View Full Version : mom22gls - Our Land-Sea-Land vacation June 13-22 - Beach Club, Disney Wonder, Animal
06-23-2008, 07:55 AM
June 13-15: Beach Club Villas
June 15-19: Disney Wonder
June 19-21: Animal Kingdom Villas
Transportation: Southwest Airlines from Philadelphia, Magical Express and other Disney transport on-site, Happy Limo to and from cruise.
DH-age 51, two trips to WDW pre-kids, many since, most recently in March 2008. We used almost all our DVC points for 2008 on that trip, because we had a two-bedroom villa, shared with family members, and I borrowed some points from next year, to get studios for this trip. We didn't do the DDP, but we have a DDE card, and used that discount. The occasion for this trip, our 25th anniversary. We’ve been on several cruises on other lines, pre-kids, but this is our first Disney cruise.
Me-age 49, same
DD1: age 9, about 9 trips to WDW, first cruise
DD2: age 6, same
Friday, June 13. We leave our home in suburban Philadelphia around 7 AM, stop for a diner breakfast on the way to the airport, and drop the car off at an off-site parking facility, where a driver drops us off at the airport. An uneventful flight, and we have a light lunch at the airport. When we check-in at Magical Express, there is, virtually nobody in line, early in the afternoon. There are a few people on the bus, and we are at the hotel less than an hour after check-in at Magical Express. When we arrive at the Beach Club, a CM greets my children by name, apparently because they had a list of our names, and we were the only ones who got off at the Beach Club. We check into our studio, and change into the bathing suits I brought in our carry-on. We enjoy Stormalong Bay, the best hotel pool ever, for an hour and a half or so, and then get changed for dinner. We had dinner at Cape May Café, and my younger daughter tries steamed clams and decides that it is now one of her favorite foods. I don’t care for them, but DH and DD1 love them. After dinner, we decide to walk over to Epcot, just wandered around, and enjoyed a couple of tribute bands (one was 2U, and I quipped to my husband that the lead singer was probably Nomo), and we stay through Illuminations. DH and DD2 are tired and head back to the room. DD1 and I sit outside on the beach to watch some of the movie, before we head to the room.
Saturday, June 14. In the morning we head to the Magic Kingdom, and enjoy some rides. POTC was closed, until Thursday, so I make a mental note to catch it after the cruise. After lunch, we head back to the hotel, and back to that fabulous pool. We walk to Epcot for dinner, at the Japan Pavilion. My husband and I have sushi, and the kids were not interested in the kids’ meals, so we order a steak for them to share. We walk back to the hotel, and I go down to the beach, with the kids, for the evening movie, which was Enchanted. I noticed that the hotel had the dozens of lounge chairs in neat rows facing the water, but not many people use them during the day. The inflatable movie screen is placed at an angle to the chairs, so most people move their chairs to face the screen, and all the chairs would have to be moved back into rows after the movie every night. We had some snacks, and the kids played in the sand, and we enjoyed the movie, which we had already seen, but it’s a good one.
Sunday, June 15. We get our Happy Limo pick-up at 10AM, and enjoy the ride to the port, which takes about an hour. Our driver was very articulate and interesting, and we enjoyed his stories about his long career in television journalism, as a cameraman (although in another generation, he probably would have been a local anchor, which had been his ambition). He took up driving after being downsized by a local station. We are at the cruise terminal around 11, and check-in was a simple matter, as I had already checked in online, so they already had our passport and charging information. The children were already registered for the on-board clubs, are “tagged” for the kids’ clubs, with bracelets that they will wear throughout the cruise. They start letting people on the ship around noon, although our stateroom would not be ready until 1:30. We head up to deck nine for a buffet lunch, and walk around the ship for awhile. DD2 was concerned that she would be in a different club than her older sister, but seemed very interested in the Oceaneer’s Club, and was permitted to run around and check it out before it opened. We go to our stateroom, and are very pleased with the size and layout of the Category 6 cabin, which has a verandah. There was a queen-size bed, the sofa folded out into a single bed, and another single folded out from the ceiling, effectively creating bunk beds for the kids. We go through the mandatory safety drill, and go up to Deck 9, for the activities. We changed clothes, and went to the 6:15 show, which was a revue-type show with the theme “The Golden Mickeys.” Dinner was at Tritons, and was delicious, although my younger daughter was getting tired at the late seating. We opted for a package for the wine, which gave us a discount for 4 bottles. For reasons discussed below, we actually ended up taking one bottle with us off the cruise, because we did not get to drink it the last night.
More to come….
