Top 10 Lists

My Top Ten Disney Parks Photos of 2018

2018 was an incredible year of traveling for Melissa and I including our first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort as well as Walt Disney World.  I grew as a photographer over the year and have become far more comfortable behind the camera.  In this post I’m going to go through my favorite photos that I took in 2018, adding some insight to the photo and location, as well.

I still don’t consider myself to be a good photographer as there are plenty of areas I need to improve in.  This post isn’t an effort to prop up my ego or show off.  There are plenty of other sites if you want to see better photography.  Instead this post is an easy way to review our year of travel while showcasing a few nice things to look at.

Going to interesting destinations certainly is helpful when taking photos and we were fortunate enough to do that.  This is the first year where a few of my favorite photos were outside of theme parks, traveling through Japan.  With that in mind, I added a few of my favorite photos outside of the park to the end of the post.  Before that I’ll count down my 10 favorite Disney Parks photos in order.  These aren’t necessarily my best as some are sentimental favorites.  Let’s get to the list.

Mediterranean Harbor bridge gondolas night TDS

I had several photos from Mediterranean Harbor that I like.  The area is incredibly vibrant and it’s hard to screw up such a beautiful scene.  This was from our first night in Tokyo DisneySea and my first extensive nighttime photography session without a tripod, which aren’t allowed at Tokyo Disney Resort.  I set my aperture as low as possible (f/2.8) and steadied myself on the hand rail.  I love the unsteady reflection in the water.  The bridge is my favorite aspect of Mediterranean Harbor.

Pete's Dragon Dreamlights TDL

Sometimes you just need a little luck.  This likely isn’t one of the 10 best photos I took this year but it does make the list for a few reasons.  We were very lucky to stumble into this beautiful spot to view Tokyo Disneyland’s Dreamlights.  Our first experience seeing this parade was unforgettable.  I chose this photo because I love the smoke coming down on Pete, framing the castle.  It’s far from a perfect photo but I love the scene.

Volcano boat in focus night TDS

The last photo I took in our last night at DisneySea.  This was a photo I planned on taking all trip long and it worked out well.  I should have probably toned down the lights in the background below the volcano but am very happy with how sharp the boat turned out.  This is an area of DisneySea that I could stand in all night.  It’s a perfect scene.

Castle river haze from boat TDL

A sunset cruise on Tokyo Disneyland’s (or any castle park’s) riverboat is a quintessential Disney experience that typically flies under the radar.  The view is beautiful and the water reflections are gorgeous.  I have clearer photos of this particular sunset but I chose this one because I like the way the steam from the river boat hinders the view of the castle.

Splash Mountain night from rocks TDL

One of the better technical photos I took this year.  While I didn’t have a tripod at Tokyo Disneyland, I did use a The Green Pod extensively for long exposure photos (this one was a 10 second exposure).  That was the case here, as I took a good amount of time setting up this shot.  Tokyo Disneyland gives a unique view of Splash Mountain, letting guests fairly close to the water.  There are a few things I would change here if I did it again, but I’m pleased with this shot.

Everest at night RoL AK

I took this Animal Kingdom photo from Flame Tree Barbecue’s lower seating area right before Rivers of Light began.  The mountain looks imposing and the reflections certainly add to the photo.  I haven’t decided if I like the grass in the foreground or not.

Venetian Gondolas lady rowing TDS

This photo on DisneySea’s gondolas became one of my favorites partially because of sentimental reasons.  Our gondolier was very playful throughout our cruise, posing for me and moving around to let me have a better view of the sights.  I love this photo solely because of her facial expression.  We interacted with her for a brief few minutes, but her face shows what I observed – she took pride in and absolutely loved her work.  People like her are a part of what make Disney Parks, and Tokyo Disney Resort specifically, special.

Character MOUACTP MVMCP

Similar to the above photo, Alice’s expression is perfect.  I realize that this is more acting in character but she pretty much sums up how everyone feels while watching Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.  With the snow falling on Main Street, this is one of those Disney moments that you wish could just hang on for a while longer.  I did improve in my parade photography this year and this is one of my favorites from the parades we’ve seen.

Mysterious Island bridge TDS

The idea behind the photo is certainly better than the actual photo.  Framing Mount Prometheus between the rock walls, bridge and ground works well, especially with the lights hanging down.  The subject is absolutely stunning.  Parts of the photo work really well, with the colors bursting being my favorite part.  When I get to retake the photo, I will frame it a little bit differently and change a few settings.  Still, this remains one of my favorite photos I’ve taken – a keepsake from our first night in DisneySea, one of the best nights of my life.

ToT ground night TDS

I’ve tried to stop myself from putting this at number one for a while, as I don’t think it’s up everyone’s alley.  But, it’s up my alley and I’m the one writing this!  I love symmetry in photography and film, thankfully DisneySea does a wonderful job of symmetry in their settings.  The above photo is obvious proof of that.  DisneySea benefits from having two somewhat ominous icons hovering over the park in Tower of Terror and Mount Prometheus.  The Tower of Terror building is gorgeously textured.  In this photo, I set my camera and The Green Pod on the ground, giving the foreground some interest with the bricks and leading lines.  Frankly, I got lucky as the park hadn’t closed at this point but I caught a long enough gap between people to keep this shot clear.  The lighting on the buildings certainly help the depth of field and the few Easter decorations help add point of interest.  I haven’t been able to convince Melissa to hang this above the fire-place, something about it not being the most cheerful photo, but it is my favorite photo I’ve taken in a Disney Park.

Fuji from Shinkansen

Moving on to photos outside of the parks.  This one makes it simply because of sentimental reasons.  We had serious doubts on whether we’d be able to see Mt. Fuji while in Japan and even when passing by on the train, we were seated on the other side of the aisle.  Thanks to a wonderfully helpful seatmate, we were able to run over to the other side of train and I was able to snap this photo.  I do like the rolling nature side with the steady Fuji in the background.  Far from a great photo, but it means a lot to me.

Nanzen-ji under aqueduct

Over time this has become one of my favorite photos.  The symmetry of the giant aqueduct framing the lady in a traditional kimono is interesting.

Toji tall reflections

We had a wonderful night at Toji Temple in Kyoto.  The contrast of the pagoda against the beautiful deep blue sky is a lovely sight.  The reflections and stunning cherry blossoms make this photo.

two flowers water leaf

A very simple and small scene but it encompasses the precision in Japanese culture.  It’s a simple mechanism that lets the water slowly drip off this leaf but nonetheless beautiful.  I love the bright pink in the flower in the foreground.  If I took this photo again I would likely open up the aperture to make the white flower a little sharper but that’s a give and take as the streaming water against the blurred background is nice.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/127279754@N03/40540708394/in/datetaken-friend/lightbox/

Don’t need much commentary here as I think the photo does a good job of telling the story.  I have way too many monkey photo.  Kyoto’s Monkey Park was the biggest surprise of our trip and a place we’ll visit often going forward.

Did you have a favorite photo from this batch?  Let us know in the comments!  Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney.  If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media pages.  You can do both of those things on the right side of this page.  Have a great day!

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