Disney Collectibles – Wall-E Bank

Finally the weekend has arrived!  I don’t know how your week went, but I hope it didn’t feel as looooong as mine did!  I’m planning to squeeze as much fun as possible into the next two days before Monday morning hits again.  I love my job, but it comes with a certain amount of stress, and during the year-end report season, no small amount of drudgery.  I suppose having one of those weeks is what prompted me to select this particular article for Saturday’s With Nick.  Are you a Wall-E fan?  Then you’re going to love this very special item from Nick’s collection….

Disney Collectibles – Wall-E Bank

By Nick

A few years ago, an unlikely hit, and one of my all time favorite movies was released by Pixar. That movie is Wall-E.
I have a few Wall-E items, and today I’d like to share this Disney Store exclusive bank.

This is a large bank, measuring 8″ high and 7″ wide.

Change slot on the back.

The stopper is in the bottom.

Wall-E is, at it’s heart, a movie about a blue collar worker, who carries a red lunchbox, and after a long day’s work just wants to come home to the woman he loves, enjoy his collections, and listen to a good show tune. Wall-E is essentially about me.

To read more about Nick’s amazing Disneyana collection and all his Disney adventures, visit the Disney Musings Blog and follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.  You can also listen to Nick, our friend Dave, and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about….well, I bet you can guess.

Headed to Walt Disney World in 2016 for the Princess Half Marathon? The Disney Exchange Podcast will be having a meet-up on Sunday, February 21st! Details will be available on The Disney Exchange’s Facebook Page and also on Twitter. We’d love to see you there!!!

Mitsukoshi in Epcot – Sake Tasting

Mitsukoshi-EntranceOur love for World Showcase is indescribable – The whole being so much greater than the sum of its parts.  One of the very best of those individual parts is and always has been the Japan pavilion’s Mitsukoshi Department Store.  More than a shop – it’s a destination on its own – worth making time for or planning in advance.  Spend some time in this fantastic building and tell me if you don’t agree – what cool merchandise!  Amazing sights, sounds, tastes!  Fabulous service – excellent Cast Members!  And sake tasting.  Did I mention the sake tasting?Japan-Epcot

Sake is an adult beverage.  Referred to as rice wine, sake is actually brewed more like beer, but has a unique flavor unlike anything else.  We like sake with sushi and other Asian dishes, but until recently knew only basic sake info and had no idea it came in so many different kinds.  We learned all about Sake in Mitsukoshi at the Sake Bar.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Bar-Cast-Member

Way in the back of the store is the coolest room devoted to Japanese food, snacks, candy, and beverages – including Sake.  I highly recommend a stop into this very impressive corner…in fact, here are five reasons you should give it a try…

Mitsukoshi in Epcot – Sake Tasting

Enjoy Delicious Sake – There are choices aplenty.  Raymond chose something dry.  I chose my sake strictly on the fact that it contained gold flakes.  It just seemed so exotic and decadent!  I couldn’t pass it up.

Learn Something New – We picked up quite a bit of information just listening to the couple next to us ask questions.  The patient and knowledgeable Japanese Cast Member knew her sake!  Basically, she explained this, but with gracious loveliness and flair.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Menu3

It’s Economical – Unlike most pubs or lounges, this walk-up counter does not accept gratuities.  The price you see is what you pay and for less than $10 per serving, the entire experience is worth the price.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Menu

It’s Fun and Relaxing – This is actually not the place to take a load off since you stand at the counter, but stopping for a few minutes to be adventurous felt very relaxing.  We meandered through Mitsukoshi making our way to the sake bar and back out to World Showcase again.  We spent about 30 minutes there and loved every minute.  What a welcome break from the crazy World Showcase crowds!Mitsukoshi-Sake-Selection

Shop!  Mitsukoshi has a staggering array of goods.  From the pick-a-pearl counter to the knives and swords, the clothing, jewelry, home goods, bonsai trees, tea sets, chop sticks…and so much more.  Want to know more?  Read all about it here.

Have you visited the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot?  What’s your favorite section? Did you know about the sake bar?  Is it something you’d try?

Has Disney Transportation Improved?

