Grand Cayman

Our first excursion of our Disney Cruise (see all posts about the trip here) was to Grand Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands. We went to a touristy place called Hell, visited the Cayman Turtle Farm, and swam with stingrays.

I have to admit, I was not really excited about this day. I wasn’t interested in Hell and absolutely did not want to swim with stingrays. However, the last activity is so highly rated and so popular that I decided we should do it. I’m not scared of stingrays or anything, but I think they are creepy, and I didn’t want to touch them. I assumed as soon as I got in the water and got used to them, I would be fine. But that was not at all the case.


Our first stop was to “Hell”–a small field of black limestone formations that are supposed to resemble Hell. We took a couple pictures and then had nothing to do but go to the tiny gift shop, where a man walks around in a devil’s costume asking people, “Where the hell are you from?” There was also a very discolored and slightly-smaller-than-life cardboard cutout of said man.

Cayman Turtle Farm

I was really excited about visiting the Cayman Turtle Farm. I feel in love with turtles after we adopted our grumpy Lazar Wolf. But did you know that adult sea turtles are actually terrifying?

Swimming with Stingrays

We took a 20-30 minute boat ride out to Stingray City–shallow sandbars rife with stingrays. I look almost happy in this first photo (because that stingray was being held–I wouldn’t have been smiling had I known about the stray behind me), but the rest of the time I was an absolute nervous wreck. I stayed on the edge of the group with my hands clutched at my chest, frantically trying to move out of the way of any stingray that came towards me. And I squealed every time one managed to touch me.

I hated being “that person,” but I couldn’t help it. I was just really uncomfortable with the stingrays swimming all over the place because. I didn’t want them rubbing against me from every direction. They are way creepier than I anticipated–they have horrible yellow eyes and swim into people and each other very aggressively.

I thought it would be okay once I was in the water and really, really tried to not be a wet blanket. I started to get into the water immediately once we got there–like a normal person! But at that moment a gigantic stingray swam out from under the boat right where I was about to get in, and I moved to the back to bide my time. Eventually, there were only two people left: me and a crying 11 year old girl. No way was I going to appear the cowardice, so I got into the water without thinking. Then I stayed on the edge trying to avoid the stingrays and screamed when I had my first encounter–accidentally stepping on one. It was downhill from there.

I took a few photos with a waterproof disposable camera, but they didn’t come out that well since the water was moving so much I couldn’t keep my head and hands steady. Disappointing considering how brave I was to get that close to them!

Onboard the Disney Magic (Part 2)

See Part 1 of our Disney Magic Western Caribbean cruise here!

Naturally, Joseph and I did a lot of research before the trip. We were obsessed with for a few weeks. The message boards are full of talk about the cheese plate that’s not listed on the room service menu. We ordered it along with two gigantic chocolate cookies for a snack one day (Did I mention how much weight we gained? All our “snacks” on top of four course meals are to blame.)

Joseph and I were not at all interested in the “Pirates in the Caribbean” night, but once we were on board I guess we got caught up into the world of Disney and wanted to dress up too! We couldn’t resist buying a couple things at the shop on the ship. Mickey made a grand entrance by ziplining across the top deck and setting off the fireworks show.

Formal night we were ready for, though. I’ll take any chance to wear my favorite black dress.

I didn’t make a point to take photos of our nightly towel animals, but I really liked that this one was wearing my glasses!

I’ll close this post with a couple more rooms of the ship. First, the anchor room. I’m guessing we are the only people interested in photos like this. We were really excited to watch a virtual tour of the off-limit rooms, like the engine room, one day. But when we got to the deck where the movie was playing we were the only people there!

I’m glad we got to see the restaurant Palo during a daytime tour before our dinner reservation–you don’t often get pictures of beautiful empty restaurants! When we eventually got to eat there, we were blown away. It was especially great for us because Palo is Northern Italian cuisine. I didn’t realize how much we missed it after living in Texas for two years!

Onboard the Disney Magic (Part 1)

Joseph and I just returned from our very first real cruise! Technically, we went on a cruise in Egypt, but I can’t really count that since we were only on board to eat dinner and sleep, and we had land on both sides the entire time.

I’m so glad we chose the Disney Cruise Line for our first trip. I would not say Joseph and I are “Disneyholics,” but we enjoy their theme parks and films simply because everything is done so well down to the last detail. The Disney Magic was exactly the same! The staff was amazing (perky, but not annoyingly so!), as was the food, activities, and the ship itself. I had been afraid of going on a cruise because I get bored rather easily and don’t really know how to relax when there is nothing to do. But there were plenty of activities to keep us busy and interested. We went to the movie theater to watch Brave and the debut of Wreck-It Ralph (both were wonderful), watched the Broadway-styled shows in the evenings, took a drawing class, went to a martini tasting, and watched a cooking show-like demonstration from one of the chefs (with samples for the audience!)–just to name a few. I was worried we would get tired of two things on a Disney cruise: children and Disney characters. But there were plenty of adult-only activities and areas, and the character sightings were typically tucked away so those who weren’t interested wouldn’t be bombarded.

Our cruise left from Galveston, TX and went to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.

The Disney Magic as viewed from Cozumel, Mexico. It is a beautiful ship!

The Magic has over 100 different carpets. I loved this one!

Chandelier by Dale Chihuly, whose work I also mentioned when I went to Las Vegas.

Joseph looks so young in this photo! Is that why everyone assumed we were on our honeymoon (when we are actually celebrating our 5th anniversary next month)?

There was a “character breakfast” where the characters walked around the tables, and the cast members took photos. Again, I don’t really care about characters, but I thought this was a nice touch so that parents don’t have to lug their kids around and wait in long lines! Our servers snuck these hats (Peter Pan and Minnie Mouse) onto our heads.

We loved the “Art of Entertainment” seminars in which chefs made some of their signatures for us. This was an amazing crab and lobster martini!

Joseph modeling his “Who Wants To Be A Mouseketeer?” pin! He didn’t actually win the game, but Disney gave it to him anyway. There would have been an additional prize had he won: a container of Mickey Mouse shaped paper clips. I actually really wanted that prize. Should I be mad at him about this?

Las Vegas Fish

This a scheduled post to keep this blog from being inactive for over a week. Joseph and I are currently on vacation in the Caribbean!

I have been sitting on these photos from our trip to Las Vegas for a while. They are a year old, and I thought finally sharing them only appropriate to get you in the mood for our vacation photos.

Joseph and I both really love aquariums; they seem to entertain us better than nearly anything else. Underwater creatures are both funny and intriguing, and we ended up spending a lot more time staring at fish in Las Vegas than you would imagine. We went to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and also saw aquariums for free at the Forum Shops and the Rainforest Cafe shop.

Uncommon OBJECTS

During our trip to Austin we inevitably stopped at Uncommon OBJECTS on South Congress–a beautiful antique store full of unique and oh-so-Austinly-weird goods. I couldn’t help but take a few photos.

We were warned in advance to look and not shop due to inflated prices, but we didn’t take the advice. Sometimes on vacation we let ourselves buy things we normally wouldn’t–they make interesting mementos! Joseph bought this weird globe of clocks (that is a window flare in the photo below), and I got a Japanese lithograph that looks perfect in my home office!

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