Monday, 30 January 2012

When Obama Visited

We are back home now after finishing ur holiday in Florida and a rather more businesslike trip to London (actually, so businesslike they didn't even take me!!).  So, at last, we can all settle down and I can get up to date with my Blog.

I suppose the big thing you want to know about the last week of our holiday (vacation) is, what was it like being in the Magic Kingdom at the same time as the President of the United States. The simple answer is that I don’t know. My humans didn’t take me! They got freaked about enhanced security and what might happen to me. So here’s their story.

"Advance publicity had made us think the Magic Kingdom would be a place to avoid but on the day it appeared open and with short lines so we went. Approaching along the walkway from the Contemporary, security was much in evidence – Sheriff’s Dept. cars guarding all backstage entrances. In fact there was only the regular bag check and no lines to get into the park.

"Once through the gates we discovered that due to Main Street being closed some of the ‘characters’, like the Mayor, the Fire Chief and their lady friends were at the very front of the park and we got a lovely photo with them.  Yes, Andrew is holding the Fire Chief's axe.

"As we moved onto Town Square people were being pointed to a side exit that took us backstage to Tomorrowland. This is where Disney had made backstage something special. There were Main Street vehicles, Parade Floats from several different parades and Cinderella’s coach. There were lots of photo opportunities for our own camera and some official photographers.  I think these "fish floats are from the "Spectromagic" parade.  This wasn't showing during our visit (they had the Main Street Electrical Parade).  It's fun to see them in daylight - even if (like being in a theatre dring rehearsals) it takes away a little of the magic."
I must interrupt to add that my human Andrew loves talking about "Spectromagic".  He likes to show off about the time he was "backstage" in 1991 and saw the "Spectromagic" vehicles being built in Central Shops.  That's a long time ago, Andrew:  before I was even with you!!  I'll let them resume.

"Once in the main park we went to see if Rapunzel was there and arrived at just the right time as we were almost immediately let into the garden she uses. Into Fantasyland and there were plenty of extra characters. We just missed a picture with the ugly sisters and the evil stepmother. We were told the sisters had to go to their singing lessons. Mikki commented that they needed them and the stepmother heard her! We may not have got a picture but we sure had a conversation! It was very amusing.

"We had fun with other characters, too. Restricted access meant you could only get to the fairies (only 2 now – Tinker Bell and Rosetta) by walking right round the park. The upside was that they had practically no line. We had pictures without characters too. We were getting one by “Haunted Mansion” when a rather large helicopter came over and landed. The Disney photographer advised we didn’t point our camera at it and assured us they were taking good pictures of him!!

"Lines for rides were generally short too – although the park did get busier as the day passed. We rode Snow White” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. We left the Magic Kingdom shortly after 1.00pm. We took the boat to the Polynesian and looked round there. By good chance, we decided not to have lunch at Kona Cafe and were about to get on the monorail when Mikki had an “e-mail” offering us a place at the “Tables in Wonderland” special dinner tonight"

I'll leave that "highlight" to my next post.  Again, I wasn't invited (Meeeooww).  However, that dinner may be connected with the low point of the last week:  Andrew was ill for the next three days.  Fortunately, I was there to give him lots of cuddles.

I said, "lots of cuddles".  Thank you.   Prrrrr.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Meeting Other Characters - and More

Yes, this is another picture with me, my human Andrew, and Mickey Mouse - but it does go rather better (at least for Andrew)!.  I'll explain when we get to it.

Today, it's Monday 16th January and we have had a busy holiday weekend in and out of the Parks.  It has also been colder than normal around here (especially on Saturday) even if a lot warmer than at home in Lincolnshire.  In fact, I think I'll pass over Saturday in Epcot even if I did get a few nice pictures.

Sunday in the Magic Kingdom was definitely our day for nice pictures with characters - as well as being a good deal warmer.  We had quite a long wait for a picture with Jasmine and Alladin but passed the time chatting to the person in front of us who turned out to be a cast member originally from California who had worked there, here and in Tokyo as well as his current job in Paris.  He told us something about the preparations for their 20th anniversary.

We had a much shorter line for Tigger and Pooh in Town Square.  Tigger gave me some bouncing lessons.  I can't wait to see the photopass picture.

