Mac family - May 11-15, 2008 - DCL Wonder
Mac family - DLC Wonder- May 11-15, 2008
Travel Dates: May 11-15, 2008
Travel Method: Personal car to The Country Side Suites in Cape Canaveral. Then Arts shuttle to port and back
Accommodations: Cabin 8052- family suite
Age Represented in group: 41, 46, 9, 8, 4
Cast of Characters: Mily (me), Jim (husband), Chris (9), Josh (8), Grace (4)
DLC Experience: Newbies to The Disney Cruise Line!
* First let me apologize up front. I know this report is rather tardy. I have no excuse except life. That and I wanted to complete my report before I posted it.
Who are we:
My kids and I are self described Disney Freaks. My husband, well he tolerates the kids and my obsession with the Mouses House. He figured out years ago that our family budget must always include Disney Dollars under necessities if he wanted a happy marriage. We have been WDW annual pass holders for the past nine years.
We are Florida residents. For us its about an hour and a half drive to see Mickey. Up until this year we were a family whose Disney lifestyle fell into a wonderful laid back easy breezy kind of flow. We usually did a week long visit once a year along with a few weekend visits. In addition we use to live with the philosophy that if we woke up and it felt like a Disney day we jumped in the car and enjoyed the Magic for the day. We know we were very spoiled. Todays economy has changed our glory days of Disney.
The recent developments in our countrys economy forced us to hold our first ever family Mickey crisis meeting. I am well aware of the fact that all over our country people are facing much tougher times. Our lack of expendable income hardly compares to loosing a home or job. I am sharing this information to give you a clear picture of how the Disneyites I have and have apparently passed on to my children is affecting our household. On the docket for the Mac family roundtable was what we were going to cut from our Mickey budget. Sounded like a simple enough agenda. Certainly we could have a civilized kitchen table discussion and make the appropriate budget cuts. Well apparently not. It was soon very clear that when it came to defending how Disney Dollars should be spent in our household we were a family as divided as the Dems and Republicans. Boy was this was ugly! We found it necessary to cut to the chase and break out the golden Mickey ears. We filled the ears with our secret ballot vote. On our ballot was every Mouse Fanatics nightmare. A choice either Disney annual passes or a Disney Cruise in May of 09.
Its difficult to write these next few words. Here it goes. We made the decision, as a family, to let our annual passes expire on November 11, 2008! Shocking I know. I still cant seem to come to grips with this. Im desperately trying to convince my family that we can do away with those pesky demands of food and shelter. Its only been a month since our annual passes expired and already Im in withdraw. Is there such a thing as Mickey jitters? I am certain I have them.
In the last week of May of 2007 we had a family vacation planned to visit The Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. This of coarse was my husbands choice. I agreed to this trip mostly to prove a point to him. The kids and I were dieing to go on The Disney Cruise. My husband saw the price for our family of five and nearly dropped dead of a heart attack. In his defense you have to remember that we are spoiled Florida residents who can visit The Big Cheese round trip on less then a tank full of gas. We also get big time breaks on park tickets and rooms in Orlando. My husband could not wrap his mind around spending that kind of money to visit Mickey even if he was at sea.
Being the stubborn mouse fanatic that I am I was not about to let this slide. I was determine I was getting on this ship. Since Im the person in our family that the vacation planning and research always fall upon it didnt take long to discover that after we shelled out all the cash for cabin rental, food, gas to get there and entertainment that it would be a close draw to the price of the cruise. It would just be spent in smaller pieces rather then one big hunk like on the cruise. Since it also falls on my shoulders to shuttle our three kids just about everywhere I knew my husbands dream family adventure probably didnt include a realistic view of what 16 hours in our S.U.V. with our three rug rats would be like. I was banking on this part alone to make the three hour journey to the cruise port next year look real good to him. Evil I know but I was desperate. Just in case this didnt work I had a back up plan. All I had to do was to keep every receipt for every nickel we spent on this trip. He would have actual proof that my dream trip was in the same ball park price wise as his. I was willing to subject myself to his idea of a vacation if I could prove my point. I know Im beyond stubborn. Im a grit (girl raised in the south) stubborn is in my blood.
I never got a chance to prove my point. A mere two weeks before we were supposed to leave Jim was promoted at work. Along with his promotion he was given orders that he had to attend a conference in Anaheim, California. This of course meant that the Disney freak that I am was having Grandma watch our kids and cashing in my sky miles. No way was I missing a kid less trip with my husband where his company was picking up the tab. The fact that I could explore Disneyland by day while he worked was the cherry on top of this made for Mom Sundae. The conference naturally was scheduled for our vacation week in Tennessee. To me this was sheer proof that God understands my insane Mickey addiction. My husbands out look on life however was not so pretty. His boss told him he either had to take his vacation now or not at all this year. He gave him some lame excuse about wanting his vacation time off the books before he switched departments. That meant we had 24 hours to plan our vacation. In my eyes there were only three things to do in a predicament such as this. First beg my Mom to keep our dog since the dog sitter we always use was booked. (Thank God Mom came through.) Then packed our bags and go directly to Walt Disney World.
Although our preference is to stay on site we have gotten to point where we pretty much stay off site when all five of us travel together. As larger families are aware rooms big enough for five on site are limited and expensive. I hate to confess this to this group of readers but I have actually found several very nice resorts off property that meet our familys size and financial needs way better then Disney does. I know this goes against every die hard Disney fan to commit this horrid sin. Please forgive me. The rebel that I am actually went against the WDW norm and dared to have a third child. I will come clean and confess I did this with full knowledge that the Mac family budget usually can only afforded rooms on property that sleep four. I am well aware that this is living on any Disney addicts edge. Trust me when I say I have had many jonesing moments over this choice in my life.
I found a $99.00 a night Florida resident rate at The Caribe Royal Hotel. A standard room is a suite that sleeps six here. This made it less expensive then the room configurations Disney offers for a family of our size. The Caribe Royal has a wonderful pool area complete with waterfall and waterslide that our kids love. The room also has a small fridge and microwave. Since I was a woman on a mission this trip. I had big plans for that microwave and fridge. We could have saved more money by doing the condo thing and cooking in a full kitchen. After thinking it over I decided on The Caribe Royal because this was my vacation too. I wanted daily maid service and some meals out. I didnt wish to vacation with my full time Mom job in tow. We booked six nights, grabbed our WDW annual passes and hit the road.
