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Old 10-20-2012, 07:23 PM   #31
cblack
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Scrapbooks? That's die-hard. I am SO not crafty - I'd be doing bad things with the scissors (why I shouldn't bring them on planes!). I'm tossing all our spare change in a bucket, and that will fund our gifts. We're getting rid of the penny here in Canada, so that's as good a use for our stash as any, I figure.

Someone absolutely had to go back to get the back - the bag had the CARES harness, and 100% of the "how to keep the boy amused on the flight" stuff, including his special friends Bunny and Sockie. I believe you understand how critical these last items were (what do I mean - they still are!) so it was non-negotiable. I will tell you, though, that spending 2 hours in a really crummy little mall in the middle of nowhere with a 3 year old wasn't any picnic either... I had to cave and buy myself black and silver sparkly leopard print (crappy) shoes at a store at his insistence - yes, they are as hideous as you think they are. I was then expected to wear them to dinner since they were "pretty". The only saving grace is that they were about $10. I do not feel a career in fashion is in his future...
The scrapbooks weren't expensive, just very time intensive!! Canada is getting rid of the penny? That is amazing (maybe a little more interesting to me than most because of where I work ).

I completely understand the bag of tricks! We use the CARES harness, too and love it! You could really get use out of those $10 shoes and wear them on this cruise too
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:16 PM   #32
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The scrapbooks weren't expensive, just very time intensive!! Canada is getting rid of the penny? That is amazing (maybe a little more interesting to me than most because of where I work ).

I completely understand the bag of tricks! We use the CARES harness, too and love it! You could really get use out of those $10 shoes and wear them on this cruise too
The last penny has been produced up here - as of Feb 4, 2013 (right after the cruise), cash transactions (but not electronic ones) are to be rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. We can still use pennies - they just won't be issued anymore and they'll be gradually removing them from circulation. I'm reasonably positive this will be a not so smooth transition...

Because I'm no good at "time intensive", I implement "save money" so as to buy stuff. The scrap books sound amazing. We'll be aiming firmly for "good enough" ... as usual!

Don't joke about the shoes. I'm NOT allowed to get rid of them. Every time I try to sneak them away, he notices. They are glittery and all. UGH.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:19 PM   #33
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Girl’s Win!!! Although Jayden Doesn’t Know It Yet!

As I mentioned in my last post, our travel agent, who I must say is WONDERFUL, was looking into costs for staying on property. My first recommendation to Jeremy was to stay two nights on property and do one day at the parks. My thought was we could find a character meal, take a slow pace in one of the parks, and just get ourselves into the Disney spirit. Well&even with a great room-only discount, it was WAY too much. Not to mention that we would need to change flights. It really doesnt pay to go to Disney for anything less than 5 days. Bummer! But I wasnt done yet! BWAHAHAHAHA (done in my most evil-conspiring wife voice). I came up with three more options&sometimes those tricks we use with the kids work on adults, too.
  • Option 1: Stay one night at the Grand Floridian in a theme park view room and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take Magical Express from the airport and change our car service to pick up at the resort.
  • Option 2: Stay one night at the Grand Floridian in a standard view room and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take Magical Express from the airport and change our car service to pick up at the resort.
  • Option 3: Keep our existing hotel reservation and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take the hotel shuttle to the hotel from the airport and then take a taxi to GF for dinner.

Do you see what I did there Jeremy has options, but my highest priority item (dinner with Cindy) is in all three options&tricky, tricky! Jeremy was a bit more difficult than usual with this one, but I wrote down all three options yesterday morning, including differences in cost. I also shared that I thought it would be a let-down that we were going to surprise Jayden before leaving for the airport, and then we were going to a Renaissance with no Disney. Just seems wrong!

