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March 2015 Archives

March 1, 2015

Hockey "Disney-Style" . . . The Mighty Ducks

Gary Cruise banner

Like most boys growing up in Canada in the 1950's and 60's my world revolved around hockey. There wasn't much else to do in the tiny Ontario fishing village I called home. I played peewee hockey and my entire family followed the exploits of our local men's Intermediate B team, the Port Dover Sailors. The Sailors were a powerhouse in their league and won the provincial championship several times during my youth.

1962 Port Dover Sailors

Of course, the pinnacle of the hockey world was the National Hockey League. There were six teams, the Montréal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. There were only about 130 professional players and every Canadian boy knew each players name, their positions and their stats! The highlight of the hockey year was always the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup is the most prestigious award in hockey. Its rich history goes back to March 17, 1893 when Canada's Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston, first awarded it to an amateur team, The Montréal Hockey Club. Another Montréal team, the NHL's Montréal Canadiens has won the cup 24 times, my childhood favourite the Detroit Red Wings have won 11 times and the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 13 times.

If someone had told me years ago that a hockey team from Southern California would someday win the Stanley Cup I wouldn't have believed it. I would probably have said, "A baseball team from Canada will win back to back World Series Championships before a California team wins Lord Stanley's Mug!"

Strange as it may sound, that's exactly how it happened! The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and then won again in 1993. The Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

Let's take a closer look at the Anaheim Ducks and their Disney connection!

Yes, baseball fans know that the Walt Disney Company owned the Anaheim Angels MLB team from 1996 to 2003, but to a Canadian hockey fan that fact isn't nearly as interesting as the story of the Mighty Ducks!

Before it was a real hockey team, The Mighty Ducks was a peewee team in a Disney movie, set in Minnesota and filmed in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area between January 22 and April 11, 1992.

The Mighty Ducks movie

Emilio Estevez played Gordon Bombay, a lawyer and former hockey player who was convicted of drunk driving and sentenced to community service. That's how Bombay wound up coaching the District 5 peewee hockey team.

The Mighty Ducks poster

The kids never scored and never won . . . the new coach's task looked hopeless!

The Mighty Ducks poster

Of course it was a Disney movie so naturally the kids slowly improved. They renamed themselves "The Mighty Ducks" and the movie ended with a penalty shot goal which clinched their championship win.

The Mighty Ducks bench

It premiered September 20, 1992 in Westwood, California and was panned by critics. Roger Ebert gave it 2 stars and said: "It must be said that this movie is sweet and innocent, and that at a certain level it might appeal to younger kids. I doubt if its ambitions reach much beyond that."

Despite the poor reception from the critics, the movie did very well at the box office. Production costs were $10 million and the movie grossed over $50 million.

There were two sequels.

The Mighty Ducks 2

The Mighty Ducks 3

There was even a televised cartoon series!

The Mighty Ducks cartoon

The biggest thing spawned by the movie was a new National Hockey League team. In December 1992 The Walt Disney Company paid $50 million to acquire one of two new expansion franchises. The Mighty Ducks went to Anaheim and the Florida Panthers went to Miami.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Logo

Disney quickly pulled together a management and coaching team to guide the fledgling Ducks. They drafted well in the expansion draft held in Quebec City June 4, 1993.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Logo

The Winter 1993 issue of The Magic Years Magazine gives a bit background for the new team. Click on the magazine pages below to see larger versions of the scanned images.

Magic Years Page 40

Magic Years Page 41

1993 Game Schedule

The Duck's first season opened October 8, 1993 at home, in the newly built arena, aptly named "The Pond". After a 20 minute pre-game show, reported to cost $450,000, the puck was dropped for the first time at The Pond! The Mighty Ducks lost 7 - 2 to the Detroit Red Wings. Just a few days later on October 13th they recorded their first victory, a 4 - 3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. That first year they went on to set a league record - they recorded 33 wins, 46 losses and 5 ties. No expansion team had ever notched 33 wins in their first season, but in 1993/94 both The Mighty Ducks and the Florida Panthers did.

