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December 20, 2007

MouseFest Cruise Wednesday - Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Good Morning from Deck 10 of the Disney Wonder ! It was a rainy and overcast morning but that didn't damper anyone's spirits on our final day of the cruise because we were about to start the most important meet of the MouseFest Cruise.

At 8:00am, about 40 early risers gathered for Deb Wills's 2nd Annual "Walk Stroll, Roll the Plank" against Breast Cancer. The meet was scheduled to be hosted by Deb Wills.

MouseFest Strollers fighting Breast Cancer
The MouseFest Strollers for Breast Cancer


Deb, who is a 21 year cancer survivor, has taken on the challenge of raising a large amount of money to fight breast cancer for both women and men. She has done an unprecedented job over the years. Last year alone due to her non-stop efforts and with the help of many AllEars.Net readers and supporters over $35,000 was raised and donated to Avon Breast Cancer Fund.

Sadly, Deb Wills was unable to attend this year's event. But as luck would have it, Miss Dee Vah, a tireless campaigner for raising funds for Breast Cancer stepped in to take Deb's place.

Miss Dee Vah makes her grand appearance
 Miss Dee Vah makes her grand appearance<br />


This is Miss Dee Vah's second appearance at this annual event as Deb was unable to attend in 2006 also. May I say, she did a spectacular job of rallying the "strollers" as we made our way around the top deck of the Disney Wonder.

The most exciting moment came before the stroll began as Beci Mahnken from MouseFanTravel.Com presented Miss Dee Vah a check for $1,555. Nice job, MouseFanTravel! Miss Dee Vah had tears in her eyes as she accepted the check on the behalf of Deb Wills for Avon Breast Cancer Research.

Everyone looks on as…

Everyone looks on as……


Beci presents Miss Dee Vah with a check for $1,555 from MouseFanTravel for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
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Tagrel's Figgy, Dick and Ms. Dee Vah

Figgy, Dick and Ms. Dee Vah

Ray Sharpton and Ms. Dee Vah
Ray Sharpton and Ms. Dee Vah

Matt and Miss Dee Vah
Matt and Miss Dee Vah


Strolling the Deck to fight Breast Cancer
Strolling the Deck

Katie and Tim
Special Note from Deb: It was an extra special cruise for me as Tim, Katie and I were able to spend some time together. Tim lost his dear wife and Katie's mother, Barb, to breast cancer several years ago. I have dedicated the last several Avon Walks in Barb's memory.
”Katie


Brenda, Ann, George, Debra and Ray
 Brenda, Ann, George, Debra and Ray<br />

Kathy and Tim Love
 Kathy and Tim Love

Another stroll around Deck 10!
 Another stroll around Deck 10!

Doris and Miss Dee Vah
 Doris and Miss Dee Vah

Michele, Jimmy and Miss Dee Vah
 Michele, Jimmy and Miss Dee Vah

Miss Dee Vahand Tacey
 Miss Dee Vah and Tacey

Joan and Kevin Finder present Miss Dee Vah with a gift
 Joan and Kevin Finder present Miss Dee Vah with a gift

Ann Freeman gets Miss Dee Vah's autograph
Ann Freeman gets Miss Dee Vah's autograph


Ray Sharpton gets a Kiss from Miss Dee Vah
Ray Sharpton gets a Kiss from Miss Dee Vah

Julia and Miss Dee Vah
Julia and Miss Dee Vah

WDW Today Podcaster's Mike and Matt with Miss Dee Vah
 WDW Today Podcaster's Mike and Matt with Miss Dee Vah

Read more about Deb's efforts in the fight against Breast Cancer!

December 16, 2007

MouseFest Cruise - Day 2 - December 3 - Nassau Part 2

 Welcome Center


Here's a brief recap of Part 1 of this blog, which features Dave Marx's Annual Walking Tour of Nassau. We gathered at the Walt Disney Theatre, passed through the Rawson Square Welcome Center and Market, headed up Bay Street, visited the Christ Church, I fell down and made a fool of my myself and finally we stopped by the Government House where Dave gave us some info about the Bahamian Government. That's my Reader's Digest version.

