Disney's Best Friends Pet Care pampers your pet while you're at the park

10:18 PM, Mar 17, 2011   |    comments
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Lake Buena Vista, Florida - It's known as the happiest place on earth  for families and now their four-legged members can feel the magic too.

About a dozen pampered pooches are waiting to check-in for a "magical" experience.

"It's going to be fun for her. If we had left her somewhere else, she'd be bored," says Mario Xavier. His dog, Ophelia, is a10-year-old collie mix and it's her first trip to Disney's Best Friends Resort.

Photo Gallery: Best Friends Pet Care

"This is as much of a Disney kennel as you can get," says Jennifer Xavier.

Visiting pets can join other dogs for play group time and locals can sign up for doggie day camp.

"Over the years, pet owners have changed in how they feel and look at their pets, particularly their dogs. They are part of the family," says Jen Kratzer, area manager for Best Friends Resort at Lake Buena Vista.

Kratzer gives us a tour and we start with the V.I.P. Luxury Suites. V.I.P. as in "Very Important Pets."

"These are the size of a New York City apartment," says Kratzer.

There's 226-square feet of comfort with a raised bed at eye level with a flat screen TV across from it. Only Disney doggie movies play, of course. One-year-old Henry, an American Bull Dog mix, is a guest.

V.I.P. accommodations include a private play yard with artificial turf. "If you have four labs in a family, it's a place to stay. A Great Dane or 5-pound Yorky can stay," says Kratzer.

The Vacation Villas offer much of the same, just smaller. It's where one-year-old English Bull Dogs Molly and Toby are rooming. "They're our babies and, when you get older, you have dogs as babies," says owner Ann Matichak.

Molly and Toby have a room with a view of the dog park and nature walk. That's where Ophelia is going to explore with her pet concierge. More active dogs, like Henry, burn some energy in the dog park.

"He's so happy. I'm glad this opened up," says Henry's owner, Janet Gonzalez.

"It's very popular with dog owners," says Kratzer. "Wear them out so you have an easier car ride home."

And, just like kids, dogs love to play in the fountain to cool off.

"The ice cream, social play dates and walks are phenomenal. After this day, it beats any other kennels," says Gonzalez.

That's right - a la carte items include ice cream treats made for dogs. It's a big hit and so are the bedtime stories. The bedtime stories may be more popular with the pet owners, but the turn down service, Kratzer says, dogs love.

"The turn down service is a cookie and a kiss on the head just like you would do at home," explains Kratzer.

Pet owners can see what their pets are doing whether at rest or at play. There are web cameras around the facility. All they have to do is click and watch.

Feline friends have a place too, called Kitty City. It's soundproof and has a separate ventilation system. "This is a quiet area for kitties away from any doggie noise, sounds, smells. [It's] less stress on kitties," explains Kratzer.

Kitty condos can convert from a two bedroom, one bath to a four level townhouse by popping out some floor panels.

The cats are spoiled too. Tuna on a Ritz? Purr-fect!

When it's time to go home, a stop by the grooming spa keeps Fido feeling the Disney magic. Kratzer says the secret is, "We treat them like they are ours."

Rates for The Best Friends Resort start at $23 for cats and $37 for dogs. Resort guests get a discount. There are in and outdoor runs too. To learn more about these pet friendly accommodations, click here.

Isabel Mascarenas, 10 News

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