Friday June 12, 2015


This was our third trek to Dayton Ohio for the annual Disneyana Show & Sale hosted by the Dayton "Plane Crazy" Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club.  This year's event was held in a new venue, The Holiday Inn Dayton/Fairborn and the organizers lined up a great list of speakers.  We had really been looking forward to the trip!


We dropped the dogs off with their grandparents Thursday evening and Rob stayed with us overnight so we could get an early start on the long drive.  It’s a 1,020 kilometre (615 mile) trip each way, about 10 hours of driving!


We met our objective by pulling away from home at precisely 6:00 a.m. and made great time for the first couple of hours.  Traffic was very light in eastern Ontario and the occasional light showers didn’t slow us down, but as we approached Toronto traffic began to build.  Rush hour traffic in Toronto is worse than we have ever encountered anywhere else.  We have driven several times in both New York and Los Angeles rush hours . . . believe me, they don’t compare to Toronto.  There is only one toll road in our province; a 100 kilometre (60 mile) route across the north end of Toronto.  It’s quite expensive, over $30 for an end to end trip, but today it was worth it!  We abandoned the choked freeway and took to the toll road at the first opportunity.  Even though we slowed down for some very heavy rains as we crossed the city, that toll road probably saved us a full hour of travel time!


We made two coffee stops, one east of Toronto and one on the west side and gassed up at the second stop.

We crossed the Detroit River on the Ambassador Bridge and pulled up to the U.S. Border at noon.  After a 10 minute wait the Border Patrol Officer asked where we were going.  I replied, “A Disneyana Convention in Dayton.”  I expected to be asked for some clarification, an explanation.  It didn’t happen - he just handed back our passports and said, “Have fun!”  Just the one question and then we drove off.

We were all hungry so it wasn’t long before we pulled off looking for a fast food joint for some lunch.  Rob pointed out to the left and said, “Look, Hooters To Go!”  Sure enough there was a Hooters Restaurant and their sign indeed said ‘To Go’.

I must admit that “Hooters To Go” sounded pretty interesting to both Rob and I, but Carol intervened.  She dashed our adolescent fantasies and replaced them with her own!  This is where we ate!  Service was quick, food was merely okay.

We crossed the Ohio State Line at 12:45 and within minutes pulled off in Toledo, Rob and Carol needed some retail therapy at the Disney Store.  I waited in the car, read for a while and had just dozed off when the returned.  I thought they would be able to waste an hour, but they were back in only 45 minutes!


We were back on the highway and carried on south on I-75.  Delays were pretty much constant.  Huge long stretches of the highway are torn up for reconstruction, all the way from Toledo to Dayton.  There were detours, re-routed lanes, narrow shoulders, frequent showers and a few traffic accidents to slow us down!

The last leg of our journey took about an hour longer than we expected, then when we arrived in Dayton the exit we needed was closed due to construction.  We overshot the missing exit without even seeing any indication it was closed, realized our mistake a few miles down the road, jockeyed through yet another detour as we left I-75 southbound to turn back onto I-75 northbound.  Finally we found the correct exit and wound our way to the Holiday Inn.  Check in went smoothly and by 6:30 we were unpacking in our rooms.  We had agreed to meet Rob in the lobby at 6:45 to head out find a grocery store and find some fast food for dinner.

Before leaving Rob urged us to go take a look at the big shark!  It was Bruce from Finding Nemo.  While we were taking pictures one of the event co-chairs, Anita Schaengold, tapped me on the shoulder and invited the three of us to join them for dinner.  It was a special dinner for people who had attended the seminars that afternoon.  All the seminar attendees and the speakers were there!  The speakers were Bob Welbaum, Tom Tumbusch, Jim Hill and Alex Maher.  We were quick to accept Anita’s kind invitation, filled our plates at the buffet and took our places at a table with families from Maine and Ohio.

We chatted over dinner, then listened as each of the speakers described a magical Disney moment from their past.  Then there were draws for door prizes.

Co-chair Anita Schaengold draws door prizes

Rob won a calendar from Disneyland Paris,  Carol won a Pirates of the Caribbean themed Post-It Note holder.  There was a prize for almost everyone there . . . I was one of three attendees who struck out.

