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Old 03-19-2013, 03:24 PM   #1606
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(ugh multi quote still not working!!! )

Your Castaway Cay day sounds perfect - everyone had a fun relaxing day, even if you were totally robbed at the adult beach. So wrong.

Hmm rum in ice cream? Ilike that. I too am off soda, which (among other things) has changed what I choose for my liquid desserts . That smoothie did look very yummy. very very yummy. I think I will copy that recipe into my pepperplate list!

I LOVED your choice of trick or treat for the boys. and how nice of you to give them the purchases that night. I would have waited till I was off the boat and Katie was grumbling before I gave it to her. (yup, mean mom is a goal of mine at times!)

Too bad your photos from Palo didn't turnout. Sounds like you rocked the dress

Glad you & Jeff got to do the AquaDuck. Seems like fun!

I had not heard about the poor boy at Pop (off to read that next!) - I have been soo busy IRL that my laptop time at home has been nil except for doing girl scout related stuff. sigh Thank goodness its been dead here at work today thanks to a late snow so I have been at least catching up on Dis!
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:04 PM   #1607
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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Wonderful updates. Palo looks amazing! I'm a risotto junkie and Michael makes the best mushroom risotto I've ever had. I'd give Palo's a try though. If Joshua ditches me on the cruise I'm going to try and get a table for one. Or maybe I'll stay by the pool and drink.
I'm a risotto junkie too. Oh you should go to Palo, at least for brunch if not for dinner. I'd plan it and Josh will be fine. Maybe book the brunch but play dinner by ear.

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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
The rest of your CC day looks great. Love the boys making faces. And I like that you guys were some of the last back on the ship. That'll be us. I'm going to squeeze every single minute out of CC.
As you should! Those faces were gross. And funny.

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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Looks like I'll be booking on board. Gabby wants a family disney cruise for graduation.
YAY! Where does she want to go? Nice graduation present!!!

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Originally Posted by Sunset Cliffs View Post
I'm all caught up! It has been fun to read all of the different parts of your trip. Your pictures of OKW definitely made me dream of going back to WDW again.
I would love nothing more to be at OKW right now, sigh.

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Originally Posted by Sunset Cliffs View Post
To comment on your most recent update, Palo sounds amazing. I'm glad that you got so much kid-free time on this cruise. It seems like the adult only areas were much quieter, and much more relaxing "cruise-y" feeling. It's nice you got to take advantage of those areas.
There is SO much for kids of any age that it really allows for some nice adult only time while not compromising the family time. Huge win for everyone.

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Originally Posted by Mndisneygirl View Post
So glad you enjoyed CC to the fullest and got your Konk Kooler! I think it's pretty yummy!
I really did love the Konk Kooler CC is just wonderful.

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Originally Posted by Mndisneygirl View Post
Palo, ah Palo! I just LOVE that place. Your food looked really good. I love the simple little centerpiece with the three roses too.
I love Palo, it's definitely a must do. We will have to decide on our adult only adventure if we do it more than once I think.

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Originally Posted by Mndisneygirl View Post
You are too funny - those boys are dang lucky if you ask me! I would have done the same thing though! Glad you found time to hit the Aquaduck, get in your shopping and all!
I have to tell you, after the episode at Shutters I'd wished I hadn't bought their stuff I was so annoyed. And while I could have let it go overnight I just didn't want or need the drama and sulking that would have ensued. It may have gotten the message through far better but it would have been a vacation damper and they were going to be rough enough in the am after going so hard with limited sleep during the whole cruise.

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
I totally understand the shock over the situation.
The news kept harping on "No Lifeguards" They go off duty at 8pm. Signs are posted. Some reports had nothing about parents nearby and then some did. I first heard it from a clip from a Firefighter from Buffalo nearby that did CPR.

A 13 years old in the Hippy Dippy pool? That pool is not deep..4 4 1/2 feet deep maybe? Parents and other kids areound in a clear pool? Something else must have been going on. Maybe a medical emergency? Maybe he hit is head? Not sure but many, many,many kids play on a regular basis in a pool and do it safely.
Those were my first thoughts exactly. I wonder if we will ever know what happened as it just seems like there has to be more to the story unless he didn't know how to swim.

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Heck I did it and when of appropriate age and skill my kids did it. For me it was 12 and I could go to the pool by myself. Did every day during the summer.

Kids should have a buddy or someone with them- Rule One - never swim alone and someone should know where you are.

Kids should know how to behave and be safe around water.
Agreed, that's how I was raised and how our kids have been

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Shallow water blackout happens during breath holding. Kids playing "how long can I stay under" games can lead to this.
Honestly, we used to play them often, How far can you swim underwater? How long can you stay under? Things like that.


Big NO NOs now. It is usually coupled with hyperventilation.
This was the big shocker to Jeff and I. We both did it growing up SO many times, heck Jeff has played those kind of games with the boys many times. I had NO idea this could occur. We are working on educating the E's on this, that part is very scary and I do wonder if htat is what happened.

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
So sad it happened to this family and I hope they get some answers as to why and how.

In the end the posted ages along with a parent's confidence in swimming ability and common sense of the kids is all you can go on. In a guarded area, activities in the area and depth of the water also play a part. Unguarded areas require more consideration. Supervision at that point is the key, and the ability to get help if it is needed.
Yes, we will rethink the allowing of the quiet pool without us present, or any pool after hours without us present. I don't know what to do about the lake, it will be nightmarish to tell Evan he can't go solo when club rules say he can and he did it all last summer. While there may well be other adults present, and ones he knows...there also may not be.

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Now for the updates. Palo looks great and so sorry about the pictures.

Even though it was a touch mean the boys deserved the trick and treat. THey were told where to be and well they weren't. Knowing there would not be oppotunities after that night, getting items for them was understandable and having them wait for it also justified.
I probably would have done the same thing. They lost out on the actual shopping part and that might have been enough punishment for losing track of time.
It was a touch mean I know. Or was it? Part of getting the freedome ot be out unsupervised is reporting back when they are supposed to and they blew it. It was a logical consequence. Sadly I'm not sure at the end of the day with treasures in hand, that the message "stuck".

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Packing up does suck but you are going back to Disney right? A couple more days? A few more surprises right?
Yep and Yep. Although they didn't know that then....another reason I caved on giving them their goodies.

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Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
Your too nice, don't think i'd have got them their shopping!
I probably shouldn't have. Or made them suffer longer. Ultimately it was selfish, I didn't want their sulking over it to ruin the rest of my trip or any portion of it.

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Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
I hate that when you really want a photo to turn out nice and it ends up rubbish or you miss it altogether.
I was so bummed

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Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
I'm drooling thinking of Palo, I want to eat panne cotta now.
Oh my that sounds heavenly right now!
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:04 AM   #1608
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Originally Posted by englishrose47 View Post
Great Update Oh you Mean Mutha !!!!


I can just picture that same scenario with my kids.

Can't believe the cruise is coming to a close. What a bummer. But your dinner at Palo looks and sounds amazing.

So did you finally find a picture that you liked? I hope so.

Yes - Packing DOES suck. Good to know you can carry off your own luggage.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:02 AM   #1609
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Originally Posted by glennbo123 View Post
Oh wow, your meal at Palo looked awesome. Mmmm.
Palo

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Originally Posted by glennbo123 View Post
I think the track you chose with the boys was perfect....just the right amount of suffering. I'm glad you bought their stuff for them though -- it seems fair after they budgeted for it.
They did budget for it and it had been discussed ad naseum and they'd waited when I asked to make sure they didn't want something at CC. So that part was fair but ugh, when they were making a scene at Shutters I did have some buyers regret. Eric's item could possibly have been found at AK or AKL but as he didn't now we were going there, who knows. Evan's definitely not.

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Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Well, I guess that evening could have gone better. I would have been right there with you torturing the boys if they were acting up.
Yes, souvenirs, even if the souvenir gods have granted you funds, are not a god given right.

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Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
At least you still got to do the Aquaduck, see the show, eat at Palo, get shopping done. Pretty productive. So you didn't miss out, which was good.

And yes, packing sucks.
It was quite productive and dinner was lovely. The Shutters thing is a nightmare really unless you do it early and I didn't want to do it in the morning which arguably would have been worse, the boys were just adding insult to injury at that point. Looking for outloook was kind of funny, but also a bit of a waste of our last night. Oh well.

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Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
I love that you and Jeff did the AquaDuck.
It was fun! And I'd been lame, hadn't been on any of the 3 slides so far so was overdue.

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Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
Your dinner looks lovely and glad you enjoyed it after the mishap with the boys.

I'm sorry the pictures didn't turn out; I know you've mentioned in the past that you and Jeff often don't them alone.
We rarely get them alone, I think we got a total of 2 over the entire trip. I will probably try to take advantage of the photopass situation at Aulani. I know there is one but not really sure how it works. Dinner was lovely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moira222 View Post
(ugh multi quote still not working!!! )

Your Castaway Cay day sounds perfect - everyone had a fun relaxing day, even if you were totally robbed at the adult beach. So wrong.

Hmm rum in ice cream? Ilike that. I too am off soda, which (among other things) has changed what I choose for my liquid desserts . That smoothie did look very yummy. very very yummy. I think I will copy that recipe into my pepperplate list!
What is pepperplate?

Rum makes everything better. Kind of like bacon Just kidding. Jeff and I were just discussing this the other night for Hawaii, he wants to figure out something else he can have with rum, other than coke. It is such an easy in-room drink to make on vacation.

Try clearing your cache, that fixed the multi quote for some.

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Originally Posted by Moira222 View Post
I LOVED your choice of trick or treat for the boys. and how nice of you to give them the purchases that night. I would have waited till I was off the boat and Katie was grumbling before I gave it to her. (yup, mean mom is a goal of mine at times!)
We definitely considered that but I just didn't want the 12 hours of sulking or more, would make for a very unfun disembarkation, which is not fun already. Still, the Shutters episode had me really considering it. The fact that they were seriously overtired didn't help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moira222 View Post
Too bad your photos from Palo didn't turnout. Sounds like you rocked the dress

Glad you & Jeff got to do the AquaDuck. Seems like fun!
It's a recurring theme, we went out a couple of weeks ago and I asked our server to take a picture, horrible as well (super dark). Oh well, maybe in Aulani.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moira222 View Post
I had not heard about the poor boy at Pop (off to read that next!) - I have been soo busy IRL that my laptop time at home has been nil except for doing girl scout related stuff. sigh Thank goodness its been dead here at work today thanks to a late snow so I have been at least catching up on Dis!
It's a very sad story and I do think there is more to it. We finally got our cookies yesterday, apparently our order was "lost" and then found. At that point I had buyers regret, got a little carried away on the amount of boxes.

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I can just picture that same scenario with my kids.
I imagine many of us can. At least those of us that let them roam on their own in the first place


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Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Can't believe the cruise is coming to a close. What a bummer. But your dinner at Palo looks and sounds amazing.

So did you finally find a picture that you liked? I hope so.
No, no picture. I've posted all the ones I bought. 2 from pirate night dinner, the ones from our mini session and then the ones from Royal Palace Dinner of Evan and Kendall. I did buy the one of the 2 of us from our little photo session but we are all so orange in the pictures it really bugs me. Bad lighting on their end and I tried to edit them in photoshop but it was beyond me.

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Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Yes - Packing DOES suck. Good to know you can carry off your own luggage.
Packing really sucks. However I loved being able to carry off our bags and not have to have them in the hallway by 10pm. That part was much better (though getting the bags off the next morning, not terrribly fun...still worth hanging on to them though).
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:37 PM   #1610
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It was sad what Happened at POP. I was at the front entrance when the paramedics went running into the building but I did not know what happened till the next day.
That drink did look good.
The dinner sounded really good.
Great update and pics.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:36 AM   #1611
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Your meal looks delicious! Yumm!
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:21 AM   #1612
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I see absolutely nothing wrong with being among the last ones off of Castaway Cay. If you're going to get to spend time on a private island in the Caribbean, you might as well make the most of every minute you have.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Aquaduck and your evening at Palo.

