Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Day at Magic Kingdom

Our day began around 7:30a.m. when our little monster woke up. It was our day at the Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast scheduled at 10:05a.m. at Crystal Palace. Soooo it was time to get up and get ready. As we were slowly moving about, I realized that the clocks in the room were 15 minutes fast. That's a good thing...it allowed us to be on time, for once. What made me think about the time was when Disney Channel and the time on the clock were not matching up. I laugh because I would be one to know that since we watch Disney Channel 90% of the time. Anyway, our morning began. Ed was doing laundry...I know he can't take a break. I was putting my face on and Anthony was just making a big mess with all his toys. We have toys under things that I didn't know we had. It's amazing how one little arm can displace things throughout the room. I found the CDA guy under the entertainment center and Boo under the bed, and Sulley well he survived his throw behind the nightstand. My goodness...it was a treasure hunt to find the full collection of Monsters Inc.
So it was 9:00a.m. and we were on the bus to Magic Kingdom. I know, we were early and on time:) You know when you get on and they announce the safety rules and no one is listening...yea that was our bus. We had a bus full of families from New York. Needless to say, it was a fun bus ride to the Magic Kingdom.
We arrrive at the Magic Kingdom around 9:30a.m. We headed to bag checks...why? Who knows...are they really looking? So Ed kept on walking through the bag check line with the stroller (no one stopped him...lol) and I stopped to get my bag checked. Nothing! On to the ticket line we go...through the ticket gate and on down Main Street we head. Anthony was thrilled to see the castle or what he calls it the "astle". It wasn't that busy. I took a picture of Ed and Anthony on Main Street. It took awhile because Anthony couldn't stop staring at the castle. We continued down Main Street to the Crystal Palace. Yummmmy! Pooh Puffy French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Yogurt, tons of fruit and the strongest coffee I've ever had. My goodness...it was so bad:( I couldn't put enough sugar or cream in it. It was really bad. So orange juice it was. The place was quite empty. It was eery empty. I'm used to it being packed with people and crazy kids...well my kid was there but that was only one. We took pictures with Piglet, Tigger, Pooh bear, and Eeorye. Our table overlooked the view of the castle. It was very nice. Food was awesome!
Breakfast and relaxing time was over...it was time to hit the rides. Anthony and I went on the Alladin's Magic Carpet ride. Of course Anthony loved it. Then off to Pirates of the Caribbean. No line..we walked right on. I know I didn't believe it either. Now it was time for a breakdown. Yes Anthony had a moment...Lol. So we took a break and took a ride to Toontown on the Main Street Train. Anthony refocused and off to Toontown to get wet at Donald Duck's boat. It's a tradition for Anthony to Ed to get soaking wet. Anthony was drenched. It cooled him down which was nice.
It was time to head to Monster's Inc. Another show we walked right into. The lines were not bad at all. We grabbed a Fast Pass for Buzz Lightyear. The return time was 2:15-3:15p.m. so we headed back to Frontierland to grab a bite to eat. Anthony wanted chicken nuggets. There was a lot of construction in Frontierland. They are building a restaurant and it looked like another ride. That was on one side the other side they were building Pooh bear's tree. It is looking good. We will see the finished product when we return in November 2011.
On our way through Frontierland we figured we would take a ride on It's a Small World. Well it was closed:( so off to Peter Pan for a Fast Pass. The return time for that was 5:40p.m. Across the way was Pinocchino's. That's where we went in to grab some chicken nuggets for Anthony. We walked in and normally it is packed with people and no tables. Tables were open everywhere. I was in shock. I didn't know what to do...I didn't have to stalk out people to get a table.
It is now around 1:30p.m. and we met up with the Fernando Family which had a late start. They went on Philmur Magic and we headed back to Buzz Lightyear. Buzz Lightyear was amazing. You get to shot at the "Z" targets to gain points. Of course Ed was on and I just didn't too well. Ed had like 41500 points and I only had 21500 points. Oh well:) We attempted the Stitch ride but Anthony was still to young. He wasn't tall enough yet. Bummer:(
Back to the bus and off to the resort we went to get ready for our dinner at Wolfgang Pucks in Downtown Disney. I was hoping that Anthony would take a nap...that didn't happen. He was ready to go ALL day. We grabbed a bus to Downtown Disney, since it was thundering and lightning. (which it has been doing since we got off the boat) Dinner was outstanding. I got sushi, caesar salad, Pumpkin Ravioli, and my favorite Key Lime Pie. Ed got Butternut Squash soup, shared the sushi with me, Macadamin Nut Encrusted Chicken, and Creme Brulee Cheesecake. Anthony got chicken nuggets with carrots and broccoli rabe and shared the Key Lime Pie with me. No complaints here.
Back to the Magic Kingdom we went for fireworks and more ride. On our way through Downtown Disney there was a gentleman playing "You Got a Friend In Me". Anthony stopped and looked at us and began dancing. He is such a ham. Onward we went and there was more music. This time he fell asleep...out cold in the stroller. So Ed went shopping in the Irish Pub and I continue to sit and people watch.
We grabbed a bus to the Contemporary and walked to the Magic Kingdom. We got there just in time for the Electric Light Parade. Anthony was still asleep. I enjoyed it though. Into the Confectionary to glare at the yummy rice krispie treats and caramel apples. The crowd started pouring in after the parade so off to stake a spot for fireworks. We stayed on Main Street. That's the best spot beside the bridge near Tomorrowland, which there was no way we were getting there. Where did all these people come from? It didn't look that busy during the day. at 10:00p.m. the fireworks took off. Amazing as usual. Yes, Anthony had no choice but to wake up when the first BOOM hit the sky. He jumped up shaking in fear. Once he settled down he enjoyed the sound of the fireworks from a nearby store with Ed. He felt safe.
Fireworks are off and it was time to find the Fernando Family. Yea that was like finding a needle in a haystack. Not fun at all. Long story short...we never found them in the crowd. We set meeting places and it didn't work. It was now 11:00p.m. and we were heading out of Magic Kingdom for the night. The bus ride home wasn't bad at all.
We have decided to change our itinerary. We are heading to Hollywood Studios on Tuesday. We changed our dining to Hollywood and Vine for lunch and off to Mickey Mouse Playhouse and Toy Story ride. Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Picture Update!!

