View Full Version : 5/12 Magic report, Part 3 - final

05-20-2001, 05:41 PM
As promised...

OCEANEERS CLUB - The idea is great, but I'm mixed on the club itself. First, I didn't think they had enough counselors for the 3 & 4 year olds. The lighting is just awful...very dark! I also didn't think they had enough free time activity stations. There would be scheduled activities followed by quiet time. Most of the times we were beeped where when an activity ended and it was quiet time. Also, they beep you way too easily. All your child has to say is, "I miss my mommy", and you're beeped! I was beeped the night of the PJ party at around 9:35 so I had assumed that Goofy had been there and my kids were ready to leave. When I got there, I found out that Goofy wasn't coming til 10:00. When I asked why I was beeped, I was told that DD2 said she was hungry. Just as I was told that, I was spotted by DD2 who along with the other kids were getting potato chips! Couldn't they just tell her that a snack was coming soon? Luckily, we had JUST finished at Palos so at least we got that in! I made a comment to another mom who was there that for a kids club there were sure a lot of moms. She snapped back at me that "some of us want to be here". Well, you know what I wanted to say to her. I purposely took this vacation to have both family time and adult time. Some of the activities were great, and my girls did enjoy them. They participated in the Discover the Magic show. DD1 was carried in by Candiss, the counselor they usually had, because she was crying and worried that I would miss the show. She continued to cry because they wouldn't let her stand and dance with Mickey.....oye! DD1 is also the one with the peanut allergy. I let her eat lunch with the club once because all she eats are chicken tenders anyway. I was told no problem for the chicken tenders. Well, wouldn't you guess that we got beeped toward the end of our Palos brunch! My DH went down to Topsiders just to encounter a hysterical DD1. Chicken Tenders were not on the kids buffet that day and they won't get the children other food. I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME THAT AND I WOULD'VE BROUGHT HER CHICKEN TENDERS!!!!!! Verity, one of the head counselors apologized for the miscommunication and explained that many of the counselors are new. I don't care. I know this happened to other parents with picky eaters as well. Can't they print up their operating instructions or something so that they don't have to rely on a new counselor telling me what they feel like telling me at the sign up table?! Well, I said I would tell you the whole truth!

DINING - 6:00 is too early and 8:30 is too late so you'll have to choose the lesser of two evils. Topsiders is open from 7-9pm. It should've been open from 5:30 - 10:00pm in my opinion. All of the dining rooms are very nice. Very noisy, but nice. We had a table for 4 which was sometimes just me and my DH which was nice. The character breakfast was not as well organized as those in WDW. Our service was very good, but not great as was the food. The exception being Palos....don't miss the brunch or dinner. The late seating dinner was filled with sleeping children, including DD2 on two of the nights. Room service came quickly, but should have more choices. Having a wake up call with coffee saved me and my DH. The kids would still be sleeping and we'd have it on the veranda...ah a moment of peace.

SHUTTERS - These are the people who take all of the pictures of you and the characters, etc...Bought way too many because I never seemed to have my camera or video camera with me at the right time. If you want to take a formal family portrait, do it early in the week. We kept putting it off and never got to take one. You won't have scary tan lines either!

SHOWS - Don't miss Disney Dreams! Hercules was very funny. Cest Magic was cest boring! Who wants to be a Mouseketeer was pretty boring too. JBWindows (the guy who didn't want to come to the Dis meet, but challenged us to find him) won a $400.00 credit. Of course, I'm quite sure I would've won a free cruise if I had been picked! We didn't see either of the variety shows. Some of the most interesting entertainment was at the Family Kareoke nights! DD1 and I sang the Backstreet Boys and NSync....yes I'm having an almost mid life crisis. My girls and RACs daughter had a blast running around and dancing whenever they got the chance. I made it to Bingo once and sat with Irish Cowboy's wife who won a whopping $33.00!

SHOPS - They were a little pricey, but the cast members who worked there were so friendly and helpful. DD2 was hungry one night and wanted Mickey gummies. When they got to Mickey's, a cast member was locking the door. She insisted on reopening the door and the cash register just so my daughter could have gummy bears. I wish my husband had gotten her name.

PORTS OF CALL - Can't understand why they even bother with St. Martin. They should go to CC on the way down to St. Thomas and on the way back. Not enough time in CC or St. Thomas. The only good thing about St. Martin were the liquor prices. Our excursion to Sapphire Beach on St. Thomas cost my family almost $150.00. In my opinion that was way too expensive. We should've taken a cab to Magen's Bay. The beach itself was nice, but we didn't get there until after 10:00 and had to leave by 1:15. The water wasn't working at the showers or in the bathrooms, and the lunch was cold cuts. Rafts were $5.00 for just an hour. The ride around St. Thomas is a little scary...open air bus and really big hills. They also drive on the opposite side of the road, but the steering wheel is still on the left! Castaway Cay is absolutely gorgeous, and was the hilight of my trip. We didn't manage to get an umbrella. You MUST get off the ship early to get a good spot. Lunch was great. The girls got to dance with Goofy (didn't have my camera with me) which was so exciting for them! Unfortunately, DD2 decided to throw a load of sand directly into DD1's eyes so she had to go to the first aid station and have her eyes washed out. My DH took her and said she was hysterical....so much for a great ending to a great day!

POOLS - So so so crowded! Especially, the Mickey Pool. The pool was closed more than it was open due to kids pooping and vomiting. We figured we'd stay on the ship in the AM at St. Martin so we could enjoy an uncrowded pool day. DCL decided to close the Mickey Pool until 2pm without an explanation. I was not happy and neither were my kids. The Goofy pool is tough with the little ones.

TV - Can someone please explain to me why we couldn't get the Disney Channel or Toon Disney? Also, if I see Pinocchio, Cinderella, or Hercules one more time, I think I'll scream!

RAC just called to say hi. They're coming for the girls' birthday in July. Her daughter is just too cute! Well, I think I hit all the main points. My DH and I felt that a 5 night cruise would've been perfect. I'm sure the next time will be better now that we're a little wiser and the girls will be a little older. We just joined the DVC so I'm sure there will be a next time. If anyone has any questions, ask away!

Casey's mom
05-20-2001, 09:51 PM
That was a very informative trip report! I like reading about the good and the not so good so I am better prepared for what might come our way. When traveling with our girls (4-1/2 and 3), I know that anything can happen and something unexpected almost always does! I agree with you on the lighting in the kid's club -- I wondered that myself last year on our first cruise why they have the lights so low. I can see turning them down when the kids are watching a movie, but otherwise it just seems unnecessarily dark. I was a little grossed out reading about the frequent drainings of the Mickey pool. Don't kids have to wear swim diapers to avoid the poop problems? The barfing is a little harder to avoid given that such things can happen with no warning, but it gives me the feeling that those little pools are giant germ factories (of course, my kids will be swimming in them anyway....). Anyway, thanks for posting! :D

05-21-2001, 11:49 AM
Casey's mom:

Believe it or not there is no swim diaper rule that I know of. They really should require the "real" non-disposable swim diapers for all kids under 4....that would've even included my kids, but let's face it....you never know. I'm glad you found my report helpful. Good luck!:)

05-21-2001, 09:07 PM
Unfortunately, swim diapers are not always accident proof either. My daughter was swimming in the pool at the local YMCA when hers leaked. The pool was closed for the rest of the morning.:rolleyes:

05-22-2001, 01:50 PM
Very informative post, but I disagree with one point. My whole family loved St. Maarten when we were there in April! My wife and I have been to several caribbean islands, and trust me - it is fairly typical - unlike St. Thomas, which is a bit too "American" for my tastes. When we went out on the veranda upon docking in St. Thomas, the first thing seen on land was a K-Mart! I can go to Cleveland and see that. This was my children's first trip to the islands, and in the middle of the afternoon in St. Maarten, my 13 year old daughter looked at me and said, "Y'know, I could REALLY live here!"........made me very happy just to be there. The people we met were extremely friendly, and we spent a couple hours on the beach in Phillipsburg just snorkling and enjoying the afternoon. Also, the 12 metre regatta was the BEST part of the trip for daughter and I. I am glad that Disney stops here, as it gave me a chance to see if the kids were ready for an island vacation - THEY ARE! Agree that St. Thomas trip is not long enough....needed some more "sand-time".