The next area of interest was the Financial District. We made our way across Market Street to Peck's Slope, an unmarked lane on the left in the picture below. This first picture looks very peaceful but I think this was the only "second" that cars and trucks were not racing through the intersection.


Walking To Banking Building

Providence House


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Our goal of the walk was to reach three of the most popular tourist spots that are located at the highest point is Nassau; Fort Fincastle, the Water Tower and the Queen's Staircase located on Bennett's Hill.

This is where the tour became very interesting. As we closed in on our goal, we passed the Police Headquarters and crossed East Street. The neighborhood took a turn for the worst but we soldiered on. I will say that I was very glad to be in large group as they say there is strength in numbers. Personally, I would not advise you taking this route, if walking. You can reach the Queen's Staircase and Bennett's Hill from the downtown area of Nassau and walk up to the Water Tower and Fort, the reverse of our route. We finished at the Queen's Staircase and walked down the stairs.

Police Department

Crossing East St


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 House With Tower

Finally we reached the Water Tower. MouseFest-ers Joan and Kevin took a moment to pose for us as we arrived. The last hill was a killer. There is small market of local vendors that sells souvenirs and thankfully, cold drinks. The final part of the walk was tough but well worth it when we saw the view of the island from the top of Fort Fincastle.

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Fort Fincastle Exteror

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Atlantis Resort From Fort Fincastle

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Linda Mac and Brenda

Kevin and Joan


Nassau's most visited attraction is the Queen's Staircase. The set of 65 steps, recently renovated, carved out of solid lime stone by slaves in the late 18th century, between 1793 and 1794. It is reported that slaves were forced to cut through rocks with axes and other sharp hand tools. This 102 foot staircase was named in honor of the 65 years of Queen's Victoria's reign. Oddly, the staircase is located at the south end of Elizabeth Avenue. Construction of this monument is still regarded as remarkable. For practical purposes, the staircase provides a shorter route to and from Bennett’s Hill.


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After descending the Queen's Staircase, we worked our way back to the center of Nassau. We made a brief stop outside of the Bahamas Historical Society Museum and finally, the Parliament Building (I think) on Bay Street. One of the things I like about Nassau is it still has a very "Colonial British" feel to it.

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After Dave's Walking Tour, I strolled over to the Straw Market where I met Brenda, from MouseFanTravel.com and her husband Ron. The Straw Market is still in a rebuilding phase due to a fire in 2001. One of Dave's tips regarding this spot, is to go inside the market for the better prices instead of buying from the vendors located on the outside or ends of the aisles.

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Inside Straw Market


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Frog's Chair


View From Senor Frogs

Disney Wonder

Come Back Soon


December 15, 2007

MouseFest Cruise -- Day 2 -- Monday, Dec 3 -- Nassau, Part 1

Welcome to Nassau!


Welcome to Nassau Sign


Despite our first full day (December 3rd) on the Disney Wonder beginning with cloudy and overcast skies; many people were up on deck to watch the Captain and Pilot Ship navigate us into the dock at Prince George Wharf. It's amazing how these mega-ships can make a 360 degree turn and back in to the docks.

Navigating the Wonder into Port


Today there were several "official" MouseFest Meets. At 8:00 am, a small but excited group of cruisers met at Cove Cafe for the Coffee Tawk to chat with Deb Wills. You can read her blog for details.

I had not planned on taking Dave Marx's Annual Walking Tour of Nassau but 2 cups of coffee later I was ready to jog around Nassau. So off I went to the designated meeting spot outside the Walt Disney Theatre on Deck 4 to begin my 2 hour adventure.

Dave Marx

This event was described in the MouseFest Navigator as a tour around the port area. We were advised to wear comfy shoes and be prepared for lots of walking and a few steep hills. Dave held a brief meeting to let us know what to expect from the tour and after a group photo we head down to the dock.

Dave Marx briefs the group on the Nassau walking tour


Group Photo of the Walking Tour Group


We re-grouped just outside the ship and walked through Rawson Square which houses the Welcome Center and a small, clean indoor market area. It had been 8 years since I was last visited Nassau. Back then, you left the ship and found yourself right in the middle of local hair braiders, taxi drivers and carriage drivers who were all aggressively trying to get your business.

The experience is much more pleasant now that the hair braiders are housed in covered area that is off to the left as you exit Rawson Square. We walked up Bay Street, the heart of the downtown area, as far as the famous Straw Market and then headed on to some of the side streets in Nassau.

Nassau

Nassau

Nassau

Our first real stop was The Parish of Christ Church which was established in the 1670's. Another key date in the church's history is 1861 when the Christ Church became a cathedral and consequently, Nassau became a city. The Gothic structure is built of local limestone and is known for its beautiful stained glass windows and magnificent organ. Also notable are the needlepoint tapestries and kneelers. The Christ Church is located on George Street and is just a 2 block walk from Bay Street.

I had an embarrassing moment as I was backing up to take a picture of the organ. I backed into a step and took a tumble backwards and all I remember seeing were my feet up in the air. Real smooth! Thankfully, I was wearing my Adventure by Disney back pack so I just bounced off the granite floor. I knew that $2000 backpack would come in handy at some point. LOL

Parish of Christ Church, Nassau Bahamas

Parish of Christ Church, Nassau Bahamas


Parish of Christ Church, Nassau Bahamas

Parish of Christ Church, Nassau Bahamas

Our next stop was the pink Government House, the seat of Her Majesty's representative to the Bahamas. Dave gave us some interesting facts about the Bahamian Government and it's history. This is a great photo op spot with the statue of Christopher Columbus over looking the port.

The further we ventured into the side streets of Nassau, we started to notice a large increase in the traffic. This is not a very pedestrian-friendly area. My advice is to look both ways and then look both ways, again before stepping into the street. Remember, in the Bahamas, motorists drive on the opposite side of the road and that can take a little time to get familiar with. Be careful, please.

Government House

Our walking tour of Nassau will be continued.......... Look for Part 2 coming soon.

December 12, 2007

Parasailing at Castaway Cay - MouseFest Cruise -- A View From The Top!

Ever wonder what it's like to go parasailing? What's the view like from way up there? Is it scary? For the last 20 years, I have wondered the same thing. Over the years, I have watched hundreds of people parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico, just off Clearwater Beach. Until the MouseFest Cruise, I never seriously thought about trying it. I have a fear of heights and flying so I always used that as an easy excuse not to give it a go.

Let me tell you, when you go "adventuring" with Deb Wills, founder and mastermind of AllEars.Net, and Beci Mahnken, owner of MouseFanTravel.com, fear is not an option. I realized that as I was flying over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter during a thunderstorm last summer with the gang. So here I go again back up in the air but I am going to draw the line if the next great idea involves skydiving or hot air ballooning!

I decided to put my "fears" aside and agreed to be suspended hundreds of feet in the air for two reasons. The first, it's a Disney shore excursion so I figured it was safer to parasail with Disney then with anyone else. And the second and most important reason, I didn't want to look like a big chicken!

The parasailing trip (an annual MouseFest Cruise event) is one of the shore excursions that is offered to cruise passengers at Castaway Cay. The cost is $75 per person regardless if you parasail or just ride along as a spectator. The tour lasts an hour or so but your actual flying time is about 5 minutes. Annette from MouseFanTravel.com worked her magic so that our group of 18 MouseFest cruisers had exclusive use of both parasailing boats for our excursion.

Just to be clear as much as it sounds like I have been dragged onto helicopters and forced to be harnessed into a parachute and dragged behind a boat by a tow rope, these adventures do involve an additional charge and no one will make you walk the plank if you don't choose to participate. The only mandatory requirement on a MouseFest Cruise or Adventure By Disney with our group is to have a Magical Time.

Here's the view I had while parasailing. It was amazing how peaceful I felt as I dangled over the beautiful waters off Castaway Cay and I would do it again in a heart beat. Well worth the $75.

Linda Mac’s view from above while parasailing


Larger Version Here

 Mac’s view from above while parasailing

Larger Version Here


 Mac’s view from above while parasailing


Larger Version Here


Disney Wonder docked at Castaway Cay

Parasailing Cruisers


Boarding our boat

Deb Wills, Katie and Tim sail past the Disney Wonder

Deb Wills and  Katie

Deb Wills leaves the boat to Parasail

Deb Wills acting silly


Ray Sharpton Ready to Parasail

 Ray Sharpton Parasailing

 Ray Sharpton Parasailing

We all survived Parasailing!

Christmas Tree on Castway Cay


December 9, 2007

Mega MouseFest Meet -- Slide Show

Hello from Walt Disney World. It was just one week ago that I was preparing to load up the car (actually overload the car) and drive over to Port Canaveral for Day 1 of the MouseFest Cruise. It seems like last Sunday (12/2) was a lifetime ago. This has been a crazy, busy and fantastic week. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Thanks to "Picture This" blogger Barrie Brewer, I am trying something new. The slide show made it much, much easier to be able to share my photos with you. Normally, putting this many photos in a blog would take a few hours. It is 6:00 am and I have to be at the Kona Cafe in the Poly by 7:30 am for the Deb Wills' Tonga Toast Meet. Plus I have to finish packing, check-out of The Boardwalk, arrange to have my luggage and Owner's Locker transferred, etc. I'm moving to the Beach Club Resort for the next two nights. I was still living in St. Petersburg when I made this reservation and had planned to drive back there today. Since I now live in Celebration, I extended my stay but was not able to get anything here at the The Boardwalk; too bad because my studio is on the 5th floor facing EPCOT. I can see Space Ship Earth while sitting on the patio or the bed. It really doesn't get any better then this.

NOTE: You may need to use your Refresh Button in order to start or load the slideshow. Remember, this is the first time I have tried using a slideside so please let me know if you have any sugguests or problems seeing the photos.

One last request, if you see your picture posted on any of my blogs, please email your name and hometown using the comment link on the bottom of the blog. I am going to try and add that infomation as time allows. My brain is in over load mode right so it would great if you could help me with names. Thank you. Thank you.

Have to run cause I am late as usual.



Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

December 8, 2007

MouseFest Day 1 -The Land Portion

Let the MouseFest Magic begin. Having just returned from my first Disney MouseFest Cruise, I was sad to see that part of the "'adventure" come to an end since I was able to spend time with many old friends and made so many more new ones. This was my first Disney Cruise and many people have asked me if I enjoyed it. The answer is YES, YES, and YES! I wish I hadn't waited so long to give it a try. Let's just say there is already a reservation made for next year and I will be counting down the days. One thing great about cruising is you can relax and do absolutely nothing or you can keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny. I tried my best to do everything including Parasailing on Castaway Cay. I have a well desired nap penciled in for next Tuesday. There may be no crying in baseball but there is definitely no sleeping at MouseFest, at least for me.

I would like to share some photos from the first few Magic Kingdom meets. While I was too late to attend MouseFest 101 which I understand had over 200 MouseFesters, I did make it to Mike Scopa's 4th Annual Dole Whip Meet in AdventureLand and was shocked at the number of people who turned out for this annual event. My guess, there were 60-80 people gathered next to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree and some were tasting Dr. Scopa's Magical Elixir for the very first time.

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Next up, Hidden Mickeys - Pirates of the Caribbean Meet. A group of 70 MouseFesters joined Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and website. Steve was as well prepared as usual with information and photo hand outs for everyone so we could see what we would be searching for. Some of the Hidden Mickeys were to say the very least, very Hidden Mickeys.

The Castmembers at Pirates were very accommodating to our group by allowing us to have the left side queue all to ourselves so we could take our time checking out the Mickeys. As luck would have it, I ended up at the end of the line with Steve and just as we boarded our boat, everything came to a stop. I know that normally isn't a good thing but in this case it was for the 6 of us seated with the king of the hidden Mickeys. We passed the time by chatting and getting Steve's insight on Disney. When the attraction came back on line we felt like we were only people in Pirates of the Caribbean since there were no boats in front of us and the ones behind us were sent through without guests. PLUS the group received a FastPass to use on any Magic Kingdom attraction. Chatting with Steve Barrett in such an unexpected spot will always remain one of my best memories of MouseFest.

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About MouseFest

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Linda Mac's Orlando Adventures in the MouseFest category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is the previous category.

Pirate and Princess Party is the next category.

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

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