10 Day Land & Sea, WITH TWINS, WDW & the Fantasy with 8 month olds (REPORT DONE 5/4!)
Hi everyone! :welcome:
This is my first trip report so you will have to hang in there with me, but I have read so many great trip reports that all of you have posted, hopefully that will help!
Ok a little background first, my family includes myself Dan(33) my wife Jenny(38) and our twin boys Jackson and Austin(8 months). Now originally we booked this trip when Jenny and I were married on the Magic in 2011, and we bumped it out to a 7 day on the Fantasy as soon as they released its dates. We always do a few days in the parks before our cruises as well. Jenny worked in the college program years ago and still has two very close friends(Paul and Dawnita) who work for Disney so we see them on every trip and they help us out with main gates when they can! Before we found out we were expecting Dawnita came up with an idea for a surprise 7 day Western on the Fantasy for Paul's' 40th birthday. Of course we said yes! Then came the news we were expecting twins... We spent the next year trying to talk ourselves out of the trip. Every other week we would feel we were crazy for taking 8 month olds, who were 7 weeks premature, to Disney. It helped that my mother Barb decided to tag along. I am so glad we did because as you hopefully see, the trip was AMAZING! You should not be scared to travel with kids under 1. Its a challenge, but I think any family vacation would be! We left for WDW on Tuesday Feb 26th and the cruise was March 2-9th.
The rest of the group!
I will start on the actual trip here in a bit when they boys nap!
See ya soon!
Tuesday: Fight, AKV, and Boma
Woke up at 430am in Omaha and getting to the airport was pretty easy, we had pre packed the Traverse the night before so Jenny's parents just had to follow us then take the car back to our house. Had a huge scare when I realized right before we got in line for the security that I forgot my carry on with our swim stuff and most importantly our 2 cameras and laptop in it, in the car!!! :scared1: A cell call and 10 minutes out by the curb and I had it back and was back in line for security!!! Flight through Chicago very bumpy due to the wind as was the landing in Orlando(this will be a recurring theme on this trip), boys were great despite our worst fears. Austin did throw up 3 times, which was scary. However, he is teething and we think it was just alot of saliva and drainage comming back up. Originally we were going to stay at Art of Animation in a family suite, but when a friend at work took his family to Disney late last year, they stayed on cash at Animal Kingdom Villas. We were so jealous it made us want to stay there too. We had also been mulling over buying into DVC at AKV for years so we decided to use this opportunity to try it out and see if we liked it well enough to buy in. Since we got there around 12:30 we were going to see how the boys would take to the pool. We did an introduce your child to water class back here in Omaha and the boys did fine, but this was different and the ocean would be WAY different. However, it was too cold and windy to try to swim with boys(this becomes a running theme with the trip), so we ate at table service in Jambo, it was African themed for the most part and very good. Room was amazing, and big! :thumbsup2 The layout is nice and open, two pack and plays even fit in our bedroom nicely up against the patio doors. We could even spread a blanket out on the floor and really let the boys roll around. I really want to get one of those single sofa chairs that fold to a bed! Dinner at Boma with Paul, Dawnita and friend who Jenny used to work with during her college program days and her family. Boma was great, as usual, and it was really funny when waiter mistook boys first trip to Disney as first bday... Boys had their pictures taken with Londyn who was also a preemie. Shopped for breakfast stuff at the store in Kidani, which had a surprising selection. We had planned to have grocieries delivered or make a run ourselves with Paul's help but they had most of what we needed so we got pop-tarts and pastries then Jenny and I headed to the pool for some hot tub time, got into a convo with a couple about traveling with our twins(again another theme) and I tried the pool, slightly cold but refreshing, I also vowed to try the slide.
We Flew Southwest as we always do, I had a free flight through Rapid Rewards!
Waiting in line for Magical Express
Where's this Mickey guy at???
The first in a long line of twin fans("Are they Twins")
My First Visit!!!
One Bedroom Villa Savannah View(Room 7851 I think)
View from the Balcony
Dinner at Boma
The mysterious 1st Birthday Cake that Austin slept through!
The Boys and Londyn, a fellow preemie!(She is captivated with them, but they seem oblivious)
Next up, Magic Kingdom!!!
Awesome! Subbing to see how the twins did on the cruise. Taking my little one next month on the Dream.
