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Old 01-25-2013, 08:03 AM   #61
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So after picking up pointers from Marisol, I finally let her go enjoy her cruise. We picked up the kiddos and took them back to the room for some rest and snacks (while they play with them endlessly, the counselors don't feed snacks in the clubs, so if we hadn't picked them up they would've gotten hungry and super grumptastic.) I talked to a very kind lady at the room service number, who said that we couldn't order vegan cookies through room service. Well I knew (both from the DIS and previous trips to the world) that I'd caught the wrong cast member. I called right back and got someone else who said they'd be delighted to make us a plate of cookies, but that it takes a couple hours since they don't just keep them on hand. I asked if we could just order a plate for four the following afternoon. She said yes.
But the kids still needed I ordered Chris his first ever Mickey Bar

as well as one for Ben and a bowl of fruit for Kylee and me to split.

Of the list of things I'd never thought of as something you need to explain to your child, eating a Mickey Bar was somewhere well below don't don't talk with your mouthful.
But on unwrapping and handing it to him, I realized that somethings require being taught, as he sat there smiling at it. He was happy as a clam, just didn't know how to eat it.

So Ben obligingly demonstrated.

"See you go for the ears first!"

Oh, okay.
After fruit and a bit of chilling out resting, I gathered up Kylee, a packet of Skittles, our tickets and Kylee's autograph book and pen and headed over to Studio Sea for our turn at Tea with Alice. We ran into Kathryn and her daughter waiting outside the Studio and we chatted a bit while the girls peered down into the atrium while we waited to be admitted.
A cheerful castmember showed up and started admitting those with tickets.

Kylee examined the set up at the front of the room and then selected a little table for just the two of us. It was an adorable layout, with some nonvegan cookies (next time, I will remember to order vegan cookies when I pick up tickets, I promise!) and tea cups from all over the ship (creating a cute mad tea party effect) and apple juice in a thankfully non-breakable teapot.

After a short while, Alice and the Mad Hatter both came out, sang for a bit invited up two guests to be the March Hare and the White Rabbit and taught the rest of us how to pour and drink tea "The Queen's Way."

Alice helpfully demonstrated the do's while the Mad Hatter ran through all the don't's to hilarious effect.
He even taught us how to sip tea with our pinkies up.

Kylee quite enjoyed pouring tea, eating her Skittles and watching the capers of Alice and The Hatter.

Afterwards, they lined everyone up for "pictures please, but no autographs." Which fell apart almost as the castmember announced it as behind him, by the table, Alice and the Hatter paused in the middle of autographing the first few guests books. So everyone got photos and autographs.

Kylee loved talking to Alice, especially as Alice told her about her cat Dinah and asked after Kylee's cat, who Kylee explained couldn't come with us on board.
After a quick restroom run, we found Ben and Chris, who had been enjoying the shuffleboard while we were busy at tea and wandered the deck a bit before Kylee insisted she was starving

and settled for some french fries on deck from Pluto's Dog House. Much to Ben's chagrin, she decided she did want to head back into the club at this point.

Last edited by cruisecrasher; 07-09-2013 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:42 AM   #62
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I am so enjoying reading your trip review. We sail in May and my daughter will be turning 3 the day after we sail. I am worried about the kid's club since she will just be 3 and they have older kids in the club. We went last year, but could only use the open house times which she loved.

Can't wait to read more.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:20 PM   #63
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Great report. Your family is precious.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:50 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by jenseib
I want to go to the tea party!!!!!
It was cute and fun. Next time DS wants to go.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #66
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I love reading about your trip! Your family is beautiful! Looks like this was a special vacation. I am trying to talk DS into the tea with Alice, she is my fav!
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:07 PM   #67
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Hi there

I posted this question on the allergy thread you commented on, but do you have any pics of the strawberry shortcake or vegan cookies you ordered? That sounds perfect for my DD. Her desserts are usually vegan anyway.

Also, would you recommend your server team since they seemed to take such good care of your dietary needs? I've found that it makes such a difference.

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Old 01-31-2013, 07:25 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by lilpooh108
Hi there

I posted this question on the allergy thread you commented on, but do you have any pics of the strawberry shortcake or vegan cookies you ordered? That sounds perfect for my DD. Her desserts are usually vegan anyway.

Also, would you recommend your server team since they seemed to take such good care of your dietary needs? I've found that it makes such a difference.

I'll get to those pics once I get to them in my for the servers, I'd highly recommend requesting my head server, Luis as he did an excellent job and is who deals with the delivery of allergy foods to your table, rather than your serving team.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:17 PM   #69
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Loving your report and pics!! I was up late last night pouring over it in anticipation of our cruise. I am on your sailing in April. Woohoo!

Last edited by Melmo; 02-08-2013 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:54 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Melmo
Loving your report and pics!! I was up late last night pouring over it in anticipation of our cruise. I am on your sailing in April. Woohoo!
Hopefully this tr will be finished by then!
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #71
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November 19th After Tea Time...

So we went to figure out when our low stress Topsiders dinner would be ready…not yet although as a grammar noticer, I found it hilarious that
1) the sign is being refreshed for “yourfuture” enjoyment and

2) that the sign had been fixed by sometime later in the cruise.
Chris decided to take me down stairs and school me in the ancient art of shuffleboard

while Ben and I stood around taking photos of each other, the scenery, the ship and the kid. Not necessarily in that order, of course.

Sometime after night fall, we retrieved Kylee from the club and headed into Topsiders where they were serving from the Animator’s Palate menu. I believe this was the Black Bean Chipotle cakes over corn and brown rice topped with salsa…

actually the first and only thing on the cruise I registered as spicy. These turned out to be more on the end of vegetarian than vegan and my tummy let me know that later. The kids scampered off to the kids club for a little evening fun.
Ben and I skipped the comedy and hypnosis show in favor of a little quiet time in Cove Café with a soy hot chocolate

followed by some wandering on deck. We had quite the morning planned out as it was our first port day…
so off to bed with us and the kids.

Last edited by cruisecrasher; 07-09-2013 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:47 PM   #72
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Tuesday November 20, Silence before the Stingrays.

So I woke up ridiculously early and indulged in two of my favorite hobbies, a quick run around the decks and some nearly empty ship photography.
Heading out to go run…

One of the over 20,000 pieces of signage on board.

Stairwell with a map of Castaway Cay...I promise I'm going back soon!

Beat Street


Actually, Even after three cruises on the Magic and only one on the Wonder, I still keep expecting it to be Ariel in the lobby rather than Helmsman Mickey. Anyone else notice that they expect things to be the same as on whichever ship was their first cruise ship? Just me?
Out on Deck 4 to Run…

First time I’d noticed the portholes forward on deck four…what’s up there?

Portholes on 4 that show into the Animator’s Palate galley area. During meal prep you can see desserts and salads here, usually.

Deck four interiors after I’d been for a run, see it’s light outside the portholes now!

After a very necessary but quick shower and trying to stealthily sneak Chris out of the room before he woke up Kylee and Ben, we headed upstairs for some Topsiders to fortify us against the oncoming Stingrays…
Mom, I can’t even see Grand Cayman yet…

"Praying today to thank you for breakfast and that the stingrays don’t eat me…Amen. Oh and sorry about biting my donut before praying."

Mmmmm. Oatmeal and walnuts and melons!

And Chris polished off all of his melons and one of Mickey’s ears. Not anymore of the donut. He’s an odd kid, but he’s mine, what can I say! I love him.

We had plenty of time to change into our swimsuits and let Chris zone out to cartoons with his sister.

On a DISboards tip, we ordered an Uncrustables to take ashore with us.

Don’t! We were told to leave it on the ship when we arrived in the group for our excursion, at the risk of a $20,000 fine. I’d rather not pay that much for a sandwich.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:07 PM   #73
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Tenders and Iguanas and Stingrays (Oh My!)

I packed my iPhone in a lovely (and hopefully waterproof, but as yet untested) case for this day’s port adventure as we were going to be wading among stingrays on a sand bar in the open sea. I really, really was hoping the case would work.

