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Old 01-27-2012, 11:42 PM   #1
Has a Buzz Lightyear shoot-off with her husband
jordgubben's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jersey!! (exit 102)
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Thumbs up A 4 night Dream... with a Toddler (lots of pics) Sept 2011

To set the scene: There’s me (32), DH (33), DS (14 months), and my mom and dad who were both first time cruisers. We’re all big fans of Disney vacations. I traveled to WDW with my family a few times growing up. DH’s first trip to WDW was our honeymoon almost 10 years ago and we’ve been fortunate to be back a number of times since. Prior to this sailing, we had done two 7 day Caribbean cruises on the Magic and a few short cruises on other lines.

This report will be skewed towards information about cruising with a toddler since that’s the information I was starving for prior to our trip. Along those lines, I’ll address DS’s socks now since someone is bound to notice (plenty of people seemed to ask my mom about on the cruise for some reason). Yes, he was walking for about a month by the time the cruise rolled around but he had just started wearing shoes (we started calling him Agador Spartacus because of how he walked in them). I had a pair of sandals for him but the little bit of time walking around the airport in NJ was enough to start some blisters. So instead of having him suffer in the sandals we just let him walk around in grippy socks when we weren’t carrying him.

Pre-cruise stay at Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport: This was the way to go! DH and I agree that we will stay at this hotel for all future pre-cruise stays. One thing I wish I had known, if you are staying with them be sure to call the night before (or I imagine, any point before) and give them your flight information. Their bell services will pick up your luggage from baggage claim and bring it directly to your room. While I believe there is a small fee ($10?) this means you can get off the plane and go directly to your room. This also means you don’t have to drag your luggage the entire length of the airport if you come into terminal B as we did. Lesson learned.

Luggage with Hyatt MCO and DCL Transfers: Again, this is really the way to go. Bell services begins collecting the bags at 8:30am. Since we headed out for breakfast prior to then, we just left the bags near the door inside the room, as instructed. We left the tip on the bags and I wrote a quick note of “Thanks” so the bellman would know the money was left on purpose. If you plan on using this service (and I highly suggest you do) you’ll need to let them know when you check in. Don’t worry, there’s a big sign in the reception area to remind you and person checking you in will also probably ask. You will be given a form to complete with your name, hotel room and the number of bags you’re leaving for bell services to pick up. Don’t worry, you can complete this form in the morning if you’re not sure on the number. You’ll then give this form to the DCL check-in folks at the airport when you check in for the cruise.

Breakfast at Hemispheres (Hyatt MCO): We enjoyed a lovely breakfast buffet at Hemispheres prior to our departure. In addition to the buffet they also have items available a la carte. While I was originally planning on picking up a bagel or something in the airport food court (conveniently located on the way from the hotel to the DCL check in), my parents suggested this restaurant and it was nice to have something substantial since we weren’t going to be having anything else until we boarded the ship and got lunch (which ended up being sooner than we expected but you never know).

DCL Check-in at MCO: After breakfast and a quick stop at the Kennedy Space Center shop, we headed down to level one to check in for the cruise (probably around 9:30 or so). The check in process went very smoothly and we were given a bus boarding card (Chip and Dale as it were) and asked to sit in the waiting area. Since it wasn't super crowded, we took this opportunity to let DS run around a bit. When our bus was called we lined up and a cast member checked our IDs against our spiral cruise docs book. We were then given a boarding number for the ship. I believe we were originally given #5 but the cast member switched it out for #2 which was very nice of her. It turns out it was a bit unnecessary (more on that later in the Embarkation section).

DCL Transfers: I know they are expensive but I really am a fan of DCL transfers because of the convenience. One good thing was that I did not have to pay for DS since he was essentially a lap infant. Making use of Disney transfers (DCL and ME) during the trip also meant we didn’t have to worry about packing a car seat or hoping the car service would have one. For those traveling with a stroller, it will go under the bus in the cargo area. We have a city mini single and the bus driver told us we didn’t have to fold it. Believe it or not that cargo area is tall enough for him to just wheel the stroller on (I’m sure it makes it a lot faster at the other end when they don’t have a bunch of people unfolding strollers, too.) When we got off the bus at the terminal we gathered our belongings, got our group back together and headed through security.

At the terminal: Since we had already checked-in at MCO the only thing we had to do at the terminal was go through security and wait. And since our bus arrived around 11 (I think… I didn’t really pay attention to the times as much as I should have for reporting purposes… sorry folks!), we didn’t have to do much waiting at all. We found seats near the back of the terminal more or less just as you get off the escalator. It was near the bathrooms which was important for those folks in our group waiting for water pills to wear off. Mickey was available for pictures for anyone who was willing to stand in the line. I was tempted to stand in line for DS but when Minnie replaced Mickey he walked right by DS and that was apparently a little TOO close. DS likes Mickey better from 10 feet away. At least that saved me from standing in line. Instead I took DS and my dad to check out the scale model of the Magic. Then, before we knew it they began calling boarding numbers.

When you wish upon a star, a Disney trip is not that far...
DCL Trip report: A 4 Night Dream... with a Toddler! (lots of pics)

Last edited by jordgubben; 03-09-2012 at 09:20 AM.
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