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ariel1025 02-01-2013 04:56 PM

Family of Four Going Aboard 3/28 UPDATE!
Before I get into the details I'm just going to warn you now. I'm starting this pre-trip report early. Really early. Over a year early. 456 days early to be exact! That's just how I roll and I'm pretty sure the Hubs is already tired of hearing everything Disney Cruise related. So, I'm coming to those who understand :thumbsup2

Now that you've been warned let's get to the details:

Who: My Sweet Family of Four
From left to right: Shannon (that's me!) I'm the planner, Mom, Wife and all around Disney freak ::yes:: James (we also call him Cinco because he's 5th Generation) our 2 year old Son (will be 3.5 at the time of the cruise) he went on his first Disney cruise last summer and still talks about "Mickey's agua" so I know he will be thrilled to go back. Candido aka Candi aka Hubs he is a closet Disney freak and becomes more addicted to cruises with every one we take (this will be our 4th).

Wait a second ... didn't I say this was a family of four? Who are we missing?

This sweet little bean who will be joining our family around August 31 :goodvibes This will make the baby 8ish months at the time of the cruise. I should note, this will be a first for us - traveling with a baby so young!

What: A Disney cruise of course! Specifically the Disney Fantasy

Also a pre- and post-cruise stay at Disney World for a day or two each. These are still to be determined...

Where: We have chosen the Eastern Caribbean itinerary for this cruise.

We made this choice for a couple reasons. 1) I really wanted to try a 7-nighter; all our other cruises have been 4 or 5 nights. 2) We are tired of the Bahamian itinerary but still wanted to ensure we got a day at Castaway Cay. 3) All the excursions we are interested in here are kid friendly. 4) We both wanted to cruise one of the new ships having already sailed the Wonder and Magic previously. So this seemed to fit the bill!

When: May 2014 - so, so far away!

Why: Does this category really need an explanation :rotfl:

And, there you have it, our plans in a nutshell. I hope you join along as we hash out the details and watch this trip come to life...

ariel1025 02-02-2013 01:33 PM

The Plan: Day One
Alrighty, so we have the overview of details. Let's start breaking down the real nitty gritty shall we?

The Plan: Day One

We don't exactly live close to Port Canaveral so we won't be flying in the day of the cruise. Way too much stress worrying about if there will delays causing us to be late to the Port and/or miss embarking all together. No bueno!

We also have chosen not to fly in the day before the cruise. Since it's a long flight, a 2 hour jump (forward!) in time zones, and we have 2 kiddos to keep up with we are going to fly in two days before the cruise. So, here's the plan for that day:

* Fly in on a late(ish) flight that doesn't require us to get up at the crack of dawn. Then again, with an 8 month old that may be the norm for us anyway :rotfl: Most likely our airline of choice will be Southwest (for pricing reasons). We are also hoping to catch a non-stop. We've learned that James does fantastic on the first leg of a flight and then becomes restless when we make him re-board after a layover. Let's see if we can receive enough pixie dust for all our flight wishes to line up pixiedust:

* Once we arrive at the airport we will breathe in that amazing Florida humidity (I'm not kidding - I love it!) and head off for tradition of sorts. For whatever reason we always hit the Crocs store in the airport before heading off to Magical Express. This year we will be checking for Crocs for Candi, a jibit for James' and a pair of baby Crocs for the baby. Do they make them this small? We might also do something we have never done before. Grab a meal in the airport. Usually we head straight to the resort and eat there, but dependent upon the time the toddler may be in need of food more quickly than that. We shall see. Then it's off to Magical Express to head off to our first resort of the stay.

