Disney Collectibles Archives

July 16, 2017

Dayton Disneyana 2017

Gary Cruise banner

What is it that motivates a couple of normal, rational Canadian Disney fans to drive 656 miles to Dayton Ohio for a one-and-a-half day stay, then drive 656 miles home again? The answer is Dayton Disneyana.

Dayton Disneyana 2017

It's a gathering of Disney fans from across the continent who meet in Dayton once a year to buy and sell Disneyana collectibles, trade Disney pins, attend interesting seminars presented by well-known Disney personalities and hang out with people who share our Disney obsession. If we can find any spare time we have also been known to sit around, over adult beverages, swapping Disney stories and tips.

Dayton Disneyana 2017

This was our fifth trip to Dayton in as many years. As usual, our son Rob came along; like Carol, he's a hoarder a pack rat an avid Disney collector. I'm not a collector; it's the seminars that I enjoy!

On Friday June 9th we were on the road bright and early and arrived at the Thousand Islands border crossing, about 25 miles from our home, just after dawn. There wasn't a single car ahead of us.

Thousand Island Bridge

The US Border Patrol Officer spotted the two big boxes full of acrylic globes in the back of the vehicle and asked what they were. When I told him they were Mickey Mouse lamp posts he raised an arched eyebrow, then waved us on through. I'm not sure if he was amused or bewildered!

Our journey took us from Ontario through New York, Pennsylvania and finally to Ohio.



The weather was good, traffic was light and we made great time. We made one fuel stop and took one rest area break before pulling off the highway in Erie, Pennsylvania, for a bite. We don't have Chik-Fil-A restaurants in Canada and it was the unanimous choice for lunch!

We were back on the road in no time and carried on westbound across the southern shores of the Great Lakes. At Cleveland we turned south and passed through Columbus on our way to Dayton.

Our route to Dayton

We pulled into the Holiday Inn, Fairborn Ohio at 4:30 and, after sitting in the car all day, enjoyed a few minutes of stretching as we settled into our rooms.

We didn't have long to rest though; I quickly assembled the Mickey Mouse lamp post we were donating for the charity raffle and we tracked down the event organizer, Anita Schaengold, to deliver it. She was busy in the grand ballroom where 29 vendors were setting up a whopping 74 tables full of Disney collectibles. Carol was vibrating with anticipation as we walked past the closed doors of the ballroom.

The first official function was a 6:00 p.m. dinner, held in a meeting room near the grand ballroom, and this was our first opportunity to meet Disney artists and animators Mike and Patty Peraza who were featured guests for the weekend.

2017 Dayton Poster

After we enjoyed a nice dinner, the emcee for the evening, Disney historian Jim Hill, introduced the husband and wife animation team to the audience of 100 to 120 people. It was a small crowd and there was plenty of interaction between the speakers and those of us in the audience.

Patty Mike and Jim

Each of them gave us a brief description of their life-long careers with Disney and briefly mentioned a few of the films and features they worked on. The Fox and the Hound, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Black Cauldron, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, The Great Mouse Detective, TRON, The Little Mermaid, Return to OZ, Ducktales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are a few of the projects they talked about.

Both Patty and Mike are graduates of the prestigious California Institute for the Arts, a university that Walt Disney himself established. Mike entertained us with a few unusual stories from his days at "CalArts" when his roommate was Tim Burton. I think it's a given that any story that includes Tim Burton has to be a bit unusual.

Patty put a different spin on her CalArts story. She was a Graphic Design major at University of Delaware when the dean approached her to recommend the Disney Animation program at CalArts. She knew that CalArts was a bit beyond her family's financial means so she respectfully declined. Just a few weeks later the dean returned, this time with the offer of a full scholarship. Patty quickly applied and was accepted.

She was the first female graduate from CalArts hired by the Disney Corporation and during her long career with the company she picked up some pretty strong "vibes" about her scholarship. She was never able to confirm it, but she is pretty sure that it funded by Walt Disney's wife Lillian.

Mike and Patty kept our interest for a full hour and left us all wanting to hear more. I was looking forward to their seminar the next afternoon.


The last performance of the evening featured Anita and Randy as they drew some fabulous, one-of-a-kind door prizes.


Randy claimed to be Vanna White's younger brother and he did a wonderful job presenting, modeling and demonstrating each of the prizes!

After the official events wrapped up a few of adjourned to the bar beside the hotel lobby for a comforting adult beverage. Rob and I joined in the imbibing crowd while Carol dashed back to the room, gathered up her bag of pins and headed off to the training tables.

By 10:00 that evening my long day behind the wheel had caught up to me; I headed back to the room. Carol was tired, too; she was back by 11:00 p.m.

Saturday Jun 10, 2017

We were up bright and early. Carol and Rob were two of the 75 people who paid $30 each to be "early-birds". Early-birds are allowed to enter the ballroom and shop for 90 minutes before the doors open for everyone else. They are also eligible to win door prizes provided by each of the vendors and they get a goody bag full of interesting Disney "stuff"! Carol assures me that she get's more than her money's worth... but I think she'd pay the Early-Bird fee even if she didn't get the goody bag or the chance at the door prizes. She'd be happy just to get the extra shopping time!

The early-birds

Just after 8 a.m. Carol and Rob joined the line of eager early-birds in the hall outside the ballroom.

I snuck into the ballroom to get a few pictures before those avid shoppers arrived!


I think the vendors enjoy Dayton Disneyana as much as the collectors do; many of them travel long distances to get there. This year there were four vendors from Florida and one from Southern California.

