Top 5 Things They Should Bring Back to Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World opened in 1971 with a very different footprint than it has today. Certainly a smaller one, anyway! But Walt himself said (of Disneyland) that it would never be finished but would instead be changing and growing over the years. This would naturally apply to his ‘Florida Project’ as well.

So we can’t, or shouldn’t, really complain when one of our favorite rides, shows, or attractions goes M.I.A. on us. We were forewarned! But it’s OK to miss them. And what about those classics that we never got a chance to experience before they too were gone?

With that in mind, here are the Top Five things that are gone that I think they should bring back at Disney World:

Missed No. 5River Country. I’ve seen pictures of this great little Water Park just to the side of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Although it obviously didn’t have the extreme theming of a Blizzard Beach, it had a charm all of its own!

 

All that’s left now

I’ve often wondered why Disney decided to simply scrap it when Fort Wilderness has such awful and bland swimming pools! Why not make it a special place for FW Guests? From my dream to your ears, Mickey!

Missed No. 4Dreamfinder. Performer Ron Schneider was the first man to take on the persona of Figments handler at EPCOT’s Imagination! Pavilion. Ron wore the purple outfit from Park opening until 1987 and enjoyed thrilling Guests with imaginative interaction 5 days a week!

In its present incarnation, I could do without the Journey Into Imagination With Figment attraction. Apparently the little dragon’s goal is to capture our imagination. OK Figment, you can have it, IF… you bring back the Dreamfinder!

Missed No. 3Fort Wilderness Train. I want more trains! Yes, I’m a steam train fan and never miss an opportunity to ride one, whether at WDW or Greenfield Village, or wherever one can be found! This great little railroad steamed along for a short time and was discontinued after a storm damaged large sections of the track.

 

What the train might have looked like

Economics and not Guest experience prevailed and we lost another classic perk at the Campground!

Missed No. 2Discovery River. This long-gone boat ride around the river of Disney’s Animal Kingdom was an awesome idea! Just as with the Train at the Magic Kingdom, it gave a beautiful preview of the Park in a relaxing and fun way. Apparently it was discontinued because of long lines and wait times, which should have told Disney just how popular this experience was!

This view… from a boat!

 You could see things on this boat ride that you couldn’t see anywhere else. Now that would have been worth the wait! The only thing left of this ride now is a smoking area.

Missed No. 1The Diamond Horseshoe Revue. It all started with a two-week contract for Wally Boag and others over at The Golden Horseshoe Revue in Disneyland, but it soon whooped its way to Disney World. Thankfully we have archival photographs and video segments of this Guinness Book of Records wonder, and one TV special that never fails to get a laugh!

For the Limited Time Magic promotion at Disneyland they brought back the DL version called The Golden Horseshoe Revue. Now that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are gone, there are rumors that the Revue may move back into the Saloon. I certainly hope so!

 

Limited Time Magic: A Salute to The Golden Horseshoe Revue (DL Version)

At least we still have the similar Hoop-De-Do Musical Revue over at Fort Wilderness, so the pangs of separation aren’t quite as strong for this missing show.

Wow! That was a hard Top Five to write. There are so many great rides, shows, and attractions that we’ve had to say goodbye to over the years! Don’t let your favorite go unmentioned. What do you want Disney to bring back into the World?

Some of the pictures in this post are from Disney’s PhotoPass CD

Top Five Must-Buys at Walt Disney World

We all plan our Disney trips down to last detail. Our travel itinerary is in place, our accommodations are booked and paid for, and our Theme Park tickets are in the luggage bag, and we may even have our dining options all picked out.

Yes, we are all set for another magical visit to one of the happiest places on Earth.

But wait! I think we’ve forgotten something: Our merchandise budget!

Just how much can we afford to spend? And how can we save ourselves from the dreaded impulse buy? Don’t be naive; the Mouse knows how to work the shoppers! Before you can say ‘Jiminy Cricket’ he will have your extra cash and all you may have in return are a few trinkets that you don’t really want.

Well, I’m here to save you and your hard-earned dollars by giving you the Top Five Must-buys when visiting The Magic Merchandiser, er… Kingdom:

Must-buy Number 5

Any Exclusive Theme Park Item. The merchandising world has produced millions of pieces of Disney memorabilia. You can pick up just about anything at your local toy store or Wal-Mart. But it just isn’t the same as an exclusive piece of Theme Park product only available at WDW.

Usually Downtown Disney will have the highest concentration of such merchandise, especially at The World of Disney superstore. But keep your eyes open for those special items. They’re usually linked to a unique ride or attraction that might not be as mainstream as the likeness of Mickey or Jack Sparrow.

Buying Limited Edition items at artist signings are always a good bet for exclusivity.

Must-Buy Number 4

Souvenir Book. Believe it or not, some of your magical memories will fade after a while. But if you purchase one of these beautifully photographed keepsakes, you’ll be able to look back and relive almost every moment again and again. Well, at least the biggest moments!

 

WDW 1974 and DL 1978

Must-buy Number 3

Trading Pins. My wife and I always enjoy firsts at WDW. So when we ride or visit an attraction for the first time, we always buy a Trading Pin to commemorate the occasion.

 

These are relatively inexpensive, and if each member of the family chooses a ‘Memory Pin’ for a different occasion, you’ll have a nice collection in no time!

Must-Buy Number 2

T-shirt. Or Sweatshirt. Or Hoody. But of the three, you can’t beat the ‘been-there-got-the-T-shirt’ classic keepsake! You can buy Disney-themed T’s aftermarket, but they don’t always compare to the styles and selection on WDW property. Be prepared to pay a premium! But when you’re wearing a T that no one else at home has ever seen, it’ll be worth it!

OK, a ‘been-there-got-the-Sweatshirt’ works too!

Must-buy Number 1

Mickey Ears. If you’ve been to WDW, or any Disney Park worldwide, and still haven’t bought your own pair of themed Mickey Ears: Shame on you! Nothing says, “I’m a Disney fan!” like wearing a pair of Mickey Ears. Of course you won’t be able to wear them around your neighborhood at home, but seeing pictures of yourself sporting mouse ears at the Parks is a memory trigger no true Disney fan should miss!

   

So there you have it. My Top Five Must-buys for Theme Park merchandise. But maybe you prefer something different, and if so, leave your must-buy in the comments section below! But be careful, if I like it better than my own ones, I just may beat you back to the Parks and buy it first!

Top 5 Tips for Displaying your Disney Collectibles

OK. You’ve just got back from that visit to The Happiest Place on Earth or perhaps The Vacation Kingdom. And although you promised yourself that you wouldn’t buy everything you saw, you’ve come home with an extra suitcase full of Disney collectibles!

Now what? Well, once you convince your significant other not to leave you, it’s time to find a place for all that new stuff. And it ain’t gonna be easy!

Fortunately for you, I’ve been in this predicament on more than one occasion, so here are my Top 5 tips for displaying your new treasures:

Number 5

Rotation. Let’s be realistic. Do you really have enough room to display every Disney collectible you own? Likely not. So display only a few treasures at a time. Between switches, carefully pack the rest of your collection away. But here’s a tip: Group each type of item or character in a separate box and mark the box clearly. So when it’s time to make the switch, you’ll know exactly where to look!

Come on, I know you’re that anal!

Number 4

Maintenance. Find a dust-free zone! Seriously. Find a dust-free zone! At one time I had over 200 collectibles displayed in a one-bedroom apartment, and the most familiar phrase I heard for two years was ‘When are you going to dust?’

This is where tip number five can help, but more likely you will want to opt for an enclosed display cabinet. This won’t eliminate all dust particles from your treasures, but it may help to extend the periods between dustings. And it allows for some cool lighting options too!

Number 3

Grouping. Eclectic is a nice word, but it doesn’t always make for the best look. It means to select or employ individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles. In other words, you just throw whatever ya got on the shelf without any rhyme or reason! OK. I’ve done this and it doesn’t look that bad. However, if you have a nice room, it might be better to group similar types of items together. Figurines shouldn’t be mixed with Plush, for instance.

The only time this can work is if you’re doing a character theme, such as all Tinkerbell. This approach is usually best in bedrooms or offices, but can be done tastefully elsewhere. But beware: Tacky lurks just around the corner!

Number 2

Moderation. This is closely related to Rotation, but with a twist. Not only do you not want to try to display every collectible you own, but also don’t try to fill every space in every room. This is especially important if not everyone in your household is a Disney Addict! For them, it’s nice to create a Disney-free Zone where they can hide from your well-meaning fanaticism.

And don’t forget the visitors. Now, I know you’re not crazy, but they may be looking for evidence to the contrary. So don’t make it too easy for them to prove their theories about your sanity! Having them open the stove only to find a Disney figurine you didn’t have room for in the fridge won’t help your cause.

Remember: Moderation will make you appear reasonable even when you’re not!

Number 1

Location. Want to break your heart? Here’s what you do: Place your most prized and fragile figurine at precisely the eye-level of a two year old. Then sit back, and in approximately 7.4 seconds, you will own a broken figurine! Want to avoid this? Then follow this simple placement chart:

  • Figurines and other breakables up high
  • Collectibles with small pieces and display dolls at medium height
  • Plush, PVC, and heavy durable items at the bottom

Of course, it goes without saying that any treasure that holds a special place in your heart should either be up high or in a closed display cabinet.

I hope these five tips will help you to enjoy your treasures for years to come!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some dusting to catch up on.

Pickyman and Allergy Girl Vs Disney Food Options

For picky eaters like me (Pickyman) and those with allergies like my wife (Allergy Girl) the food options at Walt Disney World and Disneyland can seem like Super Villains! Counter service, Kiosks, and other Vendors seem to form a dastardly team filled with bland offerings and dangerous alternatives. But all is not lost!

