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Old 07-17-2010, 10:00 PM   #31
Kurby
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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We got into our hotel last night around 7:00, ( Hampton Inn ) about 10 min from the Rainbow Bridge border, nice hotel. We got up around 7:30 this morning, had the complimentary continental breakfast packed up,got gas, and was on the road by 10. By lunch time we were driving through this really quaint little town called Ellicottville New York. The drive was just lovely. The scenery, weather and traffic couldn't be beat until about 4 when we happened upon the tail end of an amazing accident. One could only wonder what was going through not only the driver of the car but the people behind him as someone pulling a 28+ foot trailer took a corner too fast and watched as his trailer toppled over followed by his SUV.

Cassandra kept herself busy colouring and watching her IPOD. Most of the day. She is a good traveller but had her moments of madness but really who could blame her, sitting in a car for the 10 hour drive with only a few stops to stretch. One game we played with Cassie was tree counting, that lasted up til 33 then she admitted there were way to many. We were talking about all the trees that blanketed the mountains and could imagine how beautiful it would be to drive the route in the autumn

Can you spot the hidden Mickey??? ok not so hidden






Typical since i do al the driving









We arrived at the Embassy Suites hotel in Richmond VA just before 8.30 and are very impressed with the hotel. There is a beautiful indoor garden and water feature that runs through the lobby and in between the 2 sets of elevators right up to the breakfast area. We were given our room and headed up for a peak before getting our luggage and a good thing we did. Upon opening the door we encountered a messy room that looked like the previous guests were still there. Food, shoes, papers, towels and a messed up bed. A quick retreat to the front desk rectified the situation and we were off to our new room. A very nice 1 bedroom corner jr. suite. Perfect for us as we can put Cassie down for the night and sit and relax in the livingroom.














Cassie wanted to go exercise LOL too cute.



A bonus with this hotel is not only is the breakfast complementary but they also have an evening reception from 5.30 to 7.30 that includes wine, beer and appies.

Patrick and I are in the livingroom watching Shrek and Cassandra not sleeping on the king sized bed in the bedroom watching Shrek. Oops spoke too soon she's up. Patrick's off to read her a story and hopefully she'll fall asleep soon.

Tomorrow is a non-event day. We do he a few plans but we'll find out tomorrow what there is to do in the area and see if we should change what we're planning. We'll go for a drive, see whats around and take it from there.

Last edited by Kurby; 07-19-2010 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:09 PM   #32
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All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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Sunday


Our non event day was well timed. We had a little sleep in, which in our case with early bird Cassandra meant 8am instead of 7am, and headed down for breakfast. Now I'm not much of a breakfast person but it was still nice and everyone enjoyed it. After breakfast Patrick took Cassie swimming while i set up a few things on the laptop and unpacked our stuff.

We love this program called Skype. Normally we use it to do video chatting with my aunt who lives in England but I just found out that for $3 I could get unlimited calling within the US and Canada. you can not get any better then that, so I downloaded the credits. By the time Cassandra and Patrick came up I had already called my parents, aunt (in Canada) and Patrick's mom. Then we called his aunt in Florida who we'll be seeing on Friday and my brother to wish him a happy birthday.

Now it's time to brave the heat and more over the humidity. We stepped outside and were slammed. Ohhhhhh I hope those Chilly Pads get to us at our resort. We needed a few things from Target which was closer then we thought and our car didn't even have a chance to cool down before we got there.









Baskin Robbins was right across the street sooooo we stopped in. Ya know - it's funny, to me, ice cream just doesn't cut it when it's 35 degrees and 98% humidity with 80% chance of rain. I'd have been happier with a very large jug of ice water. But i'm not complaining - it was still nice to have.






Enough is enough time to hit the pool. All the weekend guests who filled the hotel for 2 weddings and a reunion checked out this morning so the hotel was pretty empty. Cassie and I enjoyed the pool while Patrick took a nap.

This hotel puts on a managers reception on the weekends so after our nap we got ready and checked it out. It's a nice cocktail event. Basic snacks, cheese, veggies, and drinks. We have a few bites then headed to the Olive Garden for dinner.

We've only been once before years ago so we were really looking forward to checking it out. Cassie stuffed herself on cheese at the cocktail party so wasn't interested in eating so she sat and coloured while Patrick and I enjoyed our dinner. He ordered the "taste of Italy" and I had the mushroom ravioli.










LOVED it. The mushroom stuffing tasted exactly like what my mom makes when she makes beef wellington. yummmmy. We didn't get a dessert because we figure we'll be enjoying so many of them at Disney we can do without them this week.

After dinner we got to our car just before the heavens opened. Cassie was excited to walk in the rain when we returned to the hotel until the loudest clap of thunder she had ever heard hit followed by two or three huge bolts of lightning then all bets were off and she made a mad dash to the lobby door.

It's just 10pm and both Cassie and Patrick are fast asleep. Here i thought I was going to be the one who was wiped out with the heat.

Just stepped out on our balcony - Looks like the rain did it's job. It must be at least 10 degrees cooler. Ya i know it's 10 but this time last night it was still in the high 20's.

Last edited by Kurby; 07-19-2010 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:24 AM   #33
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All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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Monday.

Today and tomorrow are Cassie's days. After breakfast we headed over the the Children's Museum of Richmond which is really more like a huge indoor play area for kids. She spent hours playing on a stage, in a kitchen, milking a cow, doing art and just having fun. If we let her she could have stayed all day but 3 hours is just about all most adults can take and we stayed 3 1/2 hours. Time to go.





video
































We headed back for the hotel had a light lunch and headed for the pool for a few hours. This is where Cassie met a friend named Sierra. An easy name for her to remember since she has a friend back home with the same name. They played together in the pool for ages until her family finally packed up and headed up stairs. We stayed in the pool for a little longer then decided it was time to figure out what we were doing for dinner.

Cassie and Patrick went to the front desk to pick up some little advertisements of restaurants and brought them up stairs to sort through. Hummm hard choice. Hondos for steak and ribs, CanCan - a local favourite (or so the advertising says), Gibson's Grill (little more upscale then what we're looking for), Stronghill (a fine dining restaurant) and the Melting Pot for Fondue.

We and by we I mean Cassandra chose the Melting Pot. We got ready and took a nice 20 minute drive to their location for a 7.30 reservation. The restaurant was pretty dark with not much lighting above the table, just enough to see the menu but not much more. The stove or heating element was in the middle of the table. We chose the 4 course couples meal to be split between the three of us knowing that Cassie doesn't and wouldn't eat much.






Our first course started with the cheese fondue. yummy. We picked the traditional cheese over ones with blue cheese, beer and nut based. Our server Ariel, made the fondue right in front of us. She started with the wine, added garlic then the cheese, nutmeg and an alcohol i didn't catch the name of. We were given bread, veggies and apples for dipping. This was followed by a salad for Patrick and myself then our main course. A very nice veggy broth with pork, chicken, tuna, steak and shrimp. plus veggies and a few dumplings. Cooking time was 1 - 3 minutes depending on what was on the stick. Cassie didn't eat much of this course, which I didn't think she would, but instead saved all her room for the next and final course. Chocolate fondue.








We had several recipes to choose from and decided on S'mores Fondue. Another Cassie pick. Again it was set up in front of us only this time was set a flame much to Cassandra's surprise. Chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers. We were given strawberries, brownies, rice crispy squares, cheesecake, marshmallows and pound cake for dipping. We all really enjoyed this course.



video




During our meal the manager came buy to say hello (when I called to make a reservation I asked for directions from our hotel and the girl asked where we were from since we were coming from a hotel, I mentioned Canada and she must have written it down) and to ask where in Canada we were from. When we said Toronto he let us know that they are about to start renovations on 3 locations in and around Toronto and would love to invite us to the opening of the first one in Ontario. This would be the second Canadian location as they have one already in Edmonton. How exciting, being invited to the opening of a new restaurant.

By the time we finished up it was just past 10pm. A very tired Cassandra was sleeping before we even pulled out of the parking lot.

Last edited by Kurby; 07-20-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:58 AM   #34
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KURBY, such great great pictures!!! You are all having so much fun!!! Cassie is such a doll-baby!!! Always smiling in each picture, what a "ham"!!! She just loves spending time with her Mom and Dad!!! And her little outfits are so cute, right down to her flipflops and sandals.

Your food pics ... awww ... YUMMMMY!!!

Carrrrrry on ....
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:37 PM   #35
Kurby
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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After last nights late night dinner I thought Cassie would sleep in but noooooo 7am rolled around and up she sprang. Luckily Patrick got up with her this time and let me sleep in an extra hour.

Another breakfast in the hotel then back to the hotel to get the address and make reservations for the Maymont Estate. We found out they opened at 12 so we had time to start packing in preparation for leaving tomorrow.

Richmond is not a very large city so it didn't take us too long to get there, about 15 minutes. The Maymont estate is a 100 acre Victorian country estate on the banks of the James River and was donated to the city of Richmond by Major and Mrs. James Dooley in 1925 after Mrs. Dooley passed away. Major Dooley passed in 1922.

When we arrived we didn't realize that the parking lot in front of a formidable gate was actually the entrance that is the original gate from 1883. We parked and headed up the very long path that we soon found out was the severance and delivery road. Along the way we passed the stables, garden house and many other unnamed buildings. Eventually we came to the Carriage house and boarded our carriage for a beautiful 20 minute ride around the garden.












video













We were taken to the front gate and told that this was indeed the route the Dooleys and guests would have been brought in by carriage and later car. Our ride took us to around the house and through the carriage cover where we were told they guests would have been greeted by the butler as they exited their coach. Before long our journey was over and we bid farewell to our tour guide (and his 5 year old daughter)

We took the hot walk back to the house for the inside tour and were very glad we did.

James Dooley was the son of wealthy Irish immigrants and after graduating first in his class from Georgetown College he enlisted and fought in the Confederate army.

After the Civil war he established a law practice in his war torn city. A few years he met and married Sallie May. in the decade that followed James served 3 terms in the state legislature.

He and other prosperous residence were instrumental in rebuilding and expanding the southern railways.

Having no children to inherit their wealth Dooleys left the bulk of their wealth to several Richmond organizations and upon Sallie's death in 1925 and in accordance with her husband's will, she left Maymont to the City of Richmond to be used as a museum and park. However, no endowment was made for its ongoing care so they relay on donations from the public.

Sallie too came from wealth and was famous in her own right. An author, she had a book published in 1906 called "Dem Good Ole Times". A romanticized interpretation of Virginia plantation life.

This home in Virginia was the couples winter and smaller home at 1200 square feet. Their summer home called Swannanoa is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and at 2500 square feet is more than double the size of their main home. In a sad state the summer house has been left and is in major disrepair and is very difficult to get in to see. Some photo are presented in Maymont and one can only imagine how beautiful it once was. Sallie played an active role in developing the estate gardens and brought many different plants and trees not native to the area.






Unfortunately we were not permitted to take any video or photos inside the house which is a shame because it was absolutely beautiful and showed just how wealthy they were at the time. A house for just the two of them also housed 8 house help and more then 20 grounds help.

We decided not to take a walking tour of the gardens as it was getting far too hot and Cassie was very thirsty. When we got back to the car we weren't shocked to see it was 104 degrees in the shade. Before too long Cassandra was sound asleep and we weren't too far behind her.

This is what 10 degrees looks like





We headed back to the hotel and when Cassie woke up we went for a swim. I can honestly say I don't think we've ever been in the pool this many times in one vacation.

The managers reception was being held again tonight rather going out for dinner we decided to just have nibbles instead. Tonight we were again offered on the house beer and wine along with mixed drinks and soft drinks. For eats we had little pizza slices, pop corn, cheese and veggies/dip.

It's now 8pm and we're hoping Cassie falls asleep soon so we can finish packing so we can just leave after breakfast tomorrow and head down to Savannah.

Richmond has been a nice city to visit and I think we'll return (just not in the middle of the summer again.)
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:07 PM   #36
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Followed you over from my report...what a great vacation you are having! Quebec City looks so beautiful!! I'm thinking this will have to go on the "short trips" list for a future date!

The heat has been unreal, hasn't it?! And it doesn't look like it's going to break around here anytime soon. But, I bet you'll still have a great time in Disney too - you'll get to know the pool area very well!
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #37
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All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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Wednesday.

Today's another travel day. Last night we got everything all packed up and ready to go so that when after breakfast we could just wash up, put the stuff in the car and leave. While Cassandra was getting dressed Patrick took a few of the bags down then we headed off for breakfast.

We set off by 9.30. The drive was actually pretty good. With very little traffic on the road we made good time. At one point we stopped for gas, looked east and saw the sky had turned very dark. With a crack of thunder we knew it would be a race to see who would get to Savannah first, the storm or us. For the next 2 hours the dark skies remained in the rear view mirror.

We arrived at our hotel just past 6.30 ahead of what we thought would be a huge storm. It turns out it got tired of following us and changed directions, though we could still see the dark skies off in the distance it looks like other parts of Georgia weren't so lucky.

We're staying outside the historical district which is unfortunate. It would have been great just to be able to go for a walk but where we are there isn't anything worth seeing so tomorrow we'll go on one of the bus tours to see the city.









Thursday

I called last night and had to leave a message for the bus tour company. I found their site online and it said we had to book the 3 hour tour 48 hours in advance. I hopped it would be ok otherwise we'd just do the 90 minute tour which would have been fine just not as much info. By 9am I hadn't received a call back so I decided to call them instead of waiting any longer. We were in luck, there were 4 spaces left and we're just 3 so we got it. Now, the women on the phone said Cassie would be free but we ended up being changed half our cost for her which I don't mind because she does take a seat, it's just what happens when we're going that kills me LOL.

We got ready and headed down stairs. It was a 3-0 decision. We don't like the breakfast here. The french toast tasted like cardboard, the eggs and been scrambled within an inch of their lives and were nothing but little egg bits and the waffles took forever to cook and were the only ok things there. We'll skip breakfast here tomorrow and opt for paying for it at Mickey D's.

Rather that going swimming again or sitting in our room we decided to take a drive around then headed to the ocean. It's pretty far but we had time before we had to meet the bus at 1.30. The roads and houses at Turtle Island reminded us of Virginia Beach cottages or the houses around the beach near Daytona. By the time we got out there we didn't really have time to walk around which was ok because Cassie was starting to fall asleep so we turned around and headed back to the bus tour location and arrived with 25 minutes to spare.


video






Our tour of Historical Savannah started at 2 and ended just before 5pm and in between we were amazed with the history of this city. A city made up of 5 "squares" with 40-50 houses around each square. The first was developed in the 1733 when General James Oglethorpe brought 40 families from Britain. If anyone's interested in reading about how Savannah was formed go here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squares...annah,_Georgia it really is interesting.

An interesting movie fact about one of the squares, The Chippiwa Square (one of the original 5 squares) was where Forrest Gump sat, spoke to those who sat beside him and ate his chocolates during the movie "Forrest Gump". The red house across from where Forrest sat was used as Mathew Broadrick's house in the movie "Glory" when he played a confederate army officer.


video














By the half way point of the tour we found ourselves down at the river front. We were given 15 minutes to walk around, get a snack and see the river before boarding for the second half of the tour which brought us to the newer but still pretty old parts of the city. Very different lay out and house design. More Victorian as a lot of these house had been built in the 1800's. It was an excellent tour and I'm really glad we were able to get into the this one.

After the tour we headed over to a restaurant that advertises in the tour companies lobby. BBQ and the south seem to go hand in hand. Patrick ordered the bbq pulled pork but after being given a sample of 3 of the sauces I opted for the fried chicken. While Patrick really liked the sauce I found it too spicy. We did get a bottle free to take home so we chose the less spicy original but I'm not likely to have any at home.

We had though of going back to the beach after dinner but it was just too far away and it's a good thing too because by the time we got back to our room and looked out the window there was a pretty major lightening storm over where the beach was.

So it's 10pm and Cassie has just fallen asleep all excited to be going to Florida tomorrow. We are seeing Patrick's aunt first and then should be heading to our Disney resort for around dinner time.

And with that we bid Savannah adieu.

Last edited by Kurby; 08-04-2010 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:23 PM   #38
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Savannah sounds so interesting and beautiful! Did you take any pics of the houses?
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:10 AM   #39
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sounds like your having a great time!
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:25 AM   #40
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All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brookelizabeth View Post
Savannah sounds so interesting and beautiful! Did you take any pics of the houses?
i did but they were still uploading when i went to bed last night.

i took more video then photos - it was hard to take a lot of pictures because the flash kept wanting to go off and it would hit the window.

i will post what i took later though - today is DISNEY DAY and wre packing up to leave early to get to Patrick's aunts early then to leave early. hehehe
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:33 AM   #41
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Happy Disney Day!!!!!!



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Old 07-24-2010, 10:29 PM   #42
Kurby
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney
 
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DISNEY DAY - Friday

Today started out pretty good, kinda sucked in the middle that got good again.

Since we didn't like the breakfast in the hotel we had decided to wake up a little early so we could get some Mickey D's on the way out of Savannah. We went through the drive through and off we went. It was a beautiful drive and we were due in to Patrick's aunt Carroll around 12.30. We made a few stops for gas and got to Carrolls around 12.45. Pretty good timing for a Friday.












Our visit with Carroll was very nice. We had asked her not to go to any trouble for us but she did offer us some lunch and drinks. We chatted, had lunch and then went down to the lake to feed the fish. Well turns out the fish weren't hungry but the ducks were and before long we had 4 ducks of all different colours begging for bread. Cassie had a wonderful time feeding them and then the 3 geese who swam up about 10 minutes later asking for.... no demanding they be fed. Before long we were back in the house and Cassie was playing with her poodle Bella.









We stayed until about 4.30 then thought we would make really good time to get to Disney World. We had dinner reservations at Capt'n Jacks, which is located at Downtown Disney. A mere 10 minute boat ride from our resort - Port Orleans French Quarter. Since Carroll is only little more then an hour to and hour and a half from Disney we thought we'd have plenty of time to check in, unpack, shower and change before heading down for our reservation. Life had other plans......

This was the very first time my GPS failed me. And really through no fault of the actual GPS. As it turns out, Carroll lives off the beaten path and most of the roads leading up to her place aren't really roads but rather sand dunes. Apparently this year is a pretty bad year for the depth of the sand. We arrived with no problems but when we left our GPS said the fastes route to Disney was to turn left instead of going straight. Before long we were stuck. Turns out the "fastest" route is also a car trap. If one has a 4x4 then by all means turn left but for us lowly folk who only have 2 wheel drive stick to the long route.

2 hours later and several attempts by Patrick and a really nice guy who lives where we got stuck to dig our way out, use wood under the tires and even pushing we were well and truly stuck. Eventually I managed to find AAA's phone number and call them and being CAA members we had no trouble getting them to make a "reservation" for us - "someone should be ther within 90 minutes - great.... and not a happy great but what could we do.

Not very long after that a nice 20ish kid driving a 4x4 came up behind us and eventually after more attempts at digging, pushing and kicking offered to pull us out. He had some heavy duty straps in his truck, hooked it around the frame at the back and started pulling. After 4 or 5 attempts and about 5 feet of movement the strap broke - oops.. I felt bad but he didn't. Apparently people (GPS users mostly) get stuck there all the time and he's pulling someone out once or twice a month. It took about 20 minutes and me thinking he was going to pull the car in half but we finally got out on solid ground. After fixing the front bumper that had broken off due to all the sand as the van dug into it and waiting for the engine to cool down we were off - in the same direction we had originally come in from and 2 1/2 hours later.

Now we have a problem. GPS now says we are due to arrive at the French Quarter at 7.50, Our reservations are for 8.30. Both Patrick and I are covered in sand and sweat and Cassie sand after having a blast playing in the sand (the only one who enjoyed our 2.5 hour "break) and we all need a shower.

Too boot.... we had to drive through this....





what's that - you don't think that's too bad. here's the video





it did eventually stop and here's our arrival to our home for the week






We did arrive on time at 7.50 and I went to check in while Patrick and Cassie grabbed a change of cloths for us. We weren't going to lug all our luggage up to the room just a change so we could jump in the shower, change and hopefully get to the restaurant in time for dinner. The concierge tried several times to call Capt'n Jacks with no luck but to let them know of our delay in arrival and we shouldn't have any problems.

As fast as we could we showered, changed and made our way down to the dock where the shuttle boat picks up guests and takes them to DTD (Downtown Disney) Just as we got to the front of the line the boat captain said there was no room and we'd have to wait for the next one - it was already 8.35 and I told him what had happened and that we were already late for our reservations. With out hesitation he got on his walky talky and radioed down to another captain who was still at DTD and asked him to go into Capt'n Jacks and let them know we were late but would be there by 9.10. FANTASTIC.

After a few minute wait (shorter then the captain though) we were on the the next boat and headed to DTD. At exactly 9,04 (yes i checked my phone for the time) we pulled up to the dock and headed over to dinner.

We were greeted by no less than 3 cast members asking what had happened and if we were alright. Once we were seated I began to relax and enjoy the fact that we were in Disney. Cassie surprised us by ordering the soup of the day which was clam chowder and not so surprising..... a hot dog. I had the mixed salad with a lovely papaya vinegarette and the pasta Alfredo. Patrick had a larger bowl of the clam chowder and the shrimp pasta with lobster sauce. All yummy








Cassie's clam dinner














We had thought on going to the Christmas shop after dinner but Cassandra and I were fading, so we just hopped on the boad and headed back to our resort. Patrick and the bell hop went to grab our luggage and I got Cassandra ready for bed.

It's been a long night and I'm finally just cooled off even after having a shower. Off to bed as we have 8am breakfast reservations at the Kona Cafe located at the Polynesian Resort then a round of mini golf followed by afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian, shopping in DTD and dinner at Citricos at the Grand Floridian and maybe pool hopping over that the Poly but we'll see on that one.

Last edited by Kurby; 08-04-2010 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:16 PM   #43
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I'm so sorry to hear about the sand incident! How stressful. Don't you just love Disney and how understanding they are? Such great service! I'm glad it all worked out and you are relaxing and enjoying it!
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:00 PM   #44
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Kurby, I love your Canada pictures. It makes me want to take a trip there. I just found your trip thread and really enjoy your reports. If you ride I-95 back through North Caroline honk the horn at ex 89...I'm just two miles away.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:28 PM   #45
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Hi Kurby! I had to say hi! I have read your trip reports before on the DCL forum and love to join in the Y&R chats! I had noticed we were going to be in Disney at the same time but it wasn't until last night I realized that it really is a 'small world after all'! We are in the same photopass share on facebook! I uploaded my pics last night and realized a certain family with a very cute little girl looked very familiar! My little girl is princess Jasmine in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique pics! Hope you had a great time!
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