Our First Family Cruise!
Cast of Characters:
Me—obsessed WDW fanatic
DH—sweet hubby who tolerates my WDW obsession
DS---15 year old son who can’t wait to eat 24/7 on the ship
DD1---13 year old daughter who can’t wait to just get on the ship
DD2---6 year old daughter who I have passed on my love for WDW down to
We will have connecting rooms with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and her fiance’.
Dates of trip: March 28-31, 2013
Stateroom and ship: 6618 (connecting with 6616) on the Disney Dream
Pre-Trip background info:
We were originally going to sail in February of 2012, but my son found out our trip would be the same time as tryouts for his school’s baseball team. We did not want to jeopardize his first chance of making the high school baseball team so we postponed the trip. I am a teacher so we had to go when school was out (= higher prices)…Spring Break. Once again, I scheduled our trip only to have to change it again. Our school system for the last 10 school years has had Spring Break the week after Easter so that is when I scheduled our trip. When the school calendar came out…guess what? We were to have Spring Break the week before Easter….ugh! We called our TA (who is wonderful by the way) and she sprinkled some pixie dust and almost got us the same rooms with early dining. Yay!
Now within two weeks of the trip….
My husband was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg. We were devastated. He is never sick and this just hit him out of the blue. The specialist cleared him to drive to Florida as long as he took frequent breaks and go on the trip.
One week before our trip….
My mother got really sick and was put into the hospital. Her blood pressure dropped really low and she had an obstruction in her large intestine. This put serious doubt in whether we would be able to go on the trip.
We put off going to FL for the first part of Spring Break so I could be here for her and my dad who never wants to leave her side. She actually wasn’t able to have her surgery until the 26th. We continued to get ready for our trip, but I drove my husband crazy with “yes, we should go,” “no, we shouldn’t go.” He was very understanding, as were the kids. I could feel their disappointment. This was not the pre-trip excitement and joy we usually feel before a vacation. It was filled with a lot of tears and uncertainty on my part. My mom stabilized and at noon on the day before we were to get on the ship, we decided to load up and go. We made it to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house in FL at midnight. I was exhausted and worried and excited all at the same time. My emotions were spent.
Day One: March 28th
We woke up early. I got everything in order…and I was still hesitant about going. I worried about my mom and DH’s leg. He didn’t stop as many times as I wanted him to on our trip down and I was worried what we would do, if he had complications while we were gone. Everyone else was so pumped about going, I put on a brave face and tried my best to be upbeat. I had a roller coaster ride of emotions throughout the whole trip. We started on our way (a little later than I would have liked). If I had been in my usual Disney mode, I would have pushed everyone a little harder to get moving! When we stopped for gas, I called and checked on my mom and she was stable…a sigh of relief.
We made it to Executive Parking by 10:30 am. I think it took us about an hour to get there. The guys were really friendly and had the shuttle bus waiting for us. It is a gravel lot that is fenced in. It costs $6.99 a day to park your car there and they have a free shuttle that will pick you up and bring you back to your car. You keep your car keys. We boarded the shuttle with another couple who was going on a three day cruise on one of the Carnival ships…I believe the Sensation. He dropped them off first.
As we were driving up, we could see our ship. Wow! The Dream is truly a dream. It is so beautiful! The driver dropped us off and immediately we were greeted by Disney CM’s. They were all great! Disney Cruise Tip: The CM’s who transport your luggage are not included in your pre-paid tips. We opted out of letting them help us with our luggage. We literally only had to walk across a small street and we were at the cruise terminal. We were in the terminal by 11:00 am. The terminal was very crowded. Check-in went very smoothly. A family beside us didn’t have original birth certificates for their three kids. The CM was trying to explain the difference of what they had and what was required to board….I wonder if they really didn’t get to go?...???
We had our security family picture made. The kids were amazed how every time they swiped our KTTW card…the appropriate “mug shot” would come up on the computer. We were given a boarding pass of #14. DH got in line with DD2 to meet Cruise Director Minnie. I walked over to the Kids Registration Line….wow that line was mobbed! I had registered DD2 on-line, but you still have to get the security bracelet. I said forget it, I will figure it out once we are on-board. I wanted DH to sit down, but he said he was fine. We were next to last to see Cruise Director Minnie. While my in-laws were visiting with her, DD1 and DD2 got to hang out with Capt. Mickey as he waited his turn to get in the meet-and-greet line. They had a great time!
We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a PA system calling out boarding numbers so we walked down toward the Mickey tunnel to see what number they were on. This is when we found out the PA system was having technical difficulties. They had already called our number! We scrambled all together and “walked the plank” to board.
Wow! The Atrium surely has the effect that the imaganeers hoped for! We were in awe! It is truly beautiful! They announced our families and we just couldn’t believe we were finally on the Dream…what a dream!
We took lots of pictures. Tons of Disney details! We headed straight to Cabanas for lunch. The weather was quite chilly. Tons of kids in the pools though...brrr...not mine....at least not yet! We had seasonally low temps for our entire trip. It was very windy, too….so that added to the coolness of the trip. We found a corner table on Deck 11 that was blocked by a wall and had room to pile up our carry-ons. The food was super yummy! We used this as home-base. DH and my brother-in-law stayed here while the rest of us went exploring. First I took DD2 to the kids’ club to get her security bracelet. There was absolutely no wait! Disney Cruise Tip: Just wait until onboard to get kids’ security bracelets. DD2 wanted to explore it a bit…so we checked out all the different areas. So nicely done! She didn’t want to leave, and I couldn’t leave her because it was “open family time.” This when you can only be there with a parent. I wanted to get DD1 and let her see the areas because I knew she would like seeing all the Disney details. I assured DD2 I would bring her back once we found DD1 so she reluctantly went with me. We headed back to our “home-base.” DH and brother-in-law continued to stay with our stuff and the rest of us went back to the kids’ club. We took tons of pictures and even danced on the interactive dance floor with the CM’s. We also toured the older kids’ areas and got them signed in. They let me sign a waiver for my 13 year old to come to the 14 and older area. (She was thrilled, but in reality she only went up there one time with her brother.) We also toured the Adult only areas and took tons of pictures. I enjoy all the Disney details at WDW…so you can imagine how great it was to have all these Disney details so condensed and so beautifully done!
We were in our stateroom by 1:00 pm. Once again, we were thrilled. I am so glad we opted for the verandah. It was such a beautiful place to hang out and chill. We unpacked and I took a pillowcase to Guest Services to have the characters sign. The CM wanted me to pick between the princesses or Mickey and the gang. When I hesitated with my choice, she said how about both. Absolutely! It was delivered to our stateroom on the last night of the cruise. I returned to the room to find DH sitting on the verandah. I joined him and called my dad to check on my mom. He assured me she was stable and just resting as they were trying to adjust all her meds to the appropriate levels. I had given him the emergency number they give you to give to family members…but I knew he wouldn’t use it even if he should so I told them both I loved them and that I would call them when we got back. I turned off the phone and put in the safety box. Once again…mixed emotions…sigh….
We participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill and then headed off to stake a spot to watch the Sail Away show. We got a spot by the railing on Deck 12. Sister-in-law went down to Deck 11 to get the girls shakers so they could be part of the show. Right on cue, when the show started, another family tried to wiggle in our spot. Arghh….We stood our ground and let the daughter move up with us, but no way on the parents. The parents acted upset that we weren’t getting out of their way, but we didn’t move. Another family came up with two small girls. We let the girls go up towards the front and they were very appreciative. We shared our shakers and we enjoyed the show. We didn’t stay for the entire show. We wanted to go to the front of the ship and see it go out to sea. My husband was in the Navy and he wanted to show me some things you can only experience on a ship…this was one of them…going out to sea…It was so cold and windy, but we braved it so we could say we saw the ship going out. We let the kids come with us…as we broke the rule of “No kids in this area.” I think it was the Adults Only part of Deck 12, but there were lots of families taking in the sight…so we joined them. Man, was it cold!
We went back to the room to get ready for dinner. We were at the Royal Palace tonight! Our head server was Tony and our assistant server was Guillame. They both were great! Guillame was still earning his ears, but he did great! DD1 and DD2 loved how they knew what they wanted to drink and how they would cut their food for them. Spoiled! My niece is having a Disney wedding. She loved the bread baskets that looked like Cinderella’s coach. She said those would be great for her reception…another great Disney detail! I had the steak entre…..super yummy!
DD2 wanted to go to the Kids’ Club. We dropped her off and to our surprise she just walked right in…no hesitation. The rest of us went back to the rooms to get warm…just too cold on the decks. We picked up DD2 and went to see the Golden Mickeys show. Very nice show! Everyone enjoyed it. We also started a Mid-Ship Detective Agency game…searching for who was stealing the paintings. There was a very cute towel animal waiting for us with chocolates in our room. The couch had been made into a bed and the bunk bed was pulled down and the chair had been made into a bed. DH, DD1, and DD2 and I snuggled down to sleep. DS, my niece, and her fianc decided to hang out and possibly ride the AquaDuck. Late night hanging out they did and riding the AquaDuck they did! They said it was freezing and the water felt like ice hitting them! Brrrr….cold…but what an adventure!
More Disney Cruise Tips: Just wait until the time of your dining rotation to actually go to the restaurant. You can just walk in...no waiting in line. Go to the shows...they are so wonderful!