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August 7, 2015

Disneyland Bound!

Deb's Digest Blog

Hello Everyone! Today I am leaving on a jet plane to sunny California where much Disney is going on! I plan to spend the first few days in the parks soaking up all the Disneyland 60th celebration, meet with some dear friends and make new ones!

Later in the week I will be at the D23 Expo! Do say hello if you see me or anyone on the AllEars Team, Jeanine Yama, Deb Koma, Kristin Ford. We have new All Ears Trading Cards for you!

I will be tweeting and periscoping... Leave a comment below what photos or live video you'd like to see.

And here's a sneak peak at our new trading cards!

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August 1, 2015

The 2015 D23 Expo Approaches!

Deb's Digest Blog
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The fourth D23 Expo is just days away and it will be a MEGA MEGA convention!. Veteran Expo goers, you have a slight advantage knowing how things work. First timers - you have no idea what you are in for! I certainly had no idea when I attended the first one back in 2009! Either new or repeat Expo attendees there is always something new and exciting to see and learn about! I could write a book on being an Expo attendee (maybe I should have)! Here are some tips and things to remember as you plan for the D23 Expo!!!

AllEars members Deb Wills, Deb Koma, Kristin Ford and Jeanine Yamanaka will be at the Expo. Say hello when you see us, we will have brand new AllEars Trading Cards to hand out (while supplies last). We will be tweeting, facebooking, instagraming and maybe even periscoping to show you the Expo! (I'll post a separate blog with links to how you can follow us!)

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Almost every aspect of the Walt Disney Company is represented. Think about what area of the Walt Disney Company YOU want to focus on. Pick one MUST DO for each day of the Expo and be happy if you get to experience it!. Anything else is icing on the cake!

My best advice is the same I give for visiting the theme parks - don't try to do it all, you can not! As you read the schedule know that it is impossible to see and do everything that makes your eyes light up. Plus I can almost guarantee you will look at the schedule and go ARGH! I want to see That and That and they are at the same time!

Be sure to read through all the Press Releases as many panels and meet and greet opportunities are NOT on the main schedule!

If you are the ultimate planner, get yourself a spread sheet and make your own grid of sessions and pavilions.

The D23 Expo app will be coming out soon to help you navigate the Expo.

VERY IMPORTANT: Be sure to read THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW on the D23 Expo website!

Be Prepared for LINES Talk to your neighbors and bring something to keep yourself occupied.

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Your two best friends: Stage Pass and StorePass Tickets! Think of them as cousins to FastPass! Visit the D23 Expo Things to Know page for details on these tickets!

Visit the Disney Archives Exhibit - it's a good opportunity to take a break from the main floor and halls. This year the theme is Disneyland the Exhibit!

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Keep your eyes open for Photo Ops!

If you are a Disney Parks fan be sure to check out the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion. There will be displays about Avatar, Shangahi and perhaps even a sneak peak at the future!

MERCHANDISE - yes shoppers you will be in Disney merchandise heaven with 3 unique stores: the Disney Store, the D23 Expo Dream Store and Mickey's of Glendale Imagineering.

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Keep in mind you will have to check your cameras and cell phones at certain presentations.

Don't bypass areas because you think there isn't anything of interest to see. Here are two examples:

Target - Target Animation Studio as an experience where the past and future of animation play. Inside, friends and family will pose for an original zoetrope animation strip and walk away with a surprising physical AND digital souvenir only Target could provide. Along the way, receive a helping hand from Bullseye, the dog, no slouch when it comes to being cute in the spotlight. Dance, shimmy, or shake for the camera—just don’t stand still!

Coca Cola Company - This summer, the Share a Coke Tour is traveling in the U.S., and has made its way to D23 EXPO 2015. Be sure you stop by the Coca-Cola Booth and experience it for yourself. As part of the Share a Coke experience, you have the opportunity to personalize two Coca-Cola mini cans—one for yourself, and one to share! It’s easy, fun and you will walk away with custom mini cans, compliments of The Coca-Cola Company.

Bring a charger for your phone.

Bring a Backpack or Tote Bag for items -- there are no lockers!

D23 Members bring your membership card! Remember that there is a lounge if you are a Charter Member!

People Watch! The D23 Expo encourages guests to come in costume and one of the fun things to do is wander around and see all the people who dress up. There is a lot of creativity and artistry involved in those costume - you don't see people dressed in costumes they bought at a costume shop!

