Basil of Baker Street Ornament

I love Disney. I love Sherlock Holmes. So I was beside myself when I found The Great Mouse Detective animated movie! It didn’t get a lot of love at the box office but it is one of my all-time favorites.

Naturally when I was shopping recently at The Disney Store and came across this:


I just had to have it!

Here Basil and Dr. David Q. Dawson (Barrie Ingham and Val Bettin respectively) are looking over the list that Fidget dropped when robbing the toy store. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then watch the movie! It’s great!


Um, I think that papers blank!

In any case, Basil will get something from it anyway. The Disney Store is now selling a superior line of ornaments. The level of detail is magnificent! For an example, look at Dr. Dawson’s butt in the picture above. No, go ahead. He won’t mind! Notice the hole in his britches that allows his tail to protrude. They didn’t just glue the tail on the back of the pants, but made a hole!


basil-of-bakerstreet-ornament-004     basil-of-bakerstreet-ornament-005

This film is not known by many young Disney fans as it came out in 1986. It is significant for its use of computer animation to augment the traditional hand-drawn animation, such as in the clock tower scene. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then watch the movie! It’s great!


They’re still working on the clue

What is special about this line of merchandise is that they are featuring older and more obscure characters, like Basil and Robin Hood, among others. These are exclusive to The Disney Store so be sure to check them out!

I just hope Professor Ratigan (voiced by Vincent Price) doesn’t get there first and buy them all up so you can’t have any! Don’t know who I’m talking about? Then watch the movie! It’s great!

FUN FACT: Well, more of a theory really. I also visited The Hallmark Store to check out their ornaments for the 2016 season. But I noticed that there were very few Disney ornaments on display. Only two, in fact. And there were only about eight Disney ornaments available in all.

Is Disney pulling out of or curtailing the amount of ornaments released through Hallmark due to this new line of Disney Store ornaments? Or is it just too early for the full line to be released at Hallmark? Time will tell. And while you’re waiting, watch The Great Mouse Detective! It’s great!

Oh, and be sure to check out my Top Five List of the characters that should have a meet-and-greet in the Parks. Basil of Baker Street is on the list!

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Sleeping Tsum Tsum

When the little plush Tsum Tsum characters came out (Series One) they had both eyes open. Then Series Two had them with one eye winking. Now? We have presumably Series Three with the characters fast asleep:


Cute Meter broken!

My wife loves Eeyore and so I quickly pointed out the little gray ball of fur. But when she saw the little Dumbo, it became a two-fer purchase!


I wasn’t particularly stuck on these little gerbils when they first came out but they have grown on me. Maybe they’re like those prolific Tribbles from Star Trek? They suck you in and then you can’t have just one!

sleepy-tsum-tsum-002     sleepy-tsum-tsum-001

I think this is my favorite version so far. Now I just wonder what Disney could do with this merchandise line next: Eye patches? Eye glasses? Two x’s for eyes (but that would mean they were dead. Ick!)

Well, whatever Disney decides to do next, I’ll probably end up with at least one character from Series Four!


If you just love these little guys, be sure to check out my other posts with Mickey and Minnie and Starlord Tsum Tsum characters.

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Sepia Tone Big Al

Thank goodness for digital cameras and computer manipulation! Sometimes, especially in low light, my first digital camera would yield only fuzzy pictures. But often the subject matter was of a nature that I didn’t want to lose it.

So what could I do to salvage these shots? Convert full-color blurry into vintage Sepia tone!


“There was… sepia on the saddle!”

I just love this show, The Country Bear Jamboree (now only at Walt Disney World), and Big Al is my favorite character in the show! ‘Blood on the Saddle’ is a hilarious song that I usually end up singing all day after I hear it.

So this shot was one I just couldn’t throw away! Have you ever cheated and ‘saved’ a shot through computer manipulation?

For more Big Al fun, check out the posts entitled Disney Bear Plush and Plusher and Big Al Patch.

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Jungle Book ’67 vs. Jungle Book ’16

It’s a battle 49 years in the making but the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ has finally arrived! Today we are pitting the 1967 original animated film against its 2016 live-action remake. So we have classic animation vs. CGI and tried-and-true voice actors vs. today’s A-list talents.


