Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 14 - Heading home

I almost can't believe we head home today. It's been a great trip and home feels likes it's in another world.
But here we go.....
Rise and shine, pack up the bags. We were packed up and checking out by 10am.
Not bad for us to be honest.
We had wanted to hit the new (dare I say, improved) Boardwalk Bakery this trip... specifically for breakfast.
Can you say egg, cheese and potato scramble in a.... (wait for it....) BREAD BOWL!!!
Yup, a bread bowl with breakfast... brilliant!

After a yummy breakfast the kids and hubby walked into Epcot and I drove the car around to the Epcot parking lot.. I suppose we could have gotten away with leaving the car at the Boardwalk, but thats just not how we roll.
By the time I met back up with them they had seen the American Adventure again and were walking toward Mexico, grabbing Norway fastpasses on the way.
Our ride in Mexico was complete and it was time to wander back to Norway.... we hit the bakery, 'cause that School Bread is crazy good and it was raining - really, really, really, really hard, and sideways. And our fastpasses wasn't quite ready.
But once we put away the school bread and the fastpass time came, we donned our panchos and made a break for it.
The rain was almost done when we got off and headed for mission space.
With a few more rides in future world it was well past lunch and not everyone had had late morning school bread, so lunch was needed.
Sunshine Seasons did the trick and one last ride on Living with the Land was enjoyed as well.
As we headed out we couldn't help but ride Spaceship Earth once more and then we went to find the car.... parked as far out as possible.... all the way at the end of the row... like three cars from the end.

Our trip back was uneventful. Nice to have a nonstop flight this time.
Our car was still at the Doubletree so we texted the Valet and when we arrived off the shuttle van the car was waiting a few feet away - NICE.
It was a long day, we got home about 11:15... sooo good night and great trip.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 13 - The Future, the world and a circus... of sorts

Today is our day to spend at Epcot! My personal favorite park.
We made it to rope drop, which kind of surprised me... mornings are slow going for us this trip. But we made it!
We entered the park about 10 mins before 9 am and Hubby ran to get Soarin' fast passes for us, while the kids and I strolled over to Test Track.
He met us there with FP for 9:50... great timing.
Test Track has recently been redesigned. The track is the same, but all the aesthetics have changed and you now start in a computer lab, where teams of 2 or 3 get to design their own test vehicle. Which is very fun.
As we rode the ride we saw how they integrated this into the ride... at each section you get to see how your test vehicle would hold up to the conditions. Each ride vehicle has two teams in it so you can see which car holds up better. It was lots of fun.
Our boy's car came in first place for ride, handling and efficiency, but the little lady's car came in first for power/performance.
In the exit area for the ride you can make a commercial for your car - this was almost as fun as the ride. We entered our info to have the finished commercial emailed to us... but so far, no emails have come :( bummer.
Next up was Mission Space (green) - apparently our family has assigned roles on this ride. Each time we rode the little lady was the pilot, our boy was the engineer, I was the navigator and hubby was the commander. The kids really get into this ride. It's a hoot.
On our way out the exit our boy bought a model of X2 spaceship, from the ride.
We continued on in Future world with The Land, and Soarin'. We then dodged the rain and hit The Living Seas with Nemo, then worked our way towards World Showcase.
Our plan for World Showcase was to do the Agent P challenge, have some lunch in the US pavilion
and wander a bit.
We found out the Agent P thing needs an uninterrupted 30 mins, so we decided to start that after lunch. We hopped on the boat to Germany, then took the short walk to lunch.
During lunch we were treated to the Fife and Drum corp.

After lunch we walked back to Germany and started our Agent P challenge.
If you know the show Phineas and Ferb from the Disney Channel, then this will all make sense... if you don't........ I will try to make this short. Agent P is a platypus who is trying to stop Professor Doofenshmirtz from doing random and silly bad things.
In this challenge we get to be agents and help out. Each team gets a communicator... looks like a phone and it tells you what to do. It really walks you through everything - so we followed along and got to see some fun surprises hidden in the Germany pavilion. And of course - cause we are awesome agents - we caught Professor Doofenshmirtz before he took over the town.

