Pixie Dust News and Happenings


PIXIE DUST NEWS            

Summer 2015                                                                       Editor: Pat Mancuso

Pixie Dust Tours (affiliated with Odyssey Travel)

484-686-5164 or 610-489-3861




I suppose you may have wondered what happened to Pixie Dust News. The last issue was Summer 2014. I apologize for not putting out an issue since then. Due to family obligations, I have not had time put out an issue. Pixie Dust Tours is still very much alive and would love to have your business! My website – pixiedusttours.com – is also currently down. The reason for this is that I originally built it thru Verizon, and they decided to discontinue their web-building site as of last September. I am currently trying to rebuild the website using Wix.com. (If anyone out there has had experience with Wix.com, I would appreciate some help!). Now, let’s get back to the business of publishing this newsletter. If by any chance you do not care to receive this in the future, please send me an email at mancuso_pat@yahoo.com. I will take you off the list, no questions asked. Thank you for your patience.



As I’ve mentioned previously, a lot of my information for “Destinations” is gathered while I am following Peter Asher around the country. This time Peter was playing in Buffalo, NY which afforded me a chance to see a couple of things I’d never seen before – Niagara Falls and Jamestown, NY. Everybody knows what Niagara Falls is, but probably only fans of “I Love Lucy” know what Jamestown is. (More about that later).   First stop on this road trip was Niagara Falls. Since Peter’s concert didn’t start until 9:00 pm, we had the whole day to spend exploring the Niagara Falls area. Niagara Falls in only about a 30 minute drive from Buffalo (where we were staying).  It only took us about a half hour to get to Niagara Falls. We parked at the visitor’s center at Niagara Falls State Park, and boarded a trolley – which was free because it was the off-season (this trip took place on the first weekend in April). We got off at Goat Island and viewed the Horseshoe Falls first. The Falls were still partially frozen and there was a substantial amount of snow on the ground, which was amazing since the temps were in the low 60s. It was cold there, and windy, so we were all happy that we’d decided to bring our winter coats on this part of the trip. Horseshoe Falls is where Nik Wallenda and others actually crossed the Falls on a tightrope. It was incredible to see the huge chunks of ice. I’ve never seen the Falls before, but the others had, and they said this was great because it was off-season and we were seeing it without all the summer crowds. It was truly a beautiful sight. While on Goat Island, we also visited the Three Sisters Islands, the gift shop, and the Nikola Testa Memorial.   The trolley took us to the Niagara Adventure Theatre. There was a movie but we opted not to see it.  Next stop on the Trolley was the Observation Tower where we could view the American Falls. We didn’t bring our passports, so we couldn’t go over to the Canadian Falls which is just as well because there was a huge line of traffic on the bridge that connected America and Canada. I can’t imagine what that bridge must look like in Summer! The American Falls were huge, and more ice was partially covering them. Again more snow on the ground as well. The famous Maid of the Mist boat ride was still closed because of the ice, but we saw where it launched from. I think the only thing we really missed by being here when the Falls were frozen WAS the Maid of the Mist. There was an Aquarium but we didn’t go in there. After we’d seen everything we walked a short distance away from the Falls, and ate our lunch/dinner at the Hard Rock Café. We then took the Trolley back to the parking lot, got in the car and drove back to the hotel in Buffalo so we could get ready for the show.


