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Old 12-27-2010, 07:21 PM   #196
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wow, I agree with the pp, I want you on my next cruise, it looks like you went above and beyond what anyone could have imagined!
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:06 PM   #197
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I loved these tye dye t-shirts and dresses. Did you make these? or did you order them? I would love to make/buy some for my family.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:50 PM   #198
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Great trip report so far, we went two years ago on Halloween such a fun time to cruise. You did a great job with the TOT, I am sure all involved appreciated all the hard work you dedicated to this, looked like fun for all.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:28 PM   #199
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Wastin' Away Again...(literally!)

It was only noon, but it felt to me like we had already accomplished a day’s worth of activities. We had hardly just begun of course, and much more awaited us in port at eclectic Key West, FL.

We had been to Key West many times before, but we are the kind of folks that enjoy raucous fun and there is always much to do when we find ourselves in the Conch Republic. It’s hard to be bored in Key West if you’re fun natured and adventurous and if you’re an oddball, well, you will fit right in here.

Our plans for the day were possibly too ambitious, as we wanted to hit many of the tourist traps and also some our favorite shops and restaurants. Being seasoned Key West visitors, we knew how long the Duval crawl could be on foot, so we planned to take the Old Town Trolley ride as transportation around the island. Another point of interest for this Halloween Sunday would be the spill–over effects (or hopefully lack thereof) from Fantasy Fest the evening before. Fantasy Fest is a world famous, wild, weeklong event held at the end of October, and the best way to describe it would be Mardi Gras only in Florida. It’s wild, it’s crazy, and the attire is barely there at best. But the craziness was scheduled to end on Saturday evening and Sunday’s plans were all family events. In Key West though you just never know what you will encounter.



The sun was bright, the sky was blue and it was hot as all get out as we disembarked the ship. We had not grabbed any lunch on the ship since we planned to eat at one of our favorite places in KW, BO Fishwagon. BO’s is basically a shack but all of its’ character notwithstanding they have the best dang grouper sandwiches on the island. However, we had a few places to go first and not getting a snack was big mistake #2 for the day. (Big mistake #1 was not having the stroller with us).

We stopped for a picture, special thanks to Jennifer (morgansmom2000) for taking this for us; it is one of my favorites!!



Our first stop is a block or two away from the port area, the Kino Sandal Shop. My family used to come here when I was a kid and get these sandals- they have not changed one bit from when we first started going there in 1977. They are basic but very durable, and pretty cheap too. (appx. $12 for a ladies pair). The Kino shop has very limited hours and is very often not open on Sunday so after bombarding the store with calls from Disers all week and being assured they would be open for us, we made our way to Greene and Fitzpatrick and the little shopping plaza where the storefront/factory is located.





Several of our Dis friends were also there, or on the way there. We saw Judy and Kim there and Ellen on the way, and the store was very busy…I’m sure they appreciated my cross promotion here on the Dis. They do take online orders and you can view their website at wwww.kinosandalfactory.com if you are interested in learning more about Kinos.



The girls relaxing on the bench with Daniel. You can see Sarah is already hot, and cranky. Her feet were still bothering her from the blisters she got at MNSSP, and we did buy her a pair of children’s sandals there but they still rubbed here where she was sore, so from here on out, she stayed barefoot and crabby.

First meltdown of many:



Meanwhile Ron and I were gathering up quite a shoe order. Even though the shoes are so cheap we can never get out of here under $100. You can see some of the displays on the counter and, yes as you can see the sandals are stored in beer boxes.



This is big mistake #3, although it was really unavoidable. Buying like 12 pairs of shoes first thing and having to lug them around all day (the bag was pretty darn heavy). We discussed going back to the ship to drop off the shoes and maybe grab a stroller from guest services but we decided against it because 1) we didn’t want to lose any more time, and 2) we did not think the huge joggers that you get at guest services would be convenient for all those times we would be getting on and off the trolley, if they folded at all. Big mistake #4.


So we headed back towards the Old Town Trolley Depot which was located close to the port area. This area is a madhouse of tourists, trolleys, conch trains and guides. We were a bit confused but a guide eventually pointed us in the direction of the OTT ticket window and depot. You can buy tickets for the Old Town Trolley online, and there is often a coupon code on the Key West Chamber of Commerce website that can get your kids on free with paying adult admission. This made it a decent deal. This is something you would have to handle on your own, as the tour offered by DCL is the Conch Train, and it is quite different. Both are tours of the city with guided narration but the Conch Train is a continuous loop and you cannot get off and on at different stops, whereas the OTT can be used as a form of public transportation, get off at one stop, then get back on a different trolley later. Since we wanted to cover quite a bit a real estate in a limited time, the OTT was the choice for us.









