Our First Disney Cruise - Wonder 12/2 Finished 1/22
Welcome to our first Cruise Trip Report.
Cast of Characters: me (35) - the spinster Aunt who found my Prince Charming a couple of years ago and we have now been happily married for over a year. Thankfully my DH (40) is a Disney Fanatic too who plans awesome Disney vacations.
We have been to WDW and DL together but never a Disney Cruise. We have talked about taking a cruise but DH was thinking a Disney cruise would be overrun with kids. Yeah I know...shame on my DH for even thinking that but neither of us have kids so we have a low tolerance for screaming children. We are building up that tolerance by hanging out with my nieces ;). Ok before I get an influx of hate mail about our child hating views, I was just teasing...we do love children...we spoil our nieces...we would love to have our own children one day...so no flaming me cause we all know Disney is for "kids of all ages." And trust me once we have kids we will dragging our screaming children everywhere. (again I tease ;))
So a little back story on how our cruise came about. Bear with me because I tend to go on tangents.
As my BIL likes to point out constantly, DH and I take a lot of vacations. I get three weeks a year so we try to maximize those three weeks. This year we went to the Outerbanks with my twin sis and her family. DH and I also went to Arkansas Diamond Mine and of course Disney World. When we went to WDW in September, we had booked our last vacation for December, a four day trip to Captiva Island. We had so much fun at Captiva on our honeymoon last year that we wanted to revisit the Island.
So anywho, back to WDW in September. We had an awesome time...weather was perfect...went to two MNSSHPs...and I was spoiled rotten on my birthday. Did I mention my DH is truly awesome? My husband goes totally overboard for special occasions and I am definitely not complaining.
On my birthday we had a truly magical lunch at Cinderella's Castle where my DH surprised me with not one but two Cinderella slippers, a crystal engraved slipper, and the white chocolate slipper (delightful). So after DH rolled me back to our resort he gave me a beautiful watch. After I fawned over the watch for a while he got that look in his eyes and said he had one more small present for me.
He gave me a beautiful photo box that he decoupaged with glitter Disney stickers. So I open the box and on top was this photo picture.
Ok at that point I start crying cause I knew immediately he had changed our Captiva trip to something else.
I lift up the photo and another piece of tissue to see this photo...
So now I am really crying cause I recognize that Captain Hook is on a cruise ship. So I lift up the picture and another sheet of tissue to find a musical card that plays 'When You Wish Upon a Star' and another photo.
And at the very bottom of the box was a Cruise Guide. My DH totally surprised me. I have no idea how he managed to turn our Captiva trip into a three day cruise without me finding out. But I was over the moon and still am about the surprise. Best. Birthday. Ever.
So as soon as we got home from our September WDW trip, I spent days on end reading my trip guide and the disboards cruise forum. I immediately fell in love with the gift exchange idea...hopped over to ebay...and bought this beauty!!!
I love love love it!!! The lady who made it is very talented. I don't remember her name but it is who everyone recommends on the F.E. thread.
So after the FE came in, I racked my brain on what to make as a F.E. gift. Frankly I am not crafty at the moment. I have been crafty in the past but right now I am going through a "no imagination" dry spell. So I finally decided on Disney Silly Bandz. I am hoping everyone will like them but I think the kids will love them cause my nieces love them and talk me into giving them some every time I seem them. My completed gifts...
Now it is time to start packing!!!
Wow, does your DH have a brother?? ;) Haha he sounds pretty amazing, definitely a keeper! :thumbsup2 I LOVE your FE! SOOOO cute! Your trip sounds amazing. I just finished reading my DCL Passporter last night. I can't WAIT to sail in Feb! But for the time being, I will keep myself occupied reading your fabulous TR. popcorn::
I am getting so anxious. Two more days and I will be on the Wonder.
So our game plan is:
Fly from St. Louis to Orlando tomorrow after work. We pick up a rental car at the Orlando airport and drive to a hotel near the port. My DH did mention the name of the hotel but I completely forgot. It is right on the beach so we plan on getting up early Thursday morning to walk the beach.
Whatever hotel we are staying at will let us leave our rental car at the hotel and they have a driver take us to the ship. After we dock on Sunday, the hotel driver will pick us back up and take us back to our car.
After we pick up our car on Sunday, we are driving to Walt Disney World and staying at the Contemporary for the night. I am quite excited because this is the first time we will be staying at Deluxe Disney hotel. We usually just stay at Pop Century.
We bought tickets for the Sunday night Christmas Party. But before we go to the party, we plan on checking out the Christmas decorations at the Grand Floridian and the Beach Club. I have been to WDW at Christmas but my DH hasn't so he is quite excited to see all the Christmas decorations.
