The Adventures of Mom's Booty - 10/4 Wonder..... NEW UPDATE 7/7! See Ya Real Soon!
Part 1: Introduction
Hello and welcome everyone!:wave2:
We have just returned from our second cruise on the Disney Wonder, and here is the play-by-play of our glorious three days. If you haven't read my other trip report, well then here is what you can expect: Details. (Lots of Details). And pictures. (BIG ones. I don't like to resize. And besides you can see all of the little-what?-DETAILS! that way.) So if that sounds like your cup of tea, you're in the right place. And if you DID read my other trip report, and you already know all there is to know about the 4-night Wonder cruise, then stick around and find out what happens the other 3 nights! (If you want to read the other report from my Very Merry Unbirthday cruise in March, you can find it right here.)
I won't go back through all of the background info on my family again. By the time you finish this report you'll know more than you probably ever wanted to about us anyway. (Hee hee) But if you're interested, it's the first post in the last TR. To refresh everyone on the cast of characters…
Me (Jen) - 33
DH Ron - 33
DS Brendan - (now) 8
DD Savannah - 6
There might be a bit more to that than I just divulged, but I’ll get into that later. :rolleyes1 As I mentioned we just cruised on the Wonder in March, our first Disney cruise – in fact our first cruise period. We had a fantastic time, and shortly after returning re-booked a 7-night Double Dip in September of ’08. At first that didn’t seem too far off, but as time went slowly by we wondered how we would make it that long without getting a DCL fix. Financially and otherwise however, this summer proved very challenging for us. It was the most difficult time our family has had in many years – if ever- for a host of personal reasons. I won’t get into all stuff since it’s a big downer, but suffice it to say when it was all over, a little voice popped in my head that said, “Fredericks family, you’ve just been to hell and back. What are you going to do now?”
You know the answer was “We’re going on a Disney Cruise!”
Ron began pricing the cruises, and some Florida Resident rates were announced for several weeks at the end of September/early October. This was only a couple of weeks away. Since I was starting training on a new position at work on October 15th, we decided to make it sooner rather than later. After a lot of hemming and hawing about the financial implications of this impulse decision, we finally decided to call up and book for the October 4-7th 3 –Night cruise to the Bahamas. When we initially called they had a lot of availability and a lot of options. We were quoted a cost of $1300 for a category 8 room. For some strange reason we decided to just wait one more day before booking. Don’t ask me why. But of course when we called up-literally first thing in the morning the very next day, we were told there were no more 8’s and that the highest (read: cheapest) category available to us would be a cat. 5, for $1700 and change. Though we found that to still be a phenomenal deal, we were hesitant for a few reasons. The additional cost for one thing, and also the fear that we would spoil ourselves into not being able to tolerate a higher category room. I’ve heard once you go verandah you never go back. That said, we finally gave in to temptation and booked the room. We got to choose our location, and very happily selected a port side aft room, 7098. (I will go ahead and say now, IMO this is the *perfect* location on the boat. Right around the corner from the not-as-busy aft lifts, just two flights up to Beach Blanket Buffet (BBB), the drink station, and the Mickey Pool.) Sweet. We requested our desired dinner rotation of APT, and our dinner time of 8:15. It was too late to make Palo reservations online, as it showed fully booked, but I was fairly confident we could snag a ressie on the boat. We began to research shore excursions. We had really wanted to check out Atlantis last time, but it was between that and the Dolphin Encounter and I’ll tell you Flipper won hands down! ;) Now we had an opportunity though, and we were extremely intrigued to discover DCL had added a new Atlantis Excursion – Atlantis Aquaventure.
When we cruised in March and were trying to decide on excursions, they only had the “Discover Atlantis” which consisted of transportation to Paradise Island and a tour of the Aquariums and access to the hotel grounds and casino. It did not include access to the beaches, pools, or waterslides. They also had the “Atlantis Beach Day” which encompassed all of the above including access to the beaches. No pools or waterslides. Now they also offer the “Atlantis Aquaventure” which is full access to the hotel grounds, casino, aquariums, beaches, pools, and waterslides, including the new water park “Aquaventure”. We checked this place out online and it is just incredible. The water park has this new feature where you get in a tube and coast down a lazy river, which then gets rough and has waves of up to four feet. Then – without even exiting your tube- you are swept up a conveyor belt and down thrilling water coasters where jets of water propel you down and up! How amazingly awesome does that sound? :banana: Needless to say we were hooked immediately and – even though it is a really expensive excursion to do through DCL, we gave in to temptation and booked it. The kids were so excited. They searched YouTube for videos of people going down the waterslides, and watched them nonstop. I was a bit concerned that Savannah was only 47 ½ inches tall in shoes on a good day, and the minimum height for the slides was 48”, but we were hopeful it wouldn’t be an issue.
With less than two weeks to sail when we booked, things went really fast. We got our documents in a couple of days. There was a lot of shopping to do…not as much as last time, thank goodness.I quickly requested some magnet designs from our great DISigners, and I spent a whole lot of time at work making magnets of my own. In fact I made way too many. I probably had close to 40 (yes – FORTY) designs personalized and ready to print….and I ran out of magnet paper. So I had to make do with what I already printed. (It turns out that we had more than enough!)Oh, and here’s an amusing story. So I am at work, and I’m supposed to be working. Thankfully I am pretty good at multitasking and toggling between windows! Anyway I put my Castaway Club CD-Rom into the DVD drive of my BRAND SPANKING NEW Gateway Laptop, and then swiveled back to my work computer. When I came back to the laptop and my file window had not opened I clicked on the DVD-ROM drive start menu item. Nothing happened. I look in Windows Explorer. Nothing. So I open up the drive again….and no disk! I look up inside the lapotop innards…nothing. Nada. Guess what gang? It ATE my CC CD Rom. And it’s still in there. Somewhere. :scratchin
I also had to wrack my brain trying to come up with a name for this cruise. Since we sorely needed an attitude adjustment (and as many of you know, we have a Jimmy Buffett thing going on) I decided on the “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes Cruise”. I thought I should rename it though-at least for the trip report purposes, since there is another trippie out there right now named after a Buffett tune. So I opted for this title instead. The story behind it? Savannah wrote me a cute little picture book a few days before we left on the cruise, and this is what she called it. Now I was never one to allow my bootie to have adventures in the past, but there’s a first time for everything. Besides…booty…bootie? It fits.
As sail date approached, we became a bit concerned about the weather. After a totally dead tropical season with virtually no threat of hurricanes, the tropics finally started heating up right after we booked the cruise. In the days before we sailed a low pressure system developed over the Bahamas. A stationary high pressure out over the Atlantic held the disturbance over the islands, and it threatened to develop. I stayed glued to The Weather Channel, but it didn’t look too good. In fact, the National Hurricane Center was sending reconnaissance planes into it the very day we were to depart. Still we were determined to not let the threat of inclement weather bring us down.
Next thing you know, sail day had arrived. Somehow we had managed to be neatly packed and ready to go in short order this time around. Where last time we had departed with eight full size pieces of checked luggage, this time we wisely thinned down to the essentials, and were only checking five bags. It made a big difference. Everything was going so smoothly I could hardly believe it (and secretly dreaded that it was too good to be true). We excitedly loaded up the car and by 7:30 am were heading east on I-4 towards the happiest boat on earth!
Next up: Déjà vu? (including some visual aids)
This sounds like fun....keep it coming!
Great cruise report! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Looking forward to your next instalment!:sail:
Part 2: Déjà vu?
It is the butt crack of dawn. The day is Thursday October 4, 2007. The time is 7:30 AM. The destination? Where dreams come true. We couldn’t be more excited as we tear across the interstate on our way to Port Canaveral. It’s still pretty dark , but the sky is clear and the air is warm. As is now our tradition, we decided to stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It’s okay to do this, since we are officially on vacation, and as I’m sure *everybody* knows, it’s illegal to eat at Cracker Barrel unless you are on vacation.
As we got out of the car, we thought back to how cold it was when we were doing this exact same thing in March. Today it’s warm and muggy. But that’s a good thing. Inside we are efficiently treated to a yummy breakfast of pecan, blueberry, and buttermilk pancakes with biscuits and sausage gravy. YUM. And I love it when they load me up with extra little maple syrup bottles to take home! Here are the kids enjoying their pre-cruise entertainment (the peg game and coloring the menu? They are SO easy!)
Back on the road, and traffic is surprisingly light. We arrived at Port Canaveral a little after 9:30. We were so excited to see the beautiful Wonder again, we missed the exit for the terminal. We got off at the exit for the “B” terminals and drove around for a bit down Mullet Rd which looks like it will take you to the terminal, but…nope. You can’t get there from here. :sad2:
So we had to get back on the turnpike and backtrack to the exit for the “A” terminals. Once we got to the DCL terminal building, there was no lineup to go in, only us and two other cars. We were all promptly sent to wait in the Day Lot, where we were assured they would come fetch us at 10:00.
It was actually a few minutes after ten when we were waved across the street. Just us three cars. We checked in, dropped our luggage off with the porter, and headed back into the parking area. Since there was not a big crowd gathering, we all walked together across from the parking lot, through security and up into the terminal. As we came up the elevators, I was pretty surprised to see the huge expanse of the *EMPTY* terminal. It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. We headed straight over to the check in lines, and gleefully strode up to the front of the Castaway Club queue. And stood there. For. A. While. Apparently we like, got there before opening or something. It was weird. As Ron stood in the line, I walked around looking for a CM to make sure we did not overlook whoever was handing out the boarding passes. I found the lone terminal employee, and she cheerfully informed me not to worry, that we would be receiving our BP card at check in. “And,” she added, “It will be a number two”. Number TWO? Awesome. So I meandered back to our spot heading the lines. Eventually a few other parties joined us in the queue to wait. It wasn’t too long before we heard some music begin to pipe in. As you may expect, the first song they played was “Hi Ho, Hi Ho It’s off to work we go”, as all of the CM’s came out of the back and took their places at the check in windows. I thought that was hilarious.
We were called right up to check in (but not before the first person in the regular line. What’s up with that??:confused3 ) The first thing we got our paws on was that BP- number 2- just as promised. Then we got our first Castaway Club gifts- lanyards and pins for everyone. I was slightly disappointed to see our chosen room number 7098 on our card. That means no upgrade. Of course there really isn’t far up to go from Cat. 5, so I never really expected one. Oh well. We got our KTTW cards, the pewter CC ones, and were delighted to see that we did in fact get the dining rotation and time we had requested, ATP at 8:15. After check in was complete, we just hung out in the terminal. Relaxing and taking pictures.
We have arrived!
It got busy pretty quick, and before you know it the OC/OL and Check in lines were insane. Everybody seemed to arrive at once. Pluto came out for another cool photo op:
We spent the rest of our time people watching. It seemed like there were an awful lot of repeat cruisers (many CC lanyards about). Before we knew it, everyone was gathering at the embarkation ears. We didn’t wait for the announcements to begin, this time we headed over to the group at the ropes and lined up. We were shocked to see how many other BP# 2’s were up there with us. On our last cruise there were virtually no 1 and 2’s and a ton of 3’s. This time there were way too many 2’s. I guess it’s pretty arbitrary how they decide to do that. But HECK, who cares because here comes my favorite voice over the loudspeaker ….“Ladies and Gentlemen…. Girls and Boys!” WOOOO HOOO! Time to get on the boat!!! The Dream family was announced (meh…not us. Maybe next cruise), and into the giant orange mouse ears we went. We stopped for the embarkation pics, which turned out pretty bad this time. We didn’t end up buying it (although I wanted to, even though I looked like crap).
In the blink of an eye we were being welcomed on board, this time to a smattering of applause.
(click on image below to watch video)
We went straight for Parrot Cay and the buffet. We weren’t really too hungry yet, but we have a system down on how we do these first few hours on the boat. We managed to get a porthole seat, although our view was just the parking lot.
