Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Walt Disney World 2014 Calendar

By: Nick

Barbie and I bought this Calendar at Walt Disney World in October.

We usually receive a calendar or 2 as gifts from relatives, so haven't bought one in years, but when we saw this, it only took a moment to decide we had to have it!


It features some of our favorite attraction posters from Walt Disney World!

But it gets better!

The posters, which measure 12" by 18", can be removed from the acid free calendar via perforated edges, making them perfect for framing!

We wish all of you have a happy and safe New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

How I Started Disney Pin Trading

by Jill:

It all started with this Tigger pin, a gift from my friends Nick and Barbie.

I was instantly hooked on pin trading. I decided to stick with the theme of Hundred Acre Wood characters, to keep the crazy to a minimum, and I then began my hunt.

Cast members with a green lanyard are only allowed to trade with kids. But pin trading is meant for everyone and most of the characters were easy to find by trading with other cast members.

After you leave Walt Disney World, Ebay and your local flea market are great places to search for more pins.

I'm a socially awkward introvert, but even I find this to be not only a fun thing to do, but also an easy way to break out of my shell and talk to people.

My husband even joined in the fun looking at lanyards and pin booths for our favorite characters.

There is a ton to do and see at Disney World. Pin trading was a great addition to our trip. I highly suggest getting into it.

Thank you Nick & Barbie for introducing me to Disney Pins! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Road Food

By: Barbie

I walk around the neighborhood almost every day, and I always keep an eye out for interesting things on the ground. My favorite things to pick up, of course, lost change. In fact, I consider a walk where I don't find pennies from heaven to be a failure. So when I saw an ice cream cone, corn on the cob and a carrot on the ground, I did a double take. I thought to myself, that's weird, why didn't I pick those up?

When I got home I was really kicking myself for not bringing the road food home. You'll see what I mean! It sounds gross, but it's too funny! It snowed the next day and I couldn't find my coveted food items. Oh well, easy come, easy go. The next day I went out again and was able to find the ice cream and the carrot, but my corn cob was missing. I placed the food carefully in my sweatshirt pocket. Who would have picked up that corn cob, I wondered to myself?

I wandered into the house and started playing with my phone vinyls, you may remember them from this post. I giggled as I fitted them with their new accoutrement: an ice cream and a carrot!

Remy immediately went for the ice cream!  

 Which left the carrot for his good friend, the rabbit.

The moral of this story? When you see food on the ground that you really want, just pick it up, ok?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Trail's End at Walt Disney World

One of my favorite buffets in Walt Disney World doesn't have any characters. But I feel this entire area has plenty of character.

Fort Wilderness is a great destination in and of itself, as is Trail's End.
Located next to the Hoop De Doo Musical Revue at Pioneer Hall, the food at the Revue actually uses the same kitchen.

As you'd expect, the interior is rustic, and has a different feel to it than other restaurants. You feel like you are in the mountains perhaps, having a meal in a cabin.

But enough of the atmosphere, you're here for the food!

The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet includes:

Soup of the day. I'm not a soup guy, but friends that are love the soup here.
Chili. Pretty good.
Salad Bar

Peel-and-eat shrimp
Smoked Pork Ribs. Very good.
Fresh Catch of the day. On my last visit, the salmon was excellent!
Fried Chicken. My favorite fried chicken. Anywhere. Really, I dream about it!

Selection of Vegetables

Hand-Carved Roasted Meats, very tasty.

Housemade Fruit Cobbler, ice cream, cookies, etc., all delicious.

So if you want some of the great Hoop De Doo food, without the show, stop by Trail's End!

Portions of this article were originally posted on the Tips From the Disney Diva Blog, where Nick is a contributing writer.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Favorite Disney Treat

By: Gaylin

There are any number of articles or arguments online about what the best snack or treat is to eat at Walt Disney World. For me, food allergies preclude eating most of them, this would be sad except my favourite is the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar.

On one trip, I kept track of how many I had in an 8 day period, turns out it is one every other day!

The first one was at the Animal Kingdom, in Dinoland.

The second one was at Hollywood Studios, it is always a good idea to find some shade when you eat one of these or they melt quickly.

The third one was at Downtown Disney.

And finally, one more, back at Hollywood Studios. All I can say is that it is a very good thing I walk so much during a vacation as one of these babies contains 330 calories! But everyone knows, calories don't count on vacation . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Walt Disney World Day Trip

By: Barbie

What would you do if you were given eight hours to visit whichever Disney World Park you wanted to?

For me, it's a dilemma. This is something that either takes a lot of thought and careful planning, or you immediately know the answer; there's nothing that could change your mind. I'm not that type of person!

Do you go to the Magic Kingdom, because, well, it's the Magic Kingdom! It has the most magic of course!

Do you try for a two for one and hit EPCOT and Hollywood Studios together (because you can walk or take a boat between the two)?

Or do you go to Animal Kingdom because it's a cool, laid back park?

After deciding that, what do you eat?! Do you eat on the go, or do you savor the time you have and take in an awesome meal? These are important questions that need to be answered! I need your help!!

What would YOU do?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hallmark's Disney Cinderella's Castle Ornament

By: Nick

I picked this Disney Cinderella's Castle ornament up during Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Premiere Weekend back in July.

This is not the Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, but the one from the movie Cinderella.

In it's static form, it isn't a very dynamic ornament, I must confess.

But press the button and it comes alive with a firework spectacular and the song "When You Wish Upon a Star".


 We hope all of your wishes come true on this Christmas Eve, and that you have a wonderful, magical, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Disney "Sewing For Cinderelly" Limited Quantity Hallmark Ornament

By: Nick

I bought this "Limited Quantity" ornament titled "Sewing For Cinderelly" during the 2013 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Premiere Weekend back in July.

Gus and Jaq are maybe my favorite part of Cinderella.


I see more than a bit of myself in Gus Gus!

They have helped create a masterpiece for Cinderella.
Speaking of Cinderella, stop back tomorrow to see a magical ornament representing her castle!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Christmas Surprises LP Album

By: Nick

I've no idea where I picked up this Mickey Mouse Christmas Surprises record album, but it's in pretty good shape. An "Official Mickey Mouse Club" Disneyland Record from 1958.

If the terrific illustration on the cover isn't enough to grab your attention, I don't know what is!
Who knew Bambi could fly?! That's a surprise.

What are other surprises does this record hold?
Other surprises are how unusual the song selections are on this collection.

Side one:

1. From All Of Us to All of You - Jiminy Cricket & Mickey Mouse

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Ever. So great start!

2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful - Ludwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Choir

Then it gets weird. This is an odd one. Very Chipmunk, but not as charming or coherent.

3. T'was the Night Before Christmas - Jiminy Cricket

Back on track, one of my favorite stories told by one of my favorite characters

4. Fantasyland, Story Book Tree - Camarta Chorus & Orchestra

So sweet, your teeth may hurt after listening.

5. Winter Wonderland - Instrumental by Ludwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Symphony

Tolerable instrumental

Side 2:

6. Jingle Bells - Ludwig Mousensky & The All Mouse Choir

Essentially, the Chipmunks singing Jingle Bells. I like it!

7. Adventureland, Jungle Tree - Camarta Chorus & Orchestra

If you are familiar with the Enchanted Tiki Room, this seems to be the same group of singers singing about finding the Christmas tree for, or maybe in, Adventureland. Very unusual, and the lyrics are a bit difficult to follow, so I always lose the thread of the story midway through.

8. Jingle Bones- Witches 3 and Friends

I'm a fan of Hallowthanksmas, but this Halloween/Christmas mash-up is too much for even me. Just straight up trippy.

9. Kris Kringle - Jimmy Cricket

I really enjoy this one. It makes me wish they'd just released a full album of Jiminy Cricket doing Christmas Carols

10. Tomorrowland, Futuristic Christmas Tree - Camarta Chorus & Orchestra

A standard that takes a weird and incomprehensible turn in the middle.

This album is a surprisingly bipolar collection of songs, but worth a listen if you come across it for a reasonable price. And if you have a turntable, of course!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks Review

By: Nick

Note: This is going to be as spoiler free as possible.

As you are very likely aware, Saving Mr. Banks is the story of how Walt Disney obtained the rights to make Mary Poppins from author P. L. Travers. The movie frequently transitions from these negotiations to Ms. Travers childhood.

I've been avoiding reading about it, because I didn't want to go into the theater with any preconception beyond the brief synopsis I shared above, which has been difficult, as every Disney magazine I receive has contained some information about the film, including the entire issue of D23 Magazine that came in the mail a week ago.

