Tag Archives: Disneyland Paris

What digital camera should I buy?

A few years ago I found an absolute bargain in getting the Panasonic DMC-TZ1 for just £100, brand new, on eBay. It’s a 5MP with a 10x optical zoom which has been wonderful, especially when using the zoom at Disneyland Paris to get close up shots of the parade, like the one below:

Up close with Belle

Up close with Belle

Only recently have I come to the conclusion that I need a few more than 5MP in my camera, especially now our little boy is part of our family and we want to enlarge photos. As great as the DMC-TZ1 is, it’s a little bulky and anything other than very baggy jogging bottoms makes it’s fit into a pocket a tight one, so a smaller camera is also on my wish list. Lastly is an argument that’s been going round in my head non-stop for the last 2 days; do I need the ability to record High Definition (HD) film footage?

So, with that all in mind, here are the contenders:

Panasonic DMC-TZ7
This is the latest of the Panasonic’s fantastic super zoom series, of which the DMC-TZ1 was the original. It boasts 12MP, 10x optical zoom and HD video recording which also offers the ability to zoom while recording, a rare feature in most compact cameras. It’s all housed in a shell which is significantly smaller and lighter than the TZ1 and thanks to a visit to Comet, it has passed the comfortable trouser pocket fitting test. The one big negative? It comes in at £250, considerably more than I was intending to spend.

Panasonic DMC-TZ7

Panasonic DMC-TZ7

Panasonic DMC-FX500
Let’s get straight to the facts – 10MP and 5x optical zoom with HD video recording, but no zoom while recording. Smaller than the two aforementioned super zoom cameras and cheaper too at £145. One of the big selling points is the touchscreen which controls a lot, but not all of the camera’s functions. though the optical zoom is stated as 5x, it offers extra optical if the MP level is reduced, which would be fine for normal size photos.

Panasonic DMC-FX500

Panasonic DMC-FX500

Panasonic DMC-FS15
The 3rd in this trio of Panasonic possibilities (I’ve at least narrowed it down to one brand – when it comes to compacts and issues of zoom, Panasonic is the clear market leader) boasts 12MP and 5x optical zoom, with the extra optical zoom as described with the FX500, but no HD video recording. A big bonus is that the FS15 is the smallest and lightest of the cameras and the cheapest too, costing just £130.

Panasonic DMC-FS15

Panasonic DMC-FS15

So there we have it, three awesome cameras, but is one ticking all the boxes? Well the TZ7 does everything I want it to, and more, and though it isn’t as small as I initially wanted it does fit into my pocket. But is it worth at least £100 more than the other two? As much as I like the idea of retaining the 10x optical zoom of my TZ1, I have to admit that I don’t use it that often, and the other two do have the extra zoom available. When it comes to HD video recording, is that really necessary? It will mean bigger file sizes for a start, and we haven’t yet viewed a video taken on a camera on our TV – we usually reserve that pleasure for the laptop. If the answer is no to the 10x optical zoom and HD recording then surely the FS15 is the perfect camera at the lowest price, right? I keep thinking how much I’m getting a camera for the future with the TZ7, but I’d be paying twice as much for the pleasure. Maybe the FX500 is a happy medium between the two.

If anyone has any opinion, advice or suggestions of other cameras then please pitch in and help me resolve this dilema!

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Disneyland Paris – continued improvements or just commercial greed?

It seems that over the past few weeks plans for changes in Disneyland Paris, along with changes already made, are slowly but surely taking a lot of the charm and identity from the resort in favour of money making ideas seen on the average high street.

It all started when the the Buffalo Trading Co. closed down in Disney Village to be replaced by Starbucks. Yes, they closed down a western themed shop, which sat perfectly with Billy Bob’s Western Saloon and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and replaced it withe a coffee shop that can be seen on any street in any town in the world, many times over.

From Cowboy to Coffee

From Cowboy to Coffee

The Buffalo Trading Co. was the only uniquely themed establishment in Disney Village and a great one at that – it even had it’s own distinctive smell. I realise that Starbucks will be a money making machine for them but at what expense?

