Vintage Mickey Mouse Children’s Costume

Sometimes even I’m amazed at what I have in my collection! I do not remember buying this vintage Mickey Mouse children’s costume. There is no mask to go with it and neither is there a box. But if I lose 150 pounds and shrink by about 3 feet in height, I should be able to make use of this:

The material is likely nylon. In 1931, the United States had issues accessing silk due to political and trading tensions with Japan. There was a great interest in finding a substitute, an artificial fiber. Wallace Hume Carothers made the breakthrough in 1934, thanks to a combination of a systematic approach to research and his deep understanding of polymer chemistry. He worked at DuPont at the time.

Nylon itself has an unparalleled range of advantageous properties, including high strength, flexibility, and scratch resistance. And I’m sure it was much cheaper to produce than silk!

So back in 1962, when this costume was manufactured, it seemed like the perfect material to wrap children in before sending them out into the cold October evenings to beg for candy. However, Nylon and other polymers have also created environmental concerns and disposal problems, leading to widespread efforts at recycling. But not in the 60s!

Due to the thin material, many kids were forced to wear their coats over the costumes. So, it would look like Mickey Mouse was out for a walk in a winter Parka, much to the chagrin of the mini-Mickey!

I’m not too worried that I don’t have the mask to go with the costume as these were usually very creepy. And although that would fit nicely into the holiday they were created to celebrate; I can do without that kind of nightmare fuel in my life!

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Ceramic Stork DIY Craft Inspired by Dumbo

It is said that storks have been associated with delivering babies for centuries, starting with Greek mythology. According to myth, the goddess Hera turned her rival into a stork, after which the stork-woman attempted to steal her son in revenge.

Photo Credit: Live Science

From there the story evolved to one of a more benign nature, where dutiful birds pick up babies from a pond or cave, and then deliver them to expecting parents.

Thanks to the 1941 Disney film called Dumbo, we then have a more dapper and professional looking bird, replete with buttoned vest and cap:

Mr. Stork was Sterling Holloway’s first Disney role. He appeared in Dumbo in a blue uniform but reappeared in Lambert the Sheepish Lion in a red uniform.

This is not an official piece of Disney merchandise. It appears to be a DIY art project completed by a ceramic’s student, likely as a gift for a family member. If you look carefully at the image, above right, you can just about make out the words ‘Mom I love u’. I think.

I found another version of this mold on eBay. It is significantly bigger than the one I’m featuring and has slightly different colouring and pattern. For example, note the little pink flowers on the baby blanket. But the mold is identical. Pottery teachers can buy licensed molds from companies like Disney. These are then used over and over again for multiple students for many years. Therefore, it would be impossible to determine just how many of these things are out there!

The seller of this version claimed that her stork was made by a ceramic artist in the 1990s. Apparently her grandmother ordered it custom because she liked the movie Dumbo so much. It appears to have been personalized as it is signed on the bottom with the words ‘Granny Heather’.

My stork is about 4.5″ high while the one from eBay is about 14″ tall by comparison.

I picked this up at Goodwill for under $2.00 CAN. I knew it wasn’t really the Disney stork as it didn’t have a Disney trademark on it, but I thought it was at least inspired by Mr. Stork, so that was enough for me to add him to my collection!

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Found Disney: Disney/Pixar Mater Pillow Pet

Once again, I have found a piece of Disney merchandise loose in the wild. In this case, at a Goodwill store in Windsor, ON.

It’s not uncommon to find plush characters at charity shops, but I thought this one was a little bit more unique than most! It actually ties up to form a complete Mater from the Pixar franchise, Cars. But if you pull apart the Velcro strap, the plush widens out and becomes… a Pillow Pet:

The official website has this to say about Pillow Pets: “It’s not one of those regular pillows, it’s a Pillow Pet! Our mission at Pillow Pets is to bring endless smiles to children everywhere. Made of high quality, super soft plush, Pillow Pets are the most precious snuggle pals for you or your loved ones.”

Ready for Snuggling!