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Don't forget to eat! There will be dining locations at Convention Center and Food Trucks outside!

If it gets ovewhelming, take a break. Go outside and get some fresh air. Across the way the Hilton has a mini-food court and restaurant if you want to take a "break" from the Expo itself.

I was a guest on the PassPorter Mom Podcast and discussed the EXPO. You can listen to that HERE

Here's a link to Laura Gilbreath's blogs about previous expos!

Here's Deb Koma's recap of 2013's D23 Expo.

And here's a link to Deb Koma's previous blogs on past D23 Expos.

Check out this video wrap up of the 2013 D23 Expo!


Above all - bring your patience, your pixie dust and ENJOY yourself!

Questions? I'll try my best to answer them for you!

June 22, 2015

Disney Frozen Summer Fun - What You Need to Know!

Deb's Digest Blog

Disney's Frozen Summer Fun has returned to Disney's Hollywood Studios though September 7th. It debuted in 2014 to rave reviews (mine included) and has returned for another run. Here's a run down of what is new, changed, gone and my top 2 must see shows!

WHAT'S NEW IN 2015!

** The brand new show Olaf's Summer Cool Down!!!

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This is a fun show at the Event stage down Hollywood Blvd. A walking, talking, eye-blinking, dancing Olaf has a great time celebrating summer. The show, about 10 minutes and is performed several times during the day. Check the times guide for exact times. This is a great addition to Frozen Summer Fun. Have a great time and watch for the beach balls :)

** Also new this year is the animated short "Frozen Fever" and a behind the scenes look at the making of Frozen. This plays throughout the day in the ABC Sound Studio. If Frozen Fever sounds familiar, it's the short that played in theaters with Cinderella. Even if you have seen it before, if the heat is getting to you, here's a good opportunity to cool down!

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WHAT HAS CHANGED

** FastPassPlus-tn.png For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Singalong has moved to the Hyperion Theatre (where American Idol was). There are new special effects. FastPass+ is a must if you don't want to stand out waiting in the heat!!! Your favorite historians are back telling the story of Frozen.

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** The Frozen Royal Welcome has changed for 2015. There are 2 parades each day (only one last year), and the parade goes from the park entrance down to the area by the Backlot Express. The parade does not end at the stage and there is no show as there was last year. Queen Elsa has a new floating ice palace

The parade does stop 2 or 3 times along the way and Elsa and Anna lead a sing a long. Unfortunately, if you are not where the parade stops, you will miss out on the action. If you are on Hollywood Blvd you can watch the action on the Large Screen at the Stage.

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DON'T FORGET

** The Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party - DJ Chill is back with new mixes of old and new songs and keeps you rockin while you wait for the fireworks show. Disney characters are out and about dancing it up with everyone!

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MY TWO MUST DOs:

** Number 1 is to see Olaf's Summer Cool Down (scroll back up for details)

** My second MUST DO are the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular.

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Each night the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular follow the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party to end the night! Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf appear on the Event Stage to kick off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the music of "Frozen" and, of course, a flurry of snow. This show is BEST seen if you are not right in front of the stage. The top of the stage structure blocks your sight-line for much of the fireworks. Head down Hollywood Blvd toward the park entrance for best viewing (as shown in the photo). The show is slightly changed from 2014.

WHAT'S GONE

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Frozen Snow Ground as missing in 2015. I understand the Trading Post isn't really needed as there is plenty of Frozen merchandise to be had. I DO miss the Frozen Snow Ground. It was a great place to have fun, play in the snow, watch skaters and most importantly, get out of the heat!

So there you have it! If you happen to go out to the Studios, have yourself some Frozen Fun!

June 9, 2015

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto - Mini Review

Deb's Digest Blog
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Even before Trader Sam's Grog Grotto opened at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, there was lots of buzz on social media. March 28th was the beginning of the soft opening and hundreds of folks waited in the bright sunshine to be one of the first inside! I've been told some waited up to 5 hours to get in that first day.

Naturally, I had to go see what all the excitement was about but wasn't about to wait hours; so we went this past Sunday evening. Even more than 2 months after it has opened, lines still form.

Here's a photo of the line from 3:30pm the day I visited - it's all outside!

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When we arrived at the check-in podium at 5:30pm we were told there was an hour wait.

One of the nice things is that you can put your name on the wait list and receive a pager that will let you know when space has opened for you. You have the option to go outside to Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace and can hang out there until the pager goes off or wander around the hotel. (Caution, the pager did not work in the Kona Cafe on the 2nd floor).

