Atlantis 2015

We were so blessed to spend Wednesday, March 11 - Saturday, March 14 at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas!!! It was the best Christmas gift ever - experiences like this create memories that last longer than any toy! Our kids are at the perfect ages to make travel ideal: old enough to remember & appreciate everything, dependable good manners, responsible enough to go to the restroom or down a slide without us having to chaperone, and still young enough to not be mortified by our parental presence. ;-) We want to take full advantage of these sweet years, and we are so thankful for JB's parents making it a reality!!!

We flew direct from Houston to Nassau and met JB's parents at our stunning hotel: The Reef - jaw-droppingly gorgeous! [The photos in the links are not photoshopped - it really does look like this!] The view from our room:
From Grandma & Grandpa's:

The kids got into their suits (the adults didn't, since we were "just going to look around before dinner" = bad choice! we all wished we would've! :-P) and went out to get the lay of the land. Will & Annelise rode the first water slide they saw - the Serpent Slide, which winds down & ends up going through a shark aquarium!
There's a viewing area where you can watch the people come through...although I can't tell which kid is which in these two. ;-)

Will & Sis then discovered Will's other passion - car racing - right by the slide exit. (You can see the shark in the slide viewing area behind the track. :-P)

We ended our initial exploration walking along the beach before getting cleaned up for dinner:

Dinner at Casa D'Angelo was delicious! Service was...slow. They did make a special effort for me (I wanted their Burrata & Figs appetizer; they were out of burrata, but added figs to my Caprese, just to accommodate :-)) but they were late bringing out our entrées & desserts. Maybe it was just an off night? It was definitely the worst service we experienced the whole if that small delay was the worst, you know our trip was excellent! :-)

Thursday, March 12th was all about the water park after an amazing breakfast at Mosaic. Every morning, I had chocolate croissants, coconut pancakes & crêpes with nutella. Every. Morning. Mmmmmm...

JB's parents reserved a private cabana in the middle of the water park & pool areas for Thursday & Friday - so nice to have our own area, guaranteed to be free, and secure with a safe, so we could leave our phones, etc. when we wanted to run around.

We knew we wanted to tackle Atlantis' signature slide - the Leap of Faith - very first thing. "The Leap of Faith slide offers a daring and adventurous 60-foot almost-vertical drop from the top of the world-famous and iconic Mayan Temple. The body slide propels riders at a tremendous speed through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon." You go so fast, it’s over in no time! You really have to make an effort to keep your eyes open in the see-through tube surrounded by sharks! Here's me:

And proof that ALL FOUR of us did it! In order: Will - Annelise - Sues - JB

That just got our water slide kick going!!! Back on the Serpent: "On the five-story corkscrew Serpent Slide, guests travel on a tube at high speeds through the darkness of the Mayan Temple's core. The twisting and turning ride culminates with a leisurely pass through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon."

We then headed over to the rapids river ride, The Current, "where resort guests are propelled along a mile-long river in their inner tubes via water escalators, rolling waves and extreme rapids powered by master blaster technology." These shots were in a short, calm, lazy river section:
(It's funny that my two pics are with Will, b/c I rode once with him...and literally *20* with Annelise! :-D)

I spent the rest of the afternoon as a human solar panel in the cabana with JB's parents, while the kids checked out the Gamer's Reef with JB before hitting the Mayan Temple Pool, again:

We had an absolutely exquisite dinner at famed Chef Jean-Georges' Café Martinique! I had the Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar and the Duck topped with Cracked Jordan Almonds, Foie Gras and Amaretto Sauce. Woooooow. And dessert!!! Mille-crêpes caramélisées au Grand Marnier, coulis mangue et passion: thousand crêpe cake (at least *30* layers of thin crêpes & vanilla crème) with a caramelized Grand Marnier top, served with mango coulis & passion fruit seeds = BEST. DESSERT. OF. THE. TRIP. Crêpe cake!!!!! Oh, my heart...

Friday, March 13th: bucket list item ✓
Dolphin Cay Shallow Water Interaction! Venture into the crystal blue waters of one of the world’s largest marine habitats. The Shallow Water Interaction at Dolphin Cay is an unforgettable experience where you engage with Atlantis, Paradise Island’s resident bottlenose dolphins and discover just how playful they can be. Guests wade into waist-deep waters and get nose-to-bottlenose for an unparalleled, up-close adventure with their new dolphin friend. Prepare yourself to be amazed as they show off their incredible athletic abilities right before your eyes!

Our rescue dolphin was named Maru, and she was the cutest 3 year old:

Family ♥

We all got to kiss & pet Maru!

Hello, Christmas card...

We also got to play with Maru: give high fives, have her swim back and forth under our hands, splash us - the whole thing was just completely enchanting!

After our morning bucket list-worthy dolphin encounter, we still had an extremely full rest-of-Friday!

Annelise was the ONLY ONE who would race me on the Challenger Slide, which starts just as high as the Leap of Faith, but is actually twin slides on the opposite side of the Mayan Temple:

Will & JB headed off to the Gamer's Reef, while Annelise & I spent literally HOURS on the rest of the slides & in the Current river! We conquered all four Power Tower slides:
The Abyss - Beginning with a staggering 50-foot near vertical drop through complete darkness within the Power Tower, this thrilling 200-foot-long body slide ends as guests splash through waterfalls and into The Cenote - an underground lair of prehistoric alligator gars and fish.
The Surge - Starting at the top level of the 121-foot Power Tower, this inner tube ride features a camel back drop into a cavern, then quickly twists and turns downwards into white-water rapids caused by a flash flood.
The Falls - The slide drops riders 58 feet to ground level before propelling them through a water roller coaster of twisting tubes.
The Drop - Commencing from inside the Power Tower, this single or double inner-tube rides begins with an ominous “drop” through darkness in an enclosed tube. Riders then encounter the open-air twists and turns of this thrilling water slide before splashing down into the Current.

The Drop was our fave, and all but the Abyss dump you back out into the Current river = easy to keep going over & over & over... We went so long that my head felt like we were still bobbing along when I was sitting still at dinner that night!

But before dinner...

Will & Sis had to get their R/C race on one last time at the bigger indoor Atlantis Speedway:

We explored The Dig: There's only one place in the world where you can embark on a journey through the streets and tunnels of the fabulous lost city of Atlantis by way of stunning life exhibits. Reflecting the tunnels and thoroughfares of the lost continent, The Dig at Atlantis Paradise Island features over 100 venomous Indo-Pacific Ocean Lionfish, 500 piranhas, iridescent jellyfish, and six-foot Moray Eels. Special environments hold nine species of enormous groupers, while smaller separate “Jewel Habitats” are home to multitudes of brilliantly-colored tropical fish.

And then Elsa appeared in the Royal Towers!!! ;-)

Family shots on the way to a delectable dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill:

We spent our last Bahamian morning along the beach after breakfast...

Ocean stunt!

Last glimpse from our hotel balcony:

Checking out (& snuggling in the funky cool lobby chairs!)

One final beach bon voyage...

At least we were welcomed home with the most beautiful Texas sky...

...and sweet beagle kisses! :-D