Memento Mori: Ghostly Shopping in Magic Kingdom

Happy Halloween!  It’s the perfect day for this particular installment of Saturdays With Nick.  Spooky shopping!!!  If you’ve not had the pleasure, next time you visit Walt Disney World, save a few minutes and some souvenir money for Memento Mori.  Personally, I think this is one of the very best attraction-related shopping experiences to be found in a Disney park!  I’ll let Nick fill you in on the details…

Memento Mori: Ghostly Shopping in Magic Kingdom

By Nick

A new shop, (or is it an old residence?) mysteriously appeared a few months ago in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, at the exit of the Haunted Mansion.

Memento Mori was the home of Madame Leota, until her disappearance, and, I suppose, partial reappearance within the Haunted Mansion. Her portrait can be found inside.

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, Memento Mori means “a reminder of mortality.” Google  provides a definition that is even more appropriate; “an object serving as a warning or reminder of death,” and the Memento Mori shop is happy to provide such reminders of the iconic ride it is located beside.

There are a lot of items in here that appeals to fans of the HM, and you can go a little nuts. Indeed, if  we had more space in the house, I’d have walked out with much more than just the one item I did leave with. I could easily see having a room dedicated to some of this fanatasmagorical merchandise.

Think of a merchandise category, and there is a really good chance you’ll find it here. Clothes? Obviously. Shoes? Check. Make-up? Wait, what? Yes. Haunted Mansion Make-up kits from the Beautifully Disney line!

Want to redo the kitchen in Early American spooky? Yes, you can do that also. Dish Towel sets are $19.95, coaster sets are $24.95.

We were very interested in the dinner plates, but had breakage concerns. The round plates are $26.95.

There is a lot to see here, and you may stay so long you actually build up an appetite. If you are hungry for Haunted Mansion food, popcorn and cotton candy are readily available.

Want chocolate? They have chocolate in the form of bats, for $4.95.

There are many t-shirts and even collared shirts to choose from.

The Gracey Family Reunion shirt is $24.95.

This shirt of the Ghost Host himself, which is $ 36.95, changes, transforming into a skeleton…

…like the portraits below.

A version of this can be had on a postcard as well.

Looking for the perfect Haunted accessory to go with your clothes?

How about a protective case for your smart phone?

There are action figures for boys, and even something for your little girl. Perhaps she’ll like a Haunted Bride doll for $21.95?

Holidays aren’t forgotten, as there a couple of different ornament sets to be had.

There are higher end collectibles and home decor items, such as the Haunted Mansion wall hanging for $100.

This replica of the Haunted Mansion sign can hang in your home for $95.

Plenty of less expensive souvenirs can be found as well, such as key chains, notepad and magnet sets, and antenna toppers, which are 2 for $8.

You can even take home an 8×10 ghostly image of yourself or a loved one for $19.95 plus tax.

Step behind the curtain for your own piece of “Spirit Photography.”

I had read online that there is a limit to how many items a guest could purchase at one time, and indeed there was this sign hanging under one of the displays:

When I asked a Cast Member why guests would be limited to 6 items, unless otherwise specified, I was told it was because people would buy items in bulk, and sell them on eBay!

We did buy one item, the throw pictured below, for $59.95.

As you can see, Disney has found yet another ingenious way to separate me and my money.
“Hurry back, hurry back,” indeed!

For more great reviews, trip reports and all manner of Disney delights, follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Late Arrival Plans

RM-Asia-Sign-Animal-KingdomFirst a disclaimer:  This post should in no way be taken as an implication that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is anything less than a full-day park.  In emergency situations, when an entire day cannot be spared to enjoy what is most assuredly a park that can (and should) be enjoyed from open to close, the following plans may help you decide what to do.  Again – Disney’s Animal Kingdom is NOT a half-day park!

This week the FastPass+ window opened for our December Walt Disney World vacation.  Raymond and I are taking a little us-time after Christmas – we need it!  Having made our dining reservations months ago, I tried to work our park plans conveniently into and around our dining plans.  Since our arrival day will wrap up with dinner at Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’d be convenient to spend the afternoon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – just a short bus ride away from the Lodge.RM-Russell-Animal-Kingdom

The difficulty is that we LOVE Animal Kingdom (the park) and are diehard rope-drop fans.  There’s nothing like arriving early and seeing and doing as much as possible before the crowds grow and the heat of the day makes the animals a little less active.  On the day in question, we won’t be arriving until around 2:00 pm and will have to squeeze in as much action as we possibly can in roughly four hours.cropped-RM-Expedition-Everest.jpg

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Late Arrival Plans

We’ll hit the entrance running for Asia and Expedition Everest to make it to the Forbidden Mountain before our FastPasses expire at 2:35.  Next we’ll hightail it over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek where we’ll have about 30 minutes to check out the incredible exhibits there.  Details along the Maharajah Jungle TrekAt 3:30, we’ll plan to arrive at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – an absolute must do for us!RM-Pangani-Forest

Our next FastPass, for Kilimanjaro Safaris, will be available from 3:25-4:25.  Once we return from Safari (on which I will take another 1000 pictures, as usual), we’ll have a few minutes to spare before our Festival of the Lion King FastPasses kick in.  Rhino on Kilimanjaro SafariDuring that time, we’ll try to grab a cocktail at the Dawa Bar and pause in our frantic explorations to take in the indescribably detailed theming and relax for a few minutes.  Once we’ve seen the Festival, it’ll unfortunately be time to go.RM-New-Tree-of-Life-Roots

Yes, we will have bypassed all of Dinoland U.S.A., will have missed Discovery Island, Kali River Rapids (I’m okay with not riding this in the winter), Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Finding Nemo the Musical and MANY of the best and most amazing details and exhibits.  We have to prioritize – boil our love of this incredible Disney park down to a few hours of our most favorite experiences.  We have a couple of free mornings later in our trip – we’ll rope-drop Animal Kingdom on one of those days to make up for what we’re missing on day one.

What would YOU do with four hours in Animal Kingdom? 

Halloween Party – Disney Style

RM-Disney-Halloween-Decorations3I love Halloween!  – The decorations, the spooky vibe, the fall-ish-ness of pumpkins and falling leaves, the Disney touches…if you’ve been hanging out here with me for a while…heck! even if you’re new here, clearly “Living a Disney Life” hints at what you can expect from me!  Especially at Halloween!

The difficult part of this season for me is that we live pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  In the 10 years we’ve lived in our house, we’ve had literally a total of three trick-or-treaters.  RM-Halloween-Front-DoorIf you want candy from my house, you have to drive here specifically.  While I grew up walking door to door on Halloween in our huge subdivision, gathering up ridiculous amounts of sweets, we had to drive our children trick-or-treating over about 10 square miles to hit the homes of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and best friends.RM-Disney-Halloween-Mickey-O-LanternRM-Halloween-Decorations-Foyer

I love holiday decorating – doesn’t matter much what holiday, you can bet I’m going all out with the decorations.  It might be an obsession, but that’s the way it is.  This year I decided to throw a small costume party for The Fam and a few of our friends.  Maybe I wanted an excuse to dress up, maybe I wanted an excuse to see my children, maybe I just wanted to show off my super-awesome-amazing decorations (no room went unadorned).  Who cares?  Party!!!RM-Halloween-Party-Invitation

Halloween Party – Disney Style

We picked a date, ordered the invitations, assembled the guest list and got busy with the party prep!  RM-Halloween-Decorations-Spider-Web RM-Halloween-Decorations-Powder-Room RM-Halloween-Decorations-Piano RM-Halloween-Decorations-Library RM-Halloween-Decorations-Greeters RM-Halloween-Decorations-Dining-Room2 RM-Halloween-Decorations-Dining-Room RM-Halloween-Decorations-Bowl-of-SkullsRaymond and I decided we’d go as Cruella (I had fun with the makeup!) and Jasper while Junior chose Captain America.  Joseph and I cooked all afternoon & by 7:00 pm, we were all set (He and his girlfriend, Lyndsey are the cute Jurassic World couple in the party pics, Megan’s the adorable Princess Leia).RM-CruellaRM-Halloween-Costumes-Cruella-and-Jasper RM-Halloween-Costume-Captain-America

What a great time we had!  Rain prevented us from making the party indoor/outdoor, but there was plenty of food, music, and games.  I love it when people embrace the spirit of a gathering and there was no shortage of creative, creepy, and elaborate costumes!  I can only hope that everyone had as much fun as we did!


