Walt Disney World Refillable Travel Mugs

My wife and I first visited Walt Disney World as a couple in 2006 and that’s when our collection of refillable travel mugs began. At that time, Disney was still releasing new designs each year, and separate designs for each resort.

Now they tend to be more generic, a one-mug-fits-all, if you will. It has taken the fun out of acquiring travel mugs as now they are not linked to specific trip memories. But what are you going to do?

Recently, we threw away all of our travel mugs because they had become too dirty and worn. We use them often for taking our coffee and tea on the go. Once gone, we realized just how handy they were! So I was thrilled to find these two mint condition examples in a local charity shop:

Travel Mugs Blue 2

The gang arrives at Walt Disney World

What I’ve always liked about the travel mugs is the designs. This one depicts Mickey and friends arriving for a vacation.

Travel Mugs Blue 3Travel Mugs Blue 1

This was back when each resort, or family of resorts, had their own designs. This mug was sold at Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and the Old Key West resorts.

As you can see by comparing these two examples, the handles and lids came in a variety of colors. This is still the case today.

Travel Mugs Green 2

Check-in Time!

This mug has no resort indicated anywhere so it could be a more generic design sold throughout the resorts. Quite possibly the Value resorts.

Travel Mugs Green 3Travel Mugs Green 1

Trust Donald to complicate everything!

Now we have travel mugs again! Seriously, have you ever tried to find a decent travel mug in the local stores that isn’t priced too high? I was glad to find these for just $2.99 CAN each.

For more travel mug fun, check out our earlier post entitled Disney Souvenirs Under $20.

The Magical Music of Walt Disney Box Set

The Walt Disney Studio is best known for its achievements in both Shorts and feature-length animations. Live-action movies aren’t far behind. But after those must come music! Because for almost every Disney movie you know, you can probably hum a tune that you identify with that movie. Yes?

Hence, we have The Magical Music of Walt Disney box set, brought to you with glorious 8-Track tape quality:

Music 8 Track Box Set

Ahhh… 1978 lives!

I found this set at a charity shop for just $5.99 CAN and just had to have it, even though I don’t have an 8-track player. Who does?

Music 8 Track FrontMusic 8 Track Back

Front and Back of the Box Set

This commemorative box set was released to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the creation of Mickey Mouse, who you might remember, first appeared on-screen in the 1928 Short entitled Steamboat Willie.

So it all started with a mouse and ended, in 1978, with this glorious tribute.

Music 8 Track Tape FrontMusic 8 Track Tape Back

Who remembers these?

My father bought an old Fargo van when I was still a teenager and it actually had an 8-track player in it (along with a 3-on-the-tree shifter) and I would borrow it to ‘cruise.’ I cranked the two tapes I found on the floor of the van. One was Burton Cummings, I think. Good times in rural Ontario!

Music 8 Track Tape Label

Big. Bulky. And beautiful!

Apart from just wanting an unusual piece for my disneyana collection, I also bought this set because it has a 52-page full-color book included. It starts with an introduction to both Dick Schory, the producer of this set, and the book itself. Next, there is a two-page spread about Walt Disney. Let’s have a look at one page from that spread:

Music 8 Track Book 1

This montage shows Walt from his beginnings up to just months before his death (center picture, on the set of The Happiest Millionaire).

Next is a two-page spread featuring the art of Disney animation. Below is one page from that spread:

Music 8 Track Book 2

The next several pages cover Mickey’s early years in Shorts as well as the Silly Symphonies, and Mickey’s later years.

The book moves into the feature-length feature films starting with Snow White and including Pinocchio, Dumbo (below), and Bambi.

Next we are treated to some of the great animated classics of the Forties:

Music 8 Track Book 3Music 8 Track Book 4

Following is Song of the South, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty. Then the True-Life Adventures series is covered as are the later animated years with 101 Dalmatians and The Rescuers, among others.

The live-action movies are covered next with Mary Poppins and Pete’s Dragon, both known for their excellent use of music.

Below are pages showing the music and sound effects departments:

Music 8 Track Book 5Music 8 Track Book 6

The book concludes with a look at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks. Both have a long history of musical storytelling!

Music 8 Track Book 8

Music 8 Track Book 7Music 8 Track Book 9

Sweet Nostalgia!

So maybe some day in the distant future, 8-track tapes will make the same comeback journey that vinyl has today… but I doubt it! Oh well. This set makes a great keepsake, a conversation piece, and definitely provides a cool slice of Disney history.

For more cool Disney history, check out my book reviews of The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World and Walt Disney, an American Original.

The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

BOOK REVIEW

Simon and Kirby Cover

Publisher: Abrams Comicarts

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1160-2

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 382

Date: 2014

Price: $60.00 US / $69.00 CAN

Simon and Kirby Back Cover

I have followed the work of Jack Kirby for years and thought of him only in terms of his career with Marvel Comics, and somewhat with his brief work for DC Comics. But I never realized that those times weren’t the beginning of his story. Enter Joe Simon and the Simon and Kirby Studio.

Simon and Kirby Portrait

I’ll leave the details of how these two creative geniuses met for when you read the book, but safe to say it is one of those ‘meant-to-be’ stories! They started out in the 1930’s and definitely left their mark.

The Simon and Kirby Studio was prolific, employing many artists as needed, and covering such material as:

Simon and Kirby Space

Space Epics

Simon and Kirby Love

Love Stories

Simon and Kirby Crime

Crime Stories

Simon and Kirby Western

Westerns

Simon and Kirby Superhero

Superheroes (The Fly, pictured above)

I learned that Simon would go out and get jobs for the studio by promising any kind of story that was needed to fill publications at the time. They were primarily a studio-for-hire at this point. Then Kirby would burn the midnight oil to churn out the images. Although Simon was more of a writer and business man, he also did artwork and other duties. In fact, everyone at the studio was expected to do whatever it took to meet a deadline!

Simon and Kirby Sandman

The Sandman

Superheroes are probably what most readers buying this book will know Jack Kirby for. Perhaps thinking of Captain America or the later characters co-created by Stan Lee, like The Mighty Thor, among others. But in the early days it was The Sandman, Fighting American, and The Fly.

This book is mostly a reprinting of classic Simon and Kirby stories, in part or in their entirety. The book starts with a brief introduction by Mark Evanier and concludes with an even briefer afterward by Jim Simon.

COOL FACTOR: 3.5/5

I was expecting more of an in-depth look at the men and the studio they created, but instead got over 300 pages of comic strip panels. The artwork was amazing (if you appreciate the drawing style of Jack Kirby, as I do) but most of the stories were very dated. I didn’t know most of the characters, as they came from the 30’s and 40’s, so this too was a bit disappointing.

The Cool Factor will be much higher for diehard Kirby fans, and completests, but for the average comic book fan, it may not be what is expected.

For more on Jack Kirby, check out this blog entitled the Jack Kirby Museum. The curator has stopped posting new material, but it is still filled with many posts that delve into Kirby’s life and art.

Or if you want to stay right here (which I would certainly appreciate!), please check out my book reviews on Stan Lee’s Marvelous Memoir and Color Sundays of Mickey Mouse and The Art of the Disney Golden Books. For another related review, check out Toy Wars, depicting the battle between Mattel and Hasbro for toy supremacy. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a grudge match between Barbie and G.I. Joe!

Tsum Tsum Stackable Collectible Figurines

Disney and I have a partnership going that is pretty lopsided! They put out collectible whatever and I buy it. They get my money, and I get… stuff. Case in point: Tsum Tsum stackable collectible figurines!

Tsum Tsum Front Packaging

Nine in a Set

I’ve resisted branching out into the smaller plastic versions of this merchandise line after adding an assortment of the original plush versions to my collection. You can see those here. The link will take you to a Swedish Chef Tsum Tsum, but that post has a link to other plush Tsum Tsum characters as well.

Tsum Tsum Back Packaging

The Backside of Tsum Tsum

And by ‘backside’ I mean their backsides! Don’t look at Snow White, it would be rude.

