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Old 02-26-2014, 08:42 AM   #1
tweis
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Leaving my Fantasy behind for WDW, Atlantis and a little Magic.

If you don't know me, I'm Trina (tweis). If you read my last (only) TR http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3121863 then you know a little about me and my family. For those of you that have not read my TR I am mom and stepmom to two wonderful boys and wife to an awesome husband. My last cruise was just DH and I and we had a wonderful time doing grown up things on the Dream. Wow! That didn't sound exactly like it was supposed to. What I mean is we enjoyed some of the adult aspects that we missed on our first cruise. Of course this is all covered in my TR (hint hint).

We discovered DCL in 2011 while planning our 2012 family vacation. My DH had been seeing lots of commercials for DCL and was really interested. I was kind of thinking WDW would be a good choice because 1) we had never been as a family 2) I had been once but it was like 15 years ago 3) my DSS had never been 4) my DS had been but only with his Dad 5) my DH hadn't been since he was a kid 6) there wasn't a #6 but did there really need to be?

We compared prices and DCL was the winner. Also, the Dream was brand new and the Fantasy was being built. I really wanted to take a Western on the Fantasy and the price was comparable to a week at WDW.....or so I thought. We contacted our local TA that I had used for a trip to Jamaica years before. She was actually en route to FL to take part in the TA cruise on the Dream. She was able to give me some prices and unfortunately the price for the Fantasy had gone up drastically in just a few days. We could no longer seriously consider the Fantasy with those prices. We made plans to meet with our TA when she returned and was glad that we did. We found out that the Dream was going to be doing 5 night cruises with 2 stops at Castaway Cay!! This was also a much more affordable option over the Fantasy. So in June of 2012 we set sail on the Disney Dream with 2 stops at CC, a stop at Nassau, and a day at sea! We all loved our cruise very much but did not bother to take advantage of booking onboard because we didn't really think that we would be cruising DCL again. Boy were we wrong. So that was how our DCL addiction began.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:18 AM   #2
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In December of 2012 when DCL release their 2014 dates we booked the Fantasy for May 2014. I was very excited that we would finally get to sail on the Fantasy and a western at that!! We would be visiting CC, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and the brand new port of Falmouth! We booked with Dreams Unlimited because my local TA wasn't getting back to me in a timely manner and when she did they could only offer $25 OBC. DU was offering much more than that and when DH and I sailed in May 2013 we reshopped the cruise onboard to save a few bucks and gain additional OBC. We pored through the western port adventures that were offered through DCL and some that weren't. So many amazing choices for the ports we were visiting. But alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

I was checking the calendar to see when would be a good time for DH and I to plan a short getaway over the summer since we had really enjoyed our solo trip in 2013 so much, when I realized that I had made a terrible blunder when booking our cruise. You see, over the summer, my DS and DSS alternate weeks with me and DH and with their other parent. I had booked our cruise for the week when they were to be with their other parent. I checked the DCL site and the following weeks were just way more than we wanted to pay to cruise. I checked with the "other" parents and plans had already been made by one that couldn't easily be changed. So, instead of pitching a terrible tantrum and bawling my eyes out like I wanted, we got on the DCL website and started shopping for a new cruise. Luckily, we had never told the boys that we were cruising the Fantasy or that we were cruising at all because we wanted to surprise them.

We really didn't want to pay the prices that DCL was demanding for 3/4 night cruises on the Dream since they were more than what we had paid for our 5 night. So we started looking at Spring Break. Well if there is one thing we all know about DCL it's that the prices start going up quickly after dates are released. Well this was more than 6 months after dates had been released and Spring Break was as much as the summer!! Not happening, so we decided to explore an option we had never considered......taking the boys out of school. The last week of April was "affordable" on both the Magic and the Wonder. Decisions, decisions. The Magic was newly made over and we really thought the boys would enjoy the Aqua Dunk AND we wouldn't have to drive to Miami.

I contacted my wonderful TA and she quickly switched my reservation to a 4night on the Magic for April 28th - May 2nd!! Yes, we were going back to the Bahamas for a 3rd time but that's ok.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'm here!

Ugh, I can only imagine the pit in your stomach when discovering you booked the wrong week! Glad you found something that works!

I can't wait to see the new Magic! I was on the 10/20 Dream that sailed past the poor Magic on that the ill-fated cancelled cruise and she was looking good from the outside. I'm on her in September for one of the Southern Caribbean cruises out of PR so I'm anxious to hear all about her!

Jill in CO
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:33 AM   #4
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Following along!
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
I'm here!

Ugh, I can only imagine the pit in your stomach when discovering you booked the wrong week! Glad you found something that works!

I can't wait to see the new Magic! I was on the 10/20 Dream that sailed past the poor Magic on that the ill-fated cancelled cruise and she was looking good from the outside. I'm on her in September for one of the Southern Caribbean cruises out of PR so I'm anxious to hear all about her!

