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Old 10-29-2008, 10:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 183

October 17-27: Our Magical Dream Vacation - updated 5/7/09 -LOTS of PICs

Just got back from a wonderful 7-night cruise on the Magic with two days afterward at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter. I feel the need to write a trip report as a means of therapy to combat my post-cruise depression.

Our adventure stars:

Cyndi: Me. Just turned 40 on the Magic!
Frank: DH. Beat me to the big 4-0 by several months
DD1: Autumn. 12 years old.
DD2: Mariah. 8 years old.

The adventure was conceived back when I first heard about cruising with Disney aboard the Big Red Boat. I really can’t remember how long ago that was, or even if I had children at that time, but I knew that cruising with the Mouse seemed like a great idea. DH and I had taken a cruise for our honeymoon aboard Norwegian Cruise Line. We loved it and vowed to cruise every two years for the rest of our lives. Funny how the reality of life changes your plans, isn’t it?

Fast forward to June, 2007. This cruise was actually birthed as a result of something bad that DH did. He went behind my back and did something that he knew I did not approve of. When he realized that I was furious and did not wish to talk to him for days, he decided that rather than send flowers he would offer me something even better. “Gee honey, I know I was bad. Can you ever forgive me. I know….let’s take that Disney Cruise we’ve always talked about.” The ink had not even dried on this promise (okay, it was verbal not written, but I like the saying) when I immediately began researching my options. I ran to the bookstore looking for books on Disney Cruising; found the Passporter and I was OFF! Strange thing is that DH does not recall the initial exchange. He does not recall that it was his fault…er, idea, that we started on our journey toward a Disney Cruise. No matter…we were going! I started saving that very day and within a month had booked the cruise. I was REALLY glad for the Passporter because I do ALL my travel planning and would never have thought to book through a TA. But, booking through a TA got us $150 in onboard credit!

Now the waiting begins.

Somewhere in there I found the DIS boards. I believe that was a direct result of surfing based on recommendations in the Passporter. But, once I found the boards, I felt like I had hit planning Nervanna. I even found a thread with people who were going to be on the same cruise that I was!

And now the time had arrived.
My October 17-27 Dream Vacation Trip Report

I am an altered artist

Last edited by cyndid; 05-07-2009 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:05 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 183

The Day Before Departure

After what seemed like an excruciating week tying up loose ends with my business, I finally “left” work yesterday around 2 pm. I drove to my best friend/employee’s house to drop off the credit card machine she would need, a disk with various needed files, and some instructions. I was totally pooped by the time I left.

I really did think that I was done. FOOL.

I woke up this morning around 5am and had my short list of last-minute things that needed to be done before I could REALLY be done. Somehow, that 2 hour list seemed to stretch into 5 hours! How could this be? I still had to clean the house, feed the family and get to bed by 8 pm.

I have been diagnosed by as being a perfectionist (If you’ve never visited the site, you should. Occasionally I actually shine my sink…that is often the only thing that gets done. Go to the site; then you’ll understand). Those that know me best probably find this diagnosis laughable given the perpetual state of cluttered chaos that I live in. However, I really believe it to be true. If I can’t do it right, through to completion, then I don’t want to start it. That coupled with the fact that I grew up with a mother who was clutter-phobic and was very controlling, seems to be why I am the way I am. This was uncovered after many hours of therapy. Just kidding. I digress…

So, around 11 am I began a marathon cleaning session. Why clean the house when we live like this normally? Well, our neighbor was going to be checking on our cat. While she has seen our home in all its cluttered, chaotic glory, I had visions of people being invited in and shown around with murmured expressions of, “Yes, they really do live this way.” Or, “See. You didn’t believe me. This is why they meet visitors at the door. Yes, you may take pictures and post them on YouTube.” With all due respect to my absolutely wonderful neighbor who would never, ever, ever do such a thing…the visions still persisted. So, marathon cleaning session ensued.

Poor DH also works from home (as do I) and was “supposed” to be working this day. It was really difficult for him, I’m sure, with me frantically cleaning all around him. And, whether he’s working or not, shouldn’t he be as frantic as I am? I mean, really?

While I was frantically cleaning the house, DH stepped out to take the dog to the kennel. I image it was sometime around lunchtime. Although in my cleaning frenzy I failed to note the time.

With all this obsessive cleaning, it was a REALLY good thing that I had printed out all of our documents, magnets, driving directions, confirmations, etc., days ago. It was also helpful that I had been packing for months in advance, because the last-minute packing paranoia was brief. I KNEW I had packed everything. I HAD a list afterall and all items were checked off. Unfortunately, this did not appease my last minute, “EEK! Where is the pirate night thus-and-so.” (Sorry, I don’t remember what the actual item was that I frantically searched for through EVERY single piece of luggage.)

