Pirate Props

I love Pirates of the Caribbean. The movies, the ride, the cosplay. You name it, I love it! During our last Disney trip, the POTC ride was closed for refurb. To get my Pirates fix, I visited the gift shop. The normally bustling shop was dead. So dead, in fact, that one of the Cast Members took me on a tour. A tour of a gift shop? Yup! It was fascinating. She informed me that they have four authentic props from the movies, and then proceeded to point out each one.

POTC coin

See that gold coin hanging on the right side of the above vase? According to the CM, this was an actual prop from the first POTC movie. As she told me, her voice filled with awe, “Johnny Depp touched that coin. Orlando Bloom touched that coin.”

We then moved to the barred window between the gift shop and The Pirates League. Looking into the pirate-makeover space, she pointed out two items on high shelves: a rolled-up map (that leads to the Fountain of Youth in the Pirates movies) and the actual “dead man’s chest” from – you guessed it – Dead Man’s Chest. I didn’t get pictures of these props as I couldn’t get close enough to them for good shots.

Lastly, she showed me a sword that was affixed to a ceiling beam and asked me to guess who it belonged to. Turns out it was Hector Barbossa’s. In utter delight, I called my son over. He has, after all, cosplayed as Hector on more than one occasion.

POTC Hector's sword

Were these truly props from the movies? I have no idea. But it certainly turned a visit to a dead-quiet gift shop into a pixie-dusted adventure!


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Photo booth fun!

photo booth

Have you ever noticed the photo booths at various locations around Walt Disney World? No? Neither had I, until I met up with my four guys at the Space Mountain gift shop and found them having fun with the photo booth there. The best part? We could use our MagicBands to link the photo booth pictures to our PhotoPass/Memory Maker account. (Note: I don’t believe that all of the WDW photo booths have this option, so make sure you use one that does have it if you purchased Memory Maker.) Here are the wacky results:

boys in photobooth 001

boys in photo booth 002

boys in photo booth 003

boys in photo booth 004

You can even pick a theme for your photo “sheet.” I think Cale had something to do with the boys’ theme:

boys in photo booth 005

Of course, Rich and I then had to take a turn:

us in photo booth 001

us in photo booth 002

us in photo booth 003

us in photo booth 004

us in photo booth 005

When I first looked at my PhotoPass pictures online, I thought these pics would be under the “Magic Kingdom Park” section. They weren’t. I then found them under “Resorts and More.” So if you can’t find your photo booth pictures at first, just keep looking. It was super fun to try something different while on our Disney trip!

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Our Favorite Disney Restaurants: ‘Ohana

The beautiful Polynesian lobby.

The beautiful Polynesian lobby.

We’d never been to ‘Ohana, located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, before this last trip. Although their dinner gets rave reviews, we decided to do a character breakfast. Promptly at 180 days pre-trip, I booked the latest available breakfast seating (10:55 am). Our plan was to have brunch and then head to the Magic Kingdom. That was pretty much how it worked out, though two of our boys decided to rope drop MK at 8 am before meeting the rest of us at ‘Ohana.

As we sat at our table, this guy was right next to me. It was pretty cool.

As we sat at our table, this guy was right next to me. It was pretty cool.

First they brought out a fruit platter. It was fresh and delicious.

There was actually more fruit on the platter when it first reached our table. I forgot to get a picture before digging in.

There was actually more fruit on the platter when our server brought it out. I forgot to get a picture before digging in.

Next came our celiac son’s special platter of gluten-free goodness.

The gluten-free waffles were so good, I preferred them to the "regular" waffles.

The gluten-free waffles were so good, I preferred them to the “regular” waffles.

And then the huge, non-GF platter was delivered to our table.

ohana regular platter


And, of course, there was fun character interaction!

ohana mickey

ohana Pluto

ohana Lilo

Stitch was there too, of course. I somehow missed getting his picture. Perhaps I was too star-struck :D

Have you been to breakfast at ‘Ohana? How about dinner? Which do you prefer?

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A Cruisin’ Reunion!

If you’ve read this post or listened to this podcast episode, you know how much we loved the Cast Members onboard our Disney cruise last February. Through the wonders of social media, we reconnected with one of them, which led to a quick little “reunion” during the first evening of our recent Walt Disney World vacation.