Jill in CO
Jill I was pretty upset when I realized I had booked the wrong week but the real devastation began when I saw the prices for the next couple of sailings after that and realized that we couldn't/wouldn't pay those prices. The rates had gone up by ridiculous amounts.

We are very happy with the cruise that we decided on. I hope everything works well with the kiddos being out of school. We have already let the school know and they seem to be ok with it, so fingers crossed that they do not get behind on school work.

I hear all the time that the Magic is the favorite ship so I can't wait to compare her to the Dream!!


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Following along!
Thank you!
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:08 PM   #6
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I have to be honest, the idea of going back to the Bahamas again was a little bit of a let down after planning a 7 night cruise to the Western Caribbean but I quickly got over that and set about trying to come up with ideas as to how to make this trip to the Bahamas the best trip ever. There really aren't a lot of port adventures that look great for Nassau that we thought the kids would enjoy. The animal encounters at the Blue Lagoon looked nice but with our two boys you never really know how they will react to that sort of thing. Every time my DS sees the commercials for Atlantis he always tells me that we should go there so we checked out the price on the DCL site and was shocked to see that it was $169 per person! That's $676!!

That was quickly ruled out but I remembered reading on the boards how a lot of people book a room at Comfort Suites on Paradise Island for the access to Atlantis. I had just recently read LisaLisa's TR and saw how easy it had been for them and how well it had worked out. I looked up the price on their website and was pleasantly surprised to see that it would only be $305.90. I had read where others have been charged additional fees but mostly this seems to be from individuals that do not book directly through Comfort Suites. Lisa had booked a AAA rate (I think) directly through the hotel and was not charged additional fees. We called the hotel directly to see if there would be additional fees and were told no but we have decided that even if we are charged the fees that it is still a lot less expensive than booking this through DCL. Of course, if the ship can't dock we will be out $305.90.......

I just realized that I did not properly introduce my family. This is my wonderful husband Mark. He has absolutely loved our last 2 cruises but he doesn't seem to be as addicted as I am. Meaning he isn't on the Disboards every chance he gets or the DCL website always shopping cruises. He has even considered us sailing another line but he always changes his mind. He is afraid of the unknown with the other lines.



This is my DS-Trystan (11) and DSS-Jacob (11). They are nine months apart which really gets a reaction out of people that don't know they are stepbrothers. They are really looking forward to this cruise and going to Edge for the first time.

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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012

Last edited by tweis; 02-27-2014 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:52 PM   #7
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You have a great looking family!

I think you made the right call with booking the Comfort Inn for the Atlantis access. Definitely will save you some money!

Jill in CO
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:27 PM   #8
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You have a great looking family!

I think you made the right call with booking the Comfort Inn for the Atlantis access. Definitely will save you some money!

Jill in CO
Thank you Jill! I think so but I'm kinda partial.

Yes, I think it will be a great cost saver and after reading Lisa's report, it looks like she was able to get there a good bit earlier than the DCL group.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:46 AM   #9
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So this is totally off topic but I'm just so freaking excited that I have to share it with you guys!! My DH and I decided a few months ago, to take a trip to Las Vegas the last week of May since we wouldn't be cruising that week, and I just bought the plane tickets!! Woohoo It seems more real now that the tickets are bought. Especially since they are non-refundable Southwest was having a deal so we were able to snag them for slightly under budget and after adding Early bird check in, we were right on budget so I am super excited.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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Back to your regularly scheduled program.......Ok, we had the cruise booked and a room at Comfort Suites for the access to Atlantis but I still felt like it needed more. We live in GA but we decided it would be a nice treat for the boys (and us) if we flew down to Orlando instead of driving. We hadn't told them that we were going to Atlantis incase the weather was bad and we decided not to tell them that we were flying. Both of these would be a surprise for them. I shopped Southwest and other sites and it appeared that the going rate was $200 pp roundtrip. I'm sure it isn't, but this seemed expensive to me. I guess because it's like an hour flight so I just thought it should be cheaper. I hate long car rides, absolutely hate them but we decided to hold off on booking to see if the rates came down any. Rates were a little less on other lines but when you factored in the baggage fees it negated any savings.

Since we were planning on flying, I started trying to figure out the logistics of getting from MCO to the port. Disney transfers for our family would have been $280 roundtrip and that really seemed excessive. I got opinions on the Dis and it seemed a rental car was the answer. I started shopping online for rental cars and realized they were not all created equally. Some were very expensive while others were dirt cheap. It also seemed that you really got SC**WED with one way rentals. Of course if you decide to do a one way rental then you have to figure out the whole shuttle thing. I have read where some drop the family off at the port while the DH takes the rental car back and then hops the shuttle and rejoins the family at the port. This whole idea just made me panic a bit. What if DH got stuck in line or missed the shuttle and had to wait for another? What if our number was called to board and DH wasn't there? Several scenarios ran through my head and none of them were good. I'm sure if any of that had happened that it would have worked out perfectly fine but I just really didn't want to do that.