The next day, we drove a short hour and a half distance West to Jamestown, New York – the home of “everything Lucille Ball”. Jamestown is where Lucy was born, and also where she is buried. I’ve always been a big I Love Lucy fan, and have always wanted to come here, so this was a great opportunity.   When we were almost there, I called Lance Blair, a long time acquaintance. Lance was going to be our tour guide for the day. He met us at the Hampton Inn in Jamestown, and after we freshened up a bit, the 3 of us got in Lance’s car for a very thorough tour of “Lucy-Land” (aka Jamestown). There are two museums dedicated to Lucy. One is the “Desilu Studios Museum” which is primarily memorabilia about the “I Love Lucy” TV Show. The other one is the “Lucy Desi Museum” which is a tribute to the First Family of Comedy – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Both museums feature an exclusive audio tour guide option narrated by their daughter Lucie Arnaz.   The first one we went in was “Desilu Studios”.   Lance had done his homework, and he knew so much about Lucy, Desi and their TV show. This museum displays exact re-creations of the I Love Lucy television studio sets including the Ricardo’s New York City apartment living room and kitchen, and Hollywood hotel suite. Also featured was a life-sized mural of the original studio audience with the three cameras used to film the show. It was on the wall right across from the Hollywood suite living room and made it feel as if you were right there with them. Lucy’s mother was even in the audience! There were display cases containing original things from the set of the show, including Little Ricky’s toys and baby carriage. There were a couple of walls displaying all the covers of TV Guide that they appeared on, and displays of clothing they wore on the shows. Lucy and Desi’s children are who we have to thank for all of this stuff because they generously donated it to the museums. Thank you Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr.! The most enjoyable thing in the museum was a Vitameatavegamin set where you could play the part of Lucy doing the Vitameatavegamin commercial. All 3 of us did the commercial, as the words were supplied along with a spoon and bottle of Vitameatavegamin! Lucy’s Emmy awards were also displayed at the end of the museum. The museum, of course, emptied out into a gift shop containing every souvenir and t-shirt you could possibly imagine about the I Love Lucy TV show. Right up the street was the Lucy Desi Museum. This museum explores the life stories of both Lucy and Desi. All of the personal belongings of Lucy and Desi were also donated by their children. Costumes, gowns, photographs, letters, scripts, and awards are among the priceless artifacts on display. The exhibits change from time to time to keep the experience fresh. Even Desi’s reclining chair was on exhibit! At the end of the tour, you end up in an auditorium/photo gallery dedicated to (and used by) the annual Lucy Fest which draws thousands of people to Jamestown. Lance told us the town is inundated with people in Lucy costumes. There is even an annual Grape-Stomping Contest. In the past, famous Hollywood comedians have headlined the weekend. (This year it is Jerry Seinfeld.)   Both of these museums comprise an entire block in Jamestown with the most amazing collection of artifacts. We were not permitted to see the second floor of the building because it is only open during Lucy Fest or when someone has rented it for weddings, showers, or business meetings. It is actually a re-creation of Ricky Ricardo’s Manhattan “Tropicana Club”. After touring the gift shop at the second museum (and spending some money unnecessarily for things we didn’t really need), we went outside where Lance pointed across the street at a building which used to be a drug store where Lucy worked as a teenager. He then pointed out a Lucy decorated manhole cover on the sidewalk! We got back in his car, and he took us on the best tour of all things Lucy. We saw where Lucy went to high school, the former Masonic Temple where Lucy performed on stage for the first time, the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy (which is still used to this day) and a bunch of murals (5 I think) on buildings all over town painted by local artist Gary Peters in 2012. There is the Job Switching Mural, the Vitameatavegiman and Lucy/Desi Murals, the Postage Stamp Mural, and the California Here We Come Mural. He also pointed out other historic things in Jamestown, including the hospital where he was born! We saw Lucy’s Birthplace where Lucy was born on August 6, 1911 to Dede Hunt and Henry Ball. This house is where Lucy’s grandparents Fred and Florabelle Hunt lived, and where Florabelle delivered Lucy (her granddaughter)! After an hour or so of touring Jamestown, we crossed over to Celoron, New York to see Lucy’s childhood home. Lucy grew up in this house on 59 Lucy Lane (which previously was 8th Street). There is talk of this house being renovated in the future and opened to tourists. It’s a beautiful little yellow house with a garage covered in blue and white polka dots (to match one of Lucy’s dresses). She grew up here with her grandparents Fred and Florabelle Hunt, her mother DeDe and her husband Ed Peterson (not Lucy’s father), her brother Fred, and her cousins Lola and Cleo. Also in Celeron was the Lucille Ball Memorial Park which contained a fake lighthouse, a Desi Arnaz band shell, and most importantly the ugly Lucy statue which was recently in the newspapers. It really is ugly. There is talk about the artist possibly doing it over – or at least the face. It was a beautiful spring day, so there were people all over the place waiting to have their picture taken with it. On the way back to Jamestown (after passing where Lucy went to elementary school), we stopped and had dinner in Friendly’s and then went to the local supermarket where we I bought flowers to put on Lucy’s grave. Yes, the next and last stop was Lake View Cemetery where Lucy’s ashes rest in peace in the Hunt Family plot where her parents and other Hunt family members are buried. This is at the corner of Buffalo Street and Lakeview Avenue. You go thru the Main gate and follow the red hearts on the pathway which lead right to Lucy’s tombstone. A beautiful ending to a beautiful day. Aside from Liverpool, England, I’ve never seen a town or city that was so dedicated to the person who made it famous!



