Friday, 20 July 2007

Disneyland Paris – Day 2

Well here it is, our final full day on vacation. Today was spent at Disneyland. One thing I noticed here is that the waits aren’t so bad. The longest wait for today was 40 minutes for Peter Pan. Surprisingly we only had a 15 minute wait for Space Mountain. Space Mountain was our primary goal. We rushed over there and the sign said 10 minute wait. We decided to grab a fast pass for Buzz Lightyear, and headed over to Space Mountain. It is different than Florida. The cars are more traditional roller coaster cars. They have the over the head mechanism as the ride does loop. I found the ride to be fun, but it gives you a head ache from all the flopping from side to side, other than that, I say 2 thumbs up. I hope they redesign the Florida one to match!

After Space Mountain, we did a walkthrough of the Nautilus from Captain Nemo, then headed over to Buzz. I whooped Kirstyn big time, more than double her score. She wasn’t too happy. Our next stop was Fantasyland. This trip we did rides we normally avoid due to WDW’s long lines. Our first stop was Snow White, then Pinocchio. Both rides are similar, just different fairy tales. Another difference I noted is that the rides seem darker here than in WDW, and I’m talking mainly about the queue area!

After Pinocchio, we grabbed a fast pass for Peter Pan as the wait was over an hour. We decided at this point to do the rest of the kid’s rides. We did It’s a Small World, the Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Casey’s Steam Engine. Two new (to us) rides we did were Alice’s Curious Maze and a small boat ride through miniatures of the fairytales. I can’t remember the name of the last one though. We had over an hour and a half to our fast pass time, so we thought we would try Pirates again. On the way, the wait for Peter Pan was down to 30 minutes, so we got in line. I like this ride, but don’t quite get why there is always such a long lineup?

At this time it is 4:30 pm and our dinner reservation is for 6. We made our way over to Pirates and went for another spin. This is another ride with a dark queuing area. I’m surprised there aren’t more people tripping. The ride let out right at the entrance to the restaurant where we had reservations, The Blue Lagoon. I spoke to the girl at the desk and they could seat us immediately. We gave away our fast passes to Peter Pan, then had dinner. I had the Shrimp Cocktail and Chicken and Seafood Creole. Kirstyn had a chicken burger. After dinner, we wandered through Sleeping Beauty’s castle, then made our way through Disney Village and back to our room.

So here I am. I have to start packing now. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this, and for all the nice comments. I hope you have enjoyed our vacation as much as we have. It has really been great, but I’m looking forward to going home. It’s back to reality on Monday. I have to start earning money for our next trip, the Panama Canal. Until then; Au Revoir, Ciao, Adios and Farewell!

Mary Jane and Kirstyn!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Disneyland Paris – Day 1

Today is our first full day at DLP. Today we decided to spend it at Disney Studios, as we have reservations in Disneyland on Friday. We arrived around 11 am and quickly made our way over to Crush’s Coaster. We grabbed a fast pass to the Aladdin ride and joined the line for Crush. We would have waited, but the couple in front of us were being annoying, so I gave up for now. We then checked out the Art of Animation, then went on the Aladdin ride with our fastpass. Our next stop was the Animagique show, which was a really cool black light show. I then bought us water, while Kirstyn checked out the displays at the animation building. Did you know that Ursula in Little Mermaid wasn’t originally an octopus! Also, did you know that Meeko was originally going to be a Turkey?

We now decided to make our way to Crush’s Coaster. We had a 75 minute wait, but it was worth it. I think this ride is now officially my favourite coaster, but that may change after Space Mountain Mission 2 tomorrow. This ride is fantastic. I hope they bring it to WDW so I can go on it again and again. I won’t say much, as I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say, that it was the first coaster where I felt like I wanted to lose my lunch if you get my drift.

Our next ride was the new Cars ride. It too was really cool. It was very similar to the Tea Cup ride. It was now around 4:00 and we wanted to catch the 5:00 parade. Our plan was to get over to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, get a fastpass and wait for the parade. When we got to the ride, there was only a five minute wait, so we went right on. It was very good, but just like the one in Orlando, so nothing new. After the ride, we discovered we were right at the start of the parade. I found a really good spot to sit and watch the parade, so I had Kirstyn save it while I bought us a drink. The parade was really good. When it was done, we went to the Armageddon Special Effect’s show, and then we had to leave for our dinner reservations.

Tonight we had dinner at Café Mickey’s. It was a character meal, and we met Tigger, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie, Genie, and Mad Hatter. I had the Ribs, and Kirstyn had Turkey Cordon Bleu. We were full, so we decided to head over to the Hotel and go for a swim. After our swim, we made our way back to the elevator to get to our room and I ran into Dylcal from the DIS Boards. It turns out her son and her are in the room next to us. We had a quick chat, then said good night.

Will here I am, in my room, typing up my blog! I’ve got three hours of Internet, so I’ll fill you in more tomorrow! More later! Bye!

Cruise to Disneyland Transition

Hello all, from Disneyland Paris. We arrived yesterday, after another delayed flight. This time our flight was delayed only an hour. There were quite a few cruisers on our flight; however, most of them were heading home. After we landed and got our luggage, we made our way to the VEA, also known as the bus to Disney. It was about a half hour relaxed ride to the parks. We are staying at the Hotel New York. It is very nice. The rooms are spacious, but the bathtub is another high one. I am being very careful. When we arrived in the room, we quickly dropped everything off, made dining reservations for the next two days, then headed over to the parks.

Our hotel is a five minute walk to the parks, so we didn’t need to use the bus transportation. To get to them, we have to walk through the Disney Village, which is similar to Downtown Disney. We ended up having dinner at Annette’s which is reminiscent of a fifties diner, complete with roller skating waiters. I thought Disney was expensive for dining, however, it has nothing on the price of food here. I had a burger and Kirstyn had a hot dog. For dessert, Kirstyn had a sundae, and I had a brownie and Ice Cream. The total bill was 42 Euros! Ouch, that’s over 60 dollars.

After dinner, we headed over to Disneyland. We proceeded to Frontierland and went directly to Phantom Manor. I found it a little scarier than Haunted Mansion. Our next stop was to be Thunder Mountain, but the line was too long, so we grabbed a fast pass. We made our way to Pirates of the Caribbean next; where we ran into APinCA from the DIS Boards. It really is a small world. The Pirates ride here is a little different from the WDW one; they haven’t introduced Captains Jack and Barbossa yet. Our next stop was the Indiana Jones Coaster. It was really good, and included a 360 loop. The only complaint I had was my ears hurt from being tossed about a bit. Our fastpass time was near, so we made our way back to Thunder Mountain. The parade was starting around this time, and we caught some of it after Thunder Mountain.

We watched some of the parade, but we were tired, so we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow is another day! . Talk to you later!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Cruise Day 11 – At Sea

Well here we are; our last day at sea. It is hard to believe the cruise is over. It has been marvelous. Tomorrow we head back to Paris and Disneyland. Then three days later, it is home sweet home. I’ve had a fantastic time, but I am starting to miss my own bed.

Today was a busy, yet lazy day. We spent most of it packing and repacking. When we weren’t packing, we were running around clearing our shutter’s bill, getting boxes to ship some stuff home, checking out the art one last time, and eating. Today was our character breakfast, and we actually made it today. It was nice, but I like it better when the characters come to your table. Today’s dinner was in Animator’s Palette and included the parade of nations, and Baked Alaska.

Tomorrow we have 7:45 breakfast then off the boat by 9:00 am. Our flight to Paris leaves at 12:30, so we have lots of time. It is a continental flight, so customs shouldn’t be a problem. Take care all, I don’t know what the internet will be like at Disneyland. Hopefully there will be access so I can continue this blog!

I’m tired now, so I’ll keep today’s note short. Take care and good night!!!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Cruise Day 10 - Villefranche

Hello everyone … It is day 10 and today we are in Villefranche. Today’s tour is Nice and Monaco! The day started a little later than usual, at 9:00 am. We met in the Studio Sea and were assigned to bus 23. Today was a tender day, like in La Spezia, but the ride to shore was shorter. Once on shore, we had a short walk to our bus.

Our bus made its way to our first stop, Nice, named after the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike. On the way, our tour guide pointed out the villas of Elton John and Bill Gates. She said that Bill Gates paid 90 million Euros for his villa and hardly ever stays there (must be nice). The villa was beautiful from our angle, and I could see why it cost so much. When we got to Nice we had an hour to visit. The guide took some of the guests to the antique market, but Kirstyn and I decided to tour on our own. We bought souvenirs and discovered a new alternative to Dippin’ Dots. It’s called something Shots and is more like popsicles versus ice cream. It was really good. We next visited this beautiful fountain that resembled a geyser. It kept shooting water up in the air. When you were up close you got a really cool spray. It was over 30 Celsius today, or about 90 Fahrenheit.

We then boarded the bus in Nice and headed over to Eze for lunch. Lunch was good; it consisted of Nicoisse salad (with tuna and egg), chicken and ice cream. All in all the meal was very tasty. Eze is a beautiful little town, but we only got to see the restaurant.

We then boarded the bus and headed to Monaco. What a difference when you enter Monaco. The first thing we noticed was the lack of graffiti. In Monaco, only people who live there can drive there. Everyone else has to park their car and take the escalator, elevator and escalator up to the top. We walked past the Oceanographer’s museum; saw Jacques Cousteau’s submarine, then walked to ward’s the cathedral. On the way to the cathedral, we passed Princess Caroline’s house and Princess Stephanie’s house. Princess Caroline was home, as there was a guard in front of her home, and Stephanie has since moved, so it is not her real home anymore. In the cathedral, we got to see the tombs of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. Oh yeah, at some point, the tour guide showed us the spot where the accident occurred that Princess Grace died from. Just thought I would add that morbid detail.