Anita didn’t want anyone to leave empty-handed so she asked Alex if he would do three quick sketches and he immediately agreed.

It was the best prize I could ask for, a sketch of my favourite character, Goofy, drawn just for me by a very popular Disney artist!

After dinner we made our way to the car and tracked down a Kroger grocery store.  It was the only opportunity we’ll have for Carol to pick up a few products we really enjoy and cannot find at home.


We were back to the hotel by 9:30.  I settled in for the night, tired after a long day behind the wheel.  Carol went down looking for pin traders but there weren’t many there.  She made one trade but was back to the room before 11:00.  Early to bed, the “Early-Bird shopping starts at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Saturday June 13, 2015


Morning came much too early!  We were both awake at 6:00 a.m. and although we tried, neither of us could get back to sleep.  We got up, sipped coffee in the room and fiddled at our computers for an hour, then headed downstairs.

Carol and Rob had signed up for the “Early Bird” entry to the sales floor.  Carol thought that it started at 8:00 so they were both in line at 7:45.  Unfortunately, the scheduled start was 8:30!  Since the two of them were at the very front of the line, they stayed put in order to hold their position.


I went into the room where the vendors were setting up and got some “pre-sale" pictures.

Once again there was an amazing variety of merchandise.  Naturally there were pins and Vinylmations.


There were collector plates, mugs and ornaments.


There were figurines and dolls.

There were books and movie posters.


There was a complete set of Disney stainless steel flatware.


Wow, I knew that Carol would enjoy herself!

The Pin Trading Room was empty at 8:00 a.m.

When the doors opened at 8:30 Carol and Rob were waiting anxiously . . . and they were the first through the door!

Don't they look like Hitchhiking Ghosts?

A shopping frenzy began!


I took a few more pictures of the crowd of early-birds and then headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast I headed back to the banquet hall and picked up Carol’s first load of treasures which I hauled up to our room.  I hopped in the car and took off to gas it up and do a bit of shopping; yes, it’s rare, but I do shop now and then.


By the time met up with at 11:00 she was all finished her Disneyana shopping and proudly showed me the rest of her purchases.  Her most prized acquisition was the complete Walt Disney World Christmas Village by Department 56.  The set includes five buildings along with a group of accessories and figurines.  She has admired it at a gift shop in Salisbury Beach Massachusetts but they were asking waaay too much money for it.  Today she got a real bargain!

She spent the rest of the day in the Pin Trading Room.  When lunch time rolled around she ate a quick sandwich at the table while she carried on trading.

A Disney friend we hadn't seen for many years dropped in to say hello.  PaulF lives in Dayton and was there to hear one of the speakers.  He came a bit early to say hello to Carol and I.  We met Paul through the online community and we hadn't seen him in years . . . probably since MouseFest in 2007 or 2008.  It was great to renew acquaintances!

I spent the afternoon listening to the seminar speakers; they kept me occupied from 1:00 until 4:30.  The first speaker was Jim Hill, a well known journalist and Disney Historian who gave us a healthy dose of background on the New Fantasyland.  Jim is a very entertaining speaker and always shares some little known insider information.

Jim concluded his presentation and at about 2:15 Disney Design Artist Alex Maher joined him on stage.  Alex had spent the first part of the afternoon at an easel in the back of the seminar room where he worked on several sketches.  As soon as Alex joined Jim onstage they began a very interesting interview.  Jim asked Alex about his background and the nature of his work with Disney.  It was a fascinating hour!

At the end of their session Alex returned to his easel and we watched him sketch some more while he and Jim fielded questions from the audience.

The final speaker of the afternoon was Disney Legend Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy for the past 28 years.  Being a Disney Legend is a big deal, a really big deal!  There aren’t very many Disney employees who have been honoured with this title, and even fewer non-employees.  Bill is not a Disney employee; he and all the other voice artists are independent contractors who are hired on a job-by-job basis.

