Monthly Archives: March 2012

Off the Page

I have to say, my favorite store at the Mouse-Next-Door is Off the Page.

This is all lit up blue and stuff because ElecTRONica had started


I mean, a whole store dedicated to Disney art? Awesome.

First off, they still have the Mary Blair merch that I was afraid went away with the Mary Blair exhibit at the Gallery.

But here's my thing--why do they make these t-shirts so dang small??? It's like an XL is equivalent to a S in normal stores.


I’m still thinking of the teapot and a mug. What do you think? I mean, we don’t drink coffee or tea, really, but who doesn’t want a “Guten Tag” mug?

Okay, probably a lot of people, but I’m not one of them.

There’s great art on the ceiling. Characters are depicted as falling off the page. However, it does make for a rather weird picture. I mean this one looks like Aladdin is throwing himself to the floor or something.

And nobody wants that


Have I mentioned how darned excited I am about Cars Land? I mean in the last three seconds? I can’t wait to share it with you all! Here’s some Cars Land art.

Mater and train? Pretty much Theo's idea of awesome.


What I really love are the attraction posters. When an attraction opens, an official poster is made.

Like this


In fact, we have  a Matterhorn ride poster in the hallway (full-sized), and a smaller framed copy of the Dumbo poster in Theo’s room. I just love these. And the cool thing is that you can order ride posters and a number of other works of Disney art right from print on demand.

Just find it right here in the computer and order it!


True Disneyland fans have ride posters all over their houses. Just sayin’.

There’s a cool set of tin signs for the Disneyland railroad. I’m considering getting these for a special someone who loves trains.

Kind of blew the surprise there, though.

Still, they are cool


And art by my favorite Disney artists, Jody Daily and Kevin Kidney

I'm totally in love with all the retro styling


There’s also the Wall O’ Art, with moving panels, to show you the cool stuff you can get.

Gorgeous pictures here


And my favorite part–that actual Real Live Artist!

I think it's so cool to see artists at work. You can sometimes catch them at the watch shop and the Disney Gallery at Disneyland.


You can buy your very own sketch.

One or more characters


And not that I’m trolling for gifts or anything, but if you were planning on getting me a present and just didn’t know what the perfect one might be, I could point you to this page

I do love Alice


So if you’re over in CA Adventure, take a look at Off the Page. It’s a great shop!

Turtle Talk with Crush

Heading over to the Mouse-Next-Door for a bit, I have to start with one of my favorite attractions, Turtle Talk with Crush. Located in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, Turtle Talk is inside the Disney Animation building, and in my opinion is really one of CA Adventure’s hidden treasures.

My lens got a little smeary, sorry


Turtle Talk is a show that takes place in a small theater. Theo just LOVES waiting and never has any energy to burn off–ha–so he kicked off the event by doing snow angels on the carpet.

"Look Mommy! Angels!"


I know it looks like he was throwing a massive tantrum, but he really wasn’t. This time. And the place was practically empty, so while I’m not in general in the habit of letting my child make carpet angels on the floor, there was plenty of room for it, and the carpet looked quite clean.

And let’s be honest here–I guarantee it gets vacuumed more than our carpet at home.

All that dirt is good for the immune system. heh.

ANYway, at the front of the theater is the large screen, also known as the tank (or as Crush calls it, the human tank). There’s theater-type seating and a nice, big spot on the floor for the kiddies.

Like I said, it was basically empty.


The cast member with the microphone also invited any adults to sit on the carpet, up to age 150. He did note that if you were 151 or older, you might have trouble getting up off the floor. Lucky me, I have trouble getting up off the floor at 38. But I was game.

The gist of the show is this: the audience has a real-time conversation with Crush. Oh, by the way, if you live under a rock and don’t know who Crush is, he’s from Finding Nemo, a movie Theo has never seen but easily identifies.

Anyway, first the moonfish come in with a few instructions.

This was a formation of a knife and fork telling us not to eat in the theater. Also an example of excellent photo timing.


