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Disney Dream July 14-18, 2013
The girls finally talked me into trying a cruise. They had been on the Disney Wonder back in 2006 and had been asking to go on another ever since we started going to Walt Disney World. I had been reluctant to cruise as I didn't think it was something I'd enjoy, but I finally decided to try it. We sailed with the Be Our Guest Podcast on the Disney Dream for a 4 day Bahamas itinerary. This was the podcast's second group cruise, and it was nice having new friends to share the experiences with. The week before the cruise a tropical storm threatened to disrupt the plans, but it dissipated about 4 days prior to our sailing. Unfortunately, the remnants remained in the area and we had overcast and rain on most days.

Click on any picture to open a slideshow for that day.

Day 1 - Saturday July 13, 2013
Today was our travel day. We wanted to get to Florida a day ahead of the cruise to be safe, so we flew to Orlando and then drove the rental car to Cape Canaveral. We arrived just in time to catch the Disney Fantasy leaving the port, then ate dinner at Fishlips which is where the webcam is located. After dinner we shopped at Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, picked up a case of water for the cruise at a grocery store, and then finally checked in for the night at The Radisson at the Port.
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We had wifi on the newer Southwest Airlines jet we were on.
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Emailing pictures from 32,000 feet!
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The clouds got thicker the further south we got.
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Once over Florida we took a very zig-zag route to MCO to avoid the storms. It was a bumpy flight, the second worst I've been on.
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The Disney Fantasy leaving Port Canaveral as seen from Jetty Park Beach.
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The Fantasy is the sister ship to the Dream. I was amazed by how HUGE it is in person!
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This was exciting to watch as we knew we would be the ones waving from Deck 12 on the Dream the very next day.



Day 2 - Sunday July 14, 2013
Day 2 started off with a leisurely morning. We didn't have to be at the port terminal until 11:00am, and it was only a 5 minute drive. We arrived at the terminal, parked (after I missed the parking garage entrance and had to drive around again!), and made our way inside. Once we got through the check-in line, we had about an hour wait until it was time to board the ship. After months and months of planning, we had finally made it!
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The crowd of people in the terminal eagerly waiting to board.
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After eating lunch and exploring some of the ship, we waited to be allowed to our stateroom. This qualifies as "Rope Drop", right?
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The NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, where the Saturn V rockets were assembled and where the Space Shuttle was mated with the solid rocket boosters and external tank.
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Funnel Vision screen where they showed movies day and night. It was quiet here before the Sail Away party.
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The AquaDuck water coaster.
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The chandelier in the ship's lobby.
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The main lobby.
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Art Deco elevators.  By the end of the cruise I would be cursing these elevators!
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The U.S. Coast Guard station.
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View of our stateroom from the balcony doorway.
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At night with Alex's bed pulled out from the ceiling. This worked out really well as it still allowed us to get to the balcony easily.
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The small but efficient stateroom.
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Scoping out the view before we left port.
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Our stateroom door decorated with magnets and our fish extender. Maybe I went a little overboard with the magnets?!
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One of the large porthole windows on a lower deck.
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The muster drill where we learned where to go in case of emergency.
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The BOGP Sail Away party on Deck 12.
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Alex and Michelle in their Santa hats. The BOGP group decided to do Christmas in July so we would be easier to spot on the webcam.
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Standing behind a partition to stay out of the rain.
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Lots of Santa hats.
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The Disney Cruise Line terminal building.
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Alex with her new friends Hope and Erin.

BOGP Sail Away YouTube


BOGP Sail Away Party YouTube

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It's party time!
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Mickey leading the festivities.
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Lots of people on Deck 11, it was much better up on 12!
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Donald and Daisy join in the fun.
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Fishlips and the webcam.
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Michelle waving to me instead of the people on shore.
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Waving goodbye!
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The drink of the day was 2-for-1 late in the day. But in all honesty, one of these was mine. Not that I drank much of it - mainly Michelle wanted a different color glass than she had earlier.
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You can just make out the Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas ships which departed before us.
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Our first night's dinner was at Animator's Palate. These chairs are so cool! 
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The entire restaurant is impressive with all the animation drawings and stuff.
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During the dinner the screens come to life with the fish and Crush from Finding Nemo.
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The room changes color throughout the dinner.






Day 3 - Monday July 15, 2013
Our first full day on the ship we were docking in Nassau, Bahamas. This was the only really sunny day we had. We hadn't book any excursions, we just wanted to shop at the Straw Market and walk around the shopping district and then enjoy time on our ship.
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A nice thing about having a balcony was the ability to step outside and take pictures right from the room as we sailed into ports.
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The Atlantis resort. Paradise Island, Bahamas.
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We were on the port (left) side of the ship, which gave me these views as we sailed into the harbor.
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The view down from our balcony. That's Deck 4 below the lifeboats.
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I think this is the best scenery picture I took on the trip...
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...though this one is also a favorite.
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Once in the harbor, they rotate the ship with the bow thrusters. I was amazed by how precisely they can steer such a large ship!
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Someone's house on Paradise Island. Michelle heard that Brad Pitt has a house here - wonder if that's his?
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As we rotated around I was able to see the city of Nassau.
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After turning around, they now backed into the slip.
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My first time on non-American soil! Now that I've seen Nassau, I don't know that I would want to visit again. :)
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A great shot of Michelle with our home away from home in the background.
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Back on the ship, I found several paintings in the gallery by an artist we really like. We almost ended up buying this picture on the last night. Now I regret not getting it!
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This afternoon the Be Our Guest Podcast crew recorded a show to be aired later in one of the clubs on the ship.
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Rikki, Pam, and Mike from the Be Our Guest Podcast.  I attended this while Michelle and Alex went to the pool to enjoy the only afternoon with sunshine.
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After the taping, I went back outside to take pictures of the ship with my better camera.
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Myself with Mike Rahlmann of the Be Our Guest Podcast. He was also our travel agent for this cruise. I made his tie-dye shirt as a thank you gift.
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The Atlantis.
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It was breezy up on deck.
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Alex enjoying the pool.
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A nice shot in the evening from Deck 4 as we sailed away from Nassau. You can just make out the Atlantis on the horizon.
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Interesting clouds as the sun was setting.
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Day 4 - Tuesday July 16, 2013
Today was our day to be at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't exactly ideal. It rained briefly soon after we docked, then stayed overcast the rest of the day. The storm clouds and rain stayed away while we were on the island though - we were back on the ship before it opened up, catching all the late returning people on the pier. The overcast did keep it from being too hot, which was ok with me! Michelle wasn't happy though! This night was scheduled for our Pirate's IN The Caribbean deck party and fireworks, but because of the weather they had to cancel those activities.

Castaway Cay video YouTube

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It was somewhat sunny to the north as we approached the island.
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But the clouds were quickly moving in from the east.
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View to the south after we rotated.
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A view of the beaches we would soon be on.
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Backing into the slip.
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The crew on the island ready to offload everything needed to support and feed a ship full of people for the day.
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They were able to do the parasailing despite the weather.
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Michelle and Alex with their favorite - Stitch!
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This Jack er...CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow was really good!
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This was actually taken on our walk back to the ship later in the afternoon.
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Pelican Plunge. Alex enjoyed going down these water slides with her friends.
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The water was chilly when you first got in, but was pleasant for swimming. There were fish and the occasional stingray swimming in the shallow water.
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I did a little snorkeling.  I did see three barracuda, but wasn't able to get my camera ready in time.
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It wouldn't be a vacation without a shot of Michelle's feet!
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One of the stingrays swimming in less than 2 feet of water.
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The view of our ship from the bar on the island.
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Some Disney humor I saw from the observation tower I rode a bike to.
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Pirate Mickey greeting guests in the lobby before dinner.
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Our table mates Jimmie and Rhonda Jones from Texas. We were seated with other people from the BOGP group.
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Leslie and Ed Mazilli from Pennsylvania. Ed also hosts a Disney Podcast, the We're Going To Walt Disney World Podcast.
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Leslie and Ed's daughter Hope with Alex. She and Alex had exchanged emails in the months leading up to the podcast.








Day 5 - Wednesday July 17, 2013
Wednesday was our day at sea. The weather stayed overcast with bands of rain showers, so today was more conducive to inside activities. I played Bingo in the morning, Michelle and I watched the afternoon matinee show, and Alex spent the day with her friends in the teen clubs. They rescheduled our fireworks for this night between the dinner seatings, but because it was still light out they were somewhat disappointing. We had to pack and have our bags outside our room by 10:30pm, so that's how Michelle and I spent our evening after dinner.
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The sky would break up occasionally...
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...and then another band of rain would move in.
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Michelle and Alex on deck before the fireworks.
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At least they found a dry place to float while they did the fireworks.
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A Carnival ship in the distance.
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A statue of Admiral Donald in the lobby.
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A nice shot of Deck 4 as the sun was setting.
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Alex with Mallory on Deck 11 our last night.




Day 6 - Thursday July 18, 2013
Day 6 was our disembarkation day. We missed our assigned 6:45am breakfast time, so when we arrived down at the restaurant at 7:10am we were turned away. Instead of heading up to Deck 11 for breakfast at the buffet, we decided to exit the ship and go through Customs with no wait and then eat breakfast off the ship. We had our luggage, went through Customs, and were off the ship shortly after 7:30am. We drove to McDonald's for breakfast and then hit the road for Walt Disney World for two nights. With no park tickets, the plan was to relax and visit several resorts to take advantage of having a rental car to get around with. We had dinner this night at Cape May Cafe in Disney's Beach Club Resort.
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I was awoken at 1:00am by the sound of a pilot boat. When I realized we were pulling back into Port Canaveral I went outside to take some pictures.
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Fishlips
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The first time we have driven under the Walt Disney World sign that we weren't in a bus.
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Our first stop was Disney's Art of Animation Resort. This is in the lobby.
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Mickey cupcakes in the cooler!
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We got several compliments on our Mickey tie-dyes this day.
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Crush
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The Cars section is really neat. The whole resort is cute, but it is large!
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Mine!
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This is appropriate on several levels!
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Mater
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Sebastian
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Ariel
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Our next stop was Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. We almost stayed here on our first trip. After visiting now, I don't think we ever will - it is too spread out. But it is pretty.
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We arrive at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - our home for the next two nights.
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While waiting for our room to be ready, we saw this little guy.
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Once in our room, we were excited to see all the animals from our balcony.
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The view back to Jambo House from our balcony.
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That evening we went to Disney's Beach Club Resort for dinner. We ate here for breakfast on our very first day in WDW in 2008.
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The lazy river at the Beach Club pool.
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After dinner we went over to Disney's Boardwalk Resort. Michelle and Alex loved this huge couch.
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The rain had finally let up so we were able to walk around the Boardwalk, but there was no entertainment.
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Back at our room, we got to watch the giraffe's feed off the trees right in front of our balcony.
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Day 7 - Friday July 19, 2013
The plan for our one full day was for the girls to go shopping at Downtown Disney while I went to Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight in nearby Polk City. The pictures that I took there can be found on this page. We had dinner this night at 'Ohana in Disney's Polynesian Resort.
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The interesting light fixtures in the lobby of Jambo House.
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More animals.
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Giraffe at AKL YouTube

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Giraffe eating mushrooms.
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This guy was putting food out for the animals.
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He called the wild boars over by shaking the food bucket.
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We heard him explain that they can't leave the boars in the savannah overnight because they dig so much they would destroy it.
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On the back side of the pool area are the flamingos.
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Alex with the pearl she got at Pick A Pearl in Downtown Disney that morning.
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In the evening we drove over to Disney's Wilderness Lodge to check it out. We were impressed! I can see us staying here in the future.
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Alex on the bridge inside the WL.
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Cute totem pole!
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Michelle and Alex outside the Polynesian Resort. Having stayed here twice, we did miss not staying here this trip.
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The beautiful lobby waterfall. Sadly, this may not be around too much longer.
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After shopping at each of the monorail resorts, Alex and I got Dole Whips. Yummy!
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A snail on a leaf outside of the monorail station.
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Artsy shot of the raindrops.
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Alex with all the leis she got at dinner.








Day 8 - Saturday July 20, 2013
After a long week that passed by very quickly, it was time to go home. We checked out of Animal Kingdom Lodge, ate breakfast, and were headed to the airport by noon. We had to figure out where to return the rental car since this was the first time we had one here. 
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Interesting clouds on the flight home. Having wifi on the flights was awesome for me. I loved tracking the flight as we flew, trying to figure out where we were.
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Because of the weather, we took an interesting route home. After takeoff we flew past Walt Disney World (first time seeing that from a plane!) and west to the Gulf of Mexico before turning north.
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The flight was bumpy, and I could see they were going to try cutting through a line of storms.
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But they changed directions to go around them.
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We did get around them, but it was still a bumpy flight.
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