My Disney Top 5 - Pieces of Disney Stuff That Have Been Keeping Me Happy At Homeby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Welcome back to another Disney Top 5. As always, I hope all of you out there are doing well, or as well as you can be given the current situation. The days are getting warmer here in New York and it's times like these that I'm so very thankful to have a nice yard to be in. I do love our house, but considering we've been home for more than a month, time outside is valuable time. This week, however, we're experiencing quite a bit of rain and with nowhere else to go, this house is the refuge for all of us.
If you've been reading my articles here on MousePlanet over the years, you're probably aware that I used to write a column called Disney Stuff. For many years I explored the dozens and dozens of things that we Disney fans tend to collect, or as I like to say accumulate, along the journey of our Disney fandom. I've talked about everything from my collection of Mickey Mouse and Disney watches to collectible figures to artwork, Christmas ornaments, pins, park maps, toys, clothing - the list goes on and on.
One universal marketing truth has always been that there's never a shortage of things with Mickey Mouse plastered on them and if you build them...as Disney fans...we will come. Indeed the Walt Disney Company has been capitalizing on their intellectual properties for the better part of a century now. While it's probably not in the official Imagineer Employment Guide - if such a thing exists - it's kind of an understood concept that you should always try to, "Send them out through the gift shop!" But here's the thing about that; no one's forcing us to buy anything. There's a reason they leave Main Street U.S.A. open for an hour after the rest of the lands close. Sure, it's to make some extra money on mouse ears, stuffed animals and "toothpick holders." However, the truth of the matter is, if we weren't buying, they wouldn't be selling.
We want this stuff. We need this stuff. We love this stuff. That was the overwhelming response to 8 years and 95 Disney Stuff articles; if you're out there and you're reading MousePlanet, you've probably got your own collection of Disney related stuff in your house and it makes you happy. Not only does it make you happy to own it, it makes you happy to look at the Disney stuff that other people own so you can find ideas about more Disney stuff that you might want to acquire someday.
With that in mind and with Gregg Jacobs great article last week delving into his Mickey basement as well as a discussion Gregg and I are going to have on this week's Fun From Home Show, I thought I'd look at some of the Disney stuff around my home that has been keeping me sane the last month or so. Despite the fact that I see these items all day and all night—every single day and night—they continue to make me happy, remind me of magical memories with my family at Disney and keep me believing that better things are to come. So let's take a look at the Top 5 pieces of Disney Stuff that have been keeping me happy at home.
5 – Disney Stuff in the Kitchen
Every day, I come downstairs and try to begin another day of the shutdown as best I can. We're very fortunate, of course, in that nobody here is sick. No one in my immediate family is sick, so I don't have anything to complain about. But still, I want to get my day started well and that means some orange juice in my Mickey mug and more than likely some cereal in these awesome owl bowls we got from Epcot. There are several Mickey or Disney related mugs in the kitchen cabinets but I seem to have been gravitating towards this Oh Hello mug and I've been struggling to remember where I got this one. I know it wasn't a parks purchase. It's marked Mickey's 90th on the bottom, so the Disney Store perhaps, but I have to be honest, I don't remember buying it. That happens when you tend to be a Disney accumulator. Things just appear. Bottom line, I'm in no way a morning person and this mug makes me smile at the start of each day and I need all the smiles I can get right now.
These owl bowls don't in any way scream out Disney, which is something I love about them most. We bought these in the Mitsukoshi Department Store at the Japan pavilion in Epcot. Mitsukoshi is one of my favorite shopping experiences in Epcot and that's saying a lot. We used to spend a lot of time in here during my boys middle school years when they were way into Pokemon. If you're into any of the stars of Japanese animation this is the place for you. If you're not, and I'm not, then there's still a ton of other interesting stuff for you to purchase here. The Japan pavilion is one of my favorites whether it be Mitsukoshi, the Bijutsu-kan gallery, or the waterfalls and gardens surrounding the Katsura Grill, just seeing this bowl every morning reminds me of World Showcase and that's a great thing to be reminded of first thing in the morning.
4 – Blue Crystal From Epcot's Germany Pavilion
Following up on things from World Showcase that make me happy, is my wife's collection of blue crystal from Epcot's Germany pavilion. Now, my wife isn't the Disney accumulator at all. She has a small amount of Tinker Bell pins and clothing from the parks and a nice collection of small Winnie the Pooh hinged boxes and that's just about it. However, her crystal collection that lives on our fireplace mantle is really one of her prized possessions.
