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Old 08-23-2008, 07:42 PM   #61
poohmomof5
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A few updates

1) When we were leaving the Los Angeles harbor, we saw some Sea Lions frolicking, that was fun. A few of us also saw a group of dolphins jumping of the side of the boat. Andrew and I also saw 3 Sea Lions somewhere on our sea day, they were just floating alongside the ship for a little. We saw flying fish too. At one point, we could see about 20 at a time leaping out of the water and skimming along the top until they disappeared back into the ocean. I love to see Marine Wildlife!
2) They are showing a lot of movies on the ship: Kung Fu Panda, Ironman, WallE, the Premier of Cheetah Girls part 3 (I think), and many more.
3) The weather has been great…sometimes it is a little too hot, but it is August and we were expecting that. No rain, lots of sun, and a nice breeze!
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:43 PM   #62
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Tuesday, August 19th Cabo San Lucas and Emily’s Birthday!!!!

Of our whole trip, I was looking forward to today and the Panama Canal crossing day the most! We had booked a surprise for Emily’s birthday. I was very nervous about today as the ship anchors in the middle of the bay and tender boats take the ship’s passengers back and forth to the pier. Because of that, this port is more likely to be cancelled due to bad weather and/or bad seas. I was okay with that, but I just didn’t want to let Emily down. So when I woke up to clear sky and a very gentle breeze, I was thrilled! For our day, we booked a private charter sailboat and snorkel tour. I am so excited!!!

First of all, Cabo is beautiful. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found it to be better than I anticipated and I can’t wait to come back here!

Back to our day…we got off the ship and met our guide right on the pier. He was there just as promised! He took us to a sailboat that was decorated in balloons and a sign for Emily’s birthday. It was perfect!!!!!!!

We got on board and got our safety instructions and away we went! We went out to a few hundred yards before Land’s End (that is the end of the Baha Peninsula of Mexico) and we anchored for about an hour of snorkeling. The 4 big kids went in and started moving along the shoreline to some rocks where our guide said there would be lots of fish. Jessica and I saw around the boat for a little before she went back into the boat with dad and I joined the kids. The snorkeling wasn’t that great until we got close to the rocks, once we were there, it was awesome. Emily complained a few times about getting bit by something, but I assured her that none of the fish would bite. We say lots of colorful fish, big a small. At one point, Sarah said “you guys look, we are surrounded”! There were at least 75-100 very large fish swimming around us and right below us. It was kind of intimidating, but very very fun. We made a plan of attack as a joke, but in about a minute, they swam away. Whew! Every once in awhile, we would see some very large fish jump out of the water, I made a note to myself to ask our guide what those were. Emily and Andrew headed back to the boat and Casey, Sarah and I swam around one of the rocks and headed back. Just as we emerged around the rocks, I saw it…A jellyfish! Oh my, I tried to swim away from it and I made it without getting stung. I wasn’t about to say anything to the kids as I knew they would freak out! The one I saw was super tiny (kind of like the squishy in Finding Nemo). We made our way back to the boat and dried off. Andrew said that Emily complained of another sting on the way back to the boat with him. I asked her about it and she said it still really hurt. I told her about the Jellyfish and the guide said that was probably what got her. She was pretty proud to say she had been stung by 3 jellyfish on her birthday. What a great story for back to school!  Only one of the stings was still bothering her so the guide sprayed it with Windex with Vinegar. They say the vinegar helps it and it seemed to work and she never complained about it again.

After we got on the boat, the guides had lunch ready for us and some beverages. We ate while we sailed around Lands End and say Los Arcos (the beautiful rock arch) and the Pacific Window and the Sea Lion rock. It was all very beautiful and pleasant and fun! It was a perfect day, but a little hot. We continued to sail around for about another hour at one point getting stuck with no wind and in the midday hear. That got a little uncomfortable and Jessie and Emily were not feeling great. But we got moving again and drank some water and everyone was fine.

I did finally ask the guide what the things I could see jumping out of the water were, and he said they were Manta Rays. Oh my! We saw about 20 more during our sail and it was amazing. They were huge and would jump about 2-5 feet out of the water. We also saw a large marlin playing with a can, and of course, the sea lions basking in the sun.

After we got back to the pier, we found a store with air conditioning and pretended to shop in it for about 15 minutes to get Jessie cooled down and she perked right up and was feeling much better. We walked through a little market and everyone decided to go back to the ship except Emily and me. Emily wanted to spend some of her birthday money from Grandma. We saw a beautiful beaded dress that she really wanted. I figure if it was less than $40 I would get it for her. We asked and it was $15! Yippee. So we got it and a few little souvenirs and headed towards the tenders. On the edge of the pier swimming along was a super cute puffer fish. He was adorable. So we watched him for awhile and noticed numerous other little and big fish swimming around. We probably stayed there for 30-40 minutes just watching fish swim by. It was very relaxing and a great way to end our day in Cabo.

We went back to the ship and got to sit on top of the tender, when we started moving, the driver asked Emily if she wanted to drive! That was really awesome. She hesitated and I said, go ahead! So she did and I told them it was her birthday. Then everyone sang happy birthday to her and she drove along. What an unexpected surprise! We went back to the room to find everyone there cooling off. We chilled out and went out on the verandah to watch the ship sail away at 5pm. She had been here all summer long and as we were leaving, all of the tenders were in a little formation and honked and waved good bye. Who knows when she will be back here? That was a nice little send off!

The show this evening was the comedy guy, Ron Pearson. We really enjoyed him during the Welcome Aboard show so we all went. It was another really funny show and everyone enjoyed it. We even bought one of his DVDs. We had dinner at Lumiere’s and they had a little Beauty and the Beast show during the meal. This is new to us, but I guess it is a regular presentation now. After dinner they brought a cake and everyone sang to Emily. The cake was a chocolate with whipped cream and was really one of the best cakes I have EVER had! It was a fantastic day and I can’t wait for tomorrow!
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:44 PM   #63
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Wednesday, August 20th Puerto Vallarta

We have another exciting day planned; we have a Zip Line tour planned in the mountains of the Sierra Madres. I am really excited yet nervous about today. Our tour didn’t start until noon, so we had a relaxing morning and headed off the ship at about 11:15. We did the excursion outside of Disney, but I thought I did enough research that I was pretty comfortable. We split into 2 groups because of the little one. Andrew, Casey and I were doing the noon tour and Jay, Sarah, and Emily were doing the 2:00 tour. They would bring Jessica with them and when we were done, we would take her and they would go. Hopefully it would all go as planned.

So, the boys and I got off the ship and had to find a cab to the Los Veranos tour office. We found a driver and he agreed to take us for $20. That was a little more than they had told me to expect, but we were running a little behind and I was fine with it. I decided I just wouldn’t tip the guy. So we drove to the office, it was about a 25 minute ride through all the different areas of PV. Some of the drive was along the coastline and we saw some very pretty old buildings and some very large sandcastles. When we got there, we gave the driver $20 and he told me I needed to give him $10 more, I said “no…you said $20” (he specifically said at the beginning $20 for your whole party), I showed him the number on the bill and walked away. During the drive, the driver acted like he didn’t know where the office was and kept asking me if I was sure I had prepaid as he could do something better for me. It was kind of unpleasant and I was happy to have made it and a little discouraged at his tricks. But we were there and I was confident I did the right thing! Good thing I had done my homework!

We got into the office, checked in and waited about 5 minutes before they started loading the bus. We had a very fun, happy driver who gave us a tour on the way to the Zip lines. It was almost an hour long drive but was very pretty and very bumpy!

We got to the little Veranos Village and drove through. It was kind of a realistic look into real life Mexico. Lots of farm animals roaming free, very small little houses with very few windows etc. We even saw a little school. It was very quaint, but a looked a little impoverished.

When we arrived, we got off the bus and got some initial instructions. We then went to the safety orientation and got our gear. It included gloves, a helmet, a harness, and a hook. They spent a long time going over everything so we knew what to expect and how everything worked. They added some humor as well. It was nicely done and I felt good about what we were about to do. Then they sent us up the trail to the first zipline. The first one was very short and flat, it is meant to be a practice run. I do have to admit, when they were hooking me up for the first time, I was nervous. But away I went and it was just fine. The next one was longer and steeper and I did fine too and now I wasn’t nervous at all. The boys were doing great and seemed to be enjoying themselves! The 4th line was the longest and highest. Almost a quarter mile long OVER A RIVER! That was a trip and after that, the boys and I were exhilarated!!!! Wow, what an adventure. There were 14 lines in all and we loved it. At one point, Casey said this was the coolest thing he had ever done. That made my day! It was very hot and we were in a rainforest. I was sweating just standing still, but we didn’t even care. At one point it started raining and it felt great. The guides were AWESOME!!! They were very playful and really added to the experience. They were also very safety oriented and made it an awesome adventure.

After we were done, they had a complimentary beverage and we had the option of buying pictures and DVDs of the day. We bought both and just as planned, the bus arrived with the other part of our family. So we took Jessica and wished them well and sent them off to have a great adventure.

They had some monkeys and other animals there that you could pet and play with and feed. So we did that and had some lunch and even had a tarantula crawl on us. It was a very nice place and very fun!!!!

We then took an open air bus back to the ship. That was a whole separate adventure! Keep in mind that we were in the rain forest and the roads were bumpy at best. It started raining and evening thundered a few times on the way back. We were very high in the mountains and we were surrounded by the clouds and mist. It was beautiful and a little bit wet. Jessica was a trooper about it and never complained, but she did cover her ears the entire drive back as it was a little loud. I figure as long as she wasn’t crying, we were fine! We got back to the office and had to get a taxi back to the ship. I wasn’t looking forward to this after what happened last time. But I just bit the bullet and grabbed one. I knew to prearrange the price before we left and he told me $5 per person. That was what I expected, so we got in and thankfully had a very uneventful ride back. We were quite damp though but everyone was in a great mood and we relived the fun we had. The driver seemed happy this time when I paid him and we wondered up the pier to the ship.

We came back and found some open washing machines so I took advantage of Jessie’s great mood and I did some laundry and we dried off. Of course, the boys took off to play ping pong and swim. I happened to be on the verandah when Jay and the girls came back, so I yelled down and was thrilled to see that they were full of smiles too. They of course were zipping during the rain and thunder storm but they loved it as well.

The weird thing about Puerto Vallarta is that the pier area is a newer part and has a Walmart and Sam’s Club right across the street. We also saw McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, KFC, Office Max and Office Depot on our drive. Weird!

The show tonight was Los Capalores Mexican show, we didn’t go to it though as we didn’t get back until almost 6:00. At dinner, Jay and Andrew decided they would try to buy Ping Pong paddles at Walmart. Seems some obnoxious kids decided to smash the paddles they had here so they put out some yucky plastic ones. They had plenty of time as the ship doesn’t leave until 1:00am. Also, Toto our waiter said that they would be able to go into town for 2 hours after dinner for the first time this summer. He is Pilipino and they were going to a Pilipino bar for some Karaoke and 1 or 2 beers. He said they couldn’t drink more or security would give them a hard time when they get back. The boys didn’t have any luck at Walmart (they would have had no problem buying a soccer ball through) and when they got back, they all went to the movie Definitely Maybe and Jessie and I went to sleep. Oh, I almost forgot, our dinner was California themed.

Tomorrow is another sea day. We need it! 
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:45 PM   #64
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Thursday, August 21st Sea Day

What a nice day this turned out to be! We all got to sleep in (for me that was 7am, the rest slept until well after 9am). I ate breakfast but somehow everyone else missed it. Jessica woke up and watched a show and chilled out, then we were about to go to breakfast, but then we read in our Navigator that they had an autograph signing. We didn’t know what that was, but decided to peak before we ate. It turned out that they had a table of 13 characters signing autograph books. Awesome! So we got in line and just made it. They cut the line off after us. So we got signatures from Mickey, Minnie, Alice, White Rabbit, Peter Pan, Wendy, Cinderella, Snow White, Dopey, Max, Belle, Pinocchio and Stitch. Jessica and Emily enjoyed that. We then had to find an alternate meal and we swam and enjoyed the morning. Jay went to the Panama Canal presentation given by a former canal captain. He really enjoyed that and shared some interesting facts with me.

1) They estimate the transit fee that the Disney Magic will have to pay will be $330,000.
2) 4 or 5 canal pilots will be on board to help this huge ship make it through safely.
3) The Magic only has 2 feet on each side to make it through without hitting. On the way over, she made it without a scratch!
4) The highest fee ever paid to transit the canal was paid by our very own ship in May, we are likely to break that record next week.
5) Ships can pay extra to guarantee priority (we will do that, it is a 10% add on)
6) The Magic is a panamax ship; therefore she can’t go through at night.

I finally got to meet some of my Disboard friends at a scrapbook meet this afternoon! I had never been to one and it was really neat. We had 20 people each pick a theme and bring enough for everyone to make a page of that theme. We had some very experienced people and some newbie’s. I put myself as a moderate newbie. It was nice to chat with all the ladies and get some really neat stuff for scrap booking when I get home. I was really impressed with what people did.

I had to leave early though as we had High Tea at Palo. We have never done this before and I was excited to do it. Jessica cooperated and went to the club nicely where they were doing some fun activities. We had a great server named Sasha and we really enjoyed the tea and the food. We also were privileged and got to see a pod of dolphins playing in our wake while we sipped tea. It was wonderful! One of the other servers was chatting with us and we were talking about the dolphins and I told him that I have 3 things left on my “wildlife I want to see” list. They are Killer Whales, Humpback Whales and Sea Turtles. He said I need to do an Alaska Cruise. We told him we were going to do that soon and he said…matter of factly…”Wait until Disney sails there”. Is that inside info? Who knows, but I did hear that the new itineraries will be released in October. That isn’t too long from now!

After tea, we went back to the room and I decided to take some of the kids and go to the Castaway Club gathering. Usually it is in Diversions, but because there are so many of us, it was up by the Goofy pool. They had a nice buffet set up and free child and adult cocktails. They played a few videos of the making of the Magic, clips of celebrities that have cruised on the ship, the Christening of the ship etc. Then they had a drawing for 20 free clocks. My little Emily was the first name called! Out of 2036, she was the first. She was very excited and everyone clapped for her. That was really neat, because we put everyone’s name in the raffle and everyone else left because it was too hot, but she stuck it out with me! She deserved to win!!!!

After that gathering, we went back to the room and Andrew reported that he saw a HUGE sea turtle swimming past the ship just under the surface. How awesome. But now I am on a mission and I will have to keep my eyes peeled! They are in my top 3.

Tonight’s show was the puppeteer/comedian. The kids all went right away, and Jessica and I missed the first 30 minutes or so. But when we got there, he had just started a new skit with an audience volunteer. It was pretty funny and the guy that volunteered was perfect! The kids reported to me that they really liked the show. Anyone who can entertain teens is extra awesome in my book.

After that we headed to the Officer’s pin trading. This will be our first time trading on the ship. It is something I really enjoy. I bought about 50 pins on clearance at Disneystore.com so we are prepared. When we got there, we did some character pictures first. Jessica is so funny, whenever she notices she is getting a little crabby, she says “lets go to the lobby to see if there are any characters to take pictures with.” She knows that always cheers her up. We are having a little trouble with her at dinner every evening because we have 8:15 dinner and she hasn’t taken a nap yet. So she is a little difficult. Tonight was no exception and she was getting a little fussy and it wasn’t even dinner time yet. She really did a great job trading with the officers and other crew. It was fun to see her trade, but she didn’t want to leave for dinner. I should also note that it was the Captain’s reception and they served free drinks again. I had a really yummy Champaign drink. (Well, maybe 2 of them.) Then Jessie saw Chip and Dale and went to get in line as she hadn’t seen them yet and they closed the line right before we got there. UGH! She was pretty upset and we had to walk away with her crying. We then were stopped by a very nice Ship Officer and she asked Jessie what was wrong and Jess told her the story. She was really nice and told Jessica she would talk to Chip and Dale and tell them that Jessica said hi. That cheered Jessie up and she traded a pin and off we went to dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was the Parrot Cay themed Caribbean dinner. It was pretty good. I should mention that Andrew is a vegetarian and they have 2 vegetarian choices on the menu every evening and he is eating quite well. Toto usually just picks whatever he thinks Andrew will like the best and brings it out. Sometimes he brings both.

After dinner, they went to another movie and Jessica and I went to bed. It was a very nice day, but tomorrow I am going to try really hard to get Jessica to take a nap. Wish me luck!
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:46 PM   #65
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Friday, August 22nd Acapulco

I woke up at about 5:45 and peeked outside to see us moving slowly along the coast of Acapulco. It was still very dark and the hills were filled with shimmering lights. It was beautiful. We docked and the sun came up right along with a nasty storm. I will be honest, I haven’t heard good things about Acapulco lately and we had cancelled our shore excursion and planned to wander over to the fort and call it a day. But with the horrible rain storm, I decided not to wake anyone up and just watch the city from our verandah. It rained on and off all morning and all aboard time was at 1:00pm. They had a sail away party planned, but couldn’t do it due to weather. I did see several people at the fort (it was right out my window and across the street). It was fun to be here as this is only the Magic’s 2nd time being here this year. We had lots of locals drive by, honk and wave.

That part was fun. 1:00 came and went and we didn’t leave and then there was the dreaded announcement…”Would passengers Mr. A of deck 8, Mr. B of deck 2, and Mr. C of deck 3 please call Guest Services.” So I went out to the Verandah and watched for 3 men to sprint back to the ship. I waited about 20 minutes and didn’t see anyone, but I did see Christian (our cruise director) walking around, talking to many people and into the walkie talkie. I was bored of waiting and went up to deck 9 to see if they were having the party. There was an officer in the elevator and I asked him what they would do. He said that they had a little bit more time to wait and give them a chance to make it back. He also said that an excursion hadn’t made it back yet. Yikes. But with the excursion, the ship will wait. About 20 minutes later we started moving and I went back to the room, the kids said that about 30 people came running back to the ship and were hustled on. Everyone watching from their verandahs was cheering them on. As soon as they were on, we left. I have no idea if those men made it back, but I assume they did as they never made another announcement. Can you even imagine missing the ship; they wouldn’t be able to get back on until Cartagena, Columbia. That is 4 days away. Yikes! That would be horrible.

I decided it was nap time so we had lunch and got Jessica settled in. She took a nice long nap and I got to update my trip report and enjoy the verandah. Almost as soon as we left Acapulco, the weather cleared and we had a gorgeous day. I was still determined to see more sea critters. Emily was with me and all the sudden we saw a school of flying fish. They are so much fun to watch so we sat outside and watched them fly in and out of the water. Then all of the sudden, we saw something floating right off the side of the ship. As it got closer, we realized it was 2 sea turtles!!!!! We were so excited. They were just floating along together and just chilling in the surf the ship caused. That was awesome. Shortly after that, we saw sea gulls and a pod of dolphins. Rock on! That just makes me so darn happy. I wanted to see the show tonight as I haven’t sent this one before, it is the “Art of the Story”. But alas, Jessica slept through it and the kids were having too much fun swimming in the very wavy pool. The seas were a little rougher today and that made the pool extra fun! Also, they were going to show the Premiere of the Cheetah Girls movie on the Ariel View screen, so they swam and watched that instead of the show and dinner.

After Jessica’s 4 hour nap (YIPPEE), we went to the lobby and visited with some new friends. We got pictures with Goofy, Mickey and Donald dressed up in their Mexican attire. Jessica also had a Mexican style dress on and it was fun for all of us. She was in such a good mood and I can tell the nap made a huge difference. We then went to dinner in Lumiere’s and had Mexican theme dinner. During dinner, Minnie dressed up in her lovely Mexican attire and 2 dancers came in and danced a little to announce the first deck party of the trip. Tonight is Minnie’s Fiesta Grande party. This is another new thing for us so we wanted to do that. About half way through dinner, our table neighbors took their daughter to the kids club, Jessica asked if she could go too. So I took her up and they had a Mexican Fiesta with games and piñatas. She was excited to stay so we got to enjoy some peace at dinner this evening.

After dinner we chatted with our servers about their life at home. Sounds like this job is very ideal for them, but they both have children that they rarely see. That makes me so sad for them. But they are able to provide very well for their families and they really do seem to enjoy what they do.

We headed up to the party with the girls and I stopped by the kids club to pick up Jessica, she didn’t want to leave!!!! Okay, so I got to go to the party and dance away. They had an awesome dessert buffet set up along with a burrito bar. Some of the staff were walking around with games to play. I played a guess the amount of beans in the jar. I won out of my group. People were guessing in the high 100’s and low 1000’s. I guessed 2400 and she said there was 2050 beans, go me! 

They had lot of dancing, confetti falling and piñata candy thrown about. It was a great time. Then they started the Cheetah Girls movie again, so we bailed out and went to get Jessica. She still didn’t want to leave, but I made her go and she cooperated. Off to bed we went all except for Sarah, she went to watch Step Up 2: The Streets. Night all!
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:26 PM   #66
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Thanks So Much

This trip report is just great!

If you don't mind, please tell Toto that Miss Kelly, Debbie, and Scott say hello.

Also - I see you're from Milwaukee - we were just there a couple of weeks ago to catch a Brewer's game! Great town for a nice weekend getaway! We're actually in WI a lot as DD goes to school at UW-Platteville.

Anyway, thanks again! It's so fun to relive the repo!

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Old 08-23-2008, 09:11 PM   #67
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Sounds like you all are having a great time.. cant wait to read more!
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Old 08-23-2008, 09:53 PM   #68
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Sounds like you're having an awesome trip so far. We'll be watching on Monday as you go through the PC (hopefully no submarine this time).
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:32 PM   #69
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We did the Los Veranos zip line when we went in 2005 & had a blast. We also had our own venture into the local Walmart, except we weren't looking for ping pong paddles. We were looking for gatorade as my middle son got a bit dehydrated during the zipline trip - still one of his favorite excursions we've done though. Did you get a chance to look at the photos & video footage from it yet? When we looked at ours we noticed in one photo a very large green snake hanging from a branch that we zipped right past! Good thing we couldn't see it while zipping!

Glad to hear you had a good time in Cabo too! The sea was really rough while we were there and our excursion got cancelled by the vendor. I would love to have seen the sights your family saw (squishy and all).
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:12 PM   #70
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Talking Back from Duluth

We are back home and all is well. Had a great time.
How wonderful for Emily (I am so happy for her), Jessie and everyone.
Going lakeside either tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning.
Will be watching web cam on Monday.

LOL
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:38 AM   #71
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Loving the report so far!!!!! Have a wonderful trip through the canal!
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:41 AM   #72
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Patiently waiting for the Canal day update! I bet the internet got real bad. Not nearly as many blogging the EB as there was for the WB. I was supposed to be on the WB and followed the blogs daily!!
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:59 PM   #73
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subbing.... Love your report!
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:39 PM   #74
magic1bubbles
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Thumbs up makes me yearn for our first cruise!

wow! my dh & i are taking our first cruise in january. we too are traveling by train to get to the magic. it is a great relaxing time if you have the extra time to travel. every line i read in your travel tale entices me even more to attempt this next mode of travel! neither one of us has yet to take a cruise so we are looking forward to it with some apprehension and your travel log has made it that much more tempting!
i can hardly wait to hear of your next adventure with the family and all the fun things you do on board. safe journey.....
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:30 AM   #75
poohmomof5
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On again!

Hi everyone,

Right now we are floating very slowly past some mountains in Columbia. It is a beautiful sight and we can even see snow in the tops of some of them. We don't have very far to go to get to Aruba so we are crawling along. Here are some more updates!
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21 day trip report LIVE from Amtrak, Disneyland & EB Repo through the Panama Canal!
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