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Old 01-16-2013, 02:28 PM   #121
Pinkocto
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I love that backpack! Very nice birthday present

What a nice and relaxing last day. So are you thinking you won't do a 7 night again?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:12 AM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggrbaby View Post
Ooh, sunset pics! What a lovely last evening!
I was so happy that I did manage to see a sunset after we missed it all cruise for one reason or another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
You're right. Dang it!

All your excursions looked fabulous and I loved all the gowns. I can't believe how many "costume changes" you execute in one day. I'm lucky just to get the both of us dressed once much less multiple times!

I can't believe you're already on the last day. Re: the Dooney Bag, I saw that same pattern on my cruise, but since I was looking for such a little bag, the pattern was lost on that purse. It's nice and I love the placement on your tote!

After hearing about your Character Breakfast, I feel like we made the right choice on our cruise to have a second visit to Palo. Even though I love the characters, I was more happy to have a spectacular meal instead of the character interaction. I'm sure the servers on our cruise (if they were the same ones as dinner) would have been wonderful, but when comparing the meal to Palo there isn't a comparison. Sorry that you didn't get your funny hats. I'm not sure we would like the whole funny hats thing, so that's not a big appeal for me.

Looking forward to hearing about the WDW part!
The "costume changes" were a very gradual process, but something I could not imagine doing without now. The first three cruises, I essentially went to dinner wearing t shirts, trousers and Crocs. I did not even have anything to wear for Pirate Night and got a Pirate t shirt at Mickey's Mates. My only concession as far as a cruise wardrobe goes was an evening gown that I got for our first two cruises. I always wanted one, but could never justify it. Suddenly I had an occasion to wear one. For my third cruise, I put together a Pirate costume of sorts.

The dressing for dinner thing happened out of necessity for our Med cruise. We flew to Barcelona with a low cost carrier and had a very limited baggage allowance. I figured out that dresses weigh less than trousers and tops and if I get changed once we get back from am excursion, I can make the same outfit last for two days. I then realized that I actually rather enjoyed it and have been doing it since. It also looks nice in the photos.

With the Dooney and Bourke bag, this has worked out rather differently from how I had planned it. I had planned to get the barrel bag in the ships design and backpack in the sketch design that they sell in the parks. I figured that a backpack would be handy for around the parks even though I had some misgivings about it being white. Then I saw the backpack on the ship and I was sold. This was just as well as I did not see the sketch backpack anywhere. I may still get the barrel bag or a wristlet on the next cruise though.

If I had the choice between the character breakfast and Palo, that would be no contest. I am actually not sure if I will bother with the character breakfast on our next two cruises and I most certainly won't do it on both parts of our back to back cruise. The funny thing is, neither of us is keen on the silly hats, but this was more a matter of principle. This is a part of the character breakfast and our serving team should not just have disappeared.

I should be starting on the WDW part very soon. I am working on the transition day at the moment and this should be posted later today. Then I get going on WDW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
I love that backpack! Very nice birthday present

What a nice and relaxing last day. So are you thinking you won't do a 7 night again?
I would not go as far. Any cruise is better than no cruise. We are even thinking about doing a 3 or 4 night cruise on the Dream at some stage just so we can say we have experienced one of the new ships. I also really want to do a Western Caribbean Cruise that stops at Falmouth, Jamaica and we still have not done an Eastern Caribbean cruise. My preference is for the longer cruises though and I am hoping that there may be another Panama Canal cruise on the menu in the not too distant future.

Corinna
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #123
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Day 11

We had set the wake up call for just before 7:00 AM and got up and ready. We packed all our remaining stuff in our carry ons. I had left my door spotter and my magnets on the door as I always find it very sad to come back from dinner on the last evening and the door looks bare. So I needed to take those down. After a last check that we had not forgotten anything, we left our room for the last time. We went in search of our Stateroom Host to say goodbye and then we headed down to Shutters to pick up my CD and the photos. I was surprised that there was no line at all. We checked through the photos one last time and some of the photos that had been missing the previous day were suddenly in my folder. They were also in a separate envelope with the ones I had ordered the previous day. They threw out the duplicates, added the copies of the ones that really had not been printed and put the photos in cardboard wallets. Everything fit neatly in my carry on. We said goodbye to the photography staff. When we left, a good-sized line was forming. We had timed this perfectly.

As everything had gone so smoothly, we still had quite a bit time until breakfast. All. Rise I had wanted to take a photo of the front of the ship with the DCL flag raised, but never got around to it. I decided to put this right. Graham decided to come with me. We headed up to Deck 10 on the midship elevator and took a leisurely stroll forward enjoying the morning air. I took my photos and we watched the world go by for a bit before strolling to the aft of the ship and I took some more photos on the way. By then it was nearly time for breakfast and we headed down to Deck 3. They were not quite ready to open the doors yet and there was a huge crowd in front of Parrot Cay. Soon the crowd started to move and we were allowed to go inside. Everybody on our table was present, which was nice. Considering that this was the last morning and they had to get the ship ready for the next cruise, our serving team was in no rush. We got offered coffee and juice and left the menu and then nothing happened. Fortunately nobody was in a rush as we all had afternoon or evening flights. When breakfast finally arrived, it was lovely though. Graham had some fresh fruit and yoghurt followed by Route 66, which consists of Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Grilled Sausage, Grilled Ham and Hash Brown. I ordered Chef's Farewell, which is a large open-faced Omelet topped with Barbecued Chicken, Green Peppers, Onions and Swiss Cheese. This did not go off without a hitch though. When our server brought out the food, instead of the Omelet, she brought me a huge plate of Bacon. I do like Bacon, but I prefer Back Bacon to Streaky Bacon and I won't eat Bacon if it is crispy. So this went straight back and I eventually got what I had ordered and this was great. We all finished our breakfast and then people started to drift away. I wanted to say goodbye to our serving team and managed to catch our assistant server, but our server had disappeared somewhere.





















We decided that it was time to leave. There was no line whatsoever to get off the ship and also no line to get our luggage. For once both of our suitcases were together. We were then directed to a line for immigration. I had been quietly optimistic about this as it had not felt that there were many non-US citizens on board. However, the line was quite impressive and moving very slowly. They only had two positions open for non-US citizens and the other positions in that area where used for people using porters. We have learnt our lesson. If we get the chance to cruise out of Galveston again, we will use a porter. Still, eventually it was our turn and after some brief scratching of head when the immigration official scanned my passport, we were through. We just crossed the road to the taxi rank and we were on our way to Enterprise to collect the car. There was nobody in front of us, but it still took a while until everything was sorted out. We found out that we had been incredibly lucky. A day after I made the reservation, the one-way rental charge had gone up from $25 to $100. This would have made this way too expensive. Still, eventually we were taken outside and given a quick crash course on how to operate the car. The car did not have an ignition key, but was started using a remote. The drive from Galveston to the Galleria shopping centre was quite smooth and we only ran into some traffic once. Finding access to the Galleria was a different matter. This was signposted when we left the motorway, but then there was no further indication where we needed to go. I spotted a department store that I knew was one of the anchor stores at the Galleria. We just drove alongside this building until we found an entrance to the car park. When we had parked, I took a photo of the sign showing the area where we were parked in and also a photo of the number plate. It was only when I wanted to delete this from my camera, I noticed that the number plate was quite fitting for me.



We headed up into the shopping centre and to my delight, the Christmas decorations were up. I stopped to take some photos. We had a quick bathroom break and then we went exploring. The Galleria is owned by Simon Malls, who also own the Florida Mall. From the kind of shops that are there, it reminds me more of the Mall at Millenia though. This was really a bit too upscale for our taste. Graham did not find anything that took his fancy. He was hoping to get some sunglasses with straps, but there was nothing of the kind. I browsed at Torrid, the Sanrio Store and the Disney Store. I managed to get a set of mini lipglosses that I had been looking for at MAC Cosmetics and some goodies at Bath and Body Works. I also wanted to get a bath fizzer from Lush to use in the jacuzzi tub in the one bedroom villa that we would have for our last night at Walt Disney World. I had checked the website for the Galleria before we left the UK and Lush was listed. When I looked at the store directory when we got there, there was no sign of Lush. Fortunately I remembered that some Macy's have a Lush concession and I was in luck there. So I managed to get my ballistic. We had a look at the ice rink. They had a huge Christmas tree in the middle and there were some figure skating lessons going on so we hung around for a bit to watch.











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Old 01-17-2013, 01:59 PM   #124
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When we had watched for long enough, we were starting to feel hungry. One of the draws of the Galleria had been that there is a Cheesecake Factory. We enjoyed our meal there in Anaheim, but had not managed to try the Cheesecake. We needed to put this right. Graham had the the Factory Nachos, which consisted of crisp Tortilla Chips covered with Melted Cheeses, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Jalapeños and Salsa. He also added some Spicy Chicken. This was listed as a starter, but would happily have fed a family of four. He had no chance to finish this. I had the lunch size of the Famous Factory Meatloaf, which was served with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Grilled Onions and Corn Succotash. This was delicious and I just about managed to finish this, but if this was a smaller portion, I would have hated to see the full sized version. We were determined to have some Cheesecake this time round. Graham had Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, which is their original Cheesecake swirled with Wild Blueberries and topped with White Chocolate Mousse. I went with Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, which was Creamy Cheesecake swirled with Caramel, Peanut Butter, Butterfingers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.The Cheesecake was pleasant enough, but did not blow me away. We both loved our main courses though.

After another quick bathroom stop and an opportunity for me to use the free WiFi to load the directions from the Galleria to the airport, we went to retrieve the car. We had no problem finding the car, but finding the exit to the car park proved to be a bit more of a challenge. Eventually we did find our way out and it was smooth sailing until we were nearly at the airport. The exit that we had to take said auto tolls only, which we had not signed up for. When we past the exit, I had seen that it did have two lanes and one of them was for cash tolls, but by then it was too late. Of course as the directions require Internet access to reload, I then had to rely on the map. Eventually I figured it out and shortly afterwards we saw an Enterprise sign. This seemed a bit strange as I had read that all car rental companies were at one site, but as there were airport parking companies all around, I figured maybe I could just not see the other companies. We stopped and everything was locked up. This particular location was only open until noon. So I got back in the car and we drove on towards the airport. As soon as we got on airport property about 5 minutes later, the rental car area was clearly signposted. From there it was easy to find it. When we drove in, they checked the car and the paperwork and then directed us to where we could leave the car. We were then directed to their desk to pay. This did not take long and we were pointed to the airport shuttle. We had a short wait for our shuttle, which stopped at 3 terminals and we were off at the second.

The check in area was beautifully decorated for Christmas, but I did not dare getting the camera out. I quickly took my winter coat out of the suitcase to carry this separately and put my shopping in and then we proceeded to check in. Check in was a smooth process. Our boarding passes indicated that we would be departing from a different terminal from the one where check in was located, but this was clearly signposted. It was a bit of a walk though. When we approached the security checkpoint, there was a sign stating that this was closed and directing us back to the terminal where we had checked in. It would have been nice if this sign had been near the entrance. Still, we had plenty of time and wandered back. Clearing security was pretty smooth, but I set something off in the body scanner. There was a small area on my chest that triggered an alert. I was patted down and the person doing so could not understand what was going on as the metal detector did not beep and she could not find anything either. I was baffled by this as well as I did not have anything metal on me other than my glasses and they were firmly on my nose. It was only a bit later that I noticed that I must have spilled something at lunch and there was a stain about as big as Dime in the same spot that was highlighted on the screen. It is pretty amazing that the scanner was so sensitive that it picked up on a tiny food stain.

After this saga, we decided to have a little look around in the terminal where we had ended up. Graham spotted an Emirates plane sitting by one of the gates and I could not resist taking some photos especially as there was a nice sunset in the background. In the UK nobody would be in the slightest bit concerned about this and when we took all the photos of the planes in Frankfurt, nobody raised an eyebrow. However, I could sense that the people that were sitting next to where I was standing taking my photos were decidedly ill at ease when I started to take photos. I explained that I worked for Emirates in Europe and was still getting excited when I saw an Emirates plane on my travels. They seemed to be OK with this explanation as they visibly relaxed. We then decided that we were thirsty and there was a Starbucks nearby. I had a Green Tea Frappuccino and Graham had an Iced Passion Tea. We found ourselves a seat away from the main flow of traffic and enjoyed our drinks. There was also free WiFi available for a limited time and I used this to get caught up with my chess. Once my free time was up, we slowly made our way towards the boarding gate. I was really surprised about the airport. I had heard that there was not a great deal there, but there were a large number of shops, restaurants and smaller food and drinks outlets. I had done enough shopping in one day and we proceeded straight to the gate. The flight was short and smooth and I spent this time reading.





I had been a little bit worried about catching Disney's Magical Express that late at night. I had heard some horror stories about catching this after a late arrival, but I need not have worried. We arrived in Orlando at around 23:00 slightly ahead of schedule. When we arrived at the airport, we quickly went to the bathroom and then got on the train to the main terminal. When we got to the baggage claim area, our suitcases were just arriving. We got those and then took the lift down to level one where we had a very short walk to the Disney's Magical Express Welcome Centre. Once we were checked in and had our transportation voucher, we were directed straight to a coach. We had to wait only about 5 minutes and we were on our way. There were 10 people on the bus and we stopped at Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach Resort and we were the last people off at the Boardwalk. We arrived at the Bordwalk just before midnight.

When we had stopped at the other resorts, it was obvious that they were already decorated for Christmas. When we approached the Boardwalk, it did not look like it was decorated. I was a little disappointed. Still, when we actually entered the lobby, it was in full Christmas splendour. I got more time to admire this then I had bargained for. With it being so late, they had very little staff on duty and somebody went through their room charges with a fine tooth comb. They seemed to be discussing this forever. Eventually it was our turn and we checked in. I got a birthday button and we got instructions on how to find our room. We set off and the room seemed to be miles away. I quickly took some photos of the room and then we got ready for bed. This had been a long day.








Last edited by dolphingirl47; 01-17-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:05 PM   #125
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We got lucky when we stayed at BWV with a studio close to the elevators but boy, those hallways are long!
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:28 PM   #126
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Despite the trek from the room to pretty much anywhere, we both really fell in love with the Boardwalk.

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Old 01-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #127
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That's a long day. Great deal on the rental car. When I was eating chicken those nachos were one of my favorites at Cheesecake Factory. I worked there for a while and the portions are huge! If you ever get back I think you'd like the key lime cheesecake.

I'll be curious what you think of the Dream if you do one of the shorter cruises. I think you'd love the Rainforest Room.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:00 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
That's a long day. Great deal on the rental car. When I was eating chicken those nachos were one of my favorites at Cheesecake Factory. I worked there for a while and the portions are huge! If you ever get back I think you'd like the key lime cheesecake.

I'll be curious what you think of the Dream if you do one of the shorter cruises. I think you'd love the Rainforest Room.
I think Graham would most certainly love the Key Lime Cheesecake. I am a bit more of a traditionalist and prefer Key Lime Pie.

I am sure I will love the Rainforest Room and the Aqua Duck and the interactive game will be right up my street, too. The more I think about this, the more I want to do an Eastern Caribbean cruise as we have never done one. Of course the only option for this at the moment is the Fantasy. So doing a short cruise on the Dream to see if we would be OK with doing a longer cruise almost is a must do.

Corinna
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:26 PM   #129
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Nice update! We like the Cheesecake Factory, but don't get there very often. If we do go we find something that we'll both like and split it. So many American restaurants have giant portions.

Glad you made it safely to the Boardwalk, but that's one long day! I would have almost passed out due to exhaustion in the lobby!
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:54 AM   #130
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Nice update! We like the Cheesecake Factory, but don't get there very often. If we do go we find something that we'll both like and split it. So many American restaurants have giant portions.

Glad you made it safely to the Boardwalk, but that's one long day! I would have almost passed out due to exhaustion in the lobby!
The problem with splitting anything is that Graham and I have very different tastes. At home we compromise and have something I love one day and something he loves the next, but when I am on vacation or when we are eating out in general, we just both get what we enjoy.

I have to admit when I finally got to our room, I was more than ready for my bed. It is also very telling that even though we were waiting to check in for a while and the gorgeous Christmas decorations were right behind me that I did not get my camera out.

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:08 AM   #131
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Day 12

After the long day and the late night the day before, I expected that we would not wake up until mid morning and I had planned accordingly. I figured with us being so close to Epcot, I would want to head there first anyway and as the World Showcase does not open until 11:00, this would be perfect. In the end I was awake by 8:30 and Graham about 30 minutes later. While he was still sleeping, I played with my iPad making good use of the free WiFi. Once we were both awake, we had a shower, got ready and headed out to explore. We had a quick look in the gift shop near the lobby. Graham was going to do some laundry and was looking for some detergent, we were out of luck there, but were told that one of the shops on the Boardwalk sold detergent. As this was where we were headed anyway, this was not a problem. We also had refillable mugs included as part of the Disney Dining Plan, which we needed to pick up. We had been told that we would get those from the Boardwalk Bakery, but the line for this was insane. So we passed on this for the time being. Graham went to get his detergent and I decided to go with him. I had lost a back for one of my trading pins during the cruise and wanted to get some spares. I also found a Boardwalk pin for my resort collection. Once we had finished our shopping, I said goodbye to Graham and headed for the boat dock to head over to Epcot.

I did not have to wait very long until a boat arrived. It still probably would have been quicker to walk, but it was just lovely to take the boat. I had a couple of things to take care of. I had purchased my annual pass and my ticket for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party online and had received a confirmation with a bar code. I now needed to exchange this for the actual tickets. I went to the Guest Services window to ask if I needed to collect from there or a ticket booth and was told that either was fine. The person at Guest Services picked up on my accent and asked me where I was from. It turned out that she was from Germany doing the Cultural Ambassador Programme. I always assumed that all participants in this work in the relevant World Showcase Pavilion. Anyway, we ended up doing the whole transaction in German, which was slightly surreal. Once I had my tickets in hand, I had a quick look at the gift shop at International Gateway and then I entered the park.

As soon as I had entered the park properly, I heard my favourite Christmas Carol O Santissima (O Du Frohliche). I had never heard this outside Germany and took this as a sign that this would be a very magical trip. I was not wrong. Even though Future World had been open a good hour, there was hardly anybody around the World Showcase. So I used to take this opportunity to take some photos around Canada and across the lagoon. It was nice to have the opportunity to take photos without being in anybody's way and without having people in my photos. I was really surprised that there were already so many Christmas decorations up. When I had been to Walt Disney World at the same time of the year in 2007, there were no decorations at all at Epcot prior to Thanksgiving.

















Once I had taken my photos, I still had about 30 minutes until the World Showcase opened. This gave me enough time to admire the main Christmas tree, some of the Christmas topiaries and get some samples at Club Cool. I had a couple of samples of Mezzo Mix and of the Watermelon Soda. I then headed towards the field station for the new Agent P World Showcase Adventure. On the way, some rather modern Christmas decorations. It was still a little before 11:00 when I arrived at the field station and they were not giving out any F.O.N.E.s until 11:00. I sat down on a wall in the area and chatted with one of the cast members while I was waiting. When 11:00 arrived, I was first in line. I was asked for my initial and asked for a preference of location for my mission. I chose Mexico as this was the closest. The cast member checking me in quickly explained how this worked. The main change apart from the characters and the missions is the fact that this now times out after 15 minutes of inactivity. So my tactic during the Food and Wine festival of doing one mission and then sampling some food and and a drink before doing the next mission would no longer work. Anyway, Agent C was ready for some action.











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Old 01-22-2013, 08:13 AM   #132
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When I got to Mexico, I had to smile. After having seen some real Mayan pyramids in all their splendour, the Disney version did not quite do it for me. Still, I had a better understanding of some of the exhibits. The mission was fun, too. It directed me to some corners of the pavilion that I had never explored before. I have to admit that I had my misgivings when it was announced that this would change from Kim Possible to Agent P. I am not in the slightest bit familiar with Phineas and Ferb. However, I was not familiar with the Kim Possible characters either when I started playing the previous incarnation. I have to say that I find most of the Phineas and Ferb characters a bit on the irritating side, but I kind of drowned them out and enjoyed the missions.







I had heard that with this version, it usually asks you to return the F.O.N.E once you have finished a mission. So I was delighted when it offered me another mission and every single location came up as an option. I selected Norway. I took some photos of their Christmas decorations while I was wondering around. This is probably the mission with the most new elements. This was also the first mission that had a new kind of interactive element. Quite a few missions now require you to interact with a cast member by either asking a question or giving a password to them. At Norway I had to as the cast members outside Maelstrom a specific question and was given a business card in return. I needed information from this business card to proceed. I hit a little snag at Norway. I had nearly finished my mission when suddenly my F.O.N.E froze up and then returned back to the start screen. Fortunately there is a field station right at Norway so I headed there. They tried to restart this, but in the end they just gave me a new F.O.N.E. I had to do the mission again and this time round I did slightly different tasks. When I had foiled Dr. Doofenshmirtz's evil plan, I was asked for further assistance.

























I decided to come to the rescue of the good people of China. This mission was my joint favourite with the UK. This was also the place where I was given some decidedly dirty looks. I have to admit that I am not quite sure what Disney was thinking when they put one of the tasks inside the Tomb Warrior exhibit. This did not feel very appropriate. This mission took me all over the Chinese pavilion and although there was a lack of Christmas decorations there, I still got some nice photos.















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Old 01-22-2013, 08:27 AM   #133
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I had high hopes for Germany. I have often said that if you want to see a proper Christmas, you need to go to Germany so I figured that the German pavilion would go all out for Christmas. The pavilion looked lovely with its decorations, but I had expected a bit more like a mini Christmas Market and stalls selling Gluehwein and maybe one of the traditional wooden Advent pyramids. To give them credit, in some respects I caught them very early in the season and other elements were added later in my stay. I loved all the themed Christmas trees in their Christmas shop. Coming back to the game, Germany seemed to be closest to the Kim Possible mission as far as tasks are concerned, but this was packaged in a way that it really worked.



















On my way to my next mission, I took some photos of Italy and the American Adventure. The America Gardens Theater had gone through an amazing transformation. I felt rather smug that I would get to see the Candlelight Processional there later in the trip. The American Adventure also had a beautiful Christmas tree.





























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Old 01-22-2013, 08:30 AM   #134
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I moved on to Japan. I had decided that this would be my last mission for now as I was about ready for my lunch. I took some photos as I was walking around. This was my least favourite of the missions. Like Germany, the tasks followed the old Kim Possible version very closely, but in this case, it did not make much sense. Once I had finished all my tasks, I left my F.O.N.E at the drop point and then headed for lunch.











I went for lunch at Katsura Grill. Having lunch at a counter service was a bit of a novel concept for me. Normally I tend to just graze when I am in the parks. However, our dining plan came with one counter service credit per day so I was going to make use of this. I had eaten at this restaurant once before when it was still called Yakitori House and I was quite curious about what changes had been made. I could not really detect any and the menu seemed to be pretty much the same as the last time I had eaten there. I finally managed to get my Orange Soda. I had the Shogun Combo, which consisted of Teriyaki Chicken and Beef with Steamed Vegetables and Rice. Most of it was delicious, but the beef did not impress me. For my dessert I had Green Tea Ice Cream, which was delicious.

After lunch, I carried on around the World Showcase Lagoon towards International Gateway. I still had a bit of time until I had to catch the boat back to the Boardwalk. I decided to check with the Agent P Field Station near International Gateway if I could do a mission at either the UK or France. Both were available and I opted to do the UK. This has always been my favourite mission as it was the most interactive and the new version did not disappoint either. I ran into a bit of traffic jam as there was some street entertainment going on making getting from one task to the next a bit of a challenge. However, in the process of doing though, I happened upon some areas of the pavilion that I did not even know existed.

When I had finished my mission, I dropped my F.O.N.E and headed towards International Gateway. When I walked up to the boat dock, they were just closing the gate. The person manning the dock spotted my birthday badge and waved to me to indicate that I should come down and get on the boat. This birthday badge definitely had its uses. This meant that I got back to the Boardwalk early enough to take some photos of the Christmas decorations. I also took some other photos around the hotel. I particularly loved all the detail in the carpets. When I got back to the room, Graham had not arrived yet so I took the opportunity to take some photos of our view.



























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Old 01-22-2013, 08:35 AM   #135
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Graham arrived shortly afterwards and we headed out again. I always wanted the play the Fantasia Gardens mini golf course and with this being so close to the Boardwalk, this was a prime opportunity. The walk over there was pretty nice, too and I took some more photos. When we got there, we were advised that there was a waiting time of about 40 minutes. They have some picnic tables just outside of the mini golf course and the weather was gorgeous so we did not mind sitting there soaking up some sunshine. Eventually it was our turn and we picked up our equipment. Progress around the course was still pretty slow. It is a fun course to play, but the holes near the end of the course are evil insofar that they squirt water at unsuspecting players. I have to say that although I did enjoy this course, I still prefer the Winter course at Winter Summerland.







About a month before we left for this trip, I had seen some photos of the bar at Bluezoo at the Dolphin. I had confirmed that this is open to everybody and not just for people eating at the restaurant. As I had the ambition to see the Christmas decorations at all the deluxe hotels anyway, this seemed to be too good to pass up. So once we had finished our round of mini golf, we headed there for a pre dinner drink. I really loved the atmosphere there. Apart from the two of us, there was one other couple there. The menus come on iPads so I was in my element. I already knew what I wanted though. They have a cocktail called Zooberry, which consists of Blueberry-infused Ketel One Vodka with a splash of Fresh Lemon Juice and Rock-candy Syrup. This comes highly recommended. So I wanted to try this. Graham had a Budweiser. We took our time over our drinks and just enjoyed our surroundings.











Once we had finished our drinks, we headed towards the lobby. The decorations at the Dolphin were truly stunning. Rather than a traditional Christmas tree, they had a tree made out of 100s of white Poinsettias. This had a real wow factor and was also very cleverly done as the "tree" was built around the lobby fountain.

















We then headed over to the Swan. There the decorations were a lot more understated, but still very pretty. The swans that make up their lobby fountain had been dressed up for Christmas and there was a smaller Christmas tree in all 4 corners of the lobby. What impressed me the most though is that they had a Christmas tree inside the revolving door. We had a quick look in their gift shop and Graham pointed out a gorgeous grey cardigan with blue Mickey heads to me. I fell in love with this straightaway , but decided to sleep on this.











We headed back to the Boardwalk. By then it was completely dark. We still had time before dinner though. I had spotted the Wyland Gallery earlier in the day and I wanted to have a quick look in there. One of the staff in there took a lot of time explaining various pieces of art to us although it must have been pretty obvious that we were not in the market for an expensive piece of art as tempting as some of them were. She was probably quite happy to have somebody come in and show an interest. Whenever I walked past during our stay, the place was empty. Whatever her motivation was, I was in heaven.



We quickly went back to our room to get changed. Then we made our way to the Yacht Club where we had a reservation at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. We decided to walk over rather than take the boat. As we walked past the Boardwalk Bakery, we noticed that it was basically empty. So we went in and got our refillable mugs. Then we carried on around the Crescent Lake. It was a beautiful walk. We ended up at the Beach Club and then walked past Cape May and Stormalong Bay to the Yacht Club. When we walked past Cape May, it was quite noisy. Graham made a comment that he never wanted to eat there. My heart just sunk as we had a reservation there two days later. As we approached the Yachtsman Steakhouse, we could smell it before we could see it. There was a beautiful aroma coming from the wood-fired grill. We got to the podium a little ahead of time and were given a pager. Fortunately it was not long until the pager went off as by that point, I was quite hungry.

As soon as we were seated, our server introduced himself. He brought us our menus. I got a souvenir menu with my name and a birthday greeting on it. He then took our drinks order nd brought us some Bread with Butter sprinkled with Sea Salt and Roasted Garlic. Graham had another Budweiser, but my cocktail had been quite potent so I just had a Coke. One of the Bread options was Sourdough Bread which I can eat without ill effects. The Sourdough Bread combined with the Butter sprinkled with Sea Salt and the Roasted Garlic was absolutely sublime. Once we had some time to enjoy the bread, our server came to take our order. Graham went with the 28-oz Porterhouse with Herb Fries and Roasted Garlic Butter. His verdict was that it was nothing special. My experience was a different one. I had the 12-oz Prime New York Strip Steak with Carmody Potato Gratin and Peppercorn Brandy Sauce. My steak was absolutely divine. It was melt in the mouth, perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection. This was every bit as good as the steaks that I had at Rhodes Twenty Ten in Dubai and at Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland. We were really both to stuffed for dessert, but the dessert menu was too tempting. Graham had the Seasonal Sorbet Trio with Coconut Tuile and Fairytale Cuvée. He said that this was really light and refreshing. I had the Peanut Butter and Pretzel Gianduja Cake, which was served with Salted Caramel Gelato and Liquid Ganache. This was heaven on a plate. Our server also brought a birthday cupcake for me, but there was no room for this. Graham ended up having this.



When we had finished our meal, we walked back to the Boardwalk. For some reason the walk back felt shorter than the walk there. When we got back to the room, our message light was blinking. It was a birthday message from Mickey and Minnie, which was a really nice touch. We got ready for bed and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
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