Cruise reunion

Why yes, I’m Disneybounding Haunted Mansion. Do you love it?

These three wonderful young people didn’t have to take time out of their Disney day to chat with us, and I’m so glad that they did. Since my son is already planning to be a Disney Cast Member someday, I love it when he gets the chance to talk to either current or former CMs. This great group is certainly an inspiration to him!

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Watto’s Grotto

Watto's Grotto

During our (one and only) day at Hollywood Studios, we were browsing some new Star Wars merch in Tatooine Traders after riding Star Tours. As I admired the Dooney & Bourke Star Wars handbags (nope, I didn’t get one, but was tempted), a lady came up to me and told me to go to Watto’s Grotto for even more Star Wars stuff. I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that it was a new store in “that place that closed.” Since this can describe multiple locations around Hollywood Studios, I started making random guesses… the Magic of Disney Animation? Nope. The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow? Nope. The Studio Backlot Tour? Yes! The post-ride area, where a film institute exhibit and gift shop once were, is now the Star Wars-themed Watto’s Grotto. Filled with all kinds of Star Wars merchandise, this is THE place for fans like me. We kept ourselves from going purchase-crazy (which could have happened quite easily), but the boys made their own souvenirs at the droid factory and each bought a Limited Edition pin.

Watto's Grotto merch

The alphanumeric stickers are so you can name your droid. This one is, as yet, unnamed. Suggestions?

I’m not sure how long Watto’s Grotto will be in its current location, but if you’re a Star Wars fan, check it out!

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I’m back!

Hello my Disney friends! I hope you all had a magical summer. What a busy summer it was! If you care to read about our non-Disney summer travels, check out my writing blog, which tells about our trips to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Lowville, and Cedar Point. If you want to read about our latest Disney trip (from which we just returned), I’ll be writing all about it in the weeks to come. Until then, here’s a sneak peek: my favorite souvenir from any trip EVER!


As if the summer wasn’t busy enough, my son and I also started a Disney fan podcast! You can check it out at The Disney Duo Podcast website. Give it a listen and let us know what you think!

Microsoft Word - DD logo.docx

What did you do this summer? I’d love to hear about it!

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Have a magical summer!

We have a super busy summer planned, so I won’t be updating the blog much. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here, or reach me on Facebook or Twitter. Enjoy your summer, my Disney friends!

Happy summer from The Disney Five!

Happy summer from The Disney Five!

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MDE finally gets it right!

Big news! After struggling with the My Disney Experience (MDE) app on several previous Disney trips, it finally worked perfectly throughout an entire 4-day visit to the World. Yay! I even received notification when a ride that I had a FastPass+ for went down. Here’s what it looked like on my phone:

FP+ change email


Have you had any recent MDE glitches? I’d like to think they’re finally getting it all sorted out, but time will tell. Once everything is working properly (and reliably), I’d love to see what new enhancements come our way!

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The shenanigans continue on The Disney Exchange!

480x270_58279Stop on by The Disney Exchange podcast for part two of our discussion about Disney World recommendations for young families. This week, co-host Lisa Green is back from her world travels to keep us all in line :) You don’t want to miss it!

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Art of Animation – the suites

Wow, I had such great feedback on my recent Art of Animation post, I decided to do a follow-up. As I mentioned before, I haven’t stayed at AoA, but felt this resort deserved a mention here on Disney For Five+ due to the fact that it’s a great place for big families. My writer friend Paul D. Smith offered up these lovely photos of his family’s stay in a Lion King suite:

Lion King dining room - the table converts to a bed!

Lion King dining room – the table converts to a bed!

Lion King living room - note the small kitchenette in the corner.

Lion King living room with sofa bed. The little kitchenette on the right also has a small sink.

Lion King bedroom.

Lion King bedroom. Grand total per suite: 3 sleeping spaces for 6 people.

Many thanks to Paul! Check out his debut novel here.

Another thank you goes out to my Disney friend Nicholas Maglio for sending me a link to his excellent, comprehensive review of Art of Animation. This article (which includes lots of great pictures of Nick and his wife Barbie’s stay in a Cars-themed suite) can be found here on The Disney Exchange, one of Nick’s many Disney endeavors. While you’re there, check out the fantastic podcast!

Thanks to all for your comments here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Disney fans are the best!

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