They have a wide variety of Disney Pillow Pets that include some obscure characters. Some of the offerings even light up, casting sparkles and stars on the ceiling. There is even a Lightning McQueen Pillow Pet to be a best friend to Mater should you decide to buy him. Mater is only $3.49 CAN, but McQueen will set you back $34.99 US.

Pillow Pets may be precious, but their resale value leaves a bit to be desired!

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Mini Brands MINI DISNEY STORE Display

The first Disney Store opened on March 28th of 1987 in Glendale, California. It reached its peak of success in 1997 with 749 locations operating worldwide. Fast forward to 2021 and the Disney Store shuttered its last location sometime near the end of that year.

Toronto Yorkdale Shopping Centre Location: August 23, 2021

If you want your Disney merchandise fix now, you’ll have to order online or visit a Target Store near you! Or spend thousands of dollars and take a trip to one of Disney’s Theme Parks around the world.

Or do what I did, and buy your own Mini Disney Store and open for business:

Bringing Back the Magic!

I built my own ‘brick-and-mortar’ location, out of plastic, in just over an hour. Of course, I bought this handy kit from Walmart, which made the process so much easier:

This box has what I believe to be a typo. It says, as a tag line: “Build, Store & Disney your MINI DISNEY BRANDS Collection!” Should that not read “Build, Store & Display“?

Back to the construction of my store, when I said ‘easy’, I meant just short of tedious! As you will see in the pictures below, there were a lot of little pieces contained in multiple packs. Sometimes you had to go hunting for pieces as the instructions for assembling something wouldn’t always stick to parts from one pack.

Time to Build!

If you have assembled any Lego sets, you can handle this! But be careful, as some of the pieces are quite small and can be damaged if you assert too much force when pushing them together.

I’ll share my likes and dislikes at the end of this post, but for now, enjoy the finished product:

All Done!

This really is a very detailed ‘store’. You have the cash counter, the line area, a Princess Castle, and many shelves to stock your Disney Mini Brands onto. The fun factor here is off the charts! I added the shopping cart, basket, and some extra shelves, from a different set. But more on that soon.

That was basically my likes. My dislike is that they bait-and-switch you a bit. On the front of the box, you are shown a completely assembled display with every spot on the base filled. But that’s not what you get! No, you have to look on the back of the box to learn that you will have to buy more capsules to find the remaining shelves needed to complete your ‘store’.

Let’s look at that little detail from a financial standpoint. Each capsule costs $12.99 CAN at a local Walmart. They can be as high as $17.99 CAN at specialty shops. I have purchased 10 capsules up to this date at a total cost of $146.79 after taxes. In those capsules I only got one shelving unit! To complete the Mini Disney Store, you will need an additional 6 shelving units. So, doing the math, that would mean that if the distribution of shelving units in capsules remains constant, you would have to spend an additional $880.74 CAN to finish building the ‘store’! A ‘store’ that initially cost only $39.95 CAN.

I’m not doing that.

But you may notice that my store is mostly completed with 4 of the 6 optional shelves installed. How did I do this? Facebook Marketplace to the rescue! I found a lady who was selling a Mini Brands MINI MART display set for just $20.00 CAN. It came with 4 of the shelves I needed, albeit in a different colour from the ones in my set, but for a total savings of $860.74 CAN, I’ll live with that!

Disney is notorious for making loyal supporters fork over extra money once they buy into one of their product lines. Review what happened with the Disney Infinity gaming system for the most relevant example to this post. Just scroll down to the end of the article in the link. Now Zuru seems to be telling Disney to ‘Hold my beer!’ as they force honest consumers to fork over way too much extra money when they are already going to rake in the profits on multiple capsule sales to fill the shelves of these Mini Stores anyway! Not cool, says I.

But let’s end this post on a high note. I recently purchased a Disney Store Cast Member shirt which was worn in the 2000’s at several Arizona locations. Have a look:

You can’t own a Disney Store without the proper attire!

Laura, the lady I purchased this unisex shirt from worked at the Arizona Mills location in Tempe, AZ in 2005. Starting as an Assistant Manager, she worked her way up to Manager of the San Tan Mall location in Gilbert, AZ. She ended her time with the Disney Store in July of 2011 when the location at the Fiesta Mall in Mesa, AZ closed its doors. I’m happy to add it to my growing collection of official Disney Cast Member costuming!

