Thursday, July 27, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 97

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find this ...

This window can be seen in the Magic Kingdom on the second floor of Columbia Harbour House ...

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Disney Fantasy - Days 9 & 10

July 6, 2017

Today is another - and our last - sea day on this cruise. Room service breakfast once again starts the day, which also will include an early trip to the Rainforest Room before it gets too crowded.

A lot happening today but the thing I am looking forward to is the third session by Jason Hudak - an editor for Pixar. Today his talk takes us on a tour of Pixar's campus and building in Emoryville, CA. As before, it was a very enjoyable session, even if I didn't win any of the prizes he brought with him to pass out.

Later in the day, we took Brooke to the dance party in the atrium where she got to dance with all of her favorite characters.

Before dinner, we are in the Walt Disney Theater when the "big surprise" announcement that we were promised on the first day is made. Although many of us onboard (myself included) had a pretty good idea what it would be, it was now made official! Spiderman: Homecoming, which premieres in theaters tomorrow, will also premiere on board the Fantasy. It's not unusual for Disney movies to premiere on DCL cruises, because, as we were told on our first DCL cruise, "we own the movies!" However, this is a bit different, since although Disney does own Marvel, it does not own Marvel Studios which produces the Marvel movies. Nor is Disney even the distributor. (Sony is the current distributor.) However, a deal has been made and at midnight tonight, Spiderman will be shown aboard ship! I plan on attending. On our first cruise in 2004, I attended the midnight premiere of King Arthur ... 2 hours which I will never get back! (It was awful!)

When we return to our staterooms, there is a package for Brooke from the nursery containing pieces of her artwork from the week and some gifts. Iris brought her the rock candy - though she still hadn't quite figured it out yet.

Dinner tonight is once again in Animator's Palate and tonight is the night that we get to be animators. When we arrive at our table, there is a sheet at each of our places which has an area for us to draw a figure with the supplied markers. They get collected, and towards the end of the meal, they appear with Mickey and the gang on the screens in the restaurant - and they are animated ... moving and dancing along with the music!

During dinner, however, it becomes very obvious that I will not make it to a midnight showing of Spiderman, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

After dinner, Iris, Brooke and I are having a look though the gift shops when Captain Mickey appears. Of course, Brooke needs  to go and say Hello to him.

Tomorrow we arrive at Castaway Cay ... our final day of the cruise.

July 7, 2017

Today we arrive at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay ... formerly known as Gorda Cay, it used to be home to pirates and drug smugglers until the government of the Bahamas confiscated it and eventually leased it to Disney.

Sandy and I get an early start, while Jason, Iris and Brooke sleep in a bit. We have breakfast this morning at Cabanas before we head off the ship.

Bypassing the family beach, we take the tram to Serenity Bay - the adult only beach. We use the old landing strip that the previous owners built for themselves.

Along the way we pass people on the last leg of the Castaway 5K, which I had hoped to do until I broke my ankle. I have to admit to feeling a bit sad that I wasn't able to do it today.

Although it is still early, so many have gotten here before us that we have to walk quite a way down to find unoccupied lounges. We claim two of them and then into the water!!

Before you know it lunch time came around. Serenity Bay also has it's own place to eat. At the family beach you have cookies - at Serenity Bay you have Cookies Too!

Of course, where there is food ... there are seagulls ...

Now, having had our share of the beach (and the heat) and having had lunch, we start back to the ship.

Along the way we pass the Bahamian post office on the island. (I love the "AIR MAIL" mailbox!)

Back on the ship we head straight to the Rainforest Room which quite predictably is empty and we have no problem getting into a hot tub or claiming a lounge. A few people show up while we are there, but as always on Castaway Cay day - it is never crowded.

After the Rainforest Room and a quick shower, we arrive at the Buena Vista Theater to see Spiderman.

Sadly, tomorrow morning we have to leave the ship, and our luggage must be placed outside the room before dinner. Since we have the second seating, our breakfast tomorrow morning will be at 8:30 rather than 6:45 as the first seating passengers. It will be in the last restaurant we eat dinner in which for us will be Enchanted Garden.

Iris and I go to Shutters to check out all of our photos and decide which package we will get. As we get into the elevator, a couple was telling us about how they opened their door and security guards with a dog was at their door. When we return to our room we see them still standing down the hall from us at a room not far from ours. Tomorrow, someone will be escorted off the ship in handcuffs and it will wreak havoc with the debarkation process, something which had always been quick and easy. Tomorrow it was not to be however, and it took almost a full hour to leave the ship. Law enforcement was everywhere when we finally left the ship!

Packing went well and our luggage was outside of our room well before we left for dinner. We said goodbye to our serving crew and let them know that they had served us extremely well all through the cruise.

After dinner, Iris, Jason, Brooke and I went to Shutters to order our photo package which we would have to pick up in the morning before breakfast.

Then off to sleep for the last time on board. Tomorrow morning we leave the Fantasy and head home, another cruise in the memory banks.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Disney Fantasy - Day 8

July 5, 2017

(This now officially becomes the longest cruise trip report I have written.)

Even though we have an excursion this morning, once again we don't have to check in until 10:45, so it's not an early morning for us. Room service breakfast is ordered, including food for Brooke who is coming with us today while mommy and daddy go off snorkeling. I, on the other hand, am participating in a dolphin encounter, while Sandy and Brooke will be observers.

We are already docked in Tortola, British Virgin Islands when I get up. This is the first port on this trip which we all have already been to ... just a year ago on the Fantasy. The view this morning is pretty much the same view as last year (check out the link above) which makes sense since we are in the same room as last year as well.

We meet in D Lounge this morning and then head off the ship to meet our bus which will take us to the Dolphin Discovery facility, just about 5 minutes from the dock.

We get there while another group is having their session - both the Dolphin Encounter (which I will be participating in this morning) and the Swim with the Dolphins. We get to watch, and Brooke is enjoying watching the dolphins. She would have loved to participate - perhaps on a future cruise.

Finally we get called for our orientation and family pictures.

Finally we get into the water and meet Coco (we never were told how to spell it so I am just guessing here!) who we will be working with today. Our guide is an experienced marine biologist and gives us a lot of information about dolphins. Then we get a chance to get up close and personal with Coco.

The only time on this trip I get any sunburn. Can you guess where?

Playtime over, and after a quick trip through the gift shop (mostly to purchase the CD with these and other photos of my interaction with Coco), it's time to get back on the bus to the pier.

We once again forego any shopping, and head straight onto the ship. Iris and Jason are still out on their excursion so we head up to the pool deck for some lunch. Most days my lunch consists of a fruit plate and today is no exception. Brooke has her hot dog and then we go to the other side of the ship for some ice cream ... usual routine.

We head back to the room and shortly thereafter, Iris and Jason return. After Iris showers and dresses and brings in some lunch, we take Brooke for a walk and who do we encounter but Mickey Mouse!!

This evening we have dinner back in Royal Court - while Brooke enjoys dinner and playtime in the nursery.

Tomorrow is a day at sea as we sail towards Disney's private island in the Bahamas ... Castaway Cay.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Disney Fantasy - Days 6 & 7

July 3, 2017

Today is a sea day as we leave Curaçao to head towards the island of St. Kitts (the country is comprised of 2 islands and is called St. Kitts & Nevis).

Without any need to get up early, we order our room service breakfast for the latest time slot possible (9:00-9:30) and take it slow and easy this morning. After two days in two ports, it's nice to have a relaxing day ahead of us.

Once breakfast is done, a trip to the Rainforest Room is in order. Knowing it will get crowded later in the day since everyone is on the ship, it's still relatively unpopulated and getting hot tub space and a lounge is not a problem this morning.

Lunch today is very informal as we simply head to the pool deck and get our lunch from the Cars themed stations there - followed, of course, by an ice cream cone just around the corner. As I did all this trip (and last year's) my ice cream of choice is chocolate-banana swirl. (It's not quite a frozen banana that I would get in the park - but it'll do.)

This afternoon I get to see a movie that I had been looking forward to seeing, but never got to see it in the theaters. I enjoy all of the Disney Nature films, and on this cruise, Born in China was one of the movies that was showing throughout the week. I grab my refillable popcorn bucket and get settle in to see the movie.

Tonight we are in Animator's Palette for dinner again, and once again Brooke is spending time and having her dinner in the Nursery. This time, the first of two animation shows takes place in the restaurant. An interactive Crush (from Finding Nemo) is the main character participant, although many of the inhabitants of Nemo's world find their way onto the screens that are around the entire dining room.

Tomorrow we put into St. Kitts and all of us (except Jason) have a very early excursion, so it'll be an early night as we get ready for tomorrow.

July 4, 2017

This morning, right on schedule, we pull into port on the island of St. Kitts. It's actually quite cool (though humid) for this south in the Caribbean during the summer, and we see rain off in the distance.

Shortly after 8:00 AM we make our way to the Walt Disney Theater where our excursion is to gather and shortly thereafter we are heading off the ship to meet our tour bus and guide.

Today we are taking a scenic railway tour through the old sugar cane fields on St. Kitts. For most of its history sugar cane (and slaves) was the main source of income here. The first part of our time on the island we will be on a two level train through the former plantations - which eventually became property of the government before sugar cane production ceased completely in 2005. The railway itself was built from 1916-1927 and was used to transport product from the fields, to the processing plants to the ships which were used to export the refined sugar. The trip will use about one third of the entire system of tracks, at which point we will meet our bus again, which will give us a tour through the residential areas on our way back to the ship.

The enclosed and air conditioned lower level of the train.

Off in the distance we could see the sister island of Nevis ... birthplace of the U.S.'s first Secretary of the Treasury - Alexander Hamilton.

On the open air upper level of the train.

Intently taking in the sights!

Former sugar cane processing plant ... one of many along the route. In fact, even though cane is no longer harvested, it is still growing any place that hasn't be redeveloped.

As we rode along, a choir sang island songs for us ... and ended with their national anthem.

As we passed, often people would wave at us as we went by. All the children in this school came out to wave.

This bothered me ... why chain her to a post ... especially this close to the train tracks?

After about an hour and a half we reached the end point of our train trip and it was time to transfer back to the bus. While we did this, another Disney Fantasy group who had done the bus tour portion first was leaving the bus to board the train as it headed back to where we started.

Our driver pointed out many local spots of interest - including his house and his neighborhood. At one location he pointed out the grave of Thomas Jefferson's grandfather.

Before long we were back on the pier and headed back to the ship.

Tonight will be our Fourth of July Celebration ... and a second night of fireworks aboard ship! Our dining rotation takes us to Enchanted Garden again ... and tonight Brooke is with us ... in a decidedly silly mood.

Once again we have back to back days in port - and our next one is Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This is the first repeat port for us this cruise, though I have something rather different from last year planned.