Photo Bombed at The Magic Kingdom in WDW

Don’t you just hate it when some wiseacre jumps into your perfect picture? Me too! With the crowds being what they are at Disney Parks, though, I guess it’s kind of inevitable. But…

I never expected my photo bomber to be the Main Street Train Station!

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Garage Sale of Vintage Disney Collectibles

I’ve gotten to a place in my collecting where I only have room for the best of the best. So after years of procuring almost everything I saw (a slight exaggeration) I have now started the process of thinning out the shelves, ledges, tables, and boxes full of… stuff!

To wit: I have just finished an epic two-day Garage Sale.

You never know how a garage or yard sale is going to go. Most visitors are expecting junk and are intending to pay very little for it. So filling tables with good items worth more than a buck is risky.

Our Garage Sale was a complete success! We made three times the amount we were hoping for and still have some things left over to liquidate on e-sites. What was the secret of our success?

1 – Advertise. I put adds on Kijiji and FaceBook Marketplace. And plenty of road signs!

2 – Ensure a good selection. I peppered in non-Disney items to pad the final take.

3 – Pricing. I kept the individual prices well below Internet norms.

4 – Focus on volume of sales and not on getting big money for every item.

We added making the experience pleasant for every visitor with friendliness and jokes. Good jokes. Not Dad-jokes.

And don’t forget the 25 cent bin (lower left). Everyone loves a cheap piece of plastic shaped like their favorite IP.

Something else that comes from having a sale is that you soon learn what you want to keep. As you see an item sitting on the table waiting for a new home, you may have second thoughts and realize that you really can’t part with it. That happened to us with the Sailor Mickey hugging Duffy plush in the picture above. He was pulled from the sale and came back home with us. But we only did that with about three items!

So how about you? Have you reduced your collection by means of a garage or yard sale? Did it go as well as you’d hoped? Or do you find Internet selling sites are better?

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Finding Nemo “Mine Mine Mine” Seagulls Figurine

Who’s? Well, it could only belong to those three noisy seagulls! What? Anything that they can sea! See what I did there? Pixar gave us a good run of amazing animated movies. Finding Nemo is definitely one of my all-time favorites with the seagull characters being among the funniest elements of the production!

So naturally some sweet seagull merch was destined to find its way into my collection.

And with that, we have a figurine / paperweight / note holder / thingy:

I saw this in the gift shop when exiting The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction in EPCOT at Walt Disney World. But although sorely tempted I did not succumb to the urge to purchase. But years later I found it at a local Charity Shop for just a few dollars and… it was finally mine, mine, mine! See what I did there?

Seagulls at The Seas in EPCOT

These animatronic seagulls come to life occasionally, usually when a wave hits them. It’s a fun thing to watch while waiting in the line.

They look good from all sides! This is basically a figurine but could be used as a paperweight or a note holder. The signs on the sticks are slotted and a piece of paper will slip in and stay put.

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland was cool! And it also has a cameo appearance by the three ‘Mine Mine Mine’ seagulls. They call out their signature phrase every so often.

Now just so you understand why seagulls might become so much a part of a Pixar film, it’s possibly because they are everywhere in Florida and California! So I’m pretty sure the animators on Finding Nemo would have been aware of them.

Picture One: Seagulls atop the boat launch outside the Magic Kingdom (WDW)

Picture Two: A lonely seagull on an actual Florida beach

Picture Three: Another lonely seagull perched atop a pole at a Friendship Taxi dock (WDW)

Yes, I tend to get a bit fixated on the weirdest things. In case you were wondering, the three pictures above are mine, mine, and mine.

See what I did there?

Posted in Attractions, Characters, Collectibles, Disneyland, Figurines, Pixar, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disneyland Annual Passholder Balloon Mickey Vinylmation

We have only visited Disneyland once and that was way back in 2013. The weather could have been better but the crowds were thin and we definitely had a good time! And if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you’ll know that a main part of my Disney vacations is the merchandise!

Exclusive, you say? I’m in! And when I can get something I’m not supposed to be able to get? I’m double in! Case in point is this Disneyland Annual Passholder #3 exclusive Vinylmation:

My eyes are everywhere when I’m perusing a shop, and on this particular day, I glanced over into a display case by the checkout counter. I very friendly Cast Member asked if there was anything I’d like a closer look at. Of course I said ‘Yes!’ even though I saw the Annual Passholder signage. I was not an AP at the time but couldn’t resist the temptation for a forbidden peek!

Of all the items, this Balloon Mickey Vinylmation caught my eye the most. After torturing myself with it I admitted that I wasn’t able to buy it and gave her the reason. She smiled and said: “Are you sure?” I was able to buy it (but without any AP discounts). I love Cast Members, don’t you?

