Monday, November 29, 2010

Disney World After Dark: Sid Cahuenga's

As you may have gathered from many of the posts here, I like photography. I hope that in the new year I will be able to focus more on photography as an art form; both in the art of taking the photograph and the post-production afforded digital photography.

You also know that I see Walt Disney World as a target rich environment. I am particularly interested in taking photographs as, and after, the sun goes down. Each park offers a wonderful array of subjects to capture once you set your camera to aperture or shutter priority. Main Street U.S.A. is spectacular, the World Showcase is transportive and Disney's Hollywood Studios neon and Art Deco architecture offers a nostalgic glimpse of a bygone day.

In these next few installments of Disney World After Dark we'll visit the Studios and look at the park through an extended shutter speed. First stop, Sid Cahuenga's One-Of-A-Kind. Sid's is a place where you can spend 5 to 10 minutes, or a good part of a day going through the all the curiosities housed in this bungalow. If you have not stopped into browse, you owe it to yourself to do so. It is a shop unlike any other.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Excuses... well, maybe one

If you follow The Disney Obsession regularly you know I have been trying to post on a more regular basis and so far I have been able to meet Number 2 on my I Am Resolved post from 01.01.10. But that has been due to have some regular features such as A Sign It's Saturday and Something On A Sunday that give me an easy eight posts. Truly, there are other things beside photographs that I have wish to write about, to continue, to create and so forth.

No excuses right? Well, maybe this one. If you've read the About Me page you know that I am a sometimes actor. That is what I am doing in my spare time at the moment - acting.
I may have posted this photograph before.

I am currently half way through a 6-week run of A Scattered, Smothered and Covered Christmas. That's right, Christmas Eve in a Waffle House. I play the role of Willie Wainwright; an alcoholic former preacher who is basically a good man, but has some family issues. The role doesn't have a lot of lines, but a lot of character and one very good song. In most tragedies there is a role written for comic relief. SSCC is a musical comedy and my character and my one very good song provides the tragic relief. I originated the role in the premier production in '05 and reprised it in '08. When the time came to produce the show in a new venue I got the call. I couldn't say no.

These past few weeks, amidst work and a show, I've been trying to keep up. But again, if you've read the About Me page you would have also read, "I have learned that I have fewer and fewer 'one of these days' left in my life, so I better get busy..." And that is what I did. I took the old actor out and brushed him off. If you happen to be in Nashville stop in and see the show. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry; but mostly, it will make you laugh. When you come it, tell 'em Willie sent you.

More to follow...

Something On A Sunday

Sitka, Alaska 05.27.09

As I have mentioned before, my wife and I took an Alaskan cruise in May '09, thus fulfilling a Bucket List item. And as I have also said before, I would do this again without hesitation. Our 49th state has so much to be seen and we saw just a small portion of it. We could return several times and still not experience everything this magnificent land has to offer.

The photograph above was taken during a shore excursion in Sitka. This totem is found in the Sitka National Historical Park.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

And The Survey Says... Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover

"Of these Tomorrowland attractions, which is your favorite?"

- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Space Mountain
- Stitch's Great Escape
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

That was the question we posed last Saturday and 21 readers (including the editor) expressed their opinion. And the survey says... the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover!
It was a very close vote throughout the week with the TTA edging our another timeless classic, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. The vote came in as follows: Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover with 9 votes (42%), Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress with 7 votes (33%), Space Mountain with 3 votes (14%) and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin with 2 votes (9%). The other four attractions garnered no votes.

It was great to see two classic attractions honored, especially when competing with a few others that offer a few more thrills and excitement. I suppose this says that you simply cannot discount the quality of the Carousel of Progress or the peacefulness of the Peoplemover. Each time I am in Tomorrowland I visit each; sometimes multiple times. With the Carousel it is a way of honoring the memory and genius of Walt Disney, knowing that he was personally involved in its creation and development. The Peoplemover is a way to relax and catch up with friends, as it is a favorite of many Disney aficionados.

Oh, and my vote, the WEDWay Peoplemover (a.k.a. Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover) celebrating its 35th Anniversary this past July 1st.

Now let's turn our attention to Epcot. We'll get to the attractions and countries in the weeks to come, but first, let's consider the festivals. This weeks poll will be a simple one in that there is only three items to choose from. The question is, "Which is your favorite special event held in Epcot?" The choices are the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Epcot International Food and Wine Festival or Holidays Around the World - Candlelight Processional.

Be sure to cast a vote for your favorite, and as always, you're invited to post a comment and let us know why a particular festival is your favorite.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned, there is more to follow.

A Sign Its Saturday

The National Telephone Authority (NTA)... because sometimes while traveling through East Africa only a land line will do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Where In The World

A long time ago in a galaxy far... well, you get the picture.

