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Old 11-08-2009, 06:23 PM   #1
Mickey4me!
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Our Magical 10.17 Western (with pics)....UPDATED Wednesday 11/25

I’ve had a really hard time deciding whether to write this trip report. First, it’s just too depressing to think that the cruise has already come and gone. After looking forward to and planning for it for almost 9 mos., now that it’s over it feels like there’s a big chunk of life missing. Second, writing is a lot like work and don’t like to start something I can’t finish. I finally decided that writing one might end up be therapeutic and help me pass the 13 months until our next cruise. Hopefully reading it will help someone pass the time until their cruise and possibly answer some questions along the way. I'm hoping it won’t get too long, but I’m not promising anything (remember this is therapy for me)….

CAST
Me – Ruth Ann 52 3rd Disney cruise and the one who does all the planning to make sure everyone has a memorable trip.
DH – David 54. 3rd Disney cruise and looks forward to them as much as I do (just counts on me to make all the plans)
DD – Ashley 25. 2nd Disney cruise. Actually Ash is my step-daughter but I feel like she’s mine. She’s so much fun and a blast to travel with and we’ve been a family since she was 8. Gets just as excited as I do and loves to plan as well.
DD fiancé - Chris 27. 1st cruise ever (even tho he was in the Navy for 4 yrs, that doesn’t count) Popped the question on Valentine’s Day and David and I are ecstatic about the upcoming wedding. Chris has been with on numerous beach and Disney vacations with us and is a joy to travel with. He loves experiencing new things. Chris is really into running, mt. biking and kayaking and loves the outdoors (Ash, on the other hand, is into temperature controlled shopping malls )

We decided in Jan. of this year that since we had banked our ’08 DVC points that DCL would be a good option for a vacation. We chose Oct. because the weather would not be so hot and because points were lower. We usually do WDW in Nov. and enjoy fall vacations. I called Member Services and was able to book 2 cabins – veranda for David and I and a Navigator’s for Ash and Chris. I got 6132 for the veranda and tried to get 6134 for the other but it was booked so I settled for 6138 a few doors down. Then the waiting began. In the meantime, Chris FINALLY proposed to Ash on Valentine’s Day they set the date for May 15, 2010 and the wedding planning began . When they had been down for Christmas, Chris had asked David for his permission (how sweet!) and showed him the ring. He said he was going to wait for the right time and keeping it a secret from her had been killing me!

The happy couple

Planning the wedding really helped the time go faster and before we knew it we were at the 90 mark and able to make excursion, Palo and spa reservations. Chris and Ash came down for a visit (they live in PA and we live 3.5 hrs south in VA) the weekend that our booking window opened so we were able to discuss the plans before committing. I was on line about 1 min past midnight when the window opened and was able to get everything except the Electric Car with GPS in Key West. This was unfortunate as it was really the one David really wanted. After about 20 min on line, I had the following secured-
  • Sunday (Key West) – 12:45PM Back to Nature Kayak Tour – Chris & Ash
  • Monday (Sea Day #1) – 10:30AM Palo’s brunch (all)
  • Tuesday( Grand Cayman) – 8:15 Island Tour – Dave & me
    7:45 Shipwreck & Reef Snorkel – Chris & Ash
  • Wednesday (Cozumel) – 9:30AM Dolphin Observer – David & me
    9:45AM Dolphin Push, Pull, Swim – C&A
  • Thursday (Sea Day #2) – 10:30 AM AloneTime – ME!!
  • Friday (Castaway Cay) – 10AM Couples Cabana Massage – C&A
    1:15PM Castaway Island Crusie – Dave &me

