Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: a Halloween-inspired trip of “two’s” – an October 2016 TR

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. pattyw

    pattyw WDW- We luv u!!

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    I love the passholder lounge! We didn't have lunch there but it was a nice, quiet place to cool off! Is there a current menu posted for the lounge?
     
  2. Monykalyn

    Monykalyn DIS Veteran

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    Oh you will LOVE Frankenmuth! It's been a few decades but I still remember the "christmas town"! Hope you will be able to enjoy MI beaches this summer as well! I still have little wooden shoes from Holland somewhere, but Grand Haven was our favorite by far.

    We have trip planned to Florida for August (drop the kid off for DCP-not sure if this will be a couple's trip or have the other kids along too) and Thanksgiving so far. And likely sometime around Christmas, and probably January as well.

    Your TR's of Seaworld always make me wish we would carve time out to go:)
     
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  3. Ruthie5671

    Ruthie5671 Mouseketeer

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    I love that you, Steve and "The Count" were all matchy-matchy in purple!
     
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  5. chiamarie

    chiamarie DIS Veteran

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    I am here.....better late than never.

    And I have only one comment (well, I guess it's two).....You probably met the mother of the Star Trek Pair; and the one that I am 100% sure on, her melon cannot be mistaken for anyone else...and she was born in Cali; after a movie star who visited shortly before she was born (Hint: Her mom's name is Melanie) ;)
     
  6. greenclan67

    greenclan67 Callie35

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    I LOVE Frakenmeuth, and if you ever go into Birch Run, got to Tony's for a meal. They put a whole pound of bacon on everything that has bacon. I ordered a BLT, then thing was so big, you couldn't put your mouth around it. Look it up, Tony's I75 awesome.
     
  7. disneyAndi14

    disneyAndi14 DIS Veteran

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    Always nice to see touring at Seaworld since we don't get there very often. We were there in 2012 the last time. We really enjoyed the day there. The dolphin interaction looks really cool.
     
  8. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    This doesn't have prices, but the menu items are available here:

    https://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/passmembers/lounge

    Exclusive Pass Member Lounge Menu

    Mile-High Corned Beef Sandwich
    Our signature corned beef with swiss cheese on marble rye with stone ground mustard & kettle chips

    Herb Roasted Turkey Sandwich
    Sliced thin and piled high on a fresh baguette with lettuce, tomato, muenster cheese served with kettle chips

    Smokehouse Brisket Mac & Cheese

    Classic Chef Salad
    Fresh greens, turkey, ham, cheese, cucumbers, green peppers, sweet red onions and marinated tomatoes

    Snack Selection

    • Chili pie: Corn chips topped with chili,cheese, and shredded lettuce
    • Chips served with salsa or hummus
    • Mini cinnamon doughnuts

    Kids Selection (for ages 3-9)

    Choose a meal: Macaroni & cheese or garden salad

    Enjoy with a side: Baby carrots or kettle chips

    Choose a drink: 100% juice or milk (white, chocolate, strawberry)

    Bottled Beer
    Budweiser®, Bud Light®, Michelob Ultra®, Miller Lite®, Coors Light®, Yuengling®, Corona®, Bud Light Lime®, Heineken®

    Wine
    Pinot Grigio, Cabernet, White Zinfandel

    Beverages

    • Iced Tea
    • Hot Coffee
    • Hot Tea
    • Bottled Water
    I think my smokehouse brisket mac 'n cheese entree was around $8.99, and Steve's meal was around the same price point. Definitely a good value for theme park dining ::yes::.

    We should have lots of opportunity to check out all the state parks :thumbsup2. We added on the state parks pass to our license plates when we visited the DMV last week (from now until June 2018 cost us a crazy low $11 ..... we couldn't say no!!) so we are hoping that the groundhog is right and we're in for an early spring.

    So awesome that you have so many trips in the works for this year! :cool1: And a huge congrats to your DD for being accepted into the college program! :cheer2: So exciting for all of you.

    What are the chances that we would run into the ONE character whose outfit coordinated with ours? :confused3:rotfl:

    Oh, bless your heart :goodvibes. While you've given me enough hints to make it obvious, I'm still at a loss to the names of those dolphins. I've never watched Star Trek, Star Wars, or any other sci-fi flick :blush:. Obviously I need to branch out and diversify my screen time.
    On a happier note, I am so glad you found us!! :banana: Someone has been working much too hard lately, I fear. Hopefully you'll be able to drop in here regularly to keep me on track.

    Jake and his girlfriend have just booked their first "couples" Orlando vacation, and they've picked the SeaWorld parks as their attractions of choice. He is so excited to take Brittney for her first dolphin experience at DC!

    Thank you for that recommendation!! Steve won't need any more convincing beyond the bacon endorsement :rotfl2:.

    On a totally unrelated note, :welcome: to the thread! So glad you've come out of lurkdom to join in the chatter :).

    It's actually killing me to know we'll miss SW and AQ this year :sad1:. We opted for Universal AP's in December, and with our big move to the USA, we know that three trips this year just won't be in the plans. So, we'l enjoy the Uni parks in 2017 and maybe repurchase SW AP's for the following year. Hopefully there will be a BOGO deal on Black Friday that I just can't resist.
     
  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Saturday, October 15th (continued)

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    Some of you might remember from my May 2016 trip report that I got a very special souvenir from SeaWorld, in honour of our 23rd wedding anniversary that I was unbelievably excited about: a ring from Oyster’s Secret. Steve and Jake had chosen the oyster from the pearl divers, and we had the pearl mounted into a lovely setting that I wore with delight. I had always wanted to pick-a-pearl on our trips, so this was a huge bucket list item for me…..and having Jake and Steve both part of the process made the experience, and the ring, very special for me.


    You can imagine my dismay, then, when a scant 3 weeks later, the pearl somehow came disengaged from the setting while I was shopping with my mom in Walmart. Despite following the care instructions to the letter (and being sure to allow the glue to dry for a full 12 hours before wearing), my beautiful pearl was gone. I was heartbroken.


    I emailed SeaWorld the following day to let them know what had happened. After a few communications back and forth, they were able to verify the details and date of my original purchase, and offered to remedy the unfortunate situation when we were next in the Orlando area. They told us to stop in to Oyster’s Secret with the undamaged setting and they would have a replacement pearl secured at no cost and with their apologies. So, with a printed copy of that email chain in hand, we headed next to Oyster’s Secret.


    While we had fully expected that they would just place a pearl from their stock in the setting, when we arrived and the manager reviewed the details of the email discussion, they offered us the option of a pearl from their stock (which would guarantee a specific size and colour) or for us to pick another oyster and have whatever pearl was inside. Since picking the pearl gave the ring a certain “special-ness” versus a piece of jewelry purchased in a store, we were happy to take them up on their offer to pick another oyster and they sent us outside to the person at the oyster kiosk. Unfortunately, the divers were not diving on that particular day (surprising, when the park was forecast to be busy that afternoon due to the influx of visitors for the Spooktacular events) but not entirely shocking when we knew that Seaworld continue to suffer rounds of cost-cutting measures to mitigate declining attendance.

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    A very fun-loving and colourful fellow was running the pick-an-oyster station outside Oyster’s Secret, and while there was no line as we approached, a small crowd soon gathered to watch Steve select the oyster that contained the pearl which would give new life to my empty setting. He picked the oyster from the assortment available, the host went through the elaborate opening ceremony, measured the treasure found inside (a lovely, creamy 7 mm white pearl) and sent us back inside the store.

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    True to their promise, they had my ring back to its original glory within a very short time……along with the assurance that they had taken extra steps to ensure it was secured in such a way that history would not repeat itself. While I could not wear the ring right away (to allow time for the glue to properly set….and under the circumstances, I would not be cutting any corners where that was concerned) it made me happy just to have the ring and pearl safely tucked away in a little pocket of my purse. I could not wait to slip it on my finger the following morning.


    From Oyster’s Secret, we opted to head back to Shark Wreck Reef and take a stroll through Shark Encounter. I offered for Steve to hop on Mako for another round of thrills (since the wait was still under 10 minutes) but he declined, saying he just wanted to spend the remainder of the day enjoying holding his wife’s hand and soaking up the atmosphere at one of our favourite theme parks. So, hand in hand, we headed in to Shark Encounter to enjoy one of our favourite animal exhibits.


