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Old 03-19-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
jjje
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Magicians, Hypnotists and Gaga Ball on the Magic

Hello there! I'm Jen and this is my trip report about the 8 night Bahamian cruise out of Galveston on the Disney Magic. You may find this trip report interesting if you are planning on cruising with a child (or adult) with high functioning autism or if you are a first time cruiser like I was. In fact this was the first cruise for my entire family and we learned a lot along the way. Let me introduce my crew. (I took about a million pictures of my kids but I'm going to attempt to talk more about the cruise itself than anything else but if I introduce us you'll know who we are when we pop up in pics.)

First is my daughter E who is seven and still very much my baby. If you happened to be on our cruise and you saw a feisty little redhead either laughing loudly or crying for no real reason, that was my girl. She's wonderfully dramatic.

Second is my son J who is 12 also still kind of my baby. He has Aspergers and is ridiculously smart. If you happened to see a handsome little guy in a newsboy cap plugging his ears that was my boy.

Third in my crew is my husband Jesse. He's a hard working guy who was somewhat hesitant to take the cruise in the first place. In fact he told me I should enjoy this cruise because he was pretty sure it would be a one time deal. Did we change his mind? You'll have to stay tuned! You'll see Jesse pop up in pictures once in while he spent a good portion of this cruise being humiliated in front of large groups of people.

Here's the three most awesome people I know.


And then there's me. I'm Jen. The life long, hard core Disney addict. Living in Minnesota hasn't stopped me from making Disney a regular part of my life. This cruise was to celebrate my retirement from my "career" as a surrogate mother. If you want to see a picture of me look at my profile picture. I'm always the one behind the lens and rarely in front of it.

I hope you join in and enjoy as I recount the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright magical of our first ever Disney cruise.
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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The magic before the Magic

I've never considered myself a cruise person. I've always been a little curious about what a Disney cruise would be like. After all, I love Disney so much that maybe it wold be good enough to make me overcome my general disinterest at being stuck on the boat in the middle of the ocean for days at a time. My family loves to travel and I have gotten really good at doing it on a budget. I didn't think a cruise would fit in with "champagne tastes, beer budget" way of living.

One day I was poking around the internet and doing a little research on good vacation options to book to celebrate my retirement from surrogacy. (Three pregnancies, four babies thankyouverymuch.) I happened to see a blog talking about the kids sail free promotion on cruises from Galveston. I priced it out and it would be cheaper than some of the other options I had been considering. When my husband got home I told him to call and "get more information". My family sat around the kitchen table and listened as my husband spoke to a Disney cruise person. At one point he looked at me and asked "March 1st? 8 nights? Inside room?"

"Book it!" I said. My daughter squealed with joy. My son looked less thrilled. He has a lot of anxieties and a new type of vacation like this worried him. We would have to deal with this a lot as the trip approached.

Once the trip was booked I went into planning overdrive. I had been reading the Disboards for years but I thought it was time I got an account so I could go ahead and ask all my silly questions. I joined the group for our cruise but really never did anything in it. We decided not to do the fish extender since we didn't have a lot of time to plan and put together gifts. I researched nonstop. I think I had the layout of the ship memorized before we ever got on board! I changed our room reservation several times, upgrading or downgrading as the mood struck me. In the end we got the same room we originally booked but I saved us about $300. Checking the prices daily really helped.

We chose to fly in to Houston the day before the cruise and stay overnight at the Houston Airport Marriott. I got a concierge room at a great price so we could get a free breakfast. I also booked the Disney shuttle to the terminal.

Next came letting the kids' school know the kids would be missing some days. Yes, I am one of those parents. I pull my kids out for family vacations. Luckily most of the cruise was happening over their spring break so they would only have to miss two days.

At last all we had to do was wait. During this time we watched a lot of youtube videos about the Magic. I found them really enjoyable and they helped my son feel better about our upcoming vacation. He likes knowing what he's walking into so being able to see the ship before we got there was good for him. I had an app on my phone that counted down the days till our trip and we would check it every day and play the ship horn sound. I booked our air fare and used some credit we had had with the airline to pay for our tickets. I packed our bags and managed to get everything the four of use would need for an eight night cruise into just carry on bags. No checked luggage for us! I read the Navigators for past cruises to give me some idea of what kind of activities there might be on the ship.

"What's Gaga Ball?" my daughter would ask. We would find out soon enough because before we knew it the big day had come. I slapped on a motion sickness patch and we headed to the airport.

In the next installment : Our day of travel (and pictures! I promise!).
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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Looking forward to hearing all about your vacation!
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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Carry on suitcases only!

Can you really pack for an eight night cruise (plus another night at a hotel) for four people using only carry on luggage? Yes! You can! We did it without any trouble and it really isn't hard to do. In fact, it was very easy! /snow white voice


This is it, all of our luggage (minus my camera bag). The beauty of traveling with carry on luggage is that you don't pay a fee and if you get to the gate and the plane is crowded and there is no room in the overhead bin for your suitcase they will check it for you for free. I know baggage fees don't matter to some people but we really do travel on a budget so the $100+ we save on checked bags is a big deal to us.

