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Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

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I've finally have seen photos where vignetting works pretty well throughout an entire collection. I've seen some photos where it works pretty well individually but never so many in one collection.


I can't lie: you abuse vignetting but it works so well. Please don't take me as critical (I'm complimenting you here).


I really appreciate some of those wider shots! Keep it up!

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I can't lie: you abuse vignetting but it works so well. Please don't take me as critical (I'm complimenting you here).


Technically all the shots are too saturated, too warm, have too little contrast and would be - rightfully - considered as Kitsch (I think, you use that German word the same way as we do?). But when it comes to Walt Disney World I allow myself to go crazy on all those little Photoshop dials. It's magic after all, isn't it?

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If you had the right pair of glasses on, I could swear you'd be a brother to John Lasseter,

in that shot of you with Baymax. Really! You've got the right shirt for it too, LOL.


Great tour of EPCOT. I have always considered it a more "world's fair" like place, and I

still think of it that way.


Thanks for sharing all your trip. It's been great reading your first-time comments.

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I can't lie: you abuse vignetting but it works so well. Please don't take me as critical (I'm complimenting you here).


Technically all the shots are too saturated, too warm, have too little contrast and would be - rightfully - considered as Kitsch (I think, you use that German word the same way as we do?). But when it comes to Walt Disney World I allow myself to go crazy on all those little Photoshop dials. It's magic after all, isn't it?


Multimueller - your photography and your deliciously droll commentary have made your Trip Report one of the most fun 'armchair journeys' I've taken on TPR. Walt Disney World is "kitsch" in the very best sense of the word - and to echo your wise summary statement: "It's magic after all, isn't it?"


(Hope we'll be hearing more from you in the future!)



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  • 1 month later...

Hello everybody! Some time has passed since I wrote my last installment of this ongoing trip report. I’ve been to Austria in the meantime. You all will have read Robb and Elissa’s amazing “river adventure” trip report, so if anyone needs a little bit more persuasion to visit this amazing country, here are two pictures of how it looks like:



This is the Lagazuoi - almost unpronouncable but soooooo pretty


The Lago Nero - black lake


I would also like to take the opportunity to thank everybody for their kind comments. As a hobbyist I basically “run on compliments” and it’s always wonderful to see when someone enjoys your work.


So … let’s move on to the next park. When people ask me what I do when I am in Orlando, I truthfully reply “mostly theme parks” which will always lead to the question “but what besides theme parks?” which I can happily answer with “there are eight”. And those eight major parks are so unique and different! Probably the best example of that uniqueness is Seaworld. I believe most people in Germany think that combining marine animal exhibits with shows and roller coasters is a very strange concept. But they are wrong. More experienced theme park visitors might see Seaworld as a “half-day park”: do the coasters, see one show, done. They are wrong too. Of course: You can “do” Seaworld that way. But you would miss a lot, as this relaxed park offers plenty of things to keep you occupied for a whole day. There are countless opportunities to watch animals: strange creatures from the deep, cute sea lions, dolphins (over and under water), penguins in a freezing cold environment (be sure to pack a sweater, seriously), sea turtles, manatees. There is an underwater tunnel from which you can observe sharks floating around you and an underwater restaurant. There are three big shows. And there are four amazing roller coasters: Journey to Atlantis – a water coaster – where you can survive the big drop without getting too wet and will be soaked rushing down a ridiculously tiny hill. Kraken on which you can enjoy 7 inversions. Manta – a flying coaster – where everybody has his personal “holy crap” moment on the top of the pretzel loop. And – my new favorite – Mako – an action packed B&M speed coaster with lots of airtime.



Seaworld offers beautiful themeing all around


Journey to atlantis - a very nicely themed water coaster


If you like water - that's you ride


If you prefer your water behind a wall of glass, one of the animal exhibits might be your thing. You can also find Nemo.


You can find strange creatures like this octopus.


You can watch playful dolphins. And you can watch indignant moms rushing out when two of them get too playful.


And there are cownose rays - Rhinoptera bonasus


You can take the tunnel!


If you like dining by the sea, why not dine under the sea?


A sea horse - incredible!


And a seal. The german term is "Seehund" which mean sea dog. Woof, woof!


If you can stand the cold you'll be awarded with some awesome penguins


They are good swimmers too


And flamingos for you personal "Miami Vice" moment


One of the past dolphin shows


And the orca show "One Ocean"


It's the most intense coaster in Orlando: "Manta"


A B&M flying coaster with beautiful trains


And an impressive splash effect


Though you look kind of silly while riding it


Mako - first drop


A flawless, fun packed B&M speed coaster


If you have “a thing” for animals: go there. If you like to ride some of the best serious roller coasters in the area: go there. If you need a relaxed park day: go there. You’ll have a great time. I always have one.