Oooooh! I forgot one MAJOR thing! Our bank had a system-wide glitch that caused double debits for one entire day. While they credited back most of the duplicates, there were a couple of charges that shouldn’t have been on our accounts and the duplicate debits and unauthorized charges caused overdrafts on DHs account. So, during this crazy, clean-the-house, finish packing, make sure the business is set for my absence and make sure we’re ready day, we have to run to our bank to make sure that we are not going to be slammed with $150 in NSF fees! Unbelievable.

We had decided to leave our debit cards at home because of the increased risk of loss due to fraudulent charges (debit cards are not as easy to recoup from as standard credit cards). This made me a little paranoid about how much cash we were going to have on hand in case something happened with our one lone credit card. So, while at the bank being reassured that all was fine with our accounts, I withdrew $500 and put it into traveler’s checks….just in case.

After leaving the bank (This was at lunch time…now I REALLY don’t know when DH took the dog to the kennel.), we went to Subway and bought sandwiches. After cleaning the house so thoroughly, the LAST thing I wanted to do was have to cook and dirty dishes! So, we counted the Subways toward our cruise expenses and took them home.

The girls got home from school and DD2 was almost literally bouncing off the walls. She was so excited! While she didn’t want to lend much of a hand cleaning, she was happy to help throw things in any suitcase as needed. She also packed her “personal item” for the plane. DD1 was excited, but a bit more subdued.

Around 5 pm we ate our Subway sandwiches. I continued my frantic cleaning marathon and finished with a clean and clutter-free family room, living room, front hallway, kitchen counters, downstairs half-bath, upstairs hallway, and upstairs girls’ bathroom. The doors to the remaining rooms were closed. The floors got swept and mopped and two loads of dishes washed and one put away. Unfortunately there were still dishes in the sink (our Calphalon pans that had to be hand-washed), and the floors did not get vacuumed. But, for us, it was CLEAN!

DD2 eating her Subway sandwich

After dinner I frantically made sure that all the luggage was complete, all travel documents were accounted for, etc. and finally crashed into bed around 9 pm. The girls went to bed around 7:30 pm. That doesn’t mean they slept...too excited. I set the alarm for 2:30 am and hoped that DH would eventually come to bed. I have no idea when he finally made it to bed, and I didn’t ask.

Coming up…the Cruise Fairy Visits and We Lost the Dog!

(Any similarities to Zweihunds writing style is no coincidence. I am seldom original and tend to imitate what I like. I like her you'll see it a lot.)
My October 17-27 Dream Vacation Trip Report

I am an altered artist

Last edited by cyndid; 11-02-2008 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:06 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 183

I am well versed with html, but can't figure out how to add size parameters to the image tag here so it isn't so ginormous. If anyone has any hints, let me know. I have LOTS of photos to post.
My October 17-27 Dream Vacation Trip Report

I am an altered artist
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:19 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 183

Getting There Part I

Departure Day

The alarm rang at 2:30 am and I rolled out of bed. I showered, woke DH up and went down to get my breakfast while he was showering.

When I came downstairs there were gift bags at everyone’s place at the table. “Awwww,” I thought, “That’s why DH had stayed up later last night. He was preparing a little farewell surprise.” I left the bags alone, ate my breakfast and finally went up to wake up the munchkins. They were surprisingly easy to get out of bed. Wish they were this easy to get moving on a school day.

DH had packed the car the night before, so the only thing left to do once the girls were ready was to tear into our little gift bags. When the girls saw the bags they said, “What’s this?” I don’t remember who replied (I think it was me) and said, “I think the Cruise Fairy came.” Inside each bag was a lanyard and a Disney trading pin. Mine was a Disney Cruise Line bon voyage pin. How sweet. Now I had two pins…one that I picked out for myself at Disneyland in February when I was there for business, and now this one commemorating our cruise. My lanyard was a DCL Castaway Club lanyard. This would prove to be quite a conversation item for us for the rest of the beginning of the trip. Of course the Cruise Fairy left one for DH also.

The Cruise Fairy strikes

We finally got into the car and on our way. I don’t know how we manage to do this: we were on time and ready to go for some time and yet STILL managed to leave 40 minutes later than planned. I often remind my children that there are two things that make me CRAZY (I mean head-spinning, pea soup spitting nutso): 1. Being late through no fault of my own. 2. Losing things. I’ve really been working on these things. There has been much less pea-soup spitting than years ago, but sad to say, occasionally the head still spins. Fortunately for all of us, while I was teetering on the verge of nutso at my family’s inability to get in the car, I remained calm. Maybe it was pixie dust? Thanks Tink.

Despite leaving 40 minutes later than planned, we arrived at the airport roughly when planned. I slept on the way and therefore did not monitor DHs driving speed, but I have a feeling that we may have hit new driving records to achieve this. The airport we were flying out of was a really little airport. We knew that there would be no line up at security and the gates were all close. So, we were good!

We waited to board our flight and finally we were allowed to board. I looked at DD1 and said, “We’re going on a Disney Cruise.” She smiled and nodded, placating me.

DD2 and DH waiting in the terminal

DD1 and DH on the plane. DD1 is a little nervous about flying

We hopped on the plane with DD2 and I sitting together and DD1 and DH sitting together. DD1s favorite stuffed animal, a dog named Mackenzie, rode in her lap the whole way to Atlanta…our layover stop.

Those of you who have travelled through the Atlanta International Airport will understand when I said that I had been nervous from the start that we had only 40 minutes between flights. It is inevitable that our plane lands on tarmac A gate 1 and our next flight leaves from tarmac Z gate 101. I have many *fond* memories of running through the Atlanta airport. But this time was different. Tink must’ve been following us and spreading the pixie dust as this was the EASIEST time I’ve ever had in the Atlanta airport! We got from our arrival gate to our departure gate in under 15 minutes.

There are families with several children who love each other and who do not fight. I often look at these loving families wistfully and wonder what they do to make this happen. This just simply is not so in our family. The DDs find every conceivable way of pressing each other’s buttons and making the other crazy (and their parents in the process). Sitting at the terminal in Atlanta was no exception. They must have finally awakened (or the pixie dust wore off) because they began picking at each other. DH wound up having to separate them. There was yelling and crying…I’m sure those around us were thrilled.

Then they finally called our boarding group. DD2 and I once again sat together. We were one of the first boarding groups called, so we had been sitting there for a few minutes when DD2 looks at me horror struck and says/cries, “Where’s Mackenzie?” Oh no! I had absolutely no idea where she left the dog, but she certainly wasn’t on the plane. Could it have been in the bathroom? The waiting area? I had no idea. I was sure that Mackenzie was gone for good. I turned to DH, who was sitting behind us, and told him what all the commotion was about. He said, “They are still loading passengers. Get up and go see if you can get off real quick and look for her.” In my panic this thought had not crossed my mind. See, I thought that once on a plane, no one got off.

Well, I trudged up the aisle like a fish swimming upstream and said with imploring eyes, “My daughter left her stuffed animal in the terminal. Can I get off to look for it?” I don’t know if it was the imploring eyes, the worry of a crying child all the way to Tampa (DD2 was wailing back at our seat), or a little left over pixie dust, but she told me I could get off. She had to call forward to announce that I was coming out for security reasons. I walked up the ramp and emerged in the waiting area. I told the guy who I was and showed him my boarding pass and he let me past. As soon as I turned I saw a woman sitting in the very first row holding a stuffed animal that looked just like Mackenzie. As I was contemplating my retrieval attack, she saw my determined eyes looking at the old, worn stuffed animal and said, “Is this yours? I was going to turn it in here at the gate.” “Yes, oh yes!” I exclaimed and snatched up the dog. Crisis averted, no attack needed. Thanks Tink.

I got back on the plane holding the dog above my head. I received several happy comments from other passengers and crew, and presented the stuffed dog to my daughter who now shed tears of joy. We were all thrilled, but inwardly knew that this crisis would not have happened had the girls not fought at the terminal. Someday my children will be nice to each other and get along!

Up next: Miracle at the Pool and "Are You Diane?"
My October 17-27 Dream Vacation Trip Report

I am an altered artist
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
thanks Mickey, now I am an addict!!
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Jumping on to re-live the cruise....LOL Great report so far......
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Feb 26th 2011 Eastern on the Magic!!! - graphic to come
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:13 AM   #6
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Ahhh...the ATL. Where I've spent many a delay inside the Budweiser bar right in the middle of all the terminals. It seems like after 20 years of running behind constantly on their flights, they would have just figured out how to space the planes apart a little bit more.

I'm surprised they let you off the plane.
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:30 PM   #7
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Great report so far. Can wait to read more.

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:24 PM   #8
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Cyndi, I'm SO happy you are writing this. Woo hoo - thanks for taking the time, the effort, and helping us all recover, post-cruise.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:56 PM   #9
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Great report so far! I had to to the same "please let me off the plane to get the stuffed horse my daughter left in the waiting area" last Spring.
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