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Old 01-02-2013, 08:13 PM   #106
PhoenixStrength
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Joining in! Sounds like a great trip so far!
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:15 PM   #107
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I've been slacking on TRs and decided to catch up I haven't been to gatorland in ages we would go occasionally in the 90s on our family vacations- I barely remember it.

So far it looks like a great time - exhausting in typical Disney style! I want to try one of those boat excursions - maybe something for us to do on one of our extended family trips I am wondering if we will ever do T. rex...

I can't wait to hear about your cruise too
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:10 PM   #108
taaren
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Originally Posted by SAT887 View Post
I've been slacking on TRs and decided to catch up I haven't been to gatorland in ages we would go occasionally in the 90s on our family vacations- I barely remember it.

So far it looks like a great time - exhausting in typical Disney style! I want to try one of those boat excursions - maybe something for us to do on one of our extended family trips I am wondering if we will ever do T. rex...

I can't wait to hear about your cruise too
The cruise is coming up next ... unfortunately I didn't take very many pictures because we were too busy having fun and trying to squeeze it all in.

I honestly don't know if I'd recommend T-Rex. It didn't feel like a waste of time and money, but only because we had the $50 Landry's credit and the kids meal coupons, if we had paid more it would have felt like a rip-off. But we may have just had a bad experience ... I've been to the Rainforest Cafe in DTD in Anaheim and had a great time ... usually when its DH and I we just drag a few friends to try out The Wave, the giant chocolate cake dessert, and that's always fun and feels like a good value at $15 because its dessert for 4+ adults, and a novelty. I've also been for lunch, with my friend from the DIS, camonkeygirl, and those occasions it wasn't too busy, service was decent, lunch was reasonably priced and it was a good experience where the kids had fun. I honestly had been expecting from T-Rex something similar, just a fun atmosphere, halfway decent service, and okay food but it only the food really was what I was "hoping" for.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:06 PM   #109
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Joining in from our Dec group!

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at T Rex. We enjoyed our meal there, but the wait was fairly long to be seated even with having an ADR. We were worried about how our service would be since we were a party of 6 and had the automatic 18% gratuity added, but fortunately it wasnt ever an issue.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:08 PM   #110
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Dec 6-8, Cruising on the Disney Dream

DH woke up early, being the awesome driver that he was, and dropped off Katie, Brian, and their kids to Universal after they arranged to have their bags transferred to All Stars Music from the BLT. Meanwhile, Michael and I attempted to pack and get Sam ready for the cruise. I was hungover and pretty useless, so I just threw stuff in bags. Because I knew we'd have limited space in the cabin, I had a plan that involved leaving some of the suitcases with Disney, and just having them transferred to BWV while we were gone so we would only take carry-ons onto the ship. The suitcase thing didn't work out, I was too tired to be organized, though I put a few items in Michael's suitcase which he was kind enough to leave with Disney, along with the leftover groceries, and one small bag of stuff I knew we wouldn't need.

So with way too much stuff, we headed for Port Canaveral. The drive took an hour and we had been forewarned about the tolls but was still surprised at how many there were. Parking at port was so easy, DH dropped DS & I off, we checked our bags in, and went to check in and DH & Michael were right behind me. The port is much prettier than Vancouver port, and nicer than L.A., the other two ports I have sailed from DCL with ...


After checking in, we had been assigned a 9B, when I had booked a 9D GTY, they upgraded us. Unfortunately all the 9B's are on deck 2 and we really have a strong preference for Decks 6, 7, or 8, closer to the kids clubs and theatres. So I went to see how much a port upgrade would cost to go to a 9A/8C (or even balcony!), anything to get us off deck 2. I had a budget of $75-$100 in mind. They offered a balcony for $350 (cat 7 I think), or an 8C for $130. Alternately we could downgrade to a 10A for free, which still had a split bath, and it was near the aft elevators, almost directly above the kids club. Since the 8C was out of the price range I had in mind (for an additional $150 I could have pre-booked an 8C, that didn't seem like a discount to me at all), and with the perfect location of the 10A we took that. I was excited about the magical porthole, which we enjoyed greatly Tink and Peach and Goofy visiting randomly on the few occasions we were in the room.

We went to Cabanas upstairs for lunch, I was really impressed with the buffet. Even more impressive was soon after we sat down, a CM noticed DS6's sword from pirate's league and he brandished a butter knife and played pirate with him for about 10 minutes!

These are the kind of random interactions that just make DCL magical, its the people, the service, and the fact that you can tell they really enjoy their jobs.
After lunch we took our carry-ons to our room, then headed to the DIS meet, but we couldn't tell who was there for the DIS meet since the DVC salespeople were also having their first presentation. Since there was no OBC give-away and the spa raffle was coming up, we grabbed our free drinks, drank them, and left.
On the way to the spa raffle, we stopped to check out the teen club and see the Aqua Duck sliding through it! Also DS wanted to play some mini-golf.

It was a cute/fun 9 hole course, very appropriate for kids.
Didn't win anything at the spa raffle, but DH signed up for the embarcation day treatment, so the rest of us went to the first show without him. Seeing Golden Mickeys again was fun, a little cheesy, but I love the Cruella deVille number. Dinner was at Royal Palace, which was gorgeous. We were in a center table, and it was the French menu. I got the lamb, Michael got boar, DH got the filet mignon, DS asked for spaghetti, all were excellent. The Grand Marnier souffle for dessert was excellent, and DS ate most of my creme brulee.
This was the duck appetizer. Apparently the rest was eaten too quickly, this was my second favorite meal on the cruise.
The guys went to go watch Wreck it Ralph after dinner but I was exhausted so DS and I hit the sack. I fell asleep right away, but he ended up being sneaky and watching the old-style Donald and Chip & Dale cartoons all night since the guys said he was still awake when they got back.

We slept in and treated Nassau like an at sea day (though Michael got off the ship briefly just to say he's "been to" the Bahamas). DH & I had signed up for a tequila and margarita tasting, DH had a Rainforest Spa pass, and we wanted to watch Lincoln. Ate plated breakfast at Royal Palace, I love those Dulce de Leche waffles and got a half Eggs Benedict ... I think Lincoln ended up being right when the plated lunch was served so we ate at, and enjoyed, Cabanas buffet again for lunch. Lincoln was pretty good (DS opted for the kids club for that). We were also blown away by how much bigger the kids club was on the Dream than the Wonder, though for DS's purposes of playing video games, size isn't all that important.

We checked on him briefly before heading to the margarita tasting, which was a ton of fun.

Every alcohol sampling is an educational experience, and also just a lot of bang for $15 bucks. I've never walked out of one of these not drunk, which is a super cheap way to get intoxicated on a cruise. They were nice enough to offer lots of extras to Michael, who was there mostly to observe since he and DH had a cognac tasting later in the evening planned. There was also a gentleman and his wife who hadn't signed up for the tasting and they brought extras around to her as well.
Its always fun just to meet people at these events and mingle. Somewhere during the day we also spent some time riding the AquaDuck, which was awesome. And delivered the rest of the FE gifts.

The show that night was Villains Tonight, which was just plain fun. Not spectacular, but pretty darn entertaining. Dinner was at Animator's Palate, and because we were seated pretty far from any screens I was kind of disappointed. We had a four-top which DCL had said was the best way for us to get our desired rotation, but it seemed that only large tables were anywhere near the screens, and those were the only tables that got to interact with Crush. Don't remember the food theme, but we had noodles with shrimp, and ... can't remember what Michael got. The baked potato soup was much better on the Wonder, I was also slightly disappointed by that since the one on the Wonder was awesome, DS kept asking for more. The guys headed to the cognac tasting while DS and I stayed for dessert and chatted with our servers. They were good, but not as personable as ones I've had on the Wonder, but that was also partly due to the short nature of the cruise. We met up with the guys at the Pirate party and after the fireworks (which are always spectacular at sea) went to the Pirate buffet. Wish I'd taken pictures of the skull/crossbones carved into fruit ...

So the next morning was my birthday on Castaway Cay. The weather was perfect. We went to Royal Palace again for the same breakfast, oh croissants, waffles, Benedict, how wonderful. Michael left the ship first while DS and I got ready and Alex trailed behind, taking his time as usual.

DS & I met up with Michael and grabbed a spot between the family beach and Pelican Plunge, got snorkel equipment and headed for Pelican Plunge, which was pretty darn fun. The sand was very grainy, not smooth like Maui. We also felt the showers were not nearly as conveniently placed as Hawaii (which are all state run parks ). Take notes, Disney! When DH caught up, we had gone down PP several times and were ready to snorkel, so we headed out but DS wasn't feeling like swimming for himself, (he's an excellent swimmer usually) so even with the flotation device he kept on using DH as his flotation. We saw a few sunken Mickeys, then headed back in since the water was cold. I looked longingly at the AquaDuck with no line, and we went to eat at Cookies, which was about as tasty as you can expect mass-produced barbecue to be. I've had better, I've had worse, though the ribs were tasty. DS & I headed back to the ship to ride the AquaDuck and enjoy the pool, while DH & Michael stayed to check out the adult beach, grab some drinks.


Beach balls!

This was our Palo night, so we went to the show Disney's Believe (or was it Dream?), which was okay, then dressed up and dropped DS off just in time for Flubber, which he loved and hasn't stopped talking about.

Palo is amazing. If there's one must-do that is worth adding on on a DCL cruise, its Palo. We love food, but I've never eaten anything at Palo that wasn't just heaven on a plate.
Pancetta app:Shrimp app:
Lobster ravioli!
Then apparently I forgot to take pictures because we were too busy eating.
Yay I'm old!
The chandelier is supposed to look like noodles but it didn't really appear that way to us.
Our server was a lovely French girl, the service was outstanding.
All four of us wanted to see Wreck it Ralph again, so we went and stayed up til 1a.

Next morning, we had late (8a) breakfast at Enchanted Garden, and after looking at the crowd, decided to hang out downstairs and be one of the last ones off the ship.
It was an extremely busy cruise, so I don't know how people thing a cruise is more relaxing than a park vacation ... there's a lot more stuff I didn't mention because there was simply so much happening. Oh, at the DVC presentation, which I went to see if lightning would strike twice and I could win an OBC, I didn't, but I did get to meet GoEva from my DIS meet group which was awesome.

In short, DCL always delivers a consistently wonderful experience, they charge more, but the food, service, and ship, are well worth it. It we do another cruise that involved Castaway Cay we might just stay on the ship and enjoy it more, since CC was just okay for us Maui-ans. I highly recommend DCL, particularly if you can find a rate that is under $100/night per person. I think we ended up paying $1300-ish for 3 nights for DH, DS, & I (cheaper because of DS's age than Michael paid), and to see Canaveral and the big ship was well worth it. The cruise I took on the Wonder in October was an even better value at $900 for DS & I for 7 nights, but the longer cruises booked on last-minute specials always will be.
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Last edited by taaren; 01-06-2013 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:33 PM   #111
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Dec 9, Back to the World (Epcot)

So tired, we left the ship, took the car back to WDW, checked in at BWV. Our room wasn't ready so we headed over to Epcot via boat. Grabbed Test Track FP's, walked on Mission Space Orange, then grabbed tacos for lunch at Mexico CS which was alright but DLR CS is much better. We only went there because we were near there when DH announced he was hungry, and France/China/Japan were all too far to walk. Shortly after lunch, we got the text that our Standard Vew 1 bedroom was ready. Gave our Test Track FP's to another family on the way out since we planned on spending the evening on the Boardwalk.
Our 1 bedroom, 4069 is the first room off of the elevators, overlooked bell services on the 4th floor, but we never had any noise issues which I'd read could be a problem for some people here on the DIS. I liked the view and the extra windows in the bedroom since its on the end of the building, but we thought in general BLT was nicer (and the bathroom, while being pleasantly large, is kind of a lot of wasted space with the walk-in closet and all).
Enjoyed some Boardwalk shows which the performers picked a bunch of kids to participate in, including DS (also have video, which is about 3 minutes of the part where DS ended up being part of the show).
[IMG]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/--LDo***458k/UOndAc1nCEI/AAAAAAAAA78/7Hx8eAxJnBw/w386-h289-n-k/20121209_192942.jpg[/IMG]
Then DH, DS, and I went for my 2nd birthday dinner at Kouzzina which Michael opted to save some money and eat in the villa. Kouzzina is gorgeous and delicious and our server was chatty and attentive and just delightful.
Loved the olive oil bottles on the lighted wall:
We had the sampler appetizer:
As well as the sampler main course:
It was all tasty, but the pork souvlaki in the app and the Greek lasagna in the main course were outstanding, so when we go again, we'll be getting those. DS had mac & cheese and chicken soup, which he liked.

We went back to DHS this night for EMH, just to ride TOT (DS refused this time), Star Tours, and were in line for TSMM shortly before closing. Did it right.
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Last edited by taaren; 01-08-2013 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Added links to video
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:09 PM   #112
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Dec 10, Universal surprise

So my buddy Kevin and I had worked several shows together before DS was born when I was a professional theatre technician. If you do theatre, you know that when you work on a show together, particularly if you're the same kind of staff, you're friends for life. Anyhow, he now is a character handler and Universal and wanted us to take advantage of his complimentary tickets, which is very easy to use given you just type in the code sent to someone's e-mail at a ticket window. We still spent a bit this day, but had a ridiculous amount of fun and it was unexpectedly thrilling we got to go at all, since I had had this on our list of "out of our budget".
Headed to IOA, got there about 1/2 hour after park opening. We walked through Suessland first, to try to hit WWOHP before it got busy. As a librarian I was so excited and thrilled by Suessland, it was like walking into a storybook, but onward we went. DH took a lot of pictures of HP Land,
which was also detailed and gorgeous, especially the line for Forbidden Journey (which made DH a little dizzy and sick, but oddly, I was okay since I closed my eyes in the screen rooms). Walked onto Forbidden Journey, (which, btw, has THE BEST child swap system I've ever seen, its a room at the front of the boarding line with televisions!) then waited about 10 minutes for the Griffins Flight, and waited another 5-10 for ButterBeer.

The ButterBeer was delicious. I'm not a fan of HP myself though I do appreciate the impact it has on literacy for kids, they just kind of dragged for me and I feel like there is much better written SF for young adults out there that didn't have the same popularity. Nonetheless, Universal has done a spectacular job with HP Land and I can't wait to see what they do with the rights to Tolkein's World.

Headed to Jurassic Park Land
Enjoyed the water ride without getting too wet. Then Kevin had mentioned since we had a small person we HAD to go on Pteradon Flyers, which is a ride specifically for kids 36"-54" tall, and they MAY bring one adult on. (Kevin has yet to go on this ride, I offered to let him borrow DS and he said maybe next time.) This was our longest wait all day, while DH went with DS, Michael and I set up job interviews for the following week in California, plus another one for me in Hawaii ... while I went on with DH, he and Michael shot kids with water cannons and got soaked! Since that ride had taken an hour (but was worth it since you could see the whole park with lovely views), Michael declined to take his turn and we were hungry so went to the barbeque place in Jurassic park, which was expensive but tasty for the chicken and ribs plate we shared. ($15ish)

We walked through Cartoon Land, I really wanted to go on the Dudley Do-Right ride where you get soaked (I was prepared to buy panchos since we hadn't brought ours), but no one was willing to get more wet since the guys were still damp from the water cannon playground. Definitely on my list for next time, my dad raised me on Rocky and Bullwinkle, and I was thoroughly charmed by this land.


We headed to Marvel Land, rode SpiderMan with no wait (DS at the end of the day declared this his favorite ride, though the next day he picked Minion Madness), then when we were coming out we noticed pictures with Spidey had no wait, so we took one.
Spidey liked Sam's jacket.
I bought the picture which ended up being on a Marvel-style comic book cover because when I refused the first time, the girl at the photo booth offered me a lower price, and I couldn't resist.

Big guys went on the Hulk, which they enjoyed, then DS requested Storm which spins so I declined.
While they were on Storm, it started to rain, went from nothing to raining to pouring in about 3 minutes. Apparently part of the storyline of the Storm ride is that you're creating a Storm, so DS6 was thrilled when he got off and found out they had really created one!

We took cover from the pouring rain by having a Cinnabon (same price as the airport), then headed reluctantly to Universal since we had less than 2 hours til Kevin's shift was done and several rides there we wanted to hit. Next time, Suessland will get more time.

First stop Minion Madness. We've watched Despicable Me more times than I can count, and this ride was as delightful as the movie.

My favorite part was the bogey-ing Minions at the end. I stopped to dance, though DS wanted to pick out his one souvenir.
DS wanted to see Shrek and there was no line ... it turned out the pre-show was more entertaining than the show. Then I wanted to ride Simpsons, but Michael was more excited by Men In Black so we headed for MIB, which was a very fun ride, its like TSMM only more adult, more ride-through. Kind of like if you combined Monster's Inc in DLR with Buzz Lightyear if that makes sense. Good choice Michael. We had a bit of trouble getting our stuff out of the free locker (well, the guy in front of us did) so that delayed us in our meet with Kevin, who was tired and went home since he thought he had been too late to meet us so we rescheduled for the next night in Celebration.

Guys wanted milkshakes, so we got some and headed back to Minion Madness to pick up DS's toy, and the guys decided they had enough energy for one more ride and really wanted to do the Mummy (DH & I had seen a travel special years back on best rides in the country and it was on there). They thought it was awesome, while I took DS on Minion Madness again, then we exited the park and headed to Chick Fil A for dinner and got some more groceries at Walmart.

I think we spent about $80 at Universal between the parking, picture, Sam's minion souvenir and the food, but not having to get the tickets was just a fabulous unexpected treat. The crowds were unbelievably thin, we didn't wait in a line at all for anything other than the smallest rides, Pteradon Flyers and the Griffin ride.

Watched the top of IllumiNations this night from the room then went to bed early for our planned air-boat ride tomorrow.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #113
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Joining in from our Dec group!

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at T Rex. We enjoyed our meal there, but the wait was fairly long to be seated even with having an ADR. We were worried about how our service would be since we were a party of 6 and had the automatic 18% gratuity added, but fortunately it wasnt ever an issue.
Ah, it was just a fluke then that we got the un-hospitable server. I think for us, if it hadn't been for the fact that multiple things were bad we could have still enjoyed it. Plus the fact that all the other servers on this trip were just so friendly. Not sure if we'll give it another chance. Probably not since later in the trip we discovered Earl of Sandwich and (rediscovered) Wolfgang Puck Express, and when we go back to DTD those will be at the top of our list (esp since the next trip will be on a much tighter budget).
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:12 PM   #114
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It sounds like you had a great time on the cruise and US. Can I hide in your suitcase next time?
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:02 AM   #115
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It sounds like you had a great time on the cruise and US. Can I hide in your suitcase next time?
You're more than welcome to join us in November ... but we don't take suitcases anymore with those baggage fees!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:24 AM   #116
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Universal looks fun! I told DH when our girls (who i can tell are already thrill seekers) are tall enough we can go. It's too much money to pay for only him to go on the rides (Disney is about as intense as I can get!) HP looks pretty awesome- I feel the same about HP, I like it, especially because it made kids (and older grown up kids!) read.

I really enjoy kouzzina and it's on our list for breakfast on our grown up trip in Oct. I really enjoy the boardwalk - DH and I spent quite a few evenings there.

The cruise looks like a lot of fun! My DH has shown an interest in DCL so I'm thinking in 2 -3 years we will do one I think I'm turning DH into a Disney junkie like me, he wants to go to DLR and Aulani... Now it's a matter of kids growing!
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:51 PM   #117
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Your cruise looks like it was a lot of fun! We love cruising but haven't done DCL yet because we don't have the budget right now. It looks so good (especially the food!).

Also glad to hear you got to enjoy your day at Universal! What was that you said about Tolkien World at Universal?? I hadn't heard anything about that.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:25 PM   #118
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You're more than welcome to join us in November ... but we don't take suitcases anymore with those baggage fees!
What is November? Although, I need to get Sept paid for first (HI) trip
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:01 PM   #119
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What is November? Although, I need to get Sept paid for first (HI) trip
November 16-22 will be our second Disney World trip, probably our last for awhile. But since we upgraded to Premium Annual Passes (for $399 each, it ended up being $20 altogether for me, Alex, and Sam to upgrade from our MYW 10-day Hoppers w/ WP&More tix), it was cheaper for us to fly back to WDW on airline miles this year and NOT buy DLR tickets than it would have been to use our VGC points at VGC. We were thinking we'd have to skip Disney this year with the move from Hawaii to California being so expensive, but I think we can swing it since we have the DVC points, the airline miles with Southwest and Alaska, and the paid-for AP's all we'll need to buy is food and rental car when there.
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DLR: BW Raffles, Marriott FFI, Hilton Anaheim, BW PPI, Marriott ResInn GG, Anaheim Marriott, VGC, DLH. Cruises: Wonder Repo 9/20/11, Pixar CA Coast 10/7/12, Dream 12/6/12. Aulani mini-TR w/ view and food pix. Dec 2012 PTR/TR of DLR vets taking on the World! New P/TR of 2013 Bi-Coastal Disney-ing.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:03 PM   #120
taaren
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygeek View Post
Your cruise looks like it was a lot of fun! We love cruising but haven't done DCL yet because we don't have the budget right now. It looks so good (especially the food!).

Also glad to hear you got to enjoy your day at Universal! What was that you said about Tolkien World at Universal?? I hadn't heard anything about that.
Universal is buying the rights to use Lord of the Rings theme in their parks!! I guess I should call it Middle Earth land?
Here's an article about it, but if you search there's a bunch more!
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DLR: BW Raffles, Marriott FFI, Hilton Anaheim, BW PPI, Marriott ResInn GG, Anaheim Marriott, VGC, DLH. Cruises: Wonder Repo 9/20/11, Pixar CA Coast 10/7/12, Dream 12/6/12. Aulani mini-TR w/ view and food pix. Dec 2012 PTR/TR of DLR vets taking on the World! New P/TR of 2013 Bi-Coastal Disney-ing.

Last edited by taaren; 01-08-2013 at 11:10 PM.
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