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Archive for October, 2015

Last Monday, Alexi and I were on our way home from Toronto!

This was my second trip to Toronto, but Alexi didn’t go with me last time.  And a doll from Toronto deserves to visit Toronto.  We had quite an adventure, and after this trip, I have crowned myself queen of public transportation.  I landed in Canada with $30 local currency and 2 subway tokens (I actually ended up losing one somewhere) and managed through 3 separate transit systems of buses and subways.  It was rough.  But awesome.  Let’s go!

It started in the wee hours of Saturday, with a shuttle bus to the airport.

We first flew to Chicago.  Here we are waiting for our little airplane to take us to Toronto

We landed in Toronto about 7:30.  Again the actual customs line moved fast, but the wait for luggage was slow, just like when Leonie and I went to Canada in August.  We didn’t make it to our hotel until long after 9; too late for dinner.  Here we are waiting for our bus from the airport:

On Sunday we got up bright and early and had breakfast near the hotel, then took 2 buses to go to church.  I don’t always go to church when I’m on vacation, but I thought it would be important to go on this trip.  I found out after I booked the trip that last weekend was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  Thanksgiving in Canada has nothing to do with Pilgrims and Indians, but it is a time to be thankful for life’s blessings.  I think going to church is a perfect place to go to celebrate our many blessings.

I had lots of churches to choose from, but I chose one in the town of Richmond Hill.  Here’s Alexi at the transfer point:

and on the sidewalk outside the church.  What a lovely fall day!

A major factor in choosing the Richmond Hill ward was that it was just one bus away from the Promenade Mall.  Are you wondering what’s so special about the Promenade Mall?  I’ll tell you soon…

Here’s Alexi on the bus to the mall.  It was a rapid transit bus named Viva.

Well…the Promenade Mall is home to the Maplelea Seasonal Store!  The only Maplelea store in existence, and even it is only open until Christmas!  The store made me so happy.  I told my friends that I went to dolly heaven.  Here are some pictures I took of the in-store displays.

Maplelea just introduced 15 new friend dolls!  Here they are with the 12 original friend dolls

Here’s a closeup of the 2 girls that stood out the most to me, #14 and #15

And here are the front window displays.  Sorry for all the glare.  In the first photo, you can see a reflection of a little boy.  He really wanted his mommy to take his photo with the dollies, but mommy wouldn’t!

And they had a super-cute photo booth!  I had to take Alexi’s photo:

They had a lot of fun props for the photo booth:

I could have spent all day at the store, staring at all the pretty dollies.  But I had a lot more Toronto to see!  That night I went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, then I went to Wonderland and rode roller coasters ’til midnight.  Alexi didn’t go to Wonderland.  She wouldn’t have been allowed on any of the rides anyway.

The next day we rode the subway downtown

First stop, breakfast:

If you’re interested, that is a worm and dirt doughnut and a strawberry banana yoghurt smoothie.

We wandered around downtown for about an hour, stopping for photo ops outside the hockey hall of fame:

The CN tower:

and the Sony Centre for Performing Arts

We also grabbed a photo of a random Canada Post box (because they’re so much cuter than a US mailbox)

and a streetcar (because it’s so much cuter than a bus)

Then we went to Eaton Centre, home of…

…an American Girl boutique!

It was cute and little.  I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t wanna pay the high sales tax rate, and I already have an American Girl Canada shirt that I got in Vancouver.  Just one cute photo.  I love Julie’s egg chair!

Then it was time for lunch, then back to the hotel to pick up luggage, then back to the airport.

We’ll close with this funny picture of Alexi on the airplane:

This was a quick, fun trip.  Toronto has so much to discover–I see myself visiting again and again.  Until next time!

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The time has come for the last day of me and Maryellen in Disney World.  I’d be sad if I didn’t just book my next trip!

Here are the links for all the Disney World posts:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

And now I’ll give the blog back to Maryellen, who will take you through our last 2 days of Disney World.  And oh boy, Day 6 was pretty fun!

Hi everyone!  It’s Maryellen again!  Our last full day at Disney World was pretty awesome.  Do you know why?

Because it’s Halloween Party day!  Yup, on Thursday, Oct 1, Marjorie and I went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Final verdict: it was pretty fun, but kind of crowded, and kind of expensive.

The party didn’t start ’til evening time, so we took some more Magic Kingdom time in the morning.  We ate lunch at the Polynesian Village (way too many vegetables in the stir fry!), and took an afternoon break at our last hotel, Pop Century.

Marjorie has stayed at Pop Century lots of times.  It’s a “Value Resort”.  She thought I would like it, and these photos show why!

We couldn’t score a room in the 50s section, but the 70s section was closer to the bus stop anyway.  Here are the simple decorations in our 70s room:

After Marjorie put her costume on, we got a lot of “Of course you chose Pop Century!”

Some special characters appear for Mickey’s Halloween Party.  The Winnie the Pooh friends put on Halloween costumes!

And we got our photo with Lotso Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3.  He smelled like strawberries and was kind of sticky.

The Monsters, Inc Dance Party was pretty awesome:

They had trick or treat stations all around the park.  It was cool to get free candy, but we definitely got way less than the other kids.  I guess we weren’t cute enough!  Here’s a picture of me carrying our trick or treat bag:

And at the end of the night we watched the special firework show and the stage show with the witches from Hocus Pocus and the parade.

By the time we got a bus, we didn’t get back to Pop Century until long after midnight!

The next day we had just a few hours before we had to head to the airport.  We rode a few Epcot rides again, then we ate at the restaurant in Epcot’s giant aquarium called Coral Reef.

It was fun to eat next to the huge aquarium.  I think we were lucky to get front row seats.  But the food was average; you’re definitely paying to eat with a view!

After lunch it was back to the hotel to grab luggage and catch the bus to the airport.  Here’s a photo of me at the Orlando airport…

…and watching the sunset at the Detroit airport

We didn’t get all the way home until 1:15 am.  I was fine and slept a lot on the flight home, but poor Marjorie had to go to work the next day.  She was so tired!

Disney World is exhausting, even for someone who’s 18 inches tall.  If any of my dolly friends are thinking of going to Disney World, I want them to know it’s hard work.  I was lucky to go with someone like Marjorie who could make me one of her top priorities.  There’s a lot of heat, humidity, and walking involved in a trip to Disney World, and a lot of humans will complain, especially if they have to carry 18 inches of vinyl around.  But Marjorie didn’t complain, and I loved going back to Florida, and playing around all the Disney theming.  In summary, I only recommend going to Disney World if you’re going with someone who’s very attentive and dedicated, and if you don’t mind your hair getting mussed.  It’s a hard trip for a doll, but I think you’ll agree we got some cute photos!

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Hello!  Welcome back to Maryellen’s report from our trip to Disney World.  Again, here are the links if you wanna catch up: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4

Many recommend that when visiting Disney World, first time visitors go to the Magic Kingdom toward the end of their trip.  The other parks are wonderful, but Magic Kingdom is over-the-top amazing.  It’s Disney at it’s most magical, and last Wednesday, Marjorie and I finally got to go!

That’s me in front of City Hall, about to make my way down Main Street, USA!

Along Main Street, Disney cast members were handing out buttons.  I picked a “1st visit!” button!

We hit Fantasyland first.  We went on almost all the rides, even though I only got pictures on some of them.  Here I am at the entrance to the Storybook Circus:

Storybook Circus is where Dumbo is!  I rode Dumbo.

How cute are we?

Here’s my favorite, and Marjorie’s favorite, it’s a small world:

it’s a small world is a hard ride to photograph.  My camera doesn’t perform well on moving objects in low light.

We also got a cute carrousel selfie:

After we conquered Fantasyland, we headed to lunch at the Wilderness campground.  The best way to get there from the Magic Kingdom is by boat

I liked the boat a lot.  Even this is a manmade lake, you still get a nice breeze off the water. Much appreciated in humid Florida.

Upon arrival at the campground, it’s a short walk to the Trail’s End restaurant.

As we approached the restaurant, the hostess shouted “Ooh, I wanna hold that baby!”  A lot of people call me a baby, and it bugs me sometimes.  But this time it didn’t, because the hostess was very friendly.  We took a photo.  Our outfits match!

It’s nice to visit the Wilderness Campground.  It’s so quiet and peaceful–a perfect break from the bustle of Disney World.

After lunch we boarded another boat, this time over to the Wilderness Lodge.

The Wilderness Lodge is another amazing Disney place, and it was really awesome to spend the night there.  Marjorie actually stayed there for almost a week the last time she went to Disney World.  And she said it was even nicer this time around, because even more was in bloom.

It is a little odd travelling all the way across the country to stay in a lodge themed around the American West, but I don’t care.  Wilderness Lodge is great!

The river runs right through the lobby!

Not long after checking in to our room, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom.  They had added an extra hour to the schedule, so we got on more rides than originally planned.  We ate dinner at the Grand Floridian.  Saw the Main Street Electrical Parade and the fireworks.  It really was a magical day at the Magic Kingdom.

Another long day though.  Glad to get to bed.

Sweet dreams!  Next up is another day at the Magic Kingdom!

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Links to catch up:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4 began with breakfast at the Yacht Club. Yes, I slept in my clothes last night.  No shame.

And some photo ops in the Yacht Club lobby

On today’s agenda was a visit to the Animal Kingdom.  Unfortunately, the majority of the morning required a raincoat

It didn’t stop raining until we were leaving the park!  But I had to hit all the classic Animal Kingdom photo stops.

We finished Animal Kingdom in the early afternoon, so we relaxed the rest of the evening at our next hotel, Port Orleans French Quarter.

I really liked Port Orleans French Quarter.  It was so fun to pretend to be in New Orleans!

I got to be in the Mardi Gras Parade!

Okay, so the parade was fake, but the resort was really pretty.

After a nap, we got some dinner at the cafeteria, then went to bed.  A laid back day in the fake Big Easy.  Tres bien.

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Here are the links in case you need to review:

Day 1

Day 2

This morning started right around sunrise, because we had an early breakfast reservation at the Polynesian Village.

Gorgeous!  I think it looks even more gorgeous when Marjorie took the photo with the flash on:

The best way to get from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian is by monorail, but it’s rarely running this early in the morning.  They offer a bus that runs the monorail’s route, but it’s no fun.  You know what is fun?  Walking from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian Village!  It’s about three-quarters of a mile along the beach, and it was beautiful at sunrise.  I really liked seeing the Disney World Wedding Pavilion.  It looked amazing in the sunrise.

I know how many dollars it took just to sleep at the Grand Floridian–I can’t even imagine how much it would cost to have a wedding there!

The Polynesian Village was delightful on this humid morning.

Who wouldn’t wanna pretend they’re in Hawaii?

After breakfast, we grabbed the monorail back to the Grand Floridian:

Samantha suggested that I bring her dress to wear to the Grand Floridian because both the dress and the hotel are fancy and Victorian.  So we wanted to be sure to get plenty of fancy and Victorian photos!  We took some time after breakfast to take photos all around the Grand Floridian.

This fountain was lovely.  Here’s a photo without me in it:

And we wanted to get one last moment to enjoy the beautiful view:

Then we checked out of the Grand Floridian and headed to today’s park…

…Epcot!  And not just an ordinary day at Epcot, because it’s Food and Wine Festival time at Epcot!

This is Marjorie’s 3rd consecutive Food and Wine festival, and 4th total.  I think she ate even more food this year than last year, but the pacing was better…started eating earlier and finished eating later.  Well, the food booths didn’t open until 11, so we had time for rides first.

First up Test Track via the Single Riders line.  No waiting.

I did not care for Test Track.  I actually don’t like any of the rides where I ride wedged between Marjorie’s legs.  Especially when the rides go fast like Test Track.  I prefer sitting on a seat or a lap, like on Living with the Land:

I didn’t even get to ride Soarin because I didn’t fit in the cargo bin.  Marjorie and I both suffered a little separation anxiety for the 6 minute duration of the ride.

I think my favorite ride at Epcot was Spaceship Earth.  Check out our after-ride photo!  I look adorable!

And we rode Finding Nemo and the Figment ride, which were both cute.  Then it was time for food!  I have no interest in food, but I like what Marjorie likes.  This was the first year the festival had booths in Future World, so we hit the two booths inspired by The Chew (a food-related talk show?) and the cheese booth.  Skipped the wine booth.  Ate grouper (first time for Marjorie!) at the Dominican Republic booth that was Puerto Rico last year, then got two beverages/desserts at the dessert booth (super yummy cream soda with caramel ice cream float and the frozen s’more), potato pancake from Scotland, Mac and Cheese that tasted like vegetables from the Farm Fresh booth, and coconut cake from Australia.  Took a small break in the Mexico pyramid to enjoy some air conditioning and ride the ride.  Feeling pretty full, Miss Marjorie grabbed the corn cheesecake from the Mexico booth because it was the last booth in this section.  Then we headed toward Fake Canada and took a long break in the Canada Pavilion.  Here’s a photo at Fake Butchart Gardens:

Marjorie had enough room for Cheddar Cheese soup in Canada AND a cheese plate at the Ireland booth.  Oy.  But then we skipped a lot of the booths to go see the American Adventure and hear the Voices of Liberty.  Marjorie was disappointed that now the Voices of Liberty sing Disney songs rather than American folk songs.  Still good singers though.

After the American Adventure show it was time for more food, a Teriyaki steamed bun in Japan…

…baklava in Morocco…

…cheesy bread from the Brazil booth and Boeuf Bourguignon from France.

This brings us to the back entrance of Epcot, and from there it’s a short walk to the Yacht Club, tonight’s hotel.  Seemed like a perfect time for a break from Epcot.

I brought another dress to wear to the Yacht Club.  Grace has stayed at the Yacht club before, and she told me to borrow Samantha’s dress to match the girl in this painting:

I think it’s worth noting that when I wear this dress, I feel like I’m wearing a historical costume.  When I wear Samantha’s newer dress, it feels more like a fancy dress inspired by historical clothing.  And most of Samantha’s newer dresses feel that way, don’t you agree?

Samantha’s dress does look pretty nice with the décor of the Yacht Club:

The Yacht Club claims to have the best pool at Disney World and Marjorie wanted to check it out.  (Marjorie did report back that the pool is pretty awesome.  It has sand on the bottom so it’s soft, and there’s a lazy river and two hot tubs.)  I personally hate swimming, so I took a nap.

And I actually stayed in bed for the rest of the day, through Marjorie’s pool time, while she went back to Epcot for more food and the Epcot fireworks, and through The Little Mermaid beach-side movie.  But I had a pretty full day, don’t you think?

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Hi!  Did you miss part 1?  Here’s a link to the post I made this morning.

We awoke bright and early on Sunday for our first morning at Disney World!

I’m so glad I packed this dress, because it matched the hotel perfectly:

After a yummy breakfast at Olivia’s Café, we strolled around the resort:

My conclusion is that the Old Key West resort is lovely, but I’m glad our room was close to the main lobby because the resort is sprawling and more suited for people who brought a car.

Marjorie had figured that we didn’t need a whole day in the parks today, so after breakfast and our little tour, we took time for a nap!  Packed the suitcase, dropped it off with Bell Services, then went to our first park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I don’t understand why there’s a boat here.  It doesn’t go anywhere, and you can’t go inside.  And on the other side of the pond there’s a dinosaur.  Does anyone know the story of these?

I really wanted to eat lunch at the 50’s prime time café, but Marjorie said she made reservations at one of the places that gives you preferred Fantasmic! seating.

But she let me pop in to see if there were any good photo opportunities.  There weren’t really because it was so crowded, but can you believe how similar this table is to the one in my living room set? (here’s a link to the store that sells it)

We went on a few rides, including Toy Story again, and we saw some shows.  Here’s a cute mural in the Walt Disney exhibit:

We still had plenty of time left in the day, and Marjorie and I were both anxious to see our next hotel, so we headed over there before dinner.  A week before we left, Marjorie decided to upgrade from one of the cheapest Disney resorts to one of the most expensive.  And oh boy was it fancy!

Welcome to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!  And it was quite grand.  Jazz in the lobby, beautiful gardens, and a room with a view!

And here are a couple photos without me in them so you can further enjoy the view:

Can you see Space Mountain?

This photo is actually from the downstairs lobby.  If it weren’t for that big tree, we would have been able to see the castle from our room!  That would have been awesome because then we could have seen the castle fireworks, but I think they make you pay more for rooms that can see the castle.

After our short “wow this is cool” time at the Grand Floridian, we headed back to Hollywood Studios for our dinner reservation.  Dinner was so much fun!  Marjorie had onion rings and a milkshake at the Sci-Fi Dine-in theater!

You sit in booths that look like cars and watch a giant movie screen with clips from retro sci fi movies, commercials and trailers.

While personally I like TV better than movies, drive ins are a lot of fun, and it’s so nice to be entertained while you’re eating dinner.  Dinner entertainment is especially appreciated if you’re dining solo, or with a companion who isn’t much of a conversationalist.

Sometime while we were eating it started raining.  Big fat Florida rainstorm.  Good thing I packed my raincoat:

Do you like my raincoat?  You can get one free with purchase at Walmart!  Or if you’re nice, the cashier might even give you one even if you don’t buy anything!  Such a deal!

We got a little worried that Fantasmic! would be cancelled again, but it stopped raining in time for the show.  And the show was fantastic as usual.

We hustled back to the Grand Floridian, hoping we would make it in time for…

…The Electrical Water Pageant!  The pageant makes multiple stops throughout the night, but I really wanted to see it from the comfort of our room’s balcony.  We made it just in time!

Shortly after the water pageant, we headed to the Grand Floridian’s boat dock for the Magic Kingdom fireworks.  It was a Halloween Party night, so it was a super awesome special holiday edition of the fireworks.  Awesome!

Meanwhile, back in our room, the Grand Floridian is the only one of our hotels to give us turn-down service:

Including chocolates!

We tucked the chocolates away to snack on later and went to bed.  The nice, soft, bed with a padded headboard and four fluffy pillows…

…oh boy, I’m sleepy.  See you later!

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I’m back!

From vacation!

Again!

I had a really awesome summer, and I just got back from what I’m identifying as my last summer vacation.  I’m calling it summer because it was Florida and it was hot, but I celebrated Halloween there, so maybe it’s not summer.

And since this is a dolly blog, this vacation is going to be mentioned because I brought a doll.  Yup, I brought a doll to Disney World.  Which one?

Maryellen!

I figured that since she is from Florida, she would enjoy the trip.  I also thought it would be fun to do the trip report from her point of view.  So here it goes:

Hello.  I’m Maryellen.  My best friend Marjorie and I just returned from a week in Disney World!  I’d like to share my photos and my experiences.

We already posted one photo; it’s from the airport in Seattle.  It was a long, long flight, and I spent the whole time sleeping under the seat in front of Marjorie.  I was secured in the Maplelea backpack.  Quite comfy, but sometimes Marjorie stepped on my face.  Yuck.

Here is the first official photo in Disney World, but it’s blurry because the bus wasn’t allowed to stop:

Our first stop was our first hotel.  I say “first hotel” because we stayed at a different hotel every night.  Marjorie’s annual pass is expiring soon, and we wanted to get a taste of as many hotels as we could manage.

The first hotel (or “resort” if you wanna use Disney’s language) was Old Key West.

We hurried to our room (we didn’t have much time before our dinner reservation), grabbing a few photos.  The outside of our room was my favorite color!

And our balcony was adjacent to the golf course,  Quite serene.

Hee hee, in that photo I’m wearing Marjorie’s magic band.  She didn’t wanna wear it because it angers the airport scanners.  I wore it so it would be accessible to get on the bus and in the hotel.  After this photo Marjorie put it on.  It looks better on her wrist than mine, especially while I’m wearing my fancy dress.

You’re probably wondering why I chose my fancy dress to wear, especially on the airplane.  Well, we had dinner reservations at a fancy steakhouse, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to change.  Marjorie didn’t have time to change either, but didn’t seem to have a problem wearing jeans and a Disney t-shirt to the restaurant.

Here are some photos we took on the way to the steakhouse.  We took a bus to Hollywood Studios, and then walked to the Yacht Club.

The steak was delicious (or so Marjorie tells me.  I didn’t eat anything the whole trip!).  She got the smallest, and therefore cheapest cut, an 8 oz Filet Mignon.  It was $50 and worth every nickel.  They age their beef and prepare it on site (vegetarians may want to avert their eyes):

After dinner we walked back to Hollywood Studios.  We had enough time to ride Toy Story Mania before Fantasmic! started.

Toy Story is one of my favorite movies, probably because it has dolls in it.

Here’s a photo we grabbed on the way to Fantasmic!:

And waiting for the show to start:

And we waited.  And waited.  And then they cancelled the show.  Marjorie told me that half the time she has tried to see Fantasmic! it has been cancelled.  We had plans to see it again tomorrow night anyway, and if it gets cancelled again, we’ll keep trying.  This show is not to be missed…

So we ended up home at a reasonable hour!  I got on my jammies, and noticed that the girl in this painting kinda looks like she’s wearing my pajamas:

Okay, so turn-of-the-century swimwear is different from mid-century baby doll pajamas, but surprisingly similar!

And then to bed.  I got my own bed every night!

That concludes our first night in Disney World.  There is much more to share, so stay tuned!

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