Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Magical Vacation in Orlando and on the Disney Magic (9/3/09-9/12/09)

Clayton and Emerson in Downtown Disney-Emerson has a Mickey pretzel with sprinkles-9/3/09

We started our wonderful vacation on Thursday and flew down to Orlando. We arrived around 4pm, picked up a rental car and then checked in to the Wilderness Lodge Resort. We drove to Downtown Disney and had dinner at The House of Blues. After that, we went to a candy shop that had all kinds of goodies and then strolled along the shops.

Hayden checking our some snails by the water in Downtown Disney

Emerson and me

The kids pretending to be crabs (the one behind them was made entirely of Legos)
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The Wilderness Lodge and T-Rex-9/4/09

The kids and Clayton in the pool

For the past 2 years, we have spent our vacation in the Polynesian. We loved the atmosphere and the convenience of the monorail (which doesn't come cheap!). We didn't like how old it was though and the room rates were ridiculous. This time we decided to try out the Wilderness Lodge. It is newer and the rooms are almost half the cost of the Polynesian's. Well guess what? We LOVED it! I really didn't like that it didn't have monorail access but that was worth giving up. The rooms were nice and new. The pool is pretty cool and the quick service dining area is alot bigger than the Poly's. We were thrilled. I think we may stay here again in the future.

The boys playing on the water slide

We had dinner at T-Rex in Downtown Disney. Getting reservations wasn't easy but it was worth it. The kids had fun although us adults were a bit overwhelmed. It was wayyyy too loud. The food was pretty good but I don't see us going here again. It just wasn't worth the trouble. I am glad that we did it once though.
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Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Off to Port Canaveral-9/4/09 & 9/5/09

Jason and Clayton being goofy on the Aladdin ride

We headed out to the party after eating dinner at T-Rex. I have been to it for the past 3 years in a row and it is so much fun! I love being able to get on rides with no wait. Only party ticket holders can be in the Magic Kingdom that night. Everyone else has to leave at 7pm. There is little crowding and the parade/fireworks are the best!

Jasmine and Hayden inside Cinderella's Royal Table (he chose the wand over the crappy sword that they usually give boys, lol)

There was some pixie dust thrown at us that evening. I had mentioned to Natascha how she needs to get reservations inside the castle for Jasmine next time. She told me that she had tried before but could never snag them. Well, lo and behold, the wish was granted. We were walking past the carousel when we were approached by a lady asking us if we had already had dinner. I told her no and she asked us if we wanted to have dinner in the castle. I couldn't believe the luck! They had some openings that evening (I am sure it was due to the majority of the park visitors having to leave due to the Halloween party). The Barnes' decided to take her up on the offer and Hayden & I tagged along. Dinner was positively yummy! The kids got to meet Cindy herself and we got some cute pics. In the meantime, Clayton and Emerson rode a ton of rides. It was a fun but tiring evening. We were there until closing at midnight.

An unexpected visitor

Clayton found this little guy in our room when he was making coffee. I carried him outside on a coffee packet. They don't call it the Wilderness Lodge for nothing, huh? We checked out that morning and headed out to Port Canaveral for our cruise.

The entry onto the ship-9/5/09
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Key West-9/6/09

Natascha, Emerson, Jasmine and Jason enjoying a Key lime slushie

Well, Key West proved to be a big waste of our time. We got off the boat for just an hour or so before we hopped back on. It is one giant tourist trap with little to see or do. If the kiddos were older we could have done some fun excursions. Oh well, not a biggie. We loved being on the boat best of all anyway. :)

The kiddies-Key West

Emerson and Hayden sitting in a porthole

The kids each got their first pair of Crocs. To mark the occasion, they had to get some Jibbits too. Emerson got the Magic Kingdom castle and Pluto (which he lost before the end of the trip). Hayden got the castle and a Halloween Mickey pumpkin.
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Character Breakfast in Parrot Cay-9/7/09

Jasmine (so adorable!)

We had breakfast in Parrot Cay that Monday morning. We had no idea just how much fun it was going to be. It was one of the best restaurant experiences we had. The kids had a blast and we got tons of cute photos (wayyy too many to post here on Blogger).

The kiddos with Pluto

Our assistant server had a knack for balancing things on his head

Hayden as Peter Pan
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More Character Breakfast-9/7/09

Natascha as Lady Liberty

Our servers made us all hats out of cloth napkins. How fun is that?! I can't believe how talented they are. We had fun looking around the room to see what hat everyone was wearing. There were lots of cute designs.

Jason as ? He is supposed to be some sort of pirate (we think).

Clayton as Goofy (check out the REAL Goofy behind him, lol)
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More Character Breakfast-9/7/09

Me as Minnie Mouse

Our awesome server putting Emerson's pirate hat on

The kiddos with the big Cheese himself

Emerson-Isn't he adorable?
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Formal Night-9/7/09

The kiddos didn't go to formal dinner but got dressed up for the Golden Mickeys show.

Random photo that we took because no one was on the pool deck that night. This is the Mickey pool. Our kiddos played in it most of the time.

We didn't go to formal dinner either. Instead, we went to Palo for dinner. The restuarant is only for adults 18 and over so we enjoyed the serenity. I just gotta say that this place was the best restaurant EVER!! The food was to-die-for and the service was amazing. We came out of this place incredibly stuffed and happy. This place books up quickly and is small so be sure to book ASAP if you ever take a DCL cruise. They do charge a service fee but it was small potatoes compared to the experience we had.

We all did Palo again on 9/10 for brunch (I have no photos). It was marvelous yet again. The same rules apply as dinner. Book early!! We will definitely do it again next time. It's definitely worth the service fee also.

Natascha and I had high tea in Palo on 9/10 too. It was incredible. We barely got a reservation for that but I thankfully snagged it just as someone dropped it 10 days out from our voyage. Once again, book early!!

To sum it all up, I cannot say enough about how wonderful Palo was. It was remarkable and I look forward to going there again in the future. :)
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Grand Cayman-9/8/09


We took a cab ride to the nearby sea turtle farm. It was hot as Hades and we sweat like pigs. Being in CO has made me forget what humidity is like. Well, Grand Cayman definitely reminded me. We quickly toured the facility and retreated back to the ship.


Clayton and the boys
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Grand Cayman and Cozumel-9/8 & 9/9/09

Ha! Sorry about the humor but I couldn't resist posting this. Read the sign, lol.
Grand Cayman

Hayden, Jasmine and Emerson-Grand Cayman

Check out how blue the water is in Cozumel. It is amazing!

Our home away from home :)
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Pirate Night-9/9/09

Emerson really enjoyed himself during the party. Everyone was dancing and he decided to partake in the fun. He has never had the desire to do this so it was fun watching him. He is usually so shy.

Me and Natascha watching the kiddos dance

Ack! The ship got overtaken by pirates. Have no fear though, Mickey flew in to save the ship, lol.

This was on the giant poolside tv. That thing was massive!
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