The Good, Bad, and the Ugly – Photography at Disney

Standard

20140118_125814

 

Not too many years ago, there were only film cameras and a trip to Disney might mean upgrading from a 24 exposure roll of film to a 36 exposure roll that had to last you for the whole day or even trip.  One or two shots were taken per character and you didn’t realize the image would have bad lens flare until you got your prints back from the developer.

The amount of photography taken at Disney parks is insane.  One site states that 100-200,000 photos are taken each day just by Photopass photographers and that is probably a conservative number.  Add in cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, etc. and the numbers must be staggering.

Now, I will go out on a limb and speculate that many of the images/videos/etc. that are taken, will not make it beyond Facebook or Instagram and stand a good chance of being lost when a hard drive crashes or phone gets dropped in the lake.  But, that is each person’s individual problem and their responsibility to prevent.  And to be honest, it’s easy to assume that many of the images are never looked at again, anyway.

ipad blocking view at WDW

 

That is what makes some of the photography trends at Disney parks kind of interesting to look at.  This was what we saw over and over in 2013.  Huge tablets with full keyboards videoing EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the Christmas parade.  We even saw one person carrying a 17″ laptop through the park during Christmas week.  Crazy.

ipad as camera at disney world

Luckily, it seems as if the iPad is not a Camera message was getting through, because 2014 was the year of the “selfie stick”.  And in my opinion, it is a HUGE improvement over the iPad craze.  At least you can see through it and don’t have to watch a live event in the screen of the person in front of you.

Disney sketchbook

I didn’t take any pictures of the selfie stick craze, but you can see it in my sketchbook.

A lot of articles are floating around seeking to ban the selfie stick at theme parks, but if that means the return of the iPad as camera, I say keep the selfie sticks around.

No matter what the trend of the day is, it would be fascinating to know if many of the thousands of photos and videos get edited and make their way off of the phone/tablet/etc. and into a easier to view format?

As for me, I will stick to whatever images I can get while carrying the least amount of gear – a Sony RX100 II.  At 2.3 inches by 4 inches and a weight of about 9 ounces, it is a great theme park camera.  Unobtrusive, lightweight, and a battery that lasts 2 days since the flash is almost never used.

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

 

Disney Every Day – Episode 3

Standard

Along with the standard question, “How long until we are going to Disney World?”, another frequent question is “What day do we do __________?”  So, to help Isabella learn days, months, time, etc., we made her a Morning Circle Time Board.  It has a calendar, learning clock, weather station, etc., but her favorite part of it is the moveable monorail to change the day of the week.

DIY Monorail - Days of the Week activity

 

The board is a simple foam core board with various elements glued or laminated on.  For the monorail track, we cut a slit in the foam core with an exacto knife above the days of the week.

We searched for a simple image of the monorail and printed it off on cardstock.  We used ModPodge to adhere it to a piece of balsa wood (from Hobby Lobby) and sealed it with a top coat of ModPodge.  The balsa wood was easy to cut with an exacto knife.  We glued a small sliver of foam core to the back of the balsa wood to hold the monorail in the track and glued a flat washer to the back of that.

Disney Every Day – Episode 2

Standard

Isabella loves her play kitchen and has all variety of play food  to “cook” with, but one thing that was missing were treats similar to what we get in Disney parks.

A little plywood, small dowels, a few cuts on a bandsaw, acrylic paint, and Polycrylic sealer and we’ve got Mickey Ice Cream Bars that never melt!

DIY play food Mickey ice cream bars

A Little Bit of Disney in Our Day

Standard

We play a lot of “Disney World” at home in between trips.  Stuffed animals are buckled in to the Mine Train (aka the couch), laundry baskets become It’s a Small World boat, and some “rides” even require the use of a fast pass.

So, we made our own “fast pass reader”.

DIY "fast pass reader"

 

It is made with a simple tap light similar to this available at Home Depot, Lowes, or even the dollar store:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.21.34 PM

 

We lightly sanded the underside of the dome and painted it with acrylic paint before re-assembling it.  If we were doing it again, we might paint the Mickey outline with a brush and spray paint the rest with a yellow/gold paint to get a smoother finish, but Isabella doesn’t seem to mind the uneven paint job.

diy fast pass reader

 

And at least we’ve found a way to play with the little collection of Magic Bands we are starting to acquire!

Seven Dwarfs Ruffled Peasant Tunic

Standard

seven dwarves ruffled tunic diy

Isabella wanted to meet Snow White on our second day at the Magic Kingdom and she was just tall enough to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so the search was on for an outfit to fit the occasion.

A trip to Joanns yielded this adorable seven dwarfs fabric which was perfect for that day:

Seven Dwarves fabric

 

Isabella’s top was a basic peasant-style tunic with a ruffled collar attached and princess style sleeves.  There are a number of free peasant dress patterns and tutorials online including this one from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom and this one from Create Kids Couture if you want to make your own.

Girls Seven Dwarfs top DIY

We used the free Flounced Ruffle Capri pattern from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in a cotton interlock for her pants.

Our goal is to find/make unique, but comfortable outfits for Isabella.  Snow White gave this one her seal of approval.

2014-12-19 at 07-47-03

Disney Trip Sketchbook

Standard

This is the second year that I brought along a watercolor sketchbook to WDW.

