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Old 09-18-2006, 05:37 PM   #1
grumpydude
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Completed w/ Photos 8/26 Seven Days on the Magic, Western...err make that Eastern.

I have received the requisite words of encouragement from various sources. So here it is. The first installment of the saga that the title of is yet to be determined. Hopefully, I will sell the rights of the story to one of the big movie producers and can pay for my next trip. Hopefully you will all enjoy it. Hopefully, I will not have a complete and utter cranial meltdown remembering all of the details…I knew I should have taken notes.

DANGER WILL ROGERS!!! This will most likely be a LOOOOOOOONG one.

How to begin a trip report? The best place to start any story is at the beginning. I was born in 1966…wait, not that beginning.

How about;
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship. (Not really tiny, but you get the idea.)

First, the cast of characters. Me, Grumpydude (GD). My beautiful bride of 13 years (just in case she reads this) who loves anything Pooh (LOP). And yes, Mr. Know It All Himself, our son who just happens to be six going on sixteen.

Anyhow, it all started with that dreaded spousal question, “ What are we doing for vacation this year?” I’m sorry. I did not realize the fate of familial happiness was predicated on me finding a vacation destination. We had been to WDW twice in the last three years. We had gone to Washington State last year for the 25th the anniversary of Mt. St. Helens eruption. How was I ever going to top these trips? Hmmm, how ‘bout a cruise? Neither of us had ever gone on a cruise. The last time we had done any type of Caribbean excursion was 13 years ago to Jamaica on our honeymoon. We heard about Disney Cruise Lines. We heard it was really good. Hey, how about a Disney Cruise? I’d like an island type vacation, she’d like an island vacation. I like to sit and relax (you do not get a body like mine by accident). She likes to go-go-go. We all like Disney stuff. This could be the perfect vacation.

But, this creates other sorts of dilemma (or is it dilemmi?) Land & Sea, Sea & Land, All Sea No Land. Three night Sea Four Night Land, Four night Sea three night Land. Seven night Sea. Ten night Sea. Eastern, Western or Southern itineraries. Oh my God, make it stop. Do you see the kind of pressure Disney puts on a guy with all of these choices. But, Lover of Pooh is a teacher and is home all summer. So I put her on the quest to find the best deal. Did I mention this was a relatively last minute decision? Well it was.

Mr. KIA’s birthday is August 10th. That seemed a logical choice. How cool would that be? We would be like the greatest parents ever taking him on a Disney Cruise for his Birthday. So, since neither of us ever cruised, and we were just a little apprehensive, let’s try the Land & Sea and see how we like it. No good. Travel day from the parks to the boat is on Mr. KIA’s birthday. “That would be wrong.”, says LOP. “What are you talking about?” I say. “I never went to WDW until I was like 10. And that was for a day with the grandparents that just happened to live in Florida. I did not go again until the proverbial Senior Trip in HS. Then I did not go again until I went with you and Mr. KIA. Mr. KIA has been there twice before, and he went to Mt. St. Helen’s all before the very tender age of 5. “Are you kidding me? So what if he is on a bus for his birthday?” (In case you are wondering, yes I walked 5 miles to school each day and it was uphill both ways.)

After hours of consultations with NASA engineers, MIT mathematicians and countless web site resources, it was decided let’s just go for the 7night. This way, we will be on the boat the day of his birthday. OK how much? I am sorry, say that again. Nooooooo Way!!! Let’s rethink this. Maybe Vegas or some other place. Something that costs less than and arm and a leg. Maybe just an arm.

Well as fate would have it, work says not a very good week for you to vacation GD. So, back to the drawing board. How about the last week in August? Yes that would be a good week for you to go on vacation. Honey, check the prices for the last week in August. Three day, four day, seven day… Stop it, not this again. Seven day, because I do not want to pay for food (Make note of the previous reference to my body.) Guess what?? It is a little cheaper, only an arm and half a leg. Plus, I have finally accumulated enough flying time from work to get some free plane tickets. OK, let’s go for it. Seven day Western Caribbean. This might just work out. Called the travel agent, got the Disney Visa so I do not have pay for it for six months. Called Mom to watch the dog. Everything is a go.

Now my darling wife comes to me and asks, “What do you want to do on the cruise?” WHAT??? More decisions. Stop it Disney…no more choices. Again, more hours on the internet, consultations with NASA and MIT and we have it all planned out. Every minute of everyday on the cruise is accounted for. Plans are made, watches synchronized and secret code words established. Honestly I thought that was funny as heck you had to have a secret code word to get Mr. KIA from the kids club. Hmmm, if I could not remember it…would they keep him the whole week so me and LOP could have some quality alone time? All is settled. Life is good. A few more weeks and I am out of here. Hanging with Mickey and cast of characters.

Except, my darling wife comes to me and asks, “What do you want to wear on the cruise?” Are you kidding me? More questions. “A pair of shorts and a toothbrush is all I need.” I say. No, no, no. There is formal night, semi formal night, cruise casual night, Pirate night. There is the plane ride down (more on this later), the plane ride back. There are morning clothes, afternoon clothes and night-time clothes. And guess what? You need an outfit for all of it. More calls, except this time to fashion gurus in NY, LA and Milan and the wardrobe for the week is determined. Not exactly sure how we are going to get it all there. I wonder if Disney Cruise Lines will let me ship one of those container PODS. They could keep it up on deck 10 for me and when LOP needed something, we could just take a walk up there and dig it out.

It was about this time we both stumbled upon DIS Boards. Wow, tons of people who went before us and they provide tips. Wow, people that are going on the same cruise and we can talk about things before we get there. And we can plan who to meet and what to do and what to wear even more. Thanks. The board becomes so addictive you spend every waking moment reading what other people have to say about their trips. Some people are actually writing things on the boards while they are on their trips. Oh---My---God! (say that like Janice from FRIENDS)

Finally, finally, finally the week before our departure arrives. And it is one hectic week. First, my mom takes us all to the “Lion King” Broadway show for Mr. KIA’s birthday. (Excellent by the way) Next, work says we need you to go to Detroit for a few days. And, it just so happens that I bought Mr. KIA tickets to his first football game for his birthday, and the game is the night before we leave for the cruise. I had to buy them because Daddy is a huge Steelers fan and sometimes Mr. KIA is an Eagles fan and sometimes a Steelers fan, and it just so happens they were going to play each other over at the Linc. How cool is that. Tell me Mr. KIA did not have a great BDay this year. Mom-Mom takes him to the Lion King, Dad takes him to a football game and we are all going on a cruise. We are like the greatest parents ever. Honestly, I felt like I woke up Sunday morning and went non-stop for the week. All I could think about was getting to Port Canaveral and getting on that boat and DO NOTHING for a week except sleep and eat and eat and sleep.

We make it until about the third quarter and Mr. KIA has had enough. Mom (LOP) has had enough and Dad (GD) has had enough because the Steelers played like crap. So let’s go home, go to bed because we have to get up early to catch a plane.

Next up: Sleep? Fabulous airports and “Hey, I like your outfit.”

Last edited by grumpydude; 09-29-2006 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:44 PM   #3
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Okay, I am hooked! Keep it coming

Oh yeah...GO EAGLES!
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:48 PM   #4
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love it already and you haven't even gotten to the cruise part yet. I am glad your Western was switched to Eastern, otherwise, I probably would have skipped your report!

BTW, if you make enough money on your report, maybe you can invest in a new Disney ship! (see other thread)
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Old 09-18-2006, 07:09 PM   #5
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Haha....I can relate. Two days before our Aug double dip cruise we took our 10-year old DD to her first major league baseball game.

She decided this spring she is a Mets fan. I was told under no circumstances to take to her Shea.

Instead we took her to see the Mets play the Phillies in Philly.

Great weather, great seats (in the shade), great game, Mets played brilliantly, and DD's favorite player hits a home run that lands about two sections from us.

And our cruise was two days later.

Sorry your outcome at the game wasn't better but your heart was in the right place.

Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip.
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:36 PM   #6
grumpydude
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Thanks

Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement. I am sitting here typing up installment #2. However, kickoff is in about two minutes plus my mom just called and told me my sister was having her baby. Are you kidding? Tonight? The Steelers are coming on in about 20 minutes. Call me when my nephew has arrived.

