Brave Little Tailor – Walt Disney Classics Collection

It’s time for another exiting installment of Saturdays With Nick!  That means it’s the weekend (finally)!  Until I met Nick, I only thought I had a pretty decent collection of Disneyana.  Compared to Nick, though, I’m a total rookie.  I’m sorry to say I have not one single piece of the Walt Disney Classics Collection and will reluctantly admit, this is probably not a bad thing.  For my own sanity and the safety of my wallet, I need to draw the line somewhere.  That doesn’t keep me from absolutely adoring this pair of cuties.  Be sure to check out the expression on Minnie’s face!  Totes adorbs! (Nick loves it when I say that!)

Brave Little Tailor – Walt Disney Classics Collection

By Nick

These Mickey and Minnie, Brave Little Tailor Walt Disney Classics Collection pieces are among my favorite collectibles.

Mickey stands 7 1/4 inches tall. Plussing includes a matte platinum finish on his scissors.

Titled “I let him have it”, it is the 1993 Animators Choice Figurine, and the first year redemption sculpture for the Walt Disney Classic Collection. It bears the Treble Clef production mark, symbolizing the music in the Academy Award-winning ‘Silly Symphonies’.

Minnie stands 6 1/2 inches tall. Her veil is painted with opalescent paint, and her shoe buckles are painted gold.

Titled “Princess Minnie”, this piece was the 1996 Animator’s Choice sculpt.

She has the Sailor’s Hat production mark, which represents Donald Duck’s on-screen debut in 1934 animated short, ‘The Wise Little Hen’.

They perfectly capture 2 beloved characters in a beloved scene from a (Is he going to say it again? Yes!) beloved animated short.

Follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends for more Disney adventures (and to see all their Disney collectibles!):  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.

Nick and I, along with our buddy, Dave, host The Disney Exchange Podcast where we discuss our love of all things Disney and offer travel tips, restaurant and resort reviews, planning advice, and other Disney-related nonsense…while we argue and laugh a LOT.  Follow the Disney Exchange on Facebook and weigh in on our many opinion-solicitations.


WDW – Stop Being Surprised

This post is really more a reminder to myself (and those of you who will identify with my predicament) than an admonition to the world at large.  When it comes to Walt Disney World, I’ve gotten used to certain things being part and parcel of vacationing there – Price increases, stroller collisions with my legs, folks that try to squeeze their kids in front of me to see a parade, and having my view of Wishes blocked by either a woman filming the show by holding her iPad over her head or a really tall guy with his 8-year-old on his shoulders.  These things, while irritating, are expected – I’m used to them.RM-Walkers-Walt-Disney-World

Today I’m trying to figure out why other things still surprise me after all this time.  When you get to the bottom of this list of things that I can’t get used to, please let me know – is it just me?  Or do some of these still catch you off-guard from time to time.

Memo to Me:  WDW – Stop Being Surprised

  1. Personal Space-Invaders – Probably I’m a little quirky since my personal zone tends to be fairly large unless I know you (and like you).  It never ceases to amaze me how close complete strangers will come to rest near me.  Touching me.  Sweating.  Ugh.Walt Disney World Summer Crowd
  2. Litterbugs – Seriously!  Why I’m shocked by them, I have no idea.  There must be hundreds of Cast Members who count on these trash slingers for job security.  I want to run up to them so badly and say (in my best Southern accent), “Bless your heart!  You were raised by folks who couldn’t afford a trash receptacle!  Please, let me show you how to use one!”Walt Disney World Crowds During Star Wars Weekend
  3. Unsupervised Children – True story:  Raymond and I decide to take a break at Animal Kingdom one afternoon by grabbing a cocktail at the Dawa Bar and listening to the fantastic sounds of the Burudika band.  We found seats at the bar, ordered our drinks, and just when I should have been soaking up the incredible atmosphere and enjoying a quiet moment with my favorite fella…I saw this little girl carefully studying some of the gorgeous plants in the landscaping.  RM-DAK-Dawa-Bar-AreaShe caught my attention because she was young and alone.  Like maybe seven years old.  I studied all the nearby adults trying to determine who she was with and nobody but me was paying any attention to her as she began tearing and stripping leaves off of a big, beautiful tropical plant.  I was outraged!  Surely her parents would notice and put a stop to the destruction.  Never happened.  These unattended children are everywhere – I don’t get it!  Where are their parents?  See?  I’m shocked every time!!!
  4. Pickpockets (or Pick-strollers) – I know there are thieves everywhere, even at Disney World.  That’s not actually what surprises me.  It’s the people who are so completely trusting and unconcerned that they leave valuables in their parked strollers and leave their packages, purses, and backpacks unattended.  Then, after not one tiny bit of caution was taken, these people act the outraged victims.  Caution and common sense somehow get left at home.  That’s what shocks me every time.Nighttime in the Magic Kingdome at WDW
  5. “Only-Guest” Syndrome – I get that they paid a small fortune to vacation at Walt Disney World.  I get that the lines are long, the Florida sun is hot, the theaters are crowded, the choice views are hard to secure – somehow this translates into some very ugly behavior!  Line cutting, loud talking, flash photography on dark rides, NOT moving to the end of the row, but sitting in the middle, berating Cast Members over things beyond their control.  I recently saw a photo posted on a Facebook group of a mature “gentleman” sitting in Bay Lake Tower’s Top of the World Lounge with his bare feet upon the table.  It’s beyond my comprehension how oblivious this particular kind of guest can be.

I know!  I need to get over it and do a better job of going with the flow so I stop being surprised by this negative stuff!  Luckily, I’m still delighted and surprised when pixie dust finds me, when Cast Members take a few minutes to chat and share their vast Disney knowledge, when an unexpected Character meeting happens, when I spy a Hidden Mickey, or when I find a special pin or souvenir to take home.  What things still surprise you on vacation at Walt Disney World?





My FastPass+ Rankings

FastPass+ Mailer EnvelopeThis is our family’s strategy.  We’re all adults, we’re thrill junkies, fans of park-hopping, and are nostalgic about certain attractions based on 25 years of Walt Disney World vacations.  This list ranks all FastPass+ choices into three categories:  Must Have, Might Have, and Do-Not-Care.  The Must-Haves are the attractions that we are going to definitely ride and feel strongly about not waiting in line for (at least once).  The Might-Haves are attractions we like, but will wait in line for if we need to and know we’re probably not looking at waits of more than 40 minutes or so under most circumstances.  The Do-Not-Cares are attractions we either won’t waste a FastPass on, are pretty sure will have short lines anyway, or don’t intend to experience at all.

I should add that because of FastPass+ tiers at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, our ranking does not imply that it’s possible to book all our must-haves at a given park in a single day.  We’ll book different combos on different days to end up with at least one FastPass+ for our must-haves during our vacation.

My FastPass+ Rankings

Must Have

Magic Kingdom:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – This is a fantastic ride!  It’s thrilling, has loads of details, wonderful theming and is long – almost 4 minutes of fun!  The queue is good, but this is one attraction that we’ll book a FastPass for and also wait in line to ride again.Exterior track for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – We don’t care how wonderful the interactive queue is – the line will be long and will take up more time than we’re willing to spare for a two-minute experience.  If we can’t get a FastPass, we’re most likely skipping this one.Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain
  • Splash Mountain – Unless I know for sure we’ll hit this one first thing after rope-drop in the morning, we’re getting a FastPass for it.  Unlike Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we will wait in line if we have to, but always try to book a FastPass every time.


  • Soarin – This attraction deserves a better queue.  So popular – it’s a great experience (even in its current badly-worn condition) with a queue so torturously boring we cannot make ourselves wait for this one.  FastPass or just pass.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Midway Mania – We LOVE this attraction – It’s all me. I’m the reason we don’t wait in line for this one. I hate the queue with an unequaled passion.  I’ve gotta have a FastPass and I make it a priority!Entrance for Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Rock’n’ Roller Coaster – The queue’s pretty boring and usually extremely long and hot (most of it being outdoors).  We’ll wait if we have to in the early morning, but will always book at FastPass in advance, at the earliest possible time, to get at least one ride in our super-stretch limo without the long wait.Famly Pic on Rock'n' Roller Coaster
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – We actually love the queue for this and will book a FastPass AND ride it with a wait. We cannot get too much of this one.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – Love this attraction!!!  Since we’ll ride it multiple times, having a FastPass once or twice saves time.  The queue’s the best, so we’ll also wait in the stand-by line at least one time too.RM-Expedition-Everest-Sign
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – We always ride this first thing in the morning without a FastPass…then we’ll ride later in the day at least once during our vacation and we use a FastPass for that later adventure.

Might Have

Magic Kingdom

  • Haunted Mansion – Unless we’re there during peak season, we will monitor the wait on the My Disney Experience app and hit this one when we’re looking at 30 minutes or less.  Don’t get me wrong – this is a must-do ride, but we’ve found we don’t need a FastPass for it.Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Like Haunted Mansion, we are riding Pirates on every vacation.  What makes us pass on the FastPass most of the time is that the queue is inside, is cool and dark, and totally bearable.
  • Jungle Cruise – I love the punny humor of this attraction.  We don’t care for the queue (boring, long, hot) yet won’t burn a FastPass unless it sort of falls in our lap.  We’d like to take the Cruise on every trip, but if it doesn’t work out that way, we’re okay with it.WDW Jungle Cruise Jeep
  • Space Mountain – Similar to how we feel about Jungle Cruise with two notable differences – the queue isn’t horrible (indoors, cool and dark with a few interactive elements), but Raymond and I feel the jerkiness of this ride more now than we used to (I KNOW! We must be getting old!), so we kind of hesitate to use a FastPass for it when we don’t love it as passionately as we once did.
  • Enchanted Tales With Belle – I want to see this!  We’ve yet to fit Belle into our plans.  Gotta change that next time we go.
  • it’s a small world – Not everyone in our family loves this attraction as much as I do. RM-It's-a-small-world1
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – It’s cute, but not a must-do, we’d rather see if we can work out a trip to London and Neverland on the next attraction on the list.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – If we see an opportunity to add a FastPass for this one, we’ll usually take it.  It’s cute and fun and the line’s normally crazy long.


