Go ahead and put it on DisBoards. Beware, I will get you...eventually Final Photos!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Moira222, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    The problem with DIS is that you meet so many wonderful people that you want to spend hours and hours catching up,:coffee: and there is just not that much time. I know, I have this problem too! Never worry Kathy! (and I am so behind on your TR...if only work would stop being so demanding :rotfl:)

    pixiedust:Welcome! and thanks. There are more to come, honest!:joker:
    YAY Lesley's here.:wave2: be sure to chime in!

    ME THREE!!!:rotfl2:

    Joe gave me the Nook color for Christmas and I totally love it. It does sound like you got a defective one - I have not had those issues with mine, and Katie saved up her Christmas & chore money and bought one too - and she has had not had downloading issues either. Once in a while page freezes on me, but if I go back a page, then forward, all is well.

    I have been reading a lot of freebies an cheepies. J.L. Rain has turned out to be a fun and light read - I've read the Samantha Moon and the Jim Knighthorse series. I'll have to check some of the other titles -- Nook has free book fridays on Facebook, so I try to download whatever their free title is. Sometimes its good, sometimes its better than nyquil for putting me to sleep:rotfl:
     
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  3. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    So I know that I need to get this TR moving -- it has just taken me a long time to get all of my photos uploaded, resized and edited to blur Joe out ((boo!)). This morning I uploaded my Trek photos but need to resize them and then I can move right along.

    While I was uploading photos, I thought I'd share a bit of Miss Katies extended birthday celebration with you all!

    This year, my understanding the budget thing girl opted to do something fun and special with a friend instead of a big blow out party. This is the first year that Katie has not had a birthday party, so that made the her actual birthday a bit of a bummer for her. She literally woke up singing "Today's my birthday, yeah its my birthday" it was so cute! There were presents waiting for her in the morning from Joe and I, Lesley, my friend Yvonne, her grandparents (my folks) and her aunt Nina. but then it was a regular day. Not so thrilling for a new 9 year old!

    The next day was the big day - we picked up her BFF Becca and Becca's mom to go to CamelBeach Waterpark. It was about an hour's drive (a bit longer because I missed my turn and then literally drove over a mountain and then back again till I figured out where I went wrong).

    We all had a blast - we tackled the wave pool first and well, both girls are July birthdays so they are totally water babies![​IMG] The wave pool was a lot of fun but depending on where you were standing the waves could be really strong! Around 4 foot, you caught the swell, at 3ft you got crashed on.

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    and can you tell that I finally got to test the waterproof feature of my Playsport?
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    Its fun, but with the sun behind me, I really could not tell what I was taking a picture of. I had a doozy shot of Joe's arm pit.:upsidedow

    After we got knocked around in the waves a bit, we took it down a notch and went to the regular pool. Joe played catch with Katie .... literally
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    and the girls had a blast swimming and horsing around. [​IMG]
    Becca is only 2 weeks younger than Katie, but Katie has a good 10 inches on her, so Becca wore a life jacket for most of the day for safety.

    We took a turn in the lazy river, but I have to say this river was not that lazy. I normally LOVE a few laps in a tube, but there were no steps to help you plop down on the tube, and it took me more than half the river just to get IN the tube. I just got comfy and saw that Joe and the girls were getting out already :crazy2:. aach! so I flipped myself off...the tube:rotfl: and waited for Becca's mom Priscilla. By the time we got out the three of them had disappeared! It took us a few minutes to find them in the kiddie water works. [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    Bad mom, when Katie was on the swinging tire, I pushed her and got it swinging pretty good. then the life guard promptly told us it was too high. oops. I forgot we were in the little kid section!

    After this, Katie Joe & I headed out to the car for a tailgate picnic lunch. While we packed enough for everyone, Becca & Priscilla opted to stay in the park & get something at the counter service place there. I stuck my camera in the locker at this point, so no more water park photos!

    At the end of the day, all dressed again, [​IMG]
    we headed out for dinner.

    We drove to a nearby Olive Garden (I did NOT take food pictures, can you believe it?!?) only I did tell the waitress we were celebrating a birthday, and the staff put a candle in Katie's desserts and sang to her.
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    The food was delicious but our services was s l o w. I think we were at the restaurant for an hour and a half, maybe longer. By the end of dinner, we were tired and were getting worried about poor Thor, who had not been let out all day.

    the girls chatted and giggled the whole ride back to Becca's house, and Katie fell asleep before we left Becca's street after we dropped them off!
     
  4. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    (hmm are my photos too small? let me know!)

    So we headed home & took care of Thor, and Katie went right to bed. She needed sleep because we had another big day planned!

    Tuesday she slept in a bit (maybe 9 am?) and by the time she woke up I was nearly packed for a day trip to the Jersey shore. For the past three years, she and I have been taking a day trip just the two of us to Point Pleasant beach. Its about a two hour drive from our house. We have a bit of a routine in that we know exactly where we will park (near a bath house), play on the beach for a while, then shower & dress & walk down to the boardwalk attractions. It has turned into a much loved Mommy & Me tradition - I hope she wants to keep it up as the tween years kick in for her.

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    Nothing like a picture like this to remind you just how small you are in the grand scheme of things.

    We did not stay too long on the beach this time - guess she is outgrowing the whole sand castle thing, and the waves were a bit rough it being right after high tide. We showered and changed and walked down to the boardwalk attractions.

    We splurged on a multi-attraction ticket and spent some time in the Jenkinson Aquarium. I was not sure what to expect when we went in but it was a very nice little aquarium. nicely kept and for a boardwalk, a decent variety of aquatic life including poisonous tropical frogs, sharks, penguins, seals, and a touch tank.

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    can you see all the teeth on this guy? YIKES!

    I took a photo of the big ship from the steps:
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    and we headed upstairs, where we found a touch tank.
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    this was pretty cool - there were two small sharks in there, and a few sting rays. the stingrays would swim up along the outer edge of the pool and they would look like they were waving at you, really encouraging the kids to touch them. One spit on Katie, which was pretty funny!
    This is a little blurry - i tried to crop in so you could see the side of the stingray
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    Eventually she did reach in and touch the tail of the shark but she'd heard from the staff person to only touch the tail because the little guy had been known to bite.

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    We stayed long enough to watch feeding time for the pacific shark tank. That was neat but it was pretty crowded there so I stayed back and let Katie go up close to the tank with the other kids, so I didn't get any photos. (plus by this time my phone was really low so I had turned it off to save power for the ride home just in case!)

    After the aquarium, we had a bite to eat (not noteworthy this time. bummer) and then visited the fun house. The fun house has a great mirror maze with used to really freak her out but she did it pretty well this time.

    There was a great balcony shot, so I had to take a quick photo to get Katie with the boardwalk below.
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    Right next to the fun house was mini golf (the last of our multi pack !) and we had fun playing. We are not big competitors so we just enjoyed ourselves without keeping score.

    A bit of ice cream for the walk back for Katie and that was it! :beach: See ya Jersey Shore! Joe said he might go with us again later this summer. Maybe we will pick Seaside Heights or Ocean City --- ok Jersey folks, where else is a fun boardwalk? pretty much anywhere between Point Pleasant and Tom's River will still be around two hours drive for us.

    That was our multi day birthday celebration for Katie - not bad for skipping a party, right? :scratchin

    Ok bed for me now but I promise a real update is coming!:wave2:
     
  5. lmckiel

    lmckiel Earning My Ears

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    I think your best bet would be Sea Side Heights. They have a pretty family friendly boardwalk. Before we found the "military" beach we would go to Sea Side. Only problem is, I think you have pay to get on the beach.
     
  6. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Well, I think Katie had a great birthday. Way more fun that a party. The Camel beach (or whatever it is called) looks pretty fun and not really crowded.

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about the Jersey shore anymore since I only go to the Delaware beaches :rotfl:
     
  7. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    We pay to get onto Point Pleasant beach as well, so I expect that.

    ME can you believe I have NEVER been to the DE Beaches? I look at them every year but never seem to go there. Its far for a day day trip for me, and I hate dealing with the Philly area traffic. You will have to give me recommendations so that I know where to go when we can finally get there. Its on my bucket list :thumbsup2
     
  8. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    Tina I missed this! I am so jealous that you are on your way! I hope you have a great time.

    yes, the International Gateway is fantastic. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that it took us most of the week to use the "front door" and get our classic globe shot!
     
  9. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    EPCOT!:cool1:

    We were using Military passes, so stopped at the guest services ticket window to have our tickets authorized an in we went!
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    We browsed through the shop at the International Gateway, where I picked up a packet of post cards. We had 6 pm dinner reservations in Mexico so we had about two hours or so to meander our way over. First stop: SLUSHIES!
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    Grey Goose for Joe & Lesley (I didn’t get pictures of their drinks!) and Grand Marnier for me. a little bit of icy heaven there! We watched the Serveur Amusant while we enjoyed our drinks.
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    THIS is how I wanted to do Epcot – drink in hand, enjoying the entertainment around the showcase! When the performance was over, we headed in to see Impressions de France – a movie we had never seen before.

    We had just missed a show, so we wandered through the dump shop first, and then headed back to the entrance.
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    While we waited in the lovely air conditioned lobby, I gave a quick call to Katie to see how her school day was and how she was doing. She had a few stories to tell, but it was hard to hear, so really I have no idea what she was really telling me about. I texted a funny picture of Joe to her via my sister’s cell phone, and after Joe chatted for a few minutes, we told her we’d call later.

    Impressions de France is really a very beautiful movie – I really enjoyed seeing the countryside and the historic estates and castles. Oh, and did I mention how lovely the air conditioning was?

    We headed back out and on our way to Morocco. Mo Rockin’ was playing as we got there, so we stopped to enjoy the show and the music. Belly dancing look fun – but I know it’s a lot of exercise. Katie and I saw belly dancers perform last fall at an outdoor festival – they were just every day women of all shapes and sizes – some of average build, some with a lot more belly to dance. We both thought it looked like fun – if I had extra money in my budget I would sign us up for the family lessons. but I digress.
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    We meandered through the shops in Morocco, and then through that little house/museum. I never knew it was there. I love walking through buildings like that seeing a bit of history and a taste of how people live around the world.
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    Outside of Morocco was another slushie stand and Joe and I were game for a new flavor. hey, why not, right? Joe ordered the Sultan’s ……. and I ordered the habibi daiquiri. Mine was a bit too sweet for me, but still yummy. Joe’s was frozen coconut yumminess. I would order that one next time!


    Here is the drink menu: [​IMG]

    We meandered along people watching.
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    We stopped to see the miniature village outside of Germany,

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    and HAD to stop at Karamell Küche to check out the tasty treats. Lesley and I have a life long tradition of indulging in caramel apples, and so we could not pass them up here. DDP Note: while all of the other yummy treats in the case ARE considered snacks on the DDP, the caramel apples are not, and you have to pay OOP for them. Oh well, we had them wrapped to enjoy later and were on our way.

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    I was scoping out tiara's for our little princess at home, and had to try one on myself of course!princess:


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    (continued next post)
     
  10. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    It was getting close to six now, so we walked a bit faster to make our reservations in Mexico. Now here is where I made a huge novice mistake – so much I am almost embarrassed to own it here on the DISboards. :sad2:I was SURE that we were eating in the Mayan temple. I was so looking forward to eating under the twinkling stars of Mexico, listening to the water from the Tres Caballeros ride. La Hacienda here we come. As we walked along, ready to turn right up those steps we saw this to the left:

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    oh, yeah, see my mistake? DOH! as we approached the temple, I caught a look at the restaurant to my left, and how surprised was I to see the restaurant’s name “La Hacienda de San Angel” whhaaaaattt? :confused3
    Oh well, this was where our reservation was so this was where we were headed. No big deal but we laughed at my mistake. some planner I am!!
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    Joe and I had already checked out the menu in advance and had decided to share the Del Mar platter. We looked over the menu and agreed to stay with our plan. It did not disappoint!
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    Lesley ordered Puerco en Salsa de Mole negro, which she also enjoyed. The Mole sauce was a perfect topping for the pork.
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    The rice and beans were brought in separate bowls for the three of us to share, which worked great because I hate beans, but love Spanish rice. this was one of the few meals we had at Disney that had a generous portion of vegetables included on the plate.
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    Not sure exactly what Disney has against veggies, but we noticed that most of the entrees were very skimpy on the greens. At home, we typically fill half our plate with veggies at dinner time, so after a day or so we really missed them!

    Joe and I ordered sangria, and Lesley ordered a margarita, though I don’t remember which one. Funny thing about Florida water – to me it calls to mind how early Europeans always drank wine or beer because the water was nasty. I could taste the sulfuric water in all of the soft drinks & iced tea we had – it made drinking wine and beer that much easier!
    Ok I have to own this funny moment. After we ordered and started our sangria's, I needed to excuse myself. I found the ladies room, took care of business, and then all happy with myself, headed back to my table. Just kept walking and walking an dwalking. Walked about three tables past Joe and Lesley before the kindly (and with no small laughs) clued me in on my mistake. :rotfl2::rotfl2: Yup, slushies + sangria. Yumm.
    For desserts, we all ordered something different. Lesley ordered Crema de Chcolate Abuelita – a chocolate custard with crunchy strips and caramel syrup.
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    I ordered the Empanada de Manzan. OMG this was SO delicious! a puffed pastry filled with sautéed apple, with dulce de leche ice cream and caramel sauce. (sorry, I had to taste it before I regained my senses and took pictures!)
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    Joe ordered the Tamal de Dulce – a sweet tamal filled with guava and topped with a strawberry sauce.

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    I was surprised he ordered that, because its far from his usual dessert choice. unfortunately, he was not happy with it at all and had only one or two bites. It was overly sweet and the guava paste gave the tamal a very artificial texture that was really unappealing. I gave him some of my Empanada – that’s what he really wanted but he thought we should all try something different. After this dinner, he gave up on uniqueness and went for what he wanted!

    I don’t mind telling you after the drinks at the hotel, two slushies and sangria in all in about 3 hours, (plus the zyrtec I took for motion sickness!) and the minimal sleep we’d had throughout the weekend, I was really sleepy! (so sleepy that it has taken me almost a week to remember just what we did after dinner!:rotfl:)

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    We headed over to the Mayan Temple and wandered around a bit and rode the Tres Caballeros. I love the music throughout that ride, its fun and the video clips are silly.

    I scoped out a few tiaras in the temple (Joe and I had separately thought a tiara would be a great gift for Katie ,and then laughed when we told each other our “perfect gift” – do we know our princess or what?) and we browsed the market before heading out.

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    After we toured the Mexico Pavilion, we actually headed out of the park to downtown Disney, but we didn’t spend a long time there. Joe wanted to order something at Arribas Bros. that was a custom order, so we hung out there a bit and I looked for more tiaras, finally buying one, [​IMG]

    We visited the Pin Traders and of course the World of Disney store along with a few others. There was a kids/ concert going on, where the kids were dancing with a DJ/MC. We had a seat, chilled out for a few minutes, and watched the kids dance. It made me miss Katie a bit – she would have LOVED to do the Macarena and the cha cha slide at Disney World J We did not head back to Planet Hollywood though – we were full from dinner.
     
  11. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    So, what were my plans for our first day & what did we do? I filled in my notes from my planner:

    Monday June 4
    Arrive between 9 and 11 am -- we took a major detour and visited St. Augustine at this time, so it was around 12 or so before we hit Orlando.

    Orlando Outlets open at 10 a.m.
    Disney's Character Premiere at the Orlando Premium Outlets – We visited this place on our way in, and while they had a lot of tee’s and assorted items, there was nothing that any of us just “had to have” and the prices really seemed much more “premium” than “outlet”. We bought two fleece blankets with Cinderella Castle – buy one for $15 get one. One we gave to our house/dog sitter, and the other is quite snuggly on my lap as I type this!:lovestruc

    Disney's Character Warehouse at Prime Outlets International –this place seemed like it was ready to go out of business it was so stripped down. They had a few baby items, and a lot of out dated Disney product like High School Musical one and two and a lot of Hannah Montana, some cheesy stickers and a gazillion golf shirts. if you like golf shirts, here’s your place! but we were so not impressed. (we did not hit this outlet on Monday but later in the week)


    Check in to the Yacht Club!!!
    Either catch a short nap or change & head to the pool for some veg out/ relaxation time, lunch will be at Hurricane Hannah’s by the pool. Use DDP QS meal OR -- we skipped lunch because we just snacked at the club level. We wandered the resort a bit but no pool time or Hurricane Hannah’s.
    Head to downtown Disney, hit Arribas Bros and use Planet Hollywood gift certificate for snacks and drinks. LOL THAT’s what we did after dinner! man I was tired! (seriously it took me til tonight when I saw the planner to remember what we did after dinner!:confused:)


    EPCOT Center: By 4:30 p.m. We actually hit Epcot right about this time. amazing!!
    Dinner: La Hacienda Mexico for 6 p.m. Yummm

    Goals for EPCOT today:
    Illuminations 9 p.m. Epcot Center -- CHECK
    Slushies from France! CHECK
    Impressions of France CHECK
    MoRockin! CHECK
    Grand Fiesta Tour (Mexico) CHECK
    Maelstrom (Norway) Not this day
    Voices of Liberty (America) still on my to do list!
    National Treasures (America) Not this day.

    Disney Hollywood Studio open till midnight – We did not go to DHS, we were beat.


     
  12. DreamingofCastles

    DreamingofCastles Earning My Ears

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    I am enjoying your trip report with your BFF and DH! The first time I went to Disney after a *ahem* 30 year absence, I went with my BFF! Two years later we decided to take my DH on his first trip to Disney! So much fun!!!
     
  13. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    WE had the Del Mar Platter in December and we took the leftovers home. Dare I say it was just as good, possibly better, as a left over.

    3 adult beverages in 3 hours seems like a winner in my book. :thumbsup2 You only had to stumble to the YC, right? :rotfl:

    I love the Tiaras. They are so pretty.

    Dessert looks yummy. I can definitely see how its possible to get confused over the two Mexican restaurants.

    What? You have never been to the Delaware beaches. Rehoboth is the largest beach, best boardwalk, most restaurants, ect. I recommend off season, mid week September. Perfect time to visit. If you ever visit let me know, I literally live a mile from the main north/south road that takes you to southern delaware. Pit stop! :rotfl:
     
  14. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    Welcome!!! Oh my a 30 year absence....tooo long for sure! Going with DH & BFF was great. it helps a lot when your Dh & BFF get along really well:thumbsup2

    The Del Mar was awesome, I would absolutely order that again.

    I really think that taking a Zyrtec sometime between drink 2 and drink 3 was the end of me. I have learned that when I am doing LOTS of action rides, Zyrtec really helps with the motion sickness:sick:, and doesnot leave me as drowsy as other motion sickness pills -- but it does leave me drowsy. I think by Wednesday or Thursday I just decided to risk the motion sickness because the drowsy feeling was really putting a downer on me, literally and figuratively! (for sure it was NOT the drinking:rotfl2:)

    Are there still things open post-Labor day? I would love to head to DE for a day or an overnight, and a big plus for us is that DE beaches are reportedly more dog friendly as well. Thor is absolutely hysterical when he tries to bite the waves crashing! :rotfl2::rotfl2:

    and a DE Dis meet would be so much fun!
     
  15. lbuzz52

    lbuzz52 DIS Veteran

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    Okay, i could have sworn that i stopped in last week and made a comment that i would have to come back to catch up. and then i went on a bit about nook/ kindle. wow, either i'm nuts (don't respond to that!) or i responded to you on some other TR... i'm going to have to check that out in a minute. :rotfl2:


    First of all, i totally understand the Nook addiction. I got a kindle fire for Christmas. My reading had been slacking in the post college/ kids years- and boy has it picked up lately. I'm not sure about Nook, but kindle has quite a few free book sites. The kids fight over it too. Maya is addicted to those fact books and there are plenty.

    I love your room at YC! its so pretty- very classic looking. i think its so awesome that you got to go with your BFF adn that Katie was a good sport about staying home.

    Happy Birthday Katie- well, late now. i like your idea of the stripped down version of the birthday party. I plan on switching to that at 8 or 9 as well.

    What was the kids dance party thing at DTD?

    Your actual to planned was pretty good for day one!




    Lidian, i was not sold on digital books until i had a kindle- the fact that it is book size, not too small for my eyes, not too heavy to hold with one hand. (I'm not pushing nook vs kindle- its just what i know) Also, i borrow kindle books from my library. i can get up to three at a time, if there is something i want to read and they don't have it i can request it and sometimes they purchase it. its a really simple download requiring nothing but wi-fi. i would have never picked an e-reader if it wasn't for library books and all the free books that are offered.
     
  16. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    Mary Ellen, please forgive me...I'm a few updates behind.

    Katie looks like she had a great birthday. :thumbsup2

    Love your stroll through World Showcase before your dinner ADR. Good girl...first order of business is always a Grand Mariner Slushie. :goodvibes

    Great photos and fun ones too.
     
  17. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Those passes are so cute! I'm going to have to remember about the frozen coconut yumminess, sounds fabulous!

    If my hips actually moved...belly dancing would be a great workout. What a fun, perfect, ADULT night!

    3 drinks and zyrtec and I'd be out too! I really love the food at La Hacienda, I haven't actually eaten at the main one but how funny is that. La Hacienda is a lovely spot for Illuminations.
     
  18. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    :goodvibes
    I told Joe that our messy house is completely his fault. because he gave me a nook and I am true book addict so I would much rather read than fold laundry, vacuum, sweep, dust..etc etc etc etc
    This trip helped a lot too with managing some behavior issues. We now mark our calendar with X's and O's. Provided she has more O's than X's by the end of this year, and continues to do so, we will all go in 2013 AND she will get to pick where we go for all but two days. so taking a trip without her showed that we are not kidding, we really will go on vacation, and to Disney, with out her if the attitude doesn't improve. I am happy to say that after the first month or so, we have had far more O's than X's:goodvibes

    The birthday thing was largely financial - while she has not said it, she has missed having the big backyard bash. I"m sure next year, double digits! , we will all be in the back yard again!


    Yes, the dance party was at DTD - and it really was fun to watch. While I missed my girl, my feet were pretty happy that I could just sit and watch other kids and mom's (and some dads too!) dance!






    Don't even apologize Kathy - I am sooo far behind on your PTR..and many others. My DIS time has been cut, and my laptop is practically an antique so its soooooo slow that where I used to be able to read 4-5 TR updates a night, now I am lucky if I can get through one.

    LOVE LOVE that slushie. Its now on my "MUST DO" list forever:lmao:

    Joe's was really really good. I will be looking for that next trip!
    My hips move, its my knees that say OH NOOOOOOO :crazy2:

    yeah, that combo was probably not my best choice. and it took me a few days to figure out that Zyrtec was not helping. Live and learn, right?

    I promise another installment is coming today or tomorrow!....
     
  19. ShortStuff

    ShortStuff Mouseketeer

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    Love your tiara picture!:goodvibes: I bet Katie was happy when you brought hers home!

    The Del Mar platter looks wonderful! What a great idea to split that, so you still have room for dessert!

    How fun to do CL at the resort! Yumm, those chips looked so good! I think if I had been tired, I would have plopped myself down and been too lazy to go anywhere else! Kudos for getting so much done!
     
  20. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

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    1,465
    :goodvibes
    Katie was THRILLED that we brought home a tiara for her. She wore it for a few days everywhere, and now it is kept with its special cleaning cloth in a special box.
    princess:
    The Del Mar was soo yummy we would totally get that again -- but splitting it was not our "idea" -- on the menu it says that it is a dish for two, so it used two dinner credits. but worth every bite and was filling for both of us (and we love seafood).

    The chips were yummy, though I can only eat a few chips or I have to chew on an equal number of tums :crazy2:
     
  21. Moira222

    Moira222 Can't get enough of the Magic & Pixie Dust!

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,465
    Tuesday morning Joe and I woke up extra early – we had plans! :cool1:
    Joe got up first & went for a run (he is so dedicated) so I guess he got up about 6. I got up just a little later – maybe 6:30 so that I could be done in the bathroom before he got back. He got back from his run as I was finishing up & we got dressed quietly and ready to go. Joe wore pants & I wore capris & hiking boots ( I have seriously bad feet so do a lot of shoe changes!) and we threw a change of clothes for Joe & a change of shoes for me into a bag & we were off!

    Where were we off to so early? The Animal Kingdom! We had reservations to do the Wild Africa Trek at 8 a.m. We drove so that we didn’t have to mess around with busses at that hour. (have to say we really enjoyed having a car this trip!)

    We quickly found ourselves seeing the entrance.

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    YAY!! Our tour guide and group were waiting near the entrance, so after we checked in, we headed back toward the Kilimanjaro Safari. No photos of the walk in because we were moving! What a shame, I would have loved to slowly take in the tree & the exhibits leading up to it before the heat & the crowds hit but we had a tour to do!

    We met our tour guides, put our loose items in lockers and got “harnessed up” -- Staff weigh you (in secret) and then you are given a vest with a safety harness based on your weight. It’s a bit complicated so they actually have you just stand still and they hook it all up. It’s a completely UNFLATTERING look but at least my harness was not overly uncomfortable. Joe’s harness, on the other hand, while not terribly comfortable for him (maybe because he’s so tall), did provide a great view for me --- it really wrapped around his butt. :goodvibes (sorry, but its true!!!)

    Each person was given a headset so we could hear the guides even if they were in way up front (which is important for a slow walker like me!) and a lovely souvenir water bottles which we filled a few times during our hike. After a few photos, some basic directions, a glass of AWESOME jungle juice, we did a test rope bridge to be sure we would have no problem navigating the main bridge near the crocodile area.
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    Finally, we were off on our trek!


    First stop was to visit a hippo.
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    This guy, Biko (I remember the name only because I love that song!) was effectively a teenager – and, like human teenage boys, he needed to be kept separate from the adult males because they tend to start trouble getting a bit uppity and in your face to the adults. Imagine that!! We learned quite a bit about hippos while the caretaker fed him heads of umm lettuce or cabbage. Lettuce I think. Joe got to throw some in. It was fun to watch a duck hang around & try to get lucky with a snack, too.

    We moved on through the trees to our next destination. As we walked, our tour guides told us about a lot of the efforts that Disney has made in Africa toward preservation and conservation of wild life. I think that a lot of folks forget that this is an important aspect to the Animal Kingdom park and I loved hearing about the activities that have helped prevent poaching, and have helped natives live along with the wild animals without endangering each other.

    Before we knew it, we were at the rope bridge.
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    Now if you followed my PTR, you may remember that Joe is NOT a fan of heights, and I was surprised when he suggested this tour because I knew about the rope bridge. He watched quite a few videos of the tour in advance to be comfortable with the idea of walking 30+ feet up and being able to see between the boards.

    The safety harnesses really do put your mind at ease if you have any fear at all of falling. I have to say, because I didn’t have Katie with us, I had no fear of falling. I have found since I have become a parent that things that never made me fear for my own safety now have me visualizing all sorts of horrific tragedies involving my girl. :sad2::crazy2: I have quite a different perspective of sky rides, roller coasters, and steep ledges when Katie is with me.

    We waited our turns, and actually went last amongst our group, which was nice for me because I didn’t feel like I was holding any one up. I held our Kodak PlaySport camera in my hand as I crossed the bridge (talk about an earthquake video!!) and stopped to look down a little. The bridge had a few wide steps, and of course, it wobbles when you walk across, but it was a really fun experience. And Joe did just fine!
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    At the end of the bridge, we were rewarded with a great view of the African Crocodiles. They had been fed a few days earlier, and weren’t hungry, so there was no point in pushing Joe in, even though he had been telling people for months that I was going to do that.

    The crocs are magnificent creatures, and truly wild even though they are in a park. You could see some wounds old and new from scuffles amongst each other. The wounds are always taken care of by animal care takers but it’s not like you can put a band-aid on a crocodile!! We noticed that no ducks were hanging out by the crocs and one of our tour-mates asked. Yes, the answer is, occasionally a bird is foolish enough to visit the crocs, and the only evidence of that visit is a few feathers scattered around the area. Most birds are smart enough to stay away!!

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