Book Review: The Magic of Disney Storybook Collection

ISBN: 0-7868-3523-0

Type: Hardcover

Size: 9″ x 9″

Pages: 320

Publisher: Disney Press

Date: 2004

This is quite a nice collection of original stories featuring many of our favorite Disney characters along with a few lesser known or forgotten ones. There are thirteen stories in all. Some are:


I loved reading a story about Sport Goofy! It has been a long time since Goofy has played this character. Other long-lost characters show up in another story:

Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar

My wife and I got to pose with Horace in the Magic Kingdom in 2008. It’s nice to see classic characters making a comeback. Gladstone Gander and Scrooge McDuck also make appearances in separate stories.

Even little Figaro from Pinocchio makes an appearance as the mischievous pet of Minnie Mouse:

And this book also pens a tail (wait for it) of Mickey’s first meeting with Pluto:

It appears that Mickey filled in for a man at a pet store and took Pluto as his payment. It was a fun story!

One of the main things I liked about this book was the diversity of the artwork. Being published in 2004 one would expect the sanitized renderings used for merchandising, but instead we get retro, Golden Books, and comic strip styles of artwork.

Review: I’d give this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. A few of the stories took the easy way out with subject matter and some of the artwork was generic. But overall, for children, this would be an excellent reader. The text is large (20-point Cochin) and the sentence structure would make it easy for even younger ones to read for themselves.

This book is still available from on-line stores and is part of a larger series of storybook collections.

Magical Blogorail: Disney Photography Tips

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing tips to get great photos on your Disney vacation.

We all like to get our pictures taken with Disney characters! But with the long lines and the short time available for posing, it can be hard to get anything other than the standard stand-and-smile shot like the one above.

So today I’m here to help you one and all break out of the same-old same-old with tips on how to get great character photos:

T I P    o n e    T I P

Photograph Characters on Their Own

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve due to the popularity of the characters, especially with the youngsters, who tend to rush up almost before the last guest has cleared the posing area. But with patience and good timing, a great shot can be had!

The one above was taken just before the meet-and-greet officially opened, so Aladdin and Jasmine were waiting off to the side, away from the crowds.


The picture of Mary Poppins was achieved through the miracle of cropping. A little guest was rushing over to the Practically Perfect Nanny when I saw my opportunity. With just two feet remaining between this shot and the inevitable hug-filled greeting, I had room to isolate my subject in post-editing!

Donald was easier, as he was on the way down the ramp from the Aztec Temple in the Mexico Pavilion. He saw me lining up the shot and struck this pose. Thanks Donald!

T I P    t w o    T I P

Photograph Characters Interacting

Photo Credit: The Mousekatools Mom

We all know Olaf loves hugs, so this shot really plays to his strength. With everyone in on the premise, we have a great , and heartwarming, moment captured forever!


Most face characters will take the time to speak and interact with each guest, especially if the guest is a cute little child! Both Alice and Mary Poppins took the time to engage these little girls. One with a conversation, and the other by putting the little one to work! Can you imagine how thrilling it would be to hold Mary Poppins’ umbrella?

These kinds of shots capture a moment in time that will never be repeated by your child, and not exactly by another child. This makes each shot priceless!

T I P    t h r e e    T I P

Photograph Characters in Close-ups

If you just have to have the obligatory stand-and-smile shot, make it more interesting by cropping out the extra stuff that does not add to the finished product. Legs, for example, aren’t that interesting and so can be amputated in post-editing.

Another tip for making this kind of shot better is to, if possible, choose a neutral background. Nothing can wreck a great shot like an unintentional photo bomb from some other park guest who is unaware they are in the frame. Hence the weird facial expressions or nose-picking moments that are all too common among the background extras when taking a character shot!

T I P    f o u r    T I P

Photograph Characters Being Funny

Photo Credit: Home is Where the Mouse Is

Welcome to Alice in Funland as she introduces this guest to a new way of getting an autograph! As you can imagine, this was fun for the subject, and is much more interesting for those who will look at the picture later.

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

This is a nice shot because it shows a bit of the personality behind the character. Chip is being silly as he helps his littlest poser obtain the same height as her brother. Mischievous. And priceless!

T I P    f i v e    T I P

Photograph You Being Funny with Characters

Photo Credit: Love Our Crazy Life

Doing something funny with a character is a great way to get a unique shot. Of course, if you want to try the pose above, you might want to bring your own apple. I’m just saying.

Don’t be afraid to really ham it up! Most costumed and face characters love it when they get a ‘live one’ to break up the shift.

T I P     b o n u s     T I P

Utilize PhotoPass Add-ons

If you’re OK with spending some extra money to get the professional shots from the PhotoPass Photographers, be sure to check out all of the great add-ons and fun extras available to you.

For example, you can add borders:

You can add Disney characters, and pretend they are posing with you, or photo bombing you:

And don’t forget the ride photos. Because a ride is a character too!