Theo was already enchanted. Then Crush comes out and does some back flips and a few other fancy diving tricks.

He taps on the glass of the "Human Tank."


Crush then explains that he has a few questions (well, Squirt has a few questions) for the humans, and he wants to answer human questions about turtles.

Crush then looks into the audience and selects people in the audience by describing them (usually clothing, hats, or facial hair). At our show, he identified the “Dudette in the black shell with the hood.”

Adorable Dudette


The cast member with the microphone then goes to the audience member and hands them the microphone (well, he doesn’t hand it over or anything, you never know what some guest is going to do with a free microphone. Like I might be tempted to burst out into a rendition of Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life, and nobody wants to hear that)

And yyouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu light up myyyyyyyyyyy liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiifffffffffffffffffffeeeeeeeeee…


Anyway, the guest says their name and Crush repeats the name with a new nickname, like “Cowabunga Kaylee.” It’s pretty awesome that he gets the name right every time, no matter what it is, or at least every time that I’ve heard. We had one guy in our audience named Kupono, and Crush’s comment on that was, “I’m going to call you, uh, Kupono, cause that name rocks all by itself.”

Crush then asks a few questions of the audience members. In our group he asked a dad how many kids he had. Dad answered “Just two” and Crush said, “Dude, you’re just getting started!”

Crush also invites audience members to raise their hands and ask them questions, again identifying them by sight. The cast member with the microphone doesn’t choose anyone–Crush does! As I said, it’s a real-time conversation with virtually no lag between questions and answers. The animation and the dialogue line up perfectly with the conversation. I have some guesses for how it’s done (DON’T TELL ME IF YOU KNOW!!!) but the best part is just sitting back and enjoying the Disney magic.

Also cool is Crush’s animated reactions. He has a number of different expressions.

Looking for an audience member to call on

Crush is embarrassed!


Partway through the show, Theo decided he needed to get up and sit in a seat rather than the carpet. Talk about embarrassing. I’ve officially become That Mom, I think. The one chasing her kid around looking like she has absolutely no control over what he’s doing.

I guess it was better than him attempting some more carpet angels right there in front.

Crush also has several comedy bits. In this one, he talked to a 6th grade boy and brought out a bikini, asking him was it was.

"Dude, what is this for?"


Poor kid caught right on the spot, said “it’s a bikini top.” Crush asked, “but what is it for?” and the kid said, “Uh, I don’t feel comfortable answering that.”

Which hey, go kid setting boundaries!

Crush then got an expression of understanding and said, “Ohhhhhhhh, dude, I’m so embarrassed.” It was all quite fun.

After the show was over, I intended to take a few pictures of the inside of the theater, just to give you guys a look around. But remember what I said about the out-of-control toddler?


Sorry guys--action shot, where I'm doing all of the action


I think the entire Animation building is really worth spending some time in, especially when it’s hot outside. Turtle Talk is particularly great for the little ones. I recommend watching a short video from Turtle Talk here.

And a tip for extra fun–when Crush said, “Dude, you so totally rock!” be sure to respond nice and loud with “Duuuuuuude!”


Donald’s Boat, S.S. Miss Daisy

Yep, still here in Toontown. What can I say, I tend to take a bunch of pictures at the same time, so there ya go.

Nestled in between Goofy’s house and Gadget’s Go Coaster is Donald’s Boat.

Apparently in dry dock


Well, there is water, but this boat is certainly not floating by any stretch of the imagination.

Donald’s boat does sit right next to a waterfall.

The front side of water



The back side of water. But you saw that coming, didn't you?


Sadly, the inside of Donald’s Boat suffered the same fate that the bounce house in Goofy’s House did. That is, there used to be something to do, and now there isn’t.

There is, as you can see, an upstairs and a downstairs. These are reached by way of a stairway next to the back side of water. However, once upon a time, there was another way to get upstairs.

See that net? And the big gaping hole?


