Thursday, December 26, 2013

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2013: Costa Maya

Our activity on October 29 was a trip to the Chacchoben Maya ruins.  We were a little concerned when we received our event tickets because our tour start and stop times were outside the times that the cruise ship was scheduled to be in port.  Since we booked the excursion through the Disney cruise lines we chose to let them do the worrying and we'd just do the enjoying.

Upon arrival in Costa Maya, we boarded our tour bus and spent an hour bus ride to the ruins.  The bus was comfortable and seeing parts of Mexico outside the tourist area was interesting.  Our guide was fairly knowledgeable, especially about the plants in the area.
We were impressed with the Chacchoben Ruins.  It was pretty amazing to take a step back in time and see, up close, structures that were built thousands of years ago.  A tropical rain storm in the rain forest seemed like the perfect addition to our adventure.  It dampened our clothes, not our spirits.  We dried quickly and enjoyed the rest of our day.  We even found great souvenirs at the Chacchoben market.  I was especially thrilled with the hand made hammock chairs we bought; one for us and one for Mom and Dad.
The time of human sacrifice is long gone despite what Rob and the kids seem to think.

S11 took along some teeth to bury at the ruins.  He hopes that years from now archeologists will be confused when they find them.

This is a building site that has yet to be restored.

Our return bus trip got us to the pier with very little time to spare.  All the shops were closed and we were one of the last groups to go aboard before the ship sailed again. 

We ordered room service and enjoyed a snack as we dressed for the evening show of Wishes. 

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2013: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

We began our day on Monday, October 28, with an elegant breakfast buffet in The Enchanted Garden restaurant.  The food was very similar to that in Cabanas but we liked the setting better.  Because there were only four of us, we got to sit in a beautiful garden booth.  M9 particularly enjoyed the napkins (hats?).

After breakfast we were taken ashore in shuttle boats.  Our activity today was a trip to Dolphin Discovery, where we paid visit to the turtle farm and had a wonderful dolphin adventure.

A speedy bus ride took us to our Grand Cayman destination.  Our driver was full of information about the Cayman Islands.  His knowledge helped distract us from the traffic around us.  We arrived safely at Dolphin Discovery. We all got the opportunity to hold green sea turtles.  It was quite an experience!

After the turtle farm we crossed the street for our dolphin adventure.  Because we all participated there was no one to take pictures.  The paid photographs would have cost over $300.  We hope our memories of the dolphins will be enough. 

We were all outfitted in life jackets and sent into the dolphin pool where we met our trainer and dolphin.  Taking turns with the others in our group, we were each given the opportunity to interact with the dolphin.  In addition to touching the dolphin and offering him kisses, we got to do a push and ride.  For the push, we held a boogie board and swam out into the pool. The trainer then sent the dolphin to push us through the water by putting it's nose on the bottom of our foot.  The key was to lock your knees and hang on.  It was kind of shocking to feel a dolphin nose on your foot.  The surprise made M9 call for me until the push began and she was so pleased by the feeling of moving swiftly through the water and forgot to be afraid.  After the push we got to ride the dolphin.  We held onto it's flippers while it swam backwards towing us along.  We were mixed about which part of the dolphin experience we liked the best but we all agreed that it was a pretty amazing actitivy to participate in. 
This is how they always serve ketchup on the Disney Fantasy.
We returned to the ship, tired but happy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Buttermilk Scones with Chocolate Milk Drizzle

Today was a snow day so we spent the morning learning "How to Train Your Dragon" and enjoying a warm breakfast treat.  These scones were the perfect addition to a snuggly morning while the world outside the windows turned into a winter wonderland. 

Buttermilk Scones
Serves:  16 scones.

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add butter and mix with your fingertips to a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and mix just until combined.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and divide into 2 parts. Roll each to 3/4 inch thick rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges and place slightly separated on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm, split in half with butter and marmalade.

Chocolate Milk Drizzle

1/2 to 1 cup of confectioners sugar
2 T baking cocoa
2-4 T chocolate milk

Mix sugar and cocoa together until lumps are gone and color is uniform. Add chocolate milk one tablespoon at a time until drizzle is thick enough to spoon and drizzle over the warm scones.  You want it thinker than glue but not as thick as frosting.