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Old 03-06-2013, 10:29 PM   #106
Luv2Diz
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I enjoyed your latest TR update. Can't wait to read your CC report. I want to go there soooo bad. Maybe later this year'
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:45 AM   #107
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Great TR!!! It's getting me through the wait until our cruise in 44 days!!
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:37 PM   #108
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Yay an update! Thanks, it was a great one.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:31 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Luv2Diz View Post
I enjoyed your latest TR update. Can't wait to read your CC report. I want to go there soooo bad. Maybe later this year'
It is such a nice place, really...CC report coming up!

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Great TR!!! It's getting me through the wait until our cruise in 44 days!!
You are almost to the point where you can say, "this time, next month, we will be doing...." One of my favorite points in the countdown!

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Yay an update! Thanks, it was a great one.
I'm trying to get this finished! That darn thing called life keeps getting in the way!
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:37 AM   #110
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We have been doing that every Saturday night at 5:00 for weeks!! Lol
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:48 AM   #111
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Castaway Cay Day Part 1

OK….I will finish this, I promise! Castaway Cay was our absolute favorite stop on our cruise in 2011….will this stop live up to our expectations??? We will have to see…

We started the morning with breakfast in Cabanas. It was still a bit annoying with the lines and such, but we got our food and had a good breakfast as we docked at CC.



We only waited around for about 10 minutes after breakfast and they released us to go on the island. It was a bit chilly on this morning, and we heard it would not warm up much, but we decided to brave it with our swimming clothes, figuring we could walk back to the ship if we got too cold. There really wasn’t a line getting off of the ship, which was nice. We walked just a bit and found the line for Captain Jack Sparrow. I insisted that Jayden wanted a picture with him (hehehe).


After that picture, we made our way to the tram stop. We were lucky in that one was pulling up right as we got there. Everyone is smiling and ready for a good day!


We got to the cabana check-in place and were right behind our cabana-mates. We all checked in and then they took us on the golf cart to our cabana.


There have been lots of photos and videos of the cabanas, but here are a few photos of the inside so you can see “what you get” with the cabana. By the way, the towels in the cabanas are AMAZING! Very soft!





The view from and of the cabana:




We immediately ran into Kemisha and she showed us around and made sure we knew that we could get bikes, snorkeling gear, etc. Jayden didn’t care about anything but getting in the water. The water was chilly, but warmed up throughout the day. Each trip, I have a "favorite" photo, and I think this one might be it:


This was my first photo of Jayden on the beach, so if I remember correctly, she ran ahead of us and was dancing. Either way, love it!

Jayden also had fun bringing water up for sand castles...I shot this one when she was on her way...


The weather really turned out great on this day….I mean, seriously, look at that blue sky!


We spent the entire morning swimming, playing in the sand, finding coral, sponges, and shells in the sand, and just having fun as a family. Jeremy and Jayden started a tradition on the last cruise of burying Jayden in the sand….and here we go again! I can’t believe she is a willing participant in this process!


After everyone was cleaned up, we went to get lunch at Cookies BBQ. The food is not spectacular, but it does the trick! We walked our food back to the cabana and ate there. After lunch, we were back to the beach. We played a few games with Jayden on the intertubes and floaties. I also wanted to provide two pictures to illustrate why we like getting a cabana so much. Now, this isn’t to say you can’t have fun without a cabana…not my message at all…we like our space and the cabanas at CC give us that space…
I took both of these pictures right in front of cabana #1, looking left and then looking right.

First, the family beach….lots of people!


Second, the cabana area beach…not lots of people!


It really is that simple for us! And, sharing the cabana with another family greatly reduced the cost (in fact, we spent more on our excursion in San Juan than we did on the cabana).

We hung out for a bit longer and decided we would head back to the ship so we could go to the Til We Meet Again show. We were fairly certain we would not go to the one at 10:30…or maybe it was 10:00 p.m., and we knew Jayden would want to see the princesses one last time. We were able to shop a bit before we headed back to the ship and we picked up a few t-shirts and a picture frame. So, did today live up to our expectations….. ABSOLUTELY!!! This is still my favorite island for all of the same reasons I mentioned in my pre-trip report…shallow water, great sand, private beach, and sunshine!


