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Thursday, December 12, 2019

[Day 5] Disney Wonder - Puerto Vallarta & Pirate Night!

On Day 5, we arrived at Puerto Vallarta.  Puerto Vallarta is a port I'm familiar with because whenever we sail on Princess Cruise Lines, Rachel and I watch The Love Boat in our stateroom on repeat.  And in The Love Boat, they're always sailing to Puerto Vallarta.  I was excited to finally visit the Love Boat-hyped port.

Aaron had visited Puerto Vallarta once before on family vacation back in 2012.  It was a land vacation, and he remembered some very important details.  He was able to point out the hotel they had stayed in.  And, from the moment he found out we were going to Puerto Vallarta, he told me, "There's this really awesome restaurant called The Pancake House, and we have to eat there."

I know what you're thinking because it's probably what I was thinking - The Pancake House?  Pancakes?  In Mexico?  Why??  However, Aaron raved about it, and kept bringing it up - so much so that he convinced me it was important.  And I told him to forget about any other excursions in Puerto Vallarta (he really wanted to go to Marietas Islands Hidden Beach, but I was worried that we didn't have enough time, and it would be too complicated to figure out ourselves without a touring company).  We were there with a goal to accomplish one thing - dine at The Pancake House.

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

Grey skies when we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, but it was very hot!  The ship docks in a nice grassy area across the street from a Walmart and Sam's Club - I bet it's a hotspot for crew members to stock up on essentials.



Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

For the first time this trip, we were not bombarded by locals trying to sell us tours.  Maybe we just didn't walk far enough away from the port.  Everyone here was more relaxed - we found someone to take us to the downtown area.  However, they made us wait until they filled up their entire van with passengers - we were waiting around for 10-15 minutes before they were ready to take us.

While waiting for the van, another passenger was chatting us up.  "Where are you going today?"  "We're going to eat at this place called The Pancake House."  (unimpressed) "Huh. You're all the way in Mexico, and you're going to eat pancakes?"  Yeah, lady, we are.

I guess we weren't going to the same place as everyone else - they stopped and told Aaron and I to get off at this location.  I think they charged us $10 for the two of us.  We weren't quite sure where we were, but we walked toward the shore and found the Malecon!

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

The Malecon was on my to-see list, after I stumbled upon the YouTube channel of Kinetic Kennons.  They're from the US and actually live in Mexico now, and I highly recommend their channel for things to do and see in Mexico.

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

We walked south down the Malecon in the directon of The Pancake House.  Aaron had looked at a map, and he recognized things, and he lead the way.  I had no idea whether or not we would make it there.

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

We passed a ton of Senor Frog's restaurants and stores.  It's very popular here - I think we counted seven in Puerto Vallarta.  Aaron and I kept making directional jokes, "Oh, it's by the Senor Frog's."  If you're expecting a Senor Frog's photo, you'll be disappointed.  Didn't take one here.  Who wants to see that?

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

I did take a photo of this man very dangerously hanging these giant letters.  Do you see what he's doing?  He's standing on a ladder and hoisting up the letters to the top.  I guess at least someone is holding his ladder....

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Safety Story at Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Really fun to just walk around this part of town.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Sometimes photos just set themselves up...

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Aaron was refreshed and back for the photo game today.  Didn't even have to ask.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Once we reached this square with Parish of our Lady Guadalupe, we turned in and found a tourism office so that Aaron could ask for directions to The Pancake House.  I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but in case you can't tell by looking at him, Aaron is Hispanic (& Native American).  His Spanish is mehhhhh - comprehension better than diction (his grandma spoke to him in Spanish, and he spoke to her in English).  And the very nice women working in the tourism office weren't the best with English.  But with the use of Spanglish and a map, she was able to send us on our way (and I was relieved to learn that it was still open).

Parish of our Lady Guadalupe

And...... WE FOUND IT!!!

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

And there wasn't even a wait.  We were seated on the patio in the back, a nice garden-y spot.

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

We had traveled far, so we ordered a lot of food.  Burritos....

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

Of course pancakes....

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

Bacon!!!

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

I'll give it to Aaron - the food was good.  Better than anywhere else?  Ehhhh debatable.  But for the adventure of finding a restaurant he remembered from 7 years ago, it was worth it.  Also, the price was incredible.  I think all of our food came out to $30.

Pancake House in Puerto Vallarta

Well, our goal of the day was accomplished.  We headed back to the Malecon to wander back north toward the ship.

Puerto Vallarta

Found a fun mosaic wall backdrop.

Puerto Vallarta

This place looked cute - not as good as The Pancake House, though, I'm sure.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

This area, with The Pancake House and nice beachfront resorts is "Zona Romantica".  It looks like a good area to stay if you're considering visiting for a land vacation.  And honestly, Puerto Vallarta is pretty appealing for a land vacation because everything is so affordable.  Food is inexpensive.  Beers were $2-3 (Mexican), and Margaritas were being advertised for $5.  Definitely the least expensive of the three ports we visited.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

This resort has a pool that comes right up to the Malecon.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

We walked out onto Playa los Muertos Pier.  Lots of water sport excursions being offered over here - parasailing, jet skis, snorkeling.

Playa Los Muertos Pier

Playa Los Muertos

Playa Los Muertos

Playa Los Muertos

Playa Los Muertos

We didn't go in here, I just thought it looked cool.  We were trying ot get closer to the ship before stopping for drinks.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

This is Rio Cuale.  Aaron said that when he was here in 2012, this river was disgusting - super brown, full of garbage, and smelled bad.  Today, there were people swimming in it.

Rio Cuale

More art along the Malecon -

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Almost to the end of the Malecon, we stopped in Oceano Azul, a beachfront bar, for $5 Margaritas.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Then we hailed a cab back to the ship.

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

All Aboard!

Disney always has a maintenance crew out working on the ship while it's docked in port.  That's why the ships always look so fresh and new.

Disney Wonder Ship Maintenance in Puerto Vallarta

Disney Wonder Ship Maintenance in Puerto Vallarta

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Adios, Mexico!  Next stop - San Diego.

Puerta Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Now, tonight was the much anticipated Pirate Night.  After being unprepared for Pirate Night once before on the Disney Fantasy, I've made a note to never forget it!  I just repeated my pirate outfit from our Disney Dream cruise (unfortunately, my shirt is no longer sold in that color on Amazon, but there's a similar one available here), but Aaron was in need of a pirate look.  He actually meticulously searched the internet for men's pirate costumes and picked out and ordered his own Pirate Jacket from Amazon.  The costume came with a white blouse, a sash, and a belt, but Aaron chose to wear his own white shirt rather than the costume piece.

This was a big deal, and I wanted pictures.  So I made sure we were dressed with plenty of daylight for photo taking on deck.  We went to the top deck, and it was sweltering hot.  Aaron was not comfortable in the heat with that jacket, or the sun without shades.  I wasn't exactly comfortable either.  Not much patience for the self-timer photo in the sun.... eyes closed for Aaron.

Pirate Night

We found a shady spot at the aft.  Hoorah!  The pirate belt I'm wearing is actually from Aaron's costume, but it didn't stay secure (heavy buckle, flimsy little holes), so he tied it around my waist.

Pirate Night

Oh, nice - a reflective surface for a mirror selfie!

Pirate Night

This is Aaron telling me that we're actually right outside Palo, and everyone eating their fancy dinners inside is totally watching us take ridiculous pirate photos.

Pirate Night

Okay, enough of the heat.  Time for beer.  We headed down to O'Gills where they happened to be starting Triva.  So we decided to try our luck.  We played one movies trivia, and a music trivia... the only trivia I shine at is Disney Music Trivia, so this was not my game.  But Aaron actually knew a lot of the answers.  For our last round, we teamed up with some other cruisers, and were a lot closer to winning.

Pirate Night

Pirate turn-down...

Pirate Night

Really digging the pirate look, can you tell?

Pirate Night

Our Pirates in the Caribbean (or Pacific) Dinner was in Tiana's Place.

Pirate Night

At the beginning of the cruise, Aaron and I purchased the Classic 5 Night Wine Package.  The servers were actually not pushing it at all and seemed surprised that we got it.  But the good thing about the package, is you don't have to finish the bottle in the dining room - they can either cork it and store for the next day, or you can actually take the bottle with you when you leave the dining room (which we did a few times).

Pirate Night

Aaron was obviously in charge of the wine selection that night.

Pirate Night

Lookin like a sun kissed baby...

Pirate Night

Cheers, mate!

Pirate Night

I started with Davy Jone's Crab Cake.

Pirate Night

And Aaron chose Master Gibb's 1/2 Pint of Shrimp Cocktail -

Pirate Night

And for an entree, I chose the Cortes's Cilantro Marinated Caribbean Grouper Filet.  Because cilantro.

Pirate Night

Here's the dessert menu -

Pirate Night

The Rum-Baked Chocolate Cake -

Pirate Night

And the Bounty Fruit Cobbler -

Pirate Night

Pirate Night

Some sort of Pirate Parade in the dining room -

Pirate Night

Okay, now I mentioned before that just a few weeks before our cruise, Disney had stopped passing out paper Navigators (daily schedule) to guests in their staterooms each night.  You could still reportedly go and get a Navigator from guest services (by waiting in line, not just picking up from a brochure display).  So I figured I'd go along with it to see how it worked because 1) Aaron had never been on a cruise before, so he didn't know any different anyway, and 2) I'm young, I should be able to use an app, right?  Well, it turns out we would've really benefitted from paper Navigators... the app was difficult to use.  The layout was strange, and it was difficult to find things.  And it didn't always update when you opened it.  The reason I'm complaining about the app is because I'm about to blame it and the lack of paper Navigators on what's about to happen.....

We missed the fireworks.  Thought it was a half hour later.  Went up to the top deck to witness the last three explosions..... got a photo of one.

Pirate Night

We did get to witness the dance party, though.

Pirate Night

Pirate Night

And on top of that, we didn't hit up the buffet because we had just eaten dinner.... then went later to try and get some food.... and they had just closed.

Time wasn't our best friend that evening.  Oh, well.  I had seen it before.


4 comments:

  1. YAY!!! Please finish up as soon as you can and keep the pics coming! We are also gonna be on a cruise from 12/21 - 12/28 on a Celebrity Ship [ 1st time on X]

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  2. I love Puerto Vallarta, was just there with my gf. If you end up going again Uber is now there. Made getting around super easy, and cheap. Happy Holidays!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, good to know - I didn't even think about Uber, or try to use my cell phone. Are there extra charges/roaming fees to use cell phones in Mexico?

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  3. You have to roam in Mexico. Your cell phone plan determines if there are any charges. I have an unlimited plan with Verizon and it was free. Definitely check with your provider. What ship are you and family on this Christmas?

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