Ah, yes, our pre-stay hotel. There are a couple of places in talks here. Mostly it depends on our DVC point situation for this trip. We are taking a short trip to Disneyland late this year and are not sure what hotel we will be staying at there yet. Unfortunately, we have some points in holding so we cannot book that stay until 45 days out (mid-September) so how many points we use there will shift things for this trip. If we are lucky enough to land a studio at Grand Californian (highly doubtful :() than we won't have to use any points in addition to our holding points. If that's the case we will use all our points to cover 1 adult and the baby for this cruise. That will leave enough points for our post-cruise destination and we will pay cash for or pre-cruise stay. If we have to use extra points for our Disneyland trip than we will have 2 options for this trip. Use points for 1 adult on the trip and both the pre- and post-cruise hotels. Or we can pay full cash for the cruise and go all out on our pre- and post-cruise hotels. Phew! Lost yet? :p With all that said here are the options for our pre-cruise hotel:
Bay Lake Towers in a 1 Bedroom, Theme Park View room. This will be if we choose the "go all out" option for our hotel stays on points. Specifically chosen because it is the only hotel on the monorail line which will be necessary for Day two of our trip.
Wilderness Lodge bunk bed room. This is our choice if we are paying cash for the stay. James would get a kick out of the bunk bed, we all love the Wilderness Lodge (family favorite!) and it has the boat transportation. It isn't the monorail but works for our needs.

At any rate, we will be checking into a hotel and praying our room is ready. If we get the later flight this won't be an issue as it will easily be after 3:00 when we arrive. From here there isn't a concrete plan but any of the following could happen:

* Drop off our luggage in the room, do a quick run through to make sure all looks to be well, and head off for a light meal in the quick service (if we didn't eat at the airport). If we did eat at the airport I will take this time to focus on completely unpacking our bag for this portion of the trip. Definitely using the ziplock method of packing for both my kiddos :thumbsup2

* If meals aren't needed we may take this opportunity to go visit the pool. For this factor I would prefer to be at Bay Lake as they have the awesome kiddie splash area, whereas Wilderness Lodge doesn't. Of course, it's possible we may all just pass out for a much needed nap.

* That night we will be heading over to Contemporary (via boat if at WL, via walkway if at BLT) for a first for us. Dinner at Chef Mickey's. I think this will be the perfect way to kick off the trip. Plus, give us a quick look at how the kids will react to the characters. James was in love with them during our trip last summer, but I also know he will be at an age where fears may start kicking in. And, at 8 months I reckon the baby will just love looking at them, but who really knows...

* After dinner we will most definitely head back to the room and call it a night. it will have been a long day for everyone and I doubt it will take long for all of us to fall asleep. I can hope right ;)

wiigirl 02-02-2013 01:45 PM

Cute family! :D

chudson98 02-10-2013 03:08 PM

Sounds great so far! All the possibilities are so exciting. :yay:

Cheryl726 02-10-2013 08:15 PM

Enjoying reading about your plans, and it's great to be so excited so I don't think it's too early for your PTR! That is a nice family pic from your cruise!

ariel1025 02-20-2013 03:01 PM


Originally Posted by wiigirl (Post 47385451)
Cute family! :D

Thank you :goodvibes


Originally Posted by chudson98 (Post 47463749)
Sounds great so far! All the possibilities are so exciting. :yay:

Planning all the different possibilities is just as fun for me as the actual trip!


Originally Posted by Cheryl726 (Post 47466922)
Enjoying reading about your plans, and it's great to be so excited so I don't think it's too early for your PTR! That is a nice family pic from your cruise!

Thank you so much :)

ariel1025 02-20-2013 03:11 PM

Change #1
As expected, the first of many changes has occurred for this trip. And, it's a biggie. Really, I guess you could say it's more like 3 changes.

First - we will no longer be cruising in May. We will now be cruising in November. I'm not going to lie I'm a little scared about this being hurricane season and all :scared1: Anybody have any experience this time of year on a cruise? What kind of weather can I anticipate?

Second - we will no longer be cruising on the Disney Fantasy. We are now trading her in for her sister ship - Disney Dream.

Lastly - we are trading in the 7 night Eastern Caribbean itinerary for the 4 night Bahamian itinerary with a back-to-back stop at Castaway Cay.

Say what? Doesn't this go against every single thing we said we wanted in our next cruise? Well, yes, yes it does.

So, why are we doing it?

Well, I am a Travel Agent for an amazing company and every year we have a Summit at one of the Disney Destinations. This year it is going to be at Disneyland and last week we got word that our 2014 Summit has been confirmed for this cruise. Hence, the change in plans :thumbsup2

Now I know that technically we could still take our 7 night cruise in May, but 2 cruises can get pretty pricey when you are talking about four people. And, we decided that we would rather do something different for our summer vacation since we will have this cruise to look forward to.

So, yes we are switching to a cruise that we had vetoed when we made our family vacation plans. But, I love Castaway Cay so I'm super excited about docking there twice. I've never been on the Dream so I'm pumped to check out a new ship. And, I get to tell people "I have to go on a Disney Cruise - it's for work" and really how can I complain about that :lmao:

Mom2Finn 02-20-2013 06:18 PM

I am doing a 4 night in may on the dream with my 4 1/2 year old and my 18 month old. I will report back how it goes. Also if you ever have a chance I would love to talk with you about how being a travel agent works. :)

ariel1025 02-21-2013 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by Mom2Finn (Post 47571825)
I am doing a 4 night in may on the dream with my 4 1/2 year old and my 18 month old. I will report back how it goes. Also if you ever have a chance I would love to talk with you about how being a travel agent works. :)

Wishing you lots of pixie dust that time spent in the nursery and kid's club goes well :goodvibes

Please PM me with any specific questions you have - I can't really disclose a whole lot in the regular thread without violating the DISboards rules :thumbsup2

ariel1025 03-28-2013 09:01 PM

The Plan: Day One v2.0
Geesh, I can't believe I started this and then went over a month without even a sliver of an update. I'm not even going to try and give excuses. Life happens, and I often go long periods in between updates. I guess I should have included that in my fair warning during my first post :guilty: And, I guess, if I'm being honest, it's been way more fun to update my WDW PTR since it's so much closer. But, let's get back on track over here shall we :thumbsup2

The Plan: Day One v2.0

We will now be flying into Orlando on November 12, which is the day before we embark for the cruise. Would have loved to fly in two days prior since the travel day is always so long. But, seeing as how this will be our second trip of the year, we had to make some cuts to make it more economical.

Flight schedules are even less possible to figure out than when we were flying in May, but I reckon the possibilities will most likely be similar. Regardless, it will take us all day to get there and have us up at an hour in which none of us really look (or act :rolleyes1) our best

As before, I imagine we will grab breakfast at the airport to be consumed either while waiting to board or once we are seated on the plane. And, since I will no longer be pregnant a Starbucks is most definitely in order!

Once we arrive at MCO we will make the judgement call as to whether we need to grab food at the airport or if we can make it until we arrive at the resort. I'm really hoping for making it to the resort as once I'm that close to WDW the anticipation basically eats me alive :rotfl2:

With the food dilemma decided we will head off to Magical Express and get settled in for our first bus ride of the trip.

We will then sit back, relax, enjoy the video and anxiously await for arrival at our pre-cruise resort

We have talked endlessly about how much fun it will be for the kids to stay here and love the idea of doing it before the cruise without any parks to get to. This way we will have the remainder of the afternoon and evening to just explore the grounds!!!

Of course, if we didn't eat at the airport our first order of business will be to grab lunch in Landscapes of Flavor. I'm actually really excited to try out this QS as it seems they have such great variety here.

Also on the agenda for the day is picking up our grocery order. I hate the idea of having to find suitcase room to pack a week's worth of diapers, wipes, swim diapers and baby food/snacks. I'd much rather just pay for the delivery and know it will be there for me when I get to Orlando!

Dinner that night will probably be pizza delivery. Since we are planning to book a family suite I want to spend lots of time in the room enjoying all the extra space. Our only debacle right now is if we should book the Lion King rooms or the Finding Nemo rooms. They both look amazing to me! I'm thinking when the time gets closer I will show them both to James and let him pick.

After dinner it will be mandatory baths and bed for everyone. It will have been a long travel day and most likely an early wake-up call the next day...

pepe3penelope 10-21-2013 07:25 PM

Loved reading about your plans! Good luck!

BusyBeesMom 10-22-2013 08:32 AM

Can't wait to read more and see pictures of the new addition to the family.

cruisemomma 10-29-2013 08:59 PM

Great plans so far! I'm also a VERY early a single mother and full time student I need extra time to save up. I love the anticipation and excitement of planning my vacations!! :yay:

jcoyne4781 12-31-2013 11:13 AM


Originally Posted by Mom2Finn (Post 47571825)
I am doing a 4 night in may on the dream with my 4 1/2 year old and my 18 month old. I will report back how it goes. Also if you ever have a chance I would love to talk with you about how being a travel agent works. :)

Did you go on your cruise yet with your two kids? Mine are around the same age as yours and I'm curious to hear your trip report.

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