Meri Kurimasu from Tokyo Disney Resorts!

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juneau biscuits's picture
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Tokyo Disneysea 2017 01-Mediterranean Harbor by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Like every other Disney park, Mediterranean Harbor really shines at night! Because the dark obscures a lot of detail, it's easier for our minds to accept the illusion constructed by the Imagineers. If you thought this area was impressive during the day, the magic triples once the sun goes down.

As we get further along into my report, you may notice a lesser amount of night images than usual, or that composition/perspective seems a little askew at times. It boils down to no tripods being allowed in the parks. I'm not sure when the ban started, but it was done for safety reasons (I wouldn't be surprised at all if this rule is eventually enforced at the USA parks). Fortunately, the Tokyo parks do have a fair amount of walls and ledges that provide some stability for cameras, along with the usual standby of rubbish cans and dining tables.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 03 - Exploring Over the Mediterranean Harbor by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

The image above, taken a little after sunset, was accomplished by balancing my camera on a narrow ledge. Careful not to shake my Nikon, I kept the strap (attached to the camera) on my neck because the drop below was quite far. I normally like to more panoramas, but without a tripod, the necessity of matching up the individual shots proved difficult to say the least. I did manage to stitch together the image below (comprising of 5 separate shots) thanks to the use of a bean bag (tip courtesy of the awesome Tom Bricker). I found it quite handy for mounting my camera on poles or any support that was not flat or even.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 16 - Mediterranean Harbor @ Dusk by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

The other method I found useful was a Platypod. It's basically a flat metal plate that mounts a tripod head. Perfect for the top of walls, I was able to do a fair number of long exposure shots using this gizmo.

I remember the first day at the park, wandering around feeling overwhelmed and a bit down as the light faded. Beautiful scenery that I would have gobbled up with a tripod, now seemed to tease me with an elusive demeanor. As time headed towards evening and crowds began to slowly dwindle, I hung out at the Palazzo Canals, an area almost deserted due to the gondola ride closing down for the evening.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 38 - Looking Up @ Ristorante Di Canaletto by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Other than the occasional guest heading to "Ristorante de Canaletto" for late dinner (picture below), I pretty much had the place to myself. I decided to use the Platypod since the walls blocking off the canal were low and wide. Setting the camera for a 30 second exposure, I crossed my fingers, and finally began seeing some decent images of this beautifully lit area!

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 40 - Silent Night @ Palazzo Canals by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 36 - Evening On the Palazzo Canals by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

This location really became my home base of sorts, a place I would retreat to when I needed to get away from the crowds or to decompress. It's the same with Main Street when I'm at Disneyland or WDW. Something about the vibe that makes me feel safe and comfortable.

Remember when I mentioned earlier how gray skies were the norm while I was in Tokyo? Although cloud cover will suck the blues right out of the sky, I tend to view clouds as more of a positive in photography, especially at night. Clouds will automatically increase the dramatic mood of an image . This is especially true at sunset and the blue hour.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 24 - Mount Prometheus Viewed from the Venice Canals by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 27 - Dusk On Mount Prometheus by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

I initially planned not to show any images of Mt. Prometheus until I got to the section covering Mysterious Island, but that icon is visible from nearly every area in the park (Not that it's a bad thing. The mountain integrates itself seamlessly into whatever port you're visiting...enhancing, rather than shattering any Disney designed theme/illusion).

Another icon that is hard to escape is the Tower of Terror. It is clearly visible from both Mediterranean and American Waterfront.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 47 - Sunset On the Mediterranean by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Again, the Christmas decorations are done tastefully with some measure of restraint giving this entire port a truly classic feel and look!

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 42 - Christmas Wishes 2017 Signage by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

A water show titled "Color of Christmas" took place every night on the water with lighted trees covering the water. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to shoot it, so a picture of the general area where the show takes place is all I can provide.

Tokyo Disneysea 2017 33 - Mediterranean Harbor Stage by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

This wraps up my coverage of Mediterranean Harbor. I'll take a short hiatus and return with a report on Tokyo Disneyland (I'm going to hop back and forth between the two parks to keep things fresh).

Until then, wishing everyone a Happy Easter and remember...Christ has risen!

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sounds amazing

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This place is amazing! I can't believe this is a Disney park. Just unbelievable. Are all of the buildings shops? Or do they have Epcot-like displays inside? And, as usual, your photos are stunning. Thank you!

