Category Archives: Disney

Mickey Mouse now talks at Meet and Greets!

This video is from Disneyland.  Does anyone know if this is happening at the World?

What is that?  A voice synthesizer, because he’s reacting in real time, not just recorded phrases.

Ariel and Mickey Mouse help a sick little girl!

I’ve mentioned little Sophia before, the little girl who “adopted” me as her Auntie Erin.  She recently had to have surgery on her arm, and this past Monday, she and her mom Becky called me to say she had to go back into CHoP (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) for more surgery.  An infection had grown in her arm in the original wound.  I found out Tuesday that she came home, but needed medication.  Becky tearfully told me that Sophia was refusing to take it; after 2 surgeries and hospital stays, fear and tiredness made her dig in her heels.  Nothing they said or did could get the medicine down her throat, and her surgeon said that if she didn’t take those pills, she’d lose her arm.

Before that would happen, they’d bring her back into the hospital and put her on IVs.  No one wanted to put her through that.  Not to mention, even a day of waiting to see if she had to go back gave the infection time to become even more entranched.

I felt so afraid, but I didn’t know what to do.  Nothing I could say would make Sophia listen when she wouldn’t listen to her mom and dad.

And then, as I scoured my mind to think of who she might listen to, I remembered the Disney Enchanted Calls.  I posted about these before where Mickey Mouse or a Disney princess will call.  I did it for Sophia before: I had Mickey call to wish her a Happy Birthday or that he knew she was coming to visit him in Disney World.  Sophia is the granddaughter of former Imagineer; she knows all about The Mouse and his “daddy” Walt.  She’s also a huge Mickey’s Mouse Club fan.  Even with Tinker Bell movies and all,  Mickey means a lot.   She’s been to his house, after all. 😉

And then I remembered I once had a Mickey call of Encouragment for her and it helped calm her down when she was nervous about something.  Of course I wondered: would it work now?

I jumped online and set up for Mickey to call, but there wasn’t anything for someone being sick.  For the heck of it, I selected Ariel, Sophia’s favorite princess.  For her encouragement call, it had an additional option: the person getting the call was worried they’d be okay.

I let Becky know what was going on and held my breath.

Friday, I got a call from Sophia, excited that Ariel had called her on Tuesday.  Ariel told her that she got scared too sometimes and it’s hard to be brave, but she knew Sophia could do it.  Becky told me Sophia hung up at the end, sat quiet, and then said, “If Ariel said I can do it, I can.”

She took her medication.  Every day.

Now, Sophia’s surgeon said her arm is healing very well, everything they hoped to see.  She’s now in the best case scenario, not the worse.  She’s not even middle of the road.  She’s keeping her arm and will have full use of it.  Because Ariel and Mickey called and said they believed Sophia could face her fears and be brave.

It’s a simple little computer and phone program; I’ve always worried that Disney would give up on it and shut it down.  Thank goodness they didn’t do it.  Because the power of hearing your heroes helped a little girl when she needed it most.

How to make a Mickey lamp post!

Mickey Lamp PostI’ve had requests for these instructions ever since I posted Birth of a Mickey Lamp.  Like I said in that post, our friend Gary made ours as well as several others.  They’re very popular in campgrounds as well as out front of homes; in fact, Linda asked me last December after touring Fort Wilderness (as part of a press event, lucky grumble grumble) if these lamp posts are a requirement in FW.  Why, yes they are.  You have to have a certain ratio of lamp posts per campground circle.

So help fill the quota and make your own Mickey lamp post!  You’ll need a few parts, some power tools, homeowners insurance that covers fires caused by your poor electrical wiring, someone standing by to call 911, and a strong thirst for magic and glory!

Or a friend like Gary to do it for you! (and no, I won’t give you his email address.  That’s not fair to him.)

Here are Gary’s instructions — I added some helpful comments    :


How to Make a Mickey Lamp

All the parts you need are available at Home Depot.