Who will win? To find out we are going to pit these two films head-to-head in five categories. The one who wins the most categories will be the best. The original film will henceforth be referenced as JB-67 and the new movie as JB-16.


Although I don’t go into too much detail about the new film, I do mention certain plot points that may ruin things for you if you haven’t seen it yet. You are warned!



Random Tiger Attack vs. Shere Khan Murder Plot

baby-mowgli-67     baby-mowgli-16

Both movies stick pretty close to the same plot: Mowgli is abandoned in the jungle, he is raised by wolves, the tiger hates and fears him, his friends end up removing him from danger. Hi-jinks ensue between these events.

JB-67 keeps opens by having Mowgli lost in the jungle after a random tiger attack whereas JB-16 has Sher Khan killing Mowgli’s father and continuing his murderous vendetta against the son. Sher Khan simply hates man in JB-16 and his fear of fire isn’t really the driving force behind the villains actions, which helped to make the reasons for his actions realistic and understandable in the original. In fact, I felt his motivation was a bit unfocused which hurt the new film somewhat.

Also, Mowgli ends up leaving the jungle in JB-67 by going to the Man Village which doesn’t happen in JB-16. For this reason I think the original film had a more rewarding ending.

The winner of this category is JB-67 for delivering a satisfying movie with more heart.



Old Interpretation vs. New Interpretation

shere-khan-67     shere-khan-16

JB-67 definitely has a lighter tone than JB-16. It rolls along smoother with more fun and with much more engaging character development. Let’s take a look at the main characters one by one:

Shere Khan – You just can’t beat Sebastian Cabot’s voice work on this character! The tiger in the remake looks like it has the mange.

Bagheera and Baloo – Again the original voice actors did a marvelous job of bringing these characters to life, especially Phil Harris with Baloo! But Bill Murray gave a game performance and I’d have to say that no one else could have pulled the big bear off as well.

Kaa – Swapping genders for certain characters in remakes is all the rage now and I agree with it to add more diversity to the cast. But again, poor Scarlett Johansson had a big voice box to fill in replacing Sterling Holloway!

King Louie – Here Christopher Walkin just didn’t do it for me. Louis Prima knocked this character out of the park in the original. However, I have to say that having Louie be a rare giant orangutan was one of the highlights of the new film!

Most of the other support characters were fine in both films and we’ll cover Mowgli next. So obviously I’m going to award the win in this category to JB-67. The original voice talent was just too perfect for anyone to successfully replace them!



Bruce Reitherman vs. Neel Sethi

mowgli-67     mowgli-16

All through the remake I just couldn’t warm up to Neel Sethi as Mowgli. I’m not alone in feeling that the original movie was as close to perfection as a Disney movie gets and this was certainly in no small part due to the voice actors! Bruce Reitherman was able to imbue Mowgli with a greater range of wonder, courage, and fear.

I have to award another win to JB-67 for simply outclassing the new talent.



Original Versions vs. Remakes


The Sherman Brothers. What can you say? I was both glad and worried that the remake kept some of the iconic songs in the movie. Unfortunately it was my disquiet that won out as the new versions played. Because the songs were butchered! Sorry, but it has to be said.

I can’t even bear to talk about it so I’ll just give the win to JB-67 and move on.



Animation vs. Live-action/CGI Hybrid

Both movies are visually pleasing. The animation of JB-67 was basic but immersive while the live-action/CGI effects of JB-16 were done quite well, although some of the animals could have had more realistic movements.

But I think I can finally award a win to JB-16 here! Technology has indeed come a long way since 1967.


Winner: JB-67

I have to admit I am not surprised by the 4-1 outcome in favor of JB-67! I just didn’t have as great a connection with the remake as I did with the original. JB-16 tried hard but just didn’t quiet achieve the emotional level of JB-67.

Remakes are hard to pull off and I really believe, although it did good business and got fair reviews, JB-16 is not a worthy addition to the Disney canon. Do you agree? To see another battle between an animated original and a live-action remake, see my review of Pete’s Dragon.

