Transatlantic Adventures

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Day 14

We had a slow start this morning. We had not booked an excursion and had no particular plans. I had originally planned to do a dolphin swim in Tortola, but at some stage before the cruise I had decided against it. We had a relatively short day in Tortola and therefore trying to get to see the Bath on Virgin Gorda on our own seemed too risky and the Disney excursion had long since sold out.

So we had a leisurely breakfast at Parrot Cay and then headed out. We were half considering getting a taxi tour of the island. When we left the ship there were plenty of tour buses waiting to take people on Disney excursions, but to my surprise there were no taxis. Actually, calling them tour buses is not really an accurate description. They were more like flatbed trucks with benches and soft plastic covers.

Our first task was to find an ATM to get some Dollars. So we headed out of the port and walked towards Roadtown. We came across a restaurant or a bar called "Bat Cave". This gave us a good chuckle as we refer to our inside cabin as a "Bat Cave". I just had to take a photo of that sign.







We had not got very far when somebody in an Avis uniform stopped us and offered us car hire. We asked how much it would be and if they would provide a map, which they did, and decided that this sounded like a great plan. We asked if there was a bank nearby. The Avis rep pointed across the road and I went to get some money while Graham sorted out the paperwork for the car.

The bank was an entirely new experience for me. It was actually a drive through bank. I got a few funny looks when I walked up to the ATM. Still, I got my money and headed back over to where Graham and the Avis rep were. They had nearly finished. We were advised that if we came back and she was not there to just leave the car roughly where we had picked it up and to leave the keys under the door mat.

We set off through Roadtown and towards the coast. I had read that Cane Garden Bay had a beautiful beach and this was easy to find on the map. So we headed in that general direction. We passed some stunning scenary on the way. When we got to Cane Garden Bay, the beach was virtually empty. The beach was very pretty and the sea calm. It was not as warm as the sea in St. Maarten the day before, but it was pleasant enough. We stayed in the water for about an hour. When we had enough, the tour buses started to show up and the beach started to get busy. We headed back to the car, which was parked a little way away. We had to wade through the sea to get there. When we got to the car, we stood in the shade of a tree and were hoping that the gentle breeze would try us off. I had gone swimming with my t shirt on as I did not want to burn more. I had brought a spare t shirt, but it took me a long time to dry off in the end I risked taking off the t shirt and rapped one of the towels we had brought loosely over my shoulders. I was soon dry enough to put the clean t shirt and my trousers over my swimsuit.









We had hoped that we could follow the coastal road all the way round and end up back at Roadtown. This did not work out and sooner or later we had to take to the inland roads. The roads in Tortola are very vertical and very twisty. There were a few points when I seriously doubted that our poor little automatic car would make it. We were rewarded with some absolutely stunning scenary. Unfortunately there was nowhere to stop and take photos.

Eventually we ended up back on the coastal road near Roadtown. We headed into Roadtown and on the way, we had a fabulous view of the Magic. Graham was able to pull over so that I could take a photo.



We filled the car up at a petrol station in the centre of Roadtown and then headed back to the area where we had picked up the car from. Getting there was easier said then done. While we had enjoyed ourselves at the beach and on our drive around the island, some protest had started. It just so happened that the local government buildings were very close to where we had to drop of the car and the protests concentrated on that area. They were diverting traffic, but after driving in a big loop around where we wanted to be, we were allowed to drop the car off. The Avis rep was not there so we just left the car as it had been agreed. With the car safely dropped off, we walked back to the port.

We got to the ship just in time for lunch. We dropped our stuff in our cabin and then headed up to Topsiders to get some lunch.

After lunch, we decided to make good use of the relatively empty ship and headed for the Rainforest Room. We spent a lot of time their just relaxing. To my surprise I could tolerate the warm Sauna despite my sunburn for short periods of time and the heated tile loungers did not affect my sunburn at all. I was so comfortable there that I fell asleep for a while.

Once I was awake again and had enough of the Rainforest Room, I headed back to our cabin . I still had another Fish Extender run to do and decided that there was no time like the present. I sorted all the gifts by deck and then did them a deck or two at the time.

Once I had given out all my Fish Extender gifts, I just chilled out in the cabin with my book. I must have fallen asleep again, because suddenly it was nearly dinner time and Graham was back. I had a quick shower and got changed and we headed for dinner.

Dinner that night was the Masterchef menu, which was one of my favourite menus on our Med cruise. It did not disappoint on this cruise either. I had a Warm Cheddar Cheese, Bacon and Onion Tartlet, Sukotash Soup and Steak with Lobster Medallion. Graham had to eat my Lobster. Graham passed on the starter, but had otherwise the same as me. Neither of us felt like dessert that night.

After dinner, we had our photo taken with the Beast. It was nice to have him out by himself.



After the photo, we headed to our cabin. We found the towel dog that our stateroom host had left us and headed for bed.

 

KevieKev05

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
I am THOROUGHLY enjoying your trip report! You have provided me with a lot a great information to help plan my EBTA cruise next year! I do have one question though regarding scrapbooking merchandise. You said you brought some Med scrapbooks. Do you recall if there were scrapbooking things specific to the transatlantic cruises? Thank you!
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
I am THOROUGHLY enjoying your trip report! You have provided me with a lot a great information to help plan my EBTA cruise next year! I do have one question though regarding scrapbooking merchandise. You said you brought some Med scrapbooks. Do you recall if there were scrapbooking things specific to the transatlantic cruises? Thank you!
No, there were not scrapbooking things for the Transatlantic cruise. I did ask and was told "no". They had scrapbooks for the Med cruises and the Baltic cruises and kits with papers and stickers for the Med cruises.

Corinna
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 15

    This was our last sea day. We had another leisurely start to the morning and decided to skip the stretching class. I headed down to guest services to sort out a few issues. I wanted to check if the On Board Credit that I had been promised had now been added to the account, which it had. I also wanted to add some extra On Board Credit to my account. I had been paid two days earlier and wanted to treat myself to a Disney Cruise Line exclusive Dooney and Bourke wristlet. I figured it would be easier if I just added the amount that it costs as On Board Credit as the credit card that we had registered against the account was Graham’s. I thought it would be really simple. In the end they had to find a charge for the amount in question and leave this under my name and move everything else to Graham’s name. I could then pay for this charge with my card and everything else would be moved back afterwards where it was before. This was quite complicated, but worked.

    Once I was finished with Guest Services, I headed up to deck 4. Graham was already sitting there and was talking to a member of Cruise Staff. The shops were supposed to open at 9:00, but they were actually opening a bit earlier so I decided to go in and buy my wristlet. I had found one wristlet that I really liked as it had some complete characters on it. Each wristlet is different and most of them had only partial characters on it. Throughout the cruise, I had checked on this wristlet every couple of days and it was always there. Of course, now that I was in a position to buy it, it had gone. I did not like any of the ones that were on display. I decided to check with one of the staff in the shop if they had any others in the back and gave a description of what I was looking for. He managed to find me one that I actually liked better than the original one. I did not want to risk that somebody else would buy the wristlet in the meantime if I came back later. So I quickly bought it and went back to meet up with Graham and the member of Cruise Staff for Walk A Mile. As I did not have the chance to go back to the cabin beforehand, my wristlet did three laps around the ship with me. I was bullied ruthlessly about this. It was decided that for every thing that a woman wants to buy, she should have to carry it for a mile first before being allowed to do so.

