View Full Version : Old But Still Wonderful Trip Report

05-02-2006, 08:04 PM
Okay, I asked if it would be silly to post an old T/R and had several responses to please post. So, here it is...a little long winded but hopefully not too boring!! :thumbsup2

Pre-Cruise: Day 1
Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cast Members: Myself, DH - 39, DS - 8, DD - 6, and DD - 3

The plans were to get up and out early but as usual my packing preparations threw a wrench in that plan. Instead we left at 11:30, excited all the same. Traffic out of Atlanta was almost non-existent and the weather was great! We made it to Cape Canaveral in a little over 7 ½ hours, which was to be expected in only the best of conditions. Super! We had one close call with a police officer and I was driving!! We were coasting along and I was really trying to follow speed limit but it kept changing on the "Bee Line Expressway", the only road into the ports. It was a bit confusing - 70 MPH, then 60, then 50, then 60, and so on. At any rate, we were cruising along when all of a sudden a smart little, black, sports car darted in front of me and flashed its lights! Luckily it was for the car that had been in front of me. Whew! That would have really stunk! Anyway, after many, many, many tool booths (I have never seen so many tool booths in my life!) we finally arrived at the Radisson and checked into our room. We were on the backside of the property and parking was literally a nightmare. We were lucky to catch a spot in the adjacent building to unload our overnight suitcase, blankies and such. This was really our only major complaint despite the mixed reviews we had read. All in all, we found our room to be decent - the beds were comfy, the linens were clean and the room was roomy. It could have used a little updating but all in all, it was okay. Minor things that I noted were that the wallpaper in the bathroom was peeling towards the bottom of the wall, near the tile and the toilet (this was a riot!) also sat waaaay too close to the wall - it was literally funny because the bathroom was very large and had plenty of space in it and here was this toilet jammed in the corner. Other than that, and this is my usual gripe no matter where I am, the tile floor of the bathroom could have used a good bleaching! But the room was clean and did the trick for one night. I can't say that I would spend a week (that toilet alone would have driven me nuts!) but it was definitely a great place to stop for the night. To our surprise, cruise parking was offered at check-in as well as complimentary shuttle service to the port. When I booked our room online, I was told that shuttle service/parking was an additional charge so I had opted not to pay the difference and we just thought we would park at the port. No biggie but since it was offered at no additional charge, DH and I decided to give the shuttle a try instead of paying for parking at the port (almost a $50 savings). Next, we had to hunt down a grocery store as I was running low on my DD-3's Claritin and she was starting to sneeze. Publix wasn't far down the road and after this errand we decided to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant called Kelsey's. It was within walking distance of the Radisson but since we were already in the car, we just drove there. In hind sight, we should have tried to secure a parking space first and walked over but, you live and learn! Anyway, the staff at the restaurant were very friendly and it had a "family owned" pleasant type of feel to it. We were very pleased with our entrees as well. There was even a cute surprise in my salad - one of the bell peppers in my salad was in the shape of Mickey Mouse - an unexpected hidden Mickey!! What a good omen to start our cruise off on! Our main entrees all had great flavor. The tomato sauce was very robust in my Ziti and in the children's Spaghetti. My husband's Fettuccine, although a little soupy, was delicious as well. We didn't opt for desert although the menu was tempting. After dinner we circled the Radisson a few times in search of a parking space but there were none to be found so we were forced to park in the front parking lot. It was either that or park in the dirt/sand area with poor lighting on the back side of the property. Many other cars were piling up back there but with all of our luggage for the cruise stowed in our car, the last option didn't seem safe. At any rate, parking in the front lot afforded us a walk past the main pool area. We were pretty impressed - it really was lovely! There were huge rock formations, waterfalls, nice landscaping and even a small pond filled with beautiful fish and a free form pool that wound it's way through all of this. It was as if we had been transported to another place! Very nice but sadly, we were tired from our drive and it was a bit chilly for swimming, so we headed back to our room for the night. It would have been nice to enjoy though! Once back at the room we dressed for bed and checked the weather forecast. It was in our favor with a high in the 70's and partly cloudy skies at the Cape. Yeah! The rain that had been in the predictions a few days before was no longer. Thank you God for that little bit of Pixie Dust!!! After some discussion of who was sleeping where and with whom, we finally drifted off and as excited as we were, sleep came easily to us all.

05-02-2006, 08:08 PM
Long! :p

Embarkation Day - Day 2
Cast Members: Myself, DH - 39, DS - 8, DD - 6, and DD - 3

We had set the hotel alarm the night before and luckily DH woke up all on his own because the alarm volume had been turned all the way down!! Yikes!!! Lesson learned - we will do wake up calls from now on. We quickly showered, dressed and packed up our few belongings but by this time it was 9:45, which meant no time for breakfast. Luckily, we had a few granola bars in the car and we nibbled on this as we drove around to the front of the Radisson to wait for the shuttle. It was a few minutes before ten o'clock when we "checked in" and they had warned us to be there 15 minutes beforeour scheduled time of 10:00. This morning was becoming so stressful for a family trying to be "on vacation"!!! It did turn out to not be a great big deal though (whew!) and DH had plenty of time to go and park our van in the designated cruise parking area. While we didn't get on the 10:00, we were on the very next shuttle out. A happy accident occurred though - during our wait, we ran into a family that we had corresponded with prior to the cruise, thanks to the Disboards!! They had an 8-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl (just like us) and seemed very sweet. Our kids hit it off in just the short time we waited for the shuttle. We did get separated but made plans to meet up later (and we did).

The drive to the terminal was quick and our driver was very social, asking where we were from - throwing out some facts here and there and we arrived at the port within feet of where our luggage needed to go. How convenient! Next, we walked down a short sidewalk, where we were instructed to present our photo IDs at the first security checkpoint. We then walked the red carpet area and had to stop in our tracks…there she was - up close and in all of her glory - the Disney Wonder. I can't explain the leap I felt in my heart. The ship was more majestic in person than I had imagined and our day was finally here and somebody pinch me - it was real!!! When the kids saw the size of the "boat", they flipped. : ) It was a really fun, neat moment and of course we stopped for a few photos before entering the main terminal building.

Upon entering, the first stop was security, which we passed through easily - similar to the airport but without the long lines. ; ) Well, we did have one little snag…our son mistakenly picked up someone else's carry-on bag (which looked a lot like mine) and in the confusion, no one noticed that our three-year-old DD had gotten on the escalator and was heading halfway up all by herself *and she was panicking. She knows what an escalator is but she has never gone on one alone! I was the closest and dropped everything (bag, camera case, blankie), leaving DH to deal with the bag issue and dashed up the stairs after her. All was okay - nice little scare though and I remember thinking that if the stress from just getting here doesn't kill us, we are going to need a vacation from just getting to our vacation!!

Once our entire family was upstairs together, we relaxed a bit! We stopped at one of several desks offered and had the CM's look over our documents. This turned out to be a good thing as I filled out one particular paper for all of us and actually needed one for each of us. After this it was time to do the actual boarding and customs thing where you show birth certificates and all that jazz. While in line we were given a card with the number "4" on it, which meant we were in the 4th group to board the ship as they now call everyone to board by number groups, one being the first. Here I happened to meet up with Kirsten, from the family that I previously mentioned from the Disboards. We talked while in line while our kids played by the huge model of the Wonder in the center of the terminal. The time passed quickly and I was very impressed with how well organized everything was. With our documents in place and our KTTW cards in hand, we proceeded over to the kids area to register. Since we had both pre-registered, all we had to do was pick up our beepers and get their wristbands put on. The kids were getting silly while in line but this too was a quick procedure and soon over. We could have done this later onboard but this was a time saver to do this as we were just sitting and waiting for boarding to begin anyway. Afterwards, we split up from our newfound friends. DH and I decided to get a cup of coffee and muffins for the kids and the girls had to use the restroom...and we missed our call for boarding group 4 - lol! What a morning!! Oh well…we were on with the 5's. It took about ½ an hour to get through the line and take our boarding photos (which turned out horrible - just perfect!) and then drum-roll please, we were finally onboard. Whew!! I could finally breath and truly relax…

When we walked into the atrium, CM's welcomed us from both sides. It was a grand feeling. I was trying not to cry! I'm such an idiot. : ) The atrium was beautiful and I was trying to take in all of the details. I was immediately drawn to the scrollwork on the railings that curved around the elevators and up the grand staircases, swirling with hidden Mickey's and even characters. I spotted the beautiful bronze statue of Arial at the foot of the grand staircase that I had seen on the video. And then my eyes were drawn to the beautiful glass sculpture hanging from the ceiling. It was unique and my words couldn't do it justice. Lastly, I couldn't believe that we were here!!!

We were then ushered through the lobby and down a long corridor, past a seating area with a small stage on one side and large circular porthole windows on the other. At the end of the corridor was the Parrot Cay Restaurant where lunch was being served but we also overheard that they were serving up on deck 9 as well in the Beach Blanket Buffet. This part of our experience was a little confusing. The CM's were not clear that we didn't *have to eat at Parrot Cay and seemed to be herding everyone there like cattle. Since I knew from research that we could eat elsewhere we opted to sit up on deck in the sunshine and we picked a table near the main pool. This was wonderful! I loved how this area was open to the sunshine yet closed in by the curved glass panels! While we lunched on salmon, steamed veggies, cheese wedges, fresh fruit, macaroni and cheese and turkey (all delicious!) we watched many children already swimming and soaked up the sun. The skies were blue and beautiful. Our new friends from the Disboards were nearby and invited our kids to swim with theirs. Although we were tempted to throw on our suits then and there, we decided to first get into our room (as it was just about that time) and meet back at the pool a bit later. So instead, the kids played a few rounds of Ping-Pong and then we retreated to find our room.

To our surprise, our room, cabin #8064, was in a great location. We were just one flight of stairs down from the main pool area, Beach Blanket Buffer, and the free soda and water on Deck 9. We were also only one flight up from the laundry room, which was also a bonus. Our cabin was bigger and prettier than what we had expected. Of course we had seen pictures but it wasn't the same as being there. The woodwork was gorgeous and all of the little touches such as the brass alarm clock ship wheel and framed black and white photos of Walt Disney himself were outstanding. We loved the simple lines of everything and the simple artwork drawings too. Although the bedding, in my opinion could have been prettier, the room was just more than I though it would be. The closet was decent sized and the steamer trunk was great for storage as well. The two bathroom areas were a great surprise! We had plenty of counter space between them. Our room had plenty of space for our family of five. Even DH was pleasantly surprised! And, the best part - we just loved our verandah! I was a little nervous about having one with such young kids but we had a very serious discussion and warned them that no one was to open the door without Mommy or Daddy and we were relieved that it took two hands to open it as well - a great deterrent. Even though we didn't wind up using it all that much, it was wonderful to look out when in port or to see the ocean and to get all of the sunshine that poured through in the mornings. Lastly, our beds were so comfortable. The pillows were plump and full and the sheets were crisp but soft and every evening we literally melted into bed! It was heaven!!

So, after taking in all that our room had to offer, I quickly unpacked and let the kids get their swimsuits on. DH decided to go and hear about the Nassau Shopping Tips while I took the kids to the Mickey Pool to meet their new friends. While they swam, I had a great time chatting with Kirsten's Mom, who was also on the cruise. It was a bit cold for swimming, in my opinion, but the kids didn't seem to care and the pool was full of a flurry of kids and activity. Grayson and Cammie even braved the slide more than a few times! We let them swim until about 3:30ish and decided to go back to our room and get ready for the sail away party.

What a party it was! The music was blaring, the CM's, kids and parents were dancing, the characters were out and about, Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, Pluto, Goofy - it was just awesome!! When we first arrived, the CM's were passing around horns for the kids to toot on - it was crazy! We brought bubbles with us so we passed them out to our kids and they immediately got busy. It was very cool and the kids had a blast! Finally it was time to sail and as we pulled out of port the Wonder sounded her horn - the first few notes of "When You Wish Upon a Star"!! What a neat thing to hear in person!! We missed the wave goodbye from everyone at the port as we were on the wrong side but that was okay. The next thing we new, confetti-like streamers had shot out from everywhere and we were with the realization that our journey was about to begin!

The party went on for some time and afterwards we strolled around the top deck, taking photos and watching land slowly fade away. We were surprised to realize that it was almost time for the evening show so we retreated to our cabin once more to change. Since we had a late dinner seating, we had to watch the first show of the evening or we would miss it. This was actually not what we had wished for but it turned out to be a great schedule and I would do this again in the future. Hercules was playing tonight. It was a very good show but I don't think the kids were into it. There was a lot of singing and they really had never even seen the movie but still they sat through it all and were great. Afterwards, we were lucky enough to stumble into a very short line to meet Cinderella! The girls were ecstatic and we have some very precious pictures to forever cherish! The look of wonder in their eyes was just priceless.

After our princess encounter, we went to dinner. Our first night's rotation was at Tritons. The restaurant itself was beautiful and on the formal side. The floor was done in huge crisscrossed patterns of black and gold. The white tablecloths were a simple but elegant. On the far wall was a huge mosaic of Arial and King Triton in subdued, pale colors. It was very impressive! We had really wanted to have a table to ourselves and had read that many families of 5 usually do not get seated with other families so we were surprised when we reached our table and found a family of three. They had a little girl that was 4-years-old who was very sweet. The conversation was awkward at first, as I don't think anyone quite knew what to speak about. Both DH and I were a little dismayed. After exchanging the usual pleasantries of "Where are you from?" and "How old are your children?" there wasn't much else that we could find to talk about. Even my love for Disney met a dead end. Yikes!! Would this be how every meal was going to be? What a bummer!! We were introduced to our Head Server, Pandy, and our Server Rodrigo who were both wonderful. Rodrigo was full of character and really had a way with the kids. Pandy, while sweet, was more subdued and pretty much kept to the business at hand. As the conversation lagged, the meal itself was pretty good. I wouldn't say spectacular but good. I ordered the Beef Tenderloin with steamed veggies and dollop of potato, no appetizer. The kids had the fresh fruit appetizer and they all had steak, broccoli and carrots. The steak wasn't that good of a quality - I was a bit surprised. I cut off a lot of excess fat. DH had the duck and his meal was satisfactory but I don't believe anything to brag about or if it was, he didn't - lol! The children's appetizers were served quickly and their meals came soon after. Pandy made cute Mickey Mouse heads on their plates out of ketchup. Now what hadn't I ever thought of that at home?? : ) They were just about finished with their meals when the adult entrees were served. No sooner than I took one bite of mine, our DD-3 had to use the restroom. Super! So, off we trotted to find what would be the first in a series of finding all of the bathrooms on the ship at the most inopportune times. After our excursion, I returned to cold food while the kids ordered desserts - Mickey Ice Cream Bars and Pie. Maybe I expected too much but I wondered if they could have at least offered to heat up my meal however, I didn't ask so that was my fault. After dinner, we said goodbye to our tablemates and the kids were itching to try out the clubs.

So, we proceeded to find the Oceaneer Club and Lab. On our journey who should we run into but Pinocchio! We had never met him before and when I mentioned this fact, he stopped and jokingly chastised us and then spent about five minutes taking pics and hugging our kids. Even my son (who's 8) was into it! What a great ending to our night! But it wasn't over…still proceeding toward the clubs, who should we run into but Snow White! Another great surprise and again, she took the time to visit with our kids and take pics. This trip was just going to be awesome!! Eventually we found our way and checked our son into the Lab without a problem. He had no trepidation what-so-ever about going in by himself even though Captain Hook himself was overseeing the Mario Kart races, which was where he wanted to be! Cool!! Next, we checked the girls into the Oceaneer Club and they took off without a look back as well. WoW!

DH and I left the Club and looked at each other not knowing what to do with ourselves - lol! So, we set out to explore the ship and found Route 66. We explored the various areas and finally settled in Wavebands, where a show was about to begin that was like the old "Dating Game" show. The show was hilarious but only because of a very spirited older couple from New York. I will say I have never heard a Grandmother speak so openly about her sex life as this woman did - lol! What a hoot she was!! Anyway the show was hilarious and we hadn't laughed that hard in a long time.

Afterwards we went back to get the kids, who protested at first but then came without a fuss (with the promise that they could come back the next day). Our son had met his new friend (mentioned earlier) and was thrilled. The girls had dressed up, played computer games and watched some movies. They loved their club as well. When we got to our cabin, we were greeted with a towel animal (lobster?) and chocolates. Our cabin had also been magically transformed. A bunk bed was now in place, the sofa was now a bed and another bed had been pulled down from the wall. The kids kept asking how our cabin did this!! They would soon learn how - Wemfi was his name and he was wonderful!

After getting the kids ready for bed, I went up to deck 9 to get some water for all of us for the night. Upon returning, I found DH and the kids out on the verandah. We sat for a few moments, staring at the gentle ocean waves and the way the moonlight reflected off of them. A bit later, we put the kids in bed. They were literally out within a few minutes. I read for a bit while DH watched the news and we were soon falling asleep as well. So, we turned off the lights, burrowed ourselves in our comfy bed and drifted off to the lulling rock of the ship.

05-02-2006, 08:25 PM
Great report! Thanks for taking the time! I look forward to reading about the rest of your trip!!

05-02-2006, 09:53 PM
:thumbsup2 Great so far!! Thanks for deciding to post!

Mary Jo
05-02-2006, 09:57 PM
I'm loving your report! Thank you for sharing. :flower:

05-02-2006, 10:11 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write your report. I am looking forward to the next installment. :sunny:

05-02-2006, 10:27 PM
Excellent report . please keep it coming.

05-03-2006, 08:16 AM
Thanks for the positive comments. Here's another installment. Once again, it's long winded, it seems short and sweet is not my forte! :confused3

Very Long! : )

Day 3 - Nassau
Cast Members: Myself, DH - 39, DS - 8, DD - 6, and DD - 3

We awoke to bright sunlight and the sounds of activity. We hadn't set our alarm as we were all up late and since the port was Nassau, we had planned on sleeping in. Shore excursions for Nassau were limited (as far as what we could all do as a family of 5 and with a three-year-old). Swimming with the dolphins was tops on our list however the total cost would have been around $500 for the five of us! We just couldn't justify spending that amount. That's just about two annual passes for our kids at Disney!!! Atlantis was also an option but we couldn't see paying to sit on a beach when we would be doing that the next day and the kids were too little for the slides. Lastly, the glass bottom boat tour didn't get rave reviews on the Disboards and nothing else really appealed to us. So, we didn't care if we were up and out early or not as our plan was just to venture into Nassau, shop, and visit the Pirate Museum and then return to the ship for a swim later while everyone else was on shore.

When we opened our curtains that morning, we had a full view of the port at Nassau. It was colorful and very tropical looking. Pinks, peaches, bright blues and yellows buildings all sat along the port. The skies were blue and it was a beautiful morning! DH and I sat on the verandah for a bit before getting ready for our day. The kids were still asleep.

We had such a lazy morning that we were one of the last families to show for breakfast at Parrot Cay! This was our first time eating in here and to say that this restaurant has a tropical flair is an understatement! Palm Trees and parrots dotted the walls and the décor. The ceiling fans blades were also in the shape of palm leaves and banana bunches hung from their centers! Shades of peach and green colors were vibrant and lively and as we ate, we looked out our window on Nassau. We enjoyed a great breakfast buffet full of everything imaginable one might want for breakfast - fresh fruits, an assortment of cheese and cold cuts, danishes, donuts, muffins, waffles, sausages, bacon, eggs, gravy, cereal, breads and rolls, and on and on. It was everything that we had expected and more. We all had a hard time choosing but after fully satisfying our appetites, we were set for the day at Nassau.

Disembarking was easy and we just had to show our KTTW cards to exit. We had a fairly long walk into the port at Nassau but the weather was beautiful and as we strolled along we found fish in the aqua colored ocean water and snapped a few pics.

Our first impression of Nassau was that it wasn't as bad, as we had read. Of course there were a few people who offered us tours or hair braiding here and there but it wasn't a mob and they weren't all that pushy either. As we strolled through an indoor market, we eventually came out onto a street and this street lead to the main street. Now this was a *very busy road clogged with vehicles. In the middle of a four-way intersection was a woman, dressed in a black and white uniform, standing on a box literally directing traffic. The kids got a kick out of this. I hadn't expected so much traffic (or a woman on a box for that matter)! At any rate, we carried on walking down the sidewalk while holding hands tightly with our kids. DH had gone to the shopping tour and was loaded with his coupons, tickets and maps of where the "best" deals were! Our first stop was a jewelry store that was recommended where we purchased pearl earring and pendants for only $2.00. (Yes, they are real - lol!) We thought the girls might like them when they are a bit older. Next, we stopped at Sol (I think) where all of the products change color when placed in the sun. It was very neat and not something we had seen before. We purchased cool tee's and the kids were all given free color changing rings - also pretty cool. We shopped and shopped and the kids were getting bored but we spotted a Häagen-dazs and of course just *had to take a break from our hard work!! After this we found the Pirate Museum to be right around the corner! We paid and received our wristbands and entered the museum. It was very dark and had a dungeon like feel to it. DH and I though it was very cool but only a few steps in and our DD-3, freaked out and literally started screaming and crying and refused to go further even if I held her. No bit of consoling could convince her. The next thing we knew our other two kids were also getting upset and so we were forced to exit rather quickly. Okay, now what to do? The staff instructed us to go in the back way and just walk backward through the exhibit as it was more "museum" like at the end. Well, it was but as soon as we walked into the boat display, a replica of an actual pirate ship, DD-3 again started crying once more. Of course we made yet another hasty retreat. We were going to ask for our money back but they staff didn't seem to care. So, I took the kids outside while DH ventured through by himself, as by this time, all of the kids were not going to have anything to do with any part of the place!! What a way to say goodbye to $25 bucks in a flash! And what a disappointment! At any rate, DH reported that it was pretty neat in the beginning but the ending was a little weak and he didn't think it was all that great. So, I didn't even bother going through and it was getting to be late afternoon so, we left to make it back to the ship. Before doing this though we braved it through the Straw Market (neat place but very repetitive) and picked up a few more "treasures". The walk back to the ship was long and our DD-3 didn't want to walk anymore. So, I carried her and she fell asleep in my arms. By the time we arrived back at the ship, we were all tired, hot and just plain exhausted!

Getting back on the ship was simple - a show of our KTTW card and ID's. Once onboard, we freshened up and had a late lunch on deck 9 once again. We just couldn't get enough of the sunshine! This time we ate at Pluto's Doghouse and lunch consisted of hamburgers or hot dogs and fries. The kids wanted to swim so we made our way back to the cabin to change but once there, everyone crashed on the couch or bed and began to watch a movie that was playing on TV. And so, it was unanimous -we weren't going anywhere!

The rest time was great and we all decided that at 4:00pm, we would attend a special meeting listed in our Navigator about the Treasure Hunt that the kids could partake in while on Castaway. We were glad that we did! We received our treasure map and clues and it was such a neat little kit and a great keepsake! The kids were so excited to try and figure it out as well. Yet another thing that Disney does right!!

Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for tonight's show and dinner so we returned to the cabin to change for the night. Since irons are not allowed on board, I had to utilize the laundry room on deck 7 - a hop, skip and a jump down a few steps. There were already two people using the two irons supplied and one person in line but it didn't take too long. While I ironed three more people showed up so I guess I made it just in time. We showered, dressed and made it to the theater in plenty of time for Tonight's show, an act by Taylor Mason, a Comedian/Ventriloquist.

Oh My GOSH!!! He was absolutely hilarious and the kids, DH and I all immensely enjoyed his act. In fact, I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard at some points. He had many puppets whom he kept in almost constant chat but one of the funniest ones was "Romeo" who intermittently took turns flirting with one person in the audience while picking a fight with another gentlemen, as he was showing off for this "girl" - lol. During all of this Mr. Mason did a wonderful job with audience participation from the children as well as one poor adult individual whom he picked on and who was a very good sport! Meanwhile, a sheep that was first introduced was left to sit onstage while occasionally interjecting "I'm still staring at de man" (in a Spanish accent) and many other animals spoke out of turn and of course made funny comments or jokes here and there. As the show progressed, a woman with a baby walked in late to which Taylor Mason stopped the show, and proceeded to make nice chit-chat with her. He asked her how she was doing and so on. She responded and then he asked her if "Can I get you anything…like a watch?!" Of course he said this jokingly and it was hilarious. "Finally a *huge Sumo wrestler doll was introduced and Taylor made the woman who was late come up and help him with the Sumo guy and then he recruited many children from the audience in a final skit in which the participants moved the mouths of the puppets while Taylor did the talking and singing. This too was hilarious as the kids (and late woman) didn't always move the mouth and so there were long, drawn out sentences, opportunities for strange noises and so on. In the end it all came together nicely and the kids got to the keep the puppets, which was very cool (I thought)! I can't say enough what a great show it was and our kids loved it so much that they recited lines and mimicked the actions of the puppets throughout the entire cruise. It is one of those experiences that we will always treasure.

After the show, we went to the atrium to meet Mickey and Minnie in formal attire. Of course we also had our pictures taken and they turned out wonderful! This was a lot of fun and the girls really enjoyed it. Even our son (8) didn't complain! Before we knew it, dinnertime was upon us. Tonight's rotation was Animator's Pallet. I have been looking forward to eating here ever since I even knew that it existed so I was pretty excited! I was also determined that dinner conversation or no dinner conversation, the evening wasn't going to be a drag!!

The inside of AP was everything we imagined! It was done in black and white and looked just like something out of a cartoon. All of the portraits on the walls were simple black and white drawings in cartoon-like black and white frames (what else?). The walls and ceilings looked as if they had been penciled in and the columns were floor to ceiling paint brushes the tip of which reached the top of the ceiling. It was so cute! The waiters all wore black and white vests with what looked like comic book drawings on them. Our table was in an excellent spot and we had a 360 degree view of the entire restaurant. We arrived at the table first so DH and I decided to sit across from each other in the event that our tablemates were not talkative again tonight! At least we would have each other! Luckily, when they arrived and they seemed to be entirely different people. (?) Maybe we were just all tired the previous night? Anyway, their little girl began to interact with our girls and the topics seemed to flow more easily. We were very pleasantly surprised.

For the kids, tonight's meal consisted of a pineapple appetizer, nothing special - just diced in a bowl. You would think they could make a Mickey face or something out of the rings at least? The main entrée for them was macaroni and cheese, and vegetable medley. Again desert for the kids was Mickey Ice Cream Bars and although we tried to talk them into something new, they wouldn't hear of it. It's their cruise too so we didn't argue! I ordered salad and cannelloni while DH ordered a steak. His steak was a bit overcooked but my cannelloni was delicious. For dessert I ordered the cheesecake and it was served on an artist pallet plate with dollops of "paint" in the form of whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and chocolate. It was so cute that I took a picture! (@@ I know!) It was delicious as well!

While the meal was pretty good, it was the transformation of the dining room that we were waiting for. First the paint brush tips lit up and twinkled. Next a couple of the portraits became colored. Then the villain portraits appeared and there was a story line that could be followed on the large screens. The villains were finally defeated and all of the portraits came into color and then finally the waiters disappeared and when they came back, they wore colored vests (instead of black and white) and the walls and ceiling came to life with color and twinkling lights. It was very neat and the kids, who had no idea this was going to happen, were delighted. It was a wonderful evening. I do have to say that it wasn't as dramatic as I had imagined but still, it was neat. After dinner we said goodnight to our tablemates and headed for the kid's clubs.

Grayson and his new friend from the Disboards had promised to meet up tonight so he was very excited about that. The girls went off to their club as well and once again DH and I were alone. It felt so weird!!

During dinner, we learned that photos taken were discarded almost daily so we decided that "Shutters", the photography studio, was the first place on our evening out. There were a few cute ones of the girls with Cinderella so we put them aside and then made our way past the gallery and looked at many of the artwork pieces on display. There were some really beautiful pieces and also many fun and whimsical ones. Wish I had a ton of money and place to put them all! Next we left for Wavebands for the entertainment of the night, which was an adult version of the show by Taylor Mason and then 70's Disco. Taylor was funny once again but we were late in arriving so we didn't have great seats. While the whole 70's thing really wasn't up our alley, it was something to do and it was fun to see everyone else having fun. DH and I slow danced to one song but mainly sat and had a couple of drinks. Before we knew it, it was 11:45 so we left to get the kids who were still going full force and once again didn't want to leave! While simultaneously protesting sleep and recapping the events of the day, especially the comedian, Taylor Mason, they quickly feel asleep. DH and were exhausted as well and decided to call it a night. It was another magical day on the Wonder.

Mom of three ~ Disneyholic since 1999

05-03-2006, 03:54 PM
Robin, I am really enjoying your report! Thanks so much for taking time to write and please continue...Can't wait to hear about Castaway Cay!!

05-03-2006, 05:29 PM
I really enjoyed your report too bad about the pirate museum I also wondered what would happen if you people felt awkward with their tablemates. Keep it coming!

Echo queen
05-03-2006, 08:01 PM
Your report is great, I have read every word. :thumbsup2 16 day until I'm living the disney dream :wizard:

05-03-2006, 08:25 PM
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I'm really enjoying it.

05-05-2006, 08:42 PM
One of the best trip reports I've ever read! Love the details!!! Keep it coming!

05-05-2006, 10:22 PM
Thanks once again for the positive feedback!! Sorry I am late in getting this next segment out. The next day wasn't all that great but we made the best of it and had a wonderful surprise! I'd rather have a bad day on the Wonder than anywhere else!! :)

Day 4 - Castaway Cay and Pirate Night
Cast Members: Myself, DH - 39, DS - 8, DD - 6, and DD - 3

We woke up to the telephone ringing - our wake up call from The Mouse! We opened our curtains to bright morning sunshine once again, however the water was extremely choppy and it was pretty windy on our verandah. We ordered room service - just coffee, juice and muffins as DH and DS were to go on a Deep Sea Fishing Excursion this morning. While they showered and dressed, room service arrived. The boys ate and were off despite DH's concerns over the ocean conditions. He expressed doubts that they would be able to go out on water like this but they soon left anyway to find out. Since the girls were still sound asleep, I took my coffee and a book and went to sit on the verandah for a while. Within 30 minutes my guys were back with the news that all shore excursions had been cancelled due to heavy winds. So, we decided to grab breakfast and then head to the beach on Castaway. We still had our Treasure Hunt to look forward to as well! After another wonderful breakfast buffet at Parrot Cay, we left for the beach. Our friends from the Disboards had saved us a couple of chairs and we planned to hang out with them for the day. But first we had treasure to find!

The first clue to the Treasure Hunt was to be at the Post Office: "Take a hint, letters have been sent IN bottles. The letters you need are OUT of the bottles". This one was tough but we soon figured it out (don't want to give it away in case ye shall give it a try ;) ). Next, we stopped to let the kids decipher a message written in a code of different flags over near a place called Marge's Barges. They had fun with that one and then we continued on our walk. The tram stop was at the beginning of the path but it was balmy and warm and we still had clues to figure out so we decided to take the walk instead. We found a great spot for a photo and we also found our third clue but it was a bit hard! We eventually wound our way down the path to what is known as Mt. Rustmore, where the faces of Mickey, Donald, Pluto and Goofy are painted on four, huge, rusty buoys. It was also another clue area and great photo spot and one of the things that I really wanted to see for myself as "Goofy" as that sounds. :teeth:

Next stop - the family beach! We found our friends and while we chatted our kids played in the ocean. We all made great sand castles and even a large Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bar of sand - a photographer came by and grabbed a shot of all the kids around it and many people stopped to comment on what a great job we did. Very cool! We started to talk about grabbing lunch at Cookies BBQ but noticed that off in the distance a very ugly line of dark clouds was slowly coming our way. Many people started packing up but many didn't and we decided to sit for just a bit as well. Maybe it would stay in the distance? We soon had our answer. Around 1:00PM the skies started looking darker and darker and off in the distance - towards the adult beach - it wasn't pretty! :p It was soon clear that a storm was coming our way and we noticed that family by family, people were starting to pack up. So, we did as well and proceeded to make our way to the boat. We hadn't made it far when it began to sprinkle but we had no choice to keep walking, as there was no shelter at this point. As we got closer to the boat, the rain came down harder until eventually we were in a cold downpour. I have to say, it wasn't very pleasant and the kids were miserable. When we reached the boat the single line to board was backed up, as you had to go through "customs" to get back on. We had at least a 20-minute wait in the cold rain. The kids and I sought cover on the porch of the Post Office while DH waited in the growing line. It was kind of ridiculous and eventually they opened a second line but not until after the rain had almost stopped. Disney, at last, brought out dry towels so we were able to dry off and warm up before we eventually got back onto the ship. By this time though it was almost 3:00pm so we just decided to go back to the cabin and hop into a warm shower and change. Swimming was out of the question. We rested for a bit and I brought pizza and soda back to the room for all of us since our lunch plans for Cookies Bar-B-Q got waylaid. Warm and dry, rested and fed, we checked our Navigator and ventured off to play Bingo, a first for us. This was really fun and the cast did a wonderful job keeping everyone laughing and entertained. The kids had a great time doing this and while they played with their Dad, I went to check e-mail since the Internet Café was only a few steps away. It was during this time that an announcement was made: Since the rain ruined our day at Castaway Cay, the Captain had decided to give us a second day! We couldn't believe our ears and everyone was clapping and shouting. I ran back to DH and the girls and we were all ecstatic! We had been Pixie Dusted!! :wizard: Sadly, we didn't win at Bingo but we were so psyched about the second day at CC that it didn't matter.

After Bingo we decided to find the arcade and spent about an hour playing around in there before going back to change for dinner. The arcade had a nice mix of games for kids of all ages and it wasn't crowded at all. DH and I even enjoyed a few of the vintage games like Pac Man. There was something for all of us to play which was nice.

Since we had the late dinner seating and it was Pirate Night, we decided to go to the show first and then come back and change into our costumes before dinner. We had read this right here on the awesome Disboards otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue! So, thanks to you all!

Tonight's show was The Golden Mickey's and to our surprise there was a red carpet ceremony complete with a live camera set up outside of the theater and even "Paparazzi". But instead of feeling like movie stars we felt a bit underdressed (lol). We realized that we didn't see many other people dressed in formal attire or pirate apparel yet either so, all was okay but it was an awkward moment as I was thinking that I was perhaps a bit confused and mixed up formal night with Pirate Night - lol!! We were fine though. Whew!! Anyway, the CM's were dressed to the nines and the announcer, "Rona Rivers", (obviously an impersonation of Joan Rivers) was even in a beautiful golden gown. I personally think this night would have been better suited to formal night as far as planning goes but oh well! We just went with the flow. Once inside the theater we watched "Rona" interview people as they approached the theater. It was entertaining.

The show itself was extremely enjoyable and the kids didn't move a muscle. Their eyes were glued to the stage the entire time! It was a really neat show that highlighted several of the more memorable scenes in various Disney movies. There was a Princess scene with Cinderella (how they made her dress change magically from rags to a ball gown, I'll never know!), Snow White and Princess Aurora. I think I remember a villain scene, Dalmatians scene, and more. The Lion King scene took place all throughout the audience and it was amazing. All of the singers were in African style costumes and the singing was beautiful. In the end Mickey himself was honored and we had some great photo opportunities. It was a great show and we left the theater once again, completely impressed.

We returned to our cabin to prepare to turn into Pirates! Arrrruggh!! The kids dressed without much prodding. They all looked adorable and were so caught up in the idea. We left to have our pictures made in the atrium with Pirate Mickey but he had already left and we met Pirate Goofy. Actually, this worked out perfect for us as we hadn't yet had our pictures made with Goofy so we were happy to see him! We were a bit late to dinner after this and Grayson (DS-8) stated that his stomach was hurting so we thought he was probably just hungry. Dinner was at Animator's again and our tablemates were already seated. We quickly ordered our drinks and kids meals and main entrees so that our servers wouldn't be upset with us!! No sooner had Pandy placed my wine glass on the table, our son began to wretch as if he was going to be sick. I was across from him so all I could do was push his plate under him. It was to no avail though and he began projectile vomiting, right there on the table! I was horrified for our dinner mates, worried that they would be sickened by all of this, also worried about my son and also trying not to think about the many people now staring at us. Someone nearby actually made a scarcastic comment! Unbelievable. Guess Tink needed to hit that person over the head with some good ole' Pixie Dust!!! :teeth: As soon as it was safe to leave the table, I swooped him out of there. It was suggested that we go to the infirmary but I decided to just let him go back to our cabin and rest. I had some seasick medicine and as soon as we got back to the cabin I checked him for fever and so on. Everything was negative except for the fact that he was queasy so I assumed that he was seasick. I gave him some sips of water and a bit of Bonine. He rested on the bed for about half an hour and stated he was feeling better and now hungry.

To make a long story short, I ordered chicken broth from room service for him and in the meantime our waiter Pandy, showed up with a steak dinner for me! Nice surprise since I was starving but wasn't thinking about myself at the moment - lol! DS perked up after awhile and eventually DH came back with the girls and we even made it up to deck 9 for the end of the Pirate Celebration. I think the fresh air did him a world of good and we watched the end of the show (I won't ruin it for you but Mickey saves the day!) and a wonderful fireworks display that was impressive for a ship. DS still didn't look *that great to us and even though he wanted to go to the kids club, we decided to call it a night for us all.

And so, it had been a crazy day with cancellation of the fishing excursion, the storm, and our Pirate Night being sort of ruined but at least we had another day at Castaway Cay to look forward to and DS was feeling much better so it was very hard to be disappointed!! :goodvibes

(On a side note, we learned that our tablemates were nurses so at least their dinner wasn't too greatly disturbed by what they had seen and they were so sweet about the whole incident. Thank goodness!)

Mom of three ~ Disneyholic since 1999

05-06-2006, 02:25 AM
Been there, done that with DS13 getting sick after disembark breakfast, in the hallway and then also in the room as we were disembarking..... had the room steward opening the door, etc. telling us it was time to leave..... as DS13 was sick...in the bathroom. Had to leave a big extra tip for him. :sad2: :rolleyes1 I am sure that's the last thing housekeeping needed to do that morning. :blush:

**it happens. I'm sorry someone was rude and said something sarcastic. Everyone around us was very understanding and helpful. At least to my horrified face :guilty: I'm glad it didn't ruin anything for you. I love your trip reports so much, I told my GF to read them, they are thinking of cruising DCL. princess:

05-06-2006, 08:32 PM
Oh my gosh! I actually felt your pain while reading! How someone could be rude floors me! ANYONE with children should know better!

05-06-2006, 08:45 PM
Oh my gosh! I actually felt your pain while reading! How someone could be rude floors me! ANYONE with children should know better!

Thanks to both of you guys for posting kind comments about the situation! If I wasn't so A)happy for being on the cruise and B)so worried about my son, I might have stopped to give them a piece of my mind. Okay, I wouldn't have done that anyway, IRL, :lmao: but I might have shot a dirty look! :thumbsup2

I was all set to post the next report tonight and realized I didn't complete the ending. So...I will do it and hopefully post by morning. Sorry!!! :goodvibes

05-07-2006, 09:50 AM
Wow - I am glad your son recovered quickly.
Quick question about Castaway. Did the ship leave the dock as if you were going to have a day at sea or did you stayed tied up a the dock at Castaway Cay?

05-07-2006, 11:46 AM
Wow - I am glad your son recovered quickly.
Quick question about Castaway. Did the ship leave the dock as if you were going to have a day at sea or did you stayed tied up a the dock at Castaway Cay?

We left the dock and slowly floated around in a big circle. :)

05-09-2006, 08:09 AM
Here's the next installment. Again, sorry for the delay!

Day 5 – Castaway Cay – Again!!!! AND DH’s Birthday. : )

We again woke to clear skies and beautiful sunshine. This time when we opened our curtains we saw calm, clear waters and DH knew he was fishing for real today! What a wonderful birthday present! The only question in our mind was if our son would feel well enough to join him. As it turned out, DS woke and stated he felt absolutely fine and he looked it. So, the decision was made for DH and DS to go together and “bond”! We again ordered room service – a repeat of the previous morning and again it was delivered promptly.

Boring morning - I threw in a load of laundry while the boys, showered and dressed. And then off they went. I took my coffee and a book out on the verandah while the girls slept but I was too distracted by the flurry of activity below to read so I sat and watched the crew unload and then the passengers filing to the beach. Eventually I went back inside the cabin and showered. The girls finally awoke and I dressed them for the beach. We decorated the cabin with streamers and birthday items that I had brought, hung our special door sign for the Birthday Boy and we left to eat breakfast but first we threw the clothes into the dryer.

We decided to eat up on deck 9 and sit in the son this morning and picked our choices off of the Beach Blanket Buffet. The girls and I found spot outside and it was a bit chilly being up so high, but we faired okay. We had a perfect spot overlooking Castaway Cay. After breakfast we checked our laundry, which was still soaking wet even after a 40-minute cycle. Yuk! Luckily many other dryers were open so we switched out the laundry for another dryer and left for the CC family beach. I normally wouldn’t have done this but at least 5 dryers were open so I didn’t feel so bad and if someone wanted to take my clothes out to use the dryer, I was fine with that.

After exiting the boat, the girls and I decided to use the tram this time and we quickly arrived at the family beach. We were once again to spend with day with our Disboard friends but couldn’t find them, so we picked a spot and proceeded to make a fort. We had plans to meet up with DH and DS at Cookie’s BBQ at 1:20. Around 12:30 our friends happened to spot us and they were only about 20 feet down from us so we moved our camp to theirs and it wasn’t much longer when DH and DS showed up! The day had been an awesome adventure for them. DH caught a huge 50 pound snapper! When I say huge, I mean HUGE – it took three guys to real it in and the boat captain stated that it would feed his family for a month! DH and DS also caught grouper - 5 fish total but nothing compared to that snapper and DS was in awe about the entire adventure.

Our kids were happy to see their newfound friends and picked right up where they left off as if old buddies by now and that left us adults to chat some more. We played in the water (even though it was pretty chilly) and made sand castles and talked. DS even caught a baby octopus! We thought it was a squid but many people came over to look and after pointing out different things about it we were pretty sure it was an octopus. We eventually released it back into the water and watched it swim away.

Since we hadn’t had lunch, we decided to break for it at 1:45 as it ended at 2:00 and our Disboard friends were heading back for other plans as well. So, the boys decided they would like to meet in the kids lab later that evening and we agreed it would be fine since it was our last night. We made our way to Cookies Bar-B-Q. I was a little disappointed with the offerings (hamburgers, hot dogs, strange looking chicken) but between us all we dinned on pasta salad, fruit, hot dogs, ribs and cookies. Not one of our more memorable meals but the cookies were good! Where was the BBQ? LOL! I really would have liked to seen more healthier selections!! Oh well. When on vacation…go with the flow!

Next we had plans for a bike ride but to our dismay, our 6-year-old (who is petite) wasn’t really big enough to keep up on the little bikes and she was too big to ride on one of ours (they said she could if we really wanted her to but that she wouldn’t be safe) so we had to forgo that idea. We were all greatly disappointed but we did enjoy the walk.

On the way back to the ship, the girls wanted to have their hair braided so we stopped to do this at a little area off of the main path. DD-6 got six braids and DD-3 got one. They really looked cute and they were so happy. You would think that Cinderella herself had done this to them!!

Once back on the ship, DH was completely surprised by the special birthday door sign and then once again by all of the decorations when we entered the cabin. The girls were thrilled that Daddy was so happy with their efforts too! We showered and while DH and the kids rested for the afternoon, I went to retrieve the laundry - which still wasn’t dry! (I'm so glad that I brought a whole role of quarters!!!!) So, I threw in more quarters and left for guest services to take care of final business like postcards, tips and such. The line wasn’t too bad and afterwards I ran to Shutters to pull any other photos out there of us to save for DH to see later and then I returned to laundry with 4 minutes to spare. This time the clothes were done.

I returned to the cabin to find that the kids wouldn’t settle down and were a bit rowdy so DH took DS who was already dressed for the show and dinner and went to the arcade to spend the rest of the money left on the card we purchased. I had to pack up the bags to put them outside the cabin before the show, so I concentrated on this and then the girls and I finished dressing and met them outside of the arcade where they were playing Ping Pong and we left for the theater.

Tonight’s show was Dreams and it was spectacular. It was set in the bedroom of Annemarie (?), Wendy’s daughter, and featured Peter Pan and many, many, many Disney characters. I didn’t want it to end. Flying and Pixie Dust and wonderful music – it was heavenly! The kids were mesmerized once more and I do have to say that Disney saved the best for last!

Our last dinner was at Parrot Cay and it was a festive evening. Our table friends were in a jovial mood, the conversation flowed, and the kids messed around with each other and played throughout all of dinner. At one point, our server, Rodrigo took the girls and started a train that ran all through the restaurant. Of course several children joined in and it was adorable. After the main entrées were served, the wait staff came to our table with a special birthday cake for DH. It was a strawberry treat with white chocolate icing and topped with a wedge of white chocolate engraved with a picture of the ship in chocolate. (There were many birthdays this night – at least 8 to 10 in all!!) Later, the staff disappeared and then reappeared with a special surprise –a flag ceremony. It was very high energy and everyone clapped or waved their napkins in the air. I believe they said they were representing 59 nationalities on board. Each server marched with a full-sized flag from his or her country and paraded it all around the restaurant to the song “It’s a Small World”, only with a Latin twist. Awesome! They seemed so proud and we were honored to watch and it was really a very special thing to see – and a neat ending to our last night.

We made plans to say good-bye to our tablemates in the morning at breakfast. Since we had late seating, our breakfast time wasn’t until 9:00 AM. Yes! Many people who had early seating had to be there at ungodly times like 6:45. I would not have liked that one bit!!

Since it was the last night, the kids wanted to do the clubs one last time and of course Grayson had plans to meet Jason so off we went to check them in. DH and I left for Shutters and spread out in an unused corner with all of our pics until we whittled them down to the keepers. We put the ones we didn’t want to purchase into one of the boxes provided and proceeded to get in line to purchase our choices. This part was all little bit confusing and annoying as we needed to have one more photo to complete a package or else pay a higher amount. Great! One one small problem…we had tossed our photos into the lockbox. No problem we were told – someone would be right over to unlock the box. At least 20 minutes later and no one had come. We tracked down another CM and he proceeded to find the keys, but wasn’t successful as only one person had the keys and could’t be found. After close to an hour, we were finally able to get our pics out of the lockbox and pull out the one that we liked to complete the package. Super! Now we just had to pay but where were our other pictures that we had left at the checkout counter??? Nowhere to be found!!! By this point we were getting very annoyed and basically had to ask the CM working the counter to search through other people’s bags that were in line. Sure enough, they were in someone elses bags!! We lucked out for certain.

We headed to Route 66 for what was left of our adult time, and once again wound up in Wave Bands. The other places were completely empty and it looked like the staff was closing up for the night. We had a couple of drinks while we watched the activity for the night. It was 70’s night (I think) so the staff was dressed in afro wigs and disco outfits. It was really kind of boring. :confused3 DH and I decided to call it a night and left to get the kids at 11:45.

We went to the clubs and gathered up the kids, turned in our pagers. Our friends were also at the clubs picking up their children as well so we said our goodbyes just in case the morning was too hectic. We vowed to keep in touch and exchanged e-mails and phone numbers.

We returned to our room and all went out on the verandah to have one last look at the moonlit ocean. We talked about the cruise and what a wonderful time we had had and we each took turns sharing what our favorite moments were. It was the perfect end to a wonderful vacation and after snuggling down in our comfy beds, we were gently rocked to sleep one last time. :cloud9:

Mom of three ~ Disneyholic since 1999

05-09-2006, 03:42 PM
I am so sad your cruise is over! It is really like a soap opera reading these posts!
We have late seating for our cruise next winter....how did you kids do with the later meal??

05-09-2006, 06:14 PM
Wonderful TR!!!

05-09-2006, 10:30 PM
I am so sad your cruise is over! It is really like a soap opera reading these posts!
We have late seating for our cruise next winter....how did you kids do with the later meal??

Me too! ;)

We loved having the late seating for dinner!!! :thumbsup2 Like I said, it wasn't our first choice but if we did it again, we would choose this. It was wonderful not having to rush so much to get to dinner. It was also great to watch the show first as it was like a relaxing time for us. We tended to eat late breakfasts and lunches as well so an early dinner just would not have suited us. For our family, the late seating was perfect and just worked.

I hope you enjoyed the report - glad I could share! :) Hope you have a wonderful trip as well! :sunny:

05-09-2006, 10:36 PM
Wonderful TR!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read!!! :goodvibes

05-10-2006, 01:24 PM
Thank you for a wonderful report. I just finished reading and I love your level of detail. :goodvibes

05-10-2006, 02:48 PM
Thank you for a wonderful report. I just finished reading and I love your level of detail. :goodvibes

Thanks for reading it! :sunny: