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Old 11-05-2010, 09:11 PM   #1
Docjason2
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DCL Virgins No More - 3 Day Wonder 10/28/10

I have been reading trip reports for awhile now and I enjoy every single experience I have encountered. Now is my turn to return the favor. I am still reeling from our very first trip on the Disney Wonder and I am patiently counting the days until our next encounter. I have officially enrolled in the DCL anonymous 12 step program for withdrawal!

Well to begin the trip myself (31) DW (31) and DS Alex (5) and DD Lizzie (3) heading down to Orlando from Iowa....you heard that right, we actually have internet up here and we have heard of things outside of corn and tornadoes. BTW neither of us is from IA Well we were hoping to move for a job this fall but that fell through so we decided to finally go on our first ever REAL family vacation. Some of you may know what I am talking about, going home to visit mom and dad for the holidays doesn't really count! So the money for our move went into a quick trip vacation on the Wonder during our son's parent/teacher conferences in October. Alex started kindergarten and we wanted to limit the amount of time he was out of school, and this worked out to only 2 days gone.

So needless to say that was the longest 3 months of my life!!!! I can't believe I was more excited for the trip than for any Christmas I've ever had. I can tell you I spent more time reading Passporters guide and DISboards more than I was working So anyway I decided to try to go on the cheap this time around and see how we, and the kids, took to the cruise. We flew down the day before and came back a day late to save on airfare, DW works at a hotel so we get to stay for next to nothing, and rent a cheap car back and forth to the port. I was very proud of my "thrifty" reservations that most would call penny pinching or cheap

OK first off this trip was a complete surprise to our kids. Anyone with little kids can know there is NO WAY we could tell them early and listen to "when are we going on the boat" "when do we get to see Mickey Mouse" for 3 months straight. besides we though it would be a great surprise to both of them for their first plane and boat rides. So we told them we were going on a trip...and the best thing is they really have no concept of distance or traveling yet...so it makes it much easier to keep it a secret. We traveled to the airport and they were excited to finally go on a plane ride, honestly I think we could've gone on a plane ride and that would've sufficed for their trip.

STRIKE 1 - Our flight got delayed out of Moline because of thunderstorms and tornadoes in Atlanta. This caused problems because our connecting flight into Orlando was only 1 hr later, and we were already delayed 1.5 hours. So after talking with the gate agent, we came to the conclusion of rebooking for ATL-ORL Friday morning and trying to stay the night in ATL, once we get there. Turns out this was one of the best decisions we could've made. So.....we sat, and sat, and sat...slowly watching every other flight take off and ours get delayed further and further. Working for an airport I realize the closer we get to the magic 6 hour mark, the infinitely more possible it cancels...I was worried! We finally boarded the plane 4 hours after delay, only to sit out on the taxiway for 30 minutes and return to the ate for another delay...increase perspiration - 50%. 1 hour later we try again....after 6 hours of delays the plane finally errupts in applause and cheers once we finally lift off the ground. I felt bad the poor kids had such a crappy start to their vacation, 6 hours in an airport holding room. Next was our trip in ATL.

Strike 2 - Moline flight baggage carousel #5, 0 bags. Awesome. Spent the next hour running around ATL baggage looking for someone to help. Best news so far...our bags finally showed up in the lost baggage room...so much for bag tags right? At least DW had finagled the GM of the Hampton Inn to help us stay there that night, the delays and cancellations had caused major issues there, we were lucky. Finally got to the room at 10 and ate dinner at 1045....flight in am leaves at 6...and you know you can't show up at ATL 30 minutes before your flight, time for bed.

Tired and drained we make the flight, albeit delayed and hour (wish we could've gotten that extra hour of sleep!). Glad we rebooked early yesterday...65 standby passengers trying to get to ORL from last night...ouch! Finally ORL and all bags accounted for. Get the rental car from Budget and the porter helps us to our car...spot U-19 an Impala right? not even close.

STRIKE 3
- Spent another 45 minutes trying to talk to the guys at the counter that the car they told me is not the one in the spot. So tired...so drained...just want to get to the boat. Finally find a brand new Dodge Charger and we're on our way down the FL tollway. Amazingly enough after all the delays and crap, we were only 1 hour behind my original schedule lol. We turn the car in, take the shuttle to the port and the kids still have no idea we're going on the boat. You know....not until we actually walk into the terminal and they see Mickey and the model of the Magic do they realize we're going on the Wonder They were so excited I couldn't believe it. Now you know why I couldn't tell them 3 months ago!

All signed in, kktw cards in hand, signed up for Oceaneer’s Club, Group 7 and waiting like kids on Christmas. The boarding process was absolutely amazing and we waited all of 15 minutes between group 1 – group 7!!!! One of the most amazing walks through that gangway!

