Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lost Traditions: The Vacation Postcard

With our ever-growing penchant for instant communication- messaging, texting, photosharing, email and social media posts- the time-honored tradition of the vacation postcard might just be in jeopardy. The act of selecting a postcard, then writing, stamping, and sending it- seems to have fallen out of fashion.

Let's not allow postcards to fall by the wayside! Who doesn't love getting a postcard in the mail?

Disney makes it easy to revisit this old school vacation mainstay. Postcards can be found in almost any gift shop, at both parks and resorts. There's usually a selection of individual cards, as well as sets in booklet form, like the Epcot example below.

Forgot to include stamps on your packing list? Never fear- you can buy stamps right at the register in most places that sell postcards.

You'll also find mailboxes in each park and resort. The mailbox below is in the Beach Club lobby, right next to Bell Services.

I mailed a postcard to my daughter during my recent visit (uh... wish you were here!), using Beach Club's mailbox. I dropped it in the box midday Friday...

...and it arrived at its destination with Tuesday's mail, after its 1200+ mile journey.

Do you still send postcards? Tell us about it in the comments...


Friday, December 30, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

AllEars Guest Columnist

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest columnist, writing the feature article for the newsletter. is one of the oldest, most comprehensive websites by and for Disney Parks & Resorts enthusiasts. If you haven't checked them out yet, make it a priority- but set aside some time, because the information on the site is endless! For now, you can read my feature article, linked below.

The year was 1977. I was 9 and my sister was 10. We lived with our single mom just outside of New York City, in a tiny basement apartment that would flood whenever a heavy rain fell... 

Click here to continue reading full article:  Revisiting Walt Disney World... 36 Years Later

Monday, October 31, 2016

Disneyland Records: Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

When my vinyl-loving daughter recently came home with this gem, I had an odd flashback to my youth. The memory is vague, but I recall this album being in the family collection in our old RCA television console/stereo/record player unit. This was a giant piece of furniture that took up most of the living room. The record player section had a built-in album storage area, right within the TV console. Very seventies.

First published by Disneyland Records (now Walt Disney Records) in 1964, the album has seen a few different versions over the years. This recent reissue was released in 2015, and it recreates the original 1964 version of the album. The cover features a classic haunted house painting by Paul Wenzel, which he created as part of the concept art for the Haunted Mansion attraction.

On Side One, a narrator tells stories that feature sound as part of the narrative. Side Two features a wide variety of sound effects. In addition to the standard screams, thunder, and creaking doors, there are also some unexpected sounds- cats and dogs who sound like they're in pain, crashes, explosions, dripping/water torture, and more. I love this warning on the back of the album:

Happy Halloween!

Do you remember this chilling album? Tell us about it in the comments...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Tale of Two Mugs

The Starbucks You Are Here mugs debuted in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in early 2015. In my post about my YOU ARE HERE collection, I mentioned that my friend - a kind and generous blogging/Disney Twitter friend- happened to be visiting the parks that week. She took it upon herself to buy me the Epcot mug, knowing how much I love all things Epcot and Spaceship Earth. Little did we know at the time, though, that she'd be holding a bit of a collector's item.

About a week after the debut, these purple monorail mugs were pulled from the shelves. The mug returned a few months later, with the purple monorail stripe replaced with gray.

Why was the original pulled? There was a fatal monorail accident in 2009, in which the purple and pink monorails collided. Tragically, the pilot of the purple monorail, Cast Member Austin Wuennenberg, lost his life. The purple and pink monorails were retired after the accident, replaced by Teal and Peach.

How, then, did a purple monorail get through the initial design phase of this You Are Here mug? That's a mystery, as is exactly what led to the removal and redesign. Perhaps the company was being sensitive to the issue (albeit late), or perhaps there were complaints after the debut, but whatever the reason- the company acted swiftly, and the mugs were gone almost as quickly as they appeared.

The mugs purchased during that week or so of initial sale are quite rare. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was informed about their rarity later on, when I was telling a colleague about my gift. My friend could have easily sent me the new version once that came out. Or she could have just decided not to send me anythng at all- it was an unsolicited gift, after all, not even something I asked her to pick up, or was reimbursing her for. She ended up sending me the original anyway. Did I mention that she's kind and generous? She's a stellar pal.

I have since gotten the version with the gray monorail- another gift, this time from a relative. I'm currently using the gray monorail for my coffee, while the purple monorail sits safely on a special shelf, with some of my other Disney treasures.