View Full Version : Our WDW adventures and Magical Happy Halloween Cruise: DAY 14 completed 01/10: pg 10

07-26-2008, 04:28 PM
Our WDW adventures and "Magical" Happy Halloween Double Dip Cruise. October 2008: Pre-trip Report - 84 Days to go! :yay:

I have debated long and hard about whether to write a pre-trip report, or any trip report for that matter, as I constantly wonder who in their right minds would want to wile away their precious hours reading my endless waffle, but then I realised that having spent so many happy hours (days, and probably even weeks) reading all the wonderful trip reports posted on the DIS, I should really make the effort to reciprocate. It is possible that the endless waffle I write may ultimately be of interest and amusement to some, and may even be useful to other first time cruisers, travellers from the UK, bored individuals with too much time on their hands and insomniacs. I have myself learned so many invaluable tips and gained so much advice from reading the trip reports of others. If nothing else I can use it to create a record of my planning and preparations, not to mention my headaches, stresses and strains, trials and tribulations and total downright panics (and believe me there will be many) during the countdown to our departure date.

Before I start this endless waffle, which as I mentioned earlier some readers may find is a marvellous cure for insomnia (along the lines of “start reading this and find yourself falling asleep in seconds”), I suppose it makes sense to introduce the crazy crew who you will be sailing with and give you some details of the trip.

We are a family of 6 from Wales in the UK:

Firstly there is myself, Sarah, aged 43 (yikes), midwife, mother and total Disney nut. I love everything Disney, but have a particular obsession with Pirates of the Caribbean (both the rides and the movies). I collect Disney Pins, mainly POTC related, and I only ride indoor coasters!

The other crew members are:

DH Tony, aged 45 – extreme coaster freak, Disney addict, can eat for the UK and loves American sized portions.

Sarah and Tony


and our 4 wonderful kids:

DD 1 Taryn, aged 17 – Disney and Tim Burton addict. Loves movies, musical theatre, drama, writing and art. Loves any excuse to dress up, especially Halloween. Doesn’t do extreme rides.

DD 2 Louise, aged 17 – another Disney addict, favourite character Princess Jasmine!

DS 1 Daniel, aged 14. Self confessed computer geek and YouTube movie maker. Nintendo player and Tim Burton fan! Doesn’t like heights. Loves Disney but won’t admit it to his school mates (“MUM, please don’t play that Disney CD in the car if my mates get in!)

DS 2 Stephen, aged 18 (will be 19 ATOC) Loves extreme coasters and theme parks, and Arsenal Football Club.


Left to right as you look at this photo we have Tony (DH), Daniel (DS, now 14), Taryn (DD, now 17), Louise (DSD now 17) and Stephen (DSS, now 18)

This will be my 6th Florida trip, 4th Orlando trip and 11th Disney trip, if you include our many trips to Disneyland Paris.

So now down to the very important details re. when and where:

The Trip:

October 18th – October 25th : A wonderful 6 days in Orlando, visiting WDW.

October 25th – November 1st : "Halloween on the High Seas" Double Dip Cruise on the Disney Magic - our first Disney Cruise.

November 1st – November 3rd : Back to Orlando - shopping and relaxing before flying home.

As I write this first intallment we are exactly 84 days from our date of departure, and the excitement (and the panic) is really starting to build ......

:yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:

07-26-2008, 05:54 PM
Your trip sounds fab! :thumbsup2 Great pics too, love that you're all wearing lanyards with pins aside from your DS2.. I take it pins aren't cool?! ;) Only 6 years since I was that age myself but it feels like a lifetime ago, i'm not with it anymore! :rotfl:

07-26-2008, 06:19 PM
I'm very happy to wile away precious hours reading your "endless waffle"!! Your initial "waffle" is great and I look forward to reading much more of it!!

PS We leave the day you arrive having done 7 nights SSR, 4 nights Wonder, 2 nights SSR. Maybe we can give you a wave at the airport!!

PPS I love your pics!!

07-27-2008, 03:03 AM
Great pics, can't wait to hear more :)

07-27-2008, 11:33 AM
sounds like a fab trip :) great pics as well !

07-27-2008, 12:42 PM
Your trip sounds fab! :thumbsup2 Great pics too, love that you're all wearing lanyards with pins aside from your DS2.. I take it pins aren't cool?! ;) Only 6 years since I was that age myself but it feels like a lifetime ago, i'm not with it anymore! :rotfl:

No - wearing the lanyard wasn't at all cool for Stephen (DS 2), let alone a lanyard with pins stuck all over it! We had great fun pin trading, but I prefer to keep hold of the ones I have got! I don't know what he will be like on the cruise as we will be getting lanyards for our KTTW cards!

07-27-2008, 01:37 PM
.....or the evolution of our Disney / Florida obsession

Grab some popcorn:: this might be a long one!

Our story begins way back in the distant mists of time, when a trip to Disneyland Paris back in 1996 with my two then very young children and my parents, initiated my love affair with Disney theme parks. I have never been anywhere with so much magical atmosphere, amazing entertainment, and something just totally wonderful which I could not put my finger on:wizard:

Our story jumps forward a few years to 1999, when Tony and I were planning to get married and had reserved a couple of weeks in June for our honeymoon. Then I made the decision to go back to University and train to be a nurse, and we decided to put our wedding plans on hold for 3 years. However, in the meantime, my parents had booked to take my two children, Taryn and Daniel (then aged 8 and 5), to Disney World at the same time as we would have been going to be away on honeymoon. We still had the 2 weeks booked, so decided surreptitiously to book 2 weeks in Florida and meet them there as a surprise for the kids. I soon as I got off the plane in Florida I fell in love…with the landscape, the atmosphere, the people, everything ….:love: That first trip we concentrated on Disney parks, and as far as I was concerned, the magic wand waved once more :wizard: and I was well and truly hooked.

Unfortunately financial restraint restricted our holidays during my nurse training, and we had only managed a 2 night trip to Disneyland Paris with our 4 children in 2000 (my family had now doubled in size since meeting Tony in 1997).

This is what they looked like back then - outside Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland Paris:


Before long it was 2002, I was a qualified nurse and we began planning our wedding and honeymoon! When we started thinking about honeymoon destinations at the beginning of 2002, the only acceptable choice for this special holiday for me was Florida, but I felt guilty planning a trip to Florida without the kids, so we decided to go twice…..Orlando in April with all the kids, just as I finished my course in way of celebration, and then again, but this time to the Florida Keys, for our honeymoon in the October.

The April trip was unfortunately only for 10 days, and because we had recently been to Disneyland Paris and with limited time we thought we might just concentrate on Universal Parks with Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Wet and Wild. This we did, and although we had a great time, I missed the Disney magic.

In 2003 I returned to University to train to be a midwife, and holidays were once again put on hold for a while. Fast forward now to 2004, and I started to think about a celebratory trip for when I finished my midwifery training in spring 2005. What better place for a celebratory trip than Florida - the lure of Disney was too much for my feeble mind to overcome, and despite considering a number of options, Orlando won through and we spent a wonderful two weeks in a villa and had an amazing time in the Disney parks, and a perfect day in Discovery Cove.

All of us in Discovery Cove:


It was during the planning for this trip that I experienced a life-changing event: during my villa investigations I posted on a villa forum asking about busy days in the parks, and a very kind person, who will never know the impact they have had on my sad little life, recommended that I visit a website known as the DIS, and the next thing I remember it was a few weeks later. I was coming round from the anaesthetic after major surgery to separate me from the computer! Tony, thought I had gone stark raving bonkers… constantly talking about the DIS and DISers and becoming obsessed with countdowns and priority seatings, spending every waking hour superglued to the internet! :surfweb:

2005 also saw the first of our trips to Disneyland Paris at Halloween, with a very enjoyable evening spent at the Halloween Soiree in full pirate costume! pirate: On this trip I made the wise decision to purchase annual passes :yay: , and not only did this make financial sense, it also raised the temptation bar a few notches – with conversations along the lines of “ well why don’t we pop over to Disneyland Paris, after all, we have those annual passes and we really should make good use of them ” cropping up every time we had some time off from work. Needless to say there followed a series of trips to Disneyland Paris that year, Christmas 2005 (well, it would be lovely to see Disney at Christmas before the kids are too old….. silly not to really, what with those annual passes and all), July 2006 (well, it would be great to see the fireworks and stay in the parks until midnight…..silly not to really, what with those annual passes and all), Halloween 2007 (well, we had such a good time last year, and Mickey in his wisdom had decided to extend our annual passes at no extra charge for another year….silly not to really) and July 2007 (for the same reasons as 2006, before it gets boring!).

It's amazing how you can even visit a Disney Park 5 times in 18 months and it just never gets old - there is always something new which catches your attention and the Disney magic is always there :wizard: It was round about this time that I began to have long, deep and meaningful conversations with myself about a very special holiday :idea: - and I will reveal more in the next installment!

07-27-2008, 02:02 PM
wonderful waffle :thumbsup2 can't wait to hear more

07-27-2008, 03:14 PM
Excellent:thumbsup2 Looking forward to reading more:yay:

07-28-2008, 05:07 AM
excellent, cant wait to read more:thumbsup2

07-28-2008, 04:33 PM
Now those of you who are keeping up with my saga will remember that in the last installment we were home from Disneyland Paris in July 2007, and I was faced with the daunting prospect that my annual passes were about to come to a end - so to avoid that vile and insufferable affliction, known to many as "DWS" or "Disney Withdrawal Syndrome" there was one and only one course of action - to start planning another trip :thumbsup2 .

So it was around about July 2007 that the seeds for the forthcoming trip were being sown :idea: – we had often thought about cruising as a holiday option but one which we had really consigned to the back burner for when the kids had flown the nest. Tony being ex-Royal Navy, and myself being ex-Princess Cruises employee had long been instilled with a love of all things nautical pirate: and it had been a long term ambition of mine to experience cruising from the guest side rather than the staff side. My parents were regular cruisers, and on returning from a Carnival cruise out of Port Canaveral in 2007 they happened to mention that they had been in port with a Disney cruise ship, not only this but they had photographs to prove it….. immediately my ears pricked up and those tiny pixie-dust fuelled cogs and wheels in my brain began working, and I began the process of serious investigation by once again super-gluing my ample backside to the computer chair :surfweb: and relapsing into my DIS addiction – only this time I had a new addiction, the DIS cruise forum, and this was a really strong and powerful addiction for which there turned out to be only one cure – TO BOOK THE DISNEY CRUISE. :cheer2:

While the idea was incubating, we got around to debating when would be the best time to book a Disney cruise: basically anything from February to June was a no go, as the kids had exams in school. Christmas was not an option, so we were left with July or October school holidays. July 2008 would be too soon and July 2009 too far away, and October has always been a great time for us to travel to Florida – pleasant temperatures and fairly quiet in the theme parks, plus the added bonus of celebrating Halloween on the Disney Magic. The only problem was the kids only having 6 days holiday in October, and so if we wanted to extend the cruise we would need to take them out of school! :confused:

The next consideration was the cost. I was under the impression that booking a Disney Cruise would not come cheap :scared1: – bearing in mind that we have 4 teenagers, who are adults so far as the holiday industry is concerned, and we live on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean. Financially this was going to be a biggie - and I needed a house extension. So the mental warfare began: Disney cruise or house extension, Disney cruise or house extension, well let me just work out how much it would cost to do the Disney cruise, after all we might just grab ourselves a bargain …..A WHAT! OK, so the words bargain and Disney cruise do not often crop up in the same sentence, but after costing our cruise with Dreams Unlimited, I can honestly say that the quote we were given was an out and out bargain! :cool1: It was actually working out at less than £500 per person for the 7 night cruise and I know people who have spent more than that for a miserable 2 weeks in Spain. I was beginning to feel that the house extension was about to concede defeat and before I could say “white flag” I was accepting the quote offered and signing on the virtual dotted line. WE WERE BOOKED ON A DISNEY CRUISE ON 25TH OCTOBER 2008, and the excitement was overwhelming! :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:

It was by now August 2007, and the deed was done, and the house extension was relegated to the “to do” list once again. I signed up to my cruise meet thread, Halloween on the High Seas, where I met a really great bunch of DISers, and continued my extensive research. We had a long wait until I could start looking at flights, and I began to consider whether I should be really extravagant and spend a week in WDW before the cruise and as we were going ALL THAT WAY – it was silly not to really! I had a bit of mental anguish over the kids missing school for 5 days, but I am also a great believer in travel as a educational experience and after a few missed days in school caused by teachers strikes and a few more wasted days where they just watched DVDs I decided to go ahead with the WDW plan.

Fast forward now to February 2008, and things were slowly coming together. I managed to book good value flights via Chicago with BMI and got a fantastic accommodation deal, which is so amazing that I will have to reveal it here and now: we are staying in the Cypresse Pointe resort for a incredibly rock bottom price of £299 for 6 people in a 3 bed room apartement for a whole week. Thank you Hotelopia.com and my fellow cruiser Helen who gave me the heads-up and the extra 15% discount code, and I have reserved a DOTD with Helen's name on it once we get on the Disney Magic! :drinking1

Verity Chambers
07-30-2008, 06:29 AM
Sarah, I know how excited you are for your trip and I don't blame you one little bit, it is going to be amazing! Enjoy all your wonderful planning and dreaming, Love V. xxxx

07-30-2008, 08:03 AM
Your plans sound fab Sarah, I can't wait to hear all about it :)

08-05-2008, 10:22 AM
sorry about the delay with this - my poor old computer has contracted a virus :sick: and we are offline for the moment - I am posting this on my Mum's computer - hopefully will be back with the next installment before too long!

08-05-2008, 11:08 AM
Just caught up with all your installemnts Sarah.
What a great family and story thus far :goodvibes
Hope the computer woes don't delay the next blog :thumbsup2

08-05-2008, 11:25 AM
hope you get your computer sorted

The Fetherstons
08-06-2008, 04:58 PM
Hope you get your computer sorted soon, Im really enjoying reading your pre trippie:thumbsup2

08-07-2008, 01:20 PM
I'm hooked, Sarah - waffle on (as soon as you sort the computer issue, of course)!

florida sun
08-07-2008, 03:54 PM
This holiday sounds wonderful:thumbsup2

08-13-2008, 02:05 AM
You all will so love the cruise. We did our first one last year and we know we just have to have another some time.

Looking forward to reading more


08-13-2008, 03:47 AM
I'm hooked.....popcorn::

Looking forward to reading more!

08-23-2008, 04:21 PM
At long last I am back in internet world! The poor old computer had to take a trip to the computer hospital and unfortunately the virus was uncurable - so the only option has been to completely wipe everything from the computer, and then reload windows! So now I have a computer with just windows and aol and nothing else until I find the time to reload things. Fortunately I managed to save my millions of photos on to a pen drive before the computer was wiped!

So at least I can now continue with the story so far, and I think when I left off before the computer disaster we were in February 2008 and I was very smug and self satisfied after having just booked my Orlando hotel at what I considered to be the bargain price of the century.

Fasten your seatbelts - it is now time to fast forward to April 2008 – In April we passed a very significant date, the 18th April - and we could finally shout from the rooftops - "yee ha! we now have less than 6 months to go" But along with the euphoria came trepidation - with the realisation of just how much I still had to do in preparation for this trip. It also dawned on me exactly how quickly the last 6 months had passed - it didn't seem 5 minutes since we were up there on those same rooftops shouting that we now had less than a year to go!

So back in April I was faced with the following incredibly daunting “to do” list :

So still to do:

1. the car hire, this definitely seems to be the cheapest way to get to and from the airport and the port as required, plus chances are we may get tempted by some of the shopping opportunities when in Orlando, so a rental car was the way to go. We planned to book car hire to pick up at the airport and drop off at Port Canaveral and do the same thing in reverse for the 3 days following the cruise.

2. Disney Theme Park tickets - probably looking at a 5 / 6 day pass for the week before the cruise.

3. MNSSHP tickets - for the Friday night before we cruise - this was an absolute must-do and something I had been desperate to do for simply ages.

4. Other boring stuff such as trip insurance, car-parking at airport etc etc

5. Oh, and the small matter of having to actually pay the balance of the cruise in August, otherwise they might just not let us on board! I don't know what the Disney policy is on stowaways, but possibly keel-hauling and walking the plank may well be the outcome of any attempted embarkation of the ship without having paid the balance, and I am probably not up for the public humiliation.

Not too extensive a list then really - what on earth is the girl stressing about, but just you wait until I start listing the additional "must-do" items associated with being on a Disney Cruise and more importantly being a DIS cruiser on a Disney Cruise!

1. Pirate costumes - fortunately we have some items which can be used for this, from dressing as pirates for the Disneyland Paris Halloween party in 2005, but basically I have to make costumes for Dan and Stephen, and amendments / updates to our existing costumes for Taryn, Louise and myself. Tony is sorted on this front, having acquired a new pirate costume for a friends Disney birthday party in 2007, when he went as Captain Jack Sparrow!

2. The small matter of Halloween costumes - not much to be said on this front as our costume ideas are still under wraps! What we take as Halloween costumes is also baggage dependent!

3. Fish Extenders! Those of you unfamiliar with the DIS Cruise Board may well be asking at this point "What on earth are fish extenders?" or has the girl gone completely stark raving bonkers?" (of course the second question may well be a legitimate and justifiable one!)
…. Well, let me explain ....basically, the Fish Extender is a hanging fabric thing with pockets which DIS members hang outside their cabin door on the fish shaped mailbox which is outside each cabin (hence fish extender - extender to the fish - get it?). These pockets are then filled with various gifts and goodies by other DIS members during the cruise. As the designated Keeper of the Code, sorry - make that the Keeper of the Fish Extender list - for our cruise, it is my responsibility to collect the names of all participating DIS cruisers and their cabin numbers, and then give all participants the list before we sail. So preparations for this include making 2 fish extenders and purchasing lots of little gifts to distribute round the other participants fish extenders while we are on the ship.

4. Door Magnets: the other DIS tradition is creating magnetic pictures for your doors - so I will be expected to tap into my creative ability and produce some earth-shattering awesome and original magnetic door signs - thank goodness for photoshop and a pair of creative offspring!

5. Purchasing an extensive cruise wardrobe - including tuxedos for the chaps, formal gowns for us ladies and numerous other outfits appropriate for promenading on the decks, dancing under the stars, relaxing on the tropical beaches etc etc! I can just feel those excess baggage fees jumping up and biting me on the bum!

6. Speaking of excess baggage, at this point on my pre-cruise timeline I had the personal objective of losing a stone of personal excess baggage, and unfortunately at the present point in time readers, I have only managed to lose half a stone of it - the difficult bit now is not finding it again, and then continuing on my quest, with 2 months to go. The best news is I have actually lost 7 inches from my waist since commencing this objective, and I am really chuffed, although it seems to be a lot less keen to shift from my rear, with only a 2 inch loss in that area - probably a good idea to keep the excess padding in that area to lessen the impact from the bum-biting excess baggage fees.

Next installment - how I began to tackle the "to do" list ..........

08-23-2008, 04:35 PM
Excellent pre-trippie, can't wait to

08-23-2008, 05:26 PM
Your pre trip report sounds great i am interested in doing a disney cruise but my husband isnt too keen he likes going to the parks!!!!
Have you been to MNSSHP before?

<a href='http://www.mickeypath.com/'>
<img src='http://www.mickeypath.com/id/1225947586.jpg'>

<a href='http://www.mickeypath.com/'>
<img src='http://www.mickeypath.com/id/1258001998.jpg'>

1999 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee.(21 Nights)
2003 - Howard Johnson, Kissimmee (14 Nights) (Married during our stay)
2005 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee. (14 Nights)
2006 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2007 - Howard johnson, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2008 - Howard johnson, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2009 - Howard Johnson, Kissimmee. (28 Nights)

08-24-2008, 03:03 PM
I love :lovestruc :rotfl: reading your pre-trip reports Sarah - They always make me laugh out loud !

I've really missed you . I'm glad the :surfweb: is behaving again :hug:

08-25-2008, 02:30 AM
Your pre trip report sounds great i am interested in doing a disney cruise but my husband isnt too keen he likes going to the parks!!!!
Have you been to MNSSHP before?


NO we have never been to MNSSHP before and I am really excited as it is something I have always wanted to do - we have been to the Halloween party at Disneyland Paris twice and had an amazing time!

You should persuade your husband to go on a cruise - you could combine it with the parks and perhaps just do a 3 or 4 day cruise as a compromise - that way you won't lose too much park time but you will get a cruise!:goodvibes

08-25-2008, 03:54 AM
Tackling the "to-do list"

Towards the end of April 2008, my excitement level began to creep up, and I began the mission to search out fabric with which to make my Fish Extenders. Our local fabric warehouse had nothing at all which was either cruise or Disney related, so my next port of call was Ebay. I was really pleased to find some fantastic pirate related fabric and the deed was done. The fabric arrived a few days later and I couldn’t wait to get started following the instructions I had found on the DIS – unfortunately I couldn’t wait long enough to actually read the instructions properly, and ended up cutting out the pockets too small. Nothing that can’t be remedied I’m sure, but with pockets of diminished dimensions I am hoping that most of the fish extender gifts will be able to fit!

My Ebay mission also found me two fantastic patterns for making pirate costumes, and I bought these on impulse. Having never followed a pattern before, it should be an interesting endeavour, and hopefully one which won’t result in the sewing machine being thrown out of the window!

I also picked up some iron-on transfer paper from Ebay, for printing our T-Shirt designs, at a fraction of the retail piece, so all in all it was a very successful mission.

May 2008 arrived with very little having being achieved on the cruise preparation front apart from proceeding to make a complete mess of making the fish extenders, despite following the instructions (I guess this sort of sums up my sewing ability in general, which is why I am particularly anxious about the whole pirate costume making pattern following scenario). Watch this space for the Fish Extender Saga Part 2.

My first objective for May was to re-commence my healthy eating and exercise programme, although admittedly the exercise hadn’t really commenced in the first place. But suddenly, the weather was getting warmer and hopefully this would inspire me. I started May 1st with great intentions, and this continued until we went to see Taryn in her AS level drama exam. She was so amazing in the play that we had no option but to go to Pizza Hut to celebrate afterwards, and unfortunately my downfall came shortly afterwards, in the shape of an Italian base Hawaiian pizza. So I started May 2nd in the same way as I had started May 1st, with the objective of re-commencing my healthy eating programme – all I can say is watch this space. I will be weighing in at the end of May!

Also on May 2nd when I was in my happy place ie. the DIS cruise forum, I noticed a post from Helen informing me that the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party tickets were on sale. Imagine my excitement when I phoned WDW to purchase our tickets and the cast member said he needed to put my address into none other than Mickey’s address book! I was happy dancing all around the hall! It is amazing how just communicating with a Disney CM over the phone can fill you with such excitement – it’s almost as though they send pixie dust down the phone line! I purchased 6 tickets for MNSSHP the 24th October and spent the rest of the evening with a very big happy smile on my face.

About a week later I received an email to say that my MNSSHP tickets had somehow not made it across the Atlantic, and could I please email them to sort it out. Several emails later I had heard nothing, but I suspect that Mickey is very busy, as I am sure he does have a lot of people in his address book. This gives me another excuse to phone Mickey and see what has happened with my AWOL tickets!

I also began to research the Disney Park tickets, and after a bit of a dilemma about which ones to get, to hop or not to hop etc I went ahead and booked Disney WDW base tickets through Undercover Tourist at the bargain price of $220.95 per person for a 5 day pass with an extra day for free! (and free postage!). I decided not to go with hopper passes as although we have always had hoppers in the past, I can actually only remember us hopping on one occasion. I did not see that purchasing hoppers would be a justifiable expense on the off chance that we might hop, when we more than likely wouldn’t hop at all ( I don’t think that makes the slightest bit of sense!)

May 16th was very exciting as the Disney Magic went through the Panama Canal on her way to the West Coast for the summer. I watched some of the transit on the webcam, and managed to save these shots......





and when she does the return Panama transit in August we will only be 2 months away from our cruise and I will be doubly excited!

I finally booked the car hire through US Rentacar, at a very reasonable price (£210 in total for a 7 seater for the week before the cruise and the 3 days after the cruise).

Our MNSSHP tickets had still not arrived so it was time to phone Mickey and see what had happened. Another lovely cast member explained that Mickey had unfortunately misspelled my address when putting it in his address book and so the delivery had not been authorised. A few minutes later the details were amended and the lovely cast member assured me that they would find their way across the Atlantic this time. In the meantime I had everything well and truly crossed!