No worries if your time has past, when you arrive you will be the next party of your size allowed inside. The lounge itself, where all the amazing themed fun takes place, only allows 50 people in at a time. It is important to note that doesn't mean you'll have a seat, just you will be allowed inside.

At Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace (located outdoors) there is seating for 82 people and it has its own music. The menu is the same as inside, except for one important item -- outside you can order a Dole Whip with rum!!! We did not visit the terrace on this trip.

As soon as you enter this mystic tiki bar, you are immediately transported to another place. The dimly lit lounge has over 1,200 artifacts as well as special effects -- trust me it is noisy!

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This is not the place to come for a quiet drink and intimate conversation. Volcanoes erupt, Skippers don goggles and swim around the lounge, bells ring and much frivolity ensues.

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The "Skippers" are quite lively and with an energetic crowd, the place is hopping with energy. The more people that order the specialty drinks, the more lively the Skippers (and the special effects) become! During our visit there was a large party that every 10 or 15 minutes would sing a Disney song and the entire place joined in!

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In addition to the exotic drink selections the tiki bar serves beer and wine. Sorry, no vermouth for martini drinkers.

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Our group experienced the Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum (pictured below), Castaway Crush, Dark & Tropical Stormy, and the Polynesian Pearl. A few drinks come in specialty mugs making the purchase price quite hefty (upwards of $50 for some). In fact, one of the only things I didn't like about Trader Sam's is that there are no prices on the menu for the specialty drinks or mugs! Drinks are pricey!

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Having just come from dinner, we did not partake in the small plates available for purchase. You'll find chicken lettuce cups, Hawaiian poke, kalua pork tacos, pan-fried dumplings, even corn-battered Portuguese sausages. The small plates range in price from $8.49 to $14.99.

A tiny bit reminiscent of the closed Adventurer's Club from Pleasure Island, but more so much more! While there is no Colonial, there is the Uh-Oa! warrior that makes quite a fuss when that drink is ordered!

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We stayed for about 2 hours and all of us had a great time. Definitely a place to come with friends! We decided on our next visit, we would try to stay at WDW somewhere so we don't have to worry about driving home!

An important note, when visiting Trader Sam's with your own vehicle, you may need to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and walk to the Polynesian from there.

Trader Sam's is open from 4:00pm to Midnight. Last call for food is around 11:30pm. Families are welcome until 8:00pm, when the inside lounge becomes adults only. Families can move out to the terrace if they wish. We thought this was handled very nicely when at 7:50pm, a bell rang and one of the Skippers announced that Junior Skippers would need to depart by 8:00pm.

If you are a fan of the Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland the main difference of the two is the time era. California is based in the late 30s and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto era is the 60s.

Oh and no flash photography please - it disturbs the Uh-Oa :)

For the full menu and more photographs visit our Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Page!

For a sneak peek inside (including some of the special effects) and to learn about the food and beverage program, here is a video I took during a media preview in March:


May 19, 2015

Ticket Announcement: Thank You for 30 Anniversary Event Weekend!

Deb's Digest Blog

AllEars®.net and Mouse Fan Travel® Celebrate 30 Years of Making Magic

We are SO excited about our special Anniversary Event in December! Today, we are pleased to announce specific information about our tickets for the "Anniversary Adventure".

Tickets for our special "Thank You for 30" Anniversary Special Event are now onsale.

Click HERE to purchase yours!

Ticket does NOT include theme park admission.

Limit of TWO tickets per person/household/address.

CORRECTION: All attendees must be 21 or older to attend.

Tickets are $199 per person. For details visit: Thank You for 30" Anniversary Special Event

Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.


April 27, 2015

Las Ventanas Mini Review - Coronado Springs Resort

Deb's Digest Blog

Recently I was at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort updating menus when I started to get really hungry. I looked at my watch, it was 9:30 a.m. Where should I have breakfast?

There were three options for breakfast:

1) Cafe Rix - quick service grab and go with limited hot items.

2) Pepper Market - Counter service dining, but a wide variety of choices. It's very loud in this location, especially at meal times.

3) Las Ventanas - which is slightly off the beaten path and had once been a private dining area for Rix Lounge. Full table service, they do take the Disney Dining Plan. The location was small and much quieter than my other choices.

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The menu looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try. Entrees included a few Mexican/Southwest items such as a Chorizo Skillet ($12.99) and Huevos Divorciados ($12.49), as well as some American staples. There were also several items on the menu that were either gluten-free or could be made gluten-free.

