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Old 01-22-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
ldeninge
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Disturbing Disney Dreams...Jan 13, 7 night Western

Feb 2006 - My in-laws 40th wedding anniversary…we ask about throwing a party for them and they decline. Instead, they announce they’d like to treat everyone to a family vacation and produce cruise brochures. I was skeptical - we’ve never cruised before, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to be in a boat on the open seas for a week. After some family discussion, the trip is booked for Jan 2007.

August 2006 – I start researching everything I can find about Disney cruises. In the process, I find the DISBoards – a treasure! Answers to all my questions – friendly contacts, and eventually even other folks going on the same cruise!

January 2007 – the cast of characters:
  • Opa (my father in law)
  • Oma (my mother in law)
  • BIL #1 (my husband’s oldest brother),
  • SIL (BIL # 1 wife) and their 3 children –
  • Ne (nephew) - 11
  • Ni (niece) – 8
  • Ne - 4
  • BIL # 2 (my husband’s middle brother)
  • DH (Paul)
  • Myself (Lauri)
  • DD-5 (Katherine)
  • DS-20 months (Jacob)

Now, if I can get the photo link working, I'll add more, with pictures...
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-26-2007 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:33 PM   #2
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Okay...you got me hooked....But what is so disturbing??
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2003 ~ Twins first Disney trip! Back in 2005 & 2007
Feb. 2007 DISNEY MAGIC!! Jackie's 40th birthday Sail-abration!
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:23 PM   #3
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Just had to chime in...

...my parents took me, DH, and our kids (DD 7 and DS 5) on the Eastern Magic this past March to celebrate THEIR 40th anniversary, and my kids call them Oma and Opa too!! Look forward to hearing about your trip.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:08 PM   #4
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Quick tips from my first time cruising

Worth packing:
1. Sea bands
2. Favorite hair products (the hard water, salt, sand, and sunblock made my hair flat and lifeless.)
3. Walkie talkies (worked ok on board, great on excursions - and fun for listening to others' conversations )
4. Bottled water
5. Lightweight stroller for the airport
6. Autograph book from home (I ‘made’ one by taking a cheap 4x6 photo album and cutting 8.5x11 cardstock into fourths. That way Katherine had 4 pieces each of variety of colored paper. We put her name and our stateroom on it and put the book and a pen in a ziplock bag to carry around. So when she saw a character, she’d pull out the color paper she wanted them to sign on and the pen, they could easily sign on it, and we could slip it back in. Now she has a little photo album of her with the character and the autograph.)
7. Over the door shoe hanger (others have extolled the merits of these. ‘nuff said.)
8. Pop-up mesh laundry hamper (fit right in the closet and handles to carry to the laundry room.
9. On-board baby jogger from guest services – free! Able to take on shore. Had mesh pocket in back that our cheapie stroller didn’t.
10. Quick drying shorts for beach excursions

Wish I’d brought:
1. Another pair of warm pjs each (A/C in our room was chilly)
2. My own body lotion (didn’t like the Disney products, especially with all the pool time!)
3. Notebook for keeping notes
4. Flashlight (to look under the beds for missing toys!)

Wasted space by packing:
1. Nightlight (we left the BR light on instead – no plug-ins for nightlight)
2. Lullaby CDs for bedtime (no CD player, or radio in the stateroom)
3. Sippy cups and baby silverware (our son did fine with the cups with straw/lids and mostly fingerfoods)
4. The ‘baby harness/leash’ I brought for Jacob in crowds (when I really felt I needed him close, I didn’t feel secure hanging on to a loose rope to him, and he wanted to be carried a lot anyway – so either he was free to walk, or I wanted to have a hand on him.)
5. Looney tunes t-shirt (yes I packed this by accident! I was afraid to leave my son in Flounders wearing it – that he might be abused by the staff…
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-26-2007 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:58 PM   #5
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1st picture

Hi - trying to see if I can figure out this picture insertion deal - no easy path to drop and drag or cut and paste, no, it requires multiple steps to get the picture small enough (or else everyone will just see my DD's eye on their screen...)
so here goes-


We had ordered custom Mickey/Minnie shirts, so it was fun to have a group picture on embarkation.