  • Spaceship Earth – Sometimes we have a FastPass, sometimes we don’t.  This is absolutely a must-do for us, but we don’t have to have a FastPass.RM-Spaceship-Earth-Early-Backup-System
  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends – We usually end up with a FastPass for this at least once, but we like this ride.  The line’s usually pretty short and we’ll happily wait in line, no FastPass necessary.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Star Tours – It’s popular and we’d rather not wait in too long a line for at least one of the times we ride (which might be several, depending on who’s in our travel party).  If the wait’s not bad, we’ll ride without a FastPass.Star Tours Queue, Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Really no need for a FastPass, but sometimes we end up with one in our selection for a particular day.
  • MuppetVision3D – Same as Indiana Jones, but we’ll see this with our without a FastPass and, except for extreme crowds / peak seasons, never need one.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – We have waited on may occasions for this, but will certainly book a FastPass if we can.
  • Dinosaur – Like some of the other attractions -if we end up with a FastPass in the mix for the day, we’ll ride Dinosaur.  If not…no big deal.  It’s not a must-do.Dinosaur Ride Photo
  • Primeval Whirl – I believe a FastPass in our lineup was the reason we ever gave this ride a try in the first place.  Who knew we’d find it weirdly adorable?  Not a must-do for us though.

Do Not Care

Magic Kingdom

  • Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid – It’s cute and we’ll always try to fit this in our schedule.  The queue is as entertaining as the ride.  We’ve yet to need or use a FastPass for this one.Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Ariel’s Grotto – We’ve not been here before.  Have you?  Would you use a FastPass?
  • Barnstormer – Nope.  It’s 57 seconds of kiddie-coaster and doesn’t currently fit into our touring plans.
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – *cough, cough* We prefer to watch this from the PeopleMover as it makes its way around Tomorrowland than actually “race” around the track.
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – We’ll ride this if the line’s not too short, but won’t deliberately book a FastPass – if one ends up in our lineup, so be it.RM-Buzz-Lightyear-Space-Ranger-Spin-Interior
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – Never been and won’t be going until we have a little on traveling with us again.
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic – This is certainly a must-do for us, but doesn’t need a FastPass.
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant – I’m honestly not sure how the rest of my family feels about this ride.  I almost rode it once.  Can’t imagine booking a FastPass for it.
  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor – We love this attraction, but don’t find the line long enough to make a FastPass necessary.
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade – We’ll wait in one of our favorite spots.  The FastPass viewing area isn’t all that great to us.RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Skull&Ship
  • Main Street Electrical Parade – Booking a FastPass so late in the day means you’ll never use your allotted three and get the option to book another.  Plus, even if we had a FastPass, there’s a good chance Raymond and I will be too tired to wait up for this.
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular – We love Wishes!!!  Like Festival of Fantasy – we’ll wait for it where we can find a place and don’t need a FastPass for it.
  • Mad Tea Party – Too much potential for motion sickness.  Pass.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – We don’t want to ride this one.


  • Living With the Land – Line’s usually short and it’s not an every-visit attraction for us.
  • Test Track – Only occasionally do we care to do this one.  If we get the urge, we’ll try to get a FastPass.RM-Living-With-The-Land-Produce
  • Illuminations – I don’t mind waiting in a prime location IF I want to see Illuminations.  The FastPass+ viewing area was not that great to us the one time we tried it – although being able to arrive last minute and have a spot was pretty cool.
  • Mission: Space – Not unless a double-dog-dare is involved in some way will I be on this ride ever again.
  • Turtle Talk – I like crush, but am probably not wasting a FastPass on him.  Maybe someday when we have grandkids.
  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment – Figment’s cute and if the line’s not long, we’ll jump in.  Otherwise, we’ll pass.Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Captain EO – NO.  Not under any circumstances.  No.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage – We’ve seen this many times.  Unless Megan begs to see it again, we’ll pass altogether or wait for it…no FastPass necessary.
  • The Great Movie Ride – The line’s usually not too long.  This isn’t a must-do attraction for us – if we get the chance and have time, we’ll get in line.The Great Movie Ride
  • Fantasmic – We’ll get there early if we want to see this.  Or we’ll do the meal package (at participating restaurants), but we won’t be booking a FastPass for it.
  • Lights Motors Action! Extreme Stunt Show – This falls in the “once and done” category.  We saw it once and that was enough.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Sure, we’ll watch this if we have time and the opportunity presents itself, but no with a FastPass.
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage – We’ve never seen it.  Aren’t planning to anytime soon.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – We don’t dislike this ride, we just hate getting completely soaked on it.
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug – We like this one, but don’t need a FastPass for it.Kali River Rapids Boat
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical – We really don’t feel a FastPass is necessary.  If we check the app and the line is short, we’ll head that way.

