Finding Donald Duck on Disney’s Castaway Cay

In January of 2015 we embarked on our first Disney Cruise to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. You can read all about our cruise adventure here. As part of the package we made our one and only visit to Disney’s Castaway Cay.

It was a bit of a rainy day but we made the best of it and went ashore to explore the island.

View of the shore from our ship

Looking down as we docked you can see the shore staff preparing to secure the vessel.

View of our ship from the shore

It was fun to take pictures of the Disney Wonder from different angles. It was the closest to the outside of the ship we could get at any time during the voyage.

Which way, which way?

Now that we were on the island, what would we do? Where would we go? And who would we see?

Is that Sailor uniform regulation?

Donald Duck! I guess he got a little shore leave while the ship was moored at the dock and decided to take a stroll among the passengers.

Attractions, food and beverage, merchandise, and this and that. We didn’t get to do too much on Castaway Cay as we got rained out quite soon after disembarking. But at least we got to see Donald, right?

Almost time to leave

So it was back on board for the final leg of our journey. But just before we headed to the dining room for our evening meal, look who else we met:

Captain Mickey

Now I think that uniform was regulation! Ahoy there! It be time to end the post.

FUN FACT: The Disney Wonder underwent extensive renovations from September 9 to October 23, 2016, in Cadiz, Spain.

Posted in Characters, Disney Cruise Line, Excursions, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lands of Walt Disney World Tin Tray

At first glance this metal platter probably looks much older than it is. Although it likely dates from the 70s it has been antiqued with fake patina to make it appear rusted and damaged. I do like the look!

Are you ready to take a nostalgic trip around the Lands of vintage Walt Disney World?

Muffin Tin Design

Unlike the more common ‘flat’ tin trays this version has recessed discs or cups, like a muffin tin. Each circular disc displays an image from each Land of the Magic Kingdom. Let’s have a look at each in turn:

Liberty Square / Liberty Belle Riverboat

Liberty Square is the smallest Land but still holds some cherished things, perhaps foremost among them is the Liberty Belle riverboat. But you can also satisfy your hunger at the Liberty Tree Tavern, augment your personal style with some apparel from Liberty Square Parasol Cart, or brush up on your American history in The Hall of Presidents.

Frontierland / Country Bear Jamboree

Yes sir, Grizzly Hall is the place to go to clap your hands and stomp your feet so you can keep right up with ’em! The Country Bear Jamboree is still playing daily in Frontierland. If that’s not your jam, there are many places to eat and shop, too numerous to mention here. Before you leave for other Lands, though, be sure to visit Tom Sawyer Island (shown in the previous image as viewed from Liberty Square) for some hiking and exploring!

Adventureland / Jungle Cruise

If you’re not a fan of this attraction then you are just in de Nile! Sailing on a soon-to-be lost expedition not your thing? Then why not head for higher ground in the Swiss Family Treehouse! You can also visit pirates along the Spanish Main, sing like the birdies sing in a Tiki Room, or eat and shop your way around this Land until you drop.

Main Street U.S.A. / Main Street Vehicles

Perhaps even more iconic than the Main Street Vehicles is the Walt Disney World Railroad leaving from the elevated station as you first enter the Park. You can meet the Citizens of Main Street and be drawn into some shenanigans, eat at The Plaza or Crystal Palace Restaurants, or shop, shop, shop. So much shopping!

Fantasyland / It’s a Small World

Cinderella Castle is the jewel of and gateway to Fantasyland. This Land is where you will most likely meet any or all of your favorite Princesses and Disney characters. Dark Rides, Dumbo in flight, and of course, learn that catchy earworm of a song in It’s a Small World that will keep you and your little ones busy and singing for hours! That’s right, your children will never stop singing that song.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland Speedway. The PeopleMover. Astro Orbiter. Space Mountain. Space Ranger Spin. Funned out yet? Then take a break and meet Sunny Eclipse, the alien lounge singer, in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.