From the hostess to my server to each cast member I encountered, everyone was very nice and accommodating. I really liked the atmosphere: nice lighting, plenty of space between tables and music playing at a conversational volume in the background. It was such a pleasant change to the hustle and bustle of my other choices.

I was seated at a table for two, which was fine for me, but might have been a bit small for two adults. I will note, however, that the high-back chairs seem to help keep what little noise there was down and gave diners a sense of privacy.

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Had I not already had my share of coffee for the day, I would have tried the Roasted French Press ($3.59). I settled for water.

I wanted to sample several items, which was going to be difficult with just me at the table.
I ordered a Ventanas Breakfast -- two eggs any style with peppercorn bacon or grilled ham, served with green onion potatoes ($11.99).

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Eggs are eggs, and these were cooked as I requested. I chose the Peppercorn Bacon and really enjoyed it. Meaty and flavorful with the right amount of pepper (and I'm not a big "pour on the pepper" person). My only hesitation with the order was the green onion potatoes, but I had to give them a try. Honestly, the potatoes were very bland (what onion?) and the low point of an otherwise really nice experience.

I also ordered the Whole Wheat Pancakes -- three ancient grain pancakes served with grilled ham and pure maple syrup ($11.99). They had sugar-free syrup, a big plus for me.

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When the huge portion of pancakes, ham and fruit arrived I was quite surprised. Three huge pancakes! Whole grain/wheat pancakes can be on the dry side, but the nice helping of fruit and the sugar-free syrup perked them right up and I really enjoyed them. The grilled ham was grilled ham -- tasted fine but nothing noteworthy.

I liked the fact that the sides were a bit different and so were the menu selections.

Breakfast came to $29.15 with tax. The only discount offered is to cast members. After adding 20 percent, my bill rounded to $35. Had there been two of us (since I ordered for two) it would have been $17.50 per person including tax and tip.

This is the only moderate resort with a full-service breakfast offering. It probably would be best compared to Olivia's at Old Kest West or the Captain's Grille at the Yacht Club.

My other two choices at Coronado Springs would have both been less expensive, but they were both quick service/food court. Considering the ambiance, price and full-service dining, Las Ventanas was a perfect choice for me.

If you are at Coronado Springs looking for something a bit more relaxed, I would recommend trying Las Ventanas. The resort is also just a few minutes away from the All Star Resorts, so you could come to Coronado Springs for a change of pace.

Right now the lunch/dinner menu is the same, but soon there will be a separate menu for each meal. The children's choices were very limited and are included on the main menu.

For more photos and the complete breakfast and lunch/dinner menu, visit our Las Ventanas Page!

April 14, 2015

Thank You for 30 Anniversary Event Weekend!

Deb's Digest Blog

AllEars®.net and Mouse Fan Travel® Celebrate 30 Years of Making Magic

January 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of AllEars®.net, the longest-running unofficial Disney website on the internet.

Mouse Fan Travel® is observing an anniversary as well -- 2015 is the 10th year they have been planning magical vacations for their clients.

To celebrate their combined total of 30 years of making magic, Deb Wills (president of AllEars®.net) and Beci Mahnken (president of Mouse Fan Travel®) have teamed up to bring some exciting events to their friends and followers during the first week of December 2015.

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The three-day celebration, AEN/MFT's "Thank You for 30" Anniversary Event, will take place December 4-6, with the following tentatively scheduled:

On December 4, during the day, we will be welcoming you into our Deluxe Resort villa for an open-house tour.

The evening of December 5 will be our premiere separate-ticket event, the AEN/MFT "Anniversary Adventure."

Tentative plans include beginning with reserved seating for that night's Candlelight Processional, held in the America Gardens Theater.

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We will then enjoy dinner in the rotunda of the American Adventure, accompanied by even more magic and surprises.

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After dinner, we'll enjoy a reserved viewing area for Holiday IllumiNations.

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We'll conclude the evening with a ride on everyone's favorite attraction.

On December 6, we'll close out the weekend with a chance to meet and greet the AEN and MFT teams at a location to be announced later.

MouseFanTravel.com has secured a block of Disney resort hotel rooms for those who would like on-site accommodations. Book the special event package through MFT and you will have Priority access to purchase tickets to any Mouse Fan Travel® exclusive 10yr events that are announced.

To find out more, visit:
http://www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/latest-deals/12315-allears-mouse-fan-travel-celebration


The events at both the Deluxe Resort and the American Adventure will require you to purchase tickets, which will go on sale soon.

We hope you can join us for the fun-filled festivities as we thank you all for helping us share the magic over the years!

Deb and Beci

April 3, 2015

ENDED Collectables for a Cause Autographed Disney Books

Deb's Digest Blog

Fundraiser has ENDED. Thank you so much everyone. Together we have raised $3,998 to fight breast caner!!!!!!

UPDATE: April 4, 2015 1:00pm Eastern
Mailed a number of the books this morning. I emailed everyone whose package shipped today.
I will get the others mailed this coming week.


Book #13 Tarzan Special Collector's Edition - Autographed and Embellished by author Russell Schroeder Russel embellished with book with a portrait of Tarzan. $50

Obtained 1999 from Howard Lowery Gallery

First Edition; 72 pages, 10 1/4 x 8 1/4

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Book #14 The Tarzan Chronicles. - Signed by Directors Kevin Lima and Chris Buck and author Howard Green $175

Beautiful Coffee-Table Hardcover book; 192 pages, in full color, 9x 13 1/2. Obtained from Howard Lowery Gallery in California.

Chris Buck worked on Frozen, Frozen Fever and on board for Frozen 2. He also was an animator on Little Mermaid, Fox and the House, Rescuers Down Under and Pocahontas.

Kevin Lima also worked on Enchanted, 102 Dalmations and a Goofy Movie.

This book currently sells on the secondary market for over $100 with NO signatures.

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Book # 16 Fantasia 2000: Vision of Hope - 7 Autographs $325

Signed by the following animators on the Table of Contents Page: Don Hahn, Handel Butoym, Eric and Susan Goldberg, Francis Glebas and 2 others.

Silver foils covered slip case. Another beautiful coffee-table book.

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Book #18 - The Art of Hercules Special Limited Edition (1,000) Gift Book INCLUDES Limited Edition Sericel - $350

This is brand new, mint STILL in shrink wrap!
"Each of the 1,000 copies is numbered and individually signed by Walt Disney's President of Feature Animation and the producers and directors of the film. " Since it's still shrink wrapped I had to do some research to see who signed the book.

I believe the autographs are:
Peter Schneider, President of Walt Disney Feature Animation
Alice Dewey, Producer
John Musker, Director and
Ron Clements, Director.

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Book #21 The Fairest One of All - the Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs $1000.

SIGNED BY: DIane Disney Miller and author J.B. Kaufman

This one is hard to part with folks, but cancer is even tougher!!!! A beautiful coffee table book of over 300 pages. Approx 11 x 13"

I purchased this via Give the Kids the World Auction held by fellow Disney Fan, Dave Parfitt who is on Twitter as @mouseSkywalker @Adventuresbydad

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Book #22 It's Kind of a Cute Story - by Rolly Crump as told to Jeff Heimbuch $200
Found another one of these in the book (was buried in my closet)

Disney Legend Rolly Crump tells his personal story of working for Walt as an Imagineer back in the day. When the book was announced a special Limited Edition of 500 Signed and Numbered hard cover book was available. It too quickly sold out. As you can see by now, I purchased 2 of the books. This is number 159 of 500 signed by both Rolly and Jeff.

Hard Cover book, 187 pages; 9 x 11"

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It's almost time for another 2 day walk in Washington DC for my annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. My fundraising is now in full swing.

I offer the following autograph books FOR SALE! Your ENTIRE purchase price goes directly to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I pay for shipping. Due to the weight and cost of shipping, US addresses only please!

When the book has been "sold", I will put a notation on it with your first name and Last initial. I will send you an email with payment instructions. You will have 48 hours to make your donation or the book goes back up for sale. This sale lasts until Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 5pm eastern time or until all the books are gone.

I have been an autograph collector (especially books) for years and years. I try to document all purchases and signatures and share the information below for each book).

Books are sold as is. There are no refunds. Many books are one of a kind. They will all be shipped USPS priority mail or UPS and insured. However, if lost or damaged in mailing, there are no replacements available.

Leave a comment with the title of the book you wish to purchase. I will respond in the order I receive them.


Please remember this is a FUNDRAISER and your entire purchase price goes directly to fight Breast Cancer.

SOLD OUT

Book #19 SOLD MaryS - Design: Just for Fun by Disney Legend Bob Gurr $250
I FOUND ANOTHER ONE!!!
In 2012, Disney Legend Bob Gurr wrote this behind the scenes look at Disney themed attractions. Prior to publication, he offered for sale a special Collector's Limited Edition and numbered hard copy edition in red, of course I purchased two. The books quickly sold out. This is #62 of 1,000.

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Book #12 SOLD - KayB Disney's Mix and Match Villains (Kids Book) signed by Eric and Susan Goldberg $25

Obtained in 1997 from the Howard Lowery Gallery

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BOOK #1 SOLD: First one goes to ScotmanS; Second one to KayB; Third to BrianT - Dream It! Do It! by Marty Sklar Price $200 -

Marty was the guest at a special Pacific Northwest Mouse Mini Meet in October 2013. These books came from that special event. Not all books have the date.

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Not all books have the date in addition to Marty's signature

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Book #2 -SOLD: Karen T Animated Life by Disney Legend Floyd Norman $125

Also in October, 2013 Disney Legend Floyd Norman signed books at public events. This one came from Stuart NG Books in California. This one is not only signed by Floyd but he also drew a sketch of Woody, one of the characters he worked on.

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Book #3 - SOLD: TimMc Design: Just for Fun by Disney Legend Bob Gurr $250

In 2012, Disney Legend Bob Gurr wrote this behind the scenes look at Disney themed attractions. Prior to publication, he offered for sale a special Collector's Limited Edition and numbered hard copy edition in red, of course I purchased two. The books quickly sold out. This is #814 of 1,000.
In February 2015, this book sold for $224.95 on Ebay.


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Book #4 SOLD: Lance H - It's Kind of a Cute Story - by Rolly Crump as told to Jeff Heimbuch $200

Disney Legend Rolly Crump tells his personal story of working for Walt as an Imagineer back in the day. When the book was announced a special Limited Edition of 500 Signed and Numbered hard cover book was available. It too quickly sold out. As you can see by now, I purchased 2 of the books. This is number 159 of 500 signed by both Rolly and Jeff.

Hard Cover book, 187 pages; 9 x 11"

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Book #20 -
SOLD - Jonathon Animated Life by Disney Legend Floyd Norman $125
This one has a sketch of WALT

Also in October, 2013 Disney Legend Floyd Norman signed books at public events. This one came from Stuart NG Books in California. This one is not only signed by Floyd but he also drew a sketch of Walt.

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Book #5 SOLD: Scotman The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by the Imagineers $125

At the 2013 D23 Expo many imagineers were signing autographs. I personally obtained the signatures This book is signed by several outstanding Imagineers some destined to be a Disney Legend (noted are just a few of the projects they have worked on):

Joe Rohde - Animal Kingdom, Aulani, The Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island.

Joe Lanzisero - Winter Summerland Mini Golf, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland (including Mystic Manor best attraction ever!)

Kathy Mangrum - CarsLand, currently at WDW working on projects including Disney Springs

Tom Fitzgerald - Horizons, Pooh's Honey Pot (Tokyo Disneyland) Ratatouiolle (Disneyland Paris), Star Tours Re-Launch, Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar (Disneyland Hotel)

Kevin Rafferty - Carsland, Typhoon Lagoon, MuppetVision 3D, Tower of Terror, Toy Story Midway Mania

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Book #6 SOLD: SaraM The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom $50

At the 2013 D23 Expo many imagineers were signing autographs. I personally obtained the signatures This book is signed by two outstanding Imagineers: Joe Lanzisero and Eric Jacobson.

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Book #7 Welcome Aboard the Disney Dream - signed by author Jeff Kurti $50

Hardback Book. 86 pages. First Edition Comes with a note from Captain Tom about being on the maiden voyage.

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Book #8 SOLD: StephB Disney the First Hundred Years Hardback. Signed by both authors Dave Smith and Steven Clark. $75

Book purchased January 2000 from Howard Lowery Gallery in California.

First Edition

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Book # 9 SOLD: KayB The Disney Mountains - Imagineering at its Peak $200
Book long out of print. First Edition

Signed by:

Disney Legend Bob Gurr (at 2010 Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet)

Joe Rhode (at Animal Kingdom)

Dave Anderson - worked on the original Bobsleds (at Magic Meets in PA).

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Book # 10 SOLD: MaryK Mickey Mouse My Life in Pictures by Russell Schroeder $45
Russell not only signed the book but sketched a Mickey Mouse Head. Obtained in 1999 from the Howard Lowery Gallery in California.

First Edition; 64 pages; 11 1/4 x 9

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Book #11 SOLD: KayB Morning at Pride Rock (Kids Book) signed by the illustrator, Disney Artist Dave Pacheco. $25

Obtained in 1999 from the Howard Lowery Gallery
First Edition;

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Book #15 SOLD: KayB Poster Art of Disney Parks $125 7 Signatures
Obtained at Stuart NG books sore where the persons below met with fans and signed the books.

Danny Handke - co-author & Imagineer
Vanessa Hunt - co-author & Imagineer
Disney Legend Tony Baxter - Senior VP of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering
Nicole Armitage - artist
Will Eyerman - artist & Imagineer
Greg Maletic - artist
Tracy Trinast (Austin) - artist

First Edition; 144 pages, 14 x 11"

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Book #17 SOLD: Jodi R " a bugs life - the art and making of an epic of miniature proportions:
SPECIAL EDITION OF 2,500 signed by JOHN LASSETER and ANDREW STANTON $1,000
Long sold out, very hard to find.

2,550 copies of the First Edition of A Bug's Life.. have been numbered and signed by the film's Director John Lasseter and Co-Director Andrew Stanton.

First Edition # 1312 of 2,550. Beautiful coffee table type book. 127 pages; 11 x 14"

Comes in a special fold out cover designed to look like leaves.

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Book #7 SOLD: ColleenJ Welcome Aboard the Disney Dream - signed by author Jeff Kurti $50

Hardback Book. 86 pages. First Edition Comes with a note from Captain Tom about being on the maiden voyage.

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March 2, 2015

Preview Epcot's 2015 22nd International Flower and Garden Festival Part 2

Deb's Digest Blog

Epcot's annual Flower and Garden Festival begins March 4th with new displays, topiaries, mini-gardens, garden rocks bands, food and beverages. This is Part 2 of our preview.

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Our Festival Preview also included tasting some of the new food and beverages offered this year in the Outdoor Kitchens. Here are interviews with Epcot Executive Chef Gregg Hannon and Content Manager. Following the videos we share photos and our thoughts on the food and beverages.

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Our Preview Tastes -

Cachapa con Queso Sweet Corn Pancake with Farmers Cheese - Botanas Botánico

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LINDA: I really like the touch of sweetness in the pancake. The cheese has a very mild flavor. While this item is tasty, it is not one I would seek out.

DEB: This was tasty and something non-adventurous folks (like myself) would enjoy. I think kids will like it too

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Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash - With White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos - THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews

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LINDA: While this was a flavorful dish, the brisket was a bit fatty for me and I thought the fondue was too much and overpowered the dish.

DEB: Not a big fan of fatty meats of which this is. However, just about everyone else around me really enjoyed it.

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Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits - With Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes

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LINDA: This was by far my favorite!!! I loved the creamy, slightly cheesy tasting grits. Adding the Andouille Sausage gives it a slight kick while the corn a touch of sweetness. Both the grits and shrimp were cooked perfectly.

DEB: I took a pass due to my shellfish allergy

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Kale Salad - Dried Cherries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese with White Balsamic Vinaigrette - Urban Farm Eat

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LINDA: This salad is very refreshing. I am not a fan of dried fruit so I pushed the cherries aside. I thought the goat cheese was the best part of the salad. It is so creamy and light tasting.

DEB: I really enjoyed this salad. I was a tad leary because I am not a kale fan, but the blend of all the flavors and the light vinaigrette had me going back for another helping.

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Quinoa Vegetable Nannwich - With Arugula Pesto and Oven Dried Tomatoes - Urban Farm Eat

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LINDA: This was my second favorite tasting! I am allergic to pine nuts and they are present in the arugula pesto so I asked to have mine served without the pesto. It was still very delicious. I love the vegetarian quinoa patty and tomatoes together. This seems to be fun food. As you can wrap the naan bread around the patty and eat it like a sandwich. This could be a nice walk around food item.

DEB: I really enjoyed this item. The quinoa patty was on the loose side so it might make for a slightly messy sandwich... but I loved the flavors and look forward to trying it again.

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Smoked Debreziner Sausage With House made Kraut and Mustard - THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews

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LINDA: I normally do not care for sausage, but this little dish was full of tasty heat and spice flavor. I believe the mustard was where the heat was. It was subtle heat. It did not burn the mouth but gave plenty of flavor.

DEB: I enjoyed the sausage.. I only put a little mustard on mine since I'm not a heat fan.

