Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Day 8- Castaway Cay!

One of the highlights of the cruise- Disney‘s private island Castaway Cay!   But before we get to that, I forgot to show you our towel animal from last night! DSC_6054

So, on Friday we woke up early and had breakfast at Cabanas buffet again.  We had already changed into our swim shirts and swim suits so after breakfast we went straight to the gangway to go ashore.  We should have put our sunscreen on in the room, but I thought- there’s always time for sunscreen.  That was a mistake!  By the way, I HIGHLY recommend swim shirts/rash guards for every member of the family.  I’m very fair and my swim shirt really protects me from the sun, but because it’s sort of like a swim suit it doesn’t get weighed down by the water like a regular tshirt would.

Big Bear is ready to go! IMG_3356  Waiting for the tram is a great opportunity to take a nice picture of the ship.  She’s a beauty! IMG_3355We took the tram IMG_3364to Serenity Bay,IMG_3357 the adult beach.  Tip- go early or you’ll be hoofing it to the far end of the beach to find your chairs.  There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas.  We found a great, shaded spot under the 4th yellow umbrella. IMG_3358  The view from my chair. IMG_3359  We were reading our books when we spotted the dashing Captain Jack Sparrow wandering down the beach.  IMG_3360Who knows where he came from! IMG_3361  He has the swagger of a pirate down pat!

After a few hours of lounging it was time for lunch.  Even though the map of Castaway Cay shows Cookie’s BBQ & Cookie’s Too, they also provide lunch just off the adult beach next to the bar.  It’s a buffet with burgers, hot dogs, mahi mahi, ribs, lots of sides, lots of wonderful fresh cut fruit, and even a couple of ice cream machines!

After lunch was another good time to put on sunscreen.  But by now I was ready to get in the water and that was the only thing on my mind. We were being entertained by some pelicans down the beach.  They were so fun to watch as they swooped through the air then slammed into the water to get their fish.  Not the most graceful of divers- they look like they are about to break their necks when they hit the water!  I couldn’t get the best picture of them because the only cameras I brought with me were my iPhone and the underwater camera.  But see that splash?  That’s a pelican. PICT0063

As you can tell from the pictures, it was a fairly overcast day.  It was still nice and warm and the water was very cool, but once you got used to it it was just fine.   My view of the beach from the water: PICT0055  See the building there between the umbrellas?  That’s where the restrooms, bar, and buffet are located.  Just steps away from paradise!

PICT0056  CSP came out in the water with me. PICT0054  The water is quite shallow for a looooong way out at Serenity Bay.  That’s the only thing I’d change about it if I could.  I wish it were more of a traditional beach where you can walk out like 50 yards and get to chest high water.  Plus it’s very rough on your feet.  Rocks? Coral?  Something.  But I suppose it’s good that Disney didn’t go in there and just tear stuff up too.  Regardless we still enjoy it very much.  PICT0061  And there’s the start of a VERY red forehead.  Here are some of the little tiny fish that were all around us in the water. PICT0065  You can see how shallow the water was right there.  Only a couple feet deep.

After we dried off we went back to the ship.  We had to get back in time for CSP’s 4:30 beer tasting.  I snapped a couple more pictures of the ship on the way back. IMG_3365    Here you can see Dumbo on the back of the ship painting the logo, just under the flag.  Click to enlarge.  IMG_3366And look who we ran into just outside the ship!  Stitch! IMG_3372 CSP jumped right in the short line to get a picture with him.   You can see how far out the AquaDuck juts out over the side of the ship. IMG_3367 Speaking of….

When we boarded the ship we had just enough time for CSP to ride the AquaDuck.  The line wasn’t all that long because people were still on Castaway Cay.  He was so excited!   The part you see in the video is when he passed Donald’s pool and Mickey’s Pool.  He especially loved going through the tunnels where the lights were all on.  Fun!

Next up….Beers from around the world and our final dinner!

Disney Magic- Day 9

Saturday, February 4, 2012.  Back to the USA.

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that we saw Stitch last night!  We made one last trip to the gift store to pick up a thank you for CSP’s mom for taking care of the pugs.  We were getting on the elevator and there he was!  Stitch is my favorite!   And he was dressed up as Pirate Stitch!  My favorite favorite!!!

Before we disembark I want to show you some pictures taken around the ship.  Disney is world famous for a lot of things, one of them is their attention to detail.  There isn’t a boring nook or cranny on their cruise ships.   They have art everywhere and even the hand rails are decorative!  One spot where this is very evident is Beat Street- the adult section of the ship where most of the lounges and bars are located.   Even the ceiling is decorated with twinkle lights to resemble stars.   This is Diversions- CSP’s favorite hang out.  It’s the sports/games bar.  They have everything from big screen tvs to giant Twister and fooseball.  This is the Mickey Pool.  You don’t often see it empty so this is a big deal!  Here are some more shots from around the ship.  Just places we thought were really nice. Even the light fixtures in the common areas are nice! Here are the gift shops, on either side of this hallway.  The Walt Disney Theatre is where all the big shows are performed.

SO…this morning we woke up early and got dressed and packed up all the last minute things.  Then we went to breakfast.  The elevator doors opened and OMG the line for breakfast was insane!  But we made it in finally and had a nice breakfast.  We turned on our phones and watched them blow up with emails and texts from the week.  The guy at the next table was wearing a Minnesota shirt and so was CSP (there were TONS of Minnesota people on this cruise!).  You could tell the next table guy was dying to talk to CSP about it but he never got the chance.  After breakfast we dropped off our customer satisfaction survey and headed to debarkation.  Once you’re off the ship you pick up your luggage (easy color coded system).  Then you go through customs.  The line went quickly and next thing you know we were back on Florida ground!  I waited with the luggage while CSP picked up Blanca (our RAV4) then we hit the road for home!  It was so weird to eat breakfast on a cruise ship in the ocean then eat dinner at a Mexican joint in NC!

We arrived home and CSP’s parents were here.  His mom stayed the week taking care of the pugs and the house.  We showed pics after being attacked by 3 pugs who were full of kisses for their missing parents, then went to dinner.  We made it home in record time.  We didn’t stop for lunch, just gas, so that helped.

Overall we had a blast and can’t wait for next year to go again!  My only complaints:  if your child is screaming please remove them from the dining room/show.  Also the hair dryer.  They look like a vacuum tube.  It does a fine job of drying your hair, the only problem is it gets so hot I couldn’t hold on to it long enough to dry my hair!  And I have short, baby fine hair.  I felt bad for long haired girls!  I’m definitely bringing my own next time.

The best parts:  being able to spend so much time with CSP with no distractions.  It was awesome!  Going to a fancy dinner every single night!  The shows.  Castaway Cay.  Our balcony.  Sleeping.  I sleep like a baby on a boat.  The constant gentle rocking. Seeing CSP so happy and relaxed.   The people watching.   Everyone is just happier on a Disney cruise ship!

Disney Magic- Day 8

Friday, February 3, 2o12    Castaway Cay

Today is the day we’ve been looking forward to all week!  Castaway Cay!  Castaway Cay is Disney‘s private island.  They have 3 separate beaches– the family beach, the sports beach, and the adults only beach called Serenity Bay.  Paradise I tell you!

We woke up early and had breakfast in our room.   Look at that view!  Just as we were about to put on our swim suits and SPF, a message came over the loud speaker.  It was the captain telling us they were having technical difficulties.  Boo!  So there was a 2 hour delay getting to the island.  One of the ships’ side thrusters (used instead of tug boats) was malfunctioning.  They got it running again and the next thing you know we were docked at Castaway Cay!

We got off the boat and went to wait for the tram.  On the way to the gangplank we ran into Donald.  Then CSP got stopped by Minnesota people who recognized the TC (Twin Cities) on his shirt and had to talk baseball! 

We walked over to the tram station.  On the way we passed the post office.   Chip and Dale were there!   We took the tram (even the tram route is pretty)  to Serenity Bay and got lunch(since it was so late now) before we picked out our chairs on the beach.  Lunch was a buffet and I didn’t take pictures.  But it was great!  Mahi mahi, ribs, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, lots of different salads, fruit, ice cream even!