Have you ever checked the bottom of the custom boxes for these exclusive figures? Note the peculiar shape indented in the cardboard: It’s the feet of the figure! How cool is that?!?

I can’t swear to it, but I believe of the three places to buy merchandise, I got this item in one of the stores along Main Street in Disneyland itself.

Photos Credits: Aliexpress (left) and blunose2772 (right)

Now let’s talk balloons! The Mickey Balloon is one of the most iconic Disneyland mementos. Our figurine is patterned off of the yellow version, as you can see by comparing it to the image, above right. There is a slight variation to the shaping due to the necessary usage of the Vinylmation shape.

‘Balloon Mickey’ or #3, whatever his name is, has two balloons on his chest and three balloons on his… butt. Okay, then.

I’ve toyed with selling this little guy several times but keep changing my mind. Perhaps I remember what first attracted me to him or that the kindly Cast Member broke the rules to sell him to me. Either way, I think he’ll stay in my collection.

For more fun with Vinylmations, and a little something different, check out my book review of a Steampunk Novel with a side order of a Steampunk Goofy Vinylmation. Yup. You won’t want to miss out on a post like that.

Posted in Annual Passholder, Characters, Collectibles, Disneyland, Exclusive, Theme Parks, Vinylmations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Parks Chef Remy Ratatouille Plush

Ratatouille is a French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Recipes and cooking times differ widely, but common ingredients include tomato, garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and some combination of leafy green herbs common to the region wherein the dish is being prepared.

Check out the end of this post for an awesome ratatouille recipe! But before we get there, let’s meet one of the most famous chefs ever to prepare this dish. His name is Remy:

Plush and Perfectly Cute!

This plush comes from the Parks as a Theme Park exclusive. It is so soft and huggable and he looks awesome in his little chef hat, or toque blanche (“white hat”), if you’re truly French. Although it appears the term has an Arabic origin.

Remy has been scouting my kitchen for the perfect utensils and appliances to create his signature dish. But first, he made some coffee before selecting… a bread knife? Well, maybe he needs that for ratatouille, what do I know?

And now for the promised recipe for the perfect ratatouille, at least, according to Martha Stewart:

Ingredients

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large
  • 1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
  • 2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

And now the three-step process to create the dish from those ingredients:

  • Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Spoons down. Now we prepare more ingredients:

  • Step 2 – Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

How much salt and pepper? You’re on your own, chef!

  • Step 3 – Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Not sure if you can pull this off? Here are a few tips from the Master:

Cook’s Notes

This recipe yields a batch big enough for these other recipes: Ratatouille with Pasta, Ratatouille and Baked Eggs, and Ratatouille Phyllo Wraps. It can also be served as a simple side dish or spooned onto toasted crusty bread. A-ha! That’s what Remy wanted the bread knife for!

Remy is known for thinking outside the cooking pot. Maybe this Ninja Air Fryer can be used to speed up the process and cut down on fattening oils?

Even though I’ve invited Remy into my home, he still hasn’t provided any dishes for my family to eat. What’s up with that? I’ve even taken to calling him my Little Chef, but apparently, he never liked that nickname! I guess it’s cereal for dinner again tonight.

Posted in Animation, Characters, Food, Kitchen, Merchandise, Pixar, Plush | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nostalgia Illustrated Magazine – The Pleasures of the Past

I’ve set the Wayback Machine to 1975 on a sweltering July day. It’s time to explore some of The Pleasures of the Past via the esteemed Nostalgia Illustrated magazine! Who’s ready for some dog-eared, yellowing, smelly fun?

This old magazine certainly has that vintage aroma. And it’s pages are filled with such old time delights as Marlon Brando, movie posters, King Kong, Fatty Arbuckle (apparently not the nicest of guys), the politically incorrect Charlie Chan, and a touch of Star Trek and Wurlitzers. But what we’re going to focus on is found on page 55: Four Cartoon Favorites.

But first, the cover:

July 1975 Issue for only $1.00

I pick things like this up if I see anything Disney or animated on the cover. The fact that it contained an article by one of my favorite critics was a bonus!

Leonard Michael Maltin (born December 18, 1950) is an American film critic and film historian. He has also authored several mainstream books on cinema, usually focusing on the aspects of history and nostalgic sentiments. He has contributed to many magazines and supplementals over the years, such as this one I found recently at a local antique mall.

