Tag Archives: Canon SD 3500 IS

Wishes Nightime Spectacular 2010 through 2013

After four viewings of the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World we have compiled another multi-vantage-point video of the show.

This version is an update from the two camera version we did originally. It includes shots from the Polynesian Resort across Seven Seas Lagoon. Close-ups in front of the castle only ended up being close-ups after having to stabilize the video in post. This version also syncs-up the sound better, but is still missing the live audio at the start.

One or two more trips should get it to where we want it. Next time we’ll bring a tripod.

Hawaiian Vacation: Disney Concert Hall/LA

Lillian Disney hired architect Frank Gehry to design a symphonic music space in downtown Los Angeles in honor of her husband Walt Disney. Gehry was a favorite of previous Disney Corporation President, Michael Eisner. Several Disney corporate and theme park buildings have been designed by Gehry and given the Disney company’s and family’s connection to Los Angeles, his involvement in the Walt Disney Concert Hall project was apt.

But none of that is a reason for Ruth and Doug, in particular, to visit.

The reason we visited (and it is important to make a point here) is because it is a really cool piece of architecture and it has a free guided tour. That, combined with a three day layover on the west coast to moderate jet lag, gave us a good wintertime activity in LA. We did other stuff, too, but most of the pictures are of the Disney Concert Hall.

The Disney Concert Hall is significant in that the exterior has few, if any, right angles. It is a brilliant, literally shiny, centerpiece to a massive urban renewal project. Los Angeles did not have a large performance venue to rival the Met, so there was a movement to transform part of the city into a cultural Mecca.

Made of stainless steel, the exterior of the building is much like a theatrical facade. The sweeping curves are a freestanding cover that hides a more conventional interior building. The perimeter features cavernous “back stage” views of the structure. We got to see the exterior and lobby areas in detail, but sadly were not allowed to see the concert space itself. Unfortunate since we did not have time to see a performance.

Aside from the tour, we spent time hanging out in Santa Monica and Hollywood. Our suite at the W Hollywood (a fortuitous upgrade) was underutilized. We enjoyed dinner with our friend Chris and he questioned our choice of hotel as it is a renowned party spot. Indeed, the place was hopping and offered an entertaining walk through a line of bouncers to get to elevators, but we were there to avoid jet lag – not make it worse. We could have hosted a coke-fueled early morning after party with some of the revelers in the bar, but – oh yeah – we’re old. As to why we picked the hotel? It’s LA.

While we had no intention of doing anything “Disney” on this vacation we did end up spending a day at Disneyland. But only because Knotts Berry Farm closed all their good rides for maintenance.

Hawaiian Vacation: LAX

We had a fairly complex flight plan to Hawaii and back. We made it a goal to fly Virgin America just to give them a try, but they don’t fly to Hawaii. We chose to fly Virgin to Los Angeles and then American to Hawaii. That left several hours to cruise LAX – a trip to Universal Studios theme park was deemed too risky, time-wise. Also, we had missed the bus tour of the stars’ homes. (Yes, there is an airport pick-up.) That left Los Angeles International Airport itself as a tourist destination.

Luckily, LAX has a bona fide historical structure on the property. The Theme Building with its graceful space-age arches is a lingering architectural reminder of a time when air travel was adventurous. And dignified.

The Theme Building sits at the center of the airport, surrounded by utilitarian concrete terminal buildings. Cars and buses circle a small patch of green grass – a moat protecting the Theme Building from its modern surroundings. Inside is a wonderfully 60’s themed restaurant called Encounter.

Sadly, Encounter doesn’t have much of a view anymore. The view of the jets is blocked by the terminal buildings, but looking down on the courtyard provides a view of patio meant for star-studded functions. The airport was originally designed to be a futuristic playground for the jet set. Today the airport and its planes are taken for granted. At least the Encounter serves-up decent food.

On to part 2 >>