Thursday, March 31, 2016

Carrying Disney With Me!

By Gaylin

Last fall I realized I needed a new daypack, I had been carrying the same one for over 15 years and was starting to show its age. Of course, once I saw that Vans was making Disney backpack, deciding on a replacement was easy.

I picked this one with the classic Mickeys on it.

This has turned out to be a great purchase, sturdy, well made, good shoulder straps. The only complaint I have is the carry handle at the top is a bit small, I don't have big hands but my hand always feels squished in this handle.

The front pouch is awesome, it is separated with small compartments and carries enough stuff to leave the big compartment available for larger items.

My previous daypack was half the size of this backpack, it took a bit of getting used to but now it goes with me everywhere.

Here is a photo of the pack with 2 new rolls of paper towel in it so you can get a sense of how much it will hold. This would be a great pack for a couple to share while on vacation, lots of space for necessities for 2 or maybe even 3 people. The centre back of the pack is padded, which is helpful when you are carrying home groceries!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World; Part: 4

By Nick

Part 4 : Sunday, February 21st

I started the day off with rope drop at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I rode Toy Story Midway Mania and Tower of Terror before a breakfast at Starring Rolls.

I took a walk through Star Wars Launch Bay and made a trade with a Jawa. A napkin for a origami swan, which I though was pretty good.

The person who took this photo happened to be staying at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village as well, as he and his daughter were on my bus. His daughter was dressed as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, complete with a pouch like Rey wore in the movie. I was totally touched by how attentive he was to his little girl. I gave the swan to her, and she thanked me and put it in her pouch. In the one in a billion chance that you are reading this sir, you are doing a phenomenal job of parenting!

I walked over to the Boardwalk and met up with my family, Jill and Zach. We headed to Disney Springs and spent a lot of time in what is now one of my favorite stores there, The Spice & Tea Exchange, and it isn't new, I just happened to actually get some of the samples and wound up buying several items. Jill bought a few things for my wife as well. My favorite, The Scorpion Pepper Sea Salt.

Zach and me sampling the Scorpion Pepper Sea Salt.

We met up with my Disney Exchange Podcast co-host Lisa and her husband Raymond at Jock Lindsey's, and were joined a short time later by friends Amber and Ryan, and had some drinks and food.

  Lisa and me

Ryan, Jill, Raymond, Amber, Lisa, me and Zach

We went to lunch at The BOATHOUSE which is right next door to Jock's, and not only had a great meal, but we were seated in the boat that has been converted into a table which sits in the front of the restaurant!

After lunch, Lisa and I decided to get a dessert at Vivoli il Gelato, which is almost directly across the way from The BOATHOUSE. Imagine my surprise when I ran into my friends Beth and Charrissa again!

Amber, Ryan, Jill, Zach and I said goodbye to Lisa and Raymond and headed to Epcot for the evening, riding Imagination, Living With the Land, Nemo and Spaceship Earth before heading to the Morocco Pavilion for dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh.

Thanks again for dinner Jill and Zach!

 We made it a somewhat early night as everyone except me was flying out early the next day.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Episode 67 of The Disney Exchange Podcast : Table Service on the Disney Dining Plan at the Resorts

By Nick


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

We start off with a lengthy conversation about Easter candy! Speaking of food...

back on Episode 59 we discussed Table Service at the Parks on the Disney Dining Plan, and on this weeks show we take you to the resorts to look at which restaurants take a single credit. We talk about value as compared to the price of the Disney Dining Plan

B=Breakfast BR=Brunch  L=Lunch D=Dinner

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House
Boma-Flavors of Africa

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
Big River Grille & Brewing Works*
ESPN Club*
Trattoria al Forno

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Shutters at Old Port Royale

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The Wave...of American Flavors (AKA the Wave Cave or The Bunker to the 3 of us)
Character Buffet : Chef Mickey's Fun Time Buffet at Chef Mickey's (B,BR,D)

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Las Ventanas
Maya Grill

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Trail’s End Restaurant
Trail’s End Restaurant

