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Old 08-31-2011, 08:02 AM   #181
jeremysdisneymom
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Welcome Home! So glad you had a great time. Can't wait to read all about it!
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:44 AM   #183
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I'm hopping aboard to hear all about your trip!

Sounds like it was spectacular!!!
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:50 PM   #184
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welcome home, sounds like you had a good time.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:50 PM   #185
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Welcome home!
Thanks Jackie!

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Looking forward to all the stories!!
And stories there are

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Welcome home!! I'm glad it was a great vacation! Can't
wait to hear all about it.
It was great!

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Welcome Home! So glad you had a great time. Can't wait to read all about it!
Thanks!

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Welcome home! I'm looking forward to the report.
Thanks Glenn!

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I'm hopping aboard to hear all about your trip!

Sounds like it was spectacular!!!
It was Dee, it was!
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:54 PM   #186
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Can't wait to see the pics!
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:19 PM   #188
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Welcome Home! Looking forward to hearing how the "best vacation ever" went!
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:39 AM   #190
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And we're off!

Packing for a trip, any trip, always seems to involve more work than you think. You can be like me and make lists and lists and lists (and spreadsheets), or like my husband Jeff who just packs the night before or that morning and odds may well be you’ll forget something or bring something you don’t need. Prior to the trip we’d discussed that I really wanted everyone packed on Sunday as I’d be working Monday. Historically the day before a trip is insane at work; it’s just how it goes. You try to get everything ultra covered for while you are out and invariably things happen that throw that nice schedule off. In my case it was the fact that my boss started his vacation 1 day earlier than me so my list now included the stuff he didn’t get done before he left and some unexpected new work coming in based on my Whistler work trip. Which was a VERY good thing but it did have me scrambling to meet the other deadlines I had on top of it all.

Thankfully I had actually packed on Sunday. As had the kids. I was so on top of that part, for once, that we were able to go play at the lake all Sunday afternoon. Jeff on the other hand hadn’t packed and despite his assurances of having no work on Monday and plans to just take the day off, he ended up just as slammed as I was (I may have said “I told you so” ) and being the last one to finish his packing, which he actually didn’t complete until Tuesday morning. Tuesday morning dawned and….I still had work to do. I’d hoped to be on the road by 9, which meant dropping off cats at 8 and then picking up my mom. With the extra work hours factored in we weren’t on the road till..10:30. I’d worked till 9 and then had to drop off cats, get cash, fill up the gas tank and pick up my mom. Still, all things considered, for us (the perpetually late family) it wasn’t bad and we did have wiggle room.

Boarding, in theory would start at 10:30. As I’d mentioned, we had no desire to fight crowds for buffet lunches that we could eat all week long and instead had wanted to take my mom out to lunch for driving us up. Technically it was just driving the car back as Jeff drove us up but you know what I mean. We made great time after a quick stop at Starbucks and were in Vancouver by 12:30. Our plan had been to make a quick stop at Granville Island for lunch. We’d wanted to bring some beer on board but didn’t want to push how over the allowed limit we would be if actually questioned on it. On the way to whistler we’d been asked if we had any alcohol and out of habit…lied. It wasn’t until I heard of all the other attendees at my conference getting grilled and a similar experience by my mother that I questioned our previous strategy (and not like I really enjoy lying in front of the kids! But…it does save a ton of $$). We were also concerned that the border guards knew what the carry on limits were (and maybe that Disney didn’t have one) so reasoned if they asked what boat we were on, they might assume we had items and dig a little deeper. So we’d checked on the limits and had a plan. We had 2 bottles of wine in a carry on and the rest strategically buried in luggage on the off chance they actually searched.
They didn’t even ASK if we had anything. They did ask what boat, or more accurately asked if we were on the Disney Cruise but that was as far as it went. Much faster than the way up when we went to Whistler and that wasn’t bad at all. But…we still needed some beer, and lunch. We could have skipped the beer but as official Northwest beer snobs, we knew we wouldn’t be thrilled with what was on board and wanted to have at least some that we’d like for the start of the cruise. Most of us hadn’t eaten much, or at all and all of us were starving.

