Thursday, September 18, 2014

King of Malls

I headed out early this morning to make a trip to what's currently the largest mall in the U.S, King of Prussia. Took the PATCO train into Philly around 9:30 AM. The buses to King of Prussia leave at 13th and Market, across the street from Macy's. I just made it. The SEPTA buses are a bit different than NJ Transit, with hard, narrow metal chairs covered in blue-green fabric. The back seats are on risers over the front seats. They're not very comfortable. I get the feeling they weren't designed for a ride that was 45 minutes with a minimum of traffic. At least there were some gorgeous views of the Schuylkill River once we hit the highway.

The King of Prussia Mall is every bit as enormous as everyone always says it is. It's so big, it's actually two buildings, the Plaza and the Court. Since the bus dropped off and picked up at the Plaza, I stuck to that one today. The interior was gorgeous. Like Moorestown, it's retained it's dramatic vaulted ceilings, soothing fountains, cherry woodwork, and bright planters. The store mix had more in common with Cherry Hill - fancy upscale boutiques and department stores with major names like Louis Vutton, Cartier, Neiman Marcus, and Burberry mixed in with regular mall fixtures like Game Stop, Lane Bryant, JCPenney, and Bath & Body Works. (And for some reason, a small Rite Aid.)

To be honest, I didn't have much luck. Neither the L.L Bean nor Eddie Bauer stores sold clothing in my size (despite the fact that their websites do carry plus sizes). Sears was going through a major overhaul after having given up their second floor to Dick's Sports. I couldn't find anything my size in their Land's End section. Charlotte Russe and New York & Company had nothing. I browsed briefly through Build-A-Bear, but I just bought a large stuffed animal yesterday.

Lane Bryant was one of the only stores where I could find decently priced clothes that fit. I bought a nice pair of khaki capris for about $32. I also did decently at JCPenney's. I picked up two 3-packs of Mixit fold-over crew socks in cotton for $8 each. (They're so much like the old St. John's Bay socks I loved, I suspect they may be those socks under a hipper brand name.) Also bought a simple long-sleeved orange t-shirt for about $10. Grabbed a Pumpkin Cupcake Hand Soap from Bath & Body Works (the two bottles that Amanda gave me for Christmas have finally run out).

I had lunch in the upstairs food court. The Stardust Cafe sold basic diner food like cheesesteaks, chicken fingers...and gyros. I had to have a gyro. It was messy but tasty; came with some thin, hot fries, too. Got a Strawberry Surf Rider light smoothie - strawberries, peaches, lemon, and lime - downstairs at Jamba Juice. Tart, but very refreshing, with lots of big strawberry pieces.

I was going to go home at 3...but then I realized I didn't have the right change for the bus. I had to rush over to Rite Aid and get it. And then the 3:26 125 bus was stampeded by a huge group of Asian college students, when it was already full on arrival. The 124 arrived about ten minutes later, and that's what I ended up taking home. It was also full until we got to the 69th Street Transportation Center. Most people must have been taking trains or buses to the suburbs. The bus was far less crowded as it braved heavy traffic going into Philly. After I got in, I headed to the Gallery Mall, took a brief look at Books-A-Million, and went downstairs to pick up a full PATCO train to Collingswood.

(And...while I did enjoy my trip to King of Prussia, it was too tiring to make a regular event. That mall is too much for me! Moorestown or Cherry Hill will be my regular malls for the time being.)

When I finally got in, I had leftover Chicken-Tomato Soup while dubbing two of the Christmas specials I bought yesterday. (The third, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, didn't work.) Thankfully, I was able to get the one I wanted, The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas. Most bears hibernate from December to April and don't really care much about holidays, including Christmas. Ted E. Bear, a curious, bright little fellow, has heard all about Christmas, about jolly men in red suits, music on every street corner, and kindness in every heart. Despite the laughter of his fellow bears, he goes on a journey to discover this place called Christmas. A visit to New York reveals that Christmas isn't a place, but a feeling...and one best shared with others.

Jingle Bells was a bit simpler. Poor Tommy just wants to impress Miss Fanny Bright, but all he has is an old sleigh. George, an old-fashioned, mustachio-twirling villain, has a fancy sled that he wants to use to win the big sleigh race. He uses a shortcut to get to the finish line...but when he ends up on thin ice, Tom and his horse and mouse friends remind him why slow and steady really does win the sleigh race.

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas mostly remains charming despite the somewhat limited animation, especially Ted's brief visit to the toy store. Jingle Bells is too simple. The dialogue is stiff as ice and about as much fun to listen to. The acting is terrible, and the story is piffle, even for a Christmas special. I don't know if Jingle Bells can be found anywhere, but The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas is currently available through Amazon Prime.  (There was an equally sweet picture-book version of Bear Who Slept Through Christmas as well - I found it at a yard sale several years ago.)

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