Well at work tonight, probably should do some work. Tomorrow: This is what a vacation is supposed to be like!!! Hope to have some pictures of our journey as well.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:36 PM   #2
belle'ssister
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Wow, after all of your trouble getting to the ship, sounds like it's smooth sailing from now on. Can't wait to hear more and see some pictures. My hubby and grandson are taking our first Disney Cruise on the Wonder in March.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:23 AM   #3
ktjl92
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Great start (well, to read - all that airport waiting for little kids had to be tough!) Looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
floydfamily4
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How um...exciting?! No, seriously what a start to your trip Looking forward to reading more about your first family trip adventure. Thanks for sharing
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:56 PM   #5
Docjason2
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I am sure you all remember the first time you've walked onto a Disney ship, the sights, the sounds, the amazing people waiting for you. It was such a relief that we finally made it and we were going to enjoy 3 days of full on fun and relaxation! The kids were bouncing off the walls but we were ushered like everyone else to Parrot Cay for lunch, a nice buffet with plenty of options for picky little kids! I LOVE the separate buffet with just kids items like mac and cheese, corn dogs, and spaghetti and meatballs. One of the best lines of the whole cruise came while standing in line with Lizzie (DD-3), I asked if she can only get meatballs without the spaghetti, reply: You can get whatever you want, this is your vacation! I was in love instantly! We had followed the advice of so many and packed swimming suits and sunscreen in our carry-ons for the kids. We made it to the room at around 130 and changed. I LOVED the room...small but it didn't feel that small! And the amount of storage was amazing. We didn't spend much time in there before the kids were running around the mickey pool. While doing this DW went and booked spa time at Vista. I felt bad for her, we just found out baby #3 is coming next May, so this cruise was no hot tub and no drinking for her...so a massage is the least I could do




After crying and pleading we finally tore the kids away from the pools for a quick meet and great with fellows DISers in the lounge, then off for the boat drill. The kids loved it, so did I as we were in Animator's Palette for our station...woohoo air conditioning! After that it was up on deck for the sail away party. The kids loved dancing and see all the characters. I have to admit hearing the horn in person as opposed to youtube was amazing and finally sunk in we were leaving!





Oh forgot to take pictures, but there was an airshow happening upon our return, and those of us on deck got treated to a practice airshow by the Thunderbirds! It was awesome hearing the F-16s fly overhead!

Our first night was in AP, and it was amazing. We met Vishal and Art our servers and they were wonderful. They could tell DW and I were drained and tried their best to entertain the kids and keep us happy. They learned real quick what the kids preferences were and kept the Sprite and chocolate milk flowing for them. It was almost comical as well....DW and I did not know you were supposed to order 1 of each meal course. Well I didn't feel like a salad and Heather didn't feel like an appetizer...we both got looks like what do you mean you don't want the food!!! HAHA next night we would remember! On a side note, this was our first experience with the rocking of a ship. It was interesting watching her and I try to sit still while the boat began swaying back and forth, the kids seemed oblivious. The show was great for dinner and thank goodness for mickey bars for the kids!



Heather's spa appointment was after dinner so she left for a massage and I talked the kids into seeing the Golden Mickeys. Poor little guys were glassed over and zombie looking by this point in the night. The theater was great and once the show started and goofy came out, they were awake and on the edge of their seats . All I can say is that this was my most favorite show of the cruise. Kids stayed awake and were engaged, which shows the true power of this show. It was everything I had read about!

After that we met my freshly calm and serene DW in the room, with a look of enjoyment I had not seen in a long time. Apparently the massage was a hit Sat down and watched the best channel on the tv, the one showing old Disney cartoons back from the starting days of the Disney Channel, you old guys know what I am talking about, back when you actually had to pay for the Disney Channel...just like HBO! It was like I was a kid again I hadn't seen those cartoons in forever...and now my kids were enjoying them right along with me. Didn't take long before we all passed out from exhaustion. All slept soundly, the kids never fell out of bed, or even moved for that matter.




Tomorrow: The number 2 industry in the Bahams is banking!!!

TIPS so far:
- Carry stuff in your carry-on like bathing suit and sunscreen for activity time until your bags arrive (Ours were waiting for us before dinner).
- Snacks for the theater are not included, if you don't want to pay grab some stuff before you go in.
- Take a nightlight with you for the bathroom or stateroom. The inside rooms get pitch black and we didn't like leaving the doors open.
- I really think on a longer cruise a shoe organizer would be nice, but I really didn't think it was necessary on a 3 day cruise.
- Practice walking around before you get on your cruise without your phone and wallet. I felt so out of place like I had forgotten something all day long...I never leave the house without them lol.
- On that note wear a watch!!! I didn't need a a bill the size of the national deficit so I didn't use my phone while at sea, other than as an alarm clock (another tip...use wakeup call, cell phone, or bring a travel clock as you may sleep in until noon in those rooms!) and there seem to be a lack of clocks around the ship.
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:55 PM   #6
verygfy
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I love your tips with wearing a watch and feeling empty without the wallet and cellphone, DH kept thinking he lost his wallet all trip until I kept reminding him it was in the safe.

Great report, can't wait to hear more
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
Docjason2
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Thanks for taking the time to read it We really had a great time and want to share our experiences with others...if not to hold us until our next DCL adventure!
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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