Now for a last look at where I’ll be working:

Stocked and Open for Business!

Many patrons complained that the Disney Store was not as good as it once was when it finally came to its end. I myself found less and less to buy there but still ended up with some awesome merchandise from time to time. As you can see, the selection in my store is also rather limited. I’ll blame the supply chain like every other retailer!

I’m happy to have a little piece of the Disney Store legacy in my home!

Posted in Cast Members, Characters, Collectibles, Disney Store, Displays, Figurines, Marvel, Merchandise, Pixar, Princesses, Special Edition, Toys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zaini Toy Story 4 Chocolate Egg w/Bunny

If you have noticed Zaini at all it’s likely because of these licensed chocolate eggs featuring some of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters. Each egg has a little plastic toy inside. But if you click the link to their official site, you’ll learn that they have been serious about chocolate since 1913!

By comparison, Toy Story 4 has only been around since 2019.

These eggs are sort of Kinder Surprise knockoffs, but they get the job done. Each has a respectable amount of tasty chocolate and the obligatory plastic toy.

Let’s crack this one open and see what we have:

The quality of the toys is about what you would expect for something that retails for under two bucks. They are perfect for little children, but not too little, for some of the toys could present a choking hazard!

Below is a picture showing just some of the characters you may get in this series:

Bunny (voiced by Jordan Peel) was the comic relieve character along with Ducky. They were literally joined together and so inseparable. But my plastic version is playing solo today.

I’ve purchased other Zaini eggs, including ones from the Big Hero 6 series. You can click the link to see what characters I got from that!

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Places: The DAIRY FREEZ Restaurant in Essex, ON

The Reaume family has run this establishment since 1954 and it has become an iconic landmark and family destination in Essex County. They serve ice cream, classic American foods, and other treats.

But perhaps the coolest contribution (see what I did there?) is this roadside sign:

After many years of seasonal activity, this sign could use a little TLC, but it still does the job of welcoming visitors along County Road 34!

And just what are we visiting?

I thought it would be more colourful

Okay, that image is an old stock photo from back in the day! This is how it looks today:

368 County Rd. 34 W, Essex, ON, N8M 2X5

I love the painted images of food along the roofline! It reminds me of the dancing food items at the old drive-in theaters.

The Dairy Freez can become quite busy but there is a large outdoor seating area along with an enclosed seating area in the rear. And there is ample parking to the side, next to the giant ice cream cone!

So, what do you fancy?

Reviews about the quality of the food and service are a bit of a mixed bag. The sites I checked when researching for this post had ratings ranging from Worst Place Ever to Best Place Ever. Best to make your own evaluation with your wallet and taste buds! To be realistic, every business has its bad days, but if it can stand the test of time, it can’t be all bad.

This vintage ice cream stand is open seasonally from late March to the last Sunday in October.

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Photo Spot: Chain Drive Transmission

Now that should get ‘er done! In the early days of automotive design and fabrication, things were more industrial. How something looked took a back seat to making it work as inexpensively as possible. And so, we have the fully exposed it-could-rip-your-fingers-off chain drive transmission:

So back in the day this wouldn’t have been considered pretty or photo worthy. But a few weeks ago, while I was attending the Old Car Festival in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford Museum, it caught my eye!

I like how the red pops and that the chain draws you into the back of the picture. I angled the camera to give the image a little more interest.

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Mickey Mouse Squeeze & Motion Toy by Illco

Sometimes it’s hard to date these old plastic toys. This Mickey Mouse train is a classic example. It could be very old or very recent. Most of these toys don’t have a year on them, but thankfully, this one does! But we’ll reveal that later in the post.

So, let’s have a look at Engineer Mickey as he steams his way across the Internet:

If a toy like this still works and brings joy to a child or a toy collector with a child still in him, it has value. However, I picked it up at a Charity Shop for under $5.00 CAN. So, it doesn’t have much monetary value!

Mickey has two features to amuse and delight the inner child in us all. First, he is a squeeze toy. Yes, if you pinch Mickey’s head, he will squeak. Wouldn’t you? Second, if you turn the funnel on the engine, the train will pull ahead and run in a straight line.