I’ll leave you with some party highlights – SO many great costumes!!!  It was like having a house full of celebrities and deranged monsters!  Happy Halloween, Everyone! RM-Halloween-Costumes-Steampunk RM-Halloween-Costumes-ScaryRM-Halloween-Costumes-Jurassic-World2 RM-Halloween-Costumes-Katy-and-Left-Shark RM-Halloween-Costumes-Jack&Coke RM-Halloween-Costume-Princess-Leia RM-Halloween-Costume-Pope RM-Halloween-Costume-Horror RM-Halloween-Costume-Fred-Flintstone

Disney Rich, Cash Poor and Proud

Grand Cayman ExcursionIt feels incredible to know that we’ve been doing it right!  Well, some of it, anyway.  While we don’t claim to be the best parents ever (there were a few bumps in the road and, just between you and me, we are probably not the parents to come to for potty training advice), it’s nice to know that mixed in with our well-intentioned but certainly not perfect child-rearing decisions, we did one thing right!  We spend all our extra (and occasionally a little more) money on travel.

Disney Rich, Cash Poor and Proud

What makes us right?  Science!  Recent studies have revealed that spending money on experiences is more meaningful than buying expensive or fancy material items.  Most recently, this article caught my eye.  And it got me thinking about our vacations…DSCN3080

In all fairness, it was not all Disney travel.  There was an ill-fated (for me) ski vacation to Park City, short trips to places in nearby states (Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma) that were certainly fun, and wonderful visits to see family in Missouri and Illinois.  During the lean years, we spent many of our summer vacations on the “Red Neck Riviera” (Alabama’s Gulf Coast).  All of those places were great!  By far though, our most amazing vacations were (and still are) Disney ones.RM-Maharajah-Jungle-Stop

Raymond and I honeymooned at Disney World and sailed on the Big Red Boat (precursor to Disney Cruise Line).  Then we were parents with extremely limited vacation resources.  As time passed, we made the conscious decision to spend less on “things” and more on vacations.  The more we saw and did, the more we wanted to see and do!  Disney World became our favorite destination followed quickly by Disney cruises that would carry us as far and wide as we could possibly afford to travel.DSCN2852

So what if we drive our vehicles for 10 years or more?  That outdoor kitchen I’ve been dreaming about can wait a little longer.  Would I like a new washer and dryer? Oh, you bet I would!  But that will have to wait until we can no longer repair what we have.  We need our Disney vacation fixes and the memories they provide – long after the vacation is over.  I suppose the telltale truth in all of this is now that our children are adults, they tell us how much they’re looking forward to traveling with their own children someday.  DSCN3249They now appreciate that while they may have been jealous of their friends’ swimming pools, game systems, and trampolines, those same friends may not have dined with Mickey Mouse, zip-lined in Alaska, kayaked in Norway, or saw Michelangelo’s David in Italy…all things we did on Disney vacations.  Some of these trips took years of planning and saving to achieve, but every sacrifice was worth it!IMG_2025

We’ve taken some flack through the years for how much we spend on travel.  (Let’s not even start on the “You’re going to Disney World AGAIN?” comments.)  At the same time, not a single person ever criticized us for not buying our children the latest video game or most expensive sports equipment.  I’m not saying we are perfect parents or that anyone else is wrong for buying their kids whatever makes them happy – I’m just thrilled that in rearing our children, we got one thing right.  We showed them as much of the world as we possibly could, gave them tons of happy family memories, and wouldn’t trade a single moment.IMG_0263

What vacations have been your family’s favorites?  Where are you planning to visit next?