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Old 09-22-2008, 11:48 AM   #1
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 28,062

Two Trips to Paradise

Day 1: September 1st 2008

Today our adventure really begins. As per usual when we get to Orlando, we were wide awake by 5:00 am. I decided to unpack the new Macbook that I bought at the airport in the UK and make good use of the free wireless internet at the hotel. I had my heart set on the first DCL bus. I had heard that this leaves about 9:00 am. We left the hotel at 8:15 and the hotel shuttle dropped us in the right area for the Disney Welcome Centre. When we got there, the DCL transportation check in desks were not even open, but they allowed us to check in at the Disney's Magical Express check in. We were advised that the first bus would leave after 9:30 and were taken to the luggage cages where we were able to drop of our checked luggage. I went up to the terminal to go shopping in Lush (they still do a bath bomb in the USA that was discontinued in the UK about 10 years ago and just happened to be my favourite) and then to Starbucks for a Green Tea Frappuccino. I then went back down to meet up with DH who had found himself a seat near the Disney Welcome Centre. We decided to head outside to soak up the sunshine and watched the world go by. Close to 9:30 I went inside to check with a cast member where we would get the bus from. He advised us to sit down near the Disney Welcome Centre and they would come and get us when the bus has arrived. About 30 minutes later we were called and escorted to a queuing area. At 10:15 we were finally on our way. On the bus they showed a video about the Disney Cruise Line and the ships and when that finished, we were nearly at the port. I got my first glimpse of the Magic and started to well up.

There seemed to be long lines first at security at the entrance to the terminal and then again at check in, but they moved very quickly. We were in boarding group 4. We had some time to say "hi" to some people from our cruise meet thread. We were given some lanyards that some people on that thread had made for everybody. DH was a little reluctant at first, but when I explained to him that this was a good place to put his Key to the World card and photo ID, he soon changed his mind. Shortly after midday our boarding group was called and we proceeded through the Mickey ears. We had a photo taken, but that part is a bit of a blur. We entered the ship, were announced and got our first glimpse of the breathtaking atrium. The plan had been to go to Rockin Bar D where we could sign up for reservations for the adult only restaurant Palo, but somehow I got confused and we ended up aft instead of forward. A cast member tried to intercept us and wanted to send us up to deck 9 for lunch at Topsiders, but having read the Disboards for the past 9 months, I stood firm and we ended up eating at Parrot Cay on deck 3. Lunch was great and with that done, we did make a second attempt to find the bar where we could make reservations for Palo. I tried to make reservations online as soon as I could 75 days prior to the cruise, but was unsuccessful. When we got to the bar, they only had a reservation left for the first night, but that went as well before the cast member had finished his sentence. I was quite relieved as I did want to spend the first night in our designated dining room for that night. We had been assigned to Animators Palate for our first dinner and this was the only time we would eat in that particular dining room whereas we had two evenings at Parrot Cay and Lumieres. He did offer to put us on the waiting list for both brunch and dinner.

DH made himself comfortable in one of the huge portholes on deck 3 for a while until I became impatient. We had been advised that our stateroom would be ready at 1:30 and it was nearly that time. So we headed up to deck 6. When we got there, the corridors to the staterooms were still roped off and we had to wait another 20 minutes or so. When we finally got there, we were both blown away by how spacious it was. We had a sideways category 11 standard inside cabin for this cruise. Once we had a look around and put down our carry on bags, we decided to go exploring. We headed up to deck 9 and ended up at the Vista Spa. We were given a tour of the spa and instantly fell in love with the Rainforest Room, an area with heated tile loungers, two steam rooms, a mild aroma therapy sauna, a rain shower and a fog shower as well as an ordinary shower that had water coming from both the top and the sides. We ended up getting length of cruise passes for both of us. We then had a look at the pool areas and headed up to deck 10 for the view. We saw so many brown pelicans that it is hard to believe that they are an endangered species. Soon it was time to head back to our cabin to get our life vests for the mandatory safety drill.

The safety drill could only be described as a shambles. I have never ever seen something so badly organised and chaotic. This kind of put a big question mark over what would happen if there was really an emergency. The assembly area was far too small for all the people who had to report to it. There were also other people trying to get past us to go to their assembly stations. People were joking around and taking photos. For the most I could not hear the names the cast members called. Then an announcement came and we were all dismissed before they had finished calling names. Still, I was glad to get rid of my life vest.

We had decided against going to the sail away party. We headed to the Vista Spa and the Rainforest Room instead. I relaxed in a tile lounger. They are amazingly comfortable. DH did the rounds of the steam rooms and the sauna. Now I am normally a steam room kind of girl, but these steam rooms were a little bit much for me. The mild steam room was OK for 5 minutes or so, the other one was a definite no no. To my immense surprise, I really enjoyed the sauna. So I spent some time there and then headed back to a tile lounger. The showers kind of defeated me that first day. I could not get the fog shower to work at all and the rain shower was ice cold. We decided to call it a day and got changed. As we came out of the changing rooms, we headed for the gym that was completely empty at the time. The only people there were two cast members. We watched while we moved out to the open sea from the panorama windows at the gym and talked to the cast members.

Once we were out to sea, we returned to our cabin. Most of our baggage had arrived. However, I got a little worried that a package that had been sent to the ship had not arrived. I had ordered some custom jewellery from the USA for formal night back in July and that was lost by Royal Mail. So the seller made me another set and I asked her to sent it straight to the Magic. As I had been told that packages would be waiting in the staterooms, I was a little worried that it had not arrived. So I headed back to guest services. I started to think that this jewellery was simply not meant to be. Guest services made a couple of calls and then advised me that our stateroom host was on the case. About 15 minutes later, our stateroom host came with the package and the missing item of baggage.

We decided to carry on exploring. We had a walk round the promenade deck on deck 4, but could not go round all the way as they had closed off parts of it. We then had a look around the shops and said "hi" to the people at the DVC desk and were given some bright red DVC baseball caps. As we were not interested in the variety show that was on that night, we headed back up to deck nine. We got some drinks from the soda station and some fresh fruit from Goofy's Galley and sat down to watch the sunset. Close to our dinner time, it got very windy and the sea was getting a bit rough. We headed down to deck four and got in line for Animators Palate. Soon we were shown to our table. We were at a table for 8 with a couple from North Carolina and a couple from the Netherlands. The fourth couple did not show. I don't think that first night anybody knew what to make of the experience. We were first time cruisers and the couple from North Carolina were on their first Disney Cruise. The Dutch couple were repeat cruisers and they helped us to get into the routine. Our server team was wonderful as well. We had Toto from the Philipines as our server and Gidion from Indonesia as his assistant. They made us feel completely at ease and explained how dinners work on the Magic. The food was wonderful. I have to say I was bitterly disappointed by Animators Palate though. I suppose there is such a hype around that dining room and the reality simply did not live up to that. We saw none of the gradual addition of colour. Colour started appearing and then disappeared again and it went through this cycle multiple times. After we had been served our desert, our server asked us to stay behind for a while. All the servers left while we were shown video clips and then came back with colourful vests and ties. They were then joined by Sorcerer Mickey, which was the highlight of the show for me as I had never seen Sorcerer Mickey as a character before. By that time we were more than ready for our bed. We said good night to our table mates and went back to our cabin.

While we were at dinner, our stateroom host had been to do a turn down service and he left us an elephant made from towels as well as some chocolates. We went to bed and it was a bit of an experience to lay down on a rocking bed. After being a bit jumpy at first, I slept really well.

dolphingirl47

Last edited by dolphingirl47; 09-25-2008 at 06:11 PM.
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