The next few months crawled by. Airline reservations were made and I secured our hotels for the night before and the night after the cruise (we were scheduled to depart Orlando on Sunday). This was no small feat as everyone had different arrival and departure plans. Chris and Ash secured a great direct flight price on AirTran out of Harrisburg for Friday before the cruise with an 8AM departure for their return flight on Sunday. Ash got the ressies early in the summer so I started looking for flights from VA that arrived around the same time. Finally found a good rate with AirTran that departed at 7AM from RIC direct to Orlando arriving around 9AM. Since I’m an early riser, this was fine. Now David was a different story. See he’s really not a fan of flying….at all! He will fly if it’s the only alternative but would much prefer to drive. Doesn’t mind it a bit while, I on the other hand hate long car trips which are like torture to me. So we (he) decided that he would leave on Thurs. and be there to pick us up at the airport. Fine with me. This meant that he could take all the luggage down and I would just have to fly with a small carry on. He even offered to drive up to PA the weekend before we left to pick up Ash and Chris’s luggage as well.

I was able to secure 2 rooms on Priceline at the Orlando airport Marriott for Sat night after the cruise for $50 each so I was really pleased! I read all the info on the boards about where to stay at the port the night prior to sailing and finally decided on the Residence Inn. This ended up being cheaper for us since we needed two rooms and I was able to get a 2 bedroom suite for $179 which included breakfast and allowed us to leave the car there as well. I travel a lot with my job and usually stay at Marriott so I was confident these two hotels would be fine.

Finally – down to two weeks to go! I had been forwarding posts from the DIS boards to everyone for weeks. My goal was to make sure everyone was as prepared as I was for the trip. Not only did I want to make sure we all had a good time, but my real goal was to NOT be the “wadda we doing next” expert. I really wanted to relax on this vacation and not do anything close to work and that meant that when we boarded the ship, I was taking off my “planner/organizer” hat and putting on my “I’m on vacation too” one. We’ll see how this works out… I also found time to make some cute door magnets from some of the great graphics I found on the DIS. I printed up pirate Mickey ears for Ash and Chris’s door and Capt. Mickey for mine and Dave’s. I also made up a different one for each day of the cruise and sent them to Ash with the over-the-door shoe organizer I bought her for her birthday. She was familiar with the organizer and how useful it was because she had used one on the 2002 cruise and loved it. The one I sent her was a cute blue/brown polka dot one and FULL of useful stuff. She was also thrilled with the note I included in it announcing that her dad and I were paying for a couples massage on Castaway for her and Chris. She loved the idea of the door magnets and added to the ones I made by buying some Disney scrapbooking stuff and putting magnet tape on the back. They really turned out cute.


I was determine not to be rushing around at the last minute so I started (and finished) my packing about 6 days before we left. Earlier in the month, I had taken out our handy dandy DCL canvas tote and started throwing all the misc stuff in it – phone chargers, meds, highlighters, binoculars – all the stuff we’re usually scrambling for at the last min. This worked out great and I don’t think anything was left behind. I was also determined to not overpack. I usually start out with good intentions, but in the end throw in a lot of items at the last minute “just in case”. So, I spent the weekend prior to leaving making sure I had everything washed, ironed and packed. I was so proud of myself!


I really hate to iron but when I have too, this stuff is great.


It gives just enough body to cotton items to keep them from getting those hard core “I’ve been packed in a suitcase for a long time” look.

Finally Wed evening rolls around and I’m ready to get David’s car loaded! But wait, we still have to get his stuff in….Hmmm, seems like Dave has waited until tonight to pack. Sooo, what was going to be a easy night, just got harder. I spent the next few hours laying on the bed while he tried on most of his summer clothes to see if they all still fit. See he had recently lost 40 lbs so there were lots of things that he couldn't wear before and wanted to see if they now fit. So after many “how does this look?” and “does this fit?” we were ready to load it all. (I swear he can be such a teenage girl sometimes!) Now all that’s left is packing up the stuff for the dog and cat to take to the kennel with them in the AM. We’re so close to leaving, I can almost taste it…..


Speaking of tasting, since no one has come by to take my drink order or put my napkin in my lap, I guess I have to go figure out what’s for dinner. Thanks to those of you who are still reading and I hope to get the next installment up tomorrow. I’m going to try and post links to each new post at the bottom of this email because for me that is much easier to follow. Good night all!

