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Old 07-21-2011, 06:42 PM   #1
grandmatotwo
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Alaska Wonder July 26 - Anniversary Surprise

I find it so absolutely fascinating to read everyone's story that I thought it might be interesting to add mine to the group.

It all started about 7 months ago when I started trying to plan something to do for our 7 year anniversary in July. My husband has 4 children from his first marriage (21 - 26 years old), I have 2 from my first marriage (19 w/her own beautiful one year old baby boy and almost 22), and together we have a lovely 6 year old boy. Since our 6 year old is the only one still at home we tend to include him in everything we do.

I was watching ads about the new Disney Dream and the Aquaduck - wow that looks like fun. So thought I would check out what kind of Disney vacation we might be able to dream about and low and behold I see the Disney Wonder sailing out of Vancouver. Now that is close to home since we are just on Vancouver Island. Since there would be no flights involved I decided to see about doing the Disney Cruise to Alaska.

I had 3 days in which to make up my mind and get my deposit in if I wanted to get the additional OBC that was being offered. So I decided "what the heck" and went ahead and booked it - without telling my DH. My DH is pretty laid back and since I'm the one dealing with the finances chances are he will never see it.

So I just continue trying to pay off the credit card and patiently wait until it is time to get ready for the cruise. I decide that I am not going to tell either of them about this cruise and am busy planning the best way to surprise them.

Low and behold about 2 months before the cruise I start putting THE SPECIAL CAMPING PLAN into motion. I book my days off at work to find out that the lady I work with is already off and can I rebook my vacation. Well since it is my anniversary on July 31 and I already paid for the deposit on the cruise I just apologize and say that I can't change it. All is well they will bring in a temp for the 4 days that neither of us will be here. I call my husbands boss to see if I can book some days off for him without him finding out about it. DH doesn't have very much time left (his new vacation time starts in September) but his boss is awesome and says of course he can take the days and we will just work it out later. SWEET.

Another month goes by I spend hours looking at the Disney Cruise Line website. Start talking with DH about him taking a few days off so that we can go camping during the summer. Kinda get him thinking that I will have some special plans since it is our anniversary hence The Special Camping Trip name. Now I'm getting excited. A few people know about it (my mom, his mom, my sister - who does daycare for us, his sister and my dad and his wife that come out to visit us from Alberta) and they have all done a wonderful job of keeping my secret.

Everday I am looking at the Disboards and CruiseCritic to read all that I can about Alaska, crusing and Disney. I got hooked up with a group on the meet board and asked if I could get involved in thier FE. They graciously allowed me to join. So this past weekend I went out and bought a bunch of things and when my husband asked me what I was doing I told him to ask no questions and I would tell him no lies. He giggled and proceeded to tell me how much he loves me.

Since I don't sew I spent a couple hours last night gluing myself to my FE. But I am pleasantly pleased with the results (except for the ribbon that you can see the glue right through - oh well it is only on the back so no one should really notice). Still picking glue off my fingers today. Came to work and made 3 magnets to go on our door. See you all have made me a Disney believer and I've only been to DW once. Even started reading about the DVC however that is not for us at this point in time.

DH and DS will be going on their own small mini-camping trip this weekend. They were only going to go one night (thinking we are going again the following week - but what do they know). I told him that if it was nice they should go for both Sat and Sun since I had some stuff to do to get ready for the Special Camping Trip. DH told me he had an appointment on Friday to get his brakes adjusted for when we take the trailer. He also tells me his is going to be back early on Sunday to go and pick the trailer up. I politely tell him that the trailer will be completely ready but he can't pick it up until Tuesday after work. He again tells me how much he loves me

So this weekend I will get us all packed up. I have my FE and gifts ready. I have my 3 magnets ready. The BIG REVEAL will occur on Monday night. I have arranged for Mickey Mouse to call the house for my DS at 8:00 pm (just before he is going to bed), my DD will be there to video tape their faces when they find out that our Special Camping Trip is really a Disney Cruise to Alaska.

