Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Figment Bottle Opener, a Coca-Cola, and a Smile

By: Nick

I try not to drink too much soda, my beverage of choice is beer, but for special occasions, like Christmas, I will have my favorite, bottled Coca Cola.

And what better way to open this treat than with a Figment bottle opener, bought at Epcot during my first trip in the early 90's, of course.

Figment is enjoying a beverage himself.

Ah, time to enjoy one of my favorite beverages.

Monday, December 28, 2015

My First Solo Trip to Walt Disney World: The Plans

By Nick

Due to the health issues of our aging (14, going on 15) dog Shnelly, and her long time sitter not being able to sit for us any longer, having become too busy in her personal life, my wife and I have decided it in her best interest to not introduce someone else into her care, which has the unfortunate side effect in the inability of us to vacation together.

For this reason I'll be going to Walt Disney World alone this coming Friday. This trip was planned at 11 months out, as we are DVC members, before we knew we wouldn't be taking it together. I had renewed my Annual Pass back in January of 2015 in advance of my trip in May with 2 buddies to Star Wars Weekends.
So, as I already have the room booked and passes paid for, I decided I'd take this trip solo.

A few things have changed from our original plans due to this being a solo trip.

One is where I'll be staying. I'd originally booked us at one of our home resorts, and my wife's favorite, Disney's Boardwalk Villas. At the 7 month mark, I was able to change this to a stay at the new Polynesian Villas in a standard view studio! I have wanted to stay at the Poly FOREVER! My wife would have been happy to stay there, but would have preferred the Boardwalk! I know, right?

I had also made several Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) in the anticipation we'd be going together, and will be cancelling several of these. I'll instead be focusing on the lounges that we may not normally visit as my wife doesn't really drink. I do on occasion enjoy an adult beverage however, and I'm going to do the Resort Loop Pub Crawl.
I'm especially excited to check out Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at the Polynesian.

Another place I am excited to experience is Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar in Disney Springs. Something else I'm looking forward to trying is a meal at the AMC Dine-In Theater also at Disney Springs.

I've made an outline based on ADRs I did keep, and FastPasses I've made. I have included a lot of free time to explore the Polynesian, enjoy the pool if weather permits, and to experience Disney Springs. And alcoholic beverages.

Friday, January 1st: Arrive early. Lunch at Trader Sam's. Swim? See the torch lighting ceremony and then head to the Magic Kingdom for the evening. FPs

Saturday, the 2nd: Breakfast at Kona (Tonga Toast!). Epcot in the morning where I have FPs. Disney's Hollywood Studios in the evening too see the new Star Wars offerings. At the suggestion of my Disney Exchange co-host Dave Hodges I'm going to try the ribs at Fairfax Fair. And then there is Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular, which is amazing!

Sunday, the 3rd: sleep in. Spend some relaxing time at the resort before going to DHS where I have FPs. Why DHS 2 evenings in a row? This is the last night of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Ever!

Monday, the 4th: Animal Kingdom in the morning, Extra Magic Hours and FastPasses. I look forward to visit Harambe Market. Going to Disney Springs in the Evening, possibly to see Star Wars, The Force Awakens at the AMC theater and have dinner there. May stop into Jock Lindsay's as well.

Tuesday, the 5th: Be Our Guest at the MK for breakfast. I need to try it out to write a blog post! FPs there. Lunch at the new Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen. Resort Loop pub crawl that evening.

Wednesday, the 6th:  Relax in the morning and go to Disney Springs in the late morning/ early afternoon. Maybe try to get into the newly opened Morimoto's for sushi and have a cocktail at Jock's. Epcot in the evening. FPs

Thursday, the 7th: Magic Kingdom where I have FPs. Fly home.

I hope to see friends that work at Walt Disney World as well as other friends on Facebook. If you are reading this and will be there at the same time, please drop me a line!

I'll be sharing photos and updates here on The Disney Musings Blog, our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram, as well as The Disney Exchange Podcast Facebook page.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Episode 54 of The Disney Exchange : FastPass Strategies at Walt Disney World

By Nick

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

O54 The Disney Exchange –  FastPass Strategies at Walt Disney World

The Disney Exchange is David Hodges, Lisa Green, and me, Nicholas Maglio.

