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Old 04-09-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
CatDenver
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The Yours, Mine, and Ours HalloWonder Mystery Tour!!!

Welcome to my pre-trip report on my October DCL cruise or as I like to call it the Yours, Mine, and Ours HalloWonder Mystery Tour. It’s my first cruise! There are still 200 days to go, but who’s counting….ME! Having read every post on this board, or at least it feels like it, I figured I could kill time writing my pre-trip report.

Side note: A sure sign I have spent waaaay too much time on the DIS DCL board is that I can now answer questions about DCL cruises without having actually been on one!

First an introduction to my own cast members starting with me. I’m Catherine, the chief vacation planner for our family. My husband, BJ tried to share the title with me by planning our trip to Lima, Ohio to visit family but when he booked us in a Comfort Inn which made the Bates Motel look like a 5 star resort and was located next to a truck stop and a railroad track, I fired him as a planner. He admits that the research I do has resulted in some great vacations so he’s never again asked to help. Trip planning is one of my many joys and I love when there’s one to be planned. With each trip, I try to outdo the previous one! My regular day job is with a technology company that’s headquartered in the Bay area but a good number of the employees, including me, work from home. Love it!

My husband BJ (Bernard Joseph) is retired from manufacturing and works part-time as the school librarian at our kids’ school. He’s a sports fanatic, primarily NFL and NBA. When we cruise in October, I’m betting he’ll have to pop into one of the bars on Sunday to check scores and see how his Fantasy Football team is doing. He lived in Chicago before we got together and we’re both now in the Denver area. We’ve been married 13 years, the second time for both of us.

The Yours of this trip is BJ’s son Patrick. Patrick is 32 and moved to Denver from Chicago just before BJ and I married. He’s a great guy, handsome, funny, and kind-hearted. I’m hoping he meets the girl of his dreams on the cruise. Not sure how many single, unattached women can be found on Disney cruises!

The Mine is my daughter Nicole, also 32. She’s a package deal as she is coming with her husband Kalen. The two of them live in Pismo Beach, California, as a result of Kalen’s job transfer. She landed a position at one of the local wineries so we’ll be well stocked with wine on the cruise! I love the whole BYOB that Disney allows! They are the only experienced cruisers of our group as they honeymooned on a Carnival cruise a year and a half ago. The two of them are real hoot and tend to be the life of any party.

Finally, we have the Ours………..Michael, 11, and Catie, 9. We took a lot of ribbing from our friends about having children at our age (I was 39 when I had Michael and BJ was 47….do the math!) but I am convinced they help keep us young! The two of them have had to listen to my updates about the cruise and Disney cruising in general. While Catie is in the spirit of it and as excited as I am, Michael is more pragmatic, like BJ, and says it’s too far off to get excited. The acorn didn’t fall far from that tree!

Next up: Making the Decision to Take a Disney Cruise AKA Vacation Analysis Paralysis
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:42 PM   #2
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
CatDenver
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Making the Decision to Take a Disney Cruise AKA Vacation Analysis Paralysis

Im not sure at what point I began to consider a Disney cruise as family vacation. I do remember wanting to plan something different from our usual family trips. Initially I thought renting an RV and driving from Colorado to Alberta, Canada would be fun. But the more I looked into the RV parks and the lack of creature comforts plus the fact that the RV is a living room, dining room, bedroom, and bathroom smooshed into a 28ft vehicle, I nixed that idea. Maybe for another time. Like when Michael and Catie reach an age where they no longer bicker because she frowned at me or he looked at me weird.

So however I got the idea for a Disney cruise, I started by requesting the DCL DVD. I was mesmerized from the start with the beauty of the ships. They reminded me of the ships from those old classic movies I love like An Affair to Remember and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I was pretty sure this was going to be our next big trip. And to convince the rest of the family that this would be a fun and exciting vacation, I had them watch the DVD. In his true stoic fashion, BJ showed some interest but was very low key about the whole thing. At the end of the day, hes pretty easy going and trusts me given my vacation planning track record. Catie (DD) was taken in right away and spent the next few weeks talking about when we were going to take a Disney cruise. I wasnt 100% sold so true to my nature, I began to do more research. I started googling Disney cruise reviews to try to gather info about the ships, the ports, staterooms, etc.
And then it happened.

I found it&&&..the DIS board! It was as if the heavens opened up and the angels began to sing!

It was almost overwhelming when I first started navigating around the DIS but I soon discovered it was a planners dream come true. So much information! It was like being locked in a virtual library with the only topic being Disney cruises. So I ventured in, reading posts that were mostly in English but still requiring some deciphering. I wasnt sure what Palo was but clearly making reservations early was crucial. I learned quickly there are several topics that will always be debated on the DIS no matter how many times its been discussed: passport or birth certificate; bring your own drinks to the pool or follow the DCL rules; abide by the DCL dress code or do your own thing, tip concierge or dont tip, cabanas- waste of money or the best thing ever. And the acronyms were unbelievable. I thought the Air Force and the IT world I work in had cornered the market on the use of acronyms but theyve got nothing on the DIS board. OBC, OBB, CM, GTY, FE, EBPC, KTTW, WBPC&..it was a true alphabet soup. I actually lurked on the boards for almost a year before I created an ID and started posting. Still not happy with my ID of CatDenver after seeing so many creative ones but, cest la vie!

In spite of the confusion around acronyms and terminology, I educated myself until I finally decided that it was time to make a firm commitment. I still had to work out the timing since we have school age children but I thought fall break would be an ideal time. I also had to figure out which ports we wanted to cruise. BJ proposed Alaska, which would have been nice but it was far more expensive than a Caribbean or Bahamian cruise and they dont have that as an option in October. And given that he has had tropical fish tanks as a hobby in which he created his own mini reef, he would love seeing the real thing. I figured for Alaska well do an OBB in October. (See, Im learning!)