Now let’s free the little critters:

Tsum Tsum Open Packaging

Who is the mystery character?

More on who the mystery character is later. In each of these sets, you get three large, three medium, and three small sizes of characters. My large characters are:

Tsum Tsum Stitch

Stitch

Tsum Tsum Snow White

Snow White

Tsum Tsum Eeyore

Eeyore

My medium characters are:

Tsum Tsum Lady

Lady

Tsum Tsum Hiro

Hiro (Mystery Character)

I was pleasantly surprised to get Hiro, as Big Hero 6 is one of my favorite Disney movies!

Tsum Tsum Buzz

Buzz Lightyear

I actually broke down and bought this set solely because of this Buzz Lightyear figure. Buzz as a tiny gerbil? Irresistible!

And finally, my small characters are:

Tsum Tsum Tiny Ones

Joy, Piglet, and Mickey Mouse

A secondary reason for buying this set was to obtain the Joy character for my wife.

These silly little things could definitely grow on me and I already realize that I will have to put up a strong fight against buying more! And how will I know what to look for?

Tsum Tsum CG Cover

Tsum Tsum Collector Guide

This little fold-out booklet comes with every set of Tsum Tsum stackable figures. What I purchased is part of the Series 2 collection:

Tsum Tsum Collector Guide

40 Characters in all!

Now keep in mind that if you want the complete series, you will have to collect 120 individual pieces, as each character comes in all three sizes of small, medium, and large. Depending on how Disney has apportioned the characters throughout the packs, you will have to buy at least 13 packs at $19.97 each. Round that up to an even $20.00 and those 13 packs are going to cost you $260.00 CAN.

Now I’m sure I’ve seen duplicates of characters in multiple packs, which means you will have to buy more packs and you will end up with duplicate characters. So I advise trading with friends!

So will you zoom zoom to the store to buy these Tsum Tsum figures?

Snoopy Plastic Figurine by Schleich

Snoopy has a had quite the career. When not sleeping atop his doghouse he takes to the skies in his Sopwith Camel to do battle with the Red Baron. Now that’s exciting, but especially for a dog!

We’d better have a look at this prestigious pooch:

Snoopy Standing Tall

Always on top of something!

Charles M. Shultz created the Peanuts comic strip which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. And although the star of the strip was good ‘ol Charlie Brown, it was his dog that really rose to the top.

Snoopy Side

Classic Profile

Snoopy joined the comic strip two days in on October 4th, 1950.

Snoopy Profile

Snoopy is a loyal, innocent, imaginative and good-natured beagle who is prone to imagining fantasy lives, including being an author, a college student known as “Joe Cool” and a World War I Royal Flying Ace.

Snoopy Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel

The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. It had been developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the earlier Sopwith Pup and would become one of the most iconic fighter aircraft of the First World War.

Snoopy is perhaps best known for his fighter ace persona, wearing an aviator’s helmet and goggles and a scarf.

Snoopy Headgear

This little PVC (plastic) figurine was produced by the Schleich company and is a current release available in stores now.

Snoopy Label

Schleich was founded by Friedrich Schleich in 1935. Its figurines were first released in the 1950s with the development, production and marketing of comic figurines such as Snoopy and The Smurfs. In the early 1980’s they added animal figurines and Muppet characters to their range of products.

So is Fighter Ace Snoopy your favorite, or is Joe Cool more your speed? Either way, you have to agree this is one canny canine!

Handmade Pop Bottle Doll with Dress

Back in 1977 I was twelve years old and very shy. I hated being in groups and had problems fitting in. So you can imagine how I felt when my teacher announced that every student was required to pick from a selection of craft-based group activities as an extra class. The list was diverse, and although I can’t quite remember them all, most had to do with handmade efforts. One was guitar lessons, but you had to have your own guitar. I didn’t.

I had a friend who was of like mind and interest, so we decided to choose the most unlikely activity: Handmade Dolls! It was close to Mother’s Day and we thought it would make a nice gift. So we two boys and a room full of girls (!!!) started sewing and stitching, and I eventually came out with this:

Handmade Doll Front

 I thought she was cute!

