A different kind of 'pool'

Orlando Sentinel

If you've ever wondered how the Orlando Sentinel gets it's photographs during a presidential visit, here's a little background: When the president travels to a community, the White House will often designate a local news photographer to be in the 'travel pool.' 

The pool is the small group of photographers that travel in the presidential motorcade and photograph the chief executive at close range during events. I've been the local pooler for almost every presidential visit to central Florida since 1988. With President Obama's visit to Walt Disney World, Thursday was no exception. Here are some random observations from President Obama's trip to the Magic Kingdom:

• Overheard this on the press riser: Is Disney just lucky or did they dial in Perfect Weather for a presidential visit? Blue skies, temperatures in the '70s, no humidity. (Never mind those clouds and rain less than 24 hours before the event).

• By the way, if there was ever two organizations that know how to advance an event, it has to be Disney Co. and the White House. Having covered many of these presidential events over the years, this one seemed like a Perfect Storm of detailed efficiency.

• Probably the most interesting place I've seen a presidential motorcade go was  on the track at Daytona International Speedway, with Pres. Clinton in 1998. Pres. Obama's passing under the 'Walt Disney World' arch yesterday, on World Center Drive, is probably a close second.

• Say, isn't that Orlando mayor, Buddy Dyer, coming down the steps of Air Force One with President Obama? Cool.

• Yes, Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger was in attendance for the president's speech, keeping a low profile on the front row of the VIP seating area. Speaking of Disney celebrities, a colleague of mine and I made a $1 wager on whether Mickey Mouse would appear on the dais with the president. Alas, Mickey must have had a prior engagement.

• With Thursday's additional security, it was only the second time in 25 years that I've seen the area in front of Cinderella Castle completely empty of guests during regular hours at the Magic Kingdom.  (The last time was Hurricane Charlie's passing in 2004.) Always a surreal scene.

To view Joe's photo gallery from Pres. Obama's visit, click here.

To view Joe's post on Central Florida Political Pulse, click here.

Joe Burbank can be reached at jburbank@orlandosentinel.com. Follow the Sentinel photo staff on Twitter @OSPhoto. Like us on Facebook: Orlando Sentinel Photography.

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