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Old 11-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #1
Lost my screen name so I'm starting from scratch!
Mickey4me!'s Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kill Devil Hills, NC
Posts: 389

Our Magical 10.17 Western (with pics)....UPDATED Wednesday 11/25

I’ve had a really hard time deciding whether to write this trip report. First, it’s just too depressing to think that the cruise has already come and gone. After looking forward to and planning for it for almost 9 mos., now that it’s over it feels like there’s a big chunk of life missing. Second, writing is a lot like work and don’t like to start something I can’t finish. I finally decided that writing one might end up be therapeutic and help me pass the 13 months until our next cruise. Hopefully reading it will help someone pass the time until their cruise and possibly answer some questions along the way. I'm hoping it won’t get too long, but I’m not promising anything (remember this is therapy for me)….

Me – Ruth Ann 52 3rd Disney cruise and the one who does all the planning to make sure everyone has a memorable trip.
DH – David 54. 3rd Disney cruise and looks forward to them as much as I do (just counts on me to make all the plans)
DD – Ashley 25. 2nd Disney cruise. Actually Ash is my step-daughter but I feel like she’s mine. She’s so much fun and a blast to travel with and we’ve been a family since she was 8. Gets just as excited as I do and loves to plan as well.
DD fiancé - Chris 27. 1st cruise ever (even tho he was in the Navy for 4 yrs, that doesn’t count) Popped the question on Valentine’s Day and David and I are ecstatic about the upcoming wedding. Chris has been with on numerous beach and Disney vacations with us and is a joy to travel with. He loves experiencing new things. Chris is really into running, mt. biking and kayaking and loves the outdoors (Ash, on the other hand, is into temperature controlled shopping malls )

We decided in Jan. of this year that since we had banked our ’08 DVC points that DCL would be a good option for a vacation. We chose Oct. because the weather would not be so hot and because points were lower. We usually do WDW in Nov. and enjoy fall vacations. I called Member Services and was able to book 2 cabins – veranda for David and I and a Navigator’s for Ash and Chris. I got 6132 for the veranda and tried to get 6134 for the other but it was booked so I settled for 6138 a few doors down. Then the waiting began. In the meantime, Chris FINALLY proposed to Ash on Valentine’s Day they set the date for May 15, 2010 and the wedding planning began . When they had been down for Christmas, Chris had asked David for his permission (how sweet!) and showed him the ring. He said he was going to wait for the right time and keeping it a secret from her had been killing me!

The happy couple

Planning the wedding really helped the time go faster and before we knew it we were at the 90 mark and able to make excursion, Palo and spa reservations. Chris and Ash came down for a visit (they live in PA and we live 3.5 hrs south in VA) the weekend that our booking window opened so we were able to discuss the plans before committing. I was on line about 1 min past midnight when the window opened and was able to get everything except the Electric Car with GPS in Key West. This was unfortunate as it was really the one David really wanted. After about 20 min on line, I had the following secured-
  • Sunday (Key West) – 12:45PM Back to Nature Kayak Tour – Chris & Ash
  • Monday (Sea Day #1) – 10:30AM Palo’s brunch (all)
  • Tuesday( Grand Cayman) – 8:15 Island Tour – Dave & me
    7:45 Shipwreck & Reef Snorkel – Chris & Ash
  • Wednesday (Cozumel) – 9:30AM Dolphin Observer – David & me
    9:45AM Dolphin Push, Pull, Swim – C&A
  • Thursday (Sea Day #2) – 10:30 AM AloneTime – ME!!
  • Friday (Castaway Cay) – 10AM Couples Cabana Massage – C&A
    1:15PM Castaway Island Crusie – Dave &me

The next few months crawled by. Airline reservations were made and I secured our hotels for the night before and the night after the cruise (we were scheduled to depart Orlando on Sunday). This was no small feat as everyone had different arrival and departure plans. Chris and Ash secured a great direct flight price on AirTran out of Harrisburg for Friday before the cruise with an 8AM departure for their return flight on Sunday. Ash got the ressies early in the summer so I started looking for flights from VA that arrived around the same time. Finally found a good rate with AirTran that departed at 7AM from RIC direct to Orlando arriving around 9AM. Since I’m an early riser, this was fine. Now David was a different story. See he’s really not a fan of flying….at all! He will fly if it’s the only alternative but would much prefer to drive. Doesn’t mind it a bit while, I on the other hand hate long car trips which are like torture to me. So we (he) decided that he would leave on Thurs. and be there to pick us up at the airport. Fine with me. This meant that he could take all the luggage down and I would just have to fly with a small carry on. He even offered to drive up to PA the weekend before we left to pick up Ash and Chris’s luggage as well.

