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LittleMissMagic

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About LittleMissMagic

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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Architecture, Photography, Disney
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    www.victoriaonvacation.com

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  1. Mushrooms... this is on theme. But like most Royal Caribbean desserts, the presentation was beautiful and the taste was mediocre. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr This one is called "The World." Now this is a dessert that I can get behind. It comes out as this hard shell chocolate ball. Warm peanut butter ganache is poured over the top. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The chocolate shell melts... Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr To reveal salted caramel ice cream! My favorite dessert so far. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Forbidden Apple..... woah, woah, woah! Whoever created this menu must've been keen to the underlying sexuality theme in Alice in Wonderland. Either that or they were confusing Alice in Wonderland with the Bible - classic mix-up! This apple should be Forbidden, and it's because it's pretty gross. Don't be fooled by the outside - the inside is raspberry cream. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Okay, the Shinglebells are divided on opinions of Wonderland. Judy said, "It was like Royal Caribbean tried to Disney. Did not quite pull it off." I totally understand that thought. They did choose to use the name Wonderland which most will associate with Disney. And it's just not a good idea to compete with Disney. If the goal was to take this restaurant full-on Wonderland, there were a lot of missed opportunities. Maybe there is a clock which indicates that it is always 6:00. They should add to the menu Mock Turtle Soup and the Queen's Tarts. Maybe the dessert menu could be presented on playing cards. And then at the end of dinner, they should do something that indicates we have awoken from a dream. There are so many creative opportunities with this Wonderland theme. I honestly wonder if whoever worked on this project even read the book or did any research. I think they could be successful if they drop the familiar characters and references and instead take this in an unfamiliar Meow Wolf direction. It could be a well-represented artistic dining experience with original theming and storytelling. I like the idea of experimental dining and a unique, imaginative menu. It doesn't need to revolve around a well-known literary character. Now the food.... to quote Judy, "The food was just plain bizarre." I actually enjoyed the unique menu. Having sailed Royal Caribbean so many times with the same bland dining room menu, I really enjoyed that this was unlike anything I've ever experienced before on a cruise ship. Also, I think unique dishes work in their favor as far as perception of quality. When I order a steak medium rare, I know exactly how it is supposed to look and taste. But Liquid Lobster? If I don't like it, maybe it's just because it's weird, not because whoever was manning the grill forgot to take off my steak and it was delivered to me well done. I think this would be a good direction for Royal Caribbean to take their main dining room menu. Instead of serving well known food at a mediocre quality, serve more creative, lesser-known food, and we might not even understand that it's only mediocre. We all really loved the venue, and our service here was excellent. Our waiter was nice and personable. Three out of four Shinglebells have no desire to return to Wonderland. Rachel said that she was glad we tried it, but it's a one and done thing. I am the only one who really enjoyed the experience and would definitely return again. I liked it. I'm totally down for the weird. That was a late evening! We were greeted in our stateroom by this little buddy.... Towel Animal by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  2. What's that... another short rib?!?! The Rib "I" Luscious Short Rib. I initially said, "No more short rib for me! I've tried enough!" But then I tried it and decided that it was the best of the three (vs. Jamie's Italian and main dining room). It was the sauce... I actually liked this sauce. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Branzino in Crispy Bread Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  3. The glassware is cool, though. Rachel ordered a glass of wine, and it was served in this awesome tall glass. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Here it is, the Rolling Stone! I enjoyed it. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Mad Hatter's Purple Potted Shrimp. Pretty sure the Mad Hatter was consuming tea and cakes, but okay, I'll take it - this is even curiouser. The shrimp was actually very good. And get this - Stove loved it! Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Bird's Nest has an awesome presentation. When it's delivered to the table, it has a clear glass lid over it which is encasing smoke. When the lid is removed, the smoke is released. Also, Alice is always talking about eating eggs and birds, so this dish is on theme. And I enjoyed the eggs. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Reconstructed Caprese. Not specifically on theme, just weird. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Now - the Liquid Lobster! Another menu item included just because it sounds weird. It's actually tomato bisque with caviar and not anything to be afraid of. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Citrus Seas Shhh was Judy's favorite. Well, she said it was the most memorable, actually, so that doesn't necessarily mean favorite. Also said, "A lot of time invested for a miniature snow cone," and while I didn't ask her to clarify, I'm pretty sure she meant her time spent in the restaurant, not the time of whoever scooped the snow cone. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Chicken and the Egg - Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Snap, Crackle, and Pork - Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  4. Here's your place setting. That's not a fork.... it's a paint brush! Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr And the menu is.... blank! Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr So you wet your paint brush in water and "paint" the menu. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr This is a cool effect, giving off Disney Cruise Line Animator's Palate vibes. My question is - what does this have to do with Alice in Wonderland? It's been awhile since I've read the book or seen the Disney movie, so if I'm missing the reference, please let me know. But it seems to me like this is just a cool effect that they just decided to do to make things interesting. I appreciate the effect, but it's not on theme. Rachel and Stove said that it was a lot of effort just to read the menu. Speaking of the menu... it sure gets curiouser and curiouser. With names like "Liquid Lobster" and "Tomato Water," I can understand Stove's aversion. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Here's the drink menu I was talking about. I chose the Rolling Stone because honestly, it was the only drink on the menu that I knew I would enjoy. Mezcal and cucumber - that's my jam! The other drinks were... and I hate to phrase it like this... boy drinks. And I know some woman is going to say, "Wait a minute - I love scotch whisky!" To which I'd respond, "You and my Uncle John." Notice at the top of the menu it says "Drink Me." It's on theme, and I appreciate it.... but why didn't the dinner menu say "Eat Me"? Who messed that up? Also, I wish they were more in-your-face with "Drink Me" and "Eat Me." I seriously don't understand why they passed up on the opportunity to adorn these labels on the glassware and serving dishes. This is a reference that most everyone will understand and love - a completely "Instagrammable" moment that was overlooked! Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  5. Now on to Wonderland! This restaurant is themed around - you guessed it - Alice in Wonderland. But before you say, "Wait! Isn't that Disney's character?" know that Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland was based on Lewis Carroll's novels, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. So as long as they don't use licensed Disney characters or their likeness, Wonderland is fair game. Wonderland is an experience for the curious appetite. You begin by going through the Rabbit Hole into a peculiar fantasy. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Wonderland has a lounge with a bar on the upper level. This restaurant is known for its creative drink menu, and you do not need a reservation or to pay the cover to visit the bar. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Fun and interesting furniture throughout. You can see the tree reference here. Maybe we're in the garden. What's missing are the doors of different sizes - missed opportunity. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The venue is beautiful. It's my favorite atmosphere of all the specialty restaurants, and the other Shinglbells agree. The dining room is a double-height space with a geometric faceted façade which overlooks the Boardwalk. Later that evening, they started the Aqua Show, and we could see the divers. Wonderland by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr To get to the dining room, you go down.... down.... down... a spiral set of stairs.
  6. Okay, so the dinner plan for tonight was a little crazy. Judy just could not get out of her mind the cheese platter that she enjoyed ordering in the main dining room on Navigator of the Seas last year. It was the one thing she missed about the main dining room. So Rachel suggested that one night, we go to the main dining room first so Judy could get her cheese platter. Our dinner reservation for tonight was for Wonderland, which is for "curious appetites." Rachel warned the Shinglebells that the menu was going to be interesting. Stove was apprehensive. And he kept hinting, "The menu in the main dining room looks really good tonight." Uhhh… did it? I did not agree, but Stove was clearly nervous about Wonderland, and Judy wanted a cheese platter. Rachel made a reservation for the main dining room, since it was Day 4 and we hadn't eaten there yet. The head waiter even called my parents stateroom to make sure that we were coming. And we showed up. Because we hadn't dined in the main dining room before, we had to be shown to our table. And it turns out that no one knew where it was. They led us back to a corner, then realized it wasn't there, so we backtracked and finally made it to our table. It was located on the fifth floor, which is the top (third) floor of the main dining room. Personally, I prefer to sit on the lowest main dining room floor... on the third floor it feels like you're tucked away in the balcony. We met our waiter, and I'll just say, she was not our biggest fan. "Where have you guys been all week?" We told her that we had specialty dining, and we felt her judgement. She was very respectful in asking if we had other reservations that we were in a hurry to get to, so Rachel told her about our 9PM reservation (to Wonderland!!), and she told us that she would get us out in time to make it. Stove is smiling in this photo, but the reason I took it is because he was complaining about the butter. "What happened to the real butter?" I think he may have been remembering Princess Cruise Lines, or one of the cruise lines that serves fresh butter in a cold dish. Or maybe we're just specialty dining snobs now. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr I ordered the Caesar Salad. It's a safe bet for Royal Caribbean. Then again, does this lettuce look wilted??? Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Ladies and gentlemen, here it is - THE LEGENDARY CHEESE PLATTER! Ha! This was not what Judy remembered. There were no crackers. And what is that... a block of Kraft cheese?? Judy then recalled that last year, as the cruise progressed, they ran out of items for the cheese platter like crackers. So if you want this very memorable cheese platter (which is actually listed on the dessert menu), be sure to order it early in the cruise. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Stove and Rachel ordered the escargot and commented that it was overdone. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr I decided to compare the main dining rib short rib to the short rib at Jamie's. It's just another bad short rib. This time I don't blame the sauce, but think it was overcooked. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Stove and Rachel got the tilapia, which was the fish of the day not listed on the menu. Our waiter didn't mention that it was fried, and they weren't expecting that. Tilapia is probably the last fish that I would assume would be fried. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Judy ordered the lasagna and said that it was as good as the pasta at Jamie's. Simultaneously a compliment to the main dining room and an insult to Jamie's Italian. Main Dining Room by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr We skipped dessert in the main dining room (you know... since we had ANOTHER dining reservation), and our waiter seemed offended. This isn't the first time this has happened. For some reason on cruises, when you tell your server that you don't want dessert, it's like a stab to the heart
  7. While Mom and Dad enjoyed the Diamond Lounge, Rachel and I went to Schooner Bar. It's located on Deck 6 Aft above the Promenade, near Rising Tides. Schooner Bar is a Royal Caribbean classic. It's on all of their cruise ships and is nautically themed, as one would guess from the name. We were welcomed... kind of, not really... by a bartender holding a drink tray, positioned out in the lounge area to take orders. Rachel and I found a table overlooking the Promenade and looked through the drink menu. Then we waited... and waited... the bartender was just standing there. Never came to take our orders. So Rachel got up to order for us from the bar. Schooner Bar by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Schooner Bar by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The good thing about Schooner Bar is the Lavendar Martini. I'm not sure where else you can get one on the ship. Schooner Bar by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Schooner Bar: Good martinis, mediocre atmosphere, lousy service (we visited again and experienced the same thing). Schooner Bar by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Here's Rising Tides in action. Rising Tide by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Rising Tide by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  8. Awesome!! Let me know how you like the lens! My Flickr is https://www.flickr.com/gp/vshingleton/L5V325 You can just click on any of the photos in this thread, and there should be active links that take you straight to that photo on Flickr with the image stats. But I should add the link to my Flickr on my website - it's in need of some love!
  9. I guess I didn't really touch on why I didn't like the desserts at Jamie's. It may have been a matter of preference. I found them too sweet or not a good texture. I'm not a big fan of the artificial fruit taste in the cream. Also, on all cruise lines I find the desserts to be super rich and decadent and just not something that I would eat a lot of personally. I used the Tamron 17-50 mm lens for almost every shot you see here (exceptions are the super wide photos taken from my balcony in Costa Maya - I pulled out the Tokina 11-16mm for those). If you're curious about what equipment was used for each photo, you can click the link to my Flickr, and it actually shows what camera body, lenses, and whether or not I used an external flash. I love the Tamron lens. It is my go-to. It has a fixed f/2.8 aperture, so you can open the aperture really wide, even when it's at 50 mm. It also comes at a very affordable price point. I've had the lens since 2013 - it's been through a lot, and it's still going strong!