Thanks to our budget friendly resort and my talents with the microwave the last minute trip ended up costing a ton less then we had set aside for our trip to Tennessee. To my husbands amazement we suddenly had found cash. Gee I wonder how that happened? You would think after 14 years of marriage he would get that Disney Planning is always on my life agenda. I suggested we put a deposit down on a Disney Cruise before something came up and took over what I had already decided was the beginning of our DLC fund. Jim saw my point and he reluctantly relented.
I knew pretty much nothing about booking this and I didnt want to mess it up. I began the great hunt for a travel agent that specialized in Disney. I eventually decided to go with Small World Vacation mostly because they were fast, efficient and never seemed bothered by my countless never-ending questions. I gave them my familys information, the dates of the kids spring break in mid April of 2008 and asked for a quote for two bottom of the barrel Cat 12 cabins on a four day cruise. Heather (our T.A.) e-mailed me back later that day with the quote. Everything looked good. I called her back and had her charge the $1000.00 deposit ($200.00 each) to my credit card. I also picked the early dinning for dinner and gave Heather our passport numbers.
I then got on line and ordered The Pass Porter Disney Cruise Field Guide by Jennifer and Dave Marx. This turned out to be the best investment I made in planning for the cruise. My husband, nine year old son and I all used this guide religiously both in the planning stages and while on the cruise. I honestly can not say enough about this book. It answered all our questions and gave us tons of tips for things I never even thought to ask. I highly recommend this for any Disney Cruise line rookie.
A few weeks later it was my turn to have a heart attack when my childrens school sent out a notice that the school calendar had changed. Spring break was moved closer to Easter to March 28-April 6th. I may be a rookie with the DLC but Ive been around the WDW block more then enough times to know that changing our date to only few days after Easter would kill the budget. I called Heather (T.A.) just to see the price increase. It was a little over a grand to change the sail date. For that kind of money the kids could miss four days of school. In my book Heather earned every penny of her commission at this moment. She informed me if we were going to have the kids miss school anyway we might want to move the trip to May 11, 2008. By moving three weeks we could save $400.00 and get two stops at Castaway Cay. This was a no brainier decision for me. I did however want to run it by Jim before I changed our plans.
We spent the weekend mulling over our options. Several times I found Jim studying the pages of The Pass Porter. This was a first my husband was actually getting into the planning of a Disney trip. On Sunday I was shocked when my husband asked me what I thought about moving the trip to May 11, canceling the two cat 12 rooms and booking a family suite with a verandah. What? All I can say is Thank you Pass Porter! No matter how many times I tried to discuss cabin choices with Jim prior to him reading the Pass Porter all he cared about was what this was costing us. Now that he had tangible photos and words of professionals in his hot little hands his eyes were opened up to why one might actually want to study which cabin to stay in. Never mind that I, his wife that he has always trusted to book every vacation he has been on in the past 14 years, had done the research already. Up into this point in our marriage my husband had developed an aversion to listening to me when it came to any vacation planning details. Its as if in his brain all he was able to compute were dollars leaving our bank account. Now thanks to Jennifer and Dave, two people I have never meet but now love, I was for the first time in my Disney addicted life getting to share the excitement of planning a Disney dream vacation with the man I loved. Of course I adored the idea of the verandah but was he aware that this would put a major ding in our budget? He was. Suddenly he didnt care. In his mind this was decided and now he was flipping to the section on excursions. I learned a huge lesson on this Sunday afternoon, which by the way I am ready to declare a national holiday, from this moment forward I am getting my hubby visuals and information written by professionals when we do vacation planning. It amazes me that it took me 14 years to figure this out.
I was thrilled with my husbands new found interest but just in case it was fleeting I didnt waste a second. I grabbed The Pass Porter and Jim and I narrowed down our possible cabin choices. Then I contacted Heather and had her switch our reservation. I also had Heather make a note in the reservation about our daughters food allergies. In a matter of minutes we were confirmed in cabin 8052 a cat 4 family suite with a verandah. I felt like Cinderella must have when her fairy God Mother began waving her wand and singing Bibbity Bobbity Boo!
In January we paid off the cruise balance. In February (75 days before we sailed) I stayed up and logged on the Disney Cruise web site at 12:01 a.m. to book our Palo reservation, excursions, and a much desired massage for me. I was able to get my second choice at Palo and all of our shore excursions. I unfortunately was unable to get my massage. I checked back often and it never opened up.
We made reservations at The Country Side Suites in Cocoa Beach for the night before the cruise. This hotel had kids suites which gave everyone a bed. It also allowed cruisers to leave their cars during the cruise. Its currently $15.00 a day to park at the port. This was just far easier then driving to the port the day of the cruise. The hotel has a contract with Arts shuttle to shuttle you back and forth to the port. This was a great service. I would use Arts Shuttle again in a heartbeat.
May 10, 2008: Travel Day
We left home around noon. We arrived in Cape Canaveral just before 3p.m. The drive was pretty exciting as all of us were so thrilled to finally be going on this adventure. As we crossed the bridge we saw The Disney Magic docked at the port. My children were beside themselves with glee to see their ship. I didnt dare tell them that this was The Magic and our actual ship wouldnt be in the port until tomorrow morning. This was such an exhilarating moment for us. I think this is when the reality of the trip actually hit the kids. As we got closer the kids could not believe how big the ship was. It was so cool to see the childrens excitement and reactions.
Check in at The Country Side Suites went smooth. I double checked and it was confirmed that we were scheduled on the 11:00 a.m. shuttle to the port tomorrow morning. We were also given a parking pass to place in our S.U.V. window while we were parked in the lot for our cruise. We unloaded the overnight bag and went up to our room. The room was clean and it met our needs very well for the night.
The kids wanted pancakes for dinner. It is a vacation after all why not mix things up a bit. We stuffed ourselves at the local IHOP. We rolled back out to the S.U.V. and went back to the hotel to settle in for the night. I put Grace to bed and Jim took the two older kids to the pool to tire them out. This worked like a charm. All three of the Mac children were asleep by nine.
Day 1- May 11, 2008/ the best Mothers Day ever!
The hotel had a free breakfast buffet. It was nothing to write home about, but it was quick and easy and everyone was feed. We borrowed a hotel luggage cart. Jim and the boys filled it up with our bags. We arrived in front of the hotel just before 11:00a.m. Arts shuttle was waiting for us. We were the only one on this shuttle. The driver loaded the bags and unloaded them at the port. He was also super friendly and efficient at his job. He earned a nice tip from us. The Arts driver gave our bags to the porter at the port. After tipping him we simply showed the guard at the gate our cruise docs and pass ports and we walked into the Disney Terminal.
After going through security we were directed to a cast member who checks to make certain we had filled out all of our paper work and had our pass ports. He instructed us to split up. I went to check our family in. This was amazing simple. There were only two people in front of me. I was prepared for a long wait but in less then five minutes I was being checked in. I was given a group boarding assignment (group 8), our keys to the world and told when that group was called to have our passports out and our group together to board. I also established an onboard account with my visa card.
While I checked in Jim took the children to the Kids club check in area to get their arm bands and a pager. The children were required to wear these hospital type bracelets. They had the kids basic information on a bar coed for each band. The pager was for Jim and me. When the children are in the Oceaneer Club/ Lab (kids clubs) the staff can text or page you if need be.
We looked around the terminal a bit. Mickey was there dressed up for the cruise and posing for photos. In a few minutes the boarding process started. About 30 minutes later our group was called. We approached the huge Mickey gate way and a cast member checked our pass ports and swiped our keys to the world. We posed for a quick photo. Then as we boarded the ship our family was announced.
What a moment! The grand entrance to this ship is incredible gorgeous! After we crossed the atrium I had to step aside and just take everything in. I never thought this would happen to me. I had dreams but in all honesty I held little hope that I would ever be standing here. I had seen tons of photos of the ship. I knew from friends what happened when you boarded. None of that prepared me for this. It was far more beautiful then I had imagined. I am not normally an emotional person but I was misty eyed at this experience in my life. Since I am a spoiled Florida native who grew up going to WDW I honesty dont remember my first sighting of Cinderellas Castle. I imagine my reaction to the ship was similar to those of you who lay eyes on the Castle for the first time. I knew it was real, I was standing there after all, but it was almost as if I was floating through the motions of my dreams. I had to take few seconds to gather my thoughts before I could move on. As they say at Disney this was my eyes up jaws opened moment in life.
We then followed the advice in The Pass Porter and opted to have lunch at Parrot Cay. When we arrived at Parrot Cay the hostess tried to tell us to go to The Beach Blanket Buffet as the restaurant was getting busy. We again followed the advice in The Pass Porter and told her we did not mind waiting for a table. We waited all of a minute and a half. Im so glad we held our ground because this was a nice relaxing way to start the cruise. If our children had seen the Mickey pool on deck nine there would have been no way that they would have been able to focus on eating a meal. It would have been all about the pool.
After lunch we wandered up to deck five to show the kids the Oceaneer Club/Lab. I was hoping they would like this and would be happy to come back later so we could have some grown up time on this trip. Regardless if they liked it or not they would be there when we dined at Palo. I was determine to get that night off! No need for me to worry about the kids giving us a hard time about going to the club/lab. As it turned out we had an impossible time getting our kids to hang out with us on this trip. All three of the children would have spent the entire cruise there if we let them. In Christophers words The Lab is better then Christmas morning! The lab and club are very cleverly designed to make any child happy. The best part of the club/lab was the amazing cast members. They had great ideas and obviously loved their jobs.
We somehow managed to drag the kids out of the Oceaneer Club/Lab and went to check out our cabin. This was a sweet moment. Jim and I have cruised on other cruise lines and Disney cabins are much larger and nicer. The cabin was far more spacious then I thought it would be. We loved the split bath. Too bad hotels dont steal this idea. Having the verandah was too perfect. The verandah had a wonderful safety lock on it. It took Jim and I a couple of minutes to figure it out. None of our children were ever able to open the door when we locked it without assistance from us. The cabin had a queen size bed and a small seating area that could be separated by a curtain .The sofa turned into a single bed. A berth above the sofa was set up each night turning this area into a type of bunk bed area that was perfect for the boys. The Cabin Stewart also opened up a single Murphy type bed that came out of the wall for our daughter each night. The set up worked out very well for our crew.
When we arrived in our cabin we had a note that the snorkeling excursion that Jim and Chris had signed up for on Wednesday at Castaway Cay had been canceled. No problem, they grabbed The Pass Porter the two of them looked up the other excursions and developed a back up plan. They took off for guest services where they booked a wave runner tour.
While they were gone our luggage arrived. I unpacked and was able to store all five bags under the bed and in the closet. I had to get a little creative but I did manage to fit all of our belongings in the closets and draws. Even the four sets of fins, mask and snorkels that we bought from home had a place out of site.
While I was unpacking I had Josh and Grace hang the door decorations we had made at home on our cabin door. The door is magnetic the kids had read about people decorating the doors in The Pass Porter. They wanted to do this. We found some great magnetic notebook sleeves at our local Michaels craft store. The kids and I spent a rainy afternoon in April making a few scrap book pages to hang on the door. We then slid them in the magnetic sleeves. They turned out really cool. We got a lot of complements on our door decorations during the cruise.
After Jim and Chris got back I took off to the spa. (My Mothers day gift.)I was still unable to book a massage at a time that worked out for our family. I was however able to book a spa taster. This was a massage and facial combo. Perfect! This was for eight in the morning on Tuesday. Believe it or not this was a great time. Yes, it was very early but it would not interfere with the plans that day. I could also slip out of the cabin before the kids and Jim would be up. He could deal with getting the kids to breakfast that day.
I high tailed it back to the cabin because it was life boat drill time. I arrived just as Jim had turned the TV on to get the rules of the drill. We watched the orientation and gathered all our life jackets. We put them on when instructed and followed the masses to deck four. We were assigned station J. The whole drill took tops a half hour. It was painless and the crew did a good job of entertaining us and still getting the important safety details across. One family assigned to our station didnt show up. (They take roll.) Two crew members started shaking their heads. Someone asked what would happen to them since they didnt show. We were told that they would be hunted down and reassigned to a lifeboat with all the flakes that didnt show up to the drill. Im sure the crew was just joking but can you imagine if they really did this? Who would want to be assigned that boat in an actual emergency?
We dropped the life jackets off in the cabin and went up to the sail-a-way deck party. The children were give long streaming ribbons. The wind was quite strong Grace got a big kick out of her ribbon flowing in the wind. The party was very high energy and lots of fun. The characters were all there dancing away. They also introduced our cruise director and entertainment crew. The party really got everyone in a great mood.
After the party we took the aft (back of the ship) stairs back to our cabin. We wanted to show the kids the Mickey Pool. They were in awe and couldnt wait until they could play here. They would have to wait because dinner was at 5:15 and we still needed to dress.
The boys begrudgingly put on long dress pants and polo shirts. Our daughter actually put on (drum roll needed here) a dress and it was pink! (I told you it was a perfect Mothers day!) She did balk at my request to put a ribbon in her hair. I should have known better then to push my luck. We managed to get us all together and took off for our first dinner at Tritons.
Tritons was first rate and became my favorite restaurant on the ship. Shh dont tell anyone, because Im sure this is a Disney sin, but I actually liked it better then Palos. We had a wonderful dinner. I received what I would describe as a magical moment here. Josh ordered a steak for dinner. In typical Mom fashion when it arrived I reached for his plate and was going to cut up his steak. That is when our amazing server Fortune said No no madam this is your vacation too. He then took the steak and cut it up for my son. Then before giving it to Joshua he presented it to me and wanted to know if the pieces were small enough for him. Unbelievable can this guy move into my house? This may sound like a small thing but to a Mom who has spent just about every meal over the past nine years catering to her childrens needs this was truly magical. How nice to have someone realize that when a stay at home parent is on a family vacation they are traveling with their full time job in tow. At every meal that we had with our wonderful team of Fortune and Alexander (assistant server) we found that they were great about anticipating our familys needs.
After dinner the kids wanted to ditch the dress up clothes and put on their shorts. They were itching to go to the Oceaneer Club/Lab. My husband took the boys and I went to sign Grace in. I was impressed when the cast member checking her in wanted to verify her allergy information was correct. I thought it would take a few minutes for my daughter to get comfortable here. I couldnt have been more wrong. She went straight in and washed her hands. All the children in this age group are instructed to do this when they enter the club. (Disney is big on hand washing and antibactial wipes are everywhere on the ship.) By the time she emerged from the washroom she had a new group of friends and they were running to join in the games being played. I hung back and observed her at play. She could have cared less that I existed at that moment in time.
For the first time in a while Jim and I were kid less. This would become a theme on this cruise. We decided to take this opportunity to do a walking tour of the ship. It was so nice to stroll the decks hand in hand taking in the sea air and enjoy being able to focus on us again. With three kids under nine our us time is extremely limited. In my opinion the best part about this cruise was that there was a great balance of us time and family time. I adored knowing my children were safe and extremely happy playing in the kids clubs while my husband and I could have adult alone time to actually feel like we were dating again. Our stroll ended at our empty cabin. While I will gladly share most detail of the trip I dont kiss and tell. I will say that my husband was beginning to understand that the chunk of change we took out of our savings to pay for what he had previously referred to as an over priced Mickey Mouse Cruise might just be money well spent after all.
I went to pick up Grace later. She usually as a daily nap and is in bed by eight in the evening. I was afraid I had pushed her to the limit and she would be in a grouchy mood. Yeah, right! When I entered the Oceaneer Club she was engrossed in a freeze dance game. I was greeted with a whinny No, not you, go away. Normally it would never be okay for her to talk that way to me. Tonight I cut her some slack. After she apologized to me I allowed her to finish the game. We left with her not at all thrilled with me for spoiling her fun. I did however get a smile on the way back to the cabin when I promised she could go back tomorrow.
Jim checked on the boys and they were in no way ready to leave. He left them and came back to the cabin as I was finishing up giving Grace her bath. He put her to bed. I busied myself getting things organized for our first day at Castaway Cay tomorrow.
Around 11:00 I went to gather the boys from the lab. Chris was sporting a new baseball cap with the Oceaneer Lab logo on it. Apparently they had played a game show game of Disney park trivia. Im proud to say my son was the big winner. Score one for Moms brain washing Disney addiction. The boys were not happy to see me. They still really wanted to stay longer. I told them they could stay for a half hour longer.
I went up to deck nine. I got myself a cup of tea and a cookie and did something I havent done in a while. I parked my butt down on a deck chair and did nothing! Moms of the world will understand how blissful a moment like this can be.
I wrangled the boys from the Oceaneer Lab. This was not easy. They did not want to leave. If Disney would have allowed my boys to set up a cot and stay in the lab the entire cruise I have no doubt that my boys would of stay there. I think it took all of maybe 10 seconds for them to fall asleep once we got them out of the lab and back to our cabin. I loved the fact that the lab tired them out so much that I didnt have a battle on my hands trying to get them to stay quite and not wake their sister once we got back in the cabin.
May 12, 2008- Castaway Cay
I woke up to Joshuas voice. Were here! Were here! Look! A bolt of light streamed in the cabin as he swung back the rest of the curtain. Can we go outside please? Kids, its moments like these that I have to wonder what I was thinking when I thought parenting was a grand idea. Could I please have a minute to wake up? It was a little after 6:30a.m and this was supposed to be a vacation. As you can tell Im not by nature a morning person. I get up early only because Im a parent and it seems to go with the territory. I dont however like it. Jim became my hero this morning. He told the boys to quickly get dresses. Then he made them promises to not say a word and took them up to deck 10 to watch the ship pull into Castaway Cay.(For those of you who dont know there are no cabins on deck 10.) There was no need for the rest of the ship to have to wake up just because two of our rug rats were excited. Grace was still sound asleep. I ordered our crew breakfast from room service. I was enjoying the view from the varandah and stuffing my face with a glazed donut when the guys returned.
After I had some much need caffeine from my morning coffee I noticed the red light on our cabin phone was flashing. When I retrieved the message it informed me that the banana boat and sting ray encounter excursion we had booked for today were canceled because of strong winds. I didnt want the kids to see my disappointment. I was a bit bummed out that it was windy. I was afraid that we would have a strong undertow and a rotten beach day. I was really glad we would be back on Castaway Cay on Wednesday.
Jim took off to guest services to see if Joshua and I could be rebooked on Wednesday for the Sting Ray excursion. My kids were chomping at the bit and more then ready to go ashore when they let us around nine a.m. Even with the winds Castaway Cay is simply breathtaking! We decided to hang out at the family beach. The male Macs got on their fins grabbed their masks and snorkel and hit the snorkeling lagoon. Grace and I spent the morning playing in the water and on the beach. We also got to witness a wedding from a distance of course. This was simply beautiful. What a great back drop for such a joyful occasion. My younger sister is getting married next year. Maybe I can talk her into a destination wedding.
After the boys got back from snorkeling Chris and Josh begged to join their new friends at the game pavilion. The Oceaneer Lab had set up all sorts of fun stuff for them to do there. The boys really wanted to get signed in and join the fun. When we dropped them off Grace asked if she could go to her club. This wasnt the game plan, but who was I to refuse some adult alone time. When I signed my daughter in Scuttles Cove I was told that they would have lunch available for the children. They also made a point of telling me that a special tray would be ordered for her to avoid her food allergies. I was told what she would have on her tray and asked if this was appropriate food for her. I was very impressed with this. Talk about above and beyond service. I appreciated not having rush back at lunch time to have her eat with us. The cast members really made me feel at ease about leaving her at meals.
Jim and I hopped the tram to the adults only beach at Serenity Bay. This was so very peaceful and relaxing. The current was especially strong here today. We opted not to go out snorkeling from here. The undertow was much stronger here then the family beach. We are both strong swimmers. We live very close to the Gulf of Mexico and spent as much time as possible at the beach. Even so this just didnt seem worth the risk here today. We instead enjoyed laying out catching rays in child free bliss. We also had some very good mahi mahi sandwiches, fresh fruit, and ice cream at the adults only barbeque restaurant.
We gathered up the kids somewhere around two. Once again the guys hit the snorkeling lagoon on the family beach. The snorkeling lagoon here is so much calmer then the beach on Serenity Bay. Grace and I went back to the ship for a nap. The guys showed up to the cabin around four. The boys were pitching a fit about getting dressed up for dinner as this was dress up night. Our dinner assignment was Animators Palette tonight. I really thought they would like to see that. Jim and I had reservations for Palos at 7:15. I was hoping to take the children to dinner at Animators Palette and get to watch the show while the kids ate. The boys wanted to blow it off and go to the Oceaneer Lab and have dinner there. This time I gave in. This was just easier. We all went up to deck nine to play ping pong for a while. Then my husband dropped the boys off with the Oceaneer Lab when it was time for their dinner. I think around 5:30p.m. I ordered Grace room service. I adore this luxury. Normally room service is never ordered in our family when we travel. Its just not in the budget usually but on the cruise its free. After Graces belly was full we dropped her off at The Oceaneer Club. Then we went to Palos.
The service and atmosphere in Palos was very impressive. I absolutely adored an adult night off. It was wonderful to have time alone with my husband. I greatly appreciated the fact that Disney has an adults only restaurant. The view, well I doubt there is another place on earth that is that beautiful at sunset. I was however a little disappointed with the food. I had read countless reviews about the restaurant. Maybe my expectations were too high. I had Grouper for my main course. It was good. Dont get me wrong. It just wasnt a wow. My husband had the veal. This also was good, but it also lacked the wow. We are very spoiled and have eaten at a great deal of on site Disney restaurants. I can honestly say there are at least half a dozen whose food I would prefer over our dinner at Palo. I also have to admit that I very recently was blessed to dine at Victoria and Alberts at The Grand Floridian. I think I was expecting more from Palos because the world raves about it. I foolishly thought it would be an equal experience to Victoria and Alberts. In all honest I just wasnt impressed. I am hoping we had an off night because the atmosphere is enough of a reason to try this place again if given the opportunity to do so. I do have to give Disney its props though and say in all three of the other restaurants on board we did have many dishes that had the wow factor.
Too our amazement we were out of Palos in time to catch the Toy Story Show at 8:30. (That right there tells me something was wrong. I would normally expect a fine dinning experience to take more then an hour.) Of coarse the boys wanted to stay in the Oceaneer Lab. Grace was dying to see the show. Jim was not too hip to sit through the show either. I cut him some slack and told him it was fine by me if he wanted to ditch the suit and tie enjoy some free time. In a flash he was gone. My daughter loved the show. I was quite impressed with the technical aspect of this show as well as the performances. I especially liked Sid. I wont ruin it for you but Sid has the best song.
After the show I took Grace back to the cabin to get her down for the evening. I found Jim sprawled out on the bed looking over some paperwork. Imagine my shock when I found out that he used his free time to go talk to the Disney rep about a future cruise. This can not be my husband. He had all this info on a seven day western cruise. He found out all about the ports of call. He even knew what it would cost us and still was considering it. He was asking me if I thought we should spend the money on a family suite again or get two cabins. I was floored. Before we could talk more he needed to pick up the boys. He had promised they would have a boys only night at The Studio Sea. They were having a family night club night. Grace and I settled in for the night.
May 13, 2008- Nassau
*Before I even start this section of the trip report I need to put a disclaimer in here. We have been to Nassau before. In all honesty we were not thrilled with our previous experiences here. We decided before we left home that we would prefer to spend the day on the ship.
I quietly was up and out the door around 7:00 before my family woke. I had packed a small tote bag with my make up and personal items for the day. I grabbed a sweet roll and a cup of tea on deck nine. I enjoyed a few minutes of solitude before I arrived at the spa. When I got there they had me fill out a basic medical form. I was then escorted to the ladies locker room where I could change into a comfy bath robe and slippers. I locked my belongings in my assigned locker. I was instructed to wait for Ryan (female), my massage therapist, in one of the lovely lounge chairs. A few minutes later Ryan arrived and took me to the massage room. She asked me a few questions about where I had back pain and where I carried tension. She also asked me questions about my skin and my normal skin care routine. She started with a wonderful back and neck massage. This was pure heaven. She was very good at her job. I liked that she listened to what I had said about my problem areas and really focused there. The facial was also extremely relaxing. Yes, she did give the big push afterwards to sell the products. I was prepared for this again thanks to the Pass Porter. I polity declined. I then signed my room charge and made sure Ryan got a nice tip. I went back to the locker room to shower and change. The showers here are great! Real water pressure as apposed to the weaker water pressure in the cabin. Hey its a ship right. There are a few things even Disney Magic cant change. This was such an amazing way to start my day.
I meet up with the family as they were finishing breakfast at the buffet at Parrot Cay. We went up to deck 9 to swim for a bit in the Mickey pool. The kids really enjoyed the slide. The pool was not that busy because most people were in port at Nassau. This was very nice.
The kids wanted to go to the Oceaneer Lab/ Club. All three wanted to eat lunch in their clubs and play. Jim and I dropped them off and went to lunch at Tritons. I wasnt that hungry I ordered a shrimp cocktail and a cup of pumpkin curried soup that caught my eye on the menu. Lets face it you dont see that one every day. This soup was amazing. Both of us loved it. My husband also enjoyed his tilapia.
After lunch we meet with the Disney rep to disused booking a 7 day Western Caribbean Cruise for next year. We choose the Western Caribbean Cruise because my husband loves to snorkel and he couldnt resist the idea of snorkeling in Grand Cayman. If we booked on board we would save 10% off the top. We also would get $200.00 on board credit for each state room. They send the reservation back to your travel agent so they can handle your reservation and get their commission. I was all for booking two inside cat 10 connecting cabins. Jim however was adamant about the fact that he had to have a verandah. Wow what a difference in attitude now. We discussed several options with the Disney Rep. After going over all our options we decided to bring my Mom along next time. Even though we love the kids clubs the overprotective freak parents that we are wont leave the kids on the ship unless one of us or Grandma stays on the ship. Actually it turned out it was very close in price for us to book two cabins and include My Mom then to book a family suite for just us. Jim ended up compromising and elected to give up his open air verandah and we booked one cat 7 with a navigators verandah and a cat 11 inside cabin across the hall. We are booked to go again in May of 09.
When I asked my husband why the change in attitude about the cruise he confessed that he didnt think a Mickey Mouse Disney cruise would be something he would enjoy. He has more then had his fill of WDW He openly admits he hates the lines, heat, and constant high energy of the place. Im also pretty sure he holds a deep seeded silent resentment about the fact that so much of our expendable income ends up in Mickeys pockets. He loves me so he tolerates my mouse addiction. The truth is he prefers to spend his free time enjoying nature on calm relaxing vacations. Now that he was on the Disney Cruise he felt this was a perfect way to mesh all of our family members vacation desires in one trip. It was very relaxing, had tons of opportunities to enjoy beautiful nature, it had exceptional service, the children loved it, and it had just enough Mickey to make me over the moon happy without driving him nuts. Dont tell me magic doesnt happen on board a Disney Cruise!
Jim went to retrieve Grace at the Oceaneers Club. The pirate party was tonight and we wanted to make sure she got a nap. I knew we would all be up late. I checked on the boys. No surprise they didnt want to leave the Oceaneer Lab. Jim and I sat out on the verandah reading as Grace napped. I cant remember the last time I had to just sit and enjoy a good novel. Doing this with a soft ocean breeze and a beautiful view was a little piece of heaven. Even though the penny pitching girl that I am was willing to book the two inside cabins earlier today I am secretly glad that my husband was so adamant about us having a navigators verandah on the next cruise.
Around four I fought the boys to get them out of the lab. The mean Mom that I am demanded that the boys leave and get dressed for the pirate dinner and party. They didnt care about eating with us but did want to go to the party. We made them go pose for a family picture with all of us. The kids looked great in their pirate gear. We then allowed the boys to eat with the Oceaneer Lab. It wasnt a battle worth having. The way we figured it was that they were happy and safe in the lab. We got to avoid sitting through dinner with grouchy kids. Grace really enjoyed being the only child at dinner. The dinner was lots of fun. The crew was dressed up as pirates. The menu was a rolled up pirate map and all the food was pirate themed. The boys by choice missed a great dinner.
Grace didnt want to go see the Golden Mickeys show tonight. She wanted to play. We left her at the Oceaneer Club. We then enjoyed the show with out our children. The show was cute, but unlike Toy Story I dont think I would sit through it again.
We gathered up the kids and hit deck nine for the Pirate Party. We had a blast. The boys had learned some dance moves earlier at the Oceaneer Lab. A bunch of the children from the Lab were all hanging together on the dance floor dancing. Our daughter was desperately trying to keep up with her older brothers. We got some great recordings of the kids. I cant wait to embarrass them and show these to their children someday. We were blown away by the at sea fireworks. Leave it to Disney! The show was incredible. It was getting very late. We opted to skip the pirate buffet. We thought we would get back to the cabin and get everyone to sleep. Boy was I wrong.
Getting the kids to calm down was next to impossible tonight. They were so wound up from the party. We decided why fight it. We had them change into their p.j.s and we ordered a feast of goodies from room service and pigged out. We laughed and shared stories about our wonderful vacation thus far. Actually this is one of my favorite memories from the cruise. It was just the five of us in our cute little cabin giggling and being us. Moments such as these are precious to me. It took everything in me to not open my mouth and tell the kids we had booked another Disney Cruise for next year. We have decided not to tell them for a while.
May 14, 2008- Our second day at Castaway Cay!
Unlike the other day the winds were perfectly calm. The water and air tempters could not have been better. This was a picture perfect day!
Jim and Chris had an early morning wave runner tour scheduled. Josh, Grace and I left them at their meeting spot and went to the family beach. We found a great area to plop our stuff at and hit the water. The three of us had a fun time floating around on the raft we brought from home. Josh also loved the water playground at Castaway Cay. It was such a pleasant morning.
When Jim and Chris returned they were raving about their excursion. They both loved riding the wave runners. Josh really wanted to go snorkeling. Chris wasnt interested. We switched kids. Chris and Grace built sand castles. Shortly into the sand castle building one of Christophers new friends came over and asked him if he wanted to go hang out in the Oceaneer Lab on the island. Next thing I know Im signing both Chris and Grace in the club/lab. I then went back to the beach. I ordered a pina colada from one of the waiters walking the beach. Ahh this was heaven, my kids were in the club/ lab they were safe and happy, I had a good drink, a beautiful view, and was kicking back enjoying the light ocean breeze. Now this is my idea of a vacation.
Jim dropped Josh off at the Oceaneer Lab per Joshuas request. Jim and I then went out to the snorkeling lagoon and enjoyed some time together. We then had lunch at Cookies Barbeque. I had a good old hot dog. It just sounded good. My husband decided to be good and enjoyed some grilled salmon. Jim is the only person I know who can go on a cruise and actually loose weight. I am very proud of him. His doctor changed his entire diet about six months ago. He did very well staying on track with his doctors orders. It was also fairly easier for him to make sure he got his daily exercise. The only time he decided to break his diet rules was at Palos. Anyone who is worried about diet restrictions should know that my husband was very happy with the many low fat / low calorie choices available to him on the cruise menus. Our daughter is allergic to soy and dairy products. Disney was wonderful at making meals that were appropriate for her.
Since Grace had a very late night last night I picked her up from Scuttles Cove around 12:30 to take her back to the ship for a nap. I gave Jim my ticket to take Joshua on The Sting Ray Excursion we had planned at 1p.m. Chris stayed at the Oceaneer Lab. Josh really enjoyed this excursion. He loved getting to feed the sting rays and touch them. They also got to snorkel with them.
On the way up to the cabin I stopped at guest services to get a copy of our onboard account. I wanted to check to make sure it was accurate. It was. I had been warned that the line at guest services tonight would be huge.
After I got Grace to sleep I began filling our tip envelopes for our servers and Room Stewart. I came prepared with cash for these tips. All of our servers and our Room Stewart received more then the recommend amount from us. Our service this cruise was outstanding. I also brought a lot of dollar bills to keep in the cabin during the cruise to tip room service with. I was very grateful I had brought cash because the line to charge tips at guest services that night made the line to Space Mountain in the peak of summer look like a cake walk. I also used this time to pack our bags. How depressing.
The guys wandered back to the cabin around three. The boys changed and went back to the Oceaneer Lab. I woke Grace and took her to the Oceaneer Club because both the club and lab were holding a graduation ceremony this afternoon. If you have children send them to do this and go watch it. I wont ruin it for you by telling you what happens but it is a very special event.
After the kids were in their respected club/lab Jim and I went to The Walt Disney Theatre to get the low down on what we had to do for disenbarkment tomorrow morning. Yuck, they were making us leave tomorrow. We were given instructions and told how to fill out our paperwork. After this the childrens graduation show was held here which was very convenient.
Dinner was at Parrot Cay. We made the kids dine with us tonight. We got a few grips but once we were in the dinning room all was well. I dont remember what we had but I do recall it being a very nice family dinner. Oh, I forgot to mention this earlier, we had our own table at all the restaurants the entire cruise. This was something I really liked. I noticed that the dinning rooms had tables like a normal restaurants. Before we went on this cruised I assumed we would have to share a table with others. This is what we have done on other cruises. To be honest I dont like that. I dont think I ever saw any two top tables, accept of course at Palos, but I know I saw tables for four in all the dinning rooms. Im sure this doesnt necessarily mean a family of four gets there own table but they do have them.
The boys wanted to spend their last night on board closing out the Oceaneer Lab. We let them. Jim, Grace and I went to see Disney Dreams. We all loved it. Dont miss this show, especially if youre a self described Disney Freak. Brilliant is all I will say. You need to experience this one yourself. Words can not do it justice. Just dont miss it!
The three of us watched the Til We Meet Again show from a distance. My daughter has grown up with the characters but she still likes to have her personal space between her and them. She loves them just not close up. We kept our distance and still enjoyed the bitter sweet show. We all knew this was coming to an end. As we walk back to our cabin Grace started crying. She was upset that she couldnt go back and see Ann Marie (from Disney Dreams) again tomorrow. I knew how she felt. Even at four the thought of the real world was depressing. I put Grace to bed and Jim put the luggage out side our door as we were instructed.
I went up on deck nine to get a soda and find a spot to sit and fill out our comment cards. I also wanted to write a thank you to the incredible cast members in the Oceaneer Club/ Lab. I ended up getting the soda and going to sit inside. For the first time on the trip the ship was really rocking.
I went to check the boys. They thought all the rocking was too cool. Evidently I need not worry about sea sickness with these two. I told them to page me if they wanted to leave. Sure, like that would happen. The rough sea didnt faze them at all.
By the time I got back to the cabin Grace was asleep and she continued to sleep through the night. I went to take a shower which was a bit of a task trying to keep my balance but I managed. Jim collected the boys. Joshua was teary eyed about the trip being over. We all had few laughs as he tried to climb up to his bunk as the ship was rolling. Joshua did mange to get in bed and it didnt take long for the boys to fall asleep.
Both My husband and I had a sleepless night. We never got sick or anything but both of us did find it difficult to sleep with all the rocking and rolling. Even this turned out to be a blessing as I cant remember the last time we stayed up all night talking. I dont think either of us realized how much we had fallen into the whole parent trap thing. Sorry for the gross romance stuff but it really was a moment of revelation that even Dr. Phil himself would have been proud of. In all seriousness, I highly recommend this trip for families. It makes you step away from the fast pace technology filled word we are all spinning our wheels in and enjoy precious moments with those you love. For me this was worth every dime we spent on this trip. The shocking part is my husband will tell you the same thing.
May 15- Homeward bound:
We had to be at breakfast at 6:45a.m. This is a major down side to having the early dinning time at dinner. If you have the early seating breakfast on the last day is insanely early. We planned on skipping this but somehow we actually were all ready and willing to get to breakfast on time. We took our over night bags with us and had our last meal at Parrot Cay.
After breakfast we simply walk off the ship. As we entered the luggage area there were several porters available to help guest with their bags. One helped us gather our stuff. Five minutes later we were through customs. This in its self was amazing to me. When ever we have cruised before this process takes forever. I was dreading it with three kids in tow. I love that Disney has the whole process down pat. Our porter took us right to our Arts Shuttle van. In a matter of ten minutes we were loading our language in our S.U.V. and headed home. We were back in our home town a little after 11:00a.m.
P.S. - Santa came through. I got my annual pass in my stocking Christmas morning. See it pays to believe in childhood wishes and Disney magic. That and having a husband who understands the desires of my heart helps too.
12-30-2008 03:29 PM
What a great trip report! I loved all of your details. You will love going on your 7 night cruise. Going on the 7 night is so much more relaxing because you have 3 more days to enjoy the ship!
We are going on our 3rd Disney cruise in October and I can't wait .
Can't wait to read all about your 7 night cruise in a few months!
Someday. . . someday, I WILL take a Disney Cruise. My family loves to cruise. We have cruised MANY times, even 3 times in Europe. But never a Disney Cruise. Hummmmmm . . . maybe that should be my New Years Resolution. LOL
Anyway, thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your trip report.
amazing trip report!!! i want to go on Disney cruise so bad now!
Thanks for all you're sweet complements guys. This really was the best family vacation ever! If you're sitting on the fence over this my advice is to just do it. You won't regret.
My kids have raved about this trip so much that now my cousin's family, my two sister's families, my brother's family and of coarse my Mom have all decided to join us in May when we sail again. In all there will be 23 of us. We have six cabins booked. I'm sure this trip will be crazy with all of us but I can't wait. Our cabins are all over the ship. We all have different needs, wants and wallet sizes. I'm kind of glad we are spread out because with my loud mouth family I would feel so sorry for anyone who got stuck in a cabin by all of us.
