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Old 07-11-2013, 05:33 AM   #76
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We are (most likely) going out on the Wonder as well this coming Thanksgiving... :0)

Really enjoying following this TR!
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:47 PM   #77
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Nice to see you posting again.
If I go to GC ever again I do want to go our by the sting rays.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:08 PM   #78
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In digging through my old junk email file I FOUND MY NOTES!!!

So happy, reconstructing from pictures is hard!
Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's off to work I go...
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #79
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Is it Fall Back and Spring Forward or the other way around?

I managed to slip out and take a run before anyone else woke up&and take some pictures of different parts of the ship that were being cleaned for all of the people who dont wake up at 5AM.

Deck 4 near the DVC desk

Inside the Oceaneers Club

The Buena Vista Theatre. My DH insists that the space between the rows is far too narrow as his knees are inevitably squished into the back of someone elses seatback.

Almost back to our room.

Dawn on deck is my favorite part of the cruise!

And it looks like theyd worked on the gingerbread house a little during our Grand Cayman day.
Around 6:30 I got back for my nice quiet shower. Since wed left Grand Cayman and stayed up super late for pirate night, it should be easy for the children to all sleep in late and fall back to the CST, right?

I guess Kylee takes after me and her daddy. Since Ben still seemed to be somewhat asleep, I headed out with Kylee.
Who decided she was hungry so off to Goofys Galley we headed (thankfully, it was open at 6:30am.)

Kylee slowly nibbled her grapes and perused the Personal Navigator.

Honestly, if she were ten years older, shed be wanting coffee, a newspaper and a brunch. Shes chill in a very oddly literary kind of way.

And takes AGES to eat. So I started taking photos of the signal flags around the tables&anyone know what they spell out?

D C L, now you know! And knowing is half the battle.

Kylee wanted to peek into Quarter Masters for a bit

then we rode the elevator downstairs to see if anyone wanted to seek hot foods in Topsiders.

Chris still was sleeping in, setting a personal record of 8AM. (Wow! Way to go little man. Must be a recessive gene somewhere.) So I hung out and took pictures of the room while Ben and Kylee headed up to breakfast (second breakfast in Kylees case.)

All ashore times for Costa Maya were 12:45-5:30. Which seems like a very short time in port, but what do I know?

After a lot of stretching, Chris happily wanted to (stop being photographed) go eat breakfast.
After a little time to play ping pong, they remembered the club existed and wanted to run off.

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Old 07-22-2013, 09:51 AM   #80
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Innie Belly Buttons and Other Oddities

On a whim, Ben and I headed off to Palo to head to meet up with the “Art of the Theme Show Tour.”

It proved to be entertaining, fascinating (I love all the little details they pointed out at the time) and funny at points. I didn’t take any pictures at the time…but here’s my (not so) brief summary for those of you who missed it and want to know what details are covered.
Walt Disney originally started the first art of the theme tours in Disneyland to show how the imagineers thought about all the details during designing. Palo means pole in italian. Note the Venetian murano blown glass atop the poles and the handcrafted masks around the walls from Venice. Why is the signature restaurant on the Disney cruise ship Italian?

The imagineers want to give tribute to the birthplace of the Magic, the Fincantieri shipyards. The big mask behind the reservations deck was received as a gift on the Magic’s completion from a Venetian artisan pictured beneath the mask. If you eat in Palo, and sign the guest book, be aware that all of the previous guest books stay onboard even in dry dock. We left Palo to count the carpeting as we walked down the stairs to deck 5 (elevators available).

Palo Carpet!
There are many different carpets around the ship to act as a memory tool for where on the ship you are and help you feel intuitively less lost as you learn your way around the ship. We discussed the over 20,000 pieces of signage, most of which exist for naval safety.

Side note...I love this warning sign in the stair makes me happy for some reason.

(The closest Disney park, Animal Kingdom has only 12,000 in comparison). Due to unpredictability at sea and Disney’s current inability to control the weather, safety is a priority over visuals. The entire Magic (and Dream for that matter) exemplify the Art Deco art style. At the Buena Vista theatre the CM explained the interest in portraying the elegance of classic ocean liners of the twenties and thirties. But high tech. Because air conditioning and elevators and 3D movies all rock. If you’ve never noticed before, you will now. The ceilings on the fifth deck are very short. I’m 5’3” and can touch the ceiling with my feet still on the floor. Flounders nursery used to be a galley for the club and lab, but with 80-120 babies per sailing a nursery went in and the galley went out. The Wonder's kids galley was replaced during its maiden TA rather than turn back to Italy and delay it’s schedule. If you do have kids in the nursery, there is one way glass so you can check on your kids without them seeing you. And the sign for the nursery has a hidden mickey in the bubbles over Flounder’s head. We took a look at the chandelier which is made to look like Venetian murano glass, it is however, both acrylic and suspended to prevent breakage by Dale Chihuly. During rough seas you can see it sway…technically you and the rest of the ship are swaying and it’s staying still. A whole host of informational artwork hangs on the hall forward from the lab…

the last containing a hidden Donald and Goofy.