OBVIOUS JOKE: He’s out of this world!

But I digress. Back to the tray:

Walt Disney World / Cinderella Castle Logo

I mentioned earlier that this tray had been antiqued with fake patina to make it appear rusted and damaged. You can really see this when you look at the name and logo. Notice how they are unaffected by the ‘damage’? And if you go back to the first image in this post, you’ll see there is a perfect ‘rust’ ring linking the images together. That’s a little too much for age and corrosion to achieve on its own!

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour around the Lands of Walt Disney World with the use of this ‘old’ tin tray souvenir! Okay, being over 40 year old is still ‘old’ per se, but not “Look what I excavated from this tomb” old!

Posted in Collectibles, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monorail Models from Walt Disney World

Highway in the Sky. Transportation of Tomorrow. Just Plain Cool! However you choose to describe the modern monorail system it’s just impressive.

Years ago I became hooked on this mode of transportation after riding it at Walt Disney World. I soon after bought a monorail set so I could run my own line at home (Monorail Red shown in this post). But you can’t have too much monorail so I soon added a die-cast version (Monorail Yellow in this post).

Although I don’t have the room to fully display my entire monorail layout it is on partial display with its little buddy:

Display is Everything !

Having so much Disney merchandise and memorabilia, I can’t really display things according to types or characters, so I like to mix and match in ways that give some visual variety. So I have monorails with a robot, a potato, and some assorted Beatles.

Monorail Red

The above version is from the original merchandise line released before the change to a set that included figures that you could place inside the cars. I prefer my earlier version as it is better made. Monorail Red is about 24″ long and lights up and gives the monorail ride spiel. “Please stand clear of the doors!”

Monorail Red – Front Car

All of the lighting, sounds, and the drive system are contained in the front car.

FUN FACT: Each of the twelve, six-car trains, are 203 feet long and have and an overall height of 10 feet, 5 ½ inches.

Monorail Yellow

Both the motorized sets and this diecast model come in a variety of colors. My favorite is red but you have to take what you get when you go to the Parks as they don’t stock the full range of colors at any one time.

FUN FACT: Each of the 12 monorails is identified by a colored stripe: Peach, Teal, Red, Coral, Orange, Gold, Yellow, Lime, Green, Blue, Silver and Black.

Monorail Yellow – Front Car

The molds used for these two examples are quite similar. The diecast is missing the old WDW logo (seen in red on Monorail Red above) as it was produced long after that emblem was dropped by Disney’s marketing department.

Size Comparison

My goal is to have all of the colors produced in both of these models, but I don’t think I have enough life-time left to make that happen!

FINAL FUN FACT: Walt Disney World Resort has a 14.7-mile system of elevated beamway that services seven stations between Epcot, Magic Kingdom, The Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and three resorts – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Is the monorail one of the must-dos on your list when you visit Walt Disney World? As you can see, there are so many places to go!

Posted in Toys, Transportation, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Betty Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Teapot

Why Small Betty, you ask? Well, a Small Betty is a two-cup teapot that’s usually round in shape with a standard spout and a large, simple handle. And now you know!

This particular version is special for the Disney fan who just loves Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It features some iconic images inspired by the film.

Arriving Home

On one side of the teapot we find the Dwarfs arriving home after a long day in the mine. Snow White is happy to see them.

Working in the mine

On the other side, Doc found a diamond! Dopey is having fun being dopey. And Sleepy is about to take a nap. Happy is just smiling. Sneezy is on a walk-about. No wonder Grumpy is grumpy — hardly anyone’s working!

Taking a bite

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ unless your name is Snow White! I think she should stick to a nice cupper and a biscuit.

Hats and lids off, please!

Dopey sits atop the Small Betty waiting for his kiss from Snow White.

Bottoms Up!

There is a lot going on at the bottom of the teapot! This is where I learned that the piece was actually a Small Betty. It’s also a part of The Disney Character Teapot Collection. And the Disney Showcase Collection. Although it was designed in England it was actually manufactured in China.

