Winnie the Pooh Bank – Flea Market Treasure

Happy Saturday, Everyone!  This week Nick brings us another envy-inducing piece from his amazing Disneyana collection.  I love this particular item because it reminds me of the first time I ever rode the Magic Kingdom’s Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  I also love it because it’s perfect and super adorable.  I want one!  Enjoy….

Winnie the Pooh Bank – Flea Market Treasure

We got this great little ceramic Winnie the Pooh bank at the flea market in 2013.

We were drawn to it, like a bear to honey. (Get it? Bear to…moving on.)

Walt Disney Productions is marked on the bottom, which means it was produced before February of 1986.

The gentleman selling it was asking $5. While we really liked it, we felt $5 was high, because it’s missing its stopper and had some chips. I offered $3. As expected, he countered with $4. I was just turning Barbie to ask if she had any single dollar bills, when, to my surprise, the man said, “Okay, 3!” Maybe he assumed we were discussing the price, and were about to walk away? I don’t know, but what I do know is we got a great little bank without breaking the bank.

You can find Nick discussing any and all things Disney in these places:

You can listen to Nick (and Dave and me) talking Disney on The Disney Exchange Podcast.

Why You Must See Festival of Fantasy

Dale in Festival of Fantasy ParadeIf you’ve seen plenty of parades in the past, particularly if you’ve seen the 3-O’Clock parade in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, it might be tempting to skip it on your next visit.  How many characters-on-parade must one endure in the blazing hot Florida sun?  They’re all the same, right?  Classic characters smiling and waving to the sweaty masses.  It’d be a much better use of a steamy, sweltering afternoon to relax back at your resort – preferable poolside, am I right?  I hear you!  Anddddddd…you’re 100% wrong!  If you’ve not seen the parade’s latest version (new in 2014), listen to me…please!

Why You Must See Festival of Fantasy …Festival of Fantasy Parade

1.  This ain’t your parents’ parade!  Everything from the music to the float design, character costumes, and supporting cast is fresh, exciting and amazingly cutting-edge.  IMG_4088This is no ordinary parade – from the ground to the towering tops of each float, this spectacular attraction is a feast for the eyes (and ears)!  I’ve seen Festival of Fantasy several times now and always notice something new with each viewing.Festival of Fantasy Parade Ostrich

2.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Yes, kids love seeing the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Anna and Elsa, Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Tiana, and their princes.  They are fantastic.  But wait!  There’s more!Festival of Fantasy Parade FrozenDSCN3397Festival of Fantasy Parade Pinocchio

3.  Oh, the memories!  Characters from Fantasia, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid – my lifetime of Disney-movie-love is all wrapped up in this parade!RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Coral RM-FF-FantasiaThat’s what makes it such a must-do for me – the unusual, oft overlooked characters that I get to see in splendid detail.  If I’m lucky, they’ll even wave or pose for a picture!RM-FF-Hippo

4.  It’s more than the headliners that pack a punch.  Peter Pan’s Lost Boys are there!  Fantastic, magical sea creatures float along with Ariel.  Merida on giant bagpipes, RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Ariel2 RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-ShellRM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Brave-FloatRM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Scottish-DancersAlice, the White Rabbit, Jiminy Cricket, the colors, the motion, the tiny Disney details – Best Parade EVER!  Characters from Tangled are especially entertaining – as is the Snuggly Duckling float.  See Flynn Rider smolder!RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Mime-From-TangledRM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Snuggly-Duckling

5.  Okay, YES!  It’s the Steampunk Dragon!!!  Seriously – even if you loathe, detest, and despise parades, this one’s worth watching if for no other reason than there’s a giant FIRE BREATHING DRAGON!  And this mechanical wonder is beyond amazing!  RM-FF-Dragon-Knee RM-FF-Maleficent-Dragon RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Maleficent-DragonFrom her toes to knee caps, to her glorious tail and beautiful face – Maleficent in her magnificent dragon form is seriously breathtaking.  Even her entourage is cool.Festival of Fantasy Parade Bird

Promise me – if you haven’t see the Festival of Fantasy Parade yet, you won’t miss it!

If you’ve seen this incredible, sensational spectacle, what were your favorite parade moments?  Recommendations for first-timers?

At Disney World – Do NOT be THAT Mom!

Vacations cause stress.  Seems in direct opposition to what’s actually supposed to occur when you have time off from work and school to escape for some fun and relaxation, but there you have it.  There are a lot of moving parts to a vacation – a lot can go wrong…and therein lies the problem.  In theory, we’re supposed to be happy, carefree, and fully enjoying the experience purchased by our investment of time and hard-earned money.  HA!  Right.  If you’re a mom, that’s a nice thought, but virtually impossible to pull off.  Why?  Why do we make this so hard on ourselves?  Why do we make it even worse by going on vacation and letting things get to us and make us less than our best (to put it nicely).  Not that I’d know from experience or anything.IMG_2475

If you’ve ever had an episode on vacation, ever lost your cool, ever blown up or melted down, ever wished you’d just stayed home where you could be your own worst enemy in the peace (and privacy) of your own home, this post is for you!  These tips may or may not be derived from my own experience as a mom – I can neither confirm nor deny any allegations.LADL Computer pic

You can’t do it all.  You can try, but you’ll be exhausted for vacation.  Even if doing for others brings you immense gratification, you can not do it all on your own.  Here’s one idea:  Make a packing list and distribute it to everyone in the family.  Let each person pack their own suitcase to the extent their age allows.  My kids started packing on their own as soon as they could read the list – they’d bring everything to a central location and we’d check off everything as it went in the suitcase.  As they got older, less double checking was required.  By high school, they were self-sufficient vacation preppers.  I still make the list, but I only ever have to worry about packing my own suitcase.FastPass+ Mailer Envelope

Sweat some of the small stuff.  It would be ridiculous for me to suggest you go cold turkey on sweating all the small stuff.  It’s what we moms do!  You’ll be worried about a million tiny details.  It’s important to take some time to prioritize what’s really important among those tiny details and focus on just a few bits of minutiae.  Let the rest go!  I’ve cautioned a million times the perils of over-planning.  Please, I’m begging you – don’t worry about things you cannot control, like the weather, ride breakdowns, character fears, and picky eaters.  Focus on being ready to go with the flow, having a flexible schedule, and not allowing unexpected obstacles like meltdowns, rain, or longer-than-expected lines keep you from enjoying all the wonderful, magical details that Disney vacations have to offer.Dad checks his watch at the Grand Floridian

Enlist help.  Shared responsibility means shared control.  Do your best to embrace this as much as you can.  We control freaks super organized vacation planners like to do things our own way.  We pretend we’re flexible, but secretly know that if we want something done right, we have to do it ourselves.  This is a lonely existence during vacation prep – loosen up a little!  Get input on dining, FastPass selections, character meet-and-greet choices, etc.  Best of all – let someone else take over some of the vacation planning completely.  I know, it’s scary to think about, but do your best.Disney-Travel-Suitcase

Use Pinterest sparingly.  You’ll never be able to pull off all those fantastic Disney vacation preparation ideas.  The fancy DIY countdown calendars, tie-died Mickey shirts, picture frames, character autograph ideas, photo suggestions, Disney-bounding outfits, and so much more!  Narrow down those hundreds of amazing choices to a couple of things to try that are within your abilities and budget.  Then stop looking.IMG_2157

Remember whose vacation it is.  If you want it to be all about you, go on vacation alone.  If you take your children with you, the term “family vacation” applies and that means you need to let them feel like they have choices, time to burn off steam, at least a little time to do what they want to do (not what you think they should be doing).  There’s no vacation from parenting when your children are with you.  We actually got mad at Megan when she was five for wanting to leave Magic Kingdom and go back to our resort to go swimming – not our finest moment as parents.  She was hot, rarely got to swim, and sincerely thought the pool was more fun than rides and attractions.  It was her vacation too.  We still feel bad about how we reacted.Disney Character Autographs - Mickey

I’ve seen moms at Disney World yell, scream, taunt, berate, and even cry.  Please, please, for the sake of your family’s vacation happiness (and memories) do NOT be THAT mom!

Have you had a bad mom moment on a Disney vacation?  Tell me about it…we’re all friends here.


Teeny Tiny Ant-Man Review

Ant-Man-Ticket-StubsDon’t worry – This review is spoiler-free!

After my initial reluctance to embrace some of the Marvel movie premises/characters (Guardians, for example), I’ve seen the error of my ways!  I now look forward to, and embrace, any and all installments in Disney’s Marvel Universe.  Sure, I love some movies more than others, but I did at least like them all and found each of them entertaining in their own way.  Ant-Man was SO far removed from anything that sounded interesting to me, the “Marvel” was what had me running for the theater.

Teeny Tiny Ant-Man Review (see what I did there?)

What a great movie!  Wonderfully entertaining with so many Easter eggs, I was on the edge of my seat trying my best not to miss a single one.  I adored seeing Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym) in a great role being his very best (still sexy) self.  Paul Rudd (as Scott Lang/Ant-Man) was completely endearing.  If you’ve ever faced a situation in life that terrified you but at the same time you knew that if you didn’t overcome those fears and do what must be done, you’d never be able to look yourself in the eye, you’ll love this movie.  I was especially charmed by Paul’s facial expressions throughout the film, which often said so much more than the dialogue.Ant-Man Sign

The casting in this movie was especially well done.  GREAT villain (Corey Stall as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), wonderfully strong main female characters (specifically Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne and Abby Rider Fortson as Cassie Lang), a supporting cast that was key to the film’s success (goofballs Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, and T.I.).  Yes, it was definitely, unmistakably a Disney Marvel film, but the unique features, the pacing, the insects and special effects made this show a standout on its own.Ant-Man-Pic

I was prepared to have some negative commentary on how the Fire Ants (a.k.a. Red Ants, here in Louisiana) were depicted, but they were portrayed very accurately, based on my unfortunate familiarity with them.

See this movie!  Ant-Man is such a fantastically relatable human being, this Superhero film will hit you close to home.

Have you already seen Ant-Man?  What did you think about it?