Monday, November 5, 2012

2012 WDW & Cruise Vacation - Day 10

Day Ten: Our last full day of vacation. But we didn’t have much time to be sad about that because we had a day to enjoy at beautiful Castaway Cay. This is Disney’s privately owned island and it is the prettiest island we have ever been to. Now, I get that it’s just a tourist island and no one but a few Disney employees live there so it’s hard to compare to other islands that are actually cities/countries; however, we loved it. We woke up this morning a little early well rested from our relaxing day before. We got ready and went to Cabanas for breakfast. We were glad we tried all 3 places for breakfast but I think we still prefer Cabanas for the laid back atmosphere and large array of choices since we had Ryan with us (but you have to go to Royal Court at least once to get eggs benedict, loved it even if it’s a no no while pregnant, lol). We could see the entire island as we pulled up and began the docking process, great view in Cabanas as well.

After breakfast we went back to our room to grab our bags and as soon as we were allowed to, we got off the ship. We decided to walk to the second family beach over by Pelican Plunge because I thought we would play on it more than we did. As we were walking we did see the trams but we wanted to look around. We enjoyed looking at the vegetation and decorations along the way. Once at the beach we quickly picked some chairs to set our stuff on. Jonathan really wanted to go down the slide on Pelican Plunge first so he and Ryan headed off that; however, Ryan didn’t want to go without me so I went too. We all put on life jackets even though they aren’t required if you are over a certain height (I still recommend them). We swam out to the dock and it was much deeper than we expected. We climbed the stairs and everyone was excited to go down the slide. Since it was still early the line was not long at all. I was up first so that I could catch Ryan at the bottom and the life guard at the top told me to hold on to my sunglasses. I said “ok” not thinking much about it, well I should have just taken them off but I didn’t. As I went down the slide I was surprised at how fast it was. It was a fun ride . . . . . until you got to the bottom. The drop off was much further than I had anticipated. And the lifeguard wasn’t kidding. I hit the water and my glasses flew off and were no where to be found. By the time I got my breathe I had to get ready to catch Ryan and wasn’t sure how that was going to work. Well, the lifeguard standing on a platform at the bottom said I couldn’t catch him, that I had to wait at the side (again, thankful for the life jacket so I didn’t have to tread water for this). Ryan flew off the slide and was not happy. I got him as quickly as I could but I know he still swallowed water and was a bit scared. Thankfully, he was fine as soon as I had him and all he said was that he didn’t like it. Jonathan came down next as I was trying to swim back to shore with Ryan. And he quickly noticed my glasses were missing and thought this was hilarious. I filled out a form at the life jacket drop off and they told me that they dive at the end of the day to get lost items (since they have a lot!) and to check back that evening on the ship to see if they had found them. In hindsight, I would not have had Ryan go down this slide (and probably shouldn’t have either since I am pregnant); however, that didn’t even cross my mind despite every other thing we did I always had Jonathan check it out first. But we were all just fine and did enjoy the slide (it was just the drop that wasn’t fun).

We went back to our chairs to dry off and I realized there was no way I was going to be able to make it thru the day without another pair of sunglasses. So, off I went to buy a new pair from one of the shops on the island. Jonathan and Ryan stayed to play in the sand and water. Thankfully, I found a cute pair that was only $20 (I was scared I was going to be paying much more than this but the sun was so bright they were a necessity!). After I got my new sunglasses I rented two floats for us to use then headed back to the beach (all this was very close together so it didn’t take me long at all). I took the floats out to Jonathan and Ryan who were in the water and we all climbed on (Ryan rotated back and forth between Jonathan and me, he also had on his puddle jumper). This was so much fun! We loved just floating out in the water. We stayed out there for a long time. And again, I was so thankful for having Ryan’s puddle jumper. He felt so confident in the water instead of holding on to one of us for dear life. We had planned on renting bikes while on Castaway Cay; however, we were having so much fun just playing/relaxing in the water we changed our minds. After quiet some time we did get out and walk around a little bit. We found the kids’ splash area and Ryan played in there for a little bit; however, I think he got sprayed in the eye or maybe he got sunscreen in his eye, either way he was crying and his eye was red. We decided now was a good time to go get something to eat and sit down for a bit.

We found Cookies II pretty easily and got our plates. We were a bit disappointed in the selection of food (burgers, hotdogs, a few fruits and bagged chips) and then really disappointed when we ate. The burgers were very dry and tasteless. My husband said this was easily the worst meal of the whole trip. We weren’t expecting gourmet food but we were definitely not expecting the bad food we had. And Ryan didn’t eat much more than chips (he’s not much of a hot dog fan and he didn’t want to eat the burger). We did get yummy cookies and ice cream though. We sat for awhile letting Ryan calm down as he was still a bit cranky from hurting his eye (I tried to wash it out as best I could in case it was sunscreen and I never did see a scratch). But after we were done we went back to the beach. Jonathan went back out in the water while I cuddled Ryan for a few minutes (he was a bit tired). It didn’t take Ryan long and he was playing in the sand. While he played I read on my Kindle. We joined Jonathan back in the water and played/relaxed on the floats some more. It was starting to get a bit cloudy and you could see a storm coming in so we decided to head back to the ship. We packed up all our stuff and began walking back. We leisurely took our time, looked around more shops, got another ice cream cone and enjoyed the scenery. We even saw a cat on the way back (Ryan loved that!). We got more cold towels once back to the dock and Captain Hook was doing a meet-n-greet. There was no line so Ryan got his picture taken with him again.

Here are some pictures we took on our way back:

Once we were back on board we headed back to our room and then up to the pool deck for a last bit of fun. Ryan played in Nemo’s Reef and went down the Mickey slide and Jonathan and I both took turns going down the Aquaduck one last time. We didn’t stay up there long though as we wanted to make it to the See Ya Real Soon party with the characters so we went back to our room to clean up. And we are so glad we did. I highly recommend going to the early party, there weren’t a lot of people here and the cast members told us the late one is always the busiest. The characters do a little performance at the show and then they spread out for pictures. We were able to get lots of pictures! And Ryan was having so much fun. He even went up to the characters all by himself (this was big since he always wanted one of us with him the rest of the vacation). And it really didn’t feel like a huge organized deal.

Ryan gave Pluto a big hug first!

And then we spotted Donald hiding in the curtains. We were able to get a picture with him before anyone else noticed.

We were able to get pictures taken with Goofy, Chip and Dale, Daisy, Minnie and then finally Mickey. (we were even able to get back in line to try for a better picture with Minnie because Jonathan didn’t think the first turned out well).

After the characters were done taking pictures they did a little song and dance and then Mickey head shaped confetti fell from the ceiling. I grabbed a bunch of this for my scrapbook. We really enjoyed this little party. We looked thru all our pictures before dinner and decided to only purchase one (I would have loved to buy more but didn’t).

It was soon time for our last dinner on board. We were in Animator’s Palate tonight for the Animation show. After we ordered we were given the special placemats to draw our characters on and turn in. For dinner tonight I started out with a garden salad, just like the one I had the night before. And again, it was very good, it was simple but I enjoyed it and the croutons. Jonathan had a mushroom risotto and he enjoyed it. We thought we were going to be getting the corn three way soup but never did (and didn’t realize it until we had our entrees), Jonathan was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to try this after reading reviews about it. For an entrée I had grilled sirloin steak, it was just ok. Jonathan had seafood linguine pasta and said it was one of the best dishes he had all cruise (but didn’t top Palo’s chicken parmesan). Ryan had his usual chicken, fries and mac and cheese. It was the last night so I had to let him get what he wanted. For dessert, Ryan had a Mickey ice cream bar, Jonathan had the baked Alaska and I had the temptation because I couldn’t decide. The chocolate decadence cake and celebration cake were both very good but I didn’t care for the third one served with it. While we ate our dessert they played, what we thought was the new animation show with our characters we drew; however, there was a malfunction and none of the drawings were there (there were blank spots where the drawings were supposed to be). We waited for what seemed like forever because they said they were trying to fix it and replay the show with our drawings. Finally (after about 20 to 30 minutes) they finally played our show. It was neat to see the drawings and Ryan got a kick out of it. After the show we stopped by guest services to see if they had found my sunglasses but they hadn’t. Then we headed back to our room to finish packing. We had a long busy day and we knew that the next day would be exhausting so we didn’t stay up too late tonight.

Day 11: Debarkation day. We had a late flight today so we were in no hurry but they do make you get off the ship by a certain time. Because we had early dining our main dining room breakfast should have been at 6:30 am; however, there was no way I was getting up that early to leave. So we decided to skip that breakfast and just grab something at Cabanas. They do not have the usual full length buffet, it was a very simple small buffet on this day (Jonathan was very disappointed he couldn’t get his made to order omelet). We ate quickly and headed off the ship. It was probably around 9 or a little after. Before going thru customs we stopped by the lost and found area (they have a big area with lots of stuff here and two cast members manning down the station) to see if my glasses had shown up. And sure enough they were there!! We made it thru customs and were on a bus to the airport in what seemed like no time. We were so sad to leave the Fantasy, it really was a beautiful cruise ship. But we had been on vacation for 10 full days now and were ready to be back at home. Our flights home were uneventful but we had long waits in both Orlando and Atlanta along with a slight delay in Atlanta so we didn’t get back to Lexington until after 8. I was coming down with a cold (always do after vacation) add on top that my stomach was queasy from flying and it made for a very long day.

