Walt Disney World & World Travels

Archive for the ‘Dining Review’ Category

Toasted and heated all the way through after our day at Castaway Cay, we all showered and changed for our last night on the ship. 

Tonights show is Disney Dreams, every night it gets better and this is the best!  The cast shows just how talented they are and will bring a tear to your eyes; guaranteed!  Jon & the kids had doubted me, but I think they were impressed.  I really don’t want to spoil this one, but there are some pretty darn cool effects that go on during this show.    Just a tip, if you have a drink in the theater, you may want to cover it at times….   If I haven’t mentioned it yet, there are concessions stands outside the theater with drinks (alchoholic & non), snacks, etc (these snacks & drinks are a purchase, not free).  There are also servers that take & serve drink orders in the theater before the show starts. 

On our way to dinner, we stopped by the big pin trading event near guest services.  Jason has been collecting a series (Hidden Mickey Villain series) and has 1 missing pin; Cruella DeVille (the most limited edition of the series) that he’s been looking for for a year and a half.  We checked with everyone, and the last CM we talked to, Liam, searched 8 lanyards that he had.  He asked Jason for his name and cabin number just in case he found one.  We thanked him for his time and headed to dinner.

Our meal tonight is at Parrot Cay.  This is one of my favorites of the trip!  I prefer to have it on ‘Pirate Night’  instead of ‘Formal Night’ but it’s still really good and a fun place to eat.  My favorites on the menu….Appetizer; Baked Crab Martinique.  This is filled with lump crab, creamy and delicious!  Next, order the Cold Cream of Mango & Papaya soup!  This is probably in my top 3 foods from both cruises!  and I’m not even a mango or papaya fan.  The Mixed Grill is a great entree and I would be remiss if I forgot to mention the banana bread they serve with dinner, yummy!  If you aren’t stuffed at this point (even if you are) try the French Toast Banana Bread Pudding with coconut icecream & caramel sauce.  Now you’re stuffed!  Good luck doing the limbo….. 

As usual, the kids took off after dinner.  Megan went to Aloft and Jason took off for the sports courts & the kids club.   Jon & I made sure everything was packed and in the hall for our bags to be picked up.  Then we wandered around, enjoying our last night on the ship.  We stopped by Cadillac Lounge, Diversions, Wavebands and finally ended up at Cove Cafe enjoying some tasty coffee drinks 🙂  while watching the incredible light show the storms were putting on.  We finally went back to the room caught up with Jason, and watched the storms from the verandah.  Jason went out and gave our tip to Willie our cabin attnedant and told her he really liked the towel monkey in our room.  After checking with us, she came in and taught Jason how to make the hanging towel monkey.  Very cool!  It was after 1am, time to kick back and relax, and try to stay awake till Meg came “home”.    She had told us they had a lot planned for their final night and that she’d be back late.  I tried to stay up, really I did.  I woke up around 2:30am and went to the bathroom.  I saw there was an envelope under the door, but it was stuck and I didn’t want to open the door and wake anyone.  It was addressed to Jason, assuming that it was a “hope you feel better” after the ray bite yesterday,  I left it till morning…..  I know, don’t assume.   Worried because I hadn’t heard Megan come in, I decided to peek around the curtain,  and  saw her in bed sound asleep – 1st time in her life that she’s been quiet 😉   Knowing she was safe and sound, I went back to sleep.

Mickey Mouse called again to wake us up (some of us were already awake).   I got up and got the envelope from outside.    Jason was just excited that he got an envelope, then when he opened it he was ecstatic!  There was the Cruella DeVille pin he’d been searching for and a note from Liam the CM.   That was so far above & beyond the call of duty, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Liam!  Truly a Magical Moment!

We all got ready, finished packing up our last minute items and left our cabin for the last time. 😦     We went and had our farewell breakfast at Parrot Cay (you’re scheduled to eat your return to port breakfast at the restaurant you ate at the night before -or were scheduled to eat at).  Good breakfast, omelets, pastries, bagels.  Fueled up for our drive home, we made our way off the ship. 

A tip, grab a porter when you get off the ship.  Let them help you find your luggage (that part is actually very easy), they will load it up and take you through the Customs line quickly and efficiently.  I think it is well worth the tip money!  Before you know it, you’re outside and your car is loaded up ready for the drive home.

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Rise & shine it is Castaway Cay day!  I watched the phone yet again waiting for Mickey to tell me it was time to get up.   The phone rang, room service knocked; time to start the day.

Jon, Jason & I went for breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet while Meg (not a breakfast person) got ready for the day on the island.  I love buffet breakfast, so many choices!  A few of the choices here: egg “mc muffin” type sandwiches, waffles (with cherries, chocolate sauce & whipped cream) hashbrowns, sausage & bacon, cereal, omelet station, fruit, pastries…… A little of this, a little of that and before you know it; a full tummy.   We got our food, ordered our omelets and found a table outside overlooking the island.  Our omelets were delivered to our table a few minutes later.  It was a very good, filling breakfast!