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JoAnn C wrote:
sounds amazing

It is quite spectacular there for sure!

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jtownpluto wrote:
This place is amazing! I can't believe this is a Disney park. Just unbelievable. Are all of the buildings shops? Or do they have Epcot-like displays inside? And, as usual, your photos are stunning. Thank you!

Most of the buildings contain functional shops or restaurants! Thank you for the kind words!

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Tokyo Disneyland 2017 12 - Cast Member Oikawa Gives a Mickey Wave by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

I apologize for the longer than anticipated installment of my Japan trip. After blazing though the first part featuring Disneysea, I admit to hitting a writer's roadblock when discussing Tokyo Disneyland! Possibly due to similarities to the USA parks, I found it hard to talk about things that haven't been discussed a million times before. Nonetheless, I'm heading out for a week's vacation and wanted to get at least one installment done before I leave. I'll probably pepper this post with a bit more photos than usual, so pardon me for the imbalance of words to pictures.

The first thing that will hit you as you enter into TDL is the roof over World Bazaar (Japan's version of Main Street USA)! It's a serious aberration that breaks the illusion so carefully crafted in the American parks. I understand it was done as a means of dealing with Tokyo weather, but the cost is high. World Bazaar never really recovers from having a ceiling, feeling more like an indoor shopping mall than a stroll down a small town. Once you get over the initial shock, the theming and attention to details on Main Street still retains the high standard set by the Japan parks. There's an abundant amount of Disney performers and cast members here, more so than other areas. It's always a little jarring to watch a performance with cast members speaking in Japanese, but the level of exuberance and energy makes up for the language barrier.

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 09 - Your Friendly Main Street Police Officer by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 73 - Entrance Performers by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Cast members here are super friendly and helpful, but I would not say that it's a big leap over the states. I was scolded a bit more this time around for not understanding their photography rules better, but that's part of their jobs.

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 31 - Traveling Piano Player by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 03 - Cast Member Watanabe by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Christmas decorations are a little more pronounced here as opposed to TDS. The obligatory Christmas Tree stands majestically near the entrance, grabbing a large amount of attention and selfies. Even after park closing, I found it hard to photograph the tree without any people in the shots. I should have taken multiple exposures and manually remove them in post, but I actually don't mind it as it gives a better size perspective.

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 20 - World Bazaar Christmas Tree Early Morning by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 25 - World Bazaar Christmas Tree by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 66 - Closing Hour @ World Bazzar by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 70 - For Safety Please Walk by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

The roof definitely has a visual impact on photos, but I do like the texture it gives to the sky (and with Tokyo being overcast much of the time, this can be a good thing). The above image of the cast member holding the "walk" sign reminds me of how the Japanese will initiate a "fast walk/close to running" movement as they enter the parks. The internal struggle between following Japan social rules v.s. the need to get to their destination of choice as fast as possible is quite amusing. In America, guests will pretty much run full tilt, disregarding pleas of safety from cast members...LOL!

Main street stores have the same attention to detail one expects, but there seems to be a little something "extra" when it comes to the window displays. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I sense a little more pride and personal touch coming from the artists and set designers.

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 67 - The Grand Emporium Window Display 01 by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 65 - The Grand Emporium Detail by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 69 - Princess Window Display by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 56 - World Bazaar Window Display by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

One of my favorite places to eat at World Bazaar is the Center Street Coffee House. I found it quite by accident during my first visit in 2002 (internet wasn't quite up to snuff and info on TDL was very difficult to find). My first meal there was for breakfast and I had ordered a set menu consisting of a Mickey waffle, eggs, and a yogurt. After taking a bite, I immediately wanted to order an extra yogurt...never having tasted something so creamy, smooth, and delicious. I called over the waitress and asked her for another serving, followed by a look of bewilderment on her face. She could not understand someone wanting to order an extra of something on the menu and ended up asking another waitress, who called the manager, and proceeded to have a mini conference. After much debate, they informed me that they would have to charge me extra. Totally embarrassed by all the fuss, I smiled and said "Wakarimasu" (I understand in English). I've made it a point to always eat at Center Street whenever I visit, but I now stick to the menu and abolish any thoughts of special orders!