See the tiny Dopey?

The Walt photo in preludes made of baked (Italian again) tiles that were baked different amounts of time to create the patina effect.
The different shops in this area are to create distinct experiences. Kitschy kiddy fun vs. sophisticated adult glamour

(More signal flags around treasure ketch top say Disney while the bottom flanking flags say DCL.) There are two hidden mickeys in this area…that I know of.

When you arrive at the elevator well and turn around the hall suddenly looks far longer than it actually is in reality as they utilize forced perspective to create the effect of a grand entrance.
The tour headed out onto deck. Disney fought for mickey yellow (which is actually more visible in tests than yellow and red official colors) for the life boats. The black bottom of the ship is actually a dark navy, to reduce cooling costs and let it "breathe" The Magic's innie belly button (seam) is real. The outie on the Wonder is faux as it was built in one piece and the added a seam so they would match.
All the exterior paints are a little "chunky" due to glass beads that prevent sea water corrosion. On the way down to the third deck, Ben asked if there was a similar back and forth to get fireworks onboard as there was to get the yellow lifeboats. Our CM responded that technically, DCL is a Navy, since fireworks explosives. The smallest in the world, but technically, yep. They had to file paperwork to that effect. I don’t know what kind of paperwork, but thought that was interesting. In the history of cruising, the well-healed used to swap staterooms halfway through their cruise before it headed back to homeport so that you could maintain a sunset view for the entire sailing…they were known as Port Out Starboard Home, or POSH. Lumiere's as central grand dining hall such as the posh used to dine in after dancing in the ballroom. All others ate in the aft. Forced perspective is again used in the main lobby entry. The columns are cut in slightly more on each level in addition to each floor being shorter to create illusion of spacious height.

Mickey at the Helm (based on the helmsman) goes with the Masculine Art Deco versus feminine art nouveau. Each ship’s mascot coordinates with theme along these lines. Mickey is the master of the ship and is treated and addressed as such.

And if you stand directly in the center of the compass rose on the floor in the lobby facing Helmsman Mickey and look straight up at the Chihuly, you’ll see the last of the hidden mickeys of the tour…
Any pictures in the ship tour description above were taken over the next several days, after I realized I’d been so caught up in the descriptions that I’d entirely forgotten the whole taking pictures thing.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:22 AM   #81
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You remembered a lot. you must've taken great notes.
We learned all that too, but i didn't remember half of it till you wrote it down. LOL
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:44 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
You remembered a lot. you must've taken great notes.
We learned all that too, but i didn't remember half of it till you wrote it down. LOL
As I said, I found my notes!
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:13 PM   #83
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It's like EPCoT Mexico~so clean and themed...

We climbed the stairs up to the future cruise desk and reshopped our April cruise. All the while, I was at the desk hoping the cast member wouldn't mention the Christmas present I had booked to surprise Ben that was coming up in February, thankfully he didn't, but I was really sweating it for a bit. On looking at our reservation, re-shopping saved us $800, not counting the $200 OBC. Their current promotion saved 20% off for the spring Galveston sailings. I'll take that for sitting waiting for ten minutes. Pretty awesome!
I'll get on those cruises trip reports one of these days!
I promise!
But the way this one has been going, I'll probably finish those ones sometime by 2020...sound good to y'all?
I collected Kylee from the Oceaneer's Club to go head out to the promenade lounge and do a little door hanger craft. She loved it, but they did not turn out adorable. We still weren't hungry, so we headed back upstairs to the room.

View of Costa Maya from our "slightly obstructed" SPH room.
Kylee happily collected Ben and Chris to see if they wanted to hit the Disney Trivia back in the lounge with us. They did!