I’m pretty sure the vendors were just as excited as the crowd waiting in the hall for those doors to swing open!

You want thingamabobs? I got twenty!

Gary and Gary

Gary and Gary from Ozark Missouri had several tables full of wonderful Disney items, including this great Scrooge McDuck figurine!





There were popcorn buckets, figurines, snow globes, watches, glasses, mugs, plates, movie posters, magazines, telephones, pins, Vinylmations, and so much more. No matter what you collect, you are sure to find it at Dayton Disneyana.



Need a talking alarm clock? Two to choose from!

How about a Goofy phone? There were two of them as well!

A Mickey Mouse corn popper. The first one I've seen!

This year Dayton Disneyana had a bit of International flavour... and it was not just because of the four car-loads of avid Canadian shoppers who made the long drive! The first Canadian vendor was there; our friend Cheryl from the Toronto area. Her hand-crafted Mouse Ears and EPCOT Passports have been selling like hotcakes through her "LetsMakeSomeMagic" ETSY store so she brought some along to Dayton.


Cheryl's Minnie Ears
One of Cheryl's unique creations!

If you have a favourite Disney character, a princess or a villain, Cheryl can customize some ears just for you!


The passports are a great activity for kids. Children can have them stamped at all of the KidCot activity stations. Most of the cast members will also add a personal greeting in their native language. It's a fun way for kids to learn about foreign cultures and customs!



The passports can be personalized with your children's names, the date of your trip, etc.

There are even honeymoon passports so newlyweds can collect some unique wedding wishes in a variety of languages!

What a great idea!

Some unique figurines!

Band Concert Phone
I wonder what the ringtone sounds like on this phone?



By 8:15 the vendors were all set and there were plenty of early-birds waiting impatiently in the hall. Anita decided to let the shoppers in early... there was a round of cheering in the hall as she made the announcement!

In come the early-birds

Carol's goody bag

Carol was about 20th in line this year. She paused for just a brief second to show me her bag of free early-bird goodies, then scurried off to shop!

Happy shoppers

The happiest shopper

Carries Kermit Phone

Our friend Carrie couldn't wait to get back to her room and make a call on her brand new Kermit phone. Isn't it a beauty?!

Mike and Rob
Mike Peraza with Rob

By 10:00 both Carol and Rob had been around the ballroom a couple of times and they had picked up about half of what they would purchase over the weekend.

Carol Eric and Trisha

Carol with friends Eric and Trisha from Ohio. She sees them every year at the annual Epcot pin event. This was their first time at Dayton Disneyana.

The rest of the crowd enters

At 10 a.m. the doors opened for the rest of the shoppers. In less than a minute the crowd in the ballroom doubled as everyone rushed in to join the early-birds.

More shoppers



Fortunately there was plenty of merchandise to go around!

Before long Carol and Rob dropped their new-found treasures off in their rooms and adjourned to the pin trading room.

Pin Trading room

There were plenty of traders who had pin books, pin binders, Disney buttons, boxes full of Vinylmations, Sorcerer Cards, Transportation Cards, all sorts of Disney collectibles to trade!


Traders of all ages joined in the fun!

Carol would pop back into the ballroom once in a while to do a quick lap... when things on the tables sell the vendors reach into boxes stacked under the tables and pull out more merchandise.

She found a few unique treasures because she kept going back to the ballroom for another look!


There were several different games organized in the trading room throughout the day. That happy crowd in picture above are playing Pingo. It's similar to Bingo, but the entry fee is a pin and the prizes are pins!

I picked up some fast food for lunch and we enjoyed it in the trading room before Rob and I headed off to the seminars and Carol continued trading.

Seminar room

The seminars were held in a meeting room directly across from the ballroom.

Before the speakers began their presentation Anita introduced us to Joe Cox, the president of Pirate Packs, a local charity which provides food for needy children in the area.

Anita and Joe Cox

All of the money raised over the course of the weekend was donated to Pirate Packs.

There are school programs which give hungry children access to three meals a day, but for some children there is no food in the home on days when they don't go to school.

That's where Pirate Packs comes in!

When those kids go home for the weekend they take a backpack that contains three meals a day for each day they'll be away.

Pirate Packs

It's a great program and the assembled Disney fans were happy to support it. Over the course of the event there were silent auctions, live auctions and a bicycle raffle. The 402 Disney fans in attendance helped Dayton Disneyana raise almost $3,000.00 for Pirate Packs! Well done folks!

At 1 p.m. Jim Hill introduced the featured speakers, Mike and Patty Peraza. They kept us spellbound for an hour and a half. They used audio-video images and clips to describe their Disney careers and told us some very interesting "inside stories" about the many movies, cartoons, park attractions and other projects they worked on.

Mike and Patty

They worked on The Muppet Movie

I think every Disney fan gets a special kind of chill, or goose bumps, when they are part of a very small audience and share a room with people like Mike and Patty who have worked directly with Walt Disney, Jim Henson, the Nine Old Men, even Lillian Disney. Our 90 minutes passed in a flash, none of us wanted it to end.

Mike and Patty

Words cannot describe how much I enjoy the seminars, you'll just have to come to Dayton and experience them for yourself!

The second seminar of the afternoon featured well-known Disney Historian Jim Hill. Jim is not a cast member, he never has been, but he has a wide network of contacts in the organization and an encyclopedic repertoire of the history and lore of the organization.

