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September 25, 2014

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise - Part 4, The Food

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The end of another cruise...must mean it's time for a food blog!

We started with the buffet in Parrot Cay after we boarded. There were the usual types of selections. The peel-and-eat shrimp is always one of my favorites, and there were some nice salads, too.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

That first evening we were in Parrot Cay for dinner. We met our dining team; Barbie from Serbia was our server, and Tiago from Portugal was our assistant server. They were really good, and worked well together.

I started with the St. Maarten Stack. Layers of grilled squash and mozzarella, with tomato basil vinaigrette. This is one of those dishes I've had several times, but it's always a little different each time. It was quite good - maybe a little bit too much cheese for an appetizer.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee went with one of Barbie's recommendations: Baked Crab Martinique. It's a dip made with crab baked in cheese sauce, served with plantain chips and tortilla chips. He enjoyed it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

My second course was Spiced Tomato Soup. it was nice and hot when it was served to me - I've found that soups are often cooler than I would like. I wouldn't have called it "spiced", but it had a nice flavor.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee opted for the Parrot Cay Salad with iceberg, red peppers, cilantro, mandarin oranges and papaya. It was a tasty salad.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I ordered an entree salad: Shrimp and Avocado Salad. I was disappointed in this: the shrimp was not very good, and instead of "field greens" it was mostly iceberg. The snow peas, water chestnuts, and shredded carrots add some nice crunch and freshness.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had the Creole Crusted Grouper. I believe this was new on the menu since the last time we'd eaten in Parrot Cay (two years ago aboard the Magic). It was served over shrimp jambalaya rice with Cajun slaw. He really enjoyed it. I had a bite of the grouper and liked it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

For dessert I ordered one of the "no sugar added" desserts - the Silky Chocolate Mousse. It was good - nice and smooth, but still fairly light. I did not care for the chocolate on top; it was kind of gelatinous and just odd. As it turned out this was the best dessert I had all week.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I also received a bonus dessert because we were celebrating my birthday (it was the day before). This was a chocolate mousse cake. It was decent, but it also had that gelatinous chocolate on top. Ick.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee tried the Paradise Coconut Pineapple Layered Cake. Which I think wins an award for longest dessert name ever. :-) The cake was moist and nicely coconutty. It was a light and refreshing dessert.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We had breakfast in Beach Blanket Buffet in the morning, but I didn't take any photos. Pretty typical buffet items: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries, fruit, cereal, oatmeal.

After we left Victoria that day we went into the Outlook Cafe. There are a couple of refrigerated cases where they put "sweet bite" types of items in the morning and the afternoon. We tried a couple of mini mousse cakes and a brownie. They were pretty good.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

That evening we were in Triton's for dinner. It was the regular Triton's menu, featuring Continental cuisine. I started with the Potage Parmentier - which is the fancy term for potato leek soup. It had a good flavor, but I thought it was too thin.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee's appetizer was Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp, with asparagus and horseradish cream and dill dressing. He didn't make any particular comments about it one way or another.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Next I had a very nice salad: Red Wine Bosc Pear Salad. Arugula, sliced onions and crispy lardons topped with sliced pears poached in red wine. I really liked the pears.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had the Onion Soup Gratinee as his second course, and I had it as my entree. This is always good - I think I've ordered it on almost all of my cruises and I have never been disappointed. It's a generous serving, and very filling, which is why I ordered it as an entree. (I also ordered a side of steamed broccoli).

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee selected Lobster Macaroni as his entree. Elbow macaroni with gruyere and cheddar cheese sauce, and chunks of lobster. It wasn't the most attractive dish but the flavor was good.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I was not inspired by anything on the dessert menu, so I asked Barbie for a dish of the poached pears that had been on my salad. :-) They were good, though some of them were a little too crisp. They would have even better with some cinnamon-sugar.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee ordered one of his favorites: Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee. This is another selection that is always excellent.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After dinner we went to The Cadillac Lounge and had some Moet Ice Imperial champagne. I talked about this more in my cruise blog, but here's a photo of the glass, with the sliced strawberries, orange, and sprig of mint. It was very pretty.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

On our first day at sea we had brunch at Palo. This is always a wonderful experience. We were the first ones in the restaurant, so were the first people to see the buffet, and I was able to take photos before anyone had been through it and messed up the arrangement. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

A Peach Almond Souffle is a new offering among the hot entrees. We didn't try it, though now I wish we had - all in the name of research, of course. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I enjoyed a selection of chilled items, such as jumbo shrimp cocktail, hummus, caprese salad and several pastry items.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee's plate was a little more colorful, with a grilled scallop, foccacia, grilled vegetables, cheese, and one of those wonderful sticky buns.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

For round 2 I had some fruit, cheese, marinated olives and artichokes, and salmon mousse. The two cheeses (port cheddar and sage cheddar) were especially good. I wasn't a fan of the salmon mousse.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I ordered the Chicken Parmesan. That a specialty at Palo, and it's always good. Nice crunch on the chicken, but it was tender inside, and I like the tomato sauce.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee is a pizza fan, so he had the sausage pizza. He must have liked it, because he ate the whole thing.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

A glass of champagne, mimosa, or sparkling cider is included with brunch. We also ordered some additional wine - Lee had a glass of Rosa Regale and I had a glass of prosecco. Both very nice with brunch items.

And then there was dessert, of course. I tried a champagne fruit cup, chocolate covered strawberry, and a pastry twist filled with Nutella.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

It was a really nice way to spend part of our morning. There aren't a lot of tables in Palo to begin with, and then they space the diners out so that not all of the tables are occupied at the same time. It's nice and quiet; a very relaxing dining experience.

No lunch for us that day, since brunch was late and we had the early dinner sitting.

We were back in Triton's for dinner again. Because this was a short cruise, Disney combined Pirate Night with Toy Story Night. We had the Toy Story menu in the dining rooms, and the show in the theater, followed by the Pirate Night deck party and fireworks.

The Toy Story menu was new to us, so I was looking forward to trying something different. Many of the menu items were named after characters from the Toy Story movies.

I started with Al's Miso Chicken Noodle Soup. This was supposed to have parsley dumplings in it, but mine had no dumplings, and Lee's had only one. It had a good flavor, with lots of vegetables, but there was no chicken in it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Next course was Jessie's Flat Asparagus Salad with new potatoes, mache, and endive. This was not at all what I expected; I was expecting lots of greens, and there were hardly any. I don't believe there was any mache - just endive. And radishes, which were not on the menu. But I like radishes, so that was ok.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had The Prospector, which was flatbread with chicken, red onion, pears, walnuts and blue cheese. He enjoyed it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

For my entree I chose Pan-seared Filet of Sea Trout "Lotso". This was served with onion puree and sweet pea and herb dressing. This was not what I expected from the description - rather than onion puree it was served over what seemed like mashed potatoes, and the "sweet pea dressing" was just peas. It really needed a sauce as the fish didn't have a lot of flavor. The entire dish was kind of bland. It was also a pretty small serving.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee went with Barbie's recommendation: Sheriff Woody's Favorite Marinated Delmonico Rib-Eye Steak This was a large piece of meat served with sweet potato gratin, collard greens, and baby carrots. He enjoyed his dinner though it was a challenge to finish the steak so he could be in the Clean Plate Club and have dessert.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I was uninspired by the dessert menu, but ordered the Sweet Temptations: Opera Slice, Jessie's White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake (which just took the title of longest dessert name), and Poached Bosc Pear Almond Tart. Surprisingly the cheesecake was my favorite - I'm not much of a fan or cheesecake or white chocolate.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

But I ended up not eating much of any of it because Barbie brought me a different dessert: the Silky Chocolate Mousse I'd had the first night. Other than the weird chocolate stuff on top it was good - better than the other dessert choices.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee ordered the Buzz Light Ice Cream Sundae, which was bubblegum ice cream, marshmallows, fudge sauce, whipped cream and a cherry. It was very blue. :-) And the ice cream really tasted like bubblegum. And Lee's lips and tongue were very blue when he finished it. Lee really enjoyed it. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Overall I was disappointed with the Toy Story menu. The menu descriptions didn't match what I received so I didn't get what I was expecting. Also, the serving size of all the items that I had were pretty small. Now, the selections Lee made (with the exception of the soup) were very generous, so perhaps I just didn't make good choices - but still, I normally expect the serving sizes to be pretty consistent.

On our second sea day we went to Triton's for breakfast. I ordered oatmeal, and fresh fruit and yogurt, with a side of scrambled eggs. Nothing too magic about that. :-) I expected that the fruit would be berries and raisins and maybe bananas, but it was melon - and mostly watermelon, at that. Melon with yogurt was very odd.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had the Disney Cruise Line Breakfast Trio, with French toast, Belgian waffle, pancake, and bacon. He enjoyed it. The French toast had cinnamon sugar on it, and looked pretty good.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

One issue I've had on Disney cruises with hot beverages, especially at breakfast, is that the cups are ridiculously small. The servers are pretty good about coming around with coffee, but I drink tea, and there's a lot of times I'm not even offered additional hot water for my too-small cup. I found the servers on this cruise were much more attentive, and only once was I not offered additional hot water - and a couple of times it was refilled twice. Of course my favorite was Palo, where they brought me a personal pot of hot water, and then refilled that.

We went back to Parrot Cay for lunch. It was a seafood buffet, similar to what was offered on embarkation day. This is actually Lee's plate.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

He had a couple of desserts, too.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Our final night dinner was in Animator's Palate. The Wonder is the only Disney ship that still has the original technology in Animator's Palate. It still looks good, and had I not seen the newer version of Animator's in the other ships I think I would still be pretty impressed.

The menu has had some changes over the years. I was disappointed that my favorite appetizer, the Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake, is no longer on the menu. Barbie said that too many guests were confused by it, and expected it to be sweet when it was savory. Instead I ordered the Tomato Tarte with goat cheese and radish salad. It was excellent - maybe the best appetizer that I had. The crust was puff pastry, and it was nice and crispy. It was also a good-sized serving. I shared a little with Lee, but I ate most of it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes. It was tortellini filled with truffle-scented cheese and served with a champagne sauce. He enjoyed them.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Next for me was Arugula and Curly Endive Salad with chorizo, dried figs, and a cider dressing, though I requested that the chorizo be left off. The greens were good and I liked the dressing, but the figs were a bit odd.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee ordered the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup. This one has been on the menu as long as I've been cruising, and it's always been pretty good.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

As my entree I had the Seared Red Snapper with scallops, served over crushed potatoes. The menu said it was served with salsa verde, but as you'll see in the photo, that's a red sauce and not a green sauce. :-) I don't care for scallops, so I gave that to Lee, but the fish was good. (And Lee says the scallop was very good.)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee had the Ginger-Teriyaki Dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin, served with bok choy, wasabi mashed potatoes and a tamarind-BBQ reduction which he really enjoyed.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

There was a new item on the menu that looked very interesting: Potato, Celeriac, and Onion Gratin, so I ordered that too. It was served over collard greens, which did not appeal to me, but the gratin was very good. Rich and cheesy and very filling. I would order this again, but request steamed broccoli in place of the collard greens.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee and I both ordered the Crunchy Walnut Cake. The name of this does not at all describe it - it's quite misleading. It's really a pretty nice dark chocolate mousse cake with a nut and chocolate crust. It was pretty good. And it didn't have that weird layer of chocolate gelatin on top. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The next morning we were back in Animator's Palate for our early (7:00) breakfast. As usual, there weren't a lot of early morning diners; only one other couple from our table was there. This is a pretty basic menu - they want to feed us fast and get us off the ship. :-)

I was pretty boring - just had granola and yogurt.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee ordered his usual: The Chef's Farewell. It's an open-faced omelet with peppers, BBQ chicken, onions, and Swiss cheese that he really enjoys.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

And that was our last meal aboard a Disney ship until November, when we'll be back on the Dream for a four-night cruise.

I'd say that overall the food was good but not outstanding. As I mentioned I was pretty disappointed in the Toy Story menu, though the Animator's Palate menu had some new (to me) offerings that I really enjoyed. I wish that the descriptions on the dessert menus were more accurate. There's menu items that aren't at all what I expect based on the writeup, some that when I see them I wish I'd ordered them, and others that I'm disappointed in because they don't live up to my expectations. Lee and I talked some about this after the cruise and he has a theory that sometimes the food that gets delivered to the ship for a given cruise either doesn't have enough of some ingredients or they are not of good enough quality, so the chefs improvise and swap ingredients.

September 24, 2014

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise - Part 3, Sea Days

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Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Wednesday - Day at Sea

Ahhh...the first of two glorious, relaxing days at sea! Though they never seem to be as relaxing as I expect them to be...there's just too many things to do!