Of note is the firing notation: Production LIMITED through Dec’03. Many Limited Edition products will list an exact amount produced and tell you which of the run you have, such as 47/100 as an example. But when it says the product was fired for an amount of days or through to a time, it won’t mention an exact number of units produced. So there is no way of knowing if there are hundreds or thousands of this Small Betty!

Let us conclude with song: “Just tea for two, and two for tea. Just me for you, and you for me a-looooone!” And if you google the complete lyrics to this classic vocal number you’ll find that someone bakes a sugar cake. The perfect complement to a cup of tea!

Posted in Ceramics, Characters, Kitchen, Limited Edition | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fantasia 2000 Press Kit with EPCOT Flamingo

Walt Disney was always looking for ways to push the boundaries of animation but in 1940 he may have pushed them a little too far. Although the movie Fantasia is considered a classic today, it wasn’t very well received upon its original release. Critics did praise its artistic merit whereas classical music lovers panned the handling of the movie’s iconic pieces of music.

Audiences went ‘Meh’ and took their box-office money elsewhere. What a shame! However, thanks to the dedication of Roy E. Disney it did spawn a sequel. He felt that Walt Disney’s original idea of adding new segments to the show should be done, in some way, at least once. And so we have Fantasia 2000:

Cover of Folder

I picked up this Press Kit for Fantasia 2000 on eBay years ago and just recently found it again in my collection of ephemera.

Folder Opened

Finding exclusive material like this is a real treat for me! Let’s have a closer look at the contents of this folder and its press information:

Content Booklet

As with any Press Kit, you need a booklet sharing all of the pertinent facts about the project. The above example contains 54 pages containing production notes, breakdowns of each musical segment, biographies of the filmmakers, and more biographies of the Hosts who introduced each segment.

Production Credits

It is obviously impossible to share each page of the booklet with you but the above picture should show just how involved the project was!

What I can show you is the Promotion Cards. Each has the name of the musical piece featured, images from the segment, a picture of the Segment Director, and a brief synopsis. At first I wondered why the images weren’t in color until I realized that they were intended for reproduction in black and white newspapers.

So, enjoy a nice scroll through these beautiful cards:

Promotion Card 1
Promotion Card 2
Promotion Card 3
Promotion Card 4
Promotion Card 5

I have to interrupt you here to mention that Carnival of the Animals is my favorite segment from Fantasia 2000. Is there anything funnier than a flamingo with a yo-yo? I think not!

We visited the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival in 2010 (?) and I believe that’s when the awesome Big Fig you see below was released:

Fantasia Flamingo with Mickey Ears

Mr. Flamingo has never been outside so he still looks as fresh and clean as the day he ventured out of his box. He enjoys wading in the ‘weeds’ of our indoor planter!

Now back to the Promotional Cards:

Promotion Card 6
Promotion Card 7
Promotion Card 8

That concludes the cards that explain the individual segments.

Next we have two final cards that introduce the Producers, Directors, and the Conductor for the movie:

Producers on the Project
Director & Conductor

Permission is granted on these cards for the Press to reproduce them for the express reason of promoting the movie. However, copyright for ‘Disney Enterprises’ and ‘All rights reserved’ was to accompany all such reproductions. And so I have now complied!

Each Promotional Card is printed on high gloss card stock and thusly is very durable.

Are you a Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 fan? Do you enjoy seeing such hidden treasures as these promotional packages?

Posted in Ephemera, Movies, Press Release, Promotions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disneyland 40th Anniversary Castle Cookie Jar

This ceramic ornament will bring back bad memories if you are one of the many who hated the Birthday Cake makeover of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World. On October 1, 1996, it was the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, so naturally the Imagineers decided to transform the Magic Kingdom’s iconic centerpiece into a massive 18-story birthday cake. Wouldn’t you? It featured red and pink icing, giant candy canes and 26 glowing candles. The castle served as the centerpiece for a 15-month-long celebration.

