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Old 10-24-2013, 09:03 AM   #61
CatDenver
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Finally!

Well, here we are, the day before we fly out and two days before embarkation. It felt like we would never reach this point when we started counting down at 250 days and going through the various increments including the 100 day milestone. Iíve learned a few things in this preparation that Iíll share with you all. Take it for what itís worth.

ButÖÖbefore I launch into my list, I want to say that when I first joined the Meet group on the DIS I was convinced we would be a small, inactive group. It was January when I joined and the group was pretty quiet until about April. As we started seeing more activity I setup the Facebook group, move people joined, and from there it exploded. Over the last six months Iíve had the opportunity to know my fellow travelers and my kids have been able to connect to a certain extent with their kids. Our Texan contingency was fortunate enough to have several meet ups. I had a couple here in Colorado but we were less in number than our neighbors south of here. Some people have eschewed Facebook and stuck with the DIS. I respect that but would add that there are ways to join a Facebook group without engaging in the whole Facebook experience. Facebook was easier to share ideas, pictures, and just commiserate with each other as we waited for time to march on. I always thought it was odd that people could make friends on a vacation but I now get it and know there will be people from this cruise that Iíll always stay in touch with in the future. What a blessing it has been to get to know these folks and meeting them in person will be, to some extent, like meeting old friends.

Okay, now on to my list of Lessons Learned for planning.
1. Itís never too early to plan and work on FE gifts. I completed my entire stateroom gifts but the kidsí gifts were a bit challenging and so I procrastinated. Iíve got most done but Iíll need to finish on the ship. Thatís cool because I can watch a Disney movie and sip wine while I do that.
2. If you have a tendency to over pack, itís worthwhile to go through your suitcase and sanity check yourself. Be real. Hereís a great site that includes a PDF of a packing planner. I used that to help ensure I brought what I needed. http://blog.touringplans.com/2013/08...line-vacation/
3. Donít sweat the small stuff. I had hoped to get a mani/pedi before we leave but it just didnít happen. Thatís okay. Is someone really going to worry about what my toes look like, well, unless of course theyíre really disgusting? Which theyíre not so I let that go.
4. Along the same lines of the FE gifts, things that you can do way ahead of time, like printing magnets, do it. As the time grows near I found there were several things that kept getting added to my to do list and our normal day-to-day life was busy. Yesterday we had a school fundraiser that my husband was in charge of and most of our day was shot with that.
5. If you work, take a few days if you can before the trip to get stuff done. We fly out on a Friday but I took Tuesday through Thursday off as well so I could get myself in a vacation state of mind and to take care of the packing without feeling rushed.
6. If you donít want to deal with a lot of packing, do not take a Halloween cruise. I donít regret that weíre cruising over Halloween and I think it will be a lot of fun. However, there are clothes we had to pack that we donít typically pack for a vacation such as pirate costumes and Halloween costumes. Weíve got ninja swords, Meridaís quiver, bow and arrow, and a few other awkward sized items. The quiver is stuffed with socks and underwear to make the best use of space.
7. If youíre a first time cruiser pick the brains of the veterans. It will help in your planning. HoweverÖ
8. When taking advice from people remember that everyone has an opinion and they may not match yours or your lifestyle. I often see where people write that you wonít spend much time in your stateroom. What they may not be considering is that some of us are introverts and I canít do people and crowds all day. I need quiet time away and my husband is the same way. I do expect to spend time in the stateroom, especially the verandah. So take in the data but always keep in mind your own likes and disposition.
9. Make sure you get travel insurance! We had a few people in our group who had to cancel for medical reasons and job changes, none of which were expected. Iíve seen people post that they donít need it because theyíre not of an age where health is an issue. Well, the first person to cancel was in her thirties, and the two subsequent people who cancelled were in their forties. You never know.
10. Plan ahead for the little expenses. Preparing a budget so you know what to expect will help minimize surprises. Factor in excursions, souvenir shopping, drinks, tips, and expenses to get to the ship. Whatever you can pay ahead of time, do because it will help spread the cost. You can prepare a very simple budget spreadsheet where you can create a line item for your expenses. I did this and included things like on board booking and a budget for souvenirs. Itís also good to have extra money budgeted as a buffer for any surprises. As an example, make sure you know the details of baggage charges from your airline. We had a person in our group who was surprised to find her baggage fees exceeded her budget by $140 and she was not ready for that.
11. Donít sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, youíre on a Disney cruise and the name of the game is relax!
12. ďI only hope that we donít lose sight of one thing Ė that it was all started by a mouse.Ē Walt Disney

Thanks for reading my ramblings! See you all on the Trip Report forum!
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #62
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Found this Pre-Trip Report on the Cruise countdown thread and it has been good reading !

