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Old 07-14-2012, 10:10 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by amandaw View Post
That's kind of what I was thinking - there would be things to make both of them happy. I'm really hoping they'll maybe look into doing one next summer. I told them they could tag along with us in May but my mom hates to be hot. I don't think she'd be happy on a boat in the Caribbean. I appreciate your offer to help - I will let you know if I can convince them on the Alaskan!
Good luck! I hope they decide to give it a try. They may find a whole new way of vacationing that allows them to vacation and both enjoy it!

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How cute is Oscar? And how cool is Willow's hair? Maddie would love those!

Love the luggage, and that's pretty funny. You guys would make a good girl group. Willow and the Judies?

I don't think Mexican food ever looks that pretty, but it sure does taste good!

Sorry Willow's tasted "germy"

Worst Embassy Suites ever? Intriguing.
Maddie would totally love hair tinsels! We do it at Christmas too. You should get some for the holidays!

Willow and The Judies! I love it!!!

"Germy" - what in the world do you suppose that is supposed to mean??????


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Originally Posted by hstrickland View Post
for an update! I didn't think your Mexican food looked gross at all....it's like a household staple for us...Mexican food at least once a week

Just reading between the lines, but I'm guessing Embassy Suites wasn't your favorite...
I guess I just felt like those food pics looked so much less appetizing than the perfectly plated ones from the cruise that I had to apologize for them! We love Mexican food too.

You know, to be fair, we have always had WONDERFUL Embassy Suites experiences, so having one that was somewhat below less-than-stellar was really disappointing for us.


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Enjoying your TR so far. Can't wait for more!
Thanks for joining in! I hope you will enjoy the report!
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:38 PM   #47
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3. The Worst Embassy Suites Ever

When I last left you, we were enjoying our road trip to the Seattle area. Around 4:00 p.m., we arrived at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue and checked in. Now something you probably don’t know about us (because, quite frankly, how could you?) is that, when making travel stops like this, we almost always stay at an Embassy Suites for several reasons: (1) I am a Hilton Honors member and ES is owned by Hilton (that was particularly worthwhile this time because I had the points for DD and I to stay for free); (2) I like the extra space and being able to stay up when DD goes to bed without keeping her up; (3) the free breakfast (I know, nothing is free - it’s part of the cost of the room, but really the room doesn’t cost more than other hotels of the same quality that don’t give breakfast or give a lesser breakfast) - there are a ton of hot items plus made-to-order omelets, and DD has never met a breakfast buffet she couldn’t do justice; and (4) free wine. Wait, did you hear that???



FREE WINE!!!!

That’s right. The Manager’s Reception every evening is one of our favorite things - there is free wine and beer, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages. DD has been to more Manager’s Receptions than I care to admit!

Anyway, we arrived at this Embassy Suites expecting at least a decent hotel (they vary wildly from near-luxury to your average moderate hotel). We were VERY disappointed. The best I could say about the majority of the hotel is that it was just dingy - not kept up well at all. You can’t really tell from the picture, but it was just kind of sad looking.


Judy 2 eventually met up with us at the hotel, and all four of us headed down to the Manager’s Reception. We had a great time together, but we were even more disappointed here than with the rest of the hotel. It was very crowded, which happens, but the dishes were dirty - you would have to pick through the stack to find one that wasn’t gross. (Clearly, their dishwasher was not working properly.) And the snack buffet was just not kept up well as far as being cleaned and replenished. Maybe they didn’t have enough staff on?




As I said, we had fun anyway, and then went to dinner. Someone was getting very excited for tomorrow!


In the morning, DD and I fought our way through the throngs of people swarming the breakfast buffet. We had never seen anything like it! We finally found clean plates and a table, which I had to bus. Eventually, The Judies joined us. Everyone had some breakfast, especially DD.


After breakfast, we finished our last bit of packing and dragged our luggage downstairs.


Yep, that’s for 3 adults and one child. What in the world were we thinking????

And then we were off to the Wonder!!

Up next: 4. Welcome to the Wonder!
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:50 PM   #48
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Ewww...sorry the stay at Embassy Suites wasn't the best. But, at least it was only for 1 night.

So excited for y'all to get on the ship!
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:20 AM   #49
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Ewww...sorry the stay at Embassy Suites wasn't the best. But, at least it was only for 1 night.

So excited for y'all to get on the ship!
It was so disappointing - we have had amazing ES experiences in the past. Oh well - won't let one bad apple ruin our ES basket!

You aren't going to believe this, but we should actually make it onboard the ship in the next update!
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:44 AM   #50
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That's really too bad that the hotel wasn't nice. Dingy I could handle-dirty plates I could not. I've worked in too many restaurants to tolerate that kind of tomfoolery. I always think that the plates and glasses say a lot about a place, and obviously those spoke volumes.

Willow doesn't seem too upset though! Looks like she was having a great time!

I'm a bit of an over-packer (according to my husband) so that amount of luggage looks just right! Cold weather clothes take up a lot of space!
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:54 AM   #51
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Wow, I have never experienced a less than stellar ES. What a bummer. Dirty plates? That is just gross and would have driven me far away from the buffet!

So glad you made it through the night and will be on your way to sail the Disney Wonder!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:18 AM   #52
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Hmmmm..... well the hotel certainly doesn't look "Disney"...kinda bland in appearance. At least it was just one night!

I'm really, really liking your luggage!!!! Faith would LOVE it. And I'm thinking the amount of bags is just perfect ya never know...better to be prepared than not, I always say. We carried WAY too many clothes on the Dream, but I didn't care. At least I had options



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Old 07-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #53
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Page 4?!? I am so sorry I am so behind!

I wanted to check in and I will go back and read! So excited for this TR!

ETA: I'm all caught up!

Hooray for the start of your trip! That is the best feeling to know you are on your way.

I love your luggage! I'm sorry Willow's quesadilla was "germy." Where do kids come up with this stuff?

Eww dirty plates? That's terrible! I'm glad it was only 1 night.

So excited to see pictures of the ship!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:48 PM   #54
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That's really too bad that the hotel wasn't nice. Dingy I could handle-dirty plates I could not. I've worked in too many restaurants to tolerate that kind of tomfoolery. I always think that the plates and glasses say a lot about a place, and obviously those spoke volumes.

Willow doesn't seem too upset though! Looks like she was having a great time!

I'm a bit of an over-packer (according to my husband) so that amount of luggage looks just right! Cold weather clothes take up a lot of space!
Yep - it was really disappointing and GROSS!

I am usually a pretty light packer (well, much less so now that Miss Willow travels with me ), but I just could not pack light for this trip!


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Wow, I have never experienced a less than stellar ES. What a bummer. Dirty plates? That is just gross and would have driven me far away from the buffet!

So glad you made it through the night and will be on your way to sail the Disney Wonder!
I agree - we LOVE ES and have always had great experiences. We will continue to stay at them too - just not THAT one!

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Hmmmm..... well the hotel certainly doesn't look "Disney"...kinda bland in appearance. At least it was just one night!

I'm really, really liking your luggage!!!! Faith would LOVE it. And I'm thinking the amount of bags is just perfect ya never know...better to be prepared than not, I always say. We carried WAY too many clothes on the Dream, but I didn't care. At least I had options


Heather
Yes, I figured that, if I can handle camping, I can handle a less-than-pleasant hotel for one night knowing what the next 7 nights would bring!

My mom got us that luggage (and the black and pink ones are hers) - we all love those bags! We never have to search for our luggage at an airport (or cruise terminal) - it is so easy to find among the sea of black suitcases!


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Page 4?!? I am so sorry I am so behind!

I wanted to check in and I will go back and read! So excited for this TR!

ETA: I'm all caught up!

Hooray for the start of your trip! That is the best feeling to know you are on your way.

I love your luggage! I'm sorry Willow's quesadilla was "germy." Where do kids come up with this stuff?

Eww dirty plates? That's terrible! I'm glad it was only 1 night.

So excited to see pictures of the ship!
Hey there! So glad you are joining in!

I am going to get an actual WONDER update done very soon!
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:35 PM   #55
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4. Welcome to the Wonder!

When I last left you, we were leaving our less-than-stellar hotel and starting our Disney Vacation!!!

Finally, we caught sight of this!


And, before we knew it, we had spotted Mickey-gloved CMs directing traffic. Soon, we had unloaded our bags and tipped someone to take the non-carry-ons away. We were all hoping that we would see them again onboard! My party was busy trying to get to the terminal, so there wasn’t much of an opportunity for pictures. (This will be an ongoing theme - not the lack of pictures but me worrying too much about everyone else’s good time; DD and I do better when we take trips by ourselves; it’s no one’s fault but mine. ) Anyway, I fell behind because I couldn’t resist snapping at least one shot!


Soon, we were inside the terminal. DD had already “high-foured” any number of Mickey-gloved CMs just looking for someone to give them a little Disney love.


DD and I took the escalator upstairs and then waited for The Judies who had taken the elevator (Judy 1 has some pretty serious mobility issues). We went through security and then filled out little cards swearing that we weren’t sick. We then got in line to check in. Once DD and I were done (it was very quick) and standing around waiting for The Judies, I snapped a couple of pics of the check-in area. Not at all crowded! (We had arrived about 11:30, I think. Our check-in times were 12:00 and 12:30, but no one seemed to care.)




We had a 9 for check-in. I knew that was pretty high. But who cares? I didn’t think it could make much difference, and it really didn’t, as you will soon see.


DD and I needed to head in this direction:


So, once The Judies joined us, I let them know that we would be going to check DD into the kids club. They went to see if they could find a seat - there was not nearly enough seating up there.

Of course, DD and I soon spotted someone we HAD to meet! Captain Mickey was out! So we detoured from our kids club route to get in line to meet Mickey. While we were in line, I said something like the following to DD, “Look, can you peek around these people and see Captain Mickey up there???” Suddenly, I felt this finger poking into my side. This kid (probably a year or two or three older than DD) on the other side of the rope (it was one of those snake-around-the-ropes queues) was poking me and looking very upset. He said, “That is Mickey. He is NOT ‘Captain Mickey.’ Don’t call him that!” Um, okay, kid! He was funny - I didn’t want to upset him with my inaccurate name-calling, so I quieted down with my “Captain Mickey” talk! DD finally met The Mouse who really liked her shirt.






After our celebrity encounter, DD and I got in line for the kids club. And there we stayed. For a VERY long time. I had checked DD in on-line, so we were just waiting in line to get her “Mickey bracelet.” But the line was moving VERY slowly. People must have had a lot of questions and/or been really confused, because, when we finally did make it to the front of the line, it took us approximately 22 seconds to get our transaction complete. Anyway, while we waited in line, they started calling groups to board the ship. 1. 2. 3. Um, yeah, we were up to 7, and still nowhere near the front of the line. But far enough from the back that there was no way I was getting out of that line! (I am pretty darn sure that you can get the Mickey bracelet on the ship, so that is definitely what I will do next time - as soon as I confirm that fact.) As we entered the last loop in the queue, they called “9” to board. I saw The Judies looking lost and tried to wave to them - I know that I told them where we would be, but they never looked over. Then I watched as they made their way to the line to get on the ship. GAH!!!! Off they went, and then began the million questions of “why is Nini getting on the ship without us?” etc. Blerg! This was kind of sucking! Willow’s input here is: “I thought they were leaving without us.”

Finally, we were front and center for a Mickey bracelet, and, like I said, it took us about 22 seconds tops. We left there and got in the line to board. As we were going up the ramp to the gangplank, I saw The Judies ahead of us and finally caught their attention. I thought they would step to the side and wait for us so that we could board together, but, well, um, no. They just kept going. DD was having a cow, and I kept explaining that they would surely wait for us inside, etc.

I’m sure you have figured out why I have no pictures of the boarding process. I apologize nonetheless.

Anyway, we made it onboard, semi-frazzled and, at least for me, feeling like I was herding cats, but we were on the ship!!! A CM asked our last name and then announced us as we entered the atrium area on deck 4 (one deck above the atrium but looking out onto it). We made our way around that area and finally caught up with The Judies. All the hectic stuff aside, wow! This ship was beautiful. I grabbed a very quick (and quite blurry) pic of the beautiful light fixture in the atrium.


Willow’s input on what she thought when we finally got on the ship: and “I can’t believe I was walking on the ship. I never walked on a ship before.”

Up next: 5. What? Food already?
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:40 PM   #56
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Yay! Y'all are on the ship!

I was laughing so much about the little boy telling you Mickey isn't a captain. But, I'm glad y'all got to meet Mickey.....impersonating a Captain.

That line for the kids club bracelet sounds crazy! Since you wanted to confirm, you can get their bracelets on the boat. That's how we got Reid's. I had registered him online & just waited to get his bracelet until the 1st time we actually took him & dropped him off.

Boarding with the Judies ahead & Willow worrying seems quite frantic. I completely understand why you don't have pictures. I'm so excited to see more pictures of the Wonder. I really love the atrium picture!
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #57
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"herding cats" painted the perfect picture of what you must have been feeling. I would have been seriously stressing out.

Love the Captain (or not) Mickey photos! That was some uptight kid huh?

I hope that the Judies don't do this to you the whole time!
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:00 AM   #58
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Love the updates. We also nearly always stay at Embassy Suites - we have hit one or two that are just blah, but also some that are VERY nice. The extra room and second TV are a must for us :-) I love a quiet room, my son not so much!

I completely understand the herding cats issue --- stresses me out!

I cannot wait to see the ship pictures !!!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #59
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Sorry I am so late Roni


WOW, rough start with the Hotel del Nasty, but yay we are on the ship !!!!!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:44 PM   #60
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Great update!

I love the pics with Mickey! He looks like a Ship captain to me too.

I definitely understand the herding cats comment! Sounds like it was a bit chaotic.

I can't wait to see more pics of the Wonder!
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