Direct Links
Post #1Planning and waiting. Planning and waiting some more
Post #2 Getting there is half the fun??
Post #3 It's Finally Here
Post #4 Isn't Key West supposed to be WARM?!?
Post #5 Sea Day #1 and Palo's Brunch
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Last edited by Mickey4me!; 11-25-2009 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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I can relate to your method of packing (especially the "just in case" stuff). What did you think of the Residence Inn? We have stayed there. I like it because it's clean and the service and amenities are everything we need in a hotel. Their breakfast is pretty good for a hotel breakfast bars but there's still the issue of crowding if you go at the wrong time. I hate the long wait for the waffle machine even more than the wait for the shuttle.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:16 PM   #3
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Found you and enjoying your TR. Could you please tell me about the bottle cap magnets you had on your door. Did you make them, buy them, or what? If you made them, would you please share how? Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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Love the TR already! Can't wait to read more! You and the DH sound hauntingly familiar... LOL My DH and I have the same vacay planning relationship! Congrats on the new soon-to-be son-in-law! Oh, and I was wondering about those bottle cap magnets too...
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:57 PM   #5
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Great start!! I can't wait to read more.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yazee1 View Post
I can relate to your method of packing (especially the "just in case" stuff). What did you think of the Residence Inn? We have stayed there. I like it because it's clean and the service and amenities are everything we need in a hotel. Their breakfast is pretty good for a hotel breakfast bars but there's still the issue of crowding if you go at the wrong time. I hate the long wait for the waffle machine even more than the wait for the shuttle.
We were really please with RI and loved their breakfast. We definitely hit it during the AM rush, but it wasn't too bad. I thought about making a waffle but decided I'd wait for a Mickey one! DH dropped us off so he was the only one who rode the shuttle and the rest of us were spared.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojodisney View Post
Found you and enjoying your TR. Could you please tell me about the bottle cap magnets you had on your door. Did you make them, buy them, or what? If you made them, would you please share how? Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
Ash made them from Disney scrapbook stuff she found at AC Moore but I'm sure Micheal's has them as well. She also bought a roll of self adhesive magnetic tape and stuck it to the back of them. They really turned out cute!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkerkell123 View Post
Love the TR already! Can't wait to read more! You and the DH sound hauntingly familiar... LOL My DH and I have the same vacay planning relationship! Congrats on the new soon-to-be son-in-law! Oh, and I was wondering about those bottle cap magnets too...
I think it's a man thing. In all fairness though, I enjoy putting it all together and he really does appreciate the work it takes.

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Originally Posted by Dream426 View Post
Great start!! I can't wait to read more.
Glad you're enjoying it! I hope to get another post up tomorrow night.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:46 AM   #7
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really enjoying your trip report. mVant wait to hear about the castaway island cruise.

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Old 11-23-2009, 07:58 AM   #8
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I love your trip report!! The car sounds like a perfect idea for Key West....

did u like the verandah? my husband and I took a look at a room before we got off the ship the last day. A lot of people tell me you dont use it that often, it is not worth the extra $$, etc... i would think i would use it just as much as i do when we go stay at the ocean with an ocean front room with a balcony. I use it in the AM and then again at night, and perhaps during the afternoon to take a break... What is your opinion?
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bourgie View Post
I love your trip report!! The car sounds like a perfect idea for Key West....

did u like the verandah? my husband and I took a look at a room before we got off the ship the last day. A lot of people tell me you dont use it that often, it is not worth the extra $$, etc... i would think i would use it just as much as i do when we go stay at the ocean with an ocean front room with a balcony. I use it in the AM and then again at night, and perhaps during the afternoon to take a break... What is your opinion?
We had a blast with the electric car and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again! As far as the verandah room goes - I do think it's all a matter of how/why you cruise. For us it's definitely the way to go. We enjoy relaxing on vacation and that includes lots of time to read and catch up with each other and not always go, go, go. We spent a lot of time out there - morning, noon and night - as well as attended activities on the ship that really interested us. We are also ocean people. We have a house on the NC outer banks and you hit the nail on the head when you compared it to a balcony room at the beach. Again, it all depends on what you enjoy and for us the verandah is the way to go.

