Friday, August 3, 2012

What a Character (Breakfast)

First, Yelp must be the only entity in the world who thinks this is the first time I've been to the Disneyland Hotel. I'm just saying.

Yelp, I though you knew me.
One of the things I must do any year that I go to a Disney Theme Park (Yes, I know that's almost every year) is to get some pictures taken of me with Disney characters for my Christmas card and tongue-in-cheek newsletter I send at the Holidays, which is the paper and boiled down version of this blog. But after that hit to my noggin earlier this year, I have to make sure I make notes of those memories, or I'll forget.

I digress. This trip, I had to make sure that I squeezed in a trip to Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel just in case I can't make it over to the Parks this trip. I found two "volunteers" (Translation: I kidnapped two friends) to go with me and indulge my, well, goofy mania.

At 8:50 AM, on their day off, my friends Mike and Lionel, post hangover and pre-coffee, donned their best grins to pose with Goofy and me. Yes, some say the two are one and the same. After the Di$ney photographer $napped picture$ with hi$ camera for me to buy $ouvenir photo$ of us (Translation: "We have another sucker, folks!), we were seated at our table.

It pains me to have to type this next part, but for those of you who have never been to a Disney character breakfast and don't know what all that's about (Really? There are people out there who have never been to a character breakfast?!?), the routine is you go get your food from a buffet. In the case of Goofy's Kitchen, they cater (no pun intended) to kids, so you have stuff like peanut butter pizza, mac and cheese, "dirt and worms", and other breakfast items that would make adults run to IHOP for a more "traditional" breakfast menu.

But fortunately, they have some great items for more seasoned palates (Not to be confused with palette or pallet), like fresh fruit, which I could have just eaten and been satisfied, Eggs Benedict, and a lovely egg white veggie frittata. We recommend that you avoid the chicken sausage, which was as dry your shorts before you ride Splash Mountain.

So it took me two paragraphs for me to say, "Go get your food." I really must be in marketing. When you get back to your table to eat, your meal is constantly interrupted by Disney characters coming by and a flurry of cameras clicking more than when you see any of those train-wreck Hollywood celebs being chased by TMZ.

Here, Alice stopped by to pose with me. I'm half-Asian, so that's why only one of my eyes is half-shut. Don't worry. I was consistent and most of my pictures look like how Mike and Lionel felt after downing half that bottle of Tequila the night before.

Alice thinking, "Hurry up and take the picture!"


 The scene-stealer: Rafiki. I had no idea that he would be at this character breakfast. When I was here last August, he wasn't part of the character rotation. In a weird twist of fate, which I could only attribute to the Tiki Room gods, I happened to be wearing my Zazu t-shirt, which one of the Cast Members informed me was "epic."

Spoiler alert: Skip this next paragraph if you don't want to be disillusioned like the first time that punky kid in school told you there was no such thing as Santa Claus. As much as it pains me (again) to type this next part, inside those characters are real people. (Notice how I didn't admit those are costumes? Denial.) While Rakiki was at the next table, I made some crack about him, probably about the story I was telling my friends that Rafiki is not a monkey, but rather a baboon, and more correctly, a mandrill, because you can tell by his  face and butt.

Side Story: This is where I totally geek out (more). I hate to admit this, but I was watching QVC one time because they were having a Disney special sale on merchandise. The host asked a trivia question and gave the wrong answer. I sent an email to correct him, and fortunately did not use my name. Watch this to see why and what happened.

Back to Rafiki. He looked up, and not knowing it was my big mouth, he looked at our table and started gesturing as a primate would at the zoo. Please, Tiki Room gods, don't let him throw "stuff" at our table like they do at the zoo. When he was finished with his photo shoot behind us, he came over to our table. It was then he, the character actor, realized he knew Lionel and Mike.

What ensued was a game of charades that rivaled Win, Lose or Draw (if you were born after 1987-1990, this game show reference may be lost on you). Lionel and I would have lost the pot of money on the game show because even those Rafiki gave us a lot of clues, we had no clue. Mike, as usual, was able to decipher the "air spelling" faster than Jessica Fletcher trying to solve a murder mystery.

For someone who can't talk, (Rafiki, not Mike) we howled at the antics of Rafiki, thanks to Mike translating most of the "conversation." I'm sure the other tables were wonder what was the hold-up at our table with Rafiki when most of the characters made their obligatory stop at our table for their turn in front of our cameras and scurry, or hurry, away.

Rafiki would come by several more times to joke around with us, and so when we saw one of the PhotoPass Cast Members, we asked him to take a picture of the three of us with our primate friend (You can determine which one is the primate, but I'm just saying there may be more than one in this group).

To quote Joker, Lionel, "Why so serious?"

The Cast Member, Grant, was so tall (everyone is from my point of view), that as he handed me back my camera, I said, "And now you can be another character in my photo shoot!" Rakiki, of course, caught on and grabbed Grant to strike a pose, but I had caught Grant off guard. He kept saying, "You want me in a picture?" Little did poor Grant know that I've been torment Cast Members to post in my pictures for many years. (See Walt Disney World 2009 in my blog)

As much fun as we were having, it was time to go. We had a road trip up to Simi Valley to see the Disney Treasures exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Library. Little did we know how much of an adventure that road trip would turn out to be!

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