As you can see, Jeremy and Jayden are sad to be leaving, too.


We did have one final stop to make to see Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. Mr. Smee was so incredibly nice and was able to get Jayden to calm down quickly for this photo.


I think she may be close to being over her fear of characters….except Donald and Goofy, and “Mommy takes care of them.”

Up next….Til We Meet Again and Our Final Night on the Ship
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:00 AM   #112
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Cabanas

I've really been enjoying your trip report - thanks for sharing. Your daughter is adorable!

I'm glad you posted pics of the cabanas. I was wondering why they were so expensive, and now I know! I am going on my first DCL cruise on the Magic out of Galveston on April 26th, and I can't wait for our CC day!
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:20 AM   #113
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Absolutely love your TR. Your family is adorable. We also enjoyed our stay in a cabana last year It was our 5th cruise but our first time with a cabana. We did try to get one for our upcoming cruise but they were apparently instantly gone (we are concierge too). We are not at all upset that we didn't get one. We decided to run the 5K (ok walk) and then rent bikes, lunch, then back on the ship. We really aren't sit around on the beach people, especially now that the kids are grown up. So I just want to say that the cabanas are great, but they are hard to get and it's more than possible to have a fantastic time on CC if you can't get one!
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:03 PM   #114
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Oh Wow! I can't wait for Castaway Cay!! Thanks for the preview. Your favorite photo is amazing! Great shot, and in most of them it looks like you've got the place to yourselves.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:15 PM   #115
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Love the dancing pic!

And it really did turn out to be a great day - even if we elected not to try swimming - couldn't have removed Conor from the sand anyway, if we'd tried.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:44 PM   #116
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Castaway day looks amazing!

That picture of Jayden is soo sweet!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:25 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenMP59 View Post
We have been doing that every Saturday night at 5:00 for weeks!! Lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen87 View Post
I've really been enjoying your trip report - thanks for sharing. Your daughter is adorable!

Thanks!

I'm glad you posted pics of the cabanas. I was wondering why they were so expensive, and now I know! I am going on my first DCL cruise on the Magic out of Galveston on April 26th, and I can't wait for our CC day!
I read a lot of questions on the boards about "is it worth it" or "it is too expensive." I think everyone places a value on things, and for us, space/privacy is something that we LOVE! So, just trying to explain why the cabanas work for us. But, I know that we would have an amazing time at CC no matter what!

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Absolutely love your TR. Your family is adorable. We also enjoyed our stay in a cabana last year It was our 5th cruise but our first time with a cabana. We did try to get one for our upcoming cruise but they were apparently instantly gone (we are concierge too). We are not at all upset that we didn't get one. We decided to run the 5K (ok walk) and then rent bikes, lunch, then back on the ship. We really aren't sit around on the beach people, especially now that the kids are grown up. So I just want to say that the cabanas are great, but they are hard to get and it's more than possible to have a fantastic time on CC if you can't get one!
I agree

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Originally Posted by MomToPrincePhillip View Post
Oh Wow! I can't wait for Castaway Cay!! Thanks for the preview. Your favorite photo is amazing! Great shot, and in most of them it looks like you've got the place to yourselves.
We really did have most of the beach to ourselves. I'm not sure what all of the other cabana folk were doing.

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Love the dancing pic!

And it really did turn out to be a great day - even if we elected not to try swimming - couldn't have removed Conor from the sand anyway, if we'd tried.
Conor = Dude = Sandboy Did you show him the picture of Jayden submerged in sand up to her neck??? That is some serious sand! Also, if there was ever sand to be covered in, the sand at CC is pretty darn good.

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Castaway day looks amazing!

That picture of Jayden is soo sweet!
Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:58 PM   #118
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Castaway Cay Day Part 2

As soon as we made it back to the ship, we hustled to our room to get ready for the Til We Meet Again party. Our experience in the past was that not many people attended these, and it was a great opportunity to spend extra time with the characters. Those characters in attendance at the afternoon party were: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Cinderella, Snow White, and Tiana.