After stuffing our faces with chicken strips and desserts (what?:rolleyes: ), we headed up to the Deck 9. Like last time, we played some ping pong until it was time to go down and attempt to secure Palo reservations. I was sure we’d have no problem getting what we wanted, until we arrived. I was shocked to see the HUGE line of folks extending from Wavebands out into the stairs/elevator area. Yikes. Thankfully it moved fairly fast and we were soon inside. Lucky for us, most of the folks there were trying to change seatings. As I sat nearby and heard the few choices available for Palo, I began to grow increasingly concerned. When we finally got up to the front, we were able to get the night we wanted (Friday, the Nassau night) but the only time available was 6:00. That’s actually right when Palo opens. It’s pretty early for us, but as it turns out, it was perfect. The kids wanted to make sure they were in the OC for Flubber, and sure enough it was scheduled for 5:45 on Friday. How perfect is that? After getting our Palo business squared away, we bounded back above board to wait for our stateroom to be ready. As you can see, the ship was still pretty much deserted.
After all how, often do you see that many empty chairs by the Mickey pool?
The weather was beautiful for the time being. Bright, sunny, and warm. It looked like it was going to be pretty nice after all. Before too long, it was 1:30 and we ran down the stairs to check out our room. When we arrived we found our side of Deck 7 ready, but the poor folks Starboard side were still waiting. Our room was right around the corner from the elevator lobby. We opened the door and squealed with delight! It was big, roomy, and beautiful! And it was so great to have the natural light streaming through the glass doors! It had so much storage. I thought I had read in the passporter that we would not have the big storage trunk, but we did. I *LOVE* that thing. It holds SO MUCH STUFF! And OMG, the split bathrooms were a Godsend! I don’t know how we did without it before.
Here are some pics:
As you can see we found a second Castaway Club gift on the bed. A tote bag filled with other little goodies like drawstring net bags for beach supplies, kiddie cups with straws, flags, a bath toy and a CC magnet among other things. Very cool. But I wonder if you get the same gift on your third cruise?
Check out the cool wall art in our room. A map of Castaway Cay. We also had a nice picture of Walt and Lillian Disney too, over our vanity chest.
Our luggage had not arrived yet, so you know what time that makes it. Yep. Mickey pool time. Last cruise, Savannah was terrified to go on the slide. She promised this time she would, and sure enough she headed straight up there: (video)
Ahhh. Finally time to chill out with some Bahama Mama’s. I have *so* waited six months for this!
After a while, the Mickey Pool became insanely crowded. Ron walked over by the Goofy Pool and found it nearly deserted, so we relocated over there for a bit.
Uh-oh. Look at those clouds looming….
It wouldn’t be long now before we headed down for the drill, and then to the Adventures Away Party, where our voyage would begin!!
Next Installment: And the rain rain rain came down down down…..
Great job thank you I cant wait:cutie:
Can't wait to read the rest!!!
I recognised your lovely children straight away! Thanks for the report. Looking forward to the rest.:thumbsup2
Yeah! I'm here for the ride. The pictures are just wonderful! I will be on my first cruise in December!!
Hi Jen :wave2:
Reading this makes me feel like we are all back on the boat! Great report - Can't wait to read more!
Brilliant report with loads of detail - and fantastic photos - your children are very photogenic! Looking forward to the next installment!
Great pics. A family member of mine is in one of your pics. We were right down the hall from you. I'll keep a look out for us in more of your pics. My son played with your daughter in the kids club.
Jen...where are ya? I read your first trip report from your first cruise and have been so waiting for you second cruise to end so that I could read this TR!! (I've been almost as excited about your 10/07 cruise trip report as I have been about my own cruise in 11/07!)
So with that being said...come on now girl!! Dont' keep us hanging too long!
I love your pictures and Love your new video installments!!!
I'm going to try to get a post up today......at latest tomorrow evening.
I forgot to drop off my waterproof cameras to get them devoloped.....ugh.
And you wouldn't believe the amount of laundry I have waiting for me!
It will be in the next day or so I promise!:cool1:
Oh reading this is getting me so excited for our cruise in Feb. I was glad to hear about the Castaway Club gifts as this will be our 3rd cruise and our friend's 2nd.
Can't wait to hear more, especially about the Atlantis!
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