I was able to secure 2 rooms on Priceline at the Orlando airport Marriott for Sat night after the cruise for $50 each so I was really pleased! I read all the info on the boards about where to stay at the port the night prior to sailing and finally decided on the Residence Inn. This ended up being cheaper for us since we needed two rooms and I was able to get a 2 bedroom suite for $179 which included breakfast and allowed us to leave the car there as well. I travel a lot with my job and usually stay at Marriott so I was confident these two hotels would be fine.

Finally – down to two weeks to go! I had been forwarding posts from the DIS boards to everyone for weeks. My goal was to make sure everyone was as prepared as I was for the trip. Not only did I want to make sure we all had a good time, but my real goal was to NOT be the “wadda we doing next” expert. I really wanted to relax on this vacation and not do anything close to work and that meant that when we boarded the ship, I was taking off my “planner/organizer” hat and putting on my “I’m on vacation too” one. We’ll see how this works out… I also found time to make some cute door magnets from some of the great graphics I found on the DIS. I printed up pirate Mickey ears for Ash and Chris’s door and Capt. Mickey for mine and Dave’s. I also made up a different one for each day of the cruise and sent them to Ash with the over-the-door shoe organizer I bought her for her birthday. She was familiar with the organizer and how useful it was because she had used one on the 2002 cruise and loved it. The one I sent her was a cute blue/brown polka dot one and FULL of useful stuff. She was also thrilled with the note I included in it announcing that her dad and I were paying for a couples massage on Castaway for her and Chris. She loved the idea of the door magnets and added to the ones I made by buying some Disney scrapbooking stuff and putting magnet tape on the back. They really turned out cute.

I was determine not to be rushing around at the last minute so I started (and finished) my packing about 6 days before we left. Earlier in the month, I had taken out our handy dandy DCL canvas tote and started throwing all the misc stuff in it – phone chargers, meds, highlighters, binoculars – all the stuff we’re usually scrambling for at the last min. This worked out great and I don’t think anything was left behind. I was also determined to not overpack. I usually start out with good intentions, but in the end throw in a lot of items at the last minute “just in case”. So, I spent the weekend prior to leaving making sure I had everything washed, ironed and packed. I was so proud of myself!

I really hate to iron but when I have too, this stuff is great.

It gives just enough body to cotton items to keep them from getting those hard core “I’ve been packed in a suitcase for a long time” look.

Finally Wed evening rolls around and I’m ready to get David’s car loaded! But wait, we still have to get his stuff in….Hmmm, seems like Dave has waited until tonight to pack. Sooo, what was going to be a easy night, just got harder. I spent the next few hours laying on the bed while he tried on most of his summer clothes to see if they all still fit. See he had recently lost 40 lbs so there were lots of things that he couldn't wear before and wanted to see if they now fit. So after many “how does this look?” and “does this fit?” we were ready to load it all. (I swear he can be such a teenage girl sometimes!) Now all that’s left is packing up the stuff for the dog and cat to take to the kennel with them in the AM. We’re so close to leaving, I can almost taste it…..

Speaking of tasting, since no one has come by to take my drink order or put my napkin in my lap, I guess I have to go figure out what’s for dinner. Thanks to those of you who are still reading and I hope to get the next installment up tomorrow. I’m going to try and post links to each new post at the bottom of this email because for me that is much easier to follow. Good night all!

Direct Links
Post #1Planning and waiting. Planning and waiting some more
Post #2 Getting there is half the fun??
Post #3 It's Finally Here
Post #4 Isn't Key West supposed to be WARM?!?
Post #5 Sea Day #1 and Palo's Brunch
CBR - Dec'95, BW/DCL - Oct'98,HHI - June '99,OKW - Dec '00, DCL/Vero - July'02, BWV - Jan'03, OKW - Nov'03,
YC - Oct'04,WLV - Nov'04, BWV - Nov'05, BCV - Jan'06, SS - Nov'06, OKW - Nov'07, HHI - Jan'09 DCL - Oct'09 DCL - Dec'10, AKL - Nov'10, DCL & OKW - Oct'11, DCL & BWV - Feb'13, AKV - SEPT.'14, DCL Magic B2B - Nov'15

Last edited by Mickey4me!; 11-25-2009 at 09:33 PM.
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