So Monday morning we will pick a park and visit before it is time to head back to the airport in the afternoon. I have to be back at work on Tuesday :sad1:. This is a short trip to basically just use up vacation days so I don't lose them. My employer is use them or lose them. *sigh* I am so jealous of hubby cause he is self-employed and can do his job anywhere that has an internet connection. I keep trying to talk my DH into letting me work from home but apparently being together 24 hours a day isn't his idea of fun ;-).
Hope your having fun!
You are now on your cruise and I can't talk to you until Sunday morning! It has been a long time since I have gone that long without talking to you everyday! I can't wait to see your pics. I know you are having fun, so see you soon!
We are off the ship, so sad :-(
We are off the ship and now sitting in our room at the Contemporary.
I don't want to say too much because I do want to write a trip report in order but I just have to say WOW and OMG! I loved the cruise we had so much fun. Everybody say "Jealous." (inside cruise joke;-p)
We fly back Monday so I will start posting pictures tomorrow night...maybe...that does seem a bit ambitious since I will have tons of laundry and other non-Disney stuff to do but who needs sleep, right?
I love your TR and can't wait to hear more!!
On with the show....
So after enduring the longest day of work ever, I finally was able to leave work around 2 pm. Drove home, watched as DH loaded the car ;), hugged all the pets, and got the show on the road.
One thing I love about St. Louis is that it really never takes more then a 30 minutes to get anywhere (well at least for me and my lead foot husband) so we were at the airport in no time and way early as usual. But we did't mind because we do love to people watch at the airport. Plus I downloaded tons of books on my Ipod Touch so I was good to go until my battery died...then I would resort to people watching.
First tip of the day: Quit watching the news. All it does is make you paranoid ;)
I developed an ulcer reading and worrying about how I was going to get molested at the airport by TSA. I am submitting my doctor bills to NBC cause security was just like it has been for our last 5 flights...easy....breezy...covergirl (sorry I have been watching too many episodes of Top Model). Anywho....
Security was a breeze even though they searched my carry on (they always do)...and it wasn't even the 20 lbs of Disney trading pins I usual pack to Disney this time that drew notice. Nope this time the big red flag was DH's new heavy duty spinning reel that I bought him for surf fishing. Personally I think the TSA agent was a just an avid fisherman who wanted to check out my husbands shiney new toy. So after prying the reel away from the TSA agent we were off to the gate to sit for two hours...yeah...two hours...two hours that actually went by pretty quickly. The STL airport is always highly entertaining. popcorn::
We usually fly Southwest...we always find great rates and love not paying to check bags, plus I love their boarding system. If anyone is familiar with SW, you get assigned to groups A, B, C, or D and then numbered within those groups. Group A is business class, anyone who pays $20 extra for automatic check in, and the people who are on the computer actually 24 hours in advance to check in.
We use to be the people who were on the computer exactly 24 hours in advance. Sometimes that can be a little stressful...especially on your return flight when you are too busy riding Haunted Mansion to worry about your 24 hour check in time. Now we just pay $20 for a good seat.
Anyway, the seating is sit wherever you want when your group and number is called. We like to sit in the first five rows but not the first row. (first in first out theory).
2nd Tip of the Day: Never sit in the front row of a SW flight (unless you are handicapped). Lots of times the front row has been empty when we boarded but we skip that row cause we have seen SW bump people who sat in the front row if handicap customers board late. Bump as in "get off the flight cause all the other seats are taken so since you aren't handicapped you can wait for the next flight."
Before I get flamed, I just want to say I'm not ragging on handicapped people. I personally believe they should have preference on the front row seats. I'm just pointing out that if you sit in the handicapped section when you don't need to you run the chance of getting moved. :teacher: That is all I am saying in my long drawn out way. Ok moving on.
Where was I....ah yes....the most boring flight ever. Which is actually my favorite type of flight!
We arrive in Orlando...I think around 10pm...get our luggage with minimal wait...our rental car with no wait (love Emerald Club through National) and we are off to drive thru every single toll that Florida has...cause paying tolls is our second favorite thing to due ;) with visiting Disney as our first fave of course.
DH always drives when we are in Florida, which is fine by me. I do like to drive...to work...or when I know where I am going...or when DH whines that he always drives :rolleyes: so I will drive for five minutes before he remembers why he prefers to drive ;)
Anywho, we head to The Inn at Cocoa Beach. Our travel agent recommended the hotel because the transfers are included in the room price and we wanted to be on the beach...remember the fishing reel...yeah the idea is for DH to get up early and fish before our transfer picks us up at 10 am.