A light cloud cover had rolled in, and as we stood in line to buy our trolley tickets it started to rain. We quickly finished the transaction and were the last group to board a waiting trolley. Because of this we were initially separated and spread out in different seats. But we were delighted to find we were on a trolley full of Disers and conversation at the back of the bus was soon lively and engaged. Of course I had to be reminded of that by our driver as I was apparently chatting too loudly for his liking and he not so kindly chastised me to keep it down that this was a narrated tour. Oopsie!

In any event partially due to our separation, partially due to Sarah being so difficult , partially due to me trying to keep my trap shut so I didn’t get yelled at again by the driver, we missed the first stop we wanted to get off at which was the one for BO Fishwagon, and lunch. Big. Mistake. #5!!!! I was pretty sure there was another stop close enough to this vicinity later on so I figured we’d just get off at that one, but it turned out I was wrong. Big mistake #, yeah you get the idea by now.


So we continued on to the stop for Margaritaville, which is actually at the nearby La Concha hotel. It’s a really nice place; we stayed there before in 2006. Historic and lovely, it is also the tallest building in Key West and has a rooftop bar and overlook that I wanted to go up to and see the Magic from that vantage point. So we strolled inside and to the elevators with purpose, but once again a gaffe- we went to the elevators that we were familiar with- the ones that serviced the wing of the hotel where our room was during our stay. Incidentally this was not the same elevator bank that reached the rooftop. So we exited on the fourth floor and crossed over the pool area to the other set of elevators.
The fourth floor “rooftop” pool:



Once we got in the elevator in the main tower however we discovered the rooftop overlook did not open until 3 PM. Drat. So we rode back down and as we exited through Starbucks this is when we realized we were all hungry and our attitudes were suffering a bit for it.

But just a block away is the Holy Grail for Parrotheads- the original Margaritaville Café and store.







If you have ever been to any of the other huge sprawling Margaritaville complexes that include pools and waterslides and multi level restaurants and shops, well this particular Margaritaville is, shall we say intimate and charming in comparison. Both the restaurant and the shop especially are extremely small in Key West. Even though we were hungry, the plan still was to make it to BO’s so we bypassed the restaurant and bar to make a quick stop in the shop. It wasn’t such a quick stop though as the store was very crowded, and there was little bit of indecision going on so we probably spent an hour or so inside before heading back to the trolley stop to catch the next trolley.

By this time Sarah was barefoot and therefore we were carrying her everywhere. We were exhausted. Ron spotted a “kids” store across the street and we decided to check it out in hopes that they would have some type of shoe that would not rub her blisters. There we found a rather funky looking pair of tiny neon green flip flops with memory foam type soles that would be the envy of any true Diser. They were horrendous looking but they did not rub her ouchies and even though they cost $8, they were more than worth it for the time being to get our aching backs and shoulders some relief.

Emergency ugly shoe purchase complete, we headed back to the trolley stop where we so inconveniently had just missed a trolley. They come every half hour so we waited and waited…and waited on the sidewalk. We were afraid to walk away lest we miss another trolley. Finally one came and we hopped on.



At this point we still had many things we wanted to do, and we did want to try to be back onboard for the DCL Halloween events around 4:30 or so. We weren’t making good time. If there was another stop near BO we missed it and found ourselves riding the circuit through not so charming new town on our way to the Southernmost Point.

As we arrived at the Southernmost Point stop, again we ran into a bunch of our meet thread peeps heading back from the Southernmost Buoy. The light rainfall that had started earlier had cleared up but again the clouds converged and it began to drizzle right as we started the short walk to the Southernmost Point. We thought it would hold out long enough for us to get our picture and we were pretty much right although it was at its hardest right when it was our turn to take our pictures. Since we were not with any of our thread mates at this point, we trade cameras with a group of young adults in line ahead of us and we took their picture and they took ours. Thanks strangers!!



Although it completely slipped my mind, I should have taken one with just the kids in it. Oh well. On our way back to the trolley stop, we saw this literally blown out and abandoned flip flops on the sidewalk (see the strap laying loose on the top of the shoe on the right?) How ironic to be in Key West: the old time home of Jimmy Buffett and find this to bring to mind the iconic line from the song Margaritaville…“Blew out my flip flop…stepped on a pop top..cut my heel had to cruise on back home”.