Standing, L to R – SIL, Ni8, BIL#1 holding Ne4, Opa, Oma.
Kneeling, L to R – Ne11, BIL#2, me with DS 20 mo. (Jacob), DD5 (Katherine), DH (Paul).
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-26-2007 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:35 AM   #6
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Day 1 - embarkation

Friday Jan 12:
We flew from Cedar Rapids at 11:30am – we used the airport van shuttle. They picked us up at our house, helped with our bags, and provided car seats for the kids in the van, so we didn’t have to worry about that. It’s the first time I’ve used that, but it was money well spent. For 4 people roundtrip, it cost $85 (plus tip), but saved us $40 in parking (plus no scraping ice/snow off our vehicle upon coming home). After loading everything at home, we headed the 4 blocks to Katherine’s school to pick her up. Yes, we sent her to kindergarten for 90 minutes that morning! In spite of Paul rolling his eyes at me, 1. she was happy to go, 2. I was concerned about possible weather delays and didn’t want to have to deal with explaining that to her (as there was sleet forecasted) and most of all, 3. didn’t want her underfoot while trying to get out of the house! She thought it was great fun to get picked up at school to go on vacation, and her teacher said it would be fine.

At check in, we checked 5 bags, and had 4 carryons (plus a small lightweight stroller). We valet-checked the 2 larger carryons (our change of clothing/swimsuits/toiletries) and the stroller at the gate – it was nice to have them out of the way during the flight. Then, we just picked them up when deplaning. Upon arriving at our connection in Cincinnati, we saw Oma & Opa. They were flying the same flight to MCO, so it was nice to share the 2nd leg of the flight with them. Jacob took a 30min nap on the plane (better than nothing).

Just a note on our family’s normal routine – everyone is up at 7am and to bed by 8pm at our house. We knew we wouldn’t be able to keep to this on vacation, but wanted to try to maintain some semblance of order. Jacob still naps 1-2 hours in the afternoons, so we wanted to try to have that happen, too, most days. I can hear you chuckling at me, but just so you know that was our hope! This is one reason for the ‘Disturbed Disney Dreams’ title – our sleep deprivation was so profound, the whole trip was a bit of a blur!

We got into MCO at about 4:30pm. Instead of valet-checking our 2 carry-ons as requested, the gate attendant in Cincinnati had just checked them so they were under the plane in the regular baggage compartment and were very slow coming on the baggage carousel. After about 20 minutes of anxiety about lost luggage, they eventually showed up on the belt. We flagged a porter to help us with our now GIGANTIC cart of luggage (Oma & Opa had added their 5 pieces to the mix!)

We were staying at the Hyatt Orlando Int’l, so we just went upstairs. By the time we got there, BIL#1 and family and BIL#2 were already at the Hyatt registration desk, so it was exciting to have everyone together.
We were pleased with the Hyatt. Although pricey, it was nice to not have to have a taxi after the flight, or to have to leave the building for supper. The service was excellent, and our requested crib was already set up in our room when we got there. I was concerned that it might be noisy but we only rarely heard planes at all.

In the morning, we put our bags out in the hallway with the green Disney tags. I did the first several bags incorrectly – stuck them together completely. No big deal, but it was hard to get them off when we were disembarking the boat to put new tags on. (What I don’t understand is why they make the whole thing peel off if you’re not supposed to peel it off… oh well, one of the mysteries of the universe, I guess!)

After breakfast, we went down at 9:30 or so and found the big white Mickey Gloved Disney cast members (CM) in the lobby. We checked in for our bus transport to the terminal. It was a short ride and the kids enjoyed watching the video with the Disney characters getting on the boat. It was so exciting to get close to the terminal and see the HUGE ship there!

Check in at the terminal was simple – we were boarding group 8. At kids’ check in (long line!!), Katherine didn’t want the ID band on, but when she realized her little brother ‘doesn’t get one’ then she thought it was cool. Ah, the psychology of a 5 year old! Previous posts have complained about the kids’ clubs bracelets being big and bulky, with a locator box on them. Hers was just a simple ID band, so no big deal.