Wednesday: Magic Kingdom
Austin woke up every hour on the hour after 4 so I was very groggy this morning. :coffee: We had at our disposal a Graco tandem twin stroller that grandma pushed and is surprisingly maneuverable to help with her back and 2 Ergo Sport baby carriers. We could wear the babies on to most rides then unclip at the last minute so they could fit under the bars and see better. And boy did they love to see everything on the rides. We did MK at rope drop with Dawnita main gating us, New Fantasy land is very neat, although the Mine train construction detracts some with the large construction area right in the middle. (I am very excited for the Mine Train!) Didn't get Tales With Belle in because we thought we could knock out most of Fantasyland by skipping the already 35 minute line, and we could wait till the boys would be more into it. The Little Mermaid ride was down until 1 which ruined our fast pass plans however he park was pretty empty until after 1 when it exploded... New Dumbo is great and love the new double layout, would never have rode it before with the long lines. Lunch service at Beast was lackluster, the rooms were very neat to look at and the view outside is amazing but food was mediocre at best. Jenny loved it but I felt the steak was dry and the bread stale and the fries were way to salty. I would like to try dinner sometime, I am sure it is much better. We were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to at MK even with the 30 to 45 min feeding breaks we had to take every 3 hours for the boys, however we missed Tomorrowland. Dinner at Crystal palace was good as always and the boys interacting with the characters was surprising and very cute! Back at the lodge we got the boys to sleep then Jenny and I tried the pool, slide and a semi secret hot tub we found. Loved the slide, way more exciting then I expected, and again, we met another young couple who were fascinated by our twin stories. I vowed to then try the night-vision watching one of the nights, however this would never happen, I was always too tired. :faint:
First ride ever, Peter Pan
Waiting for Dumbo
Grandma on Dumbo
The Little Mermaid(My personal favorite cartoon)
Crystal Palace with Pooh and Friends
The funny part was, the boys loved the character they were dressed as!!! I swear!!!!
Last pic of the day with the whole group!
Now for me personally, I don't think leaving for a break during the day then coming back to the park later would work for us. I don't see how fighting the bus's twice as much, and trudging all the way back to the room to try to fight a nap for an hour or so then turn around and fight your way back to the park would relax anyone! I do however think that getting as much done in the morning then slowing down in the afternoon and finally leaving around 4 or 5 did work very well. We were all worn out by then and ready to head back to the Hotel.
Next up, EPCOT!
Off to a great start!
I have enjoyed reading about your trip so far!
Thursday: Epcot, Beaches and Creme, and Downtown Disney
Epcot today, main gated at 8:50ish for their new staggered opening. Now Jenny had spent a lot of time and some money to try doing a Touring Plan for this trip to make it easier with the boys. Well, 45 minutes into MK yesterday we tossed it out. The plan didn't include random breast feedings for boys who were unpredictable at best. So we decide to go back to our tried and true, do the two longest wait rides first, send a runner to fast pass one and then meet up to ride standby on the other. It worked out just fine! Austin and Jackson were really doing well so far but not sleeping through the night and the 4 am wake ups have Daddy getting crankier... New test track is better, used rider swap, and the queue and ride are less hokey, however I am not sure about the tron themeing on the ride itself. Really enjoyed making a car(If you use fastpass, you only get to pick from a list of premade cars :( ), however whole thing seemed buggy(my station did not work at first then other peoples cars showed up on our leader board) and miss timed, I am sure they will continue to work the bugs out. Flowers for Flower and Garden were very pretty especially in Feb, some missed the mark. My personal favorites were Pooh, Lion King, and Capt Hook. Beaches and Creme for lunch! We rode the canal boats over(so Jenny could nurse while sitting down) and it took awhile so we walked back, the weather was wonderful. Low 70's and sunny. Did my favorite the Maelstrom and mom's fav the 3 Caballeros... We did Ellen because I have never done it and Jenny used the time to nurse the boys on the ride! Worked out for both of us. The ride itself was very long and dated, but I enjoyed it. It is very much "my feet are killing me how can I get off them for an hour" type ride! haha We left early around 3:30 to meet at Downtown Disney to see Paul's work and shop, however we had the full affect of the changed policy with buses, no direct bus to Downtown Disney from a park. It took us almost an hour to go through Old Key West, so no going to Paul's work and a crabby Dan later :furious:, it was Earl of Sandwich for dinner which was very good. I think this could become a tradition as we tend to go everytime we are at Disney. Jenny was able to buy her secret Mickey gift for the cruise then it was home to AKV. We were all too tired to do anything tonight so it was straight to bed and hope the boys sleep through the night!
We never dress the boys the same, but today was an exception!
Flower and Garden
They had a whole section for the new Oz movie between Epcot and World Showcase
Beaches and Creme, Austin says "Who needs Ice Cream when you have the bear!"
"BACK BACK, OVER THE FALLS!!!"
And were walking, were walking....
