disneyland

Amazingly Awesome Disneyland Time-lapse Video

Thanks to my GoPro I've started enjoying making time-lapse videos. I've tried to take time-lapse in Disneyland (I even managed to make one in the car on our way). But with over 30 thousand images and a year in the making, this video really sets the bar high - and provides some pretty awesome inspiration.

 

The Ten Best Disney Princess Songs

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A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted that he found himself downloading princess songs, and that he never thought he'd find himself doing something like that. As the father of two girls I have also gone through the princess phase, and his post made me realize that there are in fact a lot of really good songs associated with "princess movies". It also made me realize that I know just about all of them by heart.

So here's a list for you Dads of daughters that are just starting to love princesses. And like I commented back to my friend on Facebook, enjoy it now because by the time you realize how awesome it is, it's almost over.

[A quick note about the list: This list is of Disney princess songs. While I'm sure I'm probably missing a princess with a song not related to a Disney movie, none came to mind.]


10. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" - Snow White
I wanted to leave this one off of the list because the sentiment is pretty much the exact opposite what you want to teach your young girls. But it's a classic that just about everyone in the US can sing part of (or at least hum), so I'm just going to ignore the obvious and remember that the movie came out in 1937 when the world was a very different place.

9. "Something There" - Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is really more like a Broadway musical than a movie, and this song is one of the best. But the best part isn't even in the soundtrack recording. It's at the very end of the song when Chip says "What's there, Mama?" My kids say it every time they hear it.

8. "Just Around The River Bend" - Pocahontas"
Colors of the Wind" is also a good song, but the best of the bunch is the song that explains who Pocahontas is. She's kind of an under-appreciated Disney princess, but this is a great song. It's also put to great use in the new World of Color show at Disneyland's California Adventure theme park.

7. "A Whole New World" - Aladdin
This princess song duet is probably sung more by Aladdin than princess Jasmine, but it's a great song from a great movie. It also is my go-to song to sing to my girls when I really want to embarrass them.

6. "I'm Wishing / One Song" - Snow White
This is the best from Snow White, if only for the incredibly odd transition when the Prince comes in at 1:30 with, "TODAY!!" It's still a really well written song, and feels like a time machine when you hear it.

5. "So This Is Love" - Cinderella
Cinderella is the first princess my oldest daughter really fell in love with. And every time I hear this song all I can think of is her watching it, glued to the television and saying afterwards, "It's so beautiful!"

4. "Almost There" - The Princess and the Frog
This song is the exact opposite of "Someday My Prince WIll Come" for all the right reasons. It's not a ballad, but like many of the others in this list it defines who the character of Tiana is. She's a young woman who is working hard to find happiness in her life. But she's going to get it through her own hard work and on her own terms, not from some prince who is going to give it to her. Princesses, welcome to the 21st century.

3. "Part of Your World" - The Little Mermaid
This song is the best modern (post Sleeping Beauty) princess song there is, and it might be the best Disney song in the modern age.  It's superbly performed, superbly written (both music and lyric) and holds up to any of the classic Disney song masterpieces.

2. "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" - Cinderella
The classic Disney princess song from the classic Disney princess movie. On other lists this song would likely be at the top, and it's not hard to understand why. It's so pervasive, that in the Disneyland Hotel the guest rooms have the opening line on the throw pillows on the beds, and the song plays in music box fashion in the nightstand to twinkle lights in the headboard.

1. "Once Upon A Dream" - Sleeping Beauty
This is in my opinion the best princess song there is. The lyric was written by Jack Lawrence based on a melody from Tschaikovsky. As the story goes, Walt Disney had scrapped the score for Sleeping Beauty that Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence had been working on and just wanted a song based on Tschaikovsky's melody. The music is of course eternal, but the lyric is near perfect.

"But if I know you / I know what you'll do. / You'll love me at once / The way you did once / Upon A Dream."

 You can't turn a phrase much better than that.

Using a DSLR in Disneyland (or Disney World)

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A trip to a Disney theme park with the family is one of those occasions when you know you're going to take a lot of photos. If you don't have a camera that can switch out lenses, then just bring your compact point and shoot and count yourself lucky that there's one less thing you'll have to lug around. But if you want to bring your "big" camera with more than one lens, then there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you're considering which lens (or lenses) to bring.

Versatility
Walking around the park, you're going to face all sorts of photo moments. Sometimes you're going to want to try to get a wide shot of Sleeping Beauty's castle, and sometimes you're going to want a close-up portrait of your kid on the carousel. So a good, versatile zoom lens is the lens that you'll be using the most at the park. I use a Canon 24-70mm, and with the 1.6x crop factor (due to the sensor size on my camera) I get an effective focal length of 38-112mm which covers a great range of shots. You might be tempted to rent something big and crazy like a  70-200mm lens, which might be fun but is kind of overkill. At Disneyland, and Disney World I'm assuming, there aren't that many moments where you are going to want to take a really long shot. And you'll likely find that 70mm isn't nearly wide enough in many situations (I have enough problems at 24mm).

Fast Glass
"Fast Glass" is just a nerdy thing photography people say to describe a lens that has a wide aperture. A wide aperture lets in more light, and more light means the shutter speed can remain "fast" even in low light situations. At Disneyland, this is essential, especially if you're taking pictures of your kids. You're going to take plenty of pictures outside during the day, but you're also going to take plenty of pictures inside (restaurant, rides etc.) not to mention at night. Having a lens that will allow you to avoid using the pop up flash - or bringing an external flash - is awesome. I always bring my favorite Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, and when we're watching the parade at night or I want to take pictures of my girls in "It's A Small World," the 50mm always delivers.

Other Disney DSLR Things To Consider
Don't bother trying to bring a tripod unless you really want to lug that thing around all day. You can try a beanbag or something like that, but honestly there aren't many places you're going to want to use one. I don't even bother with my Joby Gorillapod - it's just too annoying. If you're concerned about getting pictures of the whole family (including you) avail yourself of the many Disney Photo Pass photographers. They know how to handle your camera - just be smarter than I was and make sure auto focus is turned on.

Get a good camera strap that is comfortable and ditch that strap that came with your camera. Those straps are uncomfortable and all they do is advertise to thieves that you're walking around with an expensive camera. I've used affordable, normal straps from Op/Tech and like them, and now I'm using a shoulder strap from Black Rapid that I really, really love.

Use the smallest camera bag possible, but still bring a bag. I use an older version of this bag from Tamrac. It fits my camera body with my zoom lens attached, and there's enough room at the bottom for my 50mm. I also bought a water bottle attachment for the side, and I ditched the water bottle and use the attachment to hold my drink, my kid's water or whatever else I need to throw in there in a pinch.

Oh, and make sure you bring twice the memory cards you'll think you'll need (on the trip, not necessarily to the park) and a backup battery. Trust me. The real work comes when you get home and have to go through all the pictures you've taken.

 

RELATED POSTS (from Chris Ford):

Tips for Surviving a Weekend at Disney (with the Kids) [Man of the House.com]

Tips For Surviving a Weekend At Disney With Kids

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This past December we went to Disneyland for a weekend trip. The holidays are a fun time to go visit "the happiest place on earth", and since we live within driving distance (and our kids are only getting older every day) we figured it was time. It was our third trip, and we're starting to figure out what works and what doesn't work - especially when you bring your kids. If you're interested, check out my latest post on Man of the House - my five tips for surviving a weekend at Disneyland with the kids.

Tips For Surviving a Weekend at Disney (With Kids) [ManOfTheHouse.com]