Disney Keychains: Donald Duck by Amercep

With collecting it’s rarely about the value of the item. Most collectors prize unique or rare pieces more than one that simply demands a high price on the open market. Keychains mostly fall into this designation.

So when I found the Donald Duck keychain featured in this post, value wasn’t an issue (it cost me all of $3.00) but rather that it was still attached to the original packaging:

keychains package front

Love the Castle stencil in behind!

I think I can speak for all collectors when I say that it’s the little details that endear an item to us. In this case, it was definitely the Disney Castle stencil in back of Donald that attracted me, and not the keychain itself.

keychains packaging back

AMERCEP Auto Impressions Inc.

As usual we have a company based in California having the product manufactured in China but packaged in the U.S.A. so they can claim some tie to American industry.

keychains side view

He’s “got no strings”, but a really big chain!

Again, the only reason I bought this keychain was because it was still on its original card. This is called MOC (Mint on Card). Most collectibles are more valuable when in their original packaging, or in the case of larger display figurines, if the original box and paperwork are still with the piece.

This collectible is not mint (likely ‘Poor’ due to the card, although keychain would be ‘Mint’). Mint condition is an expression used in the description of pre-owned goods. Originally, the phrase related to the way collectors described the condition of coins. As the name given to a coin factory is a “mint”, then mint condition is the condition a coin is in when it leaves the mint. Makes sense!

The term mint condition came to be used to describe a variety of collectible items. Abbreviations include:

  • NRFB – Never removed from box
  • MIB – Mint in box
  • MIP – Mint in package
  • MOC – Mint on card (For accessories sold attached to a card)

But again, although I will be leaving Donald in his plastic prison, it won’t increase the poor little guys value!

For more keychains, please check out this link featuring 24 examples all collected together into one big package depicting most of Pixar’s popular characters.

Magical Blogorail: Family Adventure – Winter Travel

Winter is a great time to travel some place warm, but what if the budget doesn’t allow for that? Then it’s time for a day trip! And who better to help us plan such trips than the Beatles, the original Day Trippers!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring fun you and your family can have this winter. Lots of fun can be found locally!


Travel car trip

John Lennon and Paul Mccartney wrote a great song about day trips. Okay, it mainly had something to do with a girl who teased love but didn’t deliver, or possibly it had some other meaning? But for the purpose of this article, I’m going with the title of the song at face value!

So let’s go through the lyrics line by line to see what we can learn about making day trips a successful vacation alternative:

Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out
Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out now

EASE OF PLANNING – How long did it take you to plan your last full-on vacation? Months? And was it a pleasant experience? Probably not as pleasant as the vacation itself! So the first reason to take day trips is just how easy they are to plan.

Travel Google

Pick a place within a two-hour drive radius of your home… and go! It really is the easy way out of town.

She was a day tripper
One way ticket, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

LENGTH OF TIME – The beauty of a day trip is the duration. It is by nature very short and thus manageable for even the youngest member of the family.

And if it turns out not to be what you thought it might be? Go home! You won’t have lost much, just a day.

She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there
She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there, now

SURPRISE FACTOR – Day trips are a great way to spring a special day on your family. Being as the experience is local, no one will need to pack or prepare. So you can easily load everyone into the mini-van without having to divulge the ultimate destination.

Travel surprise

Of course, your family may pry the secret out of you, you big teaser, before you’re half the way there!

Tried to please her
She only played one night stands
Tried to please her
She only played one night stands, now

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE – Maybe you’ve taken a vacation that didn’t please at least one member of your family. This can be disappointing, especially if one member always feels that their interests are never served!

With a day trip, you could forgo the surprise element and let each member of your family pick a destination or activity. Yes, with day trips, it really is easy to please them all!

She was a day tripper
Sunday driver, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

MAGICAL MEMORIES – Instead of just one big experience to remember each year, with day trips you can have many magical memories to add to your family’s scrap books.

I’m sure if you plan a few day trips yourself, you’ll find out just how fun they can be!

Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah

I say ‘Day Trip’ you say ‘Yeah‘!

If you’re in the Michigan region, you may want to visit The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, or perhaps take the Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour. Click the links for my reviews!

For more winter travel ideas, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our

Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Winter Travel

Weeki Wachee Springs: Embarrassing Photo Op

The official website has this to say about the history of Weeki Wachee Springs: “If you thought mermaids were just the lively imaginings of lonely sailors, think again — and come to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, the City of Live Mermaids, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Located about an hour north of Tampa at the crossroads of U.S. 19 and State Road 50, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is more than just a mark on a road map. Weeki Wachee is an enchanted spring — the only one of its kind in the world — and one of Florida’s oldest and most unique roadside attractions. For 70 years, the fun, family oriented park has lured in visitors with beautiful mermaids who swim in the cool, clear spring waters. Weeki Wachee Springs is a magical entrance into a mysterious blue underwater world of mermaids, manatees, turtles and bubbles. Sitting in the Mermaid Theater, visitors feel like they are inside the flowing spring, and are transported back to simpler times, before super theme parks and super highways appeared. So come to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and see a splendid side of Florida lore, where dreams really do come true.”

And if you’re not easily embarrassed, here is just one of the photo ops awaiting you:

Weeki Wachee Springs Photo Op

That’s not me. Okay, it’s me. On the right!

Don’t King Triton and his mermaid bride look just divine?

This State park is beautiful to say the least and as such offers many great locations for family photos. So if you’re looking for a nice place to go, and you live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, why not make it a day trip?

And speaking of day trips, be sure to check out a post on the Magical Blogorail filled with suggestions of where to go for some fun this winter. I’ll see you there!

Zootopia Figurines Set: Kevin and Mr. Big

Zootopia was a huge success for the Disney animation studios and with good reason. It was amazing! And as is the case with most Disney films, it wasn’t just the main characters that stood out.

Zootopia Duo

So small, Mr. Big is hard to keep in focus!

Zootopia was released in 2016 as a computer-animated comedy-adventure film. It’s the 55th Disney animated feature film. It details the unlikely partnership between a rabbit police officer (Judy Hopps) and a red fox  con artist (Nick Wilde) as they uncover a conspiracy which involves the disappearance of predator inhabitants of a mammalian metropolis named Zootopia.

And somewhere in the investigation, they get mixed up with this guy:

Zootopia Mr. Big alone

Small body. Big personality.

Of course, every big boss has an equally big henchman. And that’s where Kevin comes in!

Zootopia Packaging FZootopia Packaging B

Yup. Kevin is a BIG henchbear!

Zootopia backsides of evil

Zootopia grossed $341.3 million in the U.S. and Canada and $682.5 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $1.024 billion, against a budget of $150 million. It became the second biggest surprise hit of the year. And if Disney knows what’s good for them, they’d better make sure Mr. Big gets his cut! You can read my review of the movie by clicking the link.

For more of Mr. Big, and to ensure that I don’t ‘disappear’, please check out my previous attempt at groveling before the Big Boss and read Mr. Big Plush. Please.

Jim Shore Collectible Winnie the Pooh Egg

Winnie the Pooh is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear created by English author A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh from 1926 but it was followed by many others. The original look of the characters was designed and illustrated by E. H. Shepard. But as you will see, Jim Shore has given his take on the character of the silly old bear with this Pooh Egg:

Pooh Egg Front

There must be hunny!

Jim Shore’s official website has this to say about his unique artistic style: “Jim Shore grew up in rural South Carolina, the son of artistic parents who instilled a love of the traditional imagery of American folk art. His grandmother was a master quilter who taught him an appreciation for the patience and skill required to bring intricate designs to life. Jim drew inspiration from these roots.

Pooh Egg RSPooh Egg LS

His figurines have a chiseled look to them. They are then covered in somewhat random folk art patterns.

Pooh Egg Back

Definitely a Pooh Egg shape!

Shore has tackled most of the biggest Disney characters but has also done many other franchises as well. Warner Brothers and Peanuts along with Hanna Barbera, to name but a few.

Pooh Egg Bottom

A large part of Jim’s popularity is based on his successful partnership with Disney. Again, his official website has this to say about this arrangement: “Jim’s unique design style applied to iconic Disney characters has made Disney Traditions by Jim Shore one of the most successful co-branded lines in the gift and home decor industry. “”I’m extremely proud of my association with Disney,”” Jim says of the relationship. “”I can’t think of a more important name in American popular culture, it’s a privilege to be linked with that kind of tradition.”” Disney Traditions by Jim Shore has sold more than $100 million at retail and can be found at Disney parks and fine retailers throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

And he just sold another one to a Canadian in rural Ontario.

Mission Marvel Perry the Platypus Plush

Being a grown and reasonably mature male in mid-life I don’t get the chance to watch a lot of Saturday morning cartoons. Not as many as I’d like anyway! And Phineas and Ferb wouldn’t really catch my interest except for the character that I am featuring here, in plush:

plush MM Perry frontplush MM Perry back

Perry the Platypus

Phineas and Ferb is an American animated musical comedy television series that officially premiered on February 1, 2008 on Disney Channel.  Every day, the boys embark on some grand new project, which annoys their controlling sister, Candace, who frequently tries to reveal their shenanigans to her mother. The series follows a standard plot system; running gags occur every episode, but the b-plot is where my attention is always focused!

plush Agent P

Perry the Platypus works as a spy (“Agent P”) for OWCA (the Organization Without a Cool Acronym), to defeat the latest scheme of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a mad scientist driven largely by a need to assert his evilness. Wuh-ha-hah!

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel was a cross-over episode that featured characters from Marvel Entertainment, specifically in their incarnations from the Marvel Universe shows on Disney XD. It aired on August 16, 2013, on Disney Channel and on August 25, 2013, on Disney XD. The special was released on DVD on October 1, 2013.

And it’s from that show that we got Superhero P, here in the plush, with a new costume and gadgets:

plush Superhero belt

Rocket belt? Yes please!

I collected comic books as a kid and my favorite brand was Marvel. So anytime I see something Disney with a Marvel twist, it’s doubly good and a must-add for my collection!

But perhaps you’re not too familiar with Marvel Comics? If this describes you, then perhaps a review of Stan Lee’s marvelous memoir might be just what you need! You can also read my list of top Marvel artists and superhero costumes to round out your comic book education.

Epcot: Jumping Water Fountain at Night

It’s always fun to watch the jumping water fountain at Epcot in Walt Disney World. But at night, it adds a special dimension:

fountain leaping water

From one pot to another

The shot is a bit grainy but I still like the colors and of course the water in mid leap.

If you look closely, you can also see Spaceship Earth in the background with the Epcot wand still installed.

This picture was taken in 2007.

Funnies: Book Review – Color Sundays (of) Mickey Mouse

I love reading about the history of things. When I was a kid, up until I was a young man, I collected comic books. Superhero stuff mainly but I always dabbled in comic strips as well. Sunday Funnies were a particular favorite and really the only part of the newspaper I ever read.

So when I saw this book entitled Color Sundays Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, I knew I had to buy it!

Funnies Book Cover

History and Funnies!

Publisher: Gary Groth & Kim Thompson (Distributed by others)

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 280

ISBN: 978-1-60699-686-7

Year: 2013

Floyd Gottfredson (May 5, 1905 – July 22, 1986) had a long association with the Disney company.  He was an American cartoonist best known for his defining work on the Mickey Mouse comic strip.

Funnies Floyd pic

He has probably had the same impact on the Mickey Mouse comics as Carl Barks had on the Donald Duck comics. Two decades after his death, his memory was honored with the Disney Legends citation in 2003 and induction into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006. Both well-deserved honors!

Color Sundays is the second volume to cover this talented mans contribution to Mickey’s Sunday outings. As such, it picks up from 1936 and covers until the end of his run as a substitute to the strips in 1961.

Funnies bio

The book is divided into too many sections to list in this review. To start though we are given a little history on the man and how he came to the assignment of the Sunday Funnies.

Next is the first section of actual strips:

Funnies rival

Guess who’s coming to dinner!

We start with Mickey as the plucky hero who has to fight against the bigger foe to win the day or the heart of his true love, Minnie. No matter how hard he tries, something always goes wrong!

Next is a Robin Hood adventure, a section focusing on gag strips with Goofy as the main guest star, Sheriff of Nugget Gulch which puts Mickey and Goofy into the Wild West, and then:

Funnies service

Service with a devious smile

Mickey starts to show his mischievous side in this section as he isn’t above a little skullduggery to get his way, as seen in the picture above! The book stops every now and then to give us a look at some miscellaneous examples of Gottfredson’s artwork:

Funnies Goofy inventions

Goofy’s Inventions

After the above look at a panel from Mickey Mouse Magazine #59 (1940) we go back to a section highlighting an adaption of one of Mickey’s most famous Shorts:

Funnies Brave Tailor

Next we have a section dedicated to Gottfredson’s later years when he was only filling in on the Sunday Funnies. It’s mainly a collection of short gag strips.

Gottfredson mainly focused his work on the adventures of Mickey Mouse, but he did handle a long list of guest stars as well, such as:

Funnies guest stars

Guest stars included Donald Duck, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, The Seven Dwarfs in a solo adventure, a Sleeping Beauty adaption, and a 101 Dalmatians tale (and yes, I did that on purpose).

Lastly we are treated to an archival section:

Funnies archives

This section treats us to some original concept artwork, original cover reproductions, full-page paintings, and:

Funnies Goof

Some very nice looks into some of the characters Gottfredson worked with. The book ends with a brief visit with the heir to Gottfredson’s work on the Sunday Funnies, namely, Manuel Gonzales.

COOL RATING: 5/5

As a huge fan of both Mickey Mouse and comic strips this publication was a welcomed addition to my library. The book has a nice balance between informative back story and just page after page of funnies.

It was enlightening to learn about another man behind the mouse!

I purchased this book for the purpose of this review

For more book reviews, please read  The Art of the Disney Golden Books and Hardcover Disney Books by Whitman. Enjoy!

Top Five List: How to Make Each Day Disney-ish

When a Disney Princess gets up in the morning, she just knows she is going to have a Disney day. I think it’s in her contract. She doesn’t need a top five list to help her achieve this goal. But we do!

We may not be Disney Royalty, but we all deserve to enjoy the fun and magic that comes along with a Disney day! So here is my top five list of things you and I would need to do to ensure that each and every day we have is just a little more Disney-ish:

NEED-TO-DO NUMBER ONE

DRESS THE SAME WAY EVERY DAY

top five list costume

Ever notice that every main Disney character never changes his or her clothes? Well, rarely anyway. One can only hope this single-minded fashion statement doesn’t extend to undergarments!

But just think of how much time you would save each morning not having to decide what to wear. And most important is the instant recognition you would receive everywhere you go!

Yes, dressing in the same clothes… forever… is the first step towards having a truly Disney day.

NEED-TO-DO NUMBER TWO

BURST INTO SONG UNEXPECTEDLY

top five list singing

Before you can amaze and startle everyone around you with your gifted warbling, you will need to pick a theme song that encapsulates your goals and spirit. Every Disney character is known for belting out a jaunty tune about themselves whether anyone wants to hear it or not.

So be sure to wait for the right moment. Perhaps while waiting in line at the grocery store. Or while seated in a crowded medical office (let’s be honest, sick people need to hear a good song!). Or perhaps in a packed elevator where no one can leave.

To make this a true part of your Disney-ish day, why not include some impromptu dance choreography? Be sure to add some pivots, turns, and lots of arm waving!

NEED-TO-DO NUMBER THREE

CHOOSE AN ANIMAL MASCOT

top five list animals

After years of selection, most of the cute little critters are already spoken for. Birds especially. Man, what’s up with Princesses and birds?

