Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's the Little Things... "Wreck-It-Ralph" Penny Presser

The Wreck-It Ralph penny presser - the Star Trader - Tomorrowland - Disneyland Park

We realize that we probably sound like a broken record saying it, and to be honest, we don't even remember if we swiped it from someone else or coined it on our own (we'll go with coined it on our own since it sounds better and sounds more intelligent), but when it comes to The Parks, it truly is about "the little things". Throw Space Mountain and Splash Mountain into a random field, and what do you have? Two awesome attractions in the middle of a field! Throw them into Disneyland and what do you have? Two awesome attractions inside the Happiest Place on Earth, which just happens to be decorated to the hilt and is an absolutely amazing place to wander around. See the difference? It's all about the little touches and little things you see all over that really stand out and will stay with you long after you've gone.

One of our favorite collectibles, or souvenirs inside The Parks, are the penny pressers. Even if you've never been to Disneyland before, they're certainly nothing new, and you can find them just about anywhere people are selling souvenirs. For all I know Pilot truck stops may have them these days... In case you're not familiar though, the concept is simple. You drop a couple of quarters into the machine, and a penny you're willing to sacrifice to the cause, turn a handle a few times, and your penny magically gets smushed, stretched, and imprinted with a little artwork commemorating your location or whatever it is that you're doing. Simple and easy souvenir, and easily stored too!

These things are everywhere around The Parks, and they even sell little books for you to keep all the ones you collect from the different attractions, restaurants, shops, and everywhere else inside. It's a neat, fun little thing to do and you can even turn it into a game: "How many penny pressers are there inside The Parks and can you find them all?" might be a fun one to play! No. Seriously. There are entire websites dedicated to these things people, and anytime someone finds a new one or a new one is introduced, it's a big deal. No. Seriously.

Although we're not huge penny pressers (is that a verb?) around here, we do indeed have a favorite presser inside The Park! This particular one was introduced when Disneyland started a Wreck-It Ralph Meet and Greet to hone in on the popularity of the movie when it was released, and when the Starcade was transformed to have a little mini-video game arcade inside, this little beauty came along with it; for the video game nerds, our very own Wreck-It Ralph penny presser, shaped just like Fix-It Felix's apartment building! And if that wasn't enough, for our fifty cents we could smush up our pennies to show pictures of either Ralph, Felix, or my own personal favorite, Vanellope on them! And yes, I do own a Vanellope penny, if I could just find it.

While many penny pressers around The Parks do have different styles they're shaped in, or themes according to where they are located, this particular presser always stood out to us not just because of its subject matter, which is pretty darn cool and close to our hearts, but because of the "little things". It would have been super easy to just throw another presser together, slap a Ralph logo on it, and place it inside the arcade and it still would have made a pretty penny (pun totally intended). In this case, however, someone decided to go that extra mile and design it in such a way that it evoked a fantastic memory from the movie and, like we said earlier up top, it stayed with us long after we'd gone after seeing it for the first time. In fact, we'd just assumed that it had gone away with the Meet and Greet when it was done, so imagine our surprise and glee this past weekend when we saw it still alive and well while walking through the Starcade after riding Space Mountain.

It's the "little things", all over, that really make The Parks special. It's true, and we will continue to espouse it as long as people are here reading about it. Probably longer.

What are some of your favorite things from around the Disneyland Resort?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Halloween Hodgepodge - September 14, 2014

One of your very first sights as you leave the Mickey & Friends parking structure on your way (via tram) to the Disneyland Resort!

Halloween Time is here!!!

City Hall is all decked out for the holidays, and there's no better place to go for your information and celebratory buttons!

Jack Skellington has been up to something inside The Haunted Mansion, and you're invited!

Even Mickey's Toontown is getting into the act!

If you put your ear up to the hole, you'll hear this jack crooning an old western tune, kind of like the ear to the seashell bit. Just kidding. Don't do it. They'll get mad at you, you'll blame us, and nobody wants that.

Big Thunder Ranch is BY FAR one of the absolute best areas inside Disneyland Park to celebrate Halloween Time, and with the all new Halloween Carnival in full-swing this year, there's never been a better time to check it out and see if I ain't right!

This year the pumpkin carving has moved into the Festival arena and has its very own spot! Be sure and stop by the Halloween Carnival and see these fantastic artist's incredible creations - in pumpkin form! 

Quite possibly our favorite part of Halloween Time at The Park. Space Mountain? Check! Haunted by a ghost? Check! Brang it!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

'Frozen' Friday - Anna and Elsa Float Along in Fantasyland (and I Learn a Lesson)

It's that time of the week again; Flashback Friday! And while other blogs all over the world will be "flashing back" to various points in time, we're going in a different route. We've decided to cash in on the never-ending hype that is the film Frozen in order to gain our plethora of visitors today. Suckers!!!

Okay; we kid, we kid! But it did occur to us that maybe with the machine that is Frozen being what it is, it might make for a great segment and since it is alliterative, we figured why not?!

I'll be the first to admit it. Lately, I've been pretty anti-Frozen in spirit. Don't get me wrong! I think the movie was absolutely brilliant, and hearing Idina Menzel sing "Let It Go" live at the D23 Expo back in 2013 didn't hurt a bit, either. But the problem is, for me anyway, that it's just been everywhere and if anything, it's gaining steam and traction. Really bad, I know, right?! I'm so cynical sometimes!

It didn't help matters much this past Sunday when, while on my way into Fantasyland to enjoy a showing of Mickey and the Magical Map, I was deterred and halted by the Frozen parade float coming by with Anna and Elsa; but then a funny thing happened. As I stood there and watched, and listened, as all of the little children around me (and Mark) began to sing along with the music, yell at the two Disney princesses (or Queen in Elsa's case), and wave, I caught myself doing the exact same thing. I was singing along with the music. I was yelling at the two Disney princesses (or Queen in Elsa's case). And doggone it, I was waving at Elsa like nobody's business with a huge, dopey grin on my face.

And it occurred to me that maybe I've been viewing this thing all wrong for the past few months.

It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, there's a reason that the Frozen machine is as wildly popular as it is and refuses to lose steam, and instead keeps picking it up. Maybe, just maybe, it's just that good. And maybe, just maybe, I need to enjoy it instead of avoiding it.

Looks like I'll have to check out the Frozen Meet and Greet next to be sure.