Please check out all the pictures posted in our blog!

Off the Cruise and On Land to Disney World

So it's now Sunday, August 8, 2010 and we are now in Walt Disney World staying at Saratoga Springs. Today the weather is stormy with thunder and lightning. It actually is a nice break from the heat of the Bahamas. We arrived at Saratoga Springs around 10:30a.m. We checked into our room and dropped all our luggage off. Then off to Downtown Disney we went. Anthony was in a shopping mood. We grabbed lunch at Earl of Sandwich which was amazing by the way. We headed down to the LARGEST Disney store ever. It is a parent's nightmare. Anthony was looking for a set of the "Magical Express" buses. He found them...then off to Ghiradelli's for some ice cream. Anthony got a kiddie strawberry cup with rainbow sprinkles; Ed got "The Domingo" which is hot fudge, bananas, and vanilla ice cream; and, I got a double chocolate waffle cone which defeated me:( I couldn't finish it. It was TOO BIG. I felt like I was going to explode. Then back to the room for a nap. We all needed one before dinner. Dinner was at the Cape May Cafe. I couldn't wait to eat clams, mussels, and lots of yummy food. So we all napped for a few hours then got up to get ready for dinner. We grabbed a bus to Hollywoood Studios then a boat to Beach and Yacht Club. Dinner was at 6:55p.m. and we were ON TIME...I know that's a change for us. Lol...it's ok. So after dinner we grabbed a bus back to the resort and off to bed it was. Today was a no thrills day. Tomorrow is Magic Kingdom. We are meeting up with the Fernando family from the cruise. Anthony is excited to be able to ride the rides with the boys. So until tomorrow...Good Night!

Our Day At Castaway Cay

Our day at Castaway Cay began with a parasailing expedition for Ed and I. I must admit...I wasn't nervous at all. I mean that...after this experience I think I could skydive. Lol...anyway, Anthony made his way down to the Flounder's Nursery Reef to play with all his little friends until noon. Ed and I had an 11:00a.m. appointment on Marge's Barge for our parasailing expedition. There were 10 other crazy people doing this with us. They take you out beyond the lagoon and let you sail up above 600 feet. It was truely amazing. We saw other Bahamian Islands that were about 25-30 minutes away. How do we know this...well the two workers on our parasailing boat travel to Castaway Cay for employment everyday. It takes them 25-30 minutes by boat on a good day and about an hour when weather is not so good. Anyway, we are about 600 feet above the water and you can see everything. On our way down, we were "dipped" into the water about chest high. It was really cool. We are thrusted back up to about 400 feet and we drifted down onto the platform of the boat for a safe landing. As we enter the boat, we look down and there were two barracudas. Yeah! Well thank goodness we were back in the boat and no one else was going back up. The Bahamians were not shocked to see them. I was:) Lol   We headed back onto Marge's Barge and off the boat we went. We headed right back to the ship to get Anthony and off to the shoreline we headed. The Fernando family was waiting for us there for the boys to play in the water. The water was crystal clear. Little silver fish and small jellyfish swam along not bothering anyone. Along the shoreline, the Pirate of the Caribbean Ship lies there abandoned.So let's talk about the fun we had on Castaway Cay. They have tons of activities for all ages. Cookie's BBQ served up an outstanding lunch for everyone. They had hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, BBQ ribs, fresh salads, fresh cut fruit, ice cream machines, cookies, chips and all the trimmings. They had a beverage station for all your soft drinks and a few bars that served adult beverages (NA beverages too). They had a special...buy one get one free so a banana colada was our drink of the day. Anthony enjoyed his own banana smoothie. It was so relaxing. You grab a tube and just float away. The whole lagoon was ours. They had rafts, tubes, and any other flotation device one might need. For us, we enjoyed our time in the water on a huge clear tube and a big blue raft. It was priceless just to sit back and watch the kids play. Anthony was swimming like a fish...no flotation device and face in the water. The salt water was beating him up but he did not care. They had a "Pelican Plunge" slide, "Scuttle's Cove" and a place to dig up treasures in and out of the water. All along the shoreline they had activities going, music blasting, servers bringing you drinks, and lots of fun memories.On the island, you can search for the hidden mickey treasures using snorkeling gear...yea I wasn't doing that. I wanted to have one trip that I didn't come back from with a swollen face. You can snorkel, you can swim with the stingrays, you can jet ski, you can rent sailboats or water boats, you can just sit back and enjoy the family...that's what we did! There are no complaints. It is by far one of the most amazing cruise experiences of my life. I look forward to my next cruise in November 2011. Who can go on a cruise and see fireworks at sea, have parties, enjoy broadway shows, and meet nice families each and every night.
All aboard was 5:00p.m. so we headed back to the ship at 3:30p.m. Anthony got his picture with Stitch. Then off to dinner we went. We all took showers and got ready for our last formal dinner on the ship. On our way down to the Triton Dining Room, Anthony grabbed a picture with Pluto. That was our last character visit...Boo Hoo! Our bags had to be out by 10:30p.m. so back to the room to pack and off to bed we went. We had to be up by 6:00a.m. for a 7:00a.m. breakfast and a 9:00a.m. Disembarkment. All MUST be off the ship by 9:00a.m. So to all...good night. There is so much more to share:) Love ya all! 

Back to the USA

Wow...we have so much to catch up on. The last time I left you was when we were on our way to the Bahamas. We arrived at the Bahamas on Friday, August 6, 2010. It was beautiful. The people were kind and generous. 
As we walk through town, there we see a Harley Davidson and Starbucks Coffee. YES! Caffe Mocha and a Caramel Frapp...not like the USA but it was good enough. So we walked around for a short time then grabbed a taxi to Paradise Island, Atlantis Bahamas. There we had an amazing experience. We swam with Leo the Sea Lion. Leo was a gentle sea lion. He loved people. He gave out free kisses and hugs. He loved to smile and stick out his tongue. Anthony thought he could go in Leo's pool and swim with him....Not today:) Although we stood in the middle of the pool with Leo and were so close to him that wasn't good enough for Anthony. He had a great time. Leo smacked a kiss right on Anthony's head.  
It was nice to see how courageous Anthony was being next to a few hundred pound animal. His face tells it all. Not only was it hilarious that he thought he could swim with Leo when he was being held by me but when Leo got close and personal with Anthony he was scared to death. That fear passed quickly. Now it was time to hug and feed Leo. We picked a nice looking fish for Leo and in the mouth it went. Anthony was not afraid at all. During our visit with Leo, Leo was arrested. Apparently he is used to being arrested. He likes to steal fish from other sea lions. He jumped right on the wall and was patted down. He was found clean; however, Leo took it upon himself and stuck his tongue out at his trainer before jumping back into the pool.
After our experience at Atlantis, we headed back to port. We grabbed another Taxi, this time an Escalade Taxi. We were pimping back into town. By this time, Anthony has passed out from pure exhaustion so we headed back to Starbucks to relax. Once Anthony woke up, we walked on the strip where you find the high-end stores: Max, Coach, Fendi, Guess, and much more. It was crazy. Prices were no different; however, you had to watch your pockets. There were plenty of pick pocketers...they were like hawks. Don't stop at an ATM because you were being scoped out by someone on the street to tag you. So needless to say, we left and headed back to the ship. Back on the ship, Anthony and I took a dip in the Mickey Mouse pool. Anthony met the height requirement so he headed down the twisty slide into Mickey's hand. He loved the rush of water that smacked his face at the end...Then it was time for dinner. Ed and I had a date at Palo Dining Room, adult only dining area so Anthony headed to Flounder's Nursery Reef for a few hours. Upon entering our room, we found a "lobster" made from our room towels. It was "Pirate" night on the ship so we were left gold coins.Every night we were left with a "towel animal". This was the coolest one yet. So off to dinner we went and off to the nursery Anthony went. He absolutely loved his experience in the nursery. Goofy and Max came in to visit and play with them. They did arts and crafts and got to play with other children around the same age. They had movie time, pool time, and other activities that were age appropriate. It was nice for him and nice for us.
Now this next experience was nothing you can ever experience on any other cruise line. It was "Pirates IN the Caribbean Party" night. All the characters and most of the guest dressed like pirates. The kids had a blast. At the end of the party, (around 10:30p.m.) we had fireworks...that's right fireworks in the middle of the ocean. Disney is the ONLY cruise line that has a license to do this. Of course...Lol. I must say it was spectacular.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our Day At Sea

So it was 9:00a.m. and we were all starting to move about in the stateroom. Anthony was very happy. He is asking us if we were “really happy” with his big smiley face. Of course we are happy…so off we go to breakfast to the Beach Blanket Buffet. They had a wide range of breakfast foods such as chocolate Mickey waffles, omelet station, Krispy Kreme donuts (yummy!) and homemade cinnamon rolls (goooooey!). We grabbed a table by the window to watch the horizon go up and down. We looked for fish, dolphins, and of course sharks. We saw no “Bruceys” or “Mr. Rays” or flippers. We saw nothing. Bummer…so on we go to Deck 9 to visit with Captain Hook. Yes Captain Hook was out and about today. There I (Jenn) signed up to get my hair partially braided. I received a 3:00p.m. Well we have Day at Sea today so Anthony and I headed into the Mickey Pool. He absolutely threw himself in and out of the pool with no flotation devices. He was doing so well. He was swimming with his face in the water like a little fish. There was a very nice breeze on the Deck near the pool. By the Mickey Pool we have Pluto’s Dog House where they serve Bratwurst, Chicken Tenders, Tomato Salad, Hot Dog, Cheeseburgers, Hamburgers, and other grilled food. They also have Goofy’s Gallery where they serve wraps and an arrangement of fresh fruit. Next to Goofy’s Gallery is self-served “soft served” ice cream…YUMMY! I have only hit it up once. I know…you are surprised but that is the truth. They have two bars and several servers walking around all day with drinks. Outside by the pools they also have a fountain beverage station. Like I said, Anthony and I hung out there until 12:30p.m. then it was off to get ready for “Toy Story” the broadway musical. The show was at 1:30p.m. but they suggest getting there 30 minutes in advanced. Good advice. We were there by 12:45p.m. We got great seats and waited 30 minutes before the show started. While Ed waited in the seats, Anthony and I went down to the Lobby to dance with Stitch, Goofy, Donald and Daisy Duck, Chip and Dale, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We danced the “Cha Cha” Slide, Hoedown Throwdown, the shuffle, and other really cool dances. In fact, Anthony and I were at the Studio Sea dancing last night to the same songs. My little man can get down. He dances well and loves to dance. The characters just walk around and the kids just dance right alongside them. Anthony didn’t know what to think. So now it’s 1:15p.m. and off to the show we went. Anthony got a Buzz Lightyear light up straw with his sprite and the show began. My goodness…it was amazing. They included every character they could. No one was left behind for sure. Another fabulous show that Anthony did not budge out of his seat. The show lasted about an hour. Out of the show and onward to the Flounder Nursery Reef where Anthony will get to play with friends his own size. Mom was getting her hair done and dad was doing his thing. Anthony enjoyed some time away from mom and dad for about an hour. Don’t worry…he didn’t even want us to pick him up. If it weren’t for pictures with Chip and Dale we would have left him there. Up to Deck 7 for a quick shower and out to see Chip and Dale. Chip and Dale were in their tuxedos tonight. They looked handsome. Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were all dressed formal tonight. Pictures and flashes were lighting up the Lobby floors. Another red carpet experience…we met up with the family from Canada and off to dinner at Parrot Cay. It was tropical night tonight. Yummy! Ahi Tuna, Romaine Salad, and an Island Style Grilled Rib Eye. To top it off, Lemon Meringue Pie, Crème Brulee Cheesecake, and Chocolate Smores Cake. Dinner was amazing as usual. More magic tricks and lots of laughter. The boys keep us all going. Now it is 10:26p.m. and everyone but me is asleep. This is the second night that Anthony has been sleeping ALL by himself in his own BIG BOY BED!! YEAH! Dad is snoring and I am blogging. My hope tonight is to upload pictures; however, if I can’t pictures will soon come. I PROMISE! Off to Bahamas tomorrow. We are swimming with the Sea Lions in Atlantis. Cross your finger and hope that I can get connected tomorrow night as we sail to Castaway Cay. Blog with you soon!

