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Old 11-21-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
sara mom
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It's all about the asparagus...Western Fantasy Nov 2012

Our family of 4 sailed on the Disney Fantasy in November, doing the western Caribbean. My goal is to have this full review done within 2 weeks. (It’s good to have goals, right?).

Just a bit of background.
Mom (me)- this will be my 14th cruise (Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival before). My packing has evolved in many ways over the years of packing. Yes, I have taken a whole suitcase of shoes in the past (when there were not as many fees of luggage and no kids). Now, that suitcase that once held all shoes now gets packed with shoes and costumes. Wow, have times changed for me.
DH- cruise # 9 for him. Scuba diver which works out well for me- more trips to warm weather places so he can dive!
DS 8-cruise #3
DD 6-cruise #4

We drove to Port Canaveral from upstate NY with no hotel stops, leaving Thursday when the kids got out of school. Yup, that’s fun! But the kids are awesome at car rides. Give them fully charged Ipads, DVD players, and Kindles and we are good to go. We surprised them with their 2nd Disney cruise (just like we did the year before for our trip on the Magic). Got to love those pre-planned calls from Mickey!

Driving can be a challenge for DH and I- we have different styles of getting somewhere. DH—get in car at home and exit in Port Canaveral with 3 stops allowed for gas/restrooms. Me- (while driving)- “Oh look, that looks like a great place to stop and visit.” (times 20+). See our conflict? DH seems to win out most of the time, but I did get an hour or so stop in St Augustine on the way down. I was there 9 years ago and have so many fond memories of the place that I wanted to share them with the kids. Except sleep deprivation is bad. Very, very bad. I guess we will just have to go again.

Our pre-cruise stay was at the Country Inn and Suites near the port. My kids love to swim and I was a bit weary of the size of the pool in the pictures on their website. No worries! The pool was good size for all us northerners that swam when it was 75 degrees out. As an aside, last year we took the Magic at the same time and stayed at the Radisson at the Port the night before our cruise and left our car there. The best thing I can say about our experience there was the pool area. It was great! I was not impressed with our room- a Jacuzzi suite in obnoxious 80’s colors (think coral and green Golden Girls) and stains on the furniture. OR their lack of organization from check-in/check-out to the shuttle service if you parked your car there. While we did not leave our car at Country Inn, they have signs directing customers to a separate banquet room to wait for the shuttle, compared to the Radisson that had everyone wait in the lobby- creating a mad house!


That's the pool from our 4th floor room. We had a 'kid suite' with bunk beds for the kids. Great way to start our trip!
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
sara mom
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Boarding day!
The hotel breakfast was a hotel breakfast. Eagerly anticipating my omelet the following morning that I would not have to make! We used Park N Cruise for parking the car and arrived a little bit after 10am. They were shuttling for Disney Fantasy, Carnival Dream, and another Carnival ship. We parked, paid, and were shuttled to the ship all within 30 minutes! Checkin was a breeze! The health questionnaire is now given to you when you hand over passports, etc. I’m pretty sure last year we filled them out at the circular tables in the huge lobby, but I might be mistaking that for our Royal Caribbean January cruise.



On the ride down, DH and I talked about upgrading our room. We booked a IGT and received no pixie dust…got an 11b- no split bath . Disney held up their end, but we thought it might not hurt to see if upgrades were available. So I went to check in the kids for the kids program, while DH went to the Supervisors desk. When I saw him reach for his wallet, I knew that we were ‘moving on up’. Not sure of the upgrade price, but we did have a balcony room for the rest of the week. FYI- they charge the upgrade to your onboard KTTW account.

We did our obligatory pictures with Mickey in front of the ship model, and they called our boarding group soon after…and then I heard our names being announced as we walked on board. Surprisingly my eyes did not leak this time as they did the first time we boarded a Disney ship. The kids were itching to go up to deck 11 to ride the Aquaduck, but we had to make a stop at La Piazza to plan some adult time- Mixology classes! (Priorities folks!) This took all of 10 minutes to get our tickets for Tequila, Mixology, and Beer classes.

For your planning.....


From there we headed up to deck 11, where the CM’s kept telling us where lunch was being served, but we politely explained we had another mission- THE DUCK! We dropped off our stuff on a lounge chair and got in line- NOT OPEN YET!!! Not sure of when it actually opened, but we only waited 10 minutes or so in line. Now normally before our trips, I research as much as I can, but I completely forgot about getting info about the Duck and height requirements. So…I quickly learned that my 8 yo DS who is 53 inches got a blue wrist band, which meant that he could ride the duck with any adult or kid with a blue wrist band. My 6yo DD who is 52 inches got a red wrist band. She could only ride with an adult. I think you had to be 7 to get the magical blue band, even though she is taller than some 7 and 8 year olds. Throughout the trip, it was fun to watch DS search for kids in the pool area with the magical blue band. Ok enough of that.



pool area when we first boarded...around 12noon





there we are!
Aquaduck line got busy by 2:30, so we headed off for a quick lunch and off to search for our new room.

Took a brief tour of kids program. We were experiencing a brief power outage at the time (maybe 45 minutes). This did not have any effect on the rest of the trip, but it made us a bit uneasy.






We are both DVC and Castaway Club members and neither knew of our switch until day 2 or 3 when we asked about stuff. Luckily, the family that had our cabin before our upgrade was DVC also, so we got their ‘mail’. And their Palo confirmations. (Guessing they upgraded at the port as well before we did)

Sailaway party…love, love, love it! I cried last year at the party, but not this year. Maybe the Drinks of the Day were helping with that! Early dinner in Enchanted Garden..table 4, just the 4 of us. This was our 2nd Disney cruise and it may be me, but we have never been seated with another family as you traditionally do on other cruise lines. There also seem to be many more 4 tops than other cruise lines. Maybe most families prefer eating together without other table mates, but I always look forward to meeting new people at dinner.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:51 PM   #3
Woodmnky
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Yay! Looking forward to entertainment while I wait the dreaded week and a half until our cruise.
How did you like the Country Inn & Suites? We have our pre-stay booked there as well. Did you see any family friendly restaurants (fast food or sit down) nearby?
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
sara mom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodmnky
Yay! Looking forward to entertainment while I wait the dreaded week and a half until our cruise.
How did you like the Country Inn & Suites? We have our pre-stay booked there as well. Did you see any family friendly restaurants (fast food or sit down) nearby?
I was very happy with CI&S. We would stay again! There is a Subway, BK, and McD all very close.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sara mom View Post
I was very happy with CI&S. We would stay again! There is a Subway, BK, and McD all very close.
Thanks. We would like to go to Fish Lips for dinner, but with a not quite 2yo I can never be sure that he will be in any condition to be seen in public.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:03 AM   #6
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Joining in. I will have to show my kids your Mickey pool pics, to excite them, as we cruise in a few weeks.

Nice to hear that CI&S has a separate holding area for cruise shuttle people. Sounds nice and organized! I've had good luck with their hotels so far.
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