Jim Hill

He talked about the original design of the Disneyland Paris park and the new challenges the Imagineers faced with their first foray into an international location. Imagine that as you stand in line at an attraction the people standing near you could speak as many as five different languages and none of them speak English or French.

You can't put five languages on a sign; it was interesting to hear some of the innovative solutions those talented Imagineers came up with!

Immediately after the second seminar it was time for the costume contest. Naturally Disney costumes dominated.



After the judging was done all the competitors paraded through the ballroom so the vendors could share in some of the fun too!

Saturday evening there was a sort of "impromptu" dinner. It wasn't part of the original schedule, all the planning was done late Friday afternoon. There were only 33 seats available in the small dining room we shared with Mike and Patty Peraza and Jim Hill. The hotel donated the space and all the hors d'oeuvres we ate! Each of us paid $30.00 to attend and it all went to Pirate Packs!

Jim Hill

After we enjoyed a bite to eat Jim Hill introduced Mike and Patty who shared some more stories and experiences with us. Each of them showed a few of their favourite creations on the large TV screen.

Mike Peraza


Kermit and Jim Henson.jpg

One of Mike's favourite pieces. He created this painting of Kermit holding a Jim Henson puppet just after Mr. Henson's death. It now hangs in the Henson home.


Chatting with the artists

We were seated at the table right next to the Disney artists and were able to chat one-on-one with them throughout dinner. After their presentation was finished we resumed the chatter while we waited for the charity auction to begin!

Terence and Sarah

Our friend Sarah was the successful bidder for a Minnie Mouse sketch Patty Peraza donated for the auction. Patty spent a few minutes personalizing the sketch for Sarah, and while Patty was doing that her husband Mike created a matching sketch of Mickey. Wasn't that a nice gesture?

Nice things like that happen quite often at Dayton Disneyana!

The Mickey Lamp

The final auction item was the Mickey Mouse lamp post I donated. The lamp was surprisingly popular and the bidding was intense. It sold for $220 and all of the money went to Pirate Packs!

After dinner a few of us gathered in the bar for some refreshments. Rob and I joined the saloon crowd while Carol did some more pin trading!

Sunday Jun 11, 2017

We had a more leisurely start on Sunday. The ballroom full of vendors didn't open until 10:00 a.m. Naturally Carol, Rob and I were there when the doors opened.



I chatted with a few friends and took some more pictures while they scoured the vendor's tables one last time.

Bob and Latosha


Jay and Chantal

All too soon it was time to think about that long drive home. I always regret missing the Sunday afternoon seminars, but with a 10-hour drive in store we always try to pull away by noon.

We said our goodbyes and thanked the organizers, Anita and her committee, for another wonderful event. We began our northeastward trip home at 11:30 a.m.

Traffic flowed well, there were no accidents or other tie-ups and we arrived home safe and sound at 10:30 p.m.

You might think that our 656 mile drive to Dayton was the furthest that anyone traveled... but it wasn't.

JoAnn and Abby

Joann flew from Hartford, Connecticut, to Ohio and met friend Abby from Norton, Ohio, for the trip to Dayton. That's about 775 miles! There sure are some dedicated Disney fans around!

I didn't buy anything all weekend, but I came home with some wonderful memories and a few new Disney stories that I picked up from the speakers.

You're probably wondering what Carol and Rob brought home after their many hours of determined shopping. Here are a few pictures of the booty they collected.

Free Stuff
Raffle prizes and early entry gifts - all this stuff was free!

Rob's Treasures
Rob's new treasures.

Rob's favourites
I asked Rob to select his favourite - he couldn't decide between these two.

Rob's Fan Page
Rob's fan page - signed by Kathryn Beaumont who was
the voice actor in the 1951 Alice in Wonderland movie.

Carol's treasures
Carol's new treasures.

Carol's plates
Carol's new plates.

Carol's favourite
Carol's favourite.

Carol's pins
Pins Carol found in Dayton.

In 2018 Dayton Disneyana will be held at the Hope Hotel and the adjoining Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center on June 8th, 9th and 10th. They are located at 10823 Chidlaw Road, less than two miles from the site of the 2017 event.

The new venue will provide much more room for vendors and that has Carol very excited!
I don't care about the vendors... I'm already wondering who the speakers will be!

We hope to see you there!

Follow for more details on Dayton Disneyana 2018 on their Web Site HERE or on their Facebook page HERE

July 2, 2017

Mickey and Friends Gardening

Gary Cruise banner

A few weeks ago a package arrived in the mail from Disney Movie Club. Carol opened it up and much to my surprise pulled out a packet of Disney themed garden seeds.

Bambi Daisies
Click on the image to see a larger copy

Bambi is apparently a big fan of the Gloriosa Daisy.

I said, “I’ve never seen Disney seeds before!”

Carol immediately led me to her Disney Room and pulled a package down from one of the shelves. It was a Disney planting kit in a blister pack. The kit contains a packet of Pluto’s Pumpkin Seeds and a row marker for your garden.

Pluto Seed Kit

Carol found it a few years ago in a local thrift store.

I was doubly surprised because the Pluto Pumpkin Seed kit was produced by McKenzie Seeds, a Canadian company headquartered in Brandon Manitoba. We’re not used to seeing Canadian-made Disney products!

I did a bit of research online and found that McKenzie began producing licensed Disney seed kits aimed at young gardeners in 1996.

They produced Disney’s Mickey & Friends Deluxe Gardening Kits, Pocahontas Sunflower Growing Kits, Mickey & Friends Single Variety Packs and Pocahontas Flit Hummingbird Garden Kits. All were designed to teach children aged five years and older to respect the environment and love nature.

Some of the kits included things like growing medium, a watering can, garden trowel and fork, a gardening guide, seeds, and Disney character row markers.

Our son Rob stopped by for a visit just a few days after the Movie Club seeds arrived, and gave Carol a new Disney treasure he had picked up for her in another thrift store the previous day.

You guessed it – seeds!

Daisy Daisies
Click on each seed packet to see a larger image

Goofy Sunflowers

Minnie Marigolds

Mickey Peas

There were six different varieties of seeds offered and Carol has five of them. She's now on the lookout for some Donald Duck Carrot Seeds!

The kit that Rob picked up was still in the original box but the package was ripped, torn, faded and discoloured. It was beyond repair. There was also a small plastic pot to plant the seeds in and a tiny plastic trowel. Just what an ittsy-bittsy gardener needs!

The best part, of course, was the seed packets and also the cute set of row markers for the garden.

Row Markers
Click to see a larger image

Aren’t they special?

And how about the fold-out Mickey & Friends Gardening Story Guide.

Gardening Guide

The 4¼” X 4½” pamphlet folds out to display six cartoon style panels of gardening tips for tiny green thumbs.

Fold out pamphlet
Click to see a larger image

How cool is that?

I have no idea how long the Disney licensed seeds were distributed in Canada, but they are no longer available. So Rob’s latest Disney gifts for his mother will be prized additions to her Disney Room.

I imagine that one of the big seed companies in the USA had a similar licensing arrangement.

Here's a question for all of my fellow readers:

Do you have similar seed packets and gardening kits in your Disney collections?

July 31, 2016

Dayton Disneyana 2016

Gary Cruise banner

Carol and I always look forward to our trip to Dayton, Ohio for the Disneyana Show and Sale hosted by the Dayton Plane Crazy Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club. Carol and Rob love scouring the vendor tables looking for new items for their growing Disneyana collections while I enjoy the seminars and speakers.

Dayton Disneyana Guest Speakers

There’s something for everyone at Dayton Disneyana!

We normally travel through Ontario, across the north side of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, but this time we decided that we would try the southerly route to Dayton via New York and Pennsylvania, and on Sunday return home through Ontario.


We got away from our home in Eastern Ontario just after 6 a.m. Our 657-mile journey took us into New York, through Syracuse and Buffalo, then into Pennsylvania.

The south shore of Lake Erie is a very pleasant drive; vineyards along both sides of the highway reminded me of Ontario's foremost wine region, The Niagara Peninsula, about 25 miles away on the north shore of that same lake.

We stopped in Erie, PA for a quick bite of lunch and then crossed the Ohio State Line.

Ohio State Line

At Cleveland we left Interstate 90 behind and took a south-westerly tack to Dayton. We arrived at the Holiday Inn at Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton at 5:30.

I rested for a few minutes after the long drive while Carol got us all unpacked and settled for the weekend! Then it was time to go and meet some of our playmates.

The event chair, Anita, was outside the ballroom, busy with the usual flurry last minute arrangements, but she took a minute to invite the three of us to join them for dinner and meet the panel of guest speakers.

Margaret Kerry
Margaret Kerry with Anita Schaengold the background

Tom and Janice Nabbe
Tom Nabbe and his wife Janice

Wow, it was great. After dinner Jim Hill moderated as Terri Hardin, a former Disney Imagineer, dazzled us with her stories. She started her career as a puppeteer and worked with Jim Henson and the Muppets, worked with Michael Jackson in Captain EO, then as an Imagineer she worked on a variety of rides and attractions in the Disney Parks.

Jim and Terri

Terri's message was similar to Walt Disney’s “If you can dream it, you can do it!” but Terri added that you have to have passion for your dream and you have to fight for it.

Jim and Terri

Terri certainly displayed passion in her presentation and held us all spellbound for over an hour. She was so vibrant and so animated that it was tough to get a clear photograph. She just wouldn't keep still long enough!

What a great night!

Carol went pin trading until 11:00 - I crashed much earlier.

The Dayton event is very affordable; a one-day pass is $10.00, a two-day pass is $15.00 and the passes include admission to all of the seminars. The Friday and Saturday night dinners, featuring some outstanding guest speakers, are optional and are also very reasonably priced. The hotel offers very attractive group rates for rooms ($99/night this year) and 52 individuals or families took advantage of those rates.

Welcome Sign

Carol was signed up as an "Early Bird" so we had to get a quick start Saturday morning! The collectible sale opens to the public at 10:00 a.m. but Carol and Rob were two of the fifty people who paid $25.00 to get in 90 minutes early.

I wanted to get a few pictures before the eager shoppers got started so we made sure we got to the ballroom by 8:00 a.m.

Carol and Mickey

Carol picked up a collector plate that friends Bob and Latosha had found for her a few days earlier while I roamed the room snapping pictures.

Bob and Latosha

An eager vendor

There is always a fantastic variety of quality merchandise for sale and the vendors come from far and wide! This year there were 28 vendors who had 72 tables loaded with merchandise!

Disneyana treasures

Orange Bird collectibles

Hitchhiking Ghosts

Classic Board Games

Collector Plates

Erin Morehouse doesn't look all that eager to greet the shoppers . . . but she wasn't really as frightened as she appeared to be.

Erin Morehouse

Each year Erin and her husband Robby travel all the way from California to sell at Dayton Disneyana.

Packing the goody bags
Each early-bird was given a "goodie bag" packed full of little Disney treasures!