Final thoughts: We had a great, amazing vacation. We enjoyed so much about it. Yes, there were a few issues but overall we had a blast. We made a lot of wonderful family memories that we will cherish forever. Ryan still talks about it almost daily and wants to go back. He wears us out talking about it all the time, lol. Disney World was lots of fun. Ryan was even more into it this trip then he was back in January. We really enjoyed staying at Port Orleans Riverside and wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. The Disney Fantasy cruise ship was beautiful. And in my opinion the best looking cruise ship we have ever been on. The décor was not tacky or flashy like we’ve seen on other cruise lines. The cast members were all very friendly and helpful. But I don’t think we’ve ever encountered any really rude employees on any of the 4 cruises we’ve been on (the others were on Royal Caribbean and Carnival). Honestly, the food was a little disappointing. I always look forward to the food on a cruise and this food just didn’t live up to it. Most of everything I had was good but not amazing; a few things were bad but not overall, it just didn’t wow us. I tried to hit everything in the trip report but I probably forgot a few things here and there. I know that we ate ice cream cones a lot (Jonathan loves the ice cream machines) and that we relaxed more on this vacation than on previous ones. I would have liked to have made it to a few more shows but it didn’t work out that way and I don’t regret it. Early dining made it hard to do anything after dinner without staying up late and that wasn’t really possible with Ryan. We usually prefer late dining but I thought (and still do) that it would have been too hard for Ryan to make it thru a late dining. Overall, we would definitely sail Disney again and look forward to our next vacation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 WDW & Disney Cruise Vacation - Day 9

Day Nine: Today was another sea day and due to staying up late the night before we all slept in a bit this morning. Once we were awake and ready to go, we went to Enchanted Garden for breakfast. We all enjoyed the selections we got (similar to the stuff served up in Cabanas, just a different setting). After breakfast Ryan was asking to go to the kids’ club again. I had promised him that he could go again so we took him. While Ryan was gone, Jonathan and I decided to go have some fun time together. We went back to the room and changed into our swim suits. We wanted to ride the Aquaduck together to see if it was any different. We had so much fun!!! The ride is a bit wilder at the beginning with the extra weight from a second person and then you get to enjoy the view with someone else. It’s a fun ride by yourself but way better with someone to ride with.

After riding the Aquaduck several times we went to get Ryan. He was having so much fun! They had just finished up a game of finding monsters and he had won a little Disney bag for finding the monsters (I think all the kids got the bags but it made him feel so special to think he “won” it). The camp counselors were all super nice and Ryan just loved going to the kids’ club. Despite my concerns of leaving him with people I didn’t know and from being away from him, he did great. I had a much harder time than he did with him going, lol. Next time, I might let him go more but I really enjoy getting to spend time with family on vacation so that might not happen, lol.

We went to Cabanas for lunch and all had a mixture of things. We always found something we liked at Cabanas to eat and thought the food was pretty good for a buffet style. Both Jonathan and I do agree that we wished they would have had some sort of a pasta bar or burrito bar (Carnival had these on our last cruise and we really enjoyed them). Also, where are the croutons?! That drove me nuts! I love croutons and so does Ryan; however, they are not at the buffet at all (and not usually in the salads I had in the main dining room either). I liked being able to get pizza and salad, Ryan loved getting chicken tenders and fries and Jonathan would get some sort of shrimp thing most days. We did try the burgers thru out the week from Flo’s and they were ok, not the best burger but not the worst either. And I love having dessert for lunch, yumm.

Once we were done with lunch we went back to the room for a nap. Thankfully, Ryan was still trying to catch up on some sleep from the night before and we are on vacation, so he and I both slept for about an hour and a half. After nap time, we went back up to the pool deck to play. Ryan played in Nemo’s Reef and went down the Mickey slide a bunch of times. He loved that slide! I was so glad he enjoyed it after the fiasco of his first try going down. We tried swimming in the pools but they were too crowded. Jonathan and I took turns going down the Aquaduck a few more times while the other played with Ryan. I stayed for a few hours then went back to the room to shower and get ready for the princess gathering we wanted to catch for pictures. Jonathan and Ryan followed to change clothes. While I got ready they went out on an “adventure” as Ryan called it. They did a bunch of things (but only for a few minutes each as a 3 year old has a small attention span). They played basketball, mini-golf, ping pong, foosball and then started the Muppets Detective Agency game.

Ryan in front of another beautiful mosaic, the tile work still amazes me on this ship.