I can barely sleep anymore only 4 more days until I don't have to keep this a secret anymore. It has been the longest 7 months ever!!!!

I am going to bring my laptop with me just for downloading of photos and keeping up my notes so that when I can get back I will add to this and share the rest of my story with you.

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Old 07-21-2011, 09:09 PM   #2
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That is so awesome!!! I can't wait to hear their reactions!!! Have a great time!!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #3
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How absolutely cool! Can't wait to hear about their reactions!
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:20 AM   #4
grandmatotwo
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Both boys (DH and DS) took off today for a couple nights out in the tent. DH was only going to go for one night thinking that we are heading out camping on Wednesday but since we aren't I told him that I could use the time to get ready and that he should go for both days.

I've managed to get all of our stuff into one big and one medium suitcase and a backpack. Just a few last minute things to add on Monday. It was nice to be able to spread it all out without having to worry about someone wandering in at any moment.

Ran into my sister at the grocery store and she proceded to tell me that her family (DH and 4 kids) are heading down to DL for spring break 2012. Now I'm trying to figure out how I can fit that one in. I always wanted to do Disneyland with her and the kids.

3 more sleeps
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:12 PM   #5
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Waiting, waiting, waiting ~ it's gonna be a great surprise!

I am almost as excited as you so will be waiting to hear how it goes!
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:36 AM   #6
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So the big reveal was last night!!! I'd love to hear the details but I also know that you are probably busy since you need to get to that ship today!!! Enjoy and can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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What a wonderful surprise! I can't wait to hear all about it
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
grandmatotwo
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The reveal

OK well this didn't go as well as I hoped. I had been psyching them up about this special phone call on Monday at 8:00 pm. So Mickey Mouse calls to tell Josh about the cruise to Alaska and the phone call is done and I am waiting for everyone to start woohooing or something and my husband looks at me and says "I thought we were going camping"

I was so disappointed and he realized that and apologized later. As the night went on he started to get a bit excited and by morning he was all for it and excited. I don't think Josh really understood what going on a Disney Cruise was all about.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
grandmatotwo
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Day 1

We woke up this morning at 6:45 to leave for the cruise. We left our place at 7:15 got gas and stopped at John’s work for a minute and arrived at the bus terminal at 8:30 to find out we had to sit with our luggage until 9:45. We met Kent, Jane and Whitney who are from Indiana; they were also going on this cruise. The bus finally left at 10:00 am. On BC Ferries we sat in the buffet on the ferry (I had never done this before). It was so peaceful in there ($53 worth….). After we landed at Tswassen the bus driver pulled over and transferred all the cruise people to a new bus, then they transferred all the people going to Victoria to a third bus. It was very strange.

We finally got to the cruise terminal just before 2:00 pm. One of the Disney guys says to our group “it’s about time you got here we were waiting for you”. Check in was quick and painless, probably a total of 15 minutes. We started to stand in line to sign Josh up for Oceaneer Club but decided to do it on the cruise ship instead (as someone on this board suggested). The crew announced us onto the ship. “Welcome to the Brennan Family”. We were in our room by 2:15. We are in a cat 11 interior state room (6521) and very pleased by the size and set up. There is tons of space in here (bathroom is a bit tight would have been nice to have a split set-up).

We head up to deck 9 to the mickey pool to meet up with our group from the DISBoards. Pool is fairly warm (88 F) and Josh decides that he wants to go swimming. We find a towel, turn his pants into shorts and off he goes. We hang out here for about 45 minutes. Met some of the people from the DISBoards (Angie/Dennis your shirts made it much easier to find the group)

Just before 4 pm we head back to the room to get ready for the muster drill. Luggage has arrived. For those of you that may not know – you do not have to bring your life jackets (they have staff demonstrating).

At 4:15 we go to the Adventures Away party. There was lots of dancing and singing with some crew and Donald, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, etc. John and Josh were both on the big screen a couple of times. That takes about 45 minutes then we head back to the room for a half hour to unpack and then head up for dinner.

Our dinner rotation is TAPTAPT and we have the early seating (5:45). We are at a table for 10. The other 7 people at our table all are from one family (Ruby/Kaz from Ontario, their daughter Janet and her husband Mark with their almost 7 year old daughter Kimi from Delta BC, their son David and his wife Shirley also from Ontaria. Our table staff are Agnelo and Johanna (who are awesome), with their head staff - Faruk.

Tritons – John and I both had a mushroom bacon tart, then the beef tenderloin (done to perfection), for desert John had a sundae which he enjoyed, I originally ordered chocolate mousse but changed it to be chocolate ice cream. Agnelo brought me both. Josh ordered a mini burger w/fries and a mickey mouse bar.

Josh and Kimi hit it off really well and are going to meet up tomorrow to go to the Oceaneer club together. Those little portable phones are a great idea for getting a hold of each other.

Quickly went back to our room for a few minutes before we headed down to the theatre to watch All Aboard – Let the Magic Begin. Agnelo told us to be there at 8 pm for an 8:30 start (and by 8:15 you definitely had a lot less choices on where to sit). It was a lot of fun. When dinner was over we got our first pictures taken with Mickey Mouse.

Back to our room at 9:30 as Josh needs to get some sleep if we plan on having any fun during the day tomorrow.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:13 AM   #10
grandmatotwo
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Day 2 at sea

John got up about 6 am and went for a coffee and look about. He came back at 7:00 am to start getting us ready to get up. We want to go to the character breakfast this morning at 8:00 in Parrot Cay. Josh is still tired but gets going as his usual happy self. John and I both have eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast. Hash browns are those frozen kind like the ones McDonalds has. Never seen so much bacon on one plate and the toast was cold when we got it, however it still tasted good with the hot eggs. We finished up breakfast around 9:15 am. The characters that came through and stopped at each of the tables were Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. We were able to get pictures with each and every one of them. Wait staff made us different hats out of the napkins (Goofy, Pocahontas, Mickey, and Minnie bow).

I had an appointment for a body composition analysis $38 when I signed up with 15% off came to $33. They give you the body stats that you are looking for but it really is an opportunity for them to try and sell their detox program.

John and Josh picked me up at 10:30 and we then took Josh up to the Oceaneer Club for a visit while John and I wandered into the retail stores and looked at the two pictures that Disney had taken so far (Welcome Aboard and with Mickey). We also started handing out our FE items. We have gotten some really interesting things so far. Josh really enjoys his new beanie seal (Slippery). Josh had the staff send us a text on our portable phones after an hour. He was quite sad and told his dad that no one was really playing with him once Kimi left. We took Josh with us and went to the Port and Shopping presentation as I was hoping to win some things. John and Josh got us all ice cream cones, they were quite good. We didn’t win anything but found out how to get our free gifts at the different stores in the ports.

We went and had lunch at the Beach Blanket Buffet. Josh had a small breakdown (he is tired and needs to have a rest). John really enjoyed the chicken cachitore and I liked the pork chop and piece of fish that I had. Josh had plain penne pasta with just some sprinkle cheese on it. After lunch Josh and I lined up to get an autograph and photos with Minnie Mouse while John went to the Diamond and Gemstone presentation. Then Josh and I headed back to our cabin for a small rest. We are currently rewatching Rango. Josh went swimming until we had to pull him out to get ready for formal night dinner and pictures. As we were walking around we got to say hi to Captain Hook.

Quickly went and got ready for dinner in Animator’s Palace. John had scallops and risotto, New York steak, Crème Brule with raspberry sauce; I had baked cheese ravioli (which was cold and didn't taste nearly as good as some people raved about), New York steak and some creamy desert that starts with a p (sorry I really wish that I knew what it was called), Josh of course had mini burger and Mickey ice cream bar. After dinner we went and had our formal pictures taken.