Have you ever heard of The Annies?  The Annie Awards are the "Oscar equivalent" for the animation industry and Bill has been nominated as Best Actor three times.  This year he won the prestigious Best Actor award for his work on Goofy's Grandma.  He performs the voices for both Goofy and Grandma!  Watch the cartoon by clicking the red arrow in the image to the left below!


Bill Farmer and his wife Jennifer at "The Annies" January 31, 2015

Bill told us a bit about his background, how he began his long relationship with Disney, some of his fondest memories and some of his biggest blunders!  As his tale unfolded he kept us all in stitches by playing short video clips and relating his life story using a variety of characters and voices.  He was Goofy, Yosemite Sam, Pluto, Doc, Bullwinkle, James Cagney, Walter Brennan, Walter Cronkite, Richard Nixon . . . and many more characters.  It was a wonderful session and everyone was delighted that it ran a bit overtime!

Rob had abandoned the Pin Trading Room to hear Bill Farmer’s presentation as well.  He joined me in the hall adjacent to the auditorium and before long Bill was there to sign autographs and pose for pictures.  What a treat to shake hands with a real Disney Legend and meet his wife Jennifer too!

How cool is it to have something signed just for you by a real Disney Legend?

Carol picked up a print signed by Alex Maher!

By 5:00 Carol and I were back in the room and relaxed for a short while before heading out for dinner.  We had signed up for the group dinner, featuring a terrific guest speaker, Bill Farmer.  After cocktails and appetizers we enjoyed a very nice buffet dinner before Mr. Farmer took the stage again.  Although there was a bit of overlap with his afternoon presentation there was also a great deal of new information and insight.  The gags which were duplicated were just as funny and I laughed just as hard the second time around!  It was a wonderfully entertaining evening!

The conference organizers presented Bill with a token gift, a Darth Goofy developed for the most recent Star Wars Weekend event.  Bill had not yet seen one and was delighted with the gift!

After Bill's presentation there were some draws for door prizes, no wins for the Cruise family this time!  I would have loved the grand prize, a large sketch of my favourite character, Goofy, drawn that afternoon by Alex Maher and signed by both Alex and Bill . . . but it went to a good home!


Alex did quite a few sketches during the day, including Elsa pictured above.  They will all be included in tomorrow morning's silent auction.  All the proceeds will go to Ronald McDonald House!

That part of the night wrapped up at 9:00 and I headed to the room to watch the Stanley Cup Playoff hockey game.  Chicago defeated Tampa Bay 2 - 1 to take a 3 - 2 series lead!  Hooray!


Carol picked up her pins and Vinylmations and struck out for some more trading.

Carol was back just before the hockey game ended and we were soon  off to bed.  Tomorrow will be another long day; Carol will trade all day.  Rob will probably spend the morning trading and then join me at noon for another seminar.


We should be pulling out to head north and east by approximately 1:30 . . . which will get us home sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m.  Ouch!

Sunday June 14, 2015


The Vendor displays in the ballroom weren’t opening until 10:00 a.m. giving us a perfect chance to sleep in on what would be a long travel day.  Naturally my internal alarm clock had me wide awake at 6:30!


I fiddled at the computer for a while, sipped a few cups of coffee and within an hour Carol was rousing.  Ever the thoughtful husband, I made her a cup of coffee before she got out of bed . . . Carol’s a bear until she has that first cup of coffee!


I found out that when dear husband forgets to push the “brew” button on that coffee machine she becomes even more of a bear!  This is how we learn; mistakes give us valuable experience and all the grief makes us stronger!

I wandered across the street for a quick bite of breakfast and got back in time to join Carol when the vendor’s area opened up.

People were still checking in, many come for just one day, or even for a few hours.

Attendance is very reasonably priced!


Traffic was slow Sunday morning, compared to the big rush when all the “early-birds” stormed in on Saturday!  While Carol and Rob browsed I took time to chat with a few vendors.

Gary & Gary Collectibles come to Dayton every year.


When I heard that they were from Missouri I said, “I know a couple in Blue Hills Missouri who would like that Lady & The Tramp poster.”


Gary took it down and held it so I could get a good picture!

His business partner, also named Gary, said, “I bet they’d like these Lady & the Tramp salt and pepper shakers too!”