On May 25th we had a lovely surprise via the postman: our WDW tickets arrived, and because I am the sort of sad Disney obsessed individual who takes photos of her Disney tickets (a character trait I am sure many of you will relate to), here they are:


This is my favourite one:


On May 30th we had another lovely surprise as our MNSSHP tickets arrived, which necessitated a lot of happy dancing and another set of photographs:



This is my favourite one out of these:


By the end of May I had also done quite a bit of cruise clothing shopping at our local outlet mall, but unfortunately no work on our pirate costumes or Halloween costumes and sadly had failed miserably to lose any more weight: overall total weight loss: 6lbs.

08-25-2008, 05:46 AM
Thanks i will keep trying to persuade him i think he just loves the parks tho and it feeds my pin trading obsession too!!!! :yay: :yay:
I am sure you will love MNSSHP we did it last year the parades and shows are excellent and you get lots and lots of trick or treat sweets so please take a sturdy bag with you.pirate:
We still have to order our park tickets, but i know i will be excited when they arrive, it doesn't seem real until they are in your hands.

<a href='http://www.mickeypath.com/'>
<img src='http://www.mickeypath.com/id/1225947586.jpg'>

<a href='http://www.mickeypath.com/'>
<img src='http://www.mickeypath.com/id/1258001998.jpg'>

1999 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee.(21 Nights)
2003 - Howard Johnson, Kissimmee (14 Nights) (Married during our stay)
2005 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee. (14 Nights)
2006 - Quality Inn, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2007 - Howard johnson, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2008 - Howard johnson, Kissimmee. (21 Nights)
2009 - Howard Johnson, Kissimmee. (28 Nights)

08-26-2008, 05:47 PM
June 2008:

In June we began to think about excursions, and discussion on our cruise meet thread introduced us to a very interesting trip in Costa Maya, where you visited the Mayan ruins in a small group, but then visited a local school and were able to donate school materials to the children there. I really liked this idea and we started to organise a group on our meet thread, when lo and behold, on June 14th Disney in their wisdom decided to change our itinerary and Costa Maya was replaced by Grand Cayman.

I was very disappointed to lose Costa Maya from the itinerary as being able to visit the ruins and the school would have created a nice balance in our plans, as a change from all the watersports we planned to do elsewhere, and I wanted to introduce some culture and historical interest in the plans somewhere. However, I was also happy in a way to be able to visit Grand Cayman, as it certainly sounds very idyllic, but more than likely we will be looking at more watersports as an excursion option.

During the past 6 months or so we had developed a friendship with another UK family from the DIS through our cruise meet thread. We met initially as our daughters Taryn, Louise and Rachel are the same age and Taryn and Rachel started chatting on MSN etc. So I will now introduce you to our supporting cast in this trippie: The Balster Family: Helen, Andy, Rachel and Bethany from Somerset in England.

We had talked about linking our dining for some time so on 16th June I contacted Dreams Unlimited and arranged that our dining be linked ( Guys - there is no escape now !!). Helen had also found a really great trip in Grand Cayman which involved chartering a boat and going on our own tour of the island. The big selling point for me was that the boat we were going to charter was actually used to move some of the cast during the filming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and the company website maintains that Johnny Depp himself had actually placed his perfect derriere upon this vessel – I just hope that there is a “X” marking the actual spot on the boat, as it will the closest I ever get to having my backside on the same seat as Johnny’s. We decided to go ahead and book this trip, and hope to visit Stingray City and Rum Point Beach

Towards the middle of June my thoughts turned to airport parking – and the usual dilemma arose concerning whether to leave home early on the morning of the flight and book off-site parking, or whether to travel down the evening before and stay overnight at a nearby hotel and take advantage of a stay and park package! Not really much of a dilemma, as the attraction of starting our holiday a night early was difficult to resist. On our last holiday to Florida way back in 2005, we had stayed overnight at a hotel called the Manchester Moat House, and had a lovely pre-flight evening chilling in the hotel pool and spa, and enjoying a meal in a local pub. But for some reason I was unable to find the Manchester Moat House anywhere on line, and it seemed to have completely disappeared from the face of the internet! But after searching for what seemed like days, I eventually made the discovery that the hotel had been taken over by Holiday Inn, obviously in a deliberate attempt to confuse me when I came to book my next trip. The good news however arising from this discovery, was that by staying at the Holiday Inn, I would be able to get some Priority Points - which is always a bonus!

So after considerable deliberation and even more procrastination, I eventually booked 2 rooms for one night and car parking at the Holiday Inn – and we would now be starting our holiday on Friday 17th October! Yee ha!:woohoo:

On 23rd June, imagine my excitement when the postman delivered a very exciting package in the mail, which turned out to be a very well presented information package from DCL! Cue another bunch of “sad” photographs:




We also began to be faced with DCL changing port dates and times, and we were now faced with the prospect of a very short time in Grand Cayman, which threw into doubt our chartered boat trip. However we have decided to sit and wait on this one in the hope that the times will change again and we will get longer in port. If all else fails we will just have to make do with a shorter boat trip - it is a shame but what can you do - I am sure DCL have our best interests at heart.

So June ended with really very little impact made on the “to do” list, other than booking the airport hotel and car parking. I had made very little effort with the pirate and halloween costumes and the weight loss was still sticking at 6lbs, despite all best intentions! However, saving up for our spending money was going well, and I was managing to put £100 a week away into the cruise fund!

We were now about 3 weeks away from the school summer holidays and I was slowly hatching a plan which had the potential to strike fear and panic into the hearts of our supporting cast - our fellow cruisers from Somerset – watch this space to find out if the plan became reality and what happened next......

08-27-2008, 04:03 AM
Great updates Sarah - glad your PC is fixed in time for you to continue your PTR. popcorn::

08-30-2008, 05:20 AM

On July 1st I decided to pay the balance of our cruise – it had been sitting there in the back account waiting for the deadline date, but I decided to pay it a bit earlier, just so I could have the warm fuzzy feeling that everything was paid in full! It was indeed a wonderful, warm and fuzzy feeling!:goodvibes

July the 11th was a very important day :cheer2: – we broke through the 100 days to go milestone and hit the double digits. To celebrate this we had a double digit party! The girls made a Mickey cake,


and we had lots of American themed food and spent the evening listening to Disney music!

Now what of those plans to strike fear :scared1: and panic into the hearts of our fellow cruisers that I had hinted upon in the last installment of this epic - Avast me hearties - we be planning a raid on Somerset! Now whether this raid was to be a compete surprise attack, or whether we were to give our supporting cast some sort of warning was a matter still being debated. Any warning given to our unsuspecting victims was likely to trigger some urgent need for them to run for the hills as quickly as possible. However, I got to thinking that arriving unannounced on their doorstep may not be the way to go – so I began to drop hints during our conversations and before long they realised exactly what we were planning, and I was pleasantly surprised and even more relieved that they seemed to think it was a good idea.

We planned to leave home early on the Sunday and arrive as soon as possible after lunch, anticipating a 4-5 hour car journey. We pre-booked a campsite for 2 nights which was about 5 minutes drive away from Andy and Helen's house. On the Sunday we loaded up all of our camping gear into the car and set off early, stopping on the way for a breakfast of danish, muffins and coffee. The journey was uneventful and straightforward and we arrived not long after 2pm, checked in the campsite, which was very nice, and began to put up our tent, accompanied by the usual stress, trauma, and threats of violence and divorce which tend to be associated with DH and I putting up the tent.


Just as we were finishing the task, we noticed a couple approaching across the field (fortunately this was after the tent was erected, otherwise they may well have taken the running for the hills option!) and it was Helen and Andy! Introductions were made all round and we arranged to see them again a bit later as they had kindly arranged a party for us at their home.

We had a wonderful time at the party. We were introduced to Rachel and Bethany, Helen's brother and his wife and newborn baby, and the dog Amber. We were made to feel so welcome and it was as though we were all lifelong friends rather than internet friends meeting for the first time. It's amazing how the Disney obsession is such a bond between people, you have so much in common and so much to talk about! The kids all got on amazingly well and we had a wonderful evening. They had decorated the garden with a pirate theme and Helen had made a delicious Mickey chocolate cake.


We had some lovely food and a few drinks ( although I suspect DH had more than a few, judging by his inability to get in the tent without falling over later that evening!). We chatted away for hours, the kids played giant Jenga and seemed to be having a great time, and I even popped on our cruise thread and posted a message! It was a fantastic evening and we had a great time – thanks again everyone !!! :hug:

Sarah and Helen:


Rachel, Taryn and Bethany:


The following day we decided to visit Glastonbury, which is a mythical town in Somerset associated with the legend of King Arthur and Avalon. We wandered around the town, which was very scenic,


with lots of bizarre characters wandering round, and we had a mooch around some of the unusual shops which we found there – a lot of the shops were very mythical and witchy, and it was an experience in itself. We managed to buy two gorgeous corsets for Taryn and Louise, which they will be able to wear on Pirate night! We then had a picnic lunch at the base of Glastonbury Tor,

Glastonbury Tor


after which Tony and I decided to try and climb to the top of the tor, but typically the lazy kids could not be persuaded to join us. It was very tiring on the old legs, but we made it to the top and took some photographs of the wonderful views!




We then returned to the town and had another aimless wander just enjoying the unique atmosphere, we ate some delicious locally made ice cream, and then we returned to the campsite to get ready for our evening with Helen, Andy, Rachel and Bethany at the Italian restaurant.

We had another excellent evening with more delicious food and wine and fantastic company :hug: . We then went back to Andy and Helen's house for coffee and desserts and more cruise conversations! Unfortunately it was all over too soon and we had to head back to the tent, ready to return home the following day.

The following day we packed up all the equipment and loaded up the car. We planned to drive home via Cheddar Gorge as this was something I had always wanted to see, so we headed up that way. We stopped in the Gorge for lunch, and the scenery was really spectacular.


We then wandered around the touristy shops which were located in the gorge, watched a local sweetmaker in action,



and ate some more delicious locally made ice-cream,


before jumping in the car to start the long journey home.

All in all we had a fantastic weekend – it was wonderful meeting Andy, Helen, Rachel and Bethany, and we all got on so well that I am now even more looking forward to our cruise knowing that we have such fantastic dining companions! (although I did check if were still linked when I returned home – I had imagined Andy and Helen sending an email to unlink us after meeting us in person!)

So that was our lovely weekend in Somerset!

I am afraid to say that because the weekend away involved lots of eating I declined to weigh myself at the end of this month – as I knew that I would have gained a few pounds – but my intentions were strong for August, and I planned to weigh in after about 2 weeks. Unfortunately I can report no further progress on the costume front other than the purchase of the 2 corsets for the girls' pirate costumes. I really will have to get my finger out in August and September, as I already feel that dreaded “last minute panic” feeling creeping up on me and I so wanted to avoid any last minute panic – with over a year in the planning you would think a last minute panic could easily be avoided – but prepare yourselves for the worst........I can “last minute panic” for Britain and despite all good intentions I don't think this trip is going to be any different!

08-30-2008, 09:18 AM
amazing cakes :thumbsup2 love the photo's - we do have some great scenery in blighty, but tend to forget as the weather lets us down. glad you had a good time :cool1:

florida sun
08-30-2008, 09:22 AM
Brilliant photos:thumbsup2

08-31-2008, 04:51 AM
amazing cakes :thumbsup2 love the photo's - we do have some great scenery in blighty, but tend to forget as the weather lets us down. glad you had a good time :cool1:

I agree- some of the scenery in the UK is stunning and a lot of it is on my doorstep - but we really take it for granted. I live about an hour away from Snowdon but I have never been to the summit - which really is inexcusable. I must make an effort to go next summer!

Verity Chambers
08-31-2008, 08:20 AM
Great update Sarah, sounds lots of fun!

Your trip is getting closer all the time. x

09-03-2008, 10:20 AM
Suddenly August was upon us, and along with it came the endless rain that is now a typical feature of that endangered species known as the “British Summer!” Now you would think that horrible weather would be the perfect excuse to stay indoors and sew costumes, based on the fact that I now only had just over two months to go and a very lengthy to do list which I had made very little impact upon. At the beginning of August the list looked like this:

To Make:

1.Finish Fish Extenders
2.Pirate shirts x 2
3.Pirate waistcoats x 2
4.Pirate skirts x 3
5.pirate wench tops x 3
6.pirate bandanas
7.Door magnets
8.Mousekeeping envelopes
9.Fish Extender Gifts
10.Halloween costumes yet undecided

To Buy (too difficult to even attempt to make)

1.Pirate pants x 2
2.Pirate Boot covers x 1
3.Corset x 1

On top of this I still had to buy formal and semi-formal dresses for myself and the girls, and 2 tuxedos for the lads, not to mention a squillion other holiday clothing items.

At least the list was written down in black and white and I could see what I was up against, and despite a constant urge to tear it up into tiny pieces and run screaming into the distance, I managed to find some self control from somewhere and hid it under a pile of fabric where it wouldn't be able to constantly taunt me with my lack of achievement. It was around this time that I began to experience cruise related anxiety dreams!

But not to be put off we decided to visit our local(ish) outlet mall on the search for formal gowns: and lo and behold the pixie dust was in the air as a miracle happened: we went into the first shop, Monsoon, the girls each found a dress they liked and the dresses fitted perfectly. This has got to be a first for our family! So two items crossed of the list already, who said this wasn't going to be easy!

August 11th was a very important date – it was the date we had been waiting for – we could reserve our excursions on the cruise!
I was up at 5am in anticipation and after much changing of dates and times I finally managed to book the waverunner tour in Castaway Cay for all 6 of us – this had been my main objective so I was really happy. I also reserved floats for our 2 days in CC, and at this point was thinking about buying snorkels and masks, so I left it at that. I had wanted to book the Fury Catamaran sail for Cozumel, but disappointingly this was not listed, and there were no appropriate slots left for the Rasul spa session I had wanted to book as a birthday surprise for DH – but not to be disillusioned, I considered this a mission accomplished as I had secured the most important thing – the waverunner tour!

August sped by quickly, and before we knew it we were watching the Disney Magic returning through the Panama Canal. It didn't seem 5 minutes since we were watching her sail through it in the opposite direction.


Halfway through the month I managed to force myself to stand on the scales, and was pleasantly surprised as I had broken the 10 stone barrier for the first time in 2 years – I was officially 9 stone and 13lbs! Unfortunately the end of August brought 2 BBQs on 2 consecutive weekends, and I am not entirely sure that myself and a few lbs haven't been sadly reunited. I am determined to try and make a bit more of an last minute effort to ditch them again and hopefully a few more!

Towards the end of the month I managed to produce my first ever clothing item made using a pattern - a pirate shirt - and amazingly enough it actually resembled a pirate shirt. I managed to overcome cuffs, ruffles and collars and ended up with something I'm sure even Captain Jack would be happy to wear, although perhaps only after a heavy session on the rum! Whether DS will be happy to wear it remains to be seen, and as he is only 14 I can hardly rely on the rum!

So that was August – and now we should be able to continue the pre-trip report in real time. Be afraid, be very afraid – you may now be witness to a great deal of stressing, anxiety and downright panic, not to mention considerable bad language, tantrums and more than likely the sewing machine being hurled aggressively out of the window. If you have a strong constitution then please come along for the ride – but be warned that it may just get bumpy!! :scared1: :scared1: :scared1:

09-03-2008, 02:33 PM
Woo hoo you've managed to catch up. :)

I am sure you will manage to get everything done in time. :hug:

Ware Bears
09-05-2008, 04:35 AM
I've just read all this through in one go. It's made fabulous reading. :goodvibes

09-05-2008, 08:29 AM
So September arrived, and the first thing I thought to myself was “Yee ha, we are going on holiday NEXT month:woohoo: !” a happy emotion indeed for about 5 seconds, until it was rapidly replaced by “Help, we are going on holiday NEXT month and I still have SO MUCH to do:scared1: !” My main objective has been to try and knuckle down to some costume making, and yesterday I made a start on a pirate skirt for one of the DDs. I also had a bit of a session on Ebay, and ordered a tuxedo for DS (14) and a surprise for DH (which I can't tell you about in case he reads this!) and then I ordered some items which will be part of my Fish Extender gifts (can't tell you about that either in case any of my fellow cruisers read this). With all this came a sense of achievement, and a momentary feeling of calm.

We also came to a bit of an agreement in relation to DH and my Halloween costumes – this we had been debating for some time, mainly because of packing issues. Our cases would already be heavily overburdened with 3 tuxedos, 3 formal dresses, 3 semi-formal dresses, 6 pirate costumes (should I ever finish them!), and 4 Halloween costumes for the kids - was there going to be any room for Halloween costumes for DH and myself aswell? In the end we thought – what the heck, we are only doing this cruise once (don't quote me on that) and it's our last big family holiday as a family (don't quote me on that either) and we can always buy another suitcase! Unfortunately the decision to include Halloween costumes will involve more sewing, and a lot more Ebaying to find the right things, but if it all comes together we should look suitably spooky!

The other day I also decided to check out DCL to see if our GTY 12 room had been allocated yet? (I am still keeping everything crossed for an upgrade:wizard: ). I popped on “My Cruise plans” to see if everything was still as I left it, and I was surprised to see the Fury Catamaran Sail was now listed on the excursions, and so I booked it for the six of us! I also upgraded the Castaway Cay Package to include snorkel equipment hire and bikes, rather than just the floats booked earlier. Realistically, it was highly unlikely that there would be room for packing snorkelling equipment in our luggage, so I will just have to get over the fact that 5 million other people have used the snorkels before us and get on with it!

So now I am off to continue in my desperate quest to find costume items and semi formal dresses for a bargain price on Ebay ...... see you later:surfweb: !

09-05-2008, 08:50 AM
I've just read all this through in one go. It's made fabulous reading. :goodvibes

awwwwwww - thanks Elaine:hug:

09-05-2008, 01:08 PM
don't ya just lurve ebay! shopping for the holiday is fun :thumbsup2 looking forward to hearing all about the 'secret stuff' on your return :ssst: :hyper:

09-05-2008, 02:01 PM
don't ya just lurve ebay! shopping for the holiday is fun :thumbsup2 looking forward to hearing all about the 'secret stuff' on your return :ssst: :hyper:


Just noticed on your countdown that you are going to Venice - we were there last October and had a wondeful time! It is stunning and so atmospheric! I can highly recommend a restaurant / bar called Baccaro Jazz for great food, atmophere and a nice glass of pinot grigio!

09-05-2008, 07:38 PM
Great installments :thumbsup2

09-06-2008, 04:33 AM
Another two great catch ups:thumbsup2

Hope the ebaying is going well :goodvibes

pirate: :bride: pirate: :bride: pirate:

09-07-2008, 08:45 AM

I can highly recommend a restaurant / bar called Baccaro Jazz for great food, atmophere and a nice glass of pinot grigio!:thumbsup2

09-15-2008, 01:41 PM
I remember back in July having some rather unpleasant thoughts along the lines of "because I have looked forward to this holiday for so long, something is bound to happen which is going to cause problems" - basically because the law according to s*d very much dictates that if you are looking forward to something for a very long time, something unexpected will rear it's ugly head and throw a spanner in the works. Lo and behold, we were 7 weeks out from our holiday and the spanner showed up in the shape of medical issues for yours truly. Now I am not going to go into details (for once) as people may be eating, but lets just say the three phrases "womens problems" and "waterworks" and "I wish that I had done those pelvic floor exercises" and leave it at that.

So there then followed a string of GP appointments and various pharmaceutical potions but the problem has so far eluded any form of medical intervention and I remain

a) very uncomfortable
b) very concerned that this condition I appear to have found myself in may well require hospitalisation and warrant a lot of poking and prodding
c) even more concerned that this will impact on my long awaited and eagerly planned for holiday which is only 33 days away.

so ever hopeful that a miracle may happen :wizard: :wizard: :wizard: I continue to plan and prepare, albeit with a little less enthusiasm at times when I feel a bit worse for wear.

Ebay had been a mixed blessing - On the positive side I can shop without leaving the house. On the negative side, I am more prone to making disasterous impulse buys and then having to send things back when they don't fit. I purchased a tuxedo for DS but failed to do the obvious thing of measuring his vital statistics before I bought it. Even though he is only 14, and I ordered age 16, it was way too small, in fact, I swear it was intended for the hobbit community it was that small. So back it went, and I ended up out of pocket almost £10 for the postage in both directions.

However, I have successfully purchased some rather dashing pirate trousers for DH, and some bits for his and DS's Halloween costumes. I have also been desperately trying to win a particular semi-formal dress for myself, but have remained thwarted by last minute bidders who have either bidded over my budget for the dress or who are just much better at last minute bidding (I blame my slow and aged computer). However, there is some light at the end of this particular tunnel, and today the dress was coming up again in my size, but the auction was due to end when I was out, so I just threw in my maximum bid and came back expecting once again to have had my a** well and truly kicked in the bidding wars - only to find that I had won the auction and I now have a very nice semi-formal dress (if it fits when it arrives - remember the law according to s*d is working overtime in my life!)

I suppose I should let you have a look at it now.....oh go on then ........


I just hope it is formal enough for semi-formal if you know what I mean - as a first time cruiser you don't really know what to expect.

Well thats about it for now - I am due at the GP on Wednesday and hopefully one way or another I will get something sorted :wizard: - in the meantime it's on with the Ebaying and the sewing and the finger crossing that I will make it on this holiday! If you have any spare pixie dust floating around please send it in my direction..........

09-15-2008, 06:03 PM
Sarah sending you pixiedust: :hug:

09-16-2008, 04:12 AM
I hope you are feeling better soon Sarah. :wizard: :wizard: :wizard:

Your dress is gorgeous!

The Fetherstons
09-16-2008, 05:45 AM
Sarah you dress is lovely:thumbsup2

09-16-2008, 07:10 AM
Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts, positive vibes and :wizard: :wizard:

I am keeping everything crossed for my appointment tomorrow!

09-19-2008, 04:36 AM
Well yesterday I spent the day in the hospital (gynae) where I had an untrasound scan. Fortunately the scan result was completely normal, which thankfully rules out anything too serious, but it hasn't solved the problem, as we are back to square one with no cause for my symptoms! I have now been referred to the urology dept for some more tests. Great fun hey!

On a positive note (or is it?) we are now in the twenty-something days to go" zone and I really need to start getting my finger out and getting on with some serious holiday preparations! Time is ticking along really quickly and 4 weeks tomorrow we will be boarding that plane :scared1:

I feel a trip to the fabric warehouse coming on........

09-19-2008, 12:45 PM
Sarah :hug: :thumbsup2

09-20-2008, 04:49 AM
Today is the day that we can finally say - we have one month to go! Four weeks today we will be at the airport and raring to go! Five weeks today we will be at Port Canaveral, ready to board the Disney Magic and hopefully embark on the trip of a lifetime (and I am not going to be talking about what we will be doing six weeks today as it is far too depressing)

I still have an extensive "to do" list, which I am chipping away at slowly with the help of Ebay. My semi-formal dress arrived yesterday and it is perfectly acceptable, although it doesn't quite look the same on me as it does on the Ebay picture, but I think it will do the job. I am still hoping to snag a pair of semi-formal dresses for the DDs from a seller on Ebay who sells a lot of lovely Italian prom style dresses. Still need tuxedos for the DSs and that will need sorting over the next couple of weeks. The Halloween costumes are progressing well, and I am still working on our pirate skirts - but I am a lot more chilled about the whole scenario and that is a miracle in itself!

My trip to the fabric warehouse resulted in me picking up some halloweeney (is that a word) fabric which I am using to make some Fish Extender gifts for the girls in our group. I have 13 girls in my group, and 12 boys - and while it is easly to think up gift ideas for the girls - it is really difficult to think of Halloween themed gift ideas for the boys - so if anyone has any suggestions I will be eternally grateful.

So thats the state of play re. the to do list and I should now really be turning my attention to some sort of itinerary for our week in WDW:

PARKS - we have base tickets for this trip and we are not "hoppers" by nature, so it just needs a bit of research into the busy day guide etc and we should have a plan. As we only have 5 days, we will be sticking to Disney, and plan to visit each park for one day, and then vote for our favourite on the last day - and I anticipate a bit of friction here as with 4 teenagers it is very unlikely, nigh impossible that our bunch will all agree! On the Friday we plan to shop in the morning, and have a leisurely lunch, before MNSSHP in the evening, so effectively another Magic Kingdom day. We may also visit one of the Universal parks on the Sunday after our cruise but that remains to be decided upon at this moment in time (we fly home on the Monday)

DINING - Some of you had better sit down before you read the next sentence.......... So far as dining goes we don't have any fixed plans :scared1: ( oh no - is that gasps of horror I can hear) - we tend to be go with the flow types and don't make dining arrangements in advance as we find that too restrictive. We plan to eat at Whispering Canyon on our last night in Florida, but we will book that when we get to WDW - we have always done this and have never been disappointed or unable to get a table, so it works for us! We also generally eat off-site more than on-site, and plan to visit the Orlando Ale House and Logan's Roadhouse for two of our evening meals (thanks Verity for the recommendation!). Our dining experiences are also hampered by having in our family two of the most fussy eaters ever encountered, and this necessitates studying menus with the intensity of a lawyer checking over a legal contract before any final decisions are made.

So I am sorry to disappoint you all, but thats the extent of the planning so far (and I can feel myself being evicted from the DIS as I write that), but I am sure it will all fall into place and I will have a more detailed plan of attack in due course.

So what am I most looking forward to - the list is endless! Just being back in Florida and WDW after 3 and a half years will be wonderful in itself, but I suppose if I had to write a list, it would probably look something like this:

1. Spending quality time with my wonderful family, something we don't get to do enough of with our busy lives. Relaxing, chilling out and escaping from reality - isn't that what it's all about!

2. First ever cruise on the Disney Magic, meeting up with our wonderful friends the Balster family, and the other lovely DISers from our meet thread.

3. Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween party - something I have always wanted to do.

4. Riding POTC with the new (or not so new now) adaptations and links to the POTC movies.

5. All the attractions I haven't yet experienced: Expedition Everest, Soarin, Monsters Inc, Toy Story Mania, and there's probably a few more.

so today I have yet another hot date with the sewing machine, in between operating the Taryn (DD) taxi service and if the weather stays nice we may take a walk on the beach later. After writing all of this some relaxation is definitely called for.........

09-20-2008, 06:19 AM
Sarah your trip plans sound great....I never used to plan much or make any ADR's but are trying it this timne round as we have the dining plan.

I am sure you will be ready in time, everything will just fall into place. :hug:

09-21-2008, 06:25 PM
We don't do adr's either we might try the cali grill for our ann meal as i've heard good reviews but if not we will be going to Logans Roadhouse it is a great restaurant with a relaxed and very friendly atmosphere and being able to shell free monkey nuts and put the shells on the floor is great.:thumbsup2

10-02-2008, 10:10 AM
I can't believe we have only 16 days until we leave for our holiday - after looking forward to the magical date of 18th October 2008 for over 18 months, I am now wishing I had a rewind button, or at least a pause button. I also can't belive that 12 days have passed since I last posted on this pre-trip report and I have really not achieved much more since then. I should really be ashamed of myself!

I returned to work after my episode of "female complications" and immediately realised that working 32 hours a week REALLY interferes with holiday preparations. I don't want to be in work, I really want to stay home and sort things out, make costumes and Fish Extender gifts and join in all the fun and frivolity on my cruise meet thread! It's very difficult concentrating on your job when your head is full of "packing" lists and "to do" lists and "shopping" lists and "list" lists.........

In addition to the distractions of work, I still have the ongoing delights of various medical investigations to look forward to. Tomorrow I have my OPD urology appointment and Monday I have my OPD gynae appointment, so fingers crossed I will eventually get sorted out before the cruise.

I have worked out that I only have 4 more work shifts before we leave (although 2 of them are 12 hour nights ) which is a good thing as I still have soooooooo much to do it's unreal! I am so glad now that I booked off the 5 days before we fly - I will probably be superglued to the sewing machine until 5 minutes before we leave!

I still need to get on with FE gifts for list and sub-list. I am still waiting for one thing to arrive and am getting a bit frantic about that! I have finally bidded on and won 2 semi formal dresses for the girls from Ebay


for Taryn and


for Louise

and we hope to find 5 minutes to get the lads their tuxedos at the weekend, but time is the one thing in short supply at the moment. Still need bits for Halloween and pirate costumes, but I am trying to chill out more about that. What I can do, I will do and what I don't have time to do, I won't stress about (in theory!).

We are just off to the carriers as we got a card through saying they had tried to deliver something to us yesterday but we were not at home - I am very excited as it might be our cruise documents!!!!!!!!

10-03-2008, 05:30 AM
Well - where did I leave off yesteday - we were off to the carriers to see if the two missed packages were in fact our cruise documents - and

:yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:

it was indeed those very long anticipated documents - it's official - we are going on our Disney cruise!

We then went to Asda and stocked up on all those holiday essentials - new holiday socks and undercrackers for the guys, diarrhoea medications, plasters, paracetemols and ibuprofen, decogestant, in-flight sweeties etc etc.
Returned home and I got cracking with making my adult fish extender gifts which I will not divulge any details about for fear of any Halloween on the High Seas cruisers having a sneaky peek!

While perusing my emails later in the day I came across an email from my TA which wasn't expected or welcome (at first reading) It turned out that my excitement re. my cruise docs was a bit short-lived. Dreams Unlimited had just sent me an email which stated that our cabin allocation would have to be changed as we have an under 21 year old sharing with 3 minors in one cabin - and this goes against Disney policy. So now all our documents are incorrect! Why DCL didn't realise this before sending the documents though I don't know! Why DCL and DU didn't realise this at time of booking I don't know either! :confused: :confused:

At first I thought it meant we actually had to physically change cabins - ie. me and DH not in the same cabin, and I flew off the handle and panicked a bit - and sent a snotty email to DU :mad: .

She sent me one back and explained that we didn't have to physically change cabins, just the names on the documentation. Silly old me ....:rotfl:

However, I am already anticipating problems at checking-in !!

It's now Friday and I have just returned from urology OPD and fortunately the results of my tests were all ok - the symptoms are also improving and the registrar thinks that it was actually caused by a bad UTI which didn't respond to antibiotics but eventually I will sort it out myself. Nothing physiologically wrong, apart from the gynae dept. (prolapse) , and he didn't even think that was too bad - no surgery required yet - so thats great news!

The other good news arising from this is that I got weighed in the clinic and haven't actually put on any of the weight I lost - despite all the comfort eating I was doing when I wasn't well! Blood pressure was ok too, which surprised me considering all the pre-cruise stress I am under :rotfl:

Off to work this afternoon, and then 2 days off, during which I MUST try and make a significant in-road into my "still to-do" list - although I have to be out all day Sunday with Taryn as she is in the British Dance Championships (heats) with her dance group. I might be able to sneak in some shopping along the way!

And some more good news (I am getting to like this post!) My new camcorder has just been delivered!

10-05-2008, 04:26 AM
:goodvibes Good morning everyone! :goodvibes

I had a productive day yesterday and have finished my adult fish extender gifts for my group, and am getting on with making something for the girls, which I hope to be able to give to all the DIS girls, even if I end up making them in my sleep, on the flight, and waiting in the lines in WDW! In the evening I finished mine and Taryn's pirate skirts bar the elastic for the waist and a bit of decorative stuff to cover the mistakes!

So now all I have to make is:

pirate shirt for Stephen
waistcoat for Daniel's halloween costume
pirate skirt for Louise
skirt and top for my halloween costume
girl's fish extender gift
a few minor bits and pieces and alterations on things.

Just wondering if this is doable in just 13 days, plus finding time for more shopping, packing, panicking, tearing hair out, throwing sewing machine out of window....

On a negative note - Taryn's semi-formal (red dress in photo) does not fit her very well and there was also a hole in the dress and some loose stitching(new - but bought from Ebay) so I am hoping for a refund there - but the dilemma will be - can we find an alternative in time. Louise's dress (the blue one), which we bought from the same seller, was beautiful with no problems at all. Typical!

Today Taryn and I are off to the heats for the British Dance Championship which will take up the entire day - and we don't hold out much hope as it is their first ever competition, but as long as they have a good time that's what matters. Plus the next heat is the day we fly back from Florida so Taryn would have to miss it. The good news is there is a Primark and a big Tesco in Wrexham, where the competition takes place, so if we go a bit early we can squeeze in some shopping , silly not too really - even though I probably have way too much stuff already!

I have been examining the "touring plan" for the WDW parks which takes into account the busiest days etc, and have come up with a bit of a plan of attack - and here it is:

Sunday 19th October - Animal Kingdom
Monday 20th October - Epcot - evening Illuminations
Tuesday 21st October - Disney Studios - evening Fantasmic
Wednesday 22nd October - Magic Kingdom - evening Wishes
Thursday 23rd October - Epcot
Friday 24th October - shopping in the morning - MNSSHP in the evening
Saturday 25th - leave early for breakfast in Port Canaveral, board Disney Magic as early as possible for magical Halloween on the High Seas Cruise
Saturday 1st November (can't even bring myself to write this so I won't ...but you all know what happens) - return to Orlando - shopping day!
Sunday 2nd November - last day so ?????? Universal Studios - no tickets so we will just purchase them out there if thats what we decide to do.
Monday 3rd November - return to UK - cry a lot and sink into serious depressive state with a bad case of Disney Withdrawal Syndrome

I have also booked a Photopass CD which we will share with our friends the Balster family (Hi Everyone!), and buying this in advance has only cost us $90for unlimited photos! It guarantees that people will actually believe I was actually on this holiday as there will be photographic evidence - I am usually stuck well and truly behind the camera - although thinking on thats probably a good thing! Now all I have to do is persuade the DSs that they really DO want to pose for lots of character photos!

So thats about it for today's update ......hopefully catch up again in the week! Have a great week everyone :goodvibes (thats me being very optimistic- assuming anyone is actually reading this waffle!)

10-09-2008, 10:42 AM
Yee ha! Yee ha! It's time for our single digit dance !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

only 9 more days to go until we leave the UK for Florida - :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

:dance3: :yay: :dance3: :yay: :dance3: :yay: :dance3:
:dance3: :yay: :dance3: :yay: :dance3: :yay: :dance3:

It is now getting very very :scared1: as I have realised exactly what I have left to do and how little time I have left to do it in! I am also having a few problems with my symptoms at the moment which isn't helping matters. I am waiting until after the holiday for the cystoscopy - and hopefully that will finally give me a diagnosis. At the moment it is really getting in the way of my holiday prep and that is really stressing me out!:mad: :mad:

So - plans for what's left of today - finish making the gift bags for the girls in my FE group and cut out the fabric for Dan's halloween costume waistcoat.
I may also carry on sorting out the stuff in the suitcases. I have my final night shift in work tomorrow and then a late shift on Sunday, and then no more shifts until we leave for the airport!:woohoo: :woohoo:

Next weel will be a whirlwind of last minute shopping, sewing and packing, and I will be very grateful when we finally pull away from the house and I can do no more of either (although I am sure the shopping will re-commence once we hit Orlando!)

10-13-2008, 11:11 AM
:scared1: HELP! I am in a state of complete panic! I have exactly 2 and a half full days at home ( can't count Thursday as I am in the hospital for my cystoscopy) and I still have ALL THIS to do:

make pirate skirt x 1
make pirate shirt x 1
fish extenders to finish
alterations to 2 dresses
make halloween costume skirt for me
finishing off some FE gifts
make door magnets

and have a few things to buy:

laminator and sheets to do door magnets
shoes for DH and myself
swimming cozzie for DD
few more FE bits

and not to mention PACKING!

I feel like my head is spinning........... :scared1: :scared1:

What am I doing on this computer :surfweb: when I have ALL THIS to do

If anyone has any remedy for last minute panic or any knowledge of how to slow down time, could you please send it in my direction

10-13-2008, 12:12 PM
Sarah count to 10

Verity Chambers
10-13-2008, 12:43 PM
Sarah I think you are going to need a holiday after all this !!!!

10-14-2008, 03:12 AM
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ...........

Good morning everyone! As you can see I am taking Jackie's advice - but I need to count to 100, or even 1000 before I start to feel calm, and even then it is a remarkably transient sensation.

Yesterday's progress

I managed to almost finish DD's pirate skirt last evening - just got to put on some finishing touches and we're done with the skirts. I also cut out DS's pirate shirt fabric. We also went shopping and I finally managed to pick up some FE gifts for the older girls in my group!

I have sort of worked out a plan for the next few days (although whether I stick to it remains to be seen!)

Plan for today:

completely finish skirts
start sewing pirate shirt for DS
finish fish extenders
print out some stuff (for door magnets and FE gifts) now my colour ink has finally showed up.
start packing
shopping for shoes!

Plan for tomorrow

continue packing
finish pirate shirt
alterations to whatever still needs altering
shopping for whatever is still needed (including stuff for hospital visit)
print off documentation
photocopy passports etc

Plan for Thursday

hospital for cystoscopy at 07:30
rest of the day depends on how I am after the sedation :scared1:
hopefully finish packing and whatever still to finish


finish packing and other things if not finished yesterday
clean house
pack for overnight in hotel and in flight
pick up kids from school at 15:30
leave for airport hotel between 16:00 and 17:00
arrive at hotel and attempt to chill! :goodvibes :goodvibes

and thats it - I really don't like looking at all of this down on paper as it seems more than a little bit daunting - but at least I have something to refer to when I hit a state of panic! (and an excuse to pop on the DIS to check my list)

10-15-2008, 04:16 AM
Yesterday I set myself a "to do" list which I wanted, well actually desperately needed, to accomplish if I was to have any remote chance of actually being ready to leave on schedule on Friday....

Plan for today:

completely finish skirts
start sewing pirate shirt for DS
finish fish extenders
print out some stuff (for door magnets and FE gifts) now my colour ink has finally showed up.
start packing
shopping for shoes!

Plan for tomorrow

continue packing
finish pirate shirt
alterations to whatever still needs altering
shopping for whatever is still needed (including stuff for hospital visit)
print off documentation
photocopy passports etc

After a very busy day yesterday I am pleased to say that I acheived everything on my list apart from the "shopping for shoes" .......we decided that we will do this on the way to the airport hotel on Friday as we actually pass by the shopping mall. Otherwise it is a 3/4 hour trip to get there, and time is a precious commodity at the moment.

Managed to do quite a bit of the packing - but halfway through loading up the cases I realised :scared1: that no way would we fit all our clothes, costumes, formal and semi formal wear, FE gifts etc etc into just 2 large cases. So another item on today's list - is pick up another large case! I don't think I have ever had SO MUCH STUFF to pack! I just don't get it ....it's 2 weeks for goodness sake - not 2 months! And I am even planning to do a quick :laundy: of essentials before we board the Disney Magic.

So this morning I am off shopping to try and get as much as I can of the outstanding stuff, plus a few things for my hospital trip tomorrow. Then back home to finish the pirate shirt and whatever sewing jobs need finishing off - and finally (and hopefully) finish the packing and then have an early night in preparation for tomorrow's little ordeal :scared1:.

10-16-2008, 05:02 PM
Getting excited now :woohoo:

11-04-2008, 07:17 PM
Hi everyone!

Just a very quick post just to say hi, we arrived back in the UK at 08:10 and arrived home at about 11:30 this morning.

What can I say! We had an amazing time in WDW and our first Disney Cruise was magical! It certainly lived up to all our expectations - which were exceedingly high having lived on the DIS boards for the past year! I didn't find it at all relaxing though - maybe just rushing around trying to do too much didn't help! Lots of things I didn't get to do at all really!

The highlight of our cruise was having wonderful friends to share it with - massive thanks to Helen, Andy, Rachel and Bethany for making our cruise and our last day in Orlando so special! It was wonderful to meet so many lovely DIS friends too -although there are so many of you I sadly didn't get to meet.

So once I get my self sorted I will try and finish the last few installments of my pre-trip report, which were sadly interrupted by my unanticipated hospital encounter, and then I will try and get started on the trip report for real!

One thing I know for sure is - I WANT TO GO BACK ON THE MAGIC!

Claire L
11-05-2008, 07:20 AM
Welcome home :) Glad you had such a great time, can't wait to hear more.

Claire ;)

11-06-2008, 04:59 PM
Before I commence what I know will turn into a task of epic proportions, ie. writing my trip report, I feel it is only right to maintain continuity by first of all completing my pre-trip report.

So please press your rewind buttons folks .........

D-Day minus 1 was a day I had long anticipated, as this would be the day that I would be packed and ready to go, everything perfectly organised to the nth degree, leaving me with nothing to do on D-Day but relax and enjoy the ride, arriving at the airport hotel without a care in the world, ready to relax in the spa and the sauna, and enjoy a pleasant evening meal out with my family at the start of our magical vacation.

Somebody pinch me, for I am surely dreaming!

Before I proceed with this sorry tale, advance warning to those with delicate constitutions - the next chapter includes references to bodily fluids and you may want to avert your eyes......

So, needless to say, it was not part of the plan to spend the day on a hospital ward, with a trip to theatre, a cystoscopy, a great deal of pain, 3 hours sleeping off the sedation, and to top it all off an episode of vomiting in my poor mother's car on the way home. Sorry Mum - but let's be forever thankful for that strategically placed plastic carrier bag! Unfortunately my best laid plans had been unpleasantly interrupted by a spanner in the health works - well, actually forget the spanner, there was a whole tool box at work here! The results of the cystoscopy showed that I had congestion in my bladder - a bit of a worry as I had a mental image of heavy traffic, but the consultant thought it likely to be caused by a urinary tract infection and prescribed me a course of yet more antibiotics.

While I am grateful for the sedation I was given which has thankfully wiped out all memories of the investigative experience, and even more thankfully the positions involved, it was not conducive to spending an evening finishing off costumes and packing cases, and in the end I gave it all up as a very bad job and went to bed early.

So D-Day arrived and it was not looking good - I was in a lot of pain following the cystoscopy, and still had so much to do. At this point I honestly felt like crying and just forgetting about the holiday - it was that bad :sick: ! But after analgesia and a lot of pulling myself together, I decided to get on with it.

I packed what I could and then realised that we had packing issues yet to be resolved - my mother and my sister had both been unable to locate their suit bags, and just as we we off on a shopping trip to purchase one, some friends rang is up and said that they had one we could borrow. So we then popped around to our friends house to pick up the bag and then we managed to complete the packing ( or so we thought) . At this point I was also still altering a few things such as pirate tops and in the end just threw in a lot of my FE gifts unfinished, with the plan that I could complete the finishing touches on the ship, when hopefully I would be feeling a lot better. The plan to pop to the shops on the way to the airport hotel also flew out of the window as we were running so late, and the back up plan there was to shop for up my formal and semi-formal shoes out in Orlando, as no doubt there would be a much wider choice out there (or not, as it turned out!)

We picked the kids up from school at 3:30, and returned home for them to get changed, and then my Mum popped over to say goodbye. At this point I was trying to print out my door magnets and cover them with clear film, and also trying to print out my cruise documents, but the DCL website was refusing to recognise my reservation numbers, so I just gave that up as a bad job and decided to use the DCL forms which had arrived in the mail. Then my stepkids and their mother turned up to see why we hadn't left for the airport already, and by then I was gradually losing touch with my sanity.

This was so not the departure day I had looked forward to for so long, and I felt really stressed and harrassed through most of it. To top everything off, I then dropped one of the heavy suitcases onto my big toe as we were weighing them and the toenail bent right back and then there was blood everywhere (sorry - more bodily fluids), and my toe decided to try and outdo my bladder pain by throbbing really badly. We ended up with 2 overweight cases, so then had to distribute the weight into some of the lighter bags, and if someone had said to me, at that precise moment, that I could go to bed, and that they would go on the trip instead of me, I can honestly say that I would have said yes go ahead, because I was beyond the end of my tether with it all.

Finally, about 2 hours later than planned, we loaded up all the bags into the car and set off for the airport for the twilight check in. This actually went without a hitch, the BMI check in desk was really quiet and we got rid of all the bags and checked in, which meant we could turn up the following day with our boarding cards already in our psossession, and avoid any more hassles, and hopefully enjoy a relaxing breakfast, if there is such a thing as a relaxing breakfast in an airport.

We said goodbye to Stephen and Louise's mother and then I drove all of us to the Holiday Inn where we checked in and went to our rooms to freshen up, before heading out to our traditional pre-holiday dinner at the Romper restaurant. The meal was very pleasant and I actually felt semi-relaxed for the first time in a few weeks. We didn't have time to utilise the hotel's pool or spa facilities unfortunately, and after the meal we just returned to the hotel and went to get an early night. Alarms were set for the following day, and for the first time I was actually looking forward to tomorrow.........

11-07-2008, 04:02 AM
Welcome Back Sarah, Oh my goodness what a day you had before youre trip,hope the pain got better and you had a magical time:goodvibes

11-07-2008, 04:49 AM
Welcome back, can't wait to hear more about your trip :)

11-12-2008, 10:02 AM
Before I embark upon my trip report I just want to say that as this was a holiday at both WDW and our first cruise on the Disney Magic, that I will be including both destinations in this trip report. I also hasten to add that I am by no means a quick trip report writer - sorry, so for those of you who are along for the whole journey - fasten your seatbelts and prepare for take-off. You will get to know my family along the way, as I will be throwing in lots of photographs, and hopefully the whole thing will be a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

So here goes..........

It would be nice to say that I woke up on the morning of departure feeling rested, relaxed and raring to go - once again this was not to be part of the plan. This was basically down to the fact that DH and I had to share a room with DS Daniel, as the Holiday Inn basically didn't have 4 bedded rooms, only 3 bedded rooms, of which we had booked two. Daniel had drawn the short straw and was sharing with his parents, although that short straw was definitely aimed at me! Daniel was so restless, he was up and down to the toiket about fifty times, moving about in the bed all the time, moaning that it was uncomfortable. At one point I swapped beds with him, and then after another hour he wanted to swap back. The TV had a digital clock and I saw it say 02:05am, 02:30am, 03:00am, 03:30am, 04:15am, 04:30am and then I must have finally fallen asleep as I next saw 05:45am. At which point I gave up trying to sleep as the alarm was set for 06:30am. Next time we will stay at home, get up early and travel to the airport the morning we fly - the idea of a relaxing pre-flight night in an airport hotel is a myth as far as I am concerned!

So the alarm woke everyone else up at 06:30am, and we showered and got ready to leave. I sorted out the overnight bag and took it to the car, put the car in secure parking, paid the bill of £140 for the 2 rooms and the car parking, and then we caught the shuttle bus to the airport at 08:00am. Here are the kids looking wide awake, bright eyed and raring to go on the shuttle bus:


We arrived at the airport about 10 minutes later and decided to head straight through security. This was painless and quick, although Daniel ended up getting searched, after the security had asked Tony for permission first. First stop was breakfast, so Tony grabbed the full English, Stephen a cajun wrap, Louise and Taryn chocolate muffins and Daniel and I had Danish. With coffees and juice this gave us no change from £30 - ouch! We struggled to find a table as it was really busy around the breakfast bar, but mainly because there were a lot of tables crammed with uncleared trays and used plates and rubbish, and many people were resorting to taking the used stuff off the tables and just piling them up in corners on the floor. It was incredibly messy and not typical of Manchester airport, but obviously there were staffing issues, as I never saw anyone clearing the tables while we were there.

After breakfast we wandered about, browsing in Boots and WH Smiths, and the kids bought magazines for the flight. After that we just waited at the Gate, and I took a few photographs:

This is what I was going to be trusting our lives with for the next 8 hours:


waiting patiently at the gate:


Eventually it was time to board, and this was a very efficient process for once. On the way onto the aircraft we were given bottles of water and free magazines, which was a nice touch. We were also given more bottles of water during the flight. The flight was uneventful, thankfully, as I am always relieved to get off. I missed the meal as I was in the bathroom, but when I saw what Tony had on his tray I wasn't too bothered. No worries - I had bottled water and chewy peardrops and that was enough to ensure my survival!

The aircraft (an airbus something-or-other) had seatback TV, and apparently Nintendo and other games, but the games bit wasn't working in our row, much to Daniel's disappointment, and he had to make do with the movies, TV and his own DS. I did mention it to the flight attendent, but he said we should be grateful that the movies bit was working as some passengers didn't even have that working - so it was like it or lump it! The flight attendents didn't really seem to be enjoying their job that day, as they were all very moody and disinterested (we have since heard that BMI are stopping their long haul service from Manchester in January and maybe they were a bit preoccupied and worried about their future)

Here are the kids enjoying the flight:


I watched a film called "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" which was actually quite entertaining, and then I listened to Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks on my MP3, as I find this particularly relaxing. I didn't manage to get any sleep, and before long it was time to land at Chicago.

We disembarked the aircraft and then went to pick up our baggage, clear customs and loaded them back into another check in area. We had a long line for immigration, and they asked lots of questions about our jobs, where we were staying, when we were leaving the USA - and then they did the finger scan and the photograph. We then had to find our way to another terminal, via a airport transport system, and we eventually founf ourselves in the correct place for our flight to Orlando. At this point the kids, most of whom hadn't eaten any aircraft food, were hungry so we invaded the nearest food counter to our gate which sadly happened to be McDonalds - and our first meal in USA. T think I just had a cinnamon bun and an iced coffee.