We went to the Golden Mickey’s show, didn’t get there until almost 8:30 and had a really tough time finding seats. It was a really good show with some animation and theater mixed together. We then went back to the room to bed.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:19 AM   #11
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thank you for posting your review...looking forward to the days ahead!
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:02 AM   #12
grandmatotwo
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Day 3 - Tracy Arm

Weather – rainy hard early morning 57 farenheit. At the the glacier temperature was definitely cooler and it rained off and on. (The sun finally came out for about 20 minutes while we were having dinner.)

We set the clocks back one hour before we went to bed so we sort of got to sleep in a bit. The waves were pretty big during the night and into the early morning. John says they were coming sideways at the boat (yawing). We got up at 9:00 am and went for breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet. The French toast at the buffet was coated in powdered sugar and was way too sweet.

Josh went to Oceaneer lab and spent his whole time watching the kids play Mario Cart. John and I went to the fitness centre and worked out for a half hour or so. We saw some whales (Orcas) while we were in here. Nothing super close but there none the less.

After we cleaned up we got Josh and went to Deck 10 to see if we could still see the whales – which of course we didn’t. While we were up there we got pictures with Goofy and Chip n Dale.

We then headed back to Beach Blanket Buffet to get some lunch. I had a bit of baby potatos and two pieces of halibut wrapped in bacon. The bacon made it way too salty. Josh had a venison sausage which was flavoured amazingly. We grabbed Josh some fries and chicken fingers from Goofys Diner and went to see the movie African Cats. It was a great nature show.

At this point we were at the glacier in Tracy Arm so we went up and spent an hour and a half watching that and taking pictures. Josh asked us to go with him to the Oceaneer Lab so we went in and convinced him to actually play Wii baseball. He seemed much happier this time while he was actually doing something. John and I took off to sit at Cove Café for a half hour before we went for dinner, watching the Captain turn the boat around and start back down the fjord.

Our room steward Edrien made Josh a dog and John and I two swans kissing. He also gave us a couple of anniversary buttons (as it is our anniversary on Sunday).

Dinner was in Parrot Cay tonight. John had Jamican Jerk Chicken, Rib-eye steak, and a sundae for dessert; I had asparagus soup, Rib-eye steak and ordered Lemon merangue pie which was way too sweet; Josh had mini burger, fries and veggies with a mickey mouse ice cream bar (surprise surprise).

After dinner we lined up to get some more character pictures done; Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to be exact. We also had professional ones done on a white background. Then we quickly rushed up to the Buena Vista Theatre to watch Toy Story 2. Josh needs to hit the hay tomorrow as we will be in Skagway.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:09 AM   #13
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Day 4 - Skagway

Weather was overcast 55 farenheit

John woke up at 7:00 and went for a coffee. He was supposed to let us sleep until 7:30 am however he was back within 15 minutes telling me “we needed to get ready to go since the whole ship was up and leaving for town”. We slowly made our way up to Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast again. Off the boat by 8:00 and walked into Skagway.

The weather was overcast but didn’t seem to cold. John went to Diamonds International to buy me an anniversary present. We started buying souveniors for the kids back at home. We bought Josh some gold flakes and Bucky beads (Josh saved $20 towards his beads and John put in the rest). John bought a tshirt, a jacket, and a cultured antler carving with a knife. I bought a tshirt and a northern lights card. The reason I bought a card was that when we looked at the prints they wanted $50 for the exact same size so I bought a card for $5 that I can frame.

We went and looked in the museum, it was small but John enjoyed it. It started to get windy out. After wandering around and looking in stores and taking lots of pictures, we headed back to the ship for something to eat. It was 2:00 and we had chicken fingers and fries from Pluto’s Planet. These are the best chicken strips I have ever had.

Josh headed off to Oceaneer lab to watch and play Wii again. John and I headed back to town because I saw this beautiful Pandora bracelet earlier on. I usually have a really hard time spending money on myself but really liked this bracelet. John bought me the bracelet and one pendant (a little bear), I bought one pendant (Mickey Mouse) and we shared payment of the third pendant (a light pink swirly pendant). Now every time we are out on a trip I can get a new pendant.

