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Trip Report When can we do this again? A Fractal family Odyssey. *COMPLETED*


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
B&W is perfect for this shot.
Thanks and I agree!

Ahhh, yes, we also very much miss those super-late MK hours from years past. I remember when you had to have a wristband for them...good times...! :happy: :)

Again, awesome pics!
I really like the ones of RoA with the glassy-water reflections...! :)
They were so much fun! thanks again!

I love my DSLR, it's just such a hassle to carry around to places, especially at an amusement park [though it was great at National Parks], so I'm trying to find a camera that takes DSLR level photos, but I can carry around easier, and mirrorless seems to be a front contender for that
I highly recommend you take a look.

My new nightly routine includes me sitting on the couch with my iPad gushing to my husband about your trip reports and photos. We need to start a gofundme so we can have more Fractal trip reports!
Lol! Thanks @Missy_May ! Brilliant idea!

I love those last few pictures from the Boardwalk! They are stunning!
thank you @Songbird76 !

The days of being able to watermark your digital photos might be coming to an end.

Google shows how easy it is for software to remove watermarks from photos
Not good.

I had fallen quite far behind having not read along in about a week but am fully caught up now. Still amazed at the quality of photos you were able to capture during your trip. As many have said, the fireworks display was simply stunning. On a personal note, I really enjoyed the few Splash Mountain pics you took. My all-time favourite so anytime I get a little taste it makes me happy!

Great Boardwalk pics as well. MK at night is unbeatable but I really enjoy the sights around the Boardwalk after dark as well. Yet to experience Pandora at night but I think it's easy to assume it will be high up on the nighttime experience list.

Besides fawning over the photos, very cool that you and Sterg had the chance to spend that time together with no real plans in the way.

Looking forward to more!
Thanks @Matty30 ! We had a great time together.

The photos are fantastic.... it seems as if we are all in front of you....err...I mean, behind you when you snap the picture. ;)
A very "live" feel to them....
Thanks Billy!

I think they came out better than "pretty good" ;):happy:

Sorry to hear about the stolen photos. What a jerk. Don't blame you for venting when you worked so hard for what you took.
thank you @gdisneyfans !

Ugh, that's so annoying. I unfollowed them. I don't care for accounts that just repost other people's photos anyway. I don't mind it if they're like promoting a brand or something, but just reposting a scenic shot doesn't make sense. Especially if you're trying to pass it off as your own photo!
thanks @sheriffwoody ! Looks like that account does that a lot.

Love the video, even though we can count your nose hairs :D (just kidding). Great choice of music @fractal jr.
Lol! I know, right?

WTH with people stealing your photos?!?! We all know they're awesome but for goodness sake why can't people ask before using them?
Happens a lot unfortunately.

FloridaParkPlans = Jerk

Sorry to hear about your stolen photos.

Love the new video too!
Thanks @ajrwdwgirl !

This trip report has been so fantastic. The photos beyond stunning and videos incredibly well done. I formally request that @wdwmagic flies you and @fractal jr down to WDW once a year so that we can get these more often.
sounds good to me!

The video was really well done! You and @fractal jr have a talent for capturing the feeling of being at Walt Disney World!
Thanks @disneypearl ! He is lightyears ahead of me as far as putting together and editing videos.

Or take @fractal advice on photography and learn how to take their own photos!!!!
another option!

Oh, them's fightin' words!! I can't believe that! Obviously they have no intention of fixing the issue and giving you credit. Can you report it somewhere?

Edit: I see you already did that. Well done! Glad they removed it!
I do feel better.

THIEVING MAGGOTS. Glad a few of them have been exposed. Your rant was more than justified.
thanks @MinnieM123 !

I am still figuring out how to afford to hire @fractal to come and be my official holiday photographer ...
I offer installment plans. Lol!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Good Morning Saturday at Walt Disney World!

Because of the new land we spent a lot of time at Animal Kingdom this trip. On this day we had FPs to River Journey, Everest and Safari but those could easily be changed. I asked Sterg and Toni if they wanted to change them and go to another park, but they not only declined that offer they wanted to hit AK at rope drop and wait for Flight of Passage. Who was I to argue?