Sunscreen? Check! Room keys/ID? Check!  Excursion tickets? Check!  Time to check out Castaway Cay!!!  I think this is what the kids have been looking forward to the most.  Off the ship, take the tram and then pictures with Lilo & Stitch.  Pretty cool so far.  Check in at Scuttles Landing, the kids club on the Island.  The counselors tell me that we can check Jason in whenever, for any part of the day.  Excellent!  Now it’s time to check in for our excursion.  We are doing the ‘Extreme Getaway Package’: snorkeling, sting ray adventure, biking & floating.  Here’s your “tip of the day” snorkel 1st!  First thing in the morning, before the bottom gets all stirred up; go snorkeling.  Jon is the only one of us that has snorkeled before; so I’m pretty sure we were quite the sight on the beach trying to get our gear on.  You’ve never seen people have this much trouble putting masks on.   Ok, swim vests, flippers, masks; we’re set and off into the crystal clear water.  The water is very shallow for quite a ways out; it’s taking a lot of effort to get out.   Then, a fish swims by Megan and another through her legs…..that’s it; she’s done.  She was willing to try snorkeling, but we knew it wasn’t her thing……she has a fear of fish and these got way to close for comfort!  Meg heads in to the beach and we make our way further out.  This is really cool!  It took a little while to get “used to it”, but WOW!  The fish are beautiful!  All sorts of stuff to see down there!  It was time to head in and check in for our Stingray adventure (this is the only part of the excursion that has a set time).   You learn about stingrays in the “classroom”  and then go into the water.   Meg was pretty excited about this, she loves Mr. Ray in Finding Nemo.  For the record, the rays have all had their stingers removed and are checked frequently so there’s no concern of getting stung.  The stingrays know that when they see their plate (it’s a Mickey head), it’s time to eat.  We were told how to hold the food between our fingers and to put our hand down flat on the plate; then the rays swim up a ramp and right over your hand taking their dinner as they go.  I’ll say that it’s a little freaky at first.  The rays have a smooth/rubbery feel, their eyes are on top of their head and mouth is underneath.  They eat like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up the food.  That’s why you need to keep your hand perfectly flat, or your finger will appear to be sticking up like the food to be eaten.  Time to feed the rays; poor Meg didn’t realize that there would be fish in the ray beach…..Jason didn’t keep his hand as flat as need be and got what is called a “kiss” from a ray.  Unfortunately it broke the skin and bled, so we needed to get out and get that bandaged.  Meg was happy to leave the fish infested water.  It was a really neat experience and I’m sure it turns out better for other families 🙂

The teenager has done her “family time” and heads off to join the other teens on the island, with a ticket for her bike & float rental and explicit orders to be on the ship and in the room by 5pm.  Jon, Jason & I decide it’s time for some food–hey we haven’t eaten in hours.  Off to Cookies BBQ for the cookout lunch.  Burgers, hotdogs, BBQchicken,and BBQ Ribs.  They also had salad, chips, cookies & ice cream.  Good lunch, but I tell Jon not to eat too much here; I want to take him out to Serenity Bay where they also serve lunch for just the adults.  

After lunch we took Jason over to Grouper’s Game Pavillion where the kids club was hanging out for awhile.  We signed him in there so that he could have some time out of the sun & water and have fun playing with the other kids.  Grouper’s is cool, picture a picnic shelter with a tall roof.  In there they have ping-pong tables, foosball, shuffleboard, giant checkers and basketballs.  Lot’s of stuff to do and it’s right next to the Sports Beach.  What’s a sports beach?  Well, there are sand volleyball courts of course but there is also tether ball and soccer fields.  Talk about getting a good workout!  Play some sand soccer and you’ll feel the burn- doubly if you forget sunscreen.

With the kids off doing their own things, it was time to take Jon out to Serenity Bay.   Serenity Bay is a wonderful place on the island for those 18 and over.  No kids, no games, no whining or crying; just beach chairs, hammocks, a bar and servers that deliver to your chair.   We hopped on the shuttle and enjoyed the breeze for a few minutes.  It was really getting warm out!  First things first, time to eat our real lunch.  A little thing I learned on my agent cruise, the food is a little different at Serenity…..still have burgers, chicken & ribs (very good ribs) but ribeye steaks instead of hot dogs.  They also have fantastic salads, nice light & refreshing.  Even though this is for adults only, don’t worry they still have the cookies & ice cream 🙂   We shared our picnic table with a nice older couple (from Orlando)  they gave us a few suggestions of where to snorkel at Serenity Bay beach and told us about the plane engines that had been dropped out there a few years ago to form a reef. 

It was time to go find some beach chairs and do some snorkeling.  Very very warm outside now, time to get in the water.  There were some very cool things to see out here, lots of fish and other creatures.  There was one fish, that Meg would have had a heart attack if she’d seen.  As it was, Jon heard me scream and we  both had our heads in the water.  This was a big fish, I mean really big!  About 5 feet long and it was grey/silver in color and yes it scared the daylights out me when I saw it.  When he was done laughing at me, Jon took some more pictures and then we decided we were tired.  Time to stretch out and enjoy a frozen concoction.   Our server on the beach was our server in the Cadillac lounge, so she knew us & we knew her.  That’s one of the things I really like on the cruise, getting to know everyone.  She brought me a Konk Kooler, the signature drink of Castaway Cay.  I want to say it’s dark & light rum, colada mix, orange juice and maybe passion fruit juice, what I know for sure; it’s YUMMY!   Unfortunately it’s so hot out, it’s not cooling me much.  We decide it’s time to head back and see what Jason is up to and maybe we’ll run into Megan. 

We took the tram back and when we got off, we heard the announcement that 2 for 1 Konk Koolers and Mai Tais at the Conched Out Bar.  Well you don’t have to tell me twice!  After we refueled we headed to Scuttles Cove to get Jason.  He’d had fun but was ready for more snorkeling.  I was wiped out and ready to sip my drink, so we found some lounge chairs on the family beach and the boys took off to snorkel.  I enjoyed the quiet and my drink and then went down to the water because if I haven’t mentioned it yet; it’s hot out!  We’re well past warm, it’s hot!   This is my 1st time in the water at the family beach and a few observations; the bottom is soft & smooth, very sandy (much rougher/rockier at Serenity) and it get’s deep quick.  I just people watched while floating, it was very relaxing.  I loved watching the lifeguards (they have stations all over out in the water)  when it was shift change/rotation time, a lifeguard would climb down from there station hop on a surf/boogie board and paddle over to the next station.  That lifeguard would do the same and so on.  I just enjoyed watching them, it was pretty cool.  Jon and Jason then came to join, having decided they were done snorkeling.  They returned the snorkel equipment and got our floats/tubes.  Jon & I wanted floats, Jason insisted on a tube (inner tube).  Here is my next Tip of the Day for you; don’t let the kids get the tubes.  They’re huge, very difficult to get on & stay on, especially out in the deeper water.  It was a frustrating lesson to learn.   Once we gave up on the tube, we started to relax again.  Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ship.  We stopped to get a couple of souveniers; looked around for Megan but didn’t see her, decided she could get her own souvenier later on the ship.  When we got back to the gangway, Captain Hook was there to welcome us back.  

One last Tip, when we swiped our keys to get back on the ship I asked the Cast Member if they could tell me if my daughter had come back.  They looked and were able to tell me who came back & when.  So I knew exactly what time she returned to the ship.  Nice peace of mind for a mom that was starting to worry.

When we came out of Toy Story the Musical, Captain Jack Sparrow was out, posing for pictures and causing trouble.  Captain Jack is always causing trouble….  Jason met and had his picture taken and then as Megan went, Captain Jack walked across the hall and grabbed a teddy bear from the shop.  He liked “Teddy”  had his picture taken with Megan, then with Meg & “Teddy” and then declared to the photographer “Just Teddy”.  Teddy was placed on the floor and had his picture taken.  This story may not translate to screen well, but I just have to say that Captain Jack is quite the Character! 

Growing boys need to eat, frequently.  We had an hour till dinner and Jason was starving.   This is where cruising is great for families with teen/tween kids; there’s always food available!  We sent Jason off to get some pizza and told him to be at dinner at Animators Palate on time. Jon, Megan & I decided to wander around the ship a bit.  We checked out the shops, wandered on deck, those of us over 21 enjoyed a before dinner cocktail.  When we met up, Jason was all sweaty and pretty gross.  I don’t know how you get that sweaty eating pizza……oh that’s right; he ate the pizza then went and played more soccer!  I showed him where the restrooms were so he could clean up before dinner and that is when Megan had her 2nd Captain Jack Sparrow experience of the evening.

Meg was looking at the photo pass pictures when Captain Jack came in; he was actually going “off stage” and was done with pictures but when he saw her standing there he said he needed ‘a picture with the pretty girl’.   They posed for the camera and then someone tells Captain Jack that “a giant rodent is coming” .  With that, Captain Jack yells “every man for himself!” and dives through the cast door.  A minute later, Mickey Mouse the “giant rodent” walked by. 

Tonight we’re eating at Animator’s Palate.  This is a neat restaurant.  The entire place, servers uniforms included; is black & white.  The artwork, animation cells, everything is black and white; at least that’s how it starts.  Over the dining period, the room begins to colorize and gets brighter.  I won’t spoil the “finale” of the show, but it’s very cool.   Onto the food.   This was actually the meal that I was least looking forward to, it’s not bad it’s just not “wow”.   The choices are a little boring….I do recommend the Ahi Tuna Tartare, the wasabi cream is very good!  The phyllo wrapped salmon is very good, but you can’t get the salmon cooked rare because of the phyllo.  We all ate our meals, but none were memorable.  We ordered our desserts, Jason was in a hurry to leave to catch a program at the Oceaneers Lab before the Pirate Party.  I knew that tonight they were going to recognize our anniversary, so I didn’t want him to leave too soon.  Right before dessert was served,  I saw them getting ready.  A beautiful cake was brought over, along with 2 glasses of champagne and our head server announced our celebration, they sang to us and it was very nice.  Our head server then came and apologized about the misunderstanding the night before. They may have messed up last night, but they more than made up for it tonight!  The cake was wonderful, and we had enough left that they packed up for us to take back to the room for later.  Jason had his dessert and took off for the kids club.  He wasn’t interested in the Pirate Party, he had soccer & flubber plans for the night.  We took the cake to the room, and then went up to deck 9 for the Pirate Party.

I know Jon had his doubts about the Pirates in the Caribbean Party, but when we got up on deck the music was playing, the dancing and singing started he changed his tune.  The party starts as a fun celebration and then “pirates” board the ship and take over, turning things a little darker.  In the end, Mickey saves the day and then there are fireworks.  Yes!  Fireworks are shot from the ship out over the water.  Disney is the only cruise line to do this, and it’s amazing!!!  After the fireworks, the music continues and the evening Pirate Buffet is set up.  Still full from dinner, we weren’t ready to eat again.  Besides, it was almost time for Krazy Karaoke.

Meg took off to Aloft, they had big plans for the night.  We stopped by the sports deck to make sure Jason hadn’t forgotten about the Flubber activity….ooops  good thing we stopped by, he’d lost track of time.  Now that the kids were settled with their plans for the night, Jon & I were ready for our night “out”.  We headed to Wavebands down on Route 66 for Krazy Karaoke.  There’s a huge song list, you sign up, get called up and when you’re done singing you get a shot.  I’m of the opinion that if you want me to sing in front of people, you should give me the shot 1st!  Jon signed up and sang to me for our anniversary.  He picked a Harry Connick Jr song that he knew I loved and the whole crowd got into it.  When he was done he had Pikey (our host) give me the shot.  This time it was blue, last month it was purple….gotta say the blue tastes better.   I know Jon really wanted me to sing, but I’m a scaredy cat and just couldn’t bring myself to do it.   The other highlight of the evening at KK (besides Jon singing to me) was when Cody (Hannah Montana’s show brother) got up to sing and started rapping.  He was a riot!  He was sitting next to us and was a really nice guy and a lot of fun.  After KK, we sat at Cadillac Lounge for a bit and then came back to Wavebands for some fun dancing.  It was fun for awhile and then we decided to go somewhere quieter.  We caught up with Jason back in the stateroom and he was, hungry.  Shocking!  A friend had told me before my last cruise to order Mickey Bars from room service, she swore they taste better.  This seems like as good a time as any!  I wanted a little something else, so I called and ordered the Mickey Bars and the fruit/cheese plate.  Again they told me it would be 30-40 minutes, and the knock on the door was actually 10 minutes later.  I have to say, my friend was right.  Nothing beats eating room service Mickey Bars on the verandah at 1:30am!  Just after we finished our midnight snack, Meg returned, glowing from her night at the teen club.   

