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Disney Wonder California Coast Cruise Sept 2013 (Day 2)

Day 2 was a sea day and I’ll be honest, I think sea days are the best part of any cruise. Seriously, I’m there to enjoy the boat, and there’s SO much to enjoy on a Disney cruise. I’ve heard of people who don’t even get off at port, and honestly I don’t blame them.

Kevin and Theo headed off to the pool. It has to be pretty warm for me to get in the water–any water, anywhere, but Kevin is much more willing to brave the cold so off they went. Good thing too, Theo has consistently said that one of his favorite parts of the cruises was the water slide. And the other nice thing about swimming in the cold? Barely any lines. He went down the thing like a million times.

Violet and I headed to Toddler Time in one of the lounges. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was delighted when I got there. Basically the nursery staff brought out a big bunch of toddler toys and it was open playtime. They had coloring sheets but Violet was much more interested in the toys.

Violet loved this spinner thingy

Violet loved this spinner thingy

She also liked the ride-on toy

She also liked the ride-on toy

But she LOVED the bar menu. Girl after my own heart!

But she LOVED the bar menu. Girl after my own heart!

We headed back for our nap, once again rejoicing in our suite where I could read in peace. Then as I was reading, I heard a huge commotion coming from the balcony next door. It sounded like this:

“Excited mumble, excited mumble, Dolphins! Look! EXCITED MUMBLE DOLPHINS!!!”

So of course I grabbed my camera and headed straight out to the balcony. Then the neighbors apologized for making a ruckus but pointed out that there was a whole pod of dolphins swimming in the ship’s wake. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe what we were seeing! I double-wrapped the camera strap around my wrist and tried to take a picture.

I SWEAR there’s a dolphin in this picture.

Can't you see him?

Can’t you see him?

Or to zoom in  a little,

There he is!

There he is!

Actually he (she?) kind of looks like a shark in that picture but I swear, you could tell it was a dolphin in person.

Also, do you like my classy graphics work? Yeah, I probably could have done something in Photoshop but Paint is much easier and quicker for a non-Photoshop person like me.

After the nap we saw a show. Naturally I took no pictures and cannot remember which one it was, but the kids liked it. The shows are great onboard, really professional-quality. There are two seatings for dinner, the early one at 5:45 with a lot of kids because it’s closer to most people’s normal dinners, except for us, and the 8:15 seating which is what we chose, where there tends to be fewer kids. If you have the early seating, the show is after dinner, if you have the early sitting, the show is before dinner. Two shows, don’t try to work out the fuzzy math.

It was semi-formal night for dinner, but since I love dressing up we made it formal. Unfortunately this turned into a HUGE battle with Theo who refused to wear the bow tie from his tux (tux purchased on ebay for $35). There was a significant amount of crying and pouting and frustration on all sides until we all compromised on the vest that matched Violet’s dress but not the bow tie. We stopped by the photographer hoping to get a good family picture, maybe for the Christmas card. Hahahahahaha! Family pictures, so elusive!

3 out of 4 of us look cute

3 out of 4 of us look cute

Wait, that must have been the Golden Mickeys show because Mickey is wearing his Golden Mickey outfit. If that’s the case, we didn’t go to that show. I have no idea what we did. Sorry.

Anyway, Theo’s pouting continued through dinner *sigh*

Hey there grumpypants

Hey there grumpypants

But Violet did great.

She liked having both water and milk

She liked having both water and milk

This is what I did at almost every dinner:

Cooling off the mac and cheese

Cooling off the mac and cheese

However, dinner perked up considerably after Theo had a bite to eat, and especially when he got his dessert. Every night, he ordered plain vanilla ice cream with Mickey sprinkles. It was pretty much the best dessert EVER. In fact, he missed it so much the night they ate at the kid’s club (Pirate Night) he was totally bummed he didn’t get it. But more on that later.

Violet was also a fan of dessert.

Yum!

Yum!

I highly recommend bringing along waterproof long-sleeved bibs. They saved many dresses and made for easy cleanup!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goofy’s Kitchen (Part 2)

Yesterday in Part 1 I explained why we were at Goofy’s Kitchen and the different characters we saw there. So, uh, go read it, okay?

Okay.

Goofy’s Kitchen is a buffet style restaurant, a fact that I completely forgot about when they seated us and failed to hand us a menu. I was like “Hm, where’s the menu” before looking directly to my right and seeing the buffet.

That I had just walked past.

I’m telling you, two kids have done this to me. I no longer have the brain I had like  years ago. But then again, who does?

The very first thing I saw was the dessert island.

Yummmmmmm!

Yummmmmmm!

Of course I had Theo with me and this is what he made a beeline for. I had to repeatedly remind him that we were eating dinner first, and I wanted to check everything else.

Like the salad bar.

I'll be honest, I'm not a salad kind of person most of the time.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a salad kind of person most of the time.

I’m not sure why these pictures turned out so yellow. The lighting? Who knows.

As a general rule, if you’re new to My Year With The Mouse, I take notoriously mediocre photography, so lower your expectations. This is for information and humor purposes only.

Anyway, there’s what I called the “kid food station” with things like mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and  mac and cheese.

3 guesses as to what my kid ate.

3 guesses as to what my kid ate.

There’s also pizza including Goofy’s Kitchen famous PB&J pizza. I actually really love this stuff. There’s something about melted peanut butter that gets me every time, and on a pizza? Genius. They have this at both the brunch and the dinner.

Brunch? Dinner? Go for it.

Brunch? Dinner? Go for it.

Oh, and mac and cheese pizza next to it, but my kid just went for the straight up mac and cheese, because that’s the way he rolls, yo.

There’s also a carving station and other adult foods for the non-mac and cheese crowd.

I had the NY Strip

I had the NY Strip

And then the desserts. Oh, the desserts. Almost as good as my favorite meal, breakfast.

In addition to this dessert bar

Molten lava cake, and this is just the front, people

Molten lava cake, and this is just the front, people

There’s also an ice cream and fruit bar

With LOTS of toppings.

With LOTS of toppings.

I opted for a delicious looking trio–the molten lava cake, a krispie treat, and a snickerdoodle.

Behold, the humble snickerdoodle.

I’m telling you people, it was the best dessert in the house.

Never count a good cookie out

Never count a good cookie out

Theo went for the pudding with oreos and gummy worms as well as some ice cream. Then he declared he only wanted the gummy worms from the pudding and just ate the ice cream.

But it LOOKS good!

But it LOOKS good!

Violet definitively proved the adage, “There’s always room for Jello.”

Attempting to spoon herself

Attempting to spoon herself

 

With a little help from Daddy

With a little help from Daddy

GIMME THE JELLO!!!

GIMME THE JELLO!!!

We had also mentioned when we arrived that we were celebrating an Adoption Day. The cast members were so excited for us. They brought us a cupcake with an “I’m Celebrating” button.

And Mickey sprinkles!

And Mickey sprinkles!

And here’s one thing I love about Disney–they never make any assumptions about your family. In our family, Kevin and I are white, Theo is our biological son and is basically a carbon copy of his father, like a total mini-me, and Violet is, obviously, Asian. So what did our server cheerfully say when he brought the cupcake?

“Which one of you is celebrating an Adoption Day today?”

Is that a “no, duh?” question? NO! As an adoptive family I can tell you–any one of us including the adults could have been the adoptee. I really, really appreciate the way that Disney doesn’t judge anyone based on appearances. It would have been really awkward if he’d just plunked it down in front of Violet and it had turned out we were celebrating Kevin’s day or whatever.

And another cool thing? As soon as he saw the cupcake, Theo said, “I want one too!” (yep, we’re at that jealousy age) and without batting an eye our server turned around and brought him one too, complete with button.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend our Violet Day dinner.  And I posted this before, but this was the best part of all.

Mwah!

Mwah!