We enjoyed looking at the model of the ship in the terminal lobby, and got our picture taken with Goofy. Our first ‘character meet’ of the week! Eventually, Katherine was thrilled that we were able to go in the big ‘Mickey ears’ and on board!

Once on deck we went up to Topsider’s buffet for lunch – we were starving! After lunch we found our room - # 7606, right by the aft lifts on the starboard side. The rooms were opened at 1:30, and we decorated our door with our names and the Mickey/Minnie picture. It was such a handy location – right close to the restaurants and the Mickey pool. We didn’t have trouble with noise, once in a while we’d hear someone go by outside, but on the whole it seemed very soundproof. It was a verandah room – cat 6. We enjoyed the verandah, it was nice to look out and see the ports and other boats. My first thought upon walking in the room was ‘this is considered a big stateroom???’ but actually after the first day it did seem plenty roomy, and had lots of storage. Essentially having 2 bathrooms was great (since there is no way 2 people could fit in a bathroom at a time!)

Katherine and I put on swimsuits and went up to the Mickey pool while Paul stayed in the room to unpack and try to get Jacob to nap (unsuccessful…this will be a trend, you’ll see!) We had requested a pack-n-play and it was already in the room for us, so that was wonderful. After swimming, we changed to go to the lifeboat drill. Katherine was quite uncooperative about the whole idea of putting on the life vest, etc. Even after we explained the reasoning, she resisted. Finally, she said ‘but I don’t want to get in the life boat in the water!’ Once she realized that all she had to do was put on the vest and stand there, no problem!

Then, we headed up to the Sail Away party on deck. It was lots of fun! The CMs are so energetic and I don’t know how the characters are able to dance in those costumes, but we are still singing and dancing to ‘Hey, Hey Baby, Oo! Ah! I want to Kno-o-o-w if you’ll be my GIRL!’ That was one of the most fun moments of the cruise for me – up on deck in the sun, singing and dancing with the kids, laughing at ourselves (and everyone else) on the big jumbotron screen, blowing bubbles…



After that we got showered up/changed for dinner. We had the 6pm seating, and LAPLAPL rotation, so Lumiere’s the first night. Our family (all 12 of us) was seated together – we took up 2 full tables. That was our group time together – the rest of the time we kind of each did our own thing, occasionally meeting up for an activity.


SIDE NOTE FOR NEWBIES:
The dining schedule was very confusing to me at first – I couldn’t figure out if we were to eat at different times in different restarants, etc. Just to clarify if there are any others out there who are confused like me:

You will get your dining tickets with your Key to the World Cards upon check in at the Terminal. It will tell you what your dining rotation is – which restaurant order you have. Then, the Navigator in your room will have what time you dine that night (depending on the restaurant you’re in the first night). That time will stay the same the whole cruise, but your restaurant will change each night.

There are 2 dining arrangements:
1. Early (or Main) seating – times are assigned 5:30, 5:45 or 6pm.
2. Late seating – assigned for 8:00, 8:15 or 8:30.

They stagger the times within the dining arrangement so the galley doesn’t have to send up all the same courses at the same time to different restaurants, I guess. Also, it does get people moving around the ship at slightly different times. Dinner lasted about 1 ½ - 2 hours each evening, so there was about 30 minutes for servers to get the dining room ready for the late diners.

Back to dinner at Lumiere’s… we met our servers, Mo (Muhammed) from Indonesia and Claudio from Chile. Here’s a picture (from Animator’s night) of Oma, Mo, and Claudio.



They were fantastic – really, everything that is said about the quality of the service doesn’t even do justice. They were attentive but not overbearing, and we loved the magic tricks/mind bender puzzles that they did with crayons/table service (we were delighted every time!) Katherine loved that her condiments were always made in the shape of Mickey – here she is laughing at Claudio – they made every guest feel so special.



Here is a picture of a trick balancing 4 forks and 3 toothpicks on a wine bottle cork!



The dining room serves 500 people at once, and food arrives promptly, hot and delicious, just as ordered. I didn’t ask for any adaptations – I think you just would get the regular meal, and then anything extra you ask for in addition. One evening Paul remarked to Mo that his steak was very good, but that next time, a little more rare would be better - it was a bit overdone for medium rare. Within a few minutes another steak arrived, over Paul's protests that really, he’d eaten the other one – it was fine! We ordered a 7 bottle wine package for all the adults at the table to share and so that was fun to have different wines to try every night.

Personally, Lumiere’s was my favorite restaurant – I liked my food the best there, and maybe because we ate 3 times there, it felt most familiar. I had the Pecan-crusted halibut the first night, a chicken breast with mushroom stuffing another night, but can’t remember the remaining entrées. After supper, Katherine declined dessert, so we ordered ‘Nothing’ for her – that really cracked her up!

The food was always delicious on the cruise. I’ve heard some say that it’s not as ‘gourmet’ as other cruise lines, but I think with a mostly family crowd, it’s nice to have reasonably familiar food for people – not super spicy or exotic. I especially liked that on the kids’ menu the old standbys (cheeseburger, mac and cheese, pizza, chicken strips) were joined by different choices each night – Katherine loved the soups and the steak, and Jacob liked the spaghetti and meatballs. They also tried the fish sticks, chicken with gravy, etc. I was very impressed with the presence of fruits and vegetables everywhere. Of course the kids’ meals came with fries, but they also came with veggies! We requested extra veggies for the kids’ appetizers each night (so they eat them when they’re hungry ) , and they had green beans, broccoli, baby corn, carrots, etc. Of course the desserts were also excellent!

There were pretty much the same options on the breakfast/lunch buffet lines each day, but it was a good variety. We also were pleased with the smaller serving sizes – it was nice to have smaller amounts that I could actually eat most of each course and still be hungry for the next one. This felt like it minimized some of the waste of food. Anyone who wanted double entrées or a second of anything was quickly brought more.

The first evening, the boat was rocking pretty well – I’m not sure if it was worse that evening because of the cold weather that swept across the nation that day, or if we just didn’t have our sea legs yet. The ship report called the waves ‘moderate’ so I don’t think we were being total pansies. Ne11 was the most uncomfortable. In fact, I gave him the sea-band wristbands I’d brought because I felt sorry for him. They must have worked well, as he didn’t remove them for 7 days. (In fact, he’s probably still got them on…! Haha) I could feel the motion of the boat, and found it slightly unpleasant, but not awful. I did take a Dramamine that evening – just to ward off any problems. Honestly, I think the glass of wine helped more than anything else – the wine gave us the spins but they were in the opposite direction from the boat spins, so it cancelled out!

After dinner our kids got pjs on/teeth brushed, etc. Paul and I traded off each evening going to the show at 8:30 with Katherine and the rest of our family, and the other stayed in the room and put Jake to bed. The first night was the variety show – Let the Magic Begin – Katherine thought the magician was funny. She collapsed into bed and was out like a light (at 9:45!) Jacob had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. He kept crying out every 10 min or so. We thought maybe he was sea sick, since his pack ‘n’ play was set up longways in the room – so the rocking was head to foot. So we turned his pack ‘n’ play crossways and that seemed to help him get to sleep. Who knows?

Up tomorrow – Key West and BUTTERFLIES!
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-26-2007 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:46 PM   #7
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Hello fellow Iowan! Enjoying your report! Look forward to reading more.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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Enjoying your report! We had Claudio as our assistant server in May and thought he was great!

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Old 01-23-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
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Lovin' your report. Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 01-24-2007, 11:38 AM   #10
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Great job!!!
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:59 PM   #11
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Day 2 - Sunday, Key West

We all woke up about 7:30, and went up for breakfast at Topsider’s. Since it was right above our room, that was one of our favorite things – it felt like our own private restaurant. Although it could be busy, we typically ate at different hours than the crowds, so didn’t have too many problems with it being so crowded. Katherine’s favorite thing was taking the ‘secret stairs’ back down to our room.

The 5-7yr olds had open time at the lab, so we all went there to check it out. After playing together for awhile, Katherine wanted to stay, so we checked her in and left.

