Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion – DIY Home Decor

No, this is not Disneyland, it’s our house! I made our front window into a display as a tribute to the Haunted Mansion ride. Complete with the ride sound effects.  As much as I wanted to try to replicate an entire scene from the ride, I knew that it would be impossible given my house set-up.  As a result, I tried to highlight some of the ride’s features into a literal window display at my home.  So the set-up that you see is through the screen of the front window.  I also blasted my the soundtrack so that you could get the total effect.

You can see how I pulled this off if you scroll down.

I started with getting a large floral or fishbowl that you could get at a craft store.  Then I inserted a perfect photo of Madame Leota on the inside and surrounded it with tulle.  The trick here is to get the photo color right so that it can glow against a black light.  Then I flipped the entire thing over onto a silver charger.  Voila.  Instant crystal ball!  And no, it doesn’t talk, but it’s just the idea that makes it cool, right?

I also wanted to recreated the wallpaper from the ride.  I used the same print that you see at the beginning of the ride where they have the long hallway, the grandfather clock and etc.  It has a really cool purple and black gothic pattern with eerie eyes.  I printed these out on large pieces of paper and then I simply taped them together to create the look.  I flanked both of these faux wallpaper strips on both sides of the inside window.

I found a few of the images online of the famous stretching photos and then I printed those out on large 11″ x 18″ sheets of paper and tried to perfected cut the edges.  Then, I mounted these onto foam core boards.

I made a sign for my front door.  I was so tempted to get the one from Disneyland, but really feared that it would break or walk-off.  So I found a mirror at a craft store which I painted so that it looked the part, I created letters using a Haunted Mansion font that I found online and printed it against a black background to cover up the entire mirror by using a little bit of Modge Podge or decoupage technique.  Then I  mounted this on my door.   I think that it turned out pretty good for about $20!

I did purchase the Haunted Mansion outfit from the Disney Store.  It’s actually the apron and not the shirt that they had available.  I liked this options since it had ruffles and I could wear anything black as an outfit.  It is a great cosplay option.

I also added a few battery operated flickering candlelights for decor.  There was no way that I would add real candles, especially with this set-up and the windows being open.  Add in a few oversized tarot cards and flying fluorescent instruments.  Most of these items were either placed on a table or mounted behind the window using a faux pipe and drape set-up.  It made it easier to position and tape or hang fishing wires from the pipes.  I also had a big boombox which played the Haunted Mansion soundtrack.  You can download a copy or purchase a CD soundtrack which they do sell at the Disneyland resort.  Then add in a LOT of big black lights and voila!  The entire thing will light up and transform your house.

I learned a few things about this process and set-up:
1] This set-up appealed to the little kids as well as this was deemed not-so-terrifying.  Since it’s Disney related, it certainly had more appeal to them.
2] The adults LOVED the set-up and I think that it offered a visual break to their chaperoning efforts.
3] The bugs love it, too.  I think that the UV lights attract them from the black lights, so keep that in mind.

NOTE: I do plan to expand on this decor as I pulled this off without much planning.  Stay tuned to see my additions to this decor!

“We are ready for Halloween! 999 happy haunts!  Happy Halloween!”

Posted 9/30/17.

Disney Tsum Tsum Display Case & Organizer

My youngest son is obsessed with collecting Disney Tsum Tsum toys.  He has managed to collect a lot over the years and am thankful for birthday gifts, holiday gifts and etc.  We also took advantage of getting a lot of these on sale online and at the outlet for a huger discount.  Often, some of the characters will go on sale if they have and overstock.  If any of you are collectors, then I would go online as I see them dropping prices often and their inventory is way better than the retail stores.

When he first started his collection, they were in a random box, then a suitcase and then  just all over the place.  I needed to find a way to keep these tidy, cute and off the floor.  I tried to look for display cases and even tried to purchase a retail case from a local store– no luck.