1994 Mighty Ducks Team Photo

The Ducks sold out 27 of 41 home games that year, including each of the last 25 games. They sold 98.9% of The Pond's seats that first season and they could not keep up with the demand for Ducks merchandise. All the Disney Parks and all Disney Stores were displaying Mighty Ducks hats, shirts, toy hockey sticks, pucks and jerseys. Mighty Ducks merchandise outsold any other NHL team in 1993/94.

Ducks jerseys

The Ducks finished 4th in the Pacific Division and did not make the playoffs that first season, but by 1996/97 they had improved. Their 36 - 33 - 13 record put them in the playoffs. They beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4 games to 3 in the first round and then in the second round fell in 4 straight games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Management traded and drafted wisely over the years. The list of Mighty Ducks players and alumni contains some very well known hockey names, Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf along with Hall of Famers Jari Kurri, Adam Oates and Scott Niedermayer are a few that come to mind!

The Ducks made the playoffs again in 1998/99 and 2002/03 before the Disney era ended. In 2005 Disney sold the team to Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli for a reported $75 million.

The word Mighty was dropped from the team name and they became The Anaheim Ducks. They had a 43 - 27 - 12 season in 2005/06 and went all the way to the Stanley Cup semi-final series which they lost to the Edmonton Oilers.

Then in 2006/07 they won it all.

2007 Stanley Cup

2007 Stanley Cup

On June 6, 2007 a 6 - 2 win over the Ottawa Senators sealed the Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup victory.

2007 Stanley Cup winners

2007 Stanley Cup Ring

They won the final series very convincingly, 4 games to 1, and proved that big-league hockey really does belong in Southern California!

When this blog was published The Ducks were in third place in the 30-team National Hockey League. Only four points separated them from the Montréal Canadiens and the first place Nashville Predators. Could another Stanley Cup be in sight?

March 15, 2015

Disney Fun Around the Country

Gary Cruise banner

Several times each year Carol and I attend Disney-related events which do not take place in the theme parks. For us it's an easy way to keep the magic alive without making that long trek south! It's always fun sharing good times with people who also suffer from our Disney affliction!

Over the last few years I have written several blogs describing some of the Disney collectible or trading events we have enjoyed. In almost every case there has been a recurring theme in the comments people make after reading the blogs.

- "I wish I had known about this, I live very close by."

- "I would love to know when this is next year!"

- "That sounds like so much fun; I'd love to go some time."

So if you're looking to spend some happy times with fellow Disney fans, here is a list of a few of those "non-theme park events" coming up in 2015. These can help you put the maximum "Disney magic" in your life!

1. Trade 'til You Fade - May 15-17, 2015 - Somerset New Jersey
This weekend-long event, organized annually by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders, is a fun-filled experience for those who collect and trade Disney pins and Vinylmations.


CJDPT Meeting Room

CJDPT Name That Toon

There are games, raffles and even an optional gift exchange which can be hilarious! Full details are available on the Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders web site here: CJDPT

Read an AllEars.net blog about the 2012 event here: Trade 'til You Fade 2012

2. Dayton Disneyana - June 13 - 14, 2015 - Dayton Ohio
Another weekend long event, however this one caters to Disneyana collectors. The Dayton "Plane Crazy" Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club do a wonderful job organizing this annual bonanza for Disneyana collectors.

Plane Crazy Logo

A hotel ballroom is chock-full of vendor's tables overflowing with high quality collectibles. This is not a flea market, these are real Disneyana collectors selling quality product.

Dayton Collectibles

Dayton Collectibles

There are always a few interesting speakers who pass on some interesting tidbits of Disney history and gossip.

Dayton Speakers

Tables line the halls outside the ballroom for pin and Vinylmation traders.

Dayton Pin Trading

Full details are available on the chapter's web site: Dayton Disneyana

Read about previous events in these AllEars.net blogs:
Dayton Disneyana 2013
Dayton Disneyana 2014

3. Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet - July 11, 2015 - Lynnwood Washington
Carol and I have not attended this annual event held near Seattle; it's a long way from where we live! But we have heard very good reviews from friends who have been there.

Pacific Northwest Logo

There are always some top-notch speakers and interesting activities.

PNW Speaker Tony Baxter

PNW Photo Spot

PNW Dole Whip

You can read an AllEars.net blog about the 2014 event here: Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet 2014

The 2015 meet will be held at the Lynnwood Convention center in Lynnwood, Washington on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Speakers have not yet been finalized; keep an eye on their web site to confirm further details: Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet

4. Swap 'til You Drop - October 9-11, 2015 - Somerset New Jersey
Another weekend-long event, organized annually by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders.


The format for this event is very similar to the Trade 'til You Fade event held each spring.
Refer to their web site here: CJDPT

So . . . if you're feeling blue because you can't get to one of the Disney parks . . . why don't you plan to attend one of these locally organized fan events!

Disney fans always make a fun-loving group; imagine how easy it is to make new friends when you are surrounded by kindred spirits.

Maybe Carol and I will see you there!

March 19, 2015

Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - March 2015



If you subscribe to the AllEars® Weekly Newsletter, you'll know that we run a little game called the Mousy Mindboggler. Sometimes it's a word game, sometimes it's a riddle, sometimes it's some other brain-teasing challenge -- but it's always fun!

Once each month, in the AllEars® Bits and Bites issue, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Around the middle of each month, James Shares the Magic in another way -- by posting an all-new puzzle here in this AllEars.Net Guest Blog. The subject of the puzzle will vary, and James will award the winner of the challenge a collectible Disney pin!

This month, James writes:

Here's the answer key to the February Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler:


There were 39 correct responses to the word search puzzle on Extinct Magic Kingdom attractions.

The first 10 unused letters in the puzzle were WMEHKFKTJW.

The winner of a Steamboat Willie/Mickey pin was Christine L. of Aumsville, OR. Thanks to everyone for playing!

This month we are going to have another word search puzzle. In this one, we will continue looking at extinct attractions at the various Disney Parks. The second park we will take a look at will be Epcot's Future World. The Future World section of Epcot has probably seen the most changes over the years of any of the theme parks in Florida.

Here's the link to the new puzzle:


The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin: There's no need to send me the completed puzzle, just list the first 10 unused letters, starting with the first row, IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 14, 2015. All correct answers will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be awarded a Disney pin. The answers and drawing winner will be posted in this Guest Blog, along with a new puzzle, in mid-April.

As always, any feedback on the puzzle format or topics would be appreciated! Drop me a line at dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Thanks! Until next month...

March 29, 2015

From the Tickle Trunk - Disney Postcards

Gary Cruise banner

Look what I found in the Tickle Trunk! Some Disney postcards!

Postcard Scans

Postcard Scans

Gather round children while I tell you a story from olden times!

Back in the mists of ancient history, before the internet, before camera phones, before Twitter and Facebook, people sent postcards! Quaint but true!

Life was hard back in days of yore; vacationers at Walt Disney World who wanted to send home a picture that said, "I'm here and I'm having fun!" had a much more difficult time doing it! They couldn't just snap the picture and upload it!

They had to buy a postcard, buy a stamp, lick and stick the stamp (there were no peel & stick stamps back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), write a message then address the card (with a pen) and drop it in a mailbox. Often times the vacationers were already back home before the postcard arrived.

WDW Post Card Back

Instant messaging with attached pictures was pure science fiction a mere 15 years ago!

Postcard Scans

Photography was a very expensive hobby and good cameras were complicated to operate. Most people who wanted a quality picture of Cinderella Castle found it easier and cheaper to buy a postcard to put in their photo album!

Cinderella Castle

Postcards were big business, they were sold everywhere! Naturally Disney had plenty for sale and over the years some found their way home with Carol and I!

Liberty Belle

1983 Golf Resort
The Golf Resort - 1983

20000 Leagues Submarine

Country Bears

There were cards for every occasion. Each resort, each theme park and even many of the attractions in the parks were depicted in cards.