Busy day, but it was a lot of fun!  Tonight (this morning??) I’ll be smarter and put the room service breakfast order on the door.  Starting the morning with coffee in the room would be a good idea!

For some reason, I always wake up before the wake up call when I’m cruising.  Doesn’t matter that I only went to sleep a few hours ago, I am waiting to hear Mickey tell me it’s time to get up.

We’re not in a huge hurry to get off the ship in Nassau.  We didn’t book any excursions, just planning to walk around town and explore on our own for awhile.  Instead of rushing, Jon & Meg go for a run, then while she gets ready the rest of us go for breakfast at Triton’s.  

Only dinner is assigned, at breakfast you just walk up and are seated.  You’ll have different servers but that can be fun.  We had a great breakfast; Jon ordered his “cruise breakfast” bagel with lox & cream cheese & eggs benedict.  This is what he had everyday of our honeymoon cruise and he couldn’t wait to do it again (18 years later).  I couldn’t decide between the eggs benedict and the “Atlantis Secret Tower” stacked french toast with grilled pineapple and strawberry coulis.  Our wonderful server told me I should try both!  Gotta love that!  Jason ordered the “Little Mermaids Morning” which is 2 belgian waffles stuffed with Dulche de Leche and rolled in cinnamon sugar.  Jon loved his breakfast, I thought mine were both very good but I liked the eggs benedict better.  Jason didn’t really care for his….the Duche de Leche wasn’t quite what he expected.  No problem, they quickly got him a new breakfast: Mickey’s special combo platter.  Mickey Waffle, scrambled eggs and a pancake tower.  That was perfect! 

When we got back to the room, Meg was upset because she didn’t know which restaurant we had gone to for breakfast and she was now hungry.  No problem, that is what room service is for!   I quickly called and ordered the Chicken Fajita wrap.  I was told it would take 30-40 minutes and 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door.  Can I just say that I love free room service!  She was happy, loved her wrap and we were ready to go explore Nassau.

Just a little information here; to leave the ship you need your KTTW card and photo ID.  Kids need their KTTW card and a parent or permission slip to go with an excursion.  This way they know who got off the ship, when they got off and when they get back on. 

When we got off the ship we headed out and walked down to the Straw Markets.   There were some deals to be had, but not like in the “old” days.  It was hot and muggy and no one really felt like shopping so we moved on.  Took pictures by the Pirate Museum, toured a beautiful church, stopped in a couple of other shops and in the end we got a yummy chocolate rum cake at the Bacarrdi store.  We had wandered for a couple of hours and saw what we wanted to see and now we just wanted to go back to the ship and enjoy that.

First things first, it was time to eat again 🙂 For the 3rd meal in a row, we had lunch at Triton’s.  To be honest, I can’t remember anyones meal except for Jason’s.  He was hot, tired and getting a little grumpy and wasn’t sure he was even hungry.  He ended up asking our server if he could get a Mickey bar for an appetizer.  Of course the server said “yes” then looked at us.  I decided I just didn’t care.  If he got hungry later, he’d get pizza or burgers or something on deck 9, so what the heck have the Mickey bar as an “appetizer”.  They brought it out with our food, but all I see is a Mickey Bar sitting in a bowl with mini marshmallows and lots of sprinkles.  He ate every last bite and then ordered kids mac & cheese  for his entree.  Jon laughed and commented when they brought the entrees that “if he eats his entire meal, we’re giving him ice cream before every meal”  He not only ate it, he devoured it and when we ordered dessert he asked if he could order more mac & cheese.  He ate most of that as well.  As they say, life is short eat dessert first!

While we were eating lunch we wanted to plan the rest of our day.  I left the restaurant for a few minutes to get a new Navigator (we’d misplaced ours).  While I was at Guest Services I had another question for them.  When I made the cruise reservation I had told them we were celebrating our 18th anniversary and they told me they would do something the 1st night of the cruise.   No, I didn’t forget to write about and you didn’t skim over it; nothing had happened the 1st night.  They were very apologetic after looking it up and seeing it on the reservation, and they promised it would be taken care of tonight.   Secret planning done, I went back to lunch and we planned our afternoon.  Meg was tired and ready to lay out in the sun & read a book.  Jason had several activities at the lab that he wanted to check out, the only complication was he wanted to do the “make a kite” family activity but that was at 3pm, right in the middle of afternoon.  He decided we could make a kite another time and took off to do his things.  Meg took off and we went to Guest Services to see if we could book some spa time.  There was a great in port special that included: head, neck, shoulder massage, facial, Rainforest Room, chocolate covered strawberries and glass of champagne.  Perfect!  Even better, we were able to get both of us in at the same time!!!

We went and changed into our bathing suits and headed to the Cove pool.  Beautiful weather, a drink of the day and an hour till our spa appointment; I really can’t imagine it being any better than this!  We relaxed, swam a little and then it was time to go to the spa.  We checked in a few minutes early and were taken to the locker rooms.  We both changed into our robes & slippers and were then led to a couples cabin.  While our package that we booked wasn’t technically a “couples massage”, since we are a couple and they could do it at the same time, they did.  The room is beautiful, calm and quiet.  On the verandah is a hot tub for the “real” couples packages.  In the cabin the colors are soft, music is soothing.  The ladies that will be giving us our massages tell us what to expect and they leave the room for us to disrobe and get on the massage tables.  When they come back, they position us so we’re comfortable and then they start the massage.  All I hear is the soft music, the occasional “ahh”  escape from myself or Jon and that is it.  The ladies are stealthy, and perfectly in rythem.  There is a wonderful soothing scent in the air and I don’t want this to ever stop.  Gently and quietly they ask us to roll over and then they begin the facial.  While the facial “sets”  they move down and do a leg massage.  Ooohs and Aahhhs are the only sounds in the room beside the music.  Our faces are wiped off and before we “come to” my hand is placed in Jon’s hand.  I can’t believe it’s over!  They step out for us to dress and came back with water and suggestions on what to buy and do to feel better on a daily basis.  I was very pleased with this.  They told us what they used, asked if we’d like them to make a package up for us and when we said no, they moved on.  No pressure at all, and I really appreciated that.  Then they led us to the Rainforest Room, gave us our chocolate covered strawberries & champagne and reminded us to drink plenty of water.    We spent the next hour enjoying the scented steam rooms, sauna, mosaic chairs and showers.  It was beyond wonderful!  It was a bit of a splurge but worth every penny!  To top it off, I now have a husband that wants to include spa visits on our vacations!!!