    Once we had finished Walk A Mile, we headed for a quick bite of breakfast at Parrot Cay. I quickly had mine and then I left Graham to it. I had to be in the Promenade Lounge for 10:00. I had helped to put together the scavenger hunt for this cruise. I had done the majority of the questions. We had given out about 50 sheets for this and were not quite sure how many people had actually done it. We had said that we would in the Promenade Lounge between 10:00 and 11:00 to mark the scavenger hunts. We had 6 families that came during this time. I marked off the things they had to find. Most of them were things that people had to take photos of, but there were some physical things they had to bring as well like two different coins, a post card from a port of call, a menu, etc. It was great fun to see how creative people had been. Unfortunately there was a little bit of bad blood. One of the things that had to be brought back has a different name in American English. Most people had worked it out, but one group had not and they were very bitter about this. We stayed a little bit longer as one family came by just as we were about to leave. We were happy to hang around.

    Once the last scavenger hunt had been marked, I headed back to the cabin to pick up my souvenir Transatlantic menus. The captain was doing a signing session in one of the shops and I wanted his signature on the menus. When I got back to deck 4, the signing session had not started and the line was huge. Still, I decided to persevere as the lines normally move pretty quickly when the Captain arrives. I used the time to take some more photos.





    I got to the front of the line quite quickly and had my menus signed. I took them upstairs to our cabin and picked up the final gift for Secret Mickey. We had arranged to meet at Parrot Cay for a prize giving lunch and the Secret Mickeys were supposed to reveal themselves at the same time. They had a seafood buffet that day, which limited the choices for me a little as I do not eat seafood, but I enjoyed the occasion. They had arranged for our group to be seated together in one part of the restaurant. Prizes were given out for the the families that came in the top 3 in the scavenger hunt and also for the 3 best Fish Extenders. There were some wonderfully creative Fish Extenders. We also revealed ourselves to our Secret Mickey. The person who had spoiled me unfortunately was not able to make it. She had left the final present in my Fish Extender earlier in the day. Her daughter in law was at the lunch so and told me who my Secret Mickey was. The person that I had given to was at the lunch and she had absolutely no idea that I was her Secret Mickey. She had suspected somebody else and her face was a picture when I revealed myself. For the rest of the meal, I chatted to people who were sitting on the same table. It was just nice to actually have some time to just sit and chat.

    Once the meal was over, I went to find Graham. I had asked him if he had wanted to come to the lunch, but he declined. This is simply not his kind of thing. I did find him in the Rainforest Room. So I went to the cabin to get changed and then joined him. Suprisingly, considering it was a sea day, the Rainforest Room was completely empty. So I used the opportunity to take some photos before just chilling out.







    Once we had enough of the Rainforest Room, we headed back to our cabin. We decided to check out the movie channels on our TV. There was a film that we had been meaning to see for a while “Leap Day”, but that was half way through its cycle. Graham watched one of the Free Willy films instead and I took a nap. He woke me up when “Leap Day” started and we watched this film together. It was seriously funny. We must have both fallen asleep after this, because when I woke up, it was nearly dinner time. I was not very happy. There had been a Captain’s Farewell reception and I had every intention to go to this. As it was semi-formal night, I had also hopened for some more photo oportunities. My bad luck had not finished. When I was putting on my gown that I had brought for semi-formal night, one of the straps just snapped. Fortunately I had already had my gown that I had worn for Villain’s Night dry cleaned so I just wore that again.

    With all this happening, we ended up being slightly late for dinner. The menu that night was the Captain’s Gala Menu. I had Herb-Sauteed Shrimp with Spaghetti Vegetables and Garlic Butter, Beef and Sundried Tomato Consomme with Parmesan Polenta Dumpling, Fettuccine with Parmesan Crusted Chicken followed by a Mango-flavoured Sundae. Graham had a Fresh Fruit Cocktail, Beef and Sundried Tomato Consomme with Parmesan Polenta Dumpling, Pan-Seared Venison Medallions and Amaretto Cheesecake.

    After dinner, we did the rounds of the photo opportunities. They took photos on the stairs and also against the black backdrop. Unfortunately those photos never made it on the photo CD so the only photos that I have are the ones that I bought prints of. This is a real shame as I loved those photos.







    Once we had our photos taken, we headed back to our cabin. Our stateroom host had left us a gorgeous towel angel. We had never seen this before. We also found a neat little leather trunk with all the ports of the two Transatlantic cruises on it, which was another gift from Disney Cruise Line. This was a nice souvenir. We soon dropped off to sleep.





     

    Tammy Stringer

    <font color=red>I love babies - all milky and baby
    Joined
    May 5, 2002
    Corinna

    Loving your report - so sorry it is nearly over.

    What a fantastic gift the little leather trunk was - what a lovely idea and a great memento of your cruise

    Tammy
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Corinna

    Loving your report - so sorry it is nearly over.

    What a fantastic gift the little leather trunk was - what a lovely idea and a great memento of your cruise

    Tammy
    There are a few days to come yet as we also had a few days at Disney World as well. I am hoping to finish the cruise part off today (2 installments). In any case, there won't be too long to wait for the next trip report as we will be on the Disney Wonder for our Panama Canal Cruise in less than a week.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 16

    This was the last proper day of the cruise and the day we would spend at Castaway Cay. This always causes a bit of mixed feelings. Castaway Cay is probably my favourite place in the world and my idea of Paradise. However, on most itineraries, it is also the last port of call and therefore when you get to Castaway Cay, the cruise is almost over.

    There was some doubt if we would make it to Castaway Cay. Reports had arrived on the Magic the day before that the Wonder had not been able to dock at Castaway Cay on the Wednesday. They had made three attempts and then abborted. This was bad news for two reasons. This cast some doubt over if we were going to make it. More importantly, the Wonder was supposed to leave provisions for us at Castaway Cay.

    When we woke up that morning, there was next to no movement. We were still moving, but very slowly and were obviously in shallow water. I felt absolutely awful. I do not get seasick and in any case, there was not enough movement to get seasick. Yet, I was displaying all the symptoms of motion sickness. I might not get seasick, but I do suffer from motion sickness when travelling by car, bus or when going on certain rides. So I did recognize the symptoms.

    Graham suggested that we head up to deck 10 to watch our approach to Castaway Cay. I figured that some fresh air would probably do me some good so I went along with this idea. I took a couple of photos around the ship, but I still felt rough so I went down to deck 9 and found myself a lounger. As long as I was lying down with my eyes closed, I was OK.



    Periodically I would look up to check the progress we were making. Soon Castaway Cay was in front of us and I was taking some photos as we were approaching.







    When we got really close, I joined Graham to watch the docking process. It was very obvious that the staff on the island were not quite ready for us. I don't think they thought that we would be able to dock. When they realized that we were definitely coming in and were almost completely alongside the dock, we observed the rope teams running to get into position. We had successfully docked on the first attempt.

    We waited until the first rush to get of the ship was over and got what we needed from the cabin. Then we headed out towards the island. I was not entirely sure that this was a good idea, but I figured that I always could go back on the ship very easily.



    We picked up our towels and headed towards the post office. I had been given a Castaway Cay postcard as part of a Fish Extender gift, but I never had got around to writing it. Still, I wanted to check the opening hours as I could always go back to the ship to get the card. I found out that the post office was closed that day. I did however find Donald in his beach outfit by the post office. Unfortunately the photos did not make it onto the CD and I did not have my own camera with me.

    Once we had finished with Donald, we decided to walk to the family beach. On the way we had photos taken with the Magic in the background. I also had my photo taken with Captain Jack Sparrow in front of the Flying Dutchman. I am particularly upset that I do not have this photo as I will never be able to re-create this. The Flying Dutchman was dismantled last month.

    When we got to the family beach, this was relatively empty. So we decided to have a quick swim there. As soon as I was in the water, I felt as right as rain. So Graham's assessment that I was feeling landsick was probably fairly accurate. Once we had swum enough, we decided to head towards the adult beach Serenity Bay. This is when we realized how much Castaway Cay had changed. There used to be two tram routes. One that went from near the ship to near one end of the family beach and one that went from the far end of the family beach area to Serenity Bay. You had to walk between the two tram stops. At some time during the last year, they put an additional tram stop in near the new water slide and it is now possible to go by tram with just changing once from near the ship all the way to Serenity Bay.

    When we got to Serenity Bay, we hired an inner tube. I spend a couple of happy ours floating and being pushed by Graham. When we got out of the water, Graham headed over to the food area to get some lunch. I could not face the idea of food and stayed on the beach. I had hoped to get one of the hammocks. Indeed, there were a couple of hammocks that had been empty all morning even though beach bags had been hanging from the post. I headed over to one of them, just to be told that they are taken. When I queried this, I was told that the occupants had just gone to get a drink. I did not have the energy to argue so I found myself a chair nearby. I don't know where those people had gone to get there drinks, because they still were not back when I headed back to the ship a couple of hours later.

    I managed to fall asleep. I vaguely remember Graham coming back from lunch, collecting the inner tube and heading for the sea. The next time I woke up, I saw Graham in the distance heading towards the tram stop. I decided to call it a day as we and headed for the tram myself.

    When I got off the tram near the ship, they had staff welcoming people back with iced water and cool flannels. Both were blissful. Graham was only slightly ahead of me and was just going up the gangway as I arrived back at the ship. We caught up with each other on deck 1.

    We quickly went back to the cabin and then headed up to deck 9. I wanted to hear the horn one last time and we admired the view as we pulled away from Castaway Cay. As soon as we were back underway, I felt a lot better and I was actually hungry after I had not felt like food all day. We got some Paninis and fresh fruit from Goofy's Galley and sat down near the adult pool. Of course, having food only a few hours before dinner meant that we were not in the mood for dinner later.

    Once we had our food and we had lost sight of Castaway Cay, we went back to our cabin to get our swim stuff for one last trip to the Rainforest Room. We stayed there for about an hour and then headed to the shops. They had a nice Transatlantic top and I was still living in hope that they would reduce the price of the merchandise, but that was not to be.

    Eventually we had to go back to the cabin and pack. I hate packing with a passion and have never quite made up my mind if I hate it more to pack for going on holiday or for going home - or in this case for moving on to the next part of the holiday. Eventually it was all done. The saddest bit was taking all the magnets of the door and to pack the Fish Extender. Whereas throughout the cruise they had provided a bright spot as soon as I turned into the hallway, now our cabin looked just like any other cabin.

    I put our luggage outside as soon as I could. Graham had actually fallen asleep. I woke him up at dinner time, but he did not feel like dinner. I was not hungry either, but thought at least one of us should make an appearance in the dining room to give out the tip envelopes. We always charge the tips to our onboard account and we could have easily handed out the envelopes with the little receipts at breakfast the next morning, but I know what reputation people from the UK have in the USA and in the cruise industry when it comes to tipping. So I decided to drop off the tip envelopes.

    I bumped into our stateroom host in the corridor and he wanted to know where Graham was. I told him that Graham was asleep. He asked if we did not want the turndown service that night, which I confirmed. He looked absolutely stricken. I think he felt genuinely guilty that he had not made up the room earlier.

    I headed downstairs to the dining room. The insides of the lifts had been covered with plywood. Well considering that the staff was not supposed to admit that the ship was going straight to dry dock, this came as a bit of a surprise.

    When I got to the dining room, I was asked straight away where Graham was. Our serving team did not look too happy when I told them that he was not coming and their faces were a picture when I told them I was not staying either. I did sit down until they had taken the orders from all our table mates and asked for some Ginger Ale to take back to the cabin. They tried their hardest to convince me to stay and have dinner. In a way, I would have loved to stay. The last dinner is my favourite in many ways. Between the main course and dessert, they bring out the serving teams with flags representing the nationalities working on the Magic and they play a Caribbean version of "It's A Small World". I find this very moving. On our first cruise, this was the point when I realized that I would be back. They also bring out the traditional flaming Baked Alaska that night. So yes, I would have loved to stay and enjoyed the company of our table mates, but I knew that our server would continue to try and convince me to eat something throughout the meal. So I stood firm and once our assistant server brought my Ginger Ale, I gave out the tip envelopes, said goodnight and headed back to our cabin.

    Graham was fast asleep. I had my Ginger Ale, cleaned my teeth and got ready for bed. It was a bit strange to be on the ship and not to have a new towel animal, but I was do tired that I did not really care.
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 17

    We were woken up by Mickey one last time. We got up and dressed and packed our last few odds and ends. Once this was done, we grabbed our handluggage and left our cabin for the last time for this cruise. We found our stateroom host just down the corridor and went to say goodbye to him.

    We then headed up to Shutters. I still had some credits for prints and we needed to pick up my CD. To my immense surprise, Shutters was not particularly busy. When we had chosen the prints that we wanted and headed for the till, there were only two people in front of us. We were handed our CD (well, actually three CDs) and some sheets with thumbnails. We were asked to check those to see if everything was there. I had a quick look over them and could not see anything amiss. To my defence, the thumbnails were tiny and in black and white. I also had checked the photo kiosks throughout the cruise and everything was present and accounted for. So I did not expect any problems. It was only once I got home and downloaded the photos that I realised that all the photos from the last 4 days of the cruise had not made it onto the CD.

    Once we were done at Shutters, it was still way too early to go to breakfast. So we decided to get some fresh air on deck 4. I could not believe my eyes. The Magic was refuelled at the time and there was a great big refuelling barge docked against the Magic. Yet people thought nothing of it to smoke on deck 4. What worried me even more was that a number of members of staff came by and not one of them said anything.

    Deck 4 had been completely covered in plywood and supplies for the dry dock were carried backwards and forwards. We had the distinct feeling that we were in the way and it was all too depressing anyway. We quickly went to the other side of the ship so that I could take some photos of the terminal building and then we went downstairs.





    The atrium was manic. I don't think the ship had been cleared for disembarkation at that point, but those that had early breakfast had finished and were ready to get off the ship.

    We somehow made it to the Promenade Lounge and sat down. A number of people came over and said goodbye. One couple asked me what my plan was for the day. I mentioned that I intended to head for the Magic Kingdom. They mentioned that they had arranged to meet up with somebody else at midday by Guest Sevices in front of the Magic Kingdom and invited me to join them. I said that I would try to make it and said goodbye.

    It was finally breakfast and we headed over to Parrot Cay. We enjoyed one last meal with our serving team and our table mates and then it was time to say goodbye. We headed for the atrium, which was completely empty by that time. It was strange leaving the Magic this time as we have no idea when we will be back. We have two cruises booked for 2011, but they are both on the Wonder. I am sure that we will have a wonderful time, but my heart and most of my memories belong to the Magic.

    Disembarkation was the smoothest that we had ever experienced it. We walked down the gangway and into the terminal building. Our Key To The World Cards were swiped one last time and we were allowed to go straight to the customs hall. We found our luggage straight away and got into line for immigration. Normally the line for US citizens is huge and the line for other nationalities is much shorter. This time, it was the other way found. Still, the line moved mercifully quickly and soon we had our stamp in our passports and were sent on our way. This was probably the quickest and most painless entry into the USA.

