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Entries Tagged as 'Collector’s Corner'

Autographed Bob Thomas Art of Animation copies available

March 28th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Bob Thomas autographed Art of Animation books available
Bob Thomas's daughter recently contacted me about selling several copies of The Art of Animation, which can be autographed and personalized by Bob himself. Click for more info.
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Tags: Collectibles · Collector's Corner

Did you ever think of collecting Disney license plates?

November 16th, 2007 · 1 Comment

A Disney World commemorative license plate
I didn't even think of collecting Disney license plates (actually, I have never noticed them in the stores) but it looks like there's some interesting possibilities in that niche.
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Tags: Collectibles · Collector's Corner

Updated: Forgotten Disney Movies

August 31st, 2007 · 2 Comments

The Reluctant Dragon - a strange classic Disney animated movie
Michael Flint has a wonderful resource on the "forgotten" Disney movies from the 1940s. Michael coins the term "the weird years" for these films and you can see why! There are a couple "infotainment" movies and also a couple Latin America travelogues in addition to the more normal "movies" most of us associate with Disney.
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Tags: Collector's Corner

Discussion forums are now open!

August 27th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Mouse ears hat
I have just installed a nice, clean forum package which you can use to talk about Disney memorabilia collecting, buy/sell/trade, and even post photos of your own items if you have questions on valuation or something else.

You can find the link to the forums at the top of the site or you can enter the Disney Memorabilia forums here.

You'll need to create a free account to post messages, but after that, it's easy and smooth sailing! You need to enter an e-mail address to create the account (it's a requirement of the software) but rest assured that I will never sell or rent your information you provide. I may send a very rare e-mail to the forum list with important information, but I don't have any plans to at this time. If you really don't want to hear from me, you can select to not receive the forum e-mails in your Account profile.

Currently, there are just a few forums available which should hold most of the questions and other stuff that people will need for collecting Disney Memorabilia, but if you have ideas for addition categories or something like that, please be sure to let me know! You can use the forum called Site Suggestions or click the About link at the top of the page to e-mail me directly.

Enjoy the forums and lets get that community up and going! I need your help since the world of Disney collectibles is SO BIG! :D

Tags: Collectibles · Collecting Tips · Collector's Corner · Disneyana News · Reader Questions

The Walt Disney World Wayback Machine

June 4th, 2007 · No Comments

1973 and The Walt Disney Story
By Louis Mongello

Having just returned from a research trip to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, I was really able to take my time in what is my favorite part of the entire resort. I spent a great portion of my day on Main Street, USA, and was brought back to my childhood, walking down the street, parents in tow, marveling at the sights, sounds, and yes, the House of Magic.

So, on this installation of my WayBack Machine, I wanted to focus on a time when the Magic Kingdom was still in its relative infancy, and a wonderful, yet extinct Main Street, USA attraction.

(Lou borrows four quarters from his dad, plunks them into the WayBack Machine's coin slot, and sets the dials for 1973).

The sounds of Tony Orlando and dawn singing "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree" are quickly drowned out by the sounds of children laughing, train whistles, and a ragtime tune being played on a distant piano.

I'm on Main Street, USA in the spring of 1973. There is no EPCOT Center. No Blizzard Beach. Not even a Port Orleans or Grand Floridian. The Magic Kingdom IS Walt Disney World. Well, for now, anyway.

What you CAN find here now is The "Wonderful World of Water" Ski Show, a new attraction called "Tom Sawyer Island", and even a rootin' tootin' "Country and Western Spectacular" show with stars like Anne Murray, Faron Young and Freddie Hart. These mini-concerts will be taking place in the evenings at the Tomorrowland Terrace (you now can find Sonny Eclipse performing there), the Diamond Horseshoe (sadly, you can now find an empty building there), and the Fantasy Faire (where you can now play in Ariel's Grotto).

You could also still ride along the Rivers of America on one of Mike Fink's Keel Boats, or for the person who's just not sweating enough in the Florida heat, you and your family can power your own little canoe on the same body of water thanks to Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. (no swimming, please). Don't even get me started on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and the Skyway. (Lou wipes away a tear, blames the heat, and moves on)

I'd love to start off with a breakfast with some of my favorite characters, but we won't see something like that for a while now. Speaking of which, where is Holidayland? It's supposed to be between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, but, oh well. And what about Thunder Mesa and the Western River Expedition? So wait – you're telling me we're going to get the "Plaza Swan Boats" but NOT Thunder Mesa? Oh, the humanity.

Anyway, let's get back to Main Street - this eastern seaboard, Victorian-era model town, with architecture and elements which were found in the late 1800's.

I could literally spend hours (or should I say, "pages"), talking about just the shops, both present and extinct, the architecture, the windows, details and so much more, but I'll have to save that for another trip. However, what I want to focus on is something that you may not really remember all that well. Let's head on over to the Main Street Exposition Hall… I mean – The Gulf Hospitality House.

