Day Four--Alcohol, Pictures, and Macaroni & Cheese

Key West Travel Blog

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Margo, Jolene, Jessi, and Me

Today was going to be our first, of two, full days at sea. In order to keep everyone happy, Disney plans a lot of activities for their days at sea. But we decided that our first activity was going to be to sleep in. There was nothing that any of us wanted to do badly enough to get out of bed. We were finally up and got in on the last part of the breakfast at Topsiders. We discussed what we wanted to do that day. The girls thought that the pool would be a good way to spend the afternoon. Margo and I aren’t pool people. She noticed there was a Gemstone Seminar at 4 PM. There was a beer tasting class at the same time. Beer is way better than jewels, so we decided we would go our own ways at that time. Until then we would wander the shops, and deal with pictures. Disney has photographers all over the place. They are set up for every character appearance, at some of the dinners, and then on Deck three at certain times.

Merry Christmas! It's 80 degrees and we are in the Caribbean! nanny-nanny-poo-poo
As today was also formal night at dinner, a lot of people, us included would be taking pictures in our Sunday best. But, I’m getting a little a head of myself. We had our picture taken as we boarded on Saturday, and then last night at Animator’s Palate. So Margo and I went down to see how they came out. All of our shots so far were 8 x10s, but they also print up some as 6 x 8s. The character appearances looked to be on 6 x 8s, but at that time we didn’t really notice that. The 6 x 8s are $10 and the 8 x 10s are $20. As they have both a captive customer base, and no competition, you have only one other option and that was to take your own pictures. We take more than a few ourselves, but their camera takes high quality pics, and we didn’t have to find someone to get all four of us in a shot.


Disney graciously offers several package deals to bring the cost down. You can change, either upgrading or downgrading on the packages to accommodate the pictures you like. We ended up buying a package for $170. It included eight 8 x 10s, and six 6 x 8s. I think buy the time we left Shutters (the photo store) we had five 8 x 10s in our folio. You are allowed to swap out “bad” shots for better pictures that might be taken later on. We had a couple that were swap candidates.


From there it was off to the shops. They’re only really two, Mickey’s Mates and Treasure Ketch. Mickey’s Mates was more geared towards kids. Treasure Ketch more towards adults.  Mickey’s Mates had a whole section of pirate items. Toy guns and swords, Mickey Mouse ears, but with a loop earring and bandana tail, costumes, and much more. Two days from now, on our second day at sea it will be Pirate Day, and everyone is supposed to dress as pirates. They had shirts, hoodies, cups, toys, and on and one. If you don’t like Disney, and had not yet gone over the edge, this shop might do it. But we all like Disney, and they do a first rate job on everything. The other shop, Treasure Ketch, did not hold my attention as well. They had the practical stuff. Colognes, over the counter medicine, jewelry, and such. But we wander around awhile. Margo saw a book on Towel Folding that she wanted, but we did not get it. I was later put under orders from my girls not to allow her to buy it, as they had got her a copy for a Christmas present.


By the time we got back to our room, we were able to link up with the girls. They had spent their time lounging mostly on Deck 10 overlooking the pool. Apparently at least one guy was looking back up at them, as he sent a pair of drinks to them. Jessi is only 18. That makes her a legal adult and in international waters, Grand Cayman, and Mexico old enough to drink. Disney’s official policy is to not serve anyone under 21. But, I don’t think they enforce it too strictly. I didn’t object, Jessi has drunk before and seems to be more responsible than I was at that age. Anyway, this kind of freaked them both out. I happened by about the time they were half way through their drinks. They were debating if they should go down to the pool and talk with them. I don’t think it was so much a debate, as to work up their courage. I left shortly thereafter, and they were about to head down a level and say hi to their benefactor.


I got Margo a Pepsi and headed back to the cabin. Disney, like most cruise ships, charges (overcharges) for soft drinks, if you order them at a bar, restaurant, or almost any place on the ship. The sole exception is the drink station on deck 9, aft. Our cabin is deck 7, forward. As Margo is addicted to Pepsi this could run into serious money, if the drink station was not used. So just about anytime I went out for a walk or whatever I would swing by the drink station and get her a Pepsi. It seemed to work out, and I needed the exercise with all of the food around.


I got back to cabin, and the girls showed up not long after. They were not impressed with the guy who had bought them a drink. He ended up being on the ship with his wife/girlfriend and a couple of kids. He asked them to meet him at the Rockin D Bar later. They planned to be at the other end of the ship, regardless of what was happening there. It was nearly time for Margo’s gemstone seminar and my beer tasting seminar, so we headed out together. Her’s was in the Promenade Lounge, Deck 3 Aft. Mine was in Diversions, Deck 3 Forward. We headed over to the elevator and headed down. Margo has a bad knee and stairs are her nemesis. She can go down them reasonably well, but going up more than a flight or two is a bad idea. I had decided to use the stairs whenever possible to try to burn off calories. More often than not, I beat her to whatever floor we were going to. Anyway, we arrived on Deck 3. I walked her to the Promenade Lounge and then made my way to the other end of the ship.