We had forty minutes to wander around the ship until our tickets had us meeting up in Rockin’ Bar D to join our group…
So more ship pictures!

All taken with my kindergartener's assistance.


More waiting…

We received towels and purple Simba stickers at our meet up and then followed our group out onto the tender. If you’ve never tendered before, these are fairly large boats. NOT ships. They bob up and down next to the ship like crazy and I’m fairly certain neither me nor Chris is prone to seasickness, as I am pretty certain we would have found out.

Approaching Grand Cayman would’ve been an excellent time to take pictures of the ship as we sailed away, had I been less preoccupied with keeping Chris on the tender. It was really neat that you could see clear across the island and to our destination in the North Sound, Stingray City. After departing our tender, we followed the guides with the purple Simba paddles through the mellow and non-threatening port area (pineapple stands and the like) to our waiting tour vans, which whisked us off to our waiting double decker catamaran. (Very Disney level of efficiency). Our crew and our ship, the Emerald Eyes, both projected that clean Disney vibe, which surprised and pleased me as did the little gift and snack shop area on board. The beautiful scenery and canal area were littered with blue iguanas and Chris called them island squirrels, because they seemed as plentiful on Grand Cayman as the squirrels around our home. I’d say that Grand Cayman is worth the tender even if you’re just planning on wandering around, it was breathtakingly lovely.
As the catamaran approached the north end of the sound they gathered everyone around to explain, with the aid of “Fluffy” the stingray how the stings are defensive and unless you stomp on them (and thus are mistaken for a shark) you are highly unlikely to get stung.
Chris decided to don all of his protective equipment, snorkel, mask, reflective vest and all.

Mom I don't look goofy, do I?
No honey, of course not! You're adorable.

Don't worry, I got him to take 3/4s of the equipment off before we hopped in and loosen the mask a LOT. Around now, Chris started to become pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. Now he had learned how to swim over the last year specifically because of Stingray City.
Let me explain. Basically he didn’t like naps when he was younger but still clearly needed a midday rest time. My compromise involved him laying down and watching travel channel and nature documentaries, Planet Earth DVDs and in several instances, Samantha Brown specials. One in particular involved her swimming with stingrays. Chris thought this looked great and since he started swim lessons around that time it became a far out goal. So here he was.
We had the misfortune of it being high tide, so basically we had to climb off the ladder at the back of the boat and swim to the sand bar where the water still surged over his head.

I don't know if he didn't understand how deep the water was going to be or if he is extremely confident, regardless of swimming strength, but he had no troubles hopping right in or climbing off the back of the boat. Once swimming, it was a bit of a different matter. As soon as he got out of the open water and over to where I could touch the bottom, Chris started enjoying it a load more.
If your child is under four feet tall or not a strong swimmer, keep in mind that this may freak them out, as from their perspective this is an open water swim with stingrays that outnumber and outweigh them. I’d suggest the Castaway Cay Stingray experience instead if you’re unsure, as that is a very good excursion with many of the same elements but in knee deep waters.

Chris however loved it! “It was fun. You should try to do it! It’s scary whenever you can’t touch the bottom in the ocean, but the stingrays are cool.” Actually they feel really neat and they all seem to enjoy being around people. I think that the early excursions have a better experience as the sandbar does seem to get crowded after a while.
Chris and I swam back to the catamaran (if I were six feet tall, I could’ve walked to the ship, but I’m almost 5’3”.) We changed into drier clothes in the onboard restrooms and enjoyed some snacks as our hair air dried

(bring cash, they accepted American dollars and prices were listed as such.) After chatting to the family next to us while our kids swapped and shared chips we discovered we attend the same church but different services. It really is a small world, after all.

Chris spent the rest of the half hour sail back to shore exploring every nook and cranny of the boat. He sunned himself on the top deck, stared out at the wake and even hung out up front listening to the captain and pilot talking about different parts of island life, pointing out things we passed and the like.

Once on shore, Chris wanted to take pictures on the way back to the tender port…

He managed to get not a single shot of an iguana, which, in retrospect is pretty impressive as they are literally everywhere.

