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Old 01-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #241
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So fun to see the pictures of Ron Jon Resort. We stayed there in June for a couple days to celebrate my wife's new job and loved it as well. In fact, we stayed in the room a couple doors down from yours.

Our 3 year old son learned to swim in that 'lazy' river, which is not so lazy. The current would carry him along and he would bounce his toes on the ground until he was just swimming. We did get scolded a few times for not staying with our raft, though.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:20 PM   #242
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Just a quick pop in to reassure ya'll that I am indeed back for good. I am working on the next part but posting will be a tad sporadic this week as I am finishing up <ahem> an online class. It is boring as all get out and I keep falling asleep during it.

So, not a tease...more coming! Soon! Now it's time for a nap, I mean class!
Have fun with that class.... ?
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:31 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by nenner1 View Post
Just a quick pop in to reassure ya'll that I am indeed back for good. I am working on the next part but posting will be a tad sporadic this week as I am finishing up <ahem> an online class. It is boring as all get out and I keep falling asleep during it.

So, not a tease...more coming! Soon! Now it's time for a nap, I mean class!
WOO HOO!

Now I will have to be sure to check back more often.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:09 PM   #244
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Beating The Storm (Float-by 2 and 3!)

It was now early afternoon, and being a little bit gorged from lunch, we decided to take the 10-minute or so trip out to the beach. You can walk straight there (down an access road between the Pool and Oceanfront Buildings) or, better yet- there is a “tram” that makes routine trips between the buildings!

To get to the tram stop, there are exit gates at the back of the pool area. We walked out and headed towards the security shack where a covered bench is located.



It is only feet from the pool area and easy to spot. We had to wait a few minutes for the “ tram” to arrive- not too bad.



Here is the “tram”:



The ride to (or from) the Ocean-side Building takes only a minute or so. You are dropped off right near the entrance to the Ocean building, where the is a sign pointing to a path and boardwalk to the beach access.

It is a really long zig-zagging path. Looking toward the beach:





And looking back toward the Ocean Building (on the right of this photo):



Did I mention the beach access path is really, really long?



We did not see anyone actually renting. I am sure they were there- somewhere, as people here and there would have chairs and umbrellas. But never saw a human manning the booth here. Except my kids, of course.



When we (finally) arrived at the actual beach, the sun was still out, the surf was high and there was a gentle breeze! Perfect!












The waves were really high, especially if you went further out and the kids and Ron were having a ball bodysurfing and riding the waves in.







Sarah wanted to stay closer to the shoreline, so I relaxed and played in the sand:






I changed out my lenses on my big camera but unfortunately the waterproof camera quickly ran out of battery not long later.

\

Before too long, the usual Florida summertime afternoon cloud cover began moving in.



The big kids and Ron would have probably never gotten out if I didn’t remind them that the Monarch of the Seas was going to leave soon and we’d better walk over to Jetty Park if we didn’t want to miss it.

It was also starting to get really, really dark. Rain was imminent.

The short walk over to Jetty Park takes between 5-10 minutes depending on how fast you trudge through the sand. We were going a little bit on the slow side, especially Brendan and Savannah since they had been battling the surf for over an hour.



The birds were still around, too. It was pretty much them and us, most people had already headed back due to the very ominous cloud cover.



If you want to head into actual Jetty Park, there is a pathway up into the actual park area. We wanted to stay out towards the actual jetty/ pier/channel right where the ship sails by. We soon realized these huge rocks kept us from getting over to the pier.

The rocks didn’t stop this guy. He climbed right over them. We weren’t about to do that with the kids with us, so we waited right where we were.



We didn’t wait too long before I realized that it was 3:30 and Monarch actually sails at 5PM, not 4 PM. Ooops. Don’t know how I messed that up. Between that and the rainstorms moving in, we decided we’d better start

to head back to the Ron Jon.

So we made out way back across the beach, up the long zig-zag boardwalk and out to the Ron Jon Ocean building, where luckily the tram was waiting! Perfect!