We headed downstairs and peeked out of the windows waiting for the trivia to start.
FYI, if you ever do these trivia things and the trivia asks where all of the Disney parks are located, they want Orlando, Florida, not Lake Buena Vista, so think more general answers...
Just for giggles, does anyone else but me know what type of pie Snow White prepared for the Dwarves? Without googling? We learned on the first two questions not to discuss them out loud as Chris and Kylee are quite nearly incapable of whispering. My creative DH started feeding them bad answers knowing they'd whisper them again VERY loudly. Anyway we won!

The kids loved running around with the little winners medals at Topsiders.
After a lovely little lunch, we gathered our party before venturing forth.

Heading down the super long dock, the kids loved seeing the ship up close from the outside. They liked hanging out on the dock.

They did not like that the sun was trying to melt them from the outside in. The navigator listed the high as 90...but it felt super hot since there is no shade.

After walking out to the end of the little touristy area, which seemed Disney clean, and shall henceforth be dubbed "Epcot Mexico" and watching some dancers in the little square, Kylee melted into a little "please carry me" puddle of three year old. So back through Epcot Mexico we walked. As we piggybacked Kylee along, we happened upon a little "take a picture with a lion cub drinking feed the wild animal a bottle" kiosk. The whole thing just felt screamingly sad. Where was the little lion's mom? Why was it being handed about like a stuffed animals to pose for photos with tourists? So sad.
Anyway, after reboarding and thanking God repeatedly that we were born in an age and country where air conditioning is the norm,

the kids perked up and remembered they hadn't visited the Lab in AGES. Like nearly four hours!
Checked them in and headed off to enjoy a little afternoon time in the a/c...maybe with a soy hot chocolate no whip?

Ben opted for the nibble of everything method of snack selection.
We wandered a bit and took some semi empty ship photos...

Ben and I goofed around saying, hey it's our second cruise, could we get you in the shot twice? Yep. Look at that last photo again.

So while they were in the lab they had time to do "Lava Flow" and it looked like so much fun! I checked on Kylee (Chris had opted for another round of Mario Kart.) I took one photo from outside the check in area before a cast member told us only during open house hours do they allow photography, oh, okay, live and learn!
It was our "show" night in Animator's Palate, so the kids were in it for the long haul and Kylee's late night caught up with her early in the meal and only making goofy faces at the camera amused her for any length of time.

On the positive side we got some lovely tabouleh and hummus for dinner. Yummy stuff!

Our last cruise, we managed to somehow miss the big surprise Mickey finish at the end of the AP show...Ben and I were taken totally by surprise.

After dinner, we headed back to the room and Chris crashed for the night, swapping to pjs to watch classic Disney cartoons and later the recorded version of the stage show. Kylee and I changed into comfy clothing (like jeans, not pajamas) and headed out to see my second least favorite of the Walt Disney Theatre offerings after Toy Story for "Villains Tonight!"

Kylee disliked the dark in the theatre even before the show started but our front row seats were pretty awesome. That's her "Yay we're in the front row and I've had a ton of sugar, thank you FE friends!" face. I warned Kylee that all the bad guys from the movies starred in this evenings show but that the dancing really was pretty cool if she made it through. "But it'll be scary, mom!" Once it started, my little ballerina adored all of the dancing with the exception of the scary hyenas dancing in the aisles right by her during "Be Prepared" and her sour straws candy...she loved them when they were dancing on stage, but right by her feet overwhelmed her. After the ending, carrying Kylee back to 5020, she replayed the dances blow by blow style, happy to hear that the next show would be "more princess-y."
Chris snored away blissfully in his bunk while we snuck back in after the show and Ben welcomed us back. I looked through the next days navigators while waiting for Kylee to pass out and then went to sleep.

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Old 07-23-2013, 03:44 PM   #84
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Cozumel Looks Very Nice From Onboard, But I'm Staying Here

So after another nice (early) morning run,

in which the weather seemed to finally cooperate and be cool but I ran cute little half loops back and forth as the forward section of the ship was blocked off for mooring operations&

I stretched on deck four and watched the various people running around preparing the ship for our arrival in Cozumel.

It really is dizzying to look all the way down off the side of the ship at the dock. I dont know how the captain parks.
Anyway, I walked back through the ship to good old 5020 and Ben headed out for his run.

I took both the kids up to the (entirely abandoned) Mickey Pool. Honestly, if you stay on board when the ship is in port, you can really make the most of things. So they splashed and fell in the pool and ran around.