Checking the communicator for instructions
Its a little hard to see in the sun :) 
We caught him! He is being chased down in the open window across the courtyard
We returned our communicator and headed to France. They have recently opened a new ice cream shop in France.... so it was our original destination, but we took a few detours. First we decided to see the movie Impressions of France, which the kids hadn't seen. As we left the movie we discovered.... you guessed it... RAIN.  And for some reason the pastry shops seemed like a much better idea than Ice cream. So we grabbed a treat and found a place to stand while the rain died down.
We went on to Canada to see the movie and walk the shops.

We continued around World showcase (with another ride on the Imagination ride squeezed in) and went on the Mexico and the Norway boat rides.
At this point it was time to take a break. Not a fun plan for our kids, and our fun loving boy let us know he wasn't pleased. But we headed out.

This evening we had tickets to see La Nouba! Hubby and I had seen it years ago, and we were taking the kids tonight. It will be the first Cirque Du Soleil they have seen. We put a lot of thought into where we were going to sit with them... to get a good view, but let our boy be far enough back to be comfortable.

Back in the room we grabbed food from Good's to Go at the resort and had an early dinner. We headed out around 5:15 and made our way to Downtown Disney.
The show started at 6. And our seats turned out to be great.
Both kids really enjoyed the show!

That was pretty much the end of the day for us. The room and bed were calling.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 12 - It's still the Magic Kingdom, even in the rain

I took no pictures today - sorry. I carried the camera around all day, but somehow forgot to use it.
Call it "Vacation Brain".

Anyway, Today we are heading back to the Magic Kingdom. And the best way to get there from an on property resort - the bus! You get closer to the front gate this way and from OKW you have no additional stops, so it's pretty quick.
Our plan was to grab fast passes for Peter Pan's Flight and then go hit Dumbo, but Peter was down :( so no fast passes. But Dumbo was up and flying so off we go. With two rides and low crowds we were on in no time.
We hit a number of rides after Dumbo and there is some fun to the story of it all, but the highlights are the little lady who was crying in line for the Barnstormer came off the ride laughing and yelling "It was Awesome!!"
She kind of owed her brother this ride. He went on the Ariel ride for her (not something he was happy about) and then it broke down 3 times... more than 10 mins in all. So the agreement was she needed to ride a ride for him if he rode one for her.... And despite her best effort, she loved it.

With her new found love of Goofy's Barnstomer, I went to get more fast passes for later while the kids and Hubby ran over to ride Pooh.
Next up was Small World and the big surprise when we got off the ride was RAIN... big tropical style rain. Take no prisoners, everyone gets drenched, welcome to hurricane season rain. Our boy and I ran through the instant puddles to shelter and Hubby and the lady hit the carousel.
Finding shelter in Fantasyland was more challenging that I would have thought. Only a few storefronts were willing to let people loiter.... and ride exits were fairly insistant that you move on. We ran back out into the wet and picked up Peter Pan fastpasses then gave in and bought the whole clan the offical summer Disney World uniform... a clear plastic poncho with mickey on the back.
Ok, Rain! Bring it!
And it had pretty much stopped at this point.... fine, be that way. But now we are ready for ya.

So back to the barnstormer we head - and it's closed.... not due to the rain, but for a tech issue or something. But apparently our fast passes could be used later due to the closure... cool.
Since we were right by the train station we hopped on board, and took the ride around to Frontierland. We had lunch reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern, this would get us closer.
Liberty Tree is one of my favorite MK restaurants... and only 70% of the reason is the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.... ooey goodness!
After lunch the history loving boy and I went to the hall of the Presidents, while Hubby and our newly brave lady, went to see about some Pirates. The rest of our time in the park we were in two groups... we swapped kids and went on a few more attractions. The lady and I did a bit of shopping on our way out and then headed back to the room for a break. The boys did a few more things and followed us.
After a break we decided on Downtown Disney for dinner. Parking was hard to find, but a table at Earl of Sandwich was not. After some eating, some shopping and our first trip to Goofy's Candy Co. we called it a day and headed "home" for bed.
Tomorrow, Epcot and LaNouba!

