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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tip Tuesday: A new way to showcase character autographs

Signed vinylmation

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!
This week, I wanted to share a tip from the DisneyMommy!  She's pictured above in the red lanyard.  She's the pin and Vinylmation collector in the family and she came up with a neat idea for collecting and displaying character autographs.
Of course, the most common way to collect character autographs is by using an autograph book, but my wife came up with something even better -- using a create your own Vinylmation!
Simply go to any Disney retail store in the park that sells nine-inch Vinylmations and pick up a blank create your own Vinylmation, or just get one online at DisneyStore.com.  We've done one in white and one in yellow (seen above).  I don't recommend using black unless you have a white, gold or silver paint pen (but now that I think about it -- the gold and silver on black might look awesome!).
Signed vinylmation
Next have several different colored Sharpies on hand and start getting your autographs.  I suggest getting the most important characters first -- the ones you want to be most prominent on the figure.  For me, of course, was Mickey Mouse, so he was first to sign.  As you go on, you can get more characters to sign on the front or back.  I had most of the princesses sign the back and the classic animated characters sign the front.
While Disney has created a three-inch Vinylmation with character autographs on it (gee, I wonder where they got thiat idea... ;) ), I perfer my method because you personally collected each autograph.  Of course it might take more than one trip to get all the autographs you want, but that's ok... it's just another excuse to plan another trip to Walt Disney World! 

When you're done you have a truly unique Disney collectible!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photo Friday: Jack Sparrow (for your captioning pleasure)

Jack Sparrow

Welcome mates to another Photo Friday!

This week, I be sharin' a photo of Jack Sparrow for ye (sorry, that should be Captain Jack Sparrow).

I happened to snap this shot during Jack's Pirate Tutorial.  I had a great front row viewpoint and Jack mugged for my lens several times.  I especially liked this shot as Jack has a rather peculiar look on his face.

I also wanted to share this photo to show a few more of those Disney details and how much attention Disney pays to accuracy in costuming.

Now, what do you think our dear captain is thinking?  Post your caption! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photo Friday: On this magic night...

Spectromagic

Welcome to another Photo Friday!

With my post earlier today talking about Spectromagic, I thought I'd dip into the wayback files and post a photo of Spectromagic from Spring 2008.

"On this magic night...."

My Take: Nighttime parades at the Magic Kingdom

Main Street Electrical Parade and Spectromagic

Sometimes a thought occurs and I just have to take a moment to share it.  Actually, I've been having this thought for some time.  While it may seem sacrilegious to some, I just have to say it. 

I miss Spectromagic.

There.  Pandora's box is now open.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade, but I've now seen this parade, time and time again for the past two years. 

And I was one of the ones saying, two years ago, that I was tired of seeing Spectromagic time and time again, wishing for the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade.

The problem, I think, is the lack of variety.  With the exception of special events, the nighttime offerings at the Magic Kingdom are the same, night after night after night.  Same story at Epcot, but I'll keep the focus on the Magic Kingdom for this post.

While we don't know this officially, the general consensus is that Disney is hesitant to change things up because guests are coming to Walt Disney World expecting to see certain things.  The vast majority of guests are first- or few-time visitors.  This is why Disney doesn't want to do holiday overlays at Walt Disney World.

OK, fine.  I guess I can see the logic in some of that.  At the same time, what draws a guest to come back to the Magic Kingdom for a second or third night?  Not everyone wants to see Wishes or the Main Street Electrical Parade again and again and again.  Sure, we Disney geeks could do so every night for the rest of our lives, but even we have to admit we're not like the normal guest.

The British poet William Cowper said "variety is the spice of life."  I have to agree.

So what's my point?  I want both.

Bring back Spectromagic AND keep the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Why can't we have two nighttime parades running?  They could be set on a rotating schedule -- Spectromagic on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the MSEP on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

I'm sure there are some technical issues that might have to be worked out, but I'm sure Disney could figure it out and it would give guests all that more reason to return to the Magic Kingdom for a second (or third) night.  Also, having additional options would give more reason for annual passholders (like me) to visit the parks more often and spend money on food, merchandise, etc.

What do you think?  Which Magic Kingdom nighttime parade do you want to see?  Or maybe both?

Take our poll and post a comment!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom officially begins next week

The Magic Kingdom is about to become all that much more magical -- thanks to the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom attraction, set to officially begin next week, just in time for the One More Disney Day event on Leap Day.  Below is a news release from Disney:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Romance at WDW

On this Valentine's Day, I thought it quite appropriate to talk about ways couples can help make their trips to Walt Disney World a little more romantic.

Now obviously, I'm going to need to divide these tips into two separate groups - with kids and without kids.

Without kids
If you don't have kids yet (or have left them at home), you're in for a great time!  Walt Disney World has so many opportunities for romance that it's hard to list them all.

Of course what's a little romance without a bite to eat?  Walt Disney World has some fantastic restaurants that have a great romantic setting.  Victoria and Albert's, Narcoossee's, Blue Zoo, Yachtsman Steakhouse and Jiko are just a few restaurants that immediately come to mind.  I especially like Narcoosee's at night.  The restaurant is dimly lit, allowing the surrounding lights of the Magic Kingdom and the different resorts to be more vivid.  Just don't forget the wine!  Most restaurants have a sommelier who can help you choose a wine to suit your palliate.  Of course there's always room service if you don't feel like emerging from your resort room.

Perhaps you want to have a little fun along with the romance?  There's always the Boardwalk with all the evening performers, games of chance or maybe just a stroll around Crescent Lake.