The Mickey slide stayed closed until noon, so once Ben joined us, all showered and hungry for breakfast, we headed to Topsiders for a leisurely breakfast overlooking the various ships coming into port at Cozumel for Thanksgiving. The kids headed into the lab intending to figure out what exactly Gaga ball is&but neither ended up playing it. Go figure. They enjoyed their time with the counselors, anyway. Ben and I headed up to the Quiet Cove and took a dip in the hot tub then just layed out for a while. I got to finish up on the latest Derrick Storm novel on my kindle. We changed into dry clothes as the clouds rolled across the island.

For anyone wondering exactly how obstructed the view is from the secret porthole room, you can judge for yourself.

The breeze on deck kicked up so we popped into the Cove Café for some nice warm coffees, more reading and a perusal of the Navigator.

By the way, Frappuccinos may not be listed on the menu but Ben had one almost everyday on our cruise.

Ben wanted to try to catch a football game (since it is Thanksgiving and all) so we headed towards Diversions to see what was on the big screen. Kylee wanted to try some time with us (as port days are apparently not the most entertaining when all the other kids are in port.)

So after a quick stop in the (really quite beautiful) restrooms on Beat Street, I took her to watch some sports with us. So we three enjoyed some football time.

After the end of the half, Ben and Kylee and I headed back to Topsiders for some lunch. We collected Chris and tried out Cruisin for Trivia, which, unfortunately, wasnt trivia about cruising or Disney cruising, but rather general somewhat random trivia. We didnt win, not surprisingly.

We enjoyed some more time watching Chris try to teach Kylee how to play shuffleboard and we all rested for a little while.

Kylee headed back to the club, where she adored the Storytime with Belle activity and Chris enjoyed the computer games. After watching more football or in my case, eating chips and reading, we headed out for a predinner walk. Ben and I passed by the pool deck Thanksgiving buffet on one of our laps around the ship and realized it was probably time to fetch and dress the kids for dinner.

Kylee apparently made her peace with Mickey and wanted to stand in line to say hi to him in his Thanksgiving costume.

Chris didnt and frankly after the first couple of days of vacation, I think it is just easier to let it go on things like pictures, too much television and eating your vegetables. Its not only their vacation too, but I tend to enjoy myself more if I can just let things be for a week now and then rather than arguing over the little things.

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Old 07-23-2013, 03:53 PM   #85
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tabouleh, turkey and Tinkerbell

Heading to the aft and Parrot Cay, our table already had the cornbread service and butter out, along with some nondairy rolls for the vegans.
Kylee and I had preordered stir fried veggies and the servers brought us more couscous, since wed mentioned it off hand the other day. They also brought us the Gingered Soba Noodles, just to try it. I don't think anyone on a cruise is in danger of starving.

I think the noodles were pretty good, the couscous was quite yummy but the stir fried veggies had this coated greasy texture that was hard to get around.

Chris and Ben enjoyed their standard Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly, cornbread and honey butter. I ran to drop Kylee for a short time in the club and headed back in time to eat some dessert. This showed up&

And despite all appearances, tasted basically like a spongy chocolate marshmallow coated in Hersheys syrup. Odd to say the least and not what I expected when I bit into it, but not bad either. Ben and Chris mixed and matched desserts with the pumpkin cheesecake (which had a seriously odd texure and neither Ben nor Chris wanted to finish the piece they split) and the Massachusetts Chocolate Melting Pot, which must have been good because it disappeared super quickly.
Despite making it almost all the way through his first cruise without making it to the live theatre, Ben and I insisted that all of us try Disney Dreams: An Enchanted Classic. What can I say, it makes me cry every single time. Kylee and Chris LOVED it.
Although since the cruise she occasionally stands on the end of the couch and yells "Faith. Trust. PIXIE DUST." at the top of her lungs and leaping off, expecting any moment to take flight.
So far she's not broken either her legs or the arm of the sofa. I'm still so amused by her doing this that as long as she doesn't get hurt, I almost don't care.

But don't tell Ben that.

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:26 AM   #87
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Because Kylee and Chris Love Swimming Irrationally Much

So I woke up extra early this morning to take some pictures around the ship.

I love the Magic and took as many pictures as possible just so I could feel like I took a piece of her home with me.

I got a quick picture on the way out of our stateroom of the lovely FE that Jen of Stitches N Bows put together for us. (Thanks! Its exactly what Id wanted!)

And an extra photo to show our pretty little Thanksgiving foliage inspired magnets, courtesy of me and all that free time I allegedly had since Chris was in Kindergarten.

Then I headed up to deck ten for some nighttime stack pictures as I procrastinated starting running.

And of course a Mickey Pool picture or two&

And I also took some pictures of the lovely Chihuly chandelier from my home deck.

The seating around the fifth floor atrium where Ben and I hung out and I met Marisol got some pictures as well.

I absolutely love these little detailed insets around the trim of the floor, the inclusion of the old rarer Disney characters just makes this for me.

And I took one last photo of the chandelier from the fourth deck landing before I headed out to run.

I really think that anyone could be a runner and learn to love it if they could run on a beautiful ship in the middle of the ocean during early morning and stretch at sunrise.
After a nice cool run, I headed back to swap with the DH. Ben headed out to circle the decks. I showered (quietly). Then both kids woke up and dressed for the day before breakfast arrived. Yep, we did the room service thing.
If its included, why not?
Ben pretty much tied the room service person to our room, so he hopped in the shower as we started slowly picking away at our meals. Soy milk and cereal and fruit plates while the kids enjoyed the whole Saturday Morning Cartoons vibe of the meal. They dont watch much television at home (as I speak weve been home for most of the summer, and more often than not we go days without watching tv, movies, or video games) but on vacation I pick to let these things slide

Chris as he enjoys the virtues of Building a Building and Clock Cleaners looks very optimistic...perhaps I should take more photos of him zoning out in front of the tube?

Kylee eyes her brothers breakfast while slurping her soy milk through a straw

Kylee finishes her own breakfast and then insists, after finishing my additional fruit bowl, that she is still starving and must go fetch further sustenance. Thankfully Ben emerged dressed and decided we could go hit up Goofys Galley while he and Chris finished up their breakfasts. They could meet up at the pool after everyones appetite abated.

Kylee brought her little jacket as with the wind on the upper decks, it seemed quite a bit colder than it had while running on deck four.

She nibbled away on her apple and then insisted she still wanted to go swimming.
So she did.
And splashed and splashed and splashed.

She went around to the kiddy splash area.

I spy Chris lurking in the Mickey Ear

After a bit Chris joined Kylee in the pool and Ben joined me in huddling in sweatshirts next to the pool.
I grabbed a mint tea from the drink station (we were the only ones crazy enough to be in the pool area when it was this cold and early.)

See. No one in sight. In day light. On a sea day. Weird, huh?

Kylee turned bluish, Chris voted to go to the Oceaneer Lab instead of further turning into a popsicle. I dried Kylee off and popped her back in her nice dry warm clothes and jacket while Ben helped Chris, then we dropped them off at the Oceaneer Club.
Ben and I decided to find out whether Innovations: Theme Parks & Resorts interested us. I thought it could have been so much more interesting than it ended up being. It involved a countdown of the top ten evolutionary ideas that the Walt Disney theme parks and resorts have developed during their history. Which is potentially wonderful material to hear about.
It basically boiled down to a slide show and read along scripted narrative. I dont know what I expected, but this wasnt it.
Ben seemed to quite like it, but it just didnt live up to the stellar "behind the scenes tidbits" feel that the Art of the Theme Tour established from my point of view.
Maybe my expectations were too high.
But we couldn't stop, we must keep moving forward.
After a lap around the walking track on four (yes, we cannot get enough of it, even after running on it for an hour each) Ben and I headed over to Studio Sea to catch the Art of Entertaining-Battle of the Chefs hoping it would be like the food network competition reality shows.

Well, the setup promised a lot as there were rows upon rows of ingredients out and a very large cooking area in the stage with double setups of everything. Learning from the Tea With Alice, we selected a table close to the front and I got ready (without Bens knowledge) to volunteer him if they needed people for anything.

As luck and this cheerful CM would have it&they did need a volunteer, actually five volunteers.
They took two of the chefs away from their galley duties to come and have a showdown of sorts. Each had thirty minutes to prepare an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

They both started with (not Ben, but other) volunteers as their sous chefs and after brief introductions the host revealed that this challenge would include a special and somewhat rare secret ingredient.
Would it be snapper? Pepsi products? Inquiring minds guessed all manners of things.
But each chef got presented with their ingredient and pulled the dome off to reveal&absolutely nothing. The CM explained that on previous cruises, when he put the ingredient out ahead of time it was so highly prized among the crew that it wouldnt make it out of the galley. And from behind his back he produced an enormous bag of Milk Chocolate M&Ms.
Thats right; the secret ingredient was M&Ms. Ben started looking confused. As a member of the judging panel, he stood fairly good odds of being served sirloin with a side of M&Ms&yep, I volunteered him to judge a cooking show.