Jayden instantly went for the princesses, and we made sure she knew that she was telling them goodbye until our next trip (parent lesson #3 [only behind feed them and let them sleep]: set expectations! There were hugs all around until we got to Tiana...and then things got really bad! First, they said there was only one more minute to take photos with the characters...we were second in line at this point. The family in front of us goes, and the family behind us decided that they didn't care what they had to do, their daughter was getting in the photo, too (with a family they didn't know). This caused confusion and took more than a minute. We warned Jayden that she may just have to wave goodbye to Tiana. I asked Tiana's handler if Jayden could still get a photo, and she said of course. As Jayden was walking to Tiana, Donald was heading back to his spot for the final farewell and totally tripped over Jayden. I saw this tangle of duck feet and a Cinderella dress. Jayden was terrified and went into flight mode. It took a bit to get her calmed down, but Tiana was patient and waited. Donald also realized that he was scaring the crap out of her and went on his way. I think we can safely say that Jayden will not get in a photo with Donald in the forseeable future. In fact, in my mind, I fast-forward 20 years to her being in WDW saying, "yeah, not sure why, but I have never liked Donald."





After the party, we went to dinner at Animator's Palette. This was the night where we drew our own characters and they did the show. It was a lot of fun, but we felt kind of rushed through dinner. Here is a lovely photo of our assistant server, Ninja and our server, O'Neil and some photos we took while waiting to go to dinner. Both Ninja and O'Neil were delightful and they set the perfect pace for us for dinner all week.





After dinner, we went to the final show. It brought a couple tears to my eyes as I reflected on the great memories we made over the last week. From the show, we had to go say our goodbyes to Julia, Kemisha, and Alice...boy, I knew I would be missing them!




From there, we planned on going to bed, but that didn't happen. I finished up packing while Jeremy gave Jayden a bath. After bath, it was nearly time for the final Til We Meet Again party. So, since we had kept our 4 year old up way too late all week, we decided, 'What the hell? What's one more night?'

So, off to the party we go. While we were waiting, I met a lovely CM from Michigan (she was the emcee for the baby races). I talked to her about her job and then asked which princesses would be coming out. She said they had a last minute change and Cinderella wasn't going to be there, but Aurora would be in her place -- she also told me where each princess would be standing. I knew this would be perfect for Jayden, but I kept my lips closed. The princesses that came out were Belle, Ariel, and Aurora. Jayden made a beeline for Aurora. When Aurora saw her, she ran to her, said, "hi, Jayden! How are you?" and then danced with her. So then, we began the cycle. We saw Belle and then Ariel, but we noticed that no one was in line for Aurora. I think in total, at the party, Jayden saw Aurora five times.





I just realized that Aurora was holding Jayden in this photo.


The last time, I overheard Aurora say to her handler, "she says she doesn't want to go home because she will miss me" as she wiped a tear from her face. Disney Magic, folks...that feeling will keep me coming back time and again! Aurora also kissed Jayden on the cheek...I was fairly certain that Jayden would never let me wash her face. As we walked back to our room, she was in shock and just kept saying over and over, "she kissed me...can you believe she kissed me?"



Also interesting, the handler from Michigan came up to us as the party was ending, and asked what our room number was. I'm not sure why; I thought we might get a magical moments certificate, but we never did.

I would say we all went to bed that last night with happy Disney thoughts in our heads and with some closure to this wonderful vacation.

Up next...our final travel day and final thoughts.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:06 PM   #119
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I agree-the picture of Jayden with the Fantasy in the background in the back is the best. I am glad you wrote about the Cabanas. I would need Cabana #1 as it is hca. I like that you have a private beach! Loving the tr. Do you have pics of Jayden and Conor together? I am following both TR!
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:34 PM   #120
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Disembarkation and Final Thoughts

Staying up really late and getting up really early do not go together well!



Jayden was a bit crabby after the late night and the pre-sunrise wake-up. Oh well! We went to breakfast so we could say our goodbyes to O'Neil and Ninja, and because we knew we had a fairly early pickup. Once we left breakfast, we headed right off of the ship. Finding our bags took no time at all, and we had a lovely porter help us get our luggage through the security line and to the curb. The security line felt long...we probably waited 15 minutes or so, but with a crabby 4 year old, it felt like an hour. We called Tiffany Towncar when we made it to the sidewalk and they were there in about 5 minutes. Our driver had a coloring book and crayons for Jayden waiting in the back seat...I thought that was a very nice touch!

We made it back to the airport too early to check-in for our flight, so we sat outside of security for about an hour and called family to let them know we were back on land and heading home. The check-in and security process was not too bad given how insanely busy MCO is. Once we checked in, we had plenty of time to get lunch and then wander around the shops for final souvenirs. Our flight was on time...but...we sat and sat and sat. After 30 minutes of sitting on the tarmac, they told us that that pesky second engine wouldn't start. So, we sat some more and some more...in all, I think we sat on the tarmac close to 2 hours. Under normal conditions, this would have been horrible, but since we exhausted our child to no end, she slept from the time she sat down in her seat until we landed in St. Louis...4 hours in total. Once we were back in St. Louis, we took the shuttle to our car and headed home. We were so excited to get home to see our furry family, until I got the phone call. It seems that my in-laws thought that a perfect time to go to someone's house and wait for them to get back is when they come back from a 9 day vacation. Jeremy knew that I was less than happy at that point, but it got worse! We get home, and our living room rug (large rug) is missing. It seems that our dog/house sitter didn't quite know how to clean up dog poo, so he put our large living room rug outside on our deck in the rain/snow/etc. We couldn't even pick it up it was so heavy! Really???

So, at this point, the in-laws say they came down to "clean up" because we had 7...7!!!! people stay at our house while we were gone. My natural next question (without the expletives) was WHY? Again, it seems the dog/house sitter got a bit busy and asked others to come and take care of everything. So, not only do I just want to unpack, visit with my furry family, and chill, but now I have to entertain in-laws and wash my sheets stat! A little less than ideal homecoming, but at least all of the furry family was still alive. Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. For what its worth, we still have not been able to move the one-ton rug. I'm hopeful that when we finally get some consistent sunshine, it will dry out and we will be able to lift it.

Once the in-laws left, I immediately pulled everything out of the suitcases and started laundry. We all crashed that night from exhaustion. I was very happy that I had taken the Monday after vacation off so I could finish laundry and get everything put away.

OK, final (and random) thoughts...
  • We loved the Fantasy. We can only compare it to the Magic, but the new features are SO nice, and the concierge experience, in my opinion, is far superior to that on the Magic. Having the lounge seemed silly to me before we went and I didn't think we would use it, but it really was a nice home-base for us.
  • We didn't do the AquaDuck. Jayden was about a 1/3" too short, and we decided that we all wanted to ride it together for our first time. Will be adding that to the to do list for next cruise. Since we went swimming every evening, we could have easily went on it several times with no line.
  • We also didn't do the Mid-Ship Detective game or putt-putt golf. I wanted to, really, but we chose to do other things when we had time. Again, maybe next time.
  • We have been terrified to try non-Disney excursions on the islands, but I think we are more comfortable now and may choose to go non-Disney in the future.
  • I really liked having a Disney-themed dinner the night before the cruise. I think we made the right (but not cheap) choice, here. I am certain that we would have been bored if we would have stayed at the Renaissance at the airport.
  • I am hopeful that our next cruise will be "slower." I am a bit torn on this one because I don't know what we would have skipped. Jayden's 'wants' on this cruise were very different than our last cruise, so it required a faster/scheduled pace to do the things she wanted to do.
  • I don't think we will do Palo on our next cruise. It was nice, and I may very well change my mind, but we felt like we missed out on family time.
  • I still didn't get to read a book on vacation. I am doomed and will never be able to sit down and read while on vacation.
  • Finally, before our next vacation of any kind, we will be teaching our dog/house sitter how to clean up messes and will only make payment if he/she is actually at our house. See, I can laugh about this now.
That's all folks...thanks for reading along! I will keep an eye on this and respond to questions if anyone has any.
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