Being as Nostalgia Illustrated has the word ‘nostalgia’ in the title, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Mr. Maltin was tapped to provide an article! The article in question is entitled, as previously mentioned: Four Favorite Cartoons. For some reason, most of the images are out of sequence with the text of the story. Oh well. Editing is such a lost art!

I will discuss each character out of sequence with the magazine text so as to keep my comments with the relevant images.

Bugs Bunny: Maltin points out that Warner Brothers made their cartoons faster and funnier than Disney. This gave them their signature style. The characters were self-aware and often talked to the audience. I would say that Disney characters have a wider audience today than any characters created by Warner Brothers, but saying who’s are better? Now that’s a great way to start an argument!

Donald Duck: It may have all started with a Mouse, but it pretty much finished up with a Duck. Yes, Donald far outdid Mickey in both fan base and prolificity. Maltin mentions that it was his temper that put Donald over the top with audiences and Walt Disney had a new money maker!

Popeye the Sailor Man: This character got his start in comic strips before making the transition to animation in, of all things, a Betty Boop cartoon entitled (wait for it) Popeye the Sailor. He exploded in popularity with his gruff way and catchy theme song. And what’s with that green stuff? Nature’s steroid, I guess. Like all beloved characters, Maltin tells us that with time and studio changes, Popeye’s star power faded away. But the salty sailor is “still shown on television in testimony to (his) matchless humor and originality”.

Gertie the Dinosaur: Okay, you have to be an animation buff of epic proportions to know this character! Pioneering the combination of live-action and animation all the way back in the early 1900s, Winsor McCay gave life and personality to a megaton monster! Maltin postulates that the true legacy of Gertie is that she was first to make us believe in a character that didn’t exist at all. And she did it without speaking a word!

As always, the story is continued somewhere in the back

The page above lists a number of other cartoon characters that Maltin loves. Honorable Mentions, if you will. It should be fun to enlarge the page and see how many of them you remember. But be careful! Such an undertaking could make you feel really, really, really old.

Leonard Maltin at Walt Disney Studios

Leonard Maltin has been a noted Critic for decades and is closely tied to the Disney company, often appearing in promotional materials and as a host for various DVD extras and television specials. I do enjoy his take on all-things theatrical and especially like his coverage of animation history.

Now it’s time to close the magazine before I succumb to the overpowering stench of 45-year-old mold. Be thankful this blog isn’t presented in Smell-O-Vision!

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Walt Disney Showcase Collection: Canadian Mickey

Is there anything more Canadian than a Lumberjack? Maybe a beaver. A Mountie. A tuque. Hockey. Tim Horton’s. Okay, but a Lumberjack is up there! Maybe top three.

He’s a Lumberjack, and he’s Okay.

He sleeps all night and works all day!

These famous song lyrics apply to the rugged Canadian Lumberjack and the little, happy-go-plucky Mickey Mouse. I guess if you give a plaid shirt and an axe to just about anyone, they’re going to strike a pose and eventually attack a tree.

I think you’ll agree that no one makes Botanical assault look so stylish as does our Lumberjack Mickey:

For the non-Canadians among us, the red and white jagged-thingy’s along the base of the figurine are stylized Maple leaves, which are on the Canadian flag and a symbol of Canada itself.

You can see several Canadian symbols within this figurine. The tuque (a close-fitting knitted stocking cap) is pulled down firmly on Mickey’s noggin, and a smiling beaver (a large, semiaquatic rodent, Castor Canadensis, known for their long chisel-like incisors) is peeking out from behind Mickey’s left leg.

Disney Traditions is a line of merchandise by Jim Shore. They have a unique patchwork pattern with other stylized flourishes. This figurine is part of the Walt Disney Showcase Collection. It’s made in China for Enesco.

What else can I tell you about the Canadian Lumberjack? Well, let me break into song:

He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,

He goes to the lavatory.

On Wednesdays he goes shopping,

And has buttered scones for tea.

No one ever said the Lumberjack was the most manly of men! For two other characters who may not exactly claim that title either, check out two more figurines I have from the Walt Disney Showcase Collection starring Lumiere and Cogsworth.

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Disney Store Minnie’s Box Lunches Snow Globe

Building a Building is a Mickey Mouse Short produced in 1933 by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists.

The Short depicts Mickey working at a construction site under the supervision of Peg-Leg Pete while Minnie Mouse is selling box lunches to the workers. Of course, poor Mickey gets into a fight with Pete and the usual mayhem ensues! The collectible I’m featuring in this post is from the Disney Store and shows the conclusion of the story:

Wow! Lunch and a Smooch!

Why are Mickey and Minnie getting so cozy on the cart? Because in the Short, Mickey is fired from the construction site, and then immediately goes into business with Minnie selling box lunches. So in one day Mickey scores a best gal and a lucrative business!