Our Day in Key West

We were at port in Key West, Florida. Today we headed to the Butterfly Conservatory and the Key West Aquarium. We all woke up around 10:00a.m. and headed on down to the Parrot Cay, Deck 3 for a brunch buffet. When you walk in, it feels like you are in Margaritaville. They are playing Jimmy Buffett music and are in tropical attire. Our server was Nelson. He was very kind. They were going to save space and put us with another family...well Nelson grabbed us and put us with him at a table all by ourselves. Anyway, the food was good. They served the typical breakfast foods; however, some of the typical foods had a caribbean twist; i.e. coconut, pineapple, and other tropical accents. We were not able to get off the boat until 12:30p.m. so we ventured on down to the photo gallery. We found our first night at sea photos. Then we headed to the Lobby to gather more photos with the characters. Today they are hosting Belle, Donald and Daisy Duck, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Goofy. We were also able to catch Snow White, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. Trust me when I say this...the characters are EVERYWHERE:)

Well on to Key West we went around 12:45p.m. We walked up the block and around the corner to catch a bus that took us to the Butterfly Conservatory. It was beautiful. It's funny though because it meant so much more to me on this trip because I cultivated them this time last school year. After the conversatory, we headed downtown and walked the shops. It reminded me a lot of Maui. We saw the Great Kapok Tree and Banyon Trees. We even saw Hemmingways House on the Key West strip. It was pretty cool. Locals say that it is very expensive to live there. Hmmmmm merchandise was so so. You paid less the further out you went into Key West.

After a browse around town, at 3:00p.m. we headed to the Key West Aquarium. It was a guided tour. The Aquarium was built around its environment. They have sharks that come in from the ocean. The docks of the aquarium are built right out in the ocean. Anyway, the tour guide was very informative. Anthony handled a starfish and had the chance to pet a "Nurse" shark. He was afraid of course but took the opportunity well. We fed sting ray, sharks, and other local fish. It was pretty cool.

Since it was quite HOT…we decided to head back to cool off. We stopped at one of their local ice cream shops. VERY EXPENSIVE! It wasn’t like Brusters or Royal Crowne.

On the boat we went. Through security and it was shower time. Dinner was again at 5:45p.m. This time we were heading to the “Animator’s Pallette”. Very cool dining room…animations on the walls. When you walk in the walks, chairs, tables, and everything were black and white. As time progressed, color was added to the animations and walls. By the end of the dining experience, we had a full dinner show about Walt Disney and the animation of the characters. It was intriguing.
The menu at the “Animator’s Pallette” is very good. They had amazing Ahi Tuna, great salads, and outstanding dinners. Anthony had mozzarella sticks, macaroni and cheese and beef tenderloin. Of course he had vegetables and fruit…for dessert a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Pop. Ed and I had the Beef Tenderloin which was tender and delicious. Like I said earlier, the Ahi Tuna was fabulous.

After dinner, we headed back to the Lobby for pictures with MORE characters. My goodness…we have seen them all Then onto a show we went. Ricky Kalmon, a Hypnosis and Comedian, had a theatre packed with people. Ed, a participant in the show, did very well. He is now a celebrity. Strangers stop to talk to him about his Hypnosis experience. He was Hannah Montana, he had a pet flying squirrel, and list goes on. You all know Ed so you can only imagine how funny it was. People walk by us and just laugh. He had money, which were only napkins, stuffed down his underwear. He thought he had hundreds…NOOOO they were napkins. He ran onto stage after the show and rubbed the cruise directors bald head. He wasn’t alone…all participants in the show did it. They had 10 participants all together. They were all under hypnosis. The stuff you do…my goodness. After the show, we ventured onto Deck 9 for some pizza and a movie by the pool. It is now about 10:00p.m. and Anthony is still partying it up. The pools are open and the movie is going. Well Ed and I are zonked. So we head back, with Anthony of course, to get some sleep. Back to it tomorrow with our “Day at Sea.”