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Old 01-18-2009, 01:17 AM   #76
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hail fellow cruiser, i have to return the favor and get in on your thread. great report, i give it two thumbs up, or read it if ebert doesn't allow me to say that.

i know how that life thing gets in the way and have gotten back to updating my report. i also know a little about that freezing rain stuff you referenced as we tend to get more of that and sleet than snow like ya'll do. it is pretty until the trees start to break. as i mentioned in my report we ran away from that stuff on the day we left for florida as well. it was nice to get where we could put the shorts back on.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by LisaSp View Post
We were on that Superbowl cruise too last year. But we were among the Giants fans, sorry!

DisneyZell I am loving your report...keep it coming!
We were standing over by the Internet Cafe and everytime I cheered for the Patriots I got alot of boo's. So after a while we decided to skip the potential 'knockout' from some 'other' fans and find something else to do...eat! It was worth it too. All good things must come to an end...and the Patriots were no different last year.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:06 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Kurby View Post
and again it ends.

i'd wait until the whole thing is done but you've got me sitting on the edge of my seat.

i'm sooooo excited to go on the wonder in may.

glad toby won't be there
Sorry, it has to end sometime! Unfortunately it will be next weekend before I can plunk in another chapter. But alas, it will come, I promise!

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Was that funny or what?!? I guess she figured that Disney was just randomly handing out wrapped gifts! I mean, it's Christmas right? Thanks for the kind words about the exchange and the scavenger hunt. I had fun putting them together. I came up with a different idea for our next cruise. I think I'll have 10 pictures and then you'll have to go around the ship and find where they're located. Kind of a backwards scavenger hunt. That and I'd definitely think about doing a digital hunt for parents and one just for kids. But I've got lots of time to plan now with no firm travel plans. Sure you couldn't convince DW that a two week Transatlantic trip could be educational enough? I used to teach fifth grade, I'm sure I could come up with enough fun assignments to keep the two DSs occupied!

Stay Warm! (It was -25 here last night)

LM
I think the picture scavenger hunt is a great idea...and a great way to get fired up about your cruise! no go on the repo cruises, I tried (you can ask DW). Westbound wouldn't work because the kids are in school, and both of our boys play football (I'm a coach and vice president of the board, DW is team mom for two teams typically, so we have just a tad going on). I did try to talk her into eastbound. It was a good deal, around 7k before the discount for category 6. I'd love to take a cruise like that, what, 4 days at sea in a row, 5? Crazy fun! Thanks for the note.

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Originally Posted by nzdisneymom View Post
You know what I'm enjoying the best about this trip report? The fact that we've been home for three weeks now which seems like forever, but reading your trip report installments is extending our weeklong cruise into a month-or-more!

We, too, felt like once it got to Monday that things started going too fast. The first few days felt like multiple-days-in-one, but then wham - it was suddenly time to get off the ship.

We didn't have our character breakfast til Friday; if we'd had it early in the week, we might would've gone to it, but Monday was the last morning I woke up early (I was on our verandah around the same time as your DW - only I *did* get a sunrise picture - it was the only sunrise I saw, though, and no one else in my family saw one - hee hee).

I have to echo the shout-out to BearFan for the planning and organization for the ornament exchange and digital scavenger hunt!

And last comment for this time -- love love loved that snickers ice cream on Castaway Cay on Sunday and I was disappointed they didn't have it again when we went for our second dip.
holy cow that ice cream was good. The cookie dough is good too, but not nearly as good! I wish they had ice cream like that on the ship! but then again, it would be empty alot.

Thanks for writing! and for reading of course!

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Originally Posted by LisaSp View Post
We were on that Superbowl cruise too last year. But we were among the Giants fans, sorry!

DisneyZell I am loving your report...keep it coming!
Ahem. Giants fan, eh? Guess I don't really have the ability to limit who reads it...but by continuing to read you DO show you have some taste...so you can't be all bad.

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Originally Posted by pogopossum View Post
hail fellow cruiser, i have to return the favor and get in on your thread. great report, i give it two thumbs up, or read it if ebert doesn't allow me to say that.

i know how that life thing gets in the way and have gotten back to updating my report. i also know a little about that freezing rain stuff you referenced as we tend to get more of that and sleet than snow like ya'll do. it is pretty until the trees start to break. as i mentioned in my report we ran away from that stuff on the day we left for florida as well. it was nice to get where we could put the shorts back on.
yup, I remember reading that in yours. We have moved off of ice and onto snow. if we keep getting snow like we have we might break a record. I don't mind it, but unfortunately I travel alot, and DW is left snowblowing the driveway. Let's just say she doesn't enjoy that.

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Originally Posted by WDBRDWLK View Post
We were standing over by the Internet Cafe and everytime I cheered for the Patriots I got alot of boo's. So after a while we decided to skip the potential 'knockout' from some 'other' fans and find something else to do...eat! It was worth it too. All good things must come to an end...and the Patriots were no different last year.
As you have already seen and will continue to see, I agree with you on the eating part 100%! and last year it was all jealousy until those lucky Giants came along. They strung 3 really lucky plays right in a row. Crazy! but the Pats gave it away. What can you do?

Well, thank you all again for the kind words, keep 'em coming! I'm travelling this week, so no additional chapter until this weekend. Sorry!
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:20 PM   #79
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Well, thank you all again for the kind words, keep 'em coming! I'm travelling this week, so no additional chapter until this weekend. Sorry!
In other words, DW's journal is at home and you are not.

Great report, by the way. Entertains us poor smucks who don't have any firm plans to board the ships any time soon. The dates below my siggie are wishful bookings.

Good luck with the snow..... they are starting to forecast the possibility again here. We don't do snow.....
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:18 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by smeecanada View Post
In other words, DW's journal is at home and you are not.

Great report, by the way. Entertains us poor smucks who don't have any firm plans to board the ships any time soon. The dates below my siggie are wishful bookings.

Good luck with the snow..... they are starting to forecast the possibility again here. We don't do snow.....
Ahem...well...yeah, that might have something to do with it. Now, note that you can't really slam me for stealing directly from her journal...I have been very up front about how I have been repurposing her journalistic talents!



I like dreams, by the way...they are what keep us together. just ask DW how many times I have suggested that we should do the eastbound repo...
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:01 PM   #81
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Chapter 8: Cozumuel, or was it?

Ah, how time flies when you’re not working on trip reports! Snow on the ground a snowstorm on the way and it's time to slide back into the dream world that is DCL.

by this time on the cruise time was really starting to march, but today was Tuesday, and we were docked at Cozumel. Today was a day for rebellion and relaxation. For today was a day we say "no thank you" to getting off the ship and instead stay at home the whole day.

I like to think of it as a bonus sea day...but with a kicker...no one else onboard! obviously that changed throughout the day...but you get my point!

However, before I go to far, wanted to share a pictures. This was taken by our neighbors in the cabin next to ours. I don't think I did a good end to end cabin shot...and they did....so I am stealing it for my purposes!

this is not our room. But looks very similar, only backward.

Alas, today was a day we got to return to the promised land....Topsiders. I diligently used the hand wipes on the way in (by the way (yeah, here I go), I think that it is very cool that they do everything they can to keep everyone healthy. I know, I know, it's in their best interest, but the fact that they have it out there in front of you all the time just says good things about DCL. Heck, it makes me want to make the kids wash their hands before meals. Not that I never did that before, but it definitely makes you think about being clean, and how that might, just might keep you healthy. The first cruise on DCL I don't think they did that...and Dw and I both were sick as dogs for a full day. So I choose to believe the reason it didn't happen after that was because of the people who have to stand there and hold the towels out time after time. Do you think their hands get tired after a while? but I digress).

And yes, it was time for bacon. And syrup. A bowl of it actually. Yes, to some of you this might sound gross, but those of you who think that are clearly the folks who have never tried to dip your bacon in a bowl of goodness.

Now, one thing I must say is that from the last cruise until now Disney must have changed syrup. It wasn't nearly as good as before. Not so bad that I'd want to say something, or complain about it (uh...well...um...ok, other than here), but it was not as good. Yes, I continued to eat it every breakfast, but something was changed about it....I think it's a plot by THE MAN. no, I have no idea who the man is...do you?

After stuffing ourselves (we had to stuff ourselves...heck, it had been almost 9 hours since our last meal! and you never know where you might find your next meal onboard.

Our next destination: Ocean Quest. Now, neither of our boys are old enough for Ocean Quest normally, but today was an open house. So we went and checked it out. It's basically a bunch of video game stations, and the mother lode, a ship simulator. There were kids playing it when we went in (who do they think they are???), so we dinked around on other things.

DW by this time was annoyed because it was just video games. While I remember this distinctly, I read in her journal what she really thinks of us and I quote "The 3 boys were in heaven. I decided to leave because I could play video games at home". Harrumph. Is it just me, or do you read into that sentence that she is implying that I am a boy? I mean...we have two boys...and the only other male member of our family was left at home in the Kennel. Do you suppose she could mean....me?

Anyhoo, she headed off to the pool while the kids and I hung around and shortly thereafter got to drive the Magic. Yes, DS6, DS10 and I drove the Magic. I didn't want to get involved. This was kid stuff, you know? But after driving the ship into the ground time after time after time (and the ship kept having to drydock, and I know how all of you hate drydocking because of the time you can't spend on the Magic), I felt it was time for me to step in where we successfully steered the ship on several missions including one where you had to turn it every few feet and maneuver through coral. We got a commendation for that one I believe, and I was SURE that Captain Tom was going to come and speak to us and ask us to come help him steer.

Surprisingly that did not happen. Ah well...such is life. Genius is often overlooked!

Now, if you were asking yourself why in the heck we would not get off the ship in Cozumel I think I already gave you the answer...but being generous I'll give it to you again!

In 2006 we did the same itinerary (except we didn't get to double dip!). So we had already don’t Cozumel. In 2006 DW and DS10 (then 8) did the dolphin excursion, and DS6 (then 4) went to a beach which I can't remember the name of. Frankly speaking it was a nightmare. I was constantly worried about my video camera...we were hungry and I was a bit afraid of the food (being Mexico). We were supposed to meet the ladies and older boys at this beach but they never made it because the dolphin thing took too long...all-in-all it just was not a good memory for me. We weren't doing any excursions this time, so no reason to get off the ship. Woohoo!

Why woohoo??? Picture a sea day...with activities and really nothing to do but WHATEVER you wanted to do. Now picture that with no people. That's why the woohoo. Obviously if you have never been to a port you should try to get off, I'm certainly not discouraging that. However, if you get the chance, experiencing an almost empty ship is nice. And because it's your home you are steps from everything you need. The pool is empty because everyone is at the beach instead. And there is no sand involved. Woohoo!

The rest of the morning was spent swimming and hanging out. Foosball was on the menu (I believe this was the day when everyone (ok, DW and DS10) was annoyed with my spin server in Foosball. Jealousy. We also took our turn at Shuffleboard. But I learned later in the cruise that I was doing it wrong. Who knew there were rules???

dinner was a casual affair made up mostly of Pizza. OK, so I just spent 10 minutes looking through my TR to make sure I hadn't already shared with you my tip for pizza. I feel like I have, truly...and if there is one tip you should keep with you this is it. So because of that I'm going to share it with you again, if I'm repeating myself...well....skip this part.

I like the pizza onboard. it's not fantastic...and certainly not the best pizza anywhere. But I discovered a trick to make it even better. the main thing to me is that I like my pizza crispy and the pizza they make onboard just isn't. So when I went up I asked to have them put a couple slices into the oven for a few minutes. I'd go get soda from the drink station and when I get back...hot fresh and crispy pizza! this made all the difference in the world, really it did. I didn't know if it would matter the first time...but boy once I did that once I was hooked. The guy got to know me pretty well. OK, so he saw me coming. One day a new lady was there and there was confusion...luckily the cook saw me and remembered me and grabbed the pizza and threw it in the over. Ah! life is good.

Lunch on deck.

Kind of cool to be in port right next to these other big ships.

As you can see we started doing some wandering and picture taking. This reminded me that we have one picture we have taken on all three cruises with DS6:

2008

2006

2004

Yeah, unfortunately I didn't remember exactly where Connor was in the previous years...but still, it's kind of neat to look back and see how he has changed while basically the ship has stayed the same.

Speaking of which, I've read a few places where people said they could see the wear and tear of a 10 year old ship. I really didn't see it. DNH said he did...but I have to say that IMHO that they do a great job of keeping the ship in great shape. Honestly if I didn't know it I wouldn't have known the ship was 10 years old. However, it did just come out of dry dock...so that's part of it, and the natural progression. Dry Dock, however, did not blow me away other than the TV's. The TV's and the added channels were fantastic. Not that we spent a ton of time watching TV, it's nice to have them available when you want them, you know?

Both boys at the rail. Throwing them over wasn't really something we had to consider...they were actually pretty well behaved!

Captain Tom gets us ready to go

If you have been following along so far and not skipping ahead to this chapter (and if you are skipping ahead, stop and go back to the beginning. ok, do what you want), you know that we have not been pleased with our servers. So we did what I never thought we would ever do, we skipped dinner.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:03 PM   #82
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chapter 8 part 2

Disney was playing Bolt in 3-d, so we went there instead of dinner. It was a pretty good movie. Disney, overall, has not been putting out the best movies lately...but this was pretty entertaining. I was VERY impressed with the 3d, DW wasn't. There were not a ton of things flying out of the screen in this one, but that wasn't necessary. Basically the whole thing was 3d, and the depth of the scenery, etc., was really neat. You felt like you were in it, and a part of the whole thing. The glasses were also heavier than any 3d glasses I had ever had on...and then got a bit uncomfortable after a while. But they did fit over my glasses...so that worked ok. This was all shown in the Walt Disney theater, so it was quite comfortable. The only issue was that it was full, and I was worried about it being loud. It wasn't too bad, but like most of the movies I've seen on the cruise ship people definitely know they are not paying for it and act like that...which I get annoyed with.

Speaking of movies (yeah...here I go), I was disappointed at the scheduling of the movies. To me they should have movies running throughout the day, so you have lots of opportunities to see the movies. Instead, they always schedule the movies as basically alternates to the shows that are going on. While this is a good idea, and we had seen some of the shows, it is annoying that you have to miss a show to see a movie you want to see. Maybe they pay for each time they show it? I don't know, but it is annoying. But I digress...

Nick wanted to play "Who Wants to be a Mousketeer" in his club. for those of you who don't know what "Who Wants to be a Mousketeer" is, think "who wants to be a millionaire with Disney type questions, and you don't get a million dollars. More on that in a later chapter when we play the family version!

Everyone else (we had re-joined our neighbors by this point who did get off the ship for a little bit, and did go to Dinner. Naturally the dinner service was the best one that they had had...so maybe it was me...hmmmm) went to the family show by Jeff Civillico. He is a juggler/physical comedy guy. We saw him briefly on the welcome aboard show and he was very funny.

He did not disappoint. First of all, both DS6 and DND8 got picked to go up on stage. This was a good thing. They are both very emotional and there would have been meltdowns if one had been picked but not the other...so bullet dodged there!

Naturally, there were pictures.

DND8, Jeff Civillico and DS6

Connor gets a plate going

so does Kathryn

Again, the show was fantastic, and there was a snap ending to it...when the pulled a guy up on stage to do some of the stuff, and he ended up proposing to his girlfriend. Yeah, that part was staged...but it was a very cool ending to a very cool show. One thing I can definitely say, the comedians, etc. that Disney brings on are very good and very entertaining, all in different ways. I have yet to be disappointed overall, although sometimes they have adult and family shows which are basically the same.

We grabbed Nick from his club, he didn't get picked to play the game so he was a bit disappointed. To cheer him up we went around and made him take pictures . yeah, I'm mean!

The kids with the large furry kids

Nick's favorite...

And with Disney's first lady

Up on deck the ship was rocking and rolling again as we got underway...wave pool again. This didn't happen until later, but both kids were bugging us to swim in the Mickey wave pool. so at some point we went and they got on their suits and I took them up. when we got to the pool level DS6 realized he didn't have his goggles. As we only had a short time I told him we weren't going back to get them. That caused the whining to start. but we made it to the pool. they jumped in. A minute later DS6 was out again asking about his goggles. No, asking is too kind. Whining! He can pull out the crocodile tears with the best of them. My nerves were frayed at that point.

then DS10 decides to join the action and asks if we can go to the Goofy Pool hot tubs. I tell him no (again we only had a very short period of time) and he did what all 10 year olds do..."please can we go". I answer no. "Please? I really want to go". Ok, I lost it. I pulled them both out we got towels and went back to the room. I was ticked off. Most likely a overreaction on my part. you can ask DW, I NEVER overreact . But boy do they ever know how to push the buttons. It's like one thing after another. sheesh!

Now it was time to go to Studio Sea for...wait for it...it's insania...it's Mickey Mania! If you go on a cruise, you have to do these events. They are so fun, and not very many people go, so you have a good chance to go and win something little (a hat, a pin, a mug). No, you won't win a million dollars, but you will have some good memories. And if you go, be loud. The last cruise I was fairly reserved...but this time I really got into it...making a lot of noise...and frankly I had a lot more fun because of it. Just let go...remember, other than those you bring with you, and your friends from the DIS boards, you won't have to be around these folks ever again!

Needless to say when they were picking people we were really, really loud and DW and DS10 got picked to go up. VERY exciting!

There they are, the Purple Plutos.

Basically it's a quiz show about Disney where you ring in. Each round they would ask a question and the contestants would ring in and answer it. And then they would throw a question out to the audience who, if they answer it right, gets to assign those points to the team of their choice. I was picked twice and got the answer correct twice...guess who I gave the points to?

Anyway, they did great, and ended up winning. I think they got ribbons. Again, we did pretty well in the winning stuff category! That and getting picked, it was a great cruise for that! Again....definitely do the game shows...it's fun.

The adults were going to go and see the adult version of the Jeff Civillico show. The kids really weren't into the clubs on this cruise, I don't know why. The older kids were not a problem, they could do whatever they wanted, but what to do with the bigger kids? Finally we just decided to leave them all in the cabins...open the connecting door and let them hang out. A risk, I know, but we figured the older kids could handle it, and we would only be gone for 45 minutes.

The show was still very entertaining, and man that guy can juggle. He picked a guy out (who then recruited his buddy) to be the cheering section and whenever Jeff did something good he was supposed to stand up and say "Your the Man Jeff". That became very entertaining. There was nothing rude about the show, just some suggestive language, etc., mostly by the crowd than anything else. We had brought beers with us and just had a good time overall. It was fun.

Then it was back to the room. The kids did great...we might be on to something here.

Stingray for the night

It was time for bed...This chapter didn't feel as good as the others...but I'm bringing DW's journal with me on my trip...we are going to WDW at the end of February, have to start my pre-trip report! but I can't do that until this is done...that just wouldn't be fair!

next up: Chapter 9: Grand Cayman....or was it?

Now, go make someone's day!
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:15 AM   #83
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Your trip report gets more and more entertaining with each installment...thanks for keeping us in fantasyland!

I must say that I adore the pics of your kids lying on the floor next to the logo. I wish I had done that beginning with our first Disney Cruise...oh well..maybe I will start with our next cruise which is less than a month away and I can not wait! Granted its only the 3 nighter but its Disney!
Of all the Disney cruises we have taken I do not remember doing the Studio Sea...we will this time, sounds like a blast!

Keep it coming! Feb. school vacation is only a few weeks away and you did promise to finish this TR before you start the next one!
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:05 PM   #84
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i can't remember if the hand washing thing started by our second cruise or third one. but they had a bad experience with norwalk virus back around the turn of the century, and since then they have been very aggressive about handwashing. although it didn't seem to help me this trip (shameless plug for my trip report).

this was our third trip to cozumel on the magic, (first on purpose) so we didn't really have anything that we just had to do there either. good thing since i couldn't leave the room, much less the ship. if we had the money and late dinner, i would have considered the fury catamaran. we did that excursion our first time to cozumel and it is one of our favorite excursions of all time.

as to movie scheduling. we are right there with you. i seem to remember that there used to be more showings throughout the day. dw was excited to see that swing vote was showing, until she saw that we wouldn't be able to see it without missing something.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:33 PM   #85
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I agree with the hand washing thing being a good thing. But for me, by the last day of our cruise my hands were so dry, and yes I was putting on lotion, they were bleeding. Ouch! But, we were healthy and no one was sick!

Your boys are so photogenic. I just love your photos. Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:11 PM   #86
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Hey Zell family!
Howdy from the frozen tundra known commonly as Illinois. Keep it coming!

Lisa Marie
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:28 PM   #87
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Hello! Awesome trip report, I feel like I'm right there with you guys. I can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:40 AM   #88
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wave pool

Oh how I can relate to the pool and the waves! Last year while on the Eastern Caribbean to St. Thomas my DH and I decided to lounge at the pool area. But I decided to sit on the edge of the teak sitting area and just dip my feet for a while and like an idiot I stood up to turn around and the ship rocked abit and I slipped and found myself flat on my back in the water at the edge of the pool. In front of about 100 people!! How embarrasing. My DH told me that in a flash I was gone...he jumped up so quick not knowing what had happened..I was bruised but okay...That was enough for me, I was done with the pool and we went to the spa instead and sat in the rainforest room for about an hour heating up my bruised areas!
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:46 AM   #89
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:12 PM   #90
nzdisneymom
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So I have to tell you that DS12 and I were picked to be the Purple Plutos for the Saturday night episode of Mickey Mania, and we won, too! How cool is that?!

Love the pizza tip- I like crispier pizza than what Pinocchio's serves, so I'll have to remember to ask them to cook it a bit longer for me.

Keep up the great report!
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