Caribbean Beach Resort Trip Report
Wednesday March 2 – Tuesday March 8 2011

Wednesday March 2, 2011

    Kelli and I woke up at our normal time for work which is a pleasant surprise for us starting a vacation. I usually like the 1st flight out to avoid airport delays, but that meant getting up very early. This time we had a 10:30 AM flight out of LaGuardia on Delta. A good friend of ours, Marianne, picked us up at 8 and we were at the airport in 20 minutes. Check in was ridiculously quick thanks to checking in online the night before. We shop at a leisurely pace for something to bring on the plane for lunch. We each got wraps which were overly filled with lettuce. Security wasn’t too bad and the flight was on time and smooth. We landed 30 minutes early and as we approached the luggage carousel our suitcase came around. No one was on line at the Enterprise counter and we got our car very quickly.

Side bar: Two months before the vacation most car rentals were asking about $400 for the week and oddly Hertz had the lowest price ~$300, with AAA. I booked it and kept checking back weekly for a better deal. Finally, a week before our departure my persistence paid off - both Enterprise and Alamo were under $200 (with all fees!). I went with Enterprise; since in my experience their rental counter at Orlando usually has a much shorter line than Alamo. We got a white Hyundai Accent which was adequate for us.

    We were at Caribbean Beach Resort shortly and we had one person in front of us for check in. We were in the Jamaica section, ground floor, Room 4606. It was a great location. The parking for the car was close and the walk to Old Port Royale, Centertown was about five minutes. 

    We quickly headed to Epcot by car, eager to see the Flower and Garden Festival. But first we checked out Old Port Royal. Both the food court and the Calypso Trading Post looked promising. We also noticed that they had a few of the old red refillable mugs along with the new design featuring a pool scene with Minnie on a lounge chair.

    Epcot was a short drive away and we were quickly inside. Buzz and Woody topiaries greeted us in front of Spaceship Earth. 

    Kelli and I both had cameras and we stopped at each topiary for pictures. Our next stop was Innoventions West for the Visa Card holder Character Meet 'N' Greet to meet Mickey and Pluto. Both were fun and interactive. Pluto, my wife’s favorite character was very playful with her. Then Pluto tried to run away with my wife. I commented to Mickey that we both lost our best friends. It was one of the best interactions we ever had.

    We ran into the JAMMitors (the trio of Park custodians who perform a live percussion show using trashcans.) We paused for a couple of tunes. We then headed for the Flower and Garden Festival Pavilion (the old Wonders of Life Pavilion.) I hadn’t been in this building in years – this was my favorite place in all of Walt Disney World when I first started visiting. Cranium Command, Body Wars and The Making of Me was what Epcot should have always been, fun, entertaining and educational. It’s also amazing how Disney makes this area seamlessly disappear when not in use. When we were here last summer I could not tell you where the walkway to this building was.

 

Once inside we first took in a talk called Planting Pointers hosted by an expert from the University of Florida. We picked up some great tips and hopefully we will kill less house plants in the future. We learned later she was originally from New York but we didn’t get a chance to chat with her afterwards. The next stop was for festival merchandise and purchased two festival pins, and the festival vinylmation figure.

    I then went on Mission Space – Orange Side while Kelli shopped. Mission Space was only a 10 minute wait. 

 

 

 

 

    We met up and then explored some great festival displays on the outside of Innoventions East. There was information on the sounds of nature presented by the Nature Conservancy. Another area had these two seats with huge dish shaped backs, called Wonderdish, about 40 feet apart. The Wonderdish collects sound waves and projects them to whomever is sitting in the other Wonderdish. You can sit and hear the other person in the other seat clearly even if they spoke softly. Very cool. 

    There were lots of fairy topiaries that seemed to be popular. We also noticed a number of characters throughout the park. We saw Daisy, Snow White, and Rosetta the Garden Fairy.

    We visited the butterfly house next which was a bit quiet since it was late in the day and quite cool. It is very well done and we knew we’d visit again. The flower beds around the water in the transition area to the Word Showcase were outstanding. Kelli said it was nice to see color – as opposed to the drab landscape of winter back home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    We then made our way around World Showcase starting with Mexico enjoying all the topiaries. In Norway we stopped into the Stave church showcasing the great Viking leaders. One nice attention to detail I noticed was at the train set near Germany. The little streets lights had tiny Flower and Garden Festival signs.