Early birds

While the Early Birds waited patiently outside the ballroom they were entertained by Dayton Plane Crazy chapter member Mary who pole-danced with the Mickey lamp post I donated for the charity auction!

Mary and Mickey

Finally it was 8:30 and the doors opened. The shoppers rushed in and took full advantage of their 90 minute pre-sale. Carol and Rob had their buying pretty much finished by 10:00 a.m.

Rush hour in Dayton

Rob with his goody bag

Happy shoppers

Tom Nabbe and his wife Janice were on hand all day meeting fans, answering questions and autographing books and photos.

Tom and Janice Nabbe

The first seminar speaker, at noon, was well-known Disney insider Jim Hill who spoke about the new live action version of the Jungle Book movie. His fascinating story began by describing how Disney acquired and produced the original animated version and then contrasted that process with the newer live action version.

Jim Hill

This is what I enjoy at sessions like Dayton Disneyana. I thrive on the “insider knowledge”, the Disney trivia. I like to hear the history behind the successes and failures, the triumphs and the duds.

Jim Hill has some amazing contacts in the Disney organization and he brings a wealth of knowledge and a keen insight to the table when he speaks.

Between seminars I joined Carol for a few minutes in the pin trading room. Things were hopping, there were plenty of traders this year!

Pin trading

The next speaker was a genuine Disney Legend . . . and being a Disney Legend is a big deal!

Tom Nabbe

The Disney Legend Award is a hall of fame program that recognizes individuals who have made an extraordinary and integral contribution to The Walt Disney Company. They have been chosen since 1987 by a select committee of senior Disney executives. There are fewer than 300 Disney Legends and our speaker Tom Nabbe is one of them! It's an exclusive group indeed!

Tom Nabbe's Powerpoint Slides
Click on the image above to see a larger version

He told the story of his varied career at Disney . . . and it was fascinating. Tom began selling newspapers outside the Harbor Gate to Disneyland in 1955, when the park was still under construction. The image above is a montage of slides from Tom's PowerPoint presentation. In the upper left slide you see newsboy Tom standing outside that Harbor Gate, flanked by Milton Berle and Jerry Lewis. By 1957 young Tom had persuaded Walt Disney to hire him to portray Tom Sawyer on the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island. The lower left slide shows Tom, in his Tom Sawyer persona, sitting with Walt and the final slide shows scenes from his Disney Legends presentation in 2005.

Tom Nabbe

The final seminar of the day featured Margaret Kerry and Terri Hardin. Margaret was a dancer and actress who was the live action model for Tinker Bell. Terri began as a puppeteer and later worked as a Disney Imagineer. Their panel discussion was moderated by Jim Hill.

Margaret and Terri

Margaret Kerry talked extensively about her career before and after Disney. She has worked with an astounding number of stars. She described meeting Walt, auditioning for him and winning the role! Margaret is an amazingly bright, charming and witty 87 year-old dynamo.

Margaret Kerry

In her Friday night presentation Terri Hardin focused on fighting for your dream with passion and Saturday afternoon she told us how she fought for her dream. As a young woman she had a passion for puppeteering and her drive took her to Jim Henson Studios where, at about 20 years of age, she landed a job in the Muppets show. She had us in stitches as she described working puppets from under a couch, under the floor, in some of the dustiest and dirtiest spots you can imagine.

Terri Hardin

She spoke about Michael Jackson who became her good friend on the set of Captain EO.

It was Terri's other passion, sculpting, that eventually took her to Disney where she worked as an Imagineer.

The seminars wrapped up at 4 p.m. - just in time for the costume contest.

Cheryl as Mary Poppins

More costumes

The contestants paraded through the ballroom, between the vendors tables and then assembled in the seminar theatre where they were judged by an expert panel. The happy winners are pictured below.

Costume winners

Carol, Rob and I had pre-booked for the special Saturday night dinner. We arrived in time for a cold beverage before dinner and then enjoyed a nice meal served buffet style.

After dinner Jim Hill acted as moderator once again as Tom Nabbe and Margaret Kerry spoke to the assembled group.

After dinner speakers

Tom grew too old for the Tom Sawyer role within a few years and moved on to other areas in the corporation. As soon as he turned 18 he moved to the Jungle Cruise but that was just the beginning. He spent many years working in the Parks and Attractions Division before moving into Distribution Services. His career spanned 48 years, beginning as a newsboy, hired by Walt Disney himself, and he retired as a senior executive.

Margaret spoke of her film career and we were all simple amazed. She began as a 4-year-old child actress in the "Our Gang" comedies. You might also remember them as "The Little Rascals".

Margaret Kerry

She worked with Bobby Driscoll, Andy Griffith, Eddie Cantor, the Three Stooges and so many others . . . what an amazing career. I can't wait to read her book, Tinker Bell Talks: Tales of a Pixie Dusted Life, which will be released August 7, 2016.

Terri Hardin won a Tsum-Tsum in the raffle draw and it brought out the puppeteer in her once again. You simply wouldn't believe what a talented puppeteer can do with a Tsum-Tsum. It was hilarious!

Terri and the Tsum-Tsum

Then it was time for the final event of the evening, the charity auction. There were some great items, including a Star Wars print signed by the artist, Shag. It sold for $200. The Mickey lamp was sold last and the bidding was intense. It finally sold for $215 and the auction raised a grand total of $710 for Ronald McDonald House and Give Kids The World!

The auction

After the auction Rob took a minute to have Margaret Kerry autograph the Tinker Bell print he won in a draw and I had a chat with Tom Nabbe.