Well we decided it was pretty much time to cruise on back home, to our temporary home on the Magic. It was much later than I would have liked and we did not accomplish ¼ of what I had planned for us to see and do. But on this day, it just wasn’t to be. Again we had to wait awhile for the trolley, one of the biggest caveats of using it as transportation, but we did use this time wisely, to enjoy a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Oh, it was heavenly!!!!




Tranquility here was short lived, as the tart yet sweet creamy goodness of the Key Lime pie was not enough to keep Sarah content. Not even maracas could prevent the onset of another tantrum… (we bought her one which she immediately broke)



I felt bad for the other lady there waiting at the trolley stop that was subjected to this outburst!!



We completed the trolley circuit, and finally returned to the Depot. On the way we took what the driver described as an unusual route and we got to see many houses and stores elaborately decorated for Halloween. One place (not sure if it was a house or shop, many storefronts in KW are in old historic houses) was completely covered in cobwebs. Stunningly detailed. Either we were moving too fast for a picture or it was among those lost in the bowels of my faulty memory card, I don’t recall which at this point, but we didn't end up with a picture.

This was definitely the most scenic leg of the tour in more ways than one. We observed the lone piece of evidence from the wild extravaganza the night before, a lady wearing nothing but a coat of red paint. Luckily we were riding by at a clip of about 30 MPH and it was one of those things that you'd have to know what you were looking at when you saw it, else your brain would be very confused and you wouldn't realize what you just saw. And for the male readers let me just state for the record, you did not miss anything worth seeing, KWIM? Is fried eggs hanging from naills too descriptive?

Exhausted and now extremely famished we made our way back towards the Magic where we had completely missed the DCL ToT and the Halloween Deck Party was now in full swing.

On the way was one of my absolute favorite shops when I was a kid, my dad would always allow me to pick out one shell to get for a souvenir. As you can see, making a choice in here isn’t so easy.








Our plans for the rest of the evening, first and foremost EAT, and then let the kids have some of the DCL Halloween experience, maybe head back into port to check out the sunset festivities at Mallory Square, and finally dinner at Palo.

How much of that we’d actually get done is another story……

Up next: Halloween on the High Seas!
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bombygriz View Post
WOW, this is a great TR!! I love all the pics of the Halloween themed stuff, so cute! You are a MASTER for doing all those lanyards and TOT things! Can't wait for the update!
Aww, thanks!!!

Quote:
Our meet group could use lanyards like those, so I looked it up but my quote hasn't come in yet. How much did all that come to and how did you get everyone to pitch in? Feel free to PM me.
Well I have posted about it a few times so I don't mind putting it out there. The cost I got was $1.72 per lanyard and the minimum order was 100. Our order was 200 and the final cost with tax was right around $420. Initially I wanted everyone to just purchase their lanyards at cost, the problem we encountered was that if anyone dropped out, the quantity would be lower and then the price gets higher then for everyone else. Such is the problem when making an order where the price is based on quantity ordered. So I would recommend trying to put together a committee or lanyard team of about 20 contributors who put in $10 or $20 each and that buys the lanyards for everyone. That way once the contributors have all put in their money it doesn't matter if people come and go (as long as the amount they have put in is sufficient). Plus that is then less paperwork and tracking you have to do. For example I believe in our case we had 87 disers that bought the 200 lanyards, so I had to keep track of each of those 87 groups, calculate their payments, keep track of if they had paid or not, etc. Throw in pay pal and fees and such and it can get messy...just a lot of administrative work you could avoid going the "lanyard team contributors route".

I charged a flat $3 apiece for the lanyards. The difference in the $1.72 and te $3.00 went to first and foremost supplies to create the nametags, cardstock and enough ink to print 200 of them (I went through 3 ink cartridges), so that was a decent chunk there. And then fees, most people paid by Pay Pal and some transactions I did get deducted a fee for, the buffer covered that. In the end the total fee amount was about $40, so it does add up. And then anyting left over after that went to fund our ToT. It would have first gone as a "buffer" towards covering unclaimed lanyards had any of the 87 people failed to pay (we did have one we had to cover but I was able to sell those lanyards to someone else later) so we broke even on the buffer and all of the overage went to the ToT. After purchasing sullpies the total overage was $167 and that is what we bought the ToT candy with (we actually bought over and above that out of our own pockets, but eh. who's counting...LOL!.) I only know because I did keep meticulous records and even brought all receipts onboard in case anyone wanted to see them.

I hope that makes sense. I'd be happy to help if you have any more questions or anything drop me a PM!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThomsLuvDisney View Post
wow, I agree with the pp, I want you on my next cruise, it looks like you went above and beyond what anyone could have imagined!
Thanks so much, I would be lying if I said it wasn't a lot of work but it was so worth it to see everyone having such a great time!!!