Behold the Sticky Splendor !

Now here’s my conspiracy theory: This defacing of the classic and beloved castle was the fault of none other than that well-known food conglomerate Nestlé! And I can prove it.

Produced in 1995 by Nestlé

Point No.1: This ugly ceramic version of the equally iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle was also given a cake-like makeover for this promotional piece which celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the opening day of Disneyland. One year before the cake overlay of Cinderella Castle. Coincidence? I think not!

Point No. 2: Just look at those cake-like decorations! Dripping icing from the eaves. Pink frosting on the roof and turrets. And are those windows made to resemble chocolate?

Continuing the cake-like decorations theme, notice the overuse of chocolaty windows and doors. Gray gumdrops adorn the window ledge just under the center dormer. And are those candy cane columns in those entrance arches?

FUN FACT: I didn’t notice the $5.00 price sticker until I uploaded this picture. I’ve had this piece on display for over a year and never noticed it! Now I know that the seller I purchased it from, who was asking $50.00 but to whom I paid only $25.00, still made a profit.

Now back to the conspiracy:

Point No. 3: Would anyone design a decorative piece to be sold in stores that looked this ugly? I say not! Obviously, it was a dastardly plan to introduce the idea of a cake-like castle in advance of what was feared could become a controversial real-life makeover of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

No one else on the Net would dare to bring you the truth! But I think the truth should be known, I think… wait, someone’s at the door. Excuse me for a moment…

Okay. It was just my neighbor returning the rake he borrowed. As I was saying, the truth is now out there and it can’t be taken back!

FUN FACT: Do you remember the story of how the top of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is on backwards? At least if you refer to the original castle design. While designing the castle, I believe it was Rolly Crump who was playing with the model and accidentally rotated the top. Walt came in before it could be changed back and liked it, so the top stayed as it was.

You can now recreate this fun story yourself with the Disneyland 40th Anniversary cookie jar!

Ever wanted to explore every nook and cranny of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland? Well don’t bother, it’s empty.

No. 28,680 of 100,000

With 100,000 made, it isn’t exactly what I would call a true Limited Edition.

As mentioned earlier, it was The Nestlé Food Co. that manufactured this oddity. The company’s history begins in 1866, with the foundation of the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. Henri Nestlé develops a breakthrough infant food in 1867, and in 1905 the company he founded merges with Anglo-Swiss, to form what is now known as the Nestlé Group.

Nestlé also has ties to Coca-Cola and Starbucks as well as distribution rights throughout the Disney Parks. So plenty of ties to Disney beyond the wonderfulness that is, was, and forever will be, the Disneyland 40th Anniversary (Cake) cookie jar.

Posted in Anniversaries, Ceramics, Collectibles, Disneyland | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mickey & Minnie Hallmark Mugs and Decorative Plate

The Disney Store undeniably has some amazing merchandise. But I contend that Hallmark stores also have a great selection of Disney merchandise that sometimes rivals even The Disney Store! You may be thinking of the fan favorite Hallmark Ornaments, but I’d like to share with you some other cases in point:

I bought these two ceramic mugs and plate for my wife for our last wedding anniversary. I know, I’m the perfect husband!

I purchased them in a local Pharmacy even though they are Hallmark products. And I do realize that the place of purchase does take off a few brownie points!

When My Heart Found You, It Knew

You may have noticed the hearts in the scrollwork of the ears, but did you also spot the little heart shape that Mickey and Minnie are making with their hands? How precious is that?!?

It’s hard to miss the Hidden Mickey shape of the plate.

The mugs were sold as a set because of the sayings on the mugs that are meant to be read together. Mickey says “You and Me”.

“Meant to Be”, answers Minnie.

None of these items can be placed in the microwave because they are detailed with solid gold! GOLD! About 2 cents worth, but it’s GOLD!

So what do you think ladies? Did I do good?