The reason I bring a sketchbook (even though my artistic abilities are minimal and we don’t stop for a lot of sketching breaks) is that there are things you just can’t capture with a still or video image.

For instance:

Disney sketchbook - Donald in Mexico

While waiting in line to see Donald in Mexico, it was fascinating to watch the family in front of us.  This year, we saw many children (big and small), sitting in strollers glued to iPads.  The boy in line in front of us never looked up until his parents insisted he get out and get a picture with Donald.  A couple of quick snapshots and he was back in the stroller playing a game on the tablet.

It seemed kind of sad that even Disney World was not enough entertainment for so many children, much less the adults who couldn’t pry themselves away from Facebook or Instagram to enjoy the experience.

Last year, I used my beloved Circa punch and discs to make a sketchbook.  This year, I brought a Strathmore 400 Series Hardbound Journal.  This year’s choice was a mistake.  I didn’t like not being able to fold the book back on itself like a disc or wire binding allows.  And a small water bottle leak in my backpack caused the binding to disintegrate, even though none of the pages were damaged.  I’m going back to a Circa disc bound sketchbook as soon as I finish the Strathmore one.  The flexiblity of adding and removing pages at will just works better for me.

Tinkerbell Christmas T-shirt Printable

Standard

Isabella’s favorite Christmas song is Jingle Bells.  As we got ready for our Christmas break trip to WDW, she started singing “Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell, Tinker all the way!”

SO, her clever Mama designed a graphic for a shirt for her to wear to the Magic Kingdom to meet Tinkerbell.

tinkerbell

 

It was one of the only Tinkerbell shirts we saw on this trip and Tinkerbell herself heartily approved!

The shirt is made from our trusty Oliver and S Raglan t-shirt pattern and a cotton interlock from Joanns.  We used an iron-on transfer paper to get the design on the shirt.

Here is the graphic if you want to make your own.  Remember to flip it horizontally before printing or the text will be backwards when you iron it on.

Tinkerbell Christmas Iron-on Printable

Tinkerbell Christmas Iron-on Printable

Disney + Star Wars DIY Shirt (free printable!)

Standard

We’ve just come back from another amazing trip to WDW and this time, we planned ahead and came up with shirts for each park.  The first one was for Hollywood Studios.

May the Mouse be with you diy

Star Ears – May the Mouse be With You!  Perfect for Isabella who likes Star Wars, but loves Mickey.

Isabella’s clever Mama came up with the idea which we then “designed” in Word.  Here are 2 versions if your little Jedi wants one for their next Disney trip.

Star Ears Printable

Curved Mickey Head Star Ears

Star Ears Printable

Star Ears Printable

We used iron-on transfer paper from the fabric store on a purchased dress.  Just make sure to flip the image horizontally before printing or the text will be backwards when you iron it on.

 

Embroidered Disney Shirts on a Regular Sewing Machine

Standard

Disney monogram shirt DIY

 

There are so many cute Disney embroidery and appliques available, but what if you don’t have an embroidery machine?  This Minnie Mouse monogram was done with my 20 year old sewing machine and one special foot.

This was made with a technique called “couching”.  A good description of it is found here.

For this shirt, I drew the design out on tear-away stabilizer and then pinned it to the front of the ready-made shirt.

Machine embroidery on a regular sewing machine

 

This foot is called a “braiding” foot and has a hole that braid/yarn/cord can go through so you can zig-zag over it to hold it in place.  I did a standard width zig-zag first to get the yarn in the right place and then switched to an open toe applique foot to do a tight zig-zag over it to cover the yarn better.  After stitching everything down, carefully tear away the stabilizer and you are left with a nice raised embroidery design.  To keep the embroidery from being scratchy when worn, I iron on a soft fusible lining material on the inside that can be found at Hancocks or Joanns.

The Minnie ears and bow were easy to draw out.  I made the circle monogram here.

R2D2 Trick or Treat Bucket – Tutorial

Standard

R2D2 Trick or Treat Bucket

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there were other princesses besides Elsa and Anna.   Isabella settled on Princess Leia as her outfit of choice for this Halloween and her costume got a lot of attention in the sea of Elsa’s we saw.

Princess Leia costume with R2D2 bucket

Making her dress was pretty easy, we used the Oliver and S Field Trip Raglan T as the base.  The body of the tee was modified into an a-line shape and lengthened.  The sleeves were also modified to flare out.  A hood was added to the back and the neckline was raised to match Princess Leia’s dress.  The dress was made out of a white cotton interlock from Hancocks which ended up being a good weight for any weather and was super comfortable.

Isabella’s belt was sewn with “outdoor fabric” that looked like leather from Hancocks and was made using this tutorial.Princess Leia and R2D2 toddler costume

On to the R2D2 bucket and a little disclaimer.  Taking step by step detailed photographs isn’t our cup of tea, but we did sketch out the basic steps it took to make this R2D2 bucket.

How to make an R2D2 bucket

Basically, it is an oatmeal box with paper towel tube arms covered in paper mache’ and then painted.  We ran a ribbon handle through the paper towel tube arms before covering them with paper mache’.  The top of R2D2 was a 6″ styrofoam ball with the bottom cut off.  We made a tape hinge so it would open and shut for trick or treating.  Isabella loved it and was asked about it over and over.

R2D2 Halloween bucket