A Look Around Hollywood Land

Hollywood Land is now much more highlighted since the Buena Vista Street walls came down. It starts with the Carthay Circle theater and ends over with the Tower of Terror. In between are some great buildings and details.

The Hyperion is where you can find Aladdin.

Seriously, the Aladdin show is completely top notch

Various details surround the area

Battle Creek, Michigan–the cereal capital of the world!

Hollywood and Sunset Blvds

Very cool (but false) buildings abound

Like this one

And this one

The cable lines above the street were cause for much consternation among the rabid Disneyland fan community. Many people thought they looked ugly. But they are completely historically accurate to the time period of Buena Vista Street, and the Red Car Trolley would look very weird without them.

I think they look just fine

Even the doorways and awnings look sharp.

You can just imagine people living there. Well, I can anyway

And for real, how cool would it be to have an apartment inside Disneyland? I bet people would pay a TON of money for that.

 

Classic MYWTM: The Emporium

Everyone else is on holiday break, right? MYWTM is taking a few days off before the new year (or as Theo calls it, the “new ears”). Enjoy some classic MYWTM entries!

 

The Emporium is the largest store in Disneyland and is strategically located at the entrance of Main Street from Town Square. I say strategic because it’s the first big store when you walk into the park and the last big store walking out of the park. It’s also on a corner. I mean basically if you don’t see the Emporium it’s because you’re blind. And actually, I’m pretty sure blind people run into it as well.

There it is, hidden away where nobody can find it

Incidentally, the Emporium was the scene of my Awkward Social Situation. If you want to see what the Emporium looks like with a big green wall around it, check out this post.

But I digress.

The Emporium is sort of the Wal-Mart of Disneyland–you can find just about everything there.

Clothes
More clothes

Clearly clothes are a biggie. In general, Disneyland clothes fall into three categories:

1) Things You Wear On the Upper Half Of Your Body (roughly 98%)

2) Things You Wear On The Lower Half Of Your Body When You’re Laying Around The House Eating Ice Cream (roughly 0.5%)

3) Things You Sleep In (roughly 1.5%)

Disneyland really shoots for comfort. Also I didn’t include hats because they’re probably going to be their own post. Actually you could probably do an entire blog on Disneyland hats, but that would be even more boring than this post and nobody wants that.

The Emporium also features:

Things To Drink Out Of

and

Things Made Out Of Paper

If you want to go around collecting character autographs, here’s a good place to buy yourself a book.  OMG, I just realized that’s something I’ve never done–now I’m going to have to buy an autograph book and stalk the characters.

At the center of the store, the checkout counter has a jumbo-sized snow globe, sans snow.

Shiny!

And remember my Awkward Social Situation? It was all to get this picture of shot glasses (with extra cast members thrown in for added authenticity):

I’d like a shot of Mickey, straight up, yo

And here’s the most anticlimactic thing in the history of MYWTM (which isn’t very long, but still). Walt wasn’t a fan of alcohol, so rather than labeling these as shot glasses, they rang up as “toothpick holders.”

Yes, I got into a massively Awkward Social Situation just so I could tell you that shot glasses were known as toothpick holders.

I told you it was anticlimactic.

The Emporium also opens facing Main Street.

Oh, hello Main Street! I may look like any old store, but if you turn the corner, I’m a monstrosity

Also, there is a line of stores and such that span part of Main Street that are connected inside. The Emporium is the end of that line. It can be a good thing to keep in mind if you’re trying to navigate around 134,132,542,653 people waiting for the parade. I don’t always recommend cutting through stores, especially with a stroller, but if you’re on your own and you’ve got somewhere to be, well…

The last thing you need to know about the Emporium is that it seems like it would be a great place to pick up that gift on the way out of the store. That way you won’t have to carry it with you all day and risk getting it stolen, right? So you think you’ll just swing by on your way out.

Well, everybody else in the park has the same idea. So if you’re going to shop the Emporium, don’t wait until park closing to do it. And if you want to just do some casual browsing, REALLY don’t wait until park closing to do it.

 

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