On a side note: It's been in the upper 80s/ low 90s with high humidity. So we are all dressing for coolness and comfort. For me a big part of that is what I do with my hair, as it responds badly to 90% humidity. I have recently discovered the "Sock Bun". I love this and it is now my go-to hair style for parks in the summer!
lovin it! And it stays all day... even on Test Track!
It takes no pins, only a hair tie and a sock bun form. I started making it with a sock, but have upgraded to a bun form. Either works great. Just had to share.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 11 - An early early morning or Day 2 at WDW

Is it really time to get up already?
I think all of us felt that way this morning when we got up.
Hubby and our train loving boy were off to a "Behind the Steam" tour of the Magic Kingdoms trains, and the little lady and I had breakfast reservations at the Castle - dining with princesses, what a way to start the day.
They boys had to leave about 40 mins before us so they took the car. And we took the resort bus. It worked out great, even with getting to the stop later than planed. We arrived at the MK and walked in the side entrance for people with tours or reservations for breakfast. Our dining time was about 30 mins before the park opened. So very few people were on Main Street!

So empty before the park officially opens
Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table was very  much what we expected. We dined here once before for dinner. So other than the difference in fare, it was a similar experience. Which the little princess loved!
5 princesses - no waiting. Nice!
After breakfast she and we wandered over to the New Fantasyland. We rode the Ariel ride, which is exactly like the one in California, except this one has a cooler que area. Then we went on to check out Belle's Enchanted Tales". This was more fun that I was expecting. In part because it was just us girls and we like this type of thing more than our boy does. And part because out little lady was a part of the story. She was selected to play Belle's father Maurice in the story. Such fun! Great new attraction.
When we came outside we found hubby and the boy waiting for us.
Now that we were all together again we could get down to the rides. We grabbed fast passes to Winnie the pooh and then went on Small World and Mickey's Philharmagic. Then it was time for Winnie the Pooh - which is a favorite of both kids.
From here we went to Tomorrowland, making a stop to get refreshments and grab some Buzz Lightyear FP.

Sharing a frozen lemonade
We had time for two rides/attractions before our Fast Pass was good. So we did the Peoplemover - Which I love.. always have, don't know why. And then The Carousel of Progress. This is a favorite of our boy, but today it was a bit grumpy. Twice during our viewing it didn't turn when it was supposed to and we saw those two rooms twice. Which was upsetting to the boy. But we all survived.
Buzz Lightyear was good fun and somehow at the very end our boy found a magic spot to shoot and bumped his score by 100,000! He beat me for sure :)
At this point it was lunch time and we needed to eat. So we headed the monorail and went to the Contemporary for lunch at the Contempo Cafe.
We decided to take a rest at this point. We hope to stay at Epcot this evening until the fireworks, so a mid day break seemed wise.

Back in the room some of us slept a bit. The rest of us read or just rested. Then we were out the door to Epcot!
As we pulled into the parking lot the rain started - similar to yesterday's storm, just a bit earlier in the day. Well, we weren't dressed for it really. I mean it wasn't cold out, so we would have been fine.. but it was raining HARD. And we would have been .... well, what is wetter than soaked? We would have been that. So we waited it out in the car. After a few minutes trying to track the storm with our phones... gotta love technology, I looked at the cars around us, and we weren't alone. Several other cars were full of people waiting out the storm.
We waited about 30 minutes before venturing outside. It had let up quite a bit and we were seeing people coming out of the park. So we made our run for it.
We made it to bag check before it open up on us again.
We hung out there for about 10 minutes... and once again we weren't alone :)
Then ran for the turnstiles. Hooray!

