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A Year of Wonder! One More Time! (10/29/23-11/05/23... 7-Night, Eastern Caribbean)


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56 minutes ago, asquared17 said:

what a treat that you were solo yesterday in port

For whatever reason, Wonder is almost always there alone when it goes to CocoCay on day 2. As if I needed another reason to have so many Wonder cruises booked, lol.

My farthest out booking has the "other" schedule that I'm not a fan of... going there on the last day (as well as not alone).

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9 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

So many hens, roosters, and even peacocks!

Why do you think the snack shack chicken is so good? (Old joke, I know.)

We saw plenty on Sunday, including a baby chick following its mama right behind our chairs by the pool. Wasn't quick enough to get a good pic though.

Great pics btw! You're helping my 4.5 month wait to get back on Wonder. Do you have plans to go to Mason Jar?

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We have always enjoyed Hooked.  I know a lot of people don't really care for it, but as long as you know you're not going to get New England boardwalk level seafood there, it's always good enough for me.  Only once did we have a bad experience.  I think it was on Navigator when she was still in FL.  The clam chowder had soured and it was really unfortunate....but the waiter came around quickly and scooped up all of the bowls that had been served.  No harm.  I love me some NE clam chowder though.  YUM !  Looks like you guys had a great experience.  I'm with @asquared17.  Those Beach Club photos hit a happy place in my heart.  Too bad they have priced us out at this point....

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2 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

I always take that pic of the medallion in Central Park! 

me too!! 😂

i think i am in the minority because i prefer PDCC at the end, rather than a windy sea day  - but alas, we are going day two the next two times. 

i am really hoping for a good BF sale, otherwise like @WAAAYTOOO, we will be priced out. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

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47 minutes ago, asquared17 said:

i think i am in the minority because i prefer PDCC at the end, rather than a windy sea day  - but alas, we are going day two the next two times.

We all like what we like. Aside from finally getting full by the end (thus hindering my CocoCay food consumption, lol), I like not having much planned for the last day so we can either do/eat more of something we enjoyed or catch something we may have not gotten around to. That said, we left CocoCay a little bit earlier than usual when it was the last day on Allure Sunday and it wasn't a big deal. Now that I'm sailing ships with ELF, the taco bar is redundant and even I can only eat so much snack shack food, as much as I like it. I sill love CocoCay, but since we're not big beach/pool people, we may be transitioning to not staying all day like we usually have in the past (unless someone is treating me to a cabana... then I'm not going anywhere, lol).

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30 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

We have lunch reservations in less than 45 minutes. This will be our first visit to Mason Jar. Details to follow of course!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did in June! We don’t do a ton of specialty but we have MJ brunch booked for our next 3 cruises.

Looking forward to your thoughts & pics.


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DAY 3: *SEA DAY* - (TUE, 10/31)… continued…

We had our 90 minute beginner’s clinic on Pickleball and had a great time! My wife is hooked and wants to try to sign up for open play later in the cruise and start playing once we return home.

Just a couple of pics of the converted basketball court set up for Pickleball and the baseball cap they give you…




After the Pickleball class, we headed back to the cabin for much needed showers and a change of clothes! 

My wife and I stopped by The Mason Jar a little early and sat at the bar for a couple of drinks and waited for the rest of our party to arrive. I love the rocking chairs and tables overlooking the windows, as well as, the porch swing!

My wife tried a MInt Julep and I had the PB&J Old Fashioned. Both were excellent especially the Old Fashioned! We plan on stopping by later in the cruise just for a some drinks.



Brunch menu…


Dinner menu…





Signature drink menu (just part of the menu)…


… MInt Julep…


PB&J Old Fashioned! Delicious and sweet… 


The rest of our party arrived and we headed into the restaurant for brunch.

The jalapeño cornbread was delicious, warm, and moist, and was served with Cajun and whipped honey butter on the side.


I ordered the “No Joke, Smoke and Coke” which is smoked Buffalo Trace Bourbon on the rocks, with a bottle of Coke to top it off. Very cool presentation. The jar of smoked bourbon is presented with the lid closed. When you open the jar, the smoke starts to pour out and you add your Coke to top it off.


Even though the smoke of course dissipates, that smoked flavor remains to the last sip! Not bad, but I probably won’t order that again! Tastes like your drinking smoke from a BBQ!

Our table ordered Smoky Deviled Eggs, Salmon-Avocado Toast, Meemaw’s Fried Chicken N’ Waffles, Stuffed French Toast, Classic Po’Boy (Shrimp), Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and Sweet-Tooth Cinnamon Roll.




Po’Boy was prepared on gluten-free bread…





Everything was decadent and delicious! We had such a good experience, we decided to cancel one of our three Izumi reservations and swapped it for a dinner at the Mason Jar for tomorrow evening. We all really want to try some of the dinner menu items! I was surprised they still had reservations as I had heard on the forum that they book up fast!

After lunch the group split up and my wife and I went to the solarium for the rest of the afternoon. Love the canter-levered double hot tub on the starboard side near the entrance to the solarium!

We went back to the cabin for a bit and then headed to 150 Central Park for the next meal! Only Day 3 and nearing full capacity! LOL! 😆 







From what I understand, the bread was even better on one time, but I love this bread!


I ordered the Seared Honey Glazed Scallops… very tasty…


… and I ordered the Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Bisque. I love the presentation… first, they present the bowl with just the dry ingredients…


… and then they add the soup to the bowl…


Mild tasting, not the highlight for sure, but I liked it.

One of the folks in our party was not very hungry and ordered the Artisanal Cheese Selection for her entree. My wife and I ordered the Roasted Tenderloin of Beef (they can serve it for one). Probably my go-to at 150 Central Park. Who am I kidding! Lobster and Filet Mignon are my go-tos at most restaurants when I cruise! 🤣



Our group ordered Fried Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart, and the Hazelnut Passion Fruit Bar…




We all enjoyed the meal and eventually made our way to the Royal Theater for tonight’s show.

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DAY 3: *SEA DAY* - (TUE, 10/31)… continued…

Tonight was actually our first major production show of this cruise since we blew off Tap Factory on embarkation day and inTENse was cancelled last evening for the cast’s safety (ship was rocking too much). Hopefully, inTENse will go off without a hitch on the last evening!

We went to see “Voices” in the Royal Theater. We loved this show when we first saw it back in January. If you love vocalists and dancers, you will enjoy this show. We had the Key, so we sat up on Deck 5 in the center of the theater. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the “new” Key seating. If you are too low, the railing cuts off your view of the bottom 1/3 of the stage. Too high, and you are too far away and the top of the backdrop is cut off. Back in 2019, the Key seating was dead center on the main level right behind the suite guest’s reserved section. Those were amazing seats!

Here are s few pics from the show…













After the show, my wife’s uncle and GF headed back to their cabin. Christine and I decided to hit the pool and hot tub on Deck 15. The solarium was closed for a private Halloween function.

We decided to skip the Halloween parade which started at 10:30pm in the promenade. Way too tired! 🥱

Tomorrow, we’ll be in St. Thomas! Gangway opens at 1:00pm and all aboard is 7:30pm.

Time to call it an evening… may get up early to walk around the ship… we’ll see!

Have a good night everyone!


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6 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

The meal from mason Jar, scares me a bit. That food looks heavy, it is my embarkation plan and I don't think I will be able to move.

It is very heavy but so worth it.

9 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

Everything was decadent and delicious! We had such a good experience, we decided to cancel one of our three Izumi reservations and swapped it for a dinner at the Mason Jar for tomorrow evening. We all really want to try some of the dinner menu items!

Glad you loved it. Mason Jar seems to have some very mixed reviews for whatever reason. We were going to try dinner after only doing brunch last time but I loved brunch so much and my wife tried some of the dinner items that were on the kids brunch menu (chicken pot pie, chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, etc.) that we decided to stick to brunch. She's not big on BBQ and said she was content having those items for lunch. I could order 90% of either menu lol, but we have a similar restaurant for dinner by us as well as a BBQ place so brunch it is... saves a few bucks too.

Some drinks you didn't mention... I'm not a whiskey guy so I had the Blackberry Moonshine Lemonade when we ate early (seemed like a good drink at 10:45am) and it was very good. Basically a refreshing blackberry lemonade with a bit of booze, not strong. There's also a 2nd drink menu somewhere that has an adult root beer float with vanilla vodka and kahlua. If you like root beer floats, it's a fun dessert drink. Not saying to order those with dinner, I know the whiskey drinks are popular (I tried one, just couldn't get past the whiskey), but just throwing them out there for random trips to the bar... which is packed at night when the country band is playing, btw. Very popular spot.

Great food pics yet again! Looking forward to your dinner review.

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9 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

The meal from mason Jar, scares me a bit. That food looks heavy, it is my embarkation plan and I don't think I will be able to move.

I am with you on this.  I had intended to pick MJ as my boarding day lunch on our Wonder cruise in May....but rethought it b/c I fear it would be too heavy and then I wouldn't be ready to eat dinner at our normal time.  I will admit that I wasn't all that impressed with MJ the one time we ate there on our last Wonder cruise.  It wasn't bad...just wasn't as awesome as I had hoped it would be.  I think all the hype about it set me up for disappointment.  HOWEVER, I will say....I had the same first impression of Port Side BBQ the first time we had that (we had it delivered to our suite when we were SC and I think it just didn't present that well as take-out) but after trying PSBBQ again, it is now one of my favorite places to eat on any ship....so you can't let 1 bad impression rule your gastric world.

I am sure that we will give MJ a go on our May cruise but I don't think it will be boarding day lunch.

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DAY 4:  ST. THOMAS - (WED, 11/1)

Happy November! Good month… Thanksgiving, my birthday… LOL! 😆

Well,  I dragged myself out of bed around 6:30am and walked the Royal Promenade, Boardwalk, and a few other areas to take photos…

I did the same thing back in January, but I love taking pics and exploring the ship all over again when it’s really quiet and most are still sleeping!

OK, photo dump of the Royal Promenade on both Deck 5 & 6…


Spotlight Karaoke…

















The Cask & Clipper…



















The Bionic Bar…







The Schooner Bar & Loyalty Desk…






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gosh, i love the ship in the sleepy hours of the morning when no one is around. what a treat. love these pics!!

also the bionic bar.... i will be forever bitter that royal yanked my beloved champagne bar for that monstrosity. it's just an eyesore 😂 i get the appeal, but it takes up so much space and i think it would be more special on one or two ships instead of across the fleet.

then again, i am unfairly biased toward good champagne and cold glasses and FRESH poppin bottles... 🍾🥂🍾

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DAY 4:  ST. THOMAS - (WED, 11/1)… continued…

Now the Boardwalk…













A little panorama fun!



The Aqua Theater…






I went up to Deck 16 and then back down to Deck 5 and walked behind the Aqua Theater on the walking track…


I love the wake of the ship and the tremendous power of the three azipods and the sound of the water!



One of the life boats was open… running drills or an Inspection maybe?




I then took few shots of the Main Dining Room from Deck 5 including a couple of panoramic shots…






Finally, I ran to the Cafe Promenade to grab a couple of Starbucks coffees and returned to the cabin to wake Christine up! 😬

We grabbed breakfast in the Solarium Bistro and eventually made our way to the pool deck (Deck 15) and spent some time in the pool and hot tubs.

The original plan was to grab lunch at Playmaker’s, but i forgot they are closed on port days for lunch along with the other specialty dining options. We decided to just go to El Loco Fresh. The food was very good as usual. After lunch we packed up and headed down to the gangway to meet up for our excursion today…

I’ll try to wrap up today soon… getting tired and need to get some sleep as our excursion for tomorrow heads out at 8:00am! 

Have a great night everyone! 

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I love how perty she looks 😍🥰. I did Odyssey the year after she started sailing and her newness was the major thing I loved about her. Wonder still looks shiny and new. I can really see the wear and tear on other Oasis class ships when I see that JR photo and other places along the Boardwalk. 

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7 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

I love how perty she looks 😍🥰. I did Odyssey the year after she started sailing and her newness was the major thing I loved about her. Wonder still looks shiny and new. I can really see the wear and tear on other Oasis class ships when I see that JR photo and other places along the Boardwalk. 

Yes, she still is for sure! She’s still the baby of the fleet until next JAN! 😃

We too sailed Odyssey (FEB 2022) and enjoyed the newness! Oasis (2021) was beautiful in the common areas, but a little worn still in the cabins (old decor and furniture), etc. Allure (2019) was our first Oasis class, so we weren’t spoiled at that point! LOL! 🤣 I hope she gets a major revitalization (maybe an amplification? 🤞) when she’s dry docked in Spring 2025 before she starts her season in the Med.

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9 hours ago, asquared17 said:

gosh, i love the ship in the sleepy hours of the morning when no one is around. what a treat. love these pics!!


My early morning walks through the promenade to get to the CL for coffee and through Central Park to get something on ships where Park Cafe opens at 6:30am are so peaceful.

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I'm enjoying your blog and all the pics.  We sail Wonder for the first time in January.  The only speciality dining we have booked is Mason Jar for brunch.  The food and drinks all look amazing.   I wish they had sampler plates.  We will definitely have to narrow down what to order.  Enjoy the rest of your sailing!

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3 hours ago, Vacation Crazy said:

We will definitely have to narrow down what to order.

Says who? 🤣

Joking aside, some stuff comes in smaller portions than others and/or can be ordered in smaller sizes. As an example, you can ask for just one piece of the chicken n waffles (I think it normally comes with 2). We had a party of 8 so we just ordered like 75% of the menu and shared a lot of stuff but our server was also good about telling us what was large and meant to be shared and what was on the smaller side in case we wanted more than one order. She basically encouraged us to order as much as we wanted.

Not encouraging you to waste food but they were pretty good about helping us try as much as we wanted. I'm going to have to figure out how to order myself when it's just me and my wife. The stuff she likes there was good but it's not what I would order so as much as I can eat, something might have to be sacrificed if I have no one to share it with. I already know half that cinnamon roll is coming back to our cabin b/c it's large and she won't eat it... but I'm not skipping it.

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3 hours ago, Vacation Crazy said:

The food and drinks all look amazing.   I wish they had sampler plates. 


28 minutes ago, OCSC Mike said:

Says who? 🤣

Joking aside, some stuff comes in smaller portions than others and/or can be ordered in smaller sizes.

What Mike said is true. We had trouble narrowing it down too at Mason Jar. I basically wanted to try the whole menu for brunch. It was our waitress who suggested that she bring out a small portion of all the things we wanted to try and it worked out really well. We didn't leave feeling like we couldn't walk and I got to sample everything I was curious about.

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DAY 4:  ST. THOMAS - (WED, 11/1)… continued…

OK, let’s see what I can cover tonight before I crash  from exhaustion! 😄

We disembarked the ship and met our excursion group on the pier. We decided pre-cruise to book the same excursions. Today, we went on the “Mountain Top & Villa Botanica” excursion booked through Royal.

I love that double hot tub cantilevered over the starboard side of the ship just inside the Solarium!



We entered the port area and boarded an open-air vehicle and headed to the first stop, Plantation Crown & Hawk & Villa Botanica.



Looks like a Costa and Disney ship at this pier… some really nice views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea (in this picture) sides of the island.






Atlantic Ocean side of the island… very hazy!


We walked the gardens after we received a little orientation. Pretty gardens, but do not expect the same level of most of the nicer gardens and arboretums in the states. 












Wow, the roads in these mountains are so steep!


Next we were taken to Mountain Top… Absolutely beautiful views of Magens Bay and the surrounding islands! This was the highlight of the tour!






Mountain top has a HUGE gift shop and sells what they call a “world famous” banana daiquiri… not impressed! 😏 Very little banana flavor and too much Cruzan rum!

After some time at Mountain Top, we were taken back to the ship. The tour guide/driver was very entertaining and knowledgeable!

Here’s a shot of the ship taken on the way down. It was really hazy up on the mountain.



Walking back to board the ship at the port…



Sorry for dragging this out, but it’s been another long day and my wife is yelling at me to go to bed. LOL! 😬

Have a good night!

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DAY 4:  ST. THOMAS - (WED, 11/1)… continued…

This evening we went to the Mason Jar for dinner. We sat at the bar for a bit and my wife had another Mint Julep and I had another PB&J Old Fashioned. Delicious! 😎


As usual, they start you off with buttermilk biscuits and jalapeño cornbread served with Cajun and whipped honey butter. I liked both! 


We ordered Lobster & Crawfish Gumbo, Smoky Deviled Eggs, Caesar Salad, and Crab Beignets… Christine was creeped out by the crawfish!






I wasn’t a fan of the crab beignets… rather bland to me. I don’t think I’ll ever order these again.

I wanted to try another signature drink so I ordered the Mississippi Moonlight which refreshing and went down a little too easily! 🤣


Most of us tried the “Meat n’ Two Fixin’s”. I had the beef brisket with sweet potato mash and mac n’ cheese… also very good!


For dessert we ordered the cherry pie, deep fried Oreos, and chocolate pecan pie… all delicious and decadent!




The house band (“The Country Crew Trio”) was playing during dinner. They were excellent!



After dinner, half our our party retired to their cabin after the long day. Christine and I wandered around the ship for a bit.

Before we crashed back at the cabin, we stopped by Next Cruise and purchased a Book Later reservation for our friends. We are going to look closely at a Mediterranean cruise for 2025 and the schedule is supposed to open up next week.

We had another port day coming up and had to be off the ship by 8:00am so we called it a night.

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DAY 5:  ST. MAARTEN - (THU, 11/2) 

I woke up to find the pilot boat approaching the ship to take us into the harbor. What a beautiful view to wake up to in the morning!







We had breakfast in the solarium bistro and then met in the Royal Theater and were escorted off the ship. We met our excursion group (“Philipsburg by Trolley Train”) on the pier.

I’ll pick up in a bit!

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11 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

Christine was creeped out by the crawfish!

My wife would forbid me from ordering them, lol.

13 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

I wasn’t a fan of the crab beignets… rather bland to me. I don’t think I’ll ever order these again.

Good to know. I forget if I mentioned the "late night menu" that MJ has 2-3 nights per week at the bar but that was one snack I was going to try but never did.

15 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

I ordered the Mississippi Moonlight which refreshing and went down a little too easily! 🤣

I told ya it was basically just fruity lemonade. 🤣 I maintain my stance that it's a good brunch drink.

17 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

The house band (“The Country Crew Trio”) was playing during dinner. They were excellent!

I haven't found one person say anything negative about them. I don't even like country music and I thought they were great.


Thanks again for sharing all this. I'm sure I'd enjoy dinner (and my wife has already tried and enjoyed most of what she would order b/c it's also on the brunch menu) but for various personal preference reasons, I think we're going to stick with brunch.

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DAY 5:  ST. MAARTEN - (THU, 11/2)… continued…

Another long day, but no complaints when you’re on a cruise! Today (FRI - sea day) was unusually rocky! We’re not very sensitive to motion, but many folks were commenting on the rocking throughout the day and especially this evening.

Back to Day 5… So, on Thursday, we all went on the “Philipsburg by Trolley Train” excursion through Royal. Definitely, a one and done experience for us!

Saying goodbye to Wonder for the morning and entering the port area!



The trolley takes us first to the Rusty Parrot and the pirate museum (“Sint Maarten Pirate Experience”). You first enter a small gift shop where you can sample locally made rum. Neat little attraction… the show is pretty high tech. You work your way through a number of rooms (directed by story narrative) as they tell the story of the fates of a pirate and the woman he loved. Each room is staged with props and they use projections and a recorded soundtrack to tell the story. 



Some random shots taken during the show in some of the rooms…






After the show is over, you can climb up to an observation area at the top of the structure to take in some views of the port. 

Then you walk to another building in the same port area that sells Dutch Gouda cheese.





Finally, you are taken through Philipsburg as the tour guides provides some historical information. You are then given the choice to stay in Philipsburg (need to make your way back on your own) or return with the Trolley vehicle.

Clock is broken…



We elected to stay and worked our way to ‘That Yoda Guy”… Nick and his wife were there (Gloria, I believe her name is). He is so very down to earth and friendly! Kept asking if we had any questions! 🙂

A must see for any Star Wars or science fiction/special effects/creature fans! They encourage taking photos of the exhibits (no flash), but no video.

















In hindsight, I should have purchased something or made a donation so we could have taken a photo with him. Definitely, next time! I had to settle on a quick shot of Nick (front of pic) and his wife (wearing glasses behind the counter) speaking with some other folks that just arrived at the museum. 😐


When we left, it was lunch time. I had heard there were a number of decent restaurants along the beach, but we just walked into one of the first we came across. We had lunch at “The Blue Bitch”… we all had fish tacos which were excellent.





We walked around for a bit and then headed to the water taxi to take us back to the port ($5 one way or $7 unlimited for day).




A marine iguana hanging by the docks near the water taxis…


Heading back through the port area to return to the ship…





I think next time we’ll just buy the full-day water taxi pass ($7) and take it directly to Philipsburg if we plan on spending time in town.

I’ll stop here… it’s past midnight! 

Have a good night!


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DAY 5:  ST. MAARTEN - (THU, 11/2)… continued…

Once we returned to the ship, we walked around and spent some time at the Vue Bar and the Trellis Bar before heading back to our cabin to get ready for round two of 150 Central Park!

Another frozen mojito and lava flow!



This time, I tried the Braised Short Rib for my appetizer. Not as tender as I had expected… I’m used to fork tender braised short ribs. I had to use my knife to cut the meat.


I could not decide on my entree, so the waiter brought out the Lobster Thermidor and the Pan-Seared Veal Medallions. He warned that the lobster dish was not very filling. 🙂



I really enjoyed both, but the Roasted Tenderloin of Beef will alway be my favorite on the menu! One of the biggest benefits of this unlimited dining package is that you can try so many different menu items during the cruise since you can repeat speciality restaurants! The UDP on Icon looks a little pricey right now, so we’ll have to see if it drops on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Otherwise, we’ll likely get the 3-night dining package.

For dessert, I had the Fried Cheesecake this time which is my favorite.


OK… off to breakfast! Sleeping Beauty is awake and ready for breakfast!

I’ll be back!

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