Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our Walt Disney Cruise!! (PART 2 of 3)

Day Two of Our Disney Cruise!!

For our second day, our ship was heading towards Nassau in the Bahamas. En route to the island, we had some breakfast at one of the restaurants on the ship...yep. Those are definitely what you think they are...

MICKEY MOUSE FACE WAFFLES! This really might not just be the most magical place on Earth...but also the coolest.
All of us had a really great breakfast. The food was pretty good, as was the company.
Once on the island, we made our way to our main excursion: The Atlantis Aquarium! We got on a small bus, and drove through the cramped, windy streets of Nassau until we made it to the Aquarium, which is actually on the grounds of a beautiful resort.
Once in the aquarium, we got to see lots of different types of fish.
Mom was a little bolder than I, and she reached into the tank to feel a starfish. I decided against it, and that I would just watch her doing it and live vicariously through her.
There were also some VERY cool jellyfish in a tank down there. I love watching them move around. It is simultaneously beautiful and spooky.

They seemed to give off this eerie glow that was really cool.

A lot of the Aquarium was based on the concept that we were amongst the ruins of something called "The Dig" the way it was set up was really well done. It really seemed like we were watching fish just take over ancient ruins.
There was a lot of walking involved when it came to being on our tour. (Later we walked around on our own to see stuff that we'd missed or hadn't gotten enough time to see) When we were on the tour, we got to walk all around the grounds of the resort, and into these very cool caves that led back into the aquarium.
There were all these entry ways set up to make it seem like we were looking at ancient I said, I loved the theme, and it was very well done.
Dad carried me for a spell during the hotter parts of the trip. But really, though, you couldn't have asked for better weather than we were getting so far!
One of the coolest parts of the aquarium was when we got to go through a big glass tunnel that went underwater. There, we could have sharks swimming all around us. I'm not gonna say I wasn't just a little nervous, but for the most part, the coolness of it all trumped my nerves.
Mom pointed out lots of sharks to me. They were really cool.
We made a return trip to the jellyfish on the way out. Without being rushed by the tour, we got to watch them for a little bit longer, which I really appreciate. I'm not really a huge fan of being rushed.
But yeah...they were definitely still a little spooky.

We wrapped up our trip to the aquarium, and started to make our way out. Definitely lots of cool stuff to see there. Fish, sharks, and even people snorkeling in the ruins. Very cool place!
On the way out, I made a new friend...this is me and my new turtle on the bus ride back through the city and to the docks to get back on our boat.
We decided to use the time back on the ship to try out The Aqua Duck. The Disney Cruise website has some great videos showing exactly what this thing's a water coaster the runs the length of the sit in a little inflatable raft, and go through the tube being propelled by the water through some really cool twists and seemed like a lot of fun on the website, so I was excited to do it.
We got all ready to go, and I chose Dad to go with me on my maiden voyage. I promised Mom we'd go again, and that she'd get to ride with me the second time.

Mom and Dad were both so proud that I juuuuust made the height cutoff to allow me to ride. I got a bracelet that said I could ride with a grownup (which I wore for several weeks afterwards. As I told both Mom and's cool, and it was waterproof!) and we waited in line. 

Mom and Dad were doubly impressed that while waiting in line, I didn't change my mind...but there we were at the top. I climbed in with Dad, and for the first half of it, I was thrilled, and we were going so fast, with incredible views of the ship and ocean around it...then we simultaneously went into a dark tunnel, and got lots of water splashed in our faces. So I got really upset, and started crying. Dad comforted me, and I was willing to admit after we got off that I mostly liked the ride.

Though, Mom, sadly, did not get to ride with me on my second there never was one. Sorry, Mom. I owe you one.
After the water coaster, we decided to take it down a notch, and watch a bit of The Little Mermaid on the deck. There was an enormous screen right outside, and it looked amazing!
Our dinner that night was at The Animator's Palette Restaurant, and the evening was themed around Pirate Night! Lots of people came dressed to the nines in pirate gear!
Mom and I didn't dress up, but that didn't dampen the pirate spirit within us! We still gave a solid "ARRRRRRRRRR!" for the camera!
The restaurant was very cool...the walls were all made of video screens that simulated being underwater, and several characters from Finding Nemo interacted with the guests at the restaurant. It was so so so cool!
You know what else is cool? Having a Mickey Ice Cream Bar for every...single...meal.
Messy, but delicious!
Mom got a very fancy sundae that included this edible Mickey topper (I'm TELLING ya! That guy is EVERYWHERE!"
On our way out, we obviously had to stop by and see this very realistic Buzz Lightyear replica with his two alien friends. He looked so real, and I kept watching him reeeeeeally closely to see if he moved at all...
We returned to our room after another wonderful Broadway caliber stage show (with me as always in the lead)....
...and found this guy waiting for us. Our porter is a GENIUS.

This was a quick shot that the ship photographer snapped of us during Pirate Night. The crew left us some pirate bandanas to wear for the evening, and Dad took every advantage of it, totally looking the part with his beard and surly manner.

I didn't know where else to put this photo....but I wanted to stick it in here so everyone could see the whole family together at another restaurant....the whole family, of course, includes Monkey.
We were REALLY having a great time, and were super bummed that it had to all end....on Day 3! Coming up next!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Walt Disney Cruise!! (PART 1 of 3)

That's right! It's the epic trip that I'm sure you have all been waiting for!

After a long time planning and waiting, it was finally time for us to go on our Walt Disney Cruise! None of us had ever been on a cruise before, and we figured that since it had been such a long time since we'd been on a proper vacation, we would do it up right with a Disney cruise!!

The cruise left out of Florida, so that meant a plane ride first! I really wanted to help out, so I rolled my suitcase along following right behind Mom. I did a pretty good job, considering the fact that handle is as tall as I was!

Above, Mom and I sit next to each other for my first flight! (Actually my second, but I was a baby for my first and simply don't remember it!) We had a lot of fun, and Mom and Dad prepared me for the trip! They even let me sit by the window so I could see everything!

Unfortunately, it was kind of a late-ish flight, and there was some mechanical problem with the plane that they discovered as we taxied away from the gate, so by the time it was fixed, I had fallen asleep!

(I am also told they needed to refuel...what the heck are these guys doing? Is the margin really that slim that we moved fifty feet and needed to refuel!?

We arrived in Florida, and I woke up to find us in a very cool airport. I sat and watched the monorails go back and forth for awhile when we got there. It was so cool.
There were also a lot of 'people movers' everywhere that I got to run on. Mom and Dad tried to discourage me, since the fastest way to miss your cruise is to be in the ER.
Luckily our hotel was right there in the airport, and we didn't have to walk far at all! It was a gorgeous place. Very modern, and elegantly decorated.
Obviously there was Disney stuff everywhere we went. Lots of decorations and stores. What a very cool place!
In the morning I checked out the view from our hotel room balcony (not bad!) and we had a quick breakfast. Mom and Dad LOVE room service...and I can easily see taking after them!
We got to the dock, and after checking in to our cruise, we took some pictures in front of a meticulously designed recreation of the ship we'd be sailing on (Don't call it a boat, land lubber!) It was called the Disney Dream!
Once we got onboard (we entered the ship to cheers and applause while someone shouted "Please Welcome The Pellegrino-Grant Family!" it was surreal, and a really fun way to start the journey.) we went through the enormous ship (down ironically tiny hallways) to find our room. When we got there, our bags were waiting for us.

I made myself right at home in our state room. This is Mom and Dad's bed.
And our very own port hole so we could see the ocean outside. The view was incredible, and the padded ring around the window was perfectly sized for me to sit in.
This is our state room door. You can see the Mickey Mouse shaped doorbell, and the tiny black box above it. We each got special key cards, and I often volunteered to buzz into our room. Awesome!
Our first day was spent exploring the ship and checking out the layout. It was so beautifully designed. Everything was so much fun to look at. Here I am looking out onto the Grand Staircase.
No matter where you were, there was something amazing to see or do!
We made a brief stop at the Oceaneer's Club. It's a special place just for kids so that we can hang out while our parents get some alone time. This open house was the only time grownups could come in!
The first section was based on "Monsters Inc." and there was a lot of stuff from the movie. You could even scream and laugh into special microphones so that it could measure the volume.
Right next door was Andy's room. A meticulous recreation of Andy's room from the Toy Story movies. It was designed as though you were toy-sized, which was so much fun! I got to sit in the RC car!
....and play on the bed with the oversized baby monitor.

I even got to put a few coins into the slot on Ham's back! Those are ENORMOUS coins!!
Mr. Potato Head looks a little worse for wear over in the corner! Who took his pieces?!
All throughout the ship, there were these special pictures that animated at special times when you stood in front of them. This one had an animated Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Buzz's rocket pack ignited and he flew away while Woody watched.
There was also a learning center with computers, and a Fairy Hollow (neither of which we spent much time in since they were closing the open house soon for our safety meeting)
After our safety meeting, we went out onto the main deck, and Mom promptly bought us frozen drinks. We also received these cool streamers to wave as we sailed away from port.
That thing was DELICIOUS....but man, the brain freezes were brutal.
There was a whole show with dancing, music and singing to help get the party started. It was really energetic, lots of fun, and featured lots of costumed characters.
Each night, we got to have dinner and a show....we were in a different themed restaurant each night, but our wait staff and table mates followed us to each one. They do a lot of special stuff, like this:
Yep, that's my name and a little Mickey head on my cup of water.
There were a lot of little details that made the ship even more fun, because you were always on the lookout for cool stuff. Here, Mickey's hand helps indicate what deck of the ship you were on (There were 12 decks! Huge, right?!)
The man who took care of our room made us little folded animals out of towels that we came back to every night. When we'd go out for the day, we'd leave the room in "daytime mode" and when we came back at night, the nice guy would have a towel animal waiting (often accompanied by chocolates) and and he switched the couch into my bed for the night. Cool, right?
Our room was right at the front of the ship, so we got a really great view of everything going on outside. Here is a shot from the outside of the ship, so you can see where we were. We are, like, the third port hole from the front, on the second or third level.
This is a different angle of our room that show our second porthole, couch, and bathroom door. These rooms were very roomy and were the perfect size for the three of us.
Man, Mickey really is everywhere! Well...the big stuff started on day two...I can't wait to tell you about that in my next post! It only gets more exciting from here!