May 15, 2012


We are both very excited to be going on this trip.  Although we were away on vacation in February, it seems like we’ve been home forever.  That’s probably because we have been held very close to home since my knee surgery in early April.  So we are really looking forward to seeing old friends again at Walt Disney World and aboard the new Disney Fantasy as we sail the eastern Caribbean.


Carol has been busy for a few weeks, assembling all the gear we will need for our two weeks away from home.  She uses a bed in a spare room as a staging area.  It gets piled up with cameras, computers, a backpack, trading pins, trading vinylmations . . . etc., etc.   Just a few days before we leave the clothing gets packed in.  She insists that I must have nothing to do with this process.  My participation is limited to loading the car on the day of departure.


Today we were in no rush; all we were doing was driving to Syracuse NY where we catch a flight to Orlando tomorrow.  So we had a leisurely morning, lingered over coffee, read the newspapers and by 9:00 we were ready to roll!   


Of course, the dogs can sense even the smallest change in our routine . . . they knew something was afoot!  Zak was giving Carol the evil-eye!  He mopes and pouts all the time we are getting ready to go!  Carol’s parents dog-sit while we are away so we dropped them off at their vacation resort and we were on the freeway by 9:40 a.m.


We rolled across the border into the USA at 10:20 and headed south on I-81 in light traffic.  Our first stop was in Watertown where Carol picked up a few little things at Walgreen’s and I made a few purchases at Harbor Freight Tools.  Then we stopped at Best Buy.  Carol has been thinking that she might like an eBook reader so we looked at a few and picked up a 7” Samsung Galaxy Tablet for her to “test-drive” while we are away.  If she doesn’t like it I know I sure will!


Before leaving Watertown we had a nice lunch at Olive Garden and were back on I-81 by 12:45.  We made a quick stop for gas along the way and reached the Carousel Mall in Syracuse at about 2:00.  We went directly to JC Penny; we like this chain because they always have a nice selection of clothing in the “big-boy” sizes I need.  I paid for the pile of shirts Carol threw at me while she wandered off to the Disney Store.  I sat in the car and played with her new tablet while I waited.  Guess what?  She came back from the Disney Store empty-handed.  That does not happen often!


We checked in at the Holiday Inn Express beside the airport and I started setting up Carol’s tablet while she headed off for more shopping at The Christmas Tree Shop and K-Mart.  She arrived back just before 6:00 with a few items from each store.


After dinner at Appleby’s we settled in for an evening of TV.  We have a 5:00 a.m. wake-up call so bed-time will come early!

Wednesday May 16, 2012


Wow . . . we had forgotten how dark it is at 5:00 a.m.  It’s a painful time to start your day; but of course there was a grand destination waiting for us so we scurried to get ready.  Ok, I admit it . . . it was more of a bleary-eyed shuffle than a scurry, but we were showered, dressed and out the door in thirty minutes.  We had a coffee from the continental breakfast and I had a quick bite to eat.  By 5:45 we were aboard the shuttle for the seven minute trip to the airport.


There was no one in line when we arrived at the Jet Blue desk and they whisked us right through.  The attendant even came out to help Carol drag our luggage over to the TSA screening area.  That was great service!  It’s my first time flying Jet Blue and I’m impressed.


We picked up a coffee and sat in the lounge adjacent to our gate until we boarded at 6:30.  The pilot stood at the door to the flight deck and entertained us with jokes for twenty minutes then took his seat.  Within five minutes we pushed away from the gate and our 7:00 a.m. flight took off ten minutes early.  The flight was smooth and uneventful.  We were on the ground in Orlando by 9:50.  The airport here is huge so Carol had arranged to have a wheelchair waiting.  An airport attendant pushed me all the way to the baggage carousel (not an easy chore) while Carol hustled along beside us with the carry-on items.


Everything was flowing so smoothly today that it just had to end right?  No, it didn’t.  The first two bags to come down the carousel were ours.  We were across the road and picking up our rental car before 10:30.  Carol had a voucher for a free upgrade so our Chevy Cruze became a Mercury Grand Marquis.  Nice ride!

We came through the main gate on World Centre Drive at 11:00 and pulled into Port Orleans French Quarter at 11:05.  This is when the magic ended.  Our room wasn’t ready, they promised to send us a text message when it was cleaned and available.  No problem, we really hadn’t expected it to be ready . . . Carol said, “Let’s have lunch.”  So we stopped at the hotel’s food court for a bite.  Naturally it’s a New Orleans theme, so I had a muffaletta sandwich and Carol had a chicken po-boy.  Big mistake.  They were both tasty, but the two of us could have split either one of them.


Next stop – Property Control where Carol did some shopping.  There were no great treasures today but she did buy a few little trinkets.  On our way back to the hotel we stopped in at Fort Wilderness Campground to see if our camping friends from Missouri were there.  No such luck, they must have been off at a park, so we left a note on their motor home and carried on.  As we were leaving the campground my precious and lovely bride said, “Take me to DStreet.”  I sat in the Downtown Disney parking lot and read while I waited.  She was soon back with a snazzy new Vinylmation and we returned to the hotel at 2:30.  The room still wasn’t ready so we took a seat in Scat Cat’s lounge to wait.  Finally at about 2:50 the text message came . . . and we settled in to our room.  It was nap time!

We were rolling again at 4:45 when we boarded the boat and took a nice cruise down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney.  We were joining a group of friends from the web site with plans to eat our way around Downtown Disney.  This consisted of a sandwich at the Earl of Sandwich followed by ice cream at Ghirardelli’s.  Since we arrived well before the 6:00 p.m. meeting time, Carol had lots of time to shop.  In the Art of Disney shop she picked up a matted print of the Disneyland Railroad.  She’s wants the mat for a Ducky Williams print she has.  I don’t know where she plans to hang it; I may have to build some new walls when we get home!

Some of the gang were already at Earl’s when we arrived about 5:45 and more soon joined us.  The group included SusanL, Bookwood, Topaz, Rosebud, AmyMouse, Snickerdoodlesmommy, Snickerdoodles, TheOneAndOnlyAshley, Bill, Daddio, Cathy, Mellissa, Carl, towncrier, Sarah, Barrie, Robin and DisneyHouseDad.  After a lot of chatter and some great sandwiches we sauntered over to Ghirardelli’s.  There was some light drizzle but we managed to find cover as we enjoyed our ice cream treats and yet another gab-fest.

By 8:00 we were growing a tad weary after a long day so we said our farewells and headed back to the boat.  It was waiting as we approached and in no time we were once again plying the Sassagoula River.  It’s a pretty trip!


Back at our resort we were wowed when we entered the room.  Suzy, our Agent had sent a wonderful gift bag.  It's a nice Disney cooler bag filled with snacks and drinks.  The card wished us a Happy Anniversary!  Thanks Suzy. 


After admiring the gift we changed into our bathing suits and headed out to the pool and hot tub.  I took my beat-up old knees directly to the hot tub while Carol went to dip her toes in the pool.  She soon found it too cold and joined me in the tub.  After a leisurely soak we returned to the room and crashed!  Tomorrow is another busy day!

Thursday May 17, 2012


Once again we were up with the crows . . . OK, the crows probably beat us . . . but we were rolling by 6:30.  We stopped in the food court where I had a quick bite of breakfast and then drove to EPCOT.  We were parked at the park by 8:00 a.m. and sat in the car while we sipped on our coffees.  We left the half finished coffees and reached the entry turnstiles at 8:30, a full half-hour before opening.  Guess who was first in line?  Bookwood, Rosebud, Ray Sharpton, SusanL, Carl  and Topaz.  They must have been true early-birds!  We were about 30 people back and we were joined by Mary501 and towncrier.