I can't say enough about our great meet thread people, there are more wonderful events coordinated by some of the others in our group that are also outstanding coming up later in the week!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammyepolytinkfan View Post


I loved these tye dye t-shirts and dresses. Did you make these? or did you order them? I would love to make/buy some for my family.
Thank you so much, yes I did make them. There are at least 3 threads with step by step instructions, tips and pictures to guide you along the way.

You can find the threads HERE, HERE, and HERE. There is a very helpful poster on these threads that will give you lots of advice (PixieDust32 and she just might sell on Etsy). I do know you can buy them toofrom others on Etsy and probably Ebay too. I have to say just read the threads carefully (I read all three of them, the entire threads...which I admit was excessive) and you will get all the info you need to guide you through the process. I stink at handcrafts AND sewing so if I can do it I can genuinely say anyone can. My four top tips: good quality 100% cotton clothing, quality dye (we used Dharma which you will erad about in the threads), when you think you have enough rubberbands areound your mickeyhead, add more!!!, and don't be shy with the dye. Get it all up in there.

And most of all, if you decide to make your own..have fun!!!

If you have any specific questions that I can help you with, don't hesitate to ask!!!! And thanks so much for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by taraandmike View Post
Great trip report so far, we went two years ago on Halloween such a fun time to cruise. You did a great job with the TOT, I am sure all involved appreciated all the hard work you dedicated to this, looked like fun for all.
Oh my gosh I agree so much. We weren't even originally booked on this cruise, when another cruiser mentioned they were thinking about changing teir date to the Halloween cruise I thought...hmmm..Halloween, now that's interesting. But what an amazing experience!

I read one or two of the previous Halloween cruise meet threads to get ideas for the ToT- they were fantastic, I'll admit I lifted more than one idea from those who came before me. Ha ha!

Thanks so much for the compliments and for reading!
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:11 PM   #201
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The Dis ToT was AMAZING and an absolute highlight of the trip for our kids. We appreciated so much all of the work you put into it!

We also did the Olde Towne Trolley tour, but opted not to get on and off too much. We did get off at the Southernmost point, but the line to take a photo standing next to the actual marker was LONG, so I took a hint from Tinkerbelltwins, who just seated her two girls on the wall right in front to take a picture, and did the same with my kids. There is some stranger in the background of our photo, but you can still read the marker and it was worth it to just get done with the whole thing fast, since it was hot!

We also stopped and got a key lime pie on a stick and sat in the little air conditioned ice scream shop to eat it while we waited for another trolley to come by.

After we got back to Mallory Square, I hunted down the Key West Winery. The two people running the store were very nice and very funny. They offered me a wine tasting of a few different wines and I ended up purchasing the Key Limon wine and a pineapple wine. The Key Limon wine was consumed the week after we got back from the cruise. I'm saving the pineapple wine to have some time in the summer.

Poor Sarah's pretty toes! You can see the blister on her heel in the photo and it looks painful. Given her feet coupled with how hot it was, I can understand completely why she lost it once or twice!
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:37 PM   #202
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Enjoyed reading your Key West update, sorry to hear of the problems you came across, but we all have them, live and learn! I noticed you didn't have lunch where you hoped, next time!
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:46 PM   #203
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Hey, I recognized my girls' hair from the trolley picture. Here's the reverse pic. Tabitha fell asleep on the ride.
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:44 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by nenner1 View Post


The girls relaxing on the bench with Daniel. You can see Sarah is already hot, and cranky. Her feet were still bothering her from the blisters she got at MNSSP, and we did buy her a pair of children’s sandals there but they still rubbed here where she was sore, so from here on out, she stayed barefoot and crabby.

Maybe if we had done what Judy did with Daniel (bottle of Bud)...




First meltdown of many: This might not have happened.

Well maybe it would have... but for different reason
Another great update!
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:06 PM   #205
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I'm sorry your Key West day had so many issues!

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Is fried eggs hanging from naills too descriptive?
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:41 AM   #206
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Ok- this is my third time replying!! I keep getting sidetracked and have to abort the mission!

I am SO SAD you had such a tough day in KW!!! Kind of the opposite of our day there...I wonder what was different? Oh yea- we left our kids in EDGE because they flat out refused to get off in Key West. What. A. Shame. Here's a pic from my TR to yours-



I wish I would have been paying more attention when I took the pic. Hey, Daniel the Budman looks really responsible- maybe ya just should have left the kids on the bench with him and joined us at the bar!



I really wish those sandals would have fit my feet! What a great deal! I didn't realize you have been going there your whole life- how cool are you??