And last but not least, be sure to ask your PhotoPass Photographer if they can add any special elements to your picture in post-production. Like this:

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

I hope these tips have given you some ideas for your next photographic adventure at Disney!

For more Disney photography tips, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Disney Photography Tips Loop:

Disney Magic

23 Days: Celebrate Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic is found in seeing Mickey & Minnie riding Dumbo with special guests!

Disney Magic.  The stuff of legends, Disney Magic is, quite likely, the biggest reason why so many people come back to Walt Disney World and Disneyland each and every year.  It is found in so many different ways, that I thought the best way to share what it means to me is to show you with my photos.  I hope you enjoy!

Disney Magic

…can be found in the joy of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party…

The joy on Sophie’s face is a site to see!

Disney Magic

…is having your picture taken with your cousin and Snow White!

The picture of Snow White was taken on September 30, 2011, the day before the 40th Birthday of Walt Disney World!

Disney Magic

…is being first in line to see Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar!

Disney Magic

…is the joy of seeing your favorite character, Donald Duck, and dancing with him!

Disney Magic

…is telling Princess Jasmine a secret, and being able to chat for 5 minutes with no one waiting to see her.

Disney Magic

…is celebrating your 7th birthday with your best friend.

Disney Magic

…is seeing your niece proposed to in front of her Castle by her Prince.

Disney Magic is the reason I have this blog, the reason I help families plan trips to Walt Disney World, and the reason why we love going to Walt Disney World and Disneyland so much.  For me, no two words have more meaning at Disney than that.  What do you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

Vote for Clarabelle and Horace in Round 1!

Famous Disney Couple Round 1

This is the final week for you to enter to win the incredible D23 luggage from American Tourister and the Magical Blogorail!  As you all know, each of us that are participating in this incredible giveaway has written a post about a special Disney couple — and you may remember that I chose Clarabelle and Horace as my favorite Disney Couple! Well, this week we are having a little bit of fun!  Who do you think is the best Disney Couple?  Is it Clarabelle and Horace?  Or perhaps you are going to go with Mickey & Minnie?  Or maybe Walt & Lillian?  Well, whomever you choose, that will be all right! You can vote using the link information below — just click on the “vote” link for the ones you like!  You’ve got three votes — and if you missed getting any entries in for the giveaway, click on the image to read the post and answer your question to enter!  Now, how many can I count on to vote for my favorite Disney Couple — Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar?  Can my favorite cow and horse get a little love here, please?  Thanks, and good luck in the giveaway!

[inlinkz_linkup id=365323 mode=1 pageSize=300]

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow – My Famous Disney Couple and an {American Tourister Giveaway}!


When you think of famous Disney Couples, most people think of Mickey & Minnie, or Donald and Daisy, or even Cinderella and Prince Charming.  But how often do you think of Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow when you think of Famous Disney Couples?

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow

Clarabelle Cow, Sophie, and Horace Horsecollar posing for the camera!

Well, I’ve got one of those odd brains that thinks about the unusual at the weirdest times, so when I heard that the theme for our giveaway was going to be Famous Disney Couple, I almost immediately though of Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow.  I’m not really sure why that is — I mean, it’s not every day that you think of them.  Maybe it’s because one of my favorite photos was of them with my daughter Sophie in the Magic Kingdom (in Town Square) from 2007, and honestly, you don’t see them around much — at least, I don’t.  Or maybe I thought of them because I had just seen the movie Frozen prior to seeing the topic for our giveaway, and they were on my mind.  I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is this: Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow, especially in the picture above, are really stylish characters, and I could see Clarabelle really sporting that Minnie Mouse luggage from American Tourister quite nicely!  Same goes for Horace and the Mickey luggage!  Also, take a look at that romantic Horace as he shares a special moment with Clarabelle!

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow

Image ©

The Disney Couple Giveaway Question!

Of course, I’m not just here to talk about my famous Disney couple!  We are also having a giveaway, and one of the entries will be your answer to the following question:

The Disney Couple Giveaway Question is this: What is the name of the cartoon short prior to the start of the Disney movie Frozen that Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were in?

If you are like me, you’ve got that short running on YouTube every day, and you keep going back to the theater to see the movie!  Pretty simple, right?  Just leave your answer in the giveaway widget below, and thanks!

Now, we’ve got a little legal to cover, so please read carefully:

Enter to win a Disney inspired D23 2-piece luggage set.  No purchase necessary to enter.  Just read about a famous Disney couple and answer the question in the post.  There will be a new blogger posting daily through February 7th so keep checking back for additional chances to enter.

There will be two winners in the giveaway. Each winner will receive a Disney Inspired D23 2-piece luggage set valued at $100.  Design winner receives will be chosen at random.  Contest begins Jan 27th 2014 and ends February 14th 2014 at midnight EST and is only open to U.S. legal residents 18 years and older with valid email address.