Once the park opened we headed toward Soarin’ while Bookwood took all our park passes and rushed ahead to pick up a FastPass for each of us.  By the time we assembled at the entrance to Soarin’ Daddio, Cathy, Melissa and Barrie had joined us.  Twelve of us took the standby line and rode as a group.  After our first flight we crossed directly to Living With The Land for a group ride.  The bulk of the group dashed ahead, outpacing Ray and I in our scooters so we had to ride alone . . . whimper – sob!

Carol atoned for ditching me by allowing me to share her orange juice and muffin at Sunshine Seasons where we all stopped for a while.  Soon our FastPasses were valid so ten of us rode a second time.

Next stop was Spaceship Earth.  This time the group wanted Ray and I so they could use the special handicap entrance  . . . there was a good deal of sucking up going on and Ray and I relished it.  Unfortunately the ride was down so we missed one of my favorite EPCOT attractions.


The group broke up, some went off to Hollywood Studios and some of us wandered around EPCOT enjoying the Flower and Garden Show which winds up next Sunday.  Carol and I stopped at Guest Relations where she bought some Disney Dollars and then slowly wandered toward England.  Our trip took us through Bambi’s Butterfly House and then through the Rose Garden.  We snapped pictures all along our route.

We arrived in England just in time to check in for our lunch at Rose & Crown.  We had not eaten there for several years so it was nice to visit again.  Carol had her favorite, cottage pie and I tried the fish and chips (and a Guinness).  Yum, we both enjoyed it.

We headed back in the direction of Mexico and took some pictures of the topiary exhibits at the entrance to World Showcase.  As we headed back toward Spaceship Earth we took a right turn and went behind Mouse Gear to see the Fairy Garden.  As we approached the “For The Birds” display I heard some drumming that sounded like trash cans so I followed the sounds while Carol went to watch some birds.  There were The Jamitors . . . for the Flower and Garden Festival they call themselves The Jammin’ Gardeners”.  I watched the rest of their show and then joined Carol who was chilling out in the breezeway beside Mouse Gear.


We headed toward the park exit and made a brief stop at the Art of Disney Store where artist Larry Dotson was appearing.  Carol had been wanting one of his prints so we stopped to pick it up and have Larry sign it for her.  We took a few more topiary pictures as we left the park and headed back to our resort.  It was 91 degrees and humid so we needed a break (and a nap).  When we hooped in the car at EPCOT the coffee we had left behind in the morning was just as hot as when we left it, so we finished it on the way back!


After a nice rest we loaded the car again and by 4:30 we were on our way to Magic Kingdom.  The first stop was at the Fire Hall where we both picked up some Sorcerer Cards, Carol’s latest collection.  Then we wandered through Adventureland hoping that the Tortuga Tavern would be open for dinner.  Nope, not today.  We checked out the menu at Pecos Bills and nothing appealed today.  We didn’t want burgers after a big lunch so we carried on and wound up at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café where we both enjoyed a grilled chicken sandwich.  They were good!

After dinner we wandered around Fantasyland to see the newly opened attractions.  There is still plenty of construction going on but the little bit that is open looks great!


We had both been craving a cold treat so we headed to Adventureland.  I picked up a pineapple float at Adventure Isle and then carried on to join Carol who was picking up a citrus swirl at Sunshine Terrace.  She was in line with Mary501 when I caught up so I grabbed a table and the three of us sat trying to get a three-way brain freeze.  When we were done Carol and I wandered over to Casey’s Corner and after waiting a few minutes we acquired a nice corner table where our group could assemble to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Soon Mary501 joined us, followed by Ray Sharpton.  Then along came Bookwood, SusanL, Daddio, Cathy, Melissa, ddindy, Timon, Barrie, Rosebud and towncrier.  We yakked until the lights dimmed and we watched the parade from our seats. 

When the lights came back on I was surprised to see Photographer, she had snuck in quietly during the parade.  We chatted a bit more while we waited for the crowd to disperse a bit and then we made our way to the exit and headed home.  We arrived back at the hotel at about 10:15, tired after a long, hot day.  It was still 77 degrees when we got home.


Friday May 18, 2012


We missed rope drop today.  The fates conspired against us.  I didn’t finish writing up our trip report last night so I was up at 6:00 this morning adding some finishing touches, uploading pictures and getting it published.  I got it finished just in time to have a shower and head down to the hotel lobby where Gary from “More Than Mobility – Central Florida” met me.  I had some minor technical difficulties with my rental ECV scooter yesterday and they were quick to come and swap it for a new one.  This is the third time I have rented from More Than Mobility and they are very nice to deal with, good prices, free delivery and pick-up.  Today I found out how good their service is!


I had a quick breakfast sandwich in the food court and by the time I arrived back at the room Carol was ready to go!  We hit the road and arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 8:25.  This is the first time we have been at Walt Disney World during Star Wars Weekend so we were looking forward to something different.  We found it right away . . . there were Storm Troopers on the roof over the entry turnstiles and they put on quite a show as we entered.  We stopped for a few minutes for some pictures. 

Since our group from had gone to ride Toy Story Midway Mania at 8:00 a.m. Carol sent a text message to find out where they were.  We went to the Animation Courtyard and had a nice chat with David Rippberger, a cel artist, in the Animation store.  Soon Carol received a text, the gang was heading to Tower of Terror so she scurried over to take the plunge with them while I stayed to chat with David a while longer.

As we were chatting a lady walked up and said, “You’re Gary!”  I replied, “Yes, I think so.”  It was ChrisR who was there with her husband and sons Scotty and Nick enjoying Nick’s Make-A-Wish trip.  I bumped into them three times during the day, it was great to meet her.  Here is a picture of ChrisR and family taken later in the day at Hollywood & Vine.

I headed over to Sunset Boulevard and waited at the exit to Tower of Terror.

Soon Carol and the group emerged, none the worse for wear.  They all posed nicely for a “group scream” picture and then everyone went their separate ways.

Carol tracked down her pin trading friends who were in line at the Darth Mall tent waiting to buy some event merchandise.  They had been in line for the tent since 8:00 a.m. (1 hour and 40 minutes) and were just about to enter.  She said a quick hello and then she and I wandered around looking for Star Wars characters . . . they were everywhere.  As we passed Toy Story Midway Mania we stopped in for a ride.  Ouch – our arms are sore!

We slowly made our way to toward the Star Tours attraction, the focal area for Star Wars Weekend events.  The closer we got the more crowded it became.  It was fun to see the characters but it was just waaay more crowded than we are prepared to deal with!  We took a few more pictures and hurried through as quickly as we could.

We stopped for a short rest under an umbrella near Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner and then Carol had to check out the pins under the big hat.  She wandered through a few shops while I headed over toward the 50’s Prime Time Café, the Tagrel group was convening there at 12:25 for lunch. 

DisneyHouseDad was waiting when I arrived and soon Carol joined us.  It wasn’t long before Timon, Topaz, Daddio, Cathy, Melissa, Carl, SusanL, Bookwood, Rosebud, towncrier and Barrie arrived and the fourteen of us went in for lunch. 

As usual is was a riotous good time.  We were all seated in the same area at two tables and our server, Elaine, was terrific right until the end.  Among the fourteen of us we had four Tables in Wonderland cards and one person on the dining plan.  Elaine made it just too much of an ordeal to work out the bills.  The process took over 30 minutes and left me with a bad attitude.  We had a sweet time and a good lunch but it had a bitter ending for me.

We lingered outside chatting for a few minutes then Carol and I headed to the parking lot, hoping for some time at the pool this afternoon.  As we left Hollywood Studios the skies darkened and there were rumbles of thunder and a few raindrops by the time we arrived at French Quarter at 2:30.  We decided to skip the swim.  I had a short nap and then wrote a few comments for the trip report while Carol went to the shop beside the hotel lobby.


By 4:30 we were back in the car, heading to EPCOT for the concert at America Gardens Theatre.  It was originally scheduled to be Davey Jones of the Monkees but shortly after Davy’s sudden death his old friend and band mate Mickey Dolenz stepped up to replace him. 


We arrived at the park by 4:45 and slowly made out way back to World Showcase to see the topiaries we missed the day before.  We made our way past Mexico, Norway, China, Germany and Italy on our way to the America Gardens Theatre, snapping pictures along the way.

Bookwood was waiting sitting on a convenient wall when we arrived and soon the rest of the gang joined the three of us.  By the time we hopped in the line to enter the theatre it stretched all the way back to Italy and we wondered if we would get a seat.

No problem, by the time we got there the theatre was only half full.  Because of my scooter we were directed to the handicap seating area and there was room for Topaz, Rosebud and Timon to join Carol and I there.   Bookwood, SusanL, Robin, AmyMouse and Photographer all found seats together about five rows behind us but near the centre of the house.  We all had good seats and Mickey didn’t disappoint. 


Carol and I have seen quite a few “oldies” acts there and Mickey’s voice has survived better than most.  He sang the old Monkey’s standards and a few other classic 60’s hit.  His sister Coco was part of the group and sang back-up vocals.  At one point she took centre-stage and belted out a stirring rendition of Grace Slick’s White Rabbit.  It was a great show, Carol enjoyed it . . . and she’s not an oldies fan!  If he comes back for future shows, try to get to one.

After the show we said our goodbyes.  Everyone else was heading off to the traditional fun-filled Tagrel gift exchange but we decided to skip this year.  We’re heading off to Port Canaveral in the morning and Carol had to pack our bags again.


Just as we left it started to rain so we ducked into the quick-service restaurant at China.  We found a table inside and Carol dashed off to get some food while I guarded our seats.  The skies opened up and I quickly discovered that over half of our table wasn’t covered by a roof.  The rain was running off the table on to my legs as I picked up all the stuff we had sitting there.  The folks at the next table saw my plight and invited us to join them at their dry table.  Carol arrive back with our dinner and we enjoyed chatting with them while we ate.  The rain had pretty much ended by the time we were finished so we made our way to the exit. 

Carol spotted a great blue heron near the Odyssey building so we stopped for a few minutes to watch it.  We left the park at 8:00 and by 8:20 Carol was packing our bags.  We had hoped to get to the pool but the weather was still threatening so the TV went on for the first time since we arrived.  Early to bed tonight, we want to be well rested for our sail-away day.

Saturday May 19, 2012


I was awake at 5:00 a.m. this morning, probably just too excited about our cruise . . . my mind was racing and I couldn’t make it stop.  After tossing and turning for a while I got up and played at the computer.  That doesn’t work very well when I can’t see the keyboard in the dark.  So I soon went back to bed and read for a while . . . then I was able to nod off again until 7:00.


When I emerged from the shower Carol was up and bustling fumbling around with last minute packing.  I scooted down for breakfast while she showered and we were soon loading the car.  I drove the rental ECV scooter over to Bell Services where it will be picked up later and Carol drove the car around to pick me up.  By 9:30 we were eastbound toward Port Canaveral.

Carol got more and more excited the closer we got.  We were still ten miles from the coast when she pulled her camera out to get that first picture of the ship. 

We pulled up to the Disney Cruise Line terminal at 10:30.  I dropped Carol off and she checked the luggage while I returned the rental car a few miles down the road.  By 11:30 I was back and we joined the line for boarding.

Who were next to us in line?  It was Doug and Audrey from Waterdown Ontario.  We had met them at the AllEars “December to Remember” celebration last year.  We were quickly through the “Welcome Aboard” photo and proceeded to the Atrium. When we got to the Atrium a cast member announced us and we were welcomed aboard by a line of cast members.  We just stood in the atrium for a while soaking in all the new scenery!  Wow!


It was noon so we headed directly down to Deck #2 with Doug and Audrey and had a nice lunch at the Enchanted Garden.

After lunch there were a few chores to be done, we needed to head to Deck #12 to shift the time on a Palo brunch reservation and we needed to check in with on Deck #4.  Audrey wanted to book a Palo brunch and a tea so we decided to split up.  Carol and Doug went to Deck #4 to check in with AllEars while Audrey and I went to Deck #12 to deal with the Palo reservations.  We were successful in rescheduling the brunch and Doug and Audrey will be joining us for it. We were soon down to Deck #4 and joined Carol and Doug at The Tube where they had just finished checking in.


We bumped into a few friends along the way, Masayo, Gail, Beci, Annette, Sandy, David, James, Patrice, Deb, Linda, Barrie, Melanie, James and Linda.

We checked to see if our stateroom was ready . . . not yet . . . so we took a seat pool-side on Deck #11 and rested for a half-hour. 

At 1:30 we headed back down . . . the ropes were still up to block access to our hallway but they soon came down and by 1:40 we were in our stateroom #10160.  Wow, it’s nice.  Similar to the staterooms we’ve had in the past on the Magic and the Wonder but the bathrooms seem to be about 10% bigger and I think the living space is a bit larger too.  The balcony is certainly bigger . . . it’s about seven times bigger.  We are at the back of the ship and the balcony is at least fifteen feet deep.  Let’s have a party!


Soon the luggage arrived and Carol spent a few minutes getting us all unpacked and settled.  I stretched out and relaxed on the bed to avoid getting in her way!  By the time she was done it was time for the mandatory lifeboat drill.  We were called at 4:00 and our group met outside on the Promenade area on Deck #4.  Within 15 minutes it was all over and we were dismissed.

We went immediately to Deck #12 midship and joined the Sail Away Party which was just getting started.

The group assembled on the starboard side between the two stacks and we watched the stage show taking place one deck below.  Then the MouseFan Travel Vagabond Road Show put on their boot-scootin’ boots and gave us a private show on Deck #12.  They were great!

We pulled away from the dock at 4:50 and the girls swung into action.  Folks at home and at Walt Disney World were poised at their computers watching the Port Canaveral web-cam so Carol and fellow Canadian Audrey unfurled the Canadian flag and held it in front of us.  We waved furiously as we passed Fishlips Restaurant where the camera is located.  Just a few minutes later Carol received a text from SusanL . . . they had seen us clearly on the web-cam.  Mission accomplished . . . we put the flag away until our next cruise.  Before we knew it we had left the harbour behind and were sailing off into the Atlantic.

We elected early dining this cruise so dinner time came at 5:45, very soon after the Sail Away Party.  We stopped in the stateroom to freshen up and headed for the Enchanted Garden where we had a wonderful dinner.  Our table-mates are Melanie from Colorado, Barrie from Oregon and a couple we had not met before, Lou and Kathy from the Tampa area.

After dinner we headed to Deck #3 where Carol familiarized herself with the layout of the shops.  I thought it would just be an exploratory mission but I was wrong . . . she bought a charm for her Pandora bracelet.


We headed up to Deck #4 to enjoy the nightly show from the balcony in the Walt Disney Theatre.  Tonight it was “Fantasy Come True” a spirited music and dance show.  It was very entertaining . . . then came Michael Holly, a juggler and comedian.  He had us in stitches.  The only French word he knows is “faux pas” – that’s what a pirate dog wears instead of a hook!  Our ribs were sore when it was over.


We thought quickly about going for a nightcap somewhere but dismissed the idea . . . we were both tuckered out.  We were back to the cabin by 9:45 where we settled in for the night.

Sunday May 20, 2012


It was a sea day – time to relax . . . aaahhhh!


We were both wide awake at 6:30 a.m.  Carol had pre-ordered room service and our coffee and croissants arrived at 7:00 a.m. so we sat and savored them as we watched the Caribbean flow past our balcony.  Nice!  In all the cruising we have done, this is the first time we have ordered room service.  We will definitely do it again . . . it’s already ordered for tomorrow!


I left at about 7:30 to roam the deck a bit and get my bearings before the 8:00 a.m. Cawfee Talk meet in the Cove Café. 

Deb greeted everyone at the Cove Café and we spent a leisurely hour chatting with other members of the group.  Many of these people we have met at other AllEars events but there are quite a few newcomers on the cruise as well.  Carol even came; it was her first time at one of Deb’s coffee meets.  Carol prefers some solitude for the first few hours of her day!

After the Cove Café meet we wandered the upper decks for a while and then made our way to the Enchanted Garden for breakfast.  There are servers who seat you and bring juices and coffee while the breakfast itself is served buffet style.  After a light snack of eggs, sausage and fresh fruit we headed to Deck #4, the Promenade deck and settled in some deck chairs to wait for the 11:00 a.m. party for Gold and Platinum Castaway Cay members held in The Tube. 

Captain Mickey came to join us and we all had the opportunity to pose with him.  There were some free drinks, mimosa and a few other fruit and liqueur concoctions and a light selection of finger foods while Cruise Director Ray Smale and Captain Marco mingled with all the guests.  A short video reviewed the history of the Disney Cruise Line and then thanked us all for our patronage.  It was a nice event! As we left the tube we were each given a Mickey Rice Krispie treat.

We headed back to the stateroom and donned our bathing suits.  We are still orienting ourselves to the new ship and it’s been a bit challenging because of my walker.  We know the Magic and the Wonder like the back of our hand but everything aboard the Fantasy is new to us.  We have encountered a few dead-ends where we have had to backtrack because I am not able to walk up a flight of stairs.  The good news is we are starting to know where these impediments are and in a few days we’ll have it mastered.

We made our way to the adult pool beside the Cove Café and settled in for a few hours of relaxation.  Carol picked us up a sandwich from the Tow Mater Grill and we wasted a few hours between the pool, the hot tub and some lounge chairs!

Soon it was time for the 2:30 Ice Cream Social.  Fortunately this was only about fifty feet from our lounge chairs so we didn’t have to hurry.  By the time we arrived at 2:25 there were already about forty people there.  We sat around and yakked with some old friends and made some new acquaintances while we enjoyed soft-serve ice cream.  There was a flurry of card trading.  AllEars Trading Cards have become a hot commodity and the wheeling, dealing and wrangling was a sight to behold!

By 3:30 the heat and humidity had caught up to us so we said our goodbyes and headed to the stateroom for a well earned siesta.  I snored on the bed while Carol stretched out on the couch.  At 4:30 Melanie arrived and delivered the pins for tomorrow’s pin trading event.  After a short visit Melanie left and Carol started filling up a corkboard with pins.


We freshened up and changed for dinner in The Royal Court.  It’s formal night . . . that means I put on long pants.  Dinner was terrific, it’s a pretty setting in a “princess motif” and we enjoyed a very nice meal while getting to know our tablemates a bit better.

At about 7:40 we headed back to the cabin and changed back into casual clothes before heading to the Walt Disney Theatre for the 8:30 Aladdin Show.  This is the first time we have tried the early seating for dinner and so far we like it.


The Aladdin show is just amazing . . . very similar too the show in Disneyland’s Hyperion Theatre.  Some of the staging effects are cut back compared to the west coast version but that is probably due to the constraints of the ship.  It is an excellent show, not to be missed!

After the show we hustled to La Piazza, an Italian themed bar on Deck #4.  Some of the AllEars group congregated there for a few drinks after the show.  We lingered for a lot of chatter and a couple of drinks before calling it a night just before 11:00.  Tomorrow will be another busy day of rest and relaxation so we need our beauty sleep!

Monday May 21, 2012


We woke to cloudy skies and heavy rain showers today.  Once again coffee ad croissants were delivered at 7:00 a.m.  I could get used to this . . . but there wasn’t much time to linger, we had a busy morning planned.  I was showered and dressed by 7:45 when I headed to the Cove Café to hook up with the AllEars group at Deb’s Cawfee Tawk.  We sat indoors and gabbed as the rain rippled the pool just outside our window. 


At 9:00 I picked up a couple of coffees “to-go” and headed down to Deck #4 where I met Carol.  She was running a pin trading meet in The Tube from 9:30 until 11:00.  There were avid and aspiring traders waiting when we arrived.  Carol had pre-loaded a cork-board with pins the previous night so before long the trading board was set up and the action began.  Carol was busy for the full ninety minutes.  She answered a lot of questions and gave plenty of tips to new traders.

People were also busy throughout the room, swapping AllEars Trading Cards.  There are currently fifty four cards in the set and everyone on the cruise received a packet of fifty cards.  Each package contained ten copies of five different cards.  In order to get a complete set people had to mingle and trade.  There was plenty of card trading going on and most people were able to complete their set.

At 11:00 we packed up the pins and headed to our stateroom to freshen up.  We had a reservation for brunch at Palo at 11:30.  Our fellow Canadians Doug and Audrey met us there and we were soon ushered to our table. 

The dining room is magnificent; the décor has a heavy Italian influence with a specific focus on Venice.  Our server, Milos, gave us a tour of the buffet and later took our order for a-la-carte items.  It was all delicious, by the time we left at 1:15 we were stuffed!

The skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly.  We changed into our bathing suits and headed to Deck #12; Carol was anxious to ride the AquaDuck.  I would love to ride it as well, but I can’t risk it right now with my bum leg . . . next time!  The wind was howling on the upper decks and the cast member at the foot of the steps to the loading area told Carol that they were not allowing single riders due to the high winds.  She needed a partner so she asked a few children who seemed to be alone.  Most of them ran away looking for their mothers!  After a few embarrassing tries she gave up.  Maybe the winds will be lighter tomorrow.

We adjourned to the Quiet Cove Pool on Deck #11; it’s a bit more sheltered from the wind.  Carol soaked in the pool and then joined me in the hot tub.  After a soothing soak we sat reading for a while.  At about 2:30 we headed back to the stateroom and I settled in for a nap.  Carol headed off after a few minutes and enlisted in the Midship Detective Agency . . . it’s an interactive video game played and a number of “magic portals” around the ship. 


She was back at 3:45 and we freshened up before heading to Deck #3 Midship for our AllEars group picture.  The Shutters photographers had quite a challenge as they lined up all 120 of us on the curved staircase in the atrium.

After the photo Carol went shopping and I joined Doug and Audrey for a drink in their stateroom.  Dinner time was approaching so I joined Carol in our cabin and we headed to Animator’s Palette.  It is quite different from the restaurants of the same name on the Magic and the Wonder.  The room’s walls are covered with huge LCD screens which play scenes based on the Finding Nemo movie.  It is similar to the Turtle Talk with Crush in The Living Seas. 

Crush talks to guests while they eat.  Carol was one of the lucky ones tonight.  He asked how many times she had cruised, what she was having for dessert and several other questions and had witty responses to her replies.  It is really well done.

After dinner we headed to Deck #3 Midship to have our picture taken with some characters.  The lines were huge so we posed for one picture at the Minnie stature in front of the Royal Court.


Show time was approaching so we made our way to the Walt Disney Theatre for the new “Disney Wishes” show.  It is exclusive to this ship and it was great.  The high energy show tells the story of three teenagers through song, dance and Disney characters.  Don’t miss this show!


The show ended at about 9:30 and after saying goodbye to a few friends we headed off to relax.  The next day we had a shore excursion and had an early wake-up call so we crashed early.

Tuesday May 22, 2012


We woke at 6:35 and Carol headed directly to the balcony while I had a shower.  By the time I emerged room service had arrive and Carol was out on the balcony cursing at both of our cameras.  There was a fantastically vivid rainbow and it looked so close that you could touch it.  Both cameras were fogged up due to the humidity and she could not get a picture.  Dang!  By the time the cameras warmed and cleared we could no longer see the rainbow.  By 7:30 a.m. we were tied up at the dock in St. Maarten harbor.

We soon headed to Deck #4 and the Buena Vista Theatre where we assembled to begin our shore adventure.  We signed up for the Under Two Flags” tour, a two hour bus excursion around the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin.

Our driver/tour guide was excellent, he was originally from Houston Texas and was enthusiastic in his presentation of “his island paradise.”  This island is smaller in area than the Walt Disney World property in Florida.  It is split between two nations; the Dutch side, St. Maarten where Dutch is the principal language and the French side, St. Martin where they speak French.  Everyone on the island speaks English.  I wish bilingualism was as universal in Canada as it is here!  Each has a separate government, police force, education system, etc.  The permanent population of the island is 125,000 and the principal industry is tourism.  We stopped along the way for a few photo-ops and by 11:30 we were back at the harbor . . . Oh, look, there are some shops!  In a remarkably ironic turn of events I spent more than Carol.  I found a nice bottle of scotch for $30.00 and she spent $0.50 on a postcard.

We were back on board the Fantasy by 12:15 and headed directly to The Royal Court for lunch.  There was a large contingent from our group, all sitting together in a corner and we joined them just after they had been seated.  Carol had a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Cobb salad.


After a pleasant lunch we went our separate ways, Carol was off to the spa for some pampering and I joined Barrie and Linda on a scouting mission.  We are leading a “photo-walk” around the ship on Thursday morning so we went off to scout locations.  Our path took us from the Deck #3 atrium to Deck #4 and the entertainment area, Europa.  We saw plenty of interesting areas where photographers can play and experiment.  Our last turn took us into O’Gill’s Pub.  Some of the bottles caught our attention so we did some experimenting too, with two Irish whiskeys, Cragganmore and Appleton’s Rare.  After our taste test we all agreed that Appleton’s was our favourite . . . it actually tasted like we should have one more, so we did!

When I arrived back at the stateroom Carol had just returned from the spa. She was heading off to Deck #11 for some sun and a soak in the pool.  She went directly to the AquaDuck and had her first ride.  Did she like it?  She pronounced it OK.  It starts with a small drop and a few water jets which give you a push and then it becomes a nice gentle “lazy river” kind of ride.  The clear tube gives you an outstanding view of the ship as you circle around to the splash-down area.  I’ll have to wait and try it on a future cruise!


Carol went on for a swim while I had a nap.  She was back by 4:30 and we freshened up for dinner – it’s Pirate Night!  We had a booking for dinner at Palo but we were invited to join a group Wednesday night so we cancelled our booking.  We’ve played a bit of musical chairs the last few nights as they have juggled tables in our group, but I think we’ve settled in to our last dining group now.  We are seated with Masayo, Gail, Barrie and Mary.  Mary was at Palo tonight so Beci joined us for dinner.

None of our table mates were dressed but some of the costumes were truly outstanding!

After dinner Barrie joined us and we moved on to the Skyline Lounge to watch the changing skylines.  We ordered drinks and watched the show as we talked.  Before long Deb and Linda joined us.  The walls are lined with huge high definition LCD screens which change every twelve minutes and rotate between six cities, London, Athens, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Paris and Barcelona.  The imagery is amazing . . . you can see cars moving on the streets and people walking the sidewalks.  Mickey Mouse walks across the room behind a window in a London hotel and the mouse, Chef Remy, appears in the Paris scene.  It is quite an effect!


By 10:00 we were all yawning after a long day so we said our goodbyes and headed for home.  We skipped the upper deck Pirate Party and watched the 10:30 firework show from our balcony.  Then we called it a night.

Wednesday May 23, 2012


We woke at 6:30 to no noise and no motion.  I assumed that we were already docked at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Carol opened the curtains and announced that we were still a few miles off the island and it was raining gently.  Soon we heard the sound of a smaller vessel and watched as the pilot boat left.  It had just dropped off our harbor pilot.  Once again our cameras were too steamy for pictures.


The rain picked up and became quite a brisk shower so we went back inside while we approached shore.  We sat looking out the balcony door and listening to the noise from Cabanas.  While our stateroom is very nice, we will not stay in this area again.  We are directly below Cabanas, the casual buffet restaurant on Deck #11.  Every time they move a table or chair we hear it.  At 4:00 a.m. when they power-wash the floor we hear it (at least Carol does, I can sleep through a tornado).  I suspect that a stateroom in the same position one floor down, on Deck #9, would be a lot quieter.


The ship pulled in through a relatively narrow channel into a small harbor area in nineteen to twenty mile per hour winds.  Soon we were parallel to the dock; then the captain used the thrusters to turn the ship 180 degrees on it’s axis and slide into our mooring spot.  It is amazing how they can maneuver this ship which is 1,115 feet long.  Docking is an interesting process.  The ship is equipped with guns (I suspect that they are compressed air cannons) which shoot a plastic ball across the water to the dock.  There is a rope attached; old salts such as myself refer to a rope as a line.  Dock hands are waiting and they pick up the line and pull it across the water onto the pier.  Soon they are pulling a heavier line which is attached to the huge hawsers which will secure the ship.  They often use a golf cart or a tow-motor to tow the heavy hawsers toward the bollards, those huge metal cleats along the pier.  Once the hawsers are looped over the bollards winches aboard the ship pull them taut.  It’s quite an interesting process to watch.  Once when we were docking in Nassau Carol watched as the plastic ball was fired.  It hit one of the dock hands squarely in the chest and knocked him on his keister.  No one was hurt and it was quite comical!

By the time we were docked it was raining heavily and we were growing concerned about our two-hour tour on an open air bus.  It is called “The Best of St. Thomas” and sounds similar to the tour we took yesterday . . . except for the rain!

We needn’t have worried.  By the time we checked in with our group at the Walt Disney Theatre and were escorted to the debarkation gate the rain had ended.  It was very hot and humid but at least it was dry.  The tour itself was quite good.  We were led to waiting buses, all “open-air” and loaded.  Our bus had four rows in the rear and we sat four abreast.  Four sat in the cab with our driver “Smitty”.  There was no PA system so we didn’t learn much about local history or culture but the scenery was magnificent.  We went to several high peaks which gave spectacular vistas of the island.  One stop was at St. Peter’s Great House which featured botanical gardens.  Skies were hazy with the humidity and I wished the air was clearer for better photos but it was breathtaking nonetheless.

The tour ended at about 11:45 and we were dropped off at a convenient little shopping mall beside the pier.  Carol browsed for a few minutes and we headed to the ship.  As usual Carol spent more than I did today.  She bought three post cards, they were 3 for $1.00 


A second cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s “Freedom of the Seas” was docked directly behind the Fantasy when we returned.  We took a few pictures as we walked the length of the pier and once we were aboard we headed directly to The Royal Court for lunch.

We were back to our stateroom by 1:30.  Carol had another spa session booked for 2:15 so we changed into our swim suits and headed to Deck #11.  I lounged in a chair and read my book, then poached myself in the hot tub for a half-hour.  I headed back to the stateroom and napped for an hour before Carol arrived back just after 4:00.  She was totally relaxed after her spa treatment.  We had just left the dock when she arrived so we headed to the balcony to watch St. Thomas disappear behind us.

Soon we dressed for our 6:00 p.m. Palo dinner and headed to the atrium in search of photo-ops with some characters.  The lines for characters were long but we did score one picture with Daisy Duck before it was time to head to Deck #12 for dinner.  As a thank you for hosting the pin trading meet and the photo walk Deb invited us to join Team AllEars and Team MouseFanTravel for dinner in a beautiful private room at Palo.  Our server was Laszlo and we enjoyed an excellent meal.  We lingered and laughed for three hours while we savored a variety of treats.  By the time we finished our tummies were full and our ribs ached from the laughter.

After dinner we changed into casual clothes and headed to Deb and Linda’s suite for a nightcap, more chatter and more laughter.


We were back to our stateroom by 11:20 and headed off to bed.

Thursday May 24, 2012


Morning came a bit earlier than we had planned.  Carol ticked the wrong box on our room service box and the knock on the door came at 6:30 rather than 7:00.  We were both stirring already so it was no big deal . . . we had a leisurely coffee before we got rolling for the day.


In typical Disney fashion, when the server arrived with our room service tray he said, “The last few days you have ordered a bagel but not today.  I brought you one just to be sure.”  I planned to go to Cabanas later for a bite but I enjoyed the bagel anyway.  I just love the superior attention and service we always get!


I headed up to the Cove Café for Deb’s “Cawfee Tawk” from 8:00 to 9:00.  It’s a nice opportunity to mix and mingle with others in the AllEars group.

After the Cove Café I went to Cabanas for a light breakfast and then went down to the Deck #3 atrium where we were assembling for the 10:00 a.m. photo walk. 


The Photo Walk is just an opportunity for interested photographers to walk around the ship sharing photo tips and taking pictures.  Barrie was the resident expert photographer; she broke us into two groups and she and Linda led a group to the Europa area snapping pictures while I stayed with another group exploring the atrium itself.  After about twenty-five minutes we made our way to Europa and met the other group.  The ladies were delighted when I held open the door to the men’s restroom so they could photograph the mosaic of the matador.  There really are some unique picture opportunities throughout the ship.  Some of our group laid on the floor to get an unusual angle on a subject and while they were laying down they became the subject for others to photograph.

We moved to O’Gill’s Pub for a group photo before adjourning.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and we heard some very positive feedback.


I was back to the stateroom by noon and Carol was waiting.  We put on our bathing suits and headed straight to the Enchanted Garden where she filled me in on her morning while we had lunch.  She had just missed me at the Cove Café Cawfee Tawk.  As she left the Cove Café heading toward Cabanas for breakfast she noticed that there was no one in line for the AquaDuck.  She scampered wheezed up the steps and took another ride.  She enjoyed it more this time, I guess she knew what to expect so she looked around more and enjoyed the view.


She picked up a light snack at Cabanas and took it to the Quiet Cove Pool area where she relaxed for a while.  Then she had a swim and a soak in the hot tub before heading out to explore more of the ship and take some photos.  She found Satellite Falls at exactly the right time; she was hot so she hopped in the pool to cool off.   Soon she headed back to the room where we reconnected at noon.

After lunch we both went to Satellite Falls and I had a refreshing soak.  It was stifling hot.  We are sailing with a tail wind which matches our speed so there isn’t a breath of wind.  It is hot and sticky-humid - 88 degrees.  We sat and soaked up as much heat as we could stand and then went below to cool off in our stateroom.  Carol dressed for her 3:00 p.m. High Tea at Palo.  Soon she went off for tea and I went off for a siesta!  Aaaahh!

I tossed and turned for a while but the nap just wasn’t working.  Usually I’m pretty good at it but now and then I fail!  I took my book and headed to the Quiet Cove Pool.  I settled into a chair and read until 4:30 when I went back to the cabin to meet Carol.  We dressed for dinner and went to have some character pictures taken in the atrium.  We had a portrait taken on the atrium steps and posed with Donald Duck and Chip & Dale.  Then it was time to head to Animator’s Palette for dinner.

Tonight we were given special placemats and markers to sketch a character.  The sketches were gathered before dinner and later used to create a unique show in which they interacted with many Disney characters.  It is a very entertaining show!

We changed after dinner and headed to the Walt Disney Theatre for the new show “Disney’s Believe”. 


This new show is wonderful.  It blends scenes and songs from at least a dozen classic Disney movies into the story of a father and his daughter, she teaches him to believe in magic.  Children were mesmerized and so were we.


After the show we wandered slowly back toward our stateroom, stopping to chat a few times along the way.  We were settled in for the night shortly after 10:00 p.m.

Friday May 25, 2012


It’s our last day, tomorrow morning we debark.  Sob, whimper!


We woke to a wet balcony and cloudy skies.  There were patches of blue sky ahead and it seemed to be clearing.  Coffee arrived at 7:00 and after a leisurely cup we dressed and headed up to Cabanas for some breakfast.  By 8:00 a.m. we were back to our cabin and it was raining lightly.  The shower didn’t last, it looked as though we would have scattered showers for a while.  By 8:20 there was land on the forward horizon . . . Castaway Cay!  We headed up to Deck #13 forward to watch the approach.  We moved to Deck #12 for a different angle on the approach and finally stopped on Deck #4 midship before we headed down to Deck #1 to the departure ramp. 

We met Doug and Audrey along the way and they travelled with us.  At 9:40 we got the “All Clear” to go ashore and the line started moving.  As we approached the ramp they announced that we would need photo ID to reboard the ship.  Dang . . . nobody told us that.  They didn’t announce that!  Doug and Audrey went on and saved us beach chairs at Serenity Bay.  I waited near the ramp while Carol went back to the room to get our ID.  The round trip took her about 20 minutes.  I sat watching about 4,000 people head to the ramp and about 25% of them head back for their ID.

Finally we were ashore and caught the first tram which took us on the first leg of our journey to Serenity Bay, the adult-only beach.  We stopped at the shops near the family beach and the teen beach and transferred to the second tram which took us to our destination.  We tried one of the big balloon-tired wheelchairs to see if I could use it as a walker but it was just not designed for that sort of use so we carried on with the regular walker I have been using. 

Soon we found Doug and Audrey and settled into our own little Canadian section of the beach.  Before we knew it the Americans and the Japanese had invaded our little tropical paradise!

We had a great time.  It was a hot and sticky 90 degrees with 79% humidity but there was a nice breeze off the ocean.  The water was cool but a few folks braved the water to cool off.  I stayed on shore but Carol surprised me by wading out . . . she likes her water warm!

At 11:45 we headed to the Serenity Bay Barbecue where the AllEars group was meeting for a barbecue lunch.  It was great; the food is always good at Serenity Bay Barbecue.  I had a burger and some salad.  Carol sampled small portions of chicken, ribs, steak and mahi mahi and pronounced it all good.  She said, “Scottie would like these ribs.”  We washed it down with ice cream before heading back to the ship.

Carol took a detour through the shops while I headed directly back.  I boarded the ship and they did not ask to look at that oh-so important photo ID.  So why did Carol have to waste twenty minutes running back to get it?  I stopped while Doug and Audrey took a few pictures in the atrium and was surprised when I opened the door and found Carol already in the cabin.  That’s the fastest shopping she’s ever done!  They didn’t need her photo ID either.  Sheesh!

We took advantage of an uncrowded ship and went to the Satellite Falls Pool on Deck #13 where we splashed and lounged until 2:30.  The heat was getting to us so we headed back to the stateroom where Carol did a bit more packing and I napped.


By 4:15 we were on our way down to The Tube on Deck #4 for the AllEars Farewell Party.  There was a good crowd there when we arrived and a nice array of hors d’oeuvres was spread out on a buffet table.  Servers roamed with trays of adult beverages and a slide show of pictures of our group played on three large screens.  Deb greeted us and drew for a nice variety of raffle prizes, the final prize was a week for four people at a deluxe Disney resort with the Disney Dining Plan included.  A young lady from Seattle WA was the lucky winner.


As soon as the “official” ceremony was over Captain Mickey dropped in and we all had a chance for pictures with him without a huge line behind us!  Bonus!

All too soon it was time to leave and head to Deck #2 for our last dinner together.  Once again we were at Enchanted Garden with out table mates Masayo, Gail, Mary and Barrie.  The meal was OK, neither Carol nor I were excited with the menu and we ate sparingly.


After dinner Carol picked up our photo package at Shutters and then we went to the Farewell Show in the Walt Disney Theatre.  It was terrific as usual.  The cast which performs in all these shows is amazingly versatile.  Each has different song and dance routines and they never miss a beat!  Even when the ship is rocking and the stage shifts beneath them they deliver terrific performances.


After the show we went back to the cabin where Carol finished the very last of our packing and set the bags out in the hall.  Our friend Barrie came by for a visit and we enjoyed chatting with her for two hours while enjoying a few glasses of scotch.  At midnight Carol and I fell into bed to listen to clattering tables and chairs for the last time.

Saturday May 26, 2012


We were up at 6:40 a.m. and hit the ground running.  We were showered, dressed and heading up to Cabanas before 7:00.  I had a quick bite of breakfast and Carol returned to the cabin with a coffee.  By the time I returned she had packed up her backpack and double checked that we were not leaving anything behind. 


We headed down to Deck #3 midship where the gangway led to the Disney Terminal.  As we approached the atrium the PA system announced the “All Clear” to go ashore so we continued our walk right up to the ramp and off the ship.  We were among the first to leave the ship.  Within five minutes we had found a porter, located our luggage, cleared US Customs and were outside at Post #14 waiting for the Avis shuttle to take us to the car rental office.  Things could not have proceeded any smoother!


The shuttle soon pulled up and by 8:05 a.m. In no time at all I was behind the wheel of a Hyundai Sonata; we were westbound on our way to Walt Disney World.  Before we knew it we were checking in at Wilderness Lodge.  Our room was ready at 9:45 a.m. – Bonus.  We spent a few minutes settling in and then headed out for the Magic Kingdom.  My ECV Scooter had not been delivered so we spent a few minutes loitering in the lobby while we waited.  Who wandered in but Milton and Michelle from New Jersey.  They were on the cruise with us.  Their room in the Villas at Wilderness Lodge wasn’t ready yet so they were waiting.

Soon my scooter arrived and we were on our way.  We scooted down the boardwalk to the dock and within five minutes the boat to the Magic Kingdom arrived.  A family fishing from a pontoon boat alongside the dock kept us entertained.  They caught at least five bass in the short time we watched

At the Magic Kingdom we headed straight to the Main Street Bakery where we split a turkey sandwich and a HUGE cinnamon bun.  Yum!  As we were finishing up who walked in but Milton and Michelle.  “Are you stalking us?” I asked.  Once again we chatted for a few minutes and they left, on their way to Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch. 

We headed across to Tomorrowland but the crowds were so thick that we took a quick look at Buzz Lightyear and turned back.  It was hot . . . 95 degrees and very humid!  Carol window shopped her way down Main Street and we soon boarded the boat back to our hotel.

We quickly donned our bathing suits and headed behind the hotel to the small pool at the Villas.  It’s much quieter there.  We swam in the pool, soaked in the hot tub and then swam some more.  By 2:30 we were back in our room.  Carol laid down for a nap while I finished writing up yesterday’s trip report and uploaded it to our web site.  Some people at home get quite testy if I’m late reporting on our activities!  This blogging is a pressure-packed hobby . . .


Once my chores were up to date I had a nap too!

We hopped in the car at 4:30 and drove to the Polynesian Resort.  We had a 5:15 dinner reservation at ‘Ohana so I sat and read my book while Carol browsed the shops. 

The restaurant opened at 5:00 and just a few minutes later we were ushered in.  We had a terrific window seat and enjoyed one of our favorite meals at Walt Disney World.  We snickered occasionally as we had flashbacks to our friend Scottie enjoying the shrimp last February.  We each had a few shrimp on his behalf.

As we were leaving the hotel the ceremonial drums sounded . . . King NoHairOnMyBody was about to do the nightly torch lighting ceremony.  Carol dashed ahead to get some pictures.


After the king’s death defying dance we drove over to Downtown Disney and I once again read my book in the car while she shopped.  She wasn’t very long, she picked up a newly released pin at Pin Central, traded a few pins from the pin board and then met me in the parking lot.

We pulled into the hotel at about 7:20 and the sun was shining nicely on some topiaries so Carol got a few pictures before we headed to our room.

We talked about heading to the Magic Kingdom for the 9:45 The Magic, The Memories and You show but it was still 93 degrees outside when we got back to our resort.


We’d had enough heat for the day.  After the sun was down we rounded out our day with another swim and hot tub before bed. It seemed much cooler, probably down to 91 degrees!  As we were leaving the pool the Water Pageant was just starting so we walked down to the beach to watch it go by. It was a great way to finish off the day.

Sunday May 27, 2012


It was a leisurely morning.  We slept until 7:00 and had no agenda for the day.  The only things planned were a trip to the Magic Kingdom to pick up sorcerer cards and dinner at Whispering Canyon Café.  We had a coffee in the room and at about 8:30 we wandered down to Roaring Forks where I had a light breakfast while Carol roamed the grounds taking pictures.

By 9:00 we were aboard a boat headed to the Magic Kingdom, it was already very hot and humid. 

Once again the park was crowded.  It’s very busy this week end.  We stopped at the Fire Hall for our sorcerer cards and slowly made our way up Main Street walking through the Emporium to keep cool.  The walkway through the castle was open so we walked through and admired the Cinderella mural as we passed.  We headed directly to Snow White’s Scary Adventure.  It is closing soon and will be redeveloped as part of the new Fantasyland project so we wanted to take one last ride.  As we loaded the CM directed us to the front row and I quickly found I could not bend my knee enough to get in the vehicle.  I hopped back out and waited for Carol as she rode alone.


We moved on through Fantasyland to Peter Pan’s Flight.  No problem fitting there, there’s plenty of leg room.

Our next stop was the Haunted Mansion; there is also lots of room in the Doom Buggies!  This time as the ride ended one of the ghosts swapped our heads, I became Carol and she became me.  I think our heads have shifted back because I’m still the one with the gimpy leg!

Since we were so close Carol just had to go to Frontierland and check out the pins at Frontier Mercantile.  She didn’t buy any pins but she did swap a few sorcerer cards while she was there.

We headed back to Fantasyland and Snow White.  This time I asked if I could have the back row to myself.  That gave me plenty of room to stretch the bum leg.  Carol sat in the middle row and we had the car to ourselves.  Bye-bye Snow White!  This has never been one of our favourite rides but it’s an old classic and we’ll miss it!

It was 11:00 and steamy hot; we had had enough so we decided to head out.  We sidetracked a bit and I picked up a pineapple float at Aloha Isle then joined Carol who was picking up a citrus swirl at the Sunshine Terrace.  We froze our brains and then headed for home, once again walking through the buildings to keep cool.

As soon as we left the boat at the Wilderness Lodge dock we headed toward Roaring Forks and had a bite of lunch.  Then it was pool time.  We changed and headed to the pool behind the villas.  The main pool at the lodge caters to children and offers games and activities all afternoon, most set to loud background music.  The pool at the villas is a haven for old farts codgers like me!


I went on a few minutes ahead of Carol and arrived just before 1:00 p.m. There was no shade to be had; all the tables and umbrellas were occupied.  I must have looked sad and pathetic because a man offered to share the table and umbrella he and his wife had.  Carol arrived and joined us for a few minutes; then she found a chaise lounge in the sun.  Before long some ladies near her left their table and Carol swooped in to claim it.  We splashed in the pool and basked in the hot tub until 2:30.  The 90+ temperatures and the 80% humidity had gotten to us.  It was nap time.

At 4:15 we headed down to the hotel lobby.  After exploring the shop for a few minutes we settled in to wait for our friends Al and Jane from Missouri.  They are staying at Fort Wilderness Campground and came to join us for dinner at Whispering Canyon.  They arrived at about 4:50 and by 5:10 we were seated for dinner.  The restaurant is very lively and entertaining but it is not a place to chat over dinner.  We found ourselves yelling to be heard over the screeching servers and the patrons yelling for ketchup.  Jane had a huge stack of sorcerer cards and she gave quite a few to Carol to fill in some gaps in her collection.  Thanks Jane!

After a tasty but loud dinner all we stopped in our room for a few minutes while Carol showed Jane some web sites dedicated to Disney pins.  Al just sat there with dollar signs rolling through his sub conscience.  Sorry Al!


They headed back to the campground at about 7:30 and we soon caught the boat to Magic Kingdom.  It was 8:30 when we entered the park and we headed directly to the hub to watch the 9:00 presentation of The Main Street Electrical Parade.  It’s one of our favourites.  After the parade we move to the front of the Partners statue and had a good vantage point for The Magic, The Memories and You show which is projected on the castle.  Wow . . . we are always amazed by that show!


We stayed put and watched Wishes, the nightly fireworks show from the same spot and then waited for the crowd to disperse.  It took a while, the crowd was huge.  Soon we joined the throng and headed toward the exit but when the time came for the second showing of The Magic, The Memories and You at 10:35 we hopped out of line at the Ice Cream Parlor and watched from a table along the fence.  Then we made a hasty dash to the exit and waited for our boat back to the resort.


We arrived at our room shortly after 11:00 and quickly crashed.  It had been a long, hot day.

Monday May 28, 2012


Our 11th wedding anniversary; when I awoke at 7:10 I nudged my wonderful bride and she cooed, “Leave me alone, I’m sleeping.”


I got up spent some time uploading the daily update to our trip report.  By 8:00 I was getting a bit lonely so I revved-up my electric razor, had a shower and slammed the bathroom door a few times.  Nothing seemed to work, but at 8:20 when I pressed the button on my side of the coffee maker I heard, “Can you start my coffee too?”  Thus began my twelfth year of wedded bliss!


I scooted down to Roaring Forks for a bite of breakfast and when I returned at 9:30 she was ready to go.  But where should we go?  It’s our last day here and we had no agenda.  “Let’s pick up some more sorcerer cards.” she suggested.  Golly, why didn’t I think of that!

We were on the dock at 9:30 just as our boat pulled out.  Another soon pulled up but it was one of the smaller launches and wouldn’t accommodate my scooter so we waited.  It was almost 10:00 when another large boat pulled up and we arrived at the Magic Kingdom at 10:15.

The line at the Fire Hall was short and we were through in no time.  Within seconds Carol found some people trading cards near the Emporium and she swapped for one she was missing.

As we turned the corner onto Main Street the horse-drawn trolley approached and the Main Street Dancers hopped off to put on a show.

After the show Carol decided she needed one more citrus swirl before heading home.  I stopped at Aloha Isle for a pineapple float while she carried on to Sunshine Terrace.  There were about fifteen people ahead of me in line and one person serving.  The line didn’t move for a very long time.  It always amazes me that people can spend a half-hour in line and still not know what they want when they get to the counter.  Then after they have been served they seem so surprised when the cast member asks for money.  Where do these people come from?  Are they allowed to vote?

It was at least a half-hour before I got my pineapple float and joined Carol.  She had long since finished her citrus swirl and gone off to trade sorcerer cards.  She narrowed her “wants list” down to three cards.

Skies were getting dark and thunder was rumbling so we began to make our way toward the exit and the dock.  We just made it!

The winds picked up as we waited for the boat and a light mist was blowing in under the canopy over the dock.  As soon as the boat arrived we hurried aboard and within seconds the skies opened up.  It was a monsoon . . . rain came in around the windows and doors of the boat.  A launch which had just left a nearby dock and was heading to the Grand Floridian Resort was caught by a gust of wind.  It bobbed like a cork as the wind blew it toward a concrete wall along the shore.  At the very last second the skipper got it headed into the wind and hit the throttle.  There was a distinct bang as it clipped a steel ladder on the side of the wall, but no apparent damage or injuries.


The winds were so bad that all the launches were called off the lakes and they headed to our hotel to tie up at the dock there.  The down-side of that was that there was nowhere for our boat to land, so we sat at the Magic Kingdom dock for over a half-hour.  Finally we were given the “all clear” and cast off.

By the time we arrived at our hotel at 12:30 the rain had stopped but the pool was still closed due to thunder and lightning in the area.  We decided to head to Downtown Disney for a final sandwich at Earl’s.  Yum!  Carol did a bit of browsing at a few shops while I read and then we raced to the car and just got my scooter loaded in the trunk in time.  The second monsoon of the day hit.  The windshield wipers were on full and the car was leaving a wake as we drove back home.  Thank God for the porte-cochère and valet parking!  We didn’t get wet.


It was nap time and we both had a good rest.


We had a dinner reservation at California Grille on the 15th floor at the Contemporary Resort Hotel.  We hadn’t been there for at least ten years and decided to give it a try for our anniversary.  We left about an hour early so Carol would have some time to explore the shops at the Contemporary and then off we went to the 15th floor.

What a great view, you can see all four theme parks and many of the resort hotels with a bird’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom.  Carol really enjoyed her steak, she liked it better that the steak at Le Cellier.  I waffled between chicken and salmon and opted for the chicken.  It was merely OK, I should have selected the salmon.  We checked the dessert menu but nothing appealed so we decided to head for Beaches and Cream.  The sundaes were great!

We were back to our hotel by 9:00 and Carol packed . . . our holiday is over, we’re flying home tomorrow.

Tuesday May 29, 2012


Carol awoke at 5:00 a.m.   She obsessed, fretted and worried about the weight of our two suitcases and could not get back to sleep.  She tossed and turned . . . as usual I was oblivious.  I woke up at 6:45 and started slamming doors again as I went for a shower.  At about 7:30 my sweet bride of eleven years plus one day acknowledged that she was awake.


Carol had made a reservation for breakfast at Whispering Canyon but she didn’t feel like breakfast so I hopped on my trusty scooter and headed to Roaring Forks for a croissant sandwich while she cancelled the reservation.  Ooops . . . it turned out that Whispering Canyon was closed for some reason and we would have been redirected to Artist’s Point.  That is the “high-class” dining room at Wilderness Lodge and we have never dined there.  Dang . . . we missed the chance.


When I returned to the room she was ready to go so we dragged our suitcases down to the airline check-in desk.  This is a terrific service!  We checked our two huge suitcases at the Wilderness Lodge Resort and didn’t see them again until we landed in Syracuse.  But of course, it wasn’t all that simple.  Remember I told you about Carol obsessing over the weight of the suitcases?  Well, she was right.  One bag was five and a half pounds overweight; the other was forty-six pounds, four pounds under the limit.  She bent down in front of the hotel, with the bags still on the scales, and pulled out our two toiletry bags to transfer them to the lighter bag.  Voila . . . the heavy bag was OK.  Bad news, the forty-six pound bag is now two pounds overweight.  She pulled out her bag of Vinylmations traders and tossed it in her carry-on backpack.  Perfect!  Both bags weighed-in under fifty pounds!


We headed back into the hotel lobby where we sat for a while just enjoying the ambiance, then we went to the Valet Parking desk, got our car and drove to the airport.  As we left the hotel Carol said, “We could have gone to Earl’s for breakfast.”  Dang – another missed chance.


With my brand-new knees it’s nice to arrive early; I beep and jingle in plenty of new ways.  We were there three hours before our flight time so we took the airport monorail from the hub to the gate area and sat in the atrium for a few hours reading our books.  Just before noon we had a quick bite at Burger King and then boarded our Airbus 320.


There was some bad weather in the Carolinas so we sat on the tarmac in Orlando for about a half-hour waiting for clearance to take off.  We left about thirty-fife minutes behind schedule and landed forty-five minutes late.  The flight was smooth until we approached Syracuse, the last thirty minutes were very bumpy and everyone in the aircraft clapped when we touched down.  It was raining heavily in Syracuse.


The Holiday Inn Express shuttle was pulling in as we walked to the pick-up point and we hopped aboard.  Within five minutes we were at the hotel.  We loaded the car and were on our way by 4:30 p.m.


There isn’t much traffic on I-81 north out of Syracuse and we made great time.  By 5:30 we pulled into Best Buy at Watertown to return Carol’s Galaxy Tab.  She didn’t like it and didn’t think she’d use it.  From there it was a straight shot to the border and a quick crossing.  We were back on Canadian soil by 6:15 and picked up Zak and Blue at Carol’s parents before 7:00 p.m.    Boy were they happy to see us!   We were happy to see them too!