Oops kick off...the saga will continue
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:39 PM   #7
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You are glad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamcometrue
love it already and you haven't even gotten to the cruise part yet. I am glad your Western was switched to Eastern, otherwise, I probably would have skipped your report!

BTW, if you make enough money on your report, maybe you can invest in a new Disney ship! (see other thread)
You may be glad we were switched. But let me tell you LOP was not happy. And you all know when big mama's not happy, nobody is happy.

But more on that in installment #2.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:16 PM   #8
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Yay, keep it coming! I love the "LOP" -
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:38 PM   #9
grumpydude
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Second Installment...the saga continues

Some how I double posted...so I deleted this one.

Last edited by grumpydude; 09-18-2006 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:55 PM   #10
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Second Installment...the saga continues

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, football game right.

We depart said game and proceed to walk the 47 miles back to the car. Now I love the passion of Eagles fans…but when you see a guy walking back to his car with his young son and tired wife (all in Steelers jerseys) have a little common sense and shut your mouth. It is hard to explain specific vocabulary choices to a recently turned six year old. As is the norm, other Steeler fans come to the aid of a fellow fan and there was no need for me to defend my family.

We finally arrive home. Put Mr. KIA to bed who by the way is soooo over-tired and sooooo over-stimulated and sooooo over-excited about getting on a plane in 7 hours and getting on a boat with Mickey and crew. You can only imagine the challenges that ensued.

Mr. KIA drifts off to sleep. Big Daddy wants to drift off to sleep after such a long, grueling week. Except my darling wife, LOP has 47 weeks worth of clothes on the bed for a 7 day trip. You see, we still had not finished packing. Off to the couch I go as she has no intention of going to sleep. Slowly, drifting off to slumber, dreaming of DOING NOTHING for seven whole days. No phone, no laptop, no project deadlines.

Not yet. LOP interrupts my sweet dreaming by informing me that it does not all fit. And if it does, then it will be too heavy. “What do you want me to do?” I say, “it is two o’clock in the morning and I need to get up in another hour to get you all to the airport. “GO TO WALMART!!” she says.

Off I happily go as you can imagine to buy a big a$$ed bag or suitcase because that is only place that is open 24 hours that sells the supplies we so desperately need. I buy it and drive home as fast as I possibly can. Much to my benefit traffic was rather light at 2:47 on a Saturday morning. Imagine that.

All is well, bags are packed, tagged with DCL tags and loaded in the car. Time to take a shower, wake Mr. KIA and be on our way. I feel great for having only an hour and twenty minutes worth of sleep. LOP never went to bed so…you know how that is. I get out of the shower and there is a nice blue Mickey tropical shirt for me to wear for the plane ride down. Son has matching shirt and wife has matching dress. How cute…LOP ordered said clothing on line as a surprise. We all match how nice. We are like the coolest Disney family ever.

4:30 is the A.I.S. time. Flight is at 7…so we need to be at the airport by 5am. Amazingly we accomplish the goal. A quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and grub and we are on the way.

Now, usually, when I arrive at the beautiful Philadelphia International Airport for a family vacation, I typically drop LOP and Mr. KIA off at the curbside check in, with all of the bags, and I go park the car and walk or take the bus back to the terminal. We arrive at Terminal E for Southwest and there are 856,327 (I counted) people already there. AT 5 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Did Southwest offer free flights to everyone at the airport that day? I fly them at least once a month and I have never been in a line with more than 8 people. What do we do? There is no way I can possibly lug six suitcases, 4 carry on items a wife and a kid (and a partridge in a pear tree) on the bus back to the terminal. What to do, what to do? We can’t just leave the luggage unattended. It was about two weeks after the London Liquid Terrorist Plot so security was tight.

OK, get out pile up the luggage and LOP you stand in line. I cannot believe I am doing this, but Mr. KIA, you sit on the luggage and do not move. You can see Mom when she goes to the back of the line and Mom can see you. I am going to park the car and haul a$$ back to said terminal. The parking gods were smiling upon me that morning as I found a spot relatively close to the entrance. I parked and rather than wait for the bus I chose to sprint the ½ mile or so back to terminal E.

