Wildlife Wednesday – Purple Glossy Starling

Purple glossy starlings live in open woodlands, eating mostly insects and fruits. They are fairly common in their native habitat of tropical Africa. They have beautiful metallic purple and green feathers and bright yellow eyes. You can find them flying freely in the enclosed aviary on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Purple Glossy Starling

Conservation status – Least Concern
Habitat – Tropical Africa

Posted in Information, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Wildlife Wednesday – North Sulawesi Babirusa

This interesting creature is a North Sulawesi babirusa. The name babirusa means “deer pig” in Malay, the native language of Indonesia. A wild member of the pig family, babirusas are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Only the males grow the rather bizarre looking tusks.

You can find babirusas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Oasis.


Conservation status – vulnerable
Habitat – Indonesia

Posted in Information, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildlife Wednesday – Rüpell’s Griffon Vulture


Most cooperative and social of all the vultures, this Rüpell’s griffon vulture resides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. While considered to be the highest flying of all birds, this one isn’t going anywhere. You can see in the photo above that there are no flight feathers on this bird’s left wing. This prevents the vulture from flying away from its safe haven with Disney caregivers.


Conservation status – Endangered
Habitat – central Africa

Posted in Information, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney @Home: Disney – Pixar “Inside Out” Cake

It’s birthday time again, which gives me a great excuse to make a new Disney-themed cake. I suggested “Inside Out” for inspiration and my daughter approved the idea. We discussed plans for our cake and went shopping together in hopes of finding the right items to bring our visions to light. A “core memory bank” cake seemed achievable. Layer cake with rows of colorful imbedded candies…

Disney - Pixar "Inside Out"

…but after shopping at a craft store, a party store and our local Target, we went with these items and a new vision for our Pixar-perfect cake.

What You Need

And it looked like this:

Yummy Cake!

Which is nice enough, but not “Inside Out” enough. I shopped around for mini-figures to place on top of the cake but had no luck finding any. So, I grabbed a stroller card at the Magic Kingdom (thanks for the suggestion, Heather!), and made some cute cake toppers with these items.

You Also Need

And there you have it! An easy-to-make, yet fairly fabulous Disney-Pixar “Inside Out” cake.

Sweet Emotions Happy Birthday!

Notes about the products: My party attendees and I were not impressed with the edible decorative disks. They were hard to bite and mostly flavorless. Maybe you’re not supposed to eat them. I suggest you don’t. The cake was very tasty, but didn’t rise as much as I expected. Maybe I did something wrong. ? The icing was perfectly scrumptious-loved it!

Posted in Disney How-To, Parties & Crafts, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where Can I Find? – Mickey Monogrammed Ears at Walt Disney World

#DisneySide Ear Hats

Monogram Pricing

Mickey Mouse Ears are likely the most popular souvenir purchase at the Disney Parks. You can find them at all four theme parks and at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) as well. They’ll be shelved in stores and hanging at outdoor kiosks.

Monogramming/personalization is available at Mouse Gear in Epcot, the Chapeau in Magic Kingdom, Adrian & Edith’s Head to Toe in Hollywood Studios and at Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories at Downtown Disney.

There are several styles to choose from. Prices start at $13.95. There’s an additional charge for monogramming.

Posted in Information | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wildlife Wednesday – Mandarin Duck

This week, I’m showing off the Mandarin drake. One of the most beautifully feathered of all ducks, this bird has a special place in my heart. My father kept them among his backyard bird collection, so I developed a fondness for them at an early age. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find Mandarin ducks on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

They are somewhat similar in appearance to wood ducks of North America. Both birds belong to the same genus.

Mandarin Drake

Conservation status – Least concern
Habitat – Native to East Asia, introduced populations exist now in parts of the United Kingdom, Europe and United States

Posted in Information, Photography, Thoughts & Opinions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Epcot Entertainment – Italy Pavilion – The Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro

Late in 2014, new live acts came to World Showcase at Epcot. My favorite newcomers are the Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro. These charismatic young men proudly exhibit their talents in a colorful, energetic performance…a fabulous cultural display.

Sbandieratori di Sansepolcro

Flag waving originated in Europe back in the Middle Ages. During times of war, standard bearers led troops into battle. These flags were used to signal commands to be executed during the maneuvers and were defended to the death.

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro

These symbols were a source of tremendous pride for the people they represented. In peaceful times, drills were developed for parades and shows. The routines eventually evolved into the art of flag waving that is still used today.

Solo Waver, Two Flags

Modern flag waving has become a sport with several specialties. The Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro demonstrate a few of these. Accompanied by trumpeters and drummers they’re a fine addition to Epcot’s line-up of live entertainment. They appear seven times daily on the outdoor stage in the center of Italy Pavilion at World Showcase.

Posted in Information, Reviews, Thoughts & Opinions | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Wildlife Wednesday – American Crocodile

Crocodylus acutus

This gigantic reptile with impressive gaping jaws is the American crocodile. Outside of his normal habitat, you can find him in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For a closer look, at a safe distance click on the photo above. Then click your browser’s back button to return to this post.

Conservation status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Coastal areas of the Caribbean, southern Mexico and south Florida.

Posted in Information, Photography, Thoughts & Opinions | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wildlife Wednesday – Malayan Flying Fox

The large fruit bats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are among my most favorite of all critters there. You can find an all-male colony of Malayan flying foxes in the bat house on Maharajah Jungle Trek. There are about 10 of them hanging about. The kids and I enjoy watching when they’re active.

Some people don’t enjoy bats. At all. Ever. How do you feel about hairy giant bats?


Conservation status – near threatened
Primary habitat – Southeast Asia

Posted in Information, Photography, Thoughts & Opinions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildlife Wednesday – Meerkat

Meerkat on Alert

I’d never even heard of meerkats before Disney’s “Lion King,” but practically everyone knows what they are these days. You can find this adorable carnivore cousin to the mongoose on a self-guided tour of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Conservation status – least concern
Habitat – southern tip of Africa

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment