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Old 02-19-2013, 04:31 PM   #106
Conorama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzyb View Post
Loving the report and sad that its almost coming to an end.
Thanks! I am rather wordy, though, so the end is not quite imminent!

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Originally Posted by Ensusieasm View Post
I am so sad to see that you are running out of days to report on. Your trip report has been so very entertaining and informative! Conor sure does look happy in the sand. Love his colorful and sensible sun protective clothing....and he really looks great on the bike he chose
Thanks! We are big fans of the sun protective clothing - Conor even insists on wearing swim shirts when he is in indoor swimming class in the dead of winter now.

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Originally Posted by wdwpirates View Post
I am so sad that this is coming to an end. Can you just report on you daily life??
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Originally Posted by KarenMP59 View Post
Lol yes!!
Thanks again! But sadly, *my* daily life is not exciting - Conor's now, is a thrill a minute, it seems. (He's busy having knights fight Captain Hook at this moment, whose bottom is on fire, it seems.... oh wait, it's all OK, Hook's bum found the sea, so no need to call 911.)
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:17 PM   #107
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Day 7 - Castaway Cay - in which we are, by the end of the day, actually, looking forward to getting home

After the slide-a-thon, we mandated a bit of a rest (read: he watched cartoons)

Attentive readers will have noted that we missed semi-formal night due to Palo reservations. In case you were all sitting on the edge of your seats, I can assure you that DH and I just wore our semi-formal gear to Palo so that we had not packed it in vain.

However, I was bummed to have packed 3 ties for Conor and he only got to wear one, (because clearly I didn't have bigger things to worry about), so we elected to dress up a bit for the final MDR dinner.

Conor was beyond his usual state of exhaustion, due to the beach, bikes, and Mickey slide. This was made eminently clear to us by the near-meltdown over choosing a tie. In case you don't live with a 4 year old, let me share the conversation.

Me: Buddy- would you like to wear a tie tonight?
Conor: Sure!
Me: Which one? (We have a purple one, which he picked out but then wouldn't wear, the blue dotted one he wore on formal night, and a pirate one from his aunt.)
Conor: This one. NO! This one. NOO!!! *This* one! (Points at all 3 ties in rapid succession)
Me: Well, bud, can you pick one please?
(This is where the personality transplant occurs... and his head spins ... and we are left wondering what the you-know-what just transpired)
Conor: NOOOO!!! I am never going to be able to wear a tie EVER AGAIN!

Did I say that?

So, in the end, he decided to wear his pirate tie, that he immediately removed upon arrival at Animator's Palate.

(Can you imagine what would have happened with late dining? No, actually - don't try - it would be X-rated like some slasher flick.)

Final night at AP - with the animation spectacle

DH and I divided and conquered getting Conor to dinner ... he went off somewhere, and Conor and I ....

... wait ...

.... no ....

... they didn't ....

YES - WE DID ANOTHER mystery. Or, at least, I engineered things to end up at AP in time for supper - telling him we would finish right after supper. Heck - if you can't beat'em, join'em.

Conor and I lined up for AP - first and only time we had to line up - not sure why - mysteries of the cruise, maybe. We were a bit early, at Roque's suggestion, to get our fancy place mats decorated. (Told you I was obedient.)

In many ways, AP on the last night was perfect for us- again, screens to amuse over-tired and cranky boy. He was able to concentrate to draw ... well, sort of.

The deal is that you draw a human-figure but you have to stay in the boxes - so, your arms, legs, and hands are not connected directly to the body; and the forearm/upper arms are not connected, etc. This is the only rule - stay in the boxes.

Well, try telling that to grumpy 4.5 year old Captain Literal. "NO, Mommy, our arms ARE attached to our bodies!" Sure, bud- really, how can one argue?

Anyhow - we drew away, Conor and I, while wondering what happened to DH. I finally realized that my hip was buzzing - it was the wave phone that I had neglected all week. DH had not been listening, so he thought we were meeting in the room. (No, I'm not wrong - he didn't listen to me- he even admitted it - it was mildly exciting for a minute.)

Due to the delay, I decided to have Conor draw DH, which he did, AND he stayed in the lines for some reason. (DH did arrive, in the end.)

Food night was just OK - there was a appetizer trio that everyone got - it was good, actually, but my notes stop in mid-sentence here, so I don't have the details. I do know that DH and I tried the popcorn soup and liked it. I had the seafood linguini (just OK), and who knows what DH had... other than the baked Alaska. The highlight was Conor's "make your own cupcakes" which he loved.


Us, in animation mode


Leading up to the animation spectacle, they showed a whole long series of clips from any Disney thing that every mentioned food (much Ratatouille - this, we know, as we were Pixar fans before Pixar got engulfed). This made it hard to get Conor to focus on eating, but at least he wasn't melting down.

Anyhow... without further ado, here we are.

First up, we have DH - second from the left, with a very snazzy button arrangement down his shirt - as drawn by Conor. Note my husband's lack of hair... art imitating life, apparently. (Sorry- hard to take photos in there.)





Next, we have me and Conor - my artistic rendering is the second from the right, with the curly hair and glasses (approved by Conor) and he's to the right of me. I just asked him (he's done setting Captain Hook on fire), and he says the big dots are his eyes, the little ones are his ears??????



Anyhow- a very proud moment for Conor, was when his name came up:



This really is cool - FULL points to Disney for this.

So, for those who care (we really didn't), with AERAERA on Eastern Caribbean, you get:

AP - first night - good for entertaining over-tired kids
EG - formal night - pretty ceiling and flowers
RC - regular old night- just OK
AP - pirate night - so awesome, of course. (They did have pirate animation, too, I realize I forgot to mention)
EG - regular old night - so fine.
RC - semi-formal night -we missed it, so I can't comment
AP - See ya real soon or whatever - and your disjointed body appears on the screen - all good for the bound to be wrangy kiddos.

Farewell to Roque and Oriel

We had prepped our tip envelopes (thanks to Disboards for explaining all that) earlier in the day - gave extra to both Roque and Oriel, and a bit extra to our head waiter, who was very nice, but we didn't see much (to the point I can't remember his name). He did, though, call on Thursday morning to check that we wouldn't be at supper before he gave our table to some guests or other, which I thought was wise.

Roque tried to persuade us to come to breakfast the next morning at 6:45 a.m., but that was in clear violation of the "No one travels while sleep-deprived" law, and we didn't want to be dropping Conor while traveling in the US (or at sea), so we declined. He did warn us off Cabana's - not sure why.

So- we said farewell to all, and dropped Conor off for one last stint in the club, so we could pack in peace, and, of course, if you're me, packing deserves its own post, so that will come next.

However, I'll wind CC day down by saying that we fetched Conor at 8:00 p.m., and handed in his wrist band, and secured our receipt for the same. Then, (all together now), bathroom, bath, books, and bed. I swear he was asleep within 2 minutes tonight - he could barely hold his head up in the bath.

Next up - Packing to go home - tips for the obsessive, like me!
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:14 PM   #108
Ensusieasm
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Question Dining Rotation Question

Sounds like you all had a very BIG day....I need a nap just from reading about it! And..yes...I agree....just keep blogging about your daily life for your loyal followers! I am even excited to hear about your packing and flight home! At least there's that!
I do have a question, and can likely come up with a few more in the 17 days before I fly to Orlando for my cruise.....
Please tell me how you go about selecting a dining rotation. Perhaps you already wrote about this...but I have a short memory? Do we, should we, choose a rotation? We were given late dining, though that is not what we wanted, and will try to change when we board..but I never thought about rotation?
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #109
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Sounds like you all had a very BIG day....I need a nap just from reading about it! And..yes...I agree....just keep blogging about your daily life for your loyal followers! I am even excited to hear about your packing and flight home! At least there's that!
I do have a question, and can likely come up with a few more in the 17 days before I fly to Orlando for my cruise.....
Please tell me how you go about selecting a dining rotation. Perhaps you already wrote about this...but I have a short memory? Do we, should we, choose a rotation? We were given late dining, though that is not what we wanted, and will try to change when we board..but I never thought about rotation?
Hey there - thanks!

When we booked, we asked to be wait-listed for early dining - that was the most important thing to us, so I didn't want to complicate it with other requests. (Had it not come through, we would have asked after boarding, and had that not worked, it likely would have been room service or Cabanas for us most of the week... there is just no way that we would expose unsuspecting guests to Mr. Overtired -that is an experience we prefer to keep close to our hearts, thanks!

That came through sometime before our 75 day booking window. So, at that point, we went to our next most important request - a table to ourselves - much easier to get Conor to eat that way. That, they left as "just a request that they would try to accommodate", which we knew would be the case.

So, we didn't request a dining rotation, mostly because we didn't care, but also because I had read on the boards (and this made sense) that if you start asking for early dining, on this rotation, with only a table for 4, sitting near the fountain in X restaurant, oddly enough, you're unlikely to get it all.

I knew a lot of people liked AERAERA, but we would have been happy with anything, really. Others, though, feel very strongly about things like not having formal night in Animator's Palate, as it's not as fancy as the other two, and things like that, and they don't want to miss the animation show at Animator's Palate because of a Palo reservation or something, if that makes sense.

How you request - in our case, we emailed our travel agent. I think you have to call otherwise. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong!

And with that - good night!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:59 PM   #110
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So, because I need a life...

I'm looking forward to your packing up tips! I'd also love a copy of your packing spread sheet, but I fear that might just be too personal
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:17 PM   #111
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Smile Thank you !

Thanks once again for some really good information. It all makes very good sense. I guess we missed out on the fact that we might have wait listed for early dining, but we will just have to have an afternoon siesta so we won't fall into our soup.
Doing my best to keep you blogging....so I thought up another question....When I was deciding to take the Disney bus from the airport I had read some information online that said we would check in and even get our Stateroom Key Card and our boarding number right at the bus desk, but recently I think I read that that doesn't happen at the airport anymore. Is this now the case from your recent experience?
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:44 PM   #112
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Red face Oops... forget my last question

Sorry....you already answered my last question in the first pages of your blog. I actually got the brilliant idea to go back and read it again! So, I already know that the information about not checking in at the airport is true and it is no longer happening there. But you were still on the Fantasy before noon so that's what we will hope for. Our arrive at the terminal time is listed at 1:30, but since we will be on an early bus that should not matter.
I'm glad your little doused Captain Hook's burning britches in the deep blue sea! He has a wonderful imagination.....surely helped by the fact that his Mom always gets him to bed on time!
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:05 AM   #113
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I'm looking forward to your packing up tips! I'd also love a copy of your packing spread sheet, but I fear that might just be too personal
Hee hee hee - sure - I'll de-personalize it and you can see it (I'll send you a message) - it might only make sense to me, though - not sure!
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:11 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Ensusieasm View Post
Thanks once again for some really good information. It all makes very good sense. I guess we missed out on the fact that we might have wait listed for early dining, but we will just have to have an afternoon siesta so we won't fall into our soup.
Doing my best to keep you blogging....so I thought up another question....When I was deciding to take the Disney bus from the airport I had read some information online that said we would check in and even get our Stateroom Key Card and our boarding number right at the bus desk, but recently I think I read that that doesn't happen at the airport anymore. Is this now the case from your recent experience?
Thanks Again
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Originally Posted by Ensusieasm View Post
Sorry....you already answered my last question in the first pages of your blog. I actually got the brilliant idea to go back and read it again! So, I already know that the information about not checking in at the airport is true and it is no longer happening there. But you were still on the Fantasy before noon so that's what we will hope for. Our arrive at the terminal time is listed at 1:30, but since we will be on an early bus that should not matter.
I'm glad your little doused Captain Hook's burning britches in the deep blue sea! He has a wonderful imagination.....surely helped by the fact that his Mom always gets him to bed on time!
From what I understand, we wouldn't have been able to check-in at MCO anyway - not sure if it was ever available to non-US citizens. However, you're right, they definitely changed things in December.

In fact, our hotel porter warned us against going to the ground transport area too early (before 10:30 in his world), implying that it was nothing but hordes and throngs - but we got there at a supposed bad time (9:45 or so) and there were only as many people as could fit on one bus - nary a horde or throng in sight!

Don't worry though - we still have to pack, get off the ship, and have almost 2 days of travel to get through.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:39 AM   #115
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Packing to go home

As a general rule, I prefer packing to go home from trips, only because I don't have to make any decisions about what to pack. The main downside is that we always seem to accumulate STUFF while on trips, which means we have to worry about luggage weight (and volume, come to think of it). Don't get me wrong - I prefer the "going on the trip" part of things, but from a packing perspective, it's much simpler to pack to go home ... and now that I've said "simpler" and "pack" in the same sentence, I'll describe my multi-step plan.

So... my not-too-obsessive-(right?)-approach

Step 1 - Throw out stuff that needs to be thrown out - this sounds obvious, but it helps my mental state to have a bunch of stuff to go out. In our case, this included a bunch of FE packages, WAYYY too many mystery case-files, FE lists and things we needed up front, and old luggage tags, and a whole bunch of random crap that we had accumulated. We had the waste-bins totally full, plus Brian started another garbage bag. I hate this waste on vacation, but there isn't much to do about it. (We did not throw out our Detective badge, though - that thing needs to be bronzed.)

Step 2 - Start early- last minute packing doesn't work. As my good friend told me, last minute packing while drinking leftover wine really doesn't work! This is why I pre-packed on Thursday- packed a bunch of stuff I knew we wouldn't need on Friday or Saturday - so I was about 50% done. Packing also takes MUCH longer than you think it will take. On the ship, you need to have your bags outside your room by 10:30, so you have a hard deadline to heed.

Step 3 - (This is key) - put aside all the stuff you will need:
  • On your last night and your last morning
  • On your travel day
  • On the plane
  • (in our case) At the hotel.

You need to pack this stuff last - you do NOT want to be rummaging about for missing underwear as you try to leave on a deadline - trust me.

I read about some poor woman who packed all her husband's and boy's pants/shorts, so they had to leave the ship in their boxers - this sort of thing has me up at night!

Step 4
(This is where DH and I disagree) I put my suitcases on my bed. I then take everything that isn't packed (minus the stuff I set aside - I physically put that away from me so I don't inadvertently pack anything, and I have to guard it, or DH, in his zeal to be done packing, might start packing it - NO!) and put it on the bed - or at least anything that is clothing or similar size - the small stuff can wait.

Then, I put the stuff in the suitcases, rotating so that there is a nice mix. (How sad am I?) Really, though, I'm spreading out the big and bulky light stuff, and the small but heavy little stuff throughout all the bags.

Step 5

Sweep the room - this is when I inevitably find a pair of shoes I've forgotten (shoes are a pain to pack at the end, which is why it's always shoes I find at the end).

Step 6

Weigh your bags - you're not done yet as you haven't put in all that small stuff, but, beware, the small stuff is weighty. Weight is your enemy at this point in the trip, so you want to know where to stash the heavier small items.

Step 7

Put in the small stuff - and be amazed at how much that stuff adds. This is really just the things like sunscreen, shampoo (really, liquids of any variety), small FE treasures (see - my gold coins are starting to look good here), toys, etc. This is where tactics are helpful - you might think it makes sense to put this stuff in your biggest bag (if you have different sizes) but nope. You put it in a small bag (carry on if you can - but not the liquids, obviously) since small bags rarely hit the magic 50lb mark.

Step 8
Have an eye-rolling discussion with your spouse about how your packing style makes perfect sense, thank you very much, and don't you have something else to do, you, who only have 1 bag to pack? (I do Conor's stuff - it's not up for discussion.) (Actually - I dispatched him to guest services to check on something or other.)

Step 9
Final weighing of the bags - in my case, my 2 bags were 47 lbs and 51 lbs, which was bad, but this was temporary - I would take my coat and Conor's hoodie out of the 51 lb bag at the airport and carry them on, and, if necessary, move a few other things around. (Again - move small heavy things - NOT lightweight bulky things.)

Step 10
Put the new luggage tags on the bags, and then find 5 things you forgot to pack (in my case -things hanging on the wall pegs - my sweep was too low). Curse. Put these things in the lightest bags.


So, we basically followed the above (including the cursing and eye rolling). I did a lot beforehand. DH and I did a packing blitz in the 30 minutes or so that Conor was at the kids club after supper. The combo of Conor being a very sound sleeper and the wonderful curtain meant we could easily continue after he was in bed (I had moved everything to our side of the room).

We applied our Mickey luggage tags to our bags (this is so you know which section to go to at port to retrieve them), having filled them out correctly, and put the bags out in the hall before 10:00. (Note - we only put our 3 checked bags out and the stroller - Conor's carry-on bag is NEVER allowed to be sent off with anyone, and we needed our other carry-ons for stuff like laptop, etc.)

We carefully hid the big sand bucket that there was no way we could pack so that Conor wouldn't see it in the morning.

And thus, ends the packing saga.

Next up - wrapping up Day 7 - stuff I forgot!
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:25 AM   #116
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Day 7 - Odds and ends

This is a truly random collection of things - typical of last vacation days.


Postcards


We had picked out a bunch for Conor to send to family and friends. He can write his name and most other words if you tell him how to spell them, but, really, the trip wasn't 3 years long, so I asked him what he wanted me to put on them, and then he signed them, after extensive debates about why he a) couldn't write his name in the address section, b) had to write his name properly, and not backwards, in a circle, upside down, etc, and c) he had to finish them anyway (the king of starting and not finishing is my boy).

I just write verbatim what he tells me. They haven't yet arrived here, friends tell us, but here are some gems:

"Dear Claire - This is Mickey Mouse. Conor"
"Dear Grandpa - I swam in the Mickey Pool. You are not here. Conor"
"Dear Milo - The mouser boat is big. Conor"

Yep - full of news.

We tried to mail them at CC, but no luck (post office was closed) - but we brought them to guest services, and they told us they would be post-marked Castaway Cay. I can let you know if any of them ever arrive!


Planning for breakfast


As I said, we have this rule that involves not dropping Conor, so we didn't want to rouse him for a 6:45 breakfast. (Now, to be clear, I didn't want to rouse DH either!) Based on most excellent Disboards tips, we ordered breakfast stuff from room service (cereals, milk, juice, fruit, and the famous cheese plate because we hadn't tried it yet - cheese is a 24/7 food) at about 5:00 p.m.

The 2 page instructions about what to do to get off the ship also mentioned that Cove Café would be open at 6:00, so it was clear where I was going in the morning.


Our bill


I'm still amazed at this next part - our bill was actually quite a bit lower than we expected... especially when we subtracted the internet fiasco costs. We had pre-paid a number or things (wine package, beer package, rainforest room), we didn't end up doing Remy, I barely drink, , and we got a lot of free coffee stuff with our frequent caffeine cards (1 free for every 5 you get - do the math!), and we didn't buy much at the shops. We also didn't even look at the Shutters photos, so we didn't buy any (maybe it wouldn't have been on this bill?)

Shopping on board

We meandered through the shops on a number of occasions. Other than Conor getting his spy-scope early on, we didn't buy anything until the last day. The risk with this is that there might be things that sell out - but there was nothing we felt passionate about, so no biggie.

What I forgot is how CROWDED the shops are on the last day - eek! Best to know exactly what you want (there is no need - let's be honest). We got a few things:
  • T-shirt for Conor with a line drawing (looks very technical) of the Fantasy - COOOL mom!
  • Christmas ornament (our usual trip souvenir- small and we enjoy seeing them once a year)
  • 4 princess pins - for 2 of our special girl friends at home - our boy friends do not like characters, so nothing for them.
  • Pack of Jake, Izzy, and Cubby figurines - I've not been able to find these in small-town Ontario, I knew they would be great for the trip home.
  • 3-Pack of Mickey underwear - Conor had admired them when he was in before, and, heck, if it helps get the sneaky pee out in a timely fashion, I'll buy it!

and that's it! Big spenders, we are not.

Tip: The main store (can't remember the name) with all the Disney kid-stuff (not just for kids, but it's not the store with the adult clothing or the crazy expensive store with those bags everyone goes on about) - has a little side store, with cash, that is all princess stuff. (This is the place that alarmed Conor earlier in the cruise.) While there were line-ups for the cash at the main store, the princess store was virtually empty - and you can pay for everything there. I felt very superior.

Other tip: Do not, under any circumstances, bring your kid here more than once. I am sure that in the crowds and time-pressured environment on the last day, I would have caved to his insistence on getting something, just to get out of the place quicker. He didn't ask to go back after the first time we went and he got his scope, so we just hit up the place while he was in the club on Friday night.

And so, with that, we went to bed, with only minimal stuff to tend to in the morning.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:27 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conorama
Day 7 - Odds and ends

I just write verbatim what he tells me. They haven't yet arrived here, friends tell us, but here are some gems:

"Dear Claire - This is Mickey Mouse. Conor"
"Dear Grandpa - I swam in the Mickey Pool. You are not here. Conor"
"Dear Milo - The mouser boat is big. Conor"

Yep - full of news.
Love it! Out of the mouths of babes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Conorama
The 2 page instructions about what to do to get off the ship also mentioned that Cove Café would be open at 6:00, so it was clear where I was going in the morning.


Our bill

I'm still amazed at this next part - our bill was actually quite a bit lower than we expected... especially when we subtracted the internet fiasco costs. We had pre-paid a number or things (wine package, beer package, rainforest room), we didn't end up doing Remy, I barely drink, , and we got a lot of free coffee stuff with our frequent caffeine cards (1 free for every 5 you get - do the math!), and we didn't buy much at the shops. We also didn't even look at the Shutters photos, so we didn't buy any (maybe it wouldn't have been on this bill?)
So I've never looked before but how much does dcl charge for the coffee drinks? My dh and I NEED it daily, but almost certainly he will be going to get it just like at home!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:28 AM   #118
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So I've never looked before but how much does dcl charge for the coffee drinks? My dh and I NEED it daily, but almost certainly he will be going to get it just like at home!
The lattes (I'm at work - being bad - so I can't make accents) were roughly equivalent to the grande size at Starbucks, and were $2.95. I think things were more, like at Starbucks, if you added syrups, etc., or, if you're like the man who asked for Kahlua in his at 7:00 a.m. one morning - points to Robert for not even blinking.

When you sign the slip, you note there is a service charge added to this (I think), and a space for a tip - I did usually tip, since I knew that Robert and I would be very good friends.

I should be clear, I really didn't mind the coffee at the drink station - it's more that I prefer espresso drinks, and DH is a fanatic (don't get me started about he who would grind his own beans if it didn't drive Conor around the bend...)

So - factor in a 20% discount, in that you get a free one after 5 drinks, and it's not bad at all. WAY cheaper than the booze, and those silly souvenir cups!

OK - I will now do my reverse vacation thing - turn off home email (where this popped up) and get back to work. It's not so fun, somehow.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:48 PM   #119
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Thanks, that is more affordable then I expected! You are hilarious too . I check the dis at least once or twice a day from my cell during work hours...I'm sure we are in good company!
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:11 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Mrs Green View Post
Thanks, that is more affordable then I expected! You are hilarious too . I check the dis at least once or twice a day from my cell during work hours...I'm sure we are in good company!
Glad I could help. And, I was well-behaved and just did work stuff today. Yeah me!
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