I get back and all is not well. Mr. KIA is still sitting on the luggage which is great; I give a lot of credit to that recently turned six year old. But, LOP has not moved in line the whole 20-25 minutes it took me to park and get back. The luggage belt that takes said luggage through the screening process and into the bowels of the airport is broken. All 856,327 of us must now go inside and join the other 642,851 people inside that are waiting to check in. Oh my God. This is a great start to our vacation. So, I put LOP on line inside and start carrying bags into the terminal as there was not a luggage cart to be had, anywhere. Except there was, as I ran all the way back to terminal F because I saw like 250 of them there on my hike in from the parking lot. Except, the darn machine would not take my $3 or my credit card. Darn you, cart machine from hell. I just love Philly’s airport. I asked an attendent standing there for some help. I got an impressive dumb look and he infomed me it was not working. Duh!!! So back to terminal E, LOP is in line, Mr. KIA is with some of the bags I brought in and I am still running in and out trying to bring in more bags negotiating my way around the now rather large group of fellow tourist and their bags.

She reaches the front of the line, I throw the bags across the scale to the agent and we are off, with 30 minutes to spare before 7am departure. Up the escalator we go and I happen to glance at the gate number for departure. It is Terminal D. What?? We are in E…Southwest always leaves from E; remember I fly them at least once a month. OK, we all walk down to D to catch a plane. It has got to get better.

Now, because I fly so much, I have the security procedure down pretty good. Laptop out, check. Digital cameral and camcorder out, check. Shoes off, check. Mr. KIA’s shoes off, check. Nobody has leftover food and beverages from Dunkin Donuts, check. This should be a breeze. Excuse me sir, we need to check your carry on bag. OK, I have nothing to hide. All of my exploding deodorant and hazardous toothpaste is safely tucked away in my checked baggage along with my dangerous shampoo bottle. Check away. The security agent opens the carry on and proceeds to remove the largest bottle of bubbles I have ever seen. Seriously, this was like an 8 gallon bottle of bubbles. “Oh no.” my beautiful bride says. “I brought those for the sail away party. I heard everyone blows bubbles.” “Not 8 gallons worth.” I say. Seriously, we could have blown bubbles non-stop the whole cruise and still not used it all up. No wonder Mr. Security Agent was a little tense. Another agent looks us up and down and inquires as to whether we had already gone through security. Now I am confused. Turns out, there is a family slightly ahead of us with the same OUTFITS. Are you kidding me? Who else does this sort of thing…everyone with matching outfits at the start of a family vacation? Let alone outfits that match ours.

We get to the gate, and low and behold, there they are. Well as you can imagine, that is quite a conversation starter. "Hey, I like your shirt." Maybe they are going to WDW. Nope cruise. How odd does this look? Two families, same plane, same cruise and same SHIRTS. Plus their son shared the same name as Mr. KIA. How bizarre.

Board the plane. Find some seats and sit down. Push back from the gate. It is official. We are going to make it. We can relax. As a matter of fact we catch a few winks on the flight. Our amazing pilot even gets us to Orlando ahead of schedule. Everything is going to be all right. We get to Orlando…go to the DCL desk…no we are not related to that other family with the same shirts and are informed we are on the first bus of the day. Oh happy-happy joy-joy.

On the bus. We are off. Can you feel the excitement? After the week I have had and the morning we have had finally things are wonderful. We watch the video on the ride. Look for alligators in the ditches. Our driver points out NASA in the distance (the Space Shuttle was supposed to go up the next day.) But it was too hazy to see anything. Except, in the distance, over the hill and over the bridge…is that…yes it is…our ship. We have made it. I cannot believe it. We are here. There it is. Hurry, hurry park the bus. I want to get off and get in the terminal.

Off we get…through security…receive our boarding card, number 3. What, we are like the first ones here from the first bus from the first plane of the morning. Number 3? And then, we are handed the piece of paper that changes our destiny forever.

Next up: What hurricane?, The freaky guy in the terminal and embarkation.

Last edited by grumpydude; 10-22-2006 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 09-19-2006, 07:05 AM   #11
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going on the 11-11 dd I can't wait. have a good time
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:46 AM   #12
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Go Steelers!!!!!!
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:51 AM   #13
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Love reading the report so far. Keep going!!!!!
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:17 PM   #14
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more! more! This is like a soap opera, you simply can't wait until the next day to see what happens!
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:57 PM   #15
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Fun, fun, fun report!

Looking forward to more!
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