Pulling into Granville, on a Tuesday at 1pm we found it…PACKED. Crazy crazy busy and no parking to be had. Though we’ve been to Granville many many times, neither Jeff or I recall seeing cement trucks. Or at least not what must have been at least a dozen trucks going through there just while we were driving and walking. Those things are loud on the sidewalk! Our dreams of a quick lunch evaporating, we found street parking several blocks away, actually “off” island. It required coin though, coin we didn’t have. Or you could do credit card, which I attempted on my phone despite knowing I’d get dinged with international roaming charges. Fighting with an over the phone system like that drove me to be in dire need of a beer and I gave up. In desperation, we tossed a US quarter in. Thankfully it took American coin and we had a little on hand, at least enough to get us by while we went in search for more. I sent the rest on to the brewery, our planned lunch stop (not the original plan but the revised one. Original plan was eating wherever people felt like and then pick up beer at the brewery but now that we were running short on time, one stop shopping seemed best). I hit an ATM and joined the rest at the brew pub. Which had no seating available. Bless her heart, that didn’t stop my mom! She somehow managed to con some very nice folks from the UK into letting us share their table, with some of us sitting there and the rest at the bar stools right next to their table. I’ve no idea how that came about as I walked into this but bless their hearts, they seemed tickled pink by the whole thing. The waitress however, was not. They assured her it was fine and she let it go. Jeff took off with the cash to pick up the beer, take it to the car and put money in the meter while the rest of us ordered. To say it’s a limited menu is an understatement. In fact, it’s so small, it’s not even on their website! Between the lot of us we all either got brats or flatbread. The food was actually quite tasty and it was awfully cute to watch my mom and the E’s chat away with the English couple. Who apparently had never tried root beer before so the E’s offered a taste. They thought it smelled horrible but was surprisingly tasty. They left shortly after that (had been almost ready to leave when we arrived) so we were able to all eat together. I did feel bad as my mom doesn’t drink beer and that’s all they had but what can you do?

Our boarding time was scheduled to be 1-1:30. Though I knew technically we had until 3:30 or 4 based on the online check in boarding time options, by 2pm I was getting a little twitchy and we headed out. Not exactly quickly as our server really had no interest in our time constraint but I attempted to keep from flipping out in public and we finally made our way to the car. With about 5 minutes left on the meter we did some quick repacking to get the beer in carry on ready stage and take the hidden wine out of Jeff’s suitcase. I’m sure it looked very interesting to anyone driving by!

All that done, we headed into town, to Canada Place. I’ll be honest. The directions on the Disney site, for driving, are nonexistent (assumes bus, rail or air travel). The ones on the port site itself, not much better. So while we found it easily enough, figuring out where we should be dropped off was another story and started with a quick visit to the Pan Pacific, then a back up to get into the cruise drop off line. Which was marked on the garage itself, but not before. We should have been able to see it but I can also see how we missed it. Due to the late arrival, no one else was there and our bags were whisked away as we took them out of the car. After hugs we headed in. With literally no one else in the terminal boarding couldn’t have been easier. The entire process took us maybe 15 minutes. So quick in fact it was a little disconcerting, with absolutely no instruction provided as to what to do next. We’ve never cruised before so I have to admit, that part was a bit odd. No mention of how dinner worked, what our rotation was, nothing. I can’t say it was a problem for us but were it not for this board, I think it would have been! Time for the first photo of the trip, which surprisingly we all liked and so I bought it!



Due to the lack of crowds we did take some gangway pictures after the official one and enjoyed checking it out from the outside, taking our time soaking it in.









Suddenly…a family behind us! Better move! Walking in they asked the boys their first names and instead of being introduced as the xxx family, we were introduced as the Evan and Eric family! Which they loved. Though the late arrival, a good 1-1.5 hours later than planned had me a bit twitchy before we got there, it couldn’t have worked out better and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Part of the strategy on the late arrival was stateroom readiness. Beyond not dealing with the lunch crowds we didn’t want to lug our stuff around. Since it was past 2, our room was ready so we headed up to drop off our stuff. The plan was a quick DIS meet, lifeboat drill and then sail away party. Then I’d ditch everyone for a mani/pedi during which kids would check out Edge, swim and Jeff would do whatever and we’d all hook up in time to get ready for dinner, possibly unpack and head down.