There's swimming in Key West??? I loved seeing the rooftop pool of your former digs- I would never have known that was up there! When we stayed at the Pier House we spent all of 5 minuites in our pool...due to extreme inclimate weather. Not that we noticed much...

C ya real soon!!
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:53 AM   #207
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Halloween on the High Seas!

As we returned back onboard from Key West, we could hear the sounds of the Halloween Deck Party blasting away up on Deck 9. I took the kids back to the room, and Ron ran up to grab the kids some much needed food from Pluto’s and Pinocchio’s.

This is what was going on up topside (pictures courtesy of morgansmom2000)





The chicken fingers and pizza were wolfed down immediately and we got the kids dressed in their costumes to hopefully take advantage of shorter picture lines while the Main seating diners were eating. That strategy didn’t go so well, as there were already some pretty long lineups and no characters out yet.












Mickey in his magician costume was soon on his way out, followed by Minnie in her witch costume.






The lines were much too long to get both done, so we chose Mickey:










We took a few more minutes to take advantage of the available photo ops, including the white and black lifestyle backgrounds that had no lines at all.





Brendan and Savannah really wanted to see this evenings’ variety show, which was a full length comedy performance by Alfred and Seymour. We hurried back to the rooms to get them out of the costumes and Ron took them down to the show. This was the evening where, after getting them seated in the theater he was heckled mercilessly by A&S as he left.

Back upstairs, I was getting freshened up for our evening in Palo and when Ron returned we enjoyed the gorgeous, world famous Key West sunset from our balcony.




This was so wonderful, as I remember the days of sunsets in Key West where you could actually see the sun touch the water from Mallory Square. You know before the ultra-rich built up that island in the way. Well being on the boat gave us that perspective back, and it was fantastic!





Up Next: A Spooktacular Meal!
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:26 AM   #208
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A Spooktacular Meal!

The kids soon returned from the show, which they thought was hilarious and were off to Flounder’s, the Lab, and the Edge respectively. We didn’t know how well Sarah would handle going to Flounders, as she was only 4 months old last time she was onboard and she is not in day care at home, so basically the only caretakers she has known are us or immediate family members. Luckily she went right in and had a blast playing with the toys. We watched her through the one way mirror for a minute but she never looked back, so we headed off to Palo.

We arrived exactly at our reservation time of 8:30. There was another fantastic Halloween display, and this one still had chocolate in it…not that I wanted any candy of any sort prior to the wonderful meal I was anticipating.



We were seated immediately, to our delight in the “Dis” section right next to Ellen and Pods and Beth and Steve (tinkerbelltwins). In fact we were seated in the same exact seat we sat in for both of our Palo meals last time we were on the Magic in ’08. We were promptly greeted by our server, Sylvester from India, who was AWESOME! We have always received the most outstanding service in Palo.



We were promptly brought our Antipasto Freddo to begin the meal and the delicious crusty bread selection and dipping sauces. These have not changed over years, and there is no need to. There is an aioli, a red pepper, and my favorite- the olive spread!

For drinks, Ron ordered something domestic on tap, and still feeling the Key West thing, I decided to try a Key Lime Martini….oh was this scrumptious!



That is so not the best picture of me, but let me tell you the martini is to die for. It tasted like liquid key lime pie in a glass. But it was deceptively strong. Next thing I knew Ellen and I were over by the kitchen posing with the chefs, the real one and the headless variety!








The first thing we ordered was a pizza for an appetizer. Palo makes delicious pizzas! We had a Margherita, and it was sublime, creamy fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes, sprinkled with fresh basil. Fantastic!



We enjoyed chatting a bit across tables, and before long our appetizers arrived. We are such creatures of habit again we had the same selection, and it is one we always shave at Palo: the Grilled Portobello Mushroom with Polenta and a Roasted Shallot Sauce. Beautiful presentation:



You can also see in that picture our “bonus” appetizer brought over for us to try by Sylvester. As great as our service had been in Palo the last couple of visits, our waiters had not brought us many extra items to try, so it was a nice surprise to have this experience again at every course. Sylvester brought us the Mozzarella and Plum Tomatoes with Basalmic Dressing. I am such a sucker for fresh mozzarella, I probably did not share any of that with Ron (there was a small disc of it beneath the tomato).