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One More Disney Teapot

The other day I posted a Disney Teapot for One but today’s teapot can serve many more people. At least two or three!

But let’s start by showing you the back of the pot first:


Not very Disney, is it?

Not all Disney teapots have a familiar shape or obvious pattern. So to see the Disney side of this teapot, we need to turn it around to its front side:


Sledding fun!

This is what I call a ‘cheat’ product. Instead of designing something unique they have simply applied an image to an otherwise generic product.



Who puts a teapot in the microwave?

You know Fall is in the air and Winter looms over the horizon when I start posting items with snow on them! I’m not ready for the horrors of winter yet but at least Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto seem to be enjoying it!

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Disney Teapot For One

‘Tea for Two’ may make a great song, but this Disney teapot is even greater because it can make tea for one! And it is covered in Hidden Mickeys:


“Tea for one, and one for tea!”

These are really neat little teapots. They are a three-part product, if you don’t count the teapot lid.


Notice that both the handle on the cup and teapot are actually Mickey’s arms? And who can miss the ‘Hidden Mickey’ plate?


Hats off!

This item doesn’t have much in the way of markings. No company name or design line but just a very simple…


At least we know it is copyrighted

So the next time you are a ‘party of one’ and fancy a ‘spot of tea’, don’t wait for Mrs. Potts to show up! Just get out your ‘for one teapot’ and enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures!

For more tea fun please check out our previous post entitled UK Pavilion Merchandise. Spoiler Alert: There may be other teapots featured! And be sure to check out One More Disney Teapot here!

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Magical Blogorail: How We Know We’ve Arrived at Disney

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing How We Know We’ve Arrived at Disney.


Check In 1

Nothing says “You have arrived!” like seeing a giant sign with the name of a Disney resort on it. This is where you will be staying and from where all the Disney magic you experience will start from. From parking the car to checking in to finding your room, don’t rush the process!

I’m going to show you how you can make the check-in at your resort a truly magical way to start your Disney vacation. If you follow my suggestions, you will truly know that you have arrived at Disney! I will be using Disney’s Art of Animation Resort as our model, with one picture from Pop Century thrown in for good measure.

FIRST: Approach the Check-in Desk.

Check In 2

Here you will meet your first friendly Cast Member. Enjoy the smiles and get ready to see more of them! These wonderful people are there to make your stay a memorable one.

SECOND: Get Your Bearings.

Check In 3

These maps are handy to find your building but also to familiarize yourself with the entire property. You’ll want to find the pools, restaurants and food service locations, the bus stop, and the resort retail store.

THIRD: Find Your Home-Away-From-Home.

Check In 4          Check In 5

Check In 6          Check In 7

Check In Room

Squaring away your things before you set out to explore is always a good idea. You can also use the time to relax and freshen up after your long journey to Disney. Once you have put everything away, it’s time to…

FOUR: Explore Your Resort.

Check In 8     Check In 9

This is a great way to get your first taste of Disney magic and to take those vacation photos that everyone back home will be waiting to see. So take lots of shots and pose with everything in sight!

FIVE: Visit the Resort Store.

Check In 10

You will visit many retail locations during your visit. Some of these you will visit voluntarily while others will be thrust upon you. For example, after most big attractions you will exit into retail spaces and be jostled by some rabid shoppers and many others who just want to get out of there and hit the next ride! Visiting your resorts retail location will give you a chance to browse the merchandise at an unhurried pace.

In conclusion, the basic idea here is that checking into your on-site resort will whet your appetite for everything to come. Usually most of us arrive at the resort later in the day and after an exhausting drive or harried plane flight. Try to resist the urge to rush right off to a park. Instead, relax and enjoy your check-in  experience, for it truly is how you will know that you have arrived at Disney!

For more ways we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | How We Know We’ve “Arrived” at Disney Loop:

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Goofy Folk Art

We all love the artwork turned out by the Disney Studios and the many artists that are commissioned to render our favorite characters. But some of us are inspired to try to create pieces of our own.