You used to be able to climb a net to get to the top. Now you just sort of have this inexplicable hole.



There also was a spiral staircase that went up too, but they blocked both ends of that.

The upstairs is small but cute.

Theo REALLY liked it up here


And in the absence of things to do downstairs, you have big blank spaces where children can lie down.

Or fall. I'm not quite sure what this kid is doing.


That duck face thing is a communication tower to the upstairs. At least I think it is. I didn’t try it out.

Oh, and I forgot the best thing about upstairs–buttons! There are buttons to press! Buttons! I MUST PRESS A BUTTON NOW! <– Theo

Once again, it’s a shame that Toontown has been stripped to a shell of its old self. I really wish they would do something about that.

Five & Dime and Gag Factory

If you’re so bummed you can’t ride the Jolly Trolley that you need some retail therapy–fear not! Right here in Toontown there’s the Five & Dime and Gag Factory.

It's tall and has a prominent sign

If you are feeling the shopping bug and it has to be in Toontown, you better do it here because it’s your only Toontown option.

I combined this post with the Gag Factory because the Gag Factory is connected to  the Five & Dime

Except the entrance is a little bit behind and to the side of the Five & Dime

I’ll be honest here. I’m not sure where the Five & Dime ends and the Gag Factory begins. So that’s the other reason why you’re getting a double post. It’s a MYWTM Twofer!

I do know that this part is the Five & Dime:

Mickey and Minnie O'Rama!

I have to say, I love seeing little girls in Minnie outfits. And I love seeing Mickey merchandise too. I mean, it’s not that I don’t love the princesses, or pink, or a combination of princesses and pink, but they get to be a bit…much. So I always appreciate a little Minnie running around. And if not Minnie, then Snow White.

Oh! And little boys in Peter Pan costumes! LOVE!!!!!

I think everyone should get into the dress-up thing. And by everyone I mean children under 10.

This is sort of the second half of the Five & Dime, and I think that this is actually where the Five & Dime ends

I think the Gag Factory is through these arches

But you know? Not sure. Hopefully some Sharp-Eyed Reader will chime in here.

I can say for sure that this part of the store is the Gag Factory. Know how I know? Because it says “Gag Factory” on that big red machine thingy.

My powers of perception are unrivaled, except when they're rivaled.

In one section, they used to have a “make your own mouse ears” station. It was actually really cool. You picked a hat, snapped on the ears of your choice, added various decorations, and so on. And then they took it away. I’m not really sure why. It always seemed pretty popular when I was there.

Anyway, because it’s in Toontown, the theming is pervasive.

Did you know that spellcheck doesn’t think that “theming” is a word? Instead, it suggests:

Yes, spellcheck. Themistocles, the Athenian politician and general, was exactly what I was shooting for. Thank you!!!


Fun theming! And by theming I mean Themistocles!

Here’s the back of that Gag Factory boiler-thingy. And seriously, spellcheck just accepted “thingy.”

Boiler thingy, and by thingy I mean Themistocles.

There’s also the hat writing stations, and here’s another one of my Disneyland sad stories, the old hat writers. Once upon a time your hat was written on by a human muscling the hat through an insane sewing machine that looked and sounded like it would take your arm off if you weren’t careful (exaggeration–to my knowledge, the hat writing sewing machines were never a serious safety hazard. at least not to your arm). And the human had to write your name in the Disney script, backwards and inside-out.

That, my friends, is a skill.

Unfortunately, that went by the wayside when new hat writing machines were introduced. Now you can get the traditional Disney writing in a couple different thread colors, or you can get other premium fonts in different colors. This seems like progress except for the fact that it now takes for the machine to finish. So my advice is that if you’re getting a hat written on, you go ahead and find a churro cart and grab a munchie while you wait for it.

"Get comfy--this is going to take a while"

One bonus, though, is that it’s fun for little kids to watch the sewing as it goes!

I’m kind of thinking I need a pair of Mickey ears embroidered with “Themistocles.” Yes?

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