Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 2013 Adventure


Oh so lucky us...Jacob and Cara took us on a Disney vacation.  Thanks to them for this incredible experience with family, so much better than anything else we did on this trip...just being with family.  But we were aided to this because Dawn and her kids were kind enough to taken Niko for the week. And Marissa drove us to and from the airport.  Made it all so much easier.  Thank you all!

Robert and I flew to Florida on Monday, August 26.  It was an easy flight and our luggage arrived with us.  Not so lucky for Jacob and Kipp and Peter who were coming down early to be with us at the Disney parks, before the cruise.  If I have the story correct, first a bird hit their plane, then they had to wait for technicians.  THEN...the worse part...a storm in Atlanta cancelled all incoming and outgoing flights.  Jacob had enough...got off the planes with the boys, went home and informed Cara and the other 3 kids that they were all leaving in 2 hours, and drove all night to Orlando.  Amazing! How they did this I cannot imagine.

For the first few nights we stayed at the Marriott Grand Vista Resorts.  Quite a lovely place.  Plenty of things to do, lovely rooms, kitchens, etc.
So we were in Florida on Monday alone. Robert decided to try and make contact with a cousin who used to live 3 blocks away from him when they were youngsters, Tim Chatterley.  We knew he was a dentist and after a phone call to 4-1-1 Robert was able to talk to Tim.  Tim and his wife Rita came over to the Marriott Resort and spent the evening with us.
As Robert answered the door, I heard Tim say, "Well, you look like Robert Hatch!"  It was a fun get together.  Turns out Tim was born a few weeks after Robert and was born with the name Robert Joseph, too.  Their moms were sisters and I am guessing the moms decided there could only be one Robert Joseph in Kennewick so Tim's dad went down and changed his birth certificate to rename his son Timothy.  Tim's wife is from Cuba and she has a fascinating story.  As he left, Tim asked Robert if Robert remembered the honk signal Robert's mom used to use to call the kids to the car.  We burst out laughing because it's the same honk that we used, that most of our kids still use today.

Kennedys arrived in the morning and Jacob took a few hours to sleep and the rest of us went to Epcot.
 Robert liked the tall trees and plants.

   Viking weapons, of course Robert would enjoy this display.  Cara and Jacob riding on the Viking park ride to learn more about the culture.
 

 Robert loved seeing this garden.  I really that he was trying to figure out how he could do this in our backyard.  This was in the France display.  The best part for me was the Guerlain store, featuring Shalimar parfum.
 Shalimar is the parfum that my grandmother Holman loved, my mom hated, and I still love.  I was bathed in many versions of the parfums in the store and lucky me!  Robert bought me a bottle which they will ship to me.  I thought I'd just buy some Shalimar but it turns out that they have the original recipe. Thought I was going to buy that until another worker told me there was a new scent..same scent basically but with some subtle changes.  It's an oil based parfum with Mexican vanilla.  Oh my!  was it incredible.  I'd almost say addictive!  Oh Lucky Me!
They shipped it to me and it arrived here at home today, a week after the purchase.

Visiting the countries was truly a lot of fun.  Seeing the cultures and tasting some of the food.  We actually ate in Morocco (where this ceiling was located) but sadly nothing was very tasty except the baklava in several varieties.  Actually it was so hot, almost too hot to eat.  Basically all we wanted to do was drink water or pour water over our heads.  It rained at one point and while most people were heading for cover, Robert and I just chose to stand out in it and cool down.
 Normally Robert doesn't like gargoyles but here he is snuggling up to a Spitting Gargoyle.

Below is a fun shot of Jacob with his arm around Cody,
as they walked away together.


These are actually pictures from Wednesday when we visited some studio.  My Viking Grandchildren...Robert says I never tan because of my Viking heritage.  Do I have Viking heritage?

I thought it used to be called Universal Studios but I could be wrong.  It is here that I rode the 2 rides,


This is a picture of a picture shown up on a screen.  I decided to take a ride on the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  Rod Serling introduced us to a scary hotel and this ride took us up and then dropped us down..over and over.  I wasn't sure my stomach was going to survive.  We are all on the back row.  Peter had had a bloody nose as he's still holding it.  Sam seems fine.  Cody has his arms in the air, not needing to even hold onto the seat.  Jacob is being grabbed by Kipp and then there's me...just trying to hang on.  Next I took a ride on the Rockin' Roller Coaster, agreeing to only because Cara said it was not like Cedar Point.  Almost as I was taking my seat  in the 'stretch limo' I wonder why Robert didn't come...turns out this ride takes up around and upside down several times...no turning back now so on I went.  Everytime I felt the ride start to turn, I closed by eyes so I would not see myself upside down.  I survived that way.  It was such an adventure, this whole trip.
Strawberry Fields, forever!


Peter loves Kermit.
Oh how I wish we could have taken our children when they were young to enjoy all these things, to see them experience the innocence when they were in their innocent states.  But it was not to be. Hence, I was sure to encourage them to stay in marching band while in high school so they could each make this trip.  Dawn was so kind and said that she loved being a teen when she went to Disney, being able to leave and go anywhere with her friends or on her own.  I hope that's true with all my kids.    Getting ready to embark.


These are our Keys to the World.  They opened our stateroom door, turned on the power to our room, allowed us on and off the ship, charge what we buy and truly a key to the world for the week.

Here we are at the terminal, getting ready to board the DREAM...and today, it all seems like one.

But the cruise!  The Disney Cruise!  Now that was someplace that it didn't matter how old they were, they could roam the ship.  The younger children we given a tracking device attached to their wrist for the whole 4 days.  Again, I wish I wish I could have seen my kids in awe over the appearance of all the princesses.

 Or the cartoon characters appearing 'live'.  

Here are all the Kennedy Klan that we were invited to join for the week!  Even Cara's kids were old enough to want to do other things. But this ship was huge and amazing.  It rocked a whole not more than the other cruise we were on...Holland Cruise line to North East Canada.
 Once in the room, Robert had to try on the life vest. Something we did not have to do when we met on deck to learn what we were to do if there was an emergency.


But what a playland!  I think the first thing I hear from Peter was that there was free ice cream....all the time.  Jacob says that Sam is the one who needed an ice cream detox.  I think Robert shows here how happy he was to have some cool ice cream.


Here... Jacob and Cara.
 We ate on the top level at the Cabanas while our rooms were finished and luggage delivered.





 We had fun posing Cody while we awaited dinner one night.  Cara told him to pretend it was practice for posing for his senior pictures which will be coming up all too soon.



And then Cara posed us in a heart shape.


But here Robert is aping Cody in one of the portholes.



But the scenes were always breathtaking.  Often the clouds looked unreal.     Can you see the moon in the picture to the left?  This was taken one morning at breakfast at the Cabanas area.  It was very early because we are such early risers and so it was nice to eat out on the deck.  And the moon in the dark night was spectacular.


 Eating was a delight each night.  We were assigned to the 3 dining rooms, a different one each night and our servers went with us.   The first night we were in The Enchanted Garden.  And the food was oh so good!
Look at these darling boys, Sam and Peter...all set to eat!  I even ate shrimp.  


This was a fun shot.  I looked up and noticed that I could see Cody in the reflection of the mirror.  So reminded me of Mirror, Mirror on the wall!

The next night we were in the Royal Palace...with lovely pictures of all the various princesses.  More on the artwork later.  Jacob began this trip being on a carb free diet.  But this night, he had gone off it and ordered 2 desserts!  I think his brother Buddy did likewise.
  Again...Cody is by a mirror.  Hmmmm...wonder..........

This was also Pirate Night and you can see that Sam and Pete are all ready for the activities.  This was also the night both Peter and Cara ordered and ate escargot for appetizers.  Cara also ordered Wild  Boar for the main dish. She was determined this night to eat everything she wouldn't order or cook herself.

Cara has the Pirate bandana in her hand.


If you wanted to have these glasses which glow at the bottom you needed to buy an alcoholic beverage OR do as we did and order Virgin Strawberry Daquiris.  We brought these home, along with the gold dubloons from the pirate night theme which were on beds when we returned to our stateroom.
  The next night  and Sunday we were in the Animator's Palate.  Even the back of the seats
replicated Mickey's shorts.  So very adorable.  I think that's what I so enjoyed about eating in these restaurants. Everything carried out the themes.  In fact, the butter knives in this restaurant were shaped like brushes.  Naturally the napkins were always folded in spectacular manners.  I am so glad my mom taught me to set a good table with table clothes and fabric napkins which Robert and I still use each day.

Surrounding the room were video screens and these characters from Finding Nemo would swim by and talk to us, or challenge us to figure out what design the Moon Fish were forming.










 We had the early dining time which I would always recommend.  It gave us time to do a few things or go to the Walt Disney Theater (decks 3 and 4).  We always got the front row of the balcony and were joined sooner or later by one or more grandkids.
 Disney Believe
 Golden Mickeys
Villains Tonight


Here I am, at the railing, missing my friend, Linda Stafford, who apparently is my partner in crime as we've been tagged the Muppet Geezers in RS.  But I thought of her each time I sat here.
As with other cruise lines, each night, as the steward turned down our beds, we were greeted with towel animals.
 
But this little guy freaked me out and actually gave me a start.  I came into our stateroom and found this guy swinging from the ceiling AND wearing my own sunglasses.  I literally backed up back into the hallway for a second, then gave a chuckle and came back in.
 


Stepping off on foreign shores...Bahamas!  
We signed up for a shore cruise when we stopped at Nassau, Bahama.  We had a tour of the forts as well as a stop to learn about Junkaroo.

The slaves on Bahama were given a day off near Christmas to be with their families away from the plantations.  The celebration involved African music, dancing, and costumes.  After emancipation (1948) this tradition continues.  These parades are huge and loud.  The costumes are huge and heavy.  I am wearing the headress with extra hair from the costume below.   




 Robert dons one of the hats. Then we needed to learn the music of the parade.  Everyone get involved in the noise.  Peter loved it!


 
 As did Jacob!

 Robert with our guide, Silver.




 This costume is of the national bird, the flamingo.  It is forbidden to eat flamingo but if you were to be offered a dish called HushHush, you can be sure it is flamingo, we were told.

This is a statue of Christopher Columbus who landed here.  This is one of their federal buildings.
 Cody rode shotgun in the van with our guide for the forts.  

I found the last line of this church sign perfect.




 Flag of Bahamas over Ft. Charlotte.




 Fort Stanley

Gun at Fort Charlotte
Sam visited the dungeon that would hold up to 40 soldiers.
This is the cover over a well that goes down over 100 ft to provide water to the fort.
 I sent Sam down with my camera to take a picture of the Queen's Stairway and he also sent me this one of himself.
This Queens Staircase took 600 slaves to cut 65 steps from solid limestone.  Begun in 1812, it took 16 years to complete.  In 1834 Queen Victoria granted freedom to all slaves and this staircase was renamed in her honor.
Jacob and Cara at base of Queen's staircase by the manmade waterfall.

After these tours, it was time to shop...and shop we did.  Being determined to get Robert to retire in 2014, I was equally determined to buy Robert a special watch.  We started at TAGHeurel but really watches beginning at $2400 was a bit much, even with duty free and no tax.  We crossed over to Diamonds International and continued our shopping.  He found an ultra thin Longine and it looks great on his arm.  Naturally there were many things to look at, try on, and marvel.  So many shops.  So many people.  Can you imagine a fabric made out of bamboo?  It's true and Robert opted to buy a set of bed sheets that is softer than 1000 count Egyptian cotton. Cannot wait for these to arrive as well.  

Sam managed to get this pix before the start of the show...can everyone say AARRRGGGG!
This night was the Pirates in the Carribean event.  Costumes abound.  We were each given a head scarf.  Lots of food.  A play on the stage on the top deck, under the skies, with an actor who could have been Jack Sparrow.  Fireworks at sea.  Dancing and play!






The next day we stopped at another island in the Bahamas but this one is owned by Disney, Castaway Cay (said Key in America, Cay in French).  This was my day to get some real sun on my skin...so no sunblock.  4 hours and I ended up being quite red...and loving it.  The sand was so white and the water so warm.  

 Gun carriages were on the beach.
 I love this one below...Mout Rustmore...painted weights or anchors from ships.
Lunch was bbq, served on real plates with cloth napkins.  What a treat.  Eventually we went to the Serenity Bay...an adults only beach.  Quiet and restful.  We lie on hammocks and lulled ourselves to sleep.

There is a nice thing that can be seen onboard.  If you look, you can see the Mickey emblem in so many areas, in so many styles.  It was fun to look for them.  Eventually you think, this should have been obvious when just before you had missed it.  Mirrors, carpet, walls, theater sides.

 Ladies Restroom
Carpet


 Wall
 But even without the embedded ears, the chandeliers were breathtaking.



And then, of course...there was the artwork...everywhere!  Such fun to look at, so much to wish I owned.  So for now, this will be my 'ownership'.

 Mosaic mural in the Cabana area.
















It's only fitting to end this post with Peter Pan...all of this was so Never, Never Land.  A place of dreams or joy.  Excitement and anticipation.  Flights of imagination and such gratitude to Walt himself.  He had such vision, his whole life. To think he was bankrupt by the end of the first year of his cartooning and yet he picked himself up and kept trying til he got it right. Oh so right!

Our vacation came to an end and altho we knew it had to be, it was a bit sad to end such an adventure.  Oh, if only all children could enjoy innocence longer than they do today.  If dreams could come true.  Or perhaps we each need to be a bit like Walt Disney and help dreams come true, or to create worlds of wonder within our own homes or classrooms.

We have within us our own Keys to the World...which can unlock so much for everyone we come in contact with.











3 comments:

Lin Floyd said...

wow, what a trip...fun to come along with you via photos...

Dawn Barrett said...

What an amazing adventure. And you captured the most amazing pix!! Thanks for sharing. (And I will read later!!)

Kate H said...

What a fabulous trip! Glad you had a wonderful time!

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