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Old 02-22-2013, 05:54 PM   #241
dolphingirl47
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Once the fireworks were over, I headed in the general direction of Crystal Palace, which was one of the locations where they were serving Cookies and Hot Chocolate. On the way, I saw a Photopass photographer taking photos of people with the castle in the background. I really wanted to get a photo with the castle all lit up. The location was a bit unfortunate as the line obstructed the flow of traffic in this area. So just before it was my turn, the photographer packed up her equipment and left. I was rather disappointed, but this was not about to spoil my evening. I pushed on to Crystal Palace, where I got some Hot Chocolate and a couple of Sugar Cookies. They were very nice. I then walked through Adventureland into Frontierland. People were already lining up for the parade, but I had something else I really wanted to do before watching the parade. I really wanted a photo with the Seven Dwarfs. I only ever had met Dopey before. I would have happily just settled for Grumpy, but if meeting him would mean meeting all seven, this was fine by me, too. The Meet and Greet location was quite hidden and in the dark, it was extremely difficult to find. This was probably the reason why the line was very manageable. I probably waited less than 15 minutes. It is a shame though that the area was so dark so the photos have not come out great.







Some speedy legwork was required to make it for the beginning of the parade. I did make it and ended up in the third row, but still had a good view. The parade left me slightly underwhelmed. I had seen the special Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2009, which was spectacular. I figured that this would be in the same league. I have also seen the Christmas parade at Disneyland Paris, which featured real reindeer. Compared to this, the parade kind of fell flat. It was still nice, but nothing special.

































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Old 02-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #242
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Where I had watched the parade from was a bit of a bottle neck and the only way out was to follow the parade. I ended up having to follow the parade all the way down Frontierland and into Liberty Square before the parade turned off near the Hall of Presidents and I was able to turn off near Columbia Harbour House and into Fantasyland. My plan had been to find Scrooge McDuck next. When I walked past Peter Pan's Flight, the posted waiting time was 20 minutes, but when I looked at the line there seemed to be hardly anybody there. I have always loved this ride, but the long waiting times usually put me off. I decided to jump on this. In the end my waiting time was just short of 10 minutes and I did thoroughly enjoy the ride.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:59 PM   #243
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Those are some stunning fireworks photos!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #244
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Once I came out of the ride, I carried on with my mission to find Scrooge McDuck. He was quite well hidden. I still have not quite figured out where I actually was when I met him. It was near the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh under the porch of a building that looked like a restaurant of sorts. I had nearly given up when I saw a small group of people standing around and a Photopass photographer. Because the Meet and Greet location was so hidden, there were very few people waiting to see Scrooge McDuck. I was glad that I finally got to meet him and this was definitely one of the highlights of the day.











There were two characters I really wanted to meet, but had not had the chance to do so up to this point. They were Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus star) and Madame Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortune teller). I was not sure how busy their lines would be, but as I was quite close to Storybook Circus anyway, I decided to go and check it out. When I got to Pete's Silly Side Show, nobody at all was there apart from the characters, their escorts and Photopass photographers. I was in heaven. I spent a few minutes with Minnie and Daisy and then had my photo taken with them. As I left, I had a quick look around in the gift shop, which did not have anybody in it either apart from some cast members messing around.



























I crossed over into Tomorrowland. I still had not eaten anything since lunch apart from a couple of Sugar Cookies. I decided to check out Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe which was open for food. I had checked out the menu online earlier in the day and it looked quite appealing. However, they were serving a reduced menu that evening and nothing really appealed. I have to admit that I was not actually that hungry either. So I passed. They had some kind of dance party on in a separate room that is attached to the restaurant. This looked like fun, but as this is really not my thing, I did not stop.

I headed back towards Main Street. As soon as I entered Main Street, it was snowing. I had heard about this a number of times before and I have admit I had been rather cynical about this. However, when you are actually there and caught up in the magic of the place, it is actually very special and quite moving. I just stood for a couple of minutes and enjoyed the whole atmosphere. Once I was on the move again, I spotted a Photopass photographer, who was taken photos with the castle in the background. The perspective was not as good as the one that I had tried to get a photos of earlier on in the evening, but I still jumped on that opportunity.





There were a couple of things left that I needed to take care of. I really wanted to get something in the Dooney and Bourke Walt Disney World Retro Print. I have an iPad case in the corresponding Disneyland retro print and wanted something to go with it. With my 20% off with my Premium Annual pass, I also knew that I would never get it so cheap again. I decided to go with the barrel back and spend a happy 15 minutes finding the one with the nicest placement. I also needed a Christmas present for somebody and they were offering a blanket at a great price with a purchase so I got this. After this, I headed over to the Emporium to get a party exclusive t shirt and pin. Then I was all partied out. I did not have to wait long for the bus and I was back at Old Key West and in bed by about 00:30.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:55 AM   #245
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A great day and some fab character photos esp Scrooge McDuck.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:34 AM   #246
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Wow....


What a fun filled day. You did a lot that day, from swimming resort hoping,lunch, and then on to the party. Everybing looked.great and glad you got to see your missing characters and got to trade for a pin that you did not have.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:29 AM   #247
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What fab photos!
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:49 AM   #248
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You did get some good fireworks shots. They are so hard to get.
When I was there for the party, Cinderellas was with the Prince and step family over by the new Castle walls near new fantasyland. I wonder if she was still there? The lines were really long though so we never stopped. I wish we would've, but Claire was not for waiting in long lines.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #249
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What a fun day! All the pictures are fantastic. I really want to stay at the WL during Christmas. Love all the OKW photos, they bring back great memories. Beautiful firework pictures, I'm going to have to try that camera trick in the future. And all the rare characters, what fun!
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:23 AM   #250
dolphingirl47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
A great day and some fab character photos esp Scrooge McDuck.
Scrooge McDuck really was a find. I grew up in Germany and there Scrooge McDuck is a lot more popular than this is the case in the UK so I was glad that I finally got to meet him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
Wow....


What a fun filled day. You did a lot that day, from swimming resort hoping,lunch, and then on to the party. Everybing looked.great and glad you got to see your missing characters and got to trade for a pin that you did not have.
I suppose we did end up doing a lot in the end, but it did not feel so at the time and was great fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
You did get some good fireworks shots. They are so hard to get.
When I was there for the party, Cinderellas was with the Prince and step family over by the new Castle walls near new fantasyland. I wonder if she was still there? The lines were really long though so we never stopped. I wish we would've, but Claire was not for waiting in long lines.
When I went to MNSSHP in 2009, Cinderella, Prince Charming and the glass coach were out near where they are now building the Tangled Restrooms. The line was insane so I did not stop either. My "Fairy Godfather" did not mention that they were out so I assume they keep them for the Halloween Parties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
What a fun day! All the pictures are fantastic. I really want to stay at the WL during Christmas. Love all the OKW photos, they bring back great memories. Beautiful firework pictures, I'm going to have to try that camera trick in the future. And all the rare characters, what fun!
I had talked Graham into doing a split stay at Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge in October, but now it looks like we are heading to Disneyland for two nights, on a Panama Canal Cruise and then two more nights at Galveston.

Corinna
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:11 PM   #251
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Day 20

This was the last day of the holiday and also the day we had to move one last time. Originally we were going to fly back home that day, but then I decided to add an extra day as I did not want to go off on my own for the party on our last evening. So the easiest solution to this problem was to add an extra night. I could not get a studio at Old Key West for that night so I had booked a one bedroom villa. We had a bit of a lie in and did not get up until 9:30 that morning. We had no real plans for this day. When we got up, we got ready, packed and then called the Bell Man to collect our stuff and store it for the day. While I was packing, I noticed a folder by the TV that had not been there before. In it was a Photopass card and a signed photo of Mickey and Minnie in front of the castle. We had our trash and towel service two days before and housekeeping must have left this. When the Bell Man came, we got a lift back to Hospitality House with our luggage.

I still had most of my Zebra Domes left and had decided to put them in my handbag together with a disposable fork. We also had brought our refillable mugs. So while we were waiting for the boat to arrive, we sat at the picnic tables by the boat dock and both had something to drink and I had my Zebra Domes. This was a very civilised way to start the day. I had woken up a few times during the night with a sore throat. I had blamed this on dehydration. I had not drunk much the previous day and about half of this seemed to have been alcoholic. Sure enough, when I had finished my ice tea, the sore throat was gone. We timed this perfectly. We had just finished our drinks and I had finished my Zebra Domes when we saw the boat pulling up to the boat dock. We walked down to the boat dock and got on the boat.

The trip to Downtown Disney was very pleasant. The boats from Old Key West arrive at the Pleasure Island boat dock. I figured this would give me the opportunity to take some photos of the Christmas decorations. I was bitterly disappointed. What had looked so beautiful after dark and all lit up looked absolutely awful during the day. We walked on towards Downtown Disney Marketplace. We had a look around. The Christmas decorations there were a lot nicer. By that time we were both hungry. As nice as Zebra Domes are, they don't make much of a breakfast. Graham did not have anything at all to eat that day. So we went in search of Wolfgang Puck Express.

When we got there, they were just finishing off their breakfast service. We were asked if we wanted breakfast or lunch. We both liked the lunch option better and were asked to take a seat and come back in about 5 to 10 minutes. We found ourselves a table inside and sat down. After about 10 minutes I went back to the counter and placed our order. By that stage they had started to take lunch orders. Graham had some water, a Meatball and Peppers Pizza with house-made Meatballs, Mozzarella, Fontina and Tomato Basil-Garlic Sauce followed by Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. I had a Coke, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Port Wine Sauce and Crispy Onion Rings. I had some Frozen Yoghurt for dessert. We both enjoyed our meal. Graham even went as far as saying that this was the best meal he had during this holiday up to this point.

After lunch, we had a little bit of a wander around Downtown Disney Marketplace. I took some photos of the Christmas decorations and then the Pin Trading Station called out to me. After I spotted the holiday pin for Old Key West, I wanted one for the Boardwalk, too. While I was hunting this down, Graham found a bunch of Figment pins that I did not yet have. I was over the moon as Epcot was extremely slim pickings for Figment pins this time round. He also found me a Figment lanyard medallion. The lanyard that I use for pin trading is a DVC lanyard from which I have removed the clear plastic pocket that you can put your Key to the World card in. The problem is that it has never really sat right as there is nothing to weigh it down. The medallion should hopefully take care of this.













With the pin shopping out of the way, Graham found himself a nice spot in the sun and I went off to do some more shopping. I needed to get a couple of small presents and figured that Basin would provide. I got a few different kinds of Mickey head soaps in various seasonal scents. Then I headed over to World of Disney. I had seen a cute iPhone cover online that featured Figment and was released for Epcot's anniversary. I had hoped to get this, but it had sold out. Instead I had spotted another limited edition iPhone case with the castle with its Christmas lights. As I love the castle all lit up so much, I decided to get this. I also had a quick look in Tren-D. I was a bit disappointed in their selection of Dooney and Bourke bags, which is the main reason why I decided to go in. They did have an adult size Minnie dress that called out to me, but I resisted that temptation.

Once I finished my shopping, I caught up with Graham again and we headed back towards the Pleasure Island boat dock. We were just about parallel with this when Graham spotted Characters in Flight in operation. He asked if I fancied trying this out. I had often wondered if this would be fun, but have never been quite brave enough. Still, we were close and we had time to spare so I figured why not. We headed over to Westside and paid for our tickets. The balloon was just getting ready for its next trip, but they already had enough people. So we were asked to go down to the boarding gate and wait. Standing there watching, I seriously doubted the wisdom of this decision. Especially the landing looked downright scary. Still, we did not have too much time to think about this. Pretty much as soon as the balloon had landed, we were boarded. The pilot told us a bit about the balloon and what to expect and then we were on our way. There were a couple of little bumps on the way up, but on the whole it was very smooth. Soon we were at maximum altitude. The view up there was truly stunning. All to soon, it was time to come down again. The landing was not actually as bad as it looked from the crowd. Coming down, the balloon softly swayed from side to side and there was the tiniest of bumps when we touched down, but it was nothing that we could not handle.











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Old 03-03-2013, 05:17 PM   #252
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After our baloon ride, we headed back to the Pleasure Island boat dock. We did not have to wait long until the boat pulled in. There was one deluxe hotel that we had not been to yet that trip and that was Saratoga Springs. We had a walk around the Coach House first. The Christmas decorations were rather understated , but still nice. We then had a walk around the grounds, which are really pretty. We ended up in the Grandstand area, which seems to be almost separate from the main resort. We filled up our mugs and sat down in the sunshine for a bit watching the world go by. If we ever get around to staying at Saratoga Springs, this is the area I would request.













We walked back over to the Coach House and decided to head over to the DVC Preview Centre. It was hard to believe that it had been just over 5 years since we had last been there to sign our contract. This kick started a completely different approach to holidays for us. I don't think we would ever have cruised if it had not been for us becoming DVC members and we have visited some amazing places that we would otherwise not even considered. When we entered the Preview Centre, we were asked if we had an appointment. When we mentioned that we are existing members, we were told to make ourselves comfortable and help ourselves to some refreshments. Our guide had left us a message at the Boardwalk and my original plan had been to check if he was around, but then I decided against it. Graham had never met him as he was assigned to us in 2010 after our original guide left. It just so happens that he was assigned to us while both he and we were on a Med cruise in 2010. About halfway through the cruise he left a message on our phone to introduce himself. Chance then had it that we were sitting opposite each other on the train coming back from Rome. So we spent quite a bit of time chatting. I would have liked to meet him again, but for some reason I went all shy and decided that he would be plenty busy enough without us taking up any of his time. So I just wandered around and took some photos. Graham had a coffee and once he had finished this,we walked back to the Coach House and down to the boat dock.



Again we did not have to wait long for the boat and at Downtown Disney, the Old Key West boat pulled in shortly after ours. So we just had to change boats and we were on our way. When we arrived at Old Key West, we headed straight to check in. I also had something else to take care of. When we had lunch, I noticed that we had more counter service credits than I had expected. It turned out that what Graham had thought was a counter service meal for his dinner the previous day had actually been taken out of the snack credits. I explained what had happened and they kindly converted our remaining counter service credits to snack credits as an exception. After this was all taken care of, we retrieved our luggage from the bell men and got a lift to our new room.

When I decided to add the extra night and realised that we need to move rooms, I decided to go for the Near Hospitality House Booking category for the convenience. Our new room was on Peninsular Road near the bus stop and just about opposite the crossing over to the boat dock. We had a fantastic view and this was the quietest room we ever had at Old Key West. I think in future I will just book the Near Hospitality House Booking category and request this building. The one drawback is that Peninsular Road does not have a quiet pool as it is so close to the main feature pool. Still, both the Miller's Road and Turtle Pond pool are within walking distance.

I did not really know what to expect when I walked through the door of our new room. I had heard that the one bedroom villas are the biggest and nicest of all the DVC properties. However, what I saw just blew my mind. Graham wondered if this was actually bigger than our apartment at home. I don't think so, but it was big. The highlight for me was definitely the twin jacuzzi tub. I walked around the villa for a bit taking photos and taking it all in. Then we made ourselves comfortable in the living room for a half an hour to have some downtime before heading out again.



































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Old 03-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #253
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We walked over to Hospitality House to get the bus to Magic Kingdom. We did not have to wait long until the bus arrived. When we got there, Graham headed down to the boat dock to sit down again and enjoy the sunshine. I went inside to pick up my last packet of spell cards. I also needed to use those snack credits so I headed over to Main Street Confectionery. I got two Mickey Sugar Cookies, two Mickey Cake Pops and a Chocolate and Nut-covered Pretzel Rod. Once I had made my purchases, I went back to the boat dock to join Graham. We did not have to wait long for the boat. The boat ride to the Grand Floridian was lovely again. We had a reservation at Narcoossee's that evening. Narcoossee's is virtually next to the boat dock. It was still too early for our reservation and I wanted to see if the Photopass photographers are out so we headed over to the main building. The grounds of the Grand Floridian look like a giant building site at the moment. Some of it is just general maintenance and some of it has something to do with the new DVC villas that they are building there. We went inside and I took some more photos of the Gingerbread House and then we got in line for the Photopass photographer. We had a few photos taken in front of the tree and then we headed back to Narcoossee's.















We were having dinner with our friends Simon and Susan that evening. As soon as we walked out of the main building, we saw them on the path just ahead of us. They were too far in front to attract their attention. Still, we arrived at the podium shortly after them. They had already checked in and we stepped out onto the balcony to enjoy the view while we were waiting for our table. We did not have to wait very long until we were called and escorted to our table. Our server came to introduce himself shortly afterwards and it was the same server that we had in October 2010. Our server brought the menus and I got a special birthday menu. He then brought out some bread and butter that had been sprinkled with red Sea Salt. We were also given the drinks menu. As this was our last night, we decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of Fairy Tale Cuvee. We studied the menu and chatted while we were waiting for our order to be taken. It was nice to talk about what we had been doing during this holiday. They were also about to go to Hawaii. With us having been to Hawaii earlier in the year and them doing the inter island cruise that we are hoping to do in 2014, we had plenty to talk about. This was a very memorable evening. The food was amazing and the company was even better. Graham had Creamy Florida Blue Crab Chowder, which consisted of Peekytoe Crab, Roasted Sweet Zellwood Corn, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Smoked Chili Oil followed by Butter-poached Maine Lobster Tail with Grilled Black Angus New York Strip, which came with “Smoked” Boniato Whipped Potatoes and Yellow Wax and French Beans with Cabernet Wine Sauce. I had Hearts of Romaine, which consisted of Romaine, Shaved Aged Parmesan, Garlicky Pumpernickel Croutons, crispy Serrano Ham, and Creamy Caesar Dressing followed by Grilled Filet Mignon with “Smoked” Boniato Whipped Potatoes and Yellow Wax and French Beans with Cabernet Wine Sauce. For dessert we both had Mango Sorbet with Melon, Pineapple, and Berries.

When we had finished our meal, our server mentioned that we were just in time for Wishes. We went out on the balcony and watched Wishes from there. I had now managed to watch fireworks three nights running and every time from a different location. I still prefer the view from the Top of the World Lounge, but watching it from the balcony at Narcoossee's was amazing, too. This had absolutely not been planned, but I was so glad that I got to watch Wishes on our final night. This time I just enjoyed and did not worry about taking photos. After Wishes, we all walked back towards the main building. The Photopass photographer was not particularly busy so we had some photos taken with all of us. Then it was time to say goodbye. We quickly went to Basin White to get another bath fizzer. I had one, but after I seen the huge jacuzzi tub, I figured I wanted a bath before going to bed and another one in the morning. When I had browsed in Basin White the previous day, I had spotted a Pink Sugar bath fizzer. As Pink Sugar is one of my favourite perfumes, I had to have one of those. We took the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom and then the bus back to Old Key West. We both had a good soak in the jacuzzi tub and then we got ready for bed. The bed was very comfortable and we both fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.





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Old 03-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #255
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Day 21 and 22

Suddenly the last day at arrived. We got up around 8:30 and Graham made good use of the laundry facilities. It is so nice to come home after a holiday with no dirty laundry. While the machine was running, I had another nice soak in the jacuzzi tub. By the time I had enough of this, the washing was ready to go in the dryer. I put on the coffee machine while Graham dealt with the laundry and then we had "breakfast". Graham had one of the Sugar Cookies and a Cake Pop and I had the other Cake Pop and the Pretzel Rod. We were just finishing our breakfast when the phone rang. We thought it may be housekeeping to check if we were still there, but it was actually our DVC Guide wanting to catch up with us before we left. Graham spoke with him for about 5 minutes. Once the laundry was done, we packed and we left our room just before 11:00. We had called for Bell Man assistance. We could have walked over to Hospitality House with our stuff, but as we were going to have them store it anyway, we thought that they may as well collect it.

Once our luggage had been safely stored, we had a look in the Conch Flats General Store. We had some more snack credits that came with the Deluxe Dining Plan that I had purchased for the last night. I ended up spending them on packets of Christmas themed jelly sweets. Unfortunately for my poor credit card, there were other things that caught my eye as well. I had considered getting a CD with the Candlelight Processional, but somehow never got around to it. I decided to put this right. I also saw two cute DVC member t shirts. One was pink with an embroidered Tinkerbell and the other was light blue with Mickey holding a key. I could not decide which one I liked better so I got them both. It would have been a shame not to with my 20% discount that I got with my Premium Annual Pass.

When I had finished my shopping, Graham settled down in Papa's Den, which is is an Ernest Hemmingway inspired very comfortable seating area just next to the lobby. I had something else to do. I knew some people I know from the UK where also at Old Key West. They had arrived over the weekend as part of a multi-stay trip and were flying home that day, too. A few messages had flown backwards and forwards, but as we had been busy doing different things, we never caught up. I figured that I would probably find them by the pool and decided to have a walk around the area. I was just about giving up when I saw somebody waving at me. I went over and we spent a while just talking and comparing notes about what we had been up to during our respective holidays. I started getting coughing fits and decided that it was time to say goodbye and re-join Graham. I still blamed this on an allergic reaction. I am allergic to tree pollen and one of the symptoms of this is a feeling of tightness in the chest and coughing. So this was nothing out of the ordinary. Once I went back inside, the coughing stopped. I checked with Graham if he wanted something to drink, filled up our mugs and then I plugged in my iPad and caught up online and worked on my trip report for a bit.

After a little while, Graham mentioned that he wanted to go for a bit of a wander. On the approach to Old Key West they had pelicans made from twigs with Christmas baubles in their beaks. He had meant to take some photos of those earlier on in the trip, but never got around to it. So he wanted to put this right. We walked to the entrance and Graham checked with the person in the security booth if it was OK to take a photo. He told him to go ahead, but to mind the buses. I stayed behind on the walkway. Walking back towards Hospitality House, there were some stunning views across the lake.Graham mentioned that he wanted to take a photo of the shells in the pavement. I thought he was talking about the real shells. The walkways at Old Key West have real shells embedded in them. A lot of them are just crushed shells, but there are some whole ones as well. It was only when I saw the photos that he had taken that morning that I realised what he had really talked about. There are actually shell-shaped depressions in the pavement. In all the times that I had been at Old Key West, I had never noticed.





























We wandered back towards Hospitality House and I took some more photos of the Christmas decorations. We decided to fill up our mugs once more. We walked over to the Community Hall to see if anything was going on there. I took some more photos of the Christmas decorations in this area. There was nobody at Community Hall apart from the cast members working there. We talked to them for a bit and I studied their pin trading board. They did not have any pins that took my interest, but it was nice to look at their huge board anyway. Eventually we said goodbye to them and walked back towards the lobby. On the way, I took some more photos of the boat dock.















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