This pic didnt turn out so well, but I loved the Lego store
I took a majority of my photo's today on my Iphone, I just didn't have the energy to keep digging out my Rebel T3, and the PowerShot battery had died and we forgot the charger, oh well! :confused3
Tomorrow is Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom (Ginger and Gladys and Lachelle arrive!)
Shortcut to DTD from the parks
I have a suggestion for you next trip if you want to get to Downtown Disney from the parks. Take the bus to Saratoga Springs and get off at the Congress Park stop (SSR is a HUGE resort and has about 4 stops). There is a walking trail behind the Congress Park area that follows the curve of the lake. Itís maybe a 10 minute walk to DTD from Congress Park.
SSR is one of our favorite resorts because of the close parking and easy access to DTD. We also love AKL Ė itís our home DVC resort.
Friday: Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
DHS & AK were on the plate for today, and the boys finally slept! :woohoo: Knocked out Tower and Rockin right away and rider swapped Rockin as well. Did Studio backlot tour. Another ride I have never done, very sad, needs to become Carsland or Star Warsland! Park quickly became busy... Stopped into a lovely coffee bar, The Writers Stop, so Paul and Dawnita could relax and watch the boys and Jenny and I rode Star Tours. I love the redo and I'm not sure if stopping and taking pictures of the queue 47 times is the norm now but it started to get on my nerves :sad2: (I didn't want P&D to feel as if we abandoned them with the boys). As we left at noon there was a huge stream of people coming into the park... At AK Ginger finally arrived from Chicago, so now we were only waiting for Dawnita's family and our group would be complete. The park was busy as well but not horrible... Dinosaur was down most of the day, big bummer. We ate a Flametree BBQ and then rode Everest. We tried to ride swap but as Jenny and I waited with the boys for the other 3 to ride standby, I noticed how the fastpass line was getting longer then stand by. So Jenny, Ginger and I did single rider, and were done in 8 mins!!! Then we used fast pass on Safari. I kind of miss the silly poacher chase at the end. We then rode a bus over to Boardwalk for dinner at Kouzzina's and to meet Dawnita's sister Gladys and niece Lachelle who would be coming on the cruise with us. The food was good but the service was, while friendly, VERY slow! The Boys did great slept in our packs till the very end when they woke up and wanted to play. Rode boats from Boardwalk to Studios then busses back to AKL. Greco stroller did surprisingly well on the bus's (side note, if you ever want to make fifteen friends every day, bring twin babies to WDW. We made best friends everywhere we went! The boys flirted with everybody by smiling and jabbering and we got smiled at and chatted up constantly!) I will say that the side by side and esspessially the jogging type strollers looked like a MAJOR pain on the buss's, you just can't put them anywhere but right in the way.
Backlot Tour, for the first and probably last time!
Nap Time... I did not intend to fall asleep, it just happened!
Waiting outside Everest
Dinner at Kouzzina
I was amazed by how many rides we could take the boys on at WDW. I knew we could do some, but mostly only the thrill rides were off limits. It was great to see their eyes and how they really seemed to be ingrossed in what they were seeing... Really they only had a meltdown on Ellen's ride, but that was because they were tired and hungry(and its so long ;) ). I think the Ergo's helped a lot to keep them calm...
Next up THE FANTASY!!!
SSR vs AKL
We loved the proximity to DTD of SSR. We love both resorts, and so do our kids (DD23 and DS19). We did SSR on our last trip (Dec 2011) and we'll hit AKL next time (May 2013). We always stay in Jambo because we love the lobby.
Saturday: THE FANTASY!!!