    As soon as we left the building, we were intercepted and had our Key To The World card inspected and checked for our transfer arrangements. Once it was established that we were headed to one of the resorts, we were directed to a check in desk where we were asked for our destination. We were advised to stand opposite and wait as they were waiting for our bus to come in. There were already 10 people or so there and we joined them. We waited and waited and waited. In the meantime so many people had arrived in the area we were waiting in that we were blocking the path. In the information that we had been given, we had been advised that our bus would leave at 9:00. Well, it was 10:30 by the time we finally left. That was not the end of our troubles though. Whenever we had stopped at three resorts including the one where we were headed. This time it felt like we were given a tour of the whole property. We stopped at Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Wilderness Lodge and finally the Contemporary. To add insult to injury, at three of the resorts Magical Express buses were backed up and we had to wait until we could drive up to the front of the resort and unload people. The same happened again at the Contemporary. We were waiting about 20 yards away from the bus stop. We asked if we could get off there, but were told that this would be against the rules. So we had to be patient. Another 15 minutes or so later, we finally pulled up in front of the Contemporary and were released. By that time it was 12:30. We had to check in at the Contemporary as Bay Lake Tower does not have its own check in.

    Check in was smooth. Our room was ready. I was a bit disappointed when I found out that we were on the second floor, but this actually worked out to be perfect. When I made the booking, the DVC cast member had noticed that it was Graham's birthday during the stay and she had added a note to that effect onto the booking. So Graham was given a birthday button when we checked in. I had added the Deluxe Dining Plan to our reservation and I had to pay for that. The cast member who checked us in, quickly ran through our entitlement with us and then we were done. He asked if we needed any help with our luggage, which we declined. We then were given a map and directions to our room.

    We had no problem finding our room. We had a quick look around and enjoyed the view. We had a perfect view over Bay Lake and the marina. The studio was a bit smaller than the other DVC studios we had stayed in, but it was a perfect size for us. I also really loved the layout and decor. Everything was done extremely tastefully.

    Once had a good look around, we decided to head back over to the Contemporary. As part of the Deluxe Dining Plan, we got a refillable resort mug each and we needed to pick this up from the Contempo Cafe, which is the counter service restaurant at the Contemporary. I had bought myself a mug at the Animal Kingdom Lodge last year and was familiar with the concept. For Graham it was new. I showed him how it worked. I thought it was nice that apart from the usual soft drinks and hot tea and coffee, they had four different types of brewed ice tea on offer rather than the stuff that normally is in the drinks dispensers. Graham decided that we was a little hungry. I showed him the symbol for the snack credit and explained that he could redeem his snack credits for anything showing this symbol. He used two snack credits for some fruit and a cookie. Even he had to admit that the dining plan is not as complicated as he had expected.

    Once we had finished our drinks and Graham had finished his snack, I decided that it was time to head for the park. This was the first weekend of the Food and Wine Festival and also the weekend of the inaugural Food and Wine Half Marathon so I decided to give Epcot a wide berth and headed for the Magic Kingdom. I was not too sure how busy it would be. I knew that there is a footpath between the Contemporary and the Magic Kingdom so I decided to check this out. Graham kindly offered to walk me over there. I have to admit though that this was the only time that I used the footpath. Having the monorail right in the hotel proved too tempting and I did more than enough walking in the park.

    It was pretty hot that day so I headed up Main Street inside the shops. When I got to the information board, I noticed that the waiting times were very low. I headed straight to Tomorrowland and to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. The wait time was only about 15 minutes, but I still decided to get a Fast Pass for later just because I could. I did the ride three times in a row and then headed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. I actually had the longest wait there as they seemed to have some technical issues. Still, I love the ride and the 20 minute or so wait was well worth it. Once I got off the ride, the window for my Fast Pass had opened so I went back to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin to ride this once again. After this, I had enough of Tomorrowland and headed back towards the hub. On the way I encountered Push, the talking trash can and I just had to take a photo of him. I also managed to get a nice photo of the castle.





    I headed over to Liberty Square and managed to ride Haunted Mansion twice in quick succession and took some photos of the hearse. I then crossed over into Adventureland and did Pirates of the Caribbean twice.





    By then I had enough. I used one of my snack credits for a Dole Whip Float and then browsed the shops on the other side of Main Street. I was a bit disappointed when I realized that Uptown Jewellers does no longer sell pins. This always was one of my favourite places to shop for pins. Instead they are now stocking a wide range of Dooney and Bourke Bags. So I spent a few happy minutes window shopping.

    I decided to take the monorail back to the hotel. Graham was out when I got back and I decided to just have a little nap. The bed was so comfortable.

    Graham came back shortly afterwards and we decided to check out the Top Of The World Lounge. This is for the exclusive use of DVC members staying on points and their guests. We had to check in on the ground floor of Bay Lake Tower and were escorted to a special lift, which then took us up there. The few was stunning. There were lots of vultures roosting on Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary and more were arriving by the minute. They are actually surprisingly graceful in the air.

    Graham had a Virgin Pina Colada and I had a Virgin Mojito. We were the only people up there and just enjoyed the atmosphere and or gorgeous surroundings. Once we finished our drinks, we headed out onto the observation deck and enjoyed the sunset.

    Once the sun had set, we headed back to our room to get showered and changed before heading to dinner. Dinner that night was at The Wave so we did not have far to go. I had heard so much good about this restaurant and was really looking forward to this. First impressions were not too good. There was a large family with a number of small children and one of them was screaming her head off the entire time we were waiting to be seated. We were so relieved when we were told that our table was ready. The relief did not last very long. The family was seated very close to us and the child was still screaming when we left the restaurant after our meal.

    The food was gorgeous though. Graham had some seafood for starter followed by a steak. I had a Black Bean Chilli for my starter followed by Beef Tenderloin, which was very good. Graham passed on dessert, but I just had to try the Gelato Sampler that the cast member that had checked us in in the morning had recommeded. It consisted of Rocky Road ice cream, Peanut Butter and Jelly ice cream and Popcorn ice cream. I am not normally a fan of popcorn and could not imagine that this would work as an ice cream flavour, but this blew my mind away. This was so good.

    After dinner, Graham showed me where the business centre was as I needed some Internet time the next day. Then we headed back to our room. We had every intention to watch the Electrical Water Pageant. We saw the floats as they were moved into position, but could not actually see it coming past from our room. We did hear the music though, which was magical enough. As soon as the music stopped, I fell asleep.
     

    ForTheLoveOfDCL

    A Dream is a wish your
    Joined
    Sep 17, 2008
    I so hate disembarking....I cry at the "till we meet again party" everytime! I am always like "M-i-c- ..see ya real soon....(sniff sniff:sad1:)--k-e-y-...why cause we like you...sniff sniff :sad1: MOUSE!" Man I could cry just thinking of it!

    you have more restraint when it comes to smokers...i probably would have said I don't wanna blow up so u think u can wait till we get off? My kids hold their breath and will loadly voice " Mom, smoking is gonna kill them young isn't it?" I, being so proud of my girls and how they are smarter then most adults.say.."yes it will!":):thumbsup2

    I am so enjoying this trip report. I have to say, I am not excited you are gooing away from 15++ days and I will miss chatting but it just means another trip report!!!!:yay::banana:

    I agree with you about Buzz and people mover----2 of my favs!!
    I also would agree a screaming child would make dinner uncomfortable. Youngins(infant-3) will mis-behave but I always had great kids in that respect cause we had dinner at the table at home every night. Americans are so on the go and don't appreciate their families and how important this is to kids. This explains why cause this child didn't know how to behave. As a parent I would have gotten up and left and took my food to go. Thats what respectful parents do!

    Ok now I need More...LOL Oh I guess I have to wait till you return!! ;)
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I so hate disembarking....I cry at the "till we meet again party" everytime! I am always like "M-i-c- ..see ya real soon....(sniff sniff:sad1:)--k-e-y-...why cause we like you...sniff sniff :sad1: MOUSE!" Man I could cry just thinking of it!

    you have more restraint when it comes to smokers...i probably would have said I don't wanna blow up so u think u can wait till we get off? My kids hold their breath and will loadly voice " Mom, smoking is gonna kill them young isn't it?" I, being so proud of my girls and how they are smarter then most adults.say.."yes it will!":):thumbsup2

    I am so enjoying this trip report. I have to say, I am not excited you are gooing away from 15++ days and I will miss chatting but it just means another trip report!!!!:yay::banana:

    I agree with you about Buzz and people mover----2 of my favs!!
    I also would agree a screaming child would make dinner uncomfortable. Youngins(infant-3) will mis-behave but I always had great kids in that respect cause we had dinner at the table at home every night. Americans are so on the go and don't appreciate their families and how important this is to kids. This explains why cause this child didn't know how to behave. As a parent I would have gotten up and left and took my food to go. Thats what respectful parents do!

    Ok now I need More...LOL Oh I guess I have to wait till you return!! ;)
    I still have not made it to the "Till We Meet Again Party" after 5 cruises. I will try again this time. If I do not make it then either, you have my official permission to drag me there on our cruise.

    As to the trip report, don't worry. Graham has threatened me that I won't get to go on the cruise if I have not finished my last trip report. So this will be done by the time I go. I might finish the last bit off at the hotel near the airport. We have a club room and free access to the internet in their club lounge.

    I will miss chatting with you, too.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 18

    We were woken up bright and early by a phone call from Stitch and Mickey. It is no secret that Stitch is one of my favourite characters, but I prefer my wake up calls to just come from Mickey. We got up and headed to breakfast.

    Breakfast that morning was at The Wave again and the contrast from the previous evening could not have been bigger. The restaurant was virtually empty and it was calm and peaceful. I decided to go with the Eggs Benedict with a fillet steak and Graham had a normal cooked breakfast. I realized that the bad Eggs Benedict that I had on the Magic had really put me off this dish and Graham ended up eating most of this. The steak was gorgeous though and I really loved the Lavender Earl Grey tea that I had chosen.

    After breakfast, I said goodbye to Graham and headed to the Magic Kingdom. I got there around rope drop and took a photo of the railway station in its Halloween finery. I quickly checked at Town Hall when the fireworks would be that night. That night was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the cast member asked me if I had a ticket. I explained that I was staying at Bay Lake Tower and was intending to watch the fireworks from the Top of the World Lounge. He nodded and told me when it would take place. I then headed towards Adventureland. Jungle Cruise had no wait so I decided to do this first. I wandered around Adventureland for a bit to take photos. I also managed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean a couple of times with next to no wait.











    From there, I headed straight for Big Thunder Mountain. I got a Fast Pass and then got into the standby line. Well, it was a complete walk on. I did this ride three times using the standby line. After the third time I could see that the lines were starting to built and I used my Fast Pass as the window for that had opened. I got another Fast Pass for later, but in the end I never used this. I then strolled around Frontierland and made good use of the fact that the park was so empty. I took plenty of photos.





















    Next up was Liberty Square for more photos and a couple of quick rides on Haunted Mansion. I started to wonder where all the people were. I have been at Disney World at some quiet times as few times before, but I don’t think I have ever seen the park that empty.







    I decided to cross over to Fantasyland. I was quite sad to see It’s A Small World all boarded up. I knew that this was closed for refurbishment, but it still gave me a little stab in the heart. This was just an omen for things to come. There is a lot of building work going on at Fantasyland with boarded up buildings and cranes everywhere. It was decidedly not magical, but it was also very empty. The standby line for Peter Pan’s Flight was advertised as 20 minutes. So I decided to go for this. I love the ride, but do not like the crowds that it normally attracts. So I only do this very rarely. However, 20 minutes was too good to pass up. In the end it took only 15 and I enjoyed the ride. I did Snow Whites Scary Adventures and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in short order, just because I could. I then walked over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and there was only a 5-minute wait time there, so I did this as well.

    I had enough of Fantasyland at that point and crossed over into Tomorrowland. Once I was in Tomorrowland I headed straight for Carrousel of Progress and then did Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover and a couple of rides on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. I headed back towards Liberty Square and managed to take a nice photo of the castle on the way.



    I always like to browse Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe when at the Magic Kingdom. There were no ornaments that particularly called out to me this year though, which was probably just as well. I then made a quick stop at Adventureland. I used another snack credit for a Dole Whip Float and then headed towards the exit. It was only shortly after 13:00, but I had done everything I wanted to do and then some. I decided to catch the monorail back to the resort and while I was waiting for the monorail, I managed to take some photos of Bay Lake Tower, the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian from the monorail station.






    When I got back to the hotel, I went to the business centre to take care of a couple of things that I needed to do online. I then headed back to the room. I had arranged to meet Graham there at around 15:00 and we were going to check out the pools together. Even though I was early, Graham arrived shortly after I did. We started off with the main pool at the Contemporary and after swimming for a bit, I could not resist the water slide. I had a go at this and then Graham decided to try it out, too. We then decided to try the pool at Bay Lake Tower. On the way there, we spotted the quiet pool at the Contemporary. It looked quite small and shallow, but that was deceptive. It is overlooking Bay Lake. We got in and noticed that this is actually pretty big and much deeper than it looks. It was perfect for some serious swimming, especially as we were the only people in there. Eventually we did head for the Bay Cove pool. This is smaller than the main pool at the Contemporary, but it has a mean slide. The slight there is very steep and very fast. Graham sent me ahead to try it first, but then had a go himself. We hang around in the pool area for a bit longer. They did a Disney soundtrack trivia game and I thought I would do rather well, but that was not the case. I suppose I am mainly familiar with the soundtracks of what I consider the Golden Age of Disney Movies that spans from the release of The Little Mermaid to The Lion King. Still, it was a bit of fun.

    At about 17:00 the sun started to go away and we started to feel a bit cold. So we decided to head back to our room. We got showered and changed for dinner and then headed to the Monorail. The venue for this night’s dinner was Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian. I am not too keen on the Grand Floridian as I find it too stuffy and a bit stifling. However, Narcoossee's is not in the name building, but in a separate little building by the shore of Bay Lake. I also had heard that it is very intimate and romantic. When Graham and I had a disagreement about our holiday plans a while back, one of the arguments against Disney World was that he did not want to have mediocre food in noisy surroundings. So I wanted to show him that there is another aspect of Disney World. Narcoossee's just seemed to fit the bill.

    I was a bit pessimistic about how long it would take us to get there and we set off too early. I was not entirely sure where exactly Narcoossee's was, but Graham had used his pool hopping privileges to try out the pools at the Grand Floridian earlier in the day and had a fair idea where we needed to go. So we got to the restaurant well ahead of time. I figured it would not do any harm to let them know that we were there. We were given a pager and Graham headed out on the balcony to enjoy the view. He did not get a lot of time to do so as the pager went off about 5 minutes later. I had added his birthday to our reservations and I was impressed with how they recognized this. There was Mickey confetti all over the table and he was presented with a personalized menu. The food was fantastic and our server was first class. Graham had the Shrimp and Crab Chowder on recommendation of our server followed by Surf and Turf (Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail). I had Brie en Croute followed by Filet Mignon. For dessert Graham went with the Duo of Crème Brulee (Coconut and Key Lime) and I had the Gelato Sampler (Chocolate, Raspberry, Pistachio and Cappuccino). I think this was probably our favourite meal.

    Once we finished our dinner, we headed back towards the main building. On the way to the Monorail, I had a quick look in Basin White. Then we headed back to our hotel. We decided to go up to the observation deck outside the Top of the World Lounge to watch the fireworks. Now, I have to say that I normally intensely dislike fireworks or anything else that makes loud noises. However, I know that we might never have the opportunity for this again so up we went. It was not half as busy as I had expected. The fireworks that night was not the normal Wishes, but Happy HalloWishes. The soundtrack was piped in and we had a perfect view. I think our view was better than what the people at the Magic Kingdom enjoyed. The fireworks started and my jaw literally dropped. This was just breathtakingly beautiful. Once the fireworks were over, we headed to bed as we would have another fairly early start.
     
  • ForTheLoveOfDCL

    A Dream is a wish your
    Joined
    Sep 17, 2008
    Oh Corinna-- even though I was just there, I felt my heart drop as you described the fireworks and the pictures of the Castle. I love the one where the Castle is peeking out of the trees. :love::lovestruc Absolutely divine!!! I have decided that Graham doesn't spend enough time at the MK ...so I think I should go with you and we leave Graham home.:rotfl2::lmao: So hold on and I will get my passport out and stuff packed and meet you there and join you on the Wonder...LOL Sorry Graham you must stay home!!:thumbsup2

    Awaiting more lovely photos!!!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Oh Corinna-- even though I was just there, I felt my heart drop as you described the fireworks and the pictures of the Castle. I love the one where the Castle is peeking out of the trees. :love::lovestruc Absolutely divine!!! I have decided that Graham doesn't spend enough time at the MK ...so I think I should go with you and we leave Graham home.:rotfl2::lmao: So hold on and I will get my passport out and stuff packed and meet you there and join you on the Wonder...LOL Sorry Graham you must stay home!!:thumbsup2

    Awaiting more lovely photos!!!
    Good try, Michelle :rotfl: I just have the feeling that not only Graham would be less than impressed, but Del, Sydney and Nelia would not like it much either. In any case, I won't get to see a Disney Park this time round. We just stay one night at Animal Kingdom Lodge, head back to the airport at the crack of dawn and go tho the port.

    Corinna
     

    ForTheLoveOfDCL

    A Dream is a wish your
    Joined
    Sep 17, 2008
    Good try, Michelle :rotfl: I just have the feeling that not only Graham would be less than impressed, but Del, Sydney and Nelia would not like it much either. In any case, I won't get to see a Disney Park this time round. We just stay one night at Animal Kingdom Lodge, head back to the airport at the crack of dawn and go tho the port.

    Corinna
    Well can't fault a girl for trying!!:) Though I better stop trying to take his place or he will be none to happy with me on the MR:rotfl:
     

    mandymouse

    Bahama Mama Time !!
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2003
    Corinna, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip report and seeing your fabulous photos over the last few weeks

    I hope you have an amazing time on the Panama Canal cruise, and I can't wait to hear all about it :)
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 19

    Stitch and Mickey woke us up bright and early that morning. This time we had to go a bit further for our breakfast as I had a character breakfast booked at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. Most meals I had chosen very much with what Graham would like in mind, but I have to admit that I snuck in a couple of meals that were all about me. This was the first one. I had wanted to do this since we first stayed onsite 3 years ago, but I never could pull this off. This time there was nothing stopping us. As we were staying on the Monorail loop, we were flexible with timings as I knew however early the reservation, we could get there.

    I love character meals at the best of times, but this has always been especially attractive as it involves one of my favourite characters, Stitch. We got there well ahead of time and checked in early. We were given a pager, but did not have to wait very long. They were giving out leis to everybody, but somehow we were overlooked. We were shown to our table and our server came to introduce herself. She also brought Graham a birthday card signed by the characters. Soon the characters started arriving. Stitch came out first, followed shortly afterwards by Lilo.









    Once they had been by, our server brought out our breakfast, which was served family style and consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, breakfast potatoes, Mickey waffles and various pastries. The food was fairly ordinary and could have been hotter. They did serve a juice though that was delicious. It was a blend of orange, passion fruit and guava juices. While we were having breakfast, Mickey came out and stopped at the table next to us and then went straight past us. This annoyed me. The same thing had previously happened to me at Crystal Palace. Some of the characters just bypassed me. I know we were just two adults, but I had my camera out and it is unlikely that people go to a character meal for the gourmet food. Last year I did not say anything, but this year I decided to just mention it to our server. She was very apologetic and went and spoke to the character manager. In the meantime Pluto had come out and he did stop at our table. Shortly afterwards Mickey came over as well.









    At the end of the breakfast, Graham was given a birthday cup cake. We were just about ready to leave when Stitch came walking over. He grabbed my DVC cap that I had put on a spare chair, put this on and sat down with us for a while. This made my day. Who needs Mickey if Stitch wants to be your friend?





    As we were leaving, I took photos of some dolphins that were hanging from the ceiling and a dolphin statue that was in the corridor near the restaurant.





    I was heading to Epcot that day and Graham walked me to the Transportation and Ticket Centre where I got on the Monorail to Epcot and he went on his way back to the hotel to pick up a few things before going on his adventures.

    I did not quite make it for rope drop, but I was not far behind. There was no line at all at Spaceship Earth, but I passed this by and headed straight for The Land and Soarin. When I got there, I got a Fast Pass for Soarin and then got in the standby line, which was only 20 minutes. I did Soarin followed by Living with the Land, which was a walk on. I then headed over to Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment, which was also a walk on. I still had time until my Fast Pass Window opened and decided to check out Test Track. The standby line was 30 minutes, but the Single Rider Line was only 5 minutes. This would do nicely. I walked up the ramp, through the briefing room and straight into the line. They did not seem to need a lot of single riders at that time. When my turn came, they asked me to stand on position 1, which is very unusual for a single rider. The car came, I got in and buckled myself in and the car started to move, with just me in it. That I was slightly bewildered would be the understatement of the year. The cast member who did the seatbelt checks asked me if I was some kind of VIP. I started to wonder. I enjoyed my ride and then headed back towards The Land.

    My plan for that day had been to do Future World that day and do the World Showcase the next day. However, on the way to The Land, I somehow took a wrong turn and ended up in the area linking Future World and the World Show Case. I saw one of the kiosks for the Kim Possible World Show Case Adventure and decided that I wanted to do a mission. My mission would start at International Gateway at 11:05, which just gave me enough time to ride Soarin once again using my Fast Pass and then head to International Gateway.

    I got another Fast Pass for Soarin for later and did my ride. I then legged it to International Gateway and checked in at the Kim Possible station there. I was asked if I had a preference for a particular mission, which I did not as I intended to do all of them. I was given my Kimmunicator (a modified mobile phone) and moved off. Once I was clear of the station, I was given my mission. I did not have far to go as my first mission was the UK. The missions that I did were all different from last year, but some elements were the same. The mission at the UK has always been my favourite as this is the most interactive. This was still the case. Once I finished this mission, I was asked if I wanted to do another mission and I chose France. In the end it let me do Japan, Germany, China and Mexico as well before it asked me to drop the Kimmunicator off. It had skipped Norway.

    On the way round, I had a Tangerine Mimosa at the Moroccan stall for the Food and Wine Festival and I picked a pearl at the Mitsukoshi Department Store at the Japanese Pavilion. The Pick a Pearl area is normally very crowded, but it was deserted that day. I picked the ugliest oyster that I could find and got twin pearls with a yellow shimmer. I decided to have them set. Lat year I got twins as well and head them set as simple earrings so this time round I went for a simple Sterling Silver ring that would hold two pearls. I was told to come back later to pick this up.