This passed the time until our next flight was called, and we boarded the aircraft - the airline was "TED" which seemed to be a budget airline along the lines of Easyjet. There were free soft drinks and water but all food was charged and there wasn't anything inspiring on offer so I was glad we had gone for the McDonalds in the airport. This was a 2 and a half hour flight, and we were all split up, but the girls managed to sit together and I sat with Daniel, while Tony and Stephen managed to cope on their own! I tried to sleep, but couldn't, and before long we were landing in Orlando, and although I was totally shattered and aching and very sore in the bladder dept I felt that euphoria immediately wash over me as we touched down in Orlando - it felt like I was coming home!:cloud9: :cloud9:

It was great to land in Orlando and have no immigration, but we were once again to be thwarted by the dreaded Car Rental. I left Tony and the kids to wait for the baggage, while I headed off in search for Budget Rental. Last time in Orlando we had major problems with Dollar, so this time I had opted for Budget, When I arrived at the Car rental area - guess what - no line at the Dollar desk, massive line at Budget! Looks like the whole of the flying population had switched alleigance! So once again a long wait in the line, and Tony and the kids arrived with thankfully all of the baggage, always a moment of relief when it all arrives safely. About half an hour later we made it to the desk, and surprise surprise there were no 7 seaters available and we would have to wait :mad: - had I just gone back in time 3 years ....this was the exact same problem we had with Dollar in 2005 - talk about deja vu. This brings me to a question: exactly what is the point in booking your car in advance - when they never have the category of car you ordered waiting patiently for you to arrive - surely it's not rocket science in these days of advanced communications technology to co-ordinate reserved cars with arriving passengers. Obviously it is rocket science, or something equally mentally challenging.

Suddenly the car rental guy had a solution - he said he had an SUV, which would seat all of us and would even have a lot more room for the baggage than a 7 seater - so he sent us off to get the keys for this SUV. But when we arrived at the vehicle it only had 5 seats - spot the deliberate mistake - 6 passengers and only 5 seats - it just wasn't going to happen, so back we went to the little booth in the parking area and told the assistant - who was more than a little bit miffed that her colleague had basically fobbed us off to get his line down and must have known that the SUV had only 5 seats.

At this point she gave us the keys and bay number for another vehicle, which she said would have enough seats, and off we went to find it. But :scared1: :scared1: the bay number she gave us had a vehicle along the lines of a small coach sitting in it - must have seated about 10-12 people, and no way could I drive THAT. I went back to the booth and once again queried it, and she realised she had given me the wrong bay number, so a new bay number was allocated and I set off on my way once more. Finally, we came upon a white seven seater Dodge, and after we managed to get the luggage into the boot of the car, and the kids settled in the seats, I jumped in the front and we were ready to head off into the night. Only one problem - the layout was very different to my 2005 vehicle and it took me about 10 minutes to figure out where everything was. It was very strange having the gear shift up on the dashboard somewhere. Eventually we were out of the parking lot and we somehow managed to get on the right road to Lake Buena Vista, using some downloaded dierctions given to us by Cypress Point Resort. The roads were quiet as it was by now 11pm US time. It was about 30 minutes to our resort - Cypress Pointe resort just off Apopka-Vineland Road, and we found it no problem.

We parked up and checked in, and went to find our apartment. It was really lovely and spacious, on the ground floor. It consisted of a two bedroomed apartment and a studio apartment which had an adjoining door. The only off-putting feature in the studio was that the bathroom and the toilet was open plan off the bedroom ( no door to the toilet ) which meant you had to get everyone out of the bedroom if you needed to use the loo! It also had a big kitchen with all appliances, a dining area and a sitting room with sofas and an enormous TV. This is the studio part of the apartment where Tony and I lived:



Once we arrived in the appartment Tony and I headed over to the resort shop and picked up some bottled water and then we all decided to go to bed, ready for an early start tomorrow for The Animal Kingdom, and our first ever ride on Expedition Everest!:woohoo: :woohoo:

Verity Chambers
11-12-2008, 12:53 PM
I'm in! :cheer2: Great start Sarah, really can't wait to hear more! xx

Tammy Stringer
11-12-2008, 01:41 PM
Great start to your report Sarah - but what a nightmare time you had before you got there.

Can't wait to read more


11-14-2008, 09:45 AM
Isn't waking up in Orlando a wonderful feeling - I woke up first, but not at the usual incredibly early hour I usually wake up at on the first morning, it was actually a very respectable 07:30am. I showered and pottered about until 08:00am, when I heard the girls were up, and then we proceeded to be sufficiently noisy and disruptive to wake up Tony and the lads. Hey guys - we were in Orlando, and the theme parks were calling.......

We made it to Animal Kingdom by 09:05am, parked in Unicorn and it was fairly quiet. I love early mornings in the parks, that amazing feeling when you just walk through the gates and everywhere looks clean and uncluttered, and there aren't too many people crowding around and spoiling the views. Our immediate mission was to ride Expedition Everest - for the first time ever. Last time we had been here, in 2005, it had looked like this:


and now it looked like this:


Now thats what I call landscape gardening! I have to say that I was more than a little apprehensive, as I always am when faced with a new ride experience, but decided to take the bull, or in this case the yeti, by the horns and go for it, rather than let everyone else ride it and then give me a full account of every twist, turn and effect before riding it myself. I loved the whole theming of this area, and the waiting area was really atmospheric - here are the intrepid explorers waiting to board the train:


The wait time was actually 15 minutes, but it passed very quickly, and before long we were boarding the train. The ride was amazing, I loved the backwards bit and the very steep drop in the dark, although to be honest most of the ride was in the dark for me because I actually had my eyes shut for most of it .....sorry!:scared1:

We arrived back at the station after escaping unscathed from our encounter with the yeti, and our immediate thought was -"get fastpasses", so 6 fastpasses were acquired, and a few photos taken to give the proper recognition to this momentous occasion of our first Expedition to Everest:




It is probably true to say that Tony's immediate thought was actually "get food" at this precise moment (or come to think of it - at any moment), but he was overruled by the majority and we headed to get some fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari for later. On the way we met the amazing De-Vine, and of course had to take a photograph.


We then decided to have some breakfast, and it was really lovely sitting outside at some tables, feeling the warmth of the sun,



while enjoying some really nice coffees and some iced coffees for the kids, with various breakfast items such as muffins, doughnuts and I had this rather enormous cinnamon bun which was divine:


After breakfast we headed back to see Mr Yeti, and I am very proud to say I completed the whole ride without closing my eyes once, and it was once again an amazing experience - sort of a more extreme Big Thunder Mountain. This time, Taryn decided to sit it out, as she doesn't really enjoy steep drops since she was unfortunately and irreversibly traumatised as a young child when her evil parents took her on Journey to Atlantis. She now tends to do new rides once and if there is any hint of a steep drop involved, then it ends up being once only. If the drop is visible, such as on Splash Mountain, then it is a no-go zone from the outset!

We then headed for the more relaxing and peaceful environment of the African plains, and the Kilimanjaro Safari, although in the waiting line our peace and tranquillity was interrupted by one very rude and obnoxious man, who was complaining loudly to every cast member and guest within earshot, about how disgusted he was that he had to wait 40 minutes when the wait time was showing 30 minutes, and he also demanded to know why people with fastpasses were getting put through ahead of him and his family ......"hello, Mr Obnoxious, doesn't the word “fastpass” sort of give it away!" I was convinced that he was actually an escaped Safari exhibit, but Tony assured me that the animals we would encounter on the ride would be far more appealing and much more photogenic, although I did see a hippo which bore a distinct resemblance, so maybe I was right after all.

We got to see quite a few animals, which is a good thing as that is what a safari is all about, but most of them appeared to be camera shy - I am sure they must have known which side I was sitting on with the camcorder, as they had all whizzed over to the other side before we got there. Taryn, who was sitting on the other side of the vehicle, managed to snap this rather nice photo of a giraffe.


All went well on the safari, although we had to take a brief unscheduled detour to sort out some poachers. I was a bit worried that they actually allowed poachers into a Disney park, but obviously some unsavoury types must get through the turnstiles occasionally.

After the safari we headed over to Dinoland to ride one of my favourites: Primeval Whirl. To our disappointment it was all boarded off and looked like it was being dismantled. There was a big crane hovering overhead, and parts of the structure appeared missing. This was a big disappointment, as this area now resembles nothing more than a glorified amusement park, and really could do with some updating.

We then wandered over to the Tree of Life,


at which point I was dragged onto It’s Tough to be a Bug, definitely NOT one of my favourites. In fact the last, and only, time I had watched this show I had spent most of the time on DH’s knee. Here is a photo of some honorary bugs wearing their bug eyes.


I hasten to add that this was the only time I wore my bug eyes, once inside that theatre they were well and truly off, no creepie crawlies were coming out of that screen to get me! After examining the seat and surrounding area for any potential nasty surprises, I spent the show perched on the edge of the seat with my legs up in the air in a position most contortionists would be proud of, and it was relief when it was all over.

To allow me to recover from the trauma, we decided to go and see Finding Nemo - the Musical and this was really really good. The performers were excellent and I enjoyed every minute. It was really colourful and cleverly done - and to me represents what Disney entertainment is all about! After the show the lads wanted to go on Kali River Rapids, and as the weather was warm and pleasant I decided that I might as well join them - we all ended up a little bit wet around the edges but poor Danny and Stephen got the worst of it: guess who was facing backwards on the drop!


To dry out a bit we decided it was time for lunch, and headed for the Flame Tree Barbeque, where we all had barbeque chicken - no surprises there then. No one really likes the bbq beans which accompany this meal except Tony, which ultimately results in him trying to eat all 6 pots of beans, at which point I really started to worry about the consequences of this and started to really like the sound of that sofa bed in our living area!

Tony, however, remained ignorant of my thoughts and carried on eating:

I really liked the Halloween cups, so I took a photo of them:


We had a lovely meal sitting on the decking area just up from the restaurant, although we were heavily harassed by scrounging ducks and other large birds. There was a sign asking us not to feed the birds, and we tried our best not to, but it was very hard not to feel guilty when there were staring at you with their little beady eyes.

It was by now time for the Jungle Jammin Parade, which I have never seen before, so I was immediately out their with my camcorder. This parade was really good, because I had my hands full with the camcorder, I have no photos - sorry. We then had a moochy around the shop and bought some pins. I was amazed at the amount of Halloween pins on offer - in Disneyland Paris you tend to get one or two, and here the choice was endless. I managed to restrict myself to one Halloween 2008 pin and one Pirates of the Caribbean Limited Edition for my collection of POTC pins back home.
We also had the obligatory silly hat moment in the shop:

By now everyone was starting to feel a bit tired around the edges, so we decided to head for home. Here is everyone looking very tired after having a wild time:


At Cypress Pointe, the kids decided to revitalise themselves by going for a swim, while Tony and I just chilled out in the apartment. Later we headed our for dinner at the Orlando Ale House, about 10 minutes walk up the road. The food was really nice, but the restaurant was very loud, mainly because of all the screens showing baseball and football and the place was full of very enthusiastic and noisy sports fans. I discovered that Bud Light was actually very therapeutic for a sore bladder, and tasted much better than potassium citrate. Once we had eaten we headed back home and were all tucked up in bed by 10:30pm, our alarms set for tomorrow.

Join me again for the next installment - Epcot, and our very first ride on Soarin!

Verity Chambers
11-16-2008, 09:41 AM
Another fantastic installment Sarah! Glad you enjoyed EE! Looking forward to hearing abouit your day at EPCOT. x

11-16-2008, 09:52 AM
Im just catching up on your reports, they are great !

11-20-2008, 08:44 AM
Day 3 - Epcot!

I woke up at 7am and immediately rattled the sleeping kids' cages - after all, we were in Orlando, time was valuable, and this was not the time to be wasting it by sleeping in. After a great deal of poking, prodding and ultimately violent threatening we managed to be out of the apartment by 8am and on our way to Epcot. On the way we stopped at our local Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, where we grabbed a selection of donuts, muffins, coffees and soft drinks for a very reasonable $20. I can highly recommend the maple frosted donut - delicious! By 08:45 we were parking up in the Amaze parking lot at Epcot, and we walked straight in to the park. Once again it was fairly quiet in comparison to our previous trips. We went first to Test Track, and walked on with no wait – I love it when that happens! We really enjoyed it, and we were able to scan our photopass card for the ride photograph – the only ride we were able to do this on, which was a shame, as it's a really good idea. I forgot to mention that we had pre-purchased a photopass CD for this holiday, which we were sharing with our friends the Balster family, and so we spent a lot of time harrassing the poor photopass photographers around the various parks – we were also on a mission to get at least one photograph where Stephen – eldest DS - was actually smiling, and if any of my readers can spot one, well done!

After Test Track we headed for Mission Space, which is always a favourite, and being seasoned space travellers we headed straight for the intense training! This was great fun as always, and not really that extreme for us die-hards! We then spent some time in the space lab area attempting to send emails – and I must remember that next time I actually need to take a list of email addresses along with me ....the whole process takes a lot longer when you spend 15 minutes or so trying to remember everyone's email addresses, and it generally isn't appreciated by the other 5 million or so people waiting to use the terminals.

Time for a quick photo of the family enjoying Epcot:


It was now time to head over to the Land Pavilion for our very first ever ride on Soarin – but don't get excited just yet – there was a 40 minute wait and we all know what that means – FASTPASS!
So fastpasses duly acquired we decided to have a look at Living with the Land, which was interesting, informative and pleasantly relaxing. After all the extreme excitement and white knuckle thrills of Living with the Land, the kids decided they needed some more action and headed back to Test Track, while Tony and I decided to have a look at The Seas – with Nemo! This was very cute and while obviously aimed at the younger guests, it was very clever and I loved the bit where the animated fish were projected into the aquariums with the real fish. I would love to see something like “Crush's Coaster” from Disneyland Paris in this area, as having a more extreme ride in keeping with the Nemo theme would really be the icing on the cake! We then wandered around the aquariums and said hello to the dolphins, and this was a really relaxing way to spend half an hour. Looking back I didn't appear to take many photographs today, but I was obsessed with getting a decent shot of spacehip earth and the monorail, and these are 3 of them, although I must apologise for the angle on the third shot – my attempt to be “arty”:




Before long it was time to meet up with the kids at our designated meeting place “Club Cool” - previously known as “ Ice Station Cool”, and as the kids were nowhere to be seen, we decided to taste some of the weird and wonderful offerings, and the only one which was remotely pleasant was the watermelon based drink, which I think was from China. The rest of them were horrible! The kids then turned up and wanted to try the drinks,


while I wandered outside and for the first time ever noticed the fountain was doing a display to music. This was really impressive, and I can't believe I have never seen this before, in all of my trips to Epcot. Sometimes I must walk around with my eyes shut! It was now time for our fastpasses for Soarin, so we went back to the Land and got in line. We waited about 20 minutes, even with fastpasses, and the waiting area was particularly uninspiring, but once we got on the ride it was so worth the wait. It was amazing, and so relaxing and peaceful – I could have stayed on there all day. I thought this ride would have been even better if they had splashed water at you when you drop down into the sea where the people are surfing and again on the river. I felt as though my feet were going to get wet, and it would have enhanced the whole experience if they actually did.

By now a certain member of our party started to mention lunch, and there are no prizes for guessing who, so we decided to have a wander into the World Showcase and see if our tastebuds would be tempted by anything on offer in the Food and Wine Festival. We wandering slowly around, passing through Canada, and the UK, before stopping in France to watch the street entertainment. This was really amazing, especially as there were about 3 more chairs which you can't see on the photo:


In Japan we managed to see the sweet-maker in action, and once again this was really impressive. I have always wanted to wander slowly around World Showcase, taking in all the entertainment along the way, but for some reason the kids and Tony always seem to want to hurry, especially when on a mission to find food. As we weren't tempted by any of the Food and Wine stalls, it was no surprise that we ended up eating at the Liberty Inn in USA, as always! It was fairly quiet in this area, and it was quite relaxing sitting outside enjoying our meal, watching the world (literally) go by! After lunch I persuaded everyone to watch American Adventure, which is something we had never seen before – it was very cleverly presented, and although obviously a sugar-coated version of American
history, it was interesting and I suppose qualified as an educational experience, which helped to relieve the guilt I was feeling for taking the kids out of school for a few days.

We wandered, or rather whizzed around the rest of the World Showcase and back into FutureWorld, where we wandered around Innoventions and went to Spaceship Earth. I enjoyed the new ending, as I love anything interactive, but nearly came to blows with DH as we were fighting over who was controlling the buttons to determine our future. We then sent some emails home again, although these never actually made it across cyberspace, probably due to incorrect email addresses being entered. It was now getting on for 5pm and everyone was feeling a bit the worse for tiredness, so we decided to head on home, stopping for a photopass photograph or two on the way out.

We were hoping to visit Walmart on the way home, but I had no idea where the nearest one was in this locality, so we popped back to Cypress Pointe and asked at the reception. Needless to say it was back in the direction we had come from, but easy to find and about 15 minutes drive away. We spent about 2 hours in Walmart, most of which was spent trying to find each other, as the shop was so enormous and so disorganised. We bought lots of stuff, including some very additive-laded halloween cookies with bright, almost illuminous orange cream in them, and I managed to find a pair of coffee coloured sandals which matched my cruise semi-formal dress perfectly, and at less than $10 – result! There were also some black sandals which would have been adequate for my formal dress, but I decided to wait until we had been to the Premium Outlets, as I was holding out for something a little more dressy.

After sending out several search parties and one St Bernard rescue dog, complete with brandy, we eventually reunited our party and headed home, stopping off briefly at the Disney outlet at Buena Vista Factory Outlets on the search for discounted pins, but our mission was unsuccessful – not a pin in sight! We finally arrived home at about 8pm, but were far too tired to go our for dinner. We were definitely lacking on the stamina front. The kids and DH decided to go for a swim on the pool and then bought pizza from the resort shop, while I headed straight for my bed and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Tomorrow – we are off to Hollywood!

11-20-2008, 11:26 AM
Great day, love the pics :)

Verity Chambers
11-20-2008, 01:45 PM
A perfect day!! I would have loved to be wandering round the world with you! EPCOT is my favourite park, which is yours Sarah?

11-20-2008, 05:10 PM
A perfect day!! I would have loved to be wandering round the world with you! EPCOT is my favourite park, which is yours Sarah?

Absolutely Magic Kingdom - without a doubt!

11-21-2008, 03:55 AM
fantastic Sarah,really enjoying your report x:goodvibes

11-25-2008, 06:35 AM
Day 4: Hurray for Hollywood!

Today we were all up bright and early at 7am, and were enjoying breakfast in Dunkin Donuts by 8:15. My donut of the day was the Bavarian crème - very nice!

We arrived in Hollywood Studios and parked in the Stage parking lot. After posing for some photographs by the hat:




our immediate plan of action was to head straight for Toy Story Mania, and either ride it or get fast passes, depending on the wait time. Despite the early hour, the standby wait time was already 60 minutes, so fast passes it was. I love the theming in this area,



including the monkeys who had escaped from their barrel:


although a bit disappointed that the characters were all inside, and behind glass, which made it difficult to take photos. of them. However I imagine it is a lot more comfortable for the characters, as it must get really hot for Buzz and Woody standing outside in the Florida sun.

We headed off to Rock and Roller Coaster, and Tony, Louise and Stephen went off to visit with Aerosmith, while those of us with the wimp gene (Taryn and Dan) and the bladder issues (myself) had a look in the store and took some photographs outside the ride:




Taryn and Dan rockin out:


Taryn spent a lot of the time taking photographs of anything Aerosmith related to show her boyfriend who is a big fan of the band, including this signed photograph:


I was approached by a cast member who wanted to do a pin trade, I didn’t really want pins she had on offer, but I felt a bit mean, so I traded one of my duplicate pirates of the Caribbean pins for a pirate Minne dressed as Elizabeth Swann, with the intention of trading this for another Pirates pin at some point. However I never found anything else I wanted to trade it with and so I am stuck with the Minnie pin until next trip!

In all my visits to this ride I had never noticed this car at the entrance to the Rock and Roller Coaster area - I am even more convinced that I walk round with my eyes shut sometimes:


We then headed for Tower of Terror,


where Tony and Stephen entered the Twilight Zone, and we hung about the entrance, watching the cast members interrogating the guests and asking them if they had a reservation in really spooky voices. It's great when the cast members really get into the character at atmosphere of the rides they work on. We had a good laugh with one of the cast members when we were taking photographs of the entrance sign:


and she said we were sneakily trying to take one of her - so of course we had to then take one of her:


While waiting outside the Tower of Terror we saw the plane writing “god loves you” in the sky which Jackie (JNS) took a photo of when she was in Epcot - it’s strange to think we were both in different parks looking at the exact same thing at the exact same time - spooky!

On the way back to ride Toy Story Mania we stopped off to see One Man’s Dream - I loved this as I am really interested in Disney history and it was wonderful to hear the story of the man who was the inspiration behind everything which makes us so happy. On the way in to One Man's Dream, we encountered Dream cast members, who gave us all Year of a Million Dreams Mickey ears - which were really cute - although try as we might we couldn’t get Stephen to wear his! We saw lots of interesting exhibits in here, including a model of one of the DCL ships in Castaway Cay - where we were headed the very next week.


There was also a beautiful model of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from Disneyland Paris, but I didn’t get a decent photo due to flashback on the glass. I did take a couple of photos in here of the man who started it all:



Needless to say I emerged from One Man’s Dream with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat - it is such a shame that such an inspirational and innovative man had his life so tragically cut short.

It was now time to ride Toy Story Mania and I must say this was amazing - we all absolutely loved it, and the 3D effects were awesome. I loved the ring toss where the green aliens fly out at you - I don’t really think we did well on the scoring, but I was too blown away by the experience of it all to really concentrate.

I would have loved to ride this again, but by the time we got off the fast passes were all ended and the wait time was 90 minutes, so we will have to wait until next time. Outside the ride we met this guy, but only Tony was brave enough to have a photo taken with him (love the ears Tony!)


We noticed that an Indiana Jones Stunt Show was due to start in half an hour, so we headed over in that direction, stopping off for a ride on the Great Movie Ride, as there was no line. This was good because we ended up in the Western scene, which I have never done before, and the girl playing the gunslinger was really authentic! We then had a welcome rest while watching the Indiana Jones show, where Indy was as heroic as ever, and once again saved the day, the girl and put the world to rights in the space of about fifteen minutes! When the show finished we headed for lunch in the Backlot Express - one of the nice touches here was that you could get chicken strips with carrot sticks instead of fries - this made a refreshingly healthy change, as after 3 days in Orlando I was already fed up with fries! Straight after lunch the Block Party Bash parade was starting, so I headed over to watch that and film it with the camcorder, while the rest of the group boarded the shuttle to Endor, and ended up battling with the Death Star. The Block Party bash parade was based around Pixar characters and was great fun, with cast members using trampolines along the way.

We then had a wander around the Streets of America, popped over to San Fransisco:



and took a few more photos on our way around the park:




We bumped into the army man again and this time I managed to persuade everyone (except Stephen) to join in the photograph:


We then decided to go and watch the Beauty and the Beast show - this is Tony’s favourite Disney film and he always gets a bit emotional - at the end of the show he actually had a tear in his eye, although unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get photographic evidence. It was a lovely show and it is shows like this which capture the essence of Disney for me.

At this point we split up into 2 groups: Tony, Stephen and Louise went off to ride Tower of Terror and Rock and Roller Coaster again, while Taryn, Dan and I headed off for the Backlot Tour, with a plan to meet up in half an hour outside the Backlot Tour. When we got to the tour, it was already closed for the day, so we wandered about a bit and then went back to wait for the others. We waited, and waited and waited…….and after another half an hour we headed back towards the Tower of Terror area to see if we could find them. After about another 15 minutes we spotted them walking towards us, and it turned out they had been riding Rock and Roller coaster about 3 times as there was no wait. At this point I was a bit miffed as Taryn, Dan and I had wasted all that time just waiting and looking for the others, when if we had known they were going to be repeat riding we could have gone to see the Little Mermaid. By now we only had 45 minutes until Fantasmic, and so there was no real time for us to do anything else, so I was more than a little bit annoyed with Tony to say the very least and if there had been a divorce lawyer’s office in Hollywood Studios I may well have paid them a visit.

We wandered down to Fantasmic and managed to get some good seats towards the front. While waiting for the show , the audience were doing fast and slow versions of the mexican wave, which was quite amusing. Fantasmic was as amazing as ever, and I managed to capture the show on the camcorder, although I missed the ending as always, because Mickey is just too quick!

On the way home I ended up leaving the park on a different exit, and we ended up in the back of beyond. I managed to eventually find the way back to familiar areas, but by then it was late and we were not in the mood to eat out at a restaurant, so we just picked up some subs from Subway and headed back to the apartment for an evening meal of subs and Halloween cookies!

Tomorrow - we are off to my favourite park - Magic Kingdom!

Verity Chambers
12-06-2008, 06:53 AM
Ooooo, sorry I've only just seen this installment and it's a s fab as the rest. Sounds like another fantastic day. Egerly awaiting the next part! Love V. xxx

12-06-2008, 07:05 PM
Come on Sarah whats happened to the rest of the report
don't give up now

12-07-2008, 06:47 AM
Sorry for the delay but I have been suddenly been overwhelmed by Christmas sneaking up on me and I have been hit the realisation that I haven't done any gift shopping - so every spare moment is being spent either on-line shopping or venturing out into the real world to actually visit real live shops (shock horror) - I also have cards to make, write and post, and Christmas functions to attend this next week, but once all that is done I will return to the trip report writing!

12-07-2008, 05:05 PM
Loving your reports - keep them coming! :worship:


12-09-2008, 12:01 PM
I'm very happy to wile away precious hours reading your "endless waffle"!! Your initial "waffle" is great and I look forward to reading much more of it!!

PS We leave the day you arrive having done 7 nights SSR, 4 nights Wonder, 2 nights SSR. Maybe we can give you a wave at the airport!!

PPS I love your pics!!

01-22-2009, 05:13 AM
Well hello and welcome back to my trip report - I am delighted to be able to inform you that we are now in a position to resume normal service. The kids now have laptops (christmas presents) which basically means I can now have this computer, poor old antique that it is, all to myself. It has taken me over a month to get the laptops online, but at last the deed is done and I am ready to continue with the trip report.

so here goes.........those of you with very good memories may recall that when I left you we were just about to start the 5th day of our holiday:

so without further ado -

Day 5: the Magic Kingdom:

I woke up at 7:30 and immediately was hit by the realisation that today was the day I had been looking forward to since we arrived in Orlando - the day we were visiting my all-time favourite WDW park - the Magic Kingdom. To me the Magic Kingdom IS Disney and I am sure I could quite happily spend every waking moment of every single day there, and would probably be equally as happy to spend every sleeping moment there too. I roused the troops, a task that was becoming increasingly difficult with each passing day, although how they could still be rotting in bed when we were going to the Magic Kingdom totally defeats me - did anyone hear me - THE MAGIC KINGDOM !!!! Fortunately the kids decided to get shifted before blood was spilled, and we made it to Dunkin Donuts for what was becoming a ritual breakfast by 8:15.

We arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Centre at 8:55, and jumped on the monorail. The excitement was building as we passed through the Contemporary Resort and saw the new Bay Lake construction site. Before too long we were pulling into the Magic Kingdom station, and we stopped for our first Magic Kingdom photopass picture outside the park entrance:


and once through the cursory bag check and the turnstiles we were there - walking down the most magical street in the world - Main Street USA. The Halloween décor was understated in comparison to what we were used to at Disneyland Paris, but good all the same:



We stopped on Main Street for one of many Photopass opportunities:


Our first port of call in the Magic Kingdom is always Pirates of the Caribbean - my favourite ride in my favourite park - what more could a girl ask for? (answers on a postcard please!)



This was our first visit to see our pirate friends since their territory was invaded by the notorious pirates, Captains Sparrow and Barbossa, and we were looking forward to the new experience. The Davy Jones illusion was very clever and the Capt Jack Sparrow character at the end of the ride was amazing - absolutely brilliantly done with the voice and everything. Even though I love this Pirates ride, it always pales in comparison to the Paris version - the scenes always seem to be in the wrong order and with only one drop it always seems to be missing something, and of course it is a lot shorter. That said - I wouldn’t miss it for the world. After our encounter with the pirates we decided to try our luck with Brer Rabbit and friends, but this was not running, so instead we jumped on board the wildest ride in the wilderness, and indeed wild it was - although not as extreme a ride as Paris, it feels much more rickety and you feel you are going to come off the tracks at any moment - which really adds to the experience.

We then went to see if Splash Mountain was running yet, and as it wasn’t we grabbed some fast passes and then jumped back on Big Thunder Mountain as there was only a 10 minute wait. Now on to another favourite: The Haunted Mansion. On the way we snapped these unsavoury characters - anyone got any rotten fruit....



Now The Haunted Mansion had also undergone a few enhancements since our last visit. I didn’t remember there being speakers in the Doom Buggy relaying messages from the Ghost Host. A lot of the spooky effects seemed new - I certainly didn’t recall the footsteps on the stairs, the library and the attic room with the photographs of the murderous bride from previous visits, but maybe they had been there all along and I was just spooked! Our ride was interrupted by playful spooks right next to the really creepy pop-up heads in the graveyard, which was a bit unnerving. I just love the theming around the Haunted Mansion, and took a few photos:




We then recovered from the spooky encounter by a repeat ride on Big Thunder to blow away any remaining cobwebs, and then we noticed Splash Mountain was operating, so everyone except Taryn and Daniel (remember the wimp gene) jumped into a log and set off for the laughing place ……. it always amuses me that just before you go over the big drop there are vultures perched above you with very hopeful expressions on their faces. Two seconds later I was a lot soggier than I had been previously and we jumped out of the log and grabbed fast passes for later.

By now it was time for a change of scenery, and we wandered into Fantasyland to see Philharmagic - another favourite of mine. This show never ceases to amaze me and I just love it! It is my favourite 3D show by a million miles, and in fact is the only one where I keep the glasses on the whole time, as there are no scary surprises! After the show we were planning to head for Tomorrowland via Toontown, and on the way into Toontown we passed this prize exhibit from Mickey’s garden:



We soon realised that we couldn’t get to Tomorrowland via Toontown, but while we were there we decided to ride the Barnstormer with Goofy, which was good fun, but I can honestly say that if you blinked you would have missed it! In the line there was a little girl with an amazing hairstyle, all spikey and orange with glitter and pumpkin confetti etc in her hair. Her mother said she had been to the Bibbiddy Bobbiddy Boutique and it had cost $60!

We then retraced our steps to find the correct direction to Tomorrowland, and once there we headed straight for Buzz Lightyear Laser Spin, which I have always loved, but I found a lot more dated after having ridden the Toy Story Mania ride at Hollywood Studios. I also get annoyed as the guns don’t detach from the vehicle like they do in Paris, although I don’t really know why I’m bothered by this as it doesn’t improve my aim to any degree. My score, as always, was embarrassingly low, and I think even Tony, who always thinks he is the hot shot of star command, was on this occasion, beaten into submission by Taryn!



I have never noticed these cute guys before either:


After facing the evil Emperor Zurg and his minions, we planned to visit the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor for some comic relief, but by now our fast passes were due on Splash Mountain, so instead we headed back to Frontierland, taking a few photos on the way:





It was time for another stomach churning descent into the Briar Patch, and Taryn and Dan took another wild ride on the Big Thunder Mountain railway. By now we all had rumbles in our tumblies, and decided to pop into Pecos Bill’s for some lunchtime refreshment. The food was really nice, as they had a great salad and toppings bar (fried onions and mushrooms) for the burgers etc. Taryn and I had a chicken wrap each which was enormous and the rest of the guys had the burgers.

After lunch we whizzed back to Tomorrowland to see Sully and Mike at the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor - this was really funny and well presented and I highly recommend it. One thing I have never ridden in Tomorrowland is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and so this was our next port of call. This was very relaxing and a good way to get a different outlook on the park and interesting to see inside Space Mountain, as it is highly unlikely I will ever see the inside of Space Mountain by any other means. Here is Dan relaxing on the TTA:


continued in next post due to too many photos - sorry

01-22-2009, 05:39 AM
Day 5 part 2 (too many photos for 1 installment- sorry)

We then wandered over the watch the Dreams Come True parade - a really excellent parade and I managed to video it while Taryn took some still photographs - as I have yet to work out now to do both simultaneously.
Here are some captured moments from the parade:







After the parade we all stopped for ice-cream, complete with chocolate Mickey ears:


except for Dan who wanted to try funnel cake, which comes highly recommended on the DIS. We stopped at Sleepy Hollow for this, and it was decorated with atmosheric halloween pumpkins:


The CM at Sleepy Hollow was very generous with the icing sugar and the cinnamon, most of which Dan ended up wearing by the time he finished the funnel cake.




and after.......


Near Sleepy Hollow we found another Photopass opportunity, this time with a very good photographer who had us get into all sorts of poses with the side view of the Castle as the backdrop. She even asked DH and I to kiss each other, while the kids acted horrified - although this probably didn't involve too much in the way of acting. ( I think DH was even more horrified, but he must have thought what the heck, this is Disney, and he didn‘t put up too much of a fight!). Before you get too worried - the kissing photo will not be shown to avoid upsetting anyone with a delicate constitution! These are a couple of our best photos from this photo shoot:



After this we decided to ride Pirates again, and our visit to the Caribbean coincided with one of Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate tutorials. This was really good fun - and Capt Jack was very true to his character, with good Capt Jack mannerisms and he looked very much like the real thing, which basically meant I was glued to the spot until he finished his routine. I was very disappointed when I put up my hand to join his pirate crew and I was sadly rejected because they were only recruiting mini-pirates on this occasion - us wenches were surplus to requirements. He was the best Capt Jack character I have yet encountered - far better than the rather camp version we saw in Paris, and far far better than the very unrealistic Capt Jack we were to meet on the Disney Magic.

We then decided to do a couple of attractions we have never managed to do in the Magic Kingdom, Jungle Cruise and The Tiki Room - as we felt it was important to give recognition to these “retro” attractions. We grabbed some fast passes to the Jungle Cruise and went first to the Tiki Room - this was very cute and all the young kids in there seemed to love it - my two lads were very worried when the CM asked them to stand up and dance at the end - the look on their faces was priceless, and the CM replied “ Oh stop being boys!”. I think they were very relieved to escape from the Tiki Room - I was less fortunate in being unable to escape from the song, which stuck in my head for the rest of the day. We then hit the Jungle Cruise which was amusing in a “retro” way, but our boat guide appeared really bored with the whole thing, and some of the jokes were so bad they should have been thrown overboard.

Once off the boat it was time to stake out a spot for the Spectromagic Parade, and on the way Taryn, Louise, Dan and I decided to visit the spooks in the Haunted Mansion, while the more daring Tony and Steve headed for Space Mountain. We arranged to meet at Casey’s Corner to warch the parade.


The view turned out to be ok, but we had one of those very officious CMs nearby who was insisted on coming in front of my camera view every five seconds to move people on, every time they stopped where he deemed they shouldn’t be. So there will be some serious editing required to remove the CM’s head from my Spectromagic video.

Some after dark photos of some Halloween characters:



We moved up to the Station end of Main Street to watch Wishes, my all-time favourite Disney firework show, and one which generally has me in tears throughout. It was truly beautiful and seemed to be longer than the Paris version, although there were no images projected onto the castle like they have in Paris. The fireworks were spectacular, and actually produced images in the sky like smiley faces and star shapes and of course hidden Mickey shapes. I didn’t video Wishes on this occasion, as I wanted to try out the firework feature on the camera, but unfortunately the results were disappointing and this one is the best of the bunch (which sort of indicates how bad they came out)


We managed to whiz out of the park immediately after Wishes finished, so as to avoid the crowds piling towards the exit, and the lengthy wait for the monorail, and it was a good plan, as we made it back to the apartment by 8:45pm. We decided to walk down to Chili’s for dinner, and we were really impressed. I don’t think I have ever seen such an extensive menu, and it was really difficult to make a decision on what to eat. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it, and everyone enjoyed their meal. There was a guy wandering round making balloon hats, and a very interesting “shot glass” dessert, where you were given shot glasses with samples of the desserts in them for only $1.99 per shot glass. We had an excellent server and I would really recommend Chilis for a relaxing yet fun atmosphere and great value food. After dinner we walked back to the apartment, winding Tony up on the way about spotting alligators in the lakes that we passed on the way home.

02-16-2009, 05:39 PM
Day 6: Epcot again - part 1

Today I woke up at about 08:30, but because of the flagging stamina of my troops I decided to give them a lie in this morning. Today the plan was to hit Epcot before lunch, and then stay until late to watch Illuminations, with dinner at one of the Boardwalk restaurants. While everyone was still in the land of nod, I pottered around the apartment, packing away a few bits and pieces and popping a few things in the washing machine. Eventually the troops materialised and we managed to be on the road by 11am, and there are no prizes for guessing where we ended up for our late breakfast - Dunkin Donuts. Soon after that we arrived at Epcot:


We grabbed fast passes for Test Track and rode Mission Space and I spent some time taking random photos of my family from a distance.



We also came across a bunch of crazy chefs who put on a bit of a show for us - they were brilliant and really entertaining!


We then wandered over to the Living Seas where we rode Finding Nemo and spent a while engaged in some Turtle Talk with Crush, which was very cute. We then whiled away some time watching the fish in the aquarium while waiting for a suitable fast pass return time for a post-dinner ride on Soarin. We managed to grab fast passes for 7pm, which seemed about right.

By now it was time to ride Test Track, so this we did, and then grabbed a bite to eat for lunch. As it wasn’t long since our breakfast donuts, we chose a snack lunch, which was hot dogs and crisps (chips to any US readers among us) for Tony, Stephen and Louise,


and Mickey Ice cream sandwiches for Taryn, Dan and myself - as you can see I feel it’s always important to stick to a healthy diet wherever possible.


A very happy Tony after having his lunch:

While we were eating I also tried to take some arty scenic photos:



We then went into Imageworks and spent some time sending silly emails to friends, as you do, and then Tony, Louise and Stephen went into Honey, I shrunk the Audience, while Taryn, Dan and I chilled out by the fountains, watching the world go by and taking photos.




We had this photo pass photo taken by the fountain:


We then wandered into the World Showcase, where the girls stopped for a chat with Alice in the UK,


Before we headed for the Boardwalk area to find somewhere to eat dinner.

(continued in next post due to excessive number of photos!)

02-16-2009, 05:47 PM
Epcot again - part 2

This was our first time to see the Boardwalk and it really seemed a lovely place to stay, well themed and very relaxing. We wandered along, just enjoying being there, and perused the menus in the various restaurants along the way. I quite fancied the Big River Grille, but as we have the pleasure of having the four fussiest eaters in the entire world in our family, we opted for the E.S.P.N Club for dinner, as the menu choices seemed to suit everyone.

The meal was excellent and the service faultless, although to be honest I could have done without all that sport (although apparently E.S.P.N. is something to do with sport, so if I had known that maybe I would have expected it).



The place is filled with TV screens, and even in the restroom, well the ladies restroom I can vouch for, but the guys tell me the men’s room was the same. It felt a bit strange answering natures call while watching baseball but each to their own! The beer pitcher came with a funny jug thing which held ice and kept the beer cool, which was a great idea.


The other highlight of this meal was the Rocky Road dessert - highly recommended!

After dinner we wandered about the Boardwalk and took yet more photos of everyone just chilling.





It was just such a lovely evening and I really felt happy and relaxed as we wandered back towards Epcot, just enjoying being there. I love moments like that.

It was now 7pm and we headed straight for Soarin as our fast passes obtained at 1pm had now become active. We sat next to a lady who said Soarin was her favourite ride ever - she told us to watch out for the hidden Mickey on the golf ball, and we managed to just about see it. We then had time for some shopping in MouseGear, and I deliberated over buying lots of things but talked myself out of them - I later regretted not buying them as I always do. I should learn to just buy things if I see things I like!

We then decided to wander over to the World Showcase to find a good place to watch Illuminations. As we entered the UK area a most amazing thing happened - it began to pour with rain! It amazes me how Disney manages to get every feature of the country to be totally authentic! I never cease to be amazed by Disney Imagineering!



Tony decided to do what comes natural in the UK, and grabbed himself a pint while we took shelter in the UK shop.


The rain eventually settled, we found a Photopass opportunity in France and had this photo taken, one of my favourites from the trip as it looks really natural ......and no, you are not mistaken, that is actually a smile on Stephen's face (or is it yet more imagineering magic!)


And then we found a spot on the side of the lake to watch Illuminations. This was as wonderful and inspirational as ever, and left me with tears in my eyes. After the show we slowly drifted back to the car, and it had been such a lovely afternoon and evening, slow-paced for once, that I really didn’t want to leave the park. I took my last attempt at an arty photo of Spaceship Earth on the way out:


And then we stopped for one final photo pass photo before heading our to the car park.


We found the car, and headed back to the apartment, where I tidied up and packed a few more things away before finally going to bed.

Tomorrow: shopping, Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party and reunion with our special friends!

02-21-2009, 12:25 PM
Day 7: Shopping, eating and MNSSHP with friends :hug:

I awoke at about 8am and all was quiet in the apartment. I could hear the rain falling outside so I got up, and sat outside on the lanai, where I caught up with some trip report notes. It was so peaceful to sit there when all was quiet, just listening to the rain falling onto the palm trees. Before too long my peace was shattered by Tony appearing on the lanai with a coffee. We were heading for some retail therapy today, before meeting our friends the Balster family at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that evening.

Eventually the rest of the troops dragged themselves out of bed and after the usual ablutions we were all ready to head off for the Premium Outlets, which turned out to be just about 10 minutes away from the apartment. Regular readers will have noticed that we have broken the habit of the holiday and made no visit to Dunkin Donuts today - instead we decided to have breakfast at the Premium Outlets food court. Ever health conscious, Taryn, Louise and Daniel opted for fruit this morning - apples to be precise, but before you fall over with the shock - the attraction with these apples was the cinnamon and toffee, and white and milk chocolate coatings they were covered with! Still fruit is fruit and as it was the first healthy option to pass their lips in a week I was pleased. Here is the proof:


I’m afraid to say that the healthy trend was not continued by Tony and Stephen, who had hot-dogs for breakfast - shame on them! In anticipation of the up-coming cruise and a need to get into a formal gown, I chose to bypass breakfast and just had a latte from Starbucks - it’s amazing how cheap a Starbucks coffee is in the USA, about half the price of the UK equivalent!

It was then time to hit the shops - and my first target was the Character Premiere shop, where I bought a few discounted pins and a few other bits and pieces. We then bought some trainers and shoes in the trainer and shoe shop (funnily enough) and when we were waiting in line to pay, we overheard some people speaking in a very strange language - yes, they were speaking Welsh! So of course we had to introduce ourselves as fellow natives! We then browsed around the rest of the shops, but disappointingly nothing else took our fancy - and by now I was getting desperate as I still had no shoes to go with my formal gown for the cruise. By now it was approaching lunch time, and we decided to go to one of Tony’s all time American favourites - Denny’s.

We had a lovely lunch - the portions were enormous, and our server, who appeared to be well past retirement age, was amazing and really funny - she spent a lot of time winding up the kids!

Some of the small portions:




After lunch we headed back to the apartment, where the kids headed off to the pool for a last dip, and Tony and I headed to Walmart, in a desperate last minute search for some black sandals for me. Now those of you who have shopped in Walmart will know how enormous it is, and also how ridiculously disorganised and disorientating it is - although that may just be the effect it has on me! I feel like I am in a maze and keep going around in circles, and for some reason they don’t keep all of the same items in the same area of the shop. I could have really done with Jack Sparrow’s compass to help me find my heart’s desire - the shoe department. What makes it even more ridiculous is that I had been there a few days earlier and still couldn’t find it. Eventually, after what seemed like hours we found the shoe department and I managed to locate a pair of black sandals which would suffice. We hurriedly picked up everything else we thought we might need, and probably a few things we didn’t, and very conscious of the fact that time was ticking on, and we needed to get transformed into pirates for the Halloween Party, we headed back home.

The kids were getting ready for the party, so we quickly changed and became the crazy pirate crew we are deep down inside! It was already about 6:30, and we were supposed to be meeting our friends outside Pirates of the Caribbean at 7pm. This wasn’t looking good at all! We jumped in the van, and I drove as fast as the speed limits would allow to arrive at the parking lot at about 7pm. There didn’t seem to be many people in costume in the parking lot and Stephen began to panic - it had taken a lot of persuasion to get him to dress up in a costume in the first place and a lot of reassurance that absolutely EVERYONE at the party would be in costume! You can see by his face on this photo that he was far from impressed when he realised that we might have just been slightly economical with the truth:




In fact no one looks impressed on these photos - miserable lot my family.
We boarded the monorail and when we arrived at the Magic Kingdom station there were quite a few people dressed in costumes milling about the park entrance, which fortunately seemed to chill Stephen out a bit. On the way in we were given wrist bands, Halloween party guides and treat bags for trick or treating. There were cast members holding up Halloween party signs to direct the party guests in the right direction, as there were crowds of other non-party guests leaving the park. We then had a mad dash through the crowds to meet up with our friends outside Pirates of the Caribbean - but when we got there they were nowhere to be seen. We immediately began to worry because we were almost half an hour late and they may have got fed up waiting for us or thought we had been held up. We hovered there looking lost and suddenly were commandeered by 4 crazy pirates who had been hiding in the shadows of the building opposite. It was so great to see them again, and we couldn’t stop talking - I don’t think we paused for breath once in that first hour of meeting up! They regaled us with spooky stories of their night at the Universal Halloween Horror event - which was definitely not for the faint of heart - and Helen had the bruises on her arms to proof it! Here is our pirate crew outside Pirates of the Caribbean:


We hit the first Trick or Treat stop outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean, where cast members put a handful of candy into each of our bags, and then we headed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean - it was great to ride our favourite ride dressed as pirates! Unfortunately the cast members were far from piratey and not very interactive at all. After raiding the Spanish Main we raided the shop for weaponry and commandeered some swords - well to be totally honest, in reality we lined up in the store and paid for them like everyone else but that doesn’t sound very piratey either so for the sake of authenticity I‘d go with the first version!

Next stop, the Haunted Mansion - the cast members here were much more interactive and into the Halloween spirit - they had really good atmospheric make-up, and the spooky effects such as fog and eerie music around the Haunted Mansion were really effective. There was even a spooky ghost lady sitting in the graveyard! Unfortunately two of our pirate crew dropped their swords in the Haunted Mansion, and they may still be there to this very day. We hit another Trick or Treat stop outside the Haunted Mansion, and then we headed off to ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - always a crazy experience in the dark! A we entered the mine station it began to rain, and by the time we boarded the train it was actually tipping it down. This made the ride even wilder and crazier than ever and we ended up soaked through to the skin and very bedraggled.

We then headed over to Tomorrowland as some of the group wanted to ride Space Mountain, but it wasn’t running, so instead we had a whirl with Buzz Lightyear. By now it was time for the parade, so we headed for the central plaza to find a good viewpoint. On the way we encountered Davy Jones and there was a bit of a stand-off:


We sat down on the kerb side and waited for the parade, and I took a bit of video footage while waiting, and a photo of the girls waiting patiently.


We also had a photo pass moment in front of the castle, and the photographer took so long to try and get us all in the picture and to get it focused correctly, and this was the end result.


The parade was absolutely amazing - my favourite parade ever. I loved the pirates, the grave-diggers, and the Capt. Jack Sparrow and the Haunted Mansion floats in particular. We were thrilled when Captain Barbossa gestured over to us as his pirate crew! After the parade we stayed in the same place and waited for the Hallowishes fireworks. This was the best fireworks show I have ever seen - absolutely breathtaking - and all presented to a Halloween soundtrack!

After the fireworks we bid farewell to Andy, Helen, Rachel and Bethany, who had to get back to the Hard Rock Hotel via taxi and didn’t want to be caught in the crowds as we all had an early start tomorrow. I couldn’t resist a final ride on Pirates of the Caribbean,


and then Stephen and Tony went to ride Splash Mountain. By now it was time to leave, so we made our way to the exit via the Main Street shops, and then jumped on the monorail to the parking lot.


I had really enjoyed the Halloween Party - the atmosphere was amazing, and the parade and fireworks alone were worth the extra ticket price. The trick and treating was fun, particularly for the younger children, and riding the attractions in the dark and spooky atmosphere added an extra dimension. The only criticism was the lack of interaction from some of the cast members - such as those in Pirates of the Caribbean, and apart from during the parade we didn’t see any characters wandering around, but we may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. That said, I would definitely do MNSSHP again as it was an amazing experience, and all the better for sharing it with such special and like-minded friends.

Back at the apartment I did my last batch of laundry ready for the cruise and threw it in the tumble dryer, and then sorted out as much as I could before tiredness took over, and I fell into bed to dream of tomorrow and our long awaited first ever cruise on the Disney Magic. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself, as to be on the Disney Magic was such a dream of mine, and tomorrow it was really going to happen! Our plan was to be up really early, and away in the car by 7:30am, so we could have breakfast in Port Canaveral before entering the terminal at 10am or as soon as we could, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men and my family …….

02-21-2009, 06:02 PM
have finally caught up your trip report after reading the first bit about a year ago!!!

Really enjoyed reading all about your first week and looking forward to the next bits. We loved our cruise so will be great to hear how you all found it.


02-22-2009, 03:31 AM
have finally caught up your trip report after reading the first bit about a year ago!!!

Really enjoyed reading all about your first week and looking forward to the next bits. We loved our cruise so will be great to hear how you all found it.


OMG was it a year ago when I started :scared1:

My cruise was the best experience ever - I'll try and post the first day later as I am just trying to sort out the photos and remember what we did - I stopped writing notes on the cruise for some reason - too busy I suppose!

03-05-2009, 09:31 AM
Thanks Sarah, your report kept me from my work and I very much enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the rest.:goodvibes

I think my youngest son was about 16 and he didn't smile on photos at all. I think he shocked himself when he looked through the photos after the holidays and since then I just point a camera at him and he smiles beautifully, even holds the smile if I have tricked him and am actually doing a video.:rotfl:

04-06-2009, 07:27 AM
Our Magical Happy Halloween Cruise day 1: Embarkation Day!

I really don’t know how I managed to sleep I was so excited, but sleep I did, and suddenly the alarm clock was bleeping frantically. I picked it up and looked at the time, it was 7:30am.….WHAT! It couldn’t be. It was about then that I realised with shock, horror and disbelief that I had been so tired the night before that I had failed to set it for the earlier time I wanted and it was still set on 7:30am from the previous day.

Well now I was in full panic mode - I needed to be leaving the apartment at 7:30, not struggling out of bed to face lots of packing, a load of damp washing still in the tumble dryer, and not to mention 4 grumpy teenagers still wallowing in their pits! This was NOT the chilled out pre-cruise morning I had planned at all, and it totally took the shine off my long awaited embarkation day experience that I had looked forward to for so long.
And the worst thing was - it was my fault, and the only person I could rant and rave at was myself - and believe me there was an excessive amount of internal ranting and raving going on that morning.

So I got up, switched on the tumble dryer, threw myself in the shower while shouting at the kids to get shifting, and once dressed I started packing what was left to pack and tidying up, still shouting at the kids to get shifting. Eventually they shifted, and began to pack up their last minute stuff, and finally we were ready to leave Cypresse Point. I snapped a couple of photos of the apartment on the way out.



Overall I was really pleased with the apartment complex - the rooms were clean and there was plenty of space, even with 4 teenagers. The kitchen was well equipped, although the only thing we used was the enormous fridge and the kettle. My only complaint was the open plan toilet in our bedroom, as this wasn’t exactly ideal at times, as you can imagine. The pools were great too. Location wise it couldn’t be faulted - walking distance from lots of restaurants - Chilis, Orlando Ale House, Dennys, Dunkin Donuts and all the restaurants at the Crossroads. It was about 5 minutes drive from Downtown Disney, and about 10 minutes drive from most of the Disney parks. It was also handy for the I - 4, Premium Outlets, Lake Buena Vista Outlets, Walmart (about 10-15 minutes drive). Yet it was actually a very quiet area.

It was, I regret to say, 9am by the time we left Cypresse Pointe, so that scuppered our plans of a leisurely breakfast in Port Canaveral, in fact it scuppered our plans of any breakfast at all because all I wanted to do was get to Port Canaveral and get on the Magic, with no further delay. We popped into the Walgreens at the end of the road for some extra cash from the machine in case we needed it in the ports we were visiting, and a few toiletries which I thought we might need, such as industrial size deoderant for the lads, and after sun gel in case we needed it on Castaway Cay.

And then we were on our way, and I was becoming more and more excited by the minute - how I managed to drive and get us there in one piece remains a mystery to this very day! We hit the I-4 and it was very busy, and suddenly the car immediately in front of us, pulled out into the middle lane and started trying to overtake the vehicle in front of it, but the driver completely misjudged the manoeuvre and bumped into the back of the vehicle in front , which then caused the car coming up fast from the rear to bump into the back of the first car. It was all very scary and somehow I managed to break and pull back to avoid any of the flack from the incident while cars in the middle and inside lanes were skidding all over the place trying to avoid it. The cars managed to avoid any further damage and I was amazed because all of the vehicles involved, two of which had been
bumped and damaged, actually carried on driving and no one stopped at all. My heart was in my mouth through all of this - who needs the Tower of Terror for a white knuckle experience you can get it for free on the I-4!

On the way to Port Canaveral we passed through 3 sets of tolls, two of which were 75 cents and one which was 1 dollar and 25 cents. My excitement began to build as I knew the Magic couldn’t be far away, and suddenly the moment I had anticipated for months happened - we climbed the bridge and there she was, away in the distance, and the funnels were unmistakable - how I kept the car on the road I don’t know, but I do know that my eyes were filled with tears, fortunately hidden behind my sunglasses. As we drove closer to our destination we came up over another even bigger bridge and saw the ship even closer - just like we dreamed it!

So our next challenge was to find the Budget car rental depot, and I had no idea where I was going, so I turned off the main road following a sign to the cruise ships, when suddenly I was driving straight into a transfer bus heading right for us - with instant realisation that I had turned onto the wrong side of the road, I had to stop and do a “U” turn while all the oncoming traffic waited and watched - all rather embarrassing to say the least. By now I was very frustrated and highly stressed out, and I just wanted to find the car rental depot and avoid any more car-related incidents by getting rid of the damn thing and handing the driving over to someone else. We managed to chance upon a Hertz car rental depot and in desperation I just drove in and Tony popped out of the car to ask directions to Budget, which turned out to be only a couple of blocks further along. Once the car was dropped off, we loaded all of our baggage onto a waiting shuttle and I was able to finally relax as the shuttle took us to our ship of dreams - there are no words in the English or I am sure any other language to describe my excitement at this point - the anticipation was incredible.

We arrived at the drop zone and off loaded our bags, after thanking our really friendly driver.




We then passed through the security and into the terminal building. As we approached the upper level via the escalator we could hear excited shouts from above, and we saw Andy, Helen, Rachel and Bethany waiting to greet us ( and reprimand us for being late!) We were all beside ourselves with excitement, and as Andy and Helen had already checked in they pointed us in the right direction and the formalities were dealt with very quickly and efficiently. We were so excited to get our KTTW cards, but noticed that we had been allocated 8:30pm dining, when ideally we would have liked 8:00pm, but we aimed to try and change it once on board. We also had boarding pass no 16, which shows how late we were getting to the terminal. Andy and Helen had a CAT 2 stateroom, so they had priority boarding, but they were so sweet and decided to wait for us so we could all board together. Thanks guys xxxx Captain Mickey was holding court in the terminal building and looked very smart in his uniform:

While waiting for us Helen had spotted a group of DISers gathering, so we decided to go over and introduce ourselves. We chatted to some lovely people who we had met and chatted to on our cruise meet thread on the DIS - Suzie, Amy, Dana, Valerie and their families while we waited for boarding to commence. We received our amazing “Halloween on the High Seas” orange lanyards, which we wore for most of the cruise and which several non- DISers questioned us about, asking where they could buy them!

Suddenly the long-awaited moment was upon us - and they called for Group 16, so we all walked into the magical Mickey ears and posed for the embarkation photos. All of this seemed to pass by in such a blur as I was so excited and to be honest more than a little bit tearful and overwhelmed by the whole experience. The Balster family entered ahead of us and we all clapped and cheered, and then it was our turn, although the English cast member who announced our name got it completely wrong - I can’t remember what she said, but I didn’t really care - I WAS ON BOARD THE MAGIC! This was the first of many “pinch me - I must be dreaming” moments!

Our original plan had been to go to Parrot Cay for lunch once we embarked, but the cast members were directing everyone to Topsiders as there was a long line for Parrot Cay. So we carried on up to Topsiders and it was a wonderful first meal - lots of salad, butterfly chicken breasts, salmon etc which we enjoyed sitting out on the deck in the sun.



This is what I had for lunch…..




There really was an amazing selection of food. While we were eating a CM came around with some very attractive orange coloured drinks on a tray and really it was very rude to refuse so we grabbed a couple of those and they turned out to be rum punch and very nice indeed, if a little bit strong!


The desserts were also amazing - I decided on a mango mousse cake and a chocolate brownie which were really delicious!


Louise’s dessert choice: Before


and after .......


After lunch the kids all took off for a wander around the ship, while we sat and enjoyed our drinks, and then wandered briefly around the open deck, where I tried to take a photo of the NASA building:


We all then headed off on a search for our staterooms. We found them quite easily and were very pleased with the location: 6089 and 6099. They were set out really nicely and were very clean - and I was really impressed.




They also seemed a lot more spacious than the staterooms I used to clean when I was a Stateroom steward on Princess Cruises back in 1988. We also had a gift on our bed from the DIS cruisers who had occupied our cabin on the previous cruise, which was really lovely. We noticed that the tickets we had in the room stated that our dining time was in fact 8:15pm, which those of you who are paying attention will realise was different from the allocated time on our KTTW cards - so this necessitated a trip to guest services to find out which was the correct time. We were very pleased to find out that our dining time would be 8:15pm. While at Guest Services I turned around and spotted a familiar face from our DIS board thread, who was instantly recognisable from the photos we had seen on line - it was Jenn and her husband Nelson, and we introduced ourselves and had a little chat.

We then headed off to have a look at Helen and Andy’s category 2 cabin, and all I can say at this point is WOW! We felt like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in “Titanic” sneaking up from steerage to visit Kate Winslet in her first class suite! It was very impressive!

Soon it was time for our DIS meet in the Promenade Lounge. We met up with lots of DIS friends from our DIS meet thread and chatted away for a while. It was so lovely to meet our virtual friends in reality, but unfortunately the time passed very quickly. For some reason I didn’t take a photos during this get-together, probably because meeting all these people for the first time made me a wee bit self conscious and I didn’t want to go about waving a camera in people’s faces.

By now it was time for the 4pm lifeboat drill, so we returned to our cabins to pick up our lifejackets and make sure the kids had theirs. The obligatory photos were taken



and then we headed up to our muster point which was outside on Deck 4, and directly next to the lifeboats which was very reassuring. There seemed to be plenty of them and they also looked very roomy so there will be no more reference to the Titanic! Our lifeboat leader was Dave and he was very entertaining - which turned out to be very appropriate as he was actually one of the entertainment staff! The drill didn’t take too long and we returned back to the rooms to drop off the life jackets, where we met up with Erwin, our kids stateroom host, who was really friendly and we apologised in advance for the poor chap having to service a cabin containing 4 teenagers - any stateroom host’s worst nightmare I’m sure, although Erwin didn’t seemed to be phased by it at all.
Just you wait Erwin…….

It was finally time for the sail away party - Adventures Away, and we met up with Helen, Andy, Rachel and Bethany on Deck 10, just above the action. We picked up some more fruity pink drinks, which were delicious but also fairly expensive at $44 for 6 drinks, but we later discovered that included the souvenir “plastic” glasses which were $2 each. So at this point we were dancing around, waving streamers, taking video and generally having a ball, and it all seemed very surreal.




After months of planning and talking about this moment, it finally arrived, and we counted down from 10 to 1 and then the magically horn sounded and I realised I was standing there with tears streaming down my cheeks! It was absolutely fantastic and once again I was lost for words! The ship began to pull away and we waved over the side - there were people with Mickey hands waving from the terminal, and from some of the quayside restaurants, and we stood there waving at everyone and anyone until the ship was heading out to sea. Once out on the open ocean, Tony and I stood on the aft deck and watched the land disappearing into the distance - it was truly the right moment to say “bring me that horizon….”

We wandered around the decks for a while and met up with fellow DISer Amy and her family, and her children were fascinated by our “English” accents and particularly our words for the toilet, which was really cute. We then decided to go down to the cabin to see if our bags had arrived, which would be a good thing as we were now quite a way out to sea. We were reassured to find all our bags present and correct, and all our kids happily chilling out in their cabin, so we all did some unpacking, before showering and getting dressed for our first dinner on board. We also hung up our Fish Extender and decorated our doors with the magnets we had made.

Our first dinner was in Lumieres, which was an absolutely beautiful restaurant, and so we headed up there where we met our fantastic tablemates - Andy, Helen, Rachel and Bethany, and our equally fantastic serving team - Dennis from the Phillipines and Laura from Trinidad and Tobago. Dennis and Laura were absolutely wonderful throughout the cruise and could not be faulted, they certainly made every meal such a special experience.

It was during dinner that we first began to realise we were on a ship, as we began to feel the movement and at one point poor Bethany felt quite ill and had to return to her room. This was the menu I had looked forward to the least as I am not a big fan of French cuisine, but I had a really enjoyable meal: mixed garden salad to start, grilled salmon and jacket potato from the lighter fare menu, and a wonderful crème brulee for dessert.

The divine Crème Brulee


Tony chose the shrimp medley, the beef tenderloin and the crepes suzettes, and really enjoyed his meal too. The kids, who are all extremely fussy eaters of varying degrees, all managed to all choose something they could eat and always enjoyed the desserts. We were very grateful for the lighter fare menu most evenings, as even the fussiest of them could be safe with plain chicken. As a side note I have taken lots of food photos during this cruise, but for some reason about 90% of the photos are of the desserts, so I do apologise in advance for those readers who don’t have a sweet tooth or who want to see something more than desserts. It is an obvious reflection of where my loyalties lie when it comes to food, and explains why I am still holding on to that extra 10lbs in weight I found on that cruise!

After dinner we had a wander around the ship and the kids headed off to check out the teens club. We picked up some of the magic pink pills from Guest Services as by now I was feeling a bit wobbly. The lads were back from the Teens Club within minutes and it turned out Dan had told the counsellors that he wouldn’t be staying as “no offence, but he had better things to do” - I don’t know what those “better things” were, as he came back to his room and watched TV with Stephen after having a good look around the ship, but our lads are not one for “organised activities” and they felt it was too much like a “kid’s club”. The girls, however, hung out there the first evening and met a few people, but even they were not inclined to rush back.

By now the motion of the ship was getting to me quite a bit, so we decided to head back to the cabin, where we found our first gift in our Fish Extender, our first towel friend and our next day’s navigator. We finished our unpacking and after popping my pink pill it was time for bed and our first swaying night on the Magic…..once in bed the swaying motion was actually quite relaxing and I didn’t have a problem with it at all. It was yet another “pinch myself” moment when I realised that I would be waking up in Castaway Cay!

04-07-2009, 06:14 AM
Sarah - the cruise ship sounds incredible and the food looks lovely! :)

Verity Chambers
04-07-2009, 12:59 PM
Just caught up Sarah, another fantastic report, you write them so well, I can almost imagine being there - well almost! I can just imagine Dan saying that, LOL!!! I really can't wait to read more aboyt your adventures. xxxx

04-09-2009, 06:34 PM
Our Magical Happy Halloween Cruise Day 2: Castaway Cay!

The first thing I thought when I opened my eyes was “where am I?” but it wasn’t long before the wonderful realisation hit me that I was in an exceptionally comfortable bed on the amazing Disney Magic and we were probably already docked in Castaway Cay. I had omitted to make an alarm call the previous evening and so had slept as nature intended, which meant later than planned, to the point that we didn’t make it up to the deck to watch us approaching Castaway Cay, but I had had such a good night’s sleep that I was fine about it. Tony and I quickly showered and after ringing the kids’ cabin to try and motivate them into action, we headed up to the deck to grab a coffee from the self serve machines and had a wander around the decks. It was about 8:30 am and fairly quiet on the upper decks, so we headed back down to the cabin to rouse the troops for breakfast. Dan was the only one ready to go so we decided to head on up and told the other 3 to meet us up there. Topsiders was calling…….

Our first breakfast was delicious, I had a selection of fresh fruit, a Mickey waffle and a cinnamon bun, with an orange juice and a coffee, and this tended to be my standard breakfast every morning. Tony had the same thing minus the fruit and adding in the eggs, bacon, sausage etc and Dan opted for the healthy option yet again - donuts and cinnamon buns!

We stuck our heads over the back of the ship and found Andy on his balcony, surveying the world from his penthouse suite - and he said that he had been up to watch us pulling in to the island. Before too long the girls and Stephen and Andy, Helen and the girls all arrived at Topsiders for breakfast. It was totally unreal to be sitting out there in the sun, eating such delicious food in such a stunning location. The island looked perfect and very welcoming, and as a massive Pirates of the Caribbean fan it was amazing to see the Flying Dutchman floating there in the bay.



Breakfast over we headed down to the cabins to get ready for our day on Castaway Cay, and before too long we were zapping our KTTW cards on the gangway and heading ashore. We decided to walk down to the family beach. It was a really pleasant walk and I snapped some photos along the way, mostly of the Flying Dutchman, I‘m afraid - not like I‘m obsessed or anything.







We had arranged to meet the Balster family at the far end of the family beach so we headed in that direction, and on the way we bumped into Sean and Christine (PADisneycouple) relaxing in a hammock! We said hi and had a brief chat and then headed off to secure some loungers in our designated spot. Before long Andy, Helen, Rachel and Bethany arrived and we settled down for some serious relaxation on the loungers.



Dan tried out a hammock for size and it fitted him perfectly, but I wish he would lose the hat - we’re in the Caribbean for goodness sake!


Tony, Andy and Daniel went for a swim while the rest of us just chilled and enjoyed the scenery.





We had reserved the bikes, floats and snorkel package for the 2 days we were on Castaway Cay, so Tony and I went to the float rental hut to pick up the floats. While we were there we bumped into Jackie (JNS), Michael and their son Michael who were renting bikes. We had a chat and it was really nice bumping into our DIS friends randomly thoughout the day - it really made the whole experience that bit more special. We grabbed the floats and then I spent a very relaxing half an hour drifting out in the bay listening to the Caribbean music coming from the Heads Up bar. Taryn had meanwhile been off to the Heads Up bar with Rachel and Bethany and had enjoyed a pink fruity concoction - you might consider this to be an unimportant feature of the morning but it was to play a significant reappearance later on.

About an hour later Taryn began to suffer from severe abdominal cramps and felt the need to go back to the ship for a lie down - so I decided to accompany her back and we caught the tram from the family beach. This might be a good time for those of you with delicate constitutions to jump to the next chapter as there will be an unfortunate reference to body fluids very soon. All along the tram ride she was complaining that she felt really nauseous and was going to throw up - I kept reassuring her that she would be fine and just to take deep breaths etc etc and she seemed ok, but just as we got off the tram and started to walk towards the ship she said that she was definitely going to vomit and started retching. Very conscious of the need not to make a public exhibition of any gastro-intestinal activity for fear of cabin confinement, I quickly manoeuvred Taryn behind some strategically positioned bushes, before the aforementioned pink cocktail made its second appearance of the day! Before I get strung up for non-reported vomiting, I must stress that this is something poor Taryn does when she has “that sort” of abdo pain and it is definitely not contagious. However, she did feel really grotty and just wanted to rest in her cabin, so we both checked in though security, and she headed to her cabin, promising to return to the beach once her painkillers kicked in and she was feeling better after a sleep.

In the meantime, I headed back to the others to join them for lunch at Cookie’s BBQ! Again, a lovely meal which far exceeded expectations for a beach-side BBQ! I had some grilled fish in a roll, some chicken and delicious salads. For dessert I had an incredible soft serve Snickers ice-cream and a wonderful chocolate chip cookie. We then headed back to our spot on the beach, where I had a definite need to attach my backside to that lounger and not move for love nor money! After letting their lunch settle,


Tony, Andy, Dan and Stephen went to hire the snorkelling gear and went for a snorkel down in the snorkelling area. Rachel decided to head back to the ship after a while to check up on Taryn, which was very sweet of her.

Back at the beach some dark clouds were looming and before we knew it the heavens opened and down came the rain - we managed to seek shelter in the overhang from the changing room roof and stood there not really quite believing it!


The rain was so heavy and great rivers of water were running down the beach and the Magic became almost invisible in the distance.



After about 15 minutes the rain began to ease off, and then it stopped, and Andy, Helen and Beth decided to return to the ship. We decided to head back to our loungers, on a now virtually deserted beach, as with the inclement weather most people had decided to call it a day and head back to the ship.




To be continued (too many photos) ……….

04-10-2009, 04:10 AM
brilliant trip report and fab pics, cant wait to see more :goodvibes

04-10-2009, 09:08 AM
this must be the 'longest-time taken' trip report ever!!! but totally worth it. I adore your pictures and you all look like you had the time of your lives. I really want to do a cruise now!

04-10-2009, 11:26 AM
Day 9 - Part 2

Sadly. before too long though it was 4pm and we had to return to the ship ourselves, taking photos along the way.









I could have happily stayed here forever, but not to worry - we had another stop at Castaway Cay to look forward to at the end of the week.

We showered off all the beach which had attached itself to our legs and then spotted Andy and Helen waving from their verandah!


When we got back to our cabin we received a phone call to say that Taryn was now enjoying ice-cream up in Helen & Andy’s cabin, and an invitation to join them up there for a few drinkies as the ship set sail. So after showering and changing into our cruise casual numbers, we headed up for a few beers while enjoying the view of Castaway Cay as we prepared to set sail, and then watching the island disappear into the distance as we once again headed for that horizon.



Before dinner we had a wander around the ship, and spent some time in the art gallery looking at the work of John Rowe, the on-board artist.


As she is studying A’level Art and wants to do a degree in illustration, Taryn was very interested in talking to John Rowe and she spent a lot of time in the art gallery to the point that it bcame a standing joke amongst us that she was “stalking” poor John Rowe. Some of his art pieces were actually very impressive and we took a few sneaky pics of our favourites!



Dinner this evening was in Animator’s Palate and it was the show dinner, which was very entertaining and without giving anything away there is a very special guest at the end.




The wonderful Dennis taking our orders:


The food was also divine, and I had wild mushroom risotto, followed by smoked salmon, trout and goats cheese salad, followed by grilled salmon with creamy risotto in a Barolo wine sauce. Tony also had the risotto appetiser, but had creamy butternut squash soup and lemon pepper chicken with jalapeno mash. The kids had various combinations, mostly from the “lighter fare” although some of them tried the lemon pepper chicken and jalapeno mash, which I though was very brave of them.

Dessert brought me a dilemma, I had been wanting to try the chocolate peanut butter pie since first discovering the menus on the DIS, but then on the night I was also tempted by the strawberry shortcake. Our server Dennis decided that there was only one solution - I needed to have both desserts!
So both of them arrived at the table and I am disgusted to say that I finished both desserts and didn’t leave a single crumb behind on the plate! They were delicious!

Strawberry Shortcake:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie:


Stephen, on the other hand, chose to have “nothing” for dessert ….


After dinner, Taryn, Louise and Dan headed to watch Disney DVDs with Rachel and Bethany, while Tony, Stephen and I decided to take a walk into the adult zone and see what entertainment was on offer. We were walking past Rockin Bar D and were directed inside by some cruise staff by the door, the place was full and we managed to find a couple of seats crammed behind a pillar. Unfortunately the entertainment this evening was a rather uninspiring female ventriloquist, and as I have a particular dislike of ventriloquists in the first place, I was desperate to escape, but didn’t want to get straight up again after just sitting down and cause a disruption, especially as the majority of the audience seemed to be enjoying the show. The show was along the lines of the entertainment you might have at a kiddies party, but very un-funny and predictable and very much reminded me of what you might expect at a UK holiday camp. The boredom was slightly alleviated by a heckler a couple of rows in front, who was being very loud and embarrassing his family, obviously very much the worse for having had a few sherbets. Eventually the cruise staff had to come over and “persuade” the heckler to leave the show, and it was the right thing to do, as above all else he was being very rude to the performer and even though she was a bit boring she did not deserve that. With all the commotion around the heckler, we then managed to escape from our seats without causing too much further disruption.

Tony and I then wandered into Sessions, where the entertainment was much more to our liking - a jazz pianist and a lovely relaxing romantic atmosphere. We sat down by one of the portholes and ordered a cocktail. I had “Ivory Keys” which was a concoction of rum and coconut and it was delicious! We had a chat with Jackie (JNS) and Michael who were also enjoying a drink in here, and it was the perfect end to a wonderful day.

After finishing our drinks we decided to take a walk around the deck and then head to our cabin. Before going to bed I remembered to book a wake-up call on the phone, as tomorrow we had the Island Jam breakfast!

04-10-2009, 12:31 PM
im just catching up on your trippie....you have had me Laughing Crying and Gagging so far !! :rotfl2:

04-11-2009, 04:25 AM
Day 3: Day at Sea

I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing, and imagine my surprise when I picked it up and found out who was calling me - why it was Captain Mickey Mouse himself, who said I needed to get up because I had so much to do today. Now I am not one to disobey the Captain, so before too long I was up, showered and dressed and heading down to meet up with Helen for our DIS Trick-or-Treat bag stuffing session in the Promenade Lounge. One of our DIS cruisers, Suzie had set up a DIS Trick-or-Treat treasure hunt for the first sea day, and we had all donated sweets and treats for the bags, and this morning we were basically stuffing all of the treats into the bags - I don’t think I have ever seen such well-stuffed trick-or-treat bags!

The bag stuffers in action:



Suzie - who organised the DIS Trick or Treat:


Jenn - our official bag lady:


Unfortunately this session also clashed with our Island Jam Character Breakfast which was scheduled for 09:45, so I managed to stuff a few bags and take a few photographs before being whisked away to breakfast with Mickey and friends. Helen and Andy stayed to stuff bags a bit longer, before going to Palo Brunch where stuffing of quite a different nature took place!

So with their parents enjoying Palo, Rachel and Bethany joined us for breakfast, and it was great fun. Dennis made a bunch of hats for the kids out of serviettes






And even one for Stephen …… ( and shock horror, if you look really closely he is actually smiling!)


and we got to meet with all the guys.









The food was once again delicious and I had the usual cinnamon bun and fruit combo:


while Tony had the cooked breakfast:


And Dan also enjoyed his breakfast - rather a small stack of pancakes and waffles:


After breakfast we wandered around the ship and chilled out until it was time to meet up with a highly stuffed Andy and Helen after their Palo brunch, which they said was amazing! Something for us to look forward to for our next cruise! We then decided to go and distribute some of our fish extender gifts, which was a great way to see some of the other areas of the ship, but also a bit disorientating wandering down all of those long alleyways, particularly as the ship had taken it upon itself to start swaying a little bit more as the day progressed! Fortunately the pink pills were keeping much of my nausea at bay, and everyone else seemed to be coping well, either with or without the pills.

At about 1pm we decided to go to Topsiders for the Italian buffet lunch, which was delicious once again - we certainly couldn‘t fault the food on this cruise so far. The kids then headed off to take some photos around the ship, and then the girls joined up with us for the DIS Trick or Treat around the ship, which had been organised by Suzie from our DIS group, while the lads went to the pool. The DIS Trick or Treat consisted of a series of clues to specific locations which were given out to teams of DIS kids and their parents. They then had to follow the clues to the next location where they were given a new clue and so on. Eventually the clues led to the Walt Disney theatre where the kids all received a big bag of treats (the bags we were stuffing earlier) Taryn, Louise and I had the clue station on Deck 9, and it was great fun giving out the clues and watching the kids work out where to go next. At the end of the treasure hunt we all converged at the final treat station where we all had a chat. The DIS Trick or Treat was a great success and everyone enjoyed it!

To be continued …..( too many photos)

04-11-2009, 05:09 AM
Part 2:

After this the girls joined up with Dan and Stephen and they went to watch WALL-E at the Buena Vista Theatre, while while Tony and I chilled out around the ship, not doing anything in particular as far as I can remember. At 4pm Tony and Andy had an appointment in Diversions for the Beer tasting seminar, which I believe went down very well. The kids had also been taking photos with Walt Disney:




and a rather strange one of Daniel sharing a moment with Zac Efron:


Meanwhile I decided to go down to the cabin and press our formal dresses and shirts ready for the evening’s festivities. Once the beer tasting was finished, Tony joined me down in the cabin and we all got glammed up for the formal night. Once we were ready we headed down to the Captain’s Reception, where we met up with Helen, Andy and family and mingled with the ship’s officers, while enjoying the cocktails which were on offer. We then all made our way to the Walt Disney Theatre to see the Golden Mickeys Show. This show was really wonderful and inspiring and brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion!

After the show it was time for our Golden Mickey dinner, which was in Parrot Cay. I loved this restaurant in particular, as I loved the whole tropical atmosphere and the laid back vibe - but think that Lumiere’s may well have been more appropriate for the formal dinner. However that didn’t detract from a wonderful evening with wonderful company, and once again Dennis and Laura excelled themselves with the service, and the meal was truly outstanding. This evening I had Scottish smoked salmon and pear salad, followed by jumbo shrimp and porcini mushroom tagliatelle, and then the most incredible dessert - the golden chocolate chocolate award, which was to die for!


Tony also tried scallops for the first time ever and was pleasantly surprised and he chose the Beef Wellington for his entrée.


Taryn and Louise both decided to be brave and tried something new - the cheese souffle, and they both enjoyed it, and when all the girls opted for the plain chicken entrée Dennis persuaded them to try the swordfish, which Taryn and Rachel both tried and they both liked it. I was really pleased they were having an attempt to try new things, as they are all so reluctant to do so normally. Dan opted for the lamb, which he also enjoyed and I can’t recall what Stephen decided upon.

Taryn and Rachel couldn’t decide between desserts - so Dennis brought them 3 to share:


and somebody at the table had the Passion Fruit Napoleon:


After the meal was finished Dennis amazed us all with his crayon puzzles….


Andy was wearing this amazing formal shirt which had pirate figures on the sleeves:


Following dinner we wandered around and took photos of our kids in their formal attire - marvelling at how smart and mature they all looked!






For some reason I don’t have a photo of Tony and myself or Helen and Andy in formal gear, which is a shame, especially as Tony was wearing a really cool Mickey Mouse waistcoat and bow tie. We also had a visit to the art gallery to see John Rowe and bid him farewell, as he was leaving the ship the following morning (or throwing himself overboard in desperation after having been stalked by Taryn for the past 2 days!).


We then headed back to the cabin planning to change out of our formal wear into something more casual, but in the end we were so tired we decided to stay in the cabin and go to bed. I’m afraid we were rather lacking on the stamina front some nights!I remembered to set the alarm call for the morning, we were looking forward to our visit to Mexico the following day!

04-12-2009, 04:58 AM
AMAZING DAY! your all look so fab in your posh get-up. the food looks incredible.

what cat of stateroom did your have?

04-12-2009, 01:53 PM
AMAZING DAY! your all look so fab in your posh get-up. the food looks incredible.

what cat of stateroom did your have?

Thank you!

We had a CAT 11 - on Deck 6 - really great location. We originally booked a GTY 12 but got a free upgrade to an 11.

04-17-2009, 05:45 PM
just catching up with your report

would love to be back again

memories memories memories

04-18-2009, 05:11 AM
We have been enjoying the trip report and look forward to the next installment.popcorn::
The one question that we are anxious to know is are we going to get a chance to see the mythical fishtails. I know patience has never my strong point.:tigger:

04-19-2009, 01:42 AM
We have been enjoying the trip report and look forward to the next installment.popcorn::
The one question that we are anxious to know is are we going to get a chance to see the mythical fishtails. I know patience has never my strong point.:tigger:


Pleased that you are enjoying my little ramble, but forgive me if I am dim - what are mythical fishtails?:confused3

04-19-2009, 08:41 AM
No unfortunately it is me who is the dim one.:rolleyes1 I meant to say the Mythical fish extenders.

Verity Chambers
04-20-2009, 04:16 PM
Oh Sarah, I don't want this report to ever end , I'm enjoying them so much and you make me Laugh Out Loud!!! The kids all look gorgeous in their posh frocks and I'm sure you and Tony did too!! :hug:

04-25-2009, 10:37 AM
No unfortunately it is me who is the dim one.:rolleyes1 I meant to say the Mythical fish extenders.

Yes there are definitely photos of the mythical fish extenders to come, and our door magnets.....so watch this space!!

04-28-2009, 05:23 PM
Fabulous reports .... keep them coming :love:

04-29-2009, 03:12 AM
Just spent the first couple of hours of my working day reading the whole thing, and it is grea reading so far.
Some fantastic pics as well. Looking forward to the next bit now. :thumbsup2

04-29-2009, 04:05 AM
I've just been playing catch up too :)

Great report, can't wait for more

04-29-2009, 04:12 AM
Thanks everyone for reading my report and posting such kind comments.
I am working on the next installment - but life keeps getting in the way!

04-29-2009, 03:37 PM
Day 11 - Cozumel - Part 1

I was woken up by Captain Mickey again and straight away jumped up out of bed and got ready for the day ahead - today we were in Cozumel, a place I had never visited before, so I was really looking forward to going ashore and checking it out. A quick phone call to the kids cabin made sure they were at least awake and hopefully give them a nudge in the right direction. In the meantime Tony and I headed up to Topsiders for our usual breakfast, and as we were eating we were joined intermittantly by one or other of our offspring, until we were all sitting there enjoying the morning sun. We had booked the Fury Catamaran Sail and Snorkel trip for the afternoon, but for the morning the plan was to just have a wander around the town and buy a few souvenirs. As we were enjoying breakfast, an announcement came over the speaker to tell us that because of rough seas our catamaran trip was cancelled, as were a few other of the water-based excursions. I was really disappointed as I was looking forward to this, and it seemed a bit strange as the seas appeared anything but rough at that moment in time, but maybe the powers that be knew something we didn’t!

Once breakfast was finished we headed back to the cabin to prepare to leave the ship for the morning. We wandered into town, along a very long jetty, which led into a outdoor shopping centre, mostly consisting of souvenir type shops.

View from the shopping centre:


There were also a few living “statues” which were quite interesting to look at but who were charging 10 dollars to take a photo - they weren’t THAT good! However as soon as we arrived there we were hassled by every shop owner to enter their shop, and by car rental guys trying to get us to rent vehicles - I know the local people have to earn a living, and I’m sure a lot of it comes from cruise ship passengers, but to be honest it was really off-putting and actually had the opposite effect on us - we avoided the shops with pushy salespeople and tried to whizz through the shopping centre area as quickly as possible! The kids were really freaked out by all the hassle from the locals, as this is something they had never experienced before. Unfortunately, and this is entirely our own fault, they have always spent their vacations in Disneyland Paris or WDW, and therefore have a rather Disney-fied and therefore sanitised and unrealistic view of the rest of the world. This was real Mexico as opposed to the Epcot version, and they were certainly not used to the hassle we were getting while just walking about and minding our own business. Once we were down in the streets we were offered all sorts of things by the guys we passed, and not all of it was legal, and the girls began to complain that they didn’t feel safe and wanted to go back to the ship.

I was determined to show them something of the real world, to make them appreciate a different culture and way of life, so we walked around the streets for a while and looked at the architecture and took a few photos.



Some interesting local art work:


They were still desperate to return to the Magic, and in the end we gave up and headed back. On the way back we bumped into Andy, Helen and family in the shopping area, and they were headed back to the ship for the exact same reason. So we took all the kids back to the ship and then decided to come back and have another look around ourselves.

A welcome sight for the girls….



Great place to make a call:


My happy family waiting for me to stop taking photos!


Goofy hard at work:


At the last minute Stephen changed his mind and decided to come along, as I think at 19 he was a bit fed up with the US licensing laws and he knew he could at least have a beer in Mexico!

So Tony, Stephen and I and Andy and Helen headed back into the town along the sea front, stopping off at a Tequila tasting shop so that the guys could taste some tequila,


while Helen and I gave it a miss - I was very put off by the horrible larvae in some of the bottles. After the tequila experience we wandered for a while before stopping for a Mexican beer experience, corona with the lime in the neck of the bottle, at a bar called Fat Tuesdays!It was actually very pleasant sitting in the bar, which was located on a wide square.


After enjoying the rest we decided to walk back to the ship via Senor Frogs bar, as this was somewhere you had to visit when in Mexico. Senor Frogs was always a notorious hang out for ships crew when I worked for Princess Cruises, cruising on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, so I owed it to my illustrious past to pop in for a look around.


The Hard Rock Café:


The local transport:


On the way back there we noticed that the sea was getting really rough in the bay, waves were coming over the sea wall and a boat had been lifted over onto the road and smashed up. Seems the powers that be had been correct in their assessment of the weather conditions, and for that we can only be grateful!

We arrived at Senor Frogs and went upstairs …..underneath some very strange ceiling décor…



But when we reached the bar area it was all very quiet and when we sat down at a table, no one came near to take our order, so we decided to give it a miss and after a quick photograph on the swings


we headed out and decided to visit Margaritaville instead.

Margaritaville had a much better atmosphere and location and we grabbed a table near the ocean and ordered margaritas as it would be silly not to really considering we were in Margaritaville!





The margaritas were wonderful, but on an empty stomach it really went to my head, and one was certainly enough! The guys got really brave and decided to get a tequila shot off one of the girls going around. This was caught on video by myself and was really funny! Even Stephen had a go, and after the tequila tasting in the shop, a couple of beers, a margarita and now the tequila shot, we even got him to smile for the camera, although it was the video and not the still camera so I have no proof for you all to see!


Apart from Margaritaville, which to be honest could have been anywhere, I was not overly impressed with Cozumel, mainly because of the pushy salespeople everywhere, and I certainly would not be wanting to rush back there anytime soon.

04-29-2009, 03:47 PM
Day 11 - Cozumel - Part 2

We then decided to head back to the Magic to get some lunch, and check on the kids, so we wandered back through the shopping area and I picked up some hot chilli sauce for some friends and ourselves and a bottle of Kahlua and some ridiculously low price, about one tenth of the price in the UK!
By the time we got on the ship I was still feeling a bit light headed after the margarita so I decided to have a rest on the bed for a wee while the others went for some lunch. After about an hour I met up with Tony at the Goofy pool and grabbed some chicken fingers and fries. We then went up on the deck and filmed us sailing away from Cozumel on the videocam, before going down to the cabin to get ready for the show and dinner.



This evening’s show was Twice Charmed, and it was really enjoyable and well-presented. By now the seas were quite rough and it was amazing how the dancers managed to dance so well and appear so graceful when the passengers were having trouble walking in a straight line! After the show we stopped by to watch the new artist Trevor Carlton, paint a picture in 30 minutes.




This was truly a sight to see - he was incredible and I have never seen anyone paint a picture in such an entertaining way. No doubt Taryn would be making her way to the art gallery later to commence stalking Trevor!

Dinner this evening was the island dinner in Parrot Cay and I had really been looking forward to this one after checking out the menus on-line!Tonight was the island dinner, and Laura looked lovely in her costume!


While waiting for dinner we caught Stephen colouring in the pictures on the kids menu!


The warm banana bread with banana butter dip which came with this dinner was absolutely divine and we had demolished a few servings of this before the entrees arrived. Most of us had the smokey chicken, vegetable and cheddar cheese fritters for our appetiser and these were really nice. I followed this with a Caesar salad. For entrée I chose the Caribbean roast chicken, which again was delicious, while Tony opted for the Island roasted rib eye of beef, which he really enjoyed. Dessert this evening was the wonderful Crème Brulee Cheesecake.


I certainly could not fault the food on the cruise so far, every single meal had been beyond even our high expectations. I forgot to say that Tony and I had ordered wine on our first evening as we do like a glass or two with our meal, and I was enjoying a delicious glass of Pinot Grigio with dinner every evening while Tony had a Shiraz. Our servers took the bottle away after dinner and brought it back out each evening until it was finished. Over the week I had 2 bottles and Tony had 3 - and it worked out really good value - well at least on a par with a decent restaurant over here. At the end of the meal Dennis amused everyone with some balancing cutlery:


After dinner we had our customary walk around the ship before going to bed. We also popped along to check out the Art Gallery and to our surprise found Taryn, and the others chatting to Trevor Carlton. Rockin Bar D had some Spring Break thing going on which didn’t really appeal, and the sea was getting a bit too rocky for me to sit for long in Sessions or Diversions. Tomorrow we were in Grand Cayman and I was really looking forward to our trip in “Johnny Depp’s” boat with Helen, Andy and family. Tomorrow was also Pirate Night, and as I am a Pirates of the Caribbean obsessive I had looked forward to this event since booking the cruise!

04-29-2009, 03:50 PM
whoops - posted it twice:rotfl:

04-30-2009, 01:38 AM
Great addition to the TR and some more fantastic pics - my favourite of which is definately DS doing his colouring in :lmao:

Some friends of ours have done a Disney Cruise and had exactly the same complaint as you. Maybe it needs someone to go and have a word with the shop owners and explain that their aggressive sales techniques are having the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve, and that if they allow people to browse on their own they will no doubt sell more.

I also loved the decorations on the ceiling in the Senor Frogs - wonder if ebay sell them??

05-04-2009, 05:36 PM
Day 12: grand Cayman (or was it?) : part 1

I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing and once again it was Captain Mickey, waking me up at 07:30am. I was really grateful for this phone alarm call every morning as otherwise I could easily have slept forever - the beds was so comfortable and with no natural light coming into the room there was nothing to wake me up other than good old reliable Captain Mickey. Tony and I immediately got up, showered and dressed and headed up to deck 9 to see if we could see land ahoy! We scanned the horizon in all directions, but there was nothing to be seen - very strange indeed. We grabbed a coffee from the machine and walked around deck 9. The sea was still quite choppy and the wind was gusty, but otherwise it looked like a clear warm day ahead. After about half an hour we headed back to wake up the kids, and get ready for breakfast and hopefully a day in Grand Cayman. Those of you who have read my pre-trippie will recall that today was the today that Helen had arranged for us to charter a boat for the few hours we were in Grand Cayman, and we planned to visit Stingray City and a few other places. I was also very excited by the fact that today I going to be the closest to Johnny Depp that I am ever likely to be - apparently his backside had graced one of the seats on the boat we were chartering during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean, and I was planning to sit in every seat on the boat just to make sure!

We roused the kids and arranged to meet them at Topsiders when they finally surfaced - and we headed on up there for our usual breakfasts. There was still no land in sight and I was getting a bit concerned as surely we should be seeing something by now. Because of the gusty wind we chose to sit inside, and while we were sitting there an announcement came across the system: due to the inclement weather conditions, the ship was not able to operate the tenders and we would not be going to Grand Cayman. I was gutted, and gutted beyond consolation! This was the day I was most looking forward to, and it was not to be - no stingray city, no boat charter and no sitting in the seat once graced by Johnny’s backside! The CM then announced that today would be our day at sea, and they would be working on getting us into an alternative port the following day. So basically all of the sea day activities planned for tomorrow would be changed to today - so that at least gave us a galley tour to look forward to - not quite the same as snorkelling amongst the stingrays at stingray city, but I suppose the best thing to do was focus on the positives and try and make the most of today. Once I had stopped crying into my napkin I decided to do just that!. Round about now the kids appeared and the Balster family joined us and we all had a good old cry together. We spotted our evening server Dennis in Topsiders, and I asked him if he had any top secret insider information to our likely port tomorrow, and he said that it might be Key West - my inconsolability was immediately consoled because the last time Tony and I had been in Key West had been on our honeymoon in 2002, and we had loved every minute of it. The thought of revisiting some of our old haunts and sharing them with the kids immediately banished our disconsolate mood, and I began to look forward to the day after all.

The powers that be rushed to get out a revised Navigator with all of the day’s activities, and we planned our day. One of my first priorities was to finish giving out my Fish Extender gifts, and after finishing breakfast we set out to do this. I was sneaking around very quietly, trying to pop my gifts in the Fish Extenders very surreptitiously, and I soon realised it was a mistake taking Tony along with me - as every time we came across a Fish Extender he would loudly shout out - “does this one need a gift in it” or “is this one of our group” etc etc. he couldn’t have made himself any more noticeable without actually knocking on the door and saying to the occupier “hello - I am here to put a gift in your Fish Extender” I must add here that it was really good fun participating in the Fish Extender exchange - we were constantly receiving little gifts and some people had gone to a lot of trouble. I will try and write a bit more about the gifts etc given and received at the end of the report. I would certainly recommend getting involved - it certainly added an extra dimension to our cruise experience.

Anyway, back to our revised sea day. Tony and Stephen decided to try their hand at the “chip it” golf and Louise went along with them, while Taryn, Daniel and I decided to have a go at making origami flowers in the Promenade Lounge, after which we all planned to meet up for the Disney Tunes Trivia. The origami flower making was very interesting, and unbelievably we all managed to make something which resembled a flower. In the meantime, Tony arrived flushed with success from winning the golf game, and with a winners medal to prove it! It was now time for Disney Tunes Trivia, and this was really good fun, and fairly easy to be honest, and we ended up tying for first place with a team who were also members of our DIS group - Shoshie and her team. So that meant the dreaded tie-break for Shoshie and I - we were called up into the middle of the floor, and I expected a really difficult Disney tunes question, but was completely floored when the CM asked us how old we thought she was. The one who was closest would win the quiz. I didn’t want to offend the CM who was obviously in her early twenties, so I guessed 21, and Shoshie I think guessed 25, and guess who was closest - Shoshie. So much for trying to be kind to the CM. So we came second and won a very useful and surprisingly good quality DCL mini torch, which is great for checking on sleeping patients on a night shift.

By now it was time for lunch, and we met up with Andy, Helen and family and headed for the Topsiders buffet for another delicious lunch. During the lunch an announcement came over the ship to say that we were indeed going to be calling at Key West the following day, which was fantastic news.foo After lunch we headed off for our galley tour, where we met up and chatted with Woody, another one of our DIS group. The galley tour was interesting and informative - I couldn’t believe how small a space all of those meals were prepared in, and particularly amazed by how few pastry chefs they employ for all of those wonderful desserts. We were shown where our orders are placed when they are brought in by the servers, and I took a photo of table 50’s order slot.


The galley was incredibly clean and very shiny!




At the end of the galley tour, which only lasted about 20 minutes, we were given a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, which was delicious, but having only just eaten lunch I shared mine with Tony. While we were enjoying the galley tour, the kids headed to watch the High School Musical 3 premiere which was being held on the ship that day, but I think Dan had the intention of making fun of the film, and Zac Efron in particular, but after about 20 minutes he was getting that many evil glares (and well deserved too) from the HSM fans that he felt compelled to leave and abandon his mission to take the mickey out of Zac and friends. I think they all headed for the pool after the movie finished.

After the galley tour we decided to wander a bit and went for a drink in Diversions, where Andy and Tony were very reluctantly persuaded by a CM to do battle in the Wii Tennis tournament. Needless to say they both gave a very poor performance and didn’t last more than five minutes in the tournament. We also did a bit of shopping in the stores, and I bought some DCL pins and a DCL pirate themed scrapbook. We then wandered by StudioSea, and we were accosted by a pair of scurvy pirates, who persuaded us to take part in the “Pirate’s Life for Me” game. I think this was aimed at the younger crew members but for some reason Tony was selected as one of the pirate captains and took great pleasure in leading his team to victory.


I took equally great pleasure in taking his photo with a hat with a monkey’s rear end on it, although the photo only shows the head end of the monkey as a matter of decency:


Before too long it was time to get ready for pirate night, so we headed back to the cabin to get into our costumes. Try as we might we could not persuade Stephen to dress up in his pirate costume - maybe he was still traumatised by his experiences at MNSSHP, but no amount of persuasion, bribery or poking with a plastic sword could make him change his mind. We had arranged to meet back up with Helen, Andy and family at the lobby, as we wanted to get some pirate photographs taken before dinner.



There was quite a long line for the professional pirate themed photographs, but it was definitely worth the wait as these were the best photographs we had taken all cruise.




I managed to get a couple of photos of Pirate Mickey:



We decided against having a photo taken with Captain Jack Sparrow, as to my intense disappointment and to be perfectly honest he didn’t really have the look or the mannerisms of the great man himself, and I am very particular about my Captain Jacks. There was also another very long line which I was not prepared to wait in.

05-04-2009, 05:37 PM
Day 12: part 2

We then headed into dinner - and it was one of the best dinners we had during the cruise. The atmosphere in the restaurant was amazing, Laura and Dennis looked great:


and the food was once again phenomenal - in fact I had my favourite entrée dish of the whole cruise. The menu was made out like a pirate treasure map:


My choices were buccaneer’s sun ripened pineapple, hideaway bay salad, and macadamia dusted mahi mahi (divine) and Tony opted for the Caribbean spicy vegetable gumbo soup and the black pearl oven roasted beef tenderloin.





On this very rare occasion we bypassed dessert in lieu of the pirate night buffet, although I was highly tempted by the white chocolate cheesecake. We took lots of photos at the table,






and we also had a professional one taken which turned out very well - if you turn a blind eye to the boring non-costumed member of the group!


Once dinner was finished we headed up to the Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party and staked out a spot on Deck 10.


It was very very windy and even for us Brits it felt cool, certainly a lot cooler than you would expect in the Caribbean. The party was great fun, lots of dancing on stage, although unfortunately Mickey was unable to fly down the zip wire and save the day because of the wind. Instead he appeared out of thin air up on deck 10 and saved the day from there. The fireworks were great, not on a Wishes or Illuminations level but very good considering the fact we were on a ship and it was very very windy. We grabbed a few bits from the buffet, and admired the spectacular ice carvings:



and then started watching The Curse of the Black Pearl on the ariel-view screen, but in the end it was so cold that everyone up on deck ended up wrapping themselves in towels. It was great to be able watch it up there on the big screen in the middle of the open ocean, but having already seen the film about fifty times I was not prepared to sit there shivering to watch it again, so once Captain Jack and Will arrived in Tortuga, those of our group still up there, ie. Tony, Dan and myself decided to call it quits and headed down to the cabin, grabbing a hot coffee on the way to warm us up!

So despite initial disappointment it had been a great day, and we went to bed knowing that tomorrow we would be re-living our honeymoon (well some of it at least) in Key West, and I was really looking forward to that!

05-05-2009, 12:54 AM
Another fantastic report - and a great couple of days.
So pleased you managed to get over your initial dissappointment and looked on the positive side.
The photo's all looked fab and what a great job you all did of dressing up and adding to the atmosphere (well most of you anyway :lmao:)

Looking forward to the next part - and finding out about those fish extenders.

05-05-2009, 01:46 PM
Thanks Sarah for posting, I am very much enjoying reading your reports.

I would hate to be hassled by shop keepers. I think Nassau is supposed to be the same from what I have read.

Loved all the photos and descriptions, again it is nice to 'experience' a cruise whilst not having been on one.

I am looking forward to your next day, when you get a minute.

Verity Chambers
05-05-2009, 03:35 PM
Loving your reports as ever sarah, they are just so detailed. :hug: I love the fact that you are so serious about your costumes, they always look absolutely fantastic. :thumbsup2

05-05-2009, 05:04 PM
Another fab day - looking forward to Key West! Don't leave it too long.


05-06-2009, 04:24 AM
Nothing annoys me more than pushy sales people - I feel your pain!

The Pirate night looked amazing, you've got some great pics of it too :)

05-06-2009, 05:39 AM
Another fantastic report - and a great couple of days.
So pleased you managed to get over your initial dissappointment and looked on the positive side.
The photo's all looked fab and what a great job you all did of dressing up and adding to the atmosphere (well most of you anyway :lmao:)

Looking forward to the next part - and finding out about those fish extenders.

Thanks - we all really enjoy the dressing up - well all but one of us !!!

Thanks Sarah for posting, I am very much enjoying reading your reports.

I would hate to be hassled by shop keepers. I think Nassau is supposed to be the same from what I have read.

Loved all the photos and descriptions, again it is nice to 'experience' a cruise whilst not having been on one.

I am looking forward to your next day, when you get a minute.

Thanks :goodvibes I have't been to Nassau so I don't know if that is the same.

Loving your reports as ever sarah, they are just so detailed. :hug: I love the fact that you are so serious about your costumes, they always look absolutely fantastic. :thumbsup2

Thanks Verity xxx I suppose "sad" could be another way to describe it!

Another fab day - looking forward to Key West! Don't leave it too long.


Thanks Sharon - I will be as quick as I can with Key West - but it will be a long one I'm afraid - lots of photos!

Nothing annoys me more than pushy sales people - I feel your pain!

The Pirate night looked amazing, you've got some great pics of it too :)

I know what you mean - but why on earth don't they realise that it has the opposite effect and they actually push people away. Pirate night was so much fun. I can't wait till our next one!

06-01-2009, 12:50 PM
Day 13: Key West - part 1

We were really really excited about waking up in Key West, or approaching Key West as it turned out, as we weren’t due to arrive in the port until 09:30, and we were awake way before that. Tony and I had spent five days of our honeymoon in Key West and this would be a very unexpected but very welcome return visit, and I wanted to re-visit all of the memorable places where we had spent time on our honeymoon trip 6 years previously.
In fact we were so excited that as soon as Captain Mickey woke us up with the alarm call we were up out of bed, showered, dressed and up on deck. It was about 07:30, and the ship was deserted, so not one to waste a rare photo opportunity, we grabbed a coffee and wandered about taking a few “empty ship” photographs!





Key West was still away in the distance so we woke up the kids and all went for our customary Topsiders breakfast. There was also the US immigration to attend to which was quick and painless, before we were able to disembark. The ship had arrived at a dock a way from the usual dock in the Mallory Square area, probably due to the last minute decision to visit Key West and the usual dock being taken up by other cruise ships, but DCL had laid on complementary transport in the form of trams and trolleys to take us from the ship to Mallory Square. We hopped on one of the trams, and before long we were wandering along towards my favourite spot in Key West, the Schooner Wharf. We had spent a few pleasant evenings in the Schooner Wharf bar during our honeymoon, and we had also enjoyed two wonderful cruises on the Western Union (Key West Flagship), a sunset cruise and a stargazing cruise, both of which were highlights of our honeymoon.
I had this photo taken in exactly the same spot on my honeymoon, although clearly I have found a few pounds since then!


Me in the same spot on honeymoon in 2002:


It was wonderful to see the old familiar sights where we had so many special memories from our honeymoon and to be able to share them with our kids. The Western Union was still there, although for some reason she had been painted white - not the best decision in my opinion as she looked much better before with a black hull!




Here is the Western Union back in 2002:


We then wandered back to Duval Street and went for a drink in the Hard Rock Café, another of our honeymoon haunts, and we sat up on the balcony overlooking Duval Street and watched the world go by, while enjoying a very welcome cold drink.



We continued on our way and soon after this we bumped into Helen, Andy and the girls, who had been jewellery shopping, and they showed us a really lovely costume jewellery store on Duval Street where they were selling really stunning jewellery items for $10. We spent quite a while in here buying gifts for family and of course a few bits for ourselves, while the male members of the group sat around looking bored. I am not the most decisive shopper at the best of times, but faced with so much choice, it was very difficult to narrow down my selections. But to the relief of the chaps, and probably the despairing shop assistants we eventually made our purchases and departed the store in a quest to find and photograph the Southernmost Point. After a long walk up Duval Street we arrived at the Southernmost Point and took the obligatory photograph, and we also showed the kids where we stayed on our honeymoon, the Southernmost Hotel, which hadn’t changed a bit since the day we left it!



We walked back towards Mallory Square, taking some interesting photos along the way.





I absolutely love the architecture of Key West and could wander around all day, just absorbing the atmosphere of this amazing place. We spotted this house all decorated for Halloween:


We popped into the Wyland Gallery to look at the art work, which was truly stunning,


Took a photo of the Denny’s where we has our first breakfast in Key West on honeymoon - nothing at all seemed to have changed in this wonderful timeless place:


and we then stopped off for what must be one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted - soft whip peanut butter ice cream dipped in liquid chocolate, which then set hard in contact with the ice cream. It was truly divine. I loved this sign outside one of the houses on Duval Street:

We had to duplicate another of our honeymoon photos: Tony outside Captain Tony’s Bar - again with a few extra pounds found since the honeymoon photo!


Tony on honeymoon in 2002 outside Captain Tony’s bar


The inside of Captain Tony’s Bar was very interesting:


06-01-2009, 01:59 PM
wow, what an amazing day! I LOVE your reports and the piccies of you all at the pirates bash are wonderful...you have some really fab memories to cherish.:cloud9:

06-06-2009, 11:02 AM
Thanks I enjoyed reading your report and seeing the photos. I look forward to the next one.:thumbsup2

06-06-2009, 12:15 PM
wow, what an amazing day! I LOVE your reports and the piccies of you all at the pirates bash are wonderful...you have some really fab memories to cherish.:cloud9:

Thanks I enjoyed reading your report and seeing the photos. I look forward to the next one.:thumbsup2

Thanks so much for your kind comments. I hope to finish this trip report before my next trip in July - otherwise I will have 2 on the go at one time and this is already the most long-winded trip report in DIS history (I think), it now being 7 months since I took the trip!

06-06-2009, 12:20 PM
It is nice to have them to look forward to though.:goodvibes

07-09-2009, 03:39 PM
We even spotted a real life pirate coming out of Captain Tony’s, complete with a parrot and a peg leg, although the mobile phone he was using sort of shattered the illusion somewhat.


Not long after this we bumped into Helen and Andy again, and their girls were heading back to the ship. Our kids decided to join them and we loaded them onto the tram back to the ship.


Our server Dennis was on the same tram, heading back to start his shift, and it was great to see him enjoying some free time - those guys work so hard!


While waiting for the tram to depart back to the Magic I took a few photos in the Mallory Square area:



Once free of our kids we decided to show Andy and Helen the Schooner Wharf Bar, and of course we had to sample a few of their wonderful cocktails! We happily sat here reliving some happy honeymoon memories with our new friends, and it was an idyllic way to spend a couple of hours in Key West, chilling out with a few drinks, with great company listening to the live music and watching the boats bobbing about on the harbour.




We all agreed that this had been the best day of the cruise so far. Before too long though it was time to return to the Magic so we wandered back to Mallory Square where we jumped on the tram and headed back to the ship.


Before I go any further, to avoid any confusion I must tell you that DCL had chosen to celebrate Halloween on 30th October, which was originally planned to be a sea day, and I suppose because the official Halloween fell on the last day when we would be in Castaway Cay, this made sense really. However with the change of itinerary the DCL Halloween now fell on the day we were in Key West, so those wishing to take part in the trick or treating would have needed to get back to the ship mid afternoon. The ship had been decorated with pumpkin displays and cobwebs in the lobby and it was really effective, if a bit understated for what you might expect at Disney. The Halloween trick or treating was in full swing on the ship, by the time we arrived back, with all the young kids wandering about in costume to the various treat locations, where cast members dressed in High School Musical graduation costumes were giving out candy. Tony and I grabbed some snacks from Plutos and watched them for a while. Our kids were planning on dressing up for Halloween, and so we went back down to the cabin to check on the preparations - and help Taryn paint herself blue!

Taryn and Louise had decided to go with a Tim Burton theme, and were dressing up as Emily the Corpse Bride and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Daniel, had originally planned to dress in with the theme as Jack Skellington, but after a last minute change of plan after seeing the latest Batman film he was now going to dress as The Joker.

This last minute change of plan was not the most welcome thing in the world, as I had had to spend the month prior to the cruise searching out Joker costume items such as green waistcoat and purple trousers, when we already had a Jack Skellington costume for Dan to wear. Still , I must admit, when he put it all together it looked ok, and he did all of the make-up himself, which is always good. Taryn, on the other hand needed help with the body and face paint, which tends to go everywhere during application, and we ended up with the bathroom of stateroom 6090 decoratively splattered with a vivid shade of blue, which to my intense relief fortunately washed off, as I didn’t relish sharing that dilemma with poor Erwin who already had a job and a half on his hands looking after 4 messy teens! Needless to say, Stephen declined to dress up.

So eventually they were all dressed up and raring to go.


Tony and I had brought along costumes for Halloween, but decided last minute not to wear them as they both involved wigs and heavy fabrics and it was far too hot. They will keep for another occasion - more than likely a Halloween night in Disneyland Paris, when it will be much cooler. So we opted to dress in our semi-formal outfits.

Unfortunately, because of all the faffing about with costumes we missed our slot for Disney Dreams and I was totally gutted! Especially when Helen, Andy and family told us it was the best Disney Show so far! Still, looking on the bright side it will be something new to look forward to on our next cruise!

Before dinner, the kids decided to have a wander about in their costumes, meeting up with Rachel and Bethany who were dressed as a gothic Tinkerbell and a gothic ….erm, a gothic young lady:




In the meantime, Tony and I wandered into Sessions where we had a glass of wine before dinner. The wine came with some interesting little snacks which were intended to compliment the wine, which was nice, but I probably shouldn’t have indulged so close to dinner! We also bumped into Captain Mickey looking all spooky in his Halloween costume:


Dinner this evening was the Captain’s Gala Dinner and we were once again dining in Animators Palette.


My choices this evening were garlic and herb sautéed shrimp, and a garden salad, followed by fettucine with parmesan crusted chicken. All absolutely delicious. The plan was to waiver dessert this evening in view of the temptations of the midnight dessert buffet later on, but once I spotted warm chocolate lava cake on the menu I was gone.


All plans to abstain flew out of the window I’m afraid ….but it was worth it! The chocolate lava cake was out of this world! We took some photos at the dinner table - a bit strange with the mix of Halloween and Semi-Formal costumes, but what the heck:




Following dinner we headed down to watch the costume competition, and I was amazed by how many adults had made so much effort. The cruise staff chose 3 entrants per section, and the sections were “Most Disney” “Best Group” “ Most funny” and “Most Spooky”. To our surprise Taryn was selected as one of the entrants for the “most spooky” costume section and she was up against this very scary chap:


and the witch you can see behind her in the following photo:


Basically each entrant was introduced and the places were allocated according to how loud the cheers / applause were for each entrant.
The “most funny” costume was won by a guy dressed as a horse’s rear end, the “best group” by a group of castaway cay santas, and “most disney” by a very effective Ursula:


Infortunately I failed to get photos of the Santa group and the horse’s rear end, so apologies for that!

Then it was time for the “most spooky” category, and when they introduced Taryn as the Corpse Bride and we all cheered and shouted as loudly as we could, and it must be true that the Brits make a lot of noise because to our amazement she won first place! The prize was a Jack Skellington pumpkin head trophy which said “Disney Cruise Line Halloween Costume Contest Winner” on it, which made a lovely souvenir from the cruise.



07-09-2009, 03:53 PM
After the contest it was time for the midnight (actually 11:30pm) dessert buffet, although I was not able to do this justice in any way as it was only an hour and a half since we had left the dinner table. It was such a shame. The cakes and desserts looked beyond divine, and all I could do was photograph them. There now follows an excessive amount of photographs of desserts, so those of you on a diet please look away for the remainder of this post…… it will not do you any favours whatsoever to feast your eyes on such delicious delectations:











There was also an impressive ice sculpture on display:



and an incredible chocolate fountain will all sorts of fruits for dipping, and I managed to eat a few chocolate dipped strawberries, and that was all. I was so disappointed, but there was no point in taking a plate of desserts and not being able to finish it. We also had a very nice coffee.



After the dessert buffet we wandered about the ship a while before retiring to our cabin. So it had been an amazing day, and even though tomorrow we were to be having our second visit to Castaway Cay, I was not looking forward to it, as it was also to be our last full day on the Disney Magic, and the thought of leaving the ship was already filling me with despair.

07-09-2009, 05:25 PM
Thank you for bringing back some great memories

We were one of the ones shouting for her to win too
she was by far the best out of the 3

as for the dessert party
could only have some of the fruit in the chocalate too
DH and DS both had died and gone to heavan
DS had chocalate from ear to ear

07-09-2009, 05:27 PM
Thank you for bringing back some great memories

We were one of the ones shouting for her to win too
she was by far the best out of the 3

as for the dessert party
could only have some of the fruit in the chocalate too
DH and DS both had died and gone to heavan
DS had chocalate from ear to ear

07-10-2009, 03:54 AM
What a load of fantastic pictures.
Jimmy Buffets is one of our (very long list) favourite places to eat in Florida so it was nice to see 'the original'
And I have made the decision that if I ever find myself likely to go to a dessert party I will not be eating for 2 days beforehand - just so I can do all those desserts the justice they deserve.
Thank you for this report - I really enjoyed reading it.

07-14-2009, 07:09 AM
Thank you for bringing back some great memories

We were one of the ones shouting for her to win too
she was by far the best out of the 3

as for the dessert party
could only have some of the fruit in the chocalate too
DH and DS both had died and gone to heavan
DS had chocalate from ear to ear

thanks for shouting for her :hug:- it made her cruise winning that award! next time we have booked early dining just so we can do justice to that dessert buffet!

What a load of fantastic pictures.
Jimmy Buffets is one of our (very long list) favourite places to eat in Florida so it was nice to see 'the original'
And I have made the decision that if I ever find myself likely to go to a dessert party I will not be eating for 2 days beforehand - just so I can do all those desserts the justice they deserve.
Thank you for this report - I really enjoyed reading it.

Thank you for enjoying it.:goodvibes

01-06-2010, 06:33 PM
I thought it was about time I finished this trip report, as with a future cruise on the Disney Magic slowly approaching, I might be feeling the need to be starting a new and exciting pre-trip report before too long, and starting a pre-trippie before finishing a trippie, well that has just got to be bad luck or something ….. so without further ado, I have resurrected this poor forgotten old trippie from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker or wherever else it has been hiding since its last update on 09/0709, and will give you our last full day on the Disney Magic.

Day 14 - Cruise Day 7: Double Dipping in Castaway Cay

Obviously, given the time lapse since this cruise I will largely be basing this day on photographic memories than written ones, as the actual events of the day are more than a little hazy. It as officially Halloween today, and more importantly it was DH Tony’s birthday, and I gave him a few little gifts and a birthday badge which I insisted he wore all day. He was really pleased with that (not). Tony and I got up early as we wanted to make the most of every second, and wandered around the upper decks, with a lovely coffee from Deck 9.

As soon as the kids surfaced we headed for our usual Topsiders breakfast, for the last time, as tomorrow we would be in Parrot Cay for our very last breakfast. Soon after breakfast we returned to the cabin and grabbed our stuff for a day on the paradise island of Castaway Cay. We headed down to our favourite spot on the family beach, at the furthest end near the Heads Up Bar. It was still a bit chilly in the water


And not many people were going in the sea at this point


But we hardy Brits weren’t going to let that stop us enjoying the tubes we had rented



Tony and Dan did a bit of snorkelling;


And the rest of us relaxed and chatted on the beach. The sun still hadn’t made an appearance.


The girls decided to bury Taryn in the sand …..but it appears they missed the most important bit ….


This local resident was rather cute:


Before long it was time for lunch and we popped over to sample the wonderful food on offer at Cookie’s BBQ.


Tony enjoyed his birthday lunch:


And this is what I had:


I am pleased to see that I showed considerable restraint on the chocolate chip cookie front.

After lunch Tony and I decided to hire bikes and have a look around the island. This was easier said that done for me who hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager, and certainly never in a swimming costume and sarong, but since I was not willing to walk back to the ship to change into more suitable cycling attire, it was that or nothing, and nothing would not have been allowed by the Castaway Cay authorities. So bikes were rented and off we went, and to my amazement it all came flooding back, a bit like riding a bike really!

We cycled along to the runway and took a few photos along the way, although I stopped the bike for attempting any photography, I wasn’t pushing my luck.





We cycled to Serenity Bay, which I didn’t like as much as the Family Beach to be honest, but that’s just me being picky.


We encountered this little chap trying to cross the runway:



We then headed off to explore the cycling trails and found ourselves at the lookout tower … time for some more photographs then:



Tony spotted something really magical in the distance ….


Sorry …. couldn’t resist that one.




It was truly amazing how natural and unspoiled the landscape was when you got away from the developed areas. It was breath-taking.

01-06-2010, 06:37 PM
By now it was time to head back to the beach and think about taking refreshment at the Heads Up Bar, something we missed out on when we visited earlier in the cruise.
I was still blown away by how beautiful this place is:




Unfortunately our plans were to be dashed yet again when we arrived at the Heads Up Bar it was already closing




We began to realise that these were our last moments on Castaway Cay and soon the cruise would be over. Danny was very subdued:



And I had to take the traditional hammock and feet photo:



It was very sad to leave Castaway Cay but we had a lovely evening ahead of us on the ship and we didn’t want to dwell on the fact that it was our last evening. When we got on the ship “E” our cabin steward had decorated our stateroom with some birthday decorations for Tony, which was a nice surprise.


This is our cabin steward “E” who was a real star:


Before we could embrace the dreaded task of bag packing, we went up on deck to watch us sail away fro Castaway Cay, and it was round about now that the fight against floods of tears started. I tried to keep my spirits up with a frozen strawberry dacquiri, which abated the floodgates somewhat temporarily. In the end we gave in to the inevitable, we would need to pack our bags and organise the kids packing theirs before the show if we were to enjoy the evening ahead.

Before we started packing our bags we took photos of our door and fish extenders before taking them all down : (





Soon it was time for the farewell show “Remember the Magic“, which was really sad but really good, and it was so difficult not to keep bursting into tears. I can’t hear that song now without crying, even though I love it, I just associate it so much with leaving the Disney Magic.

After the show we headed into our final dinner with Dennis and Laura in my favourite restaurant Parrot Cay. The meal was lovely though I can’t remember what I had, apart from this delicious apple dessert:


The waiters did the traditional cruise Baked Alaska parade, still going from my days with Princess cruises in the late 1980s, and Tony decided it would be rude not to choose the baked Alaska for his dessert.


Now unknown to Tony we had had a sneaky word with Dennis earlier in the cruise and we had arranged for a birthday cake for Tony. We were not however prepared for the size of it, and the big group of waiters who gathered around to sing happy birthday with us! Tony then had to eat a piece of the cake, which even he struggles with after a 4 course dinner and a baked Alaska dessert !





01-06-2010, 06:42 PM
After bidding a reluctant farewell to Dennis and Laura and giving them our tip envelopes with more than a bit extra because of the fantastic service, there were hugs all around and more tears from me. We then headed off for the atrium as the girls were desperate to have photos with the princesses and characters. We managed to get some lovely photos, including this which is one of my favourites …. All four with Captain Mickey.


The girls has photos with Snow White:


And Belle


And the cast from Twice Charmed:


And Tony managed to get a photo with his favourite characters … Chip and Dale:


You can see how pleased he is by the look on his little face …..


And then the girls wanted in on the action:


As we were saying our goodbyes we headed up to the art gallery as Taryn wanted to say goodbye to Trevor Carlton:



This is the amazing picture we had watched him speed painting earlier in the cruise.


It was an added bonus to the cruise experience being able to chat with these incredibly talented artists and watch them at work.

After wandering around the ship for the final time, Tony and I found ourselves in Rocking Bar D, where we caught the end of a funny routine by the cruise staff ….
“ If I were not upon the sea!” Definitely worth seeing, and I am sure there are many videos of this on Youtube for anyone who has never seen it. It certainly made me laugh, which made a welcome change from crying that evening. All too soon it was time to head back to the cabin and to bed. I was not looking forward to tomorrow….

01-07-2010, 10:17 AM
Wow, amazing report! I've just read through it all now. Your photos are really good, I particularly liked your pirate outfits and you all looked great in your formal cruise clothes. I hope you decide to do another report for your next trip! :thumbsup2

01-08-2010, 05:40 AM
Wow, amazing report! I've just read through it all now. Your photos are really good, I particularly liked your pirate outfits and you all looked great in your formal cruise clothes. I hope you decide to do another report for your next trip! :thumbsup2

Thanks Lauren :hug: I have really enjoyed writing it and reliving it in a way. I will hope to write a report for my next trip as it is a great way of keeping the memories for posterity. It might not be very interesting though as it will only be me and him.

Ware Bears
01-08-2010, 07:55 PM
I've really enjoyed reading this, Sarah. Fantastic photos of you all and thanks for putting so much detail in your report. :goodvibes We've just come off a 3 night on the Wonder and now I desperately want more and for longer too!!

01-09-2010, 05:23 AM
:hug:I've really enjoyed reading this, Sarah. Fantastic photos of you all and thanks for putting so much detail in your report. :goodvibes We've just come off a 3 night on the Wonder and now I desperately want more and for longer too!!

Thank you Elaine :hug: I know what you mean ... once you have done a Disney Cruise nothing else will do :rotfl: It's definitely addictive. I can't wait for my next one !! :yay::yay:

01-10-2010, 07:19 PM
Thanks for finishing this report

01-11-2010, 04:25 AM
Thanks for finishing this report

Just one more installment to come Jackie .... you haven't escaped me yet .... and then on to the pre-trippie for my forthcoming cruise .. :rotfl:

01-11-2010, 02:24 PM
Looks like you had a great trip, well worth the 45 mins its taken me to read it!!!

01-11-2010, 03:23 PM
Looks like you had a great trip, well worth the 45 mins its taken me to read it!!!

Thank you ..... did it really take that long :rolleyes1 :rolleyes1 obviously far too much waffle :goodvibes