Then after much searching, I found a solution!  I found “Pinnacle Frame 3D Display Case, Black” that stick out so that you can put little knick-knacks on them.  You need to make sure that you find ones that stick out about 4″ from the wall to make it work.  After purchasing one, I realized that I needed another and that it was perfect for our needs!  I placed them side-by-side on his dresser and it worked!!  You can also mount this on the wall as there are brackets in the back that allow you to do so.

I was able to fit 72 (6 x 12) mini Tsum Tsums in each of case.  Since I purchased two, that just doubled my space.  On the far left, I added the small Tsum Tsums which are only sold with the monthly subscriptions.  They are NOT the medium sized Tsum Tsums.Slide6

Easy and accessible enough for him to be able to still play with them and put back himself. With additional room to even stack on top!Slide7Slide8

Posted 2/10/17

Disney K-Cups by Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

Joffrey’s, the official coffee of Disney Parks & Resorts just came out with K-cups.  Now you can savor this all year long!  They are also available in decaf as well.


They also have a really cute collection of other Disney inspired coffees in whole bean packages from various properties and resorts from Aulani to Napa Rose to the Tusker House.  Check it by clicking on this link below.  How fun is that?!

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company




New Disney Gourmet Popcorn

Recently, Disney came out with a new line of gourmet popcorn, which extended passed their standard fare of caramel, kettle corn, butter toffee and confetti.  Upon my recent trip to Disneyland, I stumbled across the huge wall of flavors which included these new flavors:

Siracha Kettle Corn
Parmesan Garlic
Maple Bacon

Although I wanted to try them all, I had to restrain myself and purchased CHURRO and MAPLE BACON.  (I was really tempted to get TRUFFLE, but might try that the next time.)

So I purchased the MAPLE BACON popcorn.  I opened the package and had to re-confirm that there were no little flakes of bacon inside.  No bacon bits.  Boo.  It has a smoky, sweet and salty flavor.  I was expecting it to taste like bacon salt, but no.  I am not sure how they created the bacon flavor, but that was a miss.  The maple flavor was there, but was overpowered by the odd smoky bacon flavor.  I’d pass on this one.

I also purchased the CHURRO popcorn was a bit of a surprise to me.  I love churros and was expecting lots of cinnamon.  This didn’t have too much cinnamon, but a nice toasted balance of cinnamon and sugar.  It was pretty good, not great.  I would eat this over the MAPLE BACON for sure.

Then, I had to also get the classic… CARAMEL.  Ok, of the three, this was by far my favorite.  You can’t go wrong with the classics!!

NOTE #1: The churro popcorn was sold out at the retail stores inside of Disneyland.  In addition, they offer a smaller selection and variety inside the park.  Your best bet would be to go to Downtown Disney to the World of Disney Store and visit the food section inside the retail store– NOT the Marcelines Confectionery candy store.

NOTE #2:  Not all the popcorn are priced the same.  The prices vary from $5.99 to $6.99. The TRUFFLE popcorn was priced at $6.99 as with most of the ones with nuts.  Most of the others were priced at $5.99, so be sure to turn the product around to see the price tag.

I love the fact that Disney comes out with these new food creations.  These were perfect items to bring back as gifts for family and friends!

Disney Gourmet Popcorn
New Disney Gourmet Popcorn

Posted 7/25/16






Disney Star Wars Tsum Tsum Graduation Lei Gift (or Graduation Lei-a)!

My littlest is graduating from kindergarten this year.  I am so proud, yet so sad.  It’s a milestone in my books.  As I prepare mentally for his upcoming last day of kindergarten, I am also reminded that he will be participating in a formal graduation ceremony.  What should I get for him to make him feel extra special?  He loves Star Wars and he loves Disney Tsum Tsum toys.  Bingo.  I will make him a Tsum Tsum graduation lei.  Here’s how I made this.

Graduation Lei 1

– clear cellophane wrap (Party City has a good supply)
– scissors
– curling ribbon
– Tsum Tsum toys (at least 7 of the mini plush ones)
– regular clear tape

Graduation Lei 2

Start by collecting all of the supplies above.   You will need to cut about 5.5 feet of cellophane wrap.  From that piece, fold it horizontally and cut it in half so you have two super long pieces.  You will only need to use one, but keep the other one just in case– so save it!  Lay one of the pieces flat on a long enough clean surface.

