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Old 10-09-2008, 07:05 PM   #1
nenner1
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Back to the Island-Double Dip Delight!Western COMPLETE~Cruising with a baby w/PICS!

Ahoy, there! Welcome aboard! This is my third trip report, for our third cruise on DCL, the first 7-night cruise after dry-dock: an “alternate” Western of sorts, dubbed the “Double Dip Delight”. If you have read along with my adventures before, welcome back. If you are new, you can expect a play-by-play of all the action onboard we took part in (and sometimes some we didn’t), lots and lots of pictures, and as much detail as I can possibly remember! I hope you find reading our memories as enjoyable as it was for us to make them.

Here are direct links to individual installments:

Introduction
Bring Back the Magic
Door Number Three
They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More
Gypsies in the Palace
Back to the Island
Perrier Blues
I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever
Christmas in the Caribbean
Quietly Making Noise
Carnival World
Fins!
Margaritaville
A Pirate Looks At 40 (Thousand)
Mexico
Mexico, continued
Take Another Road (Part 1)
Take Another Road (Part 2)
Take Another Road (Part 3)
The Coconut(s) Telegraph (Part 1)
The Coconut(s) Telegraph (Part 2)
The Great Filling Station Holdup
Where's The Party?
License to Chill
Bank of Bad Habits
Back to the Island
Back to the Island (Part 2)
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Meet your Cast of Characters:
My name is Jen. I’m 34 and I have been a Disney fan for quite a long time. Other than that I am unremarkable. My husband Ron is also 34 and his interests include all the usual guy stuff. He loves to travel, which works real well with this cruising thing. My son Brendan is 8 (almost 9). He plays football and baseball and is the Hidden Mickey guru of the family. I have two daughters, Savannah, the oldest is 7 and Sarah is our baby, who just turned 4 months old. Savannah is a competitive dancer and cheerleader whose newest main interest is Hannah Montana. And Sarah…well she likes to drool and chew things, but who doesn’t?

I can’t have a trip report installment without at least one photo, so here is my favorite one of the kids taken this trip onboard the Magic:




We booked this cruise pretty much as a result of post-trip restlessness after our first cruise, a 4-night on the Wonder in 2007. We did not rebook on board for some silly reason I have never managed to figure out. However, not even two weeks after stepping foot off of the boat, we were lazily browsing the DCL website and saw this special itinerary cruise which intrigued us. It was an “alternate” Western, with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and two stops at Castaway Cay. The pricing for it was surprisingly less than the other Westerns so within about 2 hours, we had made our decision and booked the cruise. At that point we had previously only sailed in a Cat 11, which was fine for our needs at the time (as far as it being an inside room), but we did think we would prefer to have the split bath so we chose a Cat. 10. It was at that time 18 months from sailing.

We took another cruise on the Wonder, a 3-night in the interim, which turned out to be our last cruise as a family of four. This time we had spoiled ourselves. We had gotten a fab Florida Residents rate on a Cat.5 for the 3-night, so now we felt we could not take the step backwards to an inside room for the next one. So onboard our second trip on the Wonder, we re-booked to get the 10% discount and $200 and also upgraded to a Cat.8. This -as well as most categories at that time- was already in guarantee status, so we could not pick a room, but all of the Cat.8 rooms are forward on 5, 6, & 7 so we had a pretty good idea of where we would end up. And hey, we could always hope for an upgrade!

After finding out we were expecting Sarah, we had some real strategics to figure out. Our preference at that point would have been to just move to a Cat.4 room, but the prices on those were more than double what we had already paid, so that was out. A friend of ours also going on the cruise ended up booking Sarah in their room (though Sarah would stay with us in our room), but she ended up having to cancel so we found ourselves scrambling once again. Our travel agent managed to get us a Cat.11 room to go with our Cat. 8 (right across the hall from each other) for only $800 more than we had already paid, so we figured that would be the way to go. We were no longer in GTY status, we now had rooms, 6022 (Cat.8) and 6019 (the Cat.11). We had never stayed on Deck 6 before, plus 6019 was a “sideways” 11 so we were interested to check these rooms out. The doors for both rooms were directly opposing in the hallway so it would be easy to run between the rooms, to check on Brendan and Savannah, who would be in 6019 by themselves. We figured (correctly) that we would only be in the rooms to sleep, and whenever they would be in their room, we would be in ours so there would be no shenanigans over there unbeknownst to us! (We packed Sarah’s baby monitor to listen in on them, just in case…)

Are you following all this? There will be a short quiz at the end.
(OK, I’m kidding, but I promise this is pertinent information)

The countdown begins…

This particular cruise, originally to be the first sailing of the Magic out of dry dock, was packed full of Castaway Club members and Disers. In fact 473 folks onboard were either Disers or their immediate family and friends…that’s 158 staterooms. Our meets thread “Double Dip Delight” was a blast and it was not uncommon to go through 20 or more pages in a day. Our great group initiated so many fun plans that made the time waiting for the cruise go by swift in anticipation. We would have a DIS meet, of course…and also do fish extenders. Some of us would participate in a ‘Secret Mickey’ exchange that is akin to Secret Santa, and we would also have cool lanyards with name tags to identify ourselves (thanks lanyard team!) Group photos, and a group Palo brunch, dinner, and tea are just a couple more examples of all the neat events we had planned out.


And when I say plan, I ain’t joking around folks. This group is made up of some serious planners (me included). Most of us were repeat cruisers on DCL and knew the deal. We wanted to plan out every little detail, from the dinner rotations, to the shows, right on down to the drinks of the day. In fact I worked very hard to create a spreadsheet with all this information on it to have at hand to help out with the planning. I used prior Navigators to gather the information and called DCL to confirm that the rotations, etc. I had figured out were right. They confirmed that yes, indeed I was correct. They also told a few of my co-cruisers the same thing so we were all pretty secure in that the info we had was accurate. (Yes, this is all foreshadowing). Anyway, what do you think? A handy little tool, eh?



(Don't bother copying all this stuff down. It's wrong)

The first thing to change was the ports. (You knew changes were coming, now didn’t ya?)
Costa Maya was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Dean in 2007, and Disney decided, that although the port repair work was on schedule to be complete by the time we arrived in late Sept., that it would not be up to DCL’s standards, so it was scrapped in favor of Grand Cayman. Although we were looking forward to Costa Maya, we had never been to GC before so it worked for us. However, to accommodate THAT change, they also changed the departure time on our first Castaway Cay day to 2:30 PM. None of us were very happy about that, and didn’t really buy DCL’s excuse that they needed the extra time to account for the longer sailing distance (I mean, how much further is CC from Key West, really?) This change would affect some of our other plans later on, but we’ll get to that later. Then they decided that the Magic would get done with dry dock sooner than expected, so they snuck in a special 3-night sailing before our cruise. This, folks…turned out to be a good thing. Trust me.

Before we knew it 90 days out had arrived. I got on the computer at the stroke of midnight (okay actually 11:59) and snagged Palo dinner, Palo brunch (one of only three reservations left!) and our Flounder’s Reef allotment. I could have gotten the one Palo High Tea spot still there also, but we weren’t too interested in doing the tea. We did not take any excursions through DCL, since we consider ourselves cruise veterans now and felt comfortable we could arrange excursions on our own for cheaper.

Our plans were at Castaway Cay, the first day to spend as a family beach day and the second day we would rent bikes and explore the island and maybe (just maybe) get a little time at Serenity Bay since Sarah would be in Flounder’s. In Grand Cayman we would do a Stingray City and snorkeling trip booked through Captain Marvin’s. And in Cozumel – this is where we really stepped out on a limb- we would rent a car and explore the island ourselves (a little ambitious for us slightly green world travelers, I know).

The last few months before the cruise flew (of course I had just had a baby), and before you know it we were in the home stretch. The last couple of weeks were frantic. I work graveyard, and that’s hard enough in & of itself, but add in a newborn, cruise planning, packing, FE gift assembly, magnet designing & printing. Needless to say I was going out of my mind (what little I had left!)

And then, the accident. Just eight days before the trip I was involved in a hit & run accident that totaled my car. Ironically I did the hitting, but I didn’t do the running. Go on & figure *that one* out! Nobody was injured (well, at least I wasn’t- who knows about the “mystery vehicle” or invisible brick wall as the police said I must have hit) so we decided to let the insurance company clean up the mess, because it’s time to cruise!!!!

Next up: All Aboard!

(If you’re still with me, that is. It was a real long intro, wasn’t it?)
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Last edited by nenner1; 09-20-2009 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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Absolutely wonderful, as I knew it would be!!! And Jen...those children...absolutely beautiful!! That is a fantastic picture!!! Thanks so much for writing another TR!! You are my hero !
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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Awesome picture of the kids!!
great t/r so far!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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I love your kids! I miss seeing their smiling faces at dinner!

Your TR is wonderful! I can't wait to read more!!!!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
anewmac
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love the 1st installment. If only i could get up the gusto to write LOL. maybe once I get over this CRUD.

BTW I knew this pic would be perfect when we were behind you the kids all did great, and no it didnt take long at all. Sarah was in prime form. Girl will be a natural in front of the camera LOL.

Cant wait to read more.

Oh and you dont know how many times I refered to the spread sheet. E even did to... It wasnt that far off really LOL Totally helped me plan my palo and character breakfast once we got our KTTW lol
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenner1 View Post
(Don't bother copying all this stuff down. It's wrong)
Amen, sister! But it was a rockin' spreadsheet anyway!

Love the TR so far - that photo of your kids is darling! What sweeties.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:33 PM   #7
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The pic is stunning! And those baby cheeks-just want to aqueeze em !! I love all the details and more pics please!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:31 PM   #8
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Great job and beautiful kids!!!!
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WDW - too many times to count; Cruised for the 1st time - Sept. 27, 2008 Double Dip ; Made AMAZING friends on the Haunted Magic - October 31, 2009

Next trip ... Escaping the Election chaos on the Fantasy - November 3, 2012
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:23 PM   #9
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Proud DVC Member since 2006 8 Cruises so far - and too many trips to WDW to count
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:57 PM   #10
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The kids look so cute! I love that they got sarah to smile
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:36 AM   #11
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Here are direct links to individual installments:

Introduction
Bring Back the Magic
Door Number Three
They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More
Gypsies in the Palace
Back to the Island
Perrier Blues
I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever
Christmas in the Caribbean
Quietly Making Noise
Carnival World
Fins!
Margaritaville

I love the title's to each adventure!! Awesome ! We are headed in October on the same cruise our first one! Have been to Key West before and can't wait to head back. The report is great !!!
Fins UP!
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:13 PM   #12
nenner1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frdeb1999 View Post
Loving the update and pics! That slide looks like lots of fun!
Oh yes...it was! Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anewmac View Post
I like hearing his 2cents after the fact LOL, and OMG its been 6+ months wow.. boy does time fly when your back to the real world!
Yeah I can't believe it was that long ago. Y'd think we would have our TR's done by now... But it seems just like yesterday for me. I was back on the magnet thread yesterday looking for ideas for the next one and it really brought me back to the night before the cruise when I was spazzing trying to print and cut all of the magnets out! Memories!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerfan14 View Post
I love the title's to each adventure!! Awesome ! We are headed in October on the same cruise our first one! Have been to Key West before and can't wait to head back. The report is great !!!
Fins UP!
Thanks! It is getting hard to not repeat some titles (which I have done, shamelessly!) I mean with a catalog as huge as Buffett's is that really shouldn't be an issue but some things just fit so well I can't help but reuse them! Being such huge fans, we did miss the Key West stop on our trip...as much as we loved having two stops at CC, that is just one more reason we decided to go on another Western! Thanks for reading!!!
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #13
anewmac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenner1 View Post

Yeah I can't believe it was that long ago. Y'd think we would have our TR's done by now... But it seems just like yesterday for me. I was back on the magnet thread yesterday looking for ideas for the next one and it really brought me back to the night before the cruise when I was spazzing trying to print and cut all of the magnets out! Memories!
Same here....
Im actually on the Creative DIS looking for tshirt ideas and more LOL Theres a LOT of cute ones if you sew LOL unfortunatly I cant LOL (or maybe its fortunatly )
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:03 PM   #14
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Same here....
Im actually on the Creative DIS looking for tshirt ideas and more LOL Theres a LOT of cute ones if you sew LOL unfortunatly I cant LOL (or maybe its fortunatly )
LOL, I saw ya there! Lois too!

I know what you mean, it is dance costume time again, this year I have five of them to alter!

I took home ec in 6th grade, we had a whole semester on sewing, our project was to sew a stuffed animal from a kit...OMG I got the tail done (the easiest part) and then I had to hand it over to my grandma or I would have gotten an F!

ETA: The stuffed animal...it was a skunk. I still have that bad boy. Aside from the tail it looks pretty nice! Gran did a great job!
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:22 PM   #15
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A Pirate Looks At 40 (Thousand)

Tonight, of course, was Pirate Night. Usually on the Westerns, Pirate Night is held on Wednesday (Night 5), but as we found out in the Palo line when we boarded, our cruise would be extra special. The move to Tuesday was to accommodate a late stay in Cozumel on Wednesday; we would not be departing until 1:00 AM. This would allow some of the crew and cast members a much needed break and allow them some time to let loose onshore.

After adjusting to the initial shock (yes, shock. Remember how hard I worked on the dining rotations and spreadsheet?) It actually worked out rather well. I think the Pirate theme goes great after a day in the islands. It might have even fit better if the Pirate Ship excursions for that day had not been cancelled, but….

After the movie, we headed back to our rooms to freshen up just a bit. We were staying casual this time, no Pirate costumes or really even any fully themed clothing. Ron, Brendan, and Savannah were all wearing pirate T-shirts and the boys wore shorts (hey, this is the one night they are allowed in the dining room…we were so going to take advantage of that!). I wore the best thing I could find, a black and grey striped scoop neck top that resembles the attire in the best prisons across the country! Sarah just wore a Carter’s dress. They don’t make much in pirate garb for the infant set, if you know what I mean! We stopped to empty out the Fish Extender, which was packed full of trinkets, tattoos, glow sticks, eye patches, and all manner of booty. One item inside the FE was a small felt do-it-yourself Pirate Flag kit, which Savannah became immediately obsessed with assembling!

Taking inventory of the booty:



Tonight’s dinner was in Animator’s Palate featuring the Pirate Menu. It would be our first of two back to back nights in AP, with the show night being tomorrow. The Pirate menu is not one of my favorites, and in fact it had been our practice of scheduling Palo on Pirate Night on our shorter cruises.

We headed down to the dining room and found our table near the back of the room, right behind the service station where our private serving team would stand and watch us all night, waiting until one of us needed something. As I glanced around at the crowd, I was a bit surprised to see most people were dressed casually like us, and not in full out costume. The costumes we did see however were amazing. Kimberly and her mom and grandma were all decked out in their hand sewn costumes that were simply stunning! Hadley and Erik and their respective parties were also dressed to the nines. I did expect more participation to this level on the Magic, so like I said I was surprised to see most people in T shirts and shorts.



Jakub and Candice greeted us; of course they were in their pirate costume. Fitz too, was impossible to miss in his swashbuckler hat that was almost as large as he was (and that’s saying a lot!) The room was decked out in festive yellow tablecloths but it really didn’t seem “right” being in Animator’s. Pirate Night in Parrot Cay is the best atmosphere. Oh well…I tried!

We also noticed a few people at the big table tonight. Remember, that is the 12-top right near us that we assumed (and would be confirmed for us later on) belonged to our serving team. It was always empty, which is why we got the “private” dining room service. A small family was sitting there, a mom and dad and two very small children (one baby, one toddler). They, however, also had their own serving team and were also appeared halfway through dinner when we arrived, so I don’t really know what that situation was all about. Interesting, though.

We got our drinks and bread, delicious crusty Cuban rolls and the soft, amazingly yummy banana bread. As we awaited our appetizers, Kimberly came by to take our picture; she was going around getting snapshots of everyone from our meet thread for her scrapbook (what a great idea!)



We took a few shots, too but I was pretty restrained with the photography this evening.






Showing off their tattoos (I have no idea where they got these. The DVC desk, maybe?)








There were new bandanas also. Not the ones they used to have from Oriental Trading Company. I kind of like the red, and I like the Pirate in the Caribbean logo on it, however these were way too small to tie around a normal adults head properly. They were more like handkerchiefs then bandanas.



As far as the food goes, nothing we ate this evening was exceptional in one direction or the other, therefore not very memorable. The kids selected their usual, Minnie’s Mini Burger. For appetizers, Ron had the Blackbeard’s Jumbo Crab Cakes (I don’t especially remember anything “jumbo” about them, but then again I am not a crab cake connoisseur.) I had the Buccaneer’s Sun-Ripened Pineapple with banana-orange glaze and coconut (the best part!). For soup/salad, I had the Chilled Honeydew and Mango soup, which was very good. (All of the chilled soups on DCL are awesome!) Ron had the Hideaway Bay Salad, Romaine with parmesan and jerk croutons, which was unremarkable. For entrées, Ron had the Treasure of the Seas Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops, again in his opinion unremarkable. I had the Black Pearl Oven Roasted Beef Tenderloin, which was pretty good. For all our ambivalence of this meal, we ended up pretty darn full (really darn full, actually), so it must have been decent. As usual our service was stellar. It moved at a nice rapid pace and we did not want for anything.

Tonight was the night Brendan had selected for his birthday celebration. Candice had mentioned it briefly earlier to ensure this was the night we would like to celebrate and I took that opportunity to let her know that Brendan really did not like that Jell-O mold cake they make. She assured me “Don’t worry, we don’t have that here, we have *real* cake”. She had just come over to the Magic from the Wonder and agreed that it was pretty yucky. After dinner, but before our desserts arrived, our team gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Brendan. And sure enough, it was real cake. His favorite, vanilla!





For dessert, aside from the birthday cake which we all shared, I was the only one who selected anything off the dessert menu. This was, of course, the Walk the Plank Chocolate Cake. It was awesome but I seem to recall the serving being a bit small, which probably was a good thing, because I was very, very full.

As we finished our dessert, the loud tropical music began to blare, the rhythmic clapping thundered; the servers gathered….let the limbo commence!

As I mentioned, we were way in the back of the room, tucked behind a service station, so we were in an awful vantage point. I was the only one who could see at all, and that required bending halfway over backwards and craning my neck to a painful position that no creature aside from an owl should attempt. While the last Pirate Night limbo we were at seemed to go on forever (those of you who read my first trip report may recall that is when Brendan overate and he had a “Code V” right in the limbo parade), this one was over very quick. The kids never even made it up there, the crowds backing up behind the limbo were huge (extending to the side walls of the room on both directions) and it seemed like people were spurting out from under the bar very slowly. In all actuality, it was a good thing the music stopped abruptly, as several decks up the Pirate in the Caribbean Deck Party was already in full swing.

And boy was it! After a very brief stop at the rooms for a potty break/diaper change we headed up to the party. We decided to strategize a bit and after being in the pool area of deck 9 last time, we decided being up on deck 10 would afford us a better vantage point. Since we had Sarah in the stroller, we had to think ahead about how we would get up there (not all of the elevators go to the top floor, literally and figuratively). We walked all the way aft on 6 through the narrow hallway past all of the stateroom hosts carts, room service trays, vacuums, and the like to take the aft lifts up to deck 10. We emerged outside of Palo, and the elevator lobby area was deserted…save one cast member holding a fire extinguisher. We started to head in one direction before she stopped us and let us know we could not go out that way. So we headed back to the other direction and all the way around the back. As we passed the Mickey pool are we could see a bit of congestion ahead, but it still did not seem unreasonable.

UNTIL we passed the stack. OMG! It was utter insanity! Wall to wall (or rail to rail) people, just stacks of them! It was impossible to get through, but we tried anyway. We weren’t going to stop and try to get a spot there (or TAKE anyone’s spot there) we just thought we’d move through the mass and it would be clear on the other side. Everyone there was having none of it though. As we tried to squeeze our way past (it was a walkway, after all) there was plenty of grumbling, groaning, eye rolling, and glaring coming from the crowd ahead of us. GUYS! This is not Main Street and we are not plopping down in front of you for the parade at the last minute, I PROMISE! We are not “those people!”. We were just trying to get through. Most likely though, there was no room on the other side, but we could not see that from where we were in the midst of the throng. I had the stroller and as I was inching it forward a lady took a big step back into the hole another person made so I could pass, and as she did, well her ankle hit my wheel (I *swear* it was her, not me!). She gave me the “You will NOT take MY spot!” glare, and it was right then I decided this was ridiculous, we were NOT going to get past this crowd, so I turned the stroller around and headed back aft. That’s what they need, though, is Parade Control! And ropes!

Our plan having massively failed, we decided to head back down to deck 9 and take our chances down there. As we headed back toward the Palo elevator, there was a CM with a fire extinguisher now there on deck, blocking the path. “I’m sorry; you cannot go this way for your own safety”. UGH. Now we were really stuck!

So we walked back in the general direction of the Goofy deck area. Ron said, “Go down!” and motioned to the stairs. We went down, and he followed, carrying Sarah in the stroller. (Yes, if you were looking on in horror, that was us!)

Once down on deck 9, it as readily apparent what was going on up on 10. The deck was totally full! Completely surrounding the Goofy Pool area, it was shoulder to shoulder five to ten deep, just a massive wall of humanity! Looking at it from below, I am impressed we managed to get as far as we did, and I was also glad we decided to turn back when we did. Deck 9 was no ghost town either, in the center the crowd extended all the way back to the hot tubs. In fact, I was more than a little bit in awe of the crowd. This was nothing like what we had experienced on the Wonder! There were spots along the edge of the deck by where the chairs were piled up, so we hung over there (not like we had much choice). We got ourselves a drink (can’t remember what, but it was tropical and fruity!) and finally took a breath.





Who needs glow sticks when you have glow baby!








Here’s a quick pan of the ginormous crowd (which really, really does not do it justice):




The party was in full swing up on stage. The bad pirates had taken over and after a little more dancing it was time for the good guys to save the day!

Let a Hero show you how its’ really done! (Ahem, spoiler)



I had my shutter speed set too slow for fireworks shots so a lot of them ended up like this, which is actually kind of cool IMO:








After the fireworks there is a mad dash for the buffet, obviously from the folks on the early dining rotation because we could not even stomach the idea of more food yet. Normally I would have grabbed a dessert plate for later but the crowds were huge and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. When the massive throng had dissipated enough for us to walk across the deck to midship, we were exhausted and relieved!

We headed back to the rooms and fed Sarah, then decided it was well time to finish our Fish Extender deliveries. We had only gotten deck 8 done the day before, so we had all the rest of the ship still to go. However we had gotten oriented to the map and now had a good system of covering the floors. It was a whole lot of fun to look at all the doors and to cover areas of the ship we hadn’t seen yet. There were some really neat (and unusual) FE’s. We saw some amazing door magnets and decorations.

It took about an hour to complete the drops. I was utterly exhausted by the time we made it back to our rooms, and collapsed into bed. In bed with all of us tonight: wascally wabbits!









All in all, yet another amazing day aboard the Magic.

Up Next: Mexico (I’ve never really been, so I don’t really know)
__________________


Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas 9/2011- NEW! TRIP REPORT! - Disney Magic 7 Night Western 10/2010: Trip Report - Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas 1/2010: Trip Report and Videos - Disney Magic 7 Night Western Double Dip 09/08: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 3 Night Bahamas 10/07: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 4 Night Bahamas 03/07: Trip Report
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