This is ‘An Illco Toy’ as we can see from the information on the bottom of the train. It was made in China, of course. 1987 was the first year Disney started using ‘The Walt Disney Company’ for its trademark instead of ‘Walt Disney Productions’.

Now if you have your tickets and are ready to go, Mickey is about to give the ‘All Aboard!’ call and move the train forward. But first, a little squeaking:

Who has more fun than a grown man with a child’s toy?

The trademarking is repeated on the back of Mickey’s head along with the country of manufacture. And this is where we see the date of 1987. 35 years old is not exactly recent, but in the realm of toys, it ain’t ancient either!

Illco no longer exists per se. In 1992, Tyco purchased the Illco Toy Company, rebranding Illco’s extensive line of toys and effectively sending the name into history.

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Vintage HOLIDAY INN Key on Fob

Kemmons Wilson, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, was inspired to build a motel after being disappointed by the poor quality of roadside accommodations during a family road trip. Now that might just be the most reactive and extreme thing to do just because you didn’t get a good night’s sleep once upon a time on the road!

And why did he call his better option for snoozing the Holiday Inn? Apparently, the architect charged with designing the place, one Eddie Bluestein, made a joking reference to the 1942 musical Holiday Inn. And the rest, as they say, is history!

The first hotel/motel opened in August 1952 as “Holiday Inn Hotel Courts” at 4941 Summer Avenue in Memphis.

circa 1960’s

The Great Sign, above, was the roadside sign used by Holiday Inn during the 1950s to the 1970s. It was perhaps the company’s most successful form of advertising and still remains one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces of Americana today. It was extremely large and eye-catching but was expensive to construct and operate. The manufacturer of the sign was Balton & Sons Sign Company.

And what was it standing out front of? Check out this old postcard also from the 1960s:

These days a Holiday Inn looks much like any other hotel. But back in the day it was all about character, swimming pools, vintage cars, and tired travelers.

This post was inspired by my finding of an old Holiday Inn key fob in, of all places, my fuse panel! Yup, while groping around on top of the panel for something else, this dropped down:

“Door 215, Where Are You?”

I like that you could just throw this in any mailbox within the Continental United States and the Holiday Inn would pay the postage to get their key back!

The hotel at 27090 Earle Street in Mount Clemens, MI. seems to be gone now. I can find no record of it on the all-knowing Internet. So, I guess I will never know if the key still fits the door!

Where it at?

The image above is from Google Maps. I zoomed around and in and out for miles in all directions but found no Holiday Inn. There wasn’t even a place where I thought one might have been. There is some industrial build up here now, but it seems mainly to be a residential area.

Earle Street may have been a fairly good road to somewhere at one time. A perfect place for a little motel with a pool. But at some point, an Interstate probably bypassed it, and the Holiday Inn of Mount Clemens was… no more!

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Disney Loungefly Winne the Pooh Gingham Mini Backpack

Undoubtedly one of the longest titles I’ve used in some time! But I needed every word to introduce what is perhaps one of the cutest objects in the known Universe: the Disney Loungefly Winnie the Pooh Gingham mini backpack.

Behold as you prepare to go ‘Awww!’

I needed something to cheer up my wife whilst she was having a bad day and I came upon this mini piece of merchandise at my local IP procurement store. The name of the place is Cartoon Kingdom and they are located in Windsor, ON. If you click the link, you will see my old store sign that used to hang over the business entrance before they redesigned their logo.

It had me at the gingham pattern. Gingham, also called Vichy check, is traditionally a fabric that has a striped, check or plaid pattern in two tones. The colours used are usually quite bright!

To add to the charm this bag has a cartoon pattern inside the front pouch, the main compartment, and the two side pockets.

The decision to purchase was cinched when I saw the saying on the back of the backpack: “I think the bees suspect something”. I burst out laughing and promptly carried it up to the counter!

There is one other feature that is fun about this backpack. Have a look at the video below:

Buzzing Bees that Spin

My wife now has four Disney Loungefly backpacks. You can start to view the collection here.

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