SATURDAY SIX: Disney Details You Can ONLY Get From a “Bird’s-Eye View”

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Disney Details You Can ONLY Get From a “Bird’s-Eye View! Grab a Dramamine and buckle up, because today we’re hoping into the blogger high-in-the-sky copter with @bioreconstruct and checking some interesting Disney details that we can only get from up above, starting with…

# 6 – Fantasmic!

While Fantasmic! has yet to have shows since the coronavirus shutdown back in March, over the years Bio has taken some unique photos of the theater where the show is held. Below is a test held during the day for the show’s water screens.

Water screen testing. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Fantasmic! (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Because the show is currently under an extended downtime, the water that surrounds the stage has been drained.

Fantastmic! drained of water…although Florida rain said “we’ll see about that…” (photo by @bioreconstruct)

However, with Fantasmic! drained and us being able to see everything from high above, it allowed Disney fans  to point out something that most guests would never know…

Let’s take another overhead look at the theater…

Fantasmic! theater. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Showing the spot where Mickey was originally intended to “walk on water” during the show.

Fantastmic! theater. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 5 – Hidden Mickey Solar Farm

There are a lot of solar panels currently on Disney property, including many on the newly rebuilt McDonald’s restaurant by the All-Star Resorts and on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy coaster at EPCOT, but the most fun collection of solar panels make up the biggest “Hidden Mickey” at WDW.  Right behind the Disney Dolphin and Yacht Club Resorts is a huge collection of solar panels in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s iconic three circle design.

Disney’s solar farm. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Disney’s solar farm. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 4 – Imagineering’s “Tricks of the Trade”

Us guests on the ground often marvel at the incredible work by Disney Imagineers, but like a good magic act, a lot of what we are seeing is an illusion. Take for example the facade for the Dinosaur attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests approaching the building are first going to notice the impressive Aladar figure out front, with the Dino Institute in the back. Looking at the building, we see trees and shrubbery in the near background. This tricks our mind into thinking we’re walking into a building that “can’t” be that big, right?

Dinosaur. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Up in the air, we can see that Disney cleverly disguised the massive show building we are about to enter by planting trees on top of the building!

Dinosaur show building. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Staying in Animal Kingdom, let’s take a quick peek at Pandora: The World of Avatar. Guests walking into the land are always blown away by the magnificent “floating mountains” and the incredible rockwork behind them.

Pandora: The World of Avatar. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

With an aerial view, we can see that this rock work and design is meant to block the view of a show building that makes the one for Dinosaur look small in comparison!

Pandora: The World of Avatar. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Anyone familiar with “Hollywood” and the art of movie making knows that when it comes to building a film set, you only spend time on details which will be seen by the camera. The same applies for theme parks if we replace “camera” with “guest.” Take Expedition Everest, one of the most brilliantly themed roller coasters in the world. (At least that’s our opinion. Others consider it a “nondescript coaster themed to India or whatever.”) Every aspect of Everest looks INCREDIBLE to those on the ride or looking at the attraction from inside the park.

Expedition Everest. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

However, this aerial photo from behind Everest shows that the back part of the attraction isn’t themed at all.

Arrow is pointing to a beveled part of a wall on the back of Everest. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 3 – Walt Disney’s Personal Plane

For a time, guests could see Walt Disney’s private plane on display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the Studio Backlot Tour. Now that the tram tour has been replaced by Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the plane has been moved “backstage” and can’t be seen by guests. However it can be seen by aerial photos.

Walt’s plane. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Walt flew in this plane while originally surveying the land which would eventually become Walt Disney World.

Walt’s plane. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Walt’s plane. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 2 – Construction

For both safety and secrecy concerns, theme parks do their best to keep construction projects hidden from the view of guests and those pesky theme park bloggers. However, thanks to aerial photos we get a sneak peek of construction projects and major refurbishments. Now, to be honest many guests just simply don’t care about construction projects. “Show me it when it’s finished,” would probably be the most common answer if asked. For others though – and most likely many that would be reading a blog like this – construction updates are one of the things we love the most. To see the incremental changes over time. To whet our appetites for experiences we will have in the near future. A reminder that the parks and resorts we know and love are in a constant state of change, updating themselves for our enjoyment.

Cinderella Castle aerial taken during Magic Kingdom’s closure, showing a whole fleet of cranes. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Hotel.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
TRON Lightcycle Run attraction at Magic Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Innoventions West in the process of being dismantled in EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Roller coaster track staging area at WDW. Two coasters are currently being built at WDW: Tron Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
More coaster track stored off-site that will be used for the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster in EPCOT and/or Tron coaster at Magic Kingdom. The track seems like it was laid on the ground specifically to look like the “A” logo for Marvel’s Avengers.  (photo by @bireconstruct)
Kali River Rapids drained for a refurbishment. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Construction of Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This aerial photo of the Avengers Campus construction gave us a look at the Quinjet months before Disney would. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This aerial gave fans their first look at the insignia for the WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure attraction. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 1 – The Big Picture

For me personally, my favorite aerial photos are the ones that put everything in perspective. The size and scope of both Disneyland and (especially) Walt Disney World is almost impossible to comprehend from the ground. From the air, we can see how all the pieces fit together to make this wonderful puzzle come to life.

The entire Disneyland Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Team Disney building in the foreground, with the Swan & Dolphin, construction of the Swan Reserve, and Grand Destino Tower in the background. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Art of Animation on the left, Pop Century on the right, with the arrow pointing to the main Skyliner station at Caribbean Beach. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Caribbean Beach.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Animal Kingdom Lodge. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial view of the Grand Flordian. Arrows pointing to walls put up to maintain “The Bubble” for the NBA players staying at the resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Wilderness Lodge in the center, the Contemporary on the left, and the area that was cleared at Fort Wilderness for the DVC Reflections property on the right. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
The Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower, with Space Mountain and construction of TRON Lightcycle Run in behind them. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Overview of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Overview of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This aerial of Sunset Blvd in DHS, one of the most wonderful areas in all of WDW, shows all the backstage elements needed to provide that guest experience.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Overview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Blizzard Beach. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Typhoon Lagoon. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
A drained Typhoon lagoon. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Disney Springs. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
A wide photo of Hotel Blvd, which is easily walkable to Disney Springs thanks to a pedestrian bridge built several years ago. In the background you can see the show building for Cirque du Soleil, and beyond that other iconic WDW buildings including the Swan & Dolphin, Tower of Terror, and Expedition Everest. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Disney Buses. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Ground-level view of all those Disney Buses parked outside the Magic Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Arrows pointing to Disney Busses and Minnie Vans parked near the Car Care Center.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
The entire fleet of Skyliner gondolas taken off the line and stored at the main Caribbean Beach Skyliner station. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Skyliner Gondolas. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Honorable Mention – The Goodyear Blimp over WDW

I don’t care who you are, this is cool.

The Goodyear Blimp approaches the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
The Goodyear Blimp over Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Gran Destino Tower. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
The Goodyear Blimp in the center of a photo with DHS, EPCOT, Swan & Dolphin. Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Clubs surrounding it. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
The Goodyear Blimp flies over the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So there you have it: Six Disney Details That You Can ONLY See From The Air! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles covering the latest from the Disney Outlet Stores. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

The SATURDAY SIX Presents: @bioreconstruct’s Favorite Aerial Theme Park Photos

6 Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist (but Totally Should)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: The Disney Signage Hall of Shame

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

This Derek Doodle is an editorial comment on what Disney may think of aerial photographers…

5 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: Disney Details You Can ONLY Get From a “Bird’s-Eye View”

  • September 13, 2020 at 12:32 pm
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    “The Anaheim parks and Walt Disney World received flight-restriction status after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” according a 2015 story from California’s Orange County Register. “The ban includes any unmanned remote-controlled devices such as drones. Nothing can fly below 3,000 feet and within 3 miles of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Those are the only theme parks in the United States to have no-fly zone designations.”

    As cool and fascinating and awe-inspiring as they are, it’s hard to escape the fact they’re likely illegal on several levels.

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm
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      Each photo seen in this article was taken within FAA guidelines and permission of Air Traffic Control.

      Reply
  • September 13, 2020 at 2:32 pm
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    Great collection of the photos from @bioreconstruct. Thank you.

    It would have been great to have the link to the original twitter post beneath each photo to allow us to see the full size image. It is hard to use the twitter search to find each image in its full resolution.

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm
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      I’m going to volunteer TouringPlans’ own Julia Mascardo for that duty.

      Reply
  • September 17, 2020 at 1:01 am
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    Interesting photos! Thanks for sharing them.

    Reply

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