“Yes. They would!” replied the Gary holding the camera!

Like many of the vendors, they have a wide variety of quality merchandise.  Everything is reasonably priced, and it seems that on Sunday the vendors are more flexible in their pricing.  They prefer to sell it rather than pack it up and take it home.


Gary & Gary will have a big sales booth at the D23 Expo in Anaheim this August!  Be sure to look them up!

At noon Rob and I headed off to the auditorium to listen in on one final seminar before beginning the long drive.  Jim Hill gave us some fascinating background information about Disney’s animated feature Alice In Wonderland which was released in 1951.

He took us back to 1934 when Walt first considered the idea of an Alice production, and outlined the various concepts that the project went through.  At age 41, Mary Pickford, a co-owner of Disney’s distribution company United Artists, really wanted to portray Alice in a live-action feature to kick-start her failing career.  A screen test was completed but a middle-aged Pickford didn’t come off too well as a young girl; the project was shelved!


Along came Ginger Rogers in 1944.  Another screen test, and once again young Alice wasn’t portrayed particularly well by a 33 year-old dancer!  But an audio recording of the Alice stories, with Ginger as the voice of Alice did hit the market and sold well!

Jim Hill described how Disney artists tried very hard to remain true to the original illustrations done by Sir John Tenniel for the original 1865 publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

He described how the story that we now consider to be a Disney classic was panned by critics when it was first released; it did very poorly at the box office.  Jim told us how Disney worked to reinvigorate the feature and make it the success we know today.


Any true Disney fan will be fascinated by the kind of background and historical perspective Jim Hill and his peers can provide.  I strongly urge you to attend fan gatherings like Dayton Disneyana to hear some of these fascinating stories!


There was one more seminar scheduled for 2:00 p.m. but alas, it was time for us to go!

We said our goodbyes as we watched preparations for the silent auction.  About 10 sketches done by renowned Disney artist Alex Maher were being auctioned off, with all proceeds donated to Ronald McDonald House.

Alex was still sketching as we left at 1:20!

Our friend and fellow Canadian “Disney nut” Gabe is a huge Chip & Dale fan.  He was leaving the same time as we did, but he left instructions with a friend who was bidding on his behalf.  Gabe is now the proud owner of this sketch!

We were northbound on I-75 just after 1:30 and spent the entire afternoon dodging construction and thunderstorms.  Temperatures bounced between 80º and 65° again and again as the storm cells passed.  During a brief dry spell we pulled off at Findlay Ohio and had a quick bite of lunch.


We left the Interstate in Detroit and crossed the border into Canada at 5:45.  There were still occasional showers, but traffic moved well on Highway 401.  We took a quick pit stop at a Service Centre near London.  There were friends Gabe, Susan and Carrie who had passed us as we pulled off at Findlay.  Carol had a brief chat with them and we were back on our way.


We gassed up before reaching Toronto and at 10:00 p.m. stopped at another Service Centre, about 90 miles from home, for a quick bite.  We pulled in at 11:45, tired after a long, but fun-filled weekend.

What did she bring home?


Carol couldn't be happier with her purchases and trades!  Her best "find" of the weekend is her new set of Department 56 Disney Park Village pieces.  They are very rare, produced for only a few months about 20 years ago.  They had never been out of their boxes and Carol got them at a bargain price!


She plans to display these new treasures on top of the TV cabinet in the Disney Room at Christmas!

The items picture on the left were all door prizes and give-aways!  Some were in the goody bags given to everyone who paid $25.00 to be an "Early-Bird" shopper Saturday morning and a few were from the free raffle draws during that 90 minute early-bird shopping spree.  Others were door prizes at the two dinners.  There was plenty of free stuff!

These are Rob's treasures.


His favourite?


The three bobble-head figurines!

And this is the rest of the treasure trove that Carol brought home.  Those two collector plates should just about fill up her plate rail!  The two red Mickey balloons are actually Disneyland popcorn buckets, one for Carol and one for a friend!  The six little stacks of collector coins all fit in the black binder at the back.  Some ornaments, decorations, buttons and pins round out her pile of loot!


It was another successful mission!