Margaret and Rob

Tom Nabbe and Gary Cruise

We decided that there was no better way to end a perfect day than with a cold adult beverage.

Some quiet time with Tom Nabbe

Just Rob and I, hoisting a cold one with a real Disney Legend. How cool is that?

This legend even has a window on Main Street!

We enjoyed a more leisurely start on Sunday morning.

The ballroom full of vendors didn't open until 10 a.m. so we slept a bit later and then had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Soon after Carol and I settled in the restaurant Tom and Janice Nabbe were seated at the table right beside us and we chatted with them throughout our meal.

We left the restaurant just before 10; it was time for Tom and Janice to get to work, for Carol to get some more browsing done and for me to snap a few more pictures. Along the way I bumped into Margaret Kerry and had a shot taken with her.

Gary with Margaret Kerry

The vendors were busy again on Sunday morning. That's when a lot of bargain hunters come out looking for deals . . . and there are usually some deals to be found. Many of the vendors would rather discount the collectibles a bit and sell them than pack them up and take them home again.

Sunday morning shoppers

I spotted Carol in front of the Theme Park Connection display; she waved me over, handed me a "Piece of Disney Movies" pin she's been trying to find for years and said, "Buy this right now and wish me Happy Birthday." So I did. Birthday shopping is now all done! Bonus!

Nicole Newport with her book
Author Nicole Newport with her book "Disney Magic From A to Z"

I bought a copy of Tom Nabbe's book and he autographed a picture of himself sitting with Walt Disney as part of the deal. My Disney collection isn't quite as extensive as Carol's but it's growing!

Tom Nabbe with his book

Tom Nabbe with Walt

Just after 11 a.m. Carol said, "I'm ready to go!" That caught me by surprise; we had planned to get away between noon and 1 p.m. But, she and Rob had both done enough shopping and pin trading, so we did a quick walk around the auditorium saying some goodbyes, hopped in the car and pulled away at 11:30 to begin the 650 mile drive home.

I always feel a bit conflicted when we leave on Sunday; there is another full afternoon of seminars that I miss out on because of the length of our journey home. Maybe one of these years we'll stay for the afternoon sessions and drive home on Monday!

Our original plan had been to follow I-75 north to Detroit and cross the border there but we had heard so much from others about all the construction and delays on I-75 that we decided to return home the same way we came. It turned out to be a wise choice. There was very little traffic and we made excellent time.

We made a couple of stops along the way to stretch our legs, had a quick lunch at Wendy's, fueled the car twice and skipped dinner altogether. We crossed the Canadian border at 9:30, picked up the dogs at Carol's mother's house and were back home just after 10:00 p.m. - more than an hour sooner than my best estimate.

At one point during our north-easterly trip home I asked Rob, "Are you familiar with the theory of Six Degrees of Separation?"

"Yes," he replied, "Like in that old movie, we are all connected to each other by a maximum of six steps."

According to Wikipedia, "Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps." Like Rob, you probably remember the 1993 movie starring Stockard Channing, Will Smith and Donald Sutherland.

"Exactly," I replied to Rob, "So that means when we sat and had a cold one with Tom Nabbe last night we were only one degree removed from Walt Disney."

He mulled that over for a few seconds then said, "When we spoke with Terri Hardin we were one degree away from Jim Henson and Michael Jackson . . . and when we chatted with Margaret Kerry we were one degree removed from Andy Griffin and The Three Stooges. It really is a small world isn't it?"

I think that's the best thing I'm taking home from Dayton Disneyana!

What did the two collectors bring home?

Everything you see pictured below was free. It came in a goody bag, was a gift from a vendor or it was a door prize.

Free Stuff
Click on the image to see a larger version

Rob's purchases are next. His favourite item? The Tinker Bell print signed by Margaret Kerry, pictured above.

Purchased by Rob
Click on the image to see a larger version

Carol was delighted with the pins, plate, figurines, coin, buttons and Vinylmations she brought home. Also included in her goodies are the two books I picked up, Tom Nabbe's new book "From Disneyland's Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend" and "Disney Magic From A to Z" by Nicole Newport.

Purchased by Carol
Click on the image to see a larger version

It was a wonderful weekend, I’m quite sure that every one of the 475 attendees had a terrific time! The organizers, all volunteers, should be congratulated; Anita Schaengold and her committee always do an excellent job.

They have already begun work on next year’s event. It will be in the same location, The Holiday Inn, Fairborn, Ohio, June 9 – 11, 2017. Mark it on your calendar right now and then follow their web site (HERE) and Facebook page (HERE) for further details.

For more on Tom Nabbe's career, read his book, From Disneyland's Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend: The Adventures of Tom Nabbe.

June 6, 2016

Waxing nostalgic about Disney memorabilia

The cover of a long-playing Mickey Mouse Club record. The album features 21 hit Mouseketunes. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

CHUCK SCHMIDT / Still Goofy About Disney
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger

What do you think of when you think of Disney?

World-class theme parks, with so many iconic rides and attractions, to be sure. And all those classic animated feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Frozen, and live-action epics like Star Wars and the Marvel franchises ... beloved characters ... a respected cruise line ... a popular time share enterprise ... numerous retail outlets in the theme parks, in malls and online ... a leading television network ...

And let's not forget nostalgia.

"Makin' memories," as they used to say at the Imagination pavilion at Epcot, is a key component to Disney's unparalleled long-term success. A few years back, Disney Parks initiated a year-long campaign called "Let the Memories Begin," because they have long recognized how important memorable experiences are to the fabric of most families.

As a natural extension, memorabilia and collectibles are an integral part of the world of Disney. Just ask anyone who has ever attended a Disneyana or D23 event and you'll get an idea of how great the appeal is for Disney's storied past [more on that in a future blog].

Like most hard-core Disney fans, I love Disney of old. Which goes a long way in explaining why, every time I visit a Disney theme park, I grab several guide maps ... one for use that day in the park, the others to be filed away for future reference. Thankfully, I've done this ever since our first visit to Walt Disney World in 1972. To me, these seemingly innocent maps serve as a window back in time, a glimpse at the way things used to be, a barometer of how things have changed.

Marty Sklar wrote this in the author's copy of "Walt Disney's Disneyland." [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Over the years, I've managed to put together a collection of Disney memorabilia that I'm quite proud of. Some of these items I've secured on my own [usually with the help of my wife Janet], others were given to me by family and friends who know of my love of all things Disney.

One of my first "finds" was securing a copy of Walt Disney's Disneyland, a wonderfully detailed book written by none other than my friend Marty Sklar. The books were sold at Disneyland in the late 1960s into the early 1970s as a souvenir of your visit. In truth, the book is a remarkably well-done work, rich in detail about the Happiest Place on Earth.

I found my first copy [Janet and I now have three] of the book at a yard sale in Colts Neck, N.J., in the 1990s.

Years later, in 2011, I had Marty sign the book for me during "a dinner and a conversation" fund-raising event that he headlined in Orlando the night before the D23 event celebrating Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary. It's a cherished keepsake, on many levels.

The cover of Life Magazine in October, 1971, featuring a "mob-scene" photo of the cast in front of Cinderella Castle. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

A colleague at the Staten Island Advance, Steve Zaffarano, was cleaning house one day in 2010 when he came across a copy of the iconic Life Magazine edition, dated October 15, 1971, featuring the Walt Disney World cast posed in front of Cinderella Castle.

He brought it to work the next day and asked me if I'd like to have it. A no-brainer, on many levels. A few years after Steve's generous gift, I was fortunate to speak to the man who was chiefly responsible for setting up that classic photo, as well as several other pre-opening magazine features ... Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway.

After making significant contributions to the success of Disneyland, Charlie and his family moved to Florida in 1969 following him being named Walt Disney World's first director of press and publicity.

"The first trip I made when I took the job at the end of 1969 was to go to New York," he told me in 2014. "I went to Time, Life and Look magazines and all the major papers and I also went to Washington to National Geographic.

"The managing editor of Look Magazine (Pat Carbine) said: 'We want to be the first ones with a cover story' [on Walt Disney World]. They wanted to have their reporter come down in April [of 1971; the Magic Kingdom wouldn't open until October], which was way too early. There wasn't that much really finished. But we were able to gerrymander things and produce pictures that looked like it was really done.

"We laid some artificial grass on Town Square so we could shoot City Hall. I think there was a ladder still up on the balcony when we shot it. Look had a very good layout."

As for the Life Magazine cover photo and story: "The idea of going to Life was Sandy Quinn's, who came down in 1967 and was the first Disney guy on the ground ... he became very friendly with a lot of the local news media," Charlie said.

"At the time we were getting ready to plan for the opening, I suggested we do a mob-scene picture and we carried forward from that point. We went to Life with the idea and they liked it and they sent down one of their very best photographers, a guy named Yale Joel. He got up on a stand with an 8x10 view camera to shoot the picture. Of course, that one we shot in front of the castle.

"We assembled as many cast members as we could get there. We actually had 5,000 employees, of which we were able to gather 3,000 at one time for the photo." The magazine is a wonderful keepsake, made even more special after getting input from the man involved in bringing it to Life [pun intended].

Disney memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes, from Mickey Mouse watches to character figurines to Davy Crockett coonskin caps to vintage stuffed animals ... a.k.a., plush. Vinyl records — you remember them, don't you? — also fall into this nostalgic category.

Our son's mother-in-law, Cindy, came across several Disney recording gems at a flea market a few years ago and gave them to me. All three records — one is a 12-inch long-playing record, the other two are smaller 6- and 7-inch discs — feature the Mickey Mouse Club and The Merry Mouseketeers, as they were sometimes referred to during the show's prime in the 1950s.

One of the smaller records is a Disneyland Record and Book titled "Mickey Mouse, Brave Little Tailor," while the other is titled "Songs from the Mickey Mouse Club" and was part of a series of official Mickey Mouse Club Records.

"The Mickey Mouse Club March" was featured on this vintage record. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

The liner notes on the cover of that record are priceless: "Exclusively on these low-priced official Mickey Mouse Club Records are the voices, songs and games from Walt Disney's wonderful daily one-hour TV show. Here are Mickey, Donald and Jiminy Cricket — Jimmie Dodd and The Merry Mouseketeers for your child's enjoyment, participation and education."

The LP — "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, Mousekedances and Other Mouseketeer Favorites," on Disneyland Records — features a colorful cover, with drawings of Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy sharing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse stage with likenesses of club leader Jimmie and Mouseketeers Karen, Cubby, Bobby and, of course, Annette Funicello. The songs on the album run the gamut of what was played during a typical "Mickey Mouse Club" television show, which was broadcast on ABC in glorious black-and-white Monday through Friday in the mid- to late-1950s.