View of Spaceship Earth from the bag check 
Ahhh, the rain
wet - but no lines ;)
We found a mostly covered path to Spaceship earth and went on it. When we got off things had mostly dried out. So we headed over to the Imagination Pavilion for that ride. Being still mostly dry when we got off we began to walk over to the Mexico pavilion. Somewhere along the way it started raining again. My shoe this afternoon was a flip flop... what was I thinking? Well, they are amazingly comfy flip flops and I could easily wear them all day... however, get them wet and the footbed gets a wee bit slippery. So by the time we got to Mexico I was fighting with my shoes with each step.
Once inside we began to dry off and rode the Three Caballeros boat ride. This is a favorite for our family and gave us all a chance to dry off.
We ate right across the path at the Mexico counter service. It was very tasty.
Again it had dried out and we moved on... to Norway for their boat ride.
Despite the fact that our Little Lady has been on this ride a handful of times before... she was convinced she didn't like it. But once we got going... It became the "Best boat ride ever". Such a silly girl.
From Norway we moved on to Germany and some wonderful caramel squares. Sooo good.
Our last attraction of the day, before the fireworks was The American Adventure. This is hands down our boy's favorite Epcot attraction.
It ended and we had about 10 minutes until Illuminations started.... so we were walking quickly. We have often watched from a distance... in part because of the crowds and in part because we had a kiddo who wasn't sure about fireworks. She has since grown to love them, tonight our motivation for watching from the Odyssey was more location when it was over. Hubby planned to take the international gateway exit and walk down to the Studios for a few roller coasters before bed. While the kids and I headed back to the room for bed. This location gave me a slight head start on the crowds leaving the park.
When we parted ways Hubby walked upstream from there to HS (think salmon), The Studios were insane. He spent over an hour in single rider line for RnR then 30 minutes in line for ToT. And finally took bus home
The kids and I left Epcot, found the rental car and drove back.  The Little Lady wanted to fall asleep in the car, but I encouraged her not to.  She fell asleep within 5 minutes of getting ready for bed, our boy was less than 10 minutes later.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 10 - Studios and Blizzard Beach or Day 1 at WDW

We woke up and had breakfast in the room. I love having a full kitchen to make real food. Today it was orange rolls, bagels, juice, etc. But just to have it in our own space was great.
Once we were dressed and coated with sunscreen we headed out the door to rope drop at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We had a fairly short list of must do's at the Studios today, but high on the list was Toy Story Midway Mania. And Fastpass first thing is the only way to do this ride. So we made it to rope drop and here is where I dropped the ball. I got in the WRONG bag check line. Hubby was in the line next to me and all was going fine, then my line came to a screeching halt. His was cruisin along too fast for me to jump lines without being really rude. Well, what to do, stick it out. We made it to get Fastpasses, so all was not lost. But I learned my lesson... follow hubby when choosing a line.
Since we had about 90 mins to kill before our time to ride Toy Story we walked through the One Man's Dream attraction. Talking about the history of the parks and some of the future things.
Then we moved on to Muppet Vision 3D - a family favorite. When we left the theater we spotted Phineas and Ferb posing for pictures, so our Lady got in line to meet the brothers.
After her photo op, we did some leisurely shopping.
Then much to my suprise both kids said they wanted to go over to the Animation building and to the Animation Academy. Cool!
We all participated and learned (or at least tried) to draw Goofy. The animator promised, that no matter what it would look goofy... he was right ;)
We had a lot of fun with this.
Now its time to ride TOY STORY!!!! Yay! Its really what everyone had been waiting for. And we were off. It's one of my favorite rides. We have so much fun with it, it's a shame one time through is all we got.
This was really all that we had on our list for Hollywood Studios so we headed out... it was a short visit but full of fun. And we grabbed some Mickey pretzels for the way out.

Back in the room we packed up a few things for our afternoon plans.... Blizzard Beach. The kids have never been and were soooo excited. Waterslides - Yay!!!
But first... lunch.
We have always enjoyed eating at Coronado Springs, Pepper Market. In recent years they have tried to restructure it a bit, but upon arriving for lunch we found it was all back to normal... or at least what is normal for us. So we got our stamp cards and headed for the food.
Everyone got something that they liked and we had a lovely lunch. This place is big and open, but even when it's busy, you never feel like it's too crowded.