(Ok this will be a long post, as it should be:beach:)
Well, the day has arrived and I have been looking forward to the Fantasy ever since they laid the keel. Between watching the Meyer Werft web cam to stalking the ship during her sea trials and transatlantic crossing on various ship tracking websites, I have been eagerly waiting to see the changes they made over the Dream(I was very unimpressed with some of her design choices)
So Saturday arrived and we woke up and did the last of the packing. Now I forgot about some important packing decisions we had made before our trip. Back home we do cloth diapers on the boys, and we had decided long ago that we didn't want the trouble of the cloth while on vacation. We went with a giant box of Huggies size 3. So we had to find a way to fit 200 diapers in our random peices of Luggage. We also brought Neosure Similac formula that was premade and we got free, so we figured this was the perfect time to use it. Thus, this is why, along with swim stuff and medicine and way more clothes then we would ever need, we had 6 large peices of luggage. We decided on shipping the 6 pieces of luggage to the port through Disney because the van Dawnita found (Elegance Transportation) would only allow one and perhaps two pieces of luggage per person. Disney was $25 bucks and all we had to do was leave them in our room. We saw that they were already outside bell services before we even left at 845. Driver was early and he was lucky we were already down there when he pulled up. He was already grouchy but we loaded up and drove to POP because he didn't know if we should stop at POP or Art and we didn't either, stopped at wrong one had to drive to Art and he was grouchy again because it put us late and they had scheduled another pick up that technically he should not have been able to make, droooooove like wild man :drive: and texted while driving... Port enforced 1030 so we had to wait in the parking garage, a little cold for the boys but not terrible. Check in was smooth although staff kept coming out randomly as we were waiting, could have been faster if all came out at once... (side note) nursing with shield was very easy and discreet and Jenny never felt uncomfortable and after the first day the boys didn't mind the shield, FYI we should have used it with them a few times before coming down to get them used to it easier) Got on as a number 1 with Dawnita who is a Platinum... Ship is great... Europa and Satellite Falls are huge improvements.I don't know if it was ship layout, or who was on the ship, or if it was a more relaxed pace of a 7 day but people didn't seem as rude, rushed, or pushy as on our 4 day on the Dream. We wondered around the ship, wish they had not kept telling us Cabanas was not open yet, it was, and it was empty when we went thru then packed by the time we came back... we just assumed... Jenny fixed Palo, very easy... Our Stateroom Hostess Evi was great throughout the whole trip. We figured out that 2 pack and plays in the room was just too much so we worked with her and settled on one pack and play butted up against the couch bed with a sleep rail on the other side and both boys could fit and then we kept their toys and such in the pack and play. Checked out the Small World Nursery, very cute staff all so nice and the boys were instant hits. The boys had a rough night with fussiness as the staff and themselves got used to each other... Dinner in Enchanted, servers were great! :worship:
First Glimpse of the Fantasy
Our Homebase before lunch
Despite the warnings from the board it was not as windy up here as I feared
We had Staterooms 6190 and 6192 on the aft of the ship. We chose them because they connected and THE BALCONIES!!!
Its A Small World Nursery(Highly recommend the cost)
Next up: Day at sea and waves, more waves and some wind for good measure...
The boys are so cute!
Sunday: Sea Day
Ordered breakfast by using the doorknob order form last night, and it arrived right on time.(We used room service for breakfast stuff and coffee almost every morning and it was always very prompt, however the quality control calls after every order started to get annoying) Unfortunatly it was still too cold to eat it on the veranda and the sea was very rough. Boys had the best night sleep since the trip started. We put the boys in SWN and the whole group had Palo brunch today, however Gladys was sea sick and only joined us for the start and then had to go lay down. :sick: Our server Jelena was so nice and friendly and totally looked like Angolia Jolie! Jenny devoured her Grape pizza. Not sure why I liked the caviar this time, maybe it was because I had gradually been eating more fish in my life! Talapia was very good. I decided to try it because a year or so ago, while searching for a way to get more fish in my diet, Jenny and I tried the talapia at Costco and really liked it. So I wanted to see how Costco stacked up to real Talapia, and neither was bad! After we picked up the kids from the nursery, I think the lack of sleep caught up to us all cause we crashed for 2 1/2 hours! Then the boys went back to SWN and Jenny and I went to Aladdin.. Good show Jenny liked it more than me, thought it started very slow(that and I wasn't feeling the greatest), but loved the carpet scene. We could not believe they would have a puppet Iago and NO ABU!!!! Had a drink(Ooo La La) in La Piazza before dinner(first of many times we had wonderful engaging service while sitting at a bar and lackluster when served by servers out in the room) Dinner in Royal, formal night. We also realized the servers where the best team we have had so far on our cruises.. We had the center table!!! We picked up the boys after dinner and they started what would become a routine every night where one boy would be asleep and the other awake. The boy asleep would stay asleep all night and the boy awake would want to play for an hour or so then go to sleep, only to wake up at 3 or 4am and want to play again! AHHHH
An idea of how rough it was
Jelena in Palo, we had her twice!
La Piazza and drinks of the day!
It was also the Captain's gala so there were servers everywhere with free drinks before dinner... We tried to meet with Captain Marco, who had married us on the Magic 2 years earlier to see if he remembered us but while waiting in line he had to rush off and it was the last we saw him on the cruise :sad:
Dinner at Royal Court, CENTER TABLE!
Amazing Servers Harvey and Bogus
Next up: Grand Caymen, or so we thought!!!
Enjoying your report! What a bummer you didn't get a chance to meet up with the Captain on your cruise. I guess that gives you an excuse to go back! ;)
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