There are more ways to enjoy a romantic moment that don't include food (don't tell Lou Mongello!).  How about an evening dip in the pool?  Most pools are open late and a nighttime swim can be very romantic. 

Speaking of water, an evening cruise can be extremely romantic!  And if you're going to take an evening cruise, you can always go "all out" and book the Grand 1 yacht.  I've had the opportunity for a Wishes! cruise on the Grand 1 and I personally can't think of a more romantic setting.  There also are other Wishes cruises on various craft and Illuminations cruises over at Epcot.  For more information and to book a cruise, call 1-407-WDW-PLAY.


With kids
If you're coming to Walt Disney World with the kids in tow, creating a romantic moment can seem difficult.  The good news is that finding that romance can be easier than you think.  Disney offers some services to allow you an evening alone to enjoy some of the romantic activities mentioned above.  Located at most deluxe resorts are Children Activity Centers.  These centers are for kids ages 3-12 and offer different activities, games and snacks.  The cost per child is $11.50 with a two-hour minimum.  Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made at by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE.

A second child-sitting option is Kids Nite Out, which is an in-room sitting service recommended by Disney.  For more information and to book a personal sitter, call 1-407-828-0920.

If you can't (or don't want) to have someone watch the kids, there are other ways to create romantic moments, even with the kids around.  Try having the kids sit by themselves in one car, while you and your significant other enjoy a separate car to yourself (assuming your kids are old enough for that - use your best judgement).  For instance, let the kids sit in their own car on the TTA while you two sit in the next car.  You'll have the opportunity for some "big people" conversation (and perhaps sneak a kiss during the Space Mountain segment) while the kids will enjoy a bit of "freedom" from Mom and Dad.  The benefit here is that the kids are still in a controlled space and you're literally right behind (or in front) of them.

This idea works well for most attractions, so give it a shot!

These are just a few ideas for creating romantic moments at Walt Disney World -- what do you think?  How do you create romantic moments at WDW?  Post a comment!

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo Friday: Lights on!

Space Mountain with lights on

Welcome to another Photo Friday!

One of the best things about Space Mountain is what you can't (or aren't supposed to) see -- and that's how compact the attraction really is.  This is a shot from inside Space Mountain during a rare moment when the lights were on.  As you can see, the attraction carefully winds in and around a maze of support beams. 

When you stop to think about it, it's pretty incredible how the Imagineers managed to cram so much into such a relatively small space.

So the next time you're standing by for blast off - you'll have some idea and some appreciation for where you're heading!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tip Tuesday: More points hints at Toy Story Mania

Ham and Eggs at Toy Story Mania
Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, let's return to Toy Story Mania for some more tips on scoring big.

Back on January 17, I talked about how to score big points during the Dino Darts game.  This week, let's start with the first game in the attraction, Hamm and Eggs.  While there's a lot on the screen to shoot at, you're going to ignore most of it.  Instead I want you to focus on the bottom right or left corner (depending on your screen).   You will see a red fox worth 500 points.  Hit the fox.  That will trigger three chickens worth 1000 or 2000 points each. 

After you hit the three chickens, the fox will return in second or two.  Just keep doing the same thing through the entire game -- fox and chickens... fox and chickens.

If you get tired of that (or if you have a partner), you can hit the two pigs on the fence just above the fox.  That will trigger a cat near the barn.  Hit the cat for escalating values of 500 to 2000 points, though you have to hit the two pigs each time to re-trigger the cat.

Personally, I recommend sticking with the fox and chickens for the entire round.

I'll share more tips in a future Tip Tuesday post.  Have fun and good hunting!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lady and the Tramp showing at the El Capitan with all-new short through Feb. 16


Hollywood’s legendary El Capitan Theatre is thrilled to present Walt Disney’s animated classic “Lady and the Tramp” along with Disney’s all-new short, “Puppy Love”  February 3-16 2012, it was announced today by Lylle Breier, senior vice president of worldwide special events for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. This special engagement is exclusively at the El Capitan Theatre and features a special live appearance by Mickey Mouse at every showing. Guests can also take home the beloved classic with the first time on Diamond Edition Blu-Ray combo pack available for pre-order February 7th.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Photo Friday: What's behind the Magnificent Mickey?

Bulletin board in the Mickey Mouse meet and greet preshow

Welcome to another Photo Friday!

This photo is of the bulletin board located in the preshow area of the new Mickey Mouse meet and greet location at Town Square.

While this may just look like some additional decoration, there are a few subtle tributes here.

Most obvious are the tributes to Disney Legends Fred Joerger (Imagineer and model maker) and Ward Kimball (animator, Imagineer and good friend to Walt Disney) seen at the bottom of the far right poster:  "Opening act:  Fred & Ward."

If you look closely, the letter in the center is signed by an "S.A. Tilley."  While I'm not sure about this one, it's possible this is a reference to current Disney publishing artist Scott Tilley (though I don't know if his middle name starts with an A).  Tilley has illustrated several children's books for Disney.  What makes this a possibility is that the letter refers to the artwork (left part of the picture) not being final and requiring Mickey's approval.

Below Tilley's letter are two smaller mock ups of posters.  The one we can see completely should look somewhat familiar -- it's likely and early version of the interactive poster that's on display in the queue.  In that interactive poster, Mickey asks you to pick a card... much like what's displayed here in the mock up.

Oh, and the crystal ball that's referenced in the big poster on the left?  Look for that once you're in the meet and greet area.  It's there.