    After I had finished my mission at Mexico, I decided to head over to the Kim Possible station near Norway to see if I could do the last mission. This was no problem and I was given a new Kimmunicator and did my last mission at Norway. From there I walked over to Canada to redeem a snack credit for a cup of Cheddar Cheese Soup and took the Friendship boat to Morocco. I then walked over to Japan to pick up my ring and carried on to Germany where I took the Friendship boat back to Mexico. On the way, I managed to have a glass of Rosa Regale at Italy and to take some photos.



















    Once I got to Mexico, I decided that I had done enough for one day and headed towards the exit. I was stopped at one of the DVC kiosks as I was wearing my DVC caps and was given a passport for the Food and Wine festival that I could have stamped in every country that I sampled something from.

    I never made it back to Soarin. I had quite a long wait for the Monorail at Epcot, but when I got to the Transportation and Ticket Centre, the resort Monorail pulled in just as I was approaching the platform.

    I had arranged to meet Graham back at the room at 16:00 as Simon and Susan Veness would be coming over that evening and we had arranged to meet them outside Captain Mickey’s at 17:00. I would have comfortably made this if it had not been for me spotting a familiar face at the DVC desk at the Contemporary when coming down from the Monorail. We had two fantastic ladies manning the DVC desk on the Magic during our Med cruise, Suzie and Kara. Well, Suzie was sitting right there and I went over to say “hi”. We chatted for a while. Fortunately we were interrupted by a couple from Italy, as I had totally lost track of time. They were DVC members and were hoping to get a tour of Bay Lake Tower, but they had missed the slot for this. I offered to quickly show them around as I needed to get back to the room anyway. I said goodbye to Suzie and we headed off.

    When I got back to the room, Graham was already there. Fortunately I can get showered and changed at the speed of lightning and I did just that. We headed back over to the Contemporary a bit early as Suzie had asked after Graham and we were chatting with her when Simon and Susan arrived.

    We gave them the grand guided tour of Bay Lake Tower. We had managed to sneak in there last year, but normally you need your Key To The World Card to enter the footbridge from the Contemporary. We showed them the pool area and our room before heading up to the Top of the World Lounge.



    This was a kind of trial run. The rules state that the Top of the World Lounge is for DVC members staying at Bay Lake Tower on points and their guests. Well, we were DVC members staying on points and Simon and Susan were our guests for the evening. We had only been asked for one card the day before and hoped that the same would be the case that evening. It was and soon we were up there. Again, we were the only people there. We had some drinks and just chatted for a while. All too soon it was time to go down to the boat dock to catch a boat over to Wilderness Lodge where we had a reservation for Artist Point.



    The boat trip was nice. We had got to Wilderness Lodge with plenty of time to spare so had a quick walk around the outside. Unfortunately it was dark by then. We headed inside the building. This has a real wow factor. I still think I prefer Animal Kingdom Lodge though. We checked in at the podium and were directed to wait at the bar. We just got our drinks when we were called as out table was ready. We had a fantastic meal in great company. Graham and I had the famous Smokey Portobello Soup, which was out of this world. He had the salmon on recommendation of our server and I had a steak and we both enjoyed our dinner.

    After dinner, we headed back to the boat dock. While we were traveling back to the Contemporary, we encountered the Electrical Water Pageant on the lake. This was stunning. When we got back to Bay Lake Tower, we went straight to the check in for the Top of the World Lounge. It was a bit busier on the observation deck that night, but we still got a good spot. That night the fireworks were Wishes. Neither Graham nor I had seen this before and I was absolutely blown away by this. Simon and Susan have seen this many times before, but were impressed by the perspective.

    Once the fireworks were over, we went back downstairs and said goodbye to Simon and Susan. We were all tired. Once Graham and I got back to our room, I just set the wake up call and went straight to sleep.
     

    mandymouse

    Bahama Mama Time !!
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2003
    Another fun packed day Corinna. We love the breakfast with Lilo & Stitch too. More lovely pics again ::yes::

    Can I ask ? Doesn't Graham like going to the parks ? What does he like to do when you're off on your adventures ?
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Another fun packed day Corinna. We love the breakfast with Lilo & Stitch too. More lovely pics again ::yes::

    Can I ask ? Doesn't Graham like going to the parks ? What does he like to do when you're off on your adventures ?
    No, he does not do the parks. Normally I can convince him to come with me one day, but as we were only there for 5 nights this time round, I did not even try. The only park that he does really enjoy is Disneyland in California.

    As we are DVC members and tend to go off season, he can make full use of the pool hopping privileges. It is only the pools at Animal Kingdom Lodge/ Villas, Yacht and Beach Club and Bay Lake Tower that are out of bounds as far as pool hopping is concerned. He loves riding the Monorails and the boats and generally exploring. We both end up having a good time.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 20

    Mickey and Stitch woke us up nice and early again as I had another breakfast booked at the Polynesian Resort. This time we would eat at Kona Café. We got up and got ready and then went to get the Monorail to the Polynesian. The Monorail came just as we came up the escalator so we arrived at the Polynesian in plenty of time. We checked in and were seated straight away. The restaurant was nearly empty. I took a photo and then went about the serious business about choosing my food. I am not normally a breakfast person, but there were a number of dishes that really tempted me. In the end I went for The Samoan, which was poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce served over smoked pulled pork hash. This was very yummy. Graham had sausage, eggs, breakfast potatoes and a biscuit. Graham was also given a birthday cupcake.





    After breakfast I wanted to have a look around the hotel. I spotted a model of the Magic and the Disney Cruise Line check in desk. As there was no ship in port that day, the desk was not manned, but I could not resist taking some photos.





    I had spotted a Wyland Gallery, but unfortunately this was closed. I had a look at another shop and managed to get some Figment pins for my collection. When we came out and were about to head for the exit, I noticed that the Wyland Gallery was now open and we had a good look around.

    Once I had finished admiring the works of art, we headed out to have a quick look at the pools. Graham had of course tried them out. I was very amused that the quiet pool was full of ducks.



    Graham walked me to the Transportation and Ticket Centre and we arranged to meet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge as we were having dinner there that night. This time round, I did not have a long wait for the Monorail.

    After my grand tour around the World Show Case the day before, I decided that I would really stick to Future World this time round. I headed to Soarin first, got a Fast Past and got into the standby line. Once I had my ride on Soarin, I did Living with the Land and then headed over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. I love the ride, but the ride broke down when I was getting near the end and after a while, hearing the same couple of sentences over and over again started to get on my nerves. Once we were finally moving again and got to the end of the ride, I headed upstairs to see the dolphins and manatees for a bit.





    Next up was Innoventions. I did the Great Piggy Bank Adventure, which I really enjoyed. Next up was The Sum of All Thrills. They were in soft opening mode last year when we where there and the lines were insane. This year there was next to no line so I could not resist this. It was a lot of fun to design my own rollercoaster and then get to ride it. I did not add any inversions, but loads of twists, turns and drops and it was quite fast. I was not sure if this was such a clever idea as I do suffer from motion sickness on certain rides and I was still suffering after coming off the ship. I was very relieved when the cast member pointed out the stop button. In the end I did not need it and I had a blast. I had a quick look at Segway Central and was advised that I could have a go myself if I came back after 13:00.

    By then I was thirsty and headed to Club Cool for some samples. I always love to get some Mezzomix as I grew up with this and also the Watermelon Soda from China. After I had my fill of samples, I headed to Mouse Gear to get a birthday present for Graham. I wanted to get him a new watch as his watch had seen better days. Of course the challenge was to find something suitably understated that he would actually wear it. I managed to find a nice watch with a black watch face with a thin silver Mickey silhouette on it and decided to go for this. I also got him a Grumpy t-shirt and a Grumpy tie. I had this sent to the gift shop just outside for package pick up so that I did not have to carry this around all day.

