Sept 2, 2010




A sad Goodbye to the ever so WONDERful Disney WONDER and a happy Hello to the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan and Old Key West


We woke up pretty early to discover that we had already docked at Port Canaveral. Since it was so early and we had a late breakfast reservation I went back to bed to sleep for a little longer. About an hour and a half later we both got up, took showers and got ready to leave our stateroom.

When we got down to Triton’s we discovered that they were running late and that the line of breakfast diners already snaked around the corner and down the hallway. We joined the line and after some time it eventually started to move. We still needed to hand out our tip envelopes, so it was good to see all the servers again. We were seated at a large table towards the back of the restaurant, Teresa and Mick arrived there too and our servers handed us the  breakfast menus.

We all ordered drinks, Tom ordered coffee, I ordered Tea and orange juice and again, the juice made it to the table, the tea did not. They put fruit plates on all the tables, but I don’t think any got eaten. We actually ordered our breakfast the other way around. Tom had what I had for my last farewell breakfast, the Route 66, scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled sausage, grilled ham, and hash browns. Standard fare, but it filled the spot. I got the Chef's Farewell, a large open faced omelet topped with barbecued chicken, green peppers, onions and melted Swiss cheese. It was not what I had expected, but then it might have been that we all were unhappy about leaving the ship. Once we had finished breakfast, we all said our final goodbyes, vowed to meet again on the DISboards and then it was time to leave the ship. We took our carry ons, walked past the Cast Members holding the See you real soon signs and signed off the ship.

In the large luggage room we found a porter to help us with our luggage. He loaded all our stuff onto his cart, got in line with us at immigration and customs and off we went, out to the parking lot to load everything back into the car. We asked the porter to just unload everything in front of the car, as we knew getting everything in would take a little more time and involved some luggage puzzle. After about 10 minutes everything was finally back in the car,

So, we got in and off we went. We needed to check in at Old Key West AND get to our reservation at Le Cellier before 12 noon. Soon we were happily driving along the freeway and about an hour and 15 minutes later we went under that most famous and well photographed arch that meant we were nearly back home at Old Key West. A very short time later we stopped in front of the guard’s house and we heard that welcoming sentence again, “Welcome home”.

We drove to the Hospitality House, parked our car, I took my new DCL Dooney and Bourke bag and in we went. All we wanted was to check in, pick up our Keys to the World and off we would go to Epcot for lunch. There were two Cast Members checking other people in, so we just got into the line and waited, but as soon as another Cast Member saw us, she waved us over to another desk and asked if she could help. We told her that we wanted to check in and that was when she realized all the Disney Cruise Line gear we were sporting.  So she started if we had just gotten off a cruise and how we had liked it and would we recommend it and and and …… Needless to say that we had a very nice and fun conversation and she told us that she was saving up for a Disney cruise and so looking forward to going on one herself. Then it was back to business and she checked us in. I asked if there was any chance we could have a villa on a higher floor and she said that we were on the second floor anyway, would we want to be any higher or if it was okay. We just don’t want to be on the ground floor, so we were happy with it. She processed our keys, took out the map, and wrote down the location and room number and we were just stunned that our room was actually ready and we could put our stuff in right away.

 So we drove back to Turtle Pond Road and we happily noticed that our villa was right close to the bus stop and even closer to the quiet pool. We had to search for the staircase to our villa a bit, but then we quickly took a look around the villa, before we walked back to our car to unload. It took about half an hour until we were settled in, fridge filled with the rest of the drinks we still had and luggage stowed before we were ready to head out again. It had been getting close to our ADR time, so we decided to just push our luck and head to the Beach Club to try and park there and head for the International Gateway to enter Epcot. So, when we drove up to the Beach Club Guard House we were happy to find out that they did not even ask why you were there

 We just showed our room key and again we heard that very soothing phrase “Welcome home”. So we parked our car, headed to the Beach Club, then further on to the International Gateway and over to Canada. We arrived there just in time for our reservation. while we were getting in line we could not help but notice that they were already turning guests without an ADR away. The waiting area was full of people.

We had checked in we were told to grab a seat if we could find one and that it would be a bit of a wait. So, when another party was called we finally got to sit down and there were Cast Members there to entertain the waiting guests, so we had a fun time waiting. We actually did not wait longer than about 5 minutes and then we were called to our table. Once we were seated and handed the menus our server came by almost immediately to introduce herself and to ask about our choices of beverage. We both ordered a Diet Coke and when they were served she also delivered the famous LeCellier bread trio and some butter. For this part of the trip we were on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan and were both able to order a starter. There was no doubt in our mind what it was going to be. We were going to share anyway, so we ordered a bowl of the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, made with Moosehead Beer and Smoked Bacon, which we love.