We moved on to Blizzard Beach. Our annual passes include waterparks... what fun! We took advantage of the changing areas and lockers and then were off to the slides. Actually we started with the lazy river.... they have a cleaver name for it... but I already forgot :) We thought this would be a nice way to go around without walking. Well it was, but you can't really see anything from the river. We had a nice float all the same. And made it almost all the way around before getting out to hit the chair lift.
Our little lady was sure she didn't want to go on the chair lift, and once she survived it and was at the top, she was sure she didn't want to do the family raft slide (Teamboat Springs) with us... but once it was over - you could hear her chanting "Again, Again, Again" all over the park.
This dumped us out really close to the kids area - Ski Patrol area. So we checked out the smaller slides here and scoped out what was next.
Ice Cream! Or something cold and frozen for sure. Some had Mickey bars, some had frozen lemonade, and all were cooled off and slightly sticky when it was over.
We cleaned up and returned to Teamboat Springs for another ride on the family raft slide... it's a great slide. Then we hit the lazy river again for a short ride, before going back to the ski patrol area. But when we arrived the sky had started to darken and we were greeted with a thunder clap.
Thunder and lightning are very common this time of year in Orlando, and they mean water parks close down quickly. Within minutes all the slides were closed and everyone was headed for cover... the rain came fast and hard. I had forgotten how crazy Florida rain is.
It was just before 5 when we reached the sheltered area. Which also happened to be the main food area. So we ate dinner.... our umbrella'd table weathered the rain well. We ate at 5:10 and hung out at the table til about 6. By this point the rain had mellow'd significantly and was light enough to walk in. The lightning was gone, or far enough away, that we didn't notice it. So we were hanging out waiting for them to re-open... Us and several hundred other families.
Apparently their rule is 30 mins after the last spotted lightning they can re-open. So we wandered.
And about 7, there were some announcements about the park still being closed, etc. and some codes - like "all cast, code 5" or something. We noticed a number of the life gaurds heading back to the slide areas... hmmmmm. Well lo and behold - 5 minutes later they reopened. And we had the place practically to ourselves.
This was hubby chance to ride the grown up slides, so off he went to Slush Gusher. While the kids and I did more Ski Patrol slides.
He came back by and the little lady decided to join him on some other slides, the toboggan racers and runoff rapids
The Boy and I stayed at ski patrol for various slides - He was a real ace by the time we left.
The park closed at 8, so this flurry of activity didn't last long. We dried off and headed out, with a quick stop in the store for me to pick up a new beach towel... it has the Nemo seagulls on it and says... wanna guess? "Mine, Mine, Mine" I love it. 
Back in the room we showered and fell into bed. What a great day.
Tomorrow we have a tour and princesses.

I apologize for not taking any pictures today... crazy I know. I was enjoying the day too much to get my camera out :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 9 - Off Ship

Breakfast this morning was early. Let me be more specific... breakfast was CRAZY early. Since we had the first dinner seating for this cruise, we then had first breakfast seating on disembarkation day. So we needed to be dressed and all packed up at breakfast with our stuff at 6:45 am. They don't want you to return to your room at this point. They feed you a lovely meal and you walk off the ship... more or less :)
We had a short wait to walk off, sometimes it can take a few minutes for the line. But we had found a porter to help with our bags and were walking through customs in record time.
Having the porter help with this was really handy. He guided us out of the terminal to where we would meet our car for transportation to Disney World.
When scheduling a car you need to give them a time for pick up. And for us this was a complete guess. We haven't had first seating on a cruise before and we had no idea how long it would take on a ship the size of the Fantasy.
So we were a bit off on our time estimate. Our car arrived about 30 mins after we got off ship. And the driver loaded up all our stuff. It wasn't long before we found ourselves enjoying a comfy ride in a long black limo! Wowsa, what a treat.
The drive went quickly. And we were at the on-site rental car office at Disney World before we knew it. We put all our gear in the rental car and headed to Disney's Old Key West to check in.
We are DVC members and this is our home resort. Although we haven't stayed here in about 4 years.
So when the guard said "Welcome Home" at the guard station it really felt like we were returning home again.
We had no expectation of being able to get into a room this early. Rooms are ready by 4 pm and this was barely 10 am, but we wanted to check in all the same. And guess what... a room was available. It wasn't the room assigned to us, but it was the same layout we reserved so we took it. Our one bedroom was the perfect size for us. With a king bed, pull out queen and pull out twin. So everyone gets a bed. Plus a full size washer and dryer and a great soaking tub... ahhhh.
We spent the next half hour or so settling into the room, unpacking and exploring.
Then we headed back down to the main area of the resort to catch a boat to Downtown Disney for lunch. A family's gotta eat right? Actually having been so well fed for the previous week, it was kind of funny to be on our own for means all of the sudden. But we managed ;)
Wolfgang Puck Express and Ghiradelli for ice cream after worked out great.
We also took a minute and activated our park passes while we were near guest relations... more on this later.
We wandered back to the boat dock and began working our way back to OKW.
This evening for dinner we had reservations at 1900 Park Fare, in the Grand Floridian resort for dinner with Cinderella and "friends" - to celebrate our little lady's birthday... Oh, did I forget to mention? Today was her birthday! And she was definitely in birthday mode all day ;)
But dinner was the highlight for her.
We had a bit of quiet time before we had to get ready and go.
Then we were off again to eat.... hmmm, I hope this isn't a theme this week.
Dinner came with pictures of the group and then of course getting to meet all the characters and take pics.
Our peace loving son doesn't care for characters at all, so this was really stretching him. He managed well and even timed his trips to the buffet for when they came to our table. He really was surprised when the stepsisters would scream... just because they can.

meeting the Prince 
Ok, is this one Anastasia or Drisella?
classic Cinderella Stepmother... she was soo funny. "Oh, great, a birthday girl" 
this one was the screamer - and she can scream! 
We ate and took pictures, the birthday girl had a blast and we were heading out before anyone else started to scream ;) just kidding. It was a nice character meal experience.
We went back to the room and then things got a bit nutty for hubby.

Before the trip, we had been trying out some of the new "MyDisneyExperience" features on the Disney World website.  It is a new web application and smart phone app.  A few months ago, Hubby had associated our annual pass vouchers with our profiles in the system.  Well, after we activated our passes today, hubby looked online to see if the new passes has been automatically associated with our online profiles.  They had, with one problem.  His pass was associated with our son, and our son's pass was associated with him.  We weren't sure if this was going to be a problem or not, but hubby felt that it would be best if we worked everything out before we tried to enter the parks the next morning, so he went back to Downtown Disney to Guest Relations to ask about it. After explaining the issue, the girl working at guest relations first congratulated hubby on finding a way to break the system in a way that they had been unable to, and then ended up re-issuing hubby's and the boy's passes.  Hooray, everything was fixed... at least until he came back to the room and found that he couldn't get into the room.  Somehow during the process of getting the passes re-issued, his key was deactivated.  He then went to the OKW front desk to get his key re-issued, but their system wasn't able to confirm that the new passes were set up correctly.  So, he headed back to Downtown Disney to double-check that the passes wouldn't give us any trouble in the morning.  The new system has some cool features and shows promise, but still has a lot of bugs to work out.

While he was gone, the kids and I took the resort bus to the OKW general store and did a bit of looking around. We picked up a few things and then grabbed the bus back to the room and got ready for bed.
Tomorrow we hit the parks!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 8 - Castaway Cay... by way of Nassau

We all expected to wake up at Castaway Cay -- Disney’s private island. But when I woke up about 2 hours before we supposed to get to the island, it felt like the ship wasn't moving. After about 20 minutes, curiosity got the best of me and I had to look out the window.... and we weren't anyway near Castaway Cay. So I turned on the stateroom TV that has a map and bridge report, to see the message that due to a medical emergency we had changed course, more information would be available in a bit. Soon Hubby woke up and we began trying to figure out where we really were. We were pulling into dock in Nassau. They made one announcement that I didn't hear about what was going on. But no more communication came until the person who needed to depart had left the ship. Then the cruise director came on the speaker and talked about the plans for the rest of day. We were still going to go to castaway cay - but would arrive late.
As the morning played out, the crew did a great job of keeping everyone entertained. And we arrived at the island about 1:15. They pushed back our departure time to 5:30, which would give us a nice amount of time on the island.

We got to see the Disney Dream pull into Nassau
Our sister ship (the Dream) and a Carival ship in port at Nassau

