We'll see how far I get with this blog entry - I missed yesterday's entry, because for a day at sea it was pretty busy, and all the short nights caught up with me so I took a long nap in the afternoon.
We had a big night Wednesday night - new show in the Animator's Palate restaurant, and new show, Wishes, in the Walt Disney Theater!
The Animation Magic show in Animator's Palate was excellent, and a whole lot of fun. I'll write about it in more detail later, but for those who haven't read about it elsewhere: all of the guests get to draw their own character on the "Magical Placemats" provided, and then, with a little Disney magic, these characters are animated and inserted into animated scenes that are projected on the screens in your section of the restaurant. The drawings are returned at the end of the evening.
I was so impressed by this - it was amazing what they could do with our little one-dimensional drawings, and so much fun to watch them move and dance across the screen.
We even got credit at the end of the show for being Guest Animators! They use the name you put on your placemat, so you might want to make it look a little more special. (Read more about Animation Magic in Deb Koma's blog, which includes a video interview with Imagineer Bob Zalk, HERE.)
After dinner we saw the new show, Wishes, in the Walt Disney Theater. Apparently as of a few months ago, Disney Cruise Line has imposed a "no photography" rule on all the ships. :-( So, no photos. I enjoyed the show - it's about three high school seniors who go for the "ride of their lives" at Grad Night at Disneyland. One tip for this show: I think you really need to sit in the middle section of the theater. We were off to the side so we couldn't see some of the video effects they used in the staging.
I found the plot much less contrived and forced than Believe or Disney Dreams, though I don't think that overall the production numbers were quite as good as those in Believe.
After the show we actually started off in O'Gills instead of Ooh La La - but we ended up in Ooh La La and had a lot of fun. But it was a pretty late night.
When we returned to our room we had another gift - a keel coin for the Disney Fantasy. Very cool.
We changed timezones that night, which made for an even shorter night. All of the gold and platinum Castaway Cay members on board had been invited to a special reception at 9:30 the next morning in the Walt Disney Theater, featuring a presentation by John Lasseter. Which meant we had to get up a lot earlier than we wanted to. But it was worth it!
He showed us lots of interesting photos and video clips - like of his senior project at the California School of the Arts, a couple of the shorts he made at Pixar for the SIGGRAPH conference, a video of the people at Pixar hearing that they had a green light to make Toy Story, scenes from Toy Story, The Incredibles and other movies, and previews of Wreck It Ralph and Brave. It was a fascinating couple of hours!
It sounds like they might be doing this kind of thing periodically for Castaway Club members. We certainly felt very privileged to be there!
Yesterday afternoon I went to a Champagne Tasting in Ooh La La with Lori (her husband didn't want to go and she offered his ticket to me. Thank you, Mike!). We tasted 4 champagnes and a champagne cocktail - the Elderbubble, which is one of my favorites.
Adriana, one of the bartenders in Ooh La La, was there, and did the presentation on the Elderbubble cocktail. George, one of the sommeliers, did the rest, and I learned a lot about champagne and the difference between cuvee and blanc du blanc and the difference between champagne and sparkling wine.
We had a very special show in the Walt Disney Theater last night - a concert feturing Stephen Schwartz and Lea Salonga. It was just wonderful! Stephen Schwartz wrote lyrics/music for Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, and Enchanted, as well as Broadway shows like Pippin, Godspell, and, probably his most famous, Wicked. He started out by playing piano and singing some of his Disney and Broadway songs, like Out There from Hunchback, Just Around the Riverbend from Pocahontas, a couple of songs from Pippin, Popular from Wicked, and Day by Day from Godspell. His wife came out and sang Now is the Time from Pippin.
Then Lea Salonga came onstage and they sang Whole New World (which he did not compose). Then she sang Colors of the Wind. One thing we didn't know - he was the original choice to compose the music for Mulan, but had another commitment. He still wrote some songs for it, though, and Lea sang his version of the "Reflection" song, which was called Written in Stone, and we thought it was quite good. Then she sang Reflection. It was really interesting how both songs conveyed the same idea, but in very different ways.
They performed a few others, but they really brought the house done with their encore, "Unlimited" from Wicked. Wow. It was Amazing.
We of course finished the evening in Ooh La La. It's gotten busier every night which is very nice for them, but it's not as quiet and intimate as it was the first few nights.
No sleeping in for us this morning because we started the docking process at Castaway Cay at about 7:30, and those stern thrusters provide quite a wakeup call for us.
We were doing the Castaway Cay 5K. No charge for this one, but we were supposed to meet in O'Gills at 9:15. We got there a little early but there were already quite a few people there - Lee found out later that 98 people signed up and this was the biggest turnout they have ever had. Lots of Disney race t-shirts in evidence! They looked at our Key to the World cards and assigned us a numbered bib. No charge, though, which was nice!
At about 9:30 they walked us off the ship and over to the start of the 5K, which is next to the bike rental place. We took some group photos with Donald Duck, and then they started the run. There was a race clock this time, which Lee said he did not remember being there when he did it in October. We ran along the bike path loop, then along the tram route to Serenity Bay, turned around at the end and did the same thing in reverse (another loop around the bike path). It was a warm and humid morning, but a little cooler than normal, for which I was very grateful. There was a pretty strong breeze, too. We both had good times, espespecially considering the heat - 27:50 for Lee and 29:35 for me.
At the end they had medals for us! That was a nice surprise. And at the shop right next to the finish line they had Castaway Cay 5K shirts for sale. The shirts were $21.95, and we bought them. $21.95 for a Disney race and t-shirt - that's actually a very good deal!
We walked back to the ship and met Deb Wills, and she took this photo of us.
After we'd showered we headed back out to the island. Our travel agent, Beci, of Mousefan Travel, had been able to book a cabana on the island and had invited all of us to join her. It was really wonderful! The cabana had a cooler inside stocked with fruit and drinks, and there were some snacks as well. There were tables and cushioned chairs inside, plus some lounges and a hammock outside. We had a call button to use when we wanted service. It was really great. Definitely the nicest day I've had on Castaway Cay!
The day started out warm and sunny, but quite windy - all of the excursions had to be canceled. After noon the clouds moved in and the wind really kicked up even a little more. We left the cabana about 3:30 (all aboard was 4:00), and by the time we arrive back at the ship it was looking very threatening - and within 10 minutes we had quite a squall, with rain, wind, and thunder and lightning. They even closed all the outside decks for a while.
(Lilo and Stitch were greeting guests on the dock and we got a photo with them before we boarded.)
Tonight we have to pack. :-( I really wish we had one more day!!!
The previous post in this blog was Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 5, Costa Maya.
The next post in this blog is Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage - Day 8 - Disembarkation.