My holiday adventures in Disney World ended on New Year’s Day this year. After discovering that most of the New Year’s Eve crowd was gone, I decided to head to Disney on the evening of January 1st for one last glimpse of Disney’s winter wonderland.

A recurring theme on all of my recent Disney trips is that I don’t decide which park I’m even going to until I’m on Disney property. I just get so indecisive about what I’m in the mood to do, so I postpone the decision until the very last minute, and then I still end up changing my mind several times before finally settling on a park or resort or area of Disney to start with.

With my main goal being to experiment with light more in my photography, I decided to just follow whatever road signs felt right.


On this particular visit, my indecisiveness landed me at Epcot first, where I rode Spaceship Earth for the first time this year and walked around the World Showcase for a glimpse of international holiday decor.




I went back later for some nighttime shots of Epcot.




Magic Kingdom

I left Epcot (the first time) while the sun was still up and moved along to my next destination.


Despite my fiery hatred for all things Frozen, I absolutely love Elsa’s icy takeover of the castle, which happens shortly after night falls and transforms Cinderella’s palace into such a magical sight.




Animal Kingdom

Oh my goodness gracious, this part was amazing! When I realized how late Animal Kingdom would be open, I knew I had to get there to see the place at night. Usually, it closes at 5pm, and I was thrilled for the chance to finally see the park after dark!




Hollywood Studios

From a photography standpoint, Hollywood Studios excites me the least out of all the parks. It’s probably just me being lazy, but I never manage to find an interesting or original way to shoot the Tower of Terror or the Chinese theater or really any of the sights around the park.


However, it was the last week ever of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and this was well worth photographing. I think I saw this on a Disney trip when I was in middle school, but my memories did not do this thing justice, and neither do my photos.

To begin with, THERE’S SNOW! I don’t care how fake it was–it was absolutely magical to wear nothing but a light sweater over my shirt and skirt as the “snow” fell all around me. Now I really don’t have a reason to mourn over missing out on winters in Ohio!


To fully convey the magic of watching the lights flash in time with the music, here is a video clip of one of the songs that played as the snow started to fall.



If I do something wonderful on the first day of the year, I always take it as a sign of what the year will bring. (And if I don’t do anything exciting, I forget all about my obsession with signs.)

Given that I crammed 4 park visits and 13.1 miles of walking into one night, I’m looking forward to a year full of adventures and photography through the parks, and I like that I somehow, almost magically, walked the exact length of the half marathon I’ll be participating in at Disney in April.

Of course, I know my year will hold many more adventures other than Disney, but with a recently-renewed annual pass, I have a guarantee of at least another year of mouse ears and magic!

Love, Elizabeth

How was your New Year’s Day? Do you look for symbols of what the year will bring? Tell me in the comments below!