05-22-2001, 08:41 PM
You're right. I didn't get past the shopping area by the dock so I shouldn't jump to conclusions. I hope that when my kids get older I can see some other parts of the island and take some of the excursions. As far as islands go, I think that Aruba is my favorite!:)

05-23-2001, 02:03 PM
Thanks for a great trip report! We cruised in March and my first reaction at the end of the trip was "The people who make this trip with toddlers must be really brave!" It was hard enough dealing with my tired and overstimulated 10 and 13 year old DDs, I can't imagine doing it ten years ago! It sounds like you really made the best of a sometimes difficult situation and still managed to have a great time! Bravo to you--I think a positive attitude is a must in life. Sorry you didn't like St. Maarten--if your kids are beach lovers (mine are) you can really have a great day at the beach for a small amount of money. I think you also are right on target with your comment about the dinner times-neither is a convenient time!! Thanks again for your report!

05-23-2001, 09:27 PM
I agree with you on the TV situation. How can they have the cartoon network without loosing the signal and not ever have the Disney Channel
Need more time at St. Thomas. Just not at Sapphire Beach (over rated) We did this on our own. It cost $16 for the cab ride. Nothing for the chairs, We had a private tour of the island, got there later stayed longer.
Definitely need more time at Castaway Cay

I disagree according to our experience.
Oceaneers Club does a great job

05-23-2001, 11:14 PM
I wanted to congratulate how your daughter handled not having her expected food at the buffet. She did the absolute right thing to kick up a fuss when she didn't know if the food was safe or familiar. Kids with peanut allergies NEED to be picky to save their lives! A child in our state died last Friday on a school field trip because he ate food he was given. I pray constantly that my peanut allergic child will be picky enough to turn down food that has not been proven safe for him to eat.

I enjoyed your trip report. Thanks!

05-24-2001, 02:34 AM
Just curious...why were kids vomiting in the pool? Were the seas rough or something else??

05-24-2001, 01:19 PM
Even though I don't have any little ones, I enjoyed reading your report. Someday when the kids are older and you take them on the cruise they'll enjoy hearing about what they did when they were younger. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this. I can also relate to the barf and poop in the pool - last summer we were at PO resort for the 1st time and my 9 yo gr.dtr. had seen so many pictures of the dragon pool she couldn't wait to jump in. Two mins. later they closed the pool because someone had vomited in the water. They had to drain and sanitize the whole thing - it took hours. Next day -same thing only it was feces this time.

05-24-2001, 09:06 PM
Just want to say thanks to those of you who appreciated my honest report.

Tezb - I heard that there was some kind of quick bug going around and that many of the kids were vomiting. The seas were very calm so I don't think it was sea sickness.

disykat - My daughter is a picky eater, but I did tell her she was going to have chicken tenders so in part it was my fault that she got so upset. Just to clarify, the Club was very good about always checking allergies, but you can never be too careful. Disney called me prior to the cruise and suggested that she not eat with the Club, but I knew the chicken tenders were safe. I just didn't know they couldn't guarantee that she would have them. I hope that many of the children suffering with peanut allergies outgrow them as many don't really understand the severity of the situation.:(

05-25-2001, 01:26 AM
My oldest son is now 15 1/2 and has had peanut butter and any nuts allergies since he was a baby. I too had an allergy to p. butter as a child but out grew it. I think my son is afraid to try so just stays away from it. Even as a young child, he knew he couldn't eat it and would always tell people BUT I think this condition has also made him more paranoid or suspicious of foods if he hasn't had them before. He still has a sensitivity but I think it's gotten better. Once when he was little his eye closed up because he didn't eat p.butter but did an art project w/ it and accidentally rubbed his eye. Another time last year he got hit in the eye by a p.butter granola bar and his eye became red and itchy. The weirdest was on the plane when just from being around others eating peanuts, his eye became swollen, etc. Now airplanes don't serve nuts anymore. Anyway, sorry to ramble so long but I do understand the allergy problems.

05-25-2001, 06:29 AM
my gr.dtr. 9 1/2 has always been allergic to peanuts and to be on the safe said my DD has kept her away from all nuts. She finally got tested at drs. and it seems she has outgrown peanut allergy, but is highly allergic to all nuts that grow on trees! At 1st she hated peanut butter, but now 3 weeks later, she always asks for a PB&J sandwich for lunch. Like your daughter she would be upset if chicken fingers weren't on menu. That's all she orders when we eat out. Again, thanks for a very interesting report.

05-25-2001, 08:20 PM
Doubletrouble mom --

I think you were way too kind about the kids' club. My DD has been going to preschool since she was 2 and loves it. (She's now 4.) After one session, she wouldn't return to the kids' club on the ship. While she can't really articulate what was wrong, I, like you, think the lighting was dark and uninviting. In addition, there were way too many kids the first day. (I had heard we had a record number of kids on our cruise). The counselors were so busy dealing with the crying, screaming kids who had separation anxiety that they couldn't deal with the low maintenance kids (I had to go up to a harassed counselor and ask for a mask for my kid, because the counselor was too distracted and didn't give one to my daughter.) My mom overheard two of the counselors talking -- one of them said they were over the limit and shouldn't let any more kids in, but the other counselor just shrugged and let them in.

Also, as I mentioned in my trip report, the French counselor had a pretty gestapo-like style in dealing with the little ones.

If we try the club on our next trip (we loved the overall experience and will most likely cruise again with Disney) I will wait a day or two before sending DD to the club. I heard it was far less crowded (gee, I wonder why!) as the week progressed.

06-01-2001, 04:34 PM
Michpoit you are absolutely right about swim diapers, they are not full proof. Our club pool was recently closed for a day, due to a leaky "swim diaper." The club has now banned all children in diapers. E-coli outbreaks are not something to mess with. I don't really understand putting a diapered child in a public pool anyway. Most babies/toddlers are perfectly happy with a backyard pool.

I questioned the CMs about paging us for every little thing too. I was informed that they call the parents whenever a child asks, period. It seems that some parents have gone ballistic in past, when their children tell them that the CMs did not call them for whatever.

I feel sorry for the CMs in the children's club. People can be completely irrational when it comes their children. I observed several children who had no business being in that club. One child was having total meltdown when I picked up my son. I felt so sorry for the CM trying to deal with the situation.

I also saw one Mom who was always hanging out in the club. It appeared to be "seperation anxiety," on the Mom's part.

I guess if you really like kids, it's an OK job. They wouldn't be able to pay me enough.

06-02-2001, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the good, the bad and the ugly in your reports. It does not help when people only report the good because then others go with higher expectactions then they should. We always try to go with lower ones so we will not be disappointed. Your twins sound very cute. One question would you take another Disney cruise with a child of 3 or 4? Thanks.

06-03-2001, 08:21 PM

Thanks for your kind message. Believe it or not, we already booked for the same time next year. It will be the inaugural western caribbean cruise so I couldn't resist! The girls will be almost five then. We learned a lot of lessons so we're hoping things will go a lot smoother next time. We are going with friends we met on this board that were on our cruise this year. They have a daughter the same age. We also booked the main dinner. Having late dinner without the kids wasn't worth it since most people had their kids with them anyway so we just felt guilty! Our hope is that they will eat and go to the Club for the 8:30 activity. This time we will call before showing up if beeped ;) . Good luck!

06-04-2001, 11:44 PM
Can you tell me the ports of call on the Western Caribbean cruise? That might be more intersting to the group my sister and I are planning for. Thanks.

06-05-2001, 12:08 PM
Check through some of the posts from several days ago for more info, but the Western itinerary will be:
Key West, Day at Sea, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay.

04-13-2009, 09:45 PM
Good Work