Middle of the Panel...just before they revealed the secret ingredient.

Ben LOVES watching Iron Chef, especially if its one of his favorite chefs and hes currently catching up on episodes of MasterChef, but I digress. So as I amusedly sit there contemplating what exactly Ben will possible be eating, Ben stands, walks over and hands me the wave phone.

Now wave phones are the bane of my existence on the ship. The ones in our staterooms oddly would default to speaker mode when answered and, and, and its just not my normal phone. KWIM?

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:47 AM   #88
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Having a Food Moment

I excused my self to the hall to wrestle with technology and just generally start walking in the direction of the Club/Lab (since they were probably the ones trying to get ahold of me). It ended up Kylee almost had an accident. She made it just barely in time but got a little (insert body fluid euphemism here) on the lower part of one legging (still not exactly sure how thats possible, but Kylees talented.) So the counselors had procured spare shorts for her to wear back to get changed in her room and then come back to the club. (Yay!) So I took her to get changed out of her top and skirt and leggings (no jacket! Pretty sure this is when and where it was lost forever) and into a different top and leggings. I made it back to the Studio in time to see Ernestos M&M cream sauce risotto with beef medallions crush Sergeis sweet potato mash, cheese shell, turkey creation (which had very high marks for presentation, but did not utilitze the M&Ms in as many components of the dish.)

M&M Cream Sauce Risotto w/ Beef Medallions cooked in a M&M glaze.

Ben said they were odd, but actually quite yummy.

Voyage 844? Neat to know.

After receiving a magical moments certificate from the CM, we collected both kids for a family Topsiders meal. Upon retrieving the children, we all got caught up in the excitement of watching the drama and art that is Jack-Jack's Diaper Dash. The sport of baby racing is hilarious and family friendly and adorable. It almost made up for the fact that we missed puppy bowl the previous year. Chris and Kylee thought it was awesome. Chris wants to have a child when he grows up entirely to train it for this race. Which is also hilarious and perhaps bit wrong. Anyway.
After receiving our sanitation wipes from Hygiene Girl at the entrance to Topsiders, I carried a separate tray all the way through the line for DD to declare the only thing she wanted was plain white bread. And water. Since Kylee felt super picky, she started subsisting almost entirely on peanut butter tubs eaten with a spoon and pieces of bread. Needless to say, five minutes after we had left Topsiders, she decided she was STARVING. So we stopped by Pluto's to see what they had that was Vegan, or at the very least, dairy free. They managed to rustle her up a veggie burger and bun with a side of fries.

All allegedly vegan!
No one got sick, so theyre probably at least dairy free. Kylee took two bites of her veggie burger, considerably larger amounts of her fries and declared herself happy again.
On wandering back across the ninth deck, we bumped into the Fun in the Sun deck party. Which was listed as a party at the Goofys pool stage with the guest DJ, Premonition, but it was so much more than just a DJ. Although not listed as a Character appearance and being quite sparsely attended, the hour long dance party involved rotating members of the fab five and their handlers dancing with the kids.

Basically Chris danced with Pluto for half an hour until he got bored. Kylee still hadnt forgiven Goofy for sneaking up on her at the character breakfast so kept one eye out for him while dancing her heart out with Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Pluto.

Yep, just jamming away with the big cheese.

It was CRAZY. I have never seen such long small group character interaction. It was immensely fun to be able to thank the character handler who was out with Mickey, because he definitely is friends with Peter Pan from the Dreams show Thursday night. He told us hed be sure Anne-Marie and Peter heard how much we enjoyed the show.
The kids wore themselves out dancing with their new best buddies and retreated to the clubs for some chill out time while I tried to repack our bags. Ben wisely offered to help or stay out of the way. I told him he could helpfully take a nap. He obliged and I packed while watching the DIY network Project Xtreme Featuring the Disney Magics 2008 dry dock renovations. I actually managed to somehow squish everything back into the suitcases which seemed quite impossible. Perhaps theyre bigger on the inside?
Ben and I went for a nice relaxing walk around the ship then headed over to the Walt Disney Theatre in time to watch FriendSHIP Rocks!

Cute Shirt the Kids Wore During the FriendSHIP Rocks! Show

Basically it involved a cute little dance party, Mickey, Minnie and all of our kids and their counselors dancing on stage and then watching a slideshow of all the cute things the kids got to do in the labs and clubs during the past week.

The kids would be eating their meals in the clubs this evening (again, Kylee ordered specially through our waiter, this time it went off without a hitch.)
We, on the other hand, were heading back to see what Silvio Jr. cooked up for us this time.

Heading off to Palo

Im sorry for the dim lighting in the Palo photos, it is a lovely low lighting romantic dining experience, but it does not make for the best iPhone photos.

We each started with the Antipasti, prosciutto and parmesan reggiano for Ben, marinated olives and sun dried tomatoes and some kind of olive tempenade for me.

On arrival, our server let the chef, Silvio Jr., know we were there and he came out to talk to me about my vegan dining. On talking to Silvio, I told him I trusted him and I didnt have any particular dislikes and would enjoy whatever he wanted to send for me.
He smiled, said that made him happy to be able to pick what to send and send he did.
Be forewarned if you go vegan at Palo and give Silvio Jr. free reign, youll be getting six or more courses. And dessert.

A separate set of bread came out for me, cheese free. Super fresh and warm.
The first dish out, bruschetta was simple and yummy. I hadnt figured out not to eat everything on my plate until three plates into this dinner, so there is that to keep in mind.

For a pizza course, I received a spinach, tomato, asparagus creation that, again, like the berry pizza from brunch, had an exquisite balance to it, a little bitter, a little sweet, a little salty, a little savory and all yummy.

First palate cleanser a yummy little lemon ice.

With a blueberry! Yummy. Cold. Light. All good.

Pasta course and Im starting to feel full.

Penne pasta with asparagus, basil, and Im guessing a coconut cream based sauce? So good. So almost finished it even though I felt pretty stuffed.

Second palate cleanser or first dessert?

Either way, the Strawberry Basil Sorbet topped with fresh strawberries and blackberries. One of my top two foods all cruise. Ben asked if he could have a taste and he loved it too. Super light and refreshing.

First dessert or second dessert?

Poached pears. I dont know if I just was too full to enjoy this heavy of a dessert at this point or if it really was just too sweet for me. Either way, Ben liked it.

But not nearly as much as his chocolate soufflé, which quickly disappeared.

We thanked everyone profusely and headed toward the kids.

Over their protests, we managed to retrieve both Chris and Kylee from the clubs. The kids pillowcases reappeared as part of our turn down service.

After shooing the luggage into the hallway for collection everyone fell asleep by 9&

Yes, we missed the Remember the Magic show, not to mention the Til We Meet Again show. But given how much of a food coma came on, Im not sure wed have stayed up even if wed made it into the theatre.

Last edited by cruisecrasher; 07-31-2013 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:13 PM   #89
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Why Did They Have To Play The Goodbye Song?

Saturday Ben beat me to the run and I enjoyed a bit of a lie in with the kids.

I’m guessing Ben had to hold the iPhone over his head to capture this angle from his deck four run as we were pulling between Galveston and the mainland of Texas at dark o’clock thirty. He’s tall, but the angle on this makes it look like he’s at least seven feet tall. He isn’t.
While on his run, Ben dropped off our feedback forms, making especially certain to mention how helpful Luis had been with Kylee’s special meals getting sent to the club as well as Beth, a counselor who Kylee adored throughout our cruise. As we stuffed PJs into our backpack for the day, Ben made passing remarks as to it being cold on deck during his run. I didn’t have any warm coats for the kids and Kylee’s jacket disappeared into the club the day before, so it became time for me to have a massive case of mommy guilt. I figured it couldn’t be that bad. We said goodbye to 5020 and (in what has since become a tradition) visited the door of our new room for the next cruise.
Now we’re probably the only people who think eating breakfast at 7:30 qualifies as a lie in, but if you’ve made it this far into the trip report you aren’t surprised. Since Kylee was stuck on her peanut butter tubs kick, we opted out of our rotational dining assignment and headed to Topsiders for a bit of breakfast.
We made a point of tipping our servers Thanksgiving evening so they wouldn’t suspect we were stiffing them between Palo the last night and buffet breakfast the final morning. I realize that they still get tipped regardless of if they get the slips, but it just doesn’t seem like a proper thank you unless it’s done in person.
We climbed the stairs to deck nine, while feeling a bit like a pack mule schlepping a laundry filled backpack. All indignity disappeared to shock on exiting the stairs onto the open deck. It wasn’t cold.
It was frigid, freezing, or very close to it. Tauntauns wandering by wouldn’t have been surprising. Winter arrived. I’m a deep southerner (having moved here in middle school and never left) and frost on the lawn is enough to scare me into hibernation. It does seem quite extreme when only a day or two ago we’d been frolicking with sea life in the Caribbean and retreating to the a/c on the ship and now the double insult of debarking day and cold weather. At least it wasn’t raining! So that’s something.
Now we’re probably the only people who think eating breakfast at 7:30 qualifies as a lie in, but if you’ve made it this far into the trip report you aren’t exactly surprised by this fact. Since Kylee was stuck on her peanut butter tubs kick, we opted out of our rotational dining assignment and headed to Topsiders for a bit of breakfast.
Ben and I both still felt heavy from Palo the evening before and just had a light breakfast, but Chris stocked up at the buffet like it was his last meal. Ben and I got to bid Sylvester a final farewell as he was manning the juice station. Kylee nibbled at the corners of a hash brown while patiently awaiting the kind CM who went and found her four tubs of creamy peanut butter. Ben and I started rehashing our favorite bits of the cruise with the kids while clicking back through the photos on each other’s phones (always fun to see what someone else found interesting enough to photograph.)

Kylee fishing out the last bits of a peanut butter tub with the handle of a fork.

As we were comparing photographs, the kids started discussing which of them would have a faster baby when they grew up. Yes, they were back to the Diaper Dash trash talk. "I'm going to bring my kids and my baby on the cruise when I grow up. I'm going to race my baby. She will be fast." Said my 6 year old. Not to be out done, my darling Kylee, three at the time piped in with "Mom, I'm going to train my baby on a treadmill. Can I?" I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking anything, because it would been a choke worthy moment. We meandered back and forth on five a bit then a bit on four. When it appeared that the line started to move out on three we headed down only to stand in the longest line ever. We were in pretty good spirits, what with getting to come back and all, but as we inched toward the lobby the Mickey Mouse Club theme song came on the speakers. As it got to the “M I C, See Ya Real Soon!” Chris looked at me, suddenly realizing we were leaving and asked “Why did they have to play the goodbye song?”

I told him there was only so much room on the ship and everyone takes turns. This explanation made sense to him as a number of the kids from his class had been or had trips coming up. Once we reached baggage claim, everything flowed pretty smoothly through bag pick up, although our kids are quite a bit older now than they were nearly eight months ago when they took their passport photos. As such, the customs agent asked Kylee who her mom and dad were (to verify she was ours) and she pulled a fit of shyness out of thin air and buried her head in my neck. He took this as Kylee was in fact mine (thankfully) or he would’ve probably gotten treated to a photo montage over the last year of my Facebook photos on my phone. We headed straight out with our porter managing the luggage to a waiting heated van. I gave Kylee my sweatshirt, because she wasn’t dressed for the cold. The EZ Cruise parking attendants couldn’t have been nicer and dropped us right by our car.

After pulling on my years of Tetris experience, we managed to wedge our collection of luggage back into my Honda Fit. Loaded the tired kids into the car and drove north to our little corner of Texas.

Chris and Kylee fell asleep almost before we reached the mainland (and Galveston is by no stretch of the imagination a distant drive.)

Unloading and unpacking and laundry commenced, aided in no small part by the novelty of trying to walk in heels while getting used to dry land.

Later that week, after completing the emailed Disney Cruise Line survey,

The surveys are a fun peek into where DCL might be planning to go in the future

I got out the calendar to see how long our next paper chain should be…
It was a short 73 days until the Surprise Couples Cruise I had booked for Ben and me with our friends in February. But I wasn’t waiting to surprise him still as the world’s best Christmas/birthday/anniversary surprise, so I couldn’t exactly tell Ben about that countdown.
Meanwhile, Ben and I eagerly anticipated introducing our kids to the world through our Cruise to the Kingdom coming up in April 2013. 153 days away makes for a loooooooong paper chain.
Today we’re still looking forward to our “R is for Ridiculous 10th Anniversary Cruise” coming up this January 2014!

I'm hoping y'all enjoyed this trip report almost as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions, don't be a stranger.

Happy sails, y'all!

Last edited by cruisecrasher; 10-04-2013 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:34 PM   #90
Earning My Ears
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Posts: 58

Well done. You have some great kids and looks like you all had a lot of fun. Thanks for the TR. I really enjoyed it!
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cruise, disney magic, thanksgiving, trip report dcl magic, vegan

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