Jeremy noodled on it for about 30 minutes, and then texted me to, book it. I assumed this meant to book option 1; he should have been more specific if he didnt want the best option! Our TA is currently working on booking our room. I booked an ADR at 1900 Park Fare for dinner, and I changed our car service reservations. Wishes! will be at 8pm the night we are there, so our plan is to finish dinner and then go to our balcony to watch the fireworks. (I know this isn't fireworks, but if you say "BOOM!" right when the pixie dust flies, you can almost, kinda, sorta see fireworks)

Our new pre-cruise hotel picture:


I am going to figure out a way to do a dinner invitation from Cinderella for Jayden. My thought is I will either give it to her when we tell her where we are going that morning, or I will ask the front desk to hand it to her as though it were in our file. Cindy is #1 in Jaydens book right now, so I think she is going to LOVE this; also an excellent way to start our vacation! (This will be Jeremy post-dinner with Cindy)

Finally, I dont like this part, but just to be 100% transparent, our total savings is now closer to $400, but as I argued to Jeremy, we are just using the money we saved on flights and parking for GF and 1900 Park Fare.
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Last edited by cblack; 10-24-2012 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Trying to get the photo sized correctly!
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:20 AM   #34
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The cabannas

Love the PTR! As long as you all aren't Cubs fans, I'm sure we can live in the same thread. (If you are, well I guess we can live in the same thread Lol)

I know there was talk early in the PTR about the cabanas. My advice... CHECK EVERY DAY! The last trip we were on in Oct of last year, my sister and my parents got one with in a few weeks of the cruise. In fact, I believe it was #2 on the family side. She would check every morning before she would go to work and eventually they got one. They are REALLY relaxing. We were the one closest to the family beach and you could hear a pin drop.

On my next cruise, my wife doesn't care about the cabanas, BUT we are going to get a week long pass to the rain forest room... LOVE THEM!! I laugh thinking about how people got into the showers and don't READ what the experience is...LOL (hint: one of them is dedicated to COLD and clearly states it!) But the hot tubs with the open breeze, sananas, and the chairs to sit a read a book on ... '14 can't come fast enough!!

Could you do me a favor.. if you can remember.. ask what a week long pass is when you do go there? I want to make sure I got it in our budget!!!

Jonathan
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:09 AM   #35
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Love this trip report!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:06 PM   #36
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Love the PTR! As long as you all aren't Cubs fans, I'm sure we can live in the same thread. (If you are, well I guess we can live in the same thread Lol)

I know there was talk early in the PTR about the cabanas. My advice... CHECK EVERY DAY! The last trip we were on in Oct of last year, my sister and my parents got one with in a few weeks of the cruise. In fact, I believe it was #2 on the family side. She would check every morning before she would go to work and eventually they got one. They are REALLY relaxing. We were the one closest to the family beach and you could hear a pin drop.

On my next cruise, my wife doesn't care about the cabanas, BUT we are going to get a week long pass to the rain forest room... LOVE THEM!! I laugh thinking about how people got into the showers and don't READ what the experience is...LOL (hint: one of them is dedicated to COLD and clearly states it!) But the hot tubs with the open breeze, sananas, and the chairs to sit a read a book on ... '14 can't come fast enough!!

Could you do me a favor.. if you can remember.. ask what a week long pass is when you do go there? I want to make sure I got it in our budget!!!

Jonathan
Thanks for reading, Jonathan!

Cubs fans? No! We bleed Cardinal's red!

The cabanas are AMAZING! And I second your recommendation! For anyone reading and hoping for one, they DO open up! You just have to check, check, and check again and get on the waiting list once onboard.

I have not done the rainforest pass, but what a surprise you could get if you don't read I'm glad it is an all-adult area, because I'm sure there are choice words shouted when someone does get a surprise!

I already have something booked at the spa, so I am making a note to ask about the week-long pass and will report back
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:10 PM   #37
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Love this trip report!
Welcome and thanks for reading along!

ETA: Just noticed from your signature that you are 1 year and 1 day away from your cruise!!!! YAY! The "one year to go" date is always exciting for me!
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:48 PM   #38
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Random thoughts :)

I'm not sure when this happened, or how, but Jayden recently decided that Cinderella is #1. She dressed up as Cindy for halloween this year, and totally took on the princess character.


