My Pal Mickey, Part 1

February 23rd, 2012 · No Comments ·

My pal mickeyWould you like to have your own personal tour guide within the Walt Disney World Parks? Would you like that tour guide to crack some Jungle Cruise-like corny jokes from time to time? Would you like to have that tour guide be the Mouse, himself? And would you like to be able to experience all this for a mere $8 a day? (assuming rental option is implemented) If you answered “yes” to these questions, then Pal Mickey may be just right for you!

I recently had the opportunity to experience the much talked about Pal Mickey while vacationing at Walt Disney World. After hearing the pros and cons of this technological marvel, I was eager to make my own judgment call on his merits.

I “rented” My Pal Mickey at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on May 14, 2003. I arrived at the not-yet open, gated doors of the Zawabi Marketplace at about 7:25 AM. A Cast Member the night before had stated the store often opened as early as 7:30 AM, (it is slated to open at 8:00 AM), so I wanted to be there early to receive my new gadget.

Sure enough, at 7:30 AM sharp, the gates were rolled back and the store was ready for business. I quickly made my way to the cash register to begin the rental process. The Cast Members on duty were still learning how to process this transaction and how to activate the Mickey plush. After a few minutes, a bit of paperwork, and a credit card transaction (more on this later), I was able to receive the much-coveted toy.

Where would Mickey and I travel? What would he tell me? Would he live up to the hype I had built up in my mind about him? What would his first joke be? All of these questions flashed through my head. And then I squeezed his hand… and heard the giddy “Mickey” voice and familiar giggle. Mickey was ready to start our adventure together. He began by telling a joke. Question: “What says Zzub, Zzub, Zzub?” Answer: “A bee stuck in reverse!”

Mickey and I quickly boarded our bus to head to Animal Kingdom. While riding the bus, I quickly perused the “tips” sheet provided to me when renting My Pal. I learned that Mickey was capable of playing three games, how to activate him for the aforementioned game playing, and how he would alert me to his “tour guide tips and information.” The Cast Members at the Animal Kingdom Lodge also instructed me to make sure Mickey was “facing forward” when entering the turnstiles at the parks. Apparently, a sensor in his nose was capable of receiving downloads as to what park he was in, etc. Cool!

After hearing several jokes and trying out Mickey’s games, we were ready to take on Animal Kingdom. Would he really know we were here? I marveled at how such technology could truly work. But indeed, after entering the turnstiles, Mickey was ready to tell me all kinds of facts about the park. He eagerly “vibrated” to alert me that he was ready to begin talking. And talking and talking. Mickey was quite a chatterbox telling me about the animal life in the Oasis, quoting bits of trivia about DinoLand, and talking about nearby attractions as we passed by.

Mickey drew quite a bit of attention from fellow park guests, as well as Cast Members. Everyone seemed intrigued by what the Mouse had to say. Guests looked on in amazement, as I would hold the plush toy to my ear to hear his latest remarks.

Cast Members quipped, “Do you like using him?” “Is he helpful?” “Does he talk too much?” “Did he tell you about the Anteater?” In general, the buzz was all about the Big Cheese. Should it be any other way?!

After spending several hours at Animal Kingdom, I decided to give Mickey a whir at another park. How would he make the transition? Would he be able to tell we were somewhere new? Hakuna Matata, Mickey did just fine. After entering MGM Studios, he was instantly acclimated. He eagerly began his chatter about the park, Sunset Boulevard, etc.

Tags: Entertainment