    Now after 12 o’clock, crowds had increased sufficiently that it was busy enough inside Shark Encounter that I took few photos on this visit. Those that I did take weren’t of great quality, as I was busy trying to ensure my pausing to capture a shot didn’t render me run over the folks behind me.

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    We did, however, stop at the Photokey station inside Shark Encounter for the magic shots on the green screen. These were again free with our annual photo key, so with no busy itinerary to adhere to, we figured, why not?

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    After Sharks, we headed around toward Shamu’s Happy Harbor as we wanted to take in the Spooktacular events now that the clock had wound its way past noon. The area was abuzz with children and parents in adorably colourful costumes holding treat bags and dashing from station to station.

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    A plethora of characters in bright costumes themed to whimsical “under the sea” creatures were milling about through the crowd, each genuinely delighting in personal interaction with guests. It was a real pleasure to just stand back and watch the fun: the characters were cracking jokes, seamlessly moving among the excitable crowd, and creating a wonderful atmosphere of childlike quirkiness.

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    Bubbles quietly burst forth from the lamp posts and the sound of squeals and laughter were everywhere.

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    For these northerners (for whom Halloween embodies cold weather and heavy costumes), the 85 degree afternoon felt as far from autumn-like as you could get. Yet, even taking a pass on the trick-or-treating (though we would have been welcome to join in, costumes or no costumes, even without a child in tow….like at Disney, treat bags were distribute to all guests at each end of the Halloween pathway), it was hard not to be drawn into the whimsy and delight of the light-hearted festivities.

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    After having enough of the Halloween Spooktacular, the heat and searing effects of the mid-afternoon sun nudged us skillfully toward a cool spot for a refreshing treat:

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    We had been doing a lot of walking since early that morning and taken a pass on any kind of dessert at lunch time, so we rationalized that we had exercised enough to enjoy some ice cream without guilt. As we approached, however, our eyes were drawn to this photo:

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    …..so we knew we’d have to try it. As big fans of Disney’s infamous Dole Whips, this looked simply amazing!

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    The staff had a ton of fun preparing this little gem: a whoop of delight went up from behind the counter and they all went to work on whipping up the massive final product with the biggest smiles on their faces.

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    We got the distinct feeling that most guests don’t order such a large and expensive item (though we failed to see it as expensive when it easily fed two and was under $10 with our passmember discount). As we carried our Pineapple Twist to a vacant table, a few of the other patrons in the restaurant also stopped by to admire the work of art and ask us the cost.

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    It was easily as tasty at Disney’s Dole Whip, but the presentation was out of this world. Even the pineapple was deliciously sweet and juicy, though it grew harder to scrape off and eat as the pineapple twist soft serve caused the fruit to freeze. AS we tirelessly worked our way toward what felt like a bottomless pit of pineapple deliciousness, I remarked about how indulgent such a lavish snack felt. Steve just looked at me and said “We had no choice but to order it. Your trip report readers deserve something new each vacation!” :cutie:.


    The balance of day 1 at SeaWorld is next.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017 at 2:59 PM
  10. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    What a gem Steve is, keeping us lovely Disboards readers in mind and going to such lengths to please :rotfl2: He's definitely a keeper Gina.
     
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  11. J'aime Paris

    J'aime Paris Living happily ever after

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    Yum....just yum!
     
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  12. Monykalyn

    Monykalyn DIS Veteran

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  13. Ritchielace

    Ritchielace CutieBear

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    YAY Welcome back Gina !!! Can't believe I didn't find this sooner. Already on page 6 better get caught . So happy things are looking settled and happy in Michigan. Now let's hear how fabulous your trips were.
     
  14. mmdis

    mmdis Earning My Ears

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    Do you think that Jake will do a trip report on his first grownup vacation? Is it going to be hard to have him go without you ? Thank Steve for taking one for the team and ordering that giant treat. :yay:
     
  15. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Yep, he's a real trooper....always willing to take one for the team ;). Good thing his rubber arm is easy to twist.

    I think we found our new favourite Seaworld snack! Or....its at least tied with the Shamu Sundae :).