This unknown artist created a silhouette out of plywood and painted one side. See if you can recognize the character from the back:


Obvious, if the title of this post didn’t give it away already!

So it’s Mickey’s faithful old friend, Goofy:


And he’s in a hurry to get nowhere!

This was on a wall in a mechanics garage for years. It was mostly buried behind odds and ends and parts when I glimpsed the familiar shape. My friend, who owns the garage, gave it to me knowing my love for Disney.

I’m not going to touch up the paint or repair it in any way. It will be hung on one of the walls in my new office/studio when it is completed.

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Disney Animators’ Collection Lilo Doll

I’ve been looking at this merchandise line for some time but haven’t found a character that I truly liked. The Kristoff doll from Frozen came close but I just hate that movie so much I couldn’t bring myself to buy him!

But before we go much further, what exactly is the Disney Animator’s Collection? From the back of the packaging: “Celebrating the heritage of Disney animation with the Disney animators’ collection, created under the guidance of Disney’s most renowned animators and designers, these young renditions of your favorite characters are brought to life with creativity and imagination.

But at a local Disney Store I finally found the one character that I think looks the best with this treatment:


This doll was designed by Byron Howard who worked on Pocahontas, Mulan, Brother Bear, and of course, Lilo & Stitch.

animators-collection-lilo-004               animators-collection-lilo-006

The packaging for this merchandise line is quite good. The character studies around the box are nice and the information on the back fully explains the intent of the product.


These dolls all have the same body with legs that will bend at the hips for a sitting position, arms that pivot at the shoulders, and a head that turns. The only thing different between the dolls is the head sculpt, hair, and costuming.

animators-collection-lilo-008  animators-collection-lilo-009  animators-collection-lilo-010

Lilo’s flip-flops come off as does her satchel. Her homemade dolly Scrump can be carried in the satchel or put on her wrist using a strap attached to the back. Of all the dolls in this series, I think the expression on Lilo’s face best represents the character.

The Disney Animators’ Collection line sells for $24.95 US or $26.95 CAN. This line has been available for some time and I don’t think it’s doing too well. There is always a good selection available at The Disney Store whenever I go which tells me they aren’t flying off the shelves!

FUN FACT: I noticed another doll for sale at The Disney Store which was from the up-coming animated feature Moana. The doll may have been a child version of the main female character herself, Moana. The interesting thing was that the body of the doll was identical to the ones used for the Disney Animators’ Collection line and the packaging was identical in shape but with different graphics.

So why didn’t Disney just release this doll as part of the Animators’ line?

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Monorail Gray Coming and Going

Millions of pictures are taken of the Disney monorails in any given year (don’t quote me on that, I could be out by a thousand or so). It represents a unique form of transportation within Walt Disney World that many see for the first time upon visiting.

But usually in blog posts like this you’ll see glamor shots: Monorails pictured against majestic backdrops. So naturally I’m not going to show you those kinds of shots! Instead, I’d like to give you a day-in-the-life of Monorail Gray as it traverses the concrete beam just outside The Magic Kingdom:


OK, this is kind of glamorous…

Here we see Monorail Gray leaving The Magic Kingdom terminal on its way to the first stop on the loop: The Contemporary Resort:


Coming or going?

Actually this shot is deceiving. Monorail Gray is actually arriving at The Contemporary Resort and is parked to allow passengers to embark and disembark before leaving for The Ticket and Transportation Center.


On its way!

The above shot gives a unique look at the monorail and how it ‘mounts’ the beam. The shot below shows the double beam layout which allows for two monorails to travel the same loop in different directions.


Over the water

To get the above shot I was in a water taxi heading for The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The monorail would have been heading for its next stop at The Polynesian Resort.


Look up!

I’m not sure if it’s polite to look up at a time like this but I not only looked up but I snapped this picture. While not a beautiful shot is does show some of the mechanism of Monorail Gray that most Disney guests would never get to see.

I geek out over monorails and could spend an entire trip to Walt Disney World just riding and photographing this wonderful form of transportation. I wish Walt Disney’s dream of having one of these in every American city would just come true already!

Don’t you?

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