Pickyman and Allergy Girl have super powers, and as we’ll see, stalwart allies waiting to be called in when the battle for good, safe food starts to go awry.

First, let’s look at the danger facing the particular Pickyman: Selection. Walt Disney World is the worst offender in this area, as Disneyland offers more overall options, or at least tries to rearrange the standard chicken and burgers into something that at least appears new and fresh.

Super Power: Flexibility. In a pinch, Pickyman can try something new!

Second, let’s identify the danger attacking the health and well-being of the amazing Allergy Girl: Gluten. This opponent is very formidable because it’s everywhere! But your arch nemesis might be sugar, MSG, wheat, soy, eggs, or nuts. Or maybe you’re Vegan Gal with a completely different set of challenges. No matter which of these villains you fear, one fact remains the same: They can be hiding anywhere, ready to cause minor or severe physical problems.

Super Power: Vigilance. Allergy Girl never lets her guard down!

But don’t despair Food Super Friends! As I mentioned earlier, we have powerful allies to help us eat well and stay healthy at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Let’s meet them now:

Private Prep

This powerful tool-based soldier can give you the advanced intel you’ll need to prepare in advance for any food attack during your vacation. Check the official Disney websites to read menus and get contact information. Calling ahead and talking to chefs can almost eliminate nasty sneak attacks later on. But don’t forget the fan-based Blogs where you’ll find firsthand accounts of other Food Super Friends who have already defeated the forces of Ick and Bloating!

City Hallmatron

Upon arriving at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, head to this ever-updating source of intel. You can’t have too much intel! Usually they’ll have a list of food spots that can cater to your particular allergy needs, and if not, they can direct you to an ally that does.

Cast ReMember

This powerful ally has the ability to be in hundreds of places at once. Whereas Private Prep stays at Home Base, and City Hallmatron has to be visited, Cast ReMember is out there on the battlefield fighting alongside you from Park open to Park close. You’ll never find a more loyal ally! Mention your preferences or allergies and they’ll immediately jump into action, calling to mind a plethora of tasty and suitable food options.

Cast Member Uniform

     Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Restosaurus

No matter which Park you choose, the best way to find good variety and safe food options is to eat mainly at sit-down restaurants. Restosaurus has imbued these fortresses with the latest in food preparation techniques and professional, dedicated chefs. They’ll cater to any palette or problem with courtesy, expediency, and… supernessness.

50’s Prime Time Cafe

     Disney’s Hollywood Studios

So Food Super Friends, no matter who your arch nemesis is, be sure to depend on your allies! Pickyman and Allergy Girl always do, and we never lose the battle against Ick and Bloating. Join our team of educated and dedicated Super Friends, and always enjoy a tasty victory!

Excelsior!

Assignment: What would your Super Name be if you joined our team of Food Super Friends? Let us know in the comments below!

Top Five WDW Things We Want Everywhere!

Part of the magic behind a Disney vacation is revisiting those things that you just can’t get anywhere else. When we experience them for the first time at the Parks, we are hooked! During each visit we taste, ride, see, or hear them again and again.

But what if we could experience those things year round in our own backyard, so to speak? In that vein, here is my Top 5 list of WDW things we want everywhere:

Gimmie No. 5

Attention to Detail. No one does this like Disney! Every detail is plussed to the max. The cleanliness stands out, as does the extraordinary theming. And I’m not alone in desiring a little Disney detailing in my everyday life, as the TV show Backyard Disney attests!

Gimmie No. 4

         

Dole Whip. I don’t think you can even get this Island Treat in the real Hawaii! But if you’re one of the people who will stand in line for hours just to get a spoonful, then you know that this confection should be sold worldwide!

Gimmie No. 3

Cast Members. Imagine if all service personnel that you come into contact with during your normal day had that Disney attitude! No more surly grocery store clerks. No more indifferent bank tellers. Just smiling faces everywhere!

And my wife said that what she would like is a Cast Member standing on every corner to help her find her way. On the street. In the mall. Everywhere! Nothing like that two-finger point to clarify your direction in life.

Gimmie No. 2

Monorails. OK, I know these marvels of transportation are found outside WDW. Las Vegas has one (for now), as does most of Asia. But here in North America, a Monorail ride is almost impossible to enjoy outside the berm, as it were!

Imagine again that your child could walk to the end of your driveway and board a Monorail to school. Morning commutes to work on Monorail Teal? Bring it on! And no more light rail trains to block you at every intersection. Now that’s my vision of transportation heaven!

Gimmie No. 1

Mickey Premium Bars. Delish! There really is no need to try to convince anyone that this would be a good idea as I’m sure everyone is on board for this one!

Have I missed your favorite WDW thing that you want everywhere? Let me know in the comments section!