    Thank you, my friend! Glad to have you joining in! :goodvibes

    I can guarantee you there will be no trip report from my child, but I've made him promise he'll at least take lots of photos while he's there. Hopefully I can get him to do a photo book or make some other permanent memory of his first adult vacation without the parents. I think it would be a cool memento for when he grows old like us ;).
     
  16. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    Oh my goodness, that pineapple looks AH-MAZING!!! Thank you for taking one for the team there Steve :rotfl:.

    I am loving the costuming and decorations for the Halloween celebration. It all looks so pretty and festive. I remember loving the Christmas decorations you posted from SeaWorld too. They really do a nice job don't they?
    And I'm sorry to hear what happened to your original ring, but I'm glad the replacement was to your satisfaction, and I'm happy to hear they made it right for you.
    I've hit that point where I'm just itching to head to Orlando, and seeing all the sunshine in your pictures isn't helping! Only 3 months to go until our Universal trip!:sunny:
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Saturday, October 15th (the conclusion)


    With two full weeks in Orlando at our disposal, we had vowed that this would be the “low key” trip we had always wanted to take: with annual passes to the Seaworld parks, we could dial the intensity of our days down from “taxing” to “relaxing”. There was no need to go commando or to push ourselves to the point of weariness.


    We decided, then, to do just a couple more things before calling it a day and heading back to Cypress Palms. In advance of our trip, we had pre-purchased three trays of animal food at a discounted price ($10 for three less our passmember discount of 10%; each tray of food is $5 if bought separately) so we made our way here:

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    I love Pacific Point Preserve. The sea lions and seals have faces and personalities I just can’t resist: in fact, their whiskered expressions often remind me of kittens. They are crazy loud but hilariously engaging….especially when you have a tray of food in hand.

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    Steve stopped and exchanged one of our feeding cards for a tray of fish, and we easily found a spot at the railing so we could toss them to the waiting crowd.

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    The next item on my SeaWorld bucket list? The Sea Lions Up Close tour. I bet its simply awesome ::yes::.

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    On our way back to the park entrance, we toured through the Jewels of the Sea Aquarium at Journey to Atlantis, as Steve had not yet had the chance to go through. Surprisingly, he didn’t feel like riding….I think the first-day-of-vacation weariness was starting to kick in. It’s always tough for our northern bodies to adjust to the temperature change in the first few days of a trip.

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    We headed out to the parking lot, settled ourselves in the rental car, and cranked the a/c. The drive back to Wyndham Cypress Palms was quick and traffic-free :drive:.


    Once at the resort, we enjoyed a little break where we caught up on emails and social media. When the time for dinner rolled around, neither one of us felt like going very far afield; lucky for us, we had dozens of good options within a mile radius of the resort. We opted to try something new on this night, a restaurant we had been wanting to try for the last several trips. Lucky for us, we didn’t even need to move the car so much as an inch: our villa to the front door of the restaurant was a quick and easy walk. We slipped on our shoes and headed here:

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    Steve is a meat lover at heart, and steak tops the list of all the carnivorous options. We had tried to get a table at a different Longhorns (the one near the Premium Outlets on Vineland) on a previous trip but the wait for a table was too long for our post-park hungry stomachs. We would have been happy to wait for a table today had it been necessary to do so, but this time we were seated immediately upon arrival.

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    We had a fantastic server who took exceptional care of us from beginning to end. When she approached us for our drink orders, Steve requested a beer and I asked for her recommendation on something fruity and fun. Without hesitation she gave her endorsement of the berry sangria, and this massive fishbowl of refreshment appeared within minutes:

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    A fresh loaf of warm honey wheat bread and whipped butter soon followed our beverages…..

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    …..as did our appetizer, a tray of savoury bison meatballs.

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    That bread was simply divine. Out-of-the-oven hot, it was soft and tasty and not at all “wheaty” (normally I’m not a huge fan of brown breads, but this was so good I could have eaten the whole loaf myself). The meatballs were really, really yummy as well: a nice texture, perfectly spiced, and topped with a lovely rich barbecue sauce and melted cheese. I was unsure of the whole bison meat thing (I’m not a very adventurous eater by nature) but even my picky palette thoroughly enjoyed this appy.


    For entrees, Steve had a steak (of course) with macaroni and cheese and a ceasar salad as his two sides.

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    I chose the chicken tenders with garlic mashed potatoes and baked mac ‘n cheese.

