Sunday, June 30, 2013

Disney Cruisin' - Vancouver

Finally, the sad day arrived. We were off the ship and headed for the Hyatt in downtown Vancouver by 10 a.m. Of course, we couldn't check in until 2, so we left our bags with the Concierge and headed out to explore rainy Vancouver. Guest Services recommended that we check out the Capilano Suspension Park and I am so glad we took her recommendation. I had never seen anything like it. From TripAdvisor...

 Follow in the footsteps of the millions who have crossed 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River on Capilano Suspension Bridge since 1889. The park offers more than just the bridge - its surrounding 27 acres celebrate nature, history and culture in unique and thrilling ways. No more so than with its newest attraction, CLIFFWALK. Cliffwalk hangs for a heart-stopping 213m (700ft) and reaches 91m (300ft) high. This stunning walkway, made partly of glass, hugs the granite cliffside as it offers a panoramic view of the thriving rainforest and the canyon far below. On Treetops Adventure guests venture from one magnificent old growth Douglas-fir to another on a series of seven elevated suspension bridges, reaching as high as 100 feet (30m), for a squirrel’s eye view of the forest. Guides, signage and interactive human and natural history exhibits throughout the park help guests in their understanding of delicate rainforest ecosystems and the sustainability of this precious environment.All this only minutes from downtown Vancouver. 

I couldn't resist these Canada Minnie shirts that I found on Etsy.

 The considerate folks at the park cheerfully handed out rain ponchos to protect the tourists from the Vancouver drizzle

 After a tour through the totems it was time to tackle the Suspension Bridge. I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty darn frightening!

But the view was totally worth it!

 Once across the bridge, it was into the treetops for an adventure

 I swear this owl was posing. In actuality, he was watching the fish in the pond. I came around closer to the pond to try and get a closer-up shot right at the moment he decided to make a grab for a fish and he clipped the side of my head as he flew by

 I took these pics all from the spot where Den and the girls are standing in the above picture. This one is looking down toward the forest floor

 This one is looking straight ahead at the trees

 And this one is looking up into the canopy. These were some seriously tall trees!

 I didn't manage to get any mountie pics while I was in Canada, so this one would have to do

 After finishing up at the park, it was back to the hotel to dry out and then into downtown Vancouver to go to all the shops that we will never be able to buy anything from, like Burberry, Cartier, and Tiffany's. The salesman at Tiffany's was very sweet and let each of the girls pick out one item that he would take out of the case and let them look at. Summer picked out a $23,000 necklace!

We generally stay at Hampton Inn's. Rarely ever do we splurge on a really fancy hotel. But, since we will probably never find ourselves back in Vancouver, I decided to splurge on a luxury downtown hotel. The Hyatt Regency Vancouver is a beautiful hotel and the staff was amazing. The bellman was all to happy to wheel Summer through the lobby on the luggage cart.

 The view from our room was spectacular. Den will probably kill me for posting this picture.

 The girlies took quite well to luxury. I hope I didn't start something! Lol!

The next morning we got up and headed to the airport for the Redeye back to LA and then the long drive back to Tucson. We came home relaxed and happy. I have to say, that I will treasure this vacation for as long as I live.

Disney Cruisin' - Last Day On The Ship

We returned from our drizzly day in Vancouver to spend a lovely, relaxing final evening onboard the Wonder. I tried to snap some of the pics that I had been meaning to take all along and never had my camera when I thought about it.

This is the Ariel statue in the Grand Foyer of the ship. It's one of the first things you see when you get on board.

 Ah, Goofy

 The girls got into pin trading on a Disney World trip a couple of years ago, so they were excited to be able to trade with the Captain's executive staff.

Finally, a Cinderella sighting for Lulu

 The drizzle stopped and the skies started clearing right before sunset. It was like Disney custom-ordered the weather for last-night-at-sea deck pictures.

Dinner that night was quite the celebration. When it was time for dessert, all the chefs came out of the kitchen, bearing, what else? Baked Alaska

 Then, to celebrate the multi-cultural dining room staff, a parade of nations.

 Omar and Ajit. If I could have smuggled them home in my luggage I would have

 One final pic of our group

After dinner, some of the lesser-seen characters were milling around the lobby 

 Mufasa and Sarabi from The Lion King

After the fun was done, we drug ourselves back to the stateroom to finish packing up for tomorrow morning's deboarding. Sniff sniff.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Disney Cruisin' - Victoria

The one shore excursion that we signed up for through Disney was to the Butchart and Butterfly Gardens in Victoria. I will say this. Disney's Shore Excursions are EXPENSIVE!! We would have been a lot better off just renting a car and going to these on our own like we did in San Francisco. Lesson learned.

We woke up to a rainy morning in Victoria, which pretty much set the stage for all of our time in Canada. Not that I'm complaining, in fact, it was quite the opposite. This desert-dwelling girl soaked up the rain and humidity like it was manna from Heaven itself. 

After debarking the ship, we boarded the a tour bus for the Gardens. The bus driver had to have been a real estate agent in a former life because he told us all about values and sold prices of several properties along the route. He also talked to us about Canada's system of government and the history of the area, which was actually pretty interesting.

First stop was an indoor butterfly garden, which was pretty cool.  

This is an Atlas Moth, which is HUGE. For reference, look at the size of the guy's head in the bottom right corner of the picture.

After the Butterfly Gardens was a stop at the crown jewel of Victoria's tourism - The Butchart Gardens. It was pretty spectacular. 

What? A warthog statue? Of COURSE we are going to take a pic!

After a chilly damp day in Victoria, we headed back to the ship for warm showers and more family fun. Oh, and we had to pack our bags because tomorrow we would arrive in Vancouver. Sniff sniff.