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Photo TR: Adam's Grand European Adventure


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Wow, thanks for all of the awesome photos! As someone who's never done a cruise this paints a pretty vivid picture about what all there is to do, see, eat, and drink. Now I'm just overflowing with positive vibes from reading this TR, haha. Can't wait for the next chapter Adam!

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The next morning we woke up early to get our long day in Saint John, New Brunswick started. This was the only day on our Transatlantic Cruise where we planned two Port Adventures, so we needed to maximize our time in port as much as possible. Of the three Canadian ports we would visit on this cruise, this was my most anticipated, specifically for what we had planned.

 

First up was a land and sea tour of the Bay of Fundy. I'd grown up learning about this natural phenomenon through O, Canada at Epcot so I was eager to see the rising tides for myself. The tour was really fantastic in that it took us around the Bay by bus, stopping us off at a few viewing locations where we could see Reversing Falls, the place where the Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River meet. Following our bus ride, we circled back to the harbor to hop on a cruiser to see Reversing Falls up close. From the boat we could see a variety of local wildlife including bald eagles and seals. We spent about 30 minutes circling Reversing Falls, circling the natural whirlpool caused by the joining of two bodies of water. At the time we did this Port Adventure, it was low tide.

 

We returned to the ship for lunch and a viewing of John Carter (on demand) in our stateroom before heading back out to catch our next Port Adventure... The Moosehead Brewery tour! As a fan of Moosehead, I was excited to get the chance to tour the brewery firsthand. As it turns out, all Moosehead beer distributed internationally is produced from this, the one and only brewery to the label's name. As with most brewery tours we had the chance to learn every step in the brewing process, but what I found most exciting about this one was that we could enjoy unlimited samples during the tour and had the chance to try some Moosehead Lager straight from the brewing barrel without all of the preservatives that allow it to hold past bottling. Following the tour we were able to purchase more samples (which we did) before heading back to the ship...

 

Our cruise was nearing its end, with one more day at sea before we'd pull into port in New York City...

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Ain't she a beaut?

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Seals!

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If you'd believe it, this was low tide.

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The Bay of Fundy is something you could watch churn for an extended period of time and be charmed consistently.

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The natural whirlpools caused by the mixing of waters from the Saint John River are mesmerizing.

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Our driver shared with us a unique legend about beavers of Saint John that used to be this big creating a dam... I don't remember much else but the sculptural tribute was neat.

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Can't go far without seeing the Bay of Fundy.

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No shortage of good views of our ship.

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Like the Hollywood sign... But less recognizable.

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Oo-ee, oo-ee baby

Oo-ee, oo-ee baby

Oo-ee, oo-ee baby

Won't ya let me take you on a sea cruise?

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High tide versus low tide on the Bay of Fundy...

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Time and tides, love.

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Crazy to thing that the tides rise high enough to have a boat at the top of that dock.

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We spotted several bald eagles during our sea portion of the Fundy by Land and Sea tour.

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The Skywalk allows you the chance to step out over the Bay of Fundy... Having seen it from here, it was far less enticing.

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Quite pretty.

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LEVIATHAN!!!

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Look closely and you can see the meeting waters churn.

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Have I mentioned how much I love this ship?

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A look the ship's emblem...

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The AquaDunk really is awesome!

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Another AquaDunk angle.

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How you know you're in Canada...

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I don't have an explanation for this one... But sadly, it isn't named Boaty McBoatface.

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What do I do during down time on a Disney Cruise? Watch John Carter, obviously.

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It's a moose's head... Which means...

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I'm at the Moosehead Brewery!

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Classic Moosehead bottles over the years...

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This is where they test new beer consistencies like the Moosehead Fizzy Lifting Drink.

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Time for unlimited samples!

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BEER!

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While it looks like something out of Star Trek: The Original Series, this fancy do-dad controls the brewing process throughout.

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Fresh from the barrel--this was an incredible tasting experience unlike any I'd had before!

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Delicious AND refreshing!

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The tour concludes with a walk through the bottle/canning factory...

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Which naturally gives way to the tasting room.

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I couldn't resist!

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When we returned to our stateroom, we found this beauty, complements of the Disney Magic.

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What an awesome souvenir!

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How often do you get the chance to see Max out and about?

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Oysters Rockefeller at dinner!

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Lobster night!

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I might've had three lobster tails... I might've.

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Just hanging with the boys...

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Best chipmunks are best!

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An amazing trans-Atlantic cruise, to be sure! And the Maritime Provinces are a whole section of Canada I have, sadly, yet to visit. Glad you enjoyed your adventures there, ashore. And Moosehead! How could you go wrong with that?

 

Thanks for sharing (nearly) all of your trip.

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I think it's a reference to a British kids show called Tugs. Imagine somebody who made Thomas the Tank Engine said 'Let's do the same... but with boat's,' Don't think it did well, I remember having a VHS of 4 episodes from a 2 pound bargain bin when I was really young.

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As our cruise was winding down (and the last stop on our Grand European Adventure was winding up), it was time to enjoy one final day at sea aboard the Disney Magic... Which meant more food, more fun and an unforgettable end to our 11 night Transatlantic Cruise!

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Mimosas and bellinis to start our report? Where must we be?

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I like cheese.

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Palo Brunch of course!

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All the cheese. I cried happy tears.

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Serious folks, there are few finer experiences at sea than Palo Brunch.

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All you care to enjoy Iberico Ham. Dig in.

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A seafood lover's paradise... As it was mine.

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The dessert options are equally amazing.

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I started with a modest set of selections from the buffet...

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Palo Brunch also includes a selection of all-you-care-to-enjoy made-to-order entrees.

 

The Chicken Parmigiana is easily the best I've had anywhere.

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Magic in every sip!

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The calzones are incredible!

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Dessert is always my favorite portion of the experience... Particularly the champagne jello with fresh berries.

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I've now seen this statue in two locations... More clarification on that to follow in a future trip report.

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Near Rapunzel's Royal Table is a hallway with these sketches... They were kept as a nod to the rotational dining venue that came before, Parrot Cay.

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I love this space on the ship.

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Quite an atrium!

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There were plenty of merchandise options for our cruise!

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I might've brought a lot of this stuff home with me... I might've.

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Also new was a series of 20th anniversary merchandise for Disney Cruise Line.

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I could never get tired of this view!

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I love the way the loading platform for Twist 'n' Spout is hidden in the ship's funnel.

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Schwarma!

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So cool!

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Build a bowls were also a hit for our trip!

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Taking in the sea for one more day!

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Mesmerizing...

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Such a fun family slide!

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And something a little more thrilling.

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Homeward bound!

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These two are the best!

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Animation Magic at Animator's Palate is the most incredible dining experience Disney Cruise Line has dreamed up for their rotational dining venues. You create your own character (this was my poor attempt at an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit drawing) and later in the meal you see your character come to life like magic.

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Animator's Palate really transforms for the experience!

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Hey, I recognize that poorly drawn rabbit!

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Seeing your art dance with the Disney characters is seriously amazing.

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Hanging out with the Captain!

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Time to say farewell to our friends...

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It isn't so long... It's just a "See ya real soon!"

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Early the next morning (4:00 AM) I huddled towards the bow of the ship to brave the bracing wind for a unique view...

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New York City greeted us with a warm glow... My first time seeing the Freedom Tower in person.

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And Lady Liberty greets us in the harbor like she has for so many travelers before.

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The experience of sailing into New York City is worth the cruise alone. There's something moving about the experience that I simply cannot describe.

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It happened so fast, but I will never forget this experience.

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To give you an idea of how close you get...

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This was a view I could dream to for a few more hours...

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After a quick breakfast, it was time to disembark.

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It was genuinely strange to disembark the ship for the last time... For two and a half weeks we had been in Europe and sailing... The longest vacation we'd ever taken together (and when it was over, the longest I'd ever taken, topping the TPR East Coast/Behemoth Bash tour combo by two days) and the ship had been our home for a good portion of the adventure. The Cast and Crew went out of their way to make this the most incredible voyage I'd taken. The food, the entertainment, the ports, the unexpected surprises. It was hard to believe there was still more vacation ahead, knowing how incredible everything that had come before had been.

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We dropped our stuff off and proceeded to explore the city, trying first to see if we could squeeze in tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, having tried and failed for the lotteries for the London and New York versions of the show on the same trip.

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Needless to say, we didn't get in. Tickets are outrageously priced, even for last minute availability. We really wanted to see this show but for the money we didn't spend to see it in London or New York, we managed to see two shows in London and two in New York...

 

I'm just going to blame our luck on the Pepsi truck out front.

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We've arrived...

 

The final installment of this Grand Adventure is coming soon!

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  • 4 weeks later...

After so many days at sea, we were eager to stretch our land legs and maximize our limited time in New York before our vacation was over. It had been over a decade since I last visited New York City... In that time the Freedom Tower had been built from the ground up, Stage Deli had closed and Scott's Pizza Tours had crossed my radar. This trip was also the opportune moment to revisit Coney Island for the first time since since the

TPR East Coast Trip 2008 and to stop by Flushing Meadows to visit the 1964 World's Fair grounds.

 

We also managed to attend two tapings (Ryan and Kelly and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), see two shows on Broadway (The Lifespan of a Fact and Phantom of the Opera) and consumed copious amounts of pizza during and after Scott's Pizza Tours. Overall it was an incredible end to the best vacation we'd ever taken... And after three weeks away from home, it was time to head back.

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Where does a Disney fan go when in NYC? To the Times Square Disney Store of course!

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Josh Groban would perform live after his interview... Thankfully he did a different song in each of the two shows we saw him on.

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Two stories for extra magic!

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Similar in look and feel to the Disney Stores around the world, but larger in size to support the higher volume of foot traffic.

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Soup dumplings?

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YES PLEASE!

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We should have bought more from Sugarfina when we had the chance!

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We did buy some of these to take home with us...

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We might not have been in France anymore but we weren't going to pass up a chance to have more eclairs or macarons while we could!

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LIVE with Ryan and Kelly was interesting because as it would turn out, Ryan wasn't here to host... Plus the guests that came to see Kelly and Tiffany Hadish (guest host for the week) would be the same guests we would see at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

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The two folks wearing red in the front row were us!

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The Freedom Tower truly is beautiful.

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Breathtaking...

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I'd heard good things...

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I was not disappointed!

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I came across Harvey & Ida's... And let me just say, this was the best pastrami sandwich I've ever eaten.

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Second night of previews for The Lifespan of a Fact we were able to grab cheap seats from TKTS.

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The show is incredibly relevant for today's times but not too in your face with the social commentary.

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The sets were also surprisingly inventive despite how small the show was (only three cast members).

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We really loved it!

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Neat to see the Time building up close.

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Next up was our first ever experience with Scott's Pizza Tours... After years of seeing Robb & Elissa share their fun times with the tours, I knew it was a must-do for our visit. We started at Brunetti, the first of three pizzerias in the North Village.

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See those folks in the red towards the middle of the screen? That's us watching The Tonight Show live!

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Our guide started by explaining the science of pizza, beginning with the importance of the dough. You really do get to learn while you nosh!

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Seriously, this pizza was amazing!

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As we were walking to the next stop on our tour we passed the brick and mortar location for Bantam Bagels! We love this Shark Tank product and get them frequently while at Starbucks!

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More delicious pizza of a different style to try!

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We ended our tour at Fiore's for a classic New York style slice!

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It is all about the fold!

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We revisited the Times Square Disney Store a second time during our time in NYC because... Why not?

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Chocolate World in Times Square is a delicious option for travelers not close to Hershey... Though I missed having an awesome park next door.

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Are these chocolates from the Dagobah system?

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I was very curious to give the NFL Experience a try and had planned to visit during our time in NYC. A few days before we arrived it was announced that the experience would be closing a few days after the end of our trip. Unfortunately prices were not discounted for the remainder of the time the attraction was open and I didn't feel (given the public's obvious response to the attraction) that it would be worth dropping over $70 for two of us to visit when we could put that money towards another show or more pizza.

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M&M World was another stop along the way...

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Times Square has changed a bit over the years... It was quite odd to not see the Toys R Us here.

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Something that hasn't changed...

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Even in New York, Orlando is with us.

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I wasn't going to pass up a chance to get Cosi while I was in town... The only Florida location we had closed over a decade ago and for this reason I've had to get my fix when traveling in the Northeast.

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Phantom and Frozen being located right opposite each other was interesting...

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Here's the thing, I'm kind of a Phantom of the Opera fanatic. I grew up on the show as a kid and I've seen it seven times throughout my life... Those showings had all been traveling versions with the exception of a performance in Toronto when I was much younger. My wife was familiar with the show because of the Schumacher movie and having seen the newest traveling version (with the more modern staging that I'm not fond of) but she'd not seen a more permanent staging before. From the moment the show starts, you notice the sheer difference in what can be accomplished in a venue that has been purposefully outfitted to support this show year round versus the traveling staging.

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The scale is immense by comparison and the effects, practical and technical are fantastic even being over two decades old.

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There's a significant practical effect hidden in this shot that is my absolute favorite.

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The next day we got up early to go to Queens...

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I'm kind of a Disney nerd... So the World's Fair was high on my list to visit this time around.

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I wish I could have seen the New York State Pavilion with its original stained glass roof.

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There's a recent movement to preserve and restore the pavilion that has actually enabled guests to explore the inside of the pavilion on select days throughout the year. Sadly none of those dates were near our trip, but I was able to peak in through one of the area fences.

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I didn't realize just how big the Unisphere is!

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I really love this structure!

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Like, really really love it!

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As a fan of the original Men in Black, getting to see these up close was a treat as well.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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Near the Unisphere are etched tiles that (when the light hits them the right way) shows a grounds map of the 1964 World's Fair as well as that of the 1939 World's Fair.

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The Tower of the Four Winds!

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The General Electric Pavilion featuring the Carousel of Progress!

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No, this isn't Spaceship Earth.

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These tiles also reference the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris... Which was neat because we were just there a few weeks earlier.

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Oh boy...

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Oh swell...

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I'd been warned ahead of time to brace myself for Thunderbolt.

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Kind of nervous...

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I got a train to myself... Making eight other people wiser than me.

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Picturesque but man does this ride jostle you... Some super weird transitions into each of the inversions. Just a weird coaster.

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I'm bummed that none of the proposals to revisit using the Parachute Jump structure's designed purpose ever went forward.

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I do like the updated feel of Luna Park/Coney Island compared to what I experienced a decade earlier.

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Steeplechase was probably the most enjoyable of the new coasters added to Luna Park.

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Why do I do these things to myself?

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Much better.

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Due to bad weather in the area we opted out of riding the Wonder Wheel this time around in favor of getting on the Cyclone before it was at risk of closing during our visit.

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The recent retracking efforts really made a difference for this classic coaster.

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It still beats you around like crazy but never to the point of painfulness or discomfort. We spent most of the ride laughing just at the sheer ridiculousness of the total experience.

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This was a view I remembered from ten years earlier.

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I'd hope this coaster is maintained for many, many years to come.

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Also new this trip was the B&B Carousell.

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I had no shame riding this as an adult.

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There's something to appreciate about a classic, hand-carved carousel being restored to operation in this day and age.

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I'll be honest... There was nothing I cared about more in Coney Island than revisiting Nathan's. Last time around I only got hot dogs, not realizing until we left that the restaurant had an eclectic collection of seafood options.

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I might've gone hog wild... I might've.

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I mean, I wasn't going to come to THE Nathan's and not get a hot dog...

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But I also wasn't going to make the same mistake and not chance my life on Nathan's frog legs...

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Along with raw oysters and clams. Obviously I survived to tell the tale as I have since written this ridiculously long trip report. No regrets.

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Pretty sure I bought this photo less for my facial expression and more for proof that I was the only person dumb enough to fill a seat on this train.

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Later in the day we were sent a photo from our time in the Peacock Room at The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

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A better look at us in the audience came in the same day...

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We really enjoyed ourselves here!

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We definitely went back to the North Village on our last day to go enjoy more food... First stop, Bantam Bagels!

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We loved Brunetti so much from our visit during Scott's Pizza Tours that we went back for another pie!

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Seriously my favorite pizza I've ever had in NYC.

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On the way out we passed Jekyll and Hyde, the supposed spiritual sibling to the original Adventurer's Club at Walt Disney World... It was kind of dead (and underwhelming) inside and we were short on time, so I didn't stay for a drink, but I'd be curious to stop by for a drink in a future visit.

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The flight home ended on a good note... Old School playing live. After three weeks away, it was time to go home and sleep.

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Great report! That pizza looks fantastic and Coney Island is always a joy.

 

I actually like Thunderbolt. Yes the panini press restraints come down tight, but I've found the ride fairly smooth. The people I rode with both times thought the same thing.

 

Out of curiosity, did the carousel have music playing? They didn't last year and it felt sort of creepy to ride a carousel without it.

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Adam, I'm so glad that you had a chance to finish up your Grand Adventure with a visit to NYC - AND CONEY ISLAND! (And, yes, I too have lived to tell the tale of the scary fun of eating Nathan's raw seafood.) So much is gone of the 'old' Steeplechase, but at least the "Horse Race" is still running...albeit a little less "wild." Before it was redesigned, it was actually not easy to hold on to - it was so fast and curvy! (You may enjoy this old clip I found of the Steeplechase ride from the '20s. Before my time!! but it gives an inkling of the thrills that baby boomers could still experience!)

Thanks for all your stories and photos. I totally enjoyed your "Grand European Adventure!"

 

Alice

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