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Originally Posted by Princesspunkin View Post
really enjoying your trip report. mVant wait to hear about the castaway island cruise.
Dawn
Unfortunately we never got to experience it. We had a letter (fish mail) the first night that explained that "due to special circumstances" the cruise had been cancelled I think I figured out why when we reach CC (gonna save that for the trip report) It was all good though because it meant there was more time to enjoy the beach!
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #10
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That electric car excursion sounds fun! If we make it back to Key West, we'll have to try it. Sounds like you had a lovely evening as well!
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:27 PM   #11
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Sea Day #1 and Palo's Brunch!


Spa Special: Full body massage, Hydrating facial, Frangipani scalp massage and a foot & ankle massage. Plus, a day pass to the Rain Forest Room. For only $149.

Sea Day!! I love me some sea days! Again I woke up before the sun and sat out on the balcony for awhile. I realized what I thought was a line on clouds on the horizon was actually land – must be Cuba!

Sunrise


Chris was up early and took some pics from their verandah

After watching the sunrise, I headed up to grab some diet coke (for Dave) and coffee for me. I lingered for little while outside Cove Café and enjoyed the quiet of early AM. I think I could be happy spending the whole cruise in that one spot. I headed back down to the room and found David just getting up. No visit to Goofy’s today – we had brunch reservations!! But first Ash wanted to attend the shopping seminar in the Walt Disney Theater. I very reluctantly agreed to go with her (big sigh). All I can say is that’s one hour of my life I’ll never get back. I had thought about attending the Making Memories Scrapbooking Party but since it was at the same time as the shopping show and Ash really wanted me to go with her, I skipped it. The shopping show was scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30 and our brunch reservations were for 10:30 so we asked the guys to meet us up there.

Now, this is just my opinion but…..I feel the whole shopping show is a waste. First, if you’re really interested, you can watch it on the stateroom TV (over and over and over again). Second, I don’t see the benefit. The marketing company that Disney contracts with is being paid by the retailers in the ports to promote them. I get that. But because they are getting paid by the stores they are promoting it’s just a big infomercial. You’re not really getting any expert advice that’s worthwhile. All the info can be found in the catalogs and brochures that you can get for free at the shopping desk. Plus, the shopping guy (Marty?) was a little sleazy (however not as sleazy as Gordon the “art” guy). I think Ash wanted to attend in hopes of winning the diamond raffle. OK – hopping down off my soapbox….

So we made our way down to the BV Theater and found our seats. Marty appeared on stage and started pumping everyone up by tossing out prizes (small rum cakes and a couple of Del Sol t-shirts). He had a table of handbags and other stuff but we never saw him give those away. He launched into his spiel and started going through all the shops to see in Grand Cayman. He was also pushing the purchase of a $25 coupon book for added value. At one point he brought out his friend Gordon – the art auction guy. This guy made my skin crawl so bad I was ready to leave then. I stuck it out because Ash really hoping to win the diamond something that was being raffled. We listed and watched for an hour. I kept looking at my watch and by 10:30 he was still on Grand Cayman shopping and hadn’t even started on Cozumel. Ash and I were not going to miss brunch so we had to get up and leave. Being the good Disney citizens we had obeyed the instructions and moved to the center of the aisle when we first sat down (thinking it would be over at the scheduled time when we had to leave). Since Marty was still going strong, we had to climb and step our way over folks to get out. I felt so bad and kept apologizing to them.