I currently have her booked to get a Belle dress for BBB, so I may need to find a creative way to ask her what kind of dress she would want.

Tomorrow, my DM and I are surprising Jayden with "Tea with Cinderella." I'm not sure what to expect, but am hoping this will give me an idea of how excited she will be when we FINALLY tell her about the trip. Yes, I want to tell her RIGHT NOW! But, I won't...the surprise will hopefully be worth it!

We are getting closer to the holidays and busier times. Every weekend between now and the end of the year is booked for something, and I have a day off or travel every week through the end of the year. Hopefully this means that the countdown will go super-fast!

I am hoping to catch the post-Christmas clearance for a few small FE gifts for Jayden. I am also planning to get a gift basket from Shirley. We did this with our last cruise, and it was amazing. I am planning to contact Shirley right after the holidays to place my order. With the last cruise, I did a basket for Jayden and then one for Jeremy and I to share. I will likely do this again and have Shirley create a princess basket for Jayden. We will definitely get a few beach toys and some of her favorite snacks included. For Jeremy, I will make sure there is a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper or Pibb, as these are his favorite and are not available on the ship. For me...peanut butter cups! Chocolate and peanut butter combined is a weakness of mine, and I discovered during our last cruise that there are not a lot of options for this combination.

The first cruisers to visit San Juan returned to Port Canaveral today, so I am impatiently waiting for someone to post the Navigators! I'm hoping to use these to identify those "can't miss" activities prior to getting on the ship.

Until next time...
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:17 PM   #39
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I am hoping to catch the post-Christmas clearance for a few small FE gifts for Jayden. I am also planning to get a gift basket from Shirley. We did this with our last cruise, and it was amazing. I am planning to contact Shirley right after the holidays to place my order. With the last cruise, I did a basket for Jayden and then one for Jeremy and I to share. I will likely do this again and have Shirley create a princess basket for Jayden. We will definitely get a few beach toys and some of her favorite snacks included. For Jeremy, I will make sure there is a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper or Pibb, as these are his favorite and are not available on the ship. For me...peanut butter cups! Chocolate and peanut butter combined is a weakness of mine, and I discovered during our last cruise that there are not a lot of options for this combination.

The first cruisers to visit San Juan returned to Port Canaveral today, so I am impatiently waiting for someone to post the Navigators! I'm hoping to use these to identify those "can't miss" activities prior to getting on the ship.

Until next time...
We're going to do the gift basket by Shirley too - I figure that having beach toys delivered to the room makes it worth it right then and there (no need to pack them at this end!) and some snacks for the room. I had to Google "Pibb" as I don't think that has made its way to Canada, or at least, not where I hang out.

And yes, eagerly awaiting reviews for San Juan... impatiently, really. Heck, they've all been off the ship for over 12 hours now, right???

Now, back to planning tomorrow so that DH can have a nap, and then stay up until midnight to book things for us... finally!
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:37 PM   #40
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We're going to do the gift basket by Shirley too - I figure that having beach toys delivered to the room makes it worth it right then and there (no need to pack them at this end!) and some snacks for the room. I had to Google "Pibb" as I don't think that has made its way to Canada, or at least, not where I hang out.

And yes, eagerly awaiting reviews for San Juan... impatiently, really. Heck, they've all been off the ship for over 12 hours now, right???

Now, back to planning tomorrow so that DH can have a nap, and then stay up until midnight to book things for us... finally!
Jeremy would argue that you have missed out big time by not experiencing Pibb! I think it is very much like Dr. Pepper, but for those with more refined taste, like Jeremy, it is VERY different!

I am so excited that you get to book tomorrow! I hope you are able to get everything that you plan for!
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:52 AM   #41
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Love following your report! I was hoping you could tell me what FE means. I have seen it in a few threads.
We leave next week for our cruise out of Galveston. We are very excited.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:00 PM   #42
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Love following your report! I was hoping you could tell me what FE means. I have seen it in a few threads.
We leave next week for our cruise out of Galveston. We are very excited.
Welcome and thanks for reading along! FE is an abbreviation for "fish extender." On the Disney ships, outside of each room, next to the door, there is a little hook that you can hang things off of, and the staff on the ship will leave notes/info on that hook. On the classic ships (Magic and Wonder), some (or maybe all) of these hooks were fish. Sometime a while ago, a Dis group decided to do a gift exchange of sorts, and they decided to leave these gifts in bags that hang off of the "fish extender" outside of the door. These have morphed, some of the bags are fancy, some are not...the goal is to have fun with the gift exchange. If you google "fish extender," you can see images of these. If you have a cruise planned, check into your meet to see if they are doing this to sign up. HTH!
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:28 PM   #43
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Hope To Dos, Must Dos, and Plans for the Big Reveal

The first Disney cruise to port in San Juan just came back about a week ago, and I was so happy to find that someone from that cruise posted the Navigators (Thanks Disneyfan888!). I wanted to look at these for a couple reasons. First, I remember a couple of things that we didn't do on our last cruise that I really wanted to make time for this cruise. And, second, I wanted to see what would be happening at the kids' clubs while Jeremy and I were going to be at Palo Brunch, Palo Dinner, and the spa. You see, I am VERY nervous about Jayden and the clubs. She can be very timid, and is not the kid that runs into a place and starts playing. She requires "transition time," and more importantly, there must be an adult there that she really likes and trusts.

On day one, we plan to take an hour or so to show her all of the cool things that are there to play with. I also plan to tell her that if she is really, really good, we will let her come back to play with all of those cool things. I am not above using trickery on my child to enjoy food and pampering!

In reviewing the Navigators, I identified several activities that we would like to partake in and I am classifying those as "hope to dos" and "must dos." I will admit that some of these "must dos" were "must dos" on the last cruise that didn't get done, so I do know that this may be the case this time, too.

Hope To Dos:
  • Wine Tasting - I do not really drink alcohol very often, but would love to find a wine that I like.
  • Anyone Can Cook - It appears that Jayden can join in on this fun, and that girl LOVES to cook. I hope we can make it happen!
  • Character Dance Party - just as it sounds. A good way to interact with the characters without having to stand in a line.
  • Enjoy a meal in our room or on our balcony - preferably breakfast.
  • Read a book - This is probably REALLY pushing it, but I will at least bring my Kindle

Must Dos:
  • Princess Gathering - it was on our last cruise that Jayden fell in love with the princesses. It is worth it to me to stand in line for a while for these ladies!
  • Disney Junior - an early morning event where we can interact with the characters. I have heard that because these are early morning, the attendance is low.
  • The Evening Shows - all of them...seriously! It was on our last cruise that we learned of Jayden's love of musicals. I don't care how cheesy a musical is if it gives me the chance to see her do something she loves.
  • Go With the Flow - I am the type that must include this or it will not happen. I want to plan everything out, but I know that a good vacation is dependent on this item!
  • Look at the stars - see below

The Navigators showed several activities during the times we have booked for brunch, dinner, and the spa, so as long as we can find 1 (or 4) great cast members that she loves, we should be golden.

Jeremy and I spent some time this weekend talking about the "big reveal." Jayden is now regularly talking about "on the Mickey Boat, can I..." and we continue to respond, "yes, dear, hopefully we get to go!" She loves to go look at the stars every night; tonight, it was cloudy, so she responded, "I bet I will be able to see them really well on the Mickey Boat!" I'm sure she is right. so I just went back up to add that to my "Must Do" list! I still have no idea where she got the idea that we are going.

Even if she has figured out we are going, she still doesn't know when or what we will be doing. So, I am planning to make (er...or request someone on Etsy to make) three invitations. The first will be an invite to Florida with a little bag of goodies for the plane (entertainment and snacks). She will get that at breakfast the morning we leave. The second invite I hope to discreetly pass to the CM that checks us into the hotel to give to Jayden, and this one will be from Cinderella herself and will request Jayden's presence at dinner that night. The final one will be one that will invite her on the "Mickey Boat," and I will either ask one of the servers to deliver it to our table, or I might sneak up to the room while Jeremy distracts her and set it up with balloons or a new stuffed character. Jayden loves surprises and will quickly see the trend here, so I think it will build the excitement!