It was also family time at the Flounder’s Reef, so Jake and I went down there. He loved it – played for about an hour while I sat in the rocking chair (and actually cat-napped!) I got to meet Szewong and family and the boys played for a while. It was fun to put a face with a name. It was funny because after meeting someone, I later seemed to see them everywhere. With 3000 people on board, you wouldn’t think that would happen! While we were in Flounders, Paul went back to his Happy Place (the 7th Aft Deck). He felt like it was his private cruise deck – sunny, protected from wind, and hardly anyone there.



For lunch, Katherine paged to be picked up, so I grabbed panini sandwiches and wraps from Goofy’s Galley and took them back to the room. We loved that – so quick and delicious! After lunch, we tried for an hour to get Jacob to take a nap. Zero luck. He didn’t want to miss anything!

So, Paul went down to guest services and got a stroller – this was great! No charge (just a $200 deposit) and we could take it off the ship, leave it in our room, return it, whatever.

We went ashore to Key West at 1:30. From my research, I thought there was a trolley that would run the length of the island that we could get on/off at our leisure. Apparently there is no such thing, exactly. We would have had to buy the $25 tour tickets (and our kids wouldn’t like a 90 min tour…) It’s only a mile to the other end of the Key, and flat to boot, so we just walked it. It was interesting to see the architecture, and weather was lovely. Katherine could even perch on the edge of the stroller, so both kids could ride. Some have complained about the offensive T-shirts in shops, etc. but our kids are too young to ‘get’ that sort of subtlety, so it wasn’t a big deal to us.



We made a loop for our walk - we walked out on Whitehead St. It is more residential, shadier, and less touristy and then walked back on Duvall St. so we could get some smoothies and frozen lemonade on the walk back to the boat. (Also, I was glad to see a Walgreen’s on Duvall St. I’d left my hairspray at the hotel in Orlando, so needed to buy more.) Of course, we took a photo at the southernmost tip of the US. Although it was no big deal to me, I still had to laugh at the guy who drove up to the corner in his convertible (top down, of course), snapped a picture with his phone and then drove off. That’s a ‘been there, done that’ moment!

One block from the southernmost point is the Butterfly Conservatory. This was great! It got thumbs up from everyone in our family. The price was $10/adult, $6 for kids, under 3 is free. It was beautiful and interesting.



Both kids and I had butterflies land on us, so that was very exciting! Here is Katherine right after receiving her ‘butterfly kiss’ on the arm…





After getting back to Mallory Square, we walked the one block over to the Key West Aquarium. We elected to not stick around for the feeding, but did walk around and see the turtles, stingrays, and nurse sharks in the water.
It’s a place you definitely want to HOLD on tightly to your child. The pools are big, and only a rocky ledge 1 foot high and a sign that says ‘No hands - we bite’ to keep inquisitive kids out. Yikes! Highlight of this place: no children fell in the water, and we left with all our fingers intact.

We got back on board at 5pm, got ready for dinner. Sunday night was Animator’s Palette, and we were looking forward to the color changes. It was neat, but not very dramatic – I think I was expecting something more stunning. (I guess it’s sometimes it’s better to have some surprises!)

Another SIDE NOTE about dining: Our Ne4 fell asleep EVERY night at dinner. In fact, it became quite comical. Right about 6:25 he would slowly tip to the side, and they’d just lay him down in the chair. He’d wake up again about 7:15, ready to finish eating.



So after the first two nights of this, Mo wanted to bring the kids’ meals first. However, for our kids, they are pretty well behaved waiting for food at a restaurant (as long as they aren’t starved) but once they’ve eaten, they’re ready to go. So it worked better for us to have all our courses come together – kids’ appetizers with our appetizers, kids’ entrees with our entrées. Our neice and nephews had theirs come first, which worked well for them. Usually by dessert, Jacob was ready to get down and was tired, so he would just relax in my arms, with his binky and then when dessert came, he might have a few more bites. Even if he didn’t want to do that, I didn’t mind eating just dessert with a child on my lap. I was so afraid that 1 ½- 2 hours at a restaurant would be a real problem, but the kids were very well behaved – much better than I expected.