So if a one way rental was in our future it was obvious that we would ALL need to go to the car rental location and hop a shuttle back to the port. I have to tell you, I don't really care for the whole shuttle thing and this goes back to 2012 when we stayed at the Radisson before our cruise. We had decided to park our car there for the duration of our cruise so obviously we had to take a shuttle to the port. I couldn't get on the list for the shuttle until the day of our arrival and this didn't sit well with me but I took it in stride and called while we were en route to FL. I think we had an 11:30 PAT so I asked to be put on the list for like 11:00 or 11:15 and was assured that I was on the list. During check in, I decided to double check that we are indeed on the list for the correct time and of course we are not. We finally got added to the list for the correct time but the next morning the entire waiting area for the shuttle is totally packed with people, a shuttle breaks down, so the shuttle we were supposed to be getting on is now being used on the passengers of the broke down shuttle and we have to wait for it to go to the port and back. Long story short, I prefer to be in charge of when I get to the port.

I know it kind of sounds like I'm a control freak but honestly that is not the case. I'm usually a very go with flow kind of girl but when it comes to transportation, I really like to have that figured out ahead of time.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:21 AM   #11
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Great news on booking the flights!

Have you considered a town car service? It's more expensive than a rental but a lot less hassle as well.

Jill in CO
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:18 PM   #12
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Great news on booking the flights!

Have you considered a town car service? It's more expensive than a rental but a lot less hassle as well.

Jill in CO
Jill, thanks for the suggestion. I'm sure its a lot easier than a rental. Unfortunately, due to our procrastination, we may be driving. The cost of tickets for the 4 of us has gone up over $300 so not really sure that its worth it anymore.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:40 PM   #13
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Looking forward to your new TR! Your last one helped me plan our first ever cruise (adult only) - enjoyed reading it. We leave for our Spring Break trip this Saturday. A couple of days at WDW and then a four night on the Magic. Our three boys are so excited- they have never cruised before & they have always dreamed of going on DCL.

Subscribing to your thread now!! Have a wonderful Cruise!!
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:40 AM   #14
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Looking forward to your new TR! Your last one helped me plan our first ever cruise (adult only) - enjoyed reading it. We leave for our Spring Break trip this Saturday. A couple of days at WDW and then a four night on the Magic. Our three boys are so excited- they have never cruised before & they have always dreamed of going on DCL.

Subscribing to your thread now!! Have a wonderful Cruise!!
How exciting!! I bet they are ecstatic knowing what's in store for them! I hope you do a TR when you get back. I would love to see pictures of the Magic and hear how it compares to the Dream. Let me know how it goes.

Have a wonderful cruise!!
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:13 AM   #15
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We decided that we would do a one way rental and Dollar seemed to be our best bet. We went ahead and booked 2 one way rentals with them securing a mid-size for less than $100 each way.

Next up, we needed to decide where to stay and if we were flying in the night before the cruise or 2 nights before the cruise. DH thought the night before would be good and we just needed to find a place to stay close to the Port. We stayed at the Double Tree on Cocoa Beach last year and loved it. It was right on the beach and had a small pool area. This seemed like a good choice but I was starting check prices at WDW resorts. I had never stayed on property and thought this would be a good way to start the trip.

I realized that if we stayed at a WDW resort, we could take the ME from MCO to WDW and wouldn't have to worry about a rental from the airport. We could rent a car on property to drive to Cocoa Beach/PC. I started poring over the mousesavers.com website. There is tons of helpful information there. I found out which rental companies had onsite agencies and some money saving discount codes. DH seemed reluctant to this idea but usually I can get him to go along with my ideas.

I kept going back and forth to the Southwest site and the fares were staying steady at $200 pp roundtrip. I signed up for airfare watchdog so that I would get alerts if the fares dropped. I really did not want to have to pay baggage fees and Southwest seems to have the lowest fares. We do not fly a lot and when I say not a lot I mean never. So we really aren't savvy airfare shoppers but I was doing my best. I cannot believe how expensive baggage fees are. Wow!
There were only a couple of flight times that would work for us because we need to be back in ATL kind of early because the boys would be going to their other parents for the weekend and we normally meet around 5:30. DH was adamant that we did NOT want to be anywhere near the ATL at 5 p.m. We of course, also couldn't get a flight too early because you never know how long it will take to debark and plus we had to take a shuttle to the rental agency and get another rental.
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4 NIGHT MAGIC 2014 The Magic is better than the Dream.....I'll be the judge of that!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3272639

3 Night Disney Dream May 2013 Trip report W/Navigators Link is broken so "google" "Our dreamy anniversary cruise"

5 Night Disney Dream Double Dip June 2012
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