Promotional Poster

As we see in the poster above, at least Mickey did get to eat some lunch!

In the Short, Minnie’s wagon is pulled by none other than Pluto. When Pluto first appeared, he was Minnie’s dog and not Mickey’s. So to recap: Mickey gets the girl, a business, and a dog.

Disney Store Exclusive

We purchased this from the Disney Store many years ago for $14.50 CAN. If you read the ‘warning’ sticker, it sums up my philosophy about toys in general: Keep away from children! I know, I should learn to share.

Shake it Up

Mickey’s heart goes all aflutter when he gets a kiss from Minnie. So aflutter that it appears to burst out of his chest, multiply, and swirl around them! Weird.

I thought this was a nice twist on the traditional snow globe, having the floating particles be red hearts.

FUN FACTS: Building a Building was the 51st Mickey Mouse short film, and the first of 1933 and the second Mickey Mouse cartoon nominated for an Oscar. And it was pretty funny too!

Posted in Animation, Characters, Collectibles, Disney Store, Exclusive, Food, Merchandise, Shorts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Mickey Mouse 2 Pack Silicone Trivets

What is a ‘trivet’? In olden times, it was an iron tripod placed over a fire for a cooking pot or kettle to stand on. Later, it became a small metal plate with short legs, especially one put under a hot platter or dish to protect a table. These would also be placed on a counter. But in modern times, metal is so passé! And legs on my trivet? No thank you! Give me a slab of silicone shaped like a piece of a mouse and I’m cooking with style.

Or better yet, make it two pieces of a mouse:

After all, I have more than one pot. Before we unpack our modern trivets, let’s have a look at the vintage versions:

TRI-vet = Three Legs
Still three legs, but now shorter

So later trivets were more portable and didn’t require any set-up. There were even fruit, plant, and animal-themed trivets:

Old School Owl versus New School Mouse

Okay, we live in the here-and-now, so let’s get our trivets unpacked and have a look at the modern way to protect our surfaces:

The Hidden Mickey head trivet provides about 8″ of surface area with the pants providing only about 6″. In my opinion I think these are not the best for their intended purpose. They have a raised ridge along the edges and are not solid rubber, but a pliable silicone. Maybe a heavy pot might heat and bend the trivet. Perhaps it would be better to use these for placing dirty spoons on between stirrings?

My wife noticed the care instructions: Spot clean only. So no putting them in the dishwasher or even submerging them in a sink full of soapy water to clean. A damp wipe only? Best not to get them too dirty, so my spoon idea may not be the best!

I’m amused by simple things and so found the pattern used on the back of the packaging to be a highlight of this product. Can you imagine this as wallpaper? Trippy!

Need a Disney-themed pot holder to lift that heavy pot from the stove to the trivet? No problem! Just check out my earlier post for a few suggestions.

Posted in Characters, Food, Home Decor, Kitchen, Merchandise | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pixar’s Little Green Men (LGM) Candle

Little green men, or LGMs, is the stereotypical terminology for extraterrestrials who appear as little humanoid-like creatures with green skin. According to Pixar, they also say “Ooooooooooh” a lot! It was actually in the 1950’s that little green men came into popular usage in reference to aliens as reports of flying saucers exploded across North America. But again, Pixar kicked it into high gear when, in 1995, they released the CGI masterpiece Toy Story. And the rest is little green history!

Merchandising has always loved LGMs. Marry an LGM to a Disney / Pixar project, and you get a merchandising storm! And out of the calm of that storm came an unusual… candle?

To Ignition… and Beyond!

Light it up! Our LGM seems quite chuffed with his flashy red and white rocket. However, in the movie, the LGM’s seem to ascend by means of another way. Namely: The Claw! I found a video that explains their fascination with this device. Perhaps you will find it illuminating:

Yeah, I have no idea what that was either.

Is he standing too close?

I understand that he needs to be up close and personal with the rocket to light the ignition fuse, but… isn’t that a little too close? I mean, LGMs aren’t known for fast running!

A damaged rocket… what could go wrong?

This candle stands at about 4″ tall and is made entirely of wax. So if I were to light it, I wouldn’t have it in my collection for very much longer.

Released in December of 2009, this could have been to promote the original Toy Story movie or Toy Story 2 (1999) but not Toy Story 3 (2010) or any later installment of the franchise.

Not into candles? How about LGMs pretending to be other Disney/Pixar characters? It’s worth a click to check out the link!

Posted in Animation, Characters, Collectibles, Decor, Pixar, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment