Trip Report: * Christmas with Mickey 2010 * "The Surreal Trip!" w/lots of pictures!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by TheTXTaylors5, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY FIVE (Part 2)
    TUESDAY - December 14, 2010

    We missed out on some of the DIS Unplugged Podcast events by having the Palo Brunch (podcast taping and speaker autograph sessions). We happened to pass by Studio Sea (where they were doing the autograph session) after our Brunch and poked our heads in. Bob Gurr, Charles Ridgway and Lee Cockerell were still in there. We didn’t have our items to be signed (they were back in our stateroom), but we didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity to meet them and get a picture.

    Charles Ridgway with Bill and Jennifer
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    Charles Ridgway was initially responsible for the Publicity Department at Disneyland. He worked for Walt! He started with Walt before Disneyland was even completed. Charles Ridgway has written a memoir called “Spinning Disney’s World” (I read it in two days! Great read!). I love the story in his book about sneaking into Disneyland when he was just a reporter to get the “scoop” on the construction progress. It is a great book for any Walt Disney and Disney parks fan. Charles Ridgway has handled the publicity for every Disney theme park opening including the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. To me, it was surreal to meet people that that actually knew “the” Walt Disney. Walt died before I was born. So, I am always mesmerized by people that actually knew and worked with him. Charles Ridgway was the cutest. Bill called him Mr. Ridgway and he said, “Call me Charlie.” He is now retired and a Disney Legend.

    Bob Gurr with Bill and Jennifer
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    Bob Gurr is the mastermind Disney Imagineer behind most of the ride vehicles for the Disneyland park. Initially, he was hired to design the cars for the Autopia at Disneyland and then continued from there to the monorail and the famous and innovative Matterhorn. He is now retired and a Disney Legend. He is full of energy! Bob Gurr was around every corner of the ship. I bumped into him in the kid’s clubs, the bars, in the Cove Café ... He was filming while onboard. He is a great inspiration. Whenever you are riding on the monorail or Tomorrowland Speedway, thank Mr. Gurr.

    Lee Cockerell with Bill and Jennifer
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    Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Resort Operations at Walt Disney World. He now does speaking engagements on leadership and had written a couple of books. Bill and I first met Lee Cockerell during DISapalooza in December of 2009. It was nice to meet him again and get another picture. He is a very gracious man.

    Prior to the cruise, we had kept in contact with some of our fellow Adventures by Disney - California Backstage Magic tour travelers from last April. One of our travel mates (Thank you Matthew!) organized a get together onboard. So, after our quick meet and greet with Bob Gurr, Charles Ridgway and Lee Cockerell, we met back up with my Mom and headed up to deck 9 for the “ABD Meet”.
     
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  3. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY FIVE (Part 3)
    TUESDAY - December 14, 2010

    On our way to the meet, we bumped into a familiar face on the elevator. You never know who you'll meet on a Disney cruise!

    Hi Donald!
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    There were already a few people mingling. We had seen most of the people already around the ship. But, it was fun to see our little group together again.

    Adventures by Disney DISFriends
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    It was VERY windy on deck 9. So, we all decided to head inside to the Cove Café. For the upcoming Alaskan cruises, they now have a second floor that overlooks deck 10. It has a great view! I am sure it will be a nice place to get a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the beauty of Alaska outside.

    Upstairs in the Cove Cafe'
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  4. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY FIVE (Part 4)
    TUESDAY - December 14, 2010

    My Mom and I had to excuse ourselves because we had High Tea reservations at Palo. When booking our Palo reservations, I couldn’t get a Palo Brunch reservation for three (only two). So, My Mom and I planned a girl’s afternoon for tea.

    PALO – High Tea
    When we arrived at Palo, it was “almost” empty. There was only two other tables (with a party of two) occupied. We were greeted immediately and seated near the window. It was so empty, each table had their own server. Once again, I am terrible with names. But, our server was very friendly and attentive. I even think he was flirting with my Mom. LOL!!!

    Mom and her admirer
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    I am embarrassed to say, when our server saw me he said, "Weren't you just here for the brunch?" He wasn't my server for brunch, but I guess he remembered me. Yes, it's me back for more yummy Palo food. Can you blame me?

    It was very nice and relaxing being in Palo for High Tea. I don’t know if it is always this empty. But, it was a real treat. We got to pick what type of tea we wanted to drink. We both chose an orange tea. We could have chosen two different teas if we wanted. But, we both wanted the same tea. It was light and perfect to accompany our "light" meal.