  10. Oooh... we haven't done Cozumel Bar Hop yet. Might have to try that next! I guess I'm oddly appreciative because I can get photos of the beautiful desserts, but have no desire to eat them!
  11. Some more questionable holiday décor in the Promenade.... Towels by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The Celebrity Edge and Norwegian Escape left Costa Maya first, leaving us with a lovely view while we got ready for dinner. Costa Maya by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  12. So for lunch, we headed to Sabor. We forgot that there is a an exception to Unlimited Dining which doesn't allow you to dine at specialty restaurants at port days. You would think that actually, it would be the opposite.... because less people are on the ship on port days. The manager was willing to give us a discount of $14/person (vs. the typical $28/person). We decided to head across the way to Johnny Rockets and see what kind of deal they would cut us there. Sabor by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Sabor by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Harmony of the Seas by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr The manager at Johnny Rockets agreed to waive the $6.95/person surcharge. It was our experience that managers have some ability to make deals, so it's not a guarantee that they'll waive the surcharge, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Johnny Rockets by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Johnny Rockets by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Some classic Johnny Rockets dancing. Johnny Rockets by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Johnny Rockets by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  13. Carnival by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr This is the Solarium, which is the 16 and older pool deck area. Three hot tubs and a little splash area, but no swimming pool. Solarium by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr We learned that sunscreen can rub your name off of your SeaPass. The missing print was temporarily tattooed on Rachel's arm like a newspaper transfer. She had to go down to Guest Services and get a new card, and I had to later that week. SeaPass mixed with sunscreen by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  14. Meanwhile back on Harmony of the Seas... Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr We decided to take advantage of the low crowds to do the water slides today. There are three water slides - the "champagne bowl" (often called a "toilet bowl") and two body slides. Really, they're all body slides because there are no rafts for any of them. The champagne bowl is the most popular, so if you go up the stairs and the line for it isn't too bad, go ahead and take advantage. Otherwise, keep to the right and get in line for the blue or yellow body slide. I believe the yellow is the faster of the two. It is completely enclosed. The blue has one tube portion that is transparent. With the Champagne Bowl, you go in through one tube slide, then deposited in a large "bowl" which you will spin around (typically 1-2 laps in the bowl) before going down a second tube slide, out the bottom. If you don't make a full rotation and only do 1.5 spins, you'll need to scoot yourself over to the second tube slide in order to get out. Guys, I performed really well here.... your girl did 3 full laps in the champagne bowl! If you want to go as fast as possible down water slides, I have some tips for you. The goal is to reduce the friction between you and the slide by minimizing surface area in contact with the slide surface. To do this, position yourself in a "flat-as-a-board" plank and cross your arms over your chest. Lean your head forward, tucking into your chest. Tighten and lift your core so that only your heels and your shoulder blades are touching the slide. Now, when you start down the slide, you need to get good momentum. Start in a standing position and use the bar at the top of the slide to swing into the tube (don't just sit down and push off... unless the lifeguards make you, in which case, follow safety protocols), then assume your slide position as quickly as possible. You'll be flying down the slide as fast as possible! Pool Deck by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
  15. We headed up to the pool deck to take advantage of less people on the ship. Poolside by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Here's the top deck of the neighboring Carnival Glory. Looking kind of bare. It had a dry dock in 2017. I wonder when they're going to get the rear corner fixed... they aren't scheduled for a dry dock in 2020. Carnival Glory by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Celebrity Edge and Norwegian Escape by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr Creepin' on the pool deck of the Glory... I believe this is the adults-only pool. Carnival Glory by Victoria Shingleton, on Flickr
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