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I wasn't sure what kind of sea state we would have once we reached the Pacific Ocean, but it felt pretty smooth. Lots of chop and whitecaps, but the swells were under 5', and in a ship the size of the Wonder we didn't feel it very much.

I got up about 7:00 and went for a run on deck 4. The temperature was in the low 60s and it felt WONDERFUL. We've had an unusually warm summer in California, and I can count on one finger the number of runs I've done this summer when the temperature was under 70. This was perfect. They say that 3 laps around the ship is 1 mile, but I think it's a little short of a mile. I had a nice run, though almost invariably when I needed to pass someone, it was ALWAYS in the narrow sections at the bow and the stern. That's not even 1/3 of the course, so it's odd that it seems to be that way more often than not. (In all fairness I must disclose that on the latter part of my run I passed several people on the wider parts.) Some people are really good about watching for and yielding to faster people, while others are clueless - even when you pass them for the second or third time! Sigh.

We had a special treat later in the morning - brunch at Palo! I know I've said this before, but that's my favorite meal aboard any Disney cruise ship. We were the first people there and had a prime table for two at the window looking toward the stern of the ship.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

There are so many choices for brunch! An entire table of seafood, a table of pastries, another of cheeses and breads, one for vegetables and hors d'oeuvres, and of course a dessert table. It isn't a typical brunch buffet in that there are no hot dishes served buffet style, such as eggs and bacon. Instead, you order from a selection of brunch entrees. There are flatbread pizzas, Eggs Benedict, Florentine, and Julia, a frittata, pancakes, and offerings you don't necessarily associate with brunch such as chicken parmesan and tilapia.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

They had a couple of new entrees available, though we didn't try them - one was an almond/peach souffle but I don't remember the other. There were a couple of different pastry items and a dessert that all featured Nutella - yum. The sticky buns are smaller than they used to be, though that's not necessarily such a bad thing.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

My birthday was the day before the cruise started, but apparently we were still celebrating it. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We went out of there pleasantly full but not stuffed. Such a nice way to spend part of our morning!

Back to our room for a quick change of clothes, and then we were off to the Cadillac Lounge for the Stem to Stern wine tasting session. This was one of the events we booked when we first boarded the ship on Monday. There were four glasses in front of us, but we were in for an additional treat: the American wine ambassador for Krug Champagne was on our cruise. He spoke to us about Krug, and we tried two glasses of Krug champagne - a non-vintage champagne and their rose champagne. Both were good, but a little dry for my taste. He was a very engaging speaker, and we enjoyed his presentation. (There wasn't room for all six glasses on the table, so the photo below shows the two glasses of Krug and two of red wine.)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The Wine Team had us do a blind tasting for the four wines they had chosen: a moscato, chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. We always find these sessions very interesting, though I can rarely detect the scents they say are in the wines. :-) But supposedly there are no wrong answers. "Pears" for white wines and "blackberries" for red wines always seem to be pretty safe. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After all that food and wine we were ready for a NAP! :-) We had a lazy afternoon, and watched the end of Cars 2 on our stateroom TV.

Since this was only a four-night cruise Disney combined Toy Story and Pirate Nights. The dining rooms served the Toy Story menu, and Toy Story: The Musical was the show in the Walt Disney Theater. Later on deck was the Pirate Party and the fireworks, followed by the Pirate Dessert Buffet in Beach Blanket.

We didn't bring all of our pirate attire, and instead just wore our pirate tech shirts from Ink-n-Burn, though Lee also had his pirate hat. We saw a number of guests who had very elaborate pirate outfits.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We were in Triton's for dinner again. This was the first time we'd had the Toy Story menu, but I'll have more on that in the food blog. After dinner we went to see Toy Story - because it's only on the Wonder we haven't seen it as many times as the other shows. It was very popular - there weren't very many empty seats in the theater. I think it's very well done and I enjoyed it. Oh, and before the show there was a nice sunset.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After the show we stopped back in the stateroom so I could change from skirt to pants - I thought it might be cool and windy on deck. It turned out to be a very pleasant night, and I was warm enough with just a light windbreaker. We saw the end of the pirate show with the characters, and watched Mickey make his slide between the two smokestacks, and then the fireworks started. This was the first time they had shot off the fireworks in several months - it's not permitted in Alaska, and the crew had been looking forward to the show, also.

Back in the stateroom our latest towel animal was a crab. I made the mistake of turning the TV on, and we got caught up in watching the last 25 minutes of Cinderella before we went to bed. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Thursday - Day at Sea

We actually slept in until almost 7:30 - that's late for us. Lee went running and I went walking. The ocean was even calmer - no whitecaps and very little swell. It was a little warmer than the day before, but still very pleasant for exercising.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Lee wanted a sit-down breakfast so we went to Triton's. They were busy and it took a while to get our food, but we weren't in a hurry to get anywhere.

At noon we went back to the Cadillac Lounge for the Chocolate and Liquor session. As you can see in the photo below our little table was covered in glasses and chocolate! The tasting paired Tattinger champagne with white chocolate, Lasseter Family Paysage with dark chocolate, Glen Morangie Scotch whiskey with caramel chocolate, and Noval port with parmesan cheese. The port and cheese were really good together - that was my favorite. The port wasn't as sweet and raisiny as they sometimes are. I'm not a scotch fan, but the chocolate really softened the alcohol bite of the scotch.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The Krug ambassador was at this tasting, also, so as a bonus we received a glass of Krug rose to finish off the session. Very nice. We spoke to him afterward and told him he was be the most popular guy on the planet - spreading champagne wherever he goes! :-)

Partway through the captain interrupted us with his daily ship report - it's a ship-wide announcement that takes over the PA system, so we had to listen. While I didn't hear any boos there was definitely some grumbling - interrupting people who are enjoying chocolate and wine does not make one very popular. :-) In addition to the the usual information on ship position, weather, arrival time in San Diego, etc., he had some additional comments for passengers who would be staying on the Wonder for the Panama Canal cruise. Because of Hurricane Odile, the Wonder was probably going to have to alter its course to avoid the storm and sail further west, omitting the planned ports of call in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps even staying an extra night in San Diego. (As it turned out the Wonder left San Diego Friday evening as scheduled, but bypassed the Mexico ports.)

We'd planned to see Maleficent at 1:00 but the session ran a little long, and we were chatting with the Krug ambassador, so we would've been about 10 minutes late. Since we had some time I took some photos of the area around the Cadillac Lounge.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The adult area on the Wonder is called Route 66 (designed long before Cars came out), and that's reflected in some of the decor.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We went to lunch in Parrot Cay, which was a seafood buffet. We arrived toward the end of the lunch service, and after about 20 minutes they started shutting down the buffet. Though we were told not to rush, it was a little uncomfortable being there when everyone was busy cleaning up and setting tables for dinner, so we didn't linger.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Since we missed Maleficent we went to see Planes: Fire and Rescue at 3:00 instead. We hadn't seen the movie Planes, but that didn't seem to matter. We really enjoyed Fire and Rescue. My dad is a member of a search and rescue team, so the movie had some additional meaning to me. And since we are very familiar with Yosemite National Park, we found the the look of Piston Peak National Park, a visual mashup of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, especially interesting. It was very entertaining.

Hard to believe that it was already our final evening on board...we went back to Outlook Cafe for a pre-dinner drink. It was too warm in the enclosed rooms on the sides, but it was nice and cool at the bar in the middle. I had another Toblerontini and Lee had a Mint Chocolate Coffee beverage. It took a long time for them to make his because they were out of creme de menthe and couldn't find another bottle.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Our final dinner was in Animator's Palate. Compared to the newer ships (and the updated version on the Magic), it looked rather old-fashioned. But I still enjoyed the server parade and their costume transformation from black and white to color, which they don't do on the newer ships.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After dinner we went to the Cadillac Lounge to enjoy a last glass of Ice Imperial. Our server again brought us berries and truffles. We had a chance to chat with him a little bit - he had also been on the Fantasy's maiden voyage, though not working the bars we frequented.

Once we finished our glass (and our berries and truffles) we went back to our stateroom to pack. Even though we were carrying our bags off ourselves, we still needed to get most of the packing done so we'd be ready to leave in the morning.

We had a cat - looks like the Cheshire Cate, to me.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise


Friday - San Diego

The captain had told us we'd be picking up the pilot about 5:45, but when I woke up at 5:45 and looked outside we were almost in the channel entering the harbor. We'd wanted to be on deck as we sailed into San Diego, so we quickly dressed and went up to deck 10. There were more people there than I expected considering that it was only 6:00. We went by the building that I work in, though not many people were there at that point. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

It was a nice sail-in past North Island and the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. Coronado Bridge is in the background.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We arrived at the dock at 6:30 and the captain blew the "Mickey Whistle" - we could hear it echo through downtown. Good morning, San Diego. :-) He blew it again about 5 minutes later.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Breakfast was at 7:00 for us - we had enough time to go back the stateroom and finish the last of the packing before that. There were only four of us at our table, and breakfast on the last morning is always pretty fast because they are trying to get everyone off the ship. :-)

We finished up about 7:45 and walked off the ship about 8:00. They were still staging bags, so only express walk-offs were allowed at that point. It didn't take us very long to get through Immigration and Customs.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

My friend Nancy came to pick us up - we'd left my car at her house. We dropped her off and then drove to work...not the greatest way to end a vacation, but it saves us a day of vacation that we can use later this year - for our next cruise in November, actually. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Since we were headed to work I don't think we should like quite so happy in this photo!

It was a nice vacation - it just went too fast!

Coming next: The Food Blog

September 23, 2014

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise - Part 2, Victoria

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Tuesday - Victoria

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Victoria was our only port of call on this cruise. Since it's not very far from Vancouver, we spent a lot of the night not moving very fast. :-) We'd already made it into port by the time we got up.

We went up to Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast. It was about 7:00, so not too many people were up yet and it wasn't crowded. It was a beautiful morning! The last time we arrived in Victoria it was cloudy and drizzly, though it cleared up later in the day.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

My favorite thing to do in Victoria is visit the Butchart Gardens, so we'd booked an Adult only tour. I wish Disney would offer a tour JUST of Butchart Gardens so that we could have maximum time there, but this one included a "short city drive" (others included afternoon tea at the Gardens or a stop at the Butterfly Garden, but they were all the same length of time).

RANT ON
The excursion ticket very clearly said to meet at 8:45 in Wavebands. And throughout the morning multiple shipwide announcements had been made reminding passengers that all adults needed a Key to the World card AND a photo id to depart the ship. At 8:55 - 10 minutes late - a guy shows up with JUST his Key to the World card, and has to run back to his stateroom and get ids for himself and his mother. So we end up being 20 minutes late leaving the ship. Come on, people, show some consideration for your fellow tour members and show up on-time and ready to go!
RANT OFF

The tour started with a drive along some of the waterfront and park areas. Our bus driver shared lots of interesting information about Victoria. For example, Victoria is considered a very desirable retirement location, and has a very high population of retirees. And about half of them are over the age of 80! (Later at lunch we shared a table with a couple of those retirees, who if they weren't over 80, were close, and they were delightful.)

With the city tour the drive to Butchart Gardens took about 45 minutes. For those who don't know the history of Butchart Gardens...it was originally a limestone quarry. After the limestone was removed, which of course left an ugly hole in the ground, Jenny Butchart, the wife of the owner, put the first garden there - the Sunken Garden. Over the years additional gardens were added, but I'll have more on those.

We arrived at the garden and the driver told us to be back at the bus in an hour and a half. That's not nearly enough time to see everything, so I found that quite frustrating. Though at least for this tour we were on our own in the garden, and not expected to tour as part of a larger group.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

This was my fourth visit to the Butchart Gardens over the years. Twice in the month of July, and my most recent visit was at the beginning of May in 2011, when we stopped in Victoria on the Pacific Coast repositioning cruise prior to the first Alaska cruise. All that being the long way of saying that I saw different flowers than on my other visits. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The Sunken Garden is always a highlight - in addition to all of the flowers there's trees and shrubs and the animated fountain.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

There was a very large display of dahlias in all sorts of sizes and colors. Those were flowers I hadn't seen there before. And some of them were enormous!

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

The last time I was here it was early May and the rose garden was more like a stick garden :-) This time the roses were still in full bloom. I believe our driver told us that are 250 varieties of roses, and over 2500 plants. They were beautiful - there were roses from all over the world.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We also went through the Italian Garden and the Japanese Garden.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I had to rush more than I would've liked, but I still had some time to hit the gift shop before it was time to go back to the bus - we arrived with a couple minutes to spare.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

RANT ON
We arrived on time, as did most of our fellow tour members, and then we proceeded to wait 25 minutes for three people who never did show up. We finally left without them. As far as I'm concerned we should've left sooner. This has happened to me on other tours and it's very annoying to have to wait on people who apparently feel they are special and can do what they want with no regard for the rest of us.
RANT OFF

Once we returned to Victoria our bus driver stopped in front of the Empress Hotel. Anyone who wished to could get off there rather than taking the bus back to the ship.
From the waterfront area Disney had a free shuttle to take us back, or we could walk - it was just over a mile to the ship. Most people stayed on the bus, but a few of us took the opportunity since it would give us a little more time to sight see. Though thanks to all of the late people on our tour we didn't have quite as much time as we should have. We took the opportunity to wander through the Empress Hotel - they were serving tea, but there was a line and I didn't think we'd have enough time to enjoy it.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

This is a weeping sequoia tree in front of the hotel - I thought it looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Our bus driver had recommended Barb's Fish and Chips in Fisherman's Wharf, which was on our way if we walked back to the ship. It's fairly popular and we had a little bit of a wait to get our two-piece combo with chips and coleslaw. It was pretty good, though I've had better.

We enjoyed our walk back - it was really a gorgeous day in Victoria. From the dock we had a very nice view of the Wonder.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We arrived back on board about 2:30 and the Wonder pulled away from the port about 3:30. Once we got clear the captain really started to put on some speed - it was a long way to San Diego (there were no other ports).

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We went to the Outlook Cafe (enclosed area above Cove Cafe) and tried a couple of their specialty drinks - I had the Toblerontini, and Lee had the Toledo Coffee. Both pretty to look at, but I think mine tasted better. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I really like the Outlook Cafe area, but because of the enclosure it gets VERY warm in there if the weather is nice. It was warm enough that we didn't want to sit there very long.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I always find it kind of amazing that even on a ship with 2100 people on board, there's times when it seems very empty. This was taken at 4:11 p.m.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

That night was semi-formal night, though Cruise Casual was acceptable dress as well. The Golden Mickeys was the featured show, but we've seen that before - and most recently at Hong Kong Disneyland, where it is a much better show. Or maybe that's because I couldn't understand what was being said. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We had dinner in Triton's, which is a lovely restaurant. Beautiful mosaic on the wall.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After dinner, since we weren't going to the show, we went to The Cadillac Lounge, which is the quieter piano bar on the Wonder. Very few people in there. We ordered a bottle of our favorite Moet Ice Imperial champagne. Our server put strawberries, an orange slice and some mint leaves in our glasses - that was excellent! Made it even more refreshing. He also brought us a plate with some strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and a couple of truffles.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

There was a pianist there when we arrived, but he took his break and a guitar player took over. She played music that was much more our style. It was all a wonderful way to end our day.

That night's towel creation was a dinosaur.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Coming Next: Days at Sea


September 22, 2014

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise - Part 1, Vancouver

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Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise


It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since we last took a Disney cruise, and yet this is one that we've had planned for quite a long time!

The Disney Wonder has been over on our side of the continent for several months and made several stops in San Diego this season as it made its way to/from Alaska. When the 2014 itineraries were announced, one of the ones that caught our eye was the four-night repositioning cruise at the end of the Alaska season. Start in Vancouver and end in San Diego, with a stop in Victoria along the way. We just couldn't resist the opportunity to have the Disney Wonder bring us back home!

And since the cruise began on a Monday, the timing also worked well to add a few days in Vancouver to the start of the trip. Three years ago we really enjoyed our day in Vancouver when we stopped there for a day on our back-to-back repositioning/first Alaska cruise, and wanted to have time to see more of the city.

We flew to Vancouver on Friday, September 5, and arrived around 5:00. We hadn't flown into Vancouver before - I thought the international terminal was very nice with lots of interesting displays/artwork welcoming us to Canada.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We stayed at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in downtown Vancouver. We found it very convenient - almost everything we were interested in was within a 15-20 minute walking distance. And we walked a LOT. Friday night we had a great dinner at Joe Fortes - they had fresh wild-caught sockeye salmon, and it's the best salmon we have ever had. We walked around downtown a big after dinner and went by this really interesting-looking building - it's the Vancouver Public Library - it only looks like the Colosseum . :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Saturday we had a wonderful visit to Granville Island in the morning, and enjoyed wandering through the Public Market (beautiful produce!) and shops.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We also enjoyed sampling some beers at the Granville Island Brewery.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Later in the afternoon we walked down to the seawall and over to Stanley Park, where we saw the totem poles and the 'Girl in Wetsuit' statue, and wandered a bit in the gardens. Beautiful weather that day - in the high 70s.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We had dinner in the Gastown area (lots of bars and restaurants and very reminiscent of our Gaslamp district in San Diego) at a pub called Six Acres, which was very good. On the walk to the pub we passed the Steam Clock, which yes, runs on steam, and chimes on the quarter hour. It's hard to see in the photo, but there's steam coming out the top. (Though it looks old, it was actually built in 1977.)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

On Sunday morning we took the SeaBus (passenger ferry) over to North Vancouver and then took the bus to Lynn Canyon. There's a (free) suspension bridge there (as opposed to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which you pay for), and lots of hiking and biking trails. We got a fairly early start and were at the park before 10:00. When we left around 11:45 there were a LOT more people around. But it was another beautiful day - a little cooler than Saturday.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

That evening we went back to Gastown and had dinner at a pizza place - Nicli Antica. Neapolitan pizza, which was pretty good. And they served the best Sangria I think I have ever had.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We didn't need to check out of the hotel until noon, so that gave us plenty of time on Monday morning to go out and take a nice walk to Stanley Park again, though this time we went to the southeastern side. We finally saw in person this rock sculpture that we'd seen depicted in so many photos and other artwork around Vancouver. It's called an Inuksuk - an Inuit word.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

On the nearby beaches we saw some other rock formations - we call these "hoodoos" when we find them in Yosemite. As you can see below, some of them are pretty impressively balanced!

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

In addition to walking along the seawall we took a couple of trails through the woods. It was a lovely walk.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

As we walked back to the hotel along the harbor we caught our first sight of the Disney Wonder!

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We were packed and showered and checked out by 11:30. It was a short taxi ride to Canada Place and the cruise ship terminal. There were already people there, but it wasn't too crowded. They started boarding not too long after we checked in, so we didn't have to wait too long.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We had studied the Navigator while waiting, so we knew our first stop was going to be WaveBands to sign up for some of the beverage tasting sessions. That was easy.

Next on our agenda was lunch, so we went to Parrot Cay. We were early, and it wasn't crowded when we got there, though that didn't last long. I always enjoy the peel-and-eat shrimp on the buffet.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

After lunch we still had some time before we could get into out stateroom, so we wandered around the ship. I have to say the Wonder still looks really good. It's a year newer than the Magic, which underwent an extensive refurbishment last year, so I was expecting that the Wonder might be showing some signs of age, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The public areas are in great condition.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

I think where I saw the most signs of wear and tear were in our stateroom, but even there it's not bad - just small things like dings in the paint and furniture, and carpet that is not new. Pretty small stuff. We were on the Magic a year before its refurb, and at that time I felt that it definitely needed some TLC, but I don't feel the same way about the Wonder. (One thing missing in the stateroom photo below is our Castaway Club gift - I had to call Guest Services twice, and it was finally delivered Wednesday afternoon.)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

While we were wandering we saw that one of the lifeboats was open, so we took a look inside. That's as close as I ever want to get to the inside of a lifeboat. :-)

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Though the morning had been cloudy and cool, it turned into a beautiful afternoon with lots of sunshine. We really had great weather in Vancouver. It was very nice for the sailaway party, though we were in a DVC Member reception and missed it. We made it up on deck in time to watch us sail past Stanley Park, though.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

We had early dinner seating (which we prefer) and were seated with three other couples in Parrot Cay. (Of course it's Parrot Cay. Our cruises always start with us being in Parrot Cay - or its equivalent on the other ships.) I'll have a food blog later. Our server was Barbie from Serbia, and the assistant is Tiago from Portugal. Barbie is excellent, and one of the best servers we've had. Our Head Server was Simone, from Italy - he was the head server both times I'd been on the Dream, and he's very good.

After dinner we saw a nice sunset from deck 4 and then went to Diversions to watch the Chargers play on Monday Night Football. There were quite a few other Chargers fans in there. Unfortunately they lost because they made mistakes that Arizona took advantage of, but it was still a good game.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Back in our stateroom we found our first towel animal - I think it's a bear.

Disney Wonder Pacific Coast Cruise

Coming next: Victoria

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About Pacific Coast 2014

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Pacific Coast 2014 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Norway 2015 is the previous category.

Re-Imagined Magic 2013 is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.