Amy C -- July 2003 -- Walt Disney World (PCR/BVR) / Disney Cruise (Wonder) Trip
As Sue spent time at Pleasure Island and in other adult venues,
Cast of Characters
February 4 - 8, 2004
This all began when Mike asked Lisa to marry him. She gladly accepted and on May 22, 2004, they wed. When they were in the wedding planning stage, I had a bright idea at the time. “Hey, I’m a new DVC member. I should send them on their honeymoon!” That got the ball rolling. So, I priced what a 3 or 4 night cruise, followed by a week at WDW would be. Points-wise, it was doable. The only catch was that Rodrigo and I get to tag along! Separate rooms of course! I looked at the cabin selection and the point prices for them. The whole trip was doable, even with the cruise. But Lisa and Mike wanted a room with either a window or a verandah and it just wasn’t going to be possible. So, they decided that they would just forfeit the cruise and just meet up with us at Disney World when we got off the ship.
With that decided I could really start making reservations and plans. I put Rodrigo in charge of finding airfare and buying our park hopper tickets. I reserved 2 studio rooms at the Boardwalk Villas from Thursday, July 15th – Wednesday, July 21st and then 1 studio for the night of the 21st. I couldn’t justify spending those points on 2 rooms that we would be in for like an hour on the 22nd before leaving for the airport. I also booked a category 7 outside stateroom with verandah on the Disney Wonder 4 night cruise that leaves July 11th.
We didn’t want to risk any problems with the flight on Sunday and cutting it too close to cruise time, so Rodrigo and I decided to fly out on Saturday, July 10th and just stay the night in Orlando. When pricing the options for transportation to/from the cruise ships we noticed that it was pretty expensive. Some of the options were more than $100.00 per person round trip. I called Disney to ask which they recommended of the choices and they informed me that we could use the Disney Cruise Line bus to get to/from for $25.00 per person each way. I always thought that those busses were only used for those people doing land/sea packages. It was very refreshing to find out that we could use them. We also found out that the bus would drop us off right at the Boardwalk too. We booked our transportation right away and were thrilled that we called Disney! Now, we just needed a place to stay for the night. I looked on MouseSavers.Com and found the discount codes for rooms at the All Stars and Pop Century resorts. I called Disney CRO and got a quote of $82.71 including taxes for either one. I chose the Pop Century over the All Stars because it is the newer of those hotels. We have never stayed at any of the value so this would be a first for us to see. Rodrigo was able to get roundtrip non-stop flights on American Airlines out of LAX for $310.00. Rodrigo LOVES American Airlines, so that was the only way to go.
Lisa and Mike, in the meantime, live up in Northern California which is about 6 hours from us down in Los Angeles. They booked their flights on Delta for around $300 each out of Oakland. They also pre-purchased their 5 day Park Hopper Plus tickets from their local Disney Store. They were planning on meeting up with us at the Boardwalk on the day we arrive from the cruise. We didn’t want to waste a whole day with them traveling, so they booked their flight out on Wednesday and also got the same $82.71 rate at the Pop Century Resort for that first night there.
Rodrigo and I really wanted to make this very special for them. Not only is it pretty much both their first trips to Disney World, but it was also their honeymoon. I called the Walt Disney World Florist and arranged for a gift basket to be sent to them. The basket included beer, diet Coke, pretzels, chips, salsa and some candy. I arranged that to be delivered on Thursday the 15th.
About 2 weeks before we left, I read on the Cruise Line website that the Nassau shore excursions could now be booked ahead of time. I called and booked for the Atlantis Beach Day for both of us. That is a $60 per person charge. It is a good thing that I booked it when I did. More on that later.
Ok, so let’s see:
With all this done, now we just wait!
On the 4th of July, Lisa and Mike came home to Los Angeles to show us all their wedding proofs which had just come in. With that time, Lisa and I were able to get some things together for the next weekend. We wanted to find those Brita Water Filer Bottles that we had seen mentioned on the internet. We were having a really hard time finding them. One day at a Longs Drug Store we found them. They were $7.95 and each bottle had a filter that was good for 15 gallons of water. We each bought one. We also bought a pack of refills for the future. Lisa and I had also gotten these belt bags from a sporting good store here. They were on sale for $7.00 and they held 2 water bottles and had plenty of carrying space. Those turned out to be a great investment. We went to the grocery store and picked up some snacks for the trip, ALL healthy, like Oreo cookies and Pop Tarts! I was going to put a bag together and drop it off at the Boardwalk before leaving on the cruise.
Ok, enough of this boring pre-planning stuff…onto the fun!
DAY 1 – July 10th, 2004
Ok, so the day has finally arrived. Months and months of planning this and it is here. Seems surreal! Ok, hang on!
3:30, bright and early in the a.m., my alarm clock gets me up. I spring up because I know that I am going to Disney World! If this had been any other day, I would have thrown that alarm clock out of the window. I get up, get showered and get my final belongings together. I gather Rodrigo and his things and we are off. We wanted to stop by his work really fast to pick up some disposable cameras that he had forgotten there. From there we head to my dads house to pick up my other sister Stacy, who was going to take us to the airport. We picked her up and we all headed to Starbucks for a much needed caffeine jolt. We loaded up and headed on what is normally the headache that is the 405 Freeway. At 5 a.m. that is the best freeway ever! I can’t remember another time when it only took 15 minutes to get to LAX. We got there and unloaded all our loot and said our goodbyes to Stacy. We headed into the terminal and proceeded to the Self Check-In counters. Those things are really a time saver. We had our tickets and dropped our bags off at the x-ray machines and headed to the gate. We were kind of hungry at that point, so we headed to an extremely packed Burger King and enjoyed our (grunt) $16.00 breakfast. It was pretty gross tasting, so needless to say we did not leave satisfied. We bought a few magazines (gotta love that Hollywood gossip) and by that time our flight was boarding.
The flight left right on time for our direct flight into Orlando. I slept for a bit. It seemed to go by quickly, which is always nice. We landed safely and headed to the monorail, which I just love! We got all of our bags and headed downstairs to the Mears counter. We grabbed a shuttle with about 6 other people in it, and for the 1st time in history, we were the very first drop off! WOW! That has never happened before! On the way over there I pulled out my cell phone and was able to get 2 pre-sale 5-day Park Hopper tickets. So long as we didn’t pick them up within a 48 hour window it was still considered pre purchasing them. Good, now that is done! Our driver pulled up the Pop Century and we almost had a major vacation set back. If any of you are familiar with Mears they have a metal step stool to assist with people getting out of the van. Our driver never pulled it out for us, so Rodrigo went out first and I followed. The problem was that my foot got stuck in between the top of the step stool and the metal bar right below it and I fell out of the van. Had it not been for the Mears driver to catch me as I was falling out, I probably would have broken my foot as it was still stuck in there. It was pretty embarrassing and I wound up with a nice bruise on my ankle and foot, but it could have been so much worse.
We walked into check in and I was afraid, especially after reading about the horrible lines upon check in at the Value resorts. We were the 1st in line. It was so nice…for a minute…Then we were called over by a man who was 6 months into “earning his ears”. Man oh man. We were there as he tried to get it all together for at least a half hour. It was ridiculous, but he was a very nice man and it was hard to be mad at him. On top of the long check in process, he gave us wrong directions to get to our building in the 90’s section. It was SO hot out and he had us going all over the place. We FINALLY got to our room, and more importantly, to the air conditioning. We collapsed for a little while before realizing that we were hungry. I had wanted to drop off the bag with the snacks and water in it to the Boardwalk. So we headed on a bus to MGM Studios and took the Friendship boat to the Boardwalk. We hopped off and dropped off the bag at Bell Services. We decided to just head to Downtown Disney and grab something quick to eat. We wound up at the golden arches. I got a Happy Meal that came with a very cute Jungle Book toy. We then decided that it was time for some more calories, so we went to Ghirardelli’s for some shakes. Mine was pretty blah, so I threw most of it away. We walked around and looked in a bunch of the stores down there. By that time it was hitting us pretty hard that we had been up for a really long time. We headed back to the hotel via bus and watched tv for a bit before hitting the hay.
Tomorrow……….cruise day baby!!!!
DAY 2 – Sunday, July 11, 2004
With a lovely wake up call from what I now know are the “turbo toilets”, we were up around 8:00, before even Mickey got us “Up and at Em”. We had showered the night before, so we just needed to gather up all our stuff and head to the front of the resort. We decided that a cab would be the best means of transporting us and all of our luggage to the Polynesian. I know that Disney would have transferred everything for us, but we didn’t want to risk anything going wrong and our luggage not getting to the Poly by 11:00 for our departure. $12.00 later we were at the Polynesian. We checked our stuff with Bell Services and Rodrigo went up to the Kona Café to check in for our 9:00 priority seating.
While Rodrigo was doing that, I went to the cruise counter by the downstairs retail shop. I spoke to a nice lady there and she answered all the questions I had. She also informed me that since we had cruised with Disney before, we are now part of the Castaway Club and can head straight to the Castaway Club check in line and avoid the long check in lines at the cruise terminal. I thanked her very much for her help and then I headed upstairs for breakfast. I found Rodrigo, who was already seated and we both enjoyed the “Big Kahuna” with coffee. It was too much food for us to finish, but we both LOVE the potatoes that they serve there. The Kona Café is our favorite place to have breakfast. We almost always start and end our WDW vacations with breakfast there. Stuffed and satisfied, we wobbled out of there and decided that we needed to find Rodrigo some goggles.