The following two examples are at the rumour stage at the moment and are doing the rounds on the various Disneyland Paris websites and forums. Both will be additions to Disney Village.

Earl of Sawndwich
You can read more about the planned location at DLRP Today but needless to say it’s a sandwich shop, with an Olde English theme. But isn’t there a sandwich shop in Disney Village already I hear you cry? Of course there is, New York Style Sandwiches which serve up one of the greatest sandwiches I’ve ever had in the form of the Cheese and Avocado toasted sandwich – that’s been the basis of many a lunch in previous visits to Disneyland Paris for me. Why on earth do we need a second sandwich shop?

Jules Verne Pub
You can read more about what exactly one of these is over at DLRP Today, but like my previous point, with the Sports Bar already in situ at Disney Village, is it really big enough to justify another alcoholic drinking establishment? With Disneyland Paris being so family oriented, would it kill them to provide some children’s entertainment in the village, especially with so many of the months seeing the park closing at 7am.

With these changes to Disney Village it seems to be taking the shape of your average high street and less like the Disney Village you would expect from the name. I hate that McDonalds is part of Disney Village – it’s a gross reminder of everyday life back home and it’s a horrible faceless multi-national example low quality exploitation, but at least it’s hidden round the corner from the main strip. To see Starbucks in Disney Village will make the escapism of visiting Disneyland Paris that much harder to achieve, thrown in more generic pubs and restaurants and it it won’t be Disney, mores the pity.

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Rating the Pixar Films

Prompted by episode 40 of the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Pod which saw host Aaron Wallace rank the 10 Pixar films, I have decided to do the same. However, as I am yet to see WALL.E and UP, I will only be ranking the first 8 Pixar films. Wall.E is on it’s way (we have the DVD but that’s going back in favour of the Blu-ray – ordering mix-up!) so this list may change sometime soon.

1. Monsters, Inc.

monstersinc

2. Toy Story
3. Toy Story 2
4. Cars
5. Finding Nemo
6. Ratatouille
7. A Bug’s Life
8. The Incredibles

Possibly the most controversial placing is Cars at number 4 but I loved this film, and have watched it more than any other Pixar film since its release. I thought it was beautifully set (created?) with some sublime animation and a great coming of age story. Interestingly I liked the film Cars before I became a fan of motor car racing, F1 specifically.

As for The Incredibles, I liked this a lot at the cinema but I have struggled to re-watch since then and have never actually managed to watch it all the way through for a second time. Maybe that’s something I should put right, and let’s see if that changes it’s place in this list.

Monsters, Inc. is released on Blu-ray in 4 days and that is something that fills me with joy – to see Sully’s fur (also picked up by Aaron in his podcast) in high definition will be a sight to behold.

Writing this list also reminds me that although I rate Toy Story 1 and 2 very highly, I haven’t seen them a in a while. I actually remember watching Toy Story on DVD around a friend’s house at Christmas in 1996 and dismissing it as a kid’s film when it was suggested to watch – how wrong I was, and how enthralled I was for the subsequent 81 minutes.

Interesting bit of trivia is that only Toy Story/Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo and Cars have attractions at Disneyland Resort Paris:

Crush’s Coaster
Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast
Cars Race Rally

Unless you count the scream metres from Monsters’ Inc. which reside in Disney Studios? There used to be photo opportunities with Flik and Bruce, plus an Incredibles backdrop to take photos against. Many of the Pixar characters are represented in the parades though. Our last trip was in 2009 so more Pixar representation may be present now.

Incidentally, the podcast that inspired this comes very highly reommended – one of the best out there and a must listen for all fans of anything Disney: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Pod

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Phantom Manor Inspiration for Willian Fair?

On the way home from work I drive through a small village called Willian in North Hertfordshire and in the past week I have noticed bunting put up and some scarecrow type characters appearing in gardens and in front of houses. I little bit of digging told me that this is all to do with the upcoming Willian Fair, which takes place this weekend; 11th and 12th July.

One of these characters in particular caught my eye and after a few days of trying I was able to stop my car and take a picture with my iPhone 3GS – here is what I saw:

Straw Bride

Straw Bride

I immediately thought of Melanie Ravenswood, the bride who is the main character of the Phantom Manor attraction at Disneyland Paris. Below is a picture I took of Melanie which can be seen as you exit Phantom Manor. The blue face is as such because when you are there a hologram is projected onto the face which isn’t picked up by the camera.

