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Old 01-24-2012, 11:31 PM   #1
Lucky to be local to the Mouse
OrcaPotter's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Winter Springs (Orlando), FL
Posts: 1,040

5 Years in the Making: A DREAM Came True! (COMPLETE!)

Let me take you back ... back in time ...

The year was 2007. My family was boarding Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas at Port Canaveral. Gazing from our verandah, I spied the Disney Magic to our left. The Mariner dwarfed her, but she was still stunning. My parents and I proceeded to take far too many photos of her sitting behind us in port. We pretended not to be jealous. I tried not to think about how much more fun it would be to sail with Disney. We went on to have an amazing cruise--our second at that point--but I told my parents that the next one would be on Disney.

It took a long time, but that Dream finally came true last week!

My name is Kimberly--or as I'm known online, Orca. I've been going to Disney World pretty much my entire life, having always had it in my backyard. My first cruise was back in 2003 aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's S.S Norway. It was definitely an adventure, for the Norway was a retrofitted ocean liner with a long history prior to sailing the Caribbean. Our "oceanview" stateroom was literally only big enough for 2 adults to stand in at one time. Getting dressed for the day was so much of a challenge, one evening before dinner my mother and I were unknowingly struggling to zip my father into a pair of her dress pants! We were horrified that somehow the saltwater had made him swell or that we truly had eaten too much food. How things managed to get mixed up and lost in this stateroom that was no bigger than a broom closet was a mystery.

Observe these cats in a box to give you an idea of how spacious our oceanview stateroom was:

Fun Fact: The Norway was launched in 1962 as the S.S. France and then purchased by NCL in 1979 and renamed the Norway. She was sold in 2006 for scrap, a fact that still makes my father sad to this day as he loved her old-fashioned design. I was right in thinking my father would be impressed with the design of the Disney ships compared to the "floating malls" typical of modern cruise ships.

Despite the less-than-wonderful stateroom and a ship-load of college students on spring break (I witnessed my first drunk people the first night of the cruise and how ill-equipped the staff was at handling them), we had an amazing time. It was our first "real" vacation as a family and we were hooked. Unfortunately, we can't afford to go as often as we would like.

So, in 2005, we talked about taking another cruise. And I wanted it to be on Disney. Hence my appearance on the DIS Boards. I learned all I could, tried to persuade my parents' wallets into believing it could afford the premium cost, and then the rest of the family of how the lack of a casino was not at all a bad thing. But alas, it would be another 2 years before we sailed, and it was aboard the Mariner. A wonderful ship in her own right and we had another amazing vacation. But I was looking forward to the day I could satisfy my love of cruising with my deep love of Disney.

Fast forward to 2011. The Dream reignited our wish to take a Disney cruise, and our family was celebrating a lot of milestones to warrant such an expense. My best friends and I were determined to at least go by ourselves, and with one of my best friends being a CM at Magic Kingdom, we prayed for a CM discount to make the "Dream" come true. Alas, such a discount would not come in time, and we opted to take a fantastic first trip out to Disneyland to see where the magic started instead. You can read about that epic adventure via the banner in my signature.

My best friends and me at the place where the magic began.

I thought Disneyland would dislodge the notion of a Disney cruise out of my mind.

But I kept trolling the DIS, reading countless trip reports, etc etc. And it soon became clear I could not rest until I could experience it as soon as possible. It would take a miracle ... a last minute miracle ... I monitored the DCL site rates like a dog staring at cupcakes but denied access to the magical goodness held within its spongey wonderfullness ...

Then, one day in early December, I noticed the GTY rates for January Dream cruises. I casually drew my mother's attention to this information, not really expecting much since the cost was still more than what we paid for our 7 night on the Mariner. I've been stuck in the mire of post-graduation unemployment and trapped by the red tape of getting a job in the Florida education system; therefore, my schedule was open until late January when I will finally begin working again. I told my mother I wanted nothing for Christmas and my birthday for however long if we could take a Disney cruise.

Then she said it. "Let's do it." To which I responded:

I was literally shaking as I booked us for a VGT on the January 15th 4-night sailing on the new Disney Dream. It was surreal. Kinda silly, but it was the equivalent of being told you're going to a Disney park for the first time. I already knew cruising was epic in and of itself, but to add Disney on top of it? How could it not be awesome? Early last year, I had had a dream that my friends and I were on our way to the port to board a Disney ship, and I turned to my friend and said, "I'm so excited my cells are vibrating!"

And oh, they were.

I can't tell you how many dreams I've had of going on a Disney cruise, let alone cruising in general. The short time until our cruise went by in a flash and I was almost sad about it, since the faster the time came, the faster the cruise would go and be in the past. I was worried the 4-night cruise would be too short (and man, it was) but it was a DISNEY cruise, and so, worth it. Or, at least I imagined it would be.

Despite being a big Disney geek, would the family-centered atmosphere be too "kiddy" for my Disney-loving parents and I to enjoy?

Would there be enough "adult things" to do to keep us occupied?

My mother's concern: "But you won't be able to meet anyone your age without kids!"
My response: "I want to have fun, not man-shop."

Despite any trepidation, my parents and I grew increasingly excited as our cruise approached. It would be the first cruise with just the three of us. Being Disney experts, our expectations were high. So, how was it, you ask? Time for another epic trip report!

There will be
... Tragedy!
... Efficiency!
... Upgrades!
... Awe!
... Rabbis!
... Freezing temperatures!
... Chicken!
... Excitement!
... and a lot more

Click the links to get to:
- Day 1, Part 1: First Impressions
- Day 1, Part 2: Exploring the Ship!
- Day 1, Part 3: Sailing Away, Dinner, & Rabbi Jeff
- Day 2, Part 1: "Where are we?"
- Day 2, Part 2: "And we're WALKING!"
- Day 2, Part 3: Rock n' Roll
- Day 3, Part 1: Castaway Cay!
- Day 3, Part 2: Polar Bear Swim
- Day 3, Part 3: Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirate's Night for Me
- Day 4, Part 1: Will Power at Sea
- Day 4, Part 2: The Power of Pixie Dust
- Day 5: And Now It's Time to Say Goodbye

Last edited by OrcaPotter; 04-19-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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