We went via Monorail to the Grand Floridian and browsed in a couple of their shops. We found a shop that had goggles that Rodrigo purchased. I also purchased bride and groom Mickey and Minnie dolls for $24.00 total as a surprise for Lisa and Mike when they arrive. I apologize for anyone who likes these, but I HATE the bride and groom Mickey ears, so I thought that these dolls would get them in the honeymoon spirit. We headed back to the monorail and waited for the next one to arrive. As we were waiting I noticed a woman jotting down notes on a little tablet. She looked familiar to me and I realized that it was Sue Holland. So I asked her if it was in fact her, and she said yes. We chatted for a few minutes and she mentioned that she was in town to take photos of all the deluxe resort pools. We said bye to each other and boarded the monorail. Rodrigo and I did the loop and wound up back at the Poly where we waited about a half and hour to board the bus.
We got on the bus and made sure that our luggage was following us there. It was and we boarded. We relaxed on the hour plus drive to Cape Canaveral and arrived at the cruise terminal very excited. The first glimpse of that beautiful ship in the distance will get anyone excited and happy. We got off the bus and waited about 20 minutes in line to get through security. That was a new addition since our last cruise and we didn’t mind one bit waiting in that line. When we got through we headed upstairs and went directly past the 50-60 people in line and right to the front of the line at the Castaway Club Member line. We waited 10 seconds just as the people being helped left and we checked in with no problems what so ever. Before we knew it, we were walking onto the ship, after the 1st of many Disney photo ops. Once on the ship we went to the shore excursion desk to reserve some snorkeling equipment for Castaway Cay. When we got there we had noticed that the Atlantis Beach Day was blacked out on the option list and we asked the employee why. He had told us that it had already sold out. He said that most of the reservations were made before cruise day. I guess only 20 people were able to get on that excursion while on the ship. I was really glad at that point that we went ahead and booked it early! We decided to get the package for Castaway Cay that came with all day snorkeling equipment, an hour bike rental and float or innertube rental. After that, we decided to check out our stateroom. We were located in room 7612. That was located on the AFT part of the ship. Rodrigo’s bags had already arrived, but mine hadn’t yet. We brought in his stuff and then went straight to the verandah. We noticed that the skies looked very threatening. We headed to deck 9 to make our Vista Spa reservations. When we got there the lines were very long, and while waiting we decided that we didn’t feel like spending that much on a treatment. We headed out and had our traditional chicken strips/French fry combo. I think that those were left over from an old cruise because they were terrible. We ate what we could and then continued around the deck. It had started to drizzle at that point so we knew it was about to dump rain at any time now. I saw a cruise employee selling $3 refillable mugs. I asked him why they were so cheap. He said that people complained about the high prices of the mugs and then he told me that I could refill them at any time for free anywhere on deck 9. I bought one and was so proud that I did. Well when we continued on our walk, we noticed that there is now a FREE soda self service area. That man conveniently forgot to tell me that soda was now free to everybody while on deck 9. I didn’t complain because it was only three bucks.
From there we just decided to settle into our room before the life boat drill. As we were hanging out watching tv it started to rain so hard. With the wind, the rain was actually blowing sideways. It was crazy. It poured for about an hour. Then it was on to our life drill. Thankfully we were stationed inside at Animator’s Palate. That took about 20 minutes. Then we went back to our room, took off our vests and headed upstairs to deck 9 for the Sail Away Party. It was just lightly raining at that time, but the deck was VERY slippery. People were slipping and sliding all over the place. We started to move and then the ship let out the “When You Wish Upon a Star” horn blow and we just think that is the coolest thing. Everyone on the other ships were taking pictures as we passed by them and people on the shore were waving and cheering as we passed them too.
The Coast Guard escorted us out to open seas and we were off. It was so nice. We decided then, just to hang out in the room before getting ready for dinner. The show tonight was Hercules, which we had seen before, so we passed. We just hung out and then got ready. Rodrigo used the laundry room down the hall to iron his clothes. Dressed in our dinner best we were headed to Triton’s for our first night of dining. At our table were a gentleman with his 11 year old son from South Carolina, a woman and her 12 year old son from Massachusetts, and another gentleman with his 15 year old son from North Carolina. They all made for pleasant dinner companions over the duration of the cruise. I believe that Rodrigo started with a garden salad with vinaigrette and I had the cauliflower soup. For the main course, I believe that we both had the chicken dish. Honestly I can’t remember really what we had, but I remember that it was very tasty. Dessert was also equally yummy. After dinner we headed out to the area where all the bars and clubs are and there wasn’t really anything exciting going on, so we just decided to call it an early night since we had a long day ahead of us. We headed back to the room and were fast asleep by 11:30. Good night!
Tomorrow: Nassau, Atlantis Beach Day, Disney Wonder
DAY 3 – Monday, July 12, 2004
The best thing about cruising with Disney is the good night sleep I always have there. I slept like a baby. It was so wonderful. We woke refreshed and raring to go. Dressed and all sunscreened we headed to Beach Blanket Buffet by 8:00 for breakfast. We got our breakfast and headed to an outside table to dine. It was already a beautiful (and very warm) morning. We were eating our breakfast when we saw Nassau growing closer and closer. While we were eating we also saw a sea plane land on the water, which was pretty cool. By the time we were done eating we were docked.
At 9:00 we headed to the Promenade Lounge to meet for our Atlantis Beach Day. The place was packed! We got checked in and received all the information we needed. At that time we all headed to deck one to get off the ship. Our big group walked a few blocks where a boat was waiting for us. We boarded the boat and enjoyed some icy fruit punch while our guide pointed out historical sights along the way. About a half hour later we were docked at Paradise Island. Our guides took us on about a half hour walk to the Atlantis Resort and then through the resort and then out to the private beach. We had all received our lunch vouchers. (Let me just tell you, this excursion is $60.00 per person and includes transportation to/from Atlantis, a beach chair and towel, use of their private beach, and lunch. Plus all the aquariums and exhibits that Atlantis has to offer.)
We grabbed our towels and headed to a nice spot where we found 2 lounge chairs. We set up camp there and headed straight for the water. We found chairs close enough to the water so that we could keep an eye on our stuff, while we swam together. The ocean water felt SOOOOO good! It was a good 82 degrees. It was a beautiful shade of emerald green with little specks of blue in it. The waves weren’t small, but they were just big enough to bob around in. We swam for a little while and then tanned for a while, then swam some more for a while, then tanned some more for a while. You get the idea.
We started to get hungry by that point, so we headed to the Shark Reef Express restaurant and redeemed a healthy lunch of cheeseburgers and fries with our vouchers. It totally hit the spot. The Diet Coke was just what I needed. We decided after lunch that we were itching to gamble a little bit. The casino inside the hotel is beautiful. We gambled (and lost) and then decided to visit The Dig. The Dig is the area where all of the exquisite aquariums are located. These aquariums house some amazing creatures. Anything from giant sting rays to sharks to jellyfish to lobsters. We spent a long time just gazing at all of these remarkable creatures. From there we went to the designer shops just to browse around. We went to Gucci and I was eyeing a $350 bag that I wanted. I asked Rodrigo to buy it for me, but he declined, darn it! We were pooped and very hot by then so we just chose to head back to the ship then.
Today happened to be Nassau’s Independence Day so all the shops and restaurants by the cruise ships were closed. I am sure that this inconvenienced folks on the ship that wanted to shop a lot. It didn’t bother us at all, except that I had wanted to buy a toe ring and couldn’t find one. We decided against taking the ferry back to the ship. We just grabbed a cab for $5 per person that dropped us off a lot closer than the ferry would have. We were glad that we did that as it was very quick.
We got back to the ship, dropped off our stuff in the room, picked up my mug and headed upstairs. I filled my cup and we were a little hungry so we just got some chicken strips and ate on the deck. It was such a beautiful day and the weather was just perfect! We were pretty tired so we ventured downstairs and crashed for a little while as we watched tv. We woke up and showered and got ready for dinner. Rodrigo, again, went to iron his dinner clothes. Before dinner (we had the 2nd rotation) we went to play bingo at Studio Seas. It was $25 or $35 to play depending on how many cards you wanted. We played 5 games and sadly we didn’t win. We had run into one of our dining companions from Massachusetts while playing bingo and invited her to join us since she was alone.
From there we headed to dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at Animator’s Palate, which is my favorite. All dolled up for dinner we headed downstairs. Just a side note, our servers have been awesome so far. I forgot their names though, sorry. For some reason I can’t remember what we had for dinner then either. But whatever it was, it was delicious! I know it was beef of some sort. I think I need to start eating more fish to help with my memory. I should have been keeping notes this whole time, but I didn’t. Shame! After dinner, we walked around the deck and then headed to deck 9 for the 2nd Sail Away Party of the cruise. There was a young boy, maybe 12 or 13, that was dancing side to side by himself, then he would all of a sudden start breakdancing. He was nuts. I had a bad feeling that we shouldn’t be standing too close to him while he was busting a move, but we stayed put. I should have listened to my instincts. He started to sway back and forth again, then as he decided to start breakdancing he threw his leg up and out and kicked me REALLY hard in my already sunburned knee. I stumbled backwards and yelled at him to be more careful. That boy gave me a nice souvenir from that party….a giant bruise. I felt it was best to call it a night at that point. When we headed back to the room there was a gift of a Castaway Club towel and 2 pins for being a repeat cruiser. I thought that was such a nice surprise! We headed back to the room and conked out around midnight. It was a wonderful day, minus the knee injury.
Tomorrow: CASTAWAY CAY BABY!!!
DAY 4 – Tuesday, July 13, 2004
We decided to not set an alarm clock today. One because we knew we wouldn’t sleep that late and two because we knew that we would be at the island all day. The 1st thing I did when my eyes popped open was run for the verandah. The view was amazing from our room. The island had no one on it yet. The ocean was crystal clear and calm. The skies were bright blue. It was a perfect Bahamian morning.
We got up and ready and were out of the room by 8:30. We headed to Parrot Cay for breakfast, which was very tasty. It was a buffet just like Beach Blanket Buffet, but it had a much nicer feel to it. It was less crowded and our server was very nice. After breakfast we headed to deck 1 to disembark the ship. When we got off we grabbed some towels and I headed to the Post Office because I wanted to see what time it closed. It closed at 4:00, so I knew that I had time to buy my postcards, write them and still get them out. We headed towards the family beach which housed the snorkeling gear rental area. On the way over there I stopped in one of the gift areas to buy several post cards. The total came to $2.50.
When we arrived at the family beach and the snorkeling rental place, we got our masks, snorkels, fins and life vest with no problem. We set up camp on a couple of lounge chairs under a big palm tree. We put all of our equipment on and headed to the snorkeling lagoon. On a side note, this is my 3rd trip to Castaway Cay and Rodrigo’s 4th and we have never been snorkeling there before. We were very excited about it. We entered the 80 degree water and made our way out. Disney has an amazing way of making this adventure much more than just a snorkeling adventure. They have placed submarines, statues, huge “artifacts” and other amazing visual displays all along the snorkeling route. So not only are you spotting the beautiful marine life, but you stumble upon some fantastic other things along the way. We snorkeled to the very end of the route and then headed back. I could have stayed in there forever. It was so peaceful and serene. We must have been out there for one and half to two hours, but the time flew by.
Back on dry land we laid in our chairs, just basking in the warm summer breeze a woman came up and took our drink orders….2 Conch Coolers for us please. Conch Coolers are the drink of the day while on Castaway Cay. Man, this was the life! All we could hear were the tiny waves crashing on the beach and the sound of the rustling palm trees. It was pure paradise. I decided to take that time to fill out my postcards. I always think that sending postcards is a good idea, but then when it comes time to actually write them, I hate it. I know, I know, I am really lazy. When I was done filling out all of the whopping 5 of them, I stamped them with my cute little USPS Disney stamps and we both proceeded to fall asleep. Wow, is that the life! We napped for a good half hour or so. When we woke up we were raring to go.
We gathered our stuff and went to the bike rental area. We each grabbed a bike and headed out on the trail they have for the bike riders. We were really glad that we had decided to get the bike rental, because it turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole cruise. Rodrigo and I don’t bike ride at home, so this was a welcomed treat. The path was shaded and there were ice water locations throughout. We stopped a couple of times for water. The end of the trail takes you to a beautiful look out spot over the ocean. It was a moment I will remember for a very long time. We took our time heading back. By that time it was around 2:00 and we knew that lunch stopped being served at 2:30. We decided to eat at the Serenity Bay bbq area. That is at the adults only beach area. We enjoyed burgers, some not-so-good potato salad and some very good Greek salad. It all hit the spot. We rode our bikes back to the bike rental area and dropped them off. Then we headed back to the family beach because Rodrigo wanted to snorkel some more. I didn’t feel like snorkeling again, so I got my innertube rental and just relaxed in the water. I drifted pretty far out and then had to wade myself back in. It was so nice to be out in the warm sun and just enjoying this quiet time.
I headed back to the lounge chairs and waited for Rodrigo. When he got back, we dried off and dropped off the innertube and the snorkeling gear. It was time to start heading back to the ship, plus I wanted to get to the post office by 4:00. We made it just in the knick of time. I had already stamped my cards when I approached the counter. The man working there said that I needed Bahamian postage on those cards, which I didn’t even think about. So, I had to buy more stamps and re-stamp them with those. I dropped them off in the box and it was back to board the ship for us. (On a side note, it is now July 28 as I write this and the postcards have still not gotten here!) The line to get on the ship was kind of long, but it went by quickly. We went back up to the room, got the cup and headed to deck 9 for some refreshments. Everyday in the afternoon, by the soda machine, they have had these delicious chewy chocolate chip cookies there. That is my weakness. So with every trip up for soda, a couple cookies are consumed by me and BOY are they GOOD!!!! We decided to shower and relax for a bit.
At 6:30 the first show of The Golden Mickey’s was to take place. We hadn’t seen that show yet, so we decided to catch it. At that time the retail shops were open, as we were sailing now. I stopped in Treasure Catch and bought a cute little toe ring for $5.00. We got our seats for the show and Rodrigo got another Conch Cooler. It was so yummy! The show was very cute. We were glad that we decided to see it. At 7:30 we thought we would give bingo another go. We played and wound up with nothing. That is ok, we still had fun anyway. At 8:30 it was time for dinner.
Dinner tonight was at Parrot Cay. This was delicious. We both had the chicken dish with potatoes. The chicken was moist and tender and it came in a delicious sauce. Yum! Dessert was equally good, as always. Even though I still can’t remember what we had. Sorry. After dinner at Wave Bands (the adult lounge) they were previewing a new game show. This show was a music trivia game. They would show you video clips and you had to guess the name of the song and the band. Rodrigo and I were very good at this game and wound up winning free drinks for having all the right answers! Woo hoo! After the game we were too pooped to even redeem our free drinks. Back in the room it was lights out almost immediately. What a wonderful day this was!
Tomorrow: Disney Wonder and a day at sea
DAY 5 – Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Today started with no wake up call today. Since today was our day at sea and we really didn’t have anything planned. We got up and ready around 9:00 and then headed back to Parrot Cay for breakfast again. It was delicious just as it had been the previous day. We took our time eating. Then we really decided that we needed to exercise. Rodrigo headed to the gym on deck 9, while I headed down to deck 4 to the jogging route around the ship. I am very happy that I chose to do this. I had my cd player walkman on and started my first of four laps that adds up to 1 mile. Where else on this planet can you jog with a view like this?!?!? The deck was shady enough so the sun wasn’t beating down on you. The four laps went by quickly and I went up to deck 9 where Rodrigo was just finishing up. Rodrigo decided that he wanted to get a massage while on board, so we went to the spa to see what their schedule looked like for the day. The only time available was at 6:30 and that is when we wanted to see Disney Dreams so he had to pass. He was ok with that though. We went downstairs to our room and put on our swim suits. We went back upstairs to the adult pool which had a lot of people there, but never felt crowded. We swam in the pool for a little bit. The pool was actually kind of chilly. We got out and scored a hot tub all to ourselves. We lounged around in there for a while. After about a half hour we got out and grabbed some…you guessed it…chicken strips. We LOVE those, as I am sure you can tell. We are easily pleased as you can see. I also went to Beach Blanket Buffet to score some of those yummy cookies. It was absolutely beautiful out. I forgot to just mention that we have been so fortunate weather-wise on this cruise. It hasn’t rained a drop since we left Cape Canaveral. When we were finished eating, we dropped our pool stuff off in the room and headed to the Buena Vista Theatre to see the 2:30 showing of America’s Heart and Pride. I sort of fell asleep during this, not because it was necessarily a bad movie, more so because I was tired and in the dark. When we left the theatre we just wandered around, enjoying all the sights of the ship. We checked out the silent auctions and then went back to the room for a bit. We showered and rested for a while.
At around 6:00 we headed down to the Walt Disney Theatre to catch the 6:30 Disney Dreams. We got good seats and enjoyed the show, however, found the show to not be as good as we remember. It may be due in part to the overly annoying woman who played the young girl. She was very high pitched and squeaky. The best part of the show, of course, is the Lion King performers. The woman with the solo singing part just blew us all away. Her voice was amazing. Rodrigo and I both wish that they could somehow bring the Lion King Broadway show to the cruise lines. When we were done with the show, we went back up to the room to get our luggage together to be put outside. With our late dinner seating, we wanted to get it done so we wouldn’t have to worry about it later. We packed up all of our stuff and at 8:25 headed down to dinner. Our final rotation for dinner brought us back to Tritons. Rodrigo and I started with the salads and both had the center cut beef filet for our main course. I ate every single bite of mine. It was absolutely delicious. For dessert Rodrigo had Crème Brulee, which is his favorite and I had some “Death By Chocolate” type dessert that was very good. We enjoyed some coffee with dessert. After talking to our dinner mates we headed back to the room around 10:30. We were going to go and hit the night spots, but our luggage had already been picked up and I had already changed into my pj’s not thinking we were going to go out again. It was ok, as we just relaxed on the verandah enjoying our last night on the cruise. It was warm out and the skies were filled with stars. We decided that we need to do this cruise at least every 2 years. It is such a relaxing and rejuvenating 4 days. It was lights out at around midnight. We knew we had an early day ahead of us tomorrow. Our last night on the Wonder (sigh).
Tomorrow: The sadness of leaving the ship followed by the happiness of joining my sis and her hubby
DAY 6 – Thursday, July 15th
At 7:00 the alarm went off. When I got up I peeked outside and saw that we were already docked and the dock workers working like mad to get things prepared for the next group of cruisers. Rodrigo and I are amazed at how quick the turn around process is for these cruise ships. I mean, that boat has people still on it and Disney has to have it cleaned up and geared up by 1:00 for the next load of people. Amazing! Anyway, back to our story. We got up and dressed. We packed the remainder of our belongings into a day bag.
Breakfast this morning was back at the same place we ate our 1st dinner at, which was Triton’s. With us came our same servers and dining company. After a nice sit down breakfast and conversation, we bid adieu to our wonderful serving team and presented them with their tips. We also said a farewell to our new friends and wished them a safe journey home. By 9:00 we were off the ship and through customs. We found our luggage quickly. Disney made the whole disembarking process an absolute breeze! We got to the Disney Cruise Line busses and told them that we were headed back to the Boardwalk. They were waiting for more people to fill a bus, so they sent us in a private Mears van with only 1 other couple. We learned that the Disney busses are actually run by Mears. We headed along the road back to Orlando. It was like a whole new vacation was about to begin. We could not wait to meet up with Lisa and Mike and to show them all that WDW has to offer. Rodrigo and I both dozed off in the van for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes we were already at the Orlando Int’l Airport. Wow! That went by fast! I stayed awake for the rest of the ride. When I saw those wonderful WDW purple gates, I called my sister, who was staying at the Pop Century resort. I told her that we were here and to meet us at the Boardwalk. I had given her directions to just take a cab and pay a few bucks to get there. They decided to try something a little more adventurous. We dropped off the other couple at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and then it was off to the Boardwalk. We got there, gathered our bags and tipped our driver. There was no sign of Lisa or Mike yet.
I went to the check in counter and was helped immediately. On a side note, my sister Lisa is afraid of clowns and I had called the Boardwalk to request a “non-clown pool” view room. The lady I spoke with assured me that we were using a standard room amount of points and we would most likely have a view of a parking lot. With that already taken care of, we had our 2 rooms next door to each other, but they weren’t quite ready yet. They gave me the info to call and check the room status. We left our bags with Bell Services and went out to wait for Lisa and Mike……for an HOUR! I guess the check out like was super long and then they decided to send their bags ahead to the Boardwalk and then take the Typhoon Lagoon bus, which stopped at like 5 other places. When it finally arrived at the Boardwalk the bus was labeled as “Special”. Finally they got to the resort and we hugged as if we have never seen each other before. The room still wasn’t ready and we were all starving, so we checked their bags in with Bell Services.
Lisa is a Diet Coke junky and she figured that she should get a refillable mug while here. So we stopped at the Boardwalk Bakery and $12.99 later, Lisa had her mug. That mug proved to be the best investment of the trip. From there we thought a tasty meal at Beaches and Cream was in order. We walked over to the Yacht/Beach Club and were seated promptly. Lisa and I shared a cheeseburger and I had a diet cherry Coke to drink, Mike had a cheeseburger and cherry coke and Rodrigo had a cheeseburger with water. He got a chocolate malt to go too. The bill came to around $30.00. The meal was very tasty. We called to check the status of our rooms, and to our surprise they were ready. Rooms 5052 & 5054. Before we headed to the hotel, Rodrigo and I decided to go to Epcot’s International Gateway ticket booths to pick up our tickets so we wouldn’t have to do it later. We got our tickets and headed back to the Boardwalk. We already had our keys so we went straight to the room. We all went into Lisa and Mikes room and couldn’t wait to see what these Villa rooms were like. Firstly they were very close to the elevators and secondly THEY WERE HUGE! Full size bed, fold out full size sofa bed, a table and chairs, a nightstand, the armoire and the kitchen. It was wonderful. We couldn’t wait to see the view we wound up with, so we pulled the drapes open and…..there it was, the clown pool in all its glory. Lisa was not pleased at that, but was very pleased to see that they also had views of the Tower of Terror, the Mickey Mouse water tower, the waterway, the Swan & Dolphin and the pool itself. We were very pleased with it! We called Bell Services to bring up their bags then we went next door to our room, which was exactly like theirs, with an equally amazing view. We too, called Bell Services to get our bags. The bags all came and we got settled it. It was so nice to FINALLY unpack!
We all had an itching to go swimming, but the clouds were going to prevent us from doing so. They cleared out the pool because of an approaching thunderstorm. We just relaxed in the rooms for a bit and then headed to the Bellvue Lounge to play Scrabble. We had an enjoyable time doing so. At 5:00 we decided we should make our trek to the Animal Kingdom Lodge via bus for our 6:30 PS. We knew that Lisa and Mike, being animal lovers, would want to see the resort grounds. We waited for the 1st Animal Kingdom bus, and to our surprise not only were we the only ones on the bus, but the driver did us a favor by taking us directly to the Lodge! Woo hoo! We got to the lodge and thanked our driver profusely. When we walked in, Lisa and Mike were in awe at the beauty of this resort. We went out to the Savannah and looked around. The animals were all out in full force today! The 2 guides out there said that most of the animals head in the direction of storms. There happened to be a thunderstorm in the distance, that was moving closer and we got to see all the animals. This thrilled Lisa and Mike. They thought it was just the coolest place.
From there we went back inside to see if we could bump our priority seating up since we were early and hungry. Boma was able to seat us within just a couple of minutes. We were led to our table and William was our server. As Lisa, Rodrigo and Mike headed for the buffet, I asked William if there was anything that they could do that would make Lisa and Mike’s first honeymoon dinner special. He winked and told me he would take care of it. Rodrigo, Lisa and myself all ordered some fru-fru tropical drinks and Mike ordered a beer. We went to the buffet and loaded up on some delicious salad, bread, fruit and the most amazing potato bacon soup. It was SO delicious. Lisa and I even went back later for a second bowl of it. We tried most everything and liked a lot. Some of the stuff was kind of strange for my finicky taste, but we all enjoyed our meals very much. After digesting a bit, we hit the dessert area. I LOVE the zebra domes, but for some reason, I didn’t feel like eating one that night. I had a couple of chocolate chip cookies that were warm and soft. As we were seated, enjoying dessert, William came to our table holding a tray of handmade chocolate truffles and other assorted goodies (that weren’t at the buffet). On the tray “Congratulations” was written in chocolate. This surprised Lisa and Mike very much. They couldn’t believe how nice that was. Dinner for us 4, including alcoholic drinks, came to $150.00 approx. We went to the gift shop in the Lodge, which I happen to think is the best hotel gift shop on property. Lisa bought Mike’s mom a decorated egg that would go well with her collection. We were in that store for a while and we then left for the bus stops.
Rodrigo and I thought it would be a nice idea to take them on the monorail and around the property a little bit. We took the bus to Epcot, took a couple of pictures outside and then grabbed the monorail. We took the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center and then transferred to the one that takes you to the Magic Kingdom. While at the TTC, I asked an employee if it would be possible for us to ride in the front. Rodrigo and I have never done that, and thought that it wouldn’t hurt to ask. The gentleman told us to go to the front and just to wait there. To our joy, we were able to get in the front. It was so cool! We could see the castle in the background changing colors. This monorail also went through the Contemporary, which Mike thought was the neatest thing.
At the Magic Kingdom we hopped off the monorail and thanked our driver. We walked to the bus station and grabbed a Swan/Dolphin bus, then just walked across the bridge to the Boardwalk. At the Boardwalk we went into the little general store and picked up a few things: bread, cheese, butter, turkey, milk and some mustard. We figured that if we have a fridge, we might as well make good use of it. Mike bought some beer too I think. Back at Lisa’s room, they opened the door to find the giant gift basket that Rodrigo and I had sent to them. They were so amazed (and mad) that we had done that. It was beautifully presented and made us happy that we chose to go through the Disney World Florist for this. We decided that a night swim sounded good to us. I called the front desk to ask them what time the pools close, since it was already past 10:00. They told us that we could swim at any time, so long as we were not excessively loud. We went to the quiet pool by the Community Center. The water was warm and felt very good to us. The coolest thing was that not only could we see the laser and light effects from Fantasmic, but we could also hear all the music. That was a real treat! Lisa and I started to get chilly so we hopped out. Shortly after the boys hopped out too. We all went over to the family pool, where there were hot tubs and we enjoyed a nice soak in that hot, hot water. It truly felt good to be there, on this beautiful night, with Rodrigo, Lisa and Mike. I was so happy that we were all here and able to enjoy this vacation together. After a bit, we got out, got dried off and then went back upstairs. Lisa and I wanted to get us all up early to get to Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hour tomorrow. We said our good nights to each other and called it a day. Rodrigo and I took our showers tonight, just so we could be ready faster in the morning. Lights out around midnight. What a wonderful day this was. I knew that we had one amazing week ahead of us!!!
Tomorrow: Animal Kingdom and MGM
Day 7 – Friday, July 16th
With our alarm set for the ripe hour of 7:00 we were up and raring to go. Well, not raring, but more like crawling. The late night last night kind of got to us but, we all wanted to get to Animal Kingdom for the extra hour, so we were on a mission. With some Pop Tarts in tow and some coffee from the Bell Vue Lounge we were ready! We got to the bus stop along with 15 or so other people. The bus got us safely to AK and we grabbed our tickets and had our giant belt bags checked and at 8:15, in we went. This was the first time for Lisa and Mike to be here, and as animal lovers, we knew they would be enamored with this place.
We headed first to Kilamanjaro Safari to get an early ride in. The line was already 35 minutes long, so we just got fast passes for later. We went to do It’s Tough to be a Bug. Mike really got a kick out of this one. I always sit at the edge of the seats because for some reason, I get scared. I know, I know, I’m 27 years old! After that, it was now 9:00 and the park was open. We went to Primeval Whirl and had a blast. That ride it very fun to all of us! From there we went next door to Dinosaur and got FP’s. We then went to Asia and to Kali River Rapids to get on that before it got too hot out and the line got too long. We didn’t wait more than a few seconds to board. We got somewhat wet, but not soaked, so we were all happy about that. Afterwards we did the walking trail where the bats and the tigers are. I can’t remember the name of that area for some reason. We could have stayed in there and just stared at the tigers for hours. When we were through there, we headed back to the Safari and waited about 5 minutes to begin our journey. Mike and Lisa just LOVED this! They were so amazed at how realistic everything seemed and how the different sections for the different animals just seemed to blend in together so naturally. When we were done there we went to the Pangani Forest and looked at all the animals in there.
When we were through in there, we realized that we were all very hungry. It was about 11:00 then and Pizzafari had just opened. Lisa and I split a pepperoni pizza, Caesar salad and diet Coke. Rodrigo had a personal pepperoni pizza, Caesar salad and Coke and Mike had a grilled sandwich with turkey and cheese which he said was excellent. Filled up we went to Dinosaur to use our FP’s. We waited about 10 minutes because the ride was down for something. The problem wasn’t the 10 minute wait, the problem was that the wait was in the hallway after the pre-show and it was like 100 degrees and VERY stuffy in there. It was not at all comfortable. I hate that ride, I am sorry but I do. It is too dark and very noisy. Mike, Lisa and Rodrigo had a blast, so it made it all worth it. With Dinosaur being our last attraction to hit, we left AK. It was fun, but it was getting very warm and very crowded. We vowed to try and make it back during the trip; one, so that Lisa and Mike could do the safari again, and two, because Rodrigo and I really wanted to see Festival of the Lion King.
From AK, we felt like continuing on with our day. We thought a trip to MGM sounded good, so we grabbed the MGM bus from AK and headed there. We waited about 10 minutes for a bus in the shade, which was nice, but when we got on the bus we were so thankful for the air conditioning! The ride to MGM was long enough to get off of our feet and relax a bit before heading back out in the heat. Once at MGM, we got through bag check and the turnstiles with ease. Rodrigo and I always cut through all the stores to get through that main street, just to avoid the crowds (and the a/c doesn’t hurt either)!! We made a beeline to Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. Lisa and Mike haven’t been on the ToT at California Adventure yet so we were excited to be the 1st to go on this with them. We got FP’s for RnRC and then decided to just wait in the 45 minute line for ToT. It was such a great experience to ride with them for the first time. Their reactions were priceless and the photo at the end was hilarious (even though we were too cheap to buy it). This proved to be the first of many times we would ride it.
When we came out of ToT, we headed to The Great Movie Ride. On our way to the makeshift Mann’s Chinese Theatre, we stopped at that wonderful Villains store along with the candy shop attached to it. Mike was purchasing some candy treats and the employee behind the counter told Lisa and me that if we sang “It’s a Small World” to him, he would give us a free goody. We really wanted something free so we sang and he gave us a chocolate covered marshmallow. I gave that to Lisa since I hate marshmallows. On to the Great Movie Ride now, well, Rodrigo and I like this ride…it turns out that Lisa and Mike would not. We waited about a half hour in line with a screaming child behind us. Why the parents of this kid could not take themselves all out of this line was beyond us. First of all, how much fun do you think your child is having in there if it is screaming bloody murder, and secondly (and more importantly), how much fun do you think the 50 people closely surrounding you are having when your child is screaming bloody murder. They finally got out of line after about 15 minutes of this torture. I am sorry, but it really ticked us all off. Once on the ride, I tried to count how many times Lisa’s eyes rolled at me. She hated this ride and hated me more for dragging her on it. Oh well, tough tootsies!
When we were through there, we were all feeling a bit hungry. We decided to pop over to the Sci-Fi Café to see if we could get a seat there for around 5:00. They said no problem and with our PS in hand, we headed back to RnRC, since our FP time had arrived. On our way to RnRC, we stopped at ToT and grabbed some more fast passes for after dinner. RnRC was just experiencing some technical difficulties so our wait time was extended a little bit. When we finally got on it, it was a great ride as always. Lisa and Mike really loved their first time on that one also. We were starving by then, so it was off to dinner. We got back to the Sci-Fi and got a beeper. We waited for about 10 minutes in the cute little book/coffee store attached to the restaurant. Lisa just thought that this restaurant was the cutest place. I know that people dislike the food there, but we always have enjoyed our meals there and the scenery alone is worth the price of food. Rodrigo and Mike both got cheeseburgers and fries, along with cokes. Lisa and I shared the chili and the spinach/artichoke dip. The dip was delicious! It was kind of hard to share those 2 meals when we were sitting in front of one another, but we made it happen. After dinner, even as tired as we were, we made it to ToT for yet another “stay” there. It was even more fun than before. When we were through, we left MGM exhausted but satisfied.
We decided to boat it back to the resort. We got off the boat at the Swan/Dolphin and just decided to walk the rest of the way again. Back at the resort we decided that it was still early enough for a swim. So we donned our bathing attire and retreated to the scary clown pool. The waterslide was still open at this time, so we all had a go on it quite a few times. We were thinking about what sounded fun to do for the night. Perhaps see Illuminations, perhaps go to Downtown Disney. We were all pretty tired so we decided that a lo-key evening sounded good. After swimming for about a half hour or so more, we thought a tasty treat from Beaches n’ Cream was in order. So off we were, to wait in the 30 minute line to get dessert to go. Rodrigo got his black & white malt, Mike got a Milky Way sundae and Lisa and I shared a brownie sundae. We felt totally sick after like 5 bites. Needless to say, we didn’t finish ours, but Mike and Rodrigo tackled theirs nicely.
We headed back to the hotel and got ready for bed. Rodrigo was pretty tired and I didn’t want to keep him up with the television, so I went over to Lisa’s room and watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. I then headed back to our room for some much desired sleep! I think I was asleep by 1:00 a.m. This was such a wonderful day! I loved being able to see Lisa and Mike enjoy all these attractions for the first time. Other than that screaming baby, there were no low points of the day.
Tomorrow: Epcot and MGM
Day 8 – July 17, 2004
With no alarm set, our bodies had us up around 9:00. It felt so good to sleep in, we really needed that rest. I called Lisa and she informed me that they were up, but that she was in dire need of some Diet Coke. I told her to just wait for us to get ready and we would all go together. We all got ready and headed to the Boardwalk Bakery for some much needed caffeine. Lisa and Mike shared some sort of coffee cake, along with Diet Cokes. Rodrigo and I each had something donut-like and coffee. The food hit the spot and the coffee was just what we needed. With our tummies full, we headed to Epcot via the International Walkway. It was sort of strange for us to be drinking hot coffee when the temperature was already like a million degrees.
We got into Epcot, and the World Showcase was just opening. We decided to make a beeline to Test Track and Mission: Space, since we know that those tend to run out of FP’s early on. We got into line for TT while Rodrigo ran to go get FP’s for Mission: Space. While we were in line, I made friends with a TT employee who nicely enough, gave us FP’s to TT that were valid right away! How lucky were we!!! When Rodrigo found us we all headed into the building, not without thanking our new friend immensely! That was so cool! Lisa and Mike loved the ride, especially the outside part, which we tried to keep a secret. It is pretty hard to keep that part a secret when you see/hear the cars whizzing by you while outside. It was so much fun anyway. Our FP time for Mission: Space had come up, so off we were. I was worried that Lisa and Mike may get sick on it. Rodrigo and I knew what to expect. I just warned Lisa to make sure she follows the directions and not to look around or close her eyes. We all made it out of the ride without needing the barf bags that come standard with that trip to Mars. Lisa and Mike liked it. Mike didn’t get what all the hype was about. We were pretty hungry at that point, so we headed in search of food.
We wound up at the Electric Umbrella and that turned out to be a good choice. Lisa and I split and order of chicken fingers and fries, and a diet Coke. Rodrigo had the chicken finger with fries meal also, with a Coke. Mike had some sort of turkey sandwich, with chips and a diet Coke. The ‘fixins’ bar that some of the counter service restaurants have, Lisa and I took much advantage of. We must have eaten 20 pounds of pickle chips over the week that we were there! That meal really hit the spot. The food was fresh, hot and delicious. We relaxed in the nice air conditioning for a while before venturing outside again. Once outside we chose to see Ellen’s Universe of Energy. Rodrigo and I like this attraction very much. I think Lisa and Mike were just glad to be out of the heat and off of their feet! Once we were done there, we decided to go on Spaceship Earth. Rodrigo and I also love this attraction. Jeremy Irons has the best voice to narrate this. Lisa and Mike enjoyed being in the ball. We decided after that to go to Ice Station Cool and take a break. Rodrigo and I couldn’t wait to trick Lisa and Mike with Beverly. Well, low and behold, Lisa actually liked it. None of us could believe it. Mike thought it was disgusting. We always have fun watching all the other folks taste it and then make that face afterwards. We stuck around there for a bit and then headed out with Lisa’s tummy full of Beverly. We chose to take this time to walk around World Showcase a bit. We stopped in Mexico and before getting on El Rio de Tiempo we looked in the little marketplace for a while. We had most of the boat on El Rio to ourselves and we enjoyed our ‘trip’ to Mexico. I could see the look of cheesy disgust from Lisa and Mike. That ride is a nice ride, but it doesn’t do Mexico any justice. They should really update some of those video clips and take out the whole pushy salesperson’s scene entirely. There are parts of Mexico that are so beautiful and they should really be displayed in that attraction. We exited the ride and looked at some of the gift booths some more. At home in California, we live so close to Mexico that we could go down there and shop anytime without paying Disney prices.
Norway was next on our journey. Before heading into Maelstorm, I went into the restaurant there to make a priority seating for Le Cellier in Canada for that night. I was able to get 7:30 reservations. I knew we would be good and hungry for dinner by then. We went on Maelstrom, which we all enjoyed. We even found that Norwegian guy in the mural (behind where you board the boats) with the Mickey ears on. It made us laugh. We all liked that ride, but came out having decided that if Norway is anything like that ride in real life then seems like a scary place, with the polar bears, the trolls and the oil rigging.
We left Norway and headed around, stopping by China to play with some toys on the street. We went to Japan and looked around. Lisa bought some souvenirs for some co-workers of hers. We stopped in Italy and bought my grandma (who is Italian) a magnet. We also stopped outside to watch the Living Statue. I had always heard about them, but have never seen them. He was so good with the crowd that I told Lisa that we had to get our picture taken with him. We made our way and, while we were posing, we felt him tugging on our ponytails. The crowd was laughing, but we had no idea why. Once the picture was taken we walked away…tied to one another! He had somehow intertwined our ponytails together that we were completely stuck to one another. The crowd was laughing so hard, we by far got the best reaction out of everybody. It was so funny and we were so glad that we decided to stop and watch him. We headed onto America, where the Voices of Liberty were just finishing. They all sounded so beautiful. We decided to take a break and all share a funnel cake with powdered sugar. It was hot, fresh, chewy and delicious! That time just sitting on a bench in the shade with the people that I love the most just reminded me at how lucky I was to be there. People constantly make fun of us for always going to WDW and I constantly tell them that if they take one trip there, they will be hooked like we are.
Anyway back to the story. I am sure that I am getting the location of the countries mixed up, but please bear with me. In France we looked into the pastry shop and it all looked so yummy. We decided to head back to the hotel to take a break and rest and then come back to Epcot around 6:30 for dinner. We all walked back via the International Gateway and crashed in the room. That nap felt so good. We slept until about 6:00 and then we all got up and ready. We were out the door by 6:30 and at Epcot by 7:00. We checked in at the podium at Le Cellier around 7:15 and were given a pager. We took that time to look at all the waterfalls there. It is so beautiful. I can only imagine what the real Canada must look like. Rodrigo has always said that Vancouver is one of the most amazing places he has ever visited. I would love to go someday! Anyway, we were seated just about 7:30. I love this restaurant. It was a new find for us on our last trip and I knew that we were all going to enjoy our meals there. I started with the Cheddar Cheese soup, as did Rodrigo. Lisa shared some of my soup and Mike opted against an appetizer. For our main courses, Rodrigo had the maple glazed filet mignon with cream cheese mashed potatoes. Lisa and I shared the same. Mike had the salmon with one of Le Celliers rear-end kicking beers. Our food was absolutely delicious! We all totally cleared our plates from dinner, but were still itching to attack the dessert menu. Lisa and I split the kids chocolate mousse, which actually came shaped like a little moose with little blueberry eyes and a raspberry nose. It was so cute. Rodrigo had the maple crème brulee which he proclaimed to be some of the best crème brulee he had ever eaten. Mike passed on dessert, but helped to finish our “Moose”. By the time we were all done there, Illuminations had finished and the park was officially closed. We meandered through England even though everything was closed. We also stopped in that gift shop right at the exit to the International Gateway. We didn’t buy anything, but we sure saw a lot of really cute things.
Back to the hotel we decided another round of Scrabble was calling us. Lisa got her refillable mug from the room and got it filled up at the bar. The bartender at the Bell Vue Lounge gave her a really hard time about filling up her mug there, which was lame because we were told that we could. He fought us but he finally did. He said something about it being a bar and that they try to keep kids out of the bar. Blah, blah, blah. It didn’t make any sense. We played another nice round of Scrabble, either Lisa or I won, but I can’t remember. We headed back to the room after that to watch some more America’s Funniest Home Videos, but not without first doing our nightly slideshow of pictures taken on Mike’s digital camera. Some of the pictures were SO funny! We were pooped by about 12:30 so it was lights out then. Another wonderful day! Tomorrow is Typhoon Lagoon and Magic Kingdom, with whatever else comes our way too!
Day 9 – July 18, 2004
We decided that the best thing for us to do would be to get to Typhoon Lagoon early, as we heard that it gets very crowded very early. We all got suited up and headed down to the bus stop by 9:00 (Diet Coke and coffee in hand, of course). While waiting we noticed 4 Animal Kingdom busses, one after another come. There were quite a number of people waiting for a Magic Kingdom bus that seemed to take forever to get there. At that time I wondered what the point of having an employee stationed out there is, if they are just going to stand there. The lady that was out there was getting complaints from people, but was calling no one to rectify the problem. Well, our bus finally came and we were on our way. At Typhoon Lagoon we didn’t wait at all at the turnstiles and didn’t wait in any line to get our locker. Rodrigo paid and we had our key. We put everything into the locker and then set up came on the beach by the wave pool. At that time of the morning, there were plenty of available beach chairs. We decided to hop into an innertube at the lazy river and float our way to the slides. That water was friggin’ cold! Wow! I didn’t realize just how shallow that “river” was and managed to scrape my knee on the bottom. We floated a little bit and got out. We proceeded to go down a couple of slides. We didn’t wait long at all to get on them. Mike and Rodrigo wanted to do “Humonga Cowabunga” and both Lisa and I had no idea what it was, so we figured we would do it too. When we got to the top, we heard people screaming on their way down. Rodrigo and Mike were already down the slides and waiting for us at the bottom. Lisa went ahead and I heard her squeal all the way. I almost chickened out, but figured, what the heck. Down I went, forgetting to keep my legs crossed. When I shot out, Rodrigo and Mike told me, that I came out bouncing. I felt the effects afterwards as I had the wedgie of the century and giant red slap marks up and down my back. Needless to say, Lisa and I would NOT be doing that slide again. The gross thing about water parks, is going to the restrooms when you are soaking wet. It isn’t the greatest feeling in the world when the toilet seat covers stick to your bottom. Gross.
From the restrooms we wanted to snorkel. We grabbed our equipment and headed to the pool. It was FREEZING cold!!! Yikes! Rodrigo and Mike were already more than halfway across before Lisa and I even made it fully into the water. Now, let me tell you something about the C girls…we don’t eat fish, we won’t touch fish and we don’t want fish touching us. So, with that, we had no problems obeying the rules by not diving down and not touching any of the sea life. I was holding my thongs on my hands as we finally began paddling across. We were almost done when I saw Lisa, who was in front of me, propel to the end, leaving a trail of bubbles in her wake. When the bubbles cleared, I noticed why she bolted out of there. There was a wall of like a million fish blocking the path to the exit. They started to come near me and I started to shout out “Their too close” from my snorkel. I decided to make use of the thongs of mine that I was holding to “shoo” them away. A couple of them bumped into me, but most of them got out of my way. I know I am a huge baby, but oh well! We showered off the salt water and then went to do some more slides. I can’t remember the names of the slides, but we did this one that was a lot of fun. The only thing is that as I hit the pool with the innertube, I flipped over and my hand pulled my earring out and I lost it. I was kind of upset about it because I had gotten those as a gift from my friend who got them in Greece. The lifeguards were very nice and had a man go down there with goggles to search for it. Sadly, they couldn’t find it, but I thanked them very much anyway.
We continued on to the giant wave pool. We got in and laughed at how with every big ‘whoosh’ is heard, the crowd in the pool goes nuts. It made Mike and me laugh. It was pretty hard to make our way out deeper, due to the currents, but we got out as far as we could and hung out there for 4 or 5 big waves. By then, the clouds were looking very ominous and we headed out of the pool and out of the beach area. We returned to our lockers just as the skies opened up and it started raining. We got our gear and returned the key back for our deposit to be refunded. We were the only ones at the bus stop and waited about 15 minutes for a bus. Back at the Boardwalk we showered and got changed and headed to the bus stop and waited about 10 minutes for a Magic Kingdom bus. Once at the Magic Kingdom we proceeded to see how long the wait would be for Rodrigo to get a hair cut. There were a lot of people there, so we left. At this point, we were pretty hungry as we hadn’t eaten all day. We battled the crowds and made our way to Pecos Bill Café. There were a million people here in the park today and I think half of them were getting food at Pecos Bill’s! While we were placing the order, Rodrigo had run to get FP’s for Thunder Mountain. Lisa and I shared a cheeseburger and fries, Mike had a cheeseburger and fries and Rodrigo had a hot dog with chili and fries. All was excellent and really hit the spot. From there we decided to go on The Haunted Mansion. It started to rain pretty heavily at this point. Rodrigo ducked into a shop and bought both of us ponchos. I love the Haunted Mansion here. I think Lisa and Mike did as well. I love the new Madame Leota headstone. It is really freaky!
We then wandered over to Pirates of the Caribbean and waited about 10 minutes to board our boat. It was unanimous, we all thought the California version was a lot better, but we had fun anyway. At that time our FP time for Big Thunder Mountain was up so we headed there. We waited about 15 minutes in line. It was very fun. It had been a long time since I had gone on WDW’s version of it. From there we all treated ourselves to a yummy Dole Whip. It hit the spot so much! We were ready to go at that point. Lisa was dragging pretty badly, but Rodrigo, Mike and I were raring to go! Poor Lisa didn’t have a say in this matter. We decided that a trip to Epcot was in order, so we left the MK, boarded a Monorail and headed onward. The Monorail that we were on needed to stop for some routine checks, so the conductor warned us that to hold on and the monorail would stop abruptly. It did so, and we sat there stopped for a couple of minutes before continuing on. Once through the turnstiles we went straight to The Living Seas and watched as the dolphin played in the water. It is so peaceful just to sit in there and watch these creatures in their own environment. We also saw the Finding Nemo exhibit which was cute. We exited there as Future World was closing at this time. We headed to Mission: Space and waited about 20 minutes to board. It was another fun journey to Mars. From there we headed to World Showcase as it was about 8:00 at this time. We decided that what we would do is all get food from wherever we wanted and then meet back. We would sit and eat while we waited for Illuminations to begin. Rodrigo wasn’t very hungry, so he saved a place for us on the concrete. Lisa, Mike and I headed in search of food. Mike was in the mood for Japanese food, I wanted Chinese and Lisa wasn’t sure what she was in the mood for. Mike went on ahead to Japan without us. While in China, I got an order of egg rolls and some beef fried rice. I also got a Diet Coke. Lisa decided to order a kids meal, that came with some fried rice and an egg roll. It also came with a small drink. Had we known how much food was in my order, we just would have shared. Mine came with 2 huge egg rolls and a giant bowl of rice. Oh well, live and learn. We met up with Rodrigo, who was keeping the ground warm for us. Mike still hadn’t gotten back yet. Lisa and I dug into our Chinese feast, and we both decided that the egg rolls, were one of the best things we have ever eaten! They were SO delicious. The fried rice was good too, but the egg rolls stole the show. Mike came back with some teriyaki and some sushi of some sort. Not my kind of food, but he seemed happy with it. We had saved some of the egg roll for him to try and he loved it too. Rodrigo decided to take another trip on El Rio de Tiempo while it was our turn to keep our space on the floor. He got back just in time for Illuminations and we all enjoyed it so much. When it was over, we waited a bit for the crowds to disperse then we headed back to the International Walkway. As we passed Canada, I decided I wanted to buy an Off Kilter cd. I didn’t know which one was good, so I asked the employee at the cart which one she thought was best. She thought that their 1st cd was their best, so I bought that one. I like it a lot.
Then we wandered out of Epcot, having yet another wonderful time there. Back at the Boardwalk, Rodrigo was feeling the effects of not having eaten in some time. So he got a hot dog and fries from this little booth. The fries came out hot and fresh. We hung out on the Boardwalk, just sitting all together on a bench, enjoying people watching during a warm summer night. It was very nice. Back upstairs for yet another slide show and some more America’s Funniest Home Videos. Showered and exhausted we hit the hay around 1:00 a.m. Tomorrow is Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Day 10, July 19th 2004
Well, today turned out a little differently than we had hoped. When we went to sleep last night, it was raining pretty heavily, and when we woke up there was still a heavy and steady drizzle. Lisa had woken up with a pretty bad headache, so we decided to head down for a nice sit down breakfast to see how that made us all feel. We went down to Spoodles and Lisa wasn’t hungry. She just had some Diet Coke and coffee while Rodrigo, Mike and I ate. Our food was very tasty and their coffee was delicious. We loved those huge mugs they serve your coffee in. While waiting for our orders to come we decided to postpone our Universal day for tomorrow, so that we wouldn’t have to do it in the rain and while Lisa didn’t feel very well. After breakfast we all felt better about our decision and that sort of pepped us up. We thought MGM sounded fun, so we walked over there from the Boardwalk and got through the gates with no problem. The park seemed sort of empty, maybe because of the bad weather. We had no problem with the rain, so we took advantage of the smaller crowds. We all had wanted to eat at the Brown Derby and I headed over there to get a PS for later tonight. We then went straight for ToT and RnRC. Again, 2 great rides we had on those and snagged fast passes for later. We then went over to Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It and were able to walk right in for a show. We had fun in there, even though none of us got close to the hot seat. From there, we went to see Muppets 3D which was cute as always. Outside of Muppets we noticed Woody and Jessie from Toy Story 2 posing for pictures together. We sort of have a running joke in our household that Lisa and Mike look like Woody and Jessie so we wanted to get their picture with them. This rude attendant wouldn’t let us have our picture taken, even though the rope for the queue was still down and we walked right into the “line”. He said “they will be back in a few hours, come back then”. We said that the line was still “open” and he said “too bad”. No pixie dust there, he was rude. We were feeling hungry by then so we headed to the restaurant over by Indiana Jones, I am not sure of the name, but it looks like a property warehouse. Lisa and I split a hamburger and fries, Rodrigo and Mike both had cheeseburgers. It was all very tasty. We decided to just sit there for a while, as we were beginning to feel the effects of the day. We chose to leave MGM at that point to take naps before deciding what to do with the evening. Back at the hotel we rested for quite some time and woke refreshed and rejuvenated.
We chose to walk again over to MGM, the time was 6:30 and we had a 7:30 PS for The Brown Derby. We got to MGM and meandered back over to RnRC and ToT to use our FP’s from earlier. We dawdled around for quite some time and realized that we were already very late for our PS. We were just going to forget the whole thing, but we all really wanted to eat there. We got there at 8:40 and I told the hostess “We are a few minutes late for our PS” and she said “How many minutes late” and I said “Like 80”. We had a good laugh and she told me that we could still be seated for dinner as they stop seating people at 9:00. We were 1 of about 3 tables occupied at that late hour, but it was wonderful. Our waitress was very kind and patient with us as we had appetizers, main courses and dessert. Lisa and I shared the filet mignon and Rodrigo had the filet also. Lisa and I also shared the cobb salad for starters and it turned out to be more than enough for our whole table to share. Mike had some sort of fish as his entrée. We all were delighted with our choices. Rodrigo and I make it to The Brown Derby at least once on every one of our trips to WDW. For dessert Lisa, Mike and I shared the flourless chocolate cake, which was ok and Rodrigo had the blueberry crème brulee for himself, which he loved. When we were through with dessert, we realized that we were the only ones in there. It was so cool to have the whole restaurant to ourselves. We asked our waitress if she wouldn’t mind taking a picture of us all together in there and she gladly took it. We left her a nice tip and thanked her again for her patience with us.
When we exited the restaurant, we were practically the only ones in the park. Fantasmic had long ended and most of the crowd had found their way out. All the stores were closed or closing and the cleaning crew was beginning to come out. We strolled out of the park happy and very full. We walked back to the hotel as we seriously needed to walk some of that dinner off. It was fun just walking and laughing and being out on such a nice night. Back at the room for another photo slideshow and some more America’s Funniest Videos. We were beat and we knew we better get a good nights rest for our Universal day. Lights out 12:30. Another wonderful day! Tomorrow: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (take 2)
Day 11, July 20th 2004
We woke up today, with help from our 8:00 morning wake up call. We got showered and ready. Lisa and I went to get us all our caffeine fix. We were out of the Boardwalk doors and into a taxi cab. We instructed the driver that we wanted to go to Universal. We also asked our driver, a very nice lady by the way, where there was a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way back from Universal. You see, we don’t really have Dunkin’ Donuts in California and we always hear good things about them. So we were all on a mission to try a donut from there at some point while in Florida. The driver assured us that ALL cab drivers know where DD is because they have really good coffee there. She told us that it was in the Commons and to just direct our driver back to go there. (More on this later).
At Universal, we got through and decided to start at Islands of Adventure. Rodrigo and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this park and couldn’t wait for Lisa and Mike to see it. We started with Hulk and Mike loved it. We then made our way around stopping at Spiderman, Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls (which we got SOAKED on), Jurassic Park, both sides of Dueling Dragons and Dr. Seuss. We didn’t do too much there because we wanted to hit both parks and then come back if we still had time. I should mention that these parks were PACKED! Some lines at more than 2 hours long. We didn’t need to wait for any lines because we actually have some connections with Universal and were able to obtain pre-board passes for everything. Outside of Islands of Adventure, we headed to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for some lunch. The food was delicious. I had a turkey wrap, Lisa had nachos, Rodrigo and Mike both had cheeseburgers (I think). Stuffed and freezing (it was SO cold in there), Lisa and I went to the bathroom there. The bathroom walls there a riddled with graffiti (which, I guess, is something all of his restaurants have). So, Lisa and I contributed to it with our 4 initials and the date carved into the wood there.
We left from there and headed to Universal Studios. Wow, was that place mobbed with people!!! We first went to Twister (which I LOVE), then we went to something Rodrigo and I had been waiting months for…Revenge of the Mummy…The Ride. We just had a version of that open here at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. The line for this was 150 minutes long! We didn’t have to wait luckily. We got in, got buckled and enjoyed what might just be one of the best rides we have EVER been on! It was so much fun. It put the one in California to shame! It was just incredible and if you ever go to USF, you really need to check it out! From there we did Jaws, Men in Black, Terminator 2 3-D, E.T. and we went around and did Twister and The Mummy again. We wanted to get back to IoA to re-do a few things. So we walked back there and did Hulk, Spiderman and some horrible tea-cup type ride. Exhausted and very happy we left the Universal property, having thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there.
In the taxi cab we asked the driver to please stop at a Dunkin Donuts for us and he said “No problem”. I nudged Mike when I realized that the driver had passed The Commons and entered onto WDW property. Mike reminded him that we had wanted to go to a Dunkin Donuts and he “Yeah, Yeah’d” us and pulled into the Hess station across from the Boardwalk. He stopped there and said “donuts are in there”. We could see a Krispy Kreme sign from the cab and said “We don’t want Krispy Kreme, we asked for a Dunkin Donuts” and he said something very snide like “They’re just donuts…” We were NOT pleased with his attitude and the fact that he said afterwards “I don’t speak English too well”. Our problem was, if you didn’t understand all that well, you could have asked. I know it was only for donuts, but you are paying these companies for a service. We were a little ticked, but that passed very quickly. We were so happy to be back on property again!
We were a little hungry then, so we just thought a nice kick back dinner at the Spoodles pizza window sounded good. We ordered a pizza and some drinks and just sat out on the patio. It was so nice just to sit and relax. We had a bunch of laughs just sitting there playing “Whose Line is it Anyways” improv type games. It was a lot of fun. We were all in the mood for ice cream so we thought we would take another stroll over to Beaches N’ Cream. When we got there a line 30 people deep awaited us, so we decided to pass on it and head back to the Boardwalk. There we went into the little candy store and got some ice cream there. It turned out to be just fine and we sat out on the patio again and ate our frozen treats. They were yummy. Back at the room for another slide show with Mike’s digital camera and some more America’s Funniest Home Videos. What a great (and exhausting) day! We hit the hay around midnight. Tomorrow: Our last full day *sniff*. Epcot, MGM and Downtown Disney.
Day 12 – July 21st 2004
We had an early wake up call set for 2 reasons. The first being that this was our last full day and we wanted to make the most of it and the second being that Lisa and Mike were checking out of their room and shacking up with us in ours. I couldn’t justify spending the points for 2 rooms when we were checking out the next morning. Lisa and Mike had everything packed and moved next door with us. Once settled, we headed to the Bell Vue Lounge for some quick breakfast. Out the door, our original plan called for the Magic Kingdom to do Splash Mountain, then to Animal Kingdom to do the Safari again and then Epcot and MGM. We had made PS at Cinderella’s Royal Castle for lunch at 12:30. When we were outside waiting for a MK bus it seemed like every bus came 2-3 times for all parks except for the MK. We wound up wasting a half and hour just sitting there. While sitting we all had a change of heart and we decided to do things a little differently. We chose to skip the MK, since we have Disneyland at home and we also chose to skip AK, since we had done most everything there earlier in the week. We decided we wanted to spend our last day in our 2 favorite parks. We cut through the hotel and out towards the Boardwalk and entered Epcot via the International Gateway. Our first journey took us to check out Living With the Land and that pavilion there. We got FP’s for 12:00 – 12:50 for LWTL and then I went to the Garden Grill restaurant to forfeit out Cinderella RT priority seating at the MK and to try and get a lunch PS for Le Cellier in Canada. No problem with that and we had our 2:00 PS. We left that pavilion and headed to The Living Seas so Lisa could take another look at the manatees. We were in there about a half hour and then we went over to Journey Into Your Imagination. We all enjoyed that ride, even though we think it is pretty weird. Lisa just loved that Figment.
It was then time for our LWTL fast passes, so we headed back there. Lisa and Mike are science fans and really enjoyed that ride. For our next trip I will make sure to book a tour of the gardens. Once done with that we decided to just head to Canada and wait for lunch. They were able to seat us a few minutes early at Le Cellier and we enjoyed yet another delicious meal there. We went all out too, with appetizers of soup and Lisa had this delicious buffalo tomato and mozzarella salad. The tomatoes were delicious! We also had dessert. We figured it will be a while till we get to eat here again, so we should go all out! When we were done there, we decided to take it easy and just walk around a bit. It was VERY hot out today, so we thought we should take this opportunity to shop a little bit. We went into Mouse Gears and bought some souvenirs and then headed out to Test Track. We were given some FP’s from a passer by that didn’t need theirs. Luckily they gave us 4 of them. We waited a bit as they were having some technical difficulties. Once on, we enjoyed our ride and with that we ended our trip to Epcot. We said good-bye to the park and headed out via the International Gateway again. Next on our list was MGM. We stopped along the Boardwalk to feed some baby ducks. We didn’t realize it until later, but there were signs telling people not to feed them. I guess the birds get very aggressive and the food they sell is meant to feed the fish. Oh well, we had fun anyway. They were so cute.
Rodrigo was debating not going to MGM and taking a swim. I wanted to go back to MGM with my sister and Mike so I went upstairs with Rodrigo and got rid of some bags in the room and then went to meet Lisa and Mike (who had already started over to MGM). I chose to walk over there and when I was almost there, Rodrigo ran up behind me and decided to skip swimming. We entered MGM and headed to the ToT and RnRC area because we knew that is where Lisa and Mike would be. Sure enough, there they were coming out of ToT and we lucked out again when some nice folks gave us 4 FP’s that were good for ToT right then. We all headed in for one last “stay”. We did a little bit of shopping in the store at the exit of the ride and then that was it for our MGM journey. We wanted to get to DTD so Mike and Rodrigo could go to Disney Quest for a bit, while Lisa and I shopped. Once at DTD, Mike and Rodrigo chose to not do Disney Quest as it was already getting late and we were all kind of hungry. We went over to the Rainforest Café and were able to get a table outside by the water without any wait. While waiting for our food, Lisa and I ran to the World of Disney store to finish our souvenir shopping. We got back to our table with plenty of time before our food came. The food was good and we were all beginning to feel the effects of the day by that point. We had really been running around like crazy! We got the bus back to the Boardwalk and meandered back to the room. Rodrigo and I were going to take the fold out sofa bed and give Lisa and Mike the real bed. We all got ready for bed but not before having our last slide show and America’s Funniest Home Videos night. I think Rodrigo and I were asleep before the lights were even out. Tomorrow: Breakfast, airport, home, boo hoo
Day 13, July 22nd 2004
This was the day I had been dreading…the day we go home. Not only was this wonderful trip coming to an end, but I would also have to say good-bye to my sister and my new brother-in-law until the next time I see them. We got up and finished packing. We decided to have everything packed and ready and we would come back up to the room to get it all before grabbing our Mears shuttle. We walked down to Spoodles for breakfast. On a side note, Rodrigo and I usually make the Kona Café at the Poly our last WDW meal, but we knew we were a little short on time and we didn’t want to push our luck. Down at Spoodles, I had a delicious breakfast pizza with coffee. Anyone who goes there should try that, it was very yummy. Rodrigo and Mike both had egg dishes and you guessed it, Lisa had nothing. She isn’t a breakfast kind of girl. Once done with breakfast we headed back to the room and they were all teasing me as to how soon it would be until I started to cry. I am a BIG baby when it comes to leaving WDW and to saying good-bye to people. We gathered all of our stuff and Lisa and Mike headed to the elevator while Rodrigo and I did a second look around to make sure we didn’t forget anything. As Rodrigo and I left the room, I got a little teary eyed and he started to laugh at me. I got myself together in enough time so that Lisa and Mike wouldn’t see me. We walked outside and our shuttle was waiting for us. We hopped on and we had just one stop, at the Swan to pick up a few people. We met a nice family on the shuttle from Alabama and we were talking about the difference in home prices. Wow, is California an expensive place to live!!! At the airport our American Airlines terminal was the first terminal. Lisa and Mike were flying Delta. So I hugged and kissed them, as did Rodrigo and we got our bags and made our way inside. Just as Rodrigo said how amazed he was that I didn’t cry, I lost it. I was so sad to see them go home. We made it through ticketing and security and we did what any WDW visitor does at the airport…we went shopping at the Disney Store. We needed to get a last dose of Disney. Rodrigo treated me to a charm bracelet, so we sat there and started to put one together as his cell phone rang. It was Lisa, saying that they were through security also and had an hour to kill before their flight and wanted to know where we were. Rodrigo told her where and in just a few minutes I was back together with Lisa and Mike. Had I known that the terminals all funnel into one main area I wouldn’t have been upset to leave them in the van. Now I was mad, because I had to say good-bye to them all over again! We finished making my little charm bracelet, which is SO cute by the way, and then we went to just sit down and hang out. It was time for them to go to their terminal, they still needed to take the monorail over there. We all hugged and kissed again and I thought I was done with the tears, but nope, you guessed it, I started to cry again. I am such a LOSER! Once that was over with we headed to our gate to wait for our flight.
While waiting, Rodrigo had been on the phone with work talking about something. When he hung up he asked me “Where is our next trip to?” and I said “Who knows, maybe New York or Hawaii.” He then said “Don’t unpack your bags too quickly, because we are going to New York City next weekend for 3 days with work!” Woo hoo! That was enough to keep me VERY happy! The flight home consisted of me continuously asking him “Are we REALLY going to NYC?” We landed safe and sound at LAX to find my dad waiting to pick us up. We got our luggage and started talking about the wonderful time that we had. In the car I turned to Rodrigo and said “When can we go back”. We don’t have any trip planned for the rest of 2004, but I think we will probably get there in the Spring or Summer of 2005…maybe both Spring & Summer. You never know.
Well, in closing, we all had a WONDERFUL time. It was probably one of the best trips we have ever taken there. The time spent with my sister and Mike was worth all the stress and effort it took in making this possible. I would do it again in a heartbeat! I hope I haven’t bored you too much and anyone who has stuck in with this entire report, I applaud you!
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.