After dinner, Paul took Katherine down to see the princesses in the atrium. Unfortunately for the photo ops, she was already in pjs… So she enjoyed it, but the pictures look a bit silly. She got pictures/autographs of Cinderella, Pocahontas, Wendy, and Belle (this was added to the Donald Duck one she already had).



She was sound asleep again at 9:45. However, Jacob was still complaining occasionally when Opa came over to our room to stay with the (supposed to be sleeping) kids while Paul and I went to the Match Your Mate game. This was something I’d really looked forward to doing. We caught the last few minutes of Freddy Fusion’s show and enjoyed that. By the time they were starting Match Your Mate, it was 11pm and we were too tired to think about staying out another hour or more. I really wish they had done some of the adult shows an hour or so earlier. Some of the kids DON’T sleep in on mornings! So, exhausted, we tumbled into bed, but Jacob was still completely unable to settle down for sleep – he fussed and complained until finally we gave up and put him in bed with us. Of course, he promptly cashed out… Thank goodness the rooms have a queen size bed and not a double!

Up next… day at sea – potato races!
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-29-2007 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 01-24-2007, 09:09 PM   #12
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Great report! Can't wait to hear about the "Mickey 200" aka potato races!!
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:24 AM   #13
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great report so far!! looking forward to the rest !!
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:47 PM   #14
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Monday Jan 15 – At Sea

Our character breakfast was scheduled for this morning at 8:15, so off we trotted to Parrot Cay with cameras and autograph book in hand. Katherine wore her Snow White outfit (recycling the Halloween costume!) We had a small group - Oma joined us, but everyone else decided to sleep in. Opa isn’t an early riser, neither is BIL#2. BIL#1 and family had a WDW vacation planned after the trip, so planned to get their fill of characters then.

It was very enjoyable to see so many characters and have them come to us – instead of waiting in line. We also enjoyed Chip and Dale’s hand jive dance show. Katherine was just about beside herself dancing and swinging her napkin around! By this point, Jacob was getting over his terror of giant stuffed animals wanting to give him high-fives, and had learned a new word “Mee-Kee-MOWW!” (that would be Mickey Mouse if you’re not up on toddler-ese).

We saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale (thank goodness they label the aprons for those crazy chipmunks!) Some came around more than once, so we got pictures and autographs of all. (Side note – I’m glad we had 2 cameras –it’s just too hard to have a camera ready all the time and eats up the batteries.) They ask to have the kids all sit on the same side of the table, parents on the other. However, with Jake in a high chair, he was seated on the end. So our kids were on the corner, Paul was beside Katherine, and I was on Jacob's left side with Oma on my left. (So basically, we didn’t follow directions at all, but we did the best we could.)



One thing that never failed to crack Paul and me up was the character ‘handlers’. For those new to DCL, it’s some poor staff member (low seniority, I'm sure) who walks around with the costumed characters and keeps them moving in the right direction, keeps them from stumbling over low lying objects (like small children) that they can’t see because the holes in the head are too small and dark, hands them the autograph book ready to go, and then tells them when it’s time to move on. (What else do they have to do – assist in the bathroom, too? Oh, I don’t think I want to think about it! ) So anyway, since these poor folks never get pictures taken, here’s one with Pluto AND his ‘handler’.



Upon returning to our room, there was a phone message from SopandBass (Sharon & Steve) and their daughter. Katherine had corresponded with her on email and the girls had exchanged pictures. So, they were excited to meet. Sharon asked if we were going to the DIS Meet in Lumiere’s. We were planning on going to the Mickey Pool soon, so after getting everyone’s suits on under clothes, we finally got up to Lumiere’s. However, by the time we (finally!) arrived at 9:55, Lumiere’s was already closing, and the ‘bouncer’ barricaded my way and wouldn’t let me in to see if there were still any DISers there. Bummer.

So we went on up to the Mickey Pool – Jacob had a blast in the splash pad for the toddlers. As Paul observed – the water swirls down the drain constantly – kind of a giant toilet for the kids to splash around in… oh well, he was happy to have some water play.



I was afraid he’d constantly try to escape to the big pool, but once we got his darling sister to quit saying ‘Look at the BIG pool, buddy, don’t you wish you could come over HERE?’ he was very content in his fountains. She especially loved the Mickey ‘hot tub’. The kids were packed in there like sardines, and they all kept hopping in and out – thank goodness there were separate hot tubs for adults. No spa etiquette from the 7 and under crowd!



I was concerned about cruising in January that it would be warm enough to swim. Even on the coolest days it was so warm and sunny (80+)and the pools are kind of shaded from the wind by the smokestacks. I know people complain about the setup of the pools, but by having them set down low in the deck, it keeps them out of the wind. Also, the water was always nice and warm (86). Maybe it’s the urine content, who knows?

By 11:30 I thought the kids needed to get out of the sun, so I got sandwiches at Goofy’s Galley (Topsider’s wasn’t opened yet) and Jake and I went back to the room, hoping he’d take a nap after that (unsuccessful after 90 minutes of trying – do you see the trend here?)

Katherine wasn’t hungry yet, so she and Paul looked around the ship and found the Mickey 200 Potato races. Although they didn’t arrive in time to be racers, she got to sit by the finish line and call the winners, so she thought that was fun. They got lunch at Topsider’s after that and were back to the room at 1:30.



At this point in the cruise, I had a meltdown (yeah, me, not the kids). I probably should mention that my only previous experience on an oceancraft (other than a couple ferry rides) was on a whale-watching excursion several years ago. It was a miserable memory – there were no whales, I was queasy, and wanted OFF the boat – in fact, that was the most upsetting thing – there was no escape.

I was starting to have that panicky feeling again this day. I wanted Jacob to take his naps so he would be able to handle the late evenings – especially the important family dinner-time. I wanted Katherine to stop arguing, ignoring when spoken to, and being so S-L-O-W and uncooperative with activities that weren’t her idea (and some that were). I thought the room was cold (we couldn’t get the thermostat to heat up). I knew that if the children continued to not get enough sleep, their behavior would deteriorate badly and I dreaded a big public disaster because of that. I missed my normal routines and activities. I couldn’t find anything I was looking for in the room and I was constantly running back to the room for something I’d forgotten (camera, swim diaper, wrong shoes, sunglasses, etc.) I had no personal space, no escape, and there were still 5 DAYS TO GO!!! I wanted so much for this to be a fun vacation – and our previous vacations were (granted, those were 2-3 days long)! This was just TOO MUCH for me to handle this day. Poor Paul! He comforted me and sent me off to the deck to sit in the sun for a while alone, while he and the kids watched a movie in the room.

Sorry about the rant. Just wanting to be honest about all the things I experienced with on the trip…the highs and the lows.

Anyway, so I went and sat in the sun with a towel on my head on the 7 aft deck and had a pity party. I resolved to readjust my expectations of my 5 year old. If she wants to hop on all the blue squares in the carpet (for 20 minutes) and that is fun for her, we’ll do that – even if it means missing the princess in the atrium. Instead of trying to squeeze her into my idea of what a ‘perfect’ vacation should be, I needed to try to let go of my ‘travel agent’ mode and try to get into ‘spontaneous fun’ mode. I struggled with that because Disney doesn’t have a lot of room for ‘spontaneous fun’. If you aren’t there on time, or don’t make your reservation, you miss out. However, we didn’t spend much money for this trip, and my in-laws were happy that everyone was together having fun, so that’s what I should try to allow to happen.

When I got back to the room, it was about 2:15. We decided to all go for a walk. Down to guest services to pick up another stroller, and we ‘happened’ to walk past the OC to see ‘what was going on’. When Katherine saw the club, she immediately wanted to stay and play. So, Paul and I signed her in and walked Jacob around and around (and around and around) the promenade deck on 4 in the stroller. This was to become a favorite haunt for us the entire cruise in the afternoons, as DS fell asleep!
He slept for 1 ½ hrs in the stroller!
AND THE HEAVENS OPENED! AND THE ANGELS SANG!