Graduation Lei 3

You will need at least 7 Tsum Tsums.  I selected the Star Wars collection of Tsum Tsums for this project and gift.  Since I am making this for my little guy, his torso isn’t too long so I won’t need that much as it won’t need to be too long.  I would say you would need about 7-9 Tsum Tsums for a younger elementary school aged child.  More if you have an adult.  Cut of all the tags off the Tsum Tsums and gently tape the fabric tags with a little tape under their bellies.  Once you have prepped each one, line them up on the cellophane wrap closest to the rougher edge, leaving about 4-5 finger widths in-between.  Think hot dog links.

Graduation Lei 4

Once lined up, add a little more tape to the edge of the cellophane wrap to the Tsum Tsums.  Next, you are ready to roll.  Think sushi roll.  You will want to CAREFULLY roll the Tsum Tsums over one-by-one.  Slow motion required.  Keep a somewhat firm roll, but not too tight.  If the cellophane wrap tears, just add tape!

Graduation Lei 5

Next, you will want to cut about 1.5 feet of curling tape for each break.  (See photo.)  Place these under each break so that you can start tying each section which encases a Tsum Tsums.  Do not make this too loose or too tight.  Every section should be the same.  After you are done tying each section, start curling your ribbon!  You should slowly see the lei transforming.  Feel free to move around gently and adjust the Tsum Tsums within each break.  You want them to be consistent.

Graduation Lei 6

Finally, connect the two ends with more curling ribbon and you just need to tie them together to complete the loop.


I had his older brother try this on for kicks and think that this will be a perfect fit for my 5 year old son!  He wasn’t too happy in this photo since this wasn’t a gift for him.  🙁  I may make one for him, too!  Shhh!!  I probably could have added 1 or 2 more, but think that this should work for my little guy.  I can’t wait to see the look on his little face.  I will try to post an updated photo of my little guy with his gift at the very end of this month.

May the graduation force be with you!

Posted 5/11/16


LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters – Bump Codes & Box Reveal

If you are a Disney or Lego fan, then you might know that they released the LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters on 5/1/16. (Photo above courtesy of  Select stores released them with limited supply and they are sold out almost everywhere, even online with an MSRP of $3.99.  There are also some stores that have a limit of 4 or 5 packs per customer.  These are HOT items.  As with all Lego minifigure packs, these are blind packs, so you won’t really know what you get unless you sit there and feel the pieces, if you open the packs or familiar with bump codes.  I saw many families there crunching the bags to decipher the contents inside.  This seemed to draw a bigger crowd compared to other releases.  I guess when you combine Lego + Disney that says it all.  One mom told me that she went to all the stores in the area in search of Buzz Lightyear and Alice!  Sounds like these might be popular minifigures.  Then again, it could be that those are her favorite characters or perhaps she was trying to fill her collection.  Because these aren’t your typical Lego minifigures they are a bit easier to decipher since each character has a pretty unique face or accessory.

I have to say that Lego and Disney did a pretty good job with capturing the design and story for each character through their accessories.  Although, not all had accessories.  They put together a nice mix of characters and it would be interesting to see if they have another series with an expanded list of characters.  Here’s a cute photo of Stitch below.

Disney Lego Minifigures

I managed to get my hand on an entire box.  Yes an ENTIRE BOX.  Score!!  Although I can’t share the details how I acquired this, I can share a few things with you about what I uncovered.

Disney Lego Minifigure 2

Disney Lego Minifigure 3

The box has a total of 60 mystery packs.  After deciphering each pack, I inventoried the following quantities which could help you out with your search to see what a typical box inventory looks like.  As you can see, Ariel could be the hardest to find as there were only 2 in the box!  The rest had a fair share of quantity of 3 or 4 each.

