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About the Column

Ashley Metz keeps a special book in her South Carolina chateau. It's called the Disney Book of Stinkin' Love. Into that book she pours her passion for the parks, her devotion to Disney World, and from that book, every week, she'll draw forth with characteristic exuberance a chapter exclusively for Disney Dispatch. Ashley welcomes questions, but no matter what you ask, the answer will always be the same, and it will always be correct: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World!

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FROM: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World Published Thursdays

The Golden Shot of Cinderella Castle

Appropriate, on St. Patrick's Day, that Ashley Metz seeks gold after last week failing to find her prince. But the gold she seeks is not the spendin' kind, it's the shootin' kind. As in the perfect shot of Cinderella Castle. And this time, Ashley finds her fairy tale!

Have you ever gone after the perfect shot of Cinderella Castle?

You look for the best angles, the most interesting heights, the ideal lighting. When all of these elements line up, you press the shutter release button and the perfect blend of photographic harmony is transposed forever onto your SD card (or film).

I've done that.

I love the role of photographer. Good, bad, or mediocre I feel powerful behind the camera. I love it. I especially love taking photographs at my favorite place... Disney World!

So, if you have been following my blog, you'll know what today's article is all about.

Ashley's Imagines the Golden Shot

In honor of St. Patrick's day I played a little guessing game with some of my favorite colorful photos from around the parks. Each color of the rainbow was given a particular photo favorite and today I'm giving away my golden shot spot.

I feel like a little leprechaun handing out my gold treasure - except that perhaps this morsel of gold isn't quite a fortune, but hey, it'll do!

click an image to expand:


Castle: Angle 1


Castle: Angle 2


Castle: Angle 3


Castle: Angle 4


Castle: Angle 5

A Map to the Golden Spot...

I had seen a Castle shot on an official Disney website and had always been captivated by the beautiful lines, vibrant colors, and emotions related to Disney World that the photo evoked in me.

So, of course, I had to get this shot. I came prepared. Camera in hand and artistic eye wide open, I began the hunt for my shot. I don't know how many times I stopped to examine different angles of Cinderella Castle looking for what was permanently etched in my memory.

Ashley's Searches for the Golden Shot

See, the photo I had in my mind's eye was a breath-taking view of the castle and its reflection on the water below. Greenery and sky embraced the icon that made me feel all warm and gushy... Cinderella Castle! But, after circling and circling and circling that stinkin' Castle, I could not figure out where this photograph had been taken.

If you are familiar with the Castle, you'll know that water flanks both sides (from the front view) and that the view from Fantasyland provides you with a much different, well, view.

I was frustrated.

This was supposed to be pleasurable and not distract me from the Disney magic.

And then it happened. We were making our way to the Haunted Mansion by way of the bridge near Liberty Square, and I got caught in a tangle of people on the bridge. Rather than forcing my way through, I stopped and it smacked me in the face.

It was the shot!

I hadn't seen it earlier because they were doing construction, but around dusk that night they were removing the last of the tarps and materials, and my shot was there waiting.

So now I am completely OBSESSED with this shot. I walk out of my way to get to different parts of the Magic Kingdom just so I can get another version of this beauty. And funny enough, each time I DO get a totally different look and feeling (at least I feel different when I look at it).

I seriously want to do a study about taking this photo at different times of the day and at different times of the year.

That would be MAGNIFICENT.

Ashley's Reveals the Golden Spot

So, where exactly is this elusive golden shot? Don't worry, I am on it!

For directionality sake, let's assume you are heading down Main Street, U.S.A. toward Cinderella Castle. After you pass the Partner's statue (Mickey and Walt holding hands), head for the bridge leading to Liberty Square.

If you completely cross the bridge, you've gone too far: back up!

To get the best angle for shooting most of the Castle and some of the water, stand with one foot on the bridge and one foot on the pavement, as close to the rail as possible. You'll want to be on the Liberty Square side (near Sleepy Hollow - yum, smell those funnel cakes!).

Taking Cues from the Pros

You'll notice from my photo array that I took these shots at different times and different seasons. I'm a novice photographer so my night shots aren't stellar (but I am working on that!). For the best shots, use a tripod to camera shaking.

While I was snapping away during one of my recent trips, I noticed a Disney photographer setting up next to me to capture the Castle himself. I have seen Disney photographers who weren't busy with guests capturing pretty pictures during their down time. I made a point to start noticing this because they usually get pretty amazing shots. So now, when I see a Disney photographer perking up for a photo, I follow suit.

Get creative and maybe you can find your own golden shot.

Until then, I hope you enjoy my favorite shot... my golden shot!


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