The Parts to make a Mickey Lamp Post

The Parts to make a Mickey Lamp Post

The key parts are:

Quantity Name Home Depot

Product Number

Price
1 12 inch acrylic globe 022678331576 $15.96
2 6 inch acrylic globes 022678331620 $5.89
1 Globe holder (fitter) 022618331569 $9.49

[If you’re having trouble finding them, scroll down towards the bottom of this post for more details on how to get them.  Now, to put it all together:]

1:  Begin with the 12 inch globe. Apply masking tape across the top of the globe along the center line in order to mark the centers for the holes needed to mount the smaller globes. Draw a line at the “top dead center” of the lamp and then measure down 4 inches on each side and make another mark. This will mark the centers for each ear hole, they should be 8 inches apart.

Mickey Lamp Step 1

2. Drill a small lead hole for each ear and then use a 3 ¼ inch hole saw to cut the ear holes.

Lamp Step 2

[Did you do it right?  If so, proceed to step 3.  If not, head back to Home Depot for more parts and go back to step 1.]

3.  Remove the tape and glue the smaller globes into these holes, clamp until the glue is set. (Gary uses LePage’s Flexible Plastic Cement.  It comes in a tube, like airplane glue or styrene glue.  We’re not sure if it’s available in the US or not, but any sort of styrene or acrylic cement should work just fine.  He prefers a squeeze tube since it’s easier to apply.)

Lamp step 3

[What?  You glued your hand to the lamp?  Fingernail polish remover will take care of that.  Go to a drugstore or supermarket.  Once you’re free, catch up to the rest of us in step 4.]

4.  Attach a standard plug to the globe fitter.

Lamp step 4

5. Now you need to attach the globe fitter to the post.  I used a 2 inch piece of ABS drain pipe as my post.  The mount is simply a connector which joins 2 pieces of this pipe.  First remove the three clamp screws from the fitter:

Lamp Step 5

[Gary said simply so you had no problems with that step. Right?]

6. Insert the ABS connector in the hole on the bottom of the globe fitter and drill small lead holes through the holes where you removed the clamp screws.

Lamp step 6

[You drilled through WHAT?  Oooooo. I hope you have bandages handy.  Moving on.]

7. Use small screws to attach the connector to the globe fitter.  This piece will now slide on and off the ABS drain pipe which will be your post.

Lamp step 7

[Even I can do that one, peeps.]

8.  Now drill a ½ inch hole about a foot from the bottom of the ABS pipe and feed the power cord up through the pole.  Add a female receptacle to the end of the cord and you are done.

[See, done!!

Well, not quite, but the rest is easy peasy.]

9. Plug the fitter into the female receptacle you just added, slide the globe fitter onto your post and install a 25 watt frosted light bulb.  Place the globe on the fitter and enjoy your lamp.

You will need to devise a base for the lamp.  I used a cast metal base for a patio umbrella (WalMart – about $20.00).  You simply use a chisel to knock off the nut which holds the retaining bolt and the ABS post slides over the post on the umbrella base.  I secure it with two long bolts and wing nuts.  Be sure that your base is heavy enough to prevent your lamp from blowing over.  The umbrella base has worked very well for me.

[Better than the base John and I first used.  It was too light, blew over, and smashed the Mickey head.  We had to beg Gary for his help again.  That’s why I can’t give you Gary’s email.  He changed it in case we broke this one.]

On my last few lamps I have added smaller bulbs to illuminate the ears as well as the larger globe.

10. Begin with a piece of metal strapping, about 4 inches long.  Bend about ¼ inch on each end so that the ends will create a “friction grip” on the flange of the 6” globe which is now visible inside the 12” globe.

Make 2 of these pieces, one for each of Mickey’s ears.

11. Cut a length of outdoor Christmas lights so that you have 2 socket and enough cord on one end to attach a plug.  Use pop-rivets to attach each socket to one of the metal straps you just made.  Attach a plug.

Your assembly should look like this.

Lamp step 11

12.  Here is a detailed look at the light socket riveted to the strap.  Note the 90 degree bends in the ends of the strap which provide a “friction grip” on the flanges of Mickey’s ears, inside the larger globe.   Bend them to provide a snug fit and just press them on.

Lamp step 12

ENJOY!

[Scoff at your friends and family that said you couldn’t do it!  Buy your friend who secretly did all the work a very nice gift!]

Here is more detail on the product codes (Home Depot) for the hard to get components:

12″ acrylic globe – SKU 312840

UPC 022678331576 Part # CP1265

Vendor – Adjusta Post  – Price $15.96

6″ acrylic globe – SKU 312884

UPC 022678331620 Part # CP3086

Vendor Adjusta Post – Price $5.89

Globe Fitter – SKU 348480

UPC 022678331569 Part #CP1721P

Vendor Adjusta Post – Price $9.49

If you cannot get them through your local Home Depot, perhaps your store can order them in for you or do a look-up to see if they are stocked in a nearby store. The Home Depot near the Florida Mall stocks all the parts and always has plenty on hand.  Details of that store: 7423 Southland Blvd., Orlando, FL 32809  (407) 859-3500

If all else fails, call the manufacturer Summit Lighting (a division of Adjusta Post), 3960 Summit Road, Barberton, OH 44203-1052.  Their Customer Service number is (800) 321-2132.  Maybe they can direct you to a retailer in your area.
Gary's Mickey Lamp Post————————————————————————————————-
Here is a picture of Gary’s finished lamp.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Gary for not only making our lamp post, but for nicely giving me these instructions to post!

Good luck to all those Mickey Lamp makers out there!  And once again, no I won’t give you Gary’s email address!

All Ears Updates: Kennels and LOTS of menus

We just did a big update for the menus with some of the changes being really big like Boatwright’s. Others show price changes like Norway’s Akershus Princess Dining.

Thank you to our readers who sent in menu information:

Judi B
Hope H
Libby W

And a HUGE shout out to Roberta Horn who sent tons of photos to update our menus!  That was a lot of work and I’m sure she got a lot of stares taking pictures of menus.  The All Ears team knows what that’s like. 😉  Thank you to anyone who was with Roberta for being supportive of her stopping to take the pictures.  Without her work, we wouldn’t have most of the new updates you’ll see on the site today.

I also updated the kennels page on the website with updated information, such as the new pet spa being built, and photos.  If you’ve never seen the page, I give a variety of tips with having your pets at Disney, including PhotoPass opportunities, who has kennel parking and who doesn’t, and a link to Fort Wilderness’ pet friendly options.

And thanks to all of you who support All Ears by reading the site and newsletter, send us feedback, and spread the word to other people looking for Disney parks & cruise line information!  You’re the reason why we love our job!

All Ears update: Fort Wilderness changes campfire policy!

It used to be that you couldn’t have a campfire at the sites, because they worried about people letting them get out of control etc.  But!  This has changed.   The new policy is this:

You can now bring in your own contained campfire unit.  Typically, stores call them firepits or outdoor fireplaces.  Something like this:

You need to have one with a solid metal bottom and a solid metal top; the mesh can only be on the sides.  This is to better prevent embers from spreading to the trees and brush.  After all, none of us wants to this:

You’ll see this info on an updated All Ears FW FAQ.  I just sent it to the Debs, so be patient.

Of course, they also have the Campfire Program up by the Meadows area too.

And now I’m off to find an inexpensive fire pit.  I’ve always wanted one, and it will be a great end to a Disney day!

My Disneyland Matterhorn webcam iGoogle gadget is working again!

HoJo changes the address frequently to keep people out, but they VERY nicely let me access the right address so iGoogle user can have this webcam again.

If you’ve never seen it before, this is one of the best webcams out there and a must for Disney park fans.  Howard Johnson’s runs this cam themselves; it swivels showing a number of landmarks such as a couple different views of the Matterhorn, one including the peak of the castle; Space Mountain; Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; and more.

So take a peak into Walt’s park.  And if you have an iGoogle page and would like to watch it from there, you can get my gadget here.  You have to have an iGoogle account, of course.

Happy viewing!

The new Disney vacation blog is ready!

I like how it came out. It looks better on a wide screen (1280) than the previous ones.

If you read from erinblackwell.com, Facebook, or twitter, you’ll see the vacation posts automatically, starting tomorrow. Or, if you are fed up already with hearing about the trip ;), come back around the 21st and the regular blog will be back.  But WordPress doesn’t let me do the things like auto post of Flickr videos like Blogger.

I made a new thank you – cast member card design too:

Now I need to finish packing and a whole other list of things to do. 🙂