It was now time to meet our friend, Christine and her family.  Lines for almost everything were long but, surprisingly, seeing Mickey Mouse was not one.  We were soon ushered into his room - and found Minnie was wirh him.  Minnie was very pleased to see me and gave me a kiss.  Then the "minder" suggested a "double kiss" - but for Andrew.  Anyway, he got this photo and I think it is quite unusual and very cute.  I suppose you can say "follow that".  Philharmagic and the TTA were what we did but you can't really top this picture.

So today, a holiday Monday, we avoided Parks and went to the shops.  The humans found some Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell figures (the only Figaro was far too small).  In Wal-Mart, they got some presents for neices and some more DVDs.  Elsewhere, they bought sandals that help exercise and stocked up on orange juice.

I was pleased that one thing on the shopping list was a fine black pen which Mikki has already used to perform restorative surgery on my eyes.  I can see a lot better now.

I'm writing this in the evening while the humans are watching their DVDs.  I'm still not sure about Mikki doing this, but at least I've got her to be a bit more gentle about putting me in the trunk of the car (she now asks if I will feel safer out of sight).  What I really need is a cuddle.  Yes, now.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Much Better Now

It must have been right for me to post my worries about Andrew because things got better almost immediately.  His cough got a lot better overnight (which meant we all got a better night's sleep) and Mikki decided to take charge of his back by insisting he use a wheelchair.  Yesterday morning (12th Jan), we went to the Magic Kingdom.  Andrew controlled the pains in his neck and back; I had lots of fun sitting on his lap; and even Mikki claimed to enjoy herself.  I just think she was heroic - and I have learned that round here Mikki (either spelling) is the Boss.  So here's our picture with Mickey.
Everyone was very nice to us and lots of people recognised me - like the Mayor of Main Street (and Mickey Mouse himself).  We also had pictures with Princesses Cinderella, Belle and Aurora - and also with the fairies but Tinker Bell made a complete fool of herself by calling me a d*g.  We were back in the park today and met Peter Pan, who said that was just like Tinker Bell:  little know-all.

Yesterday evening, the humans went to Epcot for dinner at Bistro de Paris.  They said they had a lovely time but didn't take me.

This morning we went shopping.  The main purpose was to find another quality food shop and we went to "Whole Food" in a development at the junction of Turkey Lake and Sand Lake Roads.  The humans seemed pleased.  They ate in the room tonight.  Of  course they made some other visits too.

They have been using their GPS today.  This was fun on the way out:  we realised how long it has been since we really went exploring as it took us down roads we didn't know existed. It diidn't do so well on the way back: it got totally mixed up about the location of our hotel. Just as well we knew a way ourselves.

The only downside of the shopping is that Mikki has taken to unceremoniously dumping me in the boot (trunk)  of the car while in the stores.  I think she's  been watching too much television (and she has bought a Burn Notice DVD set!).  Mikki, it's fantasy - and it's set in Miami not central Florida.  Stick to reality:  Disney World.

Like I said, we have been back to MK today.  Mikki pushed Andrew and me along the walkway.  Who needs Belgian cobbles on Test Track when you have a wheelchair and "Walk Around the World".  In MK, we had several new experiences, like boarding "Haunted Mansion" and "Buzz Lightyear" where you normally get off.  We also saw another new place - the First Aid Center!  Somehow Andrew managed to cut himself on the way in.  It was no big deal (unless you're a toy cat terrified of getting blood on your fur) and just needed a small band-aid.

So, things are much improved in the last day or two.  Long may it continue.

Prrrr,  Prrrrr.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Marathon Weekend - and a Bit More

Here's a few thoughts on our first week in Walt Disney World.  We have been in Kidani Village overlooking the (flesh and blood) zebra, giraffe and co.  That has been something rather special for the humans.  They specially liked the early mornings, when there were often animals right outside our window.

The big event of the last week was the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend and it was lovely to meet so many of our friends who had taken part.  It started off with an easy 5k on the Friday, moved on to a half marathon on the Saturday and finished with a full marathon on the Sunday.  What was remarkable was that lots of folks did all 3!  There were Disney style medallions for each race but everyone agreed that the ultra snazzy new Donald Duck design for the half marathon was the best (#1 for once Donald!).  We even saw a couple of people with a sash reading "Perfect Goofy".  We learned that running both the marathon and half marathon qualifies you as "Goofy" and "Perfect Goofy" meant you had been "Goofy" every one of the 19 times Disney have held the event.  Even our most eager running friends thought that was "seriously Goofy".  My humans and I congratulate anyone who has run one - ever.

It's time for my picture - now that I have got the humans to learn how to get them on the little Netbook we have with us.  It is me with Marie the Aristocat in the France area of Epcot.  The humans are there too.  Marie gave me a nice cuddle, and a kiss! - but I think she may be a bit big for me.

We have spent a bit of time in all of the parks.  Mikki specially wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom last Friday so she could ride Big Thunder Mountain before it closed.  She had 3 rides including 2 with Fast Pass.

I've had my picture with a few other Disney characters already.  We met everyone at the Character Spot here in Epcot and we have had lunch with Donald at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.  The humans also had one with Tigger and Pooh in the UK pavilion but didn't include me!!  The Studios were a little disappointing.  There seems to be less than ever in the Animation Building.  Even the new Star Tours ride didn't excite us (well, that went for the newer movies too).

We've also been round and about at the stores too.  On property, there is a new Figaro plush.  I say, "new" but he is just "Fancy" without the gold spray paint and with a collar with his name on it.  I like it that he doesn't have the gold spots - which made him look like he had some strange disease.  But I'm not sure about calling him, "Cured Figaro".  Can it be that he won't come home?  Off property, the humans have explored some different fresh food stores as well as their regular places (like the Disney outlets).

Finally, I have to admit to worries about my human, Andrew.  We've been here a week and "the child within" still hasn't really come to the surface.  He's still seeing lots of negatives about Disney - like the poor tv, the poor internet connection (and someone said they even block sports sites that aren't ESPN), the noise almost everywhere and the lack of readable menus in restaurants.  He was specially sad that a quality restaurant didn't have a large print menu.  This sort of thing is getting fairly common in the UK and Disney used to be leaders in disability awareness.

Andrew has a  persistent cough and some back aches so perhaps he will feel better as we sort these out.  Fortunately, he is still happy to give me a cuddle.


Friday, 6 January 2012

First Day in Disney

It's Thursday January 5th and my humans and I are enjoying the Christmas music at the Kidani Village section of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Yes, so  much has happened that it is easy to forget it is still Christmas.

On Tuesday 3rd, we travelled by train to Gatwick Airport.  The journey was miserable.  Lots of trains were cancelled and we managed to get on one that had been diverted but had standing room only.  Poor Mikki had to stand for two houurs.  Andrew managed to perch on his own - solidly built - suitcase and I and my fellow toys had to stay in the luggage.

The time at the Hilton Hotel at Gatwick Airport was rather better.  We were offered, and took, a reduced price upgrade to a suite.  I had some nice pictures taken.  We were even recognised at reception. My humans enjoyed relaxing in the Executive lounge and even got chatting to some people they may meet later here in Florida.

We flew yesterday, Wednesday.  Our plane had been changed for the flight to a different sort so my humans had been split up but the check-in person realised this wasn't what we intended and got it changed.  I got out on the plane.  New leather seats that were an improvement but the food was not that good and there was not as much space for me to stand.  Mikki says I have to win the lottery for them if I want to go upper class again!  Meeeoww!

After a nine hour flight, we were all tired but very pleased to get to Florida and to Kidani Village.  The humans had a snack and a beer in the bar and went to bed.

Today has mostly been a day for sorting things out:  the car hire, the park tickets and so on.  Some things went well and some took longer than the humans wanred.  I think they are both still tired.  They had lunch at Sanaa.  It's a cute location with a lovely view of the animals - and if the food tastes good, who cares how authentically Indian it is (or why you have an Indian themed restaurant overlooking African animals).  I'm so glad I'm a toy and don't have to worry about things like eating.

This evening we met our friend Christine - who is running a 5 km race tomorrow morning.  She gave me a lovely cuddle.  Good luck Christine.

Sorry, no pictures with the posts for the moment.  My technical crew claims he hasn't the right software to edit and upload the photos.  Perhaps I'll find a way to catch up later.

For those of used to the weather in England, the 60s F temperature today was comfortable.  From tomorrow, it is supposed to get warmer.  Prrrrr.