And as Ellen has noted in her Trip Report about Palo’s menu description not exactly matching up with the items you actually receive, this is an excellent example. You can see here that the tomato was a large one, not plum tomatoes at all. But it was fresh, crisp and ripe. Very tasty but I admit we did not eat the entire thing. There was so much more to come…


We did, however scrape our Portobello appetizer plates dry. I just love it! It is a tender large grilled Portobello cap served over a polenta (which if you have not had polenta before it is made out of cornmeal and is a lot like cornbread, but not so dense or crusty). The polenta was soft and light and not soggy. It crumbled gently away as you cut it. The mushroom and polenta are covered by a scrumptious shallot sauce and drizzed with a truffle oil. It had a light earthy but not overpowering taste. It was terrific.
While we were waiting for our entrée, we were offered a tiny serving of lime sorbet as an intermezzo. While it was tangy and tasty, sorry, my creamy lime pudding in a glass was way tastier. Although I am pretty sure it was gone by this point.

Before too long, our entrees had arrived, again I must apologize to those of you looking to see a large variety of food to read about, as we both ordered the Beef Tenderloin Palo served with the signature Barola Red Wine Sauce, and also with a small stack of scalloped potatoes. Boring? Maybe, but wow did it taste delicious!



My steak was perfectly cooked medium well (which is not too easy to get gray inside and not black outside!), it was well seasoned but not overpowering. The meat had a rich deep flavor and was still very tender and juicy. The red wine sauce was tangy and smooth, a perfect complement. The potatoes were just OK, nothing really to write home about to mom here. They were a little dry, but I don’t like wet scalloped potatoes anyway. We had absolutely no problem cleaning our plates, that’s for sure!



And we also had requested a small serving of the Wild Mushroom and Hazelnut Risotto to share. We had enjoyed the mushroom risotto so much the night before, we were ready to see if Palo’s version could outshine it. For sure it did, this risotto was so lip smacking good! Topped with a thick coat of parmesan, it had deep earthy and nutty flavors, was creamy and not dry, the rice was al dente but still tender. I highly recommend this dish! (And yeah you can blame in on Le Cellier for my continuing desire to eat risotto with my filet!)

I had hoped it would not happen, but it always does. Yes…it was dessert time and we were STUFFED. How in the world this can be avoided in Palo I’ll never know. Maybe if we reversed things and *started* with dessert? Obviously the chocolate soufflé is a given and we had already let Sylvester know that we would need four of them, two to take back to the kids. On our last cruise they were jealous that we were eating in Palo and that they could not join us so we promised we’d bring them back pizza and a dessert, a tradition that we have followed on each subsequent Palo visit.
But no matter how full I profess to be, there is always…ALWAYS room for this:




There really is no way to describe the Palo Signature Chocolate Soufflé except as chocolate heaven in a ramekin. It is super rich, fluffy, chocolatey…perfection.

Here it is made even more indulgent swimming in chocolate and vanilla bean sauce:




Sylvester had also brought us a Panna Cotta to share. I think I may have been able to muster one bite, which is a shame, as the Panna Cotta is delicious. It was a creamy and dense vanilla custard with fresh mixed berries and puree. The vanilla bean flavor was rich and pure, you could see the black specks of vanilla bean in the custard. Oh if only we had the room to eat more than a few bites of it!




In fact every time we come to Palo, I swear I will eat less so that I can enjoy more of the fabulous desserts. For instance just look at these other drool inducing offerings: Tiramisu, Chocolate Amaretto Indulgence, Pineapple and Almond Ravioli! But I can never get past that soufflé. It is the be-all-end-all at Palo and it is every bit as good as they all say.


As much as we would have loved to linger over dinner, we had to go pick up Sarah at Flounder’s. We bid adieu to Pods and Ellen and headed down to Deck 5. Not surprisingly Sarah was still going strong, having a blast. We would find out that the kids in Flounder’s had a special visit from Chip and Dale earlier (still all decked out in their Cops and Robbers costumes!) Sarah was the only one awake so she got to play with Chip and Dale for quite a while. The staff thought it was hilarious that she played with them without thinking twice about why two oversize chipmunks in costumes were just hanging with her playing.

The staff took pictures too, isn’t this just adorable?









So after we tore her away from Flounder’s screaming “Toys! Toys! Want to play Toys!!!”, we happened upon the Adult Costume Contest happening below us in the Atrium.




There were lots of amazing costumes, including one family of Cinderella and Prince Charming that had two little kids, a boy and a girl also dressed up as Cinderella and Prince Charming. I had seen them earlier in the evening and they looked so amazing that people (including myself at first) thought they were the “real” Cinderella and Prince Charming and were approaching them for pictures (hey, what did they expect just hanging out in the Atrium like that!)

This however has to be my favorite costume!!! This person gets credit for lugging this monstrosity onboard!!