Up early and raring to go! Toni, although showing some "teenager" tendencies is definitely different than her older brother and sister. Neither of those two would have gotten up this early at age "almost 16" unless hit with a cattle prod or even worse - threatened will the loss of their phone.

Extra Magic Hours started at 8am so we planned on getting to the park around 7:45ish for the opening and make a mad dash to FoP. It seemed we were not the only ones with that plan.

After we finally get through that mess we are then led to another line in the park to have our magic bands scanned proving we are staying at a Disney resort.

From there we hustled to Pandora. I lead the kids through the gift shop that I was stuck in during the rainstorm shaving some time. "Alright Pops! Good move!"

We enter Pandora, cut to the right and zigzag our way down to the FoP entrance. Our experience with FoP taught us that the Standby line began to the left of the entrance and then into the "mountain". We were further educated that morning that the early standby line goes to the right and towards, onto and over the bridge connecting Pandora to Africa (Festival of the Lion King area). This video will give you a good idea of just how long the line was!

The wait was listed at 180 minutes which we at first thought had to be wrong. It seems they let people in the park well before 8am and have them make there way to Pandora and wait there. If you don't have a fastpass, either you get to AK at 7am and wait for an hour or more until the ride opens - or you just wait in line during the day for an hour or more. Either way you are going to wait awhile.

This is a photo of the line...from in front of Festival of the Lion King!

We all agreed it was crazy to wait and decided that it would be far more interesting to explore what promised to be a near empty "rest of" Animal Kingdom!

Boy were we right! The calm, quiet and peaceful serenity of the rest of the park was an amazing contrast to the loud, rush of the Pandora pandemonium we had just experienced.

Literally no one here. I was starting to feel a little like @Tuvalu !

Wait, I see somebody ahead!

One would never guess that at this moment there were thousands of people in Animal Kingdom and thousands more piling in.

Picture time! Show off those $thousands of dental work your poor Father with the crooked teeth paid for!

I was really enjoying how the early morning sunlight was making the park glow.

I knew it was going to be a great morning for photos.

But, as we were getting ready to embark on yet another Expedition to the Forbidden Mountain I still had an unfinished photographic challenge; To capture the Yeti on camera and be the one to finally prove her existence!
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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Been reading your TR again to view the photos. Shown to my family who also agree that they are fantastic- now been asked to check if you'd mind if I used one of the pics of the fireworks for our PC desktop? Wouldn't use it without checking and no way would say it was mine - everyone knows what mine are like:rolleyes:
Watching the videos too. :joyfull:
Yes, you can - thanks for asking!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We did plenty of praying yesterday for everyone in Florida. Last week my in-laws, Al and Sue drove up to our home in Pennsylvania from their new place near Clearwater. A nerve wracking time and we await word today on what damages may be. Thankfully the worst-case scenario with Irma did not play out but she was still dangerous and remains so. I hope everyone in her path is safe.

Back to a warm sunny day in late July.

Everest was a walk-on. We didn't get front seats but close.

Higher and higher.

The sun was rising over Walt Disney World.

Bird on a stick was still working. I'm a fan of the bird. It also diverts attention from the pile of hair bands.

Backwards we go, then forward as we barreled through the mountain chased by the Yeti.

She almost got us (maybe if she would be working properly), but I also (finally) got her!

A respectable photo of our dear, damaged Yeti..

In hindsight, if I really wanted a good shot of the Yeti I should have switched to manual focusing, focused somewhere close to infinity and set my shutter to speed priority (rapid fire) and betting on at least one good shot.
Here I lucked out a bit that my autofocus managed to latch. A faster lens would have also helped (vs. f/2.8). There's a better shot of the Yeti in my future but I'll take this one for sure.

Indeed we do.

Of course, one ride with no waiting prompted another (or 2).

Happy faces. We were having fun!

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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
More Yeti artifacts.

maybe time for a new radio.

Great start to the day!

Best shot I got of the temple painting. I found it interesting to look at the details you miss while passing quickly underneath.

After our third Expedition I called it quits and decided to photograph some newer areas while Sterg and Toni continue to ride EE.

Just in case someone has too many magic beers I suppose.

These little creepy dolls.

creepy dolls always remind me of this guy form "Trilogy of Terror". 1970's ABC Sunday Night Movie of the Week.

