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Archive for February, 2015

Today Portia is dressed in the Maplelea Ringette gear, which I bought around Christmastime.  For a long time it wasn’t available to ship to the US, but now it is!!  And isn’t it awesome?

You can’t even see all the stuff it comes with!  Portia is wearing shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, a neck guard, a ringette girdle (hip/butt pads?), and gloves and a helmet!

I learned about ringette in the journal pages that came with the outfit.  As you can guess, it’s basically hockey.  It was invented in the 1960s for girls to play, because they weren’t playing hockey yet.  It was featured on “Hockey Night in Canada” in 1975.  It is different from hockey because you have to pass the ring before you cross the blue line.  And apparently hockey masks are different than a ringette mask.  The ringette mask has triangles over the face so you don’t get a stick to the face.

I’m so excited to finally have this very Canadian set in my Maplelea collection.  Happy Monday!

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Went to Canada yesterday!

Yesterday my sister and I went to Vancouver.  I bought my dollies a present at the Chapters bookstore on Robson Street:

Thanks to Lanie for modeling.  I think American Girl Canada is a little bizarre.  Are Canadians American?  I supposed they live on the North American continent.  And today I read that the majority of Canadians live further south than I do!  I knew that most Canadians live really close to the US/Canada border, but I never really considered that 3 of their 4 biggest cities are below the 49th parallel.  The 4th city, Canada’s 3rd largest, is Vancouver, which is definitely north of me.  Are we gonna get an American Girl character that’s Canadian?  I guess Caroline has cousins that live on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, but how bout a fur-trader or a black Loyalist or a nomadic Inuit?

Enough about Canada.  I’m gonna try my very best to get a Maplelea Monday post up tomorrow, but no promises.  Happy 3 day weekend!

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Final vacation report!

I got off the boat bright and early on Sunday, February 1.  I had a 12:00 flight to Orlando!  We’re going to Disney World!

The Miami airport was ridiculously crowded, but I got through when I needed to, and then was really surprised by a super full flight on a giant airplane for a 48 minute flight.  Flight was on time, but the shuttle to my hotel took longer than planned, so I got off at the Boardwalk Inn (not my hotel) and walked to Epcot, and was 8 minutes late for my lunch reservation.

Grace and I Bistro-ed it up at Chefs de France.  I had Pasta Gratin (that’s Disney-French for Mac and Cheese).  It was yummy.

After lunch we spent some time exploring fake Paris:

Then we checked into our hotel, just a short walk from fake Paris.  My first stay at a Disney Deluxe resort, welcome to the Yacht Club:

That’s our daybed–pretty awesome.

Cute Mickey lamp:

And cute painting of our hotel and the boardwalk area.  That girl in the middle looks like Samantha!

We didn’t spend too long at the hotel, we had a lot more Disney to see.  Next stop:

We rode Dinosaur! and Expedition Everest.  I wasn’t sure that Grace would like roller coasters, but she did just fine.

I didn’t get the schedule right to catch Festival of the Lion King, which is kind of why I went to Animal Kingdom at all this day, but it was just fine.  We went over to Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic instead.  It was fantastic as usual.  Then I grabbed a bus to Magic Kingdom, made it just in time for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and the fireworks were shortly after.  Here’s a photo of a Magic Kingdom evening, waiting for fireworks to start:

After the fireworks, it was back to the Yacht/Beach club for ice cream!  And serious ice cream.  I got a 3-scoop sundae with hot fudge and peanut butter.  It was as big as my head.  Then I went to bed.  I passed a TV in the lobby and jinxed the Super Bowl.  Sorry guys.

Next morning I had some amazing breakfast at the Captain’s Grille inside the Yacht Club, then checked my suitcase (awesome service offered at Disney hotels–I could check my suitcase for the airport hours ahead of time, and it met me at home in Seattle).

Back to Magic Kingdom!

I took one photo here at the castle and one on Main Street, USA:

But I had just 2.5 hours before my lunch reservation, and just 3.5 hours before I had to be back at my hotel, so I had to be very efficient.  I started at Peter Pan’s Flight.  One of the first riders of the day on a ride that gets long lines fast.  Then I went straight across to it’s a small world.

My favorite ride, probably because it has dollies:

Then I had time for Winnie the Pooh before my fastpass for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  The mine train is really cool, but not worth the 60+ minute lines.  Then I left Fantasyland for my next fastpass on Big Thunder Mountain, then I headed to Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Tiki Room:

Then back toward Fantasyland.  I planned on the carousel, but caught the Celebrate a Dream Come True show instead.  Loved it: “Dreams Come True!  Dreams Come True!  Dreams Come True!”  Then I went to the Philharmagic show which I also love, then it was time for my last fastpass (Haunted Mansion) and lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern.  I did not have enough time for lunch.  So I had them bring dessert first, and took my lunch to go.  It still took longer than it should have, so I hustled to a bus back to my hotel, which I caught right away (good omen #1).  As soon as the bus pulled away from the stop, it started pouring rain (good omen #2).  And I caught the airport shuttle right on time, and it was all smooth sailing going home.  I even got a free business class upgrade.  It was niiiice.

So I’m back home and back to work now.  I’m ready to plan my next vacation, but I don’t know when that will be.  I miss Mickey Mouse.

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4th day of vacation!

Still with me?  Here’s a report of our last full day on the Disney Cruise.  And if you’re keeping track, this was Saturday, January 31.

We got to sleep in, docking at Key West around noon.

Near the dock was a very nice neighborhood:

And I visited President Truman’s Little White House (no photos allowed).  Here’s his backyard, an old naval building:

After the Little White House, which I loved, was lunch, which I also loved.  I had chicken and waffles at a restaurant called Firefly.  As I was eating my yummy pecan-y waffles, the waitress mentions to another table “homemade raspberry cobbler.”  With that I was finished with my waffles, and moved on to the best cobbler ever:

After lunch, I walked toward Cuba, passing the lighthouse:

and the Southernmost Point monument, that I chose not to wait in line for:

but I’m pretty sure I can see Cuba:

I was tired of walking, but reluctant to get back on the boat.  I wish I had time for dinner in Key West, because lunch was so yummy.  I did buy a pretty awesome cookie though.

I took more photos on the way back to the boat:

I think this is a good time to say that Grace got mistaken for Samantha a couple times today, but in all fairness she’s wearing Samantha’s dress!

So we got back on board, I put on a cute dress, and grabbed a few character photos that we didn’t have yet:

Tonight’s show was called Disney Dreams, and it was excellent.  I prefer the stage show at Disney World called Celebrate a Dream Come True, but this was good.  Here’s a photo with the stars of the show:

And dinner was at Animators Palate.  This was my favorite restaurant of the 3, but still had mediocre food.  I did enjoy Disney’s rotational dining concept, because it was nice to eat at 3 different restaurants.  I brought a book to dinner each night to try to tune out the lame conversations of the strangers I ate dinner with.  They were not interested in getting to know me, so I chose not to get to know them (and half of them didn’t speak English).

After dinner was the farewell party, where we got a final chance for character photos:

By the way, I had to change clothes so that I could pack my dress in my suitcase that got swept away during the party, then met me ashore in Miami the next day.  I did this so I wouldn’t have to bring my suitcase to breakfast, but then it turned out that my group and my airport shuttle were called before breakfast even started!  Next time I’ll just carry my own suitcase.

And so ends the last day of my cruise.  I still have 2 days of vacation left, but those will wait another day.

Final towel animal:

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On our 3rd day of Disney cruising, we docked at the city of Nassau

I didn’t wanna go out too early, so I spent some time taking photos from the ship

Then I went ashore and took a little self-guided walking tour.  Here’s Queen Victoria outside the Parliament House:

and here’s another cute pink building:

The Queen’s Staircase, built in the 18th century by slaves:

I walked for a couple hours, but for various reasons Nassau did not leave a good impression on me.  I spent the afternoon napping and watching Disney movies, which was quite enjoyable.

This was Pirate night!  I wore a pirate costume, but to my surprise, my dollies don’t have a pirate costume, so I had to improvise.

You can see in this photo with Peter, our cruise director, that Grace is wearing an American Girl witch costume with Felicity’s tricorn hat.  Voila, pirate!

Tonight we met Pirate Mickey and Pirate Minnie:

And a couple more friends.  This one is named Anna:

And this monkey was a gift from the owner’s grandma, and the owner was probably in her 60s, so that’s a really old monkey!

