Tag Archives: Disney

Tokyo, 2016: Imperial Palace and Shibuya

In the morning we went to the Imperial Palace, surrounded by a great moat with a swan in the water. While we waited for it to open, we breakfasted on takeaway squares of fried rice from the 7-Eleven. It was much better than any food you can get in the chain back home.

When opening time struck, not a moment before or after, we went through the outer gates, past the dolphin statue and in through the inner gates. We found the last blooming cherry blossom tree, but half of the flowers had already fallen off.

We walked through some large stonewalls, past various traditional guardhouses to a field of green where my daughter enjoyed running around. There were tall topiary trees, tea bushes and bamboo stalks. From the top of one bastion we spied the beautifully mosaicked music hall.

The best part was the water garden where we saw our first koi fish in Japan, a waterfall and a large pond. It was another beautiful oasis of green in the busy city.

For a change of pace, we then went to the busiest intersection at Shibuya Crossing. There were lots of tall buildings, many cars and people trying to cross multiple roads. Why do they play that funny tune when people cross the road? I guess it’s better than a beep. The most expensive real estate overlooking the crossing was a Starbucks.

I took my daughter into a cat café. I had heard about these strange places and thought it would be a quirky experience that she would like. Why cats and hedgehogs? There were many rules inside. We had to wash and sterilise our hands, wear special slippers and not touch the cats unless they came to you.

Being cats, of course they didn’t come to us, until we bought a small jar of cat pellets and then one bossy cat was all over us before any of the others could get in. After that, my daughter decided she needed to buy some cat ears in one of the nearby costume shops.

On the way back, we saw people closing off one of the roads in Shibuya and putting down flooring for an event. The efficiency with which this took place was amazing to watch. It turned out to be a Paralympics demonstration of wheelchair rugby and trampolining which my husband was very happy to watch.

After the display, we had one of our best meals in a local restaurant down an alleyway where you had to put coins in a machine and press the button for which Tsu Rutonton Udon noodle soup that you wanted. Sometimes the simplest meals are the best.

For a treat, we took our daughter to Kiddyland, which had every kind of kids toy you could want, from Hello Kitty to Disney, on four levels of fun. There were some very strange characters in there, including the latest toy which was a chicken that was born out of an egg. My ulterior motive was that there was also a Desingual in the area for me to peruse.

Related posts: Tokyo, 2016: Ueno and Harajuku, Japan, 2016

Disney on Ice

I recently had the pleasure of going to Disney on Ice with my daughter and it was fabulous!

The last time I saw the show I went with my grandmother when was 5. Mickey Mouse was the main attraction then, along with Snow White.

Disney on Ice has changed since my day. There is still Mickey Mouse of course, but the main drawcard are the new princesses- Rapunzel and Frozen. But they still had Belle and my favourite- The Little Mermaid- perhaps a clever marketing move to hook the parents in too?

And so, I got to relive being five, 30 odd years later. A time when life was simpler, happiness was easy and stresses were few.

Clever Disney, transporting us all back to fun times with some entertainment, light and music. Even some of the adults were dressed up as Elsa. And why not take a break from the everyday job that you are going to be at for the next 30 years and let the fantasy take over instead?

I mean, in what reality are horses on ice skates, flashes of light come out of the hands of princesses and it snows inside?

And of course, everyone knows all the songs from having watched the movies a millions times at home- so why not sing along?

Sure, you could be cynical and say Disney is a moneymaking organisation that wants go charge you $35 for a plastic cup when you leave, but perhaps that’s ok with all the joy they have brought into the world for our little ones?

My daughter loved it too of course. Having 4 stories in one kept her interested, she enjoyed an Olaf ice cream and all she wanted to know was when is Elsa and Anna were coming on.

The one thing that did get me thinking though, was the fact that princesses have to change for perfect prince, like Ariel having to change for her prince. But on the flipside, the prince has to change for his perfect princess, like Flynn having to change for Rapunzel.

Personally, I don’t think anyone should ever have to change for anyone, but perhaps it’s more a message about the right person bringing out the best in us all. I like to think so anyway.

Related posts: All things Disney, Kid at Heart, Disneyland, 2007

Toys

My favourite toys growing up were a pyjama rabbit called Rabbit and a wombat puppet called Wombat. Very imaginative names I know.

I was only allowed to have one Barbie doll, so I got tropical barbie who lived in a white house with a red roof (which was modelled on our house) with Inspector Gadget who had spring arm legs and a helicopter that came out of his head. Their regular relations produced a daughter called Penny.

Having too many soft toys and collecting everything under the sun from stamps and coins to rocks and erasers; I was devastated to find out that my entire shell collection had been dumped in the backyard creek after a clean out of the shed and still feel guilty for stealing an eagle feather that a boy brought to school for show and tell.

I never received board games as an only child and was always every jealous when my cousins received Guess Who and Twister for Christmas. No, it was books for me- fortunately I loved to read.

My English connection meant that I received Beatrix Potter’s complete collection and all the Rupert books from grandma. I was also into watching Blue Peter, Noddy, Sooty and Sweep and the Punch and Judy show at the beach in summer.

I developed an early interest in science fiction by watching Doctor Who and in Japanese anime before I even knew that was what it was with Astro Boy; but my favourite show was the Lost Cities of Gold. I also liked Snoopy, Felix the Cat and Bugs Bunny with his Looney Toons.

There was always some craze at school- skipping ropes, then marbles followed by elastics.

Strawberry Shortcake, Snow White and Mickey Mouse were childhood staples and Archie double digests in my teenage years; but it was nothing compared to the Frozen mania that has swept the world of today. Disney has sure worked out how to capitalise on a brand there.

What was your favourite toy as a kid?

Related posts: Discovery, Kid at Heart, Dreams vs Reality, It’s the simple things, All things Disney, Books, books and more books, I first started writing

All things Disney

I love all things Disney.

From the moment my grandma took me to see my first film- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs- I was hooked.

I know that it’s supposedly commercial, but I can’t help but get caught up in the hype. And I enjoy it.

I’ve been to the original Disneyland in Los Angeles 3 times and I am sure I will be visiting again. I would also love to go to Disney World in Florida and maybe Disneyland Paris too.

The old traditional Disney Princesses like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Belle from Beauty and the Beast hold special memories from my childhood.

Ariel, The Little Mermaid, was my favourite as I love the ocean and the thought of being able to live under the sea.

There have been a few additions since then of Jasmine from Aladdin, Pocahontas, Rapunzel from Tangled, Mulan and some weird frog princess who I’ve never heard of, but the concept is still there- perhaps in a new age inclusive kind of way.

Brave teaches little girls to be strong, independent and in control, and I can’t really argue with that message that’s for sure.

Micky Mouse is an institution that has grown and adapted over time to include more animals and better animation. And what child growing up in the 80’s can forget Bambi, Lady and the Tramp and Tinkerbell from Peter Pan?

I’ve recently been introduced to the new Disney Princess for younger girls- Sofia the First- and I must say I’m impressed. It’s not too repetitive or hard to watch as a lot of kids shows can be, and they have cleverly tied in cameos from the fully grown Disney Princesses. The good fairies from Sleeping Beauty- Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are also in the series.

A lot of the newer movies made in collaboration with Pixar, such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Up are quite good, with jokes for adults as well as kids. The only one I’m not sure of is Frozen, but everywhere you look there is another child in an Elsa dress so who I am to argue with popular opinion?

Disneyfy me up I say!

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France, 1997, Part 1: Paris

After arriving in Paris, Sarah and I headed straight to the Eiffel Tower for our very own iconic photo of us at the monument.

Paris is like a museum in itself, so we walked to the Place de la Concorde roundabout and along the Champs Elysees taking in the many beautiful buildings and monuments along the way.

We found the Liberty Flame atop the motorway where Diana Princes of Wales died near the Pont Alma. Many flowers were still being laid after the recent tragedy.

A boat tour of the River Seine took us to see the sights of the gold- encrusted Pont Alexandre 3 and the impressive looking Musee d Orsay.

I was awed by the famous Pont Neuf and the pretty Place de la Bastille. It looked like the little houses on the Ile St Louis would be a nice place to live and the replica Statue of Liberty on the Ile aux Cygnes (Island of Swans) seemed bizarre and in the wrong place.

We alighting the boat at the Palais de Chaliot in the statue-filled Trocadero gardens.

On our second day, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower. It was such a strange feeling standing under the tower and seeing the structure up close. It was surreal to actually be in such a famous place.

We climbed the first two flights of the Eiffel Tower to save some money and then caught a lift to the top for unmatched views of Paris. We could see everything from the Arc de Triomphe to Sacre Cour. The whole city- built up and spread out on a grid system with the river cutting it in half.

Next was a visit to the gargoyles at the top of Notre Dame Cathedral- made famous to me by the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was plain to see where the movie had gained its inspiration.

After finally finding out how to get to the Arc de Triomphe without getting run over (there is a foot tunnel that goes under the road), we had another climb. From the top it was easy to see how all 12 roads of the Etoile fan out in a star shape- one all the way from Arc la Defense to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel .

That made over 1,000 steps up for the day, as well as many walks in between, so it was time out for us!

A day museum pass was purchased and we headed inside one of the pyramids to the Lourve. I was struck by the sculpture of jaguar and rabbit by Antoine-Louis Barye, and liked the tiger paintings by Delacroix; but my favourite was the Winged Victory of Samothe statue. We by passed the crowd in front of the Mona Lisa covered in a thick pane of glass and only saw it from afar.

Next we went to the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was kept prisoner as she awaited the guillotine. The building outside was beautiful, but I didn’t understand much of what we looked at inside as all the signs were in French.

A local Parisian friend took us to the Jewish quarter for a falafel and the first square in Paris- Place des Voges. Absolutely beautiful.

We went to the modern looking Georges Pompidou Centre at the much newer and much odder Place Igor- Stravinsky and found the cute little La Defenseur du Temps clock with dragon.

Even after this first visit, I could tell that Paris was to become one of my favourite cities in the world.

Related posts: Belgium, 1997, Holland, 1997, England, 1997, I first started travelling, By special request, Home is where you make it, I first started writing