Wow!  If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me this whole time!!!  What jumps out at you as completely opposite of what you’re family does?  I bet if you have little ones your ranking is totally different.  When you book your FastPasses, what are your top picks for every visit?


Haunted Mansion – My 10 Favorite Things

So, I’m cooking dinner.  I do this a lot – cooking relaxes me and I like it.  Maybe mowing the yard relaxes Raymond the same way.  I hope so, since I wouldn’t know how to start the lawn mower, much less maneuver it around the yard.  But I digress.  Back to the cooking.  I’m waiting for the pasta to boil and the sauce to do its thing and I see the leftover wine from last night, secure in its bottle with my Haunted Mansion bottle stopper.  That’s how many of these blog posts begin – so many things around me to remind me of Walt Disney World and what I love about spending time there.IMG_2439

Haunted Mansion – My 10 Favorite Things

DWR2009 078Location – You can’t beat the setting in Liberty Square – just at the edge of Frontierland.  I prefer to approach from Fantasyland for the best first look of every visit – I’m weird that way, but hey!  Makes me so happy!!!

Exterior – Sure, the view from land is awesome, but the Mansion, viewed from the water (aboard the Liberty Belle), is breathtaking!  The color of the stone, the shapes of the different wings, towers, and solarium, the black wrought iron fence, the green awning…all of it!RM-Haunted-Mansion-Queue

Queue – Purists will lament the 2007 refurb that added many new elements to the waiting-outside part of the Mansion’s queue.  This was a huge improvement to us and we love all of it!  Because the ghost horse & hearse and the cemetery are original and amazing on their own, don’t miss them while you’re taking in all the other interactive and hilarious elements.  A feast for the senses, the Haunted Mansion’s queue invites you to touch, look, and listen to an amazing number of details, large and small.RM-Haunted-Mansion-Graveyard

Costumes – Some of the outfits Cast Members wear are less than memorable to me, but at the Mansion, they look great!  Also, those appropriately-attired hosts know how to play their part.  Sure, some are better than others, but overall, the Mansion’s “help” couldn’t be better!

Humor – This is not a haunted house to be feared.  Puns, sight-gags, and creepy charm abound.  These spooks are friendly and funny – from the stretching room portraits to the ghoulies in the cemetery at the end of the ride…the mix of fun and fright is pure genius.RM-Haunted-Mansion-Stretching-Room

Doom-buggy – What omnimover ride has a better vehicle?  None.  This shiny, black, rounded and oddly cozy capsule is the perfect transportation.  The ghost host (voiced by Paul Frees) speaks directly to you!  This makes the experience seem personalized and adds a special element to the fun.

Madam Leota – Leota in the crystal ball, Little Leota at the ride’s conclusion – I love all her forms!  (“Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween…Awaken the spirits with your tambourine!”).  She’s mysterious and beautiful and her voice is perfectly frightening!Haunted Mansion's Madame Leota

Wallpaper – Now available on Disney’s Dooney & Bourke handbags, the Mansion’s wallpaper is but one of the hundreds of tiny details that make every tour special.  I’ve ridden dozens of times and still, every time, I find some previously unnoticed element.  This alone is why I may ride several times in a single vacation and more than once or twice in a single day.  Glowing eyes, moving shadows, floating objects, ever-changing portraits, dancing, singing, partying spirits  – all if it amazing!RM-Haunted-Mansion-Bride-Constance

Constance – She’s weird and clearly insane!  Constance is the bride in the Mansion’s attic.  She’s been busy, our Constance, and proof of her misdeeds is all around you as you glide through her diabolical history.  If you’re fortunate and you look carefully, you can find her ring outside in the Mansion’s queue before you go inside.RM-Haunted-Mansion-Singing-Busts

Singing Busts – I LOVE these guys!  First of all, catchy tune!  They’re also fun to watch as you glide toward the attraction’s finale.  Lighthearted and well-crafted, the final scenes are clever and interesting.

Hurry Baaaaaaack……Hurry BAAAaaaaaaaack….Be sure to bring your death certificate if you decide to join us.  Make final arrangements now.  We’ve been dying to have you…”-Little Leota

What do YOU love most about Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion?RM-Haunted-Mansion-Shrinking-Room-Portrait