Fishing is DH's idea :idea: Last June we took a family vacation to the Outer Banks...had a wonderful time...and DH discovered how easy it is to catch sharks (small sharks but still sharks none the less). So he did research...bought a bigger reel...and now he is hoping for Jaws. I brought the camera and will watch from the safety of our room balcony:lmao:
This is the second trip we have lugged around his fishing gear in hopes that he would find time to catch Jaws. September was a no go cause sleeping in sounded so much better then catching sharks at the time.
We finally reach the hotel around midnight (only got lost twice this time...which is actually good for us). Loved the hotel...room was great...staff was super nice.
View of the hotel at sunrise the next morning...
See me walking down the beach minus the fishing gear....
Strike two...no fishing this trip cause it was cold...darn cold. Surf fishing involves getting in the water...water that DH just shook his head at and said no way.
First lesson of the day for Thursday...quit lugging around fishing equipment on vacation because 99% of the time your husband will find excuses not to use it.
Guess what...we are coming back in February...and guess what is not going to be packed even though DH mentioned he wants to try fishing again.;)
Even though it was freezing Thursday morning, we still enjoyed Cocoa Beach. We walked to the pier near our hotel.
We looked up nearby geocaches on our Iphone and found two in walking distance.
If you aren't familiar with geocaching, check out geocaching.com. It is basically a treasure hunting game that involves GPS and hidden plastic containers. The pic is of DH opening the cache and checking out the goodies.
Continental breakfast at the hotel. The best continental I have ever had. The staff even made a tray with drinks for the two of us as soon as we walked in. Plus there was a pot of boiling water on the counter so we could poach our own eggs if we wanted...and I definitely wanted...I love poached eggs for breakfast.
Pic of the few odds and ends I picked up off the beach...a nice shell...sea glass...a whole sand dollar...someone's lost pet rock...and a random rock that I thought was a product of a lightening strike but ended up just being a rock.
Goodnight for now...tomorrow's report will be arrival at the Disney Cruise terminal. :cool1:
How wonderful is your husband! Yay for you - good catch girl:thumbsup2 Loving the report and can't wait for more:surfweb:
So after a nice breakfast...we grab our bags...and meet up with the driver from Lynx Transportation. Super nice guy who gets us to the cruise terminal in no time.
Once inside the terminal...before getting into the check in line...we are herded to these little tables to fill out paperwork to basically say we aren't sick and are healthy enough to board this ship. What? Seriously? What a waste of time. Does Disney really think anyone would admit to having a contagious disease like the flu so then Disney can refuse to allow them to board the ship? Perhaps I am just a skeptic cause I don't see that happening.
Tip of the Day! Sign your passport! Yeah that would seem obvious but as the cast member pointed out, neither DH or I signed our passports. And he then proceeded to tell us that he saved us a $100 fine that Customs would have charged if they would have seen it and then we would have received another $1300 fine if we would have contested the $100 fine. It was amazing to see the Cast Member pat himself on the back while he ushered us to the next line.;) [side note: technically Customs never looked at our passport at the end of the trip but more on that later]
Next line was the checking in and the issuance of the cruise key cards (which I never signed even though it does say on the back to sign). Yes I am such a rule breaker.:scared1:
So then we sit...and wait...and wait...and wait. Yeah we waited for an 1.5 hours before the ship started to board at 11:45. Why did we get there so early? Cause DH read on the internet that we should get there early to avoid the Disney Bus Crowd and that there were tons of stuff to do at the terminal. :lmao: Yeah right, there is exactly two things to do at the terminal...watch Disney movies...or people watch. Good thing I like to people watch...and take pictures...mostly pictures of my unsuspecting husband, who by the way, has forbid me from posting pictures of him on the internet.
Yep, I am a terrible wife who never listens to her husband.:rolleyes1
So finally at 11:45, boarding numbers start getting announced. We are in group 3 and do to my skillful crowd weaving abilities, DH and I are the first to board in group 3. We get our pics taken and head straight to Parrot Cay.
We loved Parrot Cay. It had a wonderful lunch buffet with lots of yummy foods to chose from.
I ended up not eating much cause I was just too excited to be on the ship. But not too excited to eat one of my fave desserts...fruit tarts.
So as I am enjoying my dessert, a waiter tempts us with the drink of the day. Hmmm...is 12:30 too early to drink...on vacation it is never too early to drink.:banana:
And this drink is just the start of my impressive plastic cup collection from the trip. Side story: my husband is disturbed by my plastic cup collection. What can I say...I can't resist collector plastic cups, plastic buckets, plastic boxes, any plastic item that has a company logo, vacation name, restaurant name, etc. After our wedding last year...as we combined households...DH discovered my plastic cup collection and talked me into throwing some of my cups away to make room for some of his kitchenware. But no worries, I am doing my best to build my collection back up, muuahhh!
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