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When I grew up in Germany there was no such thing as Halloween. The only occasion on which we dressed up was Carnival. Because of Gulf War I that custom was cancelled in 1991 leaving the german costume makers with a massive overstock. In order to solve this problem, the industry started a marketing campaign to introduce Halloween in Germany. 1991 was also the premiere year of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, although the event was called “Fright Nights” then, took place on just three nights in October and featured only one haunted house.


For a German visitor, it’s astonishing how “easy” Americans are when it comes to “blood and gore” (as astonishing as it might be for an American visitor how easy we are concerning nudity). Movies like “The Evil Dead” have been forbidden in Germany until 2016. “Forbidden” means: you may not advertise them, sell them, show them (to anyone) and they will be confiscated if you own them. Everybody has seen the movie on VHS though. The same applies to video games: ”Doom” was banned until 2011, Gears of War until 2016. Strange fact: those games were not banned in other European countries so you could easily (and legally) buy them via mail order. Thank you European Union!


That said, I must say that the Universal Halloween Horror Nights are massive. It’s amazing that the HHN Team builds nine haunted houses from scratch every year. The amount of detail they put into those temporary attractions is just mind-blowing, especially when you consider that you basically rush through them while hundreds of foul creatures are trying to scare the living daylights out of you. Oh yes, those scare actors: amazing costumes, great make-up, and a mean attitude.


And then, there are the “scare zones”: I sort of like those open air places better than the houses because they give you more opportunities to watch and interact (which means: a zombie creeping up from behind while you are distracted).


And they have great shows! Some of them – like Bill & Ted – might be a little bit more enjoyable for Americans, because as a German I get about 50% of the jokes at best.


Universal is doing a really great job on Halloween Horror Nights and the event is growing bigger and bigger and bigger each year. And: more crowded. Even on a slow day lines for popular houses reach up to 3 hours pretty early. So an express pass is a clever investment. But even if you can eliminate the waiting, there is still a lot of walking involved as most of the houses are outside the park, inside the sound stages or in tents in the back of Men in Black. If you’ve been in the parks for the day, this will result in aching feet. I speak from experience.


From a personal point of view, I have to admit: I’m a pussy. When I’m home alone at night, I turn on the lights in the house. It’s super-easy to scare me. So while I really enjoy visiting the event with my friends, I feel they enjoy visiting it with me even more.


But it’s better to fear the zombie around the corner than the tax assessment in the mail, right?



Nightmare made by H.R. Giger


French maid ... rotten


Disney sure puts pumpkins to other use while Halloween


Haystack monster


Sometimes they use literature themes for their houses - like this Edgar Allan Poe nightmare


Now that is a blunt abdominal trauma


Freezing cold - thanks to air condition


Closing your eyes won't help either


She's going to get you


Now that's a show a fully understand!


It's Resident Evil - not the Milla Jovovich movie but the video game


An american Werewolf in London in Florida in a haunted house


Zombies. Works all the time.


Lunatic ladies


One very beautifully designed scare zone


Armageddon - chicks - gas masks, feels like home


Zombie cheerleaders with chainsaws. It doesn't get any better than that!


Wait. It does! Ninja geishas with chainsaws.


Take you chance!


And one of her sidekicks


Guten Appetit, die Dame


Light and darkness ...


The director will see you now


Hollywood, 1939. Amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling, young movie town at the height of its golden age, The Hollywood Tower Hotel ... wait ... wrong park




Light and darkness and pumpkin monsters


Bad Alice


Bad bunny


Goodbye for now

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Thanks for your perspective on Halloween Horror Nights. I haven't attended the event for a few years because I believe it's become too "mechanical" and dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead or the Halloween movies. It could be that I've simply gone there a few too many times.


That being said, like you, I'm always impressed with the level of detail in Universal's mazes. The art direction is impressive.

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[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]


True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.

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[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]


True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.


Same here. They've done some very good "comedy" houses in the past, such as "Leave It to Cleaver." I tend to prefer the non-IP houses, too, although I can appreciated the work that goes into all of them.

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[...] I believe it's become too [...] dependent on IPs such as the Walking Dead [...]


True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.



Multimueller, you zeroed in on some excellent "frights." The French Maid's face certainly caused me a shudder or two. Though my favorite HAS to be Bad Bunny. I'm a big fan of psychological horror, and there's something about benign critters 'going bad' that 'speaks' to me. Out-of-context horror! My twin sister and I have this thing going where we email back and forth to each other "Bad Teddy" illustrations - we try to outdo each other with the 'sickest' teddy bear cartoon images. There are many chilling laughs to be had - especially if we send them at bedtime.