Contemporary Resort

Big Thunder

1988 Big Bertha

Naturally the Disney characters were included!

Goofy Mickey and Pluto

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Postcards are also a way to add a different perspective to your photo album or scrapbook. If you want an aerial picture, a "bird's-eye view" of the Magic Kingdom or a Disney resort, it's much more economical to buy a postcard than to charter a plane!

Polynesian Resort from the air

There were packets containing a number of themed postcards. When you detached the perforated postcard the stub which remained in the booklet showed a smaller version of the postcard image.

Frontierland Postcard Booklet

Main Street Postcard Booklet

Pirates Postcard Booklet

There is a wonderful series of "Art of Disney" postcards. These are copies of famous Disney works of art, printed on embossed paper.

Mickey and Minnie Fishing

Tinker Bell

They're so pretty you just want to frame them . . . in fact, Carol has framed some!

Framed Postcards

So many of the cards are bright, colorful and frivolous that I'm surprised Carol hasn't collected more of them . . . but she never really caught the deltiology bug! Yes, that's the word coined to describe postcard collecting, if you have more than a few dozen of them you are a deltiologist!

According to Wikipedia, "Worldwide, deltiology is the third largest collecting hobby after stamp collecting and coin/banknote collecting."

That explains a lot . . . these days it is extremely easy to shoot a picture and upload it, so hardly anyone sends postcards any more.

Yet the stores still have racks and racks of them! They must be for the scrapbookers and the deltiologists!

One of those postcard collectors is our very own Deb Wills, AllEars Founder & Webmaster. You can see a few cards from Deb's collection in a 2011 blog. Click HERE.

Celebrating 40

Another avid collector is Brian Martsolf. Brian wrote a very detailed article about Disney postcards for the AllEars.net newsletter about a decade ago. You can read it HERE.

Brian recently told me, "The role of postcards, as Disney World vacation souvenirs, has changed over the years. Digital photography has made quality imagery easy for everyone and as a result the simple, but very professionally taken photo postcards of things around WDW are becoming harder to find. Disney is now focusing more of their postcard production on "specialty" cards of various types. Today postcards come in many forms; there are die cut postcards, cut into the shape of the artwork on the cards, some shaped like Disney characters. There are lenticular postcards with images that change depending on which angle you hold them at, some of these give the illusion of movement, in other examples the effect is used more to give extra depth to the image. There are sticker postcards, and magnet postcards and accordion-style packages of cards."

"The internet is great for collectors of WDW postcards; if you visit EBay, you will probably find any postcard you are looking for, and you can even get some good deals there on occasion. But if you want to get a better price per card check out other postcard sale sites on the web, such as Playle.com, CardCow.com, or one of any number of sites out there. Also don't forget to check out any listings for postcard shows and sales that might come to your area of the country. This is really where you can get the best bargains. A substantial part of the secondary market portion of my collection has come from just a few visits to postcard shows."

I asked Brian to tell me about a few of his favorite postcards from the extensive collection he owns. Brian said, "Getting down to three favorites is hard so instead I'll give my three favorites from just the pre-opening series of WDW postcards." The three cards are pictured below, captioned with Brian's comments about them.

South Pacific Resort
"The un-built version of the Polynesian Village Resort"

"The pre-opening art of the side-wheeler "Osceola". It was the inspiration for the Southern Seas, and Ports-O-Call side-wheeler steam ships which sailed Disney waters. I never got the chance to ride them before their retirement"

Preview Center

Preview Center
"The Preview Center promotional postcard (front and back shown above) is one of the rarest of WDW postcards, and is definitely the rarest of the pre-opening cards. A nice tribute was paid to this card during the "Florida Project" pin event in 2011. I bought one of those very cool (and very large) tribute pins!"

Brian has an extensive web site with pictures of his collection and a detailed history of WDW postcards, be sure to take a look at it HERE.

Do you have a collection of Disney postcards?

If you are like most avid Disney fans you are sure to have a few postcards tucked away somewhere!

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About March 2015

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in March 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2015 is the previous archive.

April 2015 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.