CSP and I picked out our chairs (there are hammocks too!).  I didn’t bring my good camera on the island so these are all iPhone pics, but not too shabby eh?  This was the view from my chair.   We went out into the cool water and swam and swam.  Or bobbed and floated!  There were some snorkelers nearby who warned us of giant starfish and stingrays.  We saw lots of fish and I was calling for a dolphin baby to come see me but no real wildlife.  UNTIL…we decided to go chill out on the beach.  We were really far out in the water and were doing the stingray shuffle as to not step on one.  I noticed some holes in the sand under our feet and pointed them out to CSP.  I reached down to see what it was just as CSP saw the tail.  It was a stingray!  CSP started yelling “Crocodile Hunter!” and tackled me to get out of the way of the tiny baby stingray who just wanted to hang out with me!   CSP is not a fan of wild animals.  We made our way back to our chairs.  CSP went and got us some cocktails.   We relaxed on our chairs for a while.  Reading books and I may have nodded off a bit.   We eventually noticed people making their way back to the ship so we packed up and hopped back on the tram.    Back on the ship we went up on deck to get some shots of the island. 

We went back to the room and packed up our luggage since this was our last night on the cruise. 😦    Then we got ready for dinner.  Dinner tonight was in Animator’s Palate.   We haven’t been to Animator’s Palate since the first night of the cruise.  CSP’s appetizer was a sesame seared tuna tartare.  So pretty!    He also had some sort of seafood mixture.  I can tell that’s shrimp and scallops and maybe salmon.  Not sure why I didn’t write this down.I had the chicken sate .    If you’re wondering how I remembered all the things we ate, I brought a tiny notebook and put it in my purse.  Then after we ordered I’d write down everything we ordered.  Just before bed I’d write down everything we did that day.  There’s no way I’d remember everything on my own!

We both had soup- CSP had lobster and crawfish bisque while I had potato leek soup.  Our entrees included orange roughy stuffed with crab for CSP and seafood pasta for me.  Lobster, scallops, shrimp and clams.  I put those clams on CSP’s plate immediately.  I can’t stand the idea of their shells touching my food!   Dessert was a yummy strawberry and creme cake called Celebration Cake for me and the trio for CSP.  It included chocolate mousse,a chocolate tart and a little celebration cake.    During dinner service there was a little show.  The man waving is Val, our waiter.  We love Val.  He’s from Romania and his wife works on the ship too.  There are over 55 countries represented in the dining staff alone!

After dinner we went back to our room and went right to bed because tomorrow we have to get up early for breakfast and debarkation!

The premature death of the red carpet manicure

Things were going along really well between me and my Red Carpet Manicure.   I’m pretty sure it could have stuck around for a good while longer if I weren’t so fidgety.  Right at day 8 I was up in Blowing Rock with a bunch of girl friends.  I was waiting for some of them to finish shopping at the Mast Store Annex.  Next thing I knew I was peeling my polish off.  That stuff came off in sheets!  It was amazing.  There were a couple of nails that were chipping around the cuticles and I couldn’t help myself, I kept picking at it.   See, those look pretty nice!  Sorry about the picture quality.  I took this using my old iPhone 3G.  Anyway, surprisingly, my nails were in decent shape under that polish.  I’d definitely use the Red Carpet Manicure again.  And next time I won’t mess with them so much.

An evening with a cute Scotsman

I’m on the Comedy Zone’s email list and the other day I saw they were giving away tickets to Craig Ferguson‘s show.  I replied to the email but my hopes weren’t up.  They sent the email out at 10 am and I didn’t see it until 1 pm so I thought my chances were pretty slim.  But somehow I won!  CSP was scheduled to  close at work so he couldn’t go.  But I remembered that Gigi loves Craig so I called her up.  I picked her up after work and we had dinner at Red Bowl.  Love that place.  Then we made our way to Oven’s Auditorium.  The people watching was pretty top notch.  We ended up with pretty good seats, especially since they were free!    There was an opening guy but I don’t remember his name.  Trust me though, you don’t want to see that dude’s show.  He literally read his jokes from big cards in his hand.  It’s like they just found him on the side of the road and said “Here, read these jokes and we’ll give you $50.”  He was terrible.  Then this giant genie and a little person wheeled out a treasure chest.    Pardon the pics.  No flash photography and I was using my old iPhone.  There were a couple puppets in the treasure chest.

Then finally Craig came out.    He was really cute and funny.  I just love his accent!  It was pretty cool to see him since I’ve seen quite a few of his movies, watched him on the Drew Carey show for so long, and also watched his late night show.   Gigi commented that it must be a LOT of pressure to walk out on stage and it’s just you and a microphone and you have to entertain thousands of people for an evening.  I totally agree.  But my goodness how nice that must feel when they all stand up and cheer at the end!