Thanks for your very interesting info about Germany and its past/present view on horror. I had no idea of the restrictions that have been in place....and the effort, now, to market Halloween. Very informative!



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  • 3 months later...

While my favorite travel time in autumn is the end of October, I chose a way earlier date this year. This enables me to share some HHN pictures with you, while the event is still running. I was looking forward to the “Shining” house and it did not disappoint. Overall these Halloween Horror Nights were packed with nine incredible houses and lots of scary street entertainment. A great event, and everyone who has the chance to should really see it, while it’s still running.



He is in a particular bad mood tonight


And she is not really better


It's way easier to snap some pictures while there is still a little daylight left


Cute, isn't it?


Anyone for princess dinner tonight?


Even more wicked princesses


Evil clowns work. All the time.


Nice teeth!


I like those scare zones


The evil lurks around every corner


Impressive stilt walkers


Some voodo


Meet the grady girls


Hello Mr. Alien!


Hello Mr. Alien Overlord!


Hello grandma!


Night starts to fall


What are YOU looking at?




United we purge


Support the purge


A really cool outfit


That guy was really impressive


More evil stilt walkers


Sexy bloody dancers all around


Some atmosphere shots


The classic "die in" joke


UFO crash site


The twins from shining were insanely creepy


Big eye horror


HHN featuring death himself


The "inverse bear trap" from SAW


One lady in red


Good bye HHN. It's been a GREAT event!

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Being a seasoned theme park enthusiast it has been quite a while since the last time I was deeply impressed by a new attraction or a themed area. I think the last ride, that really wowed me, was “Revenge of the Mummy” in Universal Orlando and that one opened back in 2004! Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy new attractions like “Kong – Skull Island” or “Radiator Springs Racers”, but those gave me no feeling like “oh my god, what just happened?” after my first ride. To my surprise not one but two attractions brought back this so much missed feeling in the last couple of months. The first was – of course – Klugheim and Taron at Phantasialand – the best themed rollercoaster and one heck of a ride. The second one is “Avatar – Flight of Passage” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Orlando.


That’s rather astonishing, as I really do not like projection based attractions. And I’m not a fan of the Avatar Movie. I do not know, if it’s the dynamic motion system, the giant screen, the brilliant 3D image quality, the perfect alignment of movie and motion, the breathing seats, the pre-show or the whole package. But when I visited Orlando in November I had to ride “Flight of Passage” six times in two weeks. And apart from the one time I had a FP+ und the other, I was just lucky to have a super-fast moving line, I waited about two hours each time. And it was so worth it.


I think that “Flight of Passage” has the most beautiful queue of all Disney attractions. Actually some of the most amazing vantage points of Pandora are from the outside part of the queue. And although I had to stand in line alone most of the time (as my fellow trip mates did not share my love for the attraction to my extreme extend) I always had some interesting chats with other people waiting in line – again something that would not happen in Europe.


The attraction itself would be just half the fun without the amazing themed area “Pandora”. First of all: it blends perfectly into the rest of the park. Picking “Avatar” instead of a Disney-IP sounded odd first, but was a really clever choice. Secondly: the whole place looks amazing at day and even more impressive at night, when all the artificial flowers and plants start to glow. And although thousands of people flock into the new area Pandora never feels crowded.


I’ve taken some pictures. Care to have a look at “Pandora”?



The whole place has lots of "water features"


Can you see the "Flight of Passage" queue in this picture? You can't - as it's so well hidden


Those floating mountains look even more impressive in reality


Real or fake plant? You decide!


Again: Mother nature or father Rohde?


The amount of detail is astonishing


The bottom of the "big rock" waterfalls


Isn't that amazingly beautiful?


More water


Sunset in Pandora


Pandorian rocks - Floridian sky


And always water, water, water


When night falls, the whole place starts to glow


Well ... those plants ARE artificial


It's an jaw-dropping sight


This picture was taken onboard the Na'vi River Adventure


The best animatronics I've ever seen


That's inside the queue of "Flight of Passage". The blue guy in the tank moves!


Neytiri is guarding the gift shop


Avatar could almost make you forget about the other great new attraction at Animal Kingdom


Rivers of Light


Not the most popular night show in Walt Disney World, but definitly a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom. I watched it two times and really enjoyed it.

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Tom, your photos continue to show the best of the parks here in Florida! It is rare that you find photos online that truly do justice to the beauty of the rides, characters and theming found in these parks but with each update you've posted, you've highlighted the best of what we have to offer and have done so in a way that truly sells the beauty and charm of our parks. I anxiously look forward to your next update and I often find myself revisiting this thread to go back and look at your previous photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

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