    A mother and daughter afternoon
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    Pinkies up!
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    A tray of goodies was placed upon our table. I had read about how great the scones and Devonshire cream was to eat. Personally, I didn’t like the Devonshire cream. It tasted like a non-sweetened Cool Whip. Good thing I only put it on half of my scone. I used blackberry jam on the other half and it was delicious.

    My scone with Devonshire cream and jam.
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    On the tray with the scones were finger sandwiches. I tried a tomato and cheese one which was yummy. Of course they had a cucumber sandwich, which my Mom tried. She liked it.

    The savory tray.
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    I have never done a “High Tea” before. So, I thought that was it (scones, cream and sandwiches). But, then our server said “I hope you saved room for this . . .” and then he presented us with a tray of desserts. They look awfully familiar. Some of the items were leftovers from the brunch. By this time, I WAS getting to my limit and I didn’t have any dessert. I did have another cup of tea though.

    The sweets tray.
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    I read no great or rave reviews about the High Tea before our cruise (just that people liked the Devonshire cream). I have nothing but great things to write about the experience. It was a nice relaxing time with my Mom. No kids, great view, adult conversation, attentive server, yummy eats and Palo “almost” to ourselves. I’d definitely do High Tea again (just not on my Palo Brunch day!!!!).

    We were not rushed out, but we did reluctantly leave the peace and tranquility of Palo. It was time to meet back up with Bill.


    Palo (High Tea) – Disney Wonder
    Food :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Service :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Atmosphere :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:


    I relaxed in the room for a bit before Bill came back. While we were at High Tea, he wandered around the ship and enjoyed some peace and quiet. Before I knew it, it was time to get the kids from the kid clubs and get ready for dinner.

    COMING UP: Tonight, we dine at Animator’s Palate!
     
  5. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY FIVE (Part 5)
    TUESDAY - December 14, 2010

    Animator’s Palate
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    Tonight we are dining at Animator’s Palate. This is my favorite of the three rotational dining restaurants. The décor with changing colors is nothing like I’ve ever seen in another restaurant. Also, if the meal is like our past cruises, I’ve had the best luck food-wise at Animator’s Palate. Tonight’s theme is Pirate Night. We didn’t bring pirate costumes this cruise. I honestly didn’t have any more room in the suitcases for them. Later after dinner, there is a Pirates IN the Caribbean Party on deck 9/10 and fireworks at sea.

    A bandana was waiting at everyone's place setting to get them in mood for the party later.
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    Time to dine. This evening, I didn't have steak. Shocker! I had ...

    Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup
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    This was tasty and warm. It tasted better than it looked.

    Bill got the butternut squash soup that he just raved about. It was one of those moments where the person insists you try their soup.

    Bill's Butternut Squash Soup
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    Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken Breast
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    I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dinner tonight. I had steak in the main dining room before and wanted to try something different. This was really good and nice change from steak.

    Double-Fudge Chocolate Cake with caramel sauce
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    I am a chocoholic. I like “anything” chocolaty or covered in chocolate. But, I’ve found that most chocolate desserts that look so yummy, usually aren’t. Luckily, this was actually good. The cake was moist and I ate every last morsel. I knew there was a Midnight Buffet later. But, we haven’t had the best of luck with it in the past and planned to skip it. So, this dessert was a nice end to my meal.

    Our servers were really working for their tips tonight, they were VERY friendly and our Head Server did some magic tricks for the kids.

    Our server keeping the kids entertained.
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    The kids with our servers.
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    Throughout dinner, the pictures on the wall change from black and white to color. So, do the servers vests. I really like this restaurant. I wish they would open something like this at Walt Disney World.

    Ariel comes to life before our eyes.
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    This seemed like a very quick meal. Maybe, because we were having such a nice time. Before I knew, it was time to leave. We all walked out of Animator’s Palate happy with our meal and the dining experience. It was great all around.

    The family enjoying dinner at Animator’s Palate.
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    Animator’s Palate (Dinner) – Disney Wonder
    Food :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Service :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Atmosphere :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:


    COMING UP: Pirates IN the Caribbean Deck Party!
     
  6. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY FIVE (Part 6)
    TUESDAY - December 14, 2010

    [​IMG]
    Tonight is the infamous “Pirates IN the Caribbean Deck Party”. The boys wanted to get back to the kid clubs and have more fun with their friends. Emily (DD8) wanted to stay with the adults for the deck party and fireworks. So, Bill went to check the boy in and I took Emily to the gift shop. I didn’t bring any pirate items. So, I let Emily pick out some things for the party. She got a Mickey-eared pirate hat and hook.

    Arrrrgh! It's pirate Emily.
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    As soon as we stepped out onto the deck, I was so glad we brought our jackets. It was cold and windy. I am keeping my fingers crossed they can do the fireworks. The party was in full swing when we got outside. The CMs were dressed like pirates dancing on the stage. Then, Mickey came out to save us from Captain Hook. It was fun!

    Mickey hanging around
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    Soon, the at-sea fireworks display started. It is always special knowing that Disney Cruise Line is the only cruise line with at-sea fireworks.

    At sea fireworks
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    Once the fireworks ended, we went back inside to the warmth of the ship. We wanted to go have some fun in the adults-only clubs. So, we dropped Emily off at the Oceaneer Lab and headed to . . .

    Route 66!
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    We heard the most partying going on in Wavebands. So, we stepped in. We saw many familiar faces and sat down at a table with some fellow DISers. There was a Dating Game-type show going on. It was funny to see just how little some people know about each other after being married for so long. The ones married the least always seem to remember the most because it just happened yesterday. So of course, the newlyweds won. After a few cranberry and vodkas, it was time to get the kids to catch some zzzz’s. Tomorrow we will be at Castaway Cay. To me, that little island in the Bahamas is what keeps me coming back on the Disney cruises. It is pure paradise and we would be waking up there!


    COMING UP: This is the Bahamas right?!?!?!?! Where’s the warm ocean breeze?!?!?!?!?
     
  7. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    We weren’t early risers this cruise. However on this day, we wanted to make the most of our time on Castaway Cay and actually set the alarm for 6:30 am. We wanted to be off the ship by 8 am. Once again, we got room service for breakfast and multi-tasked as some were in the showers and some eating.

    [​IMG]

    We disembarked about 8:10 am. A cool breeze welcomed us to Castaway Cay, Bahamas. I am used to stepping off the ship and being greeted with the warm sunshine. Today, there will be numerous times that I tell my Mom, "When we “normally” come, the sun is shining and people are swimming."

    Castaway Cay was decorated for the holidays.
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    This Santa buoy is in the same spot every year! (On the corner near the tram station closest to the ship.)
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    Even the tram was decorated.
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    We noticed a board with the daily cancellations. We planned to parasail and booked it online. Sadly, due to the wind, our parasailing was cancelled.

    Booooooooo!
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    I booked my Mom for a cabana massage while Bill and I were parasailing. So, maybe we can book a couples-cabana massage. We plan to check on that when we get to Serenity Bay (the adults-only beach) later.

    We hopped on a waiting tram to the Family Beach. We are meeting all the DISers on the cruise for a group picture.

    Enjoying our tram ride (Except for Cole. He was cold and NOT happy with the weather.)
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    Of course we had to get a picture of the kids in front of Mount Rustmore. You will notice Cole is missing. He was still too cold to pose.

    Will and Emily in front of Mount Rustmore.
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    We saw Lilo and Stitch on our way to meet the DISGroup and Cole finally was warming up. So, he hopped in the picture.

    The kids having fun with the characters on Castaway Cay
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    It took some time to get everyone organized. So, it gave me some time to take pictures and the family played on the beach for a bit.

    Having fun on the beach! (Great place to take picture on the beach and get the ship in the background.)
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    The group waiting for instructions for the picture.
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    Once the group picture was taken, we took the kids to . . .

    Scuttles Cove (the kids club on the island).
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    It was too windy and cold to have a family beach day like I had planned for the morning. The kids were VERY happy to play with their new friends and Bill and I were VERY happy to head to Serenity Bay. Win, win situation! We happily took the tram to Serenity Bay.


    Off to Serenity Bay ...
     
  8. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    Problem with photobucket again! Will add pictures soon . . .

    DAY SIX (Part 2)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    Once at Serenity Bay, we headed straight for the bar (Castaway Air Bar). Even though it was coffee weather, we had to be the typical Caribbean vacationers and get a fruity drink to celebrate. So, we ordered some Midori Coladas. If you like Midori, you will love these. They are yummy! It is a pina colada with Midori (melon liqueur). We met some fellow DISers at the bar and chatted for a bit. That is a nice thing about being on a DIS-sponsored cruise, we had “new” friends everywhere. Even if we didn’t know the people, we could identify DISers by their lanyards (and we wore ours). EVERYONE we met was very friendly and we immediately had a conversation topic, our infatuation with Disney. I felt bad for the non-DISers onboard, because we were a rowdy bunch.

    It was weird seeing people bundled up on CC. The wind was pretty fierce. You could pretty much have your pick of hammocks. Now, that is unheard of. We took our drinks and sat down on the beach to relax. The splashing of the ocean waves is very soothing. I used to have an ocean waves cd to put me to sleep at night. It was really windy on the beach. So, we put our seat backs to the wind and faced the sun. It actually felt tropical that way. So, if I closed my eyes and concentrated on the sun hitting my face, it was a nice warm day on Castaway Cay.

    After finishing our drinks, we headed to the massage cabanas check-in area to see if they had any openings. They didn’t have a couples-massage opening until close to the time we needed to pick up the kids. I decided to say “Happy Anniversary” to Bill and I honestly pretty much forced him into signing up for the massage alone. His time was after lunch. So, we waved bye to my Mom as it was time for her massage. We went back to the beach to relax with another Midori Colada in hand. Before I knew it, my Mom met back up with us. She looked so relaxed. However, she said it was chilly and she had to ask the masseuse to close the little windows inside the cabana. By this time, we were all getting hungry. They’ll feed the kids lunch at Scuttles Cove. So, we decided to have lunch at the Serenity Bay BBQ.
     
  9. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 3)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    Serenity Bay BBQ
    It was a mix of regular bbq items like hamburgers and hot dogs. But, there was also chicken and fish. I opted for the chicken and ended up taking it off the bone and made a sandwich of it. It was tasty. Of course there was lots of fruit. I got pineapple and cantaloupe. Both were sweet and juicy. There is a dessert buffet and soft service ice cream and soda fountain station. The soda at the soda station and buffet food is free, the alcohol and items at the bar were charged to our KTTW (no cash accepted on the island except at the Post Office and at the little bazaar area with the local Bahamians selling goods.) When I was “almost” done with my lunch, we got a page from the kid’s club that Emily wanted out. It was almost time for Bill’s massage. So, I left Bill to get his massage and my Mom was going to relax some more at Serenity Bay and meet us back in the room before dinner. It was her vacation too. So, I know she appreciated the down-time.

    Serenity Bay BBQ (Lunch) – Castaway Cay, Bahamas
    Food :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Service (Buffet)
    Atmosphere :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
     
  10. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 4)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    I sadly hopped on the tram from Serenity Bay and knew I wouldn’t be back this trip. This day is going by way too quickly. Then, I hopped off and then waited for the other tram to take me near Scuttles Cove. This was our first time being on the island with all the renovations and the two trams stops, new shops and water play area. It makes the island feel bigger, which I know they need with the new/bigger ships. I finally made it to Scuttles Cove and Emily was happily throwing water on the CMs. She was smiling and having a great time. Then, why did she have us paged?!?!?! When she saw me, she said. “I missed you.” Awwwww! That is sweet and all, but now what? She decided she was done in Scuttles Cove. I tried to round-up her brothers, but they were still having fun and didn’t want to leave. So, I took Emily to get some ice cream and we sat on the Family Beach.

    It was actually nice having just “the girls” relaxing. When she was done with her ice cream, she wanted to brave the wind and water. So, I let her play in the water. I just stood with my feet in the water. It was cold!!!! Kids have such high tolerance of things like pool and ocean cold water. Emily had fun playing in the water with only a few people around her. I looked down the Family Beach which is normally bustling with families and people to people in the water, the beach was almost empty and this was around 1 pm. Those on the beach were bundled in jackets and towels.

    When we passed by the Post Office earlier it was closed. I had some postcards I wanted to send. So, I persuaded Emily out of the water and we walked to the Castaway Cay Post Office. It was closed. Due to the choppy water, the Post Office boat didn’t come out today. I was told by a CM nearby (they were handling the crowd for the Chip and Dale Meet and Greet in front of the PO) that I could give the postcards to a CM at Guest Services, pay the postage at Guest Services (it was charged to my KTTW) and they would bring them to the Castaway Cay Post Office on the ships next trip. So, that is what I did when we got back onboard. Our friends and family got their postcards about three to four weeks later (Bahamian mail tends to take it’s time). Emily and I decided it was time to get the boys and get back on the ship to wash off the sand and relax before dinner. I was going to meet Bill back in our stateroom after his massage, which should be ending about now ...
     
  11. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 5)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    I’m walking back to the ship with the three kids in tow when I have an “Oh no!” moment. I don’t have their KTTW cards to get them back on the ship. You need it to get on and off the ship. Bill has all the kids cards. We have no other choice than to wait around for Bill to make his way back to the ship. We hang out at the little deck area across from the Post Office. I let the kids run around while I keep an eye out for Bill. He’s 6’5” tall. So, I can usually pick him out in a crowd. After about twenty minutes, here comes Bill. Everyone’s cards are here and we can get back on our “Home Away From Home”. I like that they have a “Welcome Home” sign on the ship as you embark her at each port.

    Since they switched our At Sea day with the Castaway Cay day, this afternoon was the kid programs graduation ceremony. So, we got back to the room and quickly got the kids cleaned up so we could drop them off at the kid clubs to prepare for the ceremony. Then, Bill and I went back to our stateroom to get showered and changed. I was almost ready when I hear Mom come into the other stateroom. She stayed on the island for as long as possible. She looks like she had a nice day. Even with the weird weather, it was a nice day on Castaway Cay. No sunburns to worry about on this trip!

    It was time to head to the Walt Disney Theatre and see the Friendship Rocks show featuring all the kids from the clubs.
     
  12. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 6)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    This was the first time our kids have participated in the Friendship Rocks show. The last time we cruised with Disney they did a graduation-type ceremony where the kids got t-shirts and Mickey-ear caps (very cute!). This time, they got a t-shirt (which they wear all the time). Sadly, I read they won’t be doing the kid show/graduation on the new ships (For anyone that has been on the Dream … did they have a kid club graduation????). We got to the Walt Disney Theatre early enough that we were in the second row. Soon it was time for the show to start. It was hosted by two CMs and of course Mickey and Minnie made an appearance. All the kids were led onto stage for some songs and a firework of confetti shot out. There was a movie of pictures the CMs took during our cruise to showcase what the kids did in the clubs. As much as our kids were in the clubs, I found it odd there wasn’t a single picture of them in the photo montage. Then again, who says this movie was taken during our cruise. I didn’t hear any parents around us saying, “there’s my kid”, like we normally hear. The show was cute, but I personally like the old show better. Once the show was over, the CMs took the kids back to the clubs where the parents could pick them up. We had dinner in thirty minutes. So, we rushed to pick-up the kids and took them back to the stateroom for a quick clothing change and we were ready for our last dinner onboard at Parrot Cay. I’m not going to get sad right now, we still have tonight to enjoy.
     
  13. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 7)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    Parrot Cay (Take Two)
    We walked in and were immediately greeted and shown to our table. It was in the same spot as the first night.

    Tonight, I dined on …

    Caesar Salad
    We didn’t learn this until the last night … If you don’t like any of the salads offered in the other restaurants, you can order a Caesar salad. The salad was good and had just the right amount of dressing (not too much or too little). A Caesar salad is a very simple salad. But, when done right is yummy.

    Steak - with twice-baked potato and corn on the cob)
    When ordering my meal, I asked for regular mashed potatoes (they were being served with another entrée) instead of the twice-baked potato. Our server said no problem. However, when my food came out there was the twice-baked potato. Also, I asked for broccoli (being served with another entrée this evening) instead of the corn on the cob. As you can see in the picture, not only did I get corn on the cob, I got THREE ears. I assume it was to make a Mickey head, but I was over-starched. The plate was put in front of me and before I could say anything, the server was gone. I didn’t see him for the rest of our entrée portion. So, I ate just the steak and figured if I was still hungry later, I could grab a slice of pizza on deck 9 or room service. The steak was edible, but obviously not to the same quality as the steak they serve in Palo. Good thing I asked for my steak medium well and not just medium like Bill. (Normally I order it medium, but I noticed they undercook the meat on DCL.) Bill’s steak was still mooing! With our great service that evening, it wasn’t addressed until everyone else was pretty much done eating. So, Bill ended up getting pizza later.

    There is a trend this meal, our drink glasses were never re-filled this evening or bread basket. The thing I have noticed on ALL our Disney cruises, on the last night of the cruise the service in the dining room is terrible! The servers are super rushed for some reason and not very attentive. And to top off this “wonder” ful dining experience, I am sitting across from DS5 when I hear him cry, “There’s glass in my macaroni and cheese!” He spit out the piece and sure enough, there was a piece of glass. You don’t know how relieved I am that he didn’t bite down, because it was in his mouth. This was close to the end of our meal, DS5 was picking at his food this meal (THANKFULLY!). We never saw our servers during this whole ordeal, but the Head Server (person at the front podium) came by for his tip, we showed him the GLASS. He said it couldn’t be glass because they don’t have any glass back in the kitchen. He was very adamant about it. But, it was glass and not a piece of hard plastic. Who’s to say a server didn’t drop a glass in the serving area and it flung onto the plate. The head server apologized and of course asked what he could do. We honestly let it go, only because DS5 was not injured and we didn’t want to make a scene. The Head Server called over our server and informed him of what happened and him to get us dessert immediately. We wanted this dining experience to be over as quickly as possible from hereout.

    I did order dessert …

    Banana Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream
    The bread/cake was warm and the ice cream complimented it well. It had a great mild banana-flavor.

    We didn’t order it, but out server brought out an extra dessert …

    S’Mores Cake
    I honestly don’t remember this cake and only remember we had it because of my pictures. So, I guess it was “that memorable”.

    At the end of our meal, our servers magically appeared and were putting on the charm in anticipation of their tip envelopes. For the most part they were “okay”. However, I honestly would not go out of my way to recommend them to future cruisers. Finally, we could escape this debacle of a meal and have some real fun tonight.

    Parrot Cay (Dinner) – Disney Wonder
    Food :smickey: :smickey:
    Service :smickey:
    Atmosphere :smickey: :smickey:
     
  14. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SIX (Part 8)
    WEDNESDAY - December 15, 2010

    The kids were antsy to go to their clubs and we were all too happy to oblige. We have one last adults-only evening onboard.

    We entered Wavebands to the now familiar site of rowdy DISers taking over. We found a table with some friendly faces. Tonight is karaoke night and someone in our group gets up to sing! There were some really good singers in the crowd and some not so good singers. I don’t think it is very fun when the person can “really” sing. There was a book on our table with the available songs to sing. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m NOT a singer. But, my Mom loves to sing. She couldn’t decide on a song and told me to pick one out for her. So, I did. When it was her turn, she got shy all of a sudden. So, the MC sang along with her as well as the crowd. She sang “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. She did a good job. I was proud of her! As with any good time, it flew by too quickly. It was time to pick up the kids.

    When we got back to our room, I frantically packed our suitcases to be left in the hallway. On DCL (I don’t know how other cruise lines do it.), you place what bags you want them to take off the ship for you the night before disembarkation in the hallway. This is a nice service so you don’t have to lug big suitcases into the tiny elevators and down the gangway. The next time we will see our bags, is in the cruise terminal the next morning. For future DCL travelers, remember to keep a smaller bag (preferably rolling bag) with toiletries, clothing and SHOES for the next day. I’ve heard horror stories about people packing their shoes by accident and having to walk off the ship barefoot (all the shops on the ship are closed when you arrive at Port Canaveral.).

    While packing, we decided to make one last room service order of Mickey bars and BIG chocolate chip cookies.

    After our late night snack, it was time to lay our heads down for one last night on the Wonder.

    COMING UP: Tomorrow morning our porthole will show us a sad, sad sight … Port Canaveral.
     
  15. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SEVEN
    THURSDAY - December 16, 2010

    I was woken up by the engine pushing the ship toward the port to dock. For future cruises, we will be in a different location. We only chose this stateroom because we needed two because my Mom was with us. The room was too low on the ship and I missed my verandah. We rebooked while onboard for a cruise this November on the Dream and an October cruise on the Fantasy in 2012. Both are verandah staterooms. I can’t wait!!!!

    Note to future DCL cruisers, the incentive on re-booking onboard is a 10% discount on the future cruise and onboard credits. I noticed the onboard credits got smaller as the cruise went along. So, if you plan to rebook while onboard, do it the first night to get more onboard credits and to avoid a long line. JMO

    There is no room service on embarkation day. So, we couldn’t make our now routine call room service. We decided to just get McDonald’s and eat it in the car on the way to Walt Disney World. A GPS comes in handy in times like these. We typed in McDonald’s and found one right off the highway. I was sad to walk off the ship. But, VERY excited for the next leg of our adventure … 11 days at Walt Disney World (including Christmas Day!). We breezed through customs and were in our car in no time. It is funny how it takes forever to embark. But, disembarkation is a blur and fast-paced. They need to turn-over the ship quickly and they let you know it!

    COMING UP: Heading back "home" to WDW!
     
  16. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SEVEN (Part 2)
    THURSDAY - December 16, 2010

    No matter which resort we stay at, we always have to enter Walt Disney World through the main gate. Like the first arrival a few days earlier, we did our countdown to passing under the sign. Once we are on Disney property, I already feel a little more at ease. We are back “home”. For this portion of the trip, we are staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village. This is our home DVC resort, but this is the first time we are staying there. Bill pulled up to the temporary parking area and went to check-in. DVC rooms are rarely available before 3 PM (with the exception of SSR). So, I expected Bill to come back out and tell us the room was not ready. I already had a contingency plan in place. As expected, the room was NOT ready. By this time, it was around 10 am. So, we headed to Downtown Disney to do a little shopping and so Mom could pick-up some souvenirs.

    We had to do the drive around for about ten minutes before Bill found a parking spot. This was a Thursday and the parking lot was getting filled to capacity! Instead of wasting time at the park shops, we like to visit The World of Disney. They have EVERYTHING you can imagine Disney and WDW related. Also, we get an AP discount. We expected to get our Disney Holiday Blend coffee this trip. I am not a big coffee drinker. But, I can’t get enough of this coffee. We usually buy fourteen cans and ration it through the year to last us until our annual Thanksgiving trip to WDW. This year, we didn’t visit WDW for Thanksgiving because of this Christmas trip. We expected to get the coffee at World of Disney. They always have a huge display. I was shocked when we entered and there was not a single can in sight! We even asked a CM and they didn’t have any in stock. Seriously??? Bill decided to check the store Mickey’s Pantry (kitchen store) while I stayed with my Mom to let her continue shopping. Bill took the boys with him.

    About 40 minutes later, we met back up with Bill and the boys. Cole (DS5) was smiling and holding a bag. Sadly, they didn’t find any coffee. But, Cole had a “magical moment” while in Mickey’s Pantry. He was given a Christmas ornament by a nice CM. It is really cute and was placed on our tree as soon as we got home.

    After we left Downtown Disney, we needed to pick up some things to keep in the room like water and breakfast items. Also, by this time we were all getting hungry. So, we decided to stop by our favorite bagel place called Delish (this place was recommended by the DISUnplugged Podcast Crew). The owners are from New York and make the bagels fresh. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Yum! Yum! We had some sandwiches for lunch and got some bagels To Go. Then, I ran into Walmart to buy some groceries. By the time I got back to the car, our room was ready. So, we headed back to Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village.

    COMING UP: Our first stay at our DVC home AKV!!!
     
  17. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY SEVEN (Part 3)
    THURSDAY - December 16, 2010

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
    When we first walked into the room, I thought “Now, this is what a DVC room should look like.” It was so rich in color and textures. I love it! Since this is our home resort, if I “had” to stay here each WDW trip, I‘d have no problem. The main area is spacious (the sofa folds out). Since we have my Mom with us, we got a two-bedroom villa. She had her own bathroom and little kitchenette. Bill and I took the room with the king-size bed and BIG tub and shower. I love that shower! Emily stayed with my Mom and the boys slept in the sofa bed.

    While starting to do laundry, the room has a washer and dryer, I started to not feel very well. So, I lay down for what I thought was a few hours. But it turned into twelve hours. I slept through dinner and MVMCP. We were supposed to attend MVMCP this evening. But, Bill knew I was sick. I guess I told him to go without me while sleeping. But, he didn’t want to do that. He went down to the Guest Services at our hotel and got a refund on the tickets. He ordered pizza off-property for dinner and went to pick it up.

    So, this was a very uneventful night. Tomorrow can only be better …

    COMING UP: A night at Epcot WITHOUT the kids. Yahooooooo!
     
  18. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY EIGHT
    FRIDAY - December 17, 2010

    When I woke up around 5 am … not a creature was stirring, not even Mickey Mouse.

    I felt a lot better. Partly because of the solid sleep and partly because I knew we have a babysitter coming later so we can meet some DISFriends at Epcot to do a “Drink Around the World”.

    We have no “major” plans until 3 pm when the sitter arrives. So, I let everyone sleep in while I finished the laundry. I brewed some coffee and sat out on our balcony to enjoy the view. It is fun to see the hustle and bustle of the CMs before the guests arrive. We reserved a regular-view room, meaning not a savannah-view. We lucked out and got a pool view and partial savannah-view.

    After a light breakfast, we explored the resort.

    Before I knew it, it was lunchtime. We had no plans and I didn’t feel like cooking. So, I called Disney Dining to see if Sanaa had any openings. Sanaa is the restaurant located in the AKV resort. There was an opening and off we went to have an African-inspired lunch.
     
  19. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY EIGHT (Part 2)
    FRIDAY - December 17, 2010

    Sanaa
    Surprisingly, the restaurant was pretty full. We waited for a few minutes and were seated. Our table was not right up against the glass, but we still had a great view of the roaming animals. I’ve never had African food before. So, I was not sure what to expect.

    Appetizer
    Indian Style Bread service - Choose from four breads, Naan, Roti, Paratha or Paneer Paratha. Choice of three accompaniments. Mint and onion Raita, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Raita,Mango Chutney, Garlic-ginger Pickle, Mango-lime Pickle, Roated Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind chutney.

    We ordered the naan to share as an appetizer. Naan is a flat-bread and it came with dipping sauces. It was really good. However, I wish we could have just asked for three of the plain naan as that was the best. Also, the red dipping sauce was the tastiest. I think it was coriander raita.

    Entrée
    Grilled Angus Chuck Burger - Wrapped in Naan Bread with Minted Greens, Tomato and Cucumber-Yogurt Raita

    For my entrée, I ordered an open-faced hamburger on naan. I order my burger without the yogurt sauce. At first, it was tricky to eat. Do I use my hands or a fork? Finally, I looked at Bill who ordered the same and he cut the burger so he could fold the naan around it. This was a very tasty burger. It was seasoned very well and the naan was warm and chewy. I’d definitely get this again.

    Even with the restaurant packed, our server was very attentive and kept our glasses filled. This was a very enjoyable dining experience. We already have plans to dine here again when staying at AKV.

    Sanaa (Lunch) - Animal Kingdom's Villas
    Food :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Service :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
    Atmosphere :smickey: :smickey: :smickey: :smickey:
     
  20. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY EIGHT (Part 3)
    FRIDAY - December 17, 2010

    After lunch, the kids were “begging” to check out the water play area and pool. So when we got back to our room, the kids quickly changed into their bathing suits and we made the short walk to the pool area. When we bought into DVC, AKV had just broken ground. So, we only saw an artist rendering of what the resort was going to look like. The pool area looked like nothing onsite with a water play area for kids and a nice pool area with rocks and a slide. Once through the gate, the kids made a beeline for the water play area. Bill and Mom found some lounge chairs near the pool to relax and I found a bench inside the play area to keep an eye on the kids. They had a blast shooting the water cannons at each other and getting soaked by the waterfall. They could have spent hours in there, but we had the sitter coming soon. We let them play for about an hour and a half. Then, they reluctantly left the water play area.

    Around 3 PM, our sitter from Kid’s Nite Out arrived. We’ve used sitters from KNO for three years now (6xs). Since Bill and I never visited WDW pre-kids, it is nice to have at least one WDW meals sans kids and we even get to ride attractions TOGETHER!!! Not too long after our sitter arrived, Mom, Bill and I headed towards the Disney bus stop.


    Next stop … Epcot!
     
  21. TheTXTaylors5

    TheTXTaylors5 He's the Mickey to my Minnie

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    DAY EIGHT (Part 4)
    FRIDAY - December 17, 2010

    We have plans to meet fellow DISers near the Canada Pavilion around 4 PM. So, we casually walked through Future World heading towards World Showcase. I can’t tell you know nice it is being able to walk hand-in-hand with Bill around World Showcase. We saw a group of familiar faces already forming near the Off Kilter Stage.

    While waiting for the rest of our merry group, a fellow DISers said she had some Fastpasses for Soarin’ and asked if anyone wanted to go with her and her husband (Thank you Kathy!!!). My Mom and I were game, but Bill wanted to stay back and start drinking around the world. Bill was determined to have a drink in every Pavilion. Will he do it? Stay tuned to find out. Mom and I and six other people made a dash to Soarin’. We rode Soarin’ on our first day at WDW pre-cruise. So, Mom now had the butterflies out of her stomach and could really enjoy the attraction. She loved it even more the second time. I am very thankful to Kathy for letting us tagalong and ride Soarin’. After Soarin’, we made our way back to World Showcase. We caught up with the DATW group in the France Pavilion. The group had grown to about hundred people at this time. One surprise face in the group was Disney Legend Bob Gurr. Some fellow DISers befriended him onboard and invited him to Drink Around the World and he actually showed up!

    I am not a big drinker. But, decided to partake in “some” of the Pavilion’s libations. Bill (DH) on the other hand had a drink at EVERY Pavilion.

    More to come ...
     

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