It is wonderful to dip the Pretzel bread in it, but even better to dip our second starter, the Spicy Chicken and Chipotle Sausage, with Roasted Corn Polenta and Sweet Onion Jam. We enjoyed our first course and soon after we had finished it our main courses arrived. I had ordered the Salmon Croque Madame Sandwich, with prosciutto, poached egg, and Blue Cheese Mornay Sauce and a side of Potato Salad, which was something totally different than what I usually order but it was so good! Unfortunately the portion was huge and I did not manage to finish it. Tom had the Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon - with wild mushroom risotto, white truffle and herb butter sauce. He really enjoyed it too. There was still dessert we had to conquer. I thought of playing it save and ordered the Maple Creme Brulee, which was nice but nothing special. Tom was brave enough to order a huge chocolate overload, the Chocolate on Chocolate Whiskey Cake - finished with Honey-Thyme Anglaise and a Chocolate-Vanilla Walnut Sauce, which he enjoyed very much, but he had to give up on finishing it too. Once we had settled the bill we walked outside into the blazing heat of an early September Florida afternoon. We strolled through Canada, slowly walked over to England and watched one of the Cast Members drawing games onto the ground and finally walked through the British Gardens.

We walked back to the car and since it was still early in the day, we wanted to do some shopping and fill up our fridge. So we drove over to Publix and spent quite some time shopping for groceries, snacks, drinks and a few things to take home to Austria with us. We then went down to Kissimmee and started looking for souvenirs and postcards. Since we were in Kissimmee already we could not help ourselves, but drive on until we would see that welcoming “Hot Now” sign.

Unfortunately we were still very full from lunch, but we picked up half a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, had one at the shop and took the rest home with us. When we had finished shopping we finally drove back to Old Key West, hauled everything up to our villa and then crashed on the couch in the living room. After a few refreshing drinks we did a few loads of laundry, watched a little TV, sat out on the balcony and talked about the fun time we had already had during this year’s vacation. At around 7pm we got ready to go out again. We had a reservation at the California Grill that evening and we wanted to hop over to the Magic Kingdom to watch the Main Street Electical Parade before that. So once we arrived at the Contemporary we walked upstairs to check out the stores, then hopped on the Monorail and went over to the Magic Kingdom. There were long lines getting into the park and we were amazed at how full the park still was. We had a little time to kill before the parade, so we walked over to one of our favourite rides, the Peoplemover. Once we had taken in the sights and sounds of the Magic Kingdom from our ride vehicle we slowly walked back to the Main Square to wait for the Parade to begin. We were amazed we actually found a good spot and waited for a while.

The parade was awesome and since it was one of the first Disney parades we ever experienced, it brings back some great memories. It was all over far too soon and we found ourselves swept out of the park. We had to fight the crowds who wanted to get to the Monorail and walked back over to the Contemporary. We were a little early, signed in and were told that they were running about 20 minutes behind.

Well, that’s the usual sentence you get checking in and we went upstairs, buzzer in hand. There were several groups waiting and we went to find a seat, but right there and then the buzzer went off. We could not believe it! We were led to a four top right opposite the sushi station and our friendly server welcomed us. She was very sweet and friendly but there was a huge problem. The fireworks were to start in about 5 minutes, so we asked if it was okay to go outside and watch them. Yes, it was okay, she was going to get our drinks in the meantime. So we hurried outside to the viewing platform, found a nice spot and a little while later the fireworks started.

They were wonderful as always and it never fails to amaze me to see how far away from the Magic Kingdom the fireworks are actually launched. We both love the fact that they pipe in the music, so you can experience the full magic of these fireworks. Once Wishes was over we walked back inside and our drinks were already on the table. Our server was quick to put some of their Sourdough bread onto our table, as well as some Butter with rock salt.

We then placed our orders for dinner. Sitting opposite the sushi station, it was pretty easy to talk Tom into ordering some sushi. He loves it and so he ordered the Spicy Kazan Roll, Crab, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Tuna and Fireball Sauce. I tasted a tiny bit and it was very nice ......... and hot. He really enjoyed it a lot. I cannot say no to the flatbreads they offer, they are just so good. So I gave in and ordered the "Chef's Garden" Flatbread, Heirloom Tomatoes with Baby Mozzarella, Balsamic Onions and Micro Basil. I tried hard but couldn't finish it all ...... and we still had two more courses to go. Tom had chosen fish for his main course. Tom's dish of choice was the  the Seared White Sea Bass, Portabellas, Baby Brussel sprouts, Brentwood Corn, Chipotle Salsa and Tomato Vinaigrette.

Here is where tasting each other's dishes is such a treat! Because this was just outstanding. But I was lucky with my choice as well. I had the Herb-grilled Lamb Chops with Kiln-dried Garbanzo Beans, Summer Vegetable Vinaigrette and Mint Chimichurri. Even though not something I would order every day, this was really wonderful. As always we were stuffed right after our entree, but our sweet server "insisted" we had dessert! Even though we felt full, she didn't have to twist our arms. Tom said he wanted something "light", so he got the Sweet Celebration, Florida Peach Crostata with Brown Sugar Sour Cream and White Peach Ice Cream. I know that there is always something on the menu there, that I love and so it was easy to order the Valhrona Chocolate Cake, warm chocolate cake with molten center, Cherry Compote and Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream. This is one of my favourite desserts at Walt Disney World.

We both worked hard to finish our desserts, but we both had to give in halfway through.  We had had a really late reservation and when we finally left the restaurant it was almost empty and they had already started to clear down several parts of the restaurant and prepare them for the next day. We said our goodbyes, picked up our car and went back to our home at Old Key West. Since we had gotten up rather early that day, we were both ready to go to bed once we had finally made our way up to our villa.