Along with Tom Sawyer Island, it Walt Disney World's newest attraction. Located adjacent to the Hospitality House, The Walt Disney Story depicted Walt's life from his early childhood days in Marceline, Missouri, to the creation of Mickey Mouse and the development of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The attraction played in a theater constructed explicitly for this film. The film itself was a project that began in June of 1969, and wasn't completed and previewed until March of 1973. In order to accurately tell Walt Disney's life stories, a staff of more than 200 people at Walt Disney productions pored over 75 hours of interviews conducted with Walt before his untimely death on Dec. 15, 1966, ten days after his 65th birthday. One of the principle contributors was Bill Bosche, an artist and producer who worked for Disney for more than 30 years. Taking excerpts from these interviews, Walt Disney posthumously narrated much of his own autobiography.

This 23-minute film would play simultaneously at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, with the WDW version opening in April, 1973 and being dedicated on May 6 of that same year. It would eventually run until October 5, 1992. This attraction was unique initially in that it was, much like If You Had Wings, free (as Walt Disney World was still using a coupon system of ticketing), and was sponsored by Gulf Oil, the same sponsor of the attraction building.

The theater was built on the south west side of the Hospitality House, and even had a separate entrance constructed. Looking at the Main Street Exposition Hall today, the short staircase to the right of the building's main entrance was originally created for the Walt Disney Story.

Inside the building, the long hallway which made up the queue area was filled with Disney memorabilia, including the one of a kind Oscar given to him by the Academy for the 1937 masterpiece Snow White. Unlike a traditional Oscar statue, this one had seven smaller Oscars at his side. You could also find a scale model of the Nautilus, used in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (Until recently, you could have found that same model in the Living Seas queue. It is unknown whether it will remain when the Nemo-ization of the pavilion is complete).

The hallway was filled with not only displays, but the sounds of Disney's classic film songs as well. At the end of the hallway were entrances to two identical, 300-seat theaters. Between the two sets of doors was a mural with 170 Disney characters. Up until the mid 80's characters from new releases were added for every film up until the Great Mouse Detective. One of these theaters was remodeled and now shows classic Disney cartoons. The door to the other (now unused) theater can be seen at the back of the Hall.

The film itself took Guests on a moving journey throughout Walt's personal and professional life, and concluded with his plans for Disneyland, eventually WDW, and most importantly, EPCOT the city. The film was presented on a specially-designed screen, designed to give guests the impression they were looking through a virtual scrapbook of Walt's life. It was presented as a photo album, with rare audio accompanying photos and illustrations.

The post-show area was always in a state of change. It showed everything from plans for the expansion of WDW, to the futuristic EPCOT Center. Most notable was the brief display of the model of one of WDW's newest projects, the Western River Expedition. In addition to a working model, Hoot Gibson, an audio-Animatronic owl, told Guests he would be the star of the attraction. He also explained some of the processed of AA, and was accompanied by an Animatronic storybook, which flipped pages as he told his story.

The Walt Disney Story closed from June of 1981 until October, 1982 to become home to the EPCOT Center Preview Center. The original film was replaced with one that more specifically outlined Walt's dreams of his futuristic city. In October, 1982, when EPCOT Center opened to the public, the Preview Center was removed and the original film returned.

Just six years later, though, The Walt Disney Story was removed once again, this time to preview Walt Disney World's third theme park, the Disney-MGM Studios. It was renamed, aptly enough, "The Disney-MGM Studios Preview Center." Oh yes, our friend the owl was redressed yet again, perched in a director's chair, and narrated this as well.

After the Studios opened in 1989, The Walt Disney Story returned once again, but closed permanently in October 1992. Disney said that the original film had deteriorated so much that it could no longer be shown in the theater.

The original exit from the film took Guests into the Disneyana Collectibles shop, which sadly is long gone. It can be argued that this store, with its wonderful collectibles, was the first of the trend towards having themed shops at the end of attractions. It had wonderful items such as commemorative plates, original hand painted animation cels, and various limited edition reproductions. You could also make a reservation for a seat at the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree while there.

To preserve the film and continue to make it available to Guests in the future, it was released in a much abbreviated version on VHS tape in 1994. Sadly today, the video is unavailable on DVD, other than any remaining copies of the 100 Year of Magic DVD, which had a much shorter, pan-and-scan version, minus the original opening and ending.

In October 1996, the building that once housed The Walt Disney Story became the home of the Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary Welcome Center. Like the earlier "preview centers" before it, the building was filled with models and exhibits introducing the Disney Cruise Line and other upcoming projects. The Welcome Center closed in 1997, and the exhibits removed. It later hosted the "Disney's Animal Kingdom Welcome Center"

While the mural is still there at the back of the theater, most of the original displays are long gone. The remaining ones are themed towards photography, as the building is now sponsored by Kodak.

(To get a very small sampling of what this attraction was like, I highly recommend taking time to go through the exhibits and film "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" at the Disney-MGM Studios).

As we get ready to head back home (darn this real job of mine), we can see some signs of things to come later this year, like the Plaza Swan Boats, which will ply the waterways of the Magic Kingdom, the Fort Wilderness Railway (hop on boards fast, as this won't be around for long), and some new attraction called "Pirates of the Caribbean". Nah, that'll never catch on.

