Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 7

Our last day of vacation!  Sigh.

Day 7  October 5 Monday

O’hana!

We woke up and got dressed for breakfast.  But this was no ordinary breakfast!  Today we were having breakfast at O’hana at the Polynesian Resort.  Amy made all the arrangements.  We drove over (CSP’s foot wouldn’t allow us to take the boat/monorail) and sat down to wait for our reservation.  We were chatting about our drive home was going to be affected by Hurricane Joaquin and I mentioned that my friend and travel agent Lisa sent me some information about highway closures.  Just then this lady says “Excuse me, who is your travel agent?”  I said “Lisa Reese”, and she said “I work with her”!  It really is a small world after all!  'Ohana

Our buzzer went off and we were seated and breakfast was served.  Scrambled eggs, potatoes, Mickey waffles, sausage, biscuits, fruit and bacon are served family style.  Not too far into breakfast and Mickey appeared! 'Ohana Then Lilo, Pluto,'Ohana and finally….my favorite…STITCH!!!! 'Ohana I’d never met him even after all my Disney cruises! 'Ohana He signed a painting Amy & Kevin gave us and was so sweet and careful about it.  I was so excited!!!  Especially when I found out that besides the cruises ‘Ohana is the only place you can meet Stitch now!'Ohana

Once breakfast was over CSP rested in the lobby while I bought a couple things in the gift shop.  Then it was back to the room to pack, say our goodbyes and hit the road!

We left about noonish and our route was fine up until when we were supposed to take I-26 from I-95 to Columbia. 70 miles of I-95 and large parts of I-26 were closed due to flooding from Hurricane Joaquin!  CSP, being super safety conscious and conservative, wanted to drive to Atlanta then home from there- adding another 8 hours to our drive!  I said no way.  I just knew I couldn’t do it.  We were up late last night and there was no way I could drive 14-16 hours home.  So we took 95 up to just below Savannah.  Then I cut over on 16.  I pulled over onto an exit and studied the map then took 119 North through South Carolina to Columbia.  We passed through the funniest little towns on this 2 lane highway.  Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc!  They all were really just wide spots in the road but they all had a Dollar General!

Once we were on 77 North I felt better, but then that’s when we saw evidence of the flooding.  There were exits closed where the entire interchange was under water.  Spooky.  And then we needed gas.  I tried exit after exit but all the gas stations, restaurants etc. were closed.  So creepy!  We finally found a gas station about 40 miles north of Columbia.  We filled up there and made it home by 11 pm!  Only 2 hours longer than normal!  The pugs were so excited to see us!  And we were thrilled to see them too.  Too bad they don’t allow pugs on the Disney cruise ships!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 6

Day 6 Sunday October 4

Miami!

We woke up at 6am to dress and pack last minute things and we were out in the lobby about 7 am.  We decided to skip breakfast on the ship (it’s not the buffet, it’s a sit down and ours wouldn’t have been until 9 ish) so we handled our own luggage and walked off the ship about 7:30 am.  We got in our cars and CSP & I followed Amy & Kevin as we tried to make our way out of Miami.

We made a turn and there was a rail road crossing with the lights going and the bars down.  So we waited.  And waited. No train. Then a taxi behind me started honking its horn.  What was I to do?  I was trapped!  All the sudden this guy got out of his van.  His friend drove the van through the bars.  Van Dude then calmly walked over to a tree and ripped off a branch.  He walked back to the rail road crossing bar and held it up over his head with the branch, all the while EATING A SANDWICH.  That must have been one good sandwich!  It was hilarious!  But we got through!  And on the road to Orlando.

Florida has a million toll roads and turnpikes and it cost us $20 to drive from Miami to Orlando.  Yikes!  Luckily they also have these travel plazas in the middle of the highway so you can access it from both directions.  You can get gas and food.  We stopped at one about an hour outside of Miami and got bagels and gas then made our way to Orlando.

Orlando!

We made it to Walt Disney World and the Wilderness Lodge! MNSSHP It’s so nice!  We were staying in one of the 2 bedroom villas there.  The lobby was just gorgeous!  We checked in then went to our villa and got settled in and took a wee nap. MNSSHP CSP got about 45 minutes in but I only got about 20.

We woke up and freshened up and got dressed for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! IMG_0141 Amy had matching orange shirts made for all 4 of us with our names on them.  CSP won’t wear anything with his real name on it so his says CSP!  Ha! MNSSHP Amy had LED light up necklaces for us all (here’s my get up) MNSSHP and for us girls she had tiny witches hat headbands. MNSSHP So cute!  Please disregard the deranged look on my face!  I was excited!

We took a boat over to the Magic Kingdom MNSSHP and got checked in just in time for our dinner reservations at Tony’s (the Lady and the Tramp restaurant).  We were all hungry as that breakfast stop was a long time ago!   We had a great dinner then took the train over MNSSHP to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  CSP & I haven’t been to the parks since 1999 so we were thrilled to get to ride some rides.  And God bless Amy because she got us fast passes so we wouldn’t have to wait in line.  Just standing on CSP’s foot is harder than actually walking.  Getting on and off rides proved challenging with his big boot.  But the staff was great and very accommodating.  For instance on the Haunted Mansion you have to hop into your Doom Buggy from a moving walkway.  Well they slowed it down for us so CSP could get in and out without killing himself.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean and even It’s a Small World. MNSSHP

The weather was perfect!  It started out cloudy, then it drizzled, then the temperature dropped to nice and cool and the drizzle stopped.  It was awesome! MNSSHP

The Magic Kingdom was all decked out for Halloween! MNSSHP It looked so cool all lit up at night!

Before we went on this trip I polled all my Facebook friends about whether or not I should take my big DSLR camera or just my iPhone.  Thankfully I was convinced to just take my phone.  I got great pictures and didn’t have to worry about lugging around a big camera!  It helped that just a couple days before we left I was able to get the iPhone 6S which has a 12 megapixel camera.  I was pretty impressed with its performance!

After riding our rides it was time for the parade.  Amy got us the Happy Hallowishes Dessert Premium Package.  So at 8 pm we went to the Town Square and had preferred viewing areas all roped off for the parade.MNSSHP  Prime spots! MNSSHP The parade was awesome! MNSSHP I know this pic is blurry but it is of the Gravediggers, who were so great and I kind of know one of them because he’s my friend Leah’s brother! MNSSHP Baloo the Bear came over and kissed my hand and another character (I can’t believe I can’t remember which one!!!) high fived me!  MNSSHP MNSSHP MNSSHPWe even got to see the Headless Horseman on a gorgeous, giant black horse. MNSSHP

After the parade we were led through a back stage area over to the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant MNSSHP for a dessert party.  There was a lovely dessert buffet with Halloween themed desserts.  IMG_0123 So tasty!  Then at 10 the Hallowishes fireworks show MNSSHP began and we had perfect seats for it. MNSSHP Once the fireworks show was over we made our way back over to the front of Cinderella’s castle for the Sanderson Sister’s Show. MNSSHP It was super cute!  By now poor CSP was really hurting.  And silly boy wore a short sock under his boot thinking it would be cooler.  Well instead of being cool it allowed his boot to rub his leg raw!  So we decided to call it a night and headed back to the docks to take the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge.

When we got back to our villa there was a big Halloween sign on our door.  We opened the door and found the entire common room had been decorated!  There was a flickering candelabra, spiderwebs everywhere, luminaries all over, candy, and of course a huge Mickey Mouse on the coffee table!  It was SO cool!  And I totally forgot to take pictures of it all!  I was so tired from our long, but amazing day, and I was just in awe of it and so surprised!

We enjoyed the decorations for a little while then went to bed.  We had to be up early in the morning!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 5

Day 5 Saturday October 3

Day at Sea!

CSP & I decided an early breakfast is a good idea so we were back at Cabanas at 7:30 am, even with losing an hour due to the time change.  Then it was back to the room for a nap.  I was tired as CSP didn’t get in until very late from his movie and he decided to shake my foot to wake me up and let me know he made it back.  We’re on a ship!  How far can you go?  Then I lost an hour on top of that so I was ready for my after breakfast nap.

We woke up and dressed and went up to Cabanas for lunch.  Here’s where I’m not a fan of buffets.  I love a good breakfast buffet but lunch and dinner I have a hard time.  I found some gnocchi and had a spoonful of that but that was it.  Meanwhile CSP was chowing down on some peel and eat shrimp. I love shrimp but I hate having to peel them.  It’s the prissy in me.  I thought I’d have time to grab something by the pool to eat like the schwarma, but next thing we knew it was almost 2 pm.

Time for Mixology!

We headed down to Keys bar.  There were about 30 of us who signed up for this class.  Each class is different in that you learn different drinks and techniques.  And it’s only $20 each!  You get 5 drinks for the $20, not bad considering your average cocktail on the ship runs about $8!  This is where I wished I had eaten more at lunch!  We made a Double Crown, Sea day Ratatouille Martini,Sea day Dr. Pepper (with beer),Sea day a B 52 shot,Sea day and a classic mojito.Sea day  I drank CSP’s martini and shot and gave him my mojito.  I like the flavored mojitos but am not crazy about the classic.

At the beginning of the class the bartender called up 4 of the men to do what he called a Taxi Cab. Sea day It was a shot of beer and then you’re supposed to drink the rest of your Corona as fast as you can, but the kicker is the bartender filled up the Coronas with Bacardi Limon!  And you’re supposed to do all this while standing on one foot.  Well CSP was called up to drink the Taxi Cab. Sea day All was fine until the one foot thing!  Kevin finished his cab the fastest!  We were having so much fun and had so many drinks to finish that when the class was over we just moved to party next door to O’Gill’s.

Jo, from the cruise staff, was in O’Gill’s hosting a pub quiz.  We signed up right away.  I love trivia.  Amy won!  She won 4 Disney Cruise Line baseball caps and gave CSP and I one each. Sea day Fun!

You might have noticed in some pictures I’m wearing a lanyard around my neck with a card in a plastic pouch.  I wanted to take a moment to explain the card.   It’s your Key To The World card and it acts as your room key and credit card while you’re on the ship.  You also present it to get on and off the ship. There’s a lot of information on this card.  Your name, the sail dates, the ship name, A for adult or C for child, what level Castaway Club member you are, your reservation number, dinner time, dining room rotation, table number, and the big letter is your muster station.

Then it was time to go back to the room to dress for dinner.  Our last dinner on the ship!  Tonight was in Carioca’s Sea day and it was a South American theme.  At the beginning of dinner at the large table next to us a man got down on one knee and proposed!  She said yes!  The room went wild!  It was SO loud all night.  We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to our wait staff.  They were so great!  Back to the room to pack. Sea day We didn’t get to sleep until almost 1 am!  Yikes!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 4

Day 4 Friday October 2

Cozumel, Mexico!

Today CSP & I woke up super early to catch the breakfast buffet at a much less busy time.  It was so peaceful in Cabanas without the masses! After breakfast we went back to our room for a nap.  Nothing like an after breakfast nap!   We woke up and got dressed and went to Lumiere’s for lunch.  On the way we ran into Amy & Kevin who were on their way to a Tequila Tasting!  We decided not to get off the ship today as CSP’s foot was hurting him and we couldn’t afford a set back in his recovery.

At lunch Bianca from South Africa stopped by our table!  She was our server the 2 previous cruises on the Magic.  She remembered us!  It’s amazing to me that they can recognize a face out of the millions they see!  After lunch we went up to the pool deck and scored 2 of the coveted loungers in the shade. Cozumel There are only 8 of them and they are usually all taken by 8 am!  But it pays to stay on the ship when everyone else gets off!  I bought CSP and I some water shoes so we put those on and got in the hot tub.  He couldn’t go barefoot with his broken foot and needed some support. The whirlpool felt great on his poor feet.  Cozumel Our loungers were on the port side so we had front row seats to the pier when the skies opened up.  There was a huge rainstorm.  Remnants of Joaquin I’m sure. We spent the whole afternoon on the pool deck just lounging and getting in and out of the whirlpool.  Then it was time to get showered and dressed for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was back in Animator’s Palate Cozumel Cozumel and it was Pirate Night! Cozumel I love seeing all the people dressed up as pirates.

After dinner we went up to Deck 10 for the fireworks. Cozumel Cozumel We had great seats and Disney put on a fantastic show.  Cozumel Cozumel Then CSP & Kevin decided to go see Ant Man in the theatre.  Amy and I decided to retire to our cabins and hit the hay! Cozumel It was a really relaxing day!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 3

Day 3  October 1

Key West!