On 10.11.10 we published the photograph at the right. There were a few thoughts as to where in Walt Disney World it could be found. But no one posted a correct guess and then life and work caught up with me and I forgot to provide an update. Now with the 4-day weekend I can do a bit of blog housekeeping and felt that we should close the chapter on this photograph so that we can move on.

So, let's make a visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom and head over to DinoLand U.S.A. Once you are there, walk over to the TriceraTop Spin. And just before you board a friendly dinosaur on this outdoor flying adventure, take a look at the skin of your Triceratop. Look familiar?

More to follow...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Well, I had to wait for the parade to end. Now it's official. We wish the very happiest of Thanksgivings to you and your family. May it be filled with company of those you love; family and friends alike.

Be safe.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something On A Sunday

Arrington Vineyard 05.30.10

Editor's Note: Arrington Vineyard is located 25 miles south of Nashville among the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee. It was founded by Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn. Throughout the year "Music in the Vines" concerts are held on the patio. On 05.30 my wife, daughter and son-in-law packed a picnic lunch and headed south to enjoy the afternoon, the company and a little jazz by a local group, Art for Sale. The photograph... was taken while waiting for the music to begin.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And The Survey Says... Splash Mountain

The results are in and actually, I thought the vote would be a little closer than it was. I was expecting perhaps one to two votes difference, but after 18 people expressed a view on their favorite attraction in Frontierland, four votes separated first from second place. Here are the results.

Splash Mountain took top honors with 11 votes or 61%. A not too distant second went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with 7 votes or 38%. The Country Bears or Tom Sawyer did not garner any votes; but then, did we really expect them to against such strong attractions. Of the two vote getters, I am a bigger fan of Splash due mainly to its story. It is a well told story in a well-designed attraction. The only downside, I don't like the getting wet part. That is why you'll see me donning a rain poncho prior to boarding; especially if the shooter are working near the first incline. It never fails that I placed at just the right place and the water is coming in at just the right angle to hit me. Sorry, just don't for it. So, with poncho Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

For this weeks survey question, we'll pass through Liberty Square, since among the three contenders, the 999 happy haunts are almost a no-brainer. Although, there is something to be said for a journey aboard the riverboat. We'll head into Tomorrowland and ask the question, "Of these Tomorrowland attractions, which is your favorite?" We'll choose from:

- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Space Mountain
- Stitch's Great Escape
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

And... if you'll forgive me, I'll abbreviate the names (where needed) in the poll. So, join in the fun and have your say; cast your vote. And if you wish, add a comment telling us why you voted the way you did. We'd love to hear from you!

A Sign Its Saturday

Joe Rohde is a name that will be forever linked to Disney's Animal Kingdom. And it should be. Rohde was the lead designer of the park and his influence is especially seen and felt in Expedition Everest attraction. Throughout the park you'll discover tributes to his association to the park, such as this one found in Harambe Village.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And The Survey Says... Pirates of the Caribbean

Was there ever any doubt? Well, actually there was. Until about mid-week the Jungle Cruise held a slight edge.

You will recall that last week's poll question was, "In Adventureland, which of these attractions is your favorite?" And here is the breakdown:

- The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management - 2 votes (8%)
- Jungle Cruise - 9 votes (36%)
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - 0 votes (0%)
- Pirates of the Caribbean - 14 (56%)
- Swiss Family Treehouse - 0 (0%)

Both of the big vote getters are classic Disney attractions; both very popular and both with their respective loyal patrons. But on this occasion, with this group of people voting, the Pirates win out. But many of you still enjoy the back side of water.

Now let's take a walk past Pirates and move into Frontierland for this weeks poll. In Frontierland, which of these attractions is your favorite? Is it Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, Splash Mountain or Tom Sawyer Island? I foresee two of these four fighting it out for top honors.

Cast your vote!

A Sign Its Saturday

My wife and I have twice been to Africa. Once was Uganda in eastern Africa and a second to Zimbabwe in southern Africa. Once, slightly above the Equator and a second well below it; affording my the opportunity to look up a clear night and see the Southern Cross. All the while I couldn't help but think about an old CSN&Y song.

No doubt, whenever I am in Disney's Animal Kingdom, being in Harambe brings back memories. The Imagineers have done an exceptional job of representing eastern Africa.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wall

For those of you who visit here often or follow me on Facebook, you will know that I recently took a trip to St. Louis with my son. The event that prompted the trip was the Roger Waters Wall Tour 2010. But what was so much more important to me was the ability to spend a good deal of uninterrupted time with my son. You see, the last time we were able to be together for any length of time without family, work commitments, war, and so forth, was 1994. It was his graduation trip to Walt Disney World in June of that year. A great time, despite it raining every day. Which isn't so bad in and of itself, but we were camping at Fort Wilderness - Spanish Moss Trail.

I wanted to post this particular photograph from show because it summed up so many things from those 48 hours and why they are special to my memories.

My son served in Iraq. He served in other places too - places he can not or will not talk about. But, he came home! You see, preceding this images were stills and video projected on The Wall of families being reunited when the warrior comes home. My son reach over, clutched my hand, and said, "Dad, we had that moment didn't we."

It took me a moment, but I said, "Yes, we did son."

I was crying.

I am very proud of my son!

And I am so very thankful that God brought my boy back home!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...if i lived in central florida i'd...

... i'd find a nice bench in innoventions plaza and sit listening to the background music loop. i really enjoy that loop and whenever i am having a stressful or difficult week that music always lifts my spirit. i'm in a "burning the candle at both ends" mode at the moment so i am listening to the innoventions loop daily.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Disney World After Dark: Germany

The World Showcase provides a plethora of opportunities, both day and night, for photography. Why just walking around the Promenade and visiting each country is an education in the history and styles of architecture. Maybe that is one reason why I enjoy my times there.

Consider Germany. If you stand at the entrance of the pavilion and pan your view from left to right you'll see a variety of styles that provide a broad canvas of what is German architecture. You have the clock tower with its specially designed glockenspiel. Below that is the village fountain with the statue of St. George Slaying the Dragon. Then on your right you have the merchants' hall patterned after the merchants' hall found in Freiburg. The difference? The hall found in Freiburg has four statues of German emperors: Maximillan I, Philip I, Charles V and Ferdinand I. The hall found here is without Maximillan I.
So when dusk falls upon the World Showcase, do not be so hasty to put away your camera. Keep it handy, turn off your flash, find a place to steady the camera and enjoy the experience.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Something On A Sunday

St. Louis Zoo 10.30.10

I love St. Louis! I love the St. Louis Zoo! My grandparents on my father's side of the family lived there and I remember trips there as a child. I discovered who Neil Diamond was from my aunts and I listened to all seventeen minutes and five seconds of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for the first time during a trip there. Even now I still can do a pretty good job of mimicking Ron Bushy's drum solo.

But one of my favorite things about St. Louis is the Zoo. This was Marlin Perkins' zoo from 1962 to 1970. I remember watching him and Jim during episodes of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Whenever I visit St. Louis, I must get to the zoo. And while I am there, one my favorite places to be is on Historic Hill. For an amateur photographer with an eye for architecture, Historic Hill offers many opportunities to find just the right photograph. Whether it is in the 1927 Herpetarium (above), 1929 Primate House, or the 1904 Bird Cage, I find myself taking more photographs here than anywhere else in the park. My one regret is that I am not able to find photographs from when I was younger of the Great Ape House or the Elephant House. Renovation has taken these gems and all I have is what I believe them to have been in my memory.

Nashville has a zoo and I visit there occasionally. But it doesn't offer the architecture found in St. Louis Zoo. So I'll continue to visit there from time-to-time and I'll continue to take more photographs searching for that one elusive shot.

More to follow...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And The Survey Says... Mickey's PhilharMagic

On October 23rd we asked the question, "In Fantasyland, which of these attractions is your favorite?" The choices were Dumbo, it's a small world, Mad Tea Party, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Peter Pan's Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Snow White's Scary Adventure. I must admit, as a huge fan of Peter Pan's Flight, I was a little surprised that it came in second. But then, why would everyone think the same as me in this? It is variety that make the parks magical and that is also true of all Disneyphiles.

So the votes are in and the winner was Mickey's PhilharMagic! A wonderful attraction and one that I always visit as I make my early morning way through Fantasyland. A great many fond memories there. Here is the breakdown. Of the 21 votes posted, the PhilharMagic counted for 10 of those, or 47%. Following in order were Peter Pan's Flight with 6 (28%), it's a small world and Mad Tea Party with 2 (9%) each, and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel with 1 (4%). Sadly, Dumbo, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Snow White's Scary Adventure did not pick a vote. So there you have it.

Now let's move onto another land and another poll. This week let pay a visit to Adventureland and consider the attractions there with this weeks question, "In Adventureland, which of these attractions is your favorite?" Is it The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management, Jungle Cruise, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Swiss Family Treehouse?

The polls are open. Let us know what you think and if you feel like, post a comment and let us know your thoughts on your favorite attraction.

A Sign Its Saturday

I woke up this morning thinking about how I had gotten behind on the blog this past week. No excuses, but three things influenced the lack of updates: work, rehearsals and not feeling that well. But here it is Saturday and I have some time play catch up.

I woke up this morning thinking about Disney's Animal Kingdom. I don't know, I suppose that adventuresome streak in me needed to be set free for a while and when I think about adventure, I think Disney's Animal Kingdom. My favorite land is Africa, and while I will not limit every sign this month to Africa, I'll start there. And what better place to begin your adventures and explorations of Africa, than in Harambe.
Jambo everyone!