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Old 09-16-2009, 07:07 PM   #1
amyngary
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ME: "I'm leaving the company" THEM: "Where are you going?" ME:"I'm going to Disney!"

I am one of many whose job is being eliminated at my company. It must be kind of like asking a visibly pregnant person when the baby is due, because nobody has asked me where I am going. I keep waiting for someone to ask so I can say "I'm going to DisneyWorld" (and on a Disney Cruise)!

We are doing our first-ever Disney cruise on the Magic on 12/5/09 – 7-nt. Eastern itinerary with St. Croix.

My pre-trip report will also include our plans for staying at the BLT (Bay Lake Tower) for 4 nights pre-cruise.

First, the cast of characters:

Me (Amy) – age 39. First trip to WDW was at the age of 32. After a fabulous trip, I explained to our “Disney Freak” friends that for the same money we could have gone to Europe, and therefore, we would not be going there annually as they do. The thing is, we never actually go to Europe and the DDs are only young once. Therefore, on my 5th trip to WDW this past February, we became Disney Vacation Club members. I have wanted to do a Disney cruise for many years, and have been on cruises with Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and NCL

Gary – age 48. While he enjoys WDW, he often complains about the prices. He is looking forward to having everything included in the cruise. It was Disney’s amazing customer service on our last trip that won him over.

Julia – age 9. She has been to WDW 5 times, been on an Alaskan cruise, a West Coast cruise, and many other trips. She loves kids’ clubs on cruises, and is very curious.

Olivia – age 4. She has been to WDW 2 times, and has never been on a cruise. She is very opinionated and determined. I am a bit worried about her on the cruise because when she sees a horizontal bar, she pulls herself up on it like a gymnast.

While DH and I have been planning this since March, DDs don’t know yet. We are still deciding how to surprise them (more on that later).

We so wish we could get some of our friends to join us on this trip. We have always wanted to cruise with friends, but it never seems to work out.

Please feel free to jump in with advice at any time!
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Can't say when our next trip is in case our kids are snooping on my PC, but we are looking forward to it!

Last edited by amyngary; 09-18-2009 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Wanted a catchier title :-)
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
amyngary
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packing cubes, transportation,

OK, if you have not seen the thread on packing cubes, I'm here to tell you that you MUST check them out: www.ebags.com. I have not personally used them yet, buy a friend is packing for her WDW trip right now and LOVES them. eBags has a sale right now and some of their packing cubes sets are on sale with free shipping.

I can't wait to use ours for this trip! Do you have any other packing tips?

I am trying to decide what to do for ground transportation from BLT to the port and then from the port to the airport. I am leaning towards doing a town car from BLT to the port and then renting a car from the port to the airport since our flight isn't until 6pm that last day.

But that means also deciding what to do on our last day. I got lots of ideas from you all, and I've narrowed it down a bit:
  1. Get a day pass at the airport Hyatt. No stressing about missing the flight this way :-)
  2. Drive to DTD for the day. Longer drive, but our only chance to visit DTD this trip and do some last-minute shopping.
  3. Visit a resort to see the holiday decorations. We plan to do some of this during our pre-cruise BLT stay, but perhaps we will still want more time for it???

Opinions? Other ideas? Also, do you have any recommendations on a town car service? We will want to pick up some bottled water and alcohol on the way.

Next up: Our rough draft schedule for pre-cruise BLT stay and the first day of the cruise....
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:39 PM   #3
amyngary
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Finally, Our Photos

I am hoping that the reason nobody is interested in our PTR is the lack of photos. I have chosen some pics of our most recent trip to WDW this past February. I think I have figured out how to add them, so here goes....

Olivia wishing upon a star:


Olivia and Julia in the Castle:


The girls on Tom Sawyer Island:


Olivia waiting for Julia and me to ride Primeval Whirl:

I have a cute story about the little scab on her forehead above. She saw it in the mirror and told me she had a "Pos" on her forehead. After having her repeat it several times, she finally said "when you stop the movie for a minute". She was telling us that she had a "Pause" symbol on her forehead!