Our ship was diverted to Key West for our first stop because of Hurricane Joaquin.  We were only allowed to be on the island from 8 am to 1:45 pm! Well, none of the fun bars open before 11 am and we’re respectable adults. 🙂  No one wants to take day drinking to the 10 am level!  So at 9 we ate breakfast at the buffet at Cabanas.  We got off the ship and took the shuttle to Downtown Key West. It was when I was packing my day bag for Key West that I realized I left my prescription AND regular sunglasses in my car!  Boo!  Thank goodness Amy had some cute ones in my goody bag!  Our first stop in KW was Ron Jon Surf Shop where I picked up some cute sunglasses so I’d have a backup pair.  Then we went to CSP’s favorite, Sloppy Joe’sKey West We hung out there for about an hour Key West then stopped into Irish Kevin’s so our Irish Kevin could buy a hat. On the way there I got sucked into one of those over priced lotion stores by the sales dude who was slathering sea salt scrub all over me.  Before I knew what was happening he was bagging up $80 scrub and lotion!  Luckily Amy came in and saved me!  I hate confrontation and I know Lotion Dude was not happy with me leaving empty handed!  Amy & Kevin had to stop into CVS so CSP and I grabbed drinks at Starbucks (we had been saving up our free drinks to use on this trip).  It was a brand new Starbucks which was mercifully air conditioned but there was no seating! So back outside we went.  CSP & I found some shade on some steps while we waited for Amy & Kevin.  Then it was on the tram back to the ship!  On the way back to the ship we saw tons of the famous Key West chickens. Key West I just love how they hang out everywhere!

Our time in Key West went way too fast!  We were changed into our swimwear and up on the pool deck by 2 pm! Key West We grabbed something to eat at the lite bites counters.  I tried chicken schwarma and it was so good!  CSP got a coke from the bar and they served it in these cool cans. Key West He LOVED the Coke on the ship because it was made with real sugar!  We hung out for a while at the pool and people watched until we realized the Vacation Planning Desk was open.  So we scooted down to deck 4 and got in line to book our future cruises.  If you book online you save 10% and get a handsome onboard credit!  We booked for October 2016 and a placeholder cruise (which is now February 2017) because the 2017 prices weren’t out at the time.

Back to O’Gill’s for another pre-dinner drink.  Amy & Kevin had gone back to their room instead of O’Gill’s (I think) but we were able to keep in touch via Disney’s cruise app which allows texting! Key West So cute and fun!  And free!  So many Disney emojis!

We went back to the room and showered and dressed for dinner. Key West CSP enjoyed a beer in his new coozie courtesy of Amy & Kevin while I got ready. Tonight’s dinner was in Animator’s Palate.  It was a Pacific Rim theme.  Here’s where things got a little wonky.  At the first dinner we noticed that some kids were running through the dining room.  That’s no good for SO many reasons. But tonight at dinner it got out of control when Amy was hit in the head by a flying paper airplane!  People!  I know it’s a Disney cruise but that’s no excuse to allow your children to go wild!  After dinner we went back to our rooms for bed. Key West By now we knew our final itinerary. And we had to set our clocks back an hour. Where to next??

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 3- Day at Sea!

We slept in a little after our big day yesterday in Key West so we didn’t get up until about 9:15am.  Slapped some clothes on really quickly and ran down to the Future Cruise Desk.  We were first in line.  Yay! We had already booked our 2016 cruise but we wanted to see if we could get a better deal including the on board credit.  We did!  So we saved a bit of $$ AND got $200 on board credit for Jan 2016.  Yay!

We went back to our room and dressed for brunch at Palo! DSC_0082There’s a debate on every cruise which is better?  Palo Brunch or Palo dinner?  I’ll take em both!  They are both amazing!  But let’s talk about brunch first. DSC_0095 Palo is the adult’s only restaurant on all the Disney ships.  It’s Italian and incredible.  You’re required to dress up, which I love.  We don’t get out to fine dining establishments that often so I like putting on the ritz a bit!  Although brunch is more casual than dinner, men are still required to wear nice pants (no shorts) and no flip flops.DSC_0083

Brunch is a buffet and then you can order things like pizza and chicken parmesan (the best chicken parm you’ll ever have) or eggs benedict from the kitchen.  Here’s CSP’s plate from the cold buffet.  DSC_0085 It truly is a seafood lover’s dream!  Mariana from Mexico was our server and we enjoyed her so much I went to the manager and asked to be seated with her at our dinner reservation later in the week.  Then I asked if there happened to be any openings for any of the other nights.  We lucked out and they had an opening for tonight!  But back to brunch.  You get a cocktail with your brunch.  CSP chose prosecco and I chose Kir Royale. DSC_0086 Mainly because I have a Buxom lipgloss with that name and I’ve always wondered about it.  It was pretty good, but I’m not a huge champagne fan.  Oh!  and the sticky buns!  You must try a sticky bun!  So good.

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One thing that impresses me with Palo is their attention to detail.  It can get warm with the sun coming through those big windows in Palo so look how they ice the tea!  With frozen tea!  No watered down tea!  Genius! DSC_0089

Now after brunch is the best part.  The sweet wee little desserts!

DSC_0092 This one is fruit and CHAMPAGNE JELLO BITS.  Again- genius!!!DSC_0094 DSC_0091 DSC_0090 DSC_0093They are all bite sized desserts so try them all!  Brunch lasts a good two hours!  When we were finished we headed back to the room.  I ran into a member of our cruise group delivering Fish Extender goodies.  It was fun meeting her and bonding over our Fish Extender experience.

CSP and I changed out of our nice clothes and went up on deck.  We found some chairs in the adult section called Quiet Cove and read/napped the afternoon away!

DSC_0096 I could see the AquaDunk tube sticking out over the ocean from my deck chair. DSC_0098

DSC_0097My view- not too shabby!  Next thing we knew it was time to shower and dress for dinner!

Back at Palo!

DSC_0099DSC_0102DSC_0100DSC_0107 Dinner service is very different from brunch.  Much more formal.  They wait on you hand and foot and treat you like royalty!  Dinner starts with anti-pasta.   DSC_0106 Artichokes, roasted peppers, olives, parmesan cheese, proscuitto, and cured beef.  Topped with flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The artichokes are just fantastic.  They also bring you a fancy bread basket with warm garlic pizza bread and bread sticks. DSC_0105

For my appetizer I chose pesto grilled shrimp. DSC_0109 CSP chose his favorite soup- cippino.  It is chock full of seafood.  Mussels, shrimp, scallops, the works! DSC_0108

Between appetizers and entrees they bring you an intermezzo- lemon sorbet to cleanse your palate.  DSC_0110

For our entrees we both chose risotto.  CSP got the Risotto di Mare (risotto of the sea) with all the same sea creatures as his cippino, just on creamy risotto instead of a broth. DSC_0111 Topped with zucchini strips.  I chose the Wild Mushroom risotto.

DSC_0112 CSP said his was incredible and I had a taste of his risotto- he was right!  Mine was super good too.  Very VERY mushroomy.  We split a half portion (3 pieces) of lobster & marscapone ravioli.  They make their own pasta in house!  SO creamy and tender.DSC_0113

Dessert time!  CSP chose the tiramisu.  How cute is his cookie spoon??DSC_0114 I chose the Panna Cotta with macerated berries. DSC_0115  The best custard I’ve ever had.  Unreal.

But wait….it’s not over!  They bring out sgopino.  It’s a digestive aid frosty shot.  Really good actually.

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We walked (slowly) back to the room and changed into casual clothes. Then we went shopping!  It was Formal Night so everyone was busy with their dinners so the ship’s shops were empty.  Perfect timing!  We bought a t-shirt for CSP’s mom and one for his dad too to thank them for house and pug sitting.  We bought a 2015 magnet (we buy one on each cruise).  And then I spied a t-shirt with a sugar skull on it!  Just then CSP handed me a black Tervis tumbler.  I turned it around and it was perfect!!!

IMG_6444 HOW COOL IS THIS?!?!?  A Disney Cruise Line Tervis tumbler 24 oz with a SUGAR SKULL on it?!?!  It says “Cruisin’ It’s In My Bones”.  LOVE.   Once our purchases were made we high tailed it back to our room to go to sleep. When we got back to our room we had a new towel animal (a seal??) DSC_0117and some Fish Extender goodies. IMG_6385 Luckily our new friends the McC’s gave us a bag to use as our Fish Extender (more on this later I promise).

We have an early day tomorrow!

Up next….Grand Cayman!  Stingrays!  Mixology!

Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Day 9- Odds & Ends, Breakfast & Dentures

Before we get to debarkation there are a couple areas of the ship I haven’t shown you yet.  Well, there are MANY areas of the ship you still haven’t seen but a week just isn’t enough time.  We still haven’t toured the kids’ clubs among other things, but there’s always next time!

Up at the very top of the ship is Goofy’s Sports Deck.  Want to play basketball?  Check! DSC_5807 Foosball?  Ok! DSC_5824 There is the CUTEST mini golf DSC_5813 at sea DSC_5816 you’ll ever see! DSC_5821DSC_5828  And great views of the poolsDSC_5779 (that poor squeegie guy.  All day long, back and forth he goes, his job NEVER ends!) and DSC_5818AquaDuck. DSC_5777  Plus there is a little water play area called Aqua Lab. DSC_5835 Very cute. DSC_5830  Cute clock up on the sports deck. DSC_5825

 

There’s a cool little bonus pool DSC_5757 you can dip your toes in if the other pools are too busy.  The adult pool is really neat with its cool water misterDSC_5761 and in pool bar

DSC_5767and different levels. DSC_5760

 

 

There are 2 theatres on the ship.  The Walt Disney Theatre where all the live shows are performed and the Buena Vista Theatre DSC_6081where they show movies. DSC_6080

 

 

Some random tips:

In every stateroom there is a safe.  I forgot to take a picture of it but to give you an idea how big it is, it held both our wallets, and my Nikon DSLR with attached lens and flash.  There was plenty of room to spare.  So if you bring an iPad or something along those lines, you have a safe place to store it.

In your room you will also find a mini fridge.  Not a beverage cooler like on the Magic and the Wonder, but a full on mini fridge.  You don’t need extra ice to cool down your drinks.

If you worry about getting sick while on a cruise this will make you feel better.  At every dining room before each meal there is someone there handing out antibacterial hand wipes.

We woke up early on Saturday, got dressed and had our Farewell Breakfast in the Enchanted Garden. IMG_3384  It was bittersweet.  We could have easily stayed another week but we were missing our pugs and family and friends.  After breakfast we collected our carry ons and made our way to the gangway to wait in the customs line. IMG_3386 We found our luggage easily, went through customs, and next thing you know we were in the parking lot!

The drive home was mostly uneventful.  Except…we stopped at McDonald’s somewhere along the way to go to the restroom.  I was waiting for the lady in front of me to finish with the sink.  She finally turned and looked at me while popping her dentures back in her mouth.  She had been cleaning them out in the sink.  I stepped up to the sink and about gagged because the sink was full of dirty denture water and bits of denture food!  GAG!!!

I’m so sad this trip blog is over.  Because that means our cruise is officially over.  SOB!  Luckily we’re already planning our next cruise!  Stay tuned!

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 Fantasy Western Caribbean Day 7- Believe and a Surprise Dinner

I talked all about the giving side of Fish Extenders but I failed to mention the receiving side.  It is so much fun to come back to your stateroom throughout the day and have little presents waiting for you!  I love it!  It’s like Christmas all week long!  While I was putting together my Fish Extender gifts the phone rang.  It was Palo asking if we’d like to have dinner there again tonight!  Well of course we would!

But first it was off to see Believe IMG_3352in the Walt Disney Theatre. IMG_3350 The theatre is gorgeous IMG_3353and the showIMG_3354 was a lot of fun. IMG_3351 We noticed a lot of people coming in to see the show holding popcorn and candy that they bought at the concession stand.  Tip:  Bring your own movie candy from home.  CSP & I brought our own drinks in for the show.  No need to spend money on snacks, get one later or before.

Since we had dinner reservations at Palo and hadn’t showered yet we didn’t get to stay all the way till the end of the show.  We’ll catch the whole thing next year!  We snuck out a little early and got showered and changed for yet another wonderful Palo dinner.

We arrived and the hostess recognized us.  She never once asked our names or anything, just seemed to know who we were each time we ate there.  Our server was Jelena again.  As we were being seated, Juan the manager brought us black napkins so we wouldn’t get white lint on our clothes.  Love that.

We had the antipasti again and CSP enjoyed another bowl of cioppino.  I had a bowl of white bean soup and theDSC_6046 mozzarella and tomato salad.  For our pasta CSP chose the gnocchi with asparagus and gorgonzola sauce. DSC_6047 It was melt in your mouth wonderful.  I chose the lobster ravioli.  Amazing again.   CSP’s entree was the turbot with potatoes, mushrooms and a ragout. DSC_6048 I had the tuna filet with truffle potatoes and artichoke hearts.DSC_6049  Fabulous.  While we were eating our entrees the chef de cuisine came out and asked CSP how he was enjoying the turbot.  They don’t get people requesting the turbot often as it can be a fishy fish and most people like more mild fish.  It was a nice touch that he came out to talk to CSP about his meal.

This time for our dessert we both chose the chocolate soufflé since we had heard so much about it the previous evening.  While we waited for it to arrive I snapped a picture of the iron work on the window treatments.  So pretty. DSC_6045  And here is one of the beautiful crystal light fixtures. DSC_6051

Our soufflés arrived and oh. my. goodness.  DSC_6050  Neither one of us had ever had chocolate soufflé before and we were both just blown away.  Pure decadence.  There is a vanilla sauce and a chocolate sauce plus a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Jelena prepared the soufflé for us by poking a little hole in it and pouring in the sauces.  It was still very warm and just sinful.  CSP had a cup of coffee and I had a pot of Jasmine tea with mine.  Juan (from Chile) told us there was a lady recently who came in to Palo and had a chocolate soufflé for her appetizer, entree, AND dessert!  All in one sitting!  So rich!

After our fantastic dinner Jelena took our picture. DSC_6052  Then it was time to say goodbye.

We went back to the room and changed clothes then gathered up the Fish Extender gifts.  We delivered gifts all over the ship.  Delivering FE gifts is a good way to see your ship!  And a good way to walk off a chocolate soufflé!   We ran into a lady from our cruise group while we were out so we chatted with her a bit.  Note- my Facebook profile picture is a picture of my face.  A lot of people use pics of their kids or dogs or sports teams.  And that’s all well and good.  But I can’t tell you how many times I was stopped on this cruise by people from our cruise group who recognized me from my profile picture on Facebook.   Just that night in Palo a lady (I wish I could remember her name) stopped by our table to chat because she recognized me.  It’s a little like being a celebrity!  Ha!  No, but seriously, it was so cool to meet so many people from our group who couldn’t make it to the initial meet up, and all because my picture is of myself!  Once we were waiting to get on an elevator and the doors opened.  I heard “Shannon!!!” and there was a lady in the back of the elevator waving her arms at me!  So fun!

Once all the FE gifts were delivered we went to bed.  We had an early morning the next day.  It was finally Castaway Cay day!

Next up…..Castaways, pelicans, lobsters (ouch) and beer!

Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Day 7- Bingo, Galley Tour and Fish Extenders

Today we decided to switch things up a bit and try breakfast in Cabanas instead of Royal Court.  Cabanas is the buffet on deck 11.  Breakfast there was really good- tons of choices.

After breakfast we walked around the ship a bit.  We came upon the free ice cream station- it was closed so it was a good time to take a picture of Mike.  IMG_3333  Near there is a poster of the Fantasy announcing the inaugural sailings. IMG_3334 So cool that we were able to be a part of that!

Then we went to D Lounge for Bingo! IMG_3336  This was CSP’s big concession for me.  He loathes bingo but sits through it for me. IMG_3337 Plus, unless you win, you’re basically throwing money away in his opinion, which I suppose is true but it’s so fun for me!  This time I splurged  and got the bingo machine instead of the paper cards.  IMG_3335  That was a cool experience. The machine does all the work for you which seriously cuts down on the stress factor.  They say you have higher odds of winning with the machine.  We didn’t win anything.  But we did get two free Disney calendars for attending!  Fun!