By the time they came back to the room I was ready, I got Ryan ready and we went to the lobby to line up for the meet-n-greet. Ryan, despite being a boy, loves the princesses. So glad he enjoys them!!!

Aladdin was walking thru the line to talk to the kids while they waited.

Here are a few pictures of our meet-n-greet with the princesses:

Snow White was great with Ryan.  She talked about how thankful she was that he was there to protect her and the other princesses with his sword, he got a kick out of that. 

After pictures we finished up the Muppets game that the boys had started. It was a cute game but Ryan enjoyed the Dalmatians game more just because he knows them better. He hasn’t ever really watched Muppets, only knows them a little bit.

For dinner, we were again in the Royal Court. We ate here 3 nights out of the 7. I had specifically requested this dining rotation before our cruise because 1) I thought I’d love Royal Court’s decorations the best (and I did, it’s princess themed) and 2) it would put us in Royal Court on both formal and semi-formal night. Out of the 3 rotating dinning rooms, Royal Court is the nicest. Tonight was the Captain’s Gala dinner and I had minestrone soup; which was ok, and then a regular garden salad. I had requested a garden salad over the one that was on the menu and wish I had done this earlier in the cruise. Even asked for croutons and got plenty of those plus extras for Ryan to eat. Best salad I had all week! Jonathan had 2 helpings of the sautéed shrimp appetizer and a wild mushroom soup. He enjoyed the shrimp appetizer but thought the soup was too greasy. For a main entrée I had the fettuccine with parmesan crusted chicken with a few changes (added steamed broccoli and left out the mushrooms and peppers) and it was pretty good. Jonathan had two plates of the lobster, he loves lobster. He enjoyed them but did say they were a bit dry, when you are preparing that many for large amounts of people it happens. I believe Ryan actually had steak for dinner tonight rather than chicken or mac n cheese. As always, he had a Mickey bar for dessert. I had the warm chocolate lava cake, yumm and Jonathan had a sundae. Overall, it was a very good dinner.

After dinner, we walked around the shops for a bit. I bought a Disney Christmas ornament; we have a tradition and always buy one on every vacation. Plus, we love ornaments. I also bought a Disney scrapbook and some paper (need to find time to actually use it!). We headed back to the room for some more relaxing. I think we watched a movie, Ryan played on my Kindle for a little before bath time and then he went to sleep. I probably stayed up and read some more but not too late. Tomorrow was Castaway Cay day, probably the day we were most looking forward to of the whole vacation!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby update - 20 weeks

  Sorry this is a little late but I need to give a baby update.  I had my second ultrasound on October 17th and we found out we will be welcoming another boy into our family.  We are all very excited.  Ryan was sure this baby was a girl but has now warmed up to the idea of getting a baby brother and corrects his self if he calls the baby a "she" now all on his own.  The appointment itself was not my anatomy scan since I was only 18 weeks.  It was to check the length of my cervix.  My doctor is keeping an eye on it this time around since I had problems with it while pregnant with Ryan.  Thankfully, my cervix was closed and long at this ultrasound.  So, we are still taking the "wait and see" approach before taking any more measures.  I do have my actual anatomy scan scheduled with Dr. Campbell, my high risk doctor I had with Ryan, for November 5th.  We will check the length again at that appointment. 
  I also had blood drawn at this last appointment for genetic testing.  It is an optional test but we had it done with Ryan just because we'd like to be prepared and know what we were facing if something was wrong.  With Ryan the results came back with a high level of AFP; which means an increased risk for neural tube defect.  They ruled that out at my 20 week ultrasound with him and said that since it wasn't that then it could mean I was at an increased risk for pre-term labor (and well, we know that happened).  The results came back the same way this time, a high level of AFP.  We will talk to Dr. Campbell about it at our ultrasound to find out if this changes anything or if we should still take the "wait and see" approach.  I'm not really concerned about the increased risk of neural tube defect because I feel this baby move all the time, maybe I'm wrong but I think the baby is fine.  I am worried about the risk of pre-term labor again so I have lots of questions for both my doctors.

  That's about it for now.  I will hopefully have more information next week.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 WDW & Disney Cruise Vacation - Day 8

Day Eight: The morning was like most other mornings, Ryan and I woke up first and then Jonathan. Once we were all ready we went upstairs to Cabanas to get breakfast. We enjoyed breakfast here the most because we could get a variety of things we liked, get Ryan cereal and it was casual enough that I didn’t feel bad if Ryan was being loud. We took our time enjoying our breakfast and getting ready this morning because we didn’t have anywhere to be early. We arrived in Cozumel and all ashore was at 8am; however, we didn’t have our dolphin excursion booked until 1:00 so we had plenty of time. We did make it off the ship a little after 10 and made our way to Chankanaab national park. Our taxi driver was nice enough and got us there without any problems. Jonathan was a bit freaked out because the car didn’t have a working speed odometer (which might explain why the trip back seemed to take longer, lol). Once we were there we showed them our reservation ticket and they told us to come back to the desk ten minutes before our reservation. The dolphin excursion includes entrance into the national park so we decided to walk around and enjoy it. I wanted to walk around the botanical garden and look at the iguanas, plants and flowers.

We did this for a few minutes but Jonathan was in a foul mood so we turned around and went to find a chair on the beach. We changed and Ryan and Jonathan got in the water. Jonathan was disappointed that the water didn’t get very deep in the lagoon and that there were no waves.

After a little while of this we decided we would just go play in the pool. The park has a fresh water pool right near the dolphin area so this was convenient. We played in the pool for awhile, had a snack and played some more. Ryan was enjoying swimming by himself with his puddle jumper.

Once it was time for our dolphin encounter we checked back in at the desk and they told us where the lockers where and to then sit on the benches for instructions. We put all our stuff away and waited and waited and waited. It was after 1:30pm before they finally came over to give us instructions. There was a large group of people waiting and unfortunately, all did not speak one language. So, the instructors had to give the instructions in both English and Spanish. This took awhile to get thru. Once they were finished they split us up into smaller groups and led us to the dolphin area. We were paired with another family of five and again, they spoke Spanish so everything had to be said twice. I hate saying this but honestly it was so annoying. I felt as though we missed out on a lot of interesting facts just because the instructor didn’t want to say it twice, plus it took a lot longer to go thru. We were let into the water and stood on a platform. The life jacket I was wearing kept me just to the point I couldn’t stand flat footed on the platform so it was very hard to keep my balance. But I was in the water with a dolphin so this was exciting. Ryan wanted me to hold him and I did my best but eventually had to give him to Jonathan because I couldn’t keep my balance enough for the both of us. The first dolphin we tried to swim with recently had a baby and was nursing the baby. It was very cute to see them swimming together; however, she didn’t want to do any tricks and ignored the instructor. They had us get out of the water and move to another enclosure with a different dolphin hoping he would be more cooperative. Thankfully he was! His name was John and he was great. Ryan still talks about him. He did tricks for us, swam close to us and then each person got to do a few tricks with him (dance, kiss, etc.). The interaction with the dolphin was a lot of fun. It lasted for about 45 minutes. Ryan loved it and smiled and laughed the whole time. It really was a neat experience.

Once we were done with our dolphin encounter we were led to the picture shop to look at our photos. We only bought one because they were $30 a picture. But I’m glad we got one since they don’t let you take your camera with you. We quickly changed and headed to get a taxi. We were tired and hungry and by now it was 3 pm. There are taxis waiting for you to leave so getting one was no problem. We got back to the port, tried to pay the taxi driver but he didn’t have change for a $20. The taxi was only $10 so he went to go see if he could get some change. After several minutes he did come back and gave Jonathan back a $10 bill. We usually tip but this guy didn’t get a tip since he didn’t bring us any small bills. Oh well, not a smart move on his part for not getting smaller bills. We walked back thru security, got a cold towel (love Disney!) and boarded the ship.

We were all very hungry so we dropped our stuff off in the room and headed to the grill to get something to eat. I believe we had a mixture of pizza, burgers, chicken fingers and fries. After our late lunch we went back to the room to clean up and relax. Tonight was Pirate night and it was going to be a late night. I had Ryan lay down to get some quiet time (even though I knew he wouldn’t sleep I thought him resting would help a little). Much sooner than we were ready for, it was dinner time. Jonathan and I had looked at the menus before our cruise and neither of us were looking forward to tonight’s menu, it just didn’t seem appealing. We were back in Royal Court so that was a plus.

Here are a few more pictures of the murals in Royal Court.

When we sat down Ryan noticed that the kids sitting at the table next to us had flashing color pirate cups and he had to have one. It was only $6 so we got him one. He loves using it at home! For a starter, I had the mozzarella sticks off the kid’s menu and then Mr. Smee’s bibb lettuce salad. Jonathan had the crab cakes and a jerk chicken salad, neither of which he was crazy about. For my entrée I had the marinated beef short ribs with mashed potatoes. I’m not sure if it was just that I wasn’t hungry or what but I didn’t really care for this dish, it was just ok. Jonathan had shrimp pasta that he thought was ok. I’m assuming Ryan had chicken tenders and mac n cheese but I can’t remember what he ate anymore and honestly he had that a lot so it’s probably a safe assumption. I know he had a Mickey bar for dessert and so did Jonathan. I had a sweet temptation of fruit cobbler, some type of meringue and a rum soaked chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. The chocolate cake and the fruit cobbler were pretty good. After dinner we walked around the shops a bit and bought Ryan a pirate sword.

Tonight was also the preimer for Finding Nemo 3D. We went to watch this but only stayed for the first 10 or 15 minutes. We’ve seen Nemo so many times. 3D effects are not something that I really see well, plus we were sitting in the balcony where the bar was hitting the screen so it was obstructing my view (driving me crazy). We went back to the room again for a little bit. I was worried that Ryan might fall asleep but he seemed to be just fine playing my Kindle. We didn’t stay in the room long though; we went up to the pool deck to begin the festives for the pirate party. We danced around for a little bit to the music, watched the Mickey pirate stage show and enjoyed ourselves. Ryan loved it! After a little while we moved spots to get a better view for the fireworks and waited and waited. They made an announcement that the Captain was trying to get us out into clear skies but there was a storm approaching and they weren’t sure if we were going to be able to see fireworks. About 20 minutes later, the show started! It wasn’t a long fireworks show and honestly, it wasn’t anything spectacular but there is something about fireworks out at sea that is so cool! And we all love fireworks anyway so we really enjoyed this. Right after the fireworks, they have a large buffet at Cabanas. We quickly went in there to get something to eat. We filled our plates with tacos, desserts and other goodies and then headed back to our room. It was really late and we needed to get Ryan to bed. Once back in the room, it was bath and to bed for Ryan (after a few bites off my plate to sample). Jonathan and I enjoyed our buffet items (it was a nice change to have tacos). Jonathan even got a turkey leg but didn’t get the thrill of eating it and actually found it gross. With full bellies we went to bed right before midnight, definitely our latest night but staying up for pirate night was worth it.

2012 WDW & Disney Cruise Vacation - Day 7

Day Seven: Today the ship was docking at Costa Maya; however, we were not getting off. I love venturing out to the ports and seeing new places (we’ve never been to Costa Maya); however, Jonathan loves staying on the ship and really wanted to try to take advantage of the ship today. We had agreed well before going on vacation that we would stay on the ship this day. I didn’t see much to do at Costa Maya besides a beach day or to see some of the pyramids (I didn’t think I could get my 3 year to sit still on the bus ride long enough to get there, plus we weren’t in port long so we ruled that out) and we knew Castaway Cay would top any other beach so I gave in and we stayed on ship. We had booked a brunch reservation at Palo for this day and were very excited about it. Ryan slept in a little for him this morning and when he woke up we did our morning routine. He and I did go upstairs to have breakfast together while Jonathan got ready though, he wasn’t hungry. Ryan and I enjoyed our cereal breakfast together very much. He’s a mommy’s boy and loves to spend time with me.  After breakfast we went back to the room to meet up with Jonathan. I got dressed for Palo and we told Ryan that he got to go back to the kids’ club, he was so excited!

We dropped Ryan off and went to Palo. When we first went in there were not that many people there (we had a 10am reservation). This place is very nice and romantic.

Light fixture at the entrance to Palo

We got a nice table, it was a booth set in the back kind of by itself with a great view looking out at the ocean. This is the closest thing Jonathan and I have had to a date since Ryan was 7 weeks old so we were glad we got a great table.

Flowers on every table.

Our view looking out.

Our server, whose name I can’t remember and I feel awful about that, was amazing. She showed us around the buffet and explained how to order entrees. She did not want us to feel rushed at all so she said she would wait to take our order after we had a chance to sample some of the wonderful pastries and appetizers they had. They had all kinds of pastries, cheeses, fruits, cold seafood, etc. to fill up on; you could really make a meal out of this and be pleasantly full. But don’t! You need to save room for the entrees and desserts. We ordered a pizza to split, half margarita and half grape (sounds weird but it was really good!). I ordered the strawberry soup and while it was good I don’t like mint. The mint wasn’t strong so I did enjoy a little of the soup but after a few bites I couldn’t get past the mint flavor and wanted to save room for the chicken parmesan I had ordered. Jonathan also ordered the chicken parmesan dish. We both really really enjoyed it. The chicken was nice and crispy but not overly cooked. The cheese melted on top was the right amount, the red sauce was very tasty and the risotto it sat on was so good!! This was by far the best dish I had on the cruise the entire time. If you go to Palo for brunch you have to order this!!!

By the time dessert came we were both so full but if you know me you know I have a second stomach just for sweets.  We filled our plates from the dessert buffet and enjoyed everything we got.

We both found a few things that we really enjoyed and got seconds on those. By the time we left Palo we were both stuffed and almost needed to be wheeled out, lol. Honestly, if you are going on a Disney cruise you have to book Palo. It was so good! I wish we had booked more than one meal there.

After Palo we went to go get Ryan. He had been in the kids’ club for almost 2 hours but it was getting close to lunch and I knew he’d be hungry. When we picked him up he wasn’t as reluctant to leave this time but was still all talk about how much he enjoyed it. Peter Pan had come in and read them a story, he loved that!! We promised him that he would get to come back at least once more before the cruise was over. Neither Jonathan nor I was hungry but we had to feed Ryan so we went to lunch. I believe we just got him some chicken tenders and fries and I probably tried to get him to eat some fruit and veggies as well. After lunch we went back to the room for a nap.

We didn’t stay in the room long; Jonathan was itching to take advantage of the ship with a lot of people at Costa Maya. We decided to go play a game of mini- golf (or as my son said he played Mickey golf because he was a boy and I played Minnie golf since I’m a girl). It was a fun game and we enjoyed our time. Ryan is finally getting the idea of hitting the ball with his club, it was so cute watching him (wish I had my camera with me). After, we played the mystery game and Ryan chose to do the “Missing Puppies”. This is an interactive art game and is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen. The art looks so real; however, it’s really not a painting but an interactive screen that you hold your detective card in front of and it plays you a clip with a clue and then you have to move your card around to do different things. We really enjoyed this and Ryan was glad we caught bad Captain Hook and returned those puppies! He loved putting Captain Hook in jail. We also swam, played in Nemo’s Reef, rode the Aquaduck and Ryan rode the Mickey slide again.

After we played around the ship for a few hours we went back to the room to get ready for dinner. We were back in Enchanted Garden and the theme was Prince and Princess Dinner. I had the Beast’s Potato and Sausage Casserole soup; which I wasn’t fond of and only ate a few bites and Jonathan had the duck and cheese quesadilla, he did not care for this but I had a bite of it and thought it was good. I also had a caesar salad, I do not remember what else Jonathan had to eat. For my main entrée I had the peppercorn crusted New York strip with sautéed green beans and corn and potatoes with a brandy sauce. I enjoyed my entrée. Jonathan had the oven roasted turkey and enjoyed it as well. I believe Ryan just had chicken strips, mac & cheese and fries (I did say he ate this often). For dessert I had the chocolate soufflé, which I liked and Jonathan had the sundae. I think this was his favorite sundae of the cruise because it had rocky road ice cream, his favorite. Ryan had a Mickey bar, of course.

Here are a few pictures of Enchanted Garden. 

The lighting starts out bright with the flower lights closed. 

And then as the meal goes on the "sky" turns dark and the flowers open up.  Very neat. 

After dinner I wanted to go see Wishes; however, Jonathan was tired and didn’t want to go. So we just went back to the room and relaxed. I didn’t keep Ryan up too late because I knew he wouldn’t get a nap the next day. I know I stayed up and read more of my book, it’s hard to get this much time to read at home and I was loving “my time” to myself even if it was in a small room with Jonathan watching tv or sleeping and Ryan sleeping. The next day we were going to Cozumel and I wanted everyone to be rested because we had a big day planned, swimming with the dolphins.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 WDW & Disney Cruise Vacation - Day 6

Day Six: Our first port day! Today we woke at a normal time for us. Ryan woke up around 7, I put some cartoons on for him to watch and I showered and got ready. Jonathan slept in, again. Once I got Jonathan up, I got Ryan ready and we all headed to Royal Court for breakfast. This was a great time to walk around the restaurant and take pictures of the mosaics.

  I had eggs benedict for breakfast, Jonathan had an omelet and Ryan had the kid’s plate (I think it had scrambled eggs, a Mickey waffle, sausage and some fruit). They brought around pastries and donuts while we were waiting for our food to be made and we all got a donut (we knew they would be good because I had read online previously that they were Krispy Kreme donuts, yumm). Jonathan and I enjoyed our breakfast a lot, Ryan just picked at his (again, all he wanted was cereal, crazy kid!). After breakfast we went to meet some characters before heading out. We wanted to meet Jake (Ryan’s favorite character); however, the line was already super long. We knew he’d be out again later so we stood in line to meet Buzz, first.

After meeting Buzz we went up stairs to meet Jake. Ryan was so excited!!!

We went to say hi to Woody and Jessie next and then back upstairs for pictures with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. We did have to stand in some lines for a little bit but our wait wasn’t awful for any of the characters that we met the whole cruise (maybe 20 minutes max).