As we were going back to the ship right on the pier we watched the seals eating the salmon. It was really neat because they were right there catching the salmon. We watched one of the seals think it was really smart because she was laying on her back eating her salmon. We think there were 5 seals in total (we saw 4 at one time and then a really big one after that). We walked onto the ship and grabbed Josh so that he could look at the seals also. Josh liked watching the seal eat the salmon. Boys!!!

Once we were back on the ship we had an hour and a half until dinner; we decided to just have some quiet time in the cabin. Josh wants to sit and play with his Bucky beads, I need to journal and John just wants to sit and rest.

We are back at Tritons and Josh can’t wait to have shrimp for an appetizer. David, Shirley, Mark and Janet are all at Palo for dinner. Kaz, Ruby, Kimi and us will all have dinner together. After dinner I think we may go watch Cars 2 in 3D.

No shrimp tonight John had king crab, rib eye steak and ice cream sundae, a mickey mouse bar and a lemonade ice cream drink; I had white and green asparagus, rib eye steak, and some really neat vanilla desert; and Josh of course had another burger and a mickey mouse bar.

After dinner we did go and watch Cars 2, it was so neat to see it in 3D. I got pictures of Josh with Dopey and Ariel. Then back to the room to put Josh to bed. I then had to do some laundry 10:15 pm – midnight – man am I tired. Laundry was $2 for washing and $2 for drying and just down the hallway.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #14
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great trip report....can't wait to read more!
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:16 PM   #15
grandmatotwo
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Day 5 - Juneau

Weather overcast but the sun did come out a bit. 59 Farenheit

John was up at 6:30, Josh and I awake around 8:00. We wanted to go and have the buffet where Agnelo and the group were so I took our family to Tritons and we really wanted Parrot Cay. It was an OK breaky but not the buffet with our servers.

We got off the boat and caught the shuttle into Juneau at 10:00. We took the Mt. Roberts Tram up the mountain. John was a bit freaked out when he saw it as he is afraid of heights. We didn't bring the binoculars with us and we definately should have. The views are amazing. We decided to walk around the easy loop (.5 km). Before we started the walk we got a really cool picture of John pulling Josh out of the mouth of a bear. We didn’t get the opportunity to see the eagle since they were taking a lunch break while we were up there.

We took lots of pictures and Josh was busy doing his usual picking leaves and asking questions. John asked Josh to smell a flower and the next thing you know Josh is gone. Down into the bushes and all you can see is these little hands holding onto the trail. I ran over and grabbed him and pulled him up. Looking back I sort of wish that I could have asked him to wait so I could catch it on film. It scared the crap out of all of us – Josh especially. So be careful on this trail.

We considered going back up to Mt. Roberts with the binoculars but played it by ear to see how much time we had left. We wandered around the town of Juneau. It has approximately 30,000 people and is the capital of Alaska.

We came back to the boat at 2:00 to have a bit of lunch at Beach Blanket Buffet (it was oriental choices), Josh had chicken strips. We went up to deck 10 and lay in the sun for a half hour. Josh was busy playing with his Buckey Beads. Josh and I went and had quiet time for 45 minutes while John went back to deck 10 with his binoculars. He saw 6 mountain goats and spent a bunch of time watching them move around on the mountains. When Josh and I came back up he was showing us where they were and I spotted 2 more. Josh even managed to see 1 of them.

We headed down to get pictures with Peter Pan and Hook. Then I took a bunch of our stuff back to the room while Josh and John went to play ping pong. We met up at Animator Palette for dinner. John had thyme chicken w/mashed potatoes and 2 apple crumble; I had mushroom risotto, pennetta pasta, lemon soufflé; and Josh ordered a mini burger and mickey mouse bar.

We went out onto deck 4 but it was quite windy. I got a couple of pictures of Josh and John in the leftover sun. We went straight to the movie theatre and got there as the doors were opening for Toy Story the Musical. It was packed in there and the staff was moving people over so they could seat more visitors. Remember if the show starts at 8:30 get there before 8:15. Then we went back to the room for Josh to go to bed.
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