    By then it was gone 13:00 and I went back to Innoventions and got into line to try out the Segway. I have always had trouble with my balance, but I coped with this surprisingly well. So I decided to head over to Guest Services to see if I could make a reservation for the Segway Experience at Fort Wilderness for the next day as a birthday surprise for Graham. Unfortunately they only had the first session available, which would have clashed with our breakfast reservation. So I passed on this.

    I headed over to Spaceship Earth and the wait time was posted as 15 minutes so I decided to do this next. After the ride I decided to have a look at the post-ride area. Normally I bypass this, but I came across a game that was a lot of fun. You have to wear 3D glasses and then put together a human body against the clock.

    I decided to head over to Test Track and Mission Space. On the way I came past a DVC kiosk and found Kara from our Med cruise there. Susie had told her that she had seen me the previous day. I kept Kara company for a while and we had a good chat. I then did go to do Test Track as the Single Rider Line was only 15 minutes. This time round we went through the “briefing” and I got to share the car with a nice family. When I got to Mission Space, I found that they waiting time was about 45 minutes, which was too long for my liking. So I decided to come back for that the next day.

    I went back to Soarin to use my Fast Pass and then headed for the exit. I picked up my purchases and then went to find a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I must have just missed one as I had quite a wait, but I still got there ahead of schedule. Graham was already there and had made himself comfortable in one of the rocking chairs on one of the observation decks. I said “hi” to him and then wandered around for a bit taking photos of some of the animals.

















    Once I had enough of watching the animals, we headed down to Jiko to check in. We had a short wait for our table. When we were shown to our table, Graham was given a birthday card with birthday wishes in the native language of all the staff working there. Once we were seated, our server explained our options on the dining plan as they have three different sections on the menu that all count as an appetizer. She also recommended a non-alcoholic cocktail that we could have as part of our dining plan entitlement. We both decided to go for this and Graham treated himself to a beer. He ended up with three glasses as our server had brought us some water as well.



    Graham ended up choosing the Sweet Corn Bisque with Peekytoe Crab, pickled celery, and cilantro-green chili yogurt for his starter and I went with the Grilled Flank Steak Flatbread with Manchego cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and berbere sour cream. We both thoroughly enjoyed our starters. For our main course we both had Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Maccaroni Cheese and red wine sauce, which was gorgeous. Neither of us had any room for dessert.

    After dinner we headed out to the bus stop and were delighted that less than 5 minutes later a bus to the Magic Kingdom showed up, only to be told that the bus would not actually go anywhere as the Magic Kingdom was closed. I explained that we needed to go to the Contemporary and was advised to go via Downtown Disney. I must have looked very upset about this prospect because the driver suddenly offered to take us to the Contemporary. By the time we were leaving, the bus was half full with people needing to get to various resorts around the lake. He dropped us all off at the Contemporary and the others then took the Monorail or the boat to their resort. I was very grateful, especially when we saw the Downtown Disney bus pulling in just behind us.

    We headed up to the room and relaxed with a bottle of wine that we had bought in Madeira before going to sleep.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 21

    We had a bit of a lie in that day. I had made a reservation for breakfast at The Wave and I was not in a particular rush to get anywhere. Graham unwrapped his birthday presents and then we headed down to breakfast. I had a Create Your Own Wave Muesly. It came with toasted oats, various nuts and dried fruits, fresh fruit and berries, yoghurt and honey. This was right up my street. I also had another chance to drink their gorgeous Lavender Earl Grey. Graham went with out servers recommendation and had The Wave Signature Sweet Potato Pancakes with pecan butter honey and pork sausage.

    After breakfast I said goodbye to Graham and headed for the Monorail to go to Epcot one last time. The interchange at the Transportation and Ticket Centre worked well and I was at Epcot in no time. I headed to The Land and got my usual Fast Pass for Soarin and got in the standby line. As I was a bit later, I had to wait for about 40 minutes, but that was well worth it. I so love this ride. I then did Living with the Land. This had looked a bit bare and depressing the last couple of days with “Replanting in Process” signs all over the place. Well some of that replanting had obviously happened over night and it looked a bit better. It was still a shame that they did not have any Mickey Head Pumpkins this time round. This was the first time that they did not have any of those.





    I took in a quick ride on Journey into Imagination with Figment and then headed over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends to take some photos outside and to do the ride again.











    This time round there were no problems. I had a quick look at the dolphins and then headed to Innoventions to do The Great Piggy Bank Adventure again as I still had a bit of time before my window for my Fast Pass for Soarin opened. I got another Fast Pass. I got a special treat. This was the sixth time that I was riding this during this holiday and every time as soon as I got onto the ramp heading down towards the loading area, a cast member had walked up along the line to ask for a party of 1. Needless to say, this happened again. As usual I was only too happy to volunteer as this cut the waiting time by 10 to 15 minutes. They really need to reintroduce the Single Rider Line for this ride. Anyway, I would have been happy enough to be fast tracked to the ride, but I was told to go to row one. Now, this just so happens to be my favourite. This is the row that goes up the highest and you don’t have anybody’s feet in your line of vision. It is also extremely rare for a single rider to get into row one. I have done this ride over 200 times since 2002 (in both California and Florida) and 90% of the time I end up in row 3 and I can count the amount of times I was in row 1 on one hand.

    Once I had done Soarin, I went to the Pin Trading Station to buy the pins that I had been after all holiday. There were also some pin traders about. I normally only trade with Cast Members, but decided to have a look at the pins. I saw a few that I liked, but did not think I had anything that they would be interested in. Well, it just so happened that they went wild over my UK Disney Store pins. So everybody was happy.

    I headed over to Mission Space to ride the green version and then went back to the World Show Case to get some stamps in my passport. It was nice to see that various countries were offering traditional soft drinks like Iced Mint Tea in Morocco, Honey Ginger Tea in South Korea and a non-alcoholic Fruit Punch in Mexico. I did however have a Mojito and a Caiphirinhia and various food samples. For the food, I could use my dining plan snack credits.





    Well and truly stuffed, I headed towards the exit and stopped by The Land to use my Fast Pass for Soarin. This time they were not looking for single riders, but I was lucky enough to get row 1 again. This was a nice finish to my visits to the parks.

    I headed back to the hotel and found Graham watching Lilo and Stitch. I figured that he was checking out the competition. I had never seen this film before so I watched it with him and it is actually rather cute.

    After the film, we did our laundry, had a look at the Community Hall and then got ready for dinner. We checked in a bit early and were taken up to the California Grill. Our reservation was for once the fireworks finished and we decided to head out to the observation deck to watch the fireworks. We were just opening the door, when our pager went off. We were seated and as soon as we were sitting down, the fireworks started. The soundtrack was piped in and I was wowed by it again, but I preferred the view from Bay Lake Tower. Once the fireworks were over, our server took our order, We shared a BBQ Chicken Flatbread with Triple Cheese, Corn and Red Bell Pepper Marmalade, and Fingerling Potato "Chips". Graham has the special, which was some kind of fish and I went for Crispy Seared Chicken with Olive Oil Crushed Potatoes, Chorizo Succotash, Green Tomato Marmalade, and Sherry Jus. It was nice enough, but the meal there was my least favourite of our stay at Disney World. We were however able to have a Virgin Pina Colada as part of the dining plan, which was nice. Neither of us had any room for dessert. However, I had spotted that one of the desserts came with peanut butter ice cream and I asked if I could just have a scoop of this. I was brought a huge bowl of this. I only managed a few spoonfuls. Graham was brought some chocolate cake with a birthday candle and our server was very upset when we told her that Graham was allergic to chocolate.

    By the time we finished the meal, it was quite late and we headed straight to bed for our last night at Bay Lake Tower.
     



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