After our character meets, we went back to the room to grab a few things, we went upstairs to Cabana’s and grabbed some cereal for Ryan to munch on and headed down to get a tender. All ashore for Grand Cayman was at 10:45 but I think they let people start tendering a little earlier than that. We didn’t want to stand in a long line so we waited a little while and headed off the ship a little after 11. We did not have an excursion booked for Grand Cayman and just planned on going to the beach. Once off the ship we got on a bus/van to taxi to 7 mile beach and asked to go to the public/Sea Grape beach. We had a full van and they let off a few people on the way but we were at the beach within 15 minutes. It was already a little busy and I had to stand in line for probably about 10 minutes just to pay for a chair and umbrella. It was $15 for the taxi and then we spent $12 on one chair and an umbrella. Jonathan was not happy we’d already spent so much on such a simple day and we knew we’d be spending another $15 for the ride back. We enjoyed playing in the sand and splashing in the water with Ryan. The beach view is nice but honestly, it wasn’t as nice as I was expecting it to be. Next time I think I’ll make sure we book thru a private hotel or something and plan to stay the full day.

We stayed for a few hours but got hot and hungry so we headed back out to get a taxi. One of our fellow cruise passengers lost his wedding ring in the van and was searching frantically to try to find it. Other passengers were trying to help him but the driver was getting really mad that they were looking and kept yelling at all of them, it was crazy! Unfortunately, he never did find his wedding ring. The driver drop us off across from the port and we had to walk across a busy street to go back thru security (I only point this out because it made Jonathan mad that we had to pay $15 for a 15 minute ride and didn’t even get dropped off at the port, I explained it was probably due to security but he still didn’t like it). We started walking back to the dock to catch a tender and enjoyed a bit of the Disney extra. They had cold wet towels for us to use and cold water to drink. This was so refreshing and so nice! We’ve been on two other cruise lines and they’ve never done anything like this. When we were able to catch a tender quickly and were back on the ship by 2:30.

Pirate ship on our way back to our ship (Ryan said it was Jake's ship). 

We stopped by the room dropped off our bags and headed upstairs to get something to eat. Unfortunately, Cabanas had stopped serving lunch by this time so we had to grab food from Fillmore’s and Luigi’s. We got a mixture of hamburgers, chicken tenders and fries and pizza and I made a salad. Plus, they have sandwiches and fruit you can get. The food was good and we were all so hungry that we filled up. After our late lunch we went back to the room to relax. I knew there was no hope in getting Ryan a nap this late but wanted us all to rest up a bit before dinner. We relaxed in the room, showered and cleaned up then went to meet a few more characters before our dinner in Animator’s Palate. We stood in line to meet Peter Pan and Ryan could barley stand his excitement. He has really liked Peter Pan ever since our trip in January to Disney World when Captain Hook scared him. Ryan liked that Peter Pan could beat up Captain Hook, lol. He was shy when he met Peter Pan but did carry on a little bit of a conversation with him. Next, we had our picture taken with Tinker Bell. I thought the Peter Pan character was really reaching to look like Peter Pan but this was a good Tinker Bell. Ryan thought she was pretty and very nice.

After having a few pictures taken we went to Animator’s Palate for dinner. We were excited to see what this place was all about after reading so many reviews online. Tonight would be the Crush show, Ryan loves Finding Nemo and Crush so we knew he would like this. And sure enough he was just mesmerized by everything about this restaurant. The walls are decorated with animation art, the chairs are fashioned after classic Mickey, the silverware is even in the shape of a paint brush; it’s all very neat.

Tonight for dinner I had the black truffle pasta purseittes to start and Jonathan had the mushroom risotto. I had read online about this pasta dish and since nothing else seemed to call to me I ordered it. It was pretty good but not as good as the reviews led me to believe. Jonathan enjoyed his risotto. We both had the baked potato cheddar cheese soup next and weren’t impressed. It was ok but we’ve had so much better else where. I did; however, enjoy my entrée. I got the marinated angus beef tenderloin served with wasabi mashed potatoes. The wasabi in the mashed potatoes was subtle but added a nice kick, they were very good. Jonathan had the white shrimp pennette pasta and he really enjoyed it. For dessert I had the chocolate brownie cheesecake and Jonathan had the cookies and cream sundae. We both enjoyed our selection. Ryan had fettuccini with chicken and veggies. He was a little too busy watching the Crush show and looking around the restaurant to eat and barley ate much this night. Plus, he was full from lunch still and pretty tired from our beach day. He did have a Mickey ice cream bar to end his meal though, it is vacation after all.

As for the Crush show, it was neat but very much like the show at EPCOT. We were a bit too far away from anyone of the screens for us to get to talk to Crush. It was cute though and Ryan enjoyed it. After dinner we headed back to the room. Ryan got his bath and then went to bed. Jonathan probably didn’t stay up much longer either, lol. I stayed up and read a bit on my Kindle and enjoyed the quiet time to myself.