8 Night Fantasy Cruise with Pre-Stay at Universal Cabana Bay June 2019 (Updated 10/06)

TestingH2O

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
This trip report is late. Getting back in the middle of summer, I just didn't have time to write a TR. Too much fun was happening!

I suspect this will be a bit shorter than my normal report, but I do enjoy writing them and it's a fun way to pass the time until our next trip.

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Travel Party
Me - 41, female, teacher from Missouri
DD - 7
My mom - 75
My dad - turned 75 on debarkation day


Itinerary
June 19 - fly to MCO, stay at Cabana Bay
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
June 20 - day at Cabana Bay
Part 1, Part 2
June 21 - Disney Springs, stay at airport homewood suites
Part 1
June 22 - embarkation
Part 1
June 23 - sea day
Part 1, Part 2
June 24 - sea day
Part 1
June 25 - St Kitts
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
June 26 - St John's
June 27 - St Thomas
June 28 - sea day
June 29 - Castaway Cay
June 30 - debarkation and fly home
 
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TestingH2O

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
June 19 - Travel Day

DD had chosen blue glitter for her pedicure this time around.
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For this trip, my parents were coming from their home in New Mexico and DD and I were coming from Missouri. Their flight got in about two hours after ours, so we knew we'd have some down time in MCO.

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Someone was pretty excited to get going.

DH drove us to the airport this time since I didn't want to pay for such a long parking time. Almost two weeks meant much more luggage.

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Our flight from St Louis was a direct and everything went very smoothly. We had early bird since DD and I no longer qualify for family boarding. I wasn't as worried about it in St Louis but I knew Orlando could be wild with all the families.

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Once we arrived at MCO, we took our time heading to bag claim. I made DD take a bathroom break since I knew it would be much easier to manage that before we got our checked bags. We also stopped to look at the giant Lego set up since I remembered how slow bags were at MCO.

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After we got our bags, we went back upstairs to get some lunch. City Pub was good and reasonably priced for an airport. I knew I didn't want to wrangle the food court with all our bags.

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Then we window shopped for a while.

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We knew we were going to Disney Springs, so I convinced DD to wait until then to buy her souvenir.

We still had about an hour until my parents got in because their flight had been delayed. We grabbed some chairs and I let DD watch a movie she'd downloaded for the trip.

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The time passed quickly. Once my parents arrived, we grabbed their bags and headed to the car rental place. Yay for a free upgrade!

Then it was off to Cabana Bay.

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TestingH2O

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
June 19 - Cabana Bay

I'm going to a quick resort overview in this post then get back to our actual trip.

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We chose to stay at this resort because the theming was so fun and it was significantly less than a Disney property. We did not have part tickets, so it didn't bother us that this resort does not come with as many park perks as some others do.

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We parked next to old cars that were parked as though they were checking in for the night.

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The lobby is HUGE! DD and several other kids ran a few laps around the tree. I think the designers were smart to set the seating quite a bit back from that as I saw laps being done every time I was in the building.

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There is also a bar attached to the lobby. We will return here.

After checking in we drove to our room. We had selected a one bedroom family suite. Again, the price for a comparable space at a Disney resort was wildly higher.

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As you walk in, you see the kitchenette and the living room. The couch does fold out into a bed, but we didn't use it. The furniture was very comfortable and the kitchenette worked well for us.

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We chose 2 queen beds. The drawers were built into the wall that had the door to the living room. There was also a large closet.

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The bathroom was incredibly functional with a sink in the middle and one small room with the toilet and another room with the shower and a second sink. The toiletries were even themed!

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DD quickly settled in and gave the room her seal of approval.
 
  • TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 19 - Cabana Bay

    As we arrived at the hotel, there were big storms blowing in.

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    Because of this, all the pools and outdoor activities were closed for a while. We decided to enjoy happy hour at the lounge while we waited for our grocery and alcohol order from shipt to arrive.

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    The happy hour specials were excellent, especially the wings. DD didn't like the lounge choices so my dad took her to the cafeteria area. This is what happens when grandpa helps pick dinner: cocoa puffs and chocolate milk. At least it was wheat toast.

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    Eventually the weather passed so we walked around the outside and then decided to go for a swim.

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    Don't see that every day.

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    View of Volcano Bay.

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    One pool area.

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    Second pool area.

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    DD having a great time. After we finished swimming, it was off to bed.
     

    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 20 - Swimming and Universal City Walk

    I woke up early today and headed to the gym.

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    Jack LaLanne and I got our fitness on for sure. This was, by far, the nicest hotel gym I've ever used.

    After I worked out, I stopped at the cafeteria to get a refillable mug. 24 hours with unlimited Coke Freestyle refills was $10. DD and I shared the mug and filled it 6-7 times. The machines had soda, lemonade, vitamin water, etc. It was a really good deal.

