a special technique utilized? The brightness balance between the static and dynamic lights is really good.

    Thanks for sharing all your great pics!

  • I love the first one – the reflection in the water and the colours are just gorgeous!

  • My fav is the first. I love the reflection in the water and almost how the colors in the night sky blend with the colors Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the light from Paradise Pier. Great job framing it!

    Great work!

  • Very nice!!

  • I enjoy that you include the technical aspect of the photos! Keep up the great work! I can’t wait to visit with my DSLR and tripod xD

  • BEAUTIFUL pictures. I love taking pictures of Mickey’s Fun Wheel at night, reflecting in the water. My camera can not these kinds of pictures…so THANK YOU. They are as spectacular as the ride ! It is a blast ! My 5 yr. old grandson squeals with delight when the basket swings !

  • I have a particular affinity for the first one. There is something intrinsically cool about how the whole landscape looks both in actuality and reflected in Paradise Bay, especially with the hardware for World of Color. All that being said, all three pictures are phenomenal. An excellent post, Paul.

  • I really like the water picture. The reflection with the water is like glass!

  • #1 – Very dramatic photos, great job!! I like the panorama shot the best, but the others are nice too! I’ll always think of this attraction as the “Sun Wheel” tho and I miss the Mickey head in that section of Screamin’ too.

  • I like the first one because of the reflection of everything in the water.

Comments are closed.