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Old 04-18-2006, 02:39 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 21

Magic - April 8 - 15

Today it’s back to the real world for me after our April 8 – 15 sailing on the Disney Magic to the Western Caribbean. I’m still suffering from vacation hangover, so please excuse the typos.

This was our first cruise ever, so I was a little nervous that all the details would come together, but for the most part, they did. I have two dd’s ages 3 and 5 and we traveled in a large family party of 11.

We arrived on Friday at around 4:00 and were staying at the MCO Hyatt. This, for us, was a great choice. With two little ones who had been traveling all day it was soooo nice to be able to walk right to our hotel room, being as it was actually in the airport terminal. We were able to check in quickly, and get the kids happy at the pool within 30 minutes. We even ate dinner at the pool, and were all in bed early so we could meet the DCL cruise rep the next morning.

We were some of the first people in the lobby Sat a.m. and were on the first bus to the cruise terminal. My mom is confined to a wheelchair and the bus transport was our first test on how accessible DCL really is. I’m pleased to say she got on the bus without a hitch and the staff was extremely patient and friendly.

Mom being in a wheelchair came in handy as it allowed us to be one of the first groups on the boat. My SIL and I ran around making ressies while our husbands took mom and the kids up to the Topsiders buffet. Thanks to the tips here, all the kids had their suits and were in the Mickey Pool lickedy split! The ressies process was good, although why you have to run all over the freakin’ ship instead of having this in one centralized area makes no sense to me. But whatever, it was painless and we got everything we wanted.

I think I’ll divide the rest of the report into categories:

Ports of Call

Key West - I have been here several times before so we didn’t even get off the ship.

Grand Cayman – Tendering here was a bit of a PITA. We got to the BVT around 9:00 (I think??!!) and were sitting in the theater for more than 45 minutes. Finally they admitted that the tender boat broke down and we had to wait for another. Ugh. But the island - Wow! What a place. We didn’t book anything, just planned to wing it and this worked out really well for us. We grabbed a cab at the dock and said, take us to a nice beach, and he took us to the Marriott section of 7-Mile-Beach, which was perfect. Snorkel equip and chairs available for rent, an open-air beach restaurant right there, and very quiet. We had most of the beach to ourselves. We made arrangements with the driver to pick us up and take us back to the ship when he dropped us off and that worked out perfectly.

Cozumel – This was my mom’s trip off the boat (she is in a wheelchair but can walk with support for short distances). The tendering process was surprisingly easy and mom got tons of help from the staff and crew. Mom wanted to shop and we decided to stick together as a family and shop with her. Probably not a good plan. Everyone wanted to stop in different places and we spent half our time waiting outside on shop or another for other members in our group to come up. Not to mention that my girls hated it and asked every 10 minutes when we could go back to the boat! So at noon, I took the girls and my mom back to the boat and the rest of the party went on a DCL snorkeling and kayak shore excursion to Ulta beach. My dh said the hurricane damage to the reef was devastating,

Castaway Cay – so great! I had no problem finding chairs, people were generous and sensible about sharing hammocks, and the beach wheelchairs were great. Wish we had more time there!

Dining – First comment I have to say here is that the 5:30 dining is really horrible. Way too early and hard to enjoy the afternoon with worrying about getting back and getting ready for dinner. I know this is rude, but we stopped arriving on time and came closer to 6:00 after the first two nights. We asked the head waiter if that was OK and he said fine, but please try and be there as soon as we could.

Our servers were Trifonio and Paula. Nice, good service. They remembered all of our little kinks and we enjoyed their company.

I thought the food was good, but not great, except for Palo *YUM*. I agree with others who have called it bland.

We ate in Animators Palette three times and it was OK, but I guess I had higher expectations on the whole black and white to color deal. Plus the LCD panels near our table were broken and never lit up, not one single time. The kids kept wanting ours to turn on too!

My fave dining room was Lumeire’s and we actually ate breakfast there a number of times as well.

– we had room 6122. Great room, good location. Connected to my brother’s room next door in 6120 which was very convenient!

Shows Etc. – The only show I saw was Disney Dreams on the Day at Sea in the afternoon. I was a little annoyed at how crappy their accessible seating is. Very last row – back corner of the theater. Come on Disney, you can do better than that. Show was great. My dd loved it!

Kids Club – My girls liked the kids club, but always preferred to be with us. So they didn’t go there a whole lot. They went for Palos dinner and brunch and for the afternoon of our first at sea day. Other than that, we pretty much hung as a family. The staff at the club were great with them and I felt very comfortable leaving them there. I think they’ll enjoy it more when they are a little older and less shy.

Ship Facilities – Loved the Mickey pool. Never got a chair though! LOL! Well, that’s not true. Since our dinner was sooooooooooo early, we went to the pool after dinner several times for an evening swim and 7:00 p.m. is a great time to get a seat! I never went to the goofy pool and loved Serenity Bay. Very calm, very relaxing. We did go to the spa for the “Ladies Night” special. Very nice, but I shouldn’t have gone before dinner! I was zonked and all greasy for dinner!

Overall – We really really really enjoyed it and would LOVE to go again. Mom paid for this one and I’m not sure another is in our budget anytime real soon but I hope so, because it was truly an outstanding vacation.
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:11 PM   #2
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Great report redterp! I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet my fellow alum!
Glad you had a great trip!

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Old 04-18-2006, 04:15 PM   #3

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I am so happy you had a good trip. I was impressed at how DCL staff was helping people on/off the tenders.
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:31 PM   #4
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Sep 2005
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They really did do a great job accomodating my mom in almost every way. They were fantastic at the spa helping her on and off a massage table. Were great in the restaurants. As soon as we got there, our server came right over and wheeled her to the table. The hallways were plenty wide. And her accessible room (6154) had tons of great features and emergency call buttons in all the right places (bathroom floor, shower, etc.) Plus her verandah was HUGE! It had a table, six chairs, and two loungers and plenty of extra room!

My only complaint was the seating at the theater. Crappy as crappy could be. I've been a lot of places with mom and accessible seating is usually much better in theater-like environments.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by redterp
My only complaint was the seating at the theater. Crappy as crappy could be. I've been a lot of places with mom and accessible seating is usually much better in theater-like environments.
I saw what you mean because I stood thru a little of Hercules back there.
The deaf-signing area is down front on the right. What if someone were disabled AND deaf? What would they be able to do then?

MK-1972 with parents - offsite
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MK, EPCOT, MGM and AK - 10/99 - All Star Music with DH and DD (5)
Fairy Tale Package at AS Movies with DH and DD (9) in Oct. 2003
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:27 PM   #6
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Sorry we didn't get to meet. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip. I agree with you about the dinner time. We had 5:45 seating and were scrambling most of the time.

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Old 04-20-2006, 11:08 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=redterp]: I have two dd’s ages 3 and 5
Kids Club – My girls liked the kids club, but always preferred to be with us. So they didn’t go there a whole lot. They went for Palos dinner and brunch and for the afternoon of our first at sea day. [/QUOTE=redterp]:

I am happy to hear that you had a good time. My parents and other family members were on that cruise as well.

I have a question though....I thought that children under the age of 18 were not allowed in Palo's for dinner. I understood that it wa adults only. Has something changed?

Thanks in advance for letting me know!

DS and DD Ready for their Pirate's Adventure Cruise at the Grand Floridian

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Old 04-21-2006, 01:13 AM   #8
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I believe they meant the kids went to the kids club while the parents were at Palo.
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:31 PM   #9

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THanks for the report. I'm worried about getting stuck with that 5:30 dining time, too. That would be a major drag.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:23 PM   #10
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5:45 was not much better

Originally Posted by jodifla
THanks for the report. I'm worried about getting stuck with that 5:30 dining time, too. That would be a major drag.
We did have to scramble too. It hurt most on Saturday & Friday, especially Friday.

HOWEVER FOR US the late seating would NEVER do. We live in the Eastern time zone and tend to eat by 6:00. None of us could eat at 9:00!!

The way I see it now, they plan way too much stuff for you to do. You have to pick and choose. We tend to be early to the pool people, so to head in by 3:00 is OK if I want the first shower. I was out there at 9:00 .

Our youngest DD who turned 6 the day before we sailed LOVED the clubs 90% of the time and spent a lot of time there. She always ate dinner with us. NO that's not true, she got dressed up and went to dinner BUT did not eat much all week. NEXT time I will talk to her about the dinners and pick several she can skip. She ate room service while we dressed for Palo and probably ate more that night than any other.

When we went we thought it was once-in-a-lifetime.

We are now hoping to go back in 09!!
Melanie -
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