Before we knew it, our wonderful relaxing quiet couples time was over and it was time to get ready for dinner and tonight show: Toy Story the Musical!   The show starts at 6pm, everyone was instructed to be at the room and ready by 5:45.  Megan was in the room and ready, Jon & I were changed and ready to go and Jason was……MIA.   I would’ve have been upset, but not as much if it were a different show; but Toy Story was the ONE show that he wanted to see.  At 5:45pm we left the room.  Our cabin attendant was in the hallway, we told her that if Jason came back to please let him know to meet us at the show (I also left a note in the room).  Jon & Meg went to the show, I’ve seen it,they haven’t.  I went and checked at the pool, pizza place & sport courts.  No Jason.  I went down to the theater and found Jon & Megan, great.  No Jason.  I went outside the theater to watch for him, had a lovely chat with a CM, tried calling the room (no answer) and played hide & seek with the Green Army guys.  5:59pm and here comes Jason; dressed for dinner & the show.  He had lost track of time playing soccer against a bunch of Brazillians (story to be told at dinner), went to the cabin where Willie (our cabin attendant) told him to meet us at the show.  We were seated before the show started, but just barely.  I LOVE this show!  I loved it last time and loved it again this time!  I won’t spoil it, but Sid is my favorite part of the show, don’t miss it!

My family was very supportive of my cruise on the Wonder back in June, but I know they were a little envious.   Today is the day they get to set sail on the Disney Wonder!

Thankfully the relaxing “last night in the World” allowed us to start organizing and packing early.  We tried to seperate out what could stay in my truck and what we needed on the ship.  It made life a little complicated for a bit, but we got it worked out before bell services came up for the bags.

Breakfast this morning is the surprise the kids got while at Epcot yesterday…..School bread from Norway!  I was a little concerned after hearing reports of the “new” school bread, but this seems to have gone almost back to the way it was.  It is smaller than it used to be, but it was good.  If you haven’t tried school bread, make sure to stop at Kringla Bakery in Norway at Epcot.  It’s similar to a Boston Cream doughnut, but the ‘bread’ isn’t as sweet as a doughnut.  There is a custard cream inside and on top is icing and coconut.  It’s a wonderful snack or breakfast!

We loaded up the truck and hit the road for Port Canaveral just before 11am.  We wanted to get there early enough to beat the DCL busses from the resorts & airport, but not so early we couldn’t get on the ship yet.  We timed it pretty well and arrived just after noon.  –FYI, the drive takes about an hour and there are 3 toll stops (2 @ $1.25, 1 @ $1.50, total $4)– 

We dropped our bags at the curb with the porters, then went and parked.  We all parked so that we could all walk in together.  Thru the metal detectors, up the escalator and WOW the terminal is just too cool!  The floors, the model ship, everything is WOW!  We got in the Castaway Club line (sail once and you’re a member!) and were checked in in no time flat.  I took Jason over to the Kids Club check in while Jon & Meg got in the line for pictures with Goofy.  I had pre-registered Jason for the Oceaneers Lab, all we needed to do was check in and get the pager.  Except, since Jason is 12 & can check himself in and out, we didn’t need a pager.  Meanwhile, the picture line had moved so quickly, they let Jon & Meg stand off to the side and wait for Jason & I.  We joined them and were the next family to get their picture taken.  The Photopass photographer was very friendly and we had a lot of fun posing with Goofy.  Now it was time to board!

We walked onto the ship and our arrival was announced!  Very cool!  Then they got the chance to start looking around.  The lobby of the Wonder is stunning!  The sculpture fixture on the ceiling, the Ariel statue, the glass elevators, so much to look at!  We made our way thru the lobby and down the hall to Parrot Cay for the welcome aboard lunch.  Buffet lunch is served at Beach Blanket Buffet on Deck 9 and at Parrot Cay on Deck 3.  I’ve now been to both and can say it is calmer & quieter at Parrot Cay but the food is exactly the same and you’ll be happy no matter which place you eat! 

After lunch we were able to get to our room and our luggage was arriving as we did.  We went ahead and got unpacked, and settled into our room.  After checking our afternoon activities on the the Navigator, we decided to go check out the DVC member meeting.  It was fun, we played some trivia games and everyone got a prize.  While we were there, we noticed it looked very dark outside.  It was storming pretty good unfortunately.  We decided to wander around the ship for awhile.  We checked out the Oceaneer’s Lab and showed Jason around.  The Lab is for kids 8-12 and they’re generally grouped 8-9 & 10-12.    They’ve got computers, video games, board games, activities with the counselors, lounge areas, you name it I think they’ve got it!

I had spent an afternoon in the Rainforest Room at the spa on my last cruise and was really hoping for spa time on this cruise, so our next stop on the “tour” was, the Vista Spa.  On the 1st afternoon, you can tour the spa (they’ll let the kids tour as well, but not after pulling out of port).  Jon wasn’t sure about the spa before, but touring it did intrigue him.  He also loved the workout facilities and really wanted to get on the treadmill or eliptical maching and look out over the ocean while he ran.  We finished the Spa tour and didn’t book anything, but I had high hopes that we would.