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by Eric Jordan, Condé Nast Traveler

The following items are judged to be unsuitable as contents of checked baggage, and [Alaska Airlines] assumes no liability for loss, theft, damage or delay in the delivery of:

A.  Cash, currency

B.    Negotiable papers

C.    Securities

D.   Business contracts, documents

E.     Jewelry, watches

F.     Cameras, videos and photographic equipment, camcorders, audio equipment, film, camera equipment, photographs.

G.    Electronic equipment/devices, personal electronic equipment/devices, including components such as compact discs and video game cartridges.

H.   Computers and related components

  1. Binoculars, telescopes, optical devices including eyeglasses

J.     Silverware

K.   Precious metals, stones or materials

L.   Art objects, sculptures

M. Historical artifacts

N.   Original manuscripts

O.   Irreplaceable books, publications, collectibles (such as baseball cards) P. antiques, heirlooms

Q.   Keys

R.  Sales samples

S.  Medications

T.  Furs, including coats, gloves, hats

U. Game trophies, antlers, and pelts

Notice that medications are listed. Keep necessary medication with you at all times. Never mind its monetary value; what matters is its medicinal value, and if your bag goes missing, you won't have access to your medicine anymore.

Also, remember that the maximum liability with luggage is either $3,400 on domestic flights, or 1131 SDRs (special drawing rights) on most international flights, which is currently about $1,555. So, if you want to pack a suitcase full of designer clothing, even though airlines don't exclude those items from liability, you will likely be reimbursed far less than the full value if your bag is lost, particularly on an international flight. If you travel with a lot of expensive clothes, consider whether you have insurance that will cover you if your bag goes missing.

Getting back to the initial question, What is the best way to protect yourself from malefactors who want to steal your stuff from your checked luggage? Don't give them the opportunity:

Put valuables in your carry-on. If your carry-on won't fit under the seat in front of you, keep a lightweight extra bag inside of it that will. Then, if you're forced to check your bag because everyone else has already stuffed the overhead bins, you can remove your valuables and place them in the extra bag. If you need to bring something valuable that won't fit in your carry-on, contact the airline before your flight and ask whether you can declare the extra value and if it will cover loss or damage. If it won't, it's probably best to ship it instead, insured. If you take these simple steps, you will most likely arrive at your destination with the jewelry, cash, iPad, medication, manuscript, sculpture, heirloom and/or pelt you left with.



(May 14, 2015 - From The Journey by GoGo Worldwide Vacations)

There are probably several Hidden Mickeys between this point and Cinderella Castle.

1.  When dining at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you can remember one of Lumiere’s lines and order “the gray stuff” for dessert – it really is delicious!

2.  Opening times listed for the parks aren’t always exactly accurate – guests are often let through the gates as early as 15 minutes beforehand. All the more reason to get there early!

3.  There are no lost children at Disney – instead, you’ll hear about lost parents. Calling a scared kid “lost” just makes them more afraid they’ll be in trouble, so Cast Members shift the “blame” to the parents.

4.  Cinderella Castle is an impressive 180 feet tall – Walt wanted it big so any guests who got lost could easily find their way back to a central location. Thanks to a clever trick called “forced perspective,” it looks like it’s a whopping 300 feet!

5.  The reverse is true in Epcot – the large building in the U.S. pavilion, the American Adventure, is actually five stories tall, but reverse forced perspective makes it look only three. If it were as short as it looks, you’d never be able to see it from across the lagoon. Want to check? Send the tallest member of your group to stand next to the doors – they’ll still be dwarfed in comparison.