First, we had to check out our Verandah, which had a lovely view of…where we’d just walked!

Looking to the left





To the right





Dead ahead



Checking out last minute activities



Locking Jeff out…





And with that, we headed out to check out our ship! More room pictures later I promise.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:48 AM   #191
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What a great start, Cynthia. My husband is a lot like Jeff -- pack at the last possible minute. I think your timing for arriving at the ship, although not quite the time you wanted to be there, worked out perfectly. I love the family shot--it is awesome. I like the one of Jeff locked out too.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:00 PM   #192
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great

Sound great can't wait to hear more
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:04 PM   #193
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I was a bit behind - LOVE your FE! So cute!!! Where/who did you order it from? I need to get ours made too yet.

Beaaaaaaaautiful pictures from the hike. I really look forward to visiting your part of the country someday!

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Well, almost. On the road home.

This morning we were greeted with...THAT WAS THE BEST VACATION EVER!!!

So glad to hear it!!!!!

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Fantastic first pic! It could easily be Disney marketing material - you can see the fun and excitement in everyone's face!

I love your strategy of not rushing to the port in the AM. I might take your note here and do the same for when we sail in June.... I really like the idea of no lines and a quick check-in!
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:09 PM   #194
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Well, almost. On the road home.

This morning we were greeted with...THAT WAS THE BEST VACATION EVER!!!

That's awesome! That is one of the best feelings in the world. You seem like you got off to a great start. So excited to hear more! Love the pictures so far, too, and I can totally see why you bought the one that you did.
You all look great. And I love that they referred to you as the Es family!

I also love when you write a lot, so keep it coming!
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:36 PM   #195
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What a great start, Cynthia. My husband is a lot like Jeff -- pack at the last possible minute. I think your timing for arriving at the ship, although not quite the time you wanted to be there, worked out perfectly. I love the family shot--it is awesome. I like the one of Jeff locked out too.
They asked us to be silly so we were, there were two shots and both were surprisingly fun, it definitely makes me smile lookng at it.

The E's locked him out, it was hysterical!

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Sound great can't wait to hear more
Thanks and !

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I was a bit behind - LOVE your FE! So cute!!! Where/who did you order it from? I need to get ours made too yet.
I got mine from Stitchesandbows. She is a DISer and you can find her on etsy or facebook. She gets pretty backed up but you've got lots of time. There are other sellers on ebay but I knew Happydog had used her so started there and liked her offerings. I lucked out, she got uber backed up and stopped doing custom ones like mine for a bit but I think she's opened back up as she stopped working full time and is just doing all her custom stuff. She makes adorable kids clothes if you ever wanted something for Henry. The boys LOVED doing the FE. So much fun!!! They also loved loved the pillowcases if you are considering that.

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Beaaaaaaaautiful pictures from the hike. I really look forward to visiting your part of the country someday!
Well if you ever do the Disney Alaska cruise, you'll be in our neck of the woods!



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Fantastic first pic! It could easily be Disney marketing material - you can see the fun and excitement in everyone's face!

I love your strategy of not rushing to the port in the AM. I might take your note here and do the same for when we sail in June.... I really like the idea of no lines and a quick check-in!
I almost bought the other one as Jeff is smiling in that one but Eric's eyes were closed I think, both were fun. We were thrilled with how our check in went, maybe not the experience that everyone wants but it was perfect for us and we'll definitely do something similar if we cruise in the future. I forget, which NY itinerary are you on?

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That's awesome! That is one of the best feelings in the world. You seem like you got off to a great start. So excited to hear more! Love the pictures so far, too, and I can totally see why you bought the one that you did.
You all look great. And I love that they referred to you as the Es family!

I also love when you write a lot, so keep it coming!
Thanks Tina! I worry sometimes I ramble too much

It was a great start. Other than the parking nightmare at lunch and lunch itself not being all that fast, the day went exactly as planned and therefore had totally exceeded my expectations to that point. It's good to shoot low, that way I'm generally thrilled with how things turn out.
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