What a terrific trip report! A family cruise does sound so wonderful with something to do for everyone, no matter what age. Congratulations and kudos to you (and Disney )for converting your DH into a true-believer! Thanks for emphasizing the "romance" stuff because it is such a great contrast to the bickering you see between husbands and wives (with tired, whining, crying kids in tow usually) you see frequently in the Disney Parks.
I loooved your trip report and cannot wait for my Disney cruise with my daughter in April
I am hoping that I will love it just as much as you did and that we will book a family Transatlantic cruise in 2010!
WDW 1988, 1992, 2008, 2009
No countdown right now
Was the Pass Porter book you had ONLY for DCL or did it include WDW as well? I have been trying to find it, and haven't been able to.
WDW 1988, 1992, 2008, 2009
No countdown right now
The Pass Porter book I use was only the DLC. I don't think they do a combo book but I could be wrong. I ordered this from their site www.Passporterstore.com I ordered the deluxe passporter because it comes in a wonderful leather 3 ring folder. When the next years comes out or you want to update you can remove the old and add the new. You can also then mix it up with WDW Passporter or DL Passporters if you need to.
It also has some great pockets to store info in. At the moment I am keeping all of my notes, forms and travel docs all toghether in it for our next cruise. I get to make our palo's, spa and excursion bookings at midnight on the 1st. It's currently getting tons of use. It is very nice to have everything together in one place. Tonight I have to sit through my sons two hour swimteam work out. I plan on taking the passporter with me to work on all our crews excurisons. It is so easy to know all I need to take is grab my passporter notebook and I am set to go. When we were on our last cruise I was able to store our keys to the world and I.D.'s in this along with are navigator. It was all closed up safe. All I had to do was place the book in my day bag and I was prepared to go.
I hope this helps. Enjoy your DLC.
Thanks! I have only been able to find the WDW PassPorter and it had some DCL stuff in it, but I want something that is only for the cruise. I guess I'll have to order online!
WDW 1988, 1992, 2008, 2009
No countdown right now
This truly is a wonderful trip report!! It so makes me want to book a Disney cruise!!! I have a 5 year-old and a 9 month old and have not been able to decide when a good time to go for both girls would be. I would love for them to both be able to enjoy the club. Do you at what age that starts? Your husband so sounds like mine, maybe the DCL can convert him too. We are doing a WDW trip in March and he keeps telling me that he'll be excited when he gets there. We did splurge and book the Polynesian (thanks to the buy 4 nights, get 3 free deal) and that has seemed to improve his attitude some. I would love the day that he would actually get involved in the planning and be excited from the moment the trip is thought of, like me. Oh well, here's hoping!!
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I just got a chance to read your trip report.
I was on the cruise with you! So reading about the wind and the rocking really did bring back memories.
I totally agree with you about the Toy Story show - the staging and Sid's song -and the performer who played Sid in particular - great!
My Palo dinner wasn't too long and drawn out, either - but I didn't feel rushed - and I had the souffle for dessert, so that did take a little while. Actually, I had the souffle AND the pannacotta for dessert (my waiter made me!) But it was all my doing to eat most of them.
"When I win the lottery" I am going to have to come back and steal the line about your husband enjoying the trip - I plan on treating my whole family (parents, siblings, all nephews (and hopefully a niece)) and I have a BIL or two that are much in line with your husband's thoughts.
This was my first cruise of any kind, and really found the Passporter helpful, as was my Small World Vacation travel agent. I was going to be upset with my agent if we'd had the same one, for not at least mentioning that she had another client (or asking me if she could mention my existence to you...)
You should make sure the whole family has some sort of similar door decorations for your big trip. In addition to the stuff you found at Michael's, I've found at Office Depot 'magnetic paper' which goes in the inkjet printer and you can cut it out, and it works GREAT for the door decorations.
You guys are all so sweet.
Adkinsfamily: The kids must be 3 and potty trained to go to the club. They do have Flounder's Reef for the little ones. This cost extra. Our yougest was 4and had been in pre-school three days a week when we went on this cruise. She was more then able to seperate from us and very much enjoyed the Oceaneer Club. I'm not sure if we had tried it a year earlier if she would have been as willing to go. Our older two were 9 and 8. They loved it and can't wait to go back in May. For them the cruise was all about the Oceaneer Lab. Will see how it goes this year. They will be a year older and because of their ages not in the same group. I still think they will love it.
Enjoy your trip to the Polynesian. I have never stayed there and would love to one day. My hubby will never understand this. I'll just have to go with the girls someday.
Drince: Thanks for the tip about the magnetic paper at Office Depot. I would of never thought of this. I am so going this route for our next DLC.
Our family cruise just sort of happened. We booked and asked Mom to come along. Then slowly but surley my couisn and siblings all started booking. My Mom has no idea that all her kids and all but two Grandkids will be traveling with us. My brother is divorced and his ex-wife won't sign the paper work for the kids to leave the country without her. As a Mom I totaly get it. We all still get along and have even offered to chip in and pay for the ex and kids cabin but she is not comfortable with this. If my sister's and I could get away with it we would leave my brother home and take her and the kids. As of now the plan is not to tell my Mom about the rest of the family until she see them on the ship.My siblings live all over the U.S.A. so my Mom is in for a big shock.
We booked with Heather G. from Small World and were very happy with her. I suggest to family that they book with her but everyone did their own bookings. Oh well, I did my best to make their life hassel free. Was this your agent? She has been great for us.
I hope you get to book that win the lotto trip. It sounds like you have it all figured out. Too bad that lack of funds aways stands in the way of our Disney Dreams.
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That's so cool that you're not telling your Mom about everyone else - but bummer about the other two grandkids!
My agent was LeslieM (that's her screen name here) and she's a super agent, too.
Did you at least get Heather to be able to say you were all together for the dining assigments? Supposedly they have a couple of big tables that they can put big groups (or parts of big groups). Even if you aren't all together, being at tables near each other would be good.
Yes, Disney has us linked together. We are all set.
I get to book excursions, spa and am trying for a brunch at Palo's at midnight on Saturday night/Sunday morning. I can't wait.
Mily - Thanks for the info. I'd really like to go at a time when everyone could enjoy all of the amenities that the ship has to offer, so I think we'll wait a few years. I hope that you get to make that girl's only trip to the Poly. I think a girl's only trip to WDW would be a blast, especially if it were during F & W Festival!!