Have a great cruise and enjoy every minute of it, all the best!!!
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:11 PM   #63
mrp4352
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We're gonna make it!

HI Cathrine!!

It's hard to believe the trip is finally here - isn't it!! I hope you don't mind - but I'm going to add my two cents to your list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatDenver View Post
Okay, now on to my list of Lessons Learned for planning.
1. It’s never too early to plan and work on FE gifts. I completed my entire stateroom gifts but the kids’ gifts were a bit challenging and so I procrastinated. I’ve got most done but I’ll need to finish on the ship. That’s cool because I can watch a Disney movie and sip wine while I do that. MP: Also, don't be afraid to scale back FE plans. I know that our first cruise participating, we went WAY overboard and a couple of times have sat back during a discussion and the magic words "November Double Dip" remind us that we might should scale back some...

<snip>
4. Along the same lines of the FE gifts, things that you can do way ahead of time, like printing magnets, do it. As the time grows near I found there were several things that kept getting added to my to do list and our normal day-to-day life was busy. Yesterday we had a school fundraiser that my husband was in charge of and most of our day was shot with that. I found a "vacation to-do" list works wonders! Even the strange little stuff like "print out FE list" gets added. (and it's fun to watch it get shorter and shorter)
5. If you work, take a few days if you can before the trip to get stuff done. We fly out on a Friday but I took Tuesday through Thursday off as well so I could get myself in a vacation state of mind and to take care of the packing without feeling rushed. I'm jealous! I wish I could have done this!!

<snip>
7. If you’re a first time cruiser pick the brains of the veterans. It will help in your planning. However…
8. When taking advice from people remember that everyone has an opinion and they may not match yours or your lifestyle. I often see where people write that you won’t spend much time in your stateroom. What they may not be considering is that some of us are introverts and I can’t do people and crowds all day. I need quiet time away and my husband is the same way. I do expect to spend time in the stateroom, especially the verandah. So take in the data but always keep in mind your own likes and disposition. AMEN!!!

<snip>
11. Don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, you’re on a Disney cruise and the name of the game is relax!
12. “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” Walt Disney

Thanks for reading my ramblings! See you all on the Trip Report forum!
Please link to your report when it's up!! Now - go get on that airplane!!
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:33 PM   #64
CatDenver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrp4352 View Post
HI Cathrine!!

It's hard to believe the trip is finally here - isn't it!! I hope you don't mind - but I'm going to add my two cents to your list!



Please link to your report when it's up!! Now - go get on that airplane!!
Hi Michelle!
Thank you for chiming in because you're one of the wonderful veterans that helped me with my planning! And what sound advice you offer!

Trust me, I'm ready to get on the plane because I keep going in circles looking for more to do and there just isn't much left!

Cheers!
Catherine
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #65
CatDenver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grooovertoo View Post
Found this Pre-Trip Report on the Cruise countdown thread and it has been good reading !

Have a great cruise and enjoy every minute of it, all the best!!!
Thank you so much, Grooovertoo! Writing the trip report was another way to help pass the time while I waited! Other pre-trip reports were very helpful as I planned so I'm paying it forward.
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:03 PM   #66
Dsyplanninmomma
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Love your report!!! Can't wait to meet you on Friday/Saturday!!!

I agree with so many of your points! Even though this is my 3rd Disney Cruise its the first time I've participated in a group and I had to scale back my FEs and realized that wasn't as big of a deal as I thought.

Our group is huge and glad that we are all cruising together.
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Next trip..... Christmas at WDW Staying at Old Key West, B2B Disney Dream Cruises May 11 & 14, 2015!
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:06 AM   #67
CatDenver
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A Picture is Worth A 1000 Words

Dsyplanninmomma took this picture as she was walking behind us in Key West. It's my stepson Patrick, my daughter Catie, and my son-in-law Kalen as we were walking towards the southernmost point in Key West. It epitomizes what I've said all along about our blended family and how close we are. It was a great trip and I'll be posting a separate thread with the trip report.

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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #68
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So where is the post trip report?!?!
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:57 PM   #69
CatDenver
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So where is the post trip report?!?!
Sorry, Leah. The holidays hit and I completely neglected coming back and posting. The link to the post trip is in my signature block. I'm behind on that as well but as we move into the very dull months of January and February I hope to finish it up!
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Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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