We walked around the ship some more after bingo and then went to lunch at Royal Court at 1:30.  CSP had calamari for his appetizer.  IMG_3338I had the fruit timbale. IMG_3339 I asked what does timbale mean and they said “stack”.  So I had the fruit stack.  For our soups I had the chilled raspberry soup. IMG_3341 So yum!  CSP had mulligatawny for his soup. IMG_3340 Neither one of us had ever had it, but I remembered the name from Seinfeld‘s Soup Nazi episode so I was really interested in it.  CSP loved it!  He wants to try and make it at home.

For our entrees CSP had the mahi mahi sandwich. IMG_3343 He asked for fries instead of chips but they brought him both.  I chose the pork tenderloin.IMG_3342  Both were really good.

Dessert for me was a raspberry creme brûléeIMG_3345 and for CSP it was aIMG_3344 lemon cheesecake.  We both enjoyed them.  Creme brulee is another dish I try and get as much as possible on the cruise.  It’s not something I can whip up at home.  It would involve a blow torch and as you may remember I’m married to Cap’n Safety Pants.  He is not crazy about me playing with fire.

We finished lunch at 2:25 and went and got in line for the Galley Tour.  This tour is not advertised (that I could find) in the Navigator so you have to just know to sign up for it.  It’s free and really interesting.  CSP especially loved it.  He was amazed at the size of the equipment.  I was amazed at how incredibly clean everything was.  I mean, we had JUST finished lunch in that restaurant and yet you’d never know it, the kitchen was so spotless and gleaming! DSC_6016 You know in your head that the facilities must be big to feed that many people, but to see the ginormous soup kettlesDSC_6019 is a whole nother thing.  It’s amazing.  Check out this giant immersion blender!  DSC_6025It’s like an outboard motor!  Here’s the big mixer: DSC_6026 One of the giant dishwashers: DSC_6014  Here are the huge frying pan type things where they make chicken wings and brown hamburger etc.  DSC_6020  Chef Darin was really informative and showed CSP the inside of the big walk in freezer but he made CSP promise not to take a picture inside.  Disney secrets and all.   These are the coolers where they put the desserts. DSC_6033DSC_6030  This big white board is where the servers come in and write up how many people are ordering what.  Interesting- I thought it would all be computerized.  Secret crew staircase! DSC_6034

After the galley tour we took advantage of the fact that the Royal Court restaurant was totally empty and took picturesDSC_6041 of the beautifulDSC_6036 tile mosaics DSC_6039around the dining room. DSC_6037 So gorgeous!  DSC_6040I love how the little lights are carriages.DSC_6038

Then we went back to our cabin to take a nap.  On our way back to the cabin we saw Remy.DSC_6043  Then we took advantage of an empty guest services area to snap CSP’s picture in the King’s throne.DSC_6044

When I woke up from our nap I put together my Fish Extender gifts.  A Fish Extender is a pocketed organizer thing that hangs from the Fish or Seahorse outside your stateroom door. This is ours.DSC_5679  You can make your own or have one made for you (shop Etsy or Ebay for those).  You sign up for the exchange on the DISboards.    DISboards are online message boards for Disney enthusiasts.  FULL of info and a great place to get schooled before your Disney trip or cruise.  There is a thread for each cruise sailing.  You join your thread and someone in the group will coordinate the Fish Extender exchange.  You tell that person how many people in your travel party, your names, ages, if you’re celebrating anything, etc.  Then just before you leave on your trip you print out or write down everyone’s stateroom numbers.  At some point during your trip you go around and deliver your presents.  You don’t have to spend a ton of $$.  Most people give Disney themed items or cruise themed items or items that are representative of their hometown.  Like Canadian people gave us a Canadian notepad and pencil and maple candy.  Cute!  Since we are from the Carolinas and the Carolinas are famous for barbecue we go to Shealy’s BBQ and pick up tiny bottles of freshly jarred barbecue sauce every year.IMG_3346  Then I pair that with a Thirty One item.  This year it was Thirty One luggage tags.  IMG_3347  I bag them up in a cute bag: IMG_3348  The finished gifts all ready to go: IMG_3349  I used my new Thirty One Inside Out bag for delivering the FE gifts.4090732A0000_large  Love this bag!

Next up….Believe and a surprise dinner!