Magic-Kingdom-Boat-DockOur family has sort of a love/hate relationship with Disney transportation.  We love the convenience and we certainly appreciate not having to rent a car or go through the hassle of navigating ourselves around Walt Disney World on vacation.  We hate waiting more than 30 minutes for a bus and we still, after all these years, have a hard time estimating the time it will take to get from points A to B – especially when we’re trying to get from a park to Disney Springs, which takes quite a bit of strategizing at times.  We’ve also noticed quite a few monorail breakdowns and closures in recent years, which can be frustrating (especially if you’ve just finished a runDisney event, are freezing, and desperately trying to get to Bay Lake Tower!).

Braced for crazy crowds and slow transportation during the über-busy week between Christmas and New Year, we’d built extra travel time into our daily touring and dining plans to allow for longer waits for the sure-to-be-packed busses, boats, and monorails.Disney-Friendship-BoatTurns out, it was unnecessary.  Except for one morning when then monorail we’d intended to take from the Polynesian to Magic Kingdom was down due to a loss of power, Disney seemed to have upped their transportation game.Disney-Bus

At the resorts, extra Cast Members were on hand at bus stops to help guests find the right bus, answer questions and give estimated wait times (not all stops have new screens installed yet for this information).  We rarely waited more than 5 minutes for a bus throughout the week and the longest we waited for any transportation was when we took the boat from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot (but we had time & love this particular trip).Monorail-Red

We felt that Disney transportation was consistently better on this vacation than it had been for several years.  Was it due to the time of year we were there?  Were we simply lucky?  Is this a trend we can expect to continue?  We’ll have to wait and see, but after having my own complaints about Disney transportation and listening to the frequent criticisms of others, I thought I’d take the time to say that we were delighted with our most recent experience and look forward to our next visit in a few weeks.Disney-Boat-Transportation

Your turn – Have you visited Walt Disney World recently?  Was the transportation different than on previous visits?  Better? Worse? The same?  Are you someone who tries NOT to use Disney transportation at all?  Please share your transportation tips!

Defending Bambi, a Walt Disney Classic

Today’s article begs the question – What’s your favorite Disney movie (from your childhood) and why?  Mine is Mary Poppins and Nick’s is, well, a touchy subject….

Defending Bambi, a Walt Disney Classic

By Nick

Why am I writing an article defending my love of Bambi, a true Disney classic, and one of my favorite animated movies of all time? I’m asking myself that very question to be perfectly honest. I’m only too happy to do so, as it deserves praise, but I’m just shocked I have to.

If you’ve listened to Episode 11 of The Disney Exchange, (If you haven’t, you should, it’s great, but, really, they all are.) then please go ahead and do so, and then come on back here.

Back? Good, then you heard Dave and Lisa criticize my choice for favorite Disney film pre my birth year, Bambi.

Were you as surprised as me to hear it being described as “cheesy?”

I chose Bambi for a few reasons.

It was my first movie, or at least the first movie I remember clearly. I can picture very distinctly Bambi and Thumper’s banter, Bambi’s father telling him “Your mother can’t be with you anymore,”  the forest fire, and Bambi’s standing on a cliff with his father at the end. (Excuse me a moment, I need to compose myself. -sniff-)

Bambi is a very well balanced film of beauty and darkness, with happiness, sadness, laughter, and love.

It’s beautifully animated. In the early 90’s, I had the opportunity to work at an Animation Art Gallery in Philadelphia, Pa. I got to see some of the inspirational art by Tyrus Wong, as well as animation sketches and production work. I am, in fact, the proud owner of an animated sketch of Bambi, from the “twitterpated” sequence, and a Sericel of Thumper.

A lot of Tyrus’ work, along with many works from other animation legends can be found in the excellent book “Walt Disney’s Bambi, The Story and the Film” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt’s “Nine Old Men.”

Believe me, if I could afford it, I would have many more animated pieces from this wonderful movie.
I do have many collectibles around the home representing Bambi, however, such as several Walt Disney Classics Collection pieces.

What are your thoughts on Bambi? Please leave a comment telling why you enjoy it, or just tell Lisa and David they are wrong, either is fine.

This article was originally posted on The Disney Exchange, a blog and podcast which write and co-host with Lisa Green and David Hodges.


To read all about Nick’s Disney obsession, visit the Disney Musings Blog and follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.

Headed to Walt Disney World in 2016? The Disney Exchange Podcast will be having a meet-up in February during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Details will be available on The Disney Exchange’s Facebook Page and also on Twitter. We’d love to see you there!!!