Now it was time for the sail away party and thank goodness it had stopped raining!  We changed into our bathing suits & coverups and went up to deck 9 and the kids were able to get on the stage and start dancing.   We sang, we danced and screamed and had a blast!   As we pulled out of port, we went up to deck 10 and waved good-bye. 

The movement of the ship startled Jason, so to distract him the “boys” checked out the sports deck while Meg showed off Aloft, the teen club.  This is one place that I didn’t get to on my last cruise because they only let adults in the 1st afternoon.  Parents can come check it out before sailing, after that it’s 17 & under only – except for the wonderful counselors.  The teen club is very cool!  They’ve got a bar (ok, smoothie bar), TV’s, dance floor, games, music, lounge areas and so much more.  There was already an invitation at the room inviting Meg to join them for the “411” at 10:30pm tonight.   She loved that it started at 10:30pm, and that she didn’t have to be “home” at 10:30pm!  The 411 is when they get all the teens together to plan their cruise.  They’re given 3-4 choices of activities per hour the club is open and they vote.  Because of this, they get greater participation and every cruise is different based on the kids sailing.  Meanwhile, Jon & Jason were playing basketball & ping pong up on the sports deck.  They thought this was coolest thing ever.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and it was time to get ready for tonights show & dinner.   Making sure everyone was ready before the show was a little stressful.  We got there before it started, but missed all the pre-show stuff.  Tonight is the Golden Mickey’s, it’s an awards show and the host is unable to perform leaving the stage manager in a jam.  She needs to step up or the show won’t go on.  Awards are given for best romance, comedy, villain, etc. and “scenes” from the nominess  are performed.  It’s a cute, fun show and great for the first night.

Jason took off after the show to go to the Oceaneers Lab and promised to meet us outside Tritons just after 8pm for dinner.  Jon, Megan & I went for a stroll down Route 66 and stopped at Cadillac Lounge for a before dinner drink.  Jon & I had martinis (this is a great jazz/piano lounge and martinis are the type of drink you should have here)  Our server was great and after talking to Megan to see what she liked, decided to make her a virgin Pina Colada.   We relaxed and enjoyed the view while listening to the music until it was time to meet up with Jason for dinner.

As we walked up to get in line for dinner, I ran into one of the ladies that was in my agent group last month.  We were able to introduce our families while we were walking into the restaurant.  Jason was right on time and we were seated for dinner just after 8:15pm.  One thing that I hadn’t realized because I was with a large group, Disney Cruise Line doesn’t seat you with other families, at least not most of the time.  Most tables were for 4 or 6, with a few tables for parties of 8.  I was a little disappointed because I had been looking forward to meeting people, but I’m sure many people prefer not sitting with “strangers”.

Tritons is a beautiful restaurant  featuring seafood with a French influence.  Jason was trying to order from the adult menu, but wasn’t sure about a lot of the choices.  He was also getting very moody and crabby.  The rest of us picked things we wanted to try and share.  Jon was thrilled to order the escargot, avocado & citrus salad and the seared sea bass.  Meg ordered the duck confit, tomato & basil soup, and the sea bass.    After being reminded that if he didn’t like it, he could get something different, Jason grudgingly ordered the shrimp cocktail and the lobster mac & cheese.  I ordered the applewood smoked bacon and wild mushroom tart, the french onion soup and the lamb shank.  The appetizers came, Jon loved the escargot, Meg wasn’t thrilled with the duck confit; nothing wrong with it just not a texture that she liked.  Jason’s mood had gotten worse, his head and stomach were bothering him and he wasn’t willing to try the shrimp.  Fine with me, I love shrimp and the green & white asparagus they serve with it is wonderful!  The tart was ok, but not that memerorable. 

Watching Jason, I realized something was wrong….he couldn’t put words to it but kept saying ‘it was his head, sort of and his stomach felt weird’.  It finally hit me, he was experiencing motion sickness.  Quite honestly, I had expected Megan to be the one to get sea sick, not Jason.  I felt really bad that it had taken me so long to figure it out, but we could take care of it.  Jon left and went to our stateroom to get the dramamine I had brought just in case the kids had issues.  Meanwhile we asked Teddy our Asst Server if he had any suggestions (and it was a great distraction for Jason).  Teddy mentioned the wrist bands and the accu pressure point on your wrist and that helps him….Good thing Jason had learned about that in his “Dangerous book for boys” and started pressing the spot.  Jon was back a few minutes later with the dramamine.  Half a tablet of dramamine (they easily break in half)  and in 10 minutes Jason was back to normal.  FYI- the dosing says take 1-2 tablets, but I saw that the women I travelled with last month were taking 1/2 to 1 tablet.  The ones that took a 1/2 tablet felt better and didn’t get drowsy, the ones that took a whole tablet, also took a nap.

Both soups were excellent and the avocado citrus salad was very good.  It was time for the entrees.  I wasn’t thrilled with the lamb, it was ok but didn’t wow me.  Meg didn’t love the sea bass (she’s still trying new things and sea bass is new to her).  Jon loved his sea bass and Jason’s lobster mac & cheese looked wonderful.  Now we did ask for the lobster on the side because he wasn’t sure about lobster (weird kid, I know….) and the lobster wasn’t really on the side but he survived.  Having gone through the sea sickness during the meal, he wasn’t really hungry and not for something new so our wonderful server got a kids pizza for him in no time flat.  Not being a person to let food go to waste, I switched meals with Megan and I “sampled” Jason’s mac & cheese.  There was a very strong gruyere that he didn’t like, I didn’t mind it and the lobster was wonderful.  I would put this as a top choice at Tritons.  The sea bass was very good and Meg enjoyed my lamb shank.  In the end it worked out well for everyone.  Desserts were very good, but I don’t remember all the details.  There was a souffle, creme brulee and a sampler that we all enjoyed.

