Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Giant Panda, Flower and Garden Style

These adorable giant pandas are from one of Epcot's flower and garden shows. They are posing outside the China Pavilion. As you can see, the giant panda has an insatiable appetite for bamboo. The typical panda spends half the day eating, that's 12 out of every 24 hours. Hmm, I wish I could do that. It takes about 30 pounds of bamboo to satisfy a giant panda's daily dietary needs. They supplement their diets with other less appetizing items as well, like rodents and birds.

Wild pandas only live in remote, mountainous regions in central China. These bamboo forests are cool and wet, exactly like the pandas prefer it. There are fewer than 1,000 giant pandas left in the wild and around 100 pandas live in zoos. Much of what we know about pandas comes from study of these zoo animals, because their wild cousins are so rare and elusive. (Thank you to for much of this info.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vintage Disney Story Books

These 2 books from the early 1940's belonged to my Father-in-Law, Dan.

Pinocchio. Given as a gift to Dan from his mother in 1944.

Copyright 1939, 1940 by Walt Disney Productions, Hollywood, California. D.C. Heath and Company, Boston.

Nice spot illustrations are throughout the book.

A very well loved book, several pages are loose.

Walt Disney Story  Books.

Bambi was given as a gift to Dan from his Grandmother in 1945.

Copyright 1944 by Walt Disney Productions. D.C. Heath and Company, Boston.

This book is in better shape.

These wonderful books were passed on to my wife, and then her younger sister. He recently re-discovered them, and has passed them on to me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Walt Disney Family Museum

I'm not even sure where to begin to describe the scope of this tribute to a person who has brought joy to countless millions around the world.
While visiting, one word kept popping into my head. Overwhelming.
I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco within the Presidio on a dreary Monday, arriving a little later than I'd hoped, about 11:15am.

The museums hours are Wednesday to Monday 10am-6pm, with last ticket sales at 4:45pm. Closed Tuesdays, New Year's Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
If you intend to see everything, you can easily spend the entire 8 hours doing so. Indeed, if you are interested in the special exhibits being held as well, you could dedicate 2 days.
Upon entering, you are greeted by the ticket counter and cabinets containing some of the awards and honors Walt received throughout his all too short of a lifetime.

Venice International Film Festival Trofeo d'Arte della Biennale for Snow White, 1938

Honorary Academy Awards for Snow White

There were also pieces of art that hung in his home found here, and furniture from his apartment in Disneyland.
This is where the word overwhelming first popped into my head!
Ticket prices are $20 for Adults, $15 for Seniors and Students with valid ID, and $12 for children.
There are also different levels of Membership. If I was a California resident, or even within a reasonable distance to San Francisco, I would become a member. There are special programs, films, events, exhibitions and talks through the year. There are monthly film screenings, and "Animate Your Night" after hours museum parties!
I paid my $20 to enter, and then heard a young man next to me say he was a D23 Member, and received a $5 discount! I turned to the gentleman who gave me my ticket, and said I too was a D23 Member. He was very gracious in refunding my $5! So if you're a D23 Member, bring your card!
By the time I was done looking at some of Walt's accomplishments, it was nearly Noon!
I got lunch at the Cafe which is right next to the entrance. I had a tuna sandwich, which was phenomenal, chips, and an even more amazing cookie. It wasn't cheap, but it was filling and delicious.
I was now ready to enter the Museum!
The first 2 galleries take you through the beginning of the Disney Family and Walt's life leading up to his arrival in Hollywood in 1923.
You then take an elevator up to continue.

The following galleries on the 2nd floor take you through stages of his career, including his earliest successes and failures, creation of Mickey Mouse, the Silly Symphonies, merchandise, comics, innoventions, inventions...overwhelming.

   The earliest known drawing of Mickey Mouse!

Cel from the first Technicolor cartoon, "Flowers and Trees".

Throughout are family photos and momentos from the time period represented.

 Walt and Lillian's Marriage License

It was now coming up on 3pm, and I was only at Snow White which occupies one whole gallery; and I thought "Uh oh, if I keep going at this pace, I'll be here until Wednesday!"

I needed a breather. So I walked through the rest of the galleries, just to get an overview. This made things worse!
Again, and I cannot stress this enough, if you are a fan of Walt Disney and want to see and read everything, you will need the entire day, if not two, especially if, like me, you spend time chatting with some of the absolutely amazing employees and other visitors for extended periods of time.
You can also spend an inordinate amount of time taking video and photos.
This is all fine and well, but pacing and planning, like visiting a Disney Park, is important.
I wound up skimming through the early animated features section much quicker than I would have liked; but, as I will absolutely be returning in the future, decided I needed to make a sacrifice.
I picked back up in the World War 2 era.

The galleries are so inventively laid out and artistic that you can be caught for extended periods of time just admiring the artistry.

When you come to the long hallway overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, stop and relax a moment. Take in the beauty. Prepare yourself for what is to come.