We are just 10 weeks away from sailing away, and I can't wait!!!
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #44
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You see, I am VERY nervous about Jayden and the clubs. She can be very timid, and is not the kid that runs into a place and starts playing. She requires "transition time," and more importantly, there must be an adult there that she really likes and trusts.

We are just 10 weeks away from sailing away, and I can't wait!!!
Are we 10 weeks away? Good grief. I'm a bit preoccupied with my thesis defense coming up, so I've lost track!

Would a (new) friend she knew a bit help Jayden at the clubs? Our Dude does well when he is the "protector", and so if he knew that Jayden might be worried being there on her own, he would (in all likelihood) take her under his wing. Dude's got a knight in shining armor thing going. (Nevermind that this would help us get him to the club... )

Otherwise, it looks like we'll see you at quite a few things, minus the princess gatherings - despite his Prince Charming complex, the boy is completely anti-princess... and, I'm still thinking, anti-characters. We'll see, though!

Oh, and I *definitely* read on vacation. It's my number 2 thing after "spend time with the kid". On beaches, I get to combine numbers 1 and 2, which is why we're doing a lot of beach stuff. The Canadian Kindle (Kobo) is the best invention since sliced bread.... or maybe since Pibb?

BTW - I forget (and I'm too tired to read back - badness!) - what are you doing in St. Thomas again? I'm now officially freaking out about the 21,000 + people in port that day. We have a Coral World excursion booked, but the reports of the transportation are alarming, but with that many humans in port, I'm worried about arranging our out transportation, even if we could arrange Coral World privately...

10 weeks - oh my.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:25 PM   #45
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Are we 10 weeks away? Good grief. I'm a bit preoccupied with my thesis defense coming up, so I've lost track!

Would a (new) friend she knew a bit help Jayden at the clubs? Our Dude does well when he is the "protector", and so if he knew that Jayden might be worried being there on her own, he would (in all likelihood) take her under his wing. Dude's got a knight in shining armor thing going. (Nevermind that this would help us get him to the club... )

Otherwise, it looks like we'll see you at quite a few things, minus the princess gatherings - despite his Prince Charming complex, the boy is completely anti-princess... and, I'm still thinking, anti-characters. We'll see, though!

Oh, and I *definitely* read on vacation. It's my number 2 thing after "spend time with the kid". On beaches, I get to combine numbers 1 and 2, which is why we're doing a lot of beach stuff. The Canadian Kindle (Kobo) is the best invention since sliced bread.... or maybe since Pibb?

BTW - I forget (and I'm too tired to read back - badness!) - what are you doing in St. Thomas again? I'm now officially freaking out about the 21,000 + people in port that day. We have a Coral World excursion booked, but the reports of the transportation are alarming, but with that many humans in port, I'm worried about arranging our out transportation, even if we could arrange Coral World privately...

10 weeks - oh my.
Haha! Yes, just 10 weeks. After having a couple extremely busy work weeks, I am already starting the, "everything must be done before I leave" panic. It will be ok, though!

I can't wait for Jayden to meet your Dude! He sounds like such a fun little man! A new friend could definitely work for the clubs, especially if I tell her he is a knight in shining armor. We shall conspire to have adult time!

Jayden declared several times that she is going to hug the characters, give them high fives, and get her picture taken because she is brave and they are nice. We will see!

I love to read...usually at least one book per week, but on vacation, it is just harder to do. I tend to read on my commute to work, so without that I find other things to occupy myself. I couldn't read on a beach with Jayden there because I'm not capable of running, digging, swimming, burying, etc. while reading . Maybe that will be included when I get my Mom 2.0 upgrade

We are doing the Kon Tiki excursion in St. Thomas. It goes to honeymoon beach, and I have heard it is less busy than other beaches. We are really hoping we will avoid the thousands of people!

Thanks again for reading along!
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