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 65 - Center Street Coffeehouse Interior by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 25 - Lunch @ Center Street Coffeehouse by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Tokyo Disneyland 2017 75 - Greetings from Center Street Coffehouse Cast Member by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

To be continued...

Allie's picture
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Holy cow does that food from Center Street look amazing! My stomach is growling!

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Allie wrote:
Holy cow does that food from Center Street look amazing! My stomach is growling!

I feel your pain Allie...LOL!

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Mauna Kea MW Over Fissure Eight by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Taking a short detour from my Japan trip reports to share the above image. If you've been semi following me on this forum, you know that I love photographing the Milky Way, especially at the top of Mauna Kea Summit! At an elevation of 13,800 ft, shots of MW are as clear and crisp as you'll ever see. I can clearly see it also with the naked eye (and not some vague outline, but a very defined and detailed look).

I drove up last week attempting to photograph the MW above several of the telescopes located at the peak. Unfortunately, it was on the opposite side of the sky! A little disappointed, I nonetheless moved my camera and gear to still grab something. As I approached the edge, I noticed an orange hue rising from the horizon. As it came into full view, I realized it was the glow of lava from the newly emerged Fissure 8! If you've been following the news, you know that volcanic activity has been hot and heavy, with the lava destroying hundreds of homes in the Leilani Estates area. I had hope to shoot this event, but security was tight with fines of $5,000.00 and possible jail time being handed out to trespassers. But God, in His generosity, gave me a birds eye view of this spectacle from over 80 miles away!

Mauna Kea Observatory Laser To the Skies by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

As a sidenote, while the lava has touched a lot of lives and is a tragedy, 99% of the Big Island is unaffected by the lava (other than the VOG)! If you were or are planning to visit there, please do so! A lot of the small businesses are dying because of visitor cancellations. There is still so much to do and see on the Big Island..and visiting the summit is clearly one of them!

Milky Way @ Mauna Kea Vistior Center by JUNEAU BISCUITS, on Flickr

Photographs copyright 2018 by Len Yokoyama

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WOW! That's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing these.

I've been following the volcanic activity very closely (I watch the county updates every night) and I am just floored by what has been going on. I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that Kapoho Bay is just gone. Filled in. That's both amazing and tragic at the same time. I've heard that half of the cut US orchid producers have been completely wiped off the map. Crazy! No one (where I am) seems to be talking about the economic impact this is having. I mean, I know that wedding flowers aren't exactly critical; but half of the producers suddenly disappearing will have wide ranging impact to the industry.

Your images are beautiful as always.

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It took me a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor before I could type. These are absolutely stunning!!! I wish I had access to a location where I could see and photograph like this! Thank you for also sharing a little about what all is happening over there! Do you mind if I use that top image as my screen saver. I just can't stop looking at it!!!

muchlove

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Kristen K. wrote:
WOW! That's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing these.

I've been following the volcanic activity very closely (I watch the county updates every night) and I am just floored by what has been going on. I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that Kapoho Bay is just gone. Filled in. That's both amazing and tragic at the same time. I've heard that half of the cut US orchid producers have been completely wiped off the map. Crazy! No one (where I am) seems to be talking about the economic impact this is having. I mean, I know that wedding flowers aren't exactly critical; but half of the producers suddenly disappearing will have wide ranging impact to the industry.

Your images are beautiful as always.

Thank you for the kind words Kristen! Yes, the lava is definitely affecting not only home owners, but the overall economy as well. Because Halemaumau Crater is devoid of lava and the park is closed, Volcano Village has become a ghost town. Most of the shops and restaurants have closed, and many of the Airbnbs are struggling to stay afloat. I can only imagine how the lava tour companies are doing with zero customers due to mass cancellations.

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JMed wrote:
It took me a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor before I could type. These are absolutely stunning!!! I wish I had access to a location where I could see and photograph like this! Thank you for also sharing a little about what all is happening over there! Do you mind if I use that top image as my screen saver. I just can't stop looking at it!!!

muchlove

That top of summit is quite a trek JMed! The state purposely did not pave over two miles of the path in order to discourage people from going to the top. Even with a 4-wheel drive, it can be sketchy! I do feel it's worth the undertaking, although I'm always so thankful when I get home safely after a long night out there.

And no problem with using the image as your screen saver! Let me know if you have any problems downloading it!

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Just incredible. I've never seen MW photos like that. Thank you, they are gorgeous.