She used to have a little bonnet but it has since been lost. She is now 40 years old and looking a bit faded.

Handmade Doll Back

Not to brag, but I do remember the teacher saying that I was one of the best students and I remember helping many of the girls with their stitching. Where that came from I can’t imagine!

This doll was made using a large pop bottle as a base. I think I used a Pepsi or Coke bottle. The bottle was filled with sand to weigh it down and keep it from tipping over. A cloth sock was pulled over the bottle as well as the Styrofoam ball which was used for the head.

Handmade Doll Sleeve

The cloth was cotton:

Handmade Doll Cotton

Here is a closer look at my fine-stitched hemline:

Handmade Doll Hem

Still holding after all this time!

My mother taped a note on the bottom to remind her of when the doll was made:

Handmade Doll Bottom

My mother is now suffering the early effects of  Alzheimer’s disease and has forgotten all about the doll made by her son so long ago. It used to be displayed in her kitchen but I recently found it on the floor in a corner as I was helping my parents pack for their recent move. My mother looked at it without recognition and asked if I’d like to have it.

Handmade Doll Profile

She’s still smiling!

I reclaimed it as a memento to remember the better times and it now belongs to my wife.

I’m glad I was able to go against character way back when and produce this wonderful keepsake!

Classic Tigger Figurine by Beswick of England

So are you a fan of the classic Winnie the Pooh look or have you grown up on the Disney version? I like both, but I must say, this classic Tigger figurine by Beswick is awesome:

Tigger Figurine front

T I double Guh Ur!

Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and for various poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. And then Disney got ahold of his franchise and the rest is history!

Tigger Figurine right sideTigger Figurine left side

“And we’re the only ones!”

John Beswick Ltd., formerly J. W. Beswick, was a pottery manufacturer, founded in 1892 by James Wright Beswick and his sons John and Gilbert in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. In 1969, the business was sold to Doulton & Co. Ltd. The factory closed in 2002 and the brand John Beswick was sold in 2004. The pottery company was chiefly known for producing high-quality porcelain figurines like the one featured here.

Tigger Figurine back

Psst! Look behind you!

In 1952, Beswick began manufacturing a range of Disney characters including Snow White, Mickey Mouse, and Bambi. And of course, the cast of the Winnie the Pooh stories. It is likely that the Pooh figurines were released in the late 1960’s according to a consensus of eBay Sellers.

Tigger Figurine bottom

This Tigger was one of a set of eight characters:

Tigger figurine set

The gang’s all there

Tut, tut! I must say that Piglet seems twice his usual size in comparison to the other characters. “Probably my fault” says Eeyore.

These figurines are plentiful on eBay and other selling sites and range in asking price from $20 to $90 each. My advice would be to buy the lower-priced offerings.

To see more Tigger figurines, check out these archived posts featuring one from Britto and another from the Arribas Brothers.

101 Dalmatians Disney Store Lithographs

Today’s post has really gone to the dogs, quite literally! We are sharing six Disney Store lithographs that were offered to promote the video release of 101 Dalmatians.

101 Dalmatians Front Cover

101 Dalmatians Back Cover

This envelope has a nice synopsis of both the film and the film-making process on the back. The 1961 animated version was the first to use the Xerox process for copying the many spots needed to render the 99 puppies and two adult dogs in the film.

The six lithographs from this set are among the few I’ve seen with captions describing the scenes. Let’s have a closer look. We begin with the announcement that Pongo is going to be a father:

101 Dalmatians Happy Couple

“After all, dogs were having puppies long before our time.”

We then skip to the birth where there is a slight problem:

 101 Dalmatians Lucky

“Nanny! Fifteen! We still have fifteen.”

Here we see the reviving of the last puppy born, whom Roger saves, and so gives the name of ‘Lucky’. Life resumes as we see the proud parents watching some quality television with their puppies:

Fan Favorite TV

“Ol’ Thunderbolt’s the greatest dog in the whole world.”

But things don’t stay tranquil for long after Cruella De Ville arrives with her own reason for loving the puppies:

101 Dalmatians Cruella

“Yes… yes, I must say… such perfectly beautiful coats.”

Jumping ahead we rejoin the story after the puppies have been stolen and the dogs of the city are using the Twilight Bark to relay the message that help is needed:

101 Dalmatians Pet Shop

Peg, Bull, and the Twilight Bark

In this scene, we are treated with guest appearances from Peg and Bull from another animated Disney film about dogs, Lady and the Tramp.

Later the puppies are found, but now there are 99!

101 Dalmatians Escape

“This way, children, around this way.”

All’s well that ends well as the farm animals help free all of the puppies. In the end, all 101 Dalmatians live together on a big farm in the country. The end!

This was the 17th feature-length animated film released by Disney and it did very well at the box office. After all, who can resist 99 cute little puppies?

For more fun with the 101 Dalmatians film, check out our earlier post entitled Could This Be Cruella De Ville’s Real Car? which shows a vintage 1929 Auburn 8-120 automobile that just may have inspired the animated copy.

Fan Favorite Movies as Disney Store Lithographs

We all have our all time favorite Disney animated movie. I personally have several! So what is your fan favorite? Maybe it will be one of the seven Classic films depicted here in these lithographs from The Disney Store.

Let’s have a look at both the packaging and the actual prints from each film in the order they were released theatrically:

Fan Favorite Bambi Cover

Bambi 1942 – 5th Feature-length Film

This lithograph was released by The Disney Store in 1997 as a promotional giveaway when one preordered the film on video.

Fan Favorite Bambi Lithograph

Bambi Meets the Rest of the Cast

Fan Favorite Bambi Back Cover

Back of Envelope

Next we visit Neverland:

Fan Favorite Peter Cover

Peter Pan 1953 – 14th Feature-length Film

This lithograph has one of the better envelopes for a single print release. Most will have a blank back cover, but this one gives us something more:

Fan Favorite Peter Hook

“Smeeeeeeeee!”

And now for the lithograph itself:

Fan Favorite Peter Lithograph

Again, this lithograph gives us a little something extra by having a beautiful map of Neverland on the back of the frame:

Fan Favorite Peter Back Cover

Next we go black and white, mostly:

Fan Favorite 101 Front Cover

101 Dalmatians 1961 – 17th Feature-length Film

This film has had more than one Disney Store lithograph release but I like this envelope the best of the two offered.

Fan Favorite 101 Envelope

Pongo and Perdita

And now for a domestic scene we can all relate to:

Fan Favorite 101 Lithograph

TV Time!

And now we head into deepest darkest Africa:

Fan Favorite Jungle Cover

The Jungle Book 1967 – 19th Feature-length Film

I love Colonel Hathi and his Elephant Patrol! So this sleeve cover was a treat to see. But so was the lithograph:

Fan Favorite Jungle Lithograph

Just the Bare Necessities!

In my opinion, The Jungle Book was as perfect an animated movie as you could ever create! So I guess you could say this is my fan favorite.

Fan Favorite Jungle Back Cover

Released in 1997

Hard to believe that this lithograph was released 20 years ago! Now we have a live-action movie adaption of this classic. Have you seen it? I posted a review comparing the 1967 original with the new 2016 version. I picked a winner. Click on over to see which version it was!

We have three lithographs left as we now transition from the 60’s to the 70’s:

Fan Favorite Cats Cover

The Aristocats 1970 – 20th Feature-length Film

So this was released 26 years after the film had its theatrical release. I love the gray scale artwork for the cover sleeve.

Fan Favorite Cats Lithograph

Free Transportation

Fan Favorite Cats Back Cover

And now we leap from the 70’s all the way to the 90’s and into the middle of the Disney Renaissance:

Fan Favorite Aladdin Cover

Aladdin 1992 – 31st Feature-length Film

This was a concurrent release with the film in theaters. By now The Disney Store was releasing simpler versions of lithographs with basic cover sleeves. The lithographs were of slightly larger size however. With standard lithographs, you get an 11 x 14 overall size which includes the frame. With later lithographs, you now got an 11 x 14 picture with the frame adding extra size.

Fan Favorite Aladdin Lithograph

It’s a Whole New Hug!

We conclude with another 90’s hit:

Fan Favorite King Cover

The Lion King 1994 – 32nd Feature-length Film

This sleeve sports a pleasing pattern. And the lithograph:

Fan Favorite King Lithograph

Meeting of the Minds (Mash Banana)

This, like the Aladdin print, is oversized.

Fan Favorite King Back Cover

So which is your fan favorite? Do you like the prints small or larger? Do you think The Disney Store should always release lithographs with interesting cover sleeves, or does that not matter to you, as you’ll just throw them away anyway?

Thumper or Miss Bunny: A Figurine Investigation

So most cartoon bunnies look alike. Male or female, they all look alike. So what do animators do to differentiate one from another? Sometimes they will use color changes, size, or most often eye lashes. We will consider some of these techniques and others to determine if the ceramic figurine we have in this post is Thumper or his girlfriend, Miss Bunny.

Before we get into our investigation, let’s have a look at the suspect:

Thumper Front

Suspect: Bucktoothed and Cute

CLUE No. 1

When we purchased this figurine the Seller gave us a card that was given to him when he himself obtained it. Such provenance is often helpful in determining exactly what an object is. Take a look:

Thumper Card

After some research we were able to determine that these ceramic figurines, made by Evan K. Shaw Pottery, were indeed produced in the early 1940’s. But we were still unconvinced that what we had was ‘Thumper’s Girl’.

We began our investigation by checking the Internet for other examples of the piece to see what online Sellers were claiming it was. Some said ‘Thumper’ while others said ‘Miss Bunny’, or ‘Bixbi’, as some Disney fans have named her (she is not given a name in the original movie).

We also found other small ceramic figurines that were definitely depicting a female bunny, that were brown, and posed differently than ours. It was this figurine that was consistently called ‘Miss Bunny’ and not the version we have. So we now had a majority consensus.

But our figurine could still be another version of Miss Bunny, as some were claiming.

CLUE No. 2

Next we need to consider the color of the piece. Let’s have another look at it:

Thumper LeftThumper Right

Brown Fur

This is a confusing clue, but stay with us. Thumper, in the movie Bambi, was gray, not brown. So we could arbitrarily pronounce this character to be Miss Bunny, who was brown, based solely on that parameter. However, pottery companies were notorious for going off-model when creating their pieces, getting features and colors wrong more often than not. It wasn’t until later that Disney started to tighten up on its demands for standardization of its character merchandise.

So this clue is inconclusive.

CLUE NO. 3

Eyelashes have been the stereotypical way of depicting a female character in the world of animation since the beginning of the medium. Our figurine has three short upward eyelashes, and not the multiple swept-back lashes of a female character.

CLUE NO. 4

Sometimes, if you know the character well enough, you can recognize them by body language. Of course, in the case of a sculpture, this technique will depend on the artist portraying such characteristics in his artistry.

Thumper Back

Thumper was very expressive with his ears. Many times he would have one ear up with the other ear down. This was a way of distinguishing him from his many brothers and sisters in the film.

The ceramic figurine we have exhibits this trait.

CLUE NO. 5

Lastly, we checked the figurine for any markings that could help us to identify it.

Thumper Bottom

No such luck!

Ceramic figurines are either stamped with black ink, engraved, or sport a sticker, usually on the bottom of the piece. This example has none of these markings, so no help there for our investigation.

CONCLUSION:

We believe this figurine to be Thumper. And here’s why:

  • General consensus gathered from Internet Sellers
  • Frequency of wrong use of color for Disney characters by manufacturers
  • Eyelashes are consistent with male characters
  • Body language, specifically the ears, is consistent with the character

We hope the techniques of this detailed investigation will help you to identify your treasured pieces of merchandise! And you can see more of Thumper as a lawn ornament by clicking the link. Or for a Disney-themed joke featuring Thumper (and other characters) check out this link.