After the Cathedral, we made our way to the palace where Prince Albert lives. He was in residence, as the flag was flying. We had 20 minutes free time, then got to see the change of the guard (note the singular use of the word guard, unlike Buckingham Palace). We then boarded the bus and made our way to Monte Carlo. On the way, we saw sections of the road used for the big Monte Carlo car race. Sorry but racing is not my thing and I can’t remember what the race is called. We next made our way to the Grand Casino. What a beautiful sights. There were Ferrari’s, Bentley’s, Gucci’s, Cartier, and, oh yeah, the casino. We had a half hour to explore. Some went in the Grand Casino, but Kirstyn and I strolled, then I entered the smaller casino. I bet 10 Euros at this Monopoly slot machine and won 63. Not bad for someone who had no idea what they were doing. Kirstyn was waiting outside for me, as you have to be 18 to enter, so I took my winnings and went shopping.

We next met at this café for Ice Cream before heading back to the ship. The Ice Cream was fantastic. Some of the best I’ve ever had. My favourite was the strawberry, and Kirstyn liked the vanilla. You got three small scoops of Ice Cream in a small dish made of chocolate. The third scoop was chocolate. It too was good. We then made our way back to the ship, where we went directly to the Mickey Dreams show. This was a new show and included acrobats. It was really impressive. After the show, we made our way to Shutters to look at our pirate pictures, then made our way to dinner. Dinner was good as usual, but I wish I kept my early dinner. This is the sentiment of a lot of people I’ve talked to. We were so late finishing, that we ended up missing a lot of the deck parties. Last night Kirstyn and I made it up to the Pirate party just in time to catch the fireworks and that’s it. Plus tonight we were so full, that we actually passed on the dessert buffet!

Well that is it for now. I hope you are enjoying this. Tomorrow is our last full day at sea. I’ll talk to ya later!!!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Cruise Day 9 – Marseilles

Today we arrived in France, at the beautiful port of Marseilles! In Marseilles, we did the Aix en Provence tour. Aix en Provence is a city of about 120,000 and is about ½ hour outside of Marseilles. It was built on a hot spring, so some of the fountains actually have the hot spring water.

We loaded on the bus at 8:00 am and headed to Aix en Provence. Our first stop was this beautiful cathedral. It was built in many different sections. The one section was built in the 6th century, the foyer was built in the 12th century and the sermon area (pardon my lack of knowledge) was finished in the 13th century. When we arrived, the choir was rehearsing. We got to hear them sing and it was beautiful. The acoustics in the cathedral were amazing!

Next we strolled down the streets in the old section of town. Seeing as it was Sunday, we got to visit the market. Most of the booths were selling fruits and vegetables, but some sold spices, soaps, lavender and sweets. After the market, we continued through the old village until we hit the new part of the city. Here we stopped for a beverage and got to visit the art market in town. The artisans did beautiful work, and I would have loved to buy so much stuff, but I knew my luggage was nearing its limit. At 12 we boarded the bus and headed back to the boat.

Kirstyn and I had planned on going to Chateau d’If, however, the best laid plans never work. We were both tired, and we wanted to see the towel animal demonstrations, so we decided to call it a day. This evening is the pirate party and the Disney Dreams show. Can’t wait!!!!

Cruise Day 8 – La Spezia

Hello from La Spezia … Our sixth port of call and our last stop in Italy. Today we were up at 6:15 and out of the room by 7 am. Today was also our first tender day. The ship wasn’t able to dock in shore, so a boat was used to ferry us back and forth! It was actually kind of fun.

Our tour for today was Florence and Michelangelo. The tour was quite nice, but a lot of walking. That seems to be the trend in Italy. The streets are so old, hence they are too narrow for a bus to fit. We started the tour with a 2 hour bus ride to Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it. The bus ride was pretty, but most people caught up on their sleep. Once in Florence, the walking started. Our first stop was the Plaza St. Croix. Next we walked to the Duomo, or cathedral. I have never seen anything so beautiful. Here we saw the David duplicate in the square, as well as a bronze statue of Perseus. On the way to the duomo, we crossed this bridge that was built I believe in the 14th century. I believe it is called the Pont d’avecchio, but don’t quote me!

Our third stop was the one I was looking most forward to, the Musee d’Accademia and the real David. There was some beautiful art in this museum, but I did have my first mouth drop when I saw the Statue of David. He is beautiful, especially the way he is lit up by the sun. Pictures weren’t allowed in the museum, but,well I snuck one. If the polizia are reading this, I’m kidding!!!

After the museum, we went to lunch, which consisted of bruschetta, pasta, beef and potatoes and tiramisu. All was good! We then had an hour and fifteen minutes to shop! Kirstyn wanted an Italian mask. The one she wanted was 19 Euros at a street vendor, but we found a nicer one for 10 Euros in a gift shop. We then splurged and took a horse and buggy to the meeting place. We got there with half an hour to spare, so we shopped, I got a bracelet, then we had gelato!

The bus ride back was nap time, and a lot of us needed it. We are now on the boat. Tonight’s schedule includes the Crew Talent Show, the “Think you know your TV tunes” game show and dinner at Animator’s Palette. Tomorrow we arrive in Marseilles, France. Our schedule includes Aix en Provence and, hopefully, Chateau d’If. Ciao and Au Revoir!