When I travel, tangible proof of my adventure always comes home in the form of a T-shirt bought along the way. The following are just a few of my favorite patches of cotton.
999 Happy Haunts
Call me a foolish mortal, but if I could only pick one theme park ride to be stuck on for perpetuity, the Haunted Mansion at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom would be my eternal choice.
In recent years, Disney Imagineers have only amped up the wizardry found within the ride’s walls. The endless staircase, the effects in the attic and the animated hitchhiking ghosts add contemporary whiz-bang. I literally wear my love of this attraction on my sleeve with this out-of-print tee. Since the Mouse House doesn’t sell this design anymore, I rotate it out to make it last.
Put the Toon Back in the Lagoon
The theming at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando continues to amaze. Heck, Universal creatives set the bar way high when they opened Islands of Adventure in 1999. Sure, Harry Potter rules the roost, but one of my favorite sections continues to be Toon Lagoon. The design and decor drop you right in the middle of the Sunday funnies. Yet the gift shops fall short. The park has a Dudley Do-Right ride, but no Jay Ward merch? Gimme a Snidely Whiplash mug or a Bullwinkle shirt, for crying out loud.
Luckily, I found this tee during my Universal excursion in 2015. It features a gaggle of Toon Lagoon characters, including my beloved Popeye. I’m keeping my toon fingers crossed that the merchandise powers that be add to the offerings.
Memphians regularly battle over what barbecue is best. Yet there’s no denying Cozy Corner trademark barbecue cornish hens.
Ribs, ’cue and bologna sandwiches lure the faithful. I’m one of them and count Cozy Corner as my favorite stop while traveling in the Bluff City. So I don this tee proudly and totally dig the old-school artwork. I’m happy to be a walking advert.
Do You Roo?
Prior to 2013, if you would’ve asked me if I’d ever dreamt of going to Bonnaroo, my answer would’ve been “Oh, hay-yull no!” The idea of being stuck in the sweltering heat with Molly-eating 20-somethings sounded like a form of torture. Yet when I was hired to help create audio slideshows for bonnaroo.com, I obliged. The promise of a more cushier campy experience and the opportunity to see Paul McCartney from the front row provided serious incentive. Although the work hours proved grueling, I look back ever so fondly at my Roo stint.
It was an absolute blast, and I made some cherished memories watching Macca up close with my Beatle-loving son, Levi.
The secret to NYC souvenirs lies on the tables of street vendors in Chinatown. I want to say I bought this Chinatown tee for $5. As you can see, I’ve worn the heck out of the thing.
Yes, its days look to be numbered. The shirt’s future may be destined as a car wash rag. The next time I’m Big Apple bound, I’ll be looking for a replacement.
A Head of the Game
Nothing says family vacation like a shrunken head on a T-shirt. I grabbed this one at the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not in Dallas, Texas in 2012. When I slip it on, it conjures memories of exploring the grounds with my daughter and her absolutely losing her mind in the monstrous wax museum.