Wearing his stingray shirt waiting for our tender to depart.
He got more comments from the cast members about this than any other shirt. At breakfast, he’d had a few of the servers ask him if he could help them bus tables or fetch juice “since you’re one of us.” It tickled him.

Last edited by cruisecrasher; 07-09-2013 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #74
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November 20 All good pirates take naps...

Meanwhile, back on the ship…
Ben enjoyed some (brief) peace and quiet and used the time while everyone left on port adventures to take daytime empty ship photos.

The forced perspective in the lobby...looks really forced from this angle.

Pirates off the port bow! No really~

This next one is one of Ben's favorite shots...basically he has to try to take it every cruise now...

I like this one-

Tenders viewed from deck 4

Unfortunately after a very short time, Kylee decided to get out of the club early as there were less friends to play with since everyone left for the island. She enjoyed the pool by herself, though and time with daddy.

Anyways, back with me and Chris>

Pulling up to the Magic. Ahhhh, home again.

Dropped the bag off at the room and the phone survived! Thank you SealLine pouch I found at The Container Store.

The wonky filmy effect in the latter half of these pictures is from salt water drying on the outside of the pouch (remember, swimming to the sand bar?) rather than water leaking into the pouch. Ben used the same pouch during a Castaway Cay excursion in April of 2014 with equally good results.
Once we were all back together again, we ate a quick late lunch in Topsiders

and then headed to the room to try to nap (my kids don’t at home) so we would have plenty of pirate energy for the late night party. Because we’d ordered the vegan cookies for delivery at four the previous day, I figured that could work out as an alarm clock of sorts. Basically the kids took turns resting in the room with me and wandering the deck with Ben. All of us took a nap around 3:30, except Chris who basically objected on the grounds of being too old. I woke up around 4:15. No cookies.
I called down around 5:00 to find they hadn’t remembered to send the cookies, but could send them around six (during dinner). We laughed about the poor lost vegan cookies and asked if they could leave them in the room for us (answer-sure.)

We headed to Lumiere’s for the pirate party with our little buccaneers (who immediately insisted on pirate regalia for their next cruise). Okay, I’ll get right on that. Apparently t-shirts didn’t cut it when they were up against real pirates. Basically, the whole pirate/limbo thing kinda overwhelmed DD, and all the guests dressed as pirates as well.

Chris loved it, but stayed at the table instead of limbo-ing. He liked the bandana. I don't recall dinner but for dessert they surprised Kylee and I with this...

Which tasted wonderful. And they assured me several times over that it was whipped coconut cream...tasted great and my tummy didn't balk at it, so I'd buy that it was indeed vegan/nondairy.
We stopped by the room quickly on the way to the club, where our cookies had appeared! Wow. Not what I was expecting at all.

Basically graham crackers, the same whipped coconut cream and berries. Yummy, but I was unfortunately quite full. Kylee elected to stay in the club while Chris went to Wreck it Ralph with Ben and I after dinner. And may I say, Oh My Goodness. Paper Man is the best Disney short ever. So perfect.
When we picked Kylee up from the club, she was super excited to tell us she was a real pirate (apparently she loved So You Want to Be A Pirate?) She was very ready to go upstairs for the pirate party as she had napped hard earlier. Chris was starting to feel the lack of nap so we elected to hang out on deck 10 rather than venture into the fray on deck 9 starboard where we could easily see the show, but still leave when he crashed hard.

We caught the very tail end of the Challenge of Davy Jones and put that on our “next time” list. If you haven’t been to the party, you haven’t seen the dancing/mayhem/fun that this can be. Kylee danced her little heart out, peeking between the railings. Chris slowly melted into a little tired puddle on Ben’s shoulder. After the fireworks we headed back down to the stateroom and put the weary buccaneers to bed.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:45 PM   #75
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I am having a great time reading your review. We are going on the Wonder out of Galveston this Thanksgiving. I cannot wait to read the rest of your review. Your pictures are great, your stories are fun and the whole review is well written. Very enjoyable!
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