I got to Diversions and sat down. I was the first one there. On the tables where we were to sit there was some beer literature. As I had nothing better to do and reading about beer seemed appropriate, I studied the pamphlet. There were three trivia questions. I didn’t know any of them. One told us the Czech Republic drinks more beer per capita than people of any other country. Another, that the first beer can was used in 1935. The last asked what the oldest continually operating brewery in America was. That was Yuengling in Pottsville, PA. I decided I would memorize these facts, because I was bored, and there might be a test. The rest of the crowd showed up over the next 15 minutes. While we were waiting for our program leader to show up, the bartenders began filling up 6oz pilsner glasses with four different kinds of beer. As I was to find out there were two lagers and two ales. The ales were Newcastle Brown and Guinness. One of the lagers was Stella Artois. The other escapes me. But we started shortly. The first thing our leader told us was that there are only two different kinds of beer, lagers and ales.(dejavu) No one knew that. We had had guesses of several dozen. I guess you can blame the brewers for that. They all try to make their beer sound like it is so different as to be unique. She had us taste the first one and asked us about how it tasted. She explained that unlike wines, which have tons of superlatives to describe how it tastes. Things like full-bodied, and such. There are few with beer. Sweet was one that stood out. That is because, as she explained, as a general rule a sweet beer had more alcohol in it. That is because the sugar is turned to alcohol in the fermentation process. So more sugar equals more alcohol. One of the next questions she asked was “What is the best kind of beer” The best answer from the peanut gallery was “The one you are drinking” The correct answer is “A free one” At which point she awarded six free beers to the crowd for answering questions. Studying paid off as one of the questions was about the first beer can. Bingo free beer for Bill. I nailed another one about Anheuser Busch, so I ended up with two free beers, plus the four we were testing. About this time we were getting to our last beer, the very dark Guinness, when one group decided to leave. They had been the last to arrive, and it was evident they had started tasting beer long before any of us had. When we glanced back at their table we saw that they were way ahead of us as well. Instead of just tasting their Guinness, and having some of the others left to finish. All beer was missing from their glasses. A mystery no one had any difficulty solving. We got a good chuckle and soon the tasting was over.


Both beer tasting and the gemstone seminar were over at 4:45. Margo and I met back at our room. The girls were not far behind us. We all got dressed in our formal cloths and headed down to deck 3 for pictures. They had a nice moonlit sea scene for a backdrop and then their 20 foot Christmas tree as areas to have pictures taken. We opted to have both done. It was about 6:30 PM when we were finally done. Dinner wasn’t until 8:30, so we had a couple of hours to kill. Margo wanted to go to the shops because she was told that they were selling loose gemstones, at $10 per carat that she could have mounted in Cozumel. So off we went. She ended up picking out a couple.


We arrived a little early and waited for dinner. We were eating at our third restaurant, Parrot Cay, which had a Caribbean theme. Toto and Gavin our two servers were there, as expected. On Disney as you rotate from restaurant to restaurant your waiter and assistant waiter follow you. Margo and the girls were getting pretty fond of them. They would spoil everyone. Gavin would talk with the girls, and Toto would tell them of his home in the Philippines. Gavin was from South Africa. The girls were not, however, enjoying the food. Both had determined that fancy food equals gross food. Margo and I don’t have very sophisticated palates either, but we were treating it as a challenge to find something from each category, salad/soup, appetizer, and entrée to enjoy. Today both girls ordered Macaroni and Cheese, which was definitely not on the menu.. This shocked Toto to the point that he turned immediately to me and asked in a hurried voice “Is that OK?’ I got a chuckle out it. As both girls were over 18, and didn’t need their parent’s permission, it would have been a fight to talk them out of it, even if I thought it wasn’t OK. When dinner arrived they both had a gorgeous plate of macaroni and cheese, French Fries and a vegetable. Even with this culinary exception the presentation was great.


We rushed a bit through dinner, as I wanted to get down to the Rockin Bar D and see Rich Purpura, the comic that was performing there. As it turned out, tonight was a show called the Golden Mickeys, in which Rich Purpura was going to do his act. But, it would be sandwiched between the Golden Mickey After Party and Live Music with Elite, without any intermission between. So when we got there it was packed. I kept trying to drag Margo in, but the only seats were folding chairs set right up in front. I thought “Perfect. We can see” She wanted no part of being that close. She was thinking that as the first show got over people would leave. It was very noisy and I couldn’t seem to get the message across that no one was going to leave as this comic was supposed to be the headliner. She finally put two and two together and we went in and sat down. She was still pretty reluctant and I had to keep moving her along. When she finally sat down next to me she snapped at me about being grouchy and my reply let her know that I my frustration level just boiled over. I fully expected her to get up and leave, but she didn’t. It was a little tense for awhile, but this Purpura guy was good. He had us laughing in just a few minutes. He did about 45 minutes with the highlight being his story about getting his daughter Hannah Montana tickets. In the end he has spent $1200 for a pair he wasn’t going to use, had a pair for a different show a 6 hour drive from his home, and a free pair front row center. By the time we were finished we were both in much better moods.


We decided to walk to Shutters and look at/for our pictures. We would do this anytime we had a few minutes. They seemed to be taking pictures all the time, so we just felt obligated to rush on over to see if we could give them more money. Nice of us, huh? But, it was too early for our formal pictures. So we walked up to deck 9 to get Margo her Pepsi. Monday Night Football was on the Jumbtron. It was the 4th quarter and New England and Baltimore were playing. NE was undefeated and going for a perfect season. The game was tight, so Margo and I lingered to watch NE sew it up.


The girls had spent their time socializing and watching the world go by from the top deck. We all went to bed, and awaited our next port.

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Margo, Jolene, Jessi, and Me
Margo, Jolene, Jessi, and Me
Merry Christmas! Its 80 degrees a…
Merry Christmas! It's 80 degrees …
Key West
photo by: X_Drive