A couple of minutes later and we were being dropped off amid fat, sporadic raindrops back at the pool.

Ron and the big kids went to ride the slide a few more times, and Sarah wanted to jump in the main pool and take advantage of the finally deserted water volleyball court area.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:12 PM   #245
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Beating The Storm (Float-by 2 and 3!) Part 2

Before too long, Sarah and I headed back to the room for a shower and Ron and the kids decided to try and find a spot on the premises to watch the Monarch leave from.

They headed to the far side of the building and watched from the upper floor walkway. They made it over just in time too. Monarch was already passing by!



They said she looked much closer from that vantage point than these pics made her appear.





And there she goes! Later!





Then it was time for more showers and getting ready for dinner. We had planned a Dis Meet for Fishlips at the port at 7PM. Problem is, when we called earlier in the week to make a reservation for the group, Fishlips said they could not accommodate us due to a wedding that would be taking up their entire second floor and the fact that they had already booked too many other large “cruise meet groups”. UGH! They had told us though that they would try to sit us together if possible when we arrived I was hoping that would be the case but other than one other family, the other Disers were “iffy” on if they would make or not so we weren’t even sure how many would show up in the end anyway.

The kids goofing around on the balcony as we got ready for dinner.



Sarah doing her best Honey Boo Boo impression.



I have not shown you yet, but below the walkway to our room in the front of the building is a mini-golf course! Here is the view from above:



As we headed out, the skies opened up and it finally began sprinkling harder. As ominous as the clouds had been earlier, there had not been much rain to speak of- until now. The walkway to the parking garage is under cover so we didn’t get wet when we walked to the van, but we surely would when we arrived at Fishlips.

Here we are, Fishlips Bar and Grill:



As you can see, they were indeed busy despite the inclement weather.

We checked in at the desk and were told there would be a short wait. We were not sure if any other Disers had actually made it, so we had checked in as only our group of 5. We could see inside that the restaurant was indeed packed with many parties waiting to be seated. We also saw more than one big long table full of what must have been the other “cruise groups” that beat us to the punch on the reservations. Presumably these folks were going on the CDream or Freedom of the Seas the next day.

And sure enough the wedding party/reception was there- up on the second floor, but that whole situation was strange. The bar is up there, and still open to regular patrons, and even some of the non-wedding customers were being seated for dinner upstairs 8 , alongside the wedding guests who apparently had a whole spread of tables of buffet food. The wedding reception was not segregated from the regular customers at all. It was weird. I’m sure the crowdedness of the restaurant was also influenced by the weather- nobody was sitting/eating outside because of the now heavy rain.

Anyway only a minute or two after sitting down on the couch to wait for our beeper to go off I was approached and asked if I was Jen. YAY! Another cruiser!

In fact the other family we knew was coming had made it! They were Mary, and Jeff, and son Connor from New York and a pleasure to meet. The kids and Connor hit it off well and headed to the arcade to play as we awaited being seated and socialized. Because they had also already checked in, they were waiting for a separate table too. We briefly discussed putting our reservations together but given how busy the place was, we decided just to chat now and keep our table reservations as they were. In retrospect I wish we had gone ahead and combined the tables- we wound up seeing a lot of each other on the cruise and our kids got along marvelously. In fact we would all end up spending the day (mostly) together in Castaway Cay!
It was about 20 more minutes before we were called for our table, and had a hard time getting the kids out of the arcade! In fact- a funny story- there is a claw machine there and Savannah spotted a very nice looking toy inside. The kids each took their turn at getting it and finally one of them got it but it dropped to soon and got wedged half in and half out. This caused a bit of drama as one kid stood guard at the claw while the others ran back for more money so they could get the claw going again and manipulate it out. As it turns out Connor used some of his money to get it free and gave it to Savannah because she wanted it so bad. What a nice kid!

Savannah was so happy!!

And check it out- this was indeed no normal “Claw” toy- it was a Build-A-Bear! Whoa!