We met up with BIL#2 and Oma on our walking, so they joined Paul with his trek. I excused myself and went to the OC to just have some ‘fun time’ with Katherine and try to reenergize myself with her. We played there from 4:30-5:15, on the computers, the pirate ship, and with the hula hoops. It was great, and just what we needed.





Since Monday was formal night, we went back to the room to clean up. Ironically, formal and semi-formal nights were the only nights we didn’t have to fight with Katherine to get her ready for supper. She loved wearing her fancy dresses. We certainly didn’t do black tie, but wore our ‘Sunday best’ and that was fun. It seemed like there was a lot of variance in how much people dress up, but I didn’t notice very many people ‘inappropriately’ dressed for dinner. The only time I noticed was on Friday evening – after Castaway Cay. Maybe people were late getting back from the island - a few people in tank tops and shorts.

Anyway, we got down to the atrium and I really wanted our picture taken in front of the Mickey Statue. Of course, that line was about a mile long (guess my bright idea wasn't that original) so we went up to the only picture that didn’t have a line – the ship photo (which personally, I think is a strange background. Is it supposed to look like we missed the boat and are standing on the dock at some exotic port of call while it sails away? But, I digress.)



I was pleased with how it turned out, other than that Jacob is almost entirely hidden behind his sister. I wish the photographer had asked her to step to one side or the other just a bit. Note the Cinderella doll discreetly tucked in her hand making her way into our family photo. Unfortunately, that was the last known existence of Cinderella. Katherine still has not noticed her disappearance (after being home for almost a week). Paul and I turned the stateroom upside down Friday night while packing (when I discovered her absence) to no avail. Our conclusion was that either she found the Disney boat a wonderful place to spend the remainder of her life, or she finally found a method to end her misery and jumped overboard.

In spite of taking the ‘short line’ for photos, we were still 15 min late for dinner (although BIL#1 and family were 20 min late because they were in another line). The servers were gracious about it, but I felt bad – I know their time is really on the line to get everything done.

Before dessert, Katherine hustled back to the room and changed into pjs for Goofy’s Pajama party. She was very excited about this, and chose it over the Golden Mickeys. I told her I would come and check with her before I went to the show to be sure she wanted to stay. When I got there at 8:15 she was lying on the floor with all the other kids. First, the obligatory delay with the blue hand soap.
SIDE NOTE: For a hilarious blue soap story – see suzynuprin’s trip report “Lost Luggage” at
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1330038
but please read after you’re done reading mine, because her report is MUCH more amusing!

Anyway, upon spotting my child on the floor in her pjs, I tiptoed up and asked, “honey, do you want to stay here or come with me to the show?” The response was “SHHHH! Mom, we’re supposed to pretend to be asleep and surprise Goofy when he comes in!!”

So I went to the Golden Mickeys with the rest of the extended family (sans Paul and Jacob who were hopefully heading off to dreamland in our room). I enjoyed the show, but am not a big ‘stage show’ fan. I liked Disney Dreams better, and Paul thought Twice Charmed was the best one of the week. After picking Katherine up from the club, she was out like a light when her head hit the pillow. Jacob was also asleep, so that was nice.

Up next – Jake takes Flounders by storm…
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*** Jan 11, 2014 -- 7-nite Eastern - coming up!
*** Feb 7, 2010 -- 4-nite Bahamas --
*** Jan 2007 -- 7 nite Western -- Trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1333631

Last edited by ldeninge; 01-26-2007 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:14 PM   #15
plutospup
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"...and the Angles Sang!"

Oh, yeah, I've been there!

I tend to get awake early (5:30 -6:00am) and relax in a hot tub, followed by danish, a walk around deck 9 and/or 10, and a light breakfast at Topsiders or Lumiere's before my family gets awake. It's my time. My personal space. Now don't get me wrong, I love my family, but being together 24/7 for 9 days is too much for all of us! By midafternoon DW INSISTS on all of us taking a brief nap. We might miss a few things, but honestly we're 100% better in the evening. (I've been told I might be 'cranky' without my nap )

I'm loving your TR with all of the pics! Keep up the good work!
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