Eye see you!

The new River of Lights stadium offers some great new sight lines.

Up Next - another WDWMagic meet-up, Showtime with Yia-Yia, and some disappointments.
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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OMG at that line! My husband's coworker is going soon and staying off site so they couldn't get an FoP FP, and they're going to try rope dropping. We told him to get there at least an hour early and go on a non-EMH day (since they're off site). Shew...hope it's not like that every day!
Good advise!

That line is ridiculous! But your photos are spectacular! :D
Lol, Thanks!

Whelp as I will be at AK on my first day and its an EMH day looks like I will be getting into AK asap as I was unable to snag a FP for FOP and your pics prove you need to get there early.
Goodluck!, the good news is it's worth the wait (at least the first time).

Good call on skipping FOP!! And I love that your decision meant you could get all of those other beautiful AK pics!! I never get tired of looking at or exploring AK!
thanks and same here!

I already love AK but those early morning photos just make me love it even more :inlove:!! Such a beautiful park & you capture it perfectly! :)
thanks and it really is a beautiful park!

Yay. It's my first day back to school with students [we started 3 weeks late thanks to Harvey hitting Houston] and I got to wake up to another awesome update and amazing pictures :) thanks for starting my day off right!
Happy to hear things starting to return to normal, glad I could help start your day off!

Glad to hear Al and Sue are safe with you guys and hoping for minimal to no damage. Beautiful morning Animal Kingdom photos! Yay for capturing the yeti!!
Thanks - they got word today that their home was undamaged! So we are celebrating. Yes, finally got that ******.

Sorry to hear about the Instagram ordeal! Glad it was mostly quickly straightened out.

So glad to hear your in-laws are safe!
Thank @newhorizons1 ! In-laws are happy tonight knowing their home was spared.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
15 - 20 minutes of just me, my camera and a entire arena of new Animal Kingdom details.

There was literally no one else in the stadium.

Studying how the sunlight hit different objects was an enjoyable exercise.

The small breeze added to the atmosphere.

Shooting my 55mm lens wide open (f/1.8) was fun!

Sterg and Toni finally got their fill of Everest.

Are were ready to explore.

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Liker of Things
Premium Member
After viewing the menu, it turned out that Sterg and I were the only ones' not surprised nor upset that Casey's famous hotdogs only served hotdogs. The two of us stayed and the rest of the crew went to look for other options.

After I was handed my hotdog I went to the table where the condiments and napkins were stored. This table was blocked by three women standing talking to each other. After the third progressively louder "excuse me" they finally turned to look at me and gave me a dirty look before moving aside. Sorry to interrupt the gossip ladies.

The place was busy but not mobbed - the condiment area was a mess. Very sloppy and very low on sauerkraut which looked like it was sitting there all morning. I turned back to view all the help behind the ordering area busily serving others. Needless to say, I didn't have sauerkraut on my $10 hotdog. Sterg and I went outside to look for a table with no luck. We then headed over the the Plaza side of Main Street and found a table with an umbrella to help with the now scorching sun. I called Val and they were in the Tomorrowland Terrace. I glanced over in that direction and it seemed so much cooler than where we were sitting - like a big blue cave. Sterg however didn't want to move. He thought the view of the Main Street and the castle was worth the price of a little sweat.

After I consumed my dog, I pulled out my phone and called a fellow WDW'er that had told me a few weeks before she would be in MK on the same day. We decided it would be great to meet up with her and her daughter. We made contact and agreed to meet at the restroom area of Splash Mountain after our fast pass!

I then received a call from my sister - they were in Disney Springs getting a bibbidi boppidi treatment for Mia (the 7 year old). My other niece Courtney was on her way to MK and would meet us at Splash. As the point person for this extended family WDW trip, I was starting to feel the pressure of not only keeping everyone moving in the right direction, but also making sure all were having fun. There were a lot of questions and a number of complaints - why is it so hot? where are we going now? Why did you get a FP for Splash mountain? What is Splash Mountain? How far is Splash Mountain? How long are we going to have to wait?

Then I added that after the ride I was going to meet a WDW'er.

What does that even mean? Who is it? How do you know her? Where is she from? Did you talk to her? Is she nice? Is her daughter nice? Is she a crazy Disney person?