    Because we had ordered groceries, our plan was to eat one big meal out and otherwise have cheese, crackers, cereal, etc from our room. So we all had breakfast in the room then hit the pools. Today we decided to swim at the other pool that also had a lazy river.
    We also purchased inner tubes because they were cheaper than the ones we could get at home. Target wanted $20 per float whereas they were less than $10 at Cabana Bay.

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    We had a visitor while we swam.

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    After our swim, we showered, got dressed for the day, and grabbed a bus from the hotel to Universal City Walk. The buses were comfortable and arrived every 10-15 minutes. Smooth as silk.

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    Once we arrived at City Walk, we went through security and headed towards Toothsome Chocolate Emporium for lunch. They don't take reservations so we had decided to go eat around 2:00 hoping for low crowds. We timed it perfectly and had a less than 5 minute wait.

    We sat upstairs and actually could see the NBC Sports Bar screens across the lake. They were replaying highlights from the Blues big Stanley Cup win so that was pretty fun.

    Before we ordered our shakes, Dr Penelope came by our table to tell us about her restaurant and to recommend her favorites.

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    We ordered shakes and I convinced my parents that we should just order a couple appetizers. Once the shakes arrived, they were glad I'd lobbied for the smaller food choices.

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    Need a size reference?

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    Woah.

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    For lunch, we had avocado bruschetta and short rib flatbread. Both were very good and we had plenty to eat especially with how big those shakes were. DD had a kids meal that was very good too.

    As we were leaving, we saw Dr Penelope's robot too.

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    It was a great meal and we were all able to take our shakes with us since we hadn't finished them during lunch.
     
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    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 20 - Leaving City Walk and evening at Cabana Bay

    As we left Toothsome, we just couldn't pass up this great photo op.

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    Heading back to the resort, we encountered our only less than friendly person. The bus driver back to the resort was pretty rude especially when people were double checking where the bus was going. Nothing awful but definitely less than welcoming.

    The day was incredibly hot, so we cooled off, watched some soccer, and decided on our next activity

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    By now it was happy hour time so we decided to go bowling and partake of drink specials. DD was also a bit hungry for some sensible food rather than snacks. The wings on the happy hour menu were a great deal and got her some protein to end the day. The bowling alley also had a freestyle machine so I could get her a lemonade while I had my bar drink.

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    After bowling we decided to do one more swim in the pools.

    I took a photo of one of the Cabanas as we walked to our room. I didn't see anyone using them and I don't know why you would. There are plenty of chairs and the cabanas don't come with any food or drink or anything like that. I'm just not sure what the appeal is.

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    After our final swim, we headed back to the room to do a bit of organizing before leaving the resort the next day.
     
  • lklgoodman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2016
    YEA!!! So happy to see you're writing another report. Love the '60's vibe of the resort, the duck in the pool cracks me up, so funny and cute!
     

    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 21 - Disney Springs and MCO hotel

    I woke up early to get in one more workout using the great gym at Cabana Bay. We checked out and were on our way pretty early. We knew we had lunch reservations around 1:00 and we wanted time to shop before. The drive was easy and we found parking in the Lime garage close to the stairs. The lights that indicate open parking spaces were convenient.

    We walked to the "old" area that has all the Disney shops. We passed the DVC booth and look what was displayed.

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    Hmmmm. Don't mind if I do.

    First stop was the pin store. DD was awestruck by all the choices. We ended up getting DH a St Louis cardinals pin and DD a mystery set of racers. She also did some trading. After pin shopping we split up. Mom and I went to the Christmas store, the dress shop (Cherry Hill?), and World of Disney. We met up with dad and DD outside of World of Disney.

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    Stitch is always funny.

    By this time it was time to head over to Homecomin'. Man it was hot today! I can't imagine being in the parks when it's so miserable.

    Our table was ready almost immediately.

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    I had a Rumshine Punch and it was delicious. Later during the meal, we ordered two kinds of moonshine shots. They were served with a hot sauce and pickle juice chaser. That was delicious!

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    We got deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes for appetizers.

    DD had a kids meal and my dad got the fried chicken meal.

    Mom and I split the chicken and biscuits appetizer and each had a side. Her grits were amazing and my Mac and cheese was very good. I would have been happiest though if I just had a whole order of those sandwiches though.

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    We ordered a kids dessert so we could try the donuts.

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    DD approved, but we were all too full to finish it all.

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    Then we rolled ourselves back to the car. This was an outstanding meal and I would love to go back some day.

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    We drove to the Homewood Suites by MCO and checked into our room. We like this hotel because of the two bedroom suite option. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a living room in between. This is great for letting DD go to bed, my dad can watch endless political shows in his room, and my mom and I can chat and have a glass of wine in the living room.

    After dropping off the luggage, dad and I returned the car and took the hotel shuttle back. There were other people getting on the Fantasy on with us so we talked about the plans for the morning. Then DD went swimming, we ordered in a small dinner using Grub hub, and went to bed. The next day was cruise day!
     
  • TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 22 - Embarkation

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    Woohoo! The best day was finally here. (Whoops. Looking at this photo I guess I didn't take a screenshot on the day of. Haha! Well, I clearly looked at 10 the night before.)

    We woke up relatively early and got ready to go. We had reserved a free shuttle from the hotel to the airport at 8:00 hoping to get an early bus. I know that many people talk about wanting to avoid the waiting in the terminal especially because you don't get on the ship any earlier if you get there early. However, DD loves the character pictures so we try to allow time for that.

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    The shuttle was right on time.

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    Despite following my notes from the last time we did the DCL bus, the waiting area was much more crowded this time. In fact, we got the last spots on the first bus! It was a nearly sold out summer cruise though. DCL has also changed how they do bus sign up and I do like the new system. The last time we did it, you just hung out in the seating area until someone came to open the desk. Now the DCL rep greets you as you arrive and checks you in with a character tag right away. I liked this.

    We didn't wait long until the luggage truck arrived and shortly after that the first bus. Then we were on our way!

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    The best view.

    We arrived before the terminal was officially open, but, unlike last time, they opened the doors to everyone when the bus arrived. This meant a security took longer and the folks upstairs got to the check in desks first. We didn't wait long, but not waiting in those lines was previously a benefit of the early bus.

    Soon, DD was able to get into her cruise groove.

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    She also saw Pluto before boarding began. This time we were group 2. Since I'd made us all shirts, we tried to take a family photo. DD wouldn't smile nicely though so, alas, no dice. We'll try again next time.

    We headed to Animator's for lunch. I guess getting a quick recharge at lunch is a new part of DD's day 1 agenda.

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    I also ducked away to see if our Remy reservations could be combined. Originally I had to reserve us as a table of 2 and a table of 1. They had already been fixed, so that was nice.

    We stayed at lunch until our rooms were ready then dropped our bags.

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    I do like the portholes on the Dream class ships. I wonder what they will do on the Wish.

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    I always carry our door decor in my carry on.

    Before we knew it, it was time for the muster drill. While the drill itself is not fun, DD was also complaining that her ear hurt. It was so bad that she said she'd miss the sail away party to go see the doctor. So we checked the navigator and took her to the infirmary. Double ear infection probably caused by all the swimming. Ugh. No pools for us for a couple days.

    After a visit to open house and getting unpacked, it was time for dinner. We started in Animator's. Service was good but the first night is always hectic.

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    Any meal that ends with a Mickey bar is great though.

    DD wanted to go to the clubs before the show. So while she did that, I headed up to check on funnel vision. I also got ice cream because I don't like any of the desserts on the Animator's menu.

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    My mom went to get DD from the clubs and I walked towards the theater. Bulgari was doing a reception so I enjoy an Aoerol spritz on them during the welcome show. So nice that the double show experiment has gone away.

    Then it was off to bed before our first sea day!
     

    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 23 - At Sea

    Ahhh, a sea day. We love them. Of course, DD was up early anyway. Have any other parents noticed how hard it is to get your kids up on school days but how early they are out of bed on vacation/weekends?

    Anyway, we were up around 7:00 and reviewed the Navigator (paper of course) and watched for characters on the porthole. Our first "obligation" today was a character breakfast. DD saw that several hard to get characters had early morning meets so we decided to rally and start our day.

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    Can you tell she's feeling better and happy about being on board?

    And so our day of character meets began.

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    Next up was Peter Pan on the balcony. DD needed a breakfast appetizer.

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    She and Peter had a long discussion about the superiority of a rice crispy treat for breakfast over yogurt or a kale smoothie.

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    Then it was on to character breakfast. This was probably the best organized character breakfast we've done. I wish I had written down the name of the CM organizing it because he did an excellent job.

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    While I understand that Jake isn't a big deal any more, I wonder if they are limiting their demographics. We are kind of past the Disney Jr stage, but are there currently any male leads?

    We finished breakfast in time to see Woody.

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    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 23 - At Sea

    At this point, I wanted to go work out and DD and my dad went to play basketball.

    They ran into Belle on the way.

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    They really enjoyed getting to play. DD got a but frustrated because the nets were obviously set to adult height and her league uses the USA youth standard height. It was still a good time though.

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    While they did this, I tried to go to the gym but it was beyond packed. I didn't need a treadmill or anything, just some floor space, but that wasn't happening. So, I headed off to Deck 4. While that was also crowded, I was able to get a space and got a good bodyweight workout. Squats, walking lunges, and Burpees for everyone!

    DD and my dad had decided to give midship detective agency a try.

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    Since they were busy with that, I got cleaned up and met up with the family for lunch.

    Then, it was back to character meets.

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    I've never seen Olaf have his own meeting time before.

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    At this point it was finally time for the adults to have a turn at the fun! We took DD to the clubs and we headed off to a martini tasting in Meridian.

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    This was super fun and our host was awesome.

    After the tasting we all headed back to our rooms to relax and get changed for formal night. DD was ready first, so my mom took her to see characters before dinner.

    At dinner, we had a surprise. The night before, our servers had noticed that DD wasn't eating her entrees very well at dinner though she was chowing down on the appetizers we got her. When they asked, she said her favorite food was curry. From that point forward, she was served a vegetable and meat curry every night. She also had the shushi style appetizer each day.

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    (She was cold so she wore my dad's jacket at dinner.)

    Tonight Aladdin was the show and we really enjoyed it.

    After the show, we grabbed a paper navigator and went back to the cabin so we could read a while before going to sleep.
     

    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 24 - At Sea

    Two sea days in a row! We'd never had that before and it was so nice to wake up with no real plans. Aaahhhh.

    When we woke up, we reviewed the Navigator we'd grabbed the day before.

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    Honestly, this is one of her favorite things to do and I am bothered by how much more of a hassle it is to get them in paper form.

    Today we had princess and Frozen meets. We ordered a room service breakfast and got moving. On our way to the meet, DD stopped for some pixie dust.

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    Our princesses this time were Tiana, Ariel, Belle, and Cinderella.

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    I had made DD a shirt with the selfie scene from Wreck It Ralph 2. The princesses all liked finding themselves in the image.

    We had about 10 minutes before we were due in Animator's for the Frozen meet so DD wanted a photo in the chair. They are rarely free in the evening.

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    Then it was on to the sisters.

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    After Frozen, DD knew Tinkerbell was out, so we headed that way.

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    By this point it wasn't even lunch yet and she'd already seen a crazy number of characters. I was over standing in the lines. I made an executive decision that we were doing SOMETHING else other than characters for a while. We had lunch in Cabanas and did some more detective agency. My parents also watched her for a bit so I could get a workout in.

    Mid afternoon, DD went to the clubs and we played our first round of trivia. So fun! I also enjoyed a gun and tea tonic. Delicious and it helped me ignore how poorly we did. The cruise staff was awesome and super fun though.

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    Before dinner, I lifted the character ban so we could go see Captain Minnie.

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    After dinner, where DD got escargot and carry and ate every bite, they were offering something I hadn't seen before. A family silent dance party! I'd only seen these listed as late night adult only activities. It was so much fun! We really had an amazing time.

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    My mom and DD decided they didn't want to go to the variety act show so they went to see more characters. God love grandmas. Dad and I saw John Armstrong and he was excellent! A great show.

    Afterwards, we headed back to the room for bed. The next day was St Kitts and an excursion to explore the island.

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    I thought bear, DD thought... I can't remember. Any opinions?
     

    TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    June 25 - St Kitts

    Today we had an independent excursion planned. We knew we wanted to see the rainforest and the black sand beach, so we found a company called Greg's Safari's. They had excellent reviews on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic. As usual, they were also less expensive than DCL excursions. We scheduled an 11:00 meeting time to do the 4x4 Safari and Beach Tour.

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    The port area was pretty.

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    We were not the only ship in town today.

    We debarked around 10 so we could explore the shopping for a bit. DD ended up finding a shirt that had fairies that changed color in the sun. It was $15. A bit expensive but way less than a Del Sol shirt. My dad also found a fun pirate button down for $15. Who knows how long it will last but it will be fun.

    We headed back to the meeting area around 10:40. We couldn't find our guide. Eventually my dad found another guide who would let him use his phone. The message was that the driver had a car problem but was almost there. While we waited, there was a live band playing. Denzel arrived and there was further confusion. Apparently we'd missed our original guide. Denzel was supposed to meet someone doing the hiking tour. He and Greg checked in and we were off for the 4x4 tour.

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    The view was immediately beautiful.

    D2942E8C-CFF4-43B5-8C27-53FF01F35F3A.jpeg

    Awesome architecture.

    3D9C4677-0067-4C8E-9597-4319B92FFA94.jpeg

    Just like at home, once in a moving vehicle, DD fell asleep. Look at those flowers!

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    Avocado tree.

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    We learned that the government paid to have parks in every neighborhood complete with these great play grounds.

    We then crossed into the rainforest. There is a local doctor who allows the tour company to bring people to his property and do a very mild hike around the property.

    446E78C2-76C0-48B1-A264-2E24F5824B81.jpeg

    Remember my early reports when she was tiny?

    415BBB95-F17D-4680-B692-3EE40699CB09.jpeg

    Look at that view!

    CF733E34-6FF2-4DED-B827-3DB9E6B6798F.jpeg

    Here we are at the top of the property. Such a fun morning.

    Next up: lunch and the beach
     

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