Friday, June 28, 2013

Au Revoir for the Summer

We're off to Massachusetts soon for our annual summer vacation there. I'll be taking the rest of the summer off from blogging but I'll be back at it again in late August or more likely September. I hope you have a wonderful summer! I think we will!

This is one of my favorite pictures from last summer of John playing in the waves at Cape Cod's Coast Guard Beach, one of the top-rated beaches in the country. We'll be going back there in a few weeks!

And here are a few of my other favorite pictures from last summer while I'm at it. I didn't do any blog posts about our summer on the Cape last year! I wanted to, but the busy-ness of life intervened, as it tends to do.

I love Sam's face here as he plays in the sand.

Sailing in Hyannisport

Walking on the tidal flats at low tide. That's my kids walking a long way out on the ocean floor, folks!
 Low tide and all that it uncovers and enables never ceases to amaze me.

 Happy summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Disney Fantasy Cruise Posts

 Here's a list of my Disney Fantasy cruise posts with their links, which is more for my own benefit than anything else, but also for anyone who might come across my blog from doing a Google search about Disney cruises, which my stats have been indicating has been happening frequently. Plus I just like organizing and making lists!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

See Ya Real Soon!

I like Disney's method of saying good-bye. It softens the blow of a fun vacation coming to an end, and it's good business practice to subtly influence and invite vacation-goers to come back for more. Instead of saying "Good-bye" or "Best wishes," they say "See Ya Real Soon!," which doesn't have nearly the ring of finality to it that "good-bye" has, since the implication is that you'll be back again, hopefully sooner rather than later. We gladly took the bait and booked our next cruise at a discount before we left the ship. We'll be spending New Year's in the Caribbean aboard the Disney Dream. See ya real soon, indeed! :-) 

Anyway, this is my last Disney cruise post, except for a list of cruise posts that I'll put together tomorrow so that I have them all in one place. I'm sorry my blog has turned into a bit of a travelogue lately, but it is my blog, darn it! I have lots of other things to write about and I'll do that when I come back in the fall.

On our last night of the cruise, Peter and John went to a farewell show in the lobby. Sam was asleep so I stayed in the room and packed our things up. The show was cute and they had a good time. This was also when John got to meet the princesses

The next morning we had to be up and out of our rooms and down to breakfast by 6:45. That is early when you've gotten used to sleeping in all week! It was still dark out when we were getting ready to go. I took this picture looking out of our window at Port Canaveral once the ship docked. This was the same view that greeted us a week earlier when we left, only it was daylight then and we had a whole fun-filled week ahead of us.

 As soon as we were done with breakfast, we left the ship, got our luggage, went through customs, and went outside to wait for our car to arrive to take us to the airport. Everything went smoothly and quickly until it was time to wait for the car, which took awhile, and then it started downpouring. Luckily we were under an overhang so we didn't get wet. Hey, if it was going to rain on the cruise, the day we left was the day best day for that to happen!

John was so sad to be leaving. Look at that face!

We had a direct flight from Orlando to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then a 3-1/2-hour drive home from there. Everything went fine EXCEPT that the battery in our car was completely dead when we arrived to pick it up at the hotel we'd stayed at a week earlier in Milwaukee, and we had to wait awhile for AAA to come and replace it. The Disney magic had definitely come to an end!

Then the day after we got back, it snowed all day, even though it was nearing the end of March and we'd just been in such warm, beautiful places. We were back to reality with a resounding splat, dead car battery and snow and all. Welcome home!

But it was good to be home and to have had many happy and memorable experiences. I had a pile of mementos waiting to be organized, not to mention hundreds of pictures on my camera that had to be uploaded, sifted through, and edited.

We had such a great week on the Disney Fantasy. I highly recommend going on a Disney cruise for a high-quality, fun-filled, memorable family vacation. I'm so glad that we did it, and we can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Out and About on the Ship

One of my favorite places on the Disney Fantasy was the fourth floor outdoor deck, which goes all the way around the whole perimeter of the ship. This is where people could run or walk laps for exercise, as well as play games like shuffleboard, or just sit on a chair and enjoy the view while resting or reading a book. Can you guess which one I did? :-)

Check out those huge lifeboats hanging right up there overhead!

I'd sit here...

 ...and enjoy this relaxing view. The sea breeze was nice too.

The morbid part of me thinks about how easy it would be to jump overboard on a deck like this. What if you just got seized by the impulse to do that for whatever reason? That would be crazy. It would be a long drop into the churning waters left by the ship's wake. Yikes!

You'd definitely need one of these, that's for sure.

Elsewhere on the ship...

I liked this huge painting of London that was on one of the staircase landings near our stateroom. This must be a still from Mary Poppins or Peter Pan, I'm not sure which. All I know is that I'd seen this scene before and I love it!

The ship had a really nice theater and terrific Broadway-style productions and musicals. We went and saw the Aladdin musical. It was fantastic! So fantastic that I teared up at the end!

This is from when we docked in Costa Maya, Mexico. It was neat to walk between two HUGE cruise ships.

"My ship is better than your ship!" Ha ha ha.

And to end this post, a family picture and a cheesy but cute couples shot of Peter and I.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Grand Lobby Indeed

The Disney Fantasy has a wonderful, beautiful grand lobby. It was one of my favorite places on the whole ship!

My favorite thing about the grand lobby was this fabulous peacock chandelier. (The ship has an elegant peacock theme throughout.) This chandelier was I've been wanting to use that hilarious phrase for a long time in one of my blog posts. The peacock chandelier is worthy of it!

The view when looking up at it from down below (stating the obvious here, I guess):

Also in the lobby there was a large spiral staircase with a statue of Minnie Mouse (wearing a peacock headband and an evening gown) at the foot of the staircase. I bought a replica of the statue and it's on our mantel. It's a nice reminder of the ship and of the good times we had there.

I took the pictures above at night when the lobby was pretty empty. Usually it's a pretty happening place with lots of people around, especially in the evenings. 

Note the huge peacock carpet. I loved the blues and greens in it. 

There are two Minnies in the picture below; do you see them both? 

The staircase and statue were a popular place to have pictures taken. There were families that would dress in nice identical outfits just for their photos. Our family pictures there weren't that fancy and they came out okay. The boys weren't really in the mood to have their pictures taken (as you can see), but we had to try anyway, and I'm glad we did!


I thought the two guys who photographed us were cute. I snapped their picture from the landing upstairs while we were waiting in line to meet a character. Hee hee hee.

Also happening in the evenings in the grand lobby was live entertainment. Very classy!

In conclusion, all I can say is, I want to go back!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Best Babysitting Ever! and Other Good Things

One of our favorite things about our cruise on the Disney Fantasy was the Kids' Club. Officially it's called the Oceaneer Club, but we just called it the Kids' Club. This place was awesome. You could drop off your kids at any time for as long as you wanted at no cost, and they'd take good care of them for you. There were a lot of fun things to do there: great activities like crazy science experiments and fun crafts, dance parties, special character appearances, a lab with computer games (that was John's favorite), and really cute indoor playgrounds. John loved the Kids' Club and I think it was probably his favorite thing about the whole cruise. He'd beg us to drop him off there and to let him stay for hours. They even feed the kids lunch and dinner if they're there during mealtimes. It was really a fantastic place for kids (and for parents, because it gives them a break, not to mention free babysitting!).

John playing games with other kids and staff members. 

The Toy Story room was neat! If I were a kid I would have loved playing in there.

One of John's favorite characters when he was younger was Slink. He had a Slinky dog that he brought everywhere with him. Now he got to play in good old Slink...

...and he got to climb all over Rex!

The Monsters Inc. playground.

There was a lot more to the club than what these pictures show, but parents were only allowed inside to pick their kids up and when they had Open Houses at the beginning of the cruise, so I didn't take a lot of pictures of it. It really was a Kids' Club in every way! It was a wonderful place.

Another fun thing for the kids (and of course for grown-ups too) was the pool deck at the top of the ship. There were a number of pools up there, one that was for everyone, one that was just for little kids, and a few that were only for adults. There was a cute little children's area called Nemo's Reef that was a waterpark playground for young kids. There was also the AquaDuck water coaster that went around the perimeter of the ship and was really fun. We went down it with John a few times. My favorite thing about it were its unparalleled views of the ocean. I felt like the king (queen) of the world up there!  

That's Peter and John going through the AquaDuck.

Sam wasn't crazy about going in the little kid pool until I got him a set of these fun toys to play with in there. (And they make great bath toys at home!)

There was also a mini golf course at the top of ship that John and Peter did together. There were a lot of fun things that I didn't get pictures of. You'll have to go and see them for yourself. :-) 

A few other random kid-centric shots:

You've gotta love Iago! Here he is at the "Arr-cade."

Minnie Mouse in da house!

Here's Sam making himself at home. Going on a cruise is hard work!

Next week I'll finish up my cruise-related posts before I take off for the summer!