Now I have no idea if all the toys in the claw machine at Fishlips are full-size Build-A-Bears or if this was a lost/left behind toy that got added to the rest. But what a score! So, thanks to Connor and his generosity this guy has a new home!

So our party was seated at a booth and Mary and her family were seated at another small table across the room shortly afterward. We really regretted not waiting longer or trying to have our tables put together. The moral of this story is make your Pre-Cruise Dis Meet reservations early so you don’t get shut out like we did!

After being seated we had to wait awhile for our waiter to arrive and greet us. He was clearly very busy, quite harried, and abrupt and not the friendliest. So service wasn’t the greatest. All the more reason we should have just been with our new friends, I’m sure the long waits for food and drink (and our server) would have been much better tolerated with company.

In any event, when our server did arrive we went ahead and placed our orders. Now, while a bit pricey, I will say Fishlips has a pretty huge menu with a lot of variety. Of course, as one would expect it skews heavily to the seafood department, but there were plenty of chicken, pasta and steak items too, as well as sandwiches and burgers. You can check out their menu on their website.

It took quite a long time for our food to arrive. We waited at least a half hour, possibly closer to between 45 minutes and an hour for our meals. Luckily I had this Bahama Mama Ron had grabbed me from the bar!



The kids were fairly patient too. We ended up sending them back to the arcade for a little while since they got restless.



Finally our food showed up. It is pretty cool how the plates come in these little bamboo boxes, but this is how there were just left at our table rather unceremoniously (I will refrain from using the term “dumped”, but that is pretty much what happened) And the waitress you see in this photo is NOT our server, we had a somewhat grumpy guy. She was just passing by and was looking at the table behind us.



As rough as the service was, this evening we found the food slightly better, for the most part.

Sarah and Savannah both had picked the Fried Mac & Cheese kids meal. Savannah loves macaroni and cheese and was excited to try these, alas she didn’t end up liking them at all and barely ate anything. The rest of us spilt the little fried nuggets among ourselves and they were good! As you can see the kids’ meal portion was a good size, served with fries and they also came with ice cream for dessert!





Brendan had the Fish Tacos. Served with black beans and rice and a spicy salsa, he thought they were fantastic!



See him chowing down?



I had the Coconut Shrimp. Six large (but not super jumbo) shrimp, with coconut batter and deep fried golden and crispy. Served with spicy corn and rice and a mango salsa/sauce, they were good but not really that filling. I was still hungry afterwards.



Ron had the Crab Cake Sandwich- Pan seared lump crab cake served on a roll with fries and cajun remoulade. He is a fan of crab cakes and high hopes for this one but it fell flat. The bun/roll the sandwich was served on was stale and the crab cake did not have a lot of meat in it, nor a lot of flavor. It was a disappointment.



After our meals came the long wait for our server again to get dessert- the girls’ meals were supposed to come with ice cream, and Brendan also ordered a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I decided to get the Chocolate Cake.





It looks good but, it was a bit of a letdown. The cake was dry, the icing a bit too sweet and cloying (and I am a huge chocolate fan) and again- not a lot of flavor. It wasn’t very rich, just kindof blah.



And after dinner another long wait for the check. Mary, Jeff, and Connor were long gone by the time we were done, unfortunately. As we would come to find out another (just married!) couple from our cruise had been there earlier and yet another family from our cruise was there when we were, but seated upstairs. I really wish we had managed to pull off getting a reservation for a large table, it really would have made the dinner much more enjoyable.



So now we have eaten at both Fishlips and Grills and as disappointing as this evening may have sounded, overall I prefer the atmosphere of Fishlips. Ron prefers Grills. We will give it a try again (on a hopefully less crowded night!)

After dinner, we made a quick run to Publix to pick up some necessities we’d need for the cruise(*cough*beer*cough*), and driving back to the resort, we could clearly see the CDream , neon glowing brightly as it awaited its’ passengers the next day. We could hardly wait for morning!