After dinner we split up.  Meg went straight to Aloft, Jason took off for the Lab & sports deck and Jon & I strolled around the ship and then went for a swim & soak in the hot tub.  Jason  got back to the room around midnight and was watching a movie when Jon & I got back.   Meg showed up a little after 1am after the teen club closed.   Thouroughly exhausted, we all got a good nights sleep while anxiously awaiting our arrival in Nassau in the morning.

I don’t go to Disney without a plan for each & every day.  Which park, what time we’ll go and where we’ll eat.  Plans are necessary to make sure you don’t miss out on important things (like eating) but every now and then you have to remember they’re not set in stone.  Flexibility and “go with the flow” have a place in the vacation as well. 

You’ve probably guessed by now that today was the day I threw the “plan” out the window and you’re right.  We had planned to go to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon & evening EMH but it just wasn’t “hitting” us this morning.  The kids were disappointed that they hadn’t been on Test Track and Soarin at Epcot.  I told them to go….  and they were out of the villa in less 10 minutes.

Jon & I were hungry and went down to the Marketplace.  We ordered sandwiches–roastbeef & brie and the turkey & diamond cheddar and a couple of bags of chips.  We decided to go eat by the Villas pool, so I ran up to the room, grabbed our books, bathing suits & drinks and met Jon at the pool.  This was so nice!  We had a table with umbrella, sat in the shade and enjoyed our picnic lunch.  Changed into our suits, read our books and occasionally jumped in the pool to cool off.  It was quiet and relaxing and overall, wonderful! 

Without looking at our watches, we could tell it was hitting 2-3pm because the families with small children were back from the park and headed to the pool.  We decided that ice cream was sounding good, so we packed up our stuff and headed to Stormalong bay.  I texted the kids and told them to head back, change into suits & to meet us at Beaches & Cream.  They were working on a surprise for Jon, but as soon as they had it, they met up with us.

Stormalong Bay was pretty busy, but we found 3 lounge chairs.  We decided to go check in at Beaches & Cream and see how long it would be to get a table –too hot for eating ice cream outside!  We were told 20-40 minutes and given a buzzer.  Great thing, the buzzers work all the way from the Yacht Club to the far end of the Beach Club!  We went back into the pool area and found an empty table with umbrella & four chairs!  Jon grabbed it and sent me to get our stuff from the other chairs.  I’m not sure how that happened…He sat at the table and I went and got our bag/noodles/towels etc.   I think he got the better end of that 😉  Shortly after that, the kids showed up and joined us. 

In no time at all the buzzer went off and it was time for ice cream.  I didn’t need a menu, I was having a  No Way Jose.  I had planned to get one last summer, but we ended up getting a Kitchen Sink.  Not this time!  Chocolate & Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, hot fudge, chocolate & peanut butter chips, whipped cream & a cherry.  YUMMY!!!!!  It really doesn’t get better than this!  Megan got the  Fudge Mudslide  sundae.  Ooeey gooeey chocolately goodnesss!  Jason really wanted the Kitchen Sink again, so he and Jon decided to go for it: 8 scoops of ice cream, EVERY topping and a whole can of whipped cream.  When I say every topping, I mean every topping they use for all of the different sundaes/desserts.  Sprinkles, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, candied orange slice, bananas, milky way cake, brownies, angel food cake, milky way candy bar and so on.  It is decadent, delicious & disgusting all at the same time and supposedly serves 4.  When they bring it out, they flash the lights in the restaurant and make an announcement explaining what it is and then deliver it to the table.  It’s quite the production.   Meg & I finished our sundaes, the boys did the best they could but it was too much for the 2 of them.

We went back to the pool and spent the next several hours reading, floating in the lazy river and just relaxing.  It was a perfect afternoon!  Then the storms moved in and in a matter of minutes the lifeguards had cleared the pool & pool area.  It is really impressive to see how quickly the lifeguards can clear Stormalong Bay.  Looking at the sky we decided it was time to head back to the villa and think about what we wanted for dinner. 

The skies opened up, the thunder & lightning were really impressive.  We thought about running out for something to eat but another look outside and at the weather radar and we decided to order our cheapest meal of the week.  Pizza delivered from Papa John’s.  After the wonderful meals we’d had so far and the meals we were looking forward to on the ship, this was actually a great meal.  We ordered 3 pizzas for $7 a pizza.  We had soda & water in the room and didn’t need anything else.  We played cards (always pack a deck of cards) watched some TV and just relaxed.  It wasn’t a typical last night at the World, but it was a good one.

Late nights and early mornings don’t go together in my family….. I’m not great at sleeping in, but Jon & the kids tried to catch up on some sleep.  We got a late(ish) start to the day and arrived at Epcot around 11:30.  Ready for lunch, we decided that Les Chefs de France sounded good and hopefully we could see Remy from Ratatouille.  We walked over to France, only to realize the restaurant doesn’t open until noon.  They did tell us that they had quite a few openings and that it shouldn’t be a problem to get a lunch ressie.   Great, but what do we do for the next half hour?  We walk back over towards the UK and go the the Kim Possible mission kiosk to sign up for our mission.  We were given a slip that told us to be in Norway at 12:45.  We were told it would be allright to be late since we were on our way to lunch first. 

Back to France and we stopped for a picture with Belle.  Jason decided to try to get his picture taken with all of the Princesses and stared with Belle.  Just after 12:00pm there was a line at Les Chefs de France.  Thankfully it wasn’t a problem and we were told we’d have a table in about 10 minutes.  Not even 10 minutes had passed when we were seated for lunch.  Most of us were excited about eating here for several reasons; Meg took French 1 & 2 freshman year and has 3 & 4 coming up this year, we had a very good meal here before and Remy is here during lunch!  Never in my life did I think I would get excited (in a good way) about a rat in a restaurant, but everything I’ve heard says this is gonna be good!