     

 

   

    We had a 6:40 PM ADR for Les Chefs de France and checked in. We waited outside as the sun was setting. There was a stiff wind which made things cool off fast. When they called us to be seated we were glad to get inside.

    Our waitress Kimberley was fabulous. She made me say my order in French and recommended the French beer - Biere Kronenbourg 1664. I really enjoyed it - I didn’t know the French made such a good beer! For appetizers I ordered the Bisque de homard - Lobster bisque and shared it with Kelli. It was great and a little different with a great smoky flavor.

    For our main courses we had;

 
Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre vert Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts (Grilled tenderloin of beef with green peppercorn sauce original potato gratin of Savoy and green beans. Trio de fruits de mer au bouilion de homard (seared Scallops, mahi mahi and black tiger shrimp served in a lobster broth with gnocchi) – I didn’t leave a drop of food on my plate the broth was so good.

For desert;

 
Profiteroles au chocolat (Puff choux with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce) Crepe a la pomme et cannelle, glace vanille, caramel jus de pommes (crepe filled with cinnamon apple, vanilla ice cream and apple caramel sauce). 

    The bill was $106.72 before tip and the Disney dining plan picked up $92.98 of it.

    I noticed the names on the top of the placemat; Paul Bocuse, Gaston LeNôtre, and Roger Verge. I questioned Kimberley and she said they are three world-famous French chefs. The dishes at the restaurant are inspired by them. Dinner cost with a 20% tip came to $127.72 with the dining plan picking up $92.98 of it.

    After dinner it was quite cool so we decided to head back to the resort to rest up for the next day. We picked up our free 5X7 print from the Visa Character Meet 'N' Greet at the Camera Center, and then rode Spaceship Earth. We tried to answer the questions differently and this time the video at the end had us surfing.

    It was a great first day. We realized that at this time of year it can be quite cool in the mornings and evenings, bottoming out at 55 degrees. The stiff breeze we had all week certainly made it feel colder. It would warm up quickly and midday it would be in the high 70’s or even low 80’s. We were glad we packed both jeans and shorts - though at the end I learned to brave the cooler temperature in shorts.

Thursday March 3, 2011

    We woke up early and walked to Old Port Royal for breakfast. Since we were early not all the stations were open but that was fine. We each had a light breakfast. It was off to the Magic Kingdom today which had the early Magic Hour. Since it is more convenient to go to this park by bus than by car – we took the bus. We had a bit of a wait and got to the gates just after opening. The first thing we wanted to do was to get the special photopass picture with us holding Tinkerbelle. We found a photopass photographer at the end of Main Street and he did a good job. I bought two of the photos when we got back home for $15 per downloaded file.

   

    We passed through the castle into Fantasyland and first road Snow Whites Scary Adventure. We knew this would be the last ride forever since Disney will be closing the ride for good to make way for the future Princesses Character Greet. We took the liberty of getting good pictures of the two vultures overhead and Dopey waving good-by at the end for posterity.

 

    Next was the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to check out the new interactive queue. We let a lot of people go past us to take this in. Our favorite was the garden where if you step on the right area different gophers would pop up from different holes and say something. The area is also great for photo ops as well. 

    Kelli wanted to go on It’s a Small World and we noticed they reversed the queue. You head down to the boats the way you used to exit. I assume they do this to get more people into the shade of the queue. We tried for the Haunted Mansion but it wasn’t opened quite yet so next was Mickey’s PhilharMagic, then Peter Pans Flight. 

    Peter Pan and the wicked Step Mother and Sisters were greeting people and we watched them interact with those who waited on line. The mother and sisters stayed in character and it was fun to watch the children’s and adult’s reactions to them. It looked like a fun job to stay in a character that’s “wicked.”

   

    We headed over towards Tomorrowland when Kelli smells this wonderful flower aroma. We discovered it was coming from a flowering tree – and just like Disney would do – they had a plaque explaining that the tree was a Sour Orange, native to South Vietnam and they use it to make perfumes and is an important ingredient in marmalade. I like learning something new on vacation.

