Sunday, 20 February 2011

Jan 9 - Aruba

Captain Henry made an announcement that was music to our ears. To make up for missing out on Castaway Cay, we were going to Aruba a day earlier. Everyone was excited about the prospect of staying overnight at Aruba. This evening, we would be able to put our feet on terra firma.
We decided to have a full table service breakfast at Triton’s. I reacquainted myself with Little Mermaid’s Morning, a very healthy meal of Belgian waffles stuffed with Dulce de leche and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. It was served with watermelon wedges so it had to be good for you.
Sharon, unfortunately, was still feeling unwell and had to go back to the room. We hung on to Sam to give her a chance to rest. I dropped Sam off at Flounder’s and he screamed. Luckily it only lasted for 10 mind and he stayed settled. No such luck with Jonah so we had to keep him with us. We tried to go to Art of entertaining, a series where guests were shown how to make dishes and taught about the details of fine dining. We were rejected as it was classified as adults only and we had Jonah with us. Drats. Eventually Flounders had enough staff and they were able to take Jonah over in to the Oceaneer's Club where he had a blast with Lara, Emma and the other children.
Malcolm and I headed for Ducky William’s presentation. He is the senior illustrator at the Walt Disney Company. He has been with Disney for over 30 years as an illustrator of books, lithographs, magazine ads and commercials. It was astounding to discover how many things were drawn by him! As he sketched away character after character, he told his tale of how his Disney career came to be. What an incredible story of dreams and persistence! It was truly inspirational. At the end of his presentation, he raffled away the 26 life drawings. I won one!!!
Don "Ducky" Williams at work

Signed and in my hot little hands!
When Malcolm picked Jonah up for lunch, we found out that Sam had fallen asleep! Malcolm tried his luck again at chip it golf...No cigar. He missed out on winning again. He took Jonah for a nap to console himself with his second placing.

Malcolm at Chip It Golf
More characters!

Things you have to do to entertain yourself whilst your parents are busy...
I settled myself in the Buena Vista Theatre to watch the Prince of Persia. Sometime during the movie, the ship had docked (early). Unbeknownst to me, the Marr Boys got pulled out of movie right near the end while I stayed on and finished the movie. I emerged to find everybody waiting for me to go off shore. Oops...
It was exciting to finally be at our first port! Unfortunately, Sharon had to stay onboard. Although she was feeling better, she thought it best to recover properly rather than pushing her luck. It was probably a very wise move.
Boy was Aruba humid!!! We arrived just at the right time to admire the beautiful sunset! Our plan to have dinner at port was thwarted by our inability to find a restaurant that was open. So after, a short stroll, back to ship it was for dinner at Parrot Cay. I missed the Magic Show and opted for sleep as there would no sleep in tomorrow.
Waiting for Belinda to make an appearance...
The natives have been let loose!

It seemed that we can't escape from Disney
Walking along the shoreline
The Disney Wonder
Watching the sunset

No back towards the ship
Minnie gave a little performance during dinner!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Happy Birthday Malcolm!

A short break from the trip blog to celebrate Malcolm's exit from the marketable 18-34 age group in real time! Happy 35th Birthday Malcolm! I will join you shortly...

An Indonesian Birthday Feast. Thanks Mum!


Fried chicken...Mmmm

The all important sambal. Can't leave home without it
Noodles for long life
Even Poppy likes it

Friday, 18 February 2011

Jan 8 - Palo, formal night

Today we have another day at sea! Yippee! And it was beautifully calm, a big contrast to the seas 24 hours previously. Poor Sam was coughing all night and thus vomiting as well. However, he seemed ok in the daytime so we pressed on!

Oh what a beautiful morning! The nearly flat seas...

Lara was super excited as there was a princess gathering in the morning. She raced through breakfast to get into her Snow White outfit. The gathering was a great and time efficient way for the guests to interact with the Disney princesses. Like the Character spot in Epcot, you only have to line up once and then work your way through the parade of princesses. We had Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, and Tiana.

The lovely Snow White who took the time to chat with the girls for nearly 2 minutes. This might not seem like a lot but if you were the ones after us who were waiting...

Our next task for the morning turned out to be a disaster. And that would just happen to be putting Jonah and Sam into Flounders for our all important brunch at Palo. They went in screaming and kicking. Sam would calm down but Jonah would set him off again so I had to extract the child. Sigh...Sharon joined the rest of the adults at Palo while I tortured other cruisers with my screaming child. Jonah "I don't wanna go in there" Albany somehow managed to fall asleep in the middle of crying?!?!?! I deposited him back at Flounder’s and caught the others just before they were given the grand tour of Palo. In the meantime, Sam had also fallen asleep. Hurray! Sharon and I could pig out in peace...

Palo was a wonderful experience. We were lucky and were seated in the private room. Cornelia, our server was outstanding. She was friendly and obliging without being in your face and was super efficient. My favourites from this seating would have to be the ceviche, scallops, eggs benedict and the tiramisu. The made-to-order pizzas that we shared were pretty good also! They were nice and thin with fresh tasty ingredients. It was hard to fit everything in after a free for all at the various buffets. We had our choice of freshly baked breads, danish and pastries, seafood, cheese and antipasto. My attempt to moderate my intake failed dismally as I barely had room for dessert. One can’t NOT have dessert in it went!

The ever efficient Cornelia, giving us the grand tour of the buffet tables and the extra freshly made to order dishes that are available

Hmmm...some nibblies anyone?

A selection of the divine pizzas that are available to order

We literally rolled out and only because we had to pick up the babies! We relocated pool side to feed them. Mal took Jonah swimming and I was able to have a nice snooze to cure my post prandial encelapathy. I woke up just in time to get ready for formal night. Mal informed me with great disappointment that he had missed out on the raffle at the art auction by 1 number again!!! The same thing happened on our Mediterranean cruise. He was determined to get to another one to try out the “third time lucky” rule...

Not interested

Where is it?!?!?

That's better!

We managed to organise ourselves in time to take some family photos before having dinner at Animator’s Palate. The servers were much fast after Mal’s request. We were able to watch Bronkar Lee’s family show before the Golden Mickey’s. In true Disney style, the Golden Mickeys was another all out production. Once again, the set changes, costumes and music were phenomenal.

Unfortunately, the day did not end too well. Sharon started to feel unwell and vomited. We hoped that this bug would not spread...

Luan, our glamourous "nanny", who kindly curled Lara's hair for her

Formal night!

Captain Henry

Future prom King and Queen?

The ladies

The boys

Dinner time!

Very special cuff links...

The unique Animator's Palate

The Golden Mickeys

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Jan 7 - Castaway Cay

We apparently had rough seas overnight which, fortunately for me, translated to comforting rocking and made for good slumber! I was super excited because today was Castaway Cay day. We got up super early for our buffet breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet (BBB), packed and ready for our day on Disney's private island. Unfortunately, the strong winds from overnight continued. To my dismay, I was able to see with my very own eyes the multiple failed attempts to dock the ship at Castaway Cay. This went on for over one hour. Then suddenly the noise and shuddering stopped. I knew that the captain had stopped trying and I waited for the inevitable announcement...Castaway Cay was not going to be.

A beautiful morning...or so I thought until

we saw the huge waves crashing on Castaway Cay...
...the island I'm still trying to get to! Perhaps third time lucky?!? This means I have to go another Disney cruise :)

We had neglected our plans to hit the pool yesterday and the children REALLY wanted to swim so it was first on the to-do list. The children couldn't understand my disappointment. "Mum...but we can swim on the ship. No one is in the pool. LET'S GO! We can go to a beach later". Ah...the wonderful ability of children to look on the bright side! I had to shelve my self-pity and get on with it. For a while, we were the only ones in the pool, the only ones crazy enough to go in the water with temperatures in the teens. The water was beautifully heated and it was nice and warm in the Mickey Ears but the water kept receding!!! Finally, I could it take it no longer and got out. I reported it to the nearby cast member who acknowledged that the water should not be receding. And there I was grinning and bearing it, trying hard not to complain! We showered and deposited the older two children to the wonderful kids club. The ship usually sails with around 1000 children. On this cruise, they are just shy of 300!

Thumbs up!
Enjoying the slide
Trying to drink the water!

Sharon and I started on our hidden Mickey Hunt courtesy of Kwan. That sweet man had organised a competition for the group. We received our little individualised instruction pack on the first night. It was simple. Go around the ship and take as many photos of hidden Mickeys as possible. The team with the most points wins! Our little hunt though, had to take a backseat to our rumbling stomachs. We opted for a sit down lunch at Triton's.
Our plan was to watch Toy Story 3 3D at 1pm but this didn't eventuate as we overshot it during lunch. So more hidden Mickey (HM) hunting it was for us. We had a quick interlude at Wavebands with Christian, our cruise director. He was very friendly and offered to show us the SM inside Wavebands. It was nice of him to take the time out to chat to 2 women with babies in strollers, who were looking so intently for HM that they looked like health inspectors. Sharon and I were surprised to discover that we had been on the hunt for over one and a half hours!
We wandered into Shutters for a break. This is the area where the Disney photographers display the photos that they take of the guests. We found the embarkation of our group, and seeing as we all looked so good in it...cough cough splutter splutter...Sharon and I both decided to buy a copy. But why stop there?!?! We were sure that somewhere along the line, Disney would somehow get us to buy more we made an executive decision and bought a photo package for the whole group!
In the meantime, Malcolm, who had gone off to play basketball, managed to get himself sun burnt in the process. You would think that being a sun savvy Australian, he would know better! So he received the loving lecture from his dear wife AGAIN.
It was time for afternoon tea. We collected the children and settled ourselves poolside with some fruit and soft serve floats. Who should we bump into but the Kohs and the Parsons! The children shrieked like they have not seen each other for months. I was given some precious quiet R&R time in the stateroom whilst Malcolm bathed all three children. Bless that man!
Poor Sam, however, had a big vomit just before dinner. He seemed alright straight after, and so we headed for our dining rotation at Triton's as planned. Once again, the service was good but slow. We were one of the last to leave and make it out until close to 8pm. We had just enough time to change the kids into their PJ's before running for the Buena Vista Theatre. We got the last few remaining seats for Tangled 3D. What a great movie! I LOVED it. I loved the music, the characters, and the story. I was simply too tired to make the Bronkar Lee (the juggling beat boxer in case you had forgotten) adult show 1030pm.
Some of my favourite hidden Mickeys

I returned to the room to discover that my FE had gone berserk! It was filled with so many cool, thoughtful and cute gifts. Some of the DISboarders had also kindly dropped gifts into the FE of our friends. What a wonderful gesture. If this is what I get in one day, where will store all my gifts from the whole cruise...
I hadn’t mentioned it earlier but it was private character interaction day! We watched Goofy try to sunbathe, shared a lift with Pluto, and had an interlude with Donald. Unfortunately, Jonah was asleep at this point. Sam had hugs with Daisy and nearly followed her through the CM's door at Shutters! All in all, it was a great day despite not docking at Castaway Cay. Only 14 more days of this to go...can I cope?!?!
Goofy by the pool
My bursting Fish Extender!