At the end of this hallway is a bench from Griffith Park where Walt would sit and watch his daughters Diane and Sharon play, which made him think how nice it would be to have a clean park where families could share time together. This started the emotional ball rolling. I sat in it. I burst into tears.

Then you enter a gallery so breathtaking you just need to stop and gawk.

We see Walt's train, the Carolwood Pacific, the TV era, and the creation of Disneyland.
I was told that the gigantic model of Disneyland represented the years and attractions Walt was personally involved with.
We come to the 1964 New York World's Fair, the many innoventions this brought, and the plans for the Florida Project and Epcot.
Then we come to the inevitable.

No more words need be said. Except maybe one. Overwhelming.

Wednesday-Monday: 10am-6pm
Wednesday-Monday: 10am-6pm
Last ticket sale and entry is 4:45pm
Closed on every Tuesday, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day - See more at:
Wednesday-Monday: 10am-6pm
Last ticket sale and entry is 4:45pm
Closed on every Tuesday, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day - See more at:
Wednesday-Monday: 10am-6pm
Last ticket sale and entry is 4:45pm
Closed on every Tuesday, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day - See more at:

Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure

There is a great little eatery on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure At the Disneyland Resort called Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe.

Named after Disney's Three Little Pigs, this is the first Disney location to serve Starbucks beverages, pastries and sandwiches.

Lines often reach up to 30 minutes, and I heard from a Cast Member that the waits can get up to 90 minutes! We waited about 20!

There is plenty of seating indoors, and limited seating outdoors.

Make sure to check out the music themed bulletin board, with references to Disney Classics such as the the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert.

Barbie and I split the delicious Salami Royale Sandwich, layers of Salami, Fennel Salami, Sopressata, Provolone & Asiago Cheeses, Pepperoncini, Red Onions and Olive Tapenade on Ciabatta Bread, for  $8.99, and an Mocha Latte.

I wouldn't wait 30 minutes, but if you can get in easily, this is a great little dining location.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Do You Remember-Cinderella Castle, Happiest Celebration on Earth?

Barbie and I took our first trip to Walt Disney World in September of 2006, at the tail end of the "Happiest Celebration on Earth", which celebrated Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.
To commemorate, the exterior of Cinderella Castle was adorned with gold trim, banners, and swags.
Various Disney characters were also added to several locations around the castle.
We missed seeing most of that, but we did get to see the "Magic Mirror" above the front archway.

Every 40 seconds the mirror changed, revealing a different Disney Castle and the date it's park opened:
Disneyland - 1955, Magic Kingdom - 1971, Tokyo Disneyland - 1983, Disneyland Resort Paris - 1992, and Hong Kong Disneyland - 2005.

Did you get to see the Castle during this time?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

POP Staircase Covers

Guest Writer Wednesday

POP Staircase Covers
By: Gaylin

I have stayed at the Pop Century Resort 5 times now and I love this resort. While it is a value resort, the theming and general atmosphere are terrific. There is so much to see and enjoy. I often get home from a 14+ hour theme park day (admit it, you stay that long as well!), and go to my room, drop all my stuff, wash my face, brush my teeth and then take my sore feet back out onto the resort grounds for a walk.

What astonished me on my first vacation there was the amazing structures that were built just to cover the exterior stairways. Giant structures that not only hide the stairways but lessen the noise of people using the stairways. I do love Disney's attention to detail.

I think the first ones I noticed and realized that they were covering the stairs were the yo-yo's!

Of course I had to climb the stairs inside a huge yo-yo, just to say I did it and took this very 'artistic' photo while inside.

Next up, bowling pins in the 1950's section. Huge bowling pins, how cool.

Another great thing about all these stairways, they are power washed on a regular basis and well lit at night, even with tired feet, I would often climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, yep, just a bit enamoured with the covers!

In the 1970's section there are great huge 8-track tapes. Don't worry if you don't know what they are, I figure a lot of guests don't! I wish I had taken photos of the backs of all the different 8-tracks, they all had made-up very funny song lists on the back.

My very favourite covers are in the 1980's/1990's section, the Rubik's Cube. They look great in the daytime!

They look awesome on the inside with the sun coming through.

And really wonderful at night, outlined in neon!

The Pop Century rooms are standard small rooms but the grounds and theming of the resort are above and beyond a 'value' to look at.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Disney Funko POP! WALL-E

Like Vinylmation, I didn't get the Funko Pop! Disney figures at first.
Unlike Vinylmation, however, I'm still not completely on board with them.
They are somewhat cute, but to take a quote from one of my favorite movies, Jaws,  as Quint described a sharks eyes, these figures seem to have "Lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes."
But I don't feel that applies to a couple of the figures. Like WALL-E from Series 4.

If I find EVE, I will have to pick her up.

I feel, unlike most of the other figures from this line, that the eyes are a perfect fit.

WALL-E is one of my all time favorite movies, and I need more collectibles!

WALL-E has only been out of his package a few minutes, and he's already heading off to work. Industrious little fellow.

Tomorrow, friend and guest writer Gaylin has a very different type of article with Pop in the title!