My wife and I have been looking forward to seeing this film since first seeing the preview, and we went last night.

We both really enjoyed it. It is beautifully shot, the acting is superb, and there are many bits of dialogue and visual treats that absolutely invite multiple viewings for Disney fans. I have every intention of seeing it again.

But, and this sentiment was shared by the family in front of me who brought along their young daughter, it is much more serious than we were expecting. 
In fact, depending on how personal some of the themes of the film are to an individual, it can be very emotional indeed.
This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but it is certainly not light hearted pre-holiday fare.
There are some very funny, and extremely sweet moments, but, tonally, this is a very heavy, deep film.
For me, it was hard to watch, what with all the water that seemed to keep appearing in my eyes every few minutes.

I am in no way saying you shouldn't see this movie, not just because, if you are reading this blog, you are likely a Disney fan, but because it is an incredibly well crafted and wonderfully acted film.
Saving Mr. Banks gives Mary Poppins a richer, fuller, and, yes, even more emotional resonance.
I actually can't recommend you see this lovely glimpse at the creation of one of Walt Disney's most enduring masterpieces enough.

Maybe just wait until after Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mary Poppins Record and Movie Book

By: Nick

Today, Disney releases the film, Saving Mr. Banks, and to say I am excited to see this is an understatement.
Both Barbie and I have grown up with Mary Poppins.

The film centers on the life of P. L. Travers, creator of Mary Poppins, shifting between her childhood, and the negotiations with Walt Disney in the making of the motion picture, Mary Poppins, in 1961 

If you haven't seen the trailer, it looks absolutely amazing. I just re-watched it, and have goosebumps, and, okay, a tear in my eye.

As much as we both love Mary Poppins, we actually only have 2 items from Mary Poppins, if you don't include a VHS, DVD, and the just released Blu-ray copy of the film!

One is this record album Barbie has had since childhood.

It includes a very brief synopsis of the movie, and even a brief telling of how Disney came to discover Mary Poppins and produce this masterpiece.

And what more can I say about the music by the Sherman Brothers other than it is absolutely brilliant?

This 1964 Mary Poppins movie book from Golden Press was bought just a few months ago at our local flea market.

Originally priced at $.69, I paid $2.

Not in the best of shape, but, having just seen the trailer for the first time the day before, I felt it was fate that I came upon it, and had to buy it!

It tells a bit about the production, and the 2 primary stars, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, on the inside cover, before going on to tell the story of the motion picture, with photos from the film.

We'll be seeing Saving Mr. Banks this weekend, so please stop back for a review.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mickey Mouse: Mash-Up - App Review

 By: Nick

If you've seen the new Mickey Mouse cartoons Disney has released recently, you'll know that they are very clever.

The Mickey Mouse: Mash Up app for iPhone, iPad and iPod gives you the opportunity to be as clever as the Disney animators, because YOU get to help Mickey Mouse complete one of the cartoons, "No Service."

Mickey asks for your help, inviting you to draw something large you would find at the beach.

I drew a sand pail.

Now it's time to color it in.

It's going to sound like I'm making excuses, because I am, but this app is probably great on an iPad, as drawing and coloring is much more difficult on an iPhone, which is what I'm using here. But artistic skills aside, this is fun regardless, and you can always start over by using the icon in the upper right hand corner. Just click on that...

... to be brought to the menu, where you can choose a point to go back or forward to.

You are then invited to draw something small you'd find on the beach,  and something silly for Mickey to wear.

All these drawings will be used later in the cartoon!

As the cartoon progresses, you are asked to contribute new illustrations.

 For instance, the sign needs to be completed with a food item. The drawing by me? A hotdog.

In addition to drawing activities, there are interactive games throughout. Here, I'm picking a feather I'll use to tickle Donald with!


Why is Mickey naked? Spoilers! You'll be using your drawings from earlier to help Mickey out of a tricky spot!

There is plenty to entertain both young and old here, with appearances from Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.

At the end Mickey thanks you for helping finish his cartoon, and invites you to celebrate by drawing a picture of him, either using a template to draw over, or a blank page to draw from memory.

You can even view past mouseterpieces.

The app is $3.99 and lots of fun, with plenty of potential. I'm assuming Disney will be adding additional animated shorts in the future, adding to the re-playability.

We would like to thank Disney Publishing for providing this App for review.