6.  Also in Epcot, when you’re standing in front of the Mexican pavilion, take a look at Morocco across the lagoon. There’s one building behind the others that appears to blend in seamlessly, but is actually the top of the Tower of Terror – in a completely different park! During its construction, Imagineers realized the Tower would be visible from Epcot, so they intentionally camouflaged it.

7.  Walt originally intended for Epcot to be a functioning community, where new city planning concepts could be tried out. After his death, it became a park instead, but the plan lives on in its name, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

8.  Speaking of Walt, if you’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks, you know he wanted everyone working for him to go by their first names – that’s why all Cast Member name tags have just a first name on them – not even a last initial.

9.  Walt Disney World is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the United States – only the U.S. military comes in ahead of them.

10.  OK, you probably know about the tunnel network under Magic Kingdom, called the Utilidor system. What you might not know is that because you can’t dig underground in sea-level Florida, the tunnels are actually at ground level and the park itself is on the “second floor!”

11.  It would take you 68 years to spend one night in each hotel room in Disney World.

12.  That doesn’t count the hidden Cinderella Suite inside of Cinderella Castle – which you can’t book. You can only get it by winning a contest. (It was originally supposed to be an apartment for Walt.)

13.  Ever noticed a lot of gum stuck around the parks? No? Oh yeah, that’s because they don’t sell it on property, in order to keep the parks clean. They’re crafty that way.

14.  There are a lot of garbage cans at Disney – you can find them as frequently as every 30 steps. There are two stories about this. One is that Walt went to other parks and counted how long someone would hold on to garbage before just dropping it. Our preferred version is that he counted how many steps it took him to eat a hot dog and based it on that.

15.  Any time you see a phone in the parks, pick it up and see what you hear – there are still a couple of functioning pay phones, but sometimes you can listen in on some interesting conversations!

16.  Behind Cinderella Castle is a fountain with a statue of Cinderella. From adult height, she looks sad, but looking from the height of a child, she appears to be smiling and the crown on the wall behind her rests on top of her head.

17.  Stick around Magic Kingdom for about 30 minutes after the park closes for a special “Kiss Goodnight” from the castle – don’t worry, you won’t be breaking any rules.

18.  In Epcot, some of the sidewalks twinkle at night – they’re easy to spot on the way out after the fireworks.

19.  You can find Belle’s library in the French pavilion, along with a number of references to classic Disney stories.

20.  If you feel like being a little mischievous, get someone in your party to sample the “Beverly” Coca-Cola flavor at Club Cool. All the flavors are free, so there won’t be any buyer’s remorse – though there could be some tasters’ regret!

21.  The aquarium at Epcot’s Living Seas Pavilion is so large that Spaceship Earth could fit inside it with room to spare.

22.  After you get your glasses for Muppet Vision at Hollywood Studios, look for the sign that someone is “out to lunch – the key is under the mat.” Look down and you will indeed see a mat with a key under it!

23.  On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, keep an ear on the music – if you start hearing “Love in an Elevator,” don’t be surprised if the words change to “Love in a Roller Coaster!”

24.  On signs for Animal Kingdom, you can see a dragon among the animals on the bottom. It’s all that remains of early plans for a “Beastly Kingdom,” which would have represented mythical creatures.

25.  The Yeti in Expedition Everest originally moved, but broke down early in the ride’s operation. It is now stationary, but strobe lights make it appear to move during the ride.

26.  Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life has approximately 320 animals carved into it, but the Chimpanzee was almost left out, until a visit from Jane Goodall prompted designers to add one.

27.  The highest possible score in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is 999,999, which will qualify you as a “Galactic Hero.”

28.  There are three places in the United States where you can find an official presidential seal – the Oval Office, the hall of the Liberty Bell, and Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents. Walt Disney had to get special permission from Congress to put it there.

29.  Disney bought a real plane to put in the Casablanca scene of the Great Movie Ride – only the first half is there, though! The rest of the plane is on the Jungle Cruise ride.