I'm sorry the E's ran off and disobeyed your instructions. I think withholding their souvenirs was definitely justified. In fact, I'm not sure I'd have let them know you purchased them until you were off the boat.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:53 PM   #1613
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Originally Posted by scottny View Post
It was sad what Happened at POP. I was at the front entrance when the paramedics went running into the building but I did not know what happened till the next day.
That drink did look good.
The dinner sounded really good.
Great update and pics.
The drink, and dinner, were good.

The POP incident breaks my heart, I do hope that many many families learn something from it. I am a silver lining person and if it saves one life moving forward, that's something. We have had chats with the boys about the incident and specifically about the dangers of shallow water blackout.

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Originally Posted by carissanboys View Post
Your meal looks delicious! Yumm!
It was!!!!!

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
I see absolutely nothing wrong with being among the last ones off of Castaway Cay. If you're going to get to spend time on a private island in the Caribbean, you might as well make the most of every minute you have.
Exactly! I mean who know when we will be back? I prefer not to think of it as a who knows if we will ever be back...as I fully intend to..but when? Maximize every minute!

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I'm glad you enjoyed the Aquaduck and your evening at Palo.
We did, very much

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
I'm sorry the E's ran off and disobeyed your instructions. I think withholding their souvenirs was definitely justified. In fact, I'm not sure I'd have let them know you purchased them until you were off the boat.
They didn't run off, but they didn't come back when they were supposed to. I considered holding them till much later and that may well have been more effective but I wasn't into going to bed mad or with them upset, it was going to be a long day and I knew they were overtired as it was (which definitely drove the antics at shutters). It was going to be an early start for the next 2 days and I really wanted that to go well. Now, at home, different story altogether
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:39 AM   #1615
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I missed the post about the Pool at Pop!!!How awful!! But yes there are no Lifeguards after a certain time !! My Grandkids swim in that pool all the time and have no problems with or without a life guard !!I agree with Pat something had to happen , such as hittng his/her head or a medical emergency !!That pool is not deep and should be safe without a guard !!
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:30 AM   #1616
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Boo for packing!!! It sounds like the weather knew it was the last night too!
I love that Amy! Yes, the skies were crying too. Although I was excited for our next adventure and how we'd pull it off. Thankfully the kids were all so wrapped up in last night events that they weren't asking too many questions about it.

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I missed the post about the Pool at Pop!!!How awful!! But yes there are no Lifeguards after a certain time !! My Grandkids swim in that pool all the time and have no problems with or without a life guard !!I agree with Pat something had to happen , such as hittng his/her head or a medical emergency !!That pool is not deep and should be safe without a guard !!
I would like to know what happened, at 13 it does seem like it has to have hit his head, had a medical emergency of some sort, experienced the shallow water drowning or didn't know how to swim. Given that there has been But there is no information on what happened and honestly from an education standpoint that would help me to educate myself and my kids. It's so incredibly sad.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #1617
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Those were my first thoughts exactly. I wonder if we will ever know what happened as it just seems like there has to be more to the story unless he didn't know how to swim.
Not sure if we will ever know- even if there is a lawsuit. I just hope there always is a lesson learned so it doesn't happen again.


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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Agreed, that's how I was raised and how our kids have been

Good, simple rules to go with. Millions of people recreate safely in pools and lakes. The media will focus on and almost sensationalize the drownings but they are a small percentage of overall swimmers. However those situations are such a tragedy for the families.

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This was the big shocker to Jeff and I. We both did it growing up SO many times, heck Jeff has played those kind of games with the boys many times. I had NO idea this could occur. We are working on educating the E's on this, that part is very scary and I do wonder if htat is what happened.
Scary part for me was watching a swim team friend after practice try for 75 yds underwater. He made it to the wall but with a cramp in his leg and a slight bue tiint. Nobody was on the deck but me. I had my hands on him as soon as he hit the wall and helped him out. I yelled at him after that. He was going to try it with me there or not and I would not leave the deck with him in the water.
All coaching clinics now warn of this and it is built into our swim lessons safety messages.

The danger is when someone goes beyond their ability but sometimes the body will react without warning. Such a fine line.


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Yes, we will rethink the allowing of the quiet pool without us present, or any pool after hours without us present. I don't know what to do about the lake, it will be nightmarish to tell Evan he can't go solo when club rules say he can and he did it all last summer. While there may well be other adults present, and ones he knows...there also may not be.
Tough call. The quiet pools are typically as most pool now - shallow. Doesn't hurt to have an adult poolside but you do not need to be in a suit and on the edge.
The Lake - swim area with supervision? or Shallow area with no supervision. Again the buddy system works best and in pairs or in a group if everyone is on board with watching out for each other and the club has determined or acepted that that age is Okay for no adult supervsion..... Trust the boys and who they are with.

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It was a touch mean I know. Or was it? Part of getting the freedome ot be out unsupervised is reporting back when they are supposed to and they blew it. It was a logical consequence. Sadly I'm not sure at the end of the day with treasures in hand, that the message "stuck".
Lesson teaching- Depending on how mad they made me, I might have waited but knowing how it could have backfired with disembarking and the final surprise, you made the right choice.
Hopefully it stuck and next time will tell.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:07 PM   #1618
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Not sure if we will ever know- even if there is a lawsuit. I just hope there always is a lesson learned so it doesn't happen again.
I can't imagine they have grounds for a lawsuit but I guess you never know.

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Good, simple rules to go with. Millions of people recreate safely in pools and lakes. The media will focus on and almost sensationalize the drownings but they are a small percentage of overall swimmers. However those situations are such a tragedy for the families.

Scary part for me was watching a swim team friend after practice try for 75 yds underwater. He made it to the wall but with a cramp in his leg and a slight bue tiint. Nobody was on the deck but me. I had my hands on him as soon as he hit the wall and helped him out. I yelled at him after that. He was going to try it with me there or not and I would not leave the deck with him in the water.
All coaching clinics now warn of this and it is built into our swim lessons safety messages.

The danger is when someone goes beyond their ability but sometimes the body will react without warning. Such a fine line.
Oh how scary! We've had a couple of scares at the lake. I made the mistake of assuming too much once. My nephew who I knew was a decent swimmer was at the lake with us. We went over the rules, no running on the dock, you can only jump in xx and xx (it was a sliding scale at which point the kids have been allowed to jump in based on ability and depth) and so on. I didn't think I needed to tell him not to dive without testing depth first, he'd been to the lake with us multiple times before.

A head full of sand and a wicked headache later, we all learned a valuable lesson.

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Tough call. The quiet pools are typically as most pool now - shallow. Doesn't hurt to have an adult poolside but you do not need to be in a suit and on the edge.
The Lake - swim area with supervision? or Shallow area with no supervision. Again the buddy system works best and in pairs or in a group if everyone is on board with watching out for each other and the club has determined or acepted that that age is Okay for no adult supervsion..... Trust the boys and who they are with.
The Lake is never supervised and at 13, they are allowed by the club to be there solo, or bring up to 2 friends I think, without an adult. It is quite shallow in the roped off area and at the end, all they really do is jump in and get right back out. Over and over and over.

Which is exactly how Evan bit through his lip last summer, kids pushing kids in, one almost landing on him and causing Evan to basically knee his own chin as he came up and then bit through his lip.

Is that kind of horseplay anything different than I did as a kid, no. Can it be dangerous? Yes. Would it have happened if I was there, I'm sure it would have, I'd have been on the lawn, not out on the dock.

So....I don't know what the answer is other than to really educate on the dangers of horseplay, holding breath and swimming with a buddy. Which they pretty much always are but...are they really thinking of it that way and watching each other all the time? No, I don't think they are. not my any malintent, just by the nature of being kids playing and being focused really only on themselves.

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Lesson teaching- Depending on how mad they made me, I might have waited but knowing how it could have backfired with disembarking and the final surprise, you made the right choice.
Hopefully it stuck and next time will tell.
I wish. Nothing really seems to stick. They have the attention span of a flea and the memory of a fruit fly. Bless their hearts.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:43 PM   #1619
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Having been on one Disney Cruise before, we did have an idea on how the morning would go. Our dinner rotation, which was 2nd seating, was assigned the same for breakfast. Breakfast was scheduled to be at 8am in the location your previous dinner had been which for us, was Animators. Now, what Jeff and I vividly recalled from the Wonder was that the menu was limited, boring and frankly, not very good. And that service was horribly slow as everyone was seated at once and since it is breakfast, you don't have the pacing you have at dinner to let the kitchen get everything out. As a result we had NO interest in going to Animators for breakfast. Our plan had been to go to Cabanas and given how much the kids all professed to love it there, we assumed it was a non-issue. We shouldn't have assumed anything and almost immediately upon waking up three VERY tired kids to finish packing and dress we were met with instant mutiny.

"WE WANT TO GO TO ANIMATORS!"

Okay...not how I had envisioned the day starting! Between wanting to say goodbye to our servers and K wanting to see her friend that was seated near our table they all presented their reasons.

Given their very tired and overwrought states (with repeated sayings by all 3 kids of how they were going to sleep in LATE tomorrow) it just wasn't worth the battle. Fine. Go to Animators. Without us. LOL! Seriously though, that’s what we did. Sent them on their way and finished up in the room so that once we were all done we could just head out. At this point Jeff and I hadn't had coffee yet so that may have impacted things as well. Heading up to Cabanas we found ourselves walking in on the filming of some kind of promo spot.









And then I got yelled at. NO pictures! LOL! Oops, sorry.

Jeff and I grabbed breakfast. Nothing special or different than the other days we'd eaten there but honestly, we figured far better than Animators, and faster too. Once we were done eating we headed down to collect the kids and apparently, had just missed them. We did get to say goodbye to our servers who probably thought we were rather lame parents for ditching them that morning but oh well. The fact that the kids were done made us happy. What did not were the insane crowds milling about trying to disembark and leave the restaurant, many carrying bags. Ugh. We headed back to the stateroom to collect kids (who had confirmed their breakfast was quite meh and they wished they'd have gone with us but they'd really wanted to say goodbye to our servers) and our stuff, taking that last bio break and peek from the verandah and then did the dreaded walk out. This is one of the few times we took the elevator on the entire cruise, it really wasn't an option not to. However, as the whole ship was trying to unload, it seemed to take forever to find one we could all fit in, with all our stuff. As much as I loved not having our bags out in the hallway by 10pm the night before is as much as I did not love trying to lug it all out. Finally we made it to the disembarkation deck and went to get in line to get off the ship. The line went from the lobby ALL the way back to the Theater.



And yes, we were at the end. With all our stuff. We did get to watch the flurry of activities in the shops as they restocked for the next cruise, which was entertaining. For a bit. It seriously seemed to take FOREVER to get off, though in actuality I really don't know. I was juggling so much stuff baggage wise that I have no time stamps to go by. I do know Jeff and I made it to breakfast around 8:15 and I imagine we were all in line by about 9. Once we finally made it through the gauntlet we went to the rental car area to wait for a shuttle. It's in a bus bay, directly across from the DCL buses that run folks back to the World (at $70 pp round trip, I think we could have done 1 way for $35). It is organized by rental company and for this leg we had booked with Avis. So basically for 1/3 the price we’d decided to get a car instead of booking the DCL transfer. We got in line, which was pretty darn full and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, a good 20 minutes later, the shuttle showed. It filled up.

And left.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

During all of this the kids, understandably, got ansty.

"So, where are we staying tonight?"

Somewhere near the airport, it was cheaper to not fly out on a Sunday.

"I'm hungry"

We will stop for lunch before we check in, ok?

