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Old 12-17-2008, 09:45 PM   #121
King Charming
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Personalized Disney Video

http://www.sun7news.com/spread.php

This is the address for this cool video. It was posted over on our cruise thread (thanks glindamood). I think you can send it to others from their site. Either way, seeing your name all over the place during the clip is really awesome. Thanks for reading along.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:46 PM   #122
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So at this point, plans are still very general. It looks like we will again take the bus to Hell in Grand Cayman, staying for more than 10 minutes this time (why?), then hit the shops near the port for T-shirts and cigars. In Cozumel we will head over to Chankanaab so DS 14 can do a dolphin swim. I'm not sure about transportation and entrance fees, and I'm sure the dolphin deal will be an extra $100+. The rest of us will pass on the porpoise petting and will probably wander around and soak up what ever is available.
I'm still holding the line about no formal night. With the potential saving in the multi-hundred dollar range, it just aint gonna happen. We promised ourselves we'd go to Topsiders for a Porterhouse steak, and this seems as good a night as any to skip the rotational dining. Yeah, I know they can bring my steak to any dining room, but I plan on doing some serious eating this time. Each evening I'll be ordering 2 entrees for myself. If we can again speed up dinner service AND skip the bread course, we should be able to get in and out in under an hour.
Semi-formal night we can get spiffed up in holiday garb for pictures with Mickey. We will send out this photo with Christmas cards to again brag about what a fine trip it was. Not having to pack fancy clothes might cut down how many suitcases we will need to take.
One thing for sure not to change is the pair of booze bags we bring. I'll want to bring a few 6 packs of beer and Pepsi cans, a bottle of tequila, and maybe a couple bottles of cheap champagne. Plus DW's stash of Baileys & wine. (I'm so looking forward to a week of near limitless grog ).
We will also be included in the fish extender program. Sure, it's just a bunch of low cost trinkets, but it was so neat to see such clever stuff show up throughout the week.
I think Jackpot Bingo will again be attended, as the last day's (Thur) final game is usually worth $ 8-10K!
These are the things we have been talking about so far, so I don't foresee some hair-brained 'must do' idea that is going to hit me in the wallet. So far everything is going as expected around here, with everyone making small concessions here and there to try and save the funds necessary for another sailing w/ Mic. The coin cup is about full of poker winnings, so I think I'll mossy over to the bank and buy ol sticky glove a money order for Christmas.
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:45 AM   #123
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Hope everyone had a fantabulous Christmas!!!!



I know this isn't cruise related, but I know there are some folks reading this thread who are just as mean to their kids as we are. Won't say any names but I think you might know who I mean, eh Peg? So now, you wanna know what we did? Remember, we are NOT nice people. I keep telling people that all the time but nobody believes me. Don't know why. Anyway......

Christmas morning comes around and the boys only have 3 presents under the tree. An individual one for each of them and then one joint one. So they open the individual ones and it was..... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

About 6 weeks ago, Eating Machine #2 was chatting with Dad and said "you know what would be a really funny joke, Dad? If you gave someone old holey socks for Christmas." You know, you'd think after 13 years that boy would know better. <Hypermommy hangs her head and shakes it in disbelief> But I guess not. So, of course, that's what was in their individual presents. Old holey dirty socks that I pulled out of the laundry and wrapped up. Then they opened the big joint one.

King Charming had gone to the liquor store and gotten a Bacardi case. And inside the case was sticks and rocks -- something we've been jokingly giving them for birthdays and Christmas for years. Well, this year it was true. Sticks and rocks and old holey socks. Merry Christmas boys!

I let them sit and think about that for a moment but then I couldn't continue and I went in the bedroom and got present #1 for each of them. It's a little multi-tool thing with knives and compass and magnifying glass and all kinds of stuff that a Boy Scout and a Young Marine could find useful. Merry Christmas boys!

Now to their credit, they did not complain. They even tried to smile. I said something about how they looked disappointed and they both denied it. I reminded them that we're saving for the cruise and they both said they understood.

Ol' Marshmellow Mom here couldn't take it so I went back in the bedroom for present #2. A DVD game of Deal or No Deal and a set of movies, including Dodgeball which I know they like. Merry Christmas boys!

Well, this was a bit better. At least there were something akin to grins on their faces. Not smiles, mind you, but at least Christmas no longer includes just rocks and sticks.

Here goes mom in the bedroom again. One of them mentioned that they're liking this because there's an infinite supply of presents in there. No, not infinite, I said... But I came out with something else for each of them. MP3 players! Now that they liked. Christmas has definitely gotten significantly better than rocks and sticks.

So then it's time for the best present for each of them. I told them I'd do EM#2's first. I brought out a couple of relatively small packages and he started to open them. DS LITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just what he'd been asking for (hinting is waaaaaaay too subtle)!!!!! So he's quite happy now!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I go and bring out EM#1's present. He opens the big box first and it's an amplifier! And then he opens the other and it's his very own electric guitar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So he's quite happy now too!!!!!

See.... told you..... we're not nice people!

And Christmas has a relationship to the cruise too. My mom sent the boys both checks. So now they both have enough money for their excursions. Today before they go shopping we're going to sit down and figure out how much they owe Dad. Both of them have been borrowing money at Walmart and now it's time for the notes to come due. I know that sounds a bit mean but it's important. My mom always just gave us money and we never had to pay it back and now (as KC will most definitely attest) I have terrible money management skills. I don't want the boys handicapped with that. So we're going to sit down and figure what they owe Dad and how much they're going to put back for their excursions. Then they get to go shopping.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:18 AM   #124
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Oh you're good....really good Although I'm not quite sure what you mean about being mean I was really good this year, no forcing them to watch A Christmas Carol (my favorite Christmas movie), only real presents under the tree, and unlimited access to junk food all day Not bad eh? Glad you had a great Christmas! We did too, I even got diamond earrings!
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:01 PM   #125
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That was a great stunt!! I totally agree about the $$. My ODD wanted a Tinkerbell doll that was on sale at Target. I told her she could have it if she paid for half. When we got home she went and got her piggy bank. I bet she takes better care of her since she spent her own $$$
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #126
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Never give up.

I'm so happy with myself today. Last night at the poker game, Big Al said that he just booked a 7 day southern Caribbean cruise leaving out of Miami in two weeks (silly boy, not DCL!). It seems he got tired of hearing about how much fun a cruise can be, and figured he could go visit a relative on one of the islands as justification. So I went online to find out more about his cruise, using nearly free cruises dot com (or whatever). I couldn't find out much, so I wandered over to the DCL area of the site to find out how much I'd saved by booking 15 months out. We agreed to about $3,750 for a Cat 11 (as a Cat 12 only holds 3 people). Most of the other sites were quoting $4K for the same thing, so I thought I was real happy with the price. But this place was asking $250 LESS for a GTY Cat 12, w/ the same $100 OBC! Now I've done my homework on these GTY category rooms and KNOW we will be upgraded to a Cat 11 as they have the pair of fold down beds we need for the kids. Well heck, that's what I had, so sure, lets check this sucker out. I give the info to the hyper one and BAM, she has out TA online asking her to check on a match the offer deal. A very few minutes later the TA comes back with a hearty SURE, we can do that, don't need to change much on your rservation at all! No re-booking fee, no extra deposit, I just owe them LESS!!! Even though I was happy with the location of our old room (6599), the idea of the split bath possibility, or even the (gasp) idea of a porthole room was just icing on the deal. The best part was when the TA said that Castaway members are usually given preference in the upgrades! So I encourage all you nice readers to please do the same. Go out today (or at least real soon), and look for a lower price. Ten minutes of your time could translate into hundreds of dollars in your pocket. And here I thought that old sticky gloves could only TAKE my money. I might have to re-evaluate that big glove theory..
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:47 PM   #127
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Shhhhh... y'all don't tell KC that ol' Stickey Mickey's still taking money, just not as much of it. Maybe he's coming around to my way of math.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:33 PM   #128
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Hey Hypermommy - we're back from our Christmas DCL Cruise and I wanted to let you know that we did the dolphin encounter at Chankanaab Park and it was really good. So if your DS is still interested, I'd let him do it. We only did the encounter, by my DS12 said he'd like to try the swim one. We did it on our own (well, we booked it as a group with some other DISers) so it was less $$ than DCL wanted but we had to make our own way over and back. Easy enough to do. There is not a lot of other stuff to do over there, but hang out on the beach and they do have a nice pool and food, so if you all wanted to do it as a family thing, you could do that and have your DS do the encounter or swim. It was really fun.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:44 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nzdisneymom View Post
Hey Hypermommy - we're back from our Christmas DCL Cruise and I wanted to let you know that we did the dolphin encounter at Chankanaab Park and it was really good. So if your DS is still interested, I'd let him do it. We only did the encounter, by my DS12 said he'd like to try the swim one. We did it on our own (well, we booked it as a group with some other DISers) so it was less $$ than DCL wanted but we had to make our own way over and back. Easy enough to do. There is not a lot of other stuff to do over there, but hang out on the beach and they do have a nice pool and food, so if you all wanted to do it as a family thing, you could do that and have your DS do the encounter or swim. It was really fun.
Oh, that's so good to know. What company did you do the excursion through? How'd you make it over to the park... local taxi or something? Does the Chankanaab Park have the zipline too? Taht's what EM#1 wants to do. They both got Christmas money from my mom and put sizable chunks (over $100) in a brand new savings account each so they could afford these excursions they want to do. Please do tell me all about it! He wants to do the swim. I'm sure he's going to love talking to your son about it too!!!! Thanks for the info!!!
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:18 PM   #130
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Oh, that's so good to know. What company did you do the excursion through? How'd you make it over to the park... local taxi or something? Does the Chankanaab Park have the zipline too? Taht's what EM#1 wants to do. They both got Christmas money from my mom and put sizable chunks (over $100) in a brand new savings account each so they could afford these excursions they want to do. Please do tell me all about it! He wants to do the swim. I'm sure he's going to love talking to your son about it too!!!! Thanks for the info!!!
One of the ladies on our meet thread just booked the Dolphin Encounter directly with Dolphin Discovery at Chankanaab Park. She did it online and worked with Ana to get our group rate. If your son wants to do it, you might want to see if anyone else in your Meet group is planning to do it on their own as well and maybe you all could put a group together. Or do it through DCL.

There wasn't a zipline thing there ... it was mostly beach or dolphin adventures. It might be that you go with one boy and KingCharming goes with the other boy.

We just got a cab over to the park - we got off the ship, followed the pier, went up the escalator and then followed the signage to Taxis. There we told the head cab guy how many there are of us and where we wanted to go. He told us the price, the cab pulled up, and off we went. There were 18 of us so we got two vans and put nine and nine. It was $22 per van to go - I imagine it is less for a smaller taxi / fewer passengers. It took about 15 minutes to get out there.

Pictures are around $15 each - depending on how many you get. I bought four and paid $60 US. What I really liked was that they had you do the "tricks" over again if the picture didn't turn out - they checked the pictures while everyone was still in the water. Because we had 18 in our group, we were all on a platform together and it was just us, but the other two groups had 15 or so in their groups.

It took about 20 minutes to get split into groups and go through the orientation, and then we were in the water about 30 minutes or so, and then another 15 minutes or so for viewing the video and pictures. Our starting time was 1 p.m. and we were back on the ship by 3:30. We had use of the lockers and changing stalls to make things a bit easier. And our entrance to the park was included with our group booking.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:19 AM   #131
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Hi all,

Cindy, thanks for the info on the dolphin thing. Bummer that the zipline isn't in the same area but I think KC's worked that one out. I wasn't thrilled at all (can you say scared poopless!) about the idea of me being in Mexico on my own with one of my children. But he says we're sure to find someone on our thread that's also doing the royal grand do-everything swim with the dolphins thing and we can book ours in the morning. So by early afternoon I'll be back on board the ship. And I won't have to worry about him and EM#1 getting back to the ship on time becuase they'll be on a Disney excursion. And that's better too, because if my darling baby is going to go flying through the jungle attached to some stringy rope, I definitely want that to be a Disney checked and verified-for-safety excursion! So I think that's all going to work out well and I sure do appreciate the info.

Well, I got my first piece of cruise attire yesterday! Actually, it's a camera!!! I needed a new camera because the old one only took good pictures anymore with absolutely brand new batteries in it. And it was hard to tell when the pictures were bad. Not something I want for vacation. So KC and I did some research and came up with the idea of getting a Nikon S550. It's wonderfully small, making it really easy to wear/take everywhere. And it's got a much larger viewscreen (the user's manual calls it a "monitor" ). And it even comes in purple!!! I checked around on Black Friday but all the stores only had the black camera and I really wanted purple. And then the price went back up... by like $50 and that's at least a couple of drinks of of the day, right? So I decided to wait. KC wasn't thrilled with me because this was my Christmas present and now I wouldn't have it for Christmas. But I found it online back at $149 the day after Christmas. And in purple! So now I have exactly the camera I wanted and $50 to spend on the ship!!!!!!!

(don't you just love my math, KC? Come on over to the dark side of math... it's a pleasant place to be).
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:21 PM   #132
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Quote:
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(don't you just love my math, KC? Come on over to the dark side of math... it's a pleasant place to be).
I've always called that FDM - Fuzzy Disney Math! It works perfectly for all kinds of situations!
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:29 PM   #133
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Oh, I get it now. With all the $$ we 'saved' last week, we can go to MVMCP for FREE!! Heck, that was easy. Now who do I talk to about extending this cruise to 8 days?

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:36 PM   #134
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Just how rich am I???

This is, afterall, a PTR, so back to the topic at hand.
After saving a couple of hundred bucks by going with a GTY room, I started feeling giddy rich. So how could I make this trip even better? No, not a pre or post trip to the world, something even better!! What's that? Better than the Disney parks? Hey, this one was easy for me; just share. If one room was so cheap (OK, not really), let's get two staterooms and take DW's mom . Now mom is no spring chicken, being a senior and all, although she gets around just fine. Even moving DW into mom's cabin to take care of the double occupancy thing, we'd need a second hotel room the night before. And asking her to drive 10-12 hours each way from South Carolina to the port isn't really fair. So roundtrip airfare is needed. Because I think I can afford our family's expenses, I wondered, how bad could it be?
Wow, talk about sticker shock!! So sorry mom, but the idea of going into debt to make it happen is not a good idea. While I haven't given up on the idea of dragging her along entirely, it'll probably take a lotto win to bring along extra passengers.
It is a good thing I was the one who checked on this before telling DW about it, because with the way DW can spend money and THEN check our bank balance, I might not have had any money NEXT year either.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:21 PM   #135
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Hi Hypermommy! I finally followed you over from Peg's underactive report.
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