This letter, from Walt Disney to then-Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, was up for auction several years ago. [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Several years ago, an auction house sent me photos of several Disney-related items that they were about to put up for bidding. One of the items was a letter from Walt Disney to California Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, sent in December of 1958. It's fascinating, on many levels.

The point of the letter, on official Disneyland stationary no less, was to alert Gov. Knight that he was receiving his Disneyland Gold Pass for the 1959 season. In reading the letter, it's obvious that Walt is quite proud of the fact that many new attractions would be opening at Disneyland during the year, including the Matterhorn bobsleds, a monorail system and a submarine voyage.

If need be, according to the letter, Gov. Knight could contact Walt's secretary, Tommy Walker, by calling her at VIctoria 9-3411. If you manage to get your hands on a time-traveling device, make sure to give Walt a call when you go back to the 1950s. Gov. Knight was among the many honored guests on hand during Disneyland's opening day on July 17, 1955.

A newspaper article, circa 1939-1940, and in French, dealing with Walt Disney's new film, "Fantasia." [Chuck Schmidt Collection]

Mike Virgintino, my Friendly Freedomland pal, occasionally stumbles on Disney-related gems and he generously sends them to me to add to my collection. "I know they'll get a good home with you," he says.

One such item is quite interesting. It's a newspaper clipping, circa 1939-1940, of a story on Disney's upcoming new film, Fantasia. The article features a photo of one of the film's segments, Beethoven's "The Pastoral Symphony."

The only problem is: The article is in French [any French students out there?].

The clipping adds to my Fantasia collection: I have [on loan from my mother] an original program movie-goers received when they saw the movie during its long-running engagement at the Broadway Theatre in Manhattan. The booklet features a wealth of information about the ground-breaking cinematic achievement, including portraits of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor and the making of the classic.

There's also one critic's succinct take on the movie: "Fantasia will Amasia." ... as will most items from the Disney vault.

December 6, 2015

Disney Parks Village

Gary Cruise banner

Last June we drove to Dayton Ohio for the annual Disneyana Show and Sale hosted by the Dayton "Plane Crazy" Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club.

Rob was surprised to see his mother Carol looking at a Department 56 Disney village set. “You already have a Dickens Village.” He told her.

Dickens Village

“And you have a Disney Village,” he added.

Disney Village

Rob was insistent, “You don’t need another village.”

“Oh,” she replied, “I need this one, it’s special!

It was a complete version of the Disney Parks Village set produced by Department 56. Each building is modeled after properties you can see in the Disney parks! How special is that?

The first pieces were produced and sold in 1994; a few of the later issues were only produced for a few months before the entire set was retired in 1996. Some of them are extremely rare, making this a very desirable collection!

Here’s what Carol came home with!

New Disney Village

Let’s look at each item individually.

The first piece to be issued, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, was two buildings, sold as a set. They were manufactured between 1994 and 1996 and retailed for $144.00.

Mickeys Christmas Carol 1

Mickeys Christmas Carol 2

Do they look familiar?

The next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom walk through Cinderella Castle from The Hub into Fantasyland. As you exit the castle look right at Sir Mickey’s.

Sir Mickeys

That building was the model for Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

Next to be issued was Olde World Antiques I, a quaint Colonial building, also modelled after a property found in the Magic Kingdom. It retailed for $45.00 in 1994.

Olde World Antiques I

Does this one look familiar? I’ll show you where you can find it a bit later!

The third piece offered in the Disney Parks Village series was Olde World Antiques II, another Colonial building from the Magic Kingdom which also sold for $45.00.

Olde World Antiques II

Let’s jump out of order and look at the fifth piece in the series, the Silversmith shop. Another Colonial structure from the Magic Kingdom. This one is built of stone to contrast with the first two which were brick. The Silversmith was only produced for a few months in 1995 and sold for $50.00. This piece is very rare!


Let’s put the three of them together and add an accessory which sold for $15.00, the Olde World Antiques Gate.

Olde World Antiques Gate

When the three buildings and the gate come together it might look familiar.

Ye Olde Christmas Shop

Do you recognize it now?

Ye Olde Christmas Shop

It’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, on your left as you enter Liberty Square.

We skipped past the fourth piece issued, Disneyland Fire Department #105. This is the only item based on a building in Disneyland, the fire hall in Town Square. It sold between 1994 and 1996 for $45.00

Disneyland Fire Department #105

Disneyland Fire Hall

The sixth, and final piece offered began production in 1995 and was only manufactured for a few months before the series was retired. Tinker Bell’s Treasures sold for $60.00.

Tinker Bells Treasures

Remember earlier when I asked you to walk through Cinderella Castle and look at Sir Mickey’s shop? From that same vantage point look to the left, directly across the street from Sir Mickey’s and you’ll see Tinker Bell’s Treasures.

Tinker Bells Treasures

We looked at one of the accessories, the Olde World Antiques Gate already, but there were several others.

Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Christmas finery came as a two piece set selling for $22.50.

Mickey and Minnie

The Disney Parks Family was a set of three figures and sold for $32.50.

Disney Parks Family

The last accessory issued, The Balloon Seller, is another one of the rare pieces; it was only produced for a few months and originally sold for $25.00.

Balloon Seller

So Carol was absolutely delighted to bring this complete set home from Dayton. This Christmas it has found a place of honour in her Disney Room. Here’s how it looks when it’s all set up and accessorized!

Click on the image to see a larger version!
Disney Parks Village

Isn’t it great?

Return to Blog Central

About Disney Collectibles

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Disney Collectibles category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney Channel is the previous category.

Disney Crafts is the next category.

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