"I'm sleeping in REALLY late tomorrow, aren't you?"

"I'm tired"

"When will the shuttle be here?"



We, and the very nice family in front of us, struck up a long conversation with the Transportation CM and got the lay of the land. Apparently each rental company only has so many shuttles and they alternate which cruise line they pick up at. So any one might do a DCL run, a Carnival, a whatever other ships dock there I forget run, before circling back to DCL.
UGH. We should have hopped in a cab after disembarking, who knew? By that point though the shuttle was surely due to be there any minute, right?

Not exactly but still, we waited and finally, finally got on the shuttle. I will say once we got to Avis, the actual procuring of the car went quickly and just as with our first leg, we were upgraded to a larger full size SUV. Sweet! Our first stop? STARBUCKS and a bathroom. Which interestingly enough according to both the Avis counter and my Starbucks app was inside a ginormous surf shop that was also connected to a hotel. Weird.
But it worked. Bladders relieved after 2 very long lines and waits, and drinks for all we settled in for the ride.

You might guess what happened next



That was at right about noon just to give you an idea of how quickly things did not move that morning. I'd guess that disembarking took us a good 2+ hours by the time we were in our rental car and then the Starbucks stop added another 30 minutes total. I had hoped to be at our destination and eating lunch by noon.

This one NEVER falls asleep in a car. Ever. Not even as a baby. Guess mama’s lap did the trick after 10 days of non-stop fun.



Our first order of business was to swing by Old Key West and see if I could get my mug exchanged. We pulled in and parked. While I went in most of the gang decided to stretch their legs and use the facilities. Happily they exchanged my mug and agreed that any coffee cup really should be dishwasher safe! With that taken care of it was time for the next stage in the plan. Lunch. We had told them the basics. Our plan was to have lunch at somewhere they’d never been (and we’d never been either) and then check in, maybe some pool time and have a lazy afternoon. It wasn't quite that simple of course but it seemed to satisfy them. Errand accomplished, I plugged in our destination address into the GPS on my phone.

We rarely drive at WDW. We are Disney transportation people. As a result, to say we don’t know our way around would be an understatement and we rely on things like signage and GPS. In this case we should have relied more on the former and less on the latter. The GPS, which was apparently very confused, seemed to think we could cut through Animal Kingdom itself, by way of the Horticulture Center. I will say that seeing the center was kind of cool and I thought I got a picture of it but all the "no access" signs and fences did make us turn around lickety split and at that point we simply backtracked till we saw directional signage and followed that to AKL. Pulling in, finally, we explained we’d chosen to have lunch here at The Mara as it was supposed to be one of the best, if not the best, counter service locations in all of Disney World. However, Jeff dropped me off before going to park. Why? Well we had added the DDP to this part of the stay and that would be covering lunch, so I needed to check us in! I hurried in and luckily check in was a breeze. Our room wasn't ready but the CM did show me the general location we would be in and I started to get excited. We were booked in a Jambo, standard view 1B. I'd picked Jambo over Kidani as once we’d downgraded from a 2B to a 1B and from Savannah View to Standard, I wanted to make sure we would not be looking at a parking lot. As you can tell by the title of this report, Verandahs are a big deal to us. Coffee on the Verandah aside, we are verandah, and view, junkies. With a Jambo standard, I was pretty much guaranteed a pool view. Or....if I was lucky, one of the reclassified savannah views. Apparently there were some views that folks complained about (too narrow, too close to the people pens) as being savannah views and they’d been reclassified to standard. Based on what I was seeing on the map, we looked to be getting one of those. I had considered making such a request but some of the reclassified views looked to be of a dirt pit and so I figured the odds were high for pool view and i'd just take my chances and hope it wasn't a dirt pit and fence. But of course, you never know until you see it!

This is the map she gave me and honestly I was quite surprised to get this much info, I don’t think I've ever been told a general location at all when my room wasn't ready



Nowhere near the pool, that’s all I could really know for sure. Could be of a dirt pit and fence. Might not be as well. Looking at the map I couldn't even tell which way we would be facing.

We had told the kids I was going in ahead of them to see how busy the restaurant was, then I'd text Jeff for them to come in and meet them down there if it didn't seem too crazy and there was seating. Heading down we met up and proceeded to have them all order, then head out to sit while I settled up without them watching. They are all definitely smart enough to catch on if they'd have seen me paying with a KTTW card!
For those that haven't been, The Mara has some unique choices for counter service.

Kendall's choice

Chicken Pita - chicken breast served on a warm pita with sun-dried tomato hummus, cucumber, tomato, and mixed greens with mint yogurt sauce $8.99



Mine and Jeff's choice

African Stew - hearty stew with beef, turkey, ham, carrots, potatoes, peas, chickpeas and raisins served over basmati rice $7.99





Photographic Evidence would suggest that both boys went for this. They have a nice fixings bar and they loaded them up.

Hand-Carved Sandwich - on Kaiser roll with choice of side $8.99





Yikes, those are a little painful, sorry for the mid eating shots (kind of funny at the same time)

After we were seated I think I went back and got Jeff and I a little something to go with our lunch. They had these little premade margaritas in a bottle and for some reason I don’t think I got them while I was getting our lunch in my effort to be sneaky. Instead I went back, got them and picked up one of the refillable mugs on our plan (we still had one that we'd been toting around, I think the other one was packed or sitting in the car). I had hoped the kids wouldn't notice different lid colors but Jeff and I wanted to be able to pour our margi’s over ice in our mugs to have to walk around, versus a paper cup.

We had told all the kids they could choose a dessert but as most wanted ice cream they allowed us to get our lunch, eat and then go back for the ice creams so they didn't melt while we were eating. Jeff had elected to get a cookie. We were a 50/50 split.

For the Boys – a Mickey Sandwich





For the Girls - Mickey Bars!



Jeff apparently had already eaten his cookie by this point and was NOT happy when he realized that there were ice cream sandwiches. For some reason he didn't know they existed, thought it was just bars. He’'s been living under a rock all these years I guess. It was pretty funny and we all gave him a hard time.

I have to rave about The Mara. All the reviews are right. This place is an absolute gem. We all loved our food and I have to tell you, a Margarita and African Stew, after what had been a bit of an arduous morning really really hit the spot.

Right about this time, almost 2pm by now, I got the text that our room was ready. We finished up and announced to the kids that it was time to leave and we should really go get checked in to our home for the might and maybe have some chill and pool time (and geometry for Kendall, much to her extreme annoyance). We headed out to the car, which seemed a bazillion miles away, and loaded up. Man the car was HOT.

Ugh.

"How far to the hotel?"

Not far.

After it cooled down a little we drove out of the parking lot and the entry.

Drove back in and pulled up to the lobby entry.

"Why are we circling back in?"

Should we just crash here for the night? Swim, check out some animals?

"YES!" (there may have been fist pumping)

"I knew it!"

I don’'t know that they really "did" know it but they did suspect it, apparently that 2nd refillable mug that had a turquoise instead of pink lid, was a giveaway.

Dirty rats.

I left Jeff and the kids to unload baggage and then go repark, this time with an official sticker. I’ had given Jeff directions as to where our room was, I thought, to aid in parking. While they all did that I went to retrieve our actual room location, for some reason I don’'t think it was on the text and I did need to go to the desk where they gave me a new map.

Map in hand, much of luggage on cart for bell services to bring up, the kids and I set off to find our room.

Last edited by eandesmom; 03-24-2013 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:17 PM   #1620
Mndisneygirl
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Wow you really planned out well how to be sneaky! Too bad your need for a mug for the margaritas gave you away! I'll have to remember the little premade margarita! How did I not know that having stayed there so many times? Not as bad as Jeff not knowing there were Mickey ice cream sandwiches!

What a crazy long time to get off the ship! I might enjoy going to Cabanas for breakfast, but wow - the line!!

Sounds like the kids were pretty happy about staying at AKL!!
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