Maleficent, the villainess from the animated Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, appears as a mechanical dragon in the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The float is perhaps one of the best-known elements of the parade, because along the way it actually breathes fire, as you can see in the Day at the Magic Kingdom video posted a while back. And while that fire-breathing trick is definitely something to see, for this photo I like how she was smiling for the camera.
Since it first started a couple of years ago, the Festival of Fantasy parade has been a crowd favorite. People on social media go on and on about how much they like it, how much they like the floats, how much they like the music, how much they want to see it again. So I was interested to see it for myself.
Did it live up to the hype? For me, not really. It was a nice parade, I suppose. Lots of characters, including some who haven’t been in the parades before. And as I mentioned, that Maleficent float is pretty cool. But overall, I didn’t think it was the best parade ever.
Why not? Overall, it seemed like too much of a mishmash of things. The steampunk-inspired Maleficent is a neat idea, but it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the parade. And the same goes for the big bagpipe-like float for Merida or the Viking ship float for Rapunzel and Tangled. To me, it’s a sort of “greatest hits” kind of thing, and maybe that is the theme that ties all of it together. But that’s a pretty weak theme, in my opinion.
Remember back when parades had themes? Such as Donald Duck’s 50th anniversary, or Party Gras? My favorite was Mickey Mania, which had all sorts of floats inspired by the famous Mickey Mouse designs. It was a little weird at times, but it was cool. And hip. And it even had a great hip-hop soundtrack that I still enjoy listening to all these years later.
But as is often the case, my opinions don’t always fall in line with the opinions of the general public, so I’m sure the Festival of Fantasy parade will be around for several years to come. Just make sure you aren’t in the direct path of that fire-breathing dragon!
Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. - Proverbs 26:20
About the Photo
As I mentioned above, this photo just focuses on the dragon and not on the fire, which is not shown here. I was juggling the photo camera and the video camera, and I decided it was more important to get the fire with the video camera and just get a still photo of Maleficent looking my way. So that’s what you see here.
I did work with the colors some to make the photo pop even more than a photo with a steampunk dragon already does, and I think this works well. I did think about going with much less color saturation for a more “mechanical” look of sorts, but I thought the blue sky make the dragon stand out even more.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus M.Zukio 25mm f1.8
Date: June 11, 2015
Location: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida