18 April 2009

Some observation techniques

The above observation techniques come from the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s African village of Harambe. It may sound strange, but I find these tips work not only fantastically in the bush, but also when you are making your way through Walt Disney World, and make sure to remind myself of them before a research or regular trip. Here are the guidelines and how I implement them on my trips, perhaps you’ll find some useful information tucked away neatly in one of these ideas.
BE PREPARED – Before leaving home I make a checklist of items I am going to need, how many shirts, batteries, camera, confirmation numbers, chargers, etc., and then make sure to check off each item as I pack it away. On any given morning, I make a mental checklist of items I may need, batteries, notebooks, sunscreen, and the like. Additionally, since I am generally after specific notes or photographs, I also try to plan ahead (usually months ahead) by keeping a notebook on me in my day-to-day life a jot down items I want to look at Walt Disney World and then create a cohesive document that I can carry with me so that I don’t forget when I get overly excited by walking through the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

BE UNOBTRUSIVE – Blending in in a sea of people may not be that difficult, but not everyone is working on my schedule or at my pace. If I am trying to set up a shot, I try to make sure that I am not blocking walkways or intruding in other guests’ space. Likewise, I also try to be aware of guests around me that may be taking a photograph and attempt to not walk in their line of sight or walk around them. No one is going to be able to do this perfectly, but the fact that you attempt to show concern for your fellow guest will make a difference and is contagious.

BE QUIET – Okay, when you are rocketing through the cosmos in Space Mountain, this may seem a little off the mark, but that isn’t what it is meant for. It also doesn’t mean that your entire group should suffer in silence as they make their way through the parks. However, if you find time to quiet your inner-dialogue, and slow down just a hair, sometimes you will find the most amazing experiences, sights, and sounds, jump right out at you.

BE CAUTIOUS – Alongside unobtrusive, being cautious is about making sure you know where you are at all times. Take into account that most strollers have a larger width than that of an average person, mind your steps when you are backing up for a picture and make sure you don’t inadvertently send yourself over a railing, and take into account that a 10 minute attraction with a 25 minute wait may cause you to miss your dinner reservation.

BE ACCURATE – When doing research in Walt Disney World, being accurate is the key to making sure that you know what you are documenting, where, and why. While this guideline may not seem prudent on a regular vacation, it definitely has its applications. Make sure you are not wasting film or memory card space that could be vital later on in your trip. And when taking those family photographs, don’t rush yourself; no one is going to scream at you if you take an extra few seconds setting up the frame just the way you would like.

I hope these few reminders help you plan and implement a better tour of Walt Disney World. As for me, I have a checklist to get started on. I hope to see you around the world soon!

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