Back at the Ron Jon, we had last minute laundry and re-packing to do. I was up rather late finishing that up, and doing other last minute preparations (cutting out my magnets was one thing I needed to finish!) It was well after midnight when I finally got to sleep.

And a few short hours later, at about 5 AM, Ron’s alarm went off. He likes to try and she the ships arrive back in port of possible. He took a few minutes to wake Savannah, since she wanted to see the Fantasy come in too. Since the alarm woke me as well, I got up to move the laundry into the dryer. Ron and Savannah left, bound for the other end of the complex with the best view. I was surprised when-a split second later, the door opened and Ron popped his head in and exclaimed , ‘Jen! Get out here! Quick!” I scurried to the front door, not sure what exactly was out there, opened it and about fell over.



Right in front of us, clearly hugely visible right from our door, was HER! The beautiful Fantasy, gliding into port to await our arrival in just a few short hours!

Sorry as these pictures just do not do it justice!



I cannot explain how excited we were at that moment. After 18 months of waiting, it had finally arrived! It was our turn!

Up Next: Can I get a Fastpass?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:53 PM   #246
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Your descriptions and reviews of Ron Jon and Fishlips are excellent! Really looking forward to hearing about your cruise!
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:59 PM   #247
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I am really enjoying your TR and great pics! Looking forward to reading about the cruise portion!
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:05 PM   #248
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Wow! I had kind of forgotten about that awesome moment when I opened the door and saw the Fantasy for the first time. It was such a thrilling moment! I could not have imagined a better way to see her for the first time! It was one of those silly moments that I read about all the time here on the Dis. To me they had become way too cliche on the boards and I swore that people were exaggerating... You know like when they say something was so funny that they spit their beverage all over the computer screen... Well for this moment I was eating crow... It was (oh no... am I really going to say it?) magical!

Ron
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:11 PM   #249
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Sorry the dinner wasn't the best.

But, how exciting that y'all got to see the Fantasy coming into port!!
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:34 AM   #250
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That Resort has a nice stretch of beach, it is definitely a far walk. Sorry your cruise meet didn't work out as well as you hoped.

That's awesome you got to see the ship right outside and watch it come in.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:32 AM   #251
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Wow! I had kind of forgotten about that awesome moment when I opened the door and saw the Fantasy for the first time. It was such a thrilling moment! I could not have imagined a better way to see her for the first time! It was one of those silly moments that I read about all the time here on the Dis. To me they had become way too cliche on the boards and I swore that people were exaggerating... You know like when they say something was so funny that they spit their beverage all over the computer screen... Well for this moment I was eating crow... It was (oh no... am I really going to say it?) magical!

Ron


How awesome you could experience that!
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:38 AM   #252
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Your description of FishLips is right on par with what we experienced when we went there, but there was no wedding and no rain and we were able to get a large table. We didn't enjoy the service or the food. Reading that things haven't improved make it hard to try them again.

I can imagine your excitement Ron at seeing the Fantasy outside your door.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #253
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ohhhhhh it gives me goosebumps, I get so excited!
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #254
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Wow our experience at Fishlips was so different. We went there (we being myself, my oldest son and wife and my youngest son and girlfriend) before our Dream cruise in Oct11. It was a Saturday night around 8 and not that crowded. We, of course, had missed all the sailaways, but we spent that day at the space center so the boys were okay with that.

We thought our food was great and a lot of it. Sure we ordered more than you guys cause the boys had to have appetizers. I know we ordered at least 2 possibly 3 for the table!! They even had fireworks across the water that night so we went outside to see that.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this place.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #255
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We enjoyed Fishlips last year, but it wasn't crowded at all. The food was just Ok and the dessert looked better, but now I see you say it wasn't that great either.
Some of my family went in Nov and I think they said it was just OK then too.

How awesome to see the Fantasy come in. I have seen the Dream come in twice and it's just so exciting and amazing! Especially the first time.
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