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Coconut Tres Leches - Botanas Botánico

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LINDA: This by far my favorite dessert! The cake was so moist, the icing light and airy with a hint of caramel and coconut flavor. I am not a big sweet dessert person but I could easily have stuffed myself with several pieces of this cake.

DEB: My favorite dessert too. Light, moist, flavorful.. simply yummy. I have to tell you I haven't seen Linda eat a whole piece of cake in a long time LOL

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Florida Blueberry & Lemon Curd Tart - Florida Fresh

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LINDA: Again, not being a big dessert person, this did not do much for me. It wasn't bad, just meh for me.

DEB: It tasted good and the blueberries were very fresh. However, after tasting the Coconut Tres Leches, I only took one bite of the tart and went back to my piece of Coconut cake.

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Macaron Guimauve a la Fraise - Large Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron - Fleur de Lys

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LINDA: This was my least favorite because it was so sweet. If you like a really sweet dessert, this could be for you.

DEB: Agreed! If you are into super sweet this is a dessert for you!

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La Tizana with or without Santa Teresa RHUM Orange Liqueur - Botanas Botánico

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LINDA: Too sweet for me.

DEB: A tasty sweet Ruhm beverage with great fresh fruit pieces on top. I think the kids will enjoy the non-alcoholic version!

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Ace Pineapple Hard Cider - Sacramento, California - Pineapple Promenade

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LINDA and DEB: Not hard cider fans, but the pineapple flavoring was certainly there!

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Key Lime Sparkling Wine - Florida Orange Groves, St. Petersburg, FL - Florida Fresh

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LINDA and DEB: When this was served as a simple white wine in 2014, neither of us cared for it. Too sweet for our tastes. However by adding the effervescence it made it a great beverage to start our noshing with!

DISCLAIMER: AllEars was invited by Disney to the Epcot Flower and Garden Media Preview on February 27, 2015. We were given a special horticulture tour, and complementary tastes of the food and beverages.

Preview Epcot's 2015 22nd International Flower and Garden Festival Part 1

Deb's Digest Blog

Epcot's annual Flower and Garden Festival begins March 4th with new displays, topiaries, mini-gardens, garden rocks bands, food and beverages. This is the first of our 2 part blog Previewing the Festival!

The Flower and Garden team has created new and different experiences for this year's festival. Linda Eckwerth and myself were part of the invited media to experience a preview of the festival. Horticulture Manager Eric Darden and Landscape Architect Carla Shuman provided an in-depth look at some of this year's displays.

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Just in cause you were wondering just how detailed the festival plans are, Carla shared a glimpse of the incredibly detailed horticulture planning document.

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Here is just a sampling of the highlights for the 2015 festival.

This year's butterfly topiary garden takes flight showing the butterflies landing on the flowers.

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Lightening McQueen and Mater are back, this time in an expanded play area garden called "The Cactus Road Rally Garden". Check out the radiators :). Learn more about how cactus store water in the hot dry climates. Look for the not so hidden radiators :)

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Butterflies on the Go has a new wider sidewalk for folks to use. The butterflies will be released for the first time on Tuesday and by the Festival's official opening on Wednesday hundreds of butterflies will be around. Ever wonder why the Butterfly House is closed at night, well, simply, the butterflies don't fly at night! Each week about 1,000 chrysalis are delivered to the butterfly house. Watch the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis - takes 20-30 minutes to watch them begin to fly.

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One of the highlights of this year's festival are the topiaries of Anna and Elsa. Last year's experiment with Snow White's eyes worked really well. So, Anna and Elsa have much more expressive faces. The scene is from the end of the film, when Elsa realizes she can make everything right again. So the flowers are half winter and half summer.

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Another new area this year is called Urban Farm Eats showcasing that it's not that hard to grow your own food. The garden not only shows vegetables but also an aqua-ponics system with tilapia - the fish waste fertilize the plants, the plants clean the water that the fish live in. Learn more about this ancient technique by talking to folks in the Urban Farm Eats garden.

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All this and we haven't even started to explore World Showcase! This year's festival guide is the actual Epcot map, so no need to jostle around 2 maps to figure out what to do.

Our interview with Eric Darden highlights a few other new areas:


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Preview as we highlight the Outdoor Kitchens new foods and beverages.
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AllEars was invited by Disney to the Epcot Flower and Garden Media Preview on February 27, 2015. We were given a special horticulture tour, and complementary tastes of the food and beverages.

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