After dinner (part of our table had abandoned us, so Grace got her own chair) was the Pirates In The Caribbean Party!

:

Mickey FLEW in:

and then there were FIREWORKS!

After the party was a Pirate dessert buffet (because Pirate dinner is not enough)!

I’ve never seen a pirate carved out of watermelon, how ’bout you?

And with that we’ll say good night.  Tonight’s towel animal was a monkey:

Part 4 tomorrow!

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Vacation Report Day 2

I woke up after my first night aboard to this:

That’s Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.  We arrived at about 8:30 in the morning and were called back aboard by 4:30.  That’s a whole lotta beach time.

I’m not capable of that many hours on the beach, so I had plans to walk all of the island’s trails in addition to beach time.  I was excited to hear about the Castaway Cay 5K, which had no charge to enter and gave out medals!  It’s available every day that there’s a boat at Castaway Cay.

I walked the “race” in my Salt Water Sandals with my dolly backpack.  I came in last.  But I still got my medal!

We showed off our race swag to Minnie:

Then we grabbed a tram over to the adult-only area.  (I’m glad Grace is considered an adult in this case).  I found a hammock and read some of my book:

Grace wanted to go for a swim, but I reminded her that the water was cold and she didn’t know how to swim and she’d probably go blind…

…so she was content to lounging on a beach chair

After a while it was finally lunch time!  This was probably the only time I was hungry on the whole cruise, as I had burnt off breakfast during the 5K.  I was excited for the barbecue, but again the food was painfully average.  We ate better at the dining hall in college.

After lunch we hiked the other trail:

The trail ended at a little beach:

By the time we were finished hiking, the adult beach on the north side of the island was all in the shade and was too cold, so I found a quiet-ish place at one of the family beaches:

And from this spot I finished reading my book, then wandered back to the boat, pausing for a bunch of photos:

Including these guys right outside the boat:

And then it was back on the boat.  By the time evening came, I was cold (70 degrees and breezy), so I took some hot tub time and then prepared for dinner.  Grace went to bed early.  She didn’t wanna repeat last night’s soda fiasco, and she was tired from all the hiking we did around the island.

Tonight’s towel animal stole my sunglasses!

The show this evening was Toy Story the Musical, which I really wanted to like because I love both Toy Story and musicals, but it was pretty lame.  I grabbed a photo with Daisy after the show:

And dinner tonight was at Triton’s, which was nicely decorated with a Little Mermaid theme.  The food was French-inspired, but again mediocre.

And that was day 2.  Let’s close with one more photo from the island:

Stay tuned for day 3!

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On Monday Grace and I returned from an amazing vacation.  Let’s start our report with a photo leaving home:

We started the evening in Seattle at the theatre:

Then caught a midnight flight to Miami!

Hello sunshine!

We went on a Disney Cruise.  It was my 2nd cruise ever, and I didn’t really like the first.  The second was a little better, but I think in general I prefer other types of vacations over cruises.  But if I decide to cruise again, I will probably choose Disney again.  Look how cute our boat is:

Since I arrived in Miami so early, I was one of the first groups onto the boat, but I still had to wait for about 2 hours to get on.  And then we of course had hours before our room was ready and hours before the ship set sail.  Here’s a nap photo:

And another Miami photo:

Before the boat left the dock, there was a sail away party!

If you didn’t have giant dancing cartoon characters, this would be really lame, but Mickey Mouse is a hero, so it was pretty great.

After the party, our room was finally ready.  I’m so glad I chipped in the extra dollars for a porthole, because it was pretty fantastic:

I don’t have any photos of the room as a whole, but it was pretty nice, especially compared to our rooms from the last cruise.  It had a queen size bed, a sofa bed, and a bunk bed.  So you could squeeze in 4 people if you wanted, but as a single I appreciated having a couch and a big bed.

I changed my clothes and did more exploring before dinner:

The first night’s show was my favorite.  It was called The Golden Mickeys and gave away fake awards to various beloved Disney moments.

And dinner the first night was at the Parrot Cay restaurant:

The food was extremely average.  Grace did not enjoy at all as she got soda spilled on her!  Good thing it was only Sprite and she cleaned up okay, but she skipped dinner for most of the other nights.

After dinner we returned to our turned-down room…

…and went to bed

Good night everyone.  I’ll continue the trip report tomorrow!

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