For myself I packed:
  • 1 long fancy skirt and one lace top for formal night and semi-formal night
    1 pair of jeans
    4 pair of capri pants
    7 tank tops for layering or wearing under t-shirts
    3 t-shirts to mix and match with the capris
    2 slightly nicer shirts
    1 long sundress
    1 swimsuit
    1 nice pair of slip on shoes
    1 pair of sandals
    1 pair of Crocs (a must have for Disney World)
    1 night shirt
    underthings
    bathroom essentials (make up, toothpaste, etc)
Everyone else in my family packed similar amounts of stuff. Obviously the kids stuff is smaller so when my husband's suitcase got too full he put some of the overflow into their luggage. My kids each carried their own bag with stuffed animals and activity books and various electronics. My husband had a bag with his cpap machine and all our various medications. I carried my camera bag and all our 8 million electronic chargers. We ended up never having to check our luggage but in case we had we wanted the essential stuff with us in our smaller bags.

I once read a tip that said when packing for trips take along all your oldest underwear. Then every day just throw the pair away after you wear it and you'll make room for souvenirs. I laughed when I read it because I was young and skinny and I didn't understand how much room you could make in your suitcase just by tossing out your underwear. Now I'm older and wiser and wider and I had 5 babies in seven years and I understand how big underwear can really be. So now I do this on every trip and I am embarrassed to admit to you how much room I end up with in my suitcase. I do it with the kids underwear too because, bonus!, I don't have to bring any stinky little underwear home with me.

Now that I've covered my packing technique in more detail than anyone could ever want to know it's time to get on with the show! Next up, we really are almost very close to talking about the cruise! Sort of!
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder

Last edited by jjje; 03-21-2013 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloverags2 View Post
Looking forward to hearing all about your vacation!
I hope people enjoy it. I promise it gets more interesting as it goes along.
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I am on the same itinerary in April.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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Great start! Very interesting read thank you!
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #8
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Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I am on the same itinerary in April.
I bet you'll love it! My family really enjoyed all the sea days.

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Originally Posted by chrisrunty View Post
Great start! Very interesting read thank you!
Thank you for joining in.
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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Great report....can't wait to hear more!
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:36 AM   #10
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So fun reading your report and look forward to hearing more, especially about Edge.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:55 AM   #11
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Great continuation of your report! yay! We've not been on the Magic since 2007, we are long over due to visit her in April
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:24 PM   #12
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Loving your report!

Enjoying your report so far. Can't wait to read the rest. My DH and I are sailing on the same 8 night cruise on April 26th. Woo hoo!

We have previously sailed on one of the older, smaller Carnival ships out of Port Canaveral, and it almost ruined us on cruising (we should have taken the Disney cruise). Our inside stateroom was so much smaller! We booked two rooms (one for DH and I, one for DD21 and DS17) because it was cheaper than sharing a room on the same three night DCL cruise.

The atrium was, well, neony (not sure that's a real word). In my daughter's words, "It looks like the Roxbury threw up in here."

Swore we would never cruise again - until DCL came to Galveston. We live about 4 hours away, and couldn't pass it up.

Thanks for sharing your story!
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:24 PM   #13
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Enjoying your report and all the photos. Sailing the Magic in June. Will be our first time on her. What category cabin did you have?
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:33 AM   #14
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Enjoying your trip report as well. My family along with my sister and some of her family are going next month (22 days). I have a son with many issues; autism, OCD, and sensory issues to name a few. So I'm really interested in hearing how things go for you, your family and your son.

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Old 03-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloverags2 View Post
Enjoying your report and the pictures!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsaunders View Post
Great report....can't wait to hear more!
Thanks! I'm working on more right now instead of making dinner. Trip reports are more fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by susieyarb View Post
So fun reading your report and look forward to hearing more, especially about Edge.
I have lots more to say about the Edge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisrunty View Post
Great continuation of your report! yay! We've not been on the Magic since 2007, we are long over due to visit her in April
I hope you'll find her as lovely as we did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen87 View Post
Enjoying your report so far. Can't wait to read the rest. My DH and I are sailing on the same 8 night cruise on April 26th. Woo hoo!
Woo hoo indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsKP View Post
Enjoying your report and all the photos. Sailing the Magic in June. Will be our first time on her. What category cabin did you have?
10c I believe. It had a split bath and was 214 square feet. And we used every inch of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASJMom View Post
Enjoying your trip report as well. My family along with my sister and some of her family are going next month (22 days). I have a son with many issues; autism, OCD, and sensory issues to name a few. So I'm really interested in hearing how things go for you, your family and your son.
Spoiler alert: We had an awesome cruise and it's now my son's favorite type of vacation!
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Mom Dad and two perfectly imperfect kids Son (13) and Daughter (8)

1982-89 too many trips to Disneyland to count, 1991 Disneyland Paris, 1994 Disney World @ Beach Club, 1999 Honeymoon in Disney World @ Caribbean Beach Resort, 2001 Disney World @ All Star Music, 2004 Disney World during Hurricane Jeanne @ All Star Sports, 2005 Disney World off property, 2006 Disney World with a newborn @ All Star Movies, 2008 Disney World to celebrate surrogacy #1 @ Port Orleans French Quarter, 2010 Disneyland to celebrate surrogacy #2, 2012 Disney World @ Port Orleans Riverside to celebrate surrogacy #3, 2013 Bahamas on the Magic, 2013 Caribbean on the Wonder, 2014 Panama Canal on the Wonder
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