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Grand Floridian Cafe

Character Meals: 

1900 Park Fare
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast
Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner

Disney’s Old Key West ResortOlivia’s Cafe

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Kona Cafe
‘Ohana (D)
Character breakfast: Best Friend's Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Boatwright’s Dining Hall

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The Turf Club Bar and Grill

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Whispering Canyon Cafe

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
 Beaches & Cream Soda Shop(L,D)
Cape May Cafe (D)
Character Breakfast: Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast
Captain’s Grille

If you see a blue name tag worn by Cast Members at Walt Disney World that means they are recipients of the Legacy Award. A more in depth explanation can be found here courtesy of All Ears.

  Photo: All Ears

Wheel of Distiny Topic : What mode of Transportation is your favorite to get to the Magic Kingdom

Please check us out on Facebook:
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Or email us at: info@thedisneyexchange  

Thank you again for listening to The Disney Exchange Podcast, home of Easter Candy and grits.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Raised By Muppets

Muppets in Disney's Hollywood Studios 
This article is from back in 2014, before the recent "The Muppets" television show debuted. That show just had it's season, perhaps, due to low ratings, it's series a couple of weeks back. I bring this up because my wife and I love the show, and will be sad if it doesn't return. One of the reasons I am such a fan of Lisa is because she often says what I'm thinking, sometimes better than me (Dang you Lisa!) and her thoughts on the Muppets struck a chord with me! -Nick

By: Lisa Green 

Sesame Street Super-Fan 

Listen my friends and I will share with you the true story of a long ago childhood.  Back in ancient times, the 1970’s – in the days before microwave ovens, cable TV, and VCRs.  In the days where boys and girls walked alone to school (in all kinds of weather, year-round, five miles uphill, both ways), played on rusty playground equipment which sat atop concrete playgrounds, rode in cars without seatbelts and happily suffered the effects of second-hand smoke all day, everyday.  Unimaginably dangerous, but happy times.

My Own Kermit

Begin Flashback Sequence Now …..

By the time I started Kindergarten in 1970, my stay-at-home mom had decided to go to work, I’d earned some street smarts in the rooms and playgrounds of Harrington Park Nursery School and
at the hands ofunder the influence of my much older siblings, who were 9, 10, and 13 years my senior.  I was ready to take Hillside Elementary by storm while I became what is regrettably referred to as a “latchkey kid”.  Luckily for me, Sesame Street had been on the air for nearly a year.  It was my go-to show after school and before suppertime.  Bear in mind there were a whopping FOUR channels of television programming from which to choose.  I know, impossible to believe, right?  The three major networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) and PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).  During the hours between school and the call to the dinner table, the networks tended to show some incredibly boring stuff – at least to my nearly six-year-old self.  PBS rocked!
Ernie and Bert, The Count, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog and many, many others were a huge part of my childhood.  Thanks to the Children’s Television Workshop‘s educational programming initiative, I was entertained while being taught my colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and even body parts!  Songs like “The Rubber Ducky Song” “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and “I Love Trash” were perennial favorites.  I may have been left to my own devices, but I was smart enough to let those Muppets help me along.

Fozzie the Bear

Flash forward to 1976…

A lot in my life had changed.  I was a worldly fifth-grader that fall and had left the likes of Elmo and Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus behind.  We’d moved half-way across the country and everything familiar had also, like my favorite Sesame Street Muppets, been left behind.  What I needed was some lighthearted, comic relief – and low and behold, Jim Henson and his band of sarcastic mischief makers were there for me!  With the premier of The Muppet Show, I fell in love with the Muppets all over again.  Pigs in Space, the Swedish Chef, Lou Zealand, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Kermit, Statler and Waldorf – they were there, with a much more grown up humor, just when I needed them most.  While it wasn’t by any means the best bit in Muppet Show history, the memory of those Babies singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” with Dale Evans still cracks me up! (Watch it here.)  The Muppet Show, those beloved characters performing with my favorite actors and comedians became a very important part of my life.