Before we ordered, Jon instructed our server to only speak in French to Megan so that she could practice.  It was a little awkward at first, but she relaxed as the meal went on and I think she got a lot out of it.  Now what are we going to eat?  Jason was starving and caught between the kid & adult menu.  He ended up trying the friand au fromage (cheese puff pastry) appetizer from the kids menu and the Mac & cheese from the adult menu.  The cheese puff pastry was good, but it was served way to0 hot.  Even after it had been cut open and sat there for a few minutes it was still too hot to taste the cheese.  By the time it had cooled enough to taste it, he had lost interest in it.  Megan went with the recommendation of our server and got the Crepes Basquaise – large crepe filled with smoke chicken strips, onions & peppers, grilled and served with a salad.  When the menu said “large crepe” it wasn’t kidding, this was huge and very filling.  I got a small bite and it was very good.  Jon & I both ordered off the Prix Fixe 3 course meal for $20.  Jon chose the lobster bisque, the Croque monsieur et sa salade verte – classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a green salad and the creme brulee.  I chose the french onion soup, Quiche Lorraine & the profiteroles au chocolate.  Jon really liked his lobster bisque and it had large chuncks of lobster in it.  He loved his Croque monsieur.  The french onion soup was good, but like the cheese puff pastry it was too hot to enjoy or taste.  I had the same issue the last time I ate here.  The quiche made a very nice light lunch.  When it was time for desset, we looked at the menu and everything sounded good.  The kids ordered the crepe with cinnamon, apple, vanilla ice cream & caramel sauce and a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, coconut ice cream and orange something (it’s not what’s the allears menu now).  These along with the profiteroles & creme brulee were shared by all of us.  They were all excellent!  The profiteroles are cream puffs stuffed with vanilla ice cream and covered with the most wonderful chocolate sauce.  I really considered licking it off the plate, it was that good!  Creme brulee had a nice crust with a light inside.  I don’t usually like creme brulee but this one I did.  The coconut ice cream was very light and refreshing, the cake with it was very good.  How do you go wrong with apples & ice cream in a crepe?  It was yummy and the caramel sauce was very good (but not as good as the chocolate sauce).

Now you’re sitting there thinking hmmmmm wasn’t Remy supposed to come by during lunch?  Well yes he did and he’s getting his own paragraph.  While we were eating, a woman came through the restaurant pushing a cart.  When she stops at your table, she lifts the lid and ta da, there’s Remy.  He moves and “talks” -Remy squeaks and his handler interprets.  This was amazing!  The imagineering that went into this is unbelieveable.  He looks at you and responds to what you say.  Remy wished us a Happy Anniversary when he saw our buttons and asked how many years we had been married. He spent a lot of time at our table and kept looking at Jason. His handler was ready to leave when Remy had a question for Jason.  Because Jason’s hair was “standing on end” and purple, Remy wanted to be sure that he hadn’t “frightened” him.  Remy explained that usually when people saw him and their hair stood up it was because they were scared.   Once Remy had been assured that Jason chose the purple hair and was not scared, Remy said Au Revoir and moved on to visit with other families.  All I can say is that this was just too cool!

After lunch we made our way around the World Showcase to Norway so we could start our Team Possible misson.  We checked in at the kiosk and our team leader Jason was given a “Kimmunicator” (aka a Verizon cell phone) and we were told to leave the area and then check for our assignment.   When you open the Kimmunicator you get a message from Wade, explaining how to use the Kimmunicator and then part one of the mission.  We followed directions and found our first location, got the next clue and moved on.  We were back and forth all over the Norway pavillion, even had to use a “secret code” with a cast member to get our next clue at one point.  Occasionally we would get messages from Kim and even Ron.  When we were done, we had the option of taking another mission or turning our Kimmunicator in to a secret drop box.  We went on to complete missions in Mexico, China (both with Jason, no Meg) and the United Kingdom (by ourselves).  This is a great way to spend time exploring the countries  and the technology is pretty darn cool.  Even Jon the techie was impressed, and that’s not easy to do!

During the day the kids dropped out one by one.  Meg went back for some pool & relaxation time, Jason stayed with us for awhile and we tried out some new exhibits at Innoventions.  The Waste Management exhibit/game is fantastic!  I admit, I thought it was going to be a waste of time but it was really well done and we all had fun.  The Great Piggy Bank Adventure was also fun and could help younger kids understand “saving” a little better. 

After Jason left, Jon & I finished up with a Kim Possible Mission in the UK, where we also tried some hard cider.  Jon bought a Woodpecker & Strongbow and had me try both to see which one I liked better.  They were both good, but I really liked the Strongbow.  We drank those while we finished Kim Possible and caught the end of the British Invasion performance.  Then we grabbed another Strongbow and  went to the American Garden theater to watch 52nd Street – a Billy Joel tribute band.  By the time we got to the theater, the kids had texted to tell us they were on their way back to Epcot.  I’m not sure what the kids did (think they went to the Land), but we had a great time at the show.  The band was great and it was a beautiful, but hot afternoon/evening.

We met up with the kids after the show and we went to Spaceship Earth, it’s just something that we always do.  The crowds were building at Epcot, Test Track had broken down, and there were no more fast passes for Soarin’.  We decided that we would go back to Magic Kingdom instead of staying for Epcot evening EMH.  The kids went out and took the monorail so they could get there fast and have dinner there.  Jon & I had really wanted the fish & chips at Harry Ramsden’s (UK counter service) so we walked back there, got our food and sat down in a garden in the UK and thourghly enjoyed our meal. 

Earlier in the day I had tried a Peach Snap in China, had my Strongbow in the UK, but a trip to Epcot is not complete without a Grand Marnier slushie.  We wandered over to France and got our slushies, and enjoyed every last little bit!  These are just too good!  Around 8pm we ran back to the villa to drop off a few things and then caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with the kids.

 

 


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