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Saito    Family    News    -    February

February 24, 1998

Jenny and Katy went to see Titanic again. It is $5 Hot Ticket Tuesday - a good deal for the new Famous Players Silver City at the Erin Mills Power Centre - wide screens, dolby digital sound, stadium seating. Between Silver City and the Famous Players Colliseum at Square One, we have 20 of the best seats and screens in the country. And the concessions are top notch - Pizza Hut, New York Fries, Baskin-Robbins, Starbucks, etc. Makes it tough to go to a 'regular' theatre. They said that both late shows (8:15 and 8:45) were sold out, and the crowds were let into the seats an hour early. I think it's the 6th time for Jenny and the 2nd time for Katy.

February 23, 1998

Andrew reported that the Florida tornadoes didn't touch down on Disney property or their apartment complex. Close, though - 15 miles south, 10 miles east, 25 miles north and 30 miles west! Ron was talking to Andrew on Sunday at midnight, just before the thunderstorms hit, after Ron saw the Severe Weather Alert for Orlando on the Web ( Andrew said that the phones were busy on Monday, with parents checking after the front page headlines Monday morning.

This hasn't been a very good winter for Florida, with the heavy rains/floods/thunderstorms and waves of cool weather. I'm sure sunscreen sales are way down in the "Sunshine State". Meanwhile, we've only seen about 1" of snow in February - and none since mid-month. Daytime highs have been steadily above freezing, sometimes touching 50!

February 21, 1998

Pat & Tasha are at the Niagara Falls NY Convention Center for an AKC (American Kennel Club) Agility trial on February 20 and 21. They had two runs in basic agility, and one fun run in jumpers and weaves. They did quite well, and achieved one qualifying leg in AKC novice agility!

February 18, 1998

Andrew, Kelly and Karen returned to Florida early this morning (on Canada 3000). They had been visiting us since Thursday Feb 12th. Since Kelly and Karen hadn't been to Canada before, they played tourist, visiting Downtown Mississauga (City Hall, Living Arts Centre, Sega City, and Square One), Downtown Toronto (Eaton Centre, CN Tower, Skydome - a Raptors game, Harbourfront) and Niagara Falls. With their US Dollars, they also did some shopping for clothes, CDs and UK foods. Cases of Cadbury Flaky bars from Costco were a hit. The weather cooperated with sunny above freezing days; they even had a little snow one morning which was a treat for Kelly and Karen.

February 14, 1998

Pat & Ron celebrated Valentine's day at the Credit Valley Hospital Gala, as guests of John & June Rogers. As usual, this was held at the Delta Meadowvale, and was a top-notch Black Tie event. Ron booked a room at the Delta so that he didn't have to worry about valet parking or designated driving.

On Sunday the 15th, Pat took Tasha to a practice agility session in Niagara Falls, NY. Jenny and her boyfriend Jeff went along for the ride and a little window shopping at the Galleria in Buffalo on the way back.

p.s. Don't go to the Niagara Falls Ground Round restaurant (on Niagara Falls Blvd at Military) if you're in a hurry. We went there for lunch at about 1:30pm on Sunday (yes, they have a really good vegetarian selection), and it took over an hour to get served in an empty restaurant. The food was good, once we got it, but the serving speed was painfully slow.

February 9, 1998

The weather's milder than usual - just above freezing in the daytime, just below at night - great for cultivating colds. So it's officially cold season in our household. Katy brought a good dose of cold germs home a couple of weeks ago. Jenny caught it, and passed it on to Pat, who is having trouble shaking it. She's taking zinc lozanges - we'll see if it helps.

The snow's staying around on the ground from the 8" snowfall in late January. Roads are clear. We again missed the big snow storm that hit Kentucky/Tennessee last week. Since we also missed the big ice storm in early January, we're doing OK this winter.

Ron was on a conference in Walt Disney World last week, and visited Andrew in Florida a week ago to celebrate his birthday -at Fish Bones, and at Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk. Andrew won't soon forget his 21st birthday - at lease his friends won't let him. Andrew will be back home for a visit Feb 12-17th, with Kelly and her friend Karen. They intend to shop with their US Dollars and play tourist, since Kelly and Karen haven't seen the Mississauga sights. More details in the next update.