We discuss the addition of metal detectors to Disney parks, as well as the ban of the wearing of costumes for people 14 and over.

Dave really brings up the mood of the show.

As we launch into our main topic, FastPass Strategies at Walt Disney World, Mickey Mouse makes an appearance!

Lisa, Dave and I go on to discuss our FastPass picks as well as attractions we suggest you don't waste FastPasses on at each of Walt Disney World's parks as well as strategies and preferences.

For instance, I have different choices at the Magic Kingdom based on what time of day I am visiting. Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean in the daytime and Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, and Jungle Cruise in the evenings, because I feel the latter are more fun in the dark.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, do you pick Toy Story Midway Mania or Rock 'n' Roller Coaster...

...and how many times is Aerosmith going to re-record Walk This Way?

Wheel of Distiny topic: 2016 Walt Disney World Resolutions

Thank you again for listening to The Disney Exchange, the most professionally produced podcast you are currently reading about.

If you have a show or a wheel of Distiny topic, please let us know on on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thedisneyexchange, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/disneyexchange  or email us at: info@thedisneyexchange

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Reptiles of Walt Disney World

If you listen to The Disney Exchange Podcast which is hosted by Lisa Green, David Hodges and myself, then you have perhaps heard that our unofficial mascot is the Komodo Dragon at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Lisa takes a look at this fella(?) as well as other reptiles on this edition of Saturday's with Lisa. - Nick

Komodo Dragon at Animal Kingdom 

We all know that Walt Disney World is overrun with famous princesses.  There are also a good many ducks!  Did you know that Walt Disney World also boasts an incredible number of reptiles?  Why, I’d be willing to bet that there are more reptiles at Disney World than all the princesses and ducks combined!  Let’s talk about lizards, snakes, alligators, crocodiles and more!

Crocodile in Festival of Fantasy Parade

Crocodiles on the Jungle Cruise

You can find reptiles in lots of places in Magic Kingdom.  The famous crocodile from Peter Pan is in Peter Pan’s Flight and he also makes an appearance in the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  How about the snakes and crocs found on the Jungle Cruise?  “….keep your hands in the boat because Ginger snaps!” If you look carefully, you can find the tiny anole lizards native to Florida sunning themselves all over the place – We can usually spot at least one among the headstones in the pet cemetery next to the Haunted Mansion.

In Animal Kingdom – there are lots of reptiles, as you would expect!  The Komodo Dragon along the Maharajah Jungle Trek is amazing!  There are crocodiles on Kilimanjaro Safari and, in the exhibits along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you can view a Kenyan Sand Boa.  Over in Dinoland – there are bunches of reptiles (of the extinct variety).

Animal Kingdom Dinosaur

The make-believe dragon in Epcot’s Journey into Imagination with Figment could arguably be considered a reptile of sorts.  Our own brush with an actual reptile in Epcot happened in the China Pavilion several years ago when Joseph pulled a live snake out of the shrubbery.  Luckily, I was able to convince him to put the snake back by reassuring him that he didn’t need to rescue the poor thing – that it was clearly thriving and happy living among the landscaping and carefully cultivated topiaries.  Florida boasts more than 50 native snake species – fortunately, 44 of those are non-venomous.  If you find a snake at Walt Disney World, I do not recommend catching it!

Journey into Imagination with FigmentSnake in Epcot's China Pavillion

Reptiles can be found all over Walt Disney World- all you have to do is watch for them!  While I’ve never seen one myself, I’ve heard plenty of stories of American Alligators being spotted in many different Walt Disney World bodies of water.  I’m guessing it’s like here where we live in Louisiana, gators that get large enough to potentially become a nuisance are captured and relocated by alligator “specialists”.
Tell your story – what’s been your favorite Walt Disney World reptile encounter?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LivingaDisLife and on Twitter at  

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Disney Store 25th Anniversary Ornament Set

by: Nick

The Disney Store celebrated it's 25th anniversary on March 28th, 2012, and my wife and I were at our local store to celebrate. We picked up a few items including this ornament set.

Jiminy Cricket.

Sorcerer Mickey.


Tinker Bell

Buzz Lightyear.

Minnie Mouse.

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, along with a Certificate of Authenticity for each individual ornament, which is limited to 2500!

The original price was $79.50, and everything was 25% off, plus we had a $20 discount from pre-ordering The Muppets Blu-Ray.

It was a great day, and this set reminds me of how much I love the Disney Store, a piece of the magic close to home!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Where in Walt Disney World: Santa and His Flamingo Team

Where in Walt Disney World would you find Santa's Sleigh being pulled by a team of Flamingos?

ǝsɹnoƆ ɟloפ ǝɹnʇɐᴉuᴉW puɐlɹǝɯɯnS ɹǝʇuᴉM ǝɥʇ ʇ∀

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Minnie and Fifi Hallmark Ornament

By Nick 

This ornament of Minnie Mouse and her fuzzy friend Fifi, titled Tangled Up in Fun, was released in 2012.

Who is Fifi? I assumed she was a Dachshund, but apparently she’s a Pekinese. Her first appearance goes all the way back to the 1933 short “Puppy Love”!

Fifi went on to star in 6 more short cartoons between 1934 and 1947.

Tangled Up in Fun
Minnie Mouse
Minnie’s getting ready to walk Fifi in the park.
The puppy sees the leash and begins to jump and bark!
With Fifi’s leash all tangled up in Minnie’s legs that way-wonder if they’ll even make it out the door today.
Anita Marra Rogers
Hallmark Keepsake Artist

Time for a walk in the park.

Magician Mickey Mouse Hallmark Ornament

By Nick

This Magician Mickey ornament, released in 2012 and entitled, appropriately enough, Magician Mickey is the first of the Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces series.
This classic animated short is from 1937, and can be found on the “Walt Disney Treasures-Mickey Mouse in Living Color” DVD set, as well as on YouTube.
From the box:

Magician Mickey
Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces

Mickey Mouse takes center stage in Disney’s 1937 animated short. Magician Mickey, where he confronts a rowdy heckler, Donald Duck. Mickey retaliates against his feathered foe with a dose of magic, causing Donald to repeatedly spout out hundreds of playing cards from his snapping bill-thus setting the stage for a lifetime of friendly competition between these two Disney favorites.
Each of the ornaments in this new series will feature Mickey Mouse in a scene from a classic animated film.

Ken Crow
Hallmark Keepsake Ornament

First in the Series.
Look for 1 on this ornament.

Magician Mickey 1937 on this foot.
And the 1, indicating this as the first in the series on the other foot.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Free Review

By Nick

As I was having lunch with my wife and friends immediately following seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I started thinking of how to put what I was feeling into words for this review in a way that wouldn't give away any of the major plot points and spoil anything.

Let's start with how I felt going in. I was excited. I was anxious. I've been a Star Wars fan since I was 9 years old and I saw the original movie. This original movie poster pictured below is on my living room wall, and I have a lot of Star Wars collectibles. I was expecting this to be a good movie, but still, I would say I was cautiously optimistic as we entered the theater this past Friday morning at 9am.
For months and months we have seen previews and been inundated with promotions and merchandise. How could this live up to the hype?

In my opinion, it lived up to the hype, and then some. It managed to be nostalgic and new at the same time. It mixed humor, action, and emotional power perfectly. The acting was better than just about anything in episodes 1-3, as was the dialog. I fell in love with the new cast of characters, and felt they had more chemistry within moments of being introduced to each other than some characters which will go unmentioned (okay, Padme and Anakin) did throughout the entire prequel trilogy. It looks beautiful and the CGI effects meld almost perfectly with practical special effects.

My wife and I laughed and cried, and it seemed like just a short time had gone by and it was over and we wanted more! Several hours later and we are still talking about it and discussing various scenes.

I look forward to seeing the cast return and look forward to seeing this movie again (and again).

Did you see The Force Awakens? What did you think? No spoilers please!