Melanie Ravenswood

Melanie Ravenswood

A tenuous link? Maybe, but anything that reminds me of Disneyland Paris is a good thing – just under 10 months until we go back.

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Blog Consolidation with F1 & Comics

I have decided to stop writing 3 different blogs (McLaren Fan Blog, A Little Less Geek and The Beach Boys Discography Project) as I don’t have the time, or to be honest the motivation, to do so. I have decided to have one catch-all blog for me to write about any subject I so desire. I used to do this and have imported the posts from my old Blogger account, hereby known as Wax On, Wax Off Version 1.0.

Now, let’s kick things off with a bit about my favourite sport, Formula 1. As a McLaren this season is pretty demoralising so far, and that wasn’t made any better with today’s Turkish Grand Prix which saw Hamilton finish in 13th (up 3 places from qualification) and Kovalainen (same as qualification). Hamilton didn’t drive too badly and was fuelled very heavily making him very uncompetitive early on. The race was once again won by Jenson Button, though his Brawn GP team mate actually retired after an awful start and bad race – the first retirement of a Brawn GP car all season.

Button leads in the Turkish Grand Prix

Button leads in the Turkish Grand Prix

The McLaren team don’t seem to be getting things right this season and are making little to no improvement, in fact some might say they are actually getting worse! maybe they should take a leaf out of the book of the team formerly known as Honda (now Brawn GP if you didn’t know) and give up on this season and concentrate on development for next year’s car. The next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a race Hamilton won last year, yet this year it looks like Britain could have another victor in the form of Jenson Button, who at this early stage of the season seems the only safe bet for 2009 World Champion.

Now if we can move on to another obsession of mine, comic books! In this last week I have read volumes 1-7 of the New Avengers series and volumes 1 & 2 of the Mighty Avengers in order to get completely up to date with the Avengers storylines before and past the Civil War story arc which I read in July 2007 and up to the Secret Invasion story arc.

Secret Invasion - who can you trust?

Secret Invasion - who can you trust?

I finished the main Secret Invasion trade paperback this morning and I really enjoyed it, and all the New and Mighty Avengers volumes that I read leading up to it. After being disappointed by The Ultimates 3 I took a break from Marvel, but this was a fantastic return to form. I have a few tie-ins to read and then it’s onto the post Secret Invasion New and Mighty Invasion volumes. Will Iron Man ever regain the trust of Captain America?

On the way are Buffy Season 8 Volume 4, The Boys volume 4 and Marvel 1985 – the latter being one I have wanted to read for some time now and have finally got round to ordering. Though i still have to wait until August, it’s encouraging to see volume 12 of Fables is now available to pre-order. This is possibly, depending when you ask me, my favourite comic book series of all time.

By the way, the URL of this blog is dlrp.wordpress.com – the dlrp stands for Disneyland Resort Paris which is our favourite place in the whole world. We went there on holiday 9 times between 2002 and 2007 but have not been back since our son Lucas was born on may 6th 2008. The plan is to go back again for his 2nd birthday in 2010.

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Tarzan gone from DLRP

The Tarzan Encounter is gone from The Chaparral Theater in Disneyland Resort Paris, after nine years of almost 5 shows a day. This is particularly upsetting for wifey and I as this was our favourite show in the park. At least we have the memories. There is no word yet on whether a replacement is planned or not.

EDIT: Sunday 8th March – Tarzan is returning this summer, but only for July and August. If it is back next summer then we may be tempted to wait and go in July rather than May as planned – such is the quality of the show that we wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to see it again.

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Au Revoir Buffalo Trading Co.

As detailed in a previous blog post (linkage), the Buffalo Trading Co. in Disney Village, Disneyland Resort Paris was due to shut down and be replaced by a Starbucks. Well the first part of that process has happened and this Disneyland Resort Paris addict is gutted 😦 Gone is the shop with the most individuality and character, now we await the souless presence of a multi-national coffee shop, oh joy.

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