Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ideas For Collecting Disney Character Autographs

By Lisa Green

For Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line guests, one of the best, most fun things about meeting Disney characters is getting their autographs!  A great, inexpensive souvenir to treasure forever – what could be better than obtaining the actual signature of your favorite Disney superstar?  Whether you wait in line to meet your favorite character or run into them on the spur of the moment, having that special, face-to-face meeting is one of the most magical experiences of a Disney vacation.

What you need to bring:  Large, easy to hold markers or pens (several colors) and a stable  surface for characters to sign.

A basic, easy to carry and use means of autograph collecting is the autograph book.  Advantages:  Autographs are all in one place, great for showing friends and family the different characters’ signatures, children can easily carry these small books and present a blank page for signing, characters can easily sign (or in some cases, stamp) their names.  Downside is that the signatures are inside a book – viewers have to take the time to see them.

Disney Character Autographs - Mickey

Another alternative, is having characters sign a tee shirt or pillowcase.  This takes a little bit more effort than a book because the fabric must be positioned strategically for each signature and something solid must be placed under the area to be signed to make it as easy as possible for those superstars to make their marks (an empty DVD case works well and is light and easy to carry along).  The pros of obtaining autographs on a tee or pillowcase – you (or your pillow) can wear the final product!  A great way to show off all those unique signatures at one time. Cons are, your autograph collection wears out over time (or is outgrown).

Disney Character Autographs - Aladdin and Jasmine

\Photo mats are another great place to collect autographs.  Photos of character meet-and-greets can be showcased alongside those characters’ signatures!  I particularly love this option.  Pros:  a fantastic option for all ages, lasts many years, displays your pictures and the autographs!  Cons:  Harder to carry around, may be more difficult for certain characters to sign/fit their names within a somewhat narrow area.

Disney Character Autographs on Photo Mats

Finally, another great idea I recently read about (and one we will be using on our next WDW vacation) is to bring along some Christmas ornaments (I recommend shatterproof!) for characters to autograph.  Now, this probably won’t work with characters who stamp instead of sign their names (like Kermit and Miss Piggy, if I recall correctly), but prince and princess autographs would be beautiful on ornaments.  The ornaments I’ve chosen, are medium-sized, clear plastic and they come in two pieces – trinkets/souvenirs can actually be placed inside before the ornaments are assembled.  This allows for some fantastic, creative options.  (These ornaments were less than $2 each at my favorite craft store.)

Clear Ornament for Disney Character Autographs

A couple of examples: if I manage to get Ariel’s autograph, I could put sand and shells inside the ornament.  A Belle ornament could hold little books, a rose, some yellow lace, etc.  Any of the Fab Five’s ornaments could contain actual character figures, Elsa’s could have snowflakes, Winnie the Pooh’s could hold toy honey bees – the possibilities are endless!   I’m planning to carry two each day, tucked securely in a small backpack – I’ll let you know how it goes.  I’m also considering more fancy pen options (rather than our usual colored Sharpie fine-point markers) – like metallic paint pens?  If you’ve tried this or have thoughts to share, please comment away!

You should know:  On a Disney cruise, items needing autographs may be left at guest services – the Characters will sign the shirt, pillowcase, or photo matte, etc. and the final collection of autographs will be conveniently left in your stateroom when finished.  If you’re planning a Disney cruise, take advantage of this wonderful service!

Other tips for character interactions can be found here.

Pillowcase for Disney Character Autographs

What are your favorite character autograph gathering methods?  Do you have any tips I haven’t mentioned?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog. 
You can also find Lisa on The Disney Exchange Podcast with me and co-host David Hodges-Nick

Friday, February 27, 2015

Disney Favorite Food Friday: Bailey's & Jack Daniel's Mousse

by Gaylin 

One of my favourite restaurants at Epcot is Coral Reef. I love the theming, the colouring, the aquarium viewing and have never had a bad meal there.

It also has one of my all time favourite desserts, Bailey's & Jack Daniel's Mousse. Each layer has quite a distinctive flavour and when you get a taste of both of them together, seriously good! It comes with a caramel crisp as well, only I have allergies so mine comes with a little stick that says allergy and no crisp for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

All Things Sparkly: Arribas Brothers

By: Gaylin 

If you have been to the Arribas Brothers store at Downtown Disney or the Main Street store, you know that it is a wonderful, sparkly place to visit. Especially when the glass blowers are hard at work on Main Street, amazing what they can make from glass.

This little fellow is one of my prize possessions, he is small but very sturdy, I have even carefully washed him when he has gotten too dusty.

Front view, his chest and face are ceramic, the stripes are enamel and the rest is Swarovski crystal.

Look at that grin!

Lots of sparkling in the sunshine.

Looks like he is getting ready to bounce.

If you ever decide to buy something from Arribas, don’t worry about transporting it home. Each item comes in a fitted box that travels well.

The white, larger box is what holds the crystal base and the blue box is for Tigger.

I love all things sparkly, as much as I love Tigger. The two of them together: Irresistible!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Walt Disney Classics Collection Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Brave Little Tailor

By Nick

These Mickey and Minnie, Brave Little Tailor Walt Disney Classics Collection pieces are among my favorite collectibles.

Mickey stands 7 1/4 inches tall. Plussing includes a matte platinum finish on his scissors.

Titled "I let him have it", it is the 1993 Animators Choice Figurine, and the first year redemption sculpture for the Walt Disney Classic Collection. It bears the Treble Clef production mark, symbolizing the music in the Academy Award-winning 'Silly Symphonies'.

Minnie stands 6 1/2 inches tall. Her veil is painted with opalescent paint, and her shoe buckles are painted gold.

Titled "Princess Minnie", this piece was the 1996 Animator's Choice sculpt.
She has the Sailor's Hat production mark, which represents Donald Duck's on-screen debut in 1934 animated short, 'The Wise Little Hen'.

They perfectly capture 2 beloved characters in a beloved scene from a (Is he going to say it again? Yes!) beloved animated short. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Babies First Haircut at Walt Disney World

By Nick

On our trip to Walt Disney World last month, we were fortunate enough to bear witness to our friends Kandi and John's son's first haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

For those unaware, this is a fully functioning barber shop located between the Car Barn  and The Emporium just as you enter the Magic Kingdom.

The prices are very reasonable, in my opinion.

Grayson's first haircut was only $18, and included the "My 1st Haircut" Mickey ears hat seen in the first photo.

Kandi and John even asked if they could have a PhotoPass photographer on hand to capture this momentous occasion, and one was free. I'd assumed he would come, take a couple of quick shots and be gone, but he stayed through the entire haircut!

Grayson was handed a Lightning McQueen toy to keep him occupied during the haircut, and he was very good the entire time.

Have you ever gotten a haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Disney Exchange- Episode 10 Show Notes: Quick Service in the Parks at Walt Disney World

By Nick

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

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

-Main Topic- Quick Service in the Parks at Walt Disney World

-We thank our 18 listeners. This is self deprecating humor, as we have at least twice as many as that, and if you are reading this and are one of them, thank you!

-Dave starts us off discussing his favorite counter service restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios (DHS), The ABC Commissary, the best place on WDW property to get Tarter Sauce.

-Lisa states that DHS is her least favorite park for Quick Serve, but does enjoy Min and Bill's Dockside Diner.

-My favorite at the Studios is Starring Rolls.

-Lisa takes us to Animal Kingdom next and her favorite, Flame Tree Barbecue.

-Dave agrees with Lisa, but as he didn't want to copy, launches a discussion on Yak and Yeti's counter service.

-I don't care that Lisa picked Flame Tree, it's my favorite as well, so there!

Perhaps for the first time in show history, we all agreed on something, but to be sure, please feel free to download and or re-listen to all our past episodes to correct me if I'm wrong, and please invite your friends to help. Thank you.

-Next up Epcot, and I have trouble picking one, but go with Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

-Dave refuses to insult our 1 French fan by trying to pronounce his choice, Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France.

-Lisa likes Sommerfest in Germany, where, surprisingly, you can find brats and beer!

-We all hop the Monorail and go to Magic Kingdom, where our tour of Tartar Sauce continues with Daves pick, Columbia Harbour House.

-I go with Be Our Guest, and I'm right. We argue discuss if Be Our Guest becomes a location that accepts ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservatiobs) at lunch disqualifies it as quick or counter service.

-Lisa likes Gaston's Tavern for the Pork Shank, as well as it's healthier options.

Me with the Pork Shank that, as you can see, is almost the size of my head.

-The Wheel of DIStany is spun and the topic is Suggestions for Rainy Days.
Thanks for listening, and if you enjoy the show, please leave feedback on iTunes!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Great Disney Characters - Lady Tremaine and the Steps

By Lisa Green


If you’re taking little ones to Walt Disney World, you will, of course, want to take them to see their favorite characters.  The Fab Five, Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too!  Character autographs, character meals, character meet and greets – opportunities abound.

Again – I want to point out (I’m not trying to make you sad, I promise) – your kiddos won’t stay little forever.  The importance of character interaction will wane a bit as you find yourself with tweens, teens and young adults.  This may surprise you, but meeting characters becomes a whole lot more interesting when your children get a little older!

Enter the more “sophisticated” characters.  Characters that can be intimidating or downright terrifying to small children are absolutely wonderful for interacting with older kids and adults.   Examples include the likes of Captain Hook, Jafar, and – to me, truly the very best characters for older children, Lady Tremaine and the Step Sisters.


We first ran into Lady Tremaine and the Steps unexpectedly near Cinderella’s Wishing Well in the Magic Kingdom – we laughed hysterically at their antics.  Lady Tremaine is dead serious in her unflappable adoration of her beloved offspring.   Anastasia and Drizella are pretty amazing in the level of selfishness and conceit they display!  At that time, Megan and Joseph could appreciate the humor, but weren’t quite ready to be a part of the “show."


We next ran into Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella during our magical VIP parade seating.  Joseph was old enough to really interact with the Steps and knew just what to do.  He showed them some attention and, as expected, that was all it took before one of the girls, Drizella, screamed, “MOTHER!  I want this ONE!”

Later that night during the Main Street Electrical Parade, Joseph saw Drizella and Anastasia again on a parade float and blew a kiss – Drizella immediately focused all her attention on Joseph as the float went by.  As it moved along the route, Joseph stood with one arm longingly (and dramatically!) outstretched towards his now favorite character as she reached towards him with equally passionate dismay.  C’mon – that’s hilarious!  Priceless Disney magic….character interaction for big kids is every bit as fantastic as it was with little ones.

Need to tell them apart?  Drizella is the oldest and wears blue / green.  Anastasia is the younger sister in Pink.

It’s your turn:  Who do you think are the best characters for older children?  Who are your favorite characters to interact with?

Portions of this article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Cape May Cafe Breakfast Buffet

By Nick 

I love food, so naturally, I love a buffet. I also love characters, and like to "collect" them, meaning I like to get photos with characters in different attire.

So, knowing this, it's kind of surprising it's taken me this long to get the Beach Club Breakfast Buffet at the Cape May Cafe, inside the Beach Club in Walt Disney World, and it wasn't even planned!

My wife, Barbie, and I checked into the Beach Club Villas for one night, October 11th, before going on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. Upon check in, we learned our Magical Express pick up time to take us to Cape Canaveral wasn't until 1145 am on the 12th. We discussed what we should do with our time, and decided to just have a leisurely morning, rather than going to a park. I asked if there were any ADRs available for the Cape May Cafe's Breakfast Buffet, and there were not. We were told that there likely wouldn't be a problem getting a table if we came at opening, at 730am.

So, the next morning we approached the podium at about 720am, were given a pager, and within minutes, we were seated in a nice section near the back of The Cafe.

1     2

Within moments of being seated, our server, Adrienne, came over and took our beverage order. She was as delightful and friendly a Cast Member as we have had the pleasure to encounter.


We were directed to the buffet, where we were told by Adrienne that the most popular items were, not surprisingly, the Mickey Waffles, Chorizo and Four Cheese Scrambled Eggs, and french toast with banana caramel sauce.


I tried a bit of all of the above mentioned, along with a few other selections. The eggs were indeed delicious, as was the french toast. And you really can't go wrong with Mickey waffles, which went really well with a strawberry sauce and whipped cream. The sausage was very good, the bacon, well, it is typical Disney buffet bacon.


I also had a bagel with smoked salmon and pastrami style smoked salmon, which was very tasty. There is also Capers, Onions, Lemons, Tomatoes to add to this if you are so inclined.


Other cold offerings include Sliced Salami, Capicola, a selection of cheeses, hard-boiled Eggs, Low-fat Cottage Cheese, Apple Sauce, Healthy Grain Fruit Salad, Diced Pineapple, Diced Cantaloupe, Diced Watermelon, Orange Slices, Grapefruit, Strawberries, Apple Walnut Spinach Salad, Low-fat Strawberry Yogurt and Low-fat Vanilla Honey Yogurt, Macerated Fresh Mixed Berries, House made Granola and assorted cereals.

Along with the hot items I mention above, there are Scrambled Eggs, Frittata, Stewed Roma Tomatoes, Breakfast Potatoes Hand-carved Glazed Ham, Seasonal Vegetables, Hollandaise Sauce, Creamy Cheddar Grits, Biscuits with Home-style Sausage Gravy, Hot Oatmeal and Hot Apple Quinoa Cereal.

Of course, what would a character buffet be without characters?

Donald, Goofy, and Minnie Mouse, ready for a swim in the nearby Stormalong Bay, make their rounds while you dine.



As the morning went on, the Cape May Cafe did fill up, so while we are lucky to have gotten a table easily, if this is a character buffet you would like to visit, I highly advise you make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) at 6 months out.

This article was originally posted on the Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos Blog, where Nick is a contributing writer.