  • 4 – Mickey Mouse
  • 3 – Minnie Mouse
  • 3 – Donald Duck
  • 3 – Daisy Duck
  • 3 – Alice
  • 3 – Cheshire Cat
  • 3 – Peter Pan
  • 3 – Captain Hook
  • 3 – Maleficent
  • 3 – Ariel
  • 3 – Ursula
  • 4 – Genie
  • 3 – Aladdin
  • 4 – Stitch
  • 4 – Mr. Incredible
  • 4 – Syndrome
  • 3 – Buzz Lightyear
  • 4 – Alien

Disney Lego Minifigures


Lego enthusiasts know about a little thing called bump codes.  Having 2 boys, I learned early on about this hack.  They are little raised 3D bumps that are located at the bottom of the back package that indicate what the contents are inside.  These aren’t 100% obvious and sometimes it takes just as long to figure out what the bump codes are vs. feeling the package.  So if you have a legend which has the infamous bump codes in front of you, this might help you if the bumps are obvious enough.  Here are the bump codes that I deciphered which I am sharing with you.  I have marked white dots on the bottom to indicate the infamous bump codes.  Note that this is not a perfect method as some are raised more than others.  Also you may want to take notice that some of the bumps are aligned slightly different than others as some look the same.

Disney Lego Minifigures

For more information about this special release, you can read about it here: LEGO Minifigures Collection Features 18 Iconic Disney Characters

Happy collecting and trading!

Posted 5/4/16

The Very Center of Disneyland

Quick Disney trivia! How many of you know what this is? This metal stake is located in the back of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and marks the very, very center point of Disneyland. This does not include California Adventure, Downtown Disney or the future Star Wars Land area… just the center of the original Disneyland Park as it was first built.  When the park was being first built, the builders were able to use this as a reference point for measurement purposes.

Here is an aerial map where you can look for this marker here in this general area.
The Very Center of Disneyland 2
Posted 4/28/16


Yes, I was a Disney cast member…

Yes, I was a full-time Disney cast member at one point.  Although I did not work at the theme park, I did work on the back-end of the Disney Corporation on their website.   We had a ton of perks and interesting interactions.  It was sort of cool to say that you worked for the big mouse back then, but it wasn’t as nearly as cool as I think that it is today.  Thanks to having two young boys, my fascination with Disney has increased.  I am amazed with their marketing, operation, production, trivia facts as well as their impact upon pop culture.  It all fascinates me.  I am just a big fan of FUN things.  In this section of my blog, I will share a few small Disney tidbits, tips and tricks that I learned along the way, as well as new ones that I learn on my several trips to the park.

Walt’s Apartment
Upon one of the business trips we took, we flew to Disneyland for a day for a special VIP tour as we were incorporating concepts to the website.  (I think that it was similar to “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour” with cast member extras.)  One of the coolest things that we got to check-out was Walt’s infamous apartment.  We weren’t allowed to take photos, but the memories and visuals are with me today.  We walked up near the backside of the firehouse area where we walked into a tiny studio apartment, perhaps as small as the ones in NYC.  It was small, ok, tiny.  There was a small living area, kitchenette (if you can call it that) and a bathroom.

The small living area had a dated and original sofa that had a pull-out bed that he used.  There was no bed, just the couch.  There was also a lamp there which was lit when he was inside the apartment which was a signal for others to know that he was there.

The kitchen area I recall was really small.  Just the very, very basics.  One of the things that Walt loved were grilled cheese sandwiches.  Who knew?  In fact, he had his own panini type hot sandwich press machines so that he could indulge and share with his kids.

The bathroom was small as well, but was equipped with a state-of-the-art shower.  What was unique about this shower was that the stall was customized just for Walt.  In an effort to be efficient, he had a total of three shower heads installed in the stall: at the top, the middle and bottom areas which jetted out vertically.  He was certainly ahead of his times!

For those who want to check out the apartment, they do offer tours that sometimes take a peak inside.  I would suggest calling and asking to be sure.  Here is the link: “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” Guided Tour.

Posted 4/20/16