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Old 06-01-2011, 12:29 PM   #31
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Very anxious to hear how the five day goes, i know it'll be hard but have a great time!
Sailed the Dream 7-19-11
Sailing the Fantasy in Oct. '14
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:43 PM   #32
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see you in a few days......i cannnnnooooottt wait!!!!!!
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:30 PM   #33
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48 2 days!
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #34
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Boarding passes in hand; we leave for the Minneapolis airport in about 14 hours!

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:09 PM   #35
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I apologize in advance for all the "place holder" posts, but I want my trip report posts to be all in a row. I find reading trip reports very difficult when they are all broken up with comments. I want to read your comments, I just want them not to break up my TR. Just me being weird, I'm sure.

Friday June 13th, 2011
I was wide awake at 4am, which for me is very unusual. I am NOT a morning person, generally speaking. After tossing and turning for an hour, I got out of bed at 5am and went to the living room with my laptop. I poked around on the internet, and played some games until a more “reasonable” hour.

Trinity woke up at her normal 6:45am. Of course we were really in no hurry, so after breakfast and loading up the car, Trinity and I looked at pictures on the computer from our last WDW trip (in 2007, when she was 5 months old).

We left the house at 9:15am to drive to Minneapolis. There was a little bit of traffic as we entered the city, due to summertime construction, but nothing that slowed us down much. We stopped at Taco Bell for lunch (Trinity didn’t like her quesadilla – who knew they were that “spicy”?).

We parked at the “Park ‘n’ Fly” off-site parking. I had found a coupon code online, so the 10 days of parking was pre-paid for only $97. It would have cost us $130-150 to park at the airport. As soon as we were out of the car, there was a bus waiting. It was a short 5-minute bus ride to the airport. We were dropped off at the curb, a short walk to the check-in.

We checked in, and one checked bag each was free, since we purchased our tickets with the Delta Amex card. The big suitcase weighed 46#! The ticketing agent told us about a “short cut” to the terminal, so we followed his directions to the “secret” security entrance (only about 4 people in line there), and we were at the gate at exactly 1pm (for our 3pm flight).

Trinity knew we were going to Florida, but we weren’t really clear about the fact that Grandma Val was meeting us there. Grandma had texted me when we were eating at Taco Bell to say she was at the airport (she was at the Detroit airport), and Trinity heard me tell Tim that Grandma was at the airport. As we were going through security, Trinity asked me if Grandma Val was waiting for us. I told her that Grandma Val was at HER airport, and she seemed content with that answer.

There was a McDonald’s right by our gate, so Tim got Trinity a “second” lunch of chicken nuggets and apples. She drank the milk, but chose not to eat.

Our flight left just a few minutes late, apparently there was one too many people on board! After takeoff, both Tim and Trinity fell asleep. This is a kid who hasn’t napped since she was 2 ½, so her “nodding off” is very rare. She slept for 45 minutes, until some loud laughter in the row behind her woke her up. She had a few sips of apple juice, and ate her complimentary pretzels, then watched about half of “A Bug’s Life” on her portable DVD player. Tim entertained himself (after his nap) doing crossword puzzles on his Kindle. I tried to do the crossword puzzle in the Delta Sky magazine, but didn’t get very far.

Grandma Val met us at baggage claim. When I asked Trinity if she knew if Grandma was going to be there, she said “yes”. Maybe she did know. These kids listen more than we give them credit for, I think!

We walked outside to the Thrifty Blue Chip booth, there was no line at all. From there we loaded up the Chrysler minivan, and we were off. It took my GPS a LONG time to figure out that it was in Florida, but once it did, we had directions to the Marriott Imperial Palm Villas. Our room for 4 nights was “free”, as we used our 2011 timeshare week (we own a timeshare in Las Vegas). Check in was quick, and we were pleased to get a ground floor room.

The place looked exactly like the room we stayed in for our 2007 trip, with a huge master suite, plus two other bedrooms (a queen room with a pull out sofa and a room with 2 twin beds). We got Trinity tucked into one of the twin beds, and she went right to sleep. Grandma got settled in the queen room, and Tim and I ran to Wal-mart for some basic groceries.

The Wal-mart was super crowded, for 9pm on a Friday night. We got breakfast cereal, milk, soda, and water. We used the Garmin GPS to find the nearest McDonalds, to get some very late supper for the grown-ups. Trinity had eaten her chicken nuggets from lunch as we taxi’ed to our gate after landing in Orlando. Tim got a chicken sandwich, and Grandma and I had salads. We had a 10pm picnic back at the hotel, then headed to bed.

Tomorrow-Sea World!

The full set of Disney 2011 pics on Flickr

Last edited by LissaW16; 06-18-2011 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:10 PM   #36
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Day 2: Sea World

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Tim and I woke up around 6:30 am (which is 5:30am in our home time zone!), but we stayed in bed until Trinity’s “sun” was on at 7:30. (Trinity has a night light with a timer in it that is a moon at bedtime, and a sun when it’s time to get up. Best $40 a parent can ever spend - Amazingly, Trinity was still sound asleep until 8am, when the alarm clock in her room started to beep. Who knows how late she would have slept otherwise!

We had cereal, bagels, and fruit for breakfast. Trinity drank her own weight in milk, but only ate a few bites of a bagel and half a banana.

The Garmin gave us directions to Sea World. We had a good laugh about how she said “Central Fla Parkway”, it wasn’t “Central Florida Parkway”, but she actually said “FLA”. Anyway, parking fees were absurd (something like $18 per vehicle). I had pre-purchased the Sea World tickets (at a discount, thanks to the DIS boards for that coupon code) – so entering the park was super fast. I had also pre-paid the stroller rental, so that line was very short too.

I had a Home Depot “Sonic Boom” paint sample that I laminated and put on an elastic cord that I tied onto the stroller. This turned out to be one of the best things I brought on the trip – it made it super easy to locate our stroller in the sea of identical strollers!

We first stopped at the flamingos, then the giant tortoise, followed by sting rays, on our way to watch the dolphin feeding. We didn’t feed the dolphins, but we got to watch, which gave us a pretty good view.

Next we caught the Dolphin show. We didn’t get there early enough to get seats in the shade, and it was VERY hot in the sun. This is not a mistake we will make again! The show was good, with not just dolphins, but parrots and a vulture as part of the show. I was amazed at how well Trinity did sitting still through the show.

After the dolphin show, we caught the Sea Lion show. It had a pirate theme, and was pretty funny. We arrived early enough to sit in the shade – MUCH more comfortable!

Next we headed toward Shamu Stadium for lunch before the show. As we walked, we were passed by the “flamingo parade”. It seems they take them out of the flamingo pen for walks around the park! They seemed to know the way, and only needed their “handlers” to help handle the people who might be in their way!

Once at Shamu Stadium, we had hot dogs, and a soft pretzel shaped like a whale. Trinity ate a whole hot dog (!) plus a few bites of my pretzel and most of her Grandma’s potato chips. We mixed a few bottles of Crystal Light fruit punch, and Trinity downed a whole 20 oz bottle by herself (it was HOT!).

The Shamu Stadium is a very big place, and we were there in plenty of time to get a good seat in the shade (and well outside of the “splash zone”). The 3 adults loved the show, but it was clear that the 4 year old was quickly losing interest.

We headed back across the park to see the exhibits we had skipped along the way (we were trying to catch all the shows). We spent a lot of time in the penguin exhibit, which Trinity loved, and then took a quick walk through the sharks.

(oh crap - there's a limit of 25 photos per DIS board post. So much for my uber-organized all-in-a-row trip report! Oh well, rest of pics are linked below)

Link to more Sea World/day 2 pictures

Finally, we ended up at Happy Harbor, the “kid-friendly” area. Trinity’s first ride was the sea creature carousel. After that we had a slushy drink to cool off (Trinity and Daddy shared a grape one, Grandma Val and Mommy each had Orange Mango). Next were more fun kid rides. Trinity and Daddy tried to climb up the rope structure to the big slides, but ropes are just not Trinity’s thing. Her foot kept falling between the ropes, the ropes were pulling off her shoes, all was not right in her world. She was much happier coming down and going on the Shamu roller coaster (which must have been pretty tame, since she called it a “train”).

After Happy Harbor, we took a trek through the polar bear exhibit, where we saw exactly zero polar bears. They must have been on coffee break or something! At least it was cool in there! Finally we took a pass through the dolphin nursery (not much going on there either), and then we headed for the parking lot.

We left Sea World a little after 4:30pm, and headed to the Yacht Club resort for dinner at Beaches & Cream. The parking lot at Yacht Club was full, so they sent us over to the Beach Club resort. The parking attendant at Beach Club made us laugh:

Tim: “We’d like to have dinner at Beaches & Cream”
Parking lot attendant: “Wouldn’t we all!”

They let us park, and we walked the wrong way around the pool, but finally got to Beaches & Cream. We waited less than 15 minutes for a table, then once we were seated, it took FOREVER for the waitress to get to us. When we asked another employee to send our waitress, she came right over. She had gotten 4 tables seated all at the same time, while she was also helping a guy check out, box up leftovers, and figure out how to carry it all. Once we got our order taken, service was outstanding.

The adults all had cheeseburgers and fries. Trinity had a hamburger, grapes, and carrots, on a plate shaped like Mickey Mouse. She ate all the grapes, several carrots, some of my fries, and a few bites of burger. Of course, the best reason to go to Beaches & Cream is to have dessert. Trinity had a Mickey Mouse sundae, Grandma Val had a waffle cone of strawberry ice cream, and Tim and I split the “No Way Jose”, a chocolate and peanut butter sundae. We waddled out of there full but very happy.

Back at the Marriott, Trinity had a shower and was clearly ready for bed, even though it was only 7:30pm. So much for trying to keep her up a little later!

I took a quick walk, to check out the area. We stayed here in 2007, but I know I never left the room unless I was getting in the car – the joys of traveling with a 5 month old! I looked at the “big” pool, and the workout facilities. They had the fancy elliptical machines with built-in TV’s. Of course, with three amusement park days on our agenda, I really had no expectations of getting a workout in. As I walked back to the room, I saw several little lizards hanging out on the curb. Not something you see very often at home (in northern Minnesota).

After Trinity was asleep, Tim and I went to the pool, the smaller one closest to our room, for a cool down in the pool and a soak in the hot tub. As we were leaving, there was a bright green frog on the gate to the pool. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me!

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:11 PM   #37
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Sunday, June 5th: Animal Kingdom

Day 3: Animal Kingdom

Sunday, June 5 , 2011
I actually slept until 7am, and Trinity was up with her sun at 7:30am. We grownups had cereal and bagels in our room for breakfast, Trinity had Frosted Flakes, yogurt, half a bagel, and half a banana! Finally she’s worked up an appetite!

We arrived at Animal Kingdom at 9:15am. Parking was a little more respectable, at $14/vehicle. Of course all of it was going on my Disney gift card – which had over $250 on it. That’s what happens when you use your Disney Visa for EVERYTHING for 18 months. We had enough reward dollars to pay for Disney park tickets for 2 days for 4 people, plus have $250 left over for the “incidentals”.

We started our day gathering Fast Passes for the Safari ride. We got 10:20-11:20am, so we decided to board the train to Rafiki’s Conservation Station. My mom had fun teasing the conductor on the train.

Along the path to Rafiki’s, Trinity encountered her first “passport” stop. There’s an activity geared toward kids on each “continent” at AK. The kids do an activity, then get a stamp in their passport. Who knew my 4 year old would be so into this? It became a mission by the end of the day, trying to hurry to get to the last station – but we made it!

Also at Rafiki’s we encountered our first characters – Rafiki himself, and Jiminy Cricket. Trinity just recently watched Pinocchio for the first time, so I wasn’t sure she would know him. She has also never seen Lion King (it’s out of print, of course, but coming back very soon!), so the characters were a bit unfamiliar. However, I wasn’t expecting her to be as frightened as she was. We got autographs from both, but she was not so sure about standing close to anyone for pictures! And she certainly wasn’t going to stand by any of them by herself!

Of course, after that trauma, she went outside to the petting zoo area and willingly brushed a goat!

It was nearly time for our Safari, so we took the train back and breezed through the Fast Pass line and boarded our vehicle. We saw a ton of animals – Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephants, Rhinos, Ostriches, Giraffes, Lions, various antlered animals, Birds (Pelicans, Cranes, Flamingoes), and even a Warthog! I’ll try to keep the pics to a minimum, just trust me you have to see it to believe it. Disney does an AMAZING job getting the animals up close and personal along the safari.

After the safari, we took the “long” way out, seeing even more animals along the walk. That part was a bit long without the stroller, but we survived (the stroller was parked back at the entrance to the safari). Next, it was already time for lunch. We ate in “Asia” – I had Orange Beef, Grandma Val had an Asian salad with grilled chicken and mandarin oranges. Tim grabbed chicken nuggets for Trinity, with intentions to eat her leftovers. However, all that walking had made for a hungry girl, and there wasn’t a nugget to be had! Instead he ended up eating my egg rolls. The orange beef was very good, lots of flavor. The egg rolls were fair – plenty of meat and not all cabbage, but they were a bit greasy.

After lunch, we browsed the Asia animal exhibit. However, in the heat of the day, nearly all the animals were asleep! We saw sleeping tigers, and sleeping gorillas, then got Trinity’s passport stamped for Asia.

After Asia, we headed over to the Nemo show. After 3 shows at Sea World the previous day, we knew we were going to have to choose between the Nemo show and the Lion King show in order to hold her attention. Again, since she hasn’t seen Lion King, we went with Nemo (Tim and I have seen both, during our 2007 visit).

It was blissfully cool inside the Nemo theatre, which is what we needed in the heat of the day. We were pretty early, but that was a good thing, the place filled up pretty quickly. Trinity amused herself by drawing pictures in the back of her grandmother’s autograph book. She was drawing pictures of the animals she had seen earlier in the day. The show was fun, and Trinity did very well sitting quietly through the show.

After Nemo was Dinoland. Trinity instantly wanted to ride Triceratops Spin. Mommy and Grandma Val got to ride too.

After the ride we got in line to meet Pluto and Goofy. I have to say that I really like how AK does characters. There are official “character booths” set up, with queue lines, and shade. I felt like if I got in line for a character, I was going to see a character (even if he/she had to step away briefly, I knew they would be back to the same spot). I didn’t get the same feeling about characters at MK, but more about that later.

While the girls were in the character line, Tim enjoyed the tunes of DJ Dino-Mite and watched the “dancing girls”. The girls would come out and lead the (very small) crowd in some games and dances, and being as hot as it was, they were just DRENCHED in sweat after just a couple of songs! Tim managed to snap a picture of me entertaining Trinity in line doing the either the chicken dance or the Macarena.

Finally it was our turn with the “dogs”. Grandma Val did fine, but Trinity was still very hesitant. The dogs were doing pictures only, no autographs. Trinity finally agreed to pose for a picture as long as I stayed close by.

After characters, it was time for a snack. Grandma Val had a pineapple popcicle, Trinity had a strawberry popcicle, and Mommy and Daddy had Mickey Bars.

We left Dinoland and went for the Pooh character zone on Discovery Island. Again, autographs were cool, hugs not so much. Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger were all there

As we left Pooh’s area, we caught the tail end of the parade on Discovery Island. We stood Trinity on a park bench so she could see, and she seemed content with that. After the parade, we sent Tim and Grandma Val in to the Bug’s Life show. I knew my bug-phobic little girl would NOT enjoy that one bit, so we wandered around and watched the flamingoes and waited. After Bug’s Life, we found the hidden Discovery Island passport station, then hurried to Camp Minnie Mickey in hopes of getting our last passport stamp. We got there just in time, for the last stamp, and now that her passport was full Trinity was then sworn in by the CM as some kind of nature-conservation kid.

We went to Camp Minnie Mickey with one goal in mind – autographs and pictures with Mickey and Minnie. We got in the Mickey line, then Minnie. As we headed toward the Donald line, the Lion King show let out, and the place was suddenly transformed from a peaceful deserted forest to a crazy over-run with strollers chaos zone. We opted to head for the gate (it was 5:30pm, the park closed at 6pm), and hope to catch Donald another day.

We had a PhotoPass card, so our photos of the characters were not only taken by Daddy (the ones I have been posting), but also the Disney photographer. Surprisingly, the PhotoPass pics aren’t that much better. They are however, more expensive. A digital download is $14.95 per image. Someone is making a buck there! I haven’t downloaded any yet. There’s really only one so far that we weren’t able to get on our own, and that’s a decent shot with Mickey Mouse. Even the PhotoPass one isn’t perfect, Trinity isn’t looking at the camera, but at least her eyes are open and she’s smiling. Maybe after I get copies of pics from all our travel companions on the cruise, I’ll decide if I REALLY need a $15 picture of Trinity with Mickey.

On the way out, Tim found a baseball cap that he wanted, and Grandma Val was sucked in to the craze of pin collecting. Trinity has so far not fallen into the “I want that” phase, so we escaped with minimal spending (with the exception of food and snacks).

We decided to eat “in” for supper, so we stopped at the local Wal-Mart for some groceries. Again the place was crazy busy! Back at the Marriott, we sent the girls to the pool to cool off while we fixed frozen pizzas, salad, and (for Trinity) “instant” grilled chicken. I got the pizzas in the oven and ran to catch up with the girls in the pool. It felt great, the water was warm, and it was a nice way to relax before supper.

After supper Tim took his turn in the pool while I got Trinity showered, drugged (Zyrtec and Desonide twice a day for my girl who is allergic to sunscreen), and into a “calm” activity, “reading” to Grandma Val. Tim and I then left in search of a liquor store (yay, again, for the Garmin) for fixin’s for Mango Mai Tai’s. We were planning on carrying our liquor on to the Dream to save a few dollars.

We then headed over to Downtown Disney. It was packed, as usual, and the first two parking lots were full. We walked through all the shops, wishing we were made of money. I bought a zip up hoodie sweatshirt with Tinkerbelle on it, and some ponytail holders for Trinity. We did more window shopping, then headed back to the Marriott. We stopped at the front desk to make sure our travel companions who were arriving Monday could get a key to the room.

11:45pm – late to bed. Tomorrow: Magic Kingdom!

Mango Mai Tai Recipe:
Fill a glass with ice. Add:
2 shots Mango flavored rum (such as Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Mango or Malibu Mango)
1 shot Triple Sec
½ shot Grenadine
Fill with orange pineapple juice, stir and enjoy!

Last edited by LissaW16; 06-19-2011 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:12 PM   #38
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Monday, June 6th: Magic Kingdom

Day 4: Magic Kingdom

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Happy Birthday Grandma Val! (and yes, I did make the shirt)

I woke up from a dream at 6am that Tim was in a golf tournament and had just gotten a hole-in-one, which won him a $10,000 bonus prize! If only! I waited until 7am to get up and shower, and Trinity was out of bed as soon as the sun came on at 7:30am.

We gave Grandma Val her birthday present (2 Disney themed charms for her Pandora/Chamila bracelet, and a Mickey Mouse card), then had breakfast in the hotel. Next, off to Magic Kingdom! We chose to take the ferry from the TTC, and arrived at the park at 10am. Below is my little girl’s face after she caught a glimpse of “Cinderella’s Castle” for the first time:

Once inside the park, we quickly grabbed a stroller (I paid for a 2-day rental at AK the previous day, again yay Disney Reward Dollars! Saved $2 per day by renting for 2 days), applied my Sonic Boom DIS tag, and were off toward Adventureland/Frontierland. Along Main Street USA we stopped to watch a passing marching band. We then grabbed FastPasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, then got in the very short line for Pirates of the Caribbean. Trinity is way too young for the Pirates movies (they are PG-13), but I was able to point out “Captain Jack” to her along the way, so hopefully she would know who he was once we were on the cruise. Amazingly, for a kid with no “pirate” background, she thoroughly enjoyed the Pirate ride.

Next up: Jungle Cruise. The line was long, but it moved pretty fast. Trinity looked kind of confused on the ride… I think the animatronic animals were just too weird for her after a day at AK with “real” animals.

It was time for our FastPasses, so we climbed up to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I was surprised to learn that the height minimum for this ride is only 40”, so Trinity was able to ride the “big” rollercoaster (she’s about 42” tall). It was a great ride! As we were heading back to the stroller parking, we saw a huge line of people waiting for Jessie and Woody. Unlike AK, with it’s designated shady character queues, this just looked like people happened upon these characters and a line formed. It was very hot out, so I know the characters won’t be out long. I really didn’t even want to wait in line, not knowing how long the characters would stay there, or if they would even come back to the same place. Not to mention there was no shade to be had where the line had formed. Trinity seemed content to just have a quick look – especially when I told her that we would most likely see some characters when we went “to the beach” tomorrow. I wasn’t actually sure we’d see the Toy Story characters on board, but I didn’t tell her that!

We then made our way to the Country Bear Jamboree. I can’t say that I was impressed – I remember that being much more fun. Some of the songs were actually pretty dark – one in particular about blood on the ground… Anyway, it was short, and air conditioned, so no one complained.

Next it was time to search out lunch. Tim and I had our hearts set on the Columbia Harbor House for fish & chips, but figured we better find something more “kid-friendly” along the way. Tim got a hot dog and Cheeto’s for Trinity on our way to the fish place. Once inside, we sent the girls in search of a table while we ordered and waited for the food. Grandma Val ordered the hummus sandwich, which came with sliced tomato and broccoli slaw. I had a bite, honestly it wasn’t too bad! Tim and I both had the fish – we split an order of fries, and got one meal with a side of fruit (hoping something of nutritional value would find it’s way into our kid on this trip).

After lunch we went to the Hall of Presidents. The show didn’t start for about 15 minutes, so we sent Tim traipsing across the park to get FastPasses for the Pooh ride. While the girls waited, a Cast Member gave Trinity an American Flag pin. We watched the presidents show, and I again was amazed at the patience of my 4 year old. Clearly none of the historical speaking made any sense to her, but she sat quietly through the whole thing.

Finally, it was time to do “kid stuff”. We parked the stroller just inside Fantasyland, and got in line for “It’s A Small World”. The line was HUGE, but at least it was shady and moved pretty fast. We waited at least 30 minutes in line.

After that, Trinity and I got in line for the Dumbo ride. To me it looked an awfully lot like the Triceratops ride from the day before, but that didn’t seem to stop Trinity. While we were in the very hot 40+ minute line, Trinity spilled fruit punch Crystal Light all over herself. She nearly started to cry, but I managed to make it funny by telling her how the pink matched her pink tee shirt.
When we were nearly on the Dumbo ride, we came into our Pooh Fast Pass window, meaning we could now go grab another one. Tim again got the honor of running across the park to get Buzz Lightyear FastPasses.

From the top of the Dumbo ride, it’s clear that there are major renovations underway for Fantasyland. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that Toon Town would be closed until the day we left for our trip. I think the only thing I was really bummed about missing was Goofy’s Barnstormer rollercoaster. Then again, I didn’t realize Trinity would be big enough for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so she would probably just scoff at the Goofy coaster. Oh well, I guess we’ll see next time!

After Trinity and I rode the Dumbo ride (and waited for Tim to get back from Tomorrowland), all 4 of us rode the Pooh ride. That one was fun, but makes me want to see the Hefalump movie (which somehow I have avoided thus far).

Tim then had the honor of taking Trinity on the teacups. I have pictures of me, at age 4, on this ride. My mom, who hasn’t been to MK since then (33 years ago!) said, “there wasn’t a roof on the teacup ride when we were here before”. Apparently skin cancer and heatstroke were fashionable back in 1978! You won’t believe who was on the teacup ride with Tim and Trinity!

While we were waiting for Dumbo, Grandma Val bought Trinity a Buzz and Woody pin, and we put it on her hat right next to her flag pin. Of course, right after we put the pin on, we were able to remove her hat while waiting to board the Buzz ride, and I promptly dropped her hat without noticing. Someone saw it on the floor right as we were boarding the ride, so I couldn’t get it. Fortunately, as soon as we exited the ride, a very helpful CM was able to find her hat, right where it was dropped!

Anyway, the ride itself is one of my favorites at MK. Grandma Val was struggling to figure out her laser gun, and Trinity just held hers like a handle, never pulling the trigger. Of course Tim’s score was something like 10 times my score, but at least I hit something!

After Buzz, we split up. The wait times were nearly equal for Space Mountain and Astro Orbiter, so we sent the girls up to Astro Orbiter while Tim and I got in line for Space Mountain. Trinity’s just about 2” too short for Space Mountain, again there’s one for next time. We waited about 45 minutes for Space Mountain - which seemed quick, considering the FP’s were coming out at 8pm (and it was not even 4pm). We rode our respective rides, then met the girls for snack time. Tim had his usual Mickey Bar, but I decided to branch out and try a Mickey Cookies & Cream ice cream sandwich. It was very tasty, and nearly rivals the classic Mickey Bar. Trinity had a rainbow popcicle, of which some of the lemon fell onto her shirt. She was becoming very colorful – between the cheeto crumbs, fruit punch, and lemon popcicle, it was a rainbow of culinary delights on her shirt!

After snack, we headed to the Mike Wazowski Laugh Factory. Mike is one of my favorite characters, so I was looking forward to this one. As we waited for the show to begin, I saw that we could have had snacks there instead of ice cream…

The Mike Wazowski show did not disappoint, and I think everyone had fun (except for “that guy” – ok you just had to be there). We went on the People Mover next – that was actually a nice ride – great views all around Tomorrowland. Finally we decided to cool off on the Carousel of Progress. Trinity’s ears perked up at the mention of the word “carousel”, and I think she was a bit disappointed. However, she sat quietly through the show, even though it clearly was way over her head.

Finally, we made it to Cinderella’s Castle. Trinity seemed a bit disappointed that there was nothing “in” the castle, that it was just a “shortcut” to Fantasyland. However, once back in Fantasyland she spied a REAL carousel, so we decided to have one more ride.

Once back at Main Street, USA, we returned the stroller and boarded the train. We did a lap around the whole park, and it was clear that our girl was “done”.

Meanwhile, while we were out enjoying MK, and unbeknownst to Trinity – our cruising mates had arrived. Chris, Barb, Terry and Kathy had all arrived in Orlando around noon, checked in to our room at the Marriott, and had spent the day at Downtown Disney.

When we arrived back at our room with our tired girl, she was clearly overwhelmed with all the guests. I quickly fixed the girls some leftover pizza from the night before, then got Trinity showered, medicated, and ready for bed. We left her with Grandma Val to read books, while Tim and I escaped with Chris and Barb.

We decided on “dinner” (granted it was after 9pm by this point) at Waffle House. Tim had a waffle and bacon, and I had eggs, toast, sausage, and grits. My meal came with a waffle, which I got in a to-go box to take back for Trinity for breakfast. Chris and Barb had “coffee and company”.

After the meal, we stopped AGAIN at the crazy busy Wal-Mart. I got Trinity a “beach” pin for her hat, we also got some milk for breakfast, wine for mom to carry on, some breakfast sandwiches, and Chris & Barb found some new bargain Disney tee’s.

Finally “home”, I put a second load of laundry in (mom thankfully had started it), and then tried to get a little sleep before the big trip to the BEACH! The laundry was making me very grouchy – the dryer was taking FOREVER with the first load, so I had to just give up and plan to put the second load in the dryer when we woke up. We had brought only 5 days worth of “casual” clothes, so everything we wore to the parks needed to be washed and re-packed for the cruise – because I didn’t want to spend a single minute of my cruise doing laundry!

Tim and I took the pull-out sofa bed in the living room, giving the master suite to Grandpa Terry and Grandma Kathy. Chris and Barb had the twin bed room, and Trinity slept on the pull-out sofa bed in Grandma Val’s room. The sofa bed in the living room was BAD – but I can tolerate just about anything knowing I’m going to be on the DISNEY DREAM in a matter of hours!!!!

Next up – Embarkation Day!

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:13 PM   #39
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Tuesday, June 7th: Embarkation Day!

Day 5: Embarkation Day!
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Chris was the first one up, in the shower just before 6am. I got up so I could finally put my second load of laundry in the dryer. Barb was up next, and at some point Trinity and Grandma Val were awake.

I got Trinity dressed, and fixed her waffle leftovers, which she totally enjoyed. All of my stuff, including my bathroom stuff, was in the master suite. I still needed to shower and re-pack everything, and Grandma Kathy didn’t get out of bed until after 8am!

Although I was pretty sure that I told everyone that carry-on liquor was permitted, no one else had bothered to go to the liquor store in their free time on Monday. So, Tim took his parents on the hunt for an open liquor store, but there were none to be found. Trinity played charades with Barb and Grandma Val while I re-packed all my things (the dryer took more than 2 hours to dry my laundry!).

Finally, at just after 10am, we were underway.

Chris was having trouble programming her GPS, as no one seemed to have a street address for the port. Somehow she still found her way. Our vehicle (Me, Tim, Grandma Val, and Trinity) was heading for the Park ‘n’ Cruise, where parking was $7.99/day (compared to $15/day at the port), plus we had a 10% off coupon (found online). The Park ‘n’ Cruise was very easy to find, and we arrived at about 10:50am. We pulled into the “garage” where they helped us unload our luggage and load it into the bus. Tim then parked the car, and the bus picked him up at the parking spot. The bus ride to the port was only a few minutes, and then we saw this:

It was at this point that we told Trinity that we were taking “the big Mickey boat” to the beach. She seemed genuinely pleased. We were dropped off at the curb, walked straight through security, and up the escalators to the check-in line. We came in right behind Kathy & Terry (who were dropped off curb-side, while Chris & Barb drove to the car rental place to return their vehicle). We breezed quickly through the check-in line, and were given boarding number 16.

There were lots of people in the boarding area, as they had not yet begun boarding.

After check-in, I got into the kid’s club line. I sent Trinity over to stand in the better line with her grandparents:

And then she waited with me to get her kid’s club bracelet. The line was long, but what else was there to do? After she was banded, we sat and watched a bit of Tinkerbelle on one of the TV’s in the waiting area.

Tim and his parents (and Chris & Barb, who finally arrived and got boarding number 19) were sitting way in the back, near the restrooms. I went back to talk to them, and ran into a familiar face:

It seems we found a little pixie dust back there… someone had handed my mother-in-law a card with boarding number 10 on it! I guess I can now forgive her for sleeping so darned late! We had trouble finding the “beginning” of the line, but once we weaved our way through, our party of 8 was on board, announced as the “Timmerman Dudley Family”!

Welcome Aboard!

I was kind of irritated that we couldn’t get an embarkation photo with all 8 of us, but they seemed very rushed. Oh well, all the trouble for matching tee’s and all it did was make it easy to find one another in the terminal!

We headed to Enchanted Garden for lunch, and we were eating by 1pm. So, less than 2 hours from arrival to on board, and eating at a decent hour. So to be honest, I don’t think you need to get to the port at some ridiculous hour like 9am, all it does is make you wait longer in the terminal. Boarding didn’t begin until at least noon.

Lunch was a small buffet. I had some salad, a very tasty lamb chop, and a tomato and basil sandwich. Trinity ate a ton of rigatoni pasta with a tomato based sauce, plus several other things. I convinced her to “try new foods”, to take a big bite of a cocktail shrimp, but she was clearly not a fan. My plate:

We finished lunch at 1:30, which is the time they allow guests to their cabins. We ditched our carry-on bags and started exploring. Tim and I took Trinity to Oceaneer’s Club, where she fell in love with Andy’s room. There is also a Monster’s Inc room, a Pixie Hollow room with dress-up clothes, and a Nemo area with computers for games.

We wandered around, scoping out the ship, which of course led us to dessert:

After snack time, Grandma Val and I met up with a few other DIS board members at Currents. There wasn’t much shade to be had, and the sun was very hot. We chatted for a few minutes, and everyone went their separate ways. As much as we wanted to get to know each other, there was just too much to see! I did have a frozen cocktail there, it was good but I forget the name. It’s the first one on the drink menu, and it looked and tasted like half a pina colada and half a strawberry daiquiri.

After the meet, we went back to our stateroom to figure out where our lifeboat station was. The big letter on your KTTW is your lifeboat station. Ours was A, which was the Walt Disney theatre balcony. I got Trinity into her swimsuit, and promised her that she could go swimming with Grandma Val after the lifeboat drill. The drill took only about 15 minutes, and the girls were off to the Mickey pool.

Tim and I went back to the room (we were in 8018, with Trinity & Grandma Val in 8020; Chris and Barb had 8014, and Terry and Kathy were around the corner in 8023). We finished unpacking, and took our photo mat that we brought along, and dropped it off at guest services on our way to the Sail Away party. We also applied the remaining amount from our Disney Rewards gift card to our account, plus the two $25 gift cards that we had (prizes from a pre-trip weight loss challenge). Our stateroom credits were: $25 for “online booking”, $50 for booking with our Disney Visa, $75 for using Dreams Unlimited Travel, plus the above gave us nearly $400 in spending money!

Trinity barely even looked up during the sail away party, she was having so much fun in the pool. So much fun, in fact, that we never even noticed that she lost her wristband! Based on my pictures, some time between 4:47pm and 5:15pm, to be exact! None of us even realized it until the next day at Castaway Cay, another parent pointed it out to my mom! Of course we haven’t realized it is gone yet, I will get into the replacement story later.

We finally pulled Trinity away from the pool in time to get dressed for dinner at Royal Palace. We were seated at Table 6, which at Royal Palace was in a back room; not an ideal table location, but not bad enough to complain about. Our waiter was Edward (from Puerto Rico, I think), assistant waiter was Nixon, and the head waiter was Gabon from Hungary. Edward mentioned at some point during the cruise that he would be leaving the dream in November for the Fantasy. In fact many of the staff that we talked to during the cruise were headed to the Fantasy. Which of course makes me wonder where staff will come from to fill the Dream come November?

For supper, Tim had a chilled lobster and shrimp cocktail, French Onion soup, some kind of beef entrée, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Trinity had the melon boat (of which she ate about half), a chicken breast with a little bit of gravy, French fries and mixed veggies, followed by a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. She also ate a few bites of Tim’s steak. I was pleased that she was eating so well (she is not known to be much of an eater). I had escargot, French Onion soup, and the lamb chops. The lamb chops were AWESOME. They had some kind of crunchy coating, a horseradish-breadcrumb-seasoning yumminess on them. I didn’t like the au gratin potatoes that came with the lamb chops. The French Onion soup was fine, but not at all outstanding. It wasn’t topped with melted cheese like I am used to. My mom also had the steak, but it was totally overcooked and she sent it back and chose the salmon instead. Her starters were a spinach soufflé and a green salad. For dessert I had the trio of peanut butter mousse, crème brulee and mango cheesecake. The peanut butter mousse was a bit of a let down, way too rich and too much chocolate. The mango cheesecake was a little bland. The crème brulee was outstanding. I had plenty to eat, despite the very small portions. In fact I really liked the small portions, I left dinner very satisfied but not so full that I wanted to take a nap.
I’ll post the food pics later, here: Royal Palace Night 1 Food Pics

After supper, I helped get Trinity to bed (it was just after 8pm. I was very bummed that there was no where to plug in her “moon” nightlight. The only outlet is on the desk area, and it was too close to the countertop to plug in anything large. Note to self, bring along an extension cord on our next cruise.

After Trinity was settled, Tim and I went with Chris and Barb to ride the Aquaduck. We waited only about 10 minutes in line. It was very windy up there, I’m glad I was dry while I waited in line. The ride was fun, even though it was dark out. At the bottom you get a little wet, so we were freezing in the wind. We scurried over to Quiet Cove and got in the pool for a while, then the girls got in the hot tub. Tim went to get dressed and check out the “night life” while the 3 of us girls listened to a very chatty woman from Florida talk at us in the hot tub.

After a good long soak, I went with Chris & Barb while they had ice cream. I just had a soda, since I already had dessert twice today.

Next I went to the spa to get our day passes. I had pre-ordered 4 day passes to the Rainforest area, which is aromatherapy showers, a sauna, 2 different steam rooms, heated stone lounges, and a hot tub. More about this on sea day!

Finally, I went back to the room to change out of my swimsuit, just as Tim came back. We walked through Shutters (one good pic so far), then through the clubs. There was no one really out yet, but there were some nice looking bars.
We went to bed around 11:15pm. Next stop: Castaway Cay and our cabana on Serenity Bay!

Embarkation Day Navigators:

Day 1 page 1
Day 1 page 2
Day 1 page 3
Day 1 page 4

Full pic collection:
Full Flickr Set/

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:14 PM   #40
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Wednesday, June 8th: Castaway Cay!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
Castaway Cay!

I woke up around 6:20am. Tim was still asleep, so I pulled on some clothes and tiptoed out. I got a cup of coffee on deck 11, then wandered around taking random pictures of the ship. It was very weird to see the Mickey pool empty!

The 4 of us went to breakfast at Cabanas. I had a banana and some yogurt, and half a bagel with lox and cream cheese. After breakfast, I helped get Trinity ready for the beach, and the girls were off. Tim and I went ashore for the Castaway Cay 5K (which we walked). It was VERY hot.

Along the way we stopped at the observation tower. Wow, we were a long way from the ship!

After the 5K, Tim went back to the ship to change and get his big camera, and I headed to Serenity Bay. I had given my beach bag to Chris so I wouldn’t have to go back to the ship.

I walked up to the “cabana guests check in here” booth, and a cast member immediately asked me, “How was the 5k?” before I even had a chance to introduce myself! He drove me in a golf cart the short way to Cabana 19.

The cabana had 2 lounges, several other chairs, a changing area, fresh fruit, and a fridge full of water and soda. There was sunscreen provided (my brand even!), plus an outdoor “salt and sand removal” shower, and a hammock. There was a pile of floats (3 mats and 3 tubes) for us to use.

Barb and Chris were in the water, Kathy was sitting in a chair at the shore, and Terry was on the beach in a chair under the umbrella. I grabbed a tube and paddled out to hang with Barb and Chris. The water was not cold at all, and the sun was wonderful.

Tim showed up about an hour later and took a swim while Chris and I worked on our manicures.
Overall, we loved the cabana. It was very relaxing, and well worth the splurge when split between 6 people. I think more than 6 would have felt crowded, if everyone was in the cabana.
(lounge chairs, view from cabana, view looking “in” from the “porch”)

I walked from the cabana to the restroom and back, cruising through the barbeque area to scope out lunch. We then called for the golf cart to drive us to lunch (my mother in law can’t walk very far). I had a steak sandwich and a lot of fresh mango for lunch. There was also burgers & dogs, ribs, and chicken, and a couple of salads. Tim and I made “sundaes” for dessert, with fresh chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream.

After lunch, Tim and I took the tram back to the family beach to check on our girls. We found them just finishing up lunch at Cookie’s too. They had something for lunch not available at Serenity Bay – corn on the cob! I also noticed that Grandma Val had gotten Trinity’s hair braided. She had 3 individual braids, not “corn rows”, and it was totally cute!

The girls were “done” with salt and sand by this point, so they headed back to the ship to ride the Aquaduck and play in the Mickey pool. Tim and I went back to Serenity Bay for a bit, then around 2:30pm we all headed back to the ship by way of shopping at Pelican Point. I bought a Pirate-themed beach towel.

Back on board, we found the girls at the pool, and snapped a quick pic of Trinity with Cap’n Hook & Mr. Smee. We extracted Trinity from the pool, and managed to convince her to go meet Woody. She’s still not so sure about the whole character experience.

Next we showered and got ready for dinner at Animator’s Palate. The show was fun, but Trinity quickly lost interest. She wasn’t interested in eating at all, so Tim took her to kid’s club right before our entrée’s arrived. She was much happier there than sitting through dinner with us adults.

For starters, I had the onion & shrimp cheesecake (yum!), Tim had the mushroom risotto. Next I had squash soup (also yum!), Tim had the bacon potato & cheddar soup. For the main course I had the pasta with shrimp and a light parmesan sauce, Tim had the trio of veal. This was the only entrée that I had on the whole cruise that was “too big”. I only ate about half of it, just because I didn’t want to be too full for dessert! For dessert Tim had the cookies & cream sundae, I had a white & dark chocolate cheesecake. We enjoyed it all. And I’m pretty sure my mom stole the butter knife, just because she thought it was particularly cute!
The grandmas- Valerie (L) and Kathy (R) – doing a dance led by Crush:

Tinkerbelle Trinity and her Grandpa Terry:

My food:

Tim’s food:

Trinity’s (uneaten) food:

Other food (someone’s dessert trio):

After supper, we collected Trinity from kid’s club and took her to the Villains Tonight show. As we sat there in the dark, I noticed I was breaking out in a rash, on the backs of my hands. Weird. Trinity sat quietly through the show. I sat there wishing I had seen Hercules, so I could understand more about the Hades character. Regardless, the show was enjoyable.

We took Trinity back to the room after the show and got her tucked into bed. Tim and I went for a stroll through the clubs in The District, and ended up sitting down for a drink and listening to a lounge singer doing ‘30’s tunes. I had a melon cocktail, and Tim had a strawberry daiquiri. The waiter also brought us a plate with chocolate covered strawberries!

As we got ready for bed, it was clear that I had gotten too much sun – I had missed a spot with the sunscreen on both of my kneecaps, and Tim had a pretty red neck. I think a little sunburn is just par for the course in the Caribbean though!
Tomorrow – a day at sea!

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:15 PM   #41
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Thursday, June 9th: At Sea

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
A Day at Sea

I woke up around 7:30, pulled on my workout clothes, and headed to the gym. It was surprisingly crowded! I walked on a treadmill for a few minutes until an elliptical machine opened up, then did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Back in the room, I showered, and Tim and I headed to Cabanas for breakfast while Trinity and Grandma Val enjoyed cereal and donuts from room service. I had oatmeal (yum!), one egg benedict, sausage, and a donut. It was pretty good, for buffet food. WAY better than buffet food on our Royal Caribbean cruise in 2008.

After breakfast, Tim went to “making of the Dream” while I met the girls for the Princess Gathering. This is by far my favorite thing about characters on the Dream. There is a single line (we got in it about 15 minutes before the “start” time), and you get to meet each princess, one at a time. It’s very well run. I had Trinity dressed in her Cinderella dress – and she got to meet Snow White, Aurora, Tiana, Ariel, and finally Cinderella. When we almost to the front of the line, we saw the line forming for Tinkerbelle. Grandma Val ran upstairs and grabbed the Tinkerbelle dress, so we did a quick costume change, then met Tinkerbelle too. While the girls were in line for Tinkerbelle, I was able to snap a few shots of Princess Minnie, in the upstairs of the Atrium.

Next time – I will make a point to meet Mickey & Minnie while on the ship. We skipped them because we had met them at Animal Kingdom (complete with pics and autographs). But, I think (looking at pics taken by our travel mates) that the cruise pics with Mickey and Minnie just make great souvenirs, whether in their cruise wear or their formal wear – the mice are just icons that shouldn’t be missed.

During the Princess gathering, Tim also went to a session by Don “Ducky” Williams, one of the original Disney artists. He even won a beautiful pencil sketch of Winnie the Pooh! He really enjoyed it, Don told the story of how he got to be a Disney artist – if you ever get the chance to hear him speak, it’s a “don’t miss” (or so I’m told).

I took Trinity back to the room after the gathering to change into play clothes, then she was off to kid’s club. I asked her if she wanted us to come get her for lunch, or eat there, and she elected to eat there.

Grandma Val headed off to the pool, and Tim and I went to lunch at Cabanas. I had sushi, shrimp, fruit salad, and tiramisu. All of it was surprisingly good.

Our lunch at Cabanas:

After lunch I went to Rainforest to enjoy the aromatherapy showers. I had purchased 4 day passes to Rainforest before the cruise, and gave one each to my mom, Chris, and Barb. Terry and Kathy had booked spa treatments, so they got use of Rainforest from that. Of course, there are 4,000+ people on the ship, and when I go to Rainforest, I see Chris, Barb, Terry, and Kathy! The showers were great! There were 2 steam rooms and a sauna – I found I liked the “dark” steam room the best. It was very much worth the $15 I paid for the pass to enjoy the area for the day.

Tim picked Trinity up from kid’s club only to find out that she never ate lunch. We’re not quite sure why, but luckily we had a stash of granola bars and fruit snacks in the room to bring with us as we headed to the matinee performance of The Golden Mickeys.

The show wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting a lot more Mickey, that’s for sure! It wasn’t bad, but just not my favorite. It was like watching an Oscar red-carpet pre-show, something I would just never do. I definitely preferred Villans over this one.

We took Trinity back to kid’s club after the show, then Tim and I went to deliver our Fish Extender gifts. I can’t seem to find a pic of them, although I KNOW I have pics somewhere… anyway I made the clothespin magnets, and the Captain Jack magnets. For the record, Grandma Val made keychains, and Chris & Barb made magnetic bookmarks. I’m not sure what Terry & Kathy gave – they had a combination of things they made and things they bought.

We collected Trinity from kid’s club, got her back into her Cinderella dress, and headed to Enchanted Garden for dinner. Trinity had a fruit appetizer (which she did not eat, she’s just not a honeydew melon fan), mac & cheese with French fries and veggies (she ate every bite of everything on this plate!) and a Mickey bar for dessert.

I had the Ahi Tuna with avocado appetizer (awesome!), the apple carrot curry soup (interesting, fun flavors), and the Ahi Tuna salad entrée (to DIE for good!). For dessert I had the Bananas Foster sundae (also awesome).
Tim had a green salad, I forget what else, and a steak. For dessert he had strawberry cheesecake.

My dinner:

Tim’s dinner:

Trinity’s dinner:

Other food from Enchanted Garden (some kind of fish entrée?, a trio of ice cream and the dessert trio sampler):

Trinity was quickly running out of gas, so Tim took her back to the room as the rest of us lingered over dessert. Since we had seen the matinee show, there was no good reason for us to try to keep her up late – it’s not like we were able to get her to sleep in or anything!

Since Tim had Trinity, my mom and I took a walk through the art store and looked at our pics so far at Shutters – they were GREAT, and I knew we were going to end up spending a fortune on pics. We walked through the clubs in the district, but they were all empty. It seems that one ever showed up there until after second seating was finished.

After our walk, I tucked mom into bed, and Tim was off to chat with his parents about their rebooking quote. I decided to get my full $15 worth and headed back to Rainforest for one more shower & steam. Later, Tim and I wandered around, and ended up at the comedy show. It was actually very funny. Afterward we went to Evolution for the 70’s dance party. I had a pomegranate cosmo cocktail, and Tim had a beer. There was a really annoying game going on, and then someone from the cruise director’s staff abducted Tim. A little while later, he was up on stage, shirt unbuttoned, wearing a police officer’s hat, dancing to YMCA with other guests dressed as members of the Village People. THAT was unforgettable!

Tomorrow – Nassau, and Pirate Night (and WAY too many pictures!)

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:16 PM   #42
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Friday, June 10th: Nassau

Friday, June 10th, 2011
Nassau, and Pirates IN the Caribbean!

I woke up around 6:30, but managed to stay in bed until almost 7am. I got up, showered, and watched out the window as we pulled into Nassau in a little light rain. Grandma Val said, “why should she have to wait until supper to be a pirate?” so we dressed Trinity in her pirate outfit and headed to Cabanas for breakfast.

It stopped raining, so I took Trinity to the pool while Tim went to the gym and Grandma Val went ashore to do some shopping. Trinity and I rode the Aquaduck together, then she went down the Mickey slide about a million times. After Tim finished at the gym, we traded off and it was my turn to exercise.

We went to lunch with Grandpa Terry and Grandma Kathy and Grandma Val. I had to ask for it, but a very nice server brought some milk for Trinity. He was from Serbia, which is where my maternal grandfather emigrated from, so my mom chatted with him a bit. We also found the hand-dipped ice cream that day in Cabanas – WAY better than the stuff that comes out of the self-serve soft-serve machine!

Trinity went to kid’s club after lunch, and Tim and I headed to the rebooking desk (with Trinity’s 2011-2012 school calendar in hand). We booked another 5-night on the Dream for April 2012, for the week after Easter (Trinity’s Spring Break). We ran into Terry and Kathy at the Vista Café (right by the rebooking desk) – they had just finished rebooking for June 2012, also a 5-night double dip!

We enjoyed a coffee from the Vista Café - T & K each had the Café Toledo, I had a frozen decaf cappuccino. We then collected Trinity from kid’s club and waited in line to meet Captain Jack Sparrow.

After that, we had family portraits taken.

Our Pirate Night dinner was in Enchanted Garden. I had one of the specialty cocktails (the Rusty Anchor), potstickers, chilled watermelon & honeydew soup, prime rib with sweet potato sticks, and a banana and chocolate crepe for dessert.

Grandma Val had the crab cake appetizer and some kind of salad, I forget what else. Tim had some kind of potato soup, the seafood pasta, and a Mickey bar for dessert. Trinity had some kind of beef entrée and a green salad (which is weird, she never eats salad at home). All the food pics are on a separate post – this one is maxed out for pics!

Me & Chris at dinner:

A pirate and his girl:

The GrandPirates:

After supper we went up to the pool deck for the Pirates IN the Caribbean Party. Trinity seemed to really enjoy herself, dancing and learning to be a pirate.

After that we went to the D lounge for a family pirate game. The game was geared more to school-age kids, but it was something to do to keep Trinity awake as we waited for fireworks. We eventually took Trinity to kids club to play for a while until it was time for fireworks (which don’t start until 10:30pm). Trinity enjoyed her first view of fireworks, and was a trooper about waiting and being patient, despite being very tired.

We got Trinity to bed, then Tim and I found the late-night buffet. Tim had chocolate chip cookies, and I had a piece of cake covered with chocolate syrup and coconut. We just weren’t hungry at all, but it was fun to walk through and see all the goodies.

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for – we went to the 11:15pm showing of Pirates 4 On Stranger Tides. It was freezing in the theatre, but the movie was decent. It just wasn’t the same without Will Turner and Elizabeth!

Tomorrow – Castaway Cay AGAIN!

Pirate Night Food Link:
Pirate Night Food Link

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:18 PM   #43
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Saturday, June 11th: Castaway Cay!

Saturday, June 11th, 2011
Castaway Cay, AGAIN!

Grandma Val and Trinity had planned on room service, but no one ever collected the room service menu from their door. I guess that’s the price you pay for having an overly-decorated door…

Anyway, the 4 of us headed to Cabanas for breakfast around 9am (we slept late due to the late night before). Some breakfast pics, including Tim’s creation – breakfast bagel sandwich, my oatmeal, and mango yogurt.

We got ready to head to the beach. At the Post Office, Trinity finally collected the last signature she had been waiting for: Donald Duck (pics must be on Grandma Val’s camera – I didn’t have any).

On the tram, ready for the beach:

Once at the family beach, Tim and I rented snorkel gear and went snorkeling, where we found Chris and Barb. The snorkeling was fun, lots of stuff and fish to see.

Trinity played in the ocean with mom, and made sand castles and sculptures with Grandma Val.

We sent Grandma Val to Serenity Bay with Chris and Barb for lunch, and the 3 of us headed to Cookies Too. Trinity had a hot dog, and really liked the banana bread. I had a burger, corn, tomato salad, and banana bread.

Grandma Val came back from Serenity Bay, and Tim and I went snorkeling again. This time we found the underwater Mickey! I tried to take pics with a disposable waterproof camera, but they weren’t really that good.

After snorkeling, we all decided we were done. Trinity and Grandma Val boarded the tram, while Tim and I decided to walk back. We browsed the shops, took pictures, and of course eating ice cream from Cookies along the way.

Pelican Point overlook:

Last call at Cookies:

Mount Rustmore:

Back on board, everyone had showers, then the 4 of us went to the matinee of Believe at 4pm. It was by far the best of the 3 stage shows (with Villans a close second).

After the show we mixed one last round of cocktails - between us and our happy hour guests Chris & Barb, we killed the entire bottle of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Mango Rum! Then we headed off to our final dinner, at Royal Palace.

I had the chilled seafood trio AND the seared salmon (yes, two apps!), spinach salad with blue cheese, and stuffed orange roughy. For dessert I had the baked Alaska. Tim had the conch chowder, a steak entrée, the lamb entrée, and the baked Alaska dessert. Trinity had the kid’s spaghetti and meatballs, and a banana split.

Once again, so many pics that the food gets its own post!
Night 5 Dinner Pics

Grandma Val swears she wasn’t sunburned, but she really looked pink to all of us at the dinner table!

Of course, the chefs came parading through with the flaming baked Alaska:

Trinity and her banana split:

Me and waiter Edward:

After supper, Tim took Trinity to kid’s club to turn in her wrist tag. Did I tell the story about how we noticed it was gone? On CC day 1, another parent pointed it out to my mom that Trinity’s wristband was missing. She told us about it later that day, and we were lucky enough that someone found it (likely in the Mickey pool) and turned it in. Replacement cost for lost wrist tags is $50!

Anyway, they went to turn it in, and I went to Shutters to buy our photo CD. The $250 price tag is pretty steep, but we had SO MANY awesome pics on it AND my mom offered to share the cost with us, so we just couldn’t say no. At least that way we didn’t have to pick and choose the best pics – we get them all! Note – if you decide to purchase the CD, you don’t have to wait in line at Shutters – you can order the CD from the kiosks on the other side of the atrium (between the rebooking desk and the coffee shop). Thanks to the nice Shutters employee who helped me out with that one! We just had to pick up the CD after 7am the final morning.

Next I went to the gallery to buy a print that we had been eyeballing, and ask if they had something to transport the Winnie the Pooh sketch in. The nice gentleman sold me a shipping tube for $8. Seriously? I was purchasing a $45 print, you couldn’t throw in the cardboard tube as complimentary? Oh well, at least I knew that Pooh would be safe.

And by the way, Pooh wasn’t going to travel alone in the tube. Grandma Val went to the second session of Don “Ducky” Williams right after supper that night, and she too won a sketch – hers is Pinocchio!

Grandma dropped off her sketch, and ran out to do some last minute souvenir shopping while we threw stuff into suitcases, and put Trinity to bed. After she came back, Tim and I took one last walk around the Dream, had one last soft-serve cone, and finally went to bed.

Tomorrow: We have to get off of this fabulous vessel!

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

Last edited by LissaW16; 07-03-2011 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:19 PM   #44
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Location: Duluth, MN
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Sunday, June 12th: Debarkation Day

Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Chris and Barb’s Birthdays
Debarkation Day (sad sad sad!)

Mickey Mouse called us at 6am for our wake up call – note to self – that was fun, use that feature again! We dressed, woke the girls, and were all downstairs to Royal Palace for our 6:45am seating.

Trinity ate waffles, bacon, and grapes.

I had corned beef hash and eggs, hash browns, and fruit. Tim had eggs, sausage, bacon, and hash browns. I’m not sure who told Edward (but it wasn’t me) – but he knew it was Chris & Barb’s birthdays, so he brought 3 donuts arranged like Mickey, and the waiters sang for them.

Tim ran to Shutters to pick up our photo CD, then we made one last pit stop, and off the ship we went. This is the saddest sign:

When my card was scanned on the pier, I was told to go back to Guest Services. Like a salmon swimming upstream, I weaved my way back inside and waited in a short line at guest services. Apparently my credit card didn’t go through for my stateroom charges. The girl tried again, and this time it went through, everything was fine.

By the time I got off the ship the second time, Tim had gathered all of our luggage. We hailed a porter, and got to the customs desk in about 10-15 minutes. My mom had spent over her limit, which she reported on her customs declaration. The agent asked what she bought, she pointed to the sapphire pendant (shaped like the breast cancer ribbon – my mom is a survivor), and he smiled and let her go without any penalty!

Tim called Park ‘n’ Cruise as soon as it was legal to use a cell phone, and they arrived within about 5 minutes to pick us up. We boarded the bus, then stopped at the Carnival terminal to collect another family, before heading back to the lot. We were in our vehicle, on the highway, by 9:15am.

Chris, Barb, Terry & Kathy boarded a rental car bus at the port, collected their car, then dropped Chris & Barb off at the Orlando airport. The six of us met up at the Marriott Orlando again for one last night. Tim and I sent our girls to the pool while we sorted out our luggage situation. On board, we simply put everything into some suitcase, not caring what went where. We had to sort out what was going to Ohio with Trinity, and help Grandma Val get all the contraban liquids out of her carry-on. We also had to get my big suitcase down under 50#, and figure out what we could ship home (we had the box from the stuff that I had shipped to the port, plus the big cardboard tube of Don Williams sketches).

After the re-packing, we drove through McDonalds to get lunch to bring back for everyone. We got back to the hotel, got the girls out of the very hot pool, only to find that Trinity’s happy meal was missing – all we had was her milk. She ended up drinking her milk, then eating all the grilled chicken off of my salad. She was clearly beat, so I put her into our bedroom with the shades drawn, with her little DVD player to watch a movie and un-wind (she’s not a napper, and hasn’t been for several years).

At around 3pm, the six of us headed to Downtown Disney. Grandma Val had never been there, and was excited to do some shopping. Trinity had very little patience for shopping, and it was brutally hot, but she managed to hold it together. The longest wait was while Grandma Val was commissioning a sketch from one of the artists at the art store – it’s a sketch of the Fab 5, with purple “pixie dust” and “Valerie” on it. It turned out very cool, but it was a lengthy debate (regarding color – my mom didn’t want the classic red…).

At the World of Disney, Grandma Val bought Trinity a Toy Story tee shirt, and eventually we all ended up at Rainforest Café for dinner. Trinity had cute mini hot dogs, and I had a burger & fries. We had Mickey bars for dessert (Trinity had a rainbow popsicle).

After supper and dessert, Trinity convinced us that she had to ride ONE MORE THING before we could go back to the hotel – the carousel:

Kathy and Terry had an early flight, so we called it a night.

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

Last edited by LissaW16; 07-03-2011 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:20 PM   #45
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Duluth, MN
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Monday, June 13th: Heading home

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Heading Home

Terry and Kathy had a very early flight, so they snuck out sometime around 5am – we never heard them. Tim and I got up and went over to the main Marriott lobby to find the FedEx place. We were kind of bummed to find out they were actually open on Sunday, so we should have come over the day before. Oh well, now we know! We shipped a box (sand toys mostly) and the tube of sketches to our house in Minnesota, and another box of “fragile things” to Terry & Kathy’s house in Wisconsin. $60 later we began to wonder if maybe a second suitcase would have been the way to go… oh well.

We loaded the car, gathered the girls, and went to Waffle House for breakfast. I had grits (something I cannot get living here in northern Minnesota), and sausage gravy & biscuits. Why not live a little, it’s vacation, right???

After breakfast, we returned our rental car and headed for our gates. Trinity and Grandma Val were flying from Orlando to Detroit, we were flying to Minneapolis. Our flight left about 10 minutes after theirs, from a gate about 3 doors down. I bought everyone a sandwich “to go” from one of the vendors, and we were all on our way.
Once back in Minneapolis, it took us a bit to figure out where to stand to catch the Park ‘n’ Fly bus, but once we determined that, it arrived after about 5 minutes. The driver dropped us off directly at our car, helped unload our luggage, and with our pre-paid voucher we were out of there ASAP – to make the 3 hour drive back home to Duluth.

Random thoughts:
Regarding our rebooking: So two things really bother me about our April 2012 cruise. One, we are scheduled for late dinner. We are wait-listed for early dinner, but if we don’t get it, I don’t know how we will manage. Part of what I love about cruising is getting into nice clothes and having dinner together as a family. I just can’t see my then-to-be-five-year-old surviving a meal that begins at 8:15pm! Second, we have a GTY cabin, not an assigned cabin number. We have a GTY oceanview, which makes me think we’re going to end up in “steerage” down on deck 2. I guess I’ll get used to it, wherever it is! I loved deck 8, it was an easy stair walk to the pool/gym/Cabanas (all on 11), easy walk to the kid’s clubs (deck 5), and the only time we took elevators is if we were going UP a significant number of flights.

So I never finished the story about the rash. During the Villans show, night 2, I noticed a rash on the backs of my hands, and once I got a look at it in the light, it was also on the inside of my arms near the elbows. I’ve been known to have sensitive skin – many things make me break out in a rash, such as perfumed soaps and lotions. I started to go through in my head everything that had touched my skin that day, and finally determined that I was reacting to the wipes that are handed out at the entrance to the buffets and dining rooms. I had cruised through the eating area at Serenity Bay on my restroom run (and used the wipe, because someone handed it to me), then shortly thereafter I was back at the eating area on Serenity Bay, wiping before my meal. I was wiping again before dinner in the dining room each night, and with every breakfast at Cabanas. Of course, this is the one time that I don’t have any hydrocortisone cream with me, and I’m not about to go pay the ship’s doctor a ridiculous fee just to hear that I have “contact dermatitis”. I happened to have some Benadryl tablets in my suitcase, so I took those at night to help with the itching, and then Chris found me some topical Benadryl spray in Nassau that I was able to use during the day (the tablets make me very sleepy).

So once I determined what the cause was, I had to try to avoid it. I would accept the wipes as handed out by the staff, delicately wipe just my fingertips, then drop the wipe in the nearest receptacle. And of course I made sure to wash my hands whenever I could.

Things I want to make sure to do next time:
make it to more meets with the fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy)
make sure my husband is in at least one character photo (how did we manage to avoid this for the whole trip?!)
try breakfast at a sit-down place for a day other than debarkation day
try lunch at Flo’s-Luigi’s-Mater’s rather than always Cabanas
go into the Cove Café – somehow I walked past this place a hundred times and never went in for a fancy cup of coffee!
buy more Rainforest passes – that was worth the $15 for sure

I’m sure there will be more, but that’s the short list so far

Full pic collection:
Full set of pics here

Last edited by LissaW16; 07-03-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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double dip, dream

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