On a personal note, I often walk through the Town Square Exposition Hall, to reminisce about the former attraction, view the exhibits and see what me on the horizon. It saddens me to see such a wonderful, personal tribute to Walt having gone by the wayside, and the building remaining almost vacant for all intents and purposes. That being said, I did do a little snooping, and it looks like there may be something new on the horizon for part of the building… Keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Anyway, I can see by the docks up ahead that… oh wait. Wrong attraction.

Err... What I meant to say was that this is going to do it for this installation of my Walt Disney World WayBack Machine. Time to return to the Magic Kingdom of 2006 and enjoy Stitch's Grea… ah forget it.

So, until our next trip together to Walt Disney World, I invite you to learn more about some of the secrets, history and fun facts about the "Vacation Kingdom of the World" at www.DisneyWorldTrivia.com and on the www.MouseTunes.com Disney podcast, recently named Best Travel Podcast of 2006.

Thanks! Sssssssssseeeeeee ya!!!

The article first appeared in the August 29, 2006 issue of ALL EARS® Weekly Newsletter

For more trivia and fun facts about WDW, check out the Walt Disney World Trivia Book or Ask Lou, where the author answers your questions about Walt Disney World and posts weekly articles with more in depth history, secrets and stories!

Lou Mongello is the author of the Walt Disney World Trivia Books: Secrets, History and Fun Facts Behind the Magic. A recognized expert in Walt Disney World history and travel planning, he is also the owner of DisneyWorldTrivia.com and host of the award-winning MouseTunes.com Disney Podcast.

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Tags: Collector's Corner

Disneyana Buying Guide

May 10th, 2007 · No Comments

If you are new to Disneyana collecting, or stumped in your search to find information about a particular piece, I encourage you to browse the Disneyana Buying Guide at eBay.

This collector information site takes a broad look at the niches and terminology behind our rapidly growing hobby. Topics covered include Disneyana terms, buying guides, popular sub-categories, and a listing of the different Disneyana shops and categories on eBay. This is a great place to start for auction investors and newbies who are looking for an overview of Disney collectibles before they buy.

With the amount of fraud prevalent on the internet these days, I believe that education is the best asset for any collector. Knowing the history of your item, how many pieces were produced, and the average sale amount for each piece are some of the basics you should consider before buying or selling your collectibles. It is also important (especially with artwork and books) to be familiar with defining characteristics that signify the authenticity of a piece. Nothing is worse than paying full price for an item that is a reprint or imitation of an original. Unfortunately, this happens to a number of honest people each year.

eBay has become quite proactive in protecting their customers and collectors. They routinely monitor auctions for scam artists and trademark infringers. eBay also offers a number of outlets for collectors to discuss eBay policies and best practices. While is a dubious task to keep everyone happy, the fact that they offer education forums, classes, and conferences shows that their mission is for everyone to enjoy their eBay experience. This is a refreshing alternative to the “hands-off” approach many internet marketplaces take.

Whether or not you support eBay, the constant message here is that education should be an ongoing process. No one knows everything about Disneyana, but those that know the most immerse themselves in the subject. If you truly love this hobby, then you’ll find the reading and researching required to be the best part of it all. Similar to hunting down collectibles at local garage sales, learning more about the different Disneyana niches can be a very rewarding treasure hunt!

Tags: Collector's Corner

History of the Disneyana Convention

May 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

In 1992 the first Disneyana convention was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  The original event was created in response to the ever-growing sector of Disneyana collectors. 

The convention became an annual event through 2002, and regularly drew thousands of Disney collectors.  The highlight of each event was the unique themed buttons and badges that were given out to each attendee in their welcome kit.  Each convention also featured a limited edition resin figure that was sold through a lottery system.  The limted production and distribution of these pieces made them instant treasures.

2003 marked the end of the Disneyana convention being hosted by the Walt Disney Company.  Although there are numerous rumors as to why the popular tradition was cancelled, most collectors believe it to be the backlash of the many complaints filed about the 2002 show.  Many attendees complained that the 2002 show was held at the Epcot Center as opposed to the traditional theme park.  When the 2003 version was announced as another Epcot event, the complaints poured in.  Most out-of-state collectors incorporated their annual visit to Disney world with the convention, and they wanted the opportunity to experience the full resort instead of one segregated area.  Disney made no official comment on the reason for the cancellation.

It has been five years since the last official Disneyana convention, and the future of the event remains in doubt.  No announcements have been made in regards to future events, and the general consensus is that Disney is still upset over the 2003 backlash.  The NFCC continues to hold their national convention every year, and there are number of regional shows hosted by local chapters of the NFCC.  While these shows are always well supported, it is safe to say that collectors would ultimately like to see the original convention return.  Part of being a Disney collector is to enjoy the hobby with fellow collectors.  There is no better way to do this than with the full sponsorship and support of the Walt Disney Company.

You can view a complete history of the original Disneyana Convention at MouseTreasures.com

Tags: Collector's Corner