By the way, the analysis paralysis comes in because all of this occurred over about an 11 month period of me thinking and researching all this.

So I finally reached out to a DU TA and committed to the October 26th Bahamian cruise on the Wonder. At this point, we were a party of four for this trip: me, DH, DS (11), DD (9). So I splurged on a 1 bedroom concierge, as I decided we would make this a belated birthday celebration for my DHs 60th birthday which is earlier in October, a huge milestone!

Next: And Then There Were Seven
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Moi DH Michael (13) Catie (10)




Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report

Last edited by CatDenver; 04-10-2013 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:49 AM   #4
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I thought I'd post a few pictures of my family to give the readers a visual of this cast of characters.

This picture is three years old and before Nicole and Kalen were married. It's one of my favorites! Left to right: Patrick, Michael, Nicole, Catie, Kalen




Here's a group picture minus Kalen from his and Nicole's big day.


I'm looking forward to getting some current family pictures on the cruise!
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Moi DH Michael (13) Catie (10)




Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:31 AM   #5
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And Then There Were Seven

As I said earlier, when I originally booked the cruise only DH, DS, DD, and I were going. I knew the older kids didn’t have it in their budget because of other travels and obligations they had. How they got included is a kind of a bittersweet story. First, I need to provide a bit of history of the last few months.

Last August my mother-in-law passed away which was hard for my family though we were anticipating it. A month later my father passed, the day after his 85th birthday. I was actually flying to San Diego to be with him and my mother but he died about 24 hours before I got there. It was a very difficult time and I found myself reminiscing about my childhood. He was such a great dad! Lots of wonderful memories! It really impressed upon me how important family is and for me to do my best to keep creating great memories for my kiddos.

Fast forward to this past January. I was the chairperson for the fundraising event at the kids’ school. It’s always a fun time so Nicole and Kalen flew out from California to attend. They spent a week with us and we had such a great time. As I dropped them off at the airport, I found myself crying as we said our goodbyes. The whole drive home I cried for missing them. It was then that it occurred to me we never had a family vacation with all of the kids. The closest we came to one was going to Pismo Beach for Nicole’s wedding but you know how weddings can be. It was an amazing time but with so many family and friends in town it wasn’t the same as taking a family vacation.

So I decided I was going to tap into my stock options that have been sitting for several years and bring them along. I sent Nicole a text and asked if they’d want to come with us on the cruise and let us pick up the tab. When their plane landed she called me right away, absolutely incredulous. Needless to say, they were all for it. I then texted Patrick and asked him the same question. He too couldn’t believe it but immediately said yes. My only request of them was that they buy their own plane tickets to get to Houston.

I called our TA and added the older kids to the trip. And then there were seven.

Next: Fish Extenders and Port Excursions and Onboard Activities…Oh My!
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:50 AM   #6
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I'm in!

I must confess to having a little addiction when it comes to reading trip reports. You will develop this problem after your cruise when you are forced to live vicariously......

Can't wait to read more!
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #7
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Well I'm in since I'm cruising with you lol I love how active our FB group is because I am on there most of the day !!! This is such a joy to read because of all the crazy things we do to per-plan for out trip!! I'm happy group 2 closed so I can get to work on my crafting for our FE!!! Hope all is well with you Cat
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:52 AM   #8
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Hi Catherine! It's Julie from the FB group. I meant to go to bed like 30 mins ago but then I went to the DIS and it was all downhill from there. I remembered that I "needed" to read your PTR, so here I am!

My DH is actually from Denver - Arvada to be more specific - and having spent some holidays up there, I know all to well how weather can be! I remember DH, who's birthday is in early May, recalling how it snowed on his birthday once. Yikes!

Also, I love all your emoticons!
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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Love your pre-trip reports!
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinMama View Post
Love your pre-trip reports!
Glad you're enjoying it, RockinMama! I like your DIS name! It's far more creative than mine. I'm overdue for an update so I'm going to try to work on that tonight. So much has happened since the last update!
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurleysweety View Post
Hi Catherine! It's Julie from the FB group. I meant to go to bed like 30 mins ago but then I went to the DIS and it was all downhill from there. I remembered that I "needed" to read your PTR, so here I am!

My DH is actually from Denver - Arvada to be more specific - and having spent some holidays up there, I know all to well how weather can be! I remember DH, who's birthday is in early May, recalling how it snowed on his birthday once. Yikes!

Also, I love all your emoticons!
Hey Julie! I've been so caught up in all the activity in our FB group that I've neglected the DIS.

Yes, our weather is something else here. Most of the time I like it but the snow thing can get a bit annoying when the rest of the country is experiencing spring. :-)
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamcat78 View Post
Well I'm in since I'm cruising with you lol I love how active our FB group is because I am on there most of the day !!! This is such a joy to read because of all the crazy things we do to per-plan for out trip!! I'm happy group 2 closed so I can get to work on my crafting for our FE!!! Hope all is well with you Cat
Lisa, I totally missed your post! By now you're probably cranking away on the FE gifts. Only 79 more days!!!!
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:50 PM   #13
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I think Yen Sid would be a great costume.... I am stuck no clue. I have not dressed for Halloween in over 25 years.


Any help is appreciated
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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Hello!!

Found you!!!

I'm crusing with you, too! Can wait to meet you!
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:34 PM   #15
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Found you!!!

I'm crusing with you, too! Can wait to meet you!
Hey MRP - see you are in Irving. I work in Irving!!! so may from DFW area in this group!
can't wait! counting down the days.
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