Jenny and Katy's first semester tests are coming back, and they vary from OK to very good; generally the marks are an improvement from the interim, a good sign. Pat & Tasha will be heading for an agility trial in Niagara Falls, NY later this month, and will be demonstrating flyball at the Sportman's Show in the CNE/Trade Centre in March.

Central Florida Personal Favourites:

In case you're visiting Florida, here are some of our personal favourites:

If you're driving between Orlando and Tampa, you have to stop at Parkesdale Farm Market just west of Plant City. Take the Plant City SR39 exit off I-4, go South to the first main road (US92), turn right (West). Look for Parkesdale Farms Market on the right about 4 miles along. This is the BEST Strawberry Shortcake. I think the season goes from December to March. After that, buy the $1 Strawberry Milkshakes - Fabulous. Their citrus and produce are good quality and prices, and their fresh squeezed OJ is the great. Most of the Florida strawberries come from here, and if you're around in mid-February, head for the Strawberry Festival.

Real Pit Barbecue - Rogers Real Pit in Largo and St. Petersburg is a personal fav. Sonny's Real Pit is a good second choice, and they're everywhere in Florida and Georgia. Try their Family Feast for 4, with Ribs & Chicken, plus sliced meats. At $20, it makes a great meal. They specialize in "all you can eat" nights, too. If you've never tried a "Real Pit", be prepared for a tantilizing hickory aroma, simple decor - picnic table style, a limited menu - anything that can be slow smoked on the hickory pit (usually takes 6-12 hours; meats are pink when cooked; flavour is WOW, especially the chicken and ribs), and heaping plates of reasonably priced good eatin'.

Crabby Bill's - a typical crabshack, on Clearwater Beach. Good grub, especially the shellfish. Picnic table seating.

Orlando restaurants - Fish Bones is quite good, and you definitely need reservations. Macaroni Grill is one of Andrew's choices. He also likes Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. In Disney, California Grill is good, but the Best Buy is Le Cellier at the Canadian Pavillion at Epcot. Yes, this is where Andrew works. It is currently the busiest and highest rated restaurant at Epcot, and the prices are very reasonable. Steaks, pasta, chicken and salmon run $12 - $18, and the smoked salmon is very good. So is the Chocolate Moose for dessert. It's not a big place, so reservations are advised for dinner. Other choices are: Chevy's Mexican (Fajitas) at Crossroads, Golden Corral's breakfast buffet, Wolfgang Puck's at Disney West End, and the buffets at Wilderness Lodge.

And if you're looking for a family restaurant with lots of Vegetarian items on the menu, we found Ground Round is THE place to go. Disappointing vegetarian selections at Cracker Barrel, Friday's, Appleby's, Denny's, Perkins, Friendly's, Shoney's and Bob Evans.

Coming   Attractions   in   Central   Florida

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Opening April!

Yes, the fourth land at Walt Disney World - Disney's Animal Kingdom - will be opening in late April. Cast will be getting a preview in March, so stay tuned. No, Test Track at Epcot is not open. It's been delayed from last fall to this fall (hopefully). Yes, Walt Disney World's 25th Anniversary celebration is over. It ended January 31st, and the 25th logos and decorations are being replaced. Cinderella's castle is returning to 'normal'. The new Fantasmic at Disney/MGM Studios is coming along quickly, with the steelwork giving you a good hint of what's to come.

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal Studio's new theme park, Islands of Adventure is taking shape. A massive undertaking, with steelwork and foundations everywhere. Can't wait to ride the new coasters. The new Twister ride is well underway, and the Hard Rock Cafe is undergoing renovation. Their new highway interchange off I4 is progressing well, and the parking structure (the world's largest, I've been told) is truly massive. CityWalk's super-structure is finally visible. All this is scheduled to be completed in 1999.

Sea World

The new Atlantis ride should be open in the Spring. It was well underway when we visited at Christmas. Looks like a great addition to the park. While Jenny and Katy enjoyed feeding the Dolphins and Sea Lions, the Shamu show and shark tanks were well done, and there are lots of aquatic displays and exhibits, there aren't many 'thrill' attractions, so Atlantis will be welcome.

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Saito Family News - January
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Personal preview of Disney's new Animal Kingdom
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