Being Canadian, I’ll pick a moose. Or a beaver. See what I’m doing here? Try to pick something that people in your region will identify with. Then travel with it everywhere!

Nothing says “This person is special and different” in quite the same way as walking down Main Street America with a bald eagle on your shoulder!

NEED-TO-DO NUMBER FOUR

IDENTIFY YOUR NEMESIS

top five list nemesis

We all have people in our lives that we don’t necessarily like. So why not pick one and elevate them to Nemesis status!

Perhaps that girl at the office who’s always hogging the copier. Or that guy at the gym who never wipes off the equipment when he’s done using it. Or how about that old lady in the grocery line who has a dozen expired coupons and then forgets where her wallet is only to find it in time to decide she needs 500 lottery tickets!!!

Yeah. She’s my Nemesis.

NEED-TO-DO NUMBER FIVE

DREAM BIG

top five list dreams

Instead of taking the Worry Turnpike or staying on the Downer Highway be sure to swerve your hypothetical vehicle onto the Dreams Exit Ramp each and every day!

Even big dreams can be attainable. Remember, because you are having a Disney-ish day, all things are possible! And you probably have a cast of dozens there to help you. Every Disney dreamer does.

So what’s your Big Dream?


So there you have my top five list of things you and I would need to do to ensure that each and every day we have is just a little more Disney-ish.

For more top five lists, check out the link here!

Movie Review: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

It all happens in a galaxy far, far, away. But I only had to go to my local theater to watch all of the action and adventure in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But you only have to visit this blog to read a movie review about the whole thing!

movie review rogue one logo

I try not to watch trailers anymore because I don’t want the story of any given movie to be ruined for me before I even set foot in the theater. So all I knew about Rogue One was that it was set before Episode 4 and followed a team of Rebels as they attempt to steal the plans of the Imperial Death Star.

Don’t worry, that’s the worst spoiler this review contains!

Spoiler-free Movie Review

movie review rogue one characters

I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens except for a few major plot points that I thought could have been easily solved. So for this reason I was a bit wary going into Rogue One. Would Disney once more swing for the fences but only reach center field?

I needn’t of worried. At last we have a Star Wars movie that we can truly believe has the Force with it!

movie review rogue one jyn

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones)

Much was made of having a female lead in this movie which had some fanboys chaffing a little. But I felt that the movie truly had an ensemble feel to it with all the characters playing a strong part in the story. Everyone had a nice story arc and contributed to the final outcome equally.

movie review rogue one K-2S0

K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk)

Humor was supplied by a reprogrammed Imperial security droid designated K-2S0. Again, there was some pre-release chatter about him being like Jar Jar Binks but those fears were unfounded. His character was funny without being annoying!

Another thing of note and controversy was the absence of the scrolling synopsis at the beginning of the movie. Purists wanted one but I felt that it was a good move to omit it. It gave the movie a more mainstream and legitimate feel. However, I feel that the main movies should keep the device!

movie review rogue one imperial battle cruiser

We also get heaping helpings of battle scenes complete with Imperial Battle Cruisers, Walkers, Storm Troopers, and of course, the Death Star. A few iconic characters from the original trilogy make cameo appearances to add authenticity to this ‘middle-prequel’.

To say anymore would ruin the movie for you so I’ll stop here.

COOL RATING: 4.5/5

Friends we saw the movie with gave it a 4/5 rating which I initially agreed with. One said that he felt the beginning scenes cut between locations too fast making it hard to follow the establishing points of the movie.

My wife felt that there was too much action with an over-emphasis on battle scenes. But of course, it ain’t called Star Wars for nothing! But I think she has a point. Sometimes less really is more. So with those observations in mind,I felt I had to deduct a half point. But because I can’t think of anything I’d have done differently, that point is deducted from a full 5/5 rating giving the movie the final Cool Rating above.

And there you have a spoiler-free movie review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I highly recommend this addition to the franchise!


For a lighter look at the Star Wars franchise, check out our earlier post featuring Muppets as Star Wars characters. You won’t look at George Lucas’ galaxy the same way again!