Posted in Ceramics, Characters, Kitchen | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lee was On the Road With Mickey – Podcast

Mike Ellis and I have been friends and partners in Blogging (instead of crime) for many years now and have recently connected in a new way!

I have guest-starred (as it were) on podcasts before but have never hosted one of my own. It’s a lot of work and a big commitment which Mike and his daughter, Sophie, are handling very well indeed. If you haven’t listened to their unique father/daughter interactions about travel and Disney, you’ve missed out on a real treat!

As you can see from the screen capture below, being a part of On the Road with Mickey – the Podcast is a lot of fun:

Please click the link and see for yourself! On Episode 25 we discussed vacationing on a tight budget.

You can follow Mike on social media such as Facebook, follow the Podcast, or watch it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Posted in Tips, Travel, Vacation Planning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mickey Mouse & Horace Horsecollar Cup

Sometimes children get the best stuff to play with! This cup is part of a complete set of dining ware made for small children to have tea parties with. Sets could have up to 15 pieces consisting of cups, plates, tea pot, milk and sugar bowls.

Many vintage Disney tea sets feature Mickey Mouse doing things like sweeping the floor, rowing in a boat with Minnie, or even riding Horace Horsecollar:

Horace Horsecollar is an anthropomorphic horse created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. He first appeared in the 1920s Short The Plowboy as Mickey’s feisty, yet good-natured steed. His name is derived from the giant horsecollar around his neck.

Horace often morphed between a normal and anthropomorphic horse. So although we usually see him upright today on two legs he began on all-fours. Hence the image we see on this cup.

This particular set chose to limit the image to one side to save on manufacturing costs.

Today we might see an image, logo, or saying of some kind inside the cup, but not here.

This set was made in Japan as was common of Disney’s earliest merchandise.

To find a complete set is very rare as young children were and are known to lose or break individual pieces. Still, it’s nice to have an example of such a piece of Disneyana, even if it is practically worthless!

Posted in Ceramics, Collectibles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pirates of the Caribbean Promotional Magazine

This is a wonderful promotional magazine from 1974. The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was first opened at Disneyland in 1967 and then at Walt Disney World in 1973, so this magazine was well timed to generate interest in the second version of the ride.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I love to collect old paper memorabilia. I find them to be a great way to do research into the history of roadside attractions, rides, and pretty much anything else!

So when I found this promotional magazine for Pirates of the Caribbean, and it included the attraction from both Parks, it was a no-brainer to add it to my collection.

Full Front & Back Cover Spread

Even this cover is now a piece of defunct history as the scene it depicts has been altered to be more accessible to modern sensibilities. ‘Take a wench for a bride’? Now everyone’s favorite redhead is a pirate herself! But her origin lives on in images like this one.

Inside Front & Back Introduction Page Spread

Revel in this fantastic and humorous cartoon depiction of the complete ride route. Can you spot any changes that occurred between the rendering of this picture and the construction of the actual ride?

Title Page Spread

It’s always a pleasure to see pictures of Walt enjoying the fruitage of his imagination. But in this case he never got to see the end result of this particular idea as he passed away in 1966, just three months before Disneyland’s version of Pirates opened.

Sample Page

You will find concept art, text explaining the planning processes and construction challenges, historical information about the Caribbean and its past, maps, and even song lyrics to round out your knowledge.

Disneyland & WDW Versions Compared

How is the ‘wildest crew that ever sacked the Spanish Main’ different in Disneyland than in Walt Disney World? This magazine will tell you!

Concept Artwork

With 50 pages of content, it’s impossible to display all of them here or even to cover what they share. But I hope I’ve given you a wee taste ta whet ye parched whistles wit, me ‘arties!

“Yo Ho! Yo Ho! It’s a bad pun for me! I plagiarize, blunder, all for a hoot, read up me ‘arties, Yo Ho!

I quip and recite and usually don’t get a hoot, read up me ‘arties, Yo Ho!” (Okay, I’ll stop).

Posted in Attractions, Disneyland, Magazines, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment