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Old 03-19-2012, 06:29 PM   #46
GoCruiseDaddy
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Your the "BEST"

I can't tell you how much my family appreciates your Trip Report. We are on the April 22 cruise to the MR which is the last one until October. Your Pics are fantastic and we can see your kids had a blast. They will take these memories with them for the rest of their lives. We especially like the pics of the kids falling asleep from pure fun/exhaustion.

I was able to get the same Dining Rotation (PTTAPTA) that you had and we think it wil work perfectly with our existing PALO reservations.

We can't thank you enough for all your help.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:20 PM   #47
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Smile Day 6 (Part One): Cabo San Lucas

Day 6 Navigator:





Elliott woke up still feeling a bit under the weather. We still weren't sure if he was actually coming down with something or if it really was the result of getting overheated, so we enacted a self-quarantine on him. I tend to be very careful about potentially exposing other people to germs, so there was no way I was sending him to kid activities until he was clearly fine. We also didn't want to take him back into Mexico, just to be on the safe side, despite the fact that it was much cooler. Mike and I took turns running up to the buffet and bringing food down for breakfast, which we ate in the room.

I wanted to run into Cabo quickly, at least to pick up the souvenirs the boys wanted, and called Meghan to find out what their plans were. They were almost ready to head out, so we stuck our "do not disturb" sign on the door so that Mike and Elliott could relax and Oliver and I went down to the tenders. The load was very light and you didn't require a ticket, but could just go straight down (very handy from our room one flight of stairs up). We were the only ones in port at this point, so the Wonder got the prime position right up close, a less than five minute trip.

When we got into the port I could not resist the lure of the baby tigers at the "animal sanctuary" booth. I feel terribly guilty about this now, because once I was away from the overwhelming cuteness that overcame my normal animal rights-caring sensibilities, I realized that this is almost certainly not any sort of a good organization, though that is how they present themselves. So, yes, the tiger was adorable and I thoroughly enjoyed snuggling him, but I would not do this again. Instead, I would make a donation to a real animal charity.



After that we decided to hire one of the glass-bottom water taxis to give us a little tour out to Los Arcos. It was $30 for the five us for about a half-hour tour, which we thought was just fine. We liked the tour, the window into the ocean was clean, and our captain gave us lots of little snippets of information. I'd definitely recommend them:



On our way out of the harbor we saw another boat whose captain had a fish in hand and was luring sea lions (and the accompanying pelicans). He tossed the fish over to us so that we could get some closer views.







Then, the captain let Lucas "drive" the boat.



We went out to an area near Los Arcos where a lot of water taxis were congregating. Some of them were sprinkling bread crumbs into the water, and the fish clearly loved it. We saw hundreds of them in giant schools. The pictures don't do it justice, but this was pretty cool.



Then we cruised around taking pictures and hearing the names of all the different rocks (witch rock, owl rock, etc.) He was right, most of the rocks did resemble various creatures.





Lover's cave (two go in, three come out, the captain said):


Scooby Doo:






After we were done the boys needed to use the restroom, so we went to the one in the cruise terminal. I was very pleasantly surprised, expecting something gross, but it was actually quite nice. I took some pictures as proof. I think they thought I was crazy.





Jason stopped for a cheap beer while Meghan and I took the boys into one of the shops to buy them some souvenirs. We also stopped into an OXXO where we bought a bunch of Mexican candies. Yum!

Finally, I stopped at the coffee place, as I'd brought my tablet with me in order to make a quick post on the Dis about the reappearance of Mickey bars on the Wonder. Then we hopped on a tender and headed back to the ship.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #48
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Day 6 (Part Two): Cabo San Lucas

We found a completely restored Elliott, which was great news. I decided to watch him for a while longer and if he still seemed fine, we'd let him go to the Club later in the day. Since he and Mike had eaten a tasty lunch from room service already, I ran to get a plate from the Beach Blanket Buffet. I also brought Mike a little something, since he hadn't been up there to check everything out.





We also got a card under our door, in response to our "Do not disturb" sign:



We relaxed for a while and then went up to the 3:00 matinee show of Dreams. I was so glad that Elliott was feeling fine, because I had been worried he was going to have to watch it on TV in the stateroom, which is just not quite the same. Mike and Oliver fell asleep, but Elliott and I absolutely loved it. I thought about going back for the nighttime performance, but I ultimately decided against it.

After the show we went up top and got some chicken strips and pizza for the kids to munch on, since they had decided they wanted to go to the Club instead of the main dining room. The last time they had a meal in the club it was sandwiches, which they weren't into. Of course, this time it would be spaghetti, one of their favorite meals.

We dropped off the kids at the club and headed up to Triton's for semi-formal night, Captain's Gala menu. Finally, no potty breaks during dinner! I had the Garden Fresh Salad, Fresh Fruit Cocktail, Fettuccine with Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, and the Captain's Sweet Temptations for dessert. The food was pretty good. I wish I'd have just ordered the Banana Creme Brulee, because it was the best part of the trio. I didn't really like the macaroon.







Mike ordered the Oysters Rockefeller on the Half Shell, Garlic and Herb-Sauteed Shrimp, Baked Lobster Tail, and he had the no-sugar-added Apple Pie a la Mode for dessert.









After dinner we picked up the kids and stopped to pick up some souvenirs in the gift shop. After one last trip up to get an ice cream cone (banana and blueberry were back... my favorites!) we headed back to the room for bed.

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Old 03-19-2012, 08:22 PM   #49
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Thanks for the info! I really appreciate it...
Loving your trip report!!! I am definitely even more excited for our cruise after seeing everything you have posted.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:42 AM   #50
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All I can say is wonderful TR! We are getting so excited for our MR cruise on APrill22nd... just my DW and I going on this one to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Who says you need kids to love Disney

It's OK, they got to go with us on a Dream cruise in November, so they can't complain.

I had a quick question after seeing your PV Las Caletas brochure. Did you book the LC Beach getaway through Disney? When you got there, did you add the kids adventures? I just wanted to see if adding the spa, etc after you get there is a good idea..

Thanks for all your info
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:48 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCruiseDaddy View Post
I can't tell you how much my family appreciates your Trip Report. We are on the April 22 cruise to the MR which is the last one until October. Your Pics are fantastic and we can see your kids had a blast. They will take these memories with them for the rest of their lives. We especially like the pics of the kids falling asleep from pure fun/exhaustion.

I was able to get the same Dining Rotation (PTTAPTA) that you had and we think it wil work perfectly with our existing PALO reservations.

We can't thank you enough for all your help.
Hey, it looks like we will be on the same cruise


I noticed this is your first cruise, so I thought I would just give you a little input, just so you can measure your excitement... you mentioned you already have your dining rotation. I have a feeling you requested that rotation from your TA which is good, but they cannot guarantee you will get it. DCL does not actually give you your actual rotation until you get onboard, it isn't even listed in your docs...
You may still get it, and ithelps to request (we did too), but would hate to see you get onboard and be upset if you didn't get it

Either way, you are going to love your first Disney cruise!
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:38 AM   #52
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Oh, dear, I am enjoying your trip report so much...you have no idea! I sailed with my mom, DD13, nephew6 1/12 and this is bringing back so many wonderful memories. I'm going to copy it and send off to my mom. Love all the pictures. Love it all!
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:32 PM   #53
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I just want to say again, thanks for your hard work on this TR. This is IMO one of the very best I have seen on an MR cruise. And you are to be commended for your dedication to this...

I am not meaning to be disrespectful to people who put forth the effort to make TR's, but it honestly is hard to get into a TR to get info for an upcoming cruise, and then it takes them 6-7 months to finish the TR. I respect the hard work people put forth (not sure I would have the ability to do so). Thank you so much for working so hard on this TR... you have done almost the entire cruise in a week! That is amazing, and I for one appreciate your effort
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papamouse1 View Post
All I can say is wonderful TR! We are getting so excited for our MR cruise on APrill22nd... just my DW and I going on this one to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Who says you need kids to love Disney

It's OK, they got to go with us on a Dream cruise in November, so they can't complain.

I had a quick question after seeing your PV Las Caletas brochure. Did you book the LC Beach getaway through Disney? When you got there, did you add the kids adventures? I just wanted to see if adding the spa, etc after you get there is a good idea..

Thanks for all your info
Aw, thank you so much. I spent a ton of time here doing research and reading all the reports I could, so I wanted to be sure to put mine up and try to pay it forward. It means a lot to know it's actually helpful! It's also nice to relive everything and put everything down for memory purposes... I was so sad to come home and this is the next best thing to still being there.

We booked Las Caletas through Disney, and we signed Elliott up for the kid adventure on the boat-ride over. I don't think they offered that one in advance. I know that people had signed up in advance for scuba diving, and it says in the brochure that you can pre-book spa appointments, but the website indicates that you should book them when you get there. You may be able to contact Vallarta Adventures, the company that runs the tours, directly about that. Their email address is info@vallarta-adventures.com and their phone number is 888-526-2238.
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March 4-11, 2012, Mexican Riviera on the Wonder
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #55
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Very good, thanks! I am considering just booking through them direct. It's advantageous to book through Disney for priority tendering, etc. but they charge quite a bit more for the discover scuba than PV adventures charges directly

But since my wife and I can both go over together, then split up for awhile to do our own thing I am definitely "in" for this excursion now
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:47 PM   #56
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Day 7 (Part One): Sea Day (Last Day!)

Day 7 Navigator:





I was feeling pretty down, knowing it was the last day of our vacation. I had hoped that the daily schedule would just be filled with things I wanted to do, so that I'd be busy and not have time to think about it. Alas, this was not to be, though there were a few things that sounded like fun.

This morning at 8:15AM we had our character breakfast, in Parrot Cay. I'd seen long lines outside of it on other mornings, so we decided to head down a bit early. This turned out not to matter, as it was just like any dinner; we were seated at our normal table, with our normal servers, and we could have just walked in when the doors opened.

While the guys waited in line, I decided to run over to guest services to pay our tips. A form had been left in our room with the suggestions and a place where you could do the math, along with an envelope for each of the people you are expected to tip (head server, server, assistant server, and room steward). There was a box at guest services into which you could drop it, and they'd leave receipts for you, part of which you kept and part of which you could put into the envelopes to give to each individual. If you preferred, you could put cash into the envelopes.

There was no line at guest services, so the woman behind the desk told me that she could just run my receipts right away so that I wouldn't have to wait for them. It took less than a minute and I was back in line for breakfast. Once we were seated, we placed our orders pretty quickly. This is a pretty basic breakfast, because the focus is on the characters.

We had four characters, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. They essentially divided the room into quadrants and each worked a section at a time. A handler stopped by the table to explain that the characters wouldn't be at the table for very long and that each family would get 1-2 pictures. The photos were definitely hit or miss! While you waited, the servers made funny hats out of napkins (and occasionally other items!)

First up, Pluto:


Then came the hats!














Next, Minnie:


My favorite, Goofy:


Somewhere in all the chaos, food arrived, but I didn't get any pictures of it because we were preoccupied with having our cameras and things ready for the characters. Of course, Mickey was the last one. Before we left home, Elliott had drawn a special picture for Mickey, and we had brought it to breakfast with us. Elliott was so excited to give it to him.





After breakfast we took the kids to one last dance party, another Playhouse Disney one at the Promenade Lounge, to run off some their extra energy. As always, the kids had a ton of fun.



Immediately after the dance party ended, they started setting up for "The Feud," in which they divided the room in half and the teams competed for bragging rights. We decided to stay since we had nothing else planned for that time. It was a cute game, the kids loved it, and our team won, so they were thrilled.



After "The Feud", we dropped the kids off at the club so that the four adults could head down to Diversions (this was the first time I'd gone up there) for "50 Movie Quotes Trivia." We had a great time doing this, and in this case four heads were definitely better than one. We lost by one point, and were very disappointed, because we missed a few questions that we should have gotten. Still, it really was just fun to play, and we did really well.

It was about lunchtime, so we stopped by the Club to see if the boys wanted to join us. Elliott preferred to stay in the Club, but Oliver decided to come eat with us. The buffet at Beach Blanket had a definite seafood theme, which made Mike very happy.

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Old 03-20-2012, 08:50 PM   #57
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Day 7 (Part Two): Sea Day (Last Day!)

After lunch, Oliver wanted to go back to the Club, so we dropped him off there and decided to spend some time packing, maybe hit up the Adult Trivia at 3:15. Unfortunately, a few minutes before that we got a call that Oliver needed to be picked up. He'd had a potty accident and needed a change of clothing. So, we skipped trivia in favor of cleaning up a small boy who held it too long. We were glad they didn't ban him from the club, because he was really looking forward to what was on our schedule next... Friendship Rocks! We dropped him back off for rehearsal and went to finish packing.

We stopped to purchase some final photos at Shutters, as I'd pre-purchased the $89 10-credit photo package. This one isn't available onboard, and I didn't want to commit to anything more. I was told that if I wanted more photos, I could just upgrade my package for the difference in cost, but we didn't end up spending a lot of time standing in lines for characters, so it worked out perfectly. You are given a card that they mark as you use your credits:



They have quite a lot of photo opportunities, so if you purchase a large package or the CD, you could potentially have a lot of choices.











Finally, we headed up to the Walt Disney Theater to see the kids' show. It was a very cute performance; the older kids got up first and did a little number, then Mickey and Minnie came out to help with the younger ones. Each of the kids got a t-shirt with the "Friendship Rocks" logo on it, which is a really nice souvenir for them.





After the show, it was time to head off to our final dinner, which was at Animator's Palate, the "Till We Meet Again" menu. I don't have many pictures of this meal... it seems like the last day was just a blur of trying to do everything one last time. I do know that multiple people had the Sesame-Crusted Tuna Sashimi, Wakame Salad, and American Caviar, and they all really liked it. We should have ordered off of the adult menu for Elliott, because he tried some of Mike's tuna and he loved it. Apparently someone had some Artichoke, Spinach, and Jalapeno Cheese Dip, because I have a picture of it!





I ordered the Grilled Chicken Sate, which was very tender and tasty. The Potato Leek Soup was okay, but not great. My main course was the Yachtsman Steakhouse Center Cut Grilled Beef Tenderloin, and once again it was tender and delicious.





After dinner, the servers did an "international parade" with flaming Baked Alaska as the grand finale.





I decided to skip dessert (even though that Baked Alaska looked pretty darn good) in the interest of time, because I really wanted to go to "Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer?" and had missed it the first time around. Elliott (Mickey bar in hand) and I ran over to Studio Sea and made it just in time for the game. Our numbers didn't get picked, but we still had a great time playing from our table. And Elliott won one of the trophies in a raffle at the end, so he was happy.



We were pretty tired, and we knew we had to be up early the next morning, so we decided to get back to our room. Mike stopped to return the kids' "Mickey Bands" (the sensor used to allow them in and out of the clubs), and was sure to get a return receipt.



Any luggage that you weren't planning to hand-carry had to be out in the hallway by 10:30PM, with new tags that had been left in the room. You can get additional tags at Guest Services, and it isn't a bad idea to keep an extra one just to be absolutely sure you know which group you're in. When you get off the ship your luggage will be placed into a room labeled with your assigned tag. We were in the Goofy group.



One last towel animal and we fell asleep remembering a week full of magic.

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And the the boys: Elliott (8), Oliver (5)

March 4-11, 2012, Mexican Riviera on the Wonder
Trip Report


Last edited by GooniesAndy; 03-20-2012 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:36 PM   #58
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Debarkation and Final Thoughts

The final morning came much too quickly, and followed a restless night. Nobody wanted to get out of bed and leave this amazing fantasy world.



Sadly, we had no other choice. When we got back to our room the night before, we had found our final breakfast ticket, which indicated that we were to eat at 7:00AM in Animator's Palate.



We also received paperwork explaining the disembarking process, as well as a customs form, which had to be filled out and presented along with your passport or birth certificate after you got off of the ship.




Breakfast was a quick and simple meal, with fewer options than at previous meals. They need to keep things moving quickly and so you can't make special requests today. We all ate and drank plenty of coffee, and then we gave Banjo and Phapakorn a last hug and goodbye. I missed them already!

After breakfast we walked out into a hallway full of people. People who only had hand-carried luggage were already starting to disembark, and other people had planted themselves into random spots to wait. We stood on the fringes of the Promenade Lounge for a little while, then we decided to venture to the front of the ship to see if any of the other lounges had space available.

Our first try, Wavebands, had plenty of tables, so we got a big booth and sat comfortably while we waited to hear them call the Goofy group. It started with Ariel, then Daisy...Minnie... we were starting to think it was definitely "ladies first" when a cast member came around telling everyone that the tags were only to keep things flowing evenly, and we could all head out any time we wanted.

The line to get off the ship went through the lobby, past Triton's, through the Promenade Lounge, and met up with the crowd at Parrot Cay. We went to the end and slowly made our way through. I was surprised to see how many people just jumped into the middle of the line with no regard for the others that had been waiting. Just rude!

Eventually we were off the ship and into the customs line. This part went very quickly, and I didn't see different lines for passports versus birth certificates.. just US and non-US citizens. They just looked at the customs form, which for us was pretty much a marionette and some maracas, checked our IDs, and we were through. We quickly got a very nice porter, who waited while Oliver had a quick trip to the bathroom, before taking us over to the Goofy area. All of our luggage was in the same general vicinity, so we easily grabbed it and headed outside. Mike and the kids stayed with the luggage while I ran to get the car. You exit the lot at this point, and pay your parking bill before you can circle back around and do your pick-up.

We managed to get all of our suitcases back into puzzle configuration in the car, and waved goodbye to our ship. Oliver said it best, as we drove across the bridge and lost sight of her, "I miss the boat."

Unfortunately, Oliver threw up in the car on the way home and was vomiting for about the next 24 hours. It looks like he may have gotten a norovirus, based on his symptoms, but we were just happy it had waited until we were close to home!

This truly was the vacation of a lifetime, and I am so glad I let Elliott talk me into it. In the hotel room the night before we boarded, I announced to the family that we were about to enter a place of magic, and that real world cares and worries weren't allowed. We held to that and forgot all of our problems for one lovely week. It was hard to head back to reality, but we will always hold onto the memories we made that week, and we can look at our 800+ pictures when we need a smile. In the car, Oliver has taken to asking if we can talk about what we miss about the cruise. His answer: Everything!

I did a lot of research before we left, and I packed very carefully. I didn't actually end up packing anything that we didn't find very helpful. Here are a few things that we found particularly helpful:

Clothespins (there's a line in the shower, and we also used them to hold the curtains closed for blocking out the sun)
Power strip
Gallon-size zipper bags
Collapsible laundry basket (I got one at the dollar store that was the size of a small paper plate, and we just left it behind when we left)
Foaming hand soap pump (sooooo much better than a bar!)
Potty seat (Oliver has a tiny little bottom, so we packed one that didn't take up too much room, but could fit on top of the toilet and then just got stored under the sink)

I'm sure I'll remember more things as time goes by, and I'll update the list if I do. I need to pull out my packing list and double-check it.

Another thing we really enjoyed was doing the Fish Exchange. It was a lot of fun putting everything together, and the kids loved coming back to our room to find little goodies. I'd highly recommend it! Here are some pictures of the things I put together:

For the younger boys and girls:


For older girls and women (pendants):


And for everyone (magnets):


For the men I had an assortment of Mickey-themed planners and calendars or a little English-Spanish dictionary. We had a couple of teenage boys and I picked up some word searches and movie theater candies. I also had some random Cars and princess pens, magnets, and tattoos for cabins with small kids.

And, my full Flickr set from the trip:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeand...7629207986858/
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And the the boys: Elliott (8), Oliver (5)

March 4-11, 2012, Mexican Riviera on the Wonder
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #59
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Great trip report! I'll be on the 4/1 MR cruise, and this has really helped me get even more excited for my trip

Quote:
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After lunch we went to see the 2:00 matinee of the Golden Mickeys, which we thought was a lot of fun.
Was Golden Mickeys the only show that a matinee was offered, or did they do that for every show?

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Originally Posted by GooniesAndy View Post
We had booked the shore excursion to Las Caletas, which met up in Studio Sea at 7:30AM.
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Originally Posted by GooniesAndy View Post
I would highly recommend the excursion to Las Caletas, and I'd book it again in a heartbeat. It was well-organized, the food was tasty and plentiful, it never felt over-crowded, everything was clean and well-maintained, and we felt very safe and secure. Everyone in our group thought it was a highlight of the vacation.
I have this excursion booked as well - glad to hear you had such a wonderful time. And thanks for all the detailed information!

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Originally Posted by GooniesAndy View Post
Jimmy, the cruise director, had come out to give some brief information about tendering. He indicated that the best time was between 9:30 and 10, because around 10:30 the port excursion groups will be moved from the boat, and they will get top priority for a couple of hours.
I haven't read this tip anywhere else before - good to know since we'll be doing Cabo on our own.

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What ADORABLE pirates!
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #60
marciemouse
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Haha! I was waiting to see if we'd show up in one of your pics, and sure enough! There we are behind you in your family photo at the character breakfast!

I think you guys got a much better water taxi in Cabo than we did. Ours was a bit of an adventure!

We loved our FE gifts from you. Thanks again!

P.S. Note to anyone not interested in rising so early on the last day. We skipped our assigned breakfast, saying good-bye to servers the previous night. On Saturday afternoon I ordered some cereal and milk and fruit bowls from room service, and it all stayed fine in the "cooler" until Sunday morning. Made for a less-rushed morning!
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