    We stopped at Cosmic Rays making good use of the dining plan by ordering the chicken and ribs for $23 for single counter service credit. Next was the People Mover then Laugh Floor - Funniest show yet. The improvisation with the audience keeps this fresh every time. We did some shopping on Main Street then headed out – but we were blocked by the “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It!” Street Party so we stopped and enjoyed it; then went up to the top of the train station to get pictures of Town Square and Main Street from a different point of view. I made good use of one of my camera’s panoramic setting.

    We rested back at the room and opened up our vinylmation purchases. Kelli found a new series she likes – Holiday Series two. It was fun trying to figure out what holiday each represented. Our favorite was the Groundhog. The detail on this one is great – behind one ear is a snowflake, the other a flower – indicating whether if or if not there will be six more weeks of winter. 

    Another figure was all white with a black marking in the front and the back. We could not figure it out. Here’s a picture of it.

    We did find out later in the trip what holiday it represented. But we won’t tell here. We’ll let you know later . See if you can figure it out. But, like us at first – if you don’t know the tradition – you’ll never figure it out.

    We left for Animal Kingdom by car to catch the 4:45 show of the Lion King and we had an ADR for Tusker House at 5:30 PM. On the way over the bridge to Camp Minnie-Mickey dozens and dozens of White Ibis were flying in to a couple of trees to roost there for the night. The trees were turning white as we watched.

    The Lion King was great as usual and I used my flip video to capture the entire performance. We quickly made our way to the Tusker House and were seated after a 10 minute wait. The buffet was excellent and we took our time enjoying the food and atmosphere. We also split a Pina CoLava- bacardi razz rum blended with pine colada mix and raspberry puree. This buffet had some similarities to Boma with some of the food having an African flare – but no Zebra Domes. Bill with the tip was $82.84; the dining plan covered $61.75.

  

    It was now dark and the park was empty. It was cool to walk through Discovery Island at night. The path lights shaped like ladybugs really stood out. The butterfly lights were also nice. These detailed lights are overlooked during the day.

   

    The night was young so we headed to Fantasia Gardens to play mini golf. It is the nicest course on property and experiencing it at night was extra special. Kelli beat me by two strokes! The pavilion across the pond from the course (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) was having a party / reception with a younger crowd and music – we wished we could join them and wondered what the event was for.

Tomorrow we are heading to Universal for the day; Cape May Café for dinner and a walk around the Epcot resorts area.

Friday March 4, 2011

    We were up early and had a quick breakfast before heading by car to Universal. We got there just after it opened. Since we had little time here and wanted to hit a few key areas in both Universal Studios and Isle of Adventure; I brought extremely expensive two one-day both park tickets with the 2-Park Express Plus Passes. It cost us over $350 for two people. But I figured we didn’t pay for airline tickets (used my Delta Sky miles) – so I splurged. Last summer the lines were so long Universal was not worth visiting (unless you buy $70/person express passes). This is one reason I hope Disney never changes their Fastpass system.

    We headed straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in hope to see what we couldn’t seven months ago due to the horrendous crowds. The line for the main ride was already 70 minutes so we concentrated on new things. The wand show was excellent and we were able to get into all the stores. We each got a butter beer and got on line for the main ride. This time once we were in the castle we took our time in the queue to enjoy all the cool things to see, letting people pass us. Kelli took the chicken exit while I enjoyed the ride. Kelli prefers to call it the “bag holder” exit. It was better this second time since I could take in more of the experience now that I knew what to expect. 


    We encountered Beauxbatons and Drumstrang students who were posing for pictures back at the entrance to the ride.

  

    We did some more shopping then headed out. Kelli wanted to try the “High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride in Seuss Landing. She was actually apprehensive going on (due to the warning signs). But this tame ride is similar to the People Mover and she (OK we) enjoyed this relaxing ride high over Seuss Landing.

    I needed a thrill so I went on the Hulk Coaster while Kelli rested. With the Express Pass I was back in no time and we exited the park and walked all the way over to Universal Studios. 

    My main mission here was to ride the Simpson Ride. But first we needed lunch. We went to Mel’s Drive-in and although the line was short – the service was again horribly slow. I am now convinced the people running the park make sure the food service is slow to keep you off lines so they not horrendous, just horrible.


 

    I did the Simpson Ride while Kelli shopped. We then got our picture taken with Bart. Next was Men in Black; I picked up one of the life size chain smoking worm guys in the MIB gift shop. He now stands amongst our house plants. We even added a cigarette to one of his hands thanks to Kelli’s mom Rosie.

    Next we waited a long time for Disaster! This is one spot Universal outdid Disney in a big way. Disney’s Backlot tour is incredibly lame compared to this. Outside the Mummy ride we ran into theses two tall pharaoh guards that gave Kelli an awesome evil look.


Worm Guy from
Men In Black
 

    We only had time to do Twister. Ride It Out and was much better than I remember. If you go - see it from the upper area and the furthest corner. The view and the special effects seem to max out here.

    We left to make sure we got to our Cape May Café ADR on time. We stopped at the room to freshen up and it was a short drive to the Beach Club. We were early so we browsed the gift shop. I decided to ask the cast members if they new what holiday the white vinylmation with the black marking represented. Neither cast member knew. 

    We checked into the restaurant but still had to wait 15 minutes. They sat us at a table for two close to the buffet. For drinks we had the Pear Martini and the Black Cherry Twist - red stag black cherry bourbon, cranberry juice, sweet-and-sour, and sprite. Both were refreshing. 

    I tried at least a little bit of everything from the buffet and was happy with it all. The fish dishes were cooked perfectly and Kelli was able to find plenty on non seafood items. The desserts were just as wonderful as well.

    Stuffed – we made our way back over the gift shop and Kelli brought a few items including a few new vinylmations. Just after checking out I noticed they had three vinylmations on display for trading – and one was Beaker from the Muppet series! I really wanted it so we opened the ones just purchased in case we have a double. All were new so I had to buy another holiday vinylmation and it turned out to be a duplicate – Ground Hogs Day. I traded him in for Beaker and realized we had made our first vinylmation trade!

    We then took a stroll around the Epcot resort lake; it was a warm and calm evening – and kind of romantic. We tried to check out the Dance Club – but it was closed for a private function. We came across and watched a magician/juggler and he was funny and very entertaining. At the Boardwalk we hit another gift shop. This time the cast members knew what our holiday vinylmation stood for. Not Halloween or winter but New Year’s Day. The black mark is an eye – for black-eyed peas. In areas in the south and elsewhere - Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity. So now we know.

    We ran into the magician/juggler again and it was hilarious. He was trying to get this little boy to toss him bowling pins so he could juggle, while balancing atop a board and pipe – on top of a table. The boy could not throw it high enough and one time threw it at the juggler’s legs almost toppling him over. It went on and on. The boy did make one successful throw and we gave him a big ovation.

Saturday March 5, 2011

    Today we are meeting friends of ours and their two children before going to the Mets game. We met them at a Holiday Inn and took them bird watching on the north and south end of Lake Tohopekaliga just south of Kissimmee. The first stop was a small parking lot on the lake on Neptune Road. It was a pleasant day and we found Ring-necked Ducks, coot and gallinules along with a very accommodating Limpkin and even a rare Snail Kite flew by. Our next stop was birding along West and East Southport Road. We would pull off the road anytime we found something interesting. The first stop we found a Bald Eagle nest in a tree in the middle of a cow pasture. Two nearly full grown chicks were in the nest and both parents were just above them on the upper limbs of the tree. Other finds along the road were a pair of Sandhill Cranes, Loggerhead Shrike and Eastern Meadowlark. At the end of the road there is a small park in which you can take an air boat ride. We watched a few take off and come in and there were a few references to the old “Gentle Ben” TV show.


Limpkin

Bald Eagle nest in Cow Pasture

Ring-necked Duck

Mottled Duck

    Kelli and I then headed to Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports where they directed us to park in a big grassy field. A short walk later and we were at the stadium. We headed for the ESPN's Wide World of Sports Grill for lunch and grabbed sandwiches and cookies to go using the Disney dining plan. You order at one place then head across the room for your take out – which took quite a while. We grabbed the bag and headed into the stadium. Once at our seats we found out the Grill didn’t give us our cookies. The sandwiches; Roast Beef and Blue - oven-roasted beef, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onion on ciabatta bread were quite good – too bad they’re so disorganized.

    Even though we were in the “upper deck” just to the 3rd base side of home plate we couldn’t believe how close we were to the field. The stadium is so small that foul balls usually leave the stadium. We were fortunate to see some starters for the Mets in the game – David Wright, Ike Davis and Jose Reyes. Larry was starting for the Braves at 3rd base. Pluto, unfortunately in a Braves cap, came out to help throw the first pitch. The sun was directly on us which made it quite hot and we left after the 7th with the Mets trailing 5-1. 


 

    We stopped at the resort to freshen up and then met our friends again in Downtown Disney. We treated them to dinner at Ragland Road. For appetizers we ordered the Tart Art and the Appetizer D’Lirrah - a sampler with four appetizers –Dalkey Duo, Scallop Forest, Heaven on Earth & Drunk Chicken - all were great. Kelli had the Chieftain Chicken and I tried the special filet. We enjoyed both. Everyone ordered different desserts which gave us the opportunity for more food pictures. On the table were Strawberry and Apple Crumble, Dundon’s Delight, Trifle Sinful, Dunbrody Kiss, and Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding. Again not a sliver or drop of dessert was left on anybody’s plate.

 
Appetizer D’Lirrah
 
 
 
 

 

 
Strawberry and Apple Crumble
 
Dunbrody Kiss
 
Dundon’s Delight

Trifle Sinful

    We then walked around downtown. It was fairly crowded and there were lots of entertainment to enjoy. We stopped at Baby Cakes NYC inside of Fresh Apeel next to the Pollo Campero (where McDonalds used to be) to try their all-natural, organic and free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs cupcakes. We’ve seen vegan cupcakes on the food network’s “Cupcake Wars” and wanted to try them. They were OK but we much prefer the move decadent carnivore cupcakes.

We then headed to the magnet store and Magic Masters where I picked up a few things. We said our good-byes and we all called it a night.

Tomorrow: Epcot and Artist Point

 

Sunday March 6, 2011

    We wanted a more relaxing vacation day and Kelli’s stomach wasn’t feeling that well. Kelli had a light breakfast and I tried the western omelette.

    We arrived at Epcot’s extra morning magic hour at rope drop. We had glimpses of Donald, Goofy, Minnie and Pluto from the back of the crowd. We followed the masses to the Land Pavilion, grabbed fastpasses for Soarin’ then waited on the standby line. It already stated a 40 minute wait and that was about right. We got the very upper left seats and it gave us a new perspective on the ride. We then had time before the fastpasses were due and there was no wait for Living with the Land. We only had about a dozen people on the boat. There were a few new plants emphasized due to the time of year and with a nearly empty boat we were able to notice more detail here and there. The Cassabanana were fruiting – which look like giant thick sausages hanging from the vines. Surprisingly the pumpkins were also large, each about 12-15 lbs. They too were hanging - with the help of some strong netting - from the overhead vines.

    We did our second ride on Soarin’ – this time from the far upper right. It’s amazing how the ride can feel different just from a new view. 

We wanted another look at the butterfly garden and it was much more crowded than Wednesday. More butterflies were out and a Painted Lady butterfly blended in extremely well with the Thumper’s topiary.

    I helped a nice couple take their picture in front of the giant butterfly topiary and likewise they did the same for us. Remember this when you need a group picture with everyone in it. Just ask a couple walking by to help and that you will return the favor. More than likely they will be thrilled to get a picture with both of them in it.

    We then split up – Kelli wanted to see if England had her favorite candy bar and see what Walker Crisps flavors they had, I went to Norway to get a Kringla sweet pretzel. Kelli was successful on both quests and I came back with two pretzels, chocolate and almond. We tried a little of both but saved most of it for later.

    We made our way back to the land pavilion for lunch at Sunshine Seasons. I had the Oak grilled sustainable catch Niciose style which was very good. Kelli had the Turkey and Monterey Jack Cheese on Foccacia which she also liked.

    We then shopped in Mouse Gears. We tried the blind vinylmation trade at the cashier. They have 16 vinylmations hidden between 16 closed doors. You pick a number and that’s what you trade for. We didn’t get one that was in the series we are collecting but it was fun anyway.

    We really wanted some down time and some sun. This is supposed to be a vacation from the wintery north! We headed back to the Caribbean Beach Resort and spent three and a half hours pool side. 

    We freshened up for dinner and headed by car to the Wilderness Lodge to our favorite restaurant in Disney – Artist Point. We arrived early but were seated after a short five minute wait.

Dinner and service was fantastic as usual. Kristen was our waitress. I tried the Northwestern Exposure cocktail- Ketel One Vodka, Amaretto, Kahlúa, and Cream with a splash of Coke. For appetizers we had:


Dungeness Crab Cake with frisée lettuce, heirloom apples and Meyer lemon aioli

Butternut Squash risotto with crispy Berkshire pork belly and chili-infused cranberry vinegar

Our main dishes:


Char-grilled beef tenderloin with Idaho potato-gruyere tart, seasonal roots and pinot noir reduction

Herb-roasted “tomahawk” chop with French lentils, hunter style foraged mushrooms, and veal glaze

    I had told the hostess that Artist Point was our favorite Disney restaurant and after dinner Kristen brought out two complimentary glasses of Magicale Brachetto wine. It was a sweet dessert wine and was very delicious. For desserts we had:

 
Artist Point Cobbler …Seasonal berries and house-made blackberry ice cream
 
Baked Apple Tart with house-made vanilla ice cream and apple cider-caramel sauce 

Magicale Brachetto wine

    Dinner was $158.63 and the dining plan picked up $118.95 using four meal credits.

    We then tried to boat our way over to Magic Kingdom to see the Electric Parade and Wishes. There were already about 20 people waiting at the dock and we were expecting a short wait. This is where Disney transportation dropped the ball big time. Disney tends to do this when the Hoop-Dee-Do is showing. They make sure most of the boats are used to get people to the show on time and punish the rest of the area resorts. We waited 25 minutes on the dock while seeing seven boats travel past us. The people on the front of the line gave up and when they past us said they had already waited OVER AN HOUR for the boat. We also heard from other resort guests that it took them almost 2 hours the night before to get back from the Magic Kingdom to the Wilderness Lodge! You can actually walk back quicker than that – though I wouldn’t recommend that since there is no walkway. 

    We also gave up and headed back through the pool area, though the lodge, and all the way out to the parking lot to get to the temporary bus depot and took a bus to Magic Kingdom.

    We wasted over an hour and we missed the Electrical Parade. The last float was heading up Main Street as we entered Town Square. We used the end of the parade to walk up to the top end of Main to wait for the "The Magic, The Memories and You!” Castle Show and Wishes. 

    The castle show was new and the special effect lighting on the castle was spectacular. There are videos on the web of it. Wishes quickly followed and using a good SLR camera got some great castle and fireworks pictures. 

        

 

 

 

    After Wishes we decided to head out. The Disney transportation fiasco had put us in a bad mood and with Kelli’s stomach still a bit ill we disappointingly called it a night. We went out though near the noodle station – out back behind Main Street to quickly exit. We of course took the bus back to the lodge to our car.

 

Monday March 7, 2011

    Kelli’s stomach still wasn’t feeling well and wanted to sleep in so she let me do a quick solo trip to Animal Kingdom in the morning. When I travel with just my wife I’ll forgo some of the thrill rides so we can be together more – though many times she’ll shop while I take a quick thrill ride. This solo morning gave me a chance to set my own pace and I made the most of it. I drove and got there at rope drop and went straight to Expedition Everest where I grabbed a fastpass. The cast member at the FP distribution area was making an announcement that due to the expected heavy crowds today that you must use your fastpass during the allotted time frame. I rode twice on the standby line then a third time with the pass. I quickly walked to DINOSAUR which was still a walk on that early in the morning. When I got out, you could see streams of people coming in and I knew Magic Hour was over and it was going to be fairly crowded today. Not a problem for me – I had my rides and now concentrated on photography. I headed to the just opened Maharajah Jungle Trek. I first stopped at the White Cheeked Gibbons near the entrance to Kali River Rapids.

    It was still too cool for the Komodo Dragons to be out but I found the tigers quite active. One was even rolling on the grass like a cute kitten.

    I also found this one fruiting/flowering plant where the structure made almost a hidden Mickey.

    At the bird aviary; one bird – a Fire Tufted Barbet - came down to the kiosk with the identification guides right next to a surprised cast member.

     

 

 
Ne ne
 
Painted Stork
 

    My next task was to trade in another duplicate vinylmation. I found a penguin type at the Island Mercantile and traded for it that knowing Kelli would like it – we later realized it was Wheezy from the Toy Story series.

    I decided to try every trail I could find around the Tree of Life and photograph as many carvings I could find. – I took A LOT of pictures. I then did It’s Tough to be a Bug sitting up front where I like to be. Hopper wasn’t his scary self this presentation. Only his voice was heard when you normally see him on the right side of the stage. I wondered if he wasn’t working; or can Disney cast members turn him off if they see too many small children in the audience?

     

    Afterwards, I called Kelli to see how she was doing – she was fine and was having a good time by doing a last major shopping spree at the Calypso Trading Post in Old Port Royal. I had known in the back of my mind that this great solo excursion was going to cost me somehow!

    I headed back to the resort and we ate lunch at Old Port Royal and spent our last afternoon relaxing and tanning at the pool. We also relaxed in a hammock at the near by beach. Dinner was at the resort at Shutters. The Caribbean style of food was much to my liking but probably not the best for Kelli, with or without a queasy stomach. 

    We started with the Shrimp Fritters - with a trio of dipping sauces. Kelli also tried a delicious non-alcoholic drink; a Lava Smoothie – a raspberry purée blended with pina colada mix.

    For dinner I had the Caribbean Pork Ribs - with a mild chipotle-vanilla glaze. Kelli had the Aruba Style Roasted Chicken - marinated in a mango-ginger vinaigrette and a touch of garlic. Both were good and only mildly spicy. We had two Key Lime Tarts for dessert and took one of them to go. The bill was only $69.58 before tip.

    Kelli wanted to relax and watch TV so that meant I was able to try Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios solo! I headed out – and found out a lot of people were heading here for the same thing. Toy Story had a long wait so I skipped that. I enjoyed Muppets Vision 3-D and I think they may have changed up the pre-show a bit with some new material. They still had my favorite part with Rizzo pretending to be Mickey Mouse. Again I sat up close and enjoyed it. I searched The Stage 1 Company Store, the Muppet gift shop, to see if they had any Muppet Vinylmations to trade but they didn’t have them – I did check out other shops later but came up empty.

    I went into One Man’s Dream where I could do this at my own pace. The changes inside are an improvement. It seems wider and easier to move around along with some new displays. Next was to the animation studio where I got to draw Tigger. My creation wasn’t quite as good as my Pooh from last August but I was very pleased with it. Near the Sorcerer’s Hat I noticed people watching a huge outdoor TV screen in front of the American Idol Theater. They were broadcasting the end of the final show where they pick the final winner. I watch who won and wondered if I’d see them on the auditions for the real one. I then finished up the night with a ride on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster then headed back to help Kelli pack. We had to load up our carry-ons with the heavy merchandise to prevent our one large suitcase from tipping over 50lbs and incurring an overweight fee.

       
Entrance to Muppet 3D Lincoln animatronic
One Man’s Dream 
Scale model of Peter Pan's Flight
One Man’s Dream 

  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
   
We were up early to take a long stroll around the lake and enjoy Florida’s weather one last time. We had our final breakfast at Old Port Royal. We used our last snack credits for a couple of chocolate cakes (to take back home) and strolled back to the room for the final touches on packing. The ride to the airport went quick and dropping the car off was a breeze. Our checked bag just made it at 49 lbs. Security was a bit busy and we were glad to be so early. We finally got to do the full body scans (yes- we were looking forward to doing this – if you know us we always enjoy trying new things.) We posed our best for the people in the back room. Neither needed a pat down and we were at the gate quickly. The flight home was uneventful and Marianne was there to pick us up. We learned that we missed some bad weather with lots of roads and parkways closed for a couple of days due to flooding. After another week at home we were again yearning for spring which still seems as if will never get here.

Some final thoughts

List of New Things

Thanks for reading - Kelli and Michael

Here are our other Disney Trip Reports

Disney 2010 (with 25 others, including the Frusciante)
Disney 2009 (with our nieces, Mike's mom and sisters)
Disney 2008
Our Disneymoon 2007
Disney 2006

Here are our Other Trips

Delmarva2010
Sanibel Island 2009
Delmarva 2009
Moose and Puffin Trip 2008
Delmarva 2006
Montauk 2006
Texas 2005 Trip Report
California 2005
Arizona Trip Report 2003 
Bahama Wildlife, 2002 
Texas - Rio Grande Trip Report (April 2002) 
Delmarva Trip Report (May 2000)