Welcome to Photos in Wonderland!

Simply put, with each installment of this new mini-column, I’ll be offering you a brief visual excursion into the realm of the theme park, primarily with a focus on the Disneyland Resort. Along the way, there may also be offerings from Walt Disney World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, or other assorted themed amusements. The bulk of content, however, will remain centered on Walt Disney’s original Disneyland via both my modern photos and vintage images from my personal collection. Accompanying each will be brief relevant text about detail, design history, in-jokes, or simply the context of the image and why it caught my eye. Think of this as a brief five-minute vacation or a minor slice of ‘being there’ inside the park in the middle of your normal  day, and you’ll have pretty fairly summed up my intention for this new feature. I will be posting two or three times a week as inspiration strikes and schedule allows, so this will be kind of a brief ‘refresher’ column to vary the more news/text heavy posts (which I love myself): just something different and meant to be enjoyed as a quick sampler rather than a whole entree, if you will.

Now, with all that out of the way, let’s have the first image shall we?

One of the most beautiful times to visit Disneyland is undeniably just as dusk sets in and all the various themed lighting comes on across the Magic Kingdom. For me, texture, shape and a well-placed light can draw the eye just as much as an elaborate structure like the imposing peaks of Big Thunder or the charming facade of Toad Hall. Which brings us to this image:

Thousands at least pass by this wall on a daily basis, or stand motionless right near it while waiting for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters in Tomorrowland. During the day it’s nothing special, unless you get really excited about geometric squares and vaugely ‘futuristic’ metal lines (or get temporarily blinded if the sun hits it at just the wrong angle). At night, however, with the stark outlines of the fruit trees and dramatic lighting, it caught my eye as kind of a minor thematic triumph. It doesn’t call attention to itself but merely adds texture and visual variety to the surrounding land. One of my favorite things about Disneyland is precisely this sort of vignette: unremarkable in a casual pass-by but if you stop and look at it, the choice to add texture and lighting makes it more than what would just be essentially dead space or a blank wall at most theme parks while not upstaging the ‘main show’ around it.

Thank you for reading this first edition of Photos In Wonderland and I’ll see you back here real soon with a new glimpse into the magic of Disney!