We made it up to Palo’s a few minutes past our appointed 10:30 and found the guys already seated and sipping mimosas. How cute! I had really been looking forward to the brunch. We didn’t try it on our ’02 cruise and now I regret it. Our server (sorry, didn’t get his name) took us on “the tour” and showed us all we had to choose from. Yummm. After the tour we all got our first plate full. I made sure to try the Stolen Bread with fresh whipped cream and berries as recommended on this board. It was heavenly. I would have been satisfied with just that. But no, there’s more – wonderful cheeses, fruits and the best assortment of pastries I’ve seen.

I’m not a seafood lover but Chris and Ash are and they really enjoyed the offerings. I really could have stopped with just the buffet but we had also ordered some hot dishes – one of the flatbreads (can’t remember which one) to share, some kind of pancakes for Chris that looked yummy, frittata for me and Chicken Parmesan for David and Ash. We were all too busy stuffing our faces to carry on much of a conversation but we did share with each other. Ash proclaimed the chicken parm the best she ever had and the bite I tried was wonderful. Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite – time for dessert! Now this is where things went south for me. After making my selections from the dessert table, I was in the process of returning to my seat when somehow David’s mimosa over turned and ended up all over me – I mean all over! Unfortunately I had on a white top and that ended up a pastel shade of orange. My skirt was soaked as well. Everyone helped to clean up but I decided to call it a day and headed back to the room to change and rinse my clothes out. Really lousy way to end a wonderful meal.

I didn't get any pics but Ash got a couple of the dessert table


A little while later, Dave returned to the room with a plate of almost every dessert that was on the buffet. He had asked our server to put a couple of selections on a plate and he ended up with a sampling of everything. He’s such a sweetie!

All changed, I decided to take my book and head up to Cove Café. Dave was off to explore the ship. Not sure what Chris and Ash did but I think they hung out at the pool. I considered the spa special and now I wish I had booked it. It was a great price. Instead I just enjoyed a good cup of coffee and read for awhile. Later, David and I met and went to see the Disney Nature movie Earth which we really enjoyed. Afterwards we spent some time on Deck 4 and then hit Pinocchio’s for some pizza. All in all a delightful afternoon.

Tonight was formal night so we all got dressed and headed down to Animators for dinner. We passed on the Captain’s reception. Once again Orlan and Cindy were there to greet us and ask about our day. We had briefly considered not getting dressed up and going to Topsiders instead but realized that we really looked forward to see them each evening. Cindy took our drink order which was an Avant Premiere for Chris, Shining Star for David and Ash and a glass of cabernet for me. We gave Chris a hard time because he kept ordering drinks that ended up looking very girly..


Appetizers included Prosciutto and Honeydew for me plus the salad of mixed baby greens with pears pistachios and apple cider vinaigrette (which was wonderful!) and the Parmesan Souffle for everyone else. Some enjoyed it more than others….For an entrée I chose the potato gnocchi (mainly because I didn’t want beef again) and it was rather bland. Chris got the swordfish and David and Ash both ordered the chicken. Everything was good, but not great (this is by far our least favorite menu). Dessert was another matter… Ash had the strawberry sundae and loved it (she loves anything strawberry) David and Chris each go the Golden Mickey dessert and I had the Sweet Temptations. Dave and I finished it off with coffee. More goodnight jokes from Orlan along with tips for touring Grand Cayman and we said our goodnights.

Tonight’s Golden Mickey show was a new one for us. They didn’t have it back on our last cruise so we were excited to see it. David and I took a stroll out on deck 4 then met Chris and Ash in the shops before the show. The show was good, but it’s not my favorite. Ash felt the same way and we decided that it was because the music they picked. It was still fun and we enjoyed it.

After the show, Chris and Ash headed down the bars and planned to catch the 10:30 Alfred & Seymour show. Dave and I really wanted to make it, but after another stroll on deck 9 we headed back to our room.

I didn't get a pic of our towel animal this night but Ash got one of theirs.

We were both a little hungry so we ordered room service. Dave tried the Ham & Turkey sandwich while I had the BLT (really miss that sandwich!). We sat on the verandah and enjoyed our food and then called it a night. Tomorrow – Grand Cayman!

Gotta run check on my pies. Hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day!
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