our location and course
So a bit of history... I have been to Castaway Cay four times previously. And have never had a great time. Most people LOVE this place. It's the whole reason they cruise and want to go more than once. I have had an OK time at best. Each time I try and go into it with a good outlook, today is the day I will see the light and fall in love with this place. (insert buzzer sound here) Not this time.
I soo want to love this place... even like it would be good. But today didn't help :(
We got off the ship without issue and headed toward the tram station. Beach here we come. We were first in a line to get on the next tram and our transportation loving boy was having a hard time waiting. Now it wasn't an organized line, but if you are a follower of common courtesy then you would clearly see who would get on the tram first... Ha.. silly lady. You push and push until you are on, don't look back just GET ON THAT TRAM.
We were shocked! Less than 30 seconds after the tram stopped to load we had all been pushed and moved out of the way, no seats were left and we stood there looking at each other with our mouths open.
Hubby was upset. Actually we all were, but I knew he needed to walk and not be in this line any longer. So we started to walk to the beach. And our boy lost it. He was sooo sad about the tram. Which was apparently his favorite thing on this island. We eventually got to the beach. The walk isn't too long, but I made several stops to help my kiddo calm down.
Beach time was great. White clean sand with lots of shells to find. And we really enjoyed ourselves.

Next up was a cabana massage for hubby, scuttles cove kids club for the little lady and back to the ship for the boy and I.

Boy at Mount Rustmore
on tram back to ship
ship from the tram
Amazing mosaic tile mural in Cabanas - Nemo themed 
a close of up of Nemo in mural
A little soft serve... watch out for pelicans 
Mine, Mine, Mine!
Great themeing for this place!

Our boy and I headed back to the ship for some quiet time. With a stop up top for some soft serve on the way. We were really settling into the room when my wave phone beeped.... I have mentioned wave phones?

Wave phones: like a cell phone, but provided by the ship. They work on board and at Castaway Cay. Allows you to call room to room and text - each room comes with two. And the kids clubs page or call on the wave phones.

So, the phone beeps... hmm. Who could that be? It was a text from Scuttles Cove on the island saying "just a reminder, we close in 10 minutes. Please pick up your child". Ahhhh! It takes at least that long to get there if everything goes your way: i.e. elevator is waiting, you make the tram and your relaxing boy wants to jump up and run off the ship.... oh, bother.
Well, with much coaxing.. and a little bribing, we were off. We made it off the ship in record time and the tram saw us coming and waited for us - what luck. Well, not really. this tram didn't stop at the Scuttles cove stop! It went right past it to the next stop and we had to walk back, which was not a fun thing for me or the kiddo I was dragging along with me. But we made it and picked her up before they closed up shop. We later found out that if you don't pick your kiddo up they will just take them back on board. Which makes perfect sense, but it all seemed sooo urgent at the time.
We met up with Hubby, who was in a massage relaxation bubble until he heard about all this silliness and had to deal with a grummpy boy, stressed wife and distracted girl - sorry hubby :)
He had planned to pick her up and bring her back onboard - anyway. Next time ask what time they close... because the times weren't posted and even though they postponed all aboard time, they didn't postpone the previously listed closing time for scuttles cove. Oh, she had a great time by the way.

Once we all got back on board it was time to get ready for dinner and eat. Dinner was back in Royal Court. Being our last dinner on board it's also the night you typically hand out tips :)
We had wonderful service on board. Our main server Nestor was awesome and Richards his assistant was so friendly. Overall we had great dinner experiences. 

After we ate and took a leisurely walk back to the room, we decided to get swim suits back on and hit the AquaDuck and pool one last time. Final AquaDuck ride count for the whole cruise: Boy: 18, Little Lady: 4, Hubby: 21, Me: 1

view of funnelVision screen with AquaDuck tubes over pools
Dad and Boy waving from AquaDuck

Loving the empty pools
Dad and Little lady waving from AquaDuck

The last night of a cruise you put your bags out before you go to bed. The crew then organizes and takes them all off the ship and into the terminal at the port in the morning.
So, we had some packing to do.
Then off to bed as early as possible. Our next morning would be the earliest morning yet.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 7 - Our last day at sea

We slept in a bit today. With no big plans til 10:30 it was nice to have a leisurely morning.
Hubby and I had brunch at Palo today. The kids went to the clubs and we dressed in our brunchy best went up to this adult-only restaurant. It was a lovely meal. They tell you to take your time and relax and then pace your service so you do. We enjoyed the view and the rare time just the two of us. The food was wonderful, with one interruption from the kids, that required me to run down for a few minutes. We had a great meal. And left full.

Hubby picked up the kids and we all met back in the room, we wanted to get them some lunch and change clothes ourselves. After we watched the kids eat, Hubby and the little lady headed down to see a magic workshop. The performers from the night before did a small family workshop. They all learned how to do a rope trick. The busy boy and I planned a bit more of the day and enjoyed the quiet time and talked about what was next.

Actually the whole day went pretty fast. When they returned and showed off the trick they learned, it was almost time for the kids to go to their last session of “Get the Hook” in the kids club. They were really enjoying this event and today was the last session... they were going to find the Hook! Hubby went up to the Rainforest room and I took the kids to the club and then met him up there.
This session of Get the Hook was only a half hour, so with transit time its not much time for falling asleep in a lounge chair in the Rainforest room. Hubby picked the kids up and I spent a few extra minutes relaxing.
Before dinner we worked on the on board treasure hunt style game they have “MidShip Detective Agency”, which took us all over the ship and to our restaurant of the evening, Enchanted Garden.

enjoying some bread at dinner
I think we went through two baskets of bread at each dinner
Pepe's room - part of the midship detective game. 

After dinner we picked up with our detective plans and continued until the evening show “Believe”. Another great show from the ship's cast. It was sweet and fun and we enjoyed it.
Next up... bed. Please please please can we go to sleep before 10! Almost, but not quite... maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 6 - St Thomas (who says you need to sleep on a vacation?)

Today we were up earlier than yesterday - whose idea was this?
We all got up, dressed and ate without incident. We even found our way down to the D Lounge where our Island Tour to Coral World was supposed to meet. Somewhere between the Lounge and getting on the tour bus, the little lady lost it... not to say she was kicking and screaming, she was a bit more composed than that. But she DID NOT want to go on a tour or another island and more than that she really didn't want to be off the ship. The crying stopped before we got on the bus, but the bad attitude remained for the first third of the tour... slowing softening into acceptance and ending with “this is a great day!”. She is clearly suffering from late nights and early mornings. We must remedy this soon, if for no other reason than my sanity :)

great views
view back down to the ship

checking out the view
pic with a local
hanging out in our tour vehicle
showing me just how grumpy she is :)
sharks at Coral World
checking out the touch pools
not a bad place to be 
lovely day
big school of small fish
sea turtle

Iguana - these things are all over, think of them like squirrels at home :)
checking out the map
smoothie time
feeding the birds
The tour was good. Our driver was friendly and in a reasonable amount of time we found ourselves at Coral World. Which looks much bigger on their map than it is. We had 1 1/2 hours to explore and when I saw the map, I thought “we better be quick, or we won’t see it all”. Not the case. With 30 minutes to spare we had seen it all. It was a nice small aquarium-like sea park. Low crowds made for easy viewing of the exhibits. They were doing some construction with was a bit distracting, but only in the one building. The kids had fun and we were heading back to the ship for lunch.
We lunched in Cabanas again today. I found an area in Cabanas that I prefer to sit in, so that is where we landed. And we ate with great views of St Thomas and the water.
After lunch we played a round of Goofy Golf on deck 13, which is a 9 hole mini golf course.

not a bad view from our Goofy Golf game on deck

Then it was back to the room to rest for a bit. I napped, I think. I was soo groggy that I know I wasn't really awake, but I didn't feel like I slept either. The kids watched some Disney cartoons and hubby read. When it was time to get up, I decided coffee would help the situation. So down to deck 4 for an iced coffee - which really did the trick.
The lady whose attitude has been awesome since mid morning, had a Bippity boppity Boutique appointment. This was her birthday present from us - it includes a Disney costume, hair etc. They will turn you into a Disney princess. When we booked it she actually choose the Cruise Line Minnie costume, so that is what we did. It was a challenge for her as she isn't used to big fancy up-dos with her hair... and by big fancy, I mean pulling, gel, hair spray, bobby pins, etc. We had a few minutes I thought she was going to throw in the towel, but she muscled through. Her “Fairy Godmother in Training” was awesome. Really tired to go easy on her and was so patient. And in the end with some minor modifications she got the crazy rainbow hair up-do she had selected.

Her first look at her outfit and fun hair
Telling Ariel about her outfit

Dinner tonight was back at Animator's Palate and although the menus are a bit fancier than we would like, we always find good food to eat. Tonight the entertainment in the restaurant was awesome.