06-24-2008, 03:34 PM
Monday, June 16: Castaway Cay day. We have breakfast at the buffet then off to the beach. We all played in the water for awhile, and relaxed on beach chairs. The kids were not very interested in the kids’ activities, so we just hung out together. After a tasty barbeque lunch on the island, DD2 wanted to go back to the ship. I walked back with her (when we got to the tram stop, we decided to just walk the rest of the way, because it wasn’t far. We got to the stop near the ship just as the same people were getting off the tram). DH and DD1 stayed at the beach for awhile. DD2 and I went up to Deck 9 and played in the pool. That evening, we all saw the show, then went to dinner, which was a Pirates in the Caribbean them. We were eating at Animator’s Palate, but they did not turn on all the effects that night. That evening, there was a Pirate deck party, and I know they have to do the disco thing, but Jack Sparrow doing “The Safety Dance” was not in character! It was cool, however, when Mickey slid down the zip line from the tall smokestack, on a moving ship, and the fireworks were also neat. Disney is the only cruise line that can and does shoot fireworks off the ship.
Tuesday, June 17: Nassau. We did the Dolphin Encounter excursion, which was not inexpensive, but was a highlight of the trip. We were in the morning group, and took a smaller boat to another part of the island, where there is a small reserve, with dolphins, sea lions, etc. We had a brief orientation, about how to interact with the dolphin. The group split into a couple of smaller groups, and we left our stuff on the deck and walked around smaller squared-off areas in the water. The dolphins were able to swim in and out of the area. The dolphins were highly-trained, and the trainers were quite personable. She directed the dolphin in sort of a private mini-Sea World performance. We all sat on the sides, and were called, by family groups onto a platform. While standing on the platform, the water was only 3 feet deep. The dolphin posed with each family, then went back and forth, so we could pet him on his back and belly, then he stopped with each person, for a hug, a “kiss,” and a dance. At times, he was directed to blow a raspberry or similar humorous reaction. Each person fed him a fish, and we could touch his teeth. He was very gentle and well-trained, and even my younger daughter was not at all intimidated. In fact, she was absolutely delighted. We bought the picture and video package, walked around to view the sea lions, washed our hands really well, and got the kids a snack. My older daughter had expressed a wish to shop, but by the time we got back to the terminal, was tired, and all she wanted was one pair of earrings, which we bought at the terminal for $10. Back on board, we had lunch around 2, and just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. The evening show was the Toy Story show, and it was really good. That evening was “dress-up” night, and we knew that it did not have to be especially formal, but I was surprised at how many people just wore shorts in the dining room. I wore black slacks with various tops most nights, which was easy enough to pack, and my girls had cute sundresses. We went through the photos at Shutters, and had enough pictures we wanted to buy a package. I pretty well had figured we would be spending money on pictures, but I'll be working a lot of Saturday OT this summer, to pay off the extras on the cruise. It was worth it, though.
Wednesday, June 18. Another day at Castaway Cay. We wake to a thunderstorm, and were not allowed off the boat, until the weather cleared. The staff just treated the morning like a day at sea, and opened up the kids’ clubs early, and had other activities. I went to the movie theatre for the 10:30 showing of Prince Caspian, with both my kids. The movie was rated PG, but there was a great deal of sword fighting, which got rather intense. You only saw blood from minor injuries, and there was no swearing, or sexual activity shown, but it was more violent than I expected. My younger daughter wanted to leave, so I took her to the Oceanear’s Club, where she happily spent the rest of the afternoon. I came back to the theatre, and saw the rest of the movie with my older daughter. We had lunch with my husband, and, he decided to take a walk on the island, since the weather had cleared. Most people, by that time, were not in the mood for the beach, and we also decided to just stay on board. Turns out, my husband just wanted to take pictures of the Flying Dutchman, because he wants to recreate it in our yard for Halloween (we already had boat parts from last year, which he had fashioned from a broken bookcase, among other things). He returned, and took my older daughter to see College Road Trip, while I relaxed and read in the stateroom, and also packed, since it was our last night. We picked up my younger daughter, and all went to see the 6:15 show, at the end of which my older daughter complained that she was feeling really cold. She felt clammy to me and was not looking well. I took her back to the stateroom, and she said she was hungry, but did not want to go to dinner. I offered to order from room service, but the menu did not appeal to her. My husband and DD2 went to dinner, and he called from the house phone to recite the menu at Parrot Cay. I asked for an appetizer, and what he described as a salad (which turned out to be a cold soup, but it was good), and she wanted a steak. A waiter came from the restaurant to our stateroom to deliver our dinner, which was impressive because they were really busy at the restaurant, and this was not a room service meal. My husband said that the server and asst. server expressed their concern about her, and wanted to make sure she ate what she wanted. I told my husband to just pick out our fourth bottle of wine from the package we had already paid for, and we could take it with us. I gave my daughter some Tylenol, but I suspected that she might have a strep infection, since she had them before, and her presentation was much the same. She was feverish and had a bad night, and we did too.
Thursday, June 19. We wake early, and I told my husband that DD1 needed to get a strep culture done. The Health Center was not open, and I was not sure this was an emergency, but I thought we might get the information for the Urgent Care Center near Disney World, and perhaps our driver would drop me off with her there. Guest Services told us they would page the doctor, and, at 7, the nurse called and told us to come down. I got my daughter down there within a few minutes, and we saw the doctor shortly thereafter. My daughter got examined, cultured (negative, but the doctor still thought she had a bacterial infection), and, bonus, they gave us the bottle of amoxicillin there in the office, so I did not have to worry about getting to a pharmacy. The total cost was a little less than $120, and they gave me a bunch of receipts so that I can get reimbursed from my own insurance. We were out of there in well less than an hour, and were in line for our 8AM breakfast seating. We left the ship, had no problems finding our luggage, breezed through Customs, and our driver was waiting for us. We were back at the World, by 10AM, and our studio at the Animal Kingdom villas was ready for us. Bell Services had only just taken our luggage, but brought it, and our Owner’s Locker to our room within minutes. We had a 2:30 lunch ressie for Le Cellier, and the girls were excited to get going to Epcot. DD1 was looking somewhat better, and was not feverish, but I told her we would come back for a rest later in the afternoon. I did not know about her, but I sure was feeling tired, after our restless night. The main attraction they hoped to see at Epcot was their two BFF’s from preschool, sisters who were vacationing with their parents. Our kids are all out of preschool now, of course, and in different school districts, but they still get together for playdates, birthday parties, and even go to the same summer day camp. We had recently had both kids for a sleepover. The parents are fun and interesting people, and we planned an adult dinner out the next night, with the kids to go to one of the kids’ clubs. Pete, the dad, had taken up scuba diving, and was scheduled to do the tank at the Seas, and we thought the rest of the family would be there to see him dive. We took the bus to Epcot, and the first thing we did was to check out the refurbished Spaceship Earth. We did not get to it the previous weekend, because we were coming and going from the International Gateway, and were determined not to rent a stroller, since they raised the prices, and my younger daughter had been too tired to walk that far, after using so much energy at Stormalong Bay. The line looked long, but really moved, and we were in the ride within 20 minutes. Not to spoil anything, but it was really much more fun, and my kids loved the surprises at the end of the ride. The kids were hot and tired by the time we got to the World Showcase, so we went to the restaurant a little early, not minding the wait in the air conditioning. Lunch was good, and my younger daughter just wanted plain pasta, my older daughter wanted the kid’s steak, DH had the prime rib sandwich, which was OK, but he likes his meat rare, and it’s heated in the au jus which made it overcooked to his taste. I had the salmon BLT, which was yummy. DH and I each had a beer. I knew DD1 was under the weather because she bypassed the crème brulee, her favorite dessert. We went over to the Seas, and did the Nemo ride, and just hung around the pavilion. I stepped out to buy a scrapbook, for all our cruise pictures, because I was able to buy cruise-themed paper and stickers on-board, but not the album. When I got back, I saw Pete, and greeted him, and he said the kids would be coming later. It turned out that they were not coming to see the dive, but for their dinner at the Coral Reef, which would not be for another couple of hours. We watched the dive, and then I went back to the hotel with DD1, and DH and DD2 stayed at Epcot awhile. DD1 and I took a long nap, and woke up at 9PM, when DH and DD2 came back to the room. After they left Epcot, they had played at the hotel arcade, and had dinner at the Mara. DD1 was hungry (I should note that, despite being an eating machine, she is very thin), so we both went down to the Mara for a light dinner. The food there was quite good. We went back to the room, and, officially went to bed. The next day, would be quite an adventure, more than we expected (but in a good way).
06-24-2008, 05:48 PM
Great start, can't wait to read more. I am considering a Land & Sea trip for DD's graduation next year and enjoyed reading about yours.
Sorry DD1 was sick, but it sounds like you got great service from DCL & for about what you would pay for a regular Dr visit. Hope she got well enough to enjoy the rest of her trip.
06-24-2008, 06:51 PM
My husband and I had years of adult vacations before we were blessed with our children, and we've been on several cruises, and to Bermuda and Italy, and have stayed at a number of luxury hotels and resorts. My husband insists that the Disney cruise was the best vacation he's ever had.
Friday, June 20. After a good night’s sleep, we are ready for a good park day. DD1 is feeling a lot better. We breakfast on bagels in our studio, and just start to talk about what to do with the early part of our day, when DH checks his cell messages. Pete had just left a message that they were doing breakfast at the Crystal Palace, and did we want to meet them at the MK? The girls vote yes, so off we go. We meet our friends at the park, and decide to start with POTC. The girls are, to quote Forrest Gump “like peas and carrots,” and it was the sweetest sight to watch two 9 year olds and two 6 year olds holding hands, through the park. When we exit the ride, we see the same actor who did Capt. Jack during the P and P party last August doing the “how to be a pirate” lesson. That guy practically channels Johnny Depp. The girls do the Aladin ride, and the little ones are thrilled that we allow them to ride together, without a grown-up. With a ratio of one adult per kid, it is so much easier to track the kids. One of us stood by the entrance, to see the kids get on OK, and I stayed at the exit, to “catch” them when they got off. The other kids wanted to do the Haunted Mansion, but DD2 is afraid of it, so Sue, the other girl’s mother, offered to take the little ones to the teacups, and DH and I took the older girls on the Haunted Mansion. We met up after the rides, and all headed to Buzz Lightyear, one of my favorites. For some reason, the CM would not allow any of the kids to ride without an adult, so we split up and rode one adult to one child. I have no idea why this restriction on this ride, when little ones were permitted without an adult on rides they could, theoretically fall out of, and Buzz is at ground level. We also did the Carousel of Progress, and to show the difference in our ages, my DH and I told the other couple that we had actually been to the 1964 World Fair, and they were amazed. OK, I was only 5, but I remember a little bit of it. All the while, Pete is taking dozens of pictures of the kids, and I can’t wait to get copies. Around lunchtime, we all decide to head back to our hotels for a rest and a swim (the other family is staying at PO), because we will be meeting back up for dinner. We head back, we get a bite to eat at the Mara, and I take the girls to the pool at the AKL, while DH gets some rest time. I then insist that the girls lie down for a bit, and we get a little nap. DH and I change to nicer casual clothes, and we head for the bus stop. We have not had much of a wait for any buses, but this time we had about a 20 minute wait. Our dinner is at the California Grill, but because the Contemporary does not have a kids’ club, I had made reservations at the Grand Floridian for the kids, and had told our friends to meet us there at 6:30. They called from the Contemporary, and we clarified the plans, and told them to get back on the hotel monorail. Because we were running late, I suggested that my husband get off at the Contemporary, to check in if we were late. I continued on to the GF, and met our friends, and we got the kids registered at the kids’ club. My daughters were hoping to catch Camp Rock that evening, and the GF was going to show it on a big screen, but that was not part of the babysitting. The kids would be able to watch it on TV there, however. The three of us meet my husband at the Contemporary right at 7:30, our reservation time. We check in and take the elevator upstairs, and they suggest we wait at the bar. We get out table at 8, and it’s right in the corner, with a great view of the MK. Dinner took over two hours, and we were able to watch the fireworks at 10, with a great view. The food was everything I had heard it was. My older brother and his wife ate there last year, and raved. DH teased him by sending him pictures of the sushi platter via cell phone. Sue doesn’t like sushi, so she had a salad, and three of us shared the platter. My taste in sushi is pretty basic, but this was just amazing-the fish was so tender and sweet, and it was not too spicy. The first courses appealed to me more than the entrees, so I ordered two starters for my meal; a lobster bisque, and a lobster salad. Sue also ordered the soup, and a ravioli starter. Both guys ordered a veal dish. Three of us shared a bottle of wine (the other one doesn’t drink). For dessert, three of us ordered the same thing, which was a banana dish with caramel sauce, which was a gorgeous presentation. DH had a chocolate cake dessert-these simple descriptions do not begin to address how beautiful and delicious the desserts were. We used out DDE card, and our friends appreciated the discount. We left around 10:30, and went to pick up the kids. We had talked about going back to the MK for EMH, and I brought better walking shoes in a tote bag (so did Sue). Pete actually changed into shorts after dinner. The kids had enjoyed their evening together, and were excited to go back to a park so late at night. It was almost 11 when we got there. We went on Buzz again, and, somehow, I got my highest score ever, 145,000, beating my DD1’s high score of around 130,000 earlier in the day. We also did the Laugh Floor, the Indy Raceway, and Pete and the kids did the teacups-twice. We also did Philharmagic, and the little girls did Dumbo. After 1AM, everything was a walk-on. We did Peter Pan, and then to finish off the evening, It’s a Small World (we joked that we had to get “It’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow” out of our heads, to be replaced with “It’s a Small World, after all’). On the way out, Pete sprung for ice pops and popcorn for the kids, and we walked out of the park, as they were closing it out. I’ve never closed a park at EMH before, and I could not believe that our 6 year olds, were still on their feet. Of course, mine fell asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel.
06-28-2008, 05:55 PM
Hi! I was looking forward to your trip report! Wow, what a terrific time. Sounds like the CMs on the ship went above board to get your daughter medical attention. That saved you hours! Yeah, Disney!
Looking forward to more....
06-29-2008, 05:20 PM
Saturday, June 21. We are, normally, park opening kind of people, but, obviously, having been up past 2AM, we slept in till 9:30 or so. We called our friends, and they wanted to go to Typhoon Lagoon. DD1 loves the wave pool, and she really wanted to go. Our AP’s don’t include the water parks, because we don’t go that often, but we were willing to pay for the tickets, with the DVC discount. After a light breakfast, we went to Typhoon Lagoon, and found a couple of beach chairs, near the wave pool. We phoned the friends we had been spending time with, and told them just where we were. The kids did get to play in the wave pool, for an hour or so. It started raining a little, but that did not bother us, and there was no reason to exit the pool at that time. Later, a real storm blew in, so they “temporarily” closed the attractions. My husband decided to head back to the hotel, to get us checked in on Southwest, for our flight the next day, because Guest Services at the park could or would not do it at the park. He told me later, he called a friend on his cell, while riding on the bus back to AKL, and had the friend log on and check us in, which got us into the beginning of the “B” seating group. When he got back to the hotel, he stopped at the concierge desk, and had them print out the boarding passes. The rest of us huddled under a shelter for at least half an hour, hoping the storm would pass over, but it was still thundering. We got the kids a snack, but the temperature had dropped, and they were getting chilled. Finally, the kids had lost interest, and just wanted to leave. Fortunately, I had packed dry clothes in a space-saver bag, so there was something dry and warmer to change into. We got changed, and the rain had let up some, but it was still thundering. They announced that the storm had passed, and they were reopening the pools and slides. Sure didn’t look like it had passed to us, but we were ready to leave, anyway. I suggested that the girls from the other family come to our hotel for awhile, and the kids could play in the arcade for awhile. Their dad came with them on the bus, and they were content to do arts and crafts and play together for awhile, then they left, to get changed for their own dinner plans. We hung around the resort for the rest of the day. I did some laundry, and got us packed up to go the next day. We had a delicious dinner at Boma, then my kids had some more energy to use up, so I took them into the hotel pool. They watched Camp Rock again, on TV, then off to bed.
Sunday, June 22. We got up and had breakfast at the Mara, then called Bell Services, and they came up and took our luggage and the Owner’s Locker. Our ME pick up was around 9:30, and the bus, which was actually marked for the cruise line, was actually a bit early. We knew to always ask the driver of any bus that comes up and stops, anywhere near your pick-up time, so we confirmed that it was our bus. The next stop was Pop Century, and the driver realized that he had a mechanical problem with the bus, so he called for another one. The poor driver had to unload all the luggage, and we had to get it into the other bus, when it came, about 10 minutes later. I was just glad that we were at another hotel when the problem came up, not out on the road somewhere. We were maybe 20 minutes behind schedule, but still had lots of time. We get to the airport, without further problems, and got a skycap to help us with our bags, and got our luggage checked, then off to our gate, in plenty of time. We had an uneventful flight back, got our luggage, had the off-site lot bring our car to us, and off to home. On the way back home, we stopped for a diner dinner, and were back in the early evening.
On reflection, after our many trips, in the past few years, it seems that each trip is "about" something different. The cruise was a new experience with our kids, but the WDW part, this time, was about our kids continuing a connection with old friends. Sharing the trip with people, other than our immediate household, has had its challenges, but it really does bring a new dimension to the experience.
06-30-2008, 06:29 AM
Wonderful Trip report. I really enjoyed it.
We are thinking about doing a Disney Cruise for our son's college graduation in a few years. We have cruised MANY times but never a Disney one. I think it is high time we remedy this. LOL
06-30-2008, 07:13 PM
Sounds like a winner! Thanks for writing it all up for us.