Diane's family is from Germany. She is first generation born here in the U.S. and most of her relatives are still there. That said you've never seen anyone so at home in a World Showcase pavilion as my wife. She loves going to Walt Disney World for lots of the same reasons that we all do, but when you see her get to the model train area in World Showcase and she knows that Germany is approaching, she gets awfully happy. When she found this blue crystal on our first trip together, she bought a nice piece and had it shipped home. The following Christmas I tried to find her another piece and quickly realized that this particular crystal from Germany can only be purchased in the United States at the Arribas Brothers shops at Disney. Going forward, after that first trip, she bought a new piece each year. Every time I walk into the living room and see them, I get a warm and happy Disney inspired feeling even though there's not a mouse or princess in sight. They're her favorites and that's what I love about them.
3 – Disney Figures
There's a handful of Disney things that I collect. Actually, that's pretty far from the truth. There are all sorts of Disney things that I collect, but there are things that I like collecting more than others. One of those things that I love accumulating are Disney figures. Small ones. Bigger ones. Limited editions. Old ones. New ones. I have way more than I can show you here. I have way more than I want to display in the house, so I actually keep many of them in boxes and rotate them every few months. My favorites are the more obscure figures like this batch below.
So many of them have little stories behind them. I collected many of them with my kids, so when I head down to the basement and see some of these on the shelf, I think about my kids when they were young and, of course, I immediately smile.
2 – Disney Pins
My daughter and I hopped on the pin bandwagon on our first trip together to Walt Disney World and my sons soon followed on their first trip a few years later. I'm a big fan of Disney pins. First of all, there's thousands of them to choose from. Secondly, they are extremely well made, especially when you consider that you can get one for about 7 or 8 bucks. The thing I love most about Disney pins are the creators. The artists that design the Disney pins mine the company's rich history of films and characters and leave no stone unturned when it comes to introducing new pins. That's something I appreciate, especially with Disney.
I have pins from just about every corner of the Disney animated canon. I'm spending a lot of time down in our basement lately and the pins are omnipresent hanging on the pin boards on the walls. I've found myself looking at them more and more and enjoying the collection more and more each day.
1 – Disney Artwork On My Walls
Despite what it sounds like, walking into our house is not like walking into The Emporium on Main Street U.S.A.. That was kind of the deal with me and this house. Yes, I'm a rabid Disney fan. No, my wife isn't as much. Therefore, the Disney needs to be subtle. The basement is another story. Walking down there kind of looks like you're walking into a collectible shop that specializes in Disney. The rest of the house doesn't smack you over the head with Mickey though. It's there, but it's like looking for Hidden Mickeys. You have to search a little. One exception is in the hallway right outside of our bedroom. This piece of Disney art is hanging quite prominently on the wall, which is actually the chimney coming up from downstairs.
Every morning when I wake up and stumble my way out of the door, this is the first thing I tend to see. It's also the last thing I see before I close the door on another day at home and retreat to bed. What I love most about this particular piece of art is that it was purchased together with my wife and I on one of our very first trips together to the Magic Kingdom. If you have a little princess at home you may have splurged and taken her to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella Castle for a magical makeover. Those of you that have been going to Walt Disney World for a while might remember the shop that was there before the boutique, The King's Gallery. This was a unique shop where you could find not only Disney artwork, but crowns, jewelry, wands, swords and shields and crystal figures. The fact that my wife and I picked it out together in a gone but not forgotten Magic Kingdom shop on one of our first trips together as a family truly make this piece of art stand out above all the rest. Considering all that's going on right now and everything we've been through in life over the past two decades, starting and ending each day with this piece of art on my wall makes me appreciate all that I have and just how fortunate I am.
Aside from being with my family, there are pretty much three things in life that make me who I am. There's seeing live music, there's skiing, and there's Disney. These are the things that I need to transcend all the nonsense in life and find some sort of inner peace. This situation that we're all living in right now ended my ski season early, cancelled concerts for the foreseeable future and shut down the Most Magical Place on Earth for who knows how long. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I know how lucky I am. The New York City line, which is basically where I grew up, is only about a dozen miles from here. Sickness and tragedy aren't too far away from the relative quiet of our Long Island neighborhood right now. My family is safe and healthy and that's all that really matters. So, for now, I'll be listening to Grateful Dead and Springsteen live bootlegs, watching ski movies on TV and I'll be basking in whatever Disney magic I have around the house until some sort of normal comes back. At least I have all that. Like I said, I'm lucky.
That's all for this Top 5. As always, I'd like to hear what you have to say. Click on the link below and let me hear what Disney stuff you have around the house that's keeping you happy at home right now and I'll see you next time with another Disney Top 5.
Don't forget to keep tuning in to the MousePlanet Live! Fun At Home series that we've been hosting each Wednesday night. We just finished episode 4 and have some great guests and shows coming up. A simple email exchange between me and MousePlanet's own Alan Dalinka a few weeks ago ("Hey, since we're all home and the parks are closed down, maybe we can do a live streaming show about how we're all doing at home and what we miss most about being at Disney!") has blossomed into a whole new wonderful aspect of MousePlanet magic. Tune in next week and make sure you're part of it!