And even though it was billed as an “Adult” costume contest, there were many children present and participating, like mini Prince Charming and Cinderella. There was a whole family of the Flintstones, also for example, including Pebbles and Bam-Bam and a Queen of Hearts with a little Alice in Wonderland. So for anyone wondering, yes kids can participate in the contest as part of an ensemble, just not on their own.

After the contest ended, we continued on to the Lab to pick up Savannah. While she did have fun meeting some of the girls she had talked to prior to the cruise on the kids’ meet thread, as a whole she did not enjoy her experience in the Lab at all. In her words it was “Taken over by babies”. While that may be a bit extreme it was obvious that the Lab had all ages, and in fact most of the population I observed was between the ages of say 5 and 8. The new club structure that allows the kids between the ages of 3 and 10 to move freely between the Club and Lab did not suit her AT ALL. She begged to go to the Edge with Brendan the next time (which of course, she couldn’t do). While she is only 9, she does skew a bit older due to having an older brother and they share the same neighborhood friends who are all a bit older than her. So the new Club/Lab deal gets thumbs down from her and us. I think overall the Lab struggles to engage the 9 and 10 year olds to begin with and add in the influx of younger children and this makes it even harder. I know tweens are a hard age group to please, but this is somewhere Disney could improve with regard to ages 9 and 10 in the Lab.

Brendan, on the other hand LOVED the Edge and we could hardly pull him out of there. In fact every parent of 11-13 year olds that we spoke to about the Edge had the same problem as us, which was getting their child to leave it. This was wonderful! Since kids in the Edge do not have pagers and have automatic check in/out privileges, we told Brendan he could enjoy the late nights in Edge until it closed down if he wanted, and he did so, every single night. He was instructed to call us when he got back to the room and let us know that he had returned, and he was very good about that (except one night he forgot and we had to call over there at 4 AM).

A quick stop in the rooms, and both were adorned with spooky floating ghosts!!!





But you didn’t think this night was over did you? Savannah had been dying to try Karaoke, so the four of us took off for Studio Sea to join in the Family Karaoke session. Make no mistake, this event-though billed as “Family” is strictly for and about the kids.

Sarah, being the late night party animal that she is, was really getting into it. Looks like we have a baby headbanger on our hands!! (Video, Click to play!)



Savannah chose “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, and when she was called up to the stage, she inadvertently allowed that little opportunistic bugger Sarah slide through the partition and, well, she stole the show.






This clip is probably a minute long, but it is absolutely hilarious of Sarah in her PJ’s sneaking up on stage….Baby’s First Karaoke! (Video, Click to play!)



So it was around midnight and we were wiped out. We headed back to the room and ordered room service of a carafe of coffee for the next morning (Usually it will stay hot overnight so you have it ready as soon as you awake) and some warm milk to hopefully coax Sarah into sleeping. It didn’t work too well, and we would find ourselves continually apologizing to our Dis next door neighbors Karen and Jerry for the noise late at night.
Luckily we had a somewhat lazy day at sea ahead of us, hopefully with plenty of relaxing!

Up Next: Food, Folks, and FUN!
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Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas 9/2011- NEW! TRIP REPORT! - Disney Magic 7 Night Western 10/2010: Trip Report - Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas 1/2010: Trip Report and Videos - Disney Magic 7 Night Western Double Dip 09/08: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 3 Night Bahamas 10/07: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 4 Night Bahamas 03/07: Trip Report

Last edited by nenner1; 01-01-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:54 AM   #209
nenner1
I must've been distracted by the Cafe Press Logo Thong talk!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKSWonder View Post
The Dis ToT was AMAZING and an absolute highlight of the trip for our kids. We appreciated so much all of the work you put into it!
Thank you so much!!! The compliments from our group mean so much to me. I'm delighted everyone had so much fun!!!

Quote:
We also did the Olde Towne Trolley tour, but opted not to get on and off too much. We did get off at the Southernmost point, but the line to take a photo standing next to the actual marker was LONG, so I took a hint from Tinkerbelltwins, who just seated her two girls on the wall right in front to take a picture, and did the same with my kids. There is some stranger in the background of our photo, but you can still read the marker and it was worth it to just get done with the whole thing fast, since it was hot!
What a great idea! Yeah it took about 15 minutes to get through the line. Not too bad. I wish I hadn't rushed when it was our turn up there, i'm not too thrilled with the pics we have. but oh well. We'll be back.

Quote:
We also stopped and got a key lime pie on a stick and sat in the little air conditioned ice scream shop to eat it while we waited for another trolley to come by.
Oh that was sooooo good! We only bought one (as opposed to two...or ten...) because at that point we thought we'd still be in the city for quite a while longer and would head to Kermit's...which we didn't end up doing.

Quote:
After we got back to Mallory Square, I hunted down the Key West Winery. The two people running the store were very nice and very funny. They offered me a wine tasting of a few different wines and I ended up purchasing the Key Limon wine and a pineapple wine. The Key Limon wine was consumed the week after we got back from the cruise. I'm saving the pineapple wine to have some time in the summer.
That was somewhere else I wanted to check out. We aren't big wine drinkers but the the fruit wines really intrigued me. I guess we just have more of an excuse to get back there agin sooner rather than later!!!

Quote:
Poor Sarah's pretty toes! You can see the blister on her heel in the photo and it looks painful. Given her feet coupled with how hot it was, I can understand completely why she lost it once or twice!
Yep, her heels were the worst. We had already used all of the bandaids in the first aid kit we got in our FE, and I had brought along a first aid kit I got in my FE on my last cruise and we used those up too. Luckily they were healed enough by midweek that we didn't need to go down to the medical center for more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl726 View Post
Enjoyed reading your Key West update, sorry to hear of the problems you came across, but we all have them, live and learn! I noticed you didn't have lunch where you hoped, next time!
Yep! That's the good thing we have plenty to look forward to next time we are in KW! Our port days would steadily improve from here...Or, well...we did have a few moments in Cayman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchgal View Post
Hey, I recognized my girls' hair from the trolley picture. Here's the reverse pic. Tabitha fell asleep on the ride.
Hi Amy! Oh awesome pic!!! Sorry if I was loud! The girls are too cute!! And hey, the trolley is perfect for a nap especially for the part through NewTown and the hotels...**snooze*** LOL! Thanks for stoppin by!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by livingis2me View Post
Another great update!
Thanks, as always....only you could have noticed Daniel with a Bud!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer48 View Post
I'm sorry your Key West day had so many issues!

Thanks, that's OK. We still enjoyed it!! You know what they say about the best laid plans, LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by podsnel View Post
Ok- this is my third time replying!! I keep getting sidetracked and have to abort the mission!
LOL! I know what you mean!!!

Quote:
I am SO SAD you had such a tough day in KW!!! Kind of the opposite of our day there...I wonder what was different? Oh yea- we left our kids in EDGE because they flat out refused to get off in Key West. What. A. Shame.
Aww, it's alright, it comes with the territory.

Quote:
Here's a pic from my TR to yours-

Thanks, it's so awesome to find yourself in someone else's memories! LOL!

Quote:
I wish I would have been paying more attention when I took the pic. Hey, Daniel the Budman looks really responsible- maybe ya just should have left the kids on the bench with him and joined us at the bar!
Oh no kidding, that would have been perfect. Wen you read about my Allure cruise and I say that we expected THAT one to be different because Sarah will be older and finally through the terrible twos, you can remind me of this and the fact that I know 9 months in advance that I will be wrong. Ha!


Quote:
I really wish those sandals would have fit my feet! What a great deal! I didn't realize you have been going there your whole life- how cool are you??
And nothing has changed in 30 plus years, the shoes are still the same. I ad the exact same pair we got Sarah when I was 3! It's a trip!!!

Yea when I was little we went twice a year two weeks at a time to the keys. We would camp at Long Key. Wonderful memories. We went back in 2006 and discovered I'm not much of a camping person anymore, at least not in a tent. LOL.

Quote:
There's swimming in Key West??? I loved seeing the rooftop pool of your former digs- I would never have known that was up there! When we stayed at the Pier House we spent all of 5 minuites in our pool...due to extreme inclimate weather. Not that we noticed much...

C ya real soon!!
Woo hoo, we are even, I have caught up with you! Can't wait to see how you spent some of the little time we were actually apart on this cruise!! Ha ha!
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Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas 9/2011- NEW! TRIP REPORT! - Disney Magic 7 Night Western 10/2010: Trip Report - Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas 1/2010: Trip Report and Videos - Disney Magic 7 Night Western Double Dip 09/08: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 3 Night Bahamas 10/07: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 4 Night Bahamas 03/07: Trip Report
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:19 PM   #210
taraandmike
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great update! We love the polenta mushrrom appetizer at Palo too! We always get that wonderful souffle also, we will definatley have to follow in your footsteps and bring back two for our children, this year my oldest daughter is old enough to go to Palo so our other two will especially be jealous of this. I do have to admit I love the Panna Cotta it is just so light after so much food!

Love the picture of Sarah just playing with Dale, like it is an everyday thing. It was wonderful she had that special one one one interaction with those characters.
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