30.  The lake that holds Fantasmic is only about a foot and a half deep.

31.  No Cast Member will ever point out a direction with a single finger, as this is considered rude.

32.  Disney World was evacuated in 30 minutes on Sept. 11, 2001, because of fears it could become a target. Dedicated Cast Members worked through the night to put up the Fourth of July decorations for the following day so the park could reopen with a feeling of solidarity and patriotism.

33.  Don’t get too close to the camel outside Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, or you might get “spit” on! It seems random, but there’s a Cast Member nearby who takes the shots.

34.  The Mission: SPACE ride at Epcot requires more computer power than the actual space shuttle – though notably less fuel.

35.  While waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion, you may see a wedding ring embedded in the concrete. It’s said to belong to one of the ghosts inside – we think you’ll know her when you see her.

36.  Don’t feel like buying a PhotoPass? No worries – the park photographers will take pictures with your personal camera or phone.

37.  If you’re ever in line for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and see a sign warning you not to pull or open something – go ahead and do it.

38.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Hidden Mickeys throughout the parks – you know it, we know it, everyone knows it. But they’ve never been confirmed to exist, and there’s no way of knowing exactly how many there are.

What’s your favorite Disney World secret? Let us know in the comments below!

By Meghan Brennan


Christine Sarkis, SmarterTravel.com - EDT May 21, 2015

A standard-issue passport is 28 pages long, and when you're applying or renewing, you can request a longer, 52-page passport at no additional cost.

Did you know the U.S. government recommends you send your passport application in a special envelope? Or that losing a lot of weight may trigger the need for a renewal? Would you be surprised to find out that some people's passports are longer than short novels? Here are nine impressive, surprising and vital facts about U.S. passports. You never know when one might apply to you.

Passports are on the rise

In 1996, the U.S. Department of State issued 5.5 million passports. In 2014, that number jumped to 14 million passports. Even when you factor in the population increase, that's a heartening jump in the number of people eager to get out and explore the world.

Protect your passport with ... Tyvek?

Think you can use any old envelope when you're sending in your old passport for renewal? Think again. The Bureau of Consular Affairs strongly recommends you mail your passport application and personal documents using "a secure means of packaging, such as a Tyvek envelope," which will protect against the rough-and-tumble world of postal transit.

You may need to renew sooner than you think

Don't take your passport's expiration date at face value. Some countries have a six-month or three-month passport validity rule that requires your passport to be valid for a certain amount of time after your date of entry.

Your passport has identity theft deterrents

If your passport was issued after August 2007, you've got an e-passport with a small integrated chip in the back cover that stores your passport information and a biometric identifier based on your photograph. To protect passport holders from unknowingly falling victim to high-tech identity theft, there are metallic elements in the cover of the passport, making it impossible for the passport to be digitally "read" until it's physically open.

If you've gained or lost weight, you may need a new passport

If your appearance has changed significantly, you'll need to apply for a new passport. That means if you've lost (or gained) a lot of weight, so much so that you look different than you do in your passport photo, you'll need a new one. The same is true if you've undergone "significant facial surgery or trauma," or if you've added or removed large facial tattoos or piercings.

You must obey photo restrictions

You may not realize it, but nowhere are the fashion stakes as high as in your passport photo. That's because the photo may be rejected -- thus throwing your application into a delayed spiral -- if it doesn't meet certain criteria. The photo must have been taken within six months of your application date, and needs to reflect your current appearance. You must directly face the camera and your expression should be neutral. According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, "Photos with exaggerated expressions and squinting will not be accepted." And uniforms and "clothing that looks like a uniform" are forbidden as well.

A passport can be novella-length

A standard-issue passport is 28 pages long, and when you're applying or renewing, you can request a longer, 52-page passport at no additional cost. If you need more pages in your existing passport, you can send it in and have additional blank visa pages added in increments of 24 pages, up to a total of 76 pages. A 76-page passport sounds like a great read to us.

Damage can render your passport invalid

Normal wear and tear is forgivable, but if your passport has been significantly damaged, it's time for a new one. Water damage, significant tearing (especially on the book cover or the page with your personal data and photo), unofficial marking on the data page (keep kids with crayons well clear) and torn out visa pages are among the types of damage that will likely mean you'll need to apply for a replacement.