All of us at HS:


I really want feedback on our plans, so please post your thoughts
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Old 09-19-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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Hi Amy! I love your pictures... the girls are adorable! I'm sorry about your job, but glad you're still able to go on your trip.

You will all love your Disney cruise! We took our then 7 and 9 year olds on a four-night in '07 and they had the best time. DH got hooked on DCL then too and while he has never sailed any other lines he never wants to either, lol.

We are planning a 7-night Eastern with St. Maarten in March '10.

Loved the day room at the Hyatt. Everyone was so exhausted after our 8 night land & sea journey that it was nice to have a place to relax, repack our bags (airline appropriately), and take a nap. DH actually napped, the kids and I went up to the pool.

I do think it would be fun to get a car and go to Downtown Disney, though. And on my 3-night with girlfriends last fall we got a car and toured some other Disney resorts, ate lunch and sat on the beach at the Poly until it was time to go to the airport. It was really nice that they let us check our luggage in there too

I look forward to following your pre-trip and trip report!!
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
amyngary
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Thanks for posting

I really appreciate you posting a reply. I have never done a trip report before, but I love to plan trips. I have read so many TRs and PTRs, and everyone seems to be so much funnier than I am. Ahhh, the pressure....

Thanks for the perspective on what we can do that last day before heading home too! Your last day at the Poly sounds very nice. I think we'll nix the DTD day in favor of the Poly or the Hyatt day room.

We are looking forward to DCL. So far, I am really impressed by the cheaper prices for beverages, and I can't wait to swim in the Mickey pool. I know DD4 will especially love it!
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
MMitchell29
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O.K Amy, what is a "pause" symbol on that baby forehead? LOL LOL

Your girls are absolutely adorable. Does Olivia has light green eyes or light gray? whatever she has they are beautiful.

I'm waiting for more
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:16 PM   #7
amyngary
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Olivia's eyes

Quote:
Does Olivia has light green eyes or light gray?
Her eyes are light blue, so they look gray and green sometimes.

Let me tell you, I wish her Pause button had been functional - she's our determined child and is always climbing on things.
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
amyngary
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Itinerary Draft

Schedule for BLT Stay:

OK, so originally we added four nights before our cruise just because we are anxious to stay at and explore BLT; therefore, we decided we would not even go to the parks. Since the holiday decorations will be up, we thought we would save some cash and tour the monorail resorts, check out WL for the first time, and hang out at the pool. We always talk about the “FREE” things you can do at WDW, but never actually do any of them….

HA! As if I could go and not at least see the castle. What was I thinking? Especially since this is the last trip where our DD9 will get in on a children’s rate....

I am now using all of my willpower to limit ourselves to only 2 days at the parks. I need lots of advice on this schedule, so please help me out.

Tuesday, 12/1: Arrive at BLT by 1pm.
  • Eat lunch at The Wave. I keep hearing rave reviews, so it’s a high priority.
  • Unpack and explore BLT and The Contemporary. DH has always wanted to stay at the Contemporary, so we really want to explore the resort, check out the pool, etc.
  • Dinner at 1900 Park Fare. We currently have an 8:10p ADR, which conflicts with Wishes, so I am diligently trying to get it moved to an earlier time. We’d like to combine this dinner with enjoyment of the GF’s decorations.
  • Watch fireworks from the TOWL in BLT at 8pm (assuming we aren’t at 1900 PF then).

Wednesday, 12/ 2: Do we go to the Magic Kingdom, or check out the decorations at some other resorts? I am considering only going to MK for the MVMCP on 12/3 (we’ve never been), but I suspect there will be a Spectro parade on 12/2, which I love. And then I read several postings about people who think the MVMCP is a rip-off and too crowded. We have been to the Pirate and Princess party and loved it. How does MVMCP compare? Advice?

Thursday, 12/3: More Resort Exploration and MAYBE MVMCP beginning at 4pm.
  • 9:30a: Breakfast at Kona Café. Is this where we can get POG juice? Of course, combine this with exploration of the Poly. We have only been to the Poly once for a very rushed dinner when I was exhausted, so I have no idea what to even see there. Advice?
  • 1p: Naps/downtime at BLT
  • MVMCP beginning at 4pm