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View Full Version : April 8-15, 2006 Magic (Western) - Long


UMTerp
04-18-2006, 08:20 PM
My fellow DISers were so good about writing trip reports that I felt guilty so here's my contribution (long!).

Disney Magic April 8 through 14, 2006

Cruising was me, DH, DS(11) and DD(8). This was our fourth DCL cruise, all on the Magic including the repo home last August.

Picked up the kids at school Thursday afternoon and drove straight to the airport (BWI). Took SW (B boarding pass - OK). Arrived at MCO about 8:30PM or so. Got our luggage quickly and called for a pickup from the MCO Marriott. I got it through Priceline for $68 so I was anxious to see how it was going to be. It was my first use of Priceline and I was thrilled! The shuttle arrived quickly and we were at the hotel in just a few minutes. The room was lovely with top-notch new bedding! They had Bath & Body Works products in the bathroom! I love that store!

We had a good night's sleep and got an early wake-up call. Took the shuttle back to MCO (again painless) and got a rental car from Budget. We were there early on Friday so no problems, no wait! Got a mid-size SUV since we had a lot of luggage. Stopped for some breakfast and drove to Kennedy Space flight center. We booked online before we left for the Maximum Access passes and the Up Close tour. I would recommend both. We spent a full day seeing everything! The only problem was the IMAX movie was having problems so we had to miss it. The kids really enjoyed seeing the Vehicle Assembly Building and the Saturn V rocket up close!

After Kennedy, we drove the Radisson at the port and checked in. We had a nice, clean room near the rear of the hotel on the first floor. We got our luggage out and freshened up a bit. Drove to Merritt Island for dinner and stopped at Wal-Mart to buy sand pails, sunscreen, Diet Coke, etc. Returned to the Radisson for the night.

DH went to get breakfast for all of us the next morning and returned the rental to Budget. He walked the block or so back. We were on the first 10:00 shuttle to the port. We got 2 boarding passes! Check-in was a breeze as there was no one there! Got the kids set for the kids club and enjoyed talking with other DISers! In no time it was time to board!

We headed straight to Parrot Cay for lunch, which we prefer. Servers were serving everything so I was glad we were there early. The line got quite long later in the afternoon.

Random thoughts (I'm doing this from memory):

Ports

Key West - I had gotten a package of info from Shirley (thanks) that worked out great! It had a good map which really helped. We walked to the end of Whitehead Street to the Southernmost point. We waited in line (yes a line) to take photos by the marker. Then we walked about a block over to the Butterfly Conservatory. This place was awesome! Hundreds of butterflies! They land on you and you just can't take them all in. We all loved it! We had a 10% off coupon from the package Shirley sent. We walked back toward the center of town on Duvall Street. Stopped at a Circle K market for some drinks (very reasonable). Stopped to eat Key Lime pie at the Blonde Giraffe, tried key lime and orange wine at the wine store, bought some of the famous Kino sandals, and generally looked around. We had a nice day and saw many of the things we wanted to see. I would highly recommend getting the information packet from Shirley!

Grand Cayman - I booked the Rays, Reef and Rum Point tour through Native Way. We got to the theater early and got on the first tender. DCL employees were a little put off by those of us who had booked independent excursions and wanted to make sure we were off the ship as early as possible. It worked out OK. We meet the Native Way representative on the dock and we had a bit of a wait before the tour started. They took us on nice, clean buses to the boat. We had about 25-30 people on our tour. We started out at Stingray City. I was a little worried about getting stung but once we were there I was fine. The water is so incredibly clear that you can easily see where you are stepping so there is little danger of stepping on a ray (my biggest fear). We got to hold them, kiss them (7 years good luck, how could we not?), and feed them. We spent about 40 minutes there. The guides were great. Next, we moved over a short distance and went snorkeling. We saw eels, shark, and various colored fish. It was really neat! We spent about 40 minutes there as well. Next, they took us over to Rum Point Beach. We had ordered lunch on the boat and everything was ready when we arrived. The food was good! It was a little challenging to find some chairs, but we finally did. The beach was beautiful with shallow water a long way out.
We spent a little while at the beach (almost 2 hours?). The boat picked us up and took us back to the buses. We were back to the port a little after 2PM. We did a little shopping before getting back onboard.

Cozumel - We got to the theater early again (good strategy) and got on the first tender. The tenders were large (held about 300 people). We went toward town and easily got a taxi to Paradise Beach. You can easily take a taxi there for $13 for 4 people. When you get there, there is no admission charge. They do request that you spend $8 per person on food/drinks/etc. You can buy wristbands for $8 that gives you use of floats, snorkle gear, life vests, ocean kayaks, an inflateble iceberg, and water trampolines. The food is really good. Drinks are expensive - bottle of water was $2.25 (bring your own if you can). They have waiters that will bring the food/drinks to your seats. Get there early as it gets crowded later. Watch out for the older kids taking over the iceberg as the day goes on. Ends up being rough for the younger ones. One word of warning - inspect anything you buy at the shop. I bought a sarong that was folded on the display to cover up an area that was very sun faded. Unfortunately, I did not discover the area until I got home. I was very disappointed as I had purchased it as a gift for someone and couldn't give it to them. Buyer beware! It was easy to get a taxi back to the pier for $13 for 4 people. We had a great day!

Castaway Cay - We got off early and got our usual spot at the end of the family beach near the restrooms. We like it here because it's not as busy. DD got her hair braided at the hair braiding station (headband style). The woman did a nice job and DD didn't cry! We spent the day enjoying the sunshine and the water. Another great day!

Dining

We had the PLAPLAP rotation, early. Our time was 5:45. I didn't like the new dining time. It was a problem with pictures. We were a few minutes late a few nights because we had been waiting in line for pictures and were only a few people before our turn.

The kids running wild in the dining rooms was extremely noticeable this cruise! I don't know how the servers can navigate around all of the activities. This is an accident waiting to happen! I thought it might be just the first night since the kids couldn't go to the club/lab without a parent, but it continued throughout the week.

Suggested dress was not followed by many throughout the week. I'm thinking that some people didn't realize what the appropriate dress was the for the night because it is no longer in the daily navigators (only a summary one given on day one). Saw many shorts & Ts on formal night.

Our servers were good, food was good. Head waiter was poor. Showed up first night for a few minutes and then we never saw him again.

Palo was the best! We had dinner and brunch. I had to leave during our brunch because the seas were a little too rough for me on our second sea day. I was fine once I returned to our cabin on deck 2, but deck 10 was just too much that day.

Activities/Shows

DD(8) enjoyed many of the activities in the lab. We all enjoyed the shows but really didn't need to see Michael Harrison and Rich Purpura for the 4th time each! We skipped the Golden Mickeys that we had seen before and went to see Eight Below. We enjoyed the movie! I enjoyed the appetizer presentation!
No galley tours were offered on this cruise. Don't know what's up with that.
Had reserved but missed tea with the Mad Hatter and Wendy so I can't comment on that activity. DS(11) enjoyed Ocean Quest with his new friends.

We enjoyed meeting other DIS families at the meet the first day! Unfortunately, I had to miss the informal wine tasting (that I organized) due to rough seas. However, DH attended for our family and had a great time socializing with the other DISers!

Pictures

Shutters pictures were great (as usual)! They switched many to the 8x10 size that used to be the smaller size (boarding pic, restaurants, etc.). This makes the picture packages much more expensive! We got one of the 3D crystals done of the kids. It wasn't ready when promised so I had to go and get it Saturday morning before getting off the ship! It turned out beautifully!

Other

DH was able to get on the internet and check us in with SW airlines after returning to the ship from Castaway Cay. However, the connection was very slow.He was also able to print our boarding passes. We got B boarding passes. If we had not waited in line at MCO we would have not gotten seats together due to all of the preboarders. We were behind about 8 people in the B line.

Debarkation was smooth. Porter easily available. The new pickup area is much closer and very organized which is nice. Had a Ford Excursion pick us up from the port with Happy Limo. The driver was on time, the vehicle was nice and clean and we had a smooth ride to MCO. I would recommend Happy Limo.

Sorry this is so long!

Please ask any questions you might have and I'll try to answer!

Thanks for the great times!

UMTerp

Vavasmon
04-18-2006, 08:57 PM
It was so noce getting to met your and your family. We missed you at wine tasting but your DH did a great job representing your family. We had fun despide the downpoor.

We are going back to Cozumel on another cruise next spring break. We are almost 100% on paradise beach based on your husband's description of your day. We loved the sub but want something different next time.

Overall I liked the new navigators. The dress was on the lower left hand corner each day (but easy to miss). I already noted that many people ignored the dress for the day (shorts, tee shirts, etc.). Also dress at Palo dinner was not enfored either.

AshburnMom
04-20-2006, 07:54 AM
Thanks for the great summary--we are doing the western cruise in July. I have 2 questions. The first is--who is Shirley in Key West? I've been trying to find a site on the internet that will send brochures and maps and can't find any. Do you have a web site or address? The other is, what is a 3D crystal picture? It sounds like a really unique thing to have to remember the trip.

UMTerp
04-20-2006, 11:17 AM
Hi Ashburnmom! I used to work in Ashburn!

Shirley is the woman who posts on these boards occassionally who has a gift shop in Port Canaveral. She makes great gift baskets for cruisers. We have used her in the past and have been very happy with the results! She is a native of Key West and has offered to send packets of information to anyone who sends her an envelope with sufficient postage. Well worth it in my opinion.
email snelsonbrown@aol.com
Send her an e-mail and she can give you all of the details. She is glad to help anyone! She is a dear!

The 3-D crystal is an option they have been offering on the ship for a while. It is a 3-d image of one or more people that is laser cut into a cube. It's kind of hard to describe but it looks neat! They take the pictures with a special camera outside of Shutters in the hallway. They have displays of the 3-D and 2-D crystals that you can look at.

Have fun neighbor!

UMTerp

AshburnMom
04-20-2006, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the info! I will definitely email Shirley and get the scoop. I'm also interested in the gift baskets. We have never cruised before so we are VERY excited. I was also interested to see you info on Kennedy Space Center. We are driving down and staying in New Smyrna for a week before the cruise and I had planned to do Kennedy too. My kids are 10 (DS) and 7 (DD). I think my son will be fine--was your daughter bored or did she find it interesting? I'll have to look into booking tours online before we go.

Where are you in N VA? Congrats to the Lady Terps BB team! They tended to be overshadowed by George Mason making the final four, which was too bad. Anyway, thanks for the info!

UMTerp
04-20-2006, 05:39 PM
Hello again Ashburnmom!

I'm in Fairfax. My DD enjoyed the Kennedy Space center so hopefully yours will too!

Yes, I was so excited for the lady Terps! The last two games were really terrific!

You can send me a PM if you have more specific questions and I'll be glad to help!

UMTerp

churchlady
04-22-2006, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the report! We leave on the Western May 20th, 4 weeks!! I am looking forward to Paradise Beach.

BTW, I grew up in Vienna, VA and went to JMU. We still vacation in Ocean City, MD at my mom's condo although it is so far from Atlanta!

Thanks again for all the good info! Leigh

SassyGirl
04-22-2006, 10:12 PM
We were also on this cruise, but ended up going to Disney Dreams rather than the wine tasting. By the way, we were on a different rotation (LAPLAPL) and I saw NO children running through the restaurants. Although we ate at 8:30 p.m. so maybe that is why. Also, our table mates got a galley tour that week, so I'm not sure when that was, but they really enjoyed it.

We've booked for the Mediterranean cruise next July...the 11 day cruise. We really had the best vacation on the Magic. We had sailed Seabourne before, years ago, and really thought that Disney does it better. Of course, we didn't have KID then...lol.

Deb

Seabourne '89 (Mediterranean)
Disneyland: '93, '96
WDW: '95, '99, '02
Magic Western '06