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    I can’t stress enough how much we enjoyed this meal. Every single aspect…..drinks, appetizers, and entrees…..surpassed expectations and wowed us with taste, portion size and food quality. Steve’s steak was cooked perfectly and was tender enough to be cut with a butter knife. He looked over at me halfway through the meal and joked “we’re going to eat here every night of this trip, okay?”. And honestly, I know it sounds weird, but my chicken tenders were the BEST I have ever had. So. Unbelievably. Good.


    Try as I might, I could not get through my entire meal. We had our server box my leftovers and carried them with us as we rolled out the door. There was no way we could have eaten dessert right then and there: we were stuffed to the gills ::yes::::yes::.


    We were waiting at the crosswalk for the okay to make our way over the very busy 192 when we saw it:

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! :scared: We were too full!

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    Yet…..our legs seemed to have a mind of their own. Our brains were thinking RUN! but our feet drew us closer. We can’t just walk by when the sign is on, Steve rationalized. It would be wrong. We can eat them later. You’ll want a snack of some sort before bed.


    Oh, he is a bad, bad man sometimes :rolleyes1.

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    So, against my better judgement, we purchased a half dozen to go: three hot doughnuts for Steve, and three Kreme filled for me. His and hers favourites, all wrapped up in one little million-calorie box.

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    Steve couldn’t resist downing two hot ones as we strolled back to the villa (he has an endless pit for a stomach, I swear) but I held off until much later in the night, after a refreshing late-night swim in the pool and soak in the hot tub.

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    Turns out that night (and every night of our stay) we had the whole pool and hot tub area to ourselves. The weather was so incredible, it was quite surprising to see the amenities go virtually unused each night :confused:.


    We made a point of heading to bed at a decent hour, as tomorrow would be a late night for sure. It was the first of our two Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, and these two pirates could hardly wait pirate: pirate:.


    Our first “Disney Day” is next.
     
  18. Mrs Doubtfire

    Mrs Doubtfire DIS Veteran

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    A great ending to your day. I always seem to read your report just before tea and it makes me so wish I could just walk over to Longhorns right now . We had our first visit there in December and all enjoyed it. My DH had the prime rib recommended by our server and he said it was delicious. Like you I had the tenders not being a big steak fan.

    Are you eating out a lot now you have moved to the USA?
     
  19. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    The pineapple twist isn't ice cream, either, so its much lighter and a refreshing snack for a hot day. Sometimes you just crave something sweet but it doesn't need to be 'rich'.

    I'm a little envious that you're going to be heading south again so soon! I am negotiating with Steve for a first week of May trip, and then again in October. He was hoping for Christmas again but I suspect we'll be wanting to spend the "big" holidays with family in Ontario. I also like balancing out our vacations a little more throughout the year, so it doesn't seem like so long between each one.

    We generally try to only eat out twice a week, pretty much the same as we did while living in Canada. We always go out for dinner on Friday night, kind of as our reward for making it through the work week (not that I'm working right now, but still.....). Then, we normally go out on either Saturday night or Sunday night. I have actually been enjoying the opportunity to cook and bake again......its a luxury I haven't enjoyed for many months. When Steve was in Michigan and I was still in Ontario, it was cereal most nights for me for dinner. It has been a lot of fun to grocery shop here and create some nice meals for us to enjoy when Steve gets home from work :).
     
  20. Ruthie5671

    Ruthie5671 Mouseketeer

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    And that is a very well trained husband!!!

    DANGER - DANGER - RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

    Now I'm getting the distinct impression that you were not kicking and screaming not to buy the donuts!

    I'm glad that Sea World replaced your ring. I hope it has survived since then.
     
  21. Penguinempress

    Penguinempress Earning My Ears

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    This is super sweet. It sounds cheesy but that time together is one of the best things about vacation. I did a two week trip last year and it was so nice to spend two solid weeks with my husband instead of just a few tired hours at the end of the day once we're both home from work.

    You guys look so cute in your matching purple outfits. :flower:Feeding the sea lions was one of my favorite parts of Sea World - they have so much personality! I've only been to Longhorn once and it was kind-of a disaster but maybe I'll have to give it another chance - that berry sangria looks delicious!
     

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