This trip was going to be like no other we've had. A fact I was quickly coming to grips with.

As we made our way to Frontierland I took a few shots of the castle and new hub. Everything looked beautiful but shade was sorely lacking.

Here again you can see the effect of a wide angle lens. The lens was a Zeiss 18mm 2.8 Batis I rented for the trip. Terrific lens but in these shots it makes the castle look a bit too far off and small.

Taking photos mid-day in the sun is not ideal. Yes there is plenty of light (which really helps smaller cameras and smart phone cameras) but the light is very harsh. This is in contrast to the warm glowing light we had on the beach at sunset and during the "blue hour". But you have to work with what you have. I almost always shoot full manual ( being able to control the shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and I made sure to drop my aperture smaller (stopped down) to around f/7 or f/8. The advantage of shooting "stopped down" is most lenses are their sharpest between f/5.6 and f/8. You don't get the blurred background look, but these shots were "landscape" which doesn't call for that.

Still on the move...

Its always been challenging photographing WDW when on a family trip. One is almost always on the move. Stopping even for a few minutes to set up a shot is just asking for a chorus of complaining. Herding around a even bigger group made the challenge greater. I decided to use the scooter factor to my advantage here. The scooter did slow the group down - especially vs just running through the parks with the kids. I realized I could stop for photos, keep the group moving and catch up to them fairly easily.

"Keep going, I'll catch up!" Became my call.

Hello Liberty Square - you can see Al in his scooter and parts of the rest of the group ahead.

Yes I have time to shoot this.

I haven't been in the Hall of Presidents since I was 9 in 1976. In 2013 we just missed it on our last day, so I promised myself the next time I was in MK I would see it. Unfortunately, it was still down.

OK - time to catch up with everyone else heading to Splash Mountain...
Great report as per the usual. I've found that when I organize a big family trip that Scotch coupled with the occasional gin and tonic is key. Also, I love the HoP. Several years ago, I met @sshindel and I indulged in everything that is hard for me to do when traveling with any other subset of my family....HoP, CoP, Tiki Birds, Country Bear Jamboree (words can't convey how much my wife hates this...we did it together once and it was made very clear that a repeat viewing may be grounds for divorce), American Adventure, etc. When I got back home and mentioned this to the wife and kids the response I got was, "Good. Now next time we go you won't suggest any of those things."


Well-Known Member
Sorry I'm a little behind but I just got to see the video of boys' day.
And I noticed one very glaring omission. Sorry, but Fractal Jr is just not ready for prime time. A true professional would have known that there was trouble a brewing at HEA and instead of "having your back" should have been filming the beat down you were about to give the intruders in front of you. Or at least have interfered and help create a little magic when the confrontation was fizzling out.
Alas, the pacifist photojournalist missed the best footage of the day. (but saved a little of his father's bloodshed).:rolleyes:
PS- you really should be proud and honored, he is following in his father's footsteps and doing a great job at it.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
"Kali River!" "Let's do Kali River!" Tony said with much enthusiasm.

Sterg agreed but I wasn't quite sure how safe my camera would be. The last time we did Kali River, a Dad on our raft tempted the Hindu Gods and got absolutely drenched...and there's that whole "being in wet clothes" thing with me. After fighting off the pleas from my children I watched as they went in line.

I've never seen a 10 minute standby wait for Kali River. Ever.

I was kinda content waiting with my camera, but another part of me wished I had joined them. In fact, I kinda screwed up because I could have went with them through the line and then taken the "chicken exit" if I didn't feel confident I could keep the camera dry.

Luckily the apes (not monkeys) decided to put on an early morning show.

I was guessing the white ape was the "big mama".

Usually there's a CM around to educate and answer questions on the apes but not that morning.

Just hanging around.

Yep. Pretty sure it's a Mama.

I waited on the bridge before the Kali queue line.

I thought about manning the water guns to spray Sterg and Toni as they rode by, but decided to shoot them with the camera instead.

Big Smiles! Looks like they had fun. I was getting more mad I missed it.

I was shooting with my 85mm 1.8 lens and at least I was happy with its performance.

The siblings had a great time and made fun of me for not going on.

Just shut up and smile!

Can we have a "non-Goofy" smile please?

Thank you!
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