The Muppet Show

In 1979, the Muppets’ place in my heart was sealed forever…

I was by then smack-dab in the middle of the most awkward year of my existence.  The7th grade was typically difficult, but to me, I was all alone in my Junior High angst.  Bad hair, bad skin, socially inept.  The horrors and indignity of a girl’s life at that age are indescribable.  That summer, The Muppet Movie thrilled and delighted theater audiences (and ME) with the perfect blend of super stars, Muppets, comedy, and epic musical numbers – Some of the best songs Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem ever produced were on that soundtrack.  On December 22nd of the same year, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together premiered on TV.  There was not one second of that program that I did not love.  The music was incredible, the album (actual vinyl) was purchased at the earliest opportunity and to this day those songs (not on vinyl) are a part of every one of my annual Christmas playlists.

Rowlf the Dog

The subsequent string of Muppet movies, some hits, some misses, has sustained my relationship with my Muppet “family” through the years.  Muppet Treasure Island had some very entertaining parts and A Muppet Christmas Carol is a seasonal must-watch at our house.  I like the newest Muppet movies alright, but thought Lady GaGa and The Muppets was an abomination.  I grew up with these guys and I am extremely protective of them!

The Muppet Movie

From some of my earliest memories, the Muppets have been an integral part of my life and they helped shape me into the person I am today.  They were there for me after school, made me laugh when I was an insecure tween, and are forever intertwined with my Christmas memories.  I know that MuppetVision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is highly criticized as being worn, old, and outdated, but those puns, sight gags, and characters are part of who I am!  I was raised by Muppets…and I turned out just fine!
Have Muppet thoughts or feelings?  Please leave a comment!

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Please be sure to check out Lisa along with me and David Hodges on The Disney Exchange Podcast!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Disney Tsum Tsum!

By Gaylin

In recent years I have tried to buy less Disney items and make more memories. And then they came out with Tsum Tsum . . . Originally a game app for a cell phone, it became popular enough that they started to bring out tiny stuffed Tsum Tsum and they turned out to be wildly popular. Now you can get Tsum Tsum in the 3 1/2 inch small size up to a huge pillow Tsum Tsum.

They now release eight new Tsum Tsum every first and sometimes 3rd Tuesday of the month at Disney Stores. I have gone to the store on Tsum Tsum Tuesday and they have a line-up for these cuties. When a new series is really popular, the racks of Tsum Tsum are kept behind the tills, they limit the number of Tsum you can buy, 2 each of the 8 new releases.

My original purchase of Tsum Tsum was at the Once Upon a Toy store at Disney Springs. I thought they would be a great souvenir to bring home for friends so I bought 3 of them.

I live in Vancouver and until recently, it was a trek for me to get to a Disney Store. Then they opened one right in downtown Vancouver, making it much easier to get my Disney fix.

These are the Tsum Tsum I have at home now. See what I mean by cute! First up is Lotso Huggins Bear (sadly he doesn't smell like strawberries) and then we have Bashful from Snow White, I got him free using my Disney Movie Reward points, then Tigger and finally Tinker Bell.

That was going to be it, just a few. And then they came out with this set for Christmas! The whole gang, all dressed up and ready to be Merry.

Recently I went into Toys R Us . . . bad mistake. Turns out you can get small hard plastic Tsum Tsum in sets of 9 (one in each set is a mystery Tsum Tsum).  I purchased 2 sets of these and they now look at me from the base of my computer. The mystery in the first set was Happy from Snow White and in the second set, I was thrilled to find the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. Second from the left in the middle row!

To show the level of detail in these small Tsum Tsum . . . here is the Red Queen from the back. Cuteness level = off the chart!

They have released Marvel and Pixar Tsum Tsum as well, something for every collector!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World; Part: 3

By Nick

Part 3 : Saturday, February 20th 

I'd planned on getting up at 3am to get ready and catch the first bus at 3:30am for the Enchanted 10K, but woke up at 2:30, and after laying there for 5 minutes realized getting 20-25 more minutes sleep was an exercise in futility, so got up, dressed and headed to the lobby at 3:15.

The bus arrived promptly at 3:30am and my 10K adventure officially began!

I arrived and met up with my Disney Exchange Podcast co-hosts Lisa and Dave, as well as Dave's wife.

Me, Lisa, Dave and Anne 

I ran into my friend Charissa, who I hadn't seen in a few years, in line for a portajohn of all places! What are the odds?!

We said goodbye to Lisa who was in Corral A and Anne who was in B. Dave was also supposed to be in A, but he came back with me into Corral E as he was coming down with what would turn out to be a flu.

Way back in E, the race didn't even begin for us until 6:10am, despite the 5:30 start time! The first 3 miles were out on a road, so not exciting, but once we got to the backstage area of Epcot, time seemed to fly by!

The weather was beautiful, and it was my first time seeing the sunrise over World Showcase!


Then we were around the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club area, back into Epcot, and before long we were crossing the finish line!

A much more in depth account of this, my first runDisney event can be found here.

I headed back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, showered and headed to the Magic Kingdom.

I found Lisa and Raymond at the Plaza Restaurant and we headed to The Haunted Mansion before meeting up with Dave, his wife, and their kids Dannielle and Gabe at the Skipper Canteen, where Lisa and Raymond made a reservation for lunch.

We went to use our FastPassses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

 Front: Nick, Anne, Gabe- Middle: Lisa and Raymond- Back: Dannielle and Dave

As I was getting on Big Thunder, imagine my surprise to see my friends Amber and Ryan getting off the ride, out of the seat I was stepping into!

My wife's cousin Jill had forgotten her Magic Band at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, so she and her husband Zach had gone back to get it, while Ryan and Amber joined us in Country Bear Jamboree. It was their first time seeing it, and it's always a lot of fun to see newbies reactions to the songs!

Afterwards they joined Dave, his family, and me for lunch at Columbia Harbour House before departing to meet up with Jill and Zach at Space Mountain, while we met back up with Lisa and Raymond, who had gone to lunch at Skipper Canteen at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was down. We got a FastPass to replace it and went to Pirates. Afterwards we went to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. And met back up with Jill, Zach, Amber and Ryan. This was also down!

Dave was feeling worse and worse, so decided to head back to his resort to rest before our planned meetup at Epcot later in the afternoon.

5 minutes later, as the rest of us were talking about our next plan, Pooh came back up. I texted Dave to let him know, but he and his family had already left the park, and he was too drained to come back.

Following that, I headed over to Bay Lake Tower with Lisa and Raymond and hung out while they changed for dinner. They then treated me to my first beer in 6 weeks at the Outer Rim Lounge.

We arrived at Epcot a short time later and rode Spaceship Earth before heading back to the United Kingdom Pavilion for more adult beverages.

Dave texted me that he wouldn't be able to make it as he was down for the count.

Along the way, we stopped for photos, and the photographer asked if I wanted to do a princess pose, as I was wearing my Enchanted 10K shirt. I asked what exactly it was I needed to do and he walked me through it.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Princess Pose:

Then, Lisa joined me in her Prince Pose.

We got our beers in the U.K. and watched the really excellent band, The British Revolution. The most entertaining part of the show was the woman in the blue shirt dancing. She was, as Lisa put it, dancing like nobody was watching.

We then headed to the France Pavilion for even more adult beverages, where we were met by friends Rebeca, Patty, and Derek.

I said goodnight to everyone, and went to La Hacienda de San Angel for dinner with Jill, Zach, Amber and Ryan.

Now, I hate to end this on a down note, so I will say the negative part up front. Our server was so-so throughout the meal, but was downright obnoxious at the end, when he messed up our bills and then was very insistent about receiving a proper tip. Honestly, it has turned me off to what had been one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World!

The positive was at least the food was good and the company better.

At least we managed to have a few laughs as we exited Epcot for the evening!

Part 1 can be found here and part 2 here.