By admin on October 18th, 2011
Scott Thomas (aka Scottwdw on Disney forums)
Where are you from?
Upstate New York near Syracuse.
Where are you currently living?
Have lived in my hometown all my life.
What’s your day job?
IT Manager for a Pepsi bottler thus I am always picking on people who post Coke photos from the Disney parks.
Married for over 28 years and honeymooned at WDW. I have two grown up daughters who grew up with annual trips to Walt Disney World.
Any upcoming trips planned?
I have two coming up during the last quarter of 2011. The first in late October for the Pixelmania Disney photography event. The second is during the AllEars.net 15th Anniversary celebration in mid-December. Also have a 7 night cruse booked for next year on the DCL Fantasy. When I am at WDW, I tweet out photos and commentary with this account (twitter.com/Scottwdw) if anyone would like to follow me.
When was your first trip to WDW?
October 2, 1983, a year after EPCOT opened and a day after Horizons opened. Have been back almost yearly (and lately 2 to 3 times a year) ever since.
What is it about WDW that keeps you coming back?
Disney keeps it fresh with changes and additions while refreshing older attractions. Above all else, the Cast Members make it feel good to be there.
When first time WDW visitors ask you for a tip, what’s your best advice or tip for WDW?
To plan dining ahead of time. As webmaster of the Planning Strategy Calculator for Disney Reservations (pscalculator.net/), I feel this is one of the most important aspects of a WDW vacation next to the resort you stay at. I have seen more people get turned away from sit-down and character meals because of a lack of table space the last few years. It’s best to have a nice place to sit down and relax while enjoying a good meal after being in a park all day or to start out a day with a fun character meal than not.
What’s your favorite WDW memory?
Oh, so many…but taking my late sister to WDW for the first time was so much fun. She just had a ball and is my most favorite memories of her with me and my family.
If you could work at WDW, what’s your dream job?
You would think FastPass Photographer but no…I want to drive the monorail!
What’s in your camera bag in the parks?
Very little. I usually use a small pack with an extra camera battery, extra memory card, a polarizing filter, a flash unit and one extra lens (either a 50mm f/1.8 or UWA depending on my shooting plans that day). My camera will have a superzoom on it which I use for 90% of my photography at WDW. If I have plans for night photography like fireworks or long exposures, I will bring a tripod and place it in a park locker until needed.
What other photographers inspire you?
Bob Desmond, a 20 year veteran of Disney photography and National Geographic photographer Joe McNally.
When and how did you start shooting photographs?
I got my first SLR at the age of 16 and have been shooting ever since.
What made you start taking photographs at WDW?
From day one back in 1983. It wasn’t until I started posting my digital photos of WDW online and was asked by Deb Wills of AllEars.net to contribute to a new WDW photoblog called Picture This! that I got serious about photography at WDW. I enjoy posting articles and sharing photos on this blog twice a week with our Disney Pic of the Week theme and my weekly column called Photographic Innoventions at land.allears.net/blogs/photoblog/. I also publish a “mostly” non-Disney photography blog called Views Infinitum at stphoto.wordpress.com.
What is your advice for the average tourist photographer at WDW?
To get close and fill the frame in the viewfinder or LCD screen. Either by walking up closer or zooming in. People are surprised how much better their pictures become upon following this advice.
What’s your favorite time of year to visit WDW? Why?
October. The weather during the day is not as hot as summer and the nights are still very comfortable. Sun angle makes for good photography from around 2pm to sunset during this time of day.
Do you and your family have any WDW traditions?
Epcot is normally the first park visited as it was the first park I visited back in 1983. I always photograph my girls when they are with me eating a snack at Disney. Never got them to try a turkey leg though.
Does your non WDW friends and co-workers know about your passion for WDW? How do you explain it?
Oh, yes, and when asked, I tell them for the money I spend on vacation, I know I will have a great time at WDW.
Rapid Fire Questions
On Property of Off?
On property. The convenience of Disney transportation and quality of the rooms and service at the resorts which extend the Disney magic 24/7 is something I feel is worth every penny.
Ferry or Monorail to Magic Kingdom?
Monorail! Why don’t we have these in every city?
Mac or PC?
Mac..they simply work with little worry. My main system is a MacBook Pro which comes with me to Disney for downloads, processing and photo sharing during my stays.
What’s your favorite park?
Disney Hollywood Studios which feeds my love of movies.
French Quarter Riverside (the former Dixie Landings) for it’s laid back atmosphere and the best food court at WDW.
Favorite park for photography?
Animal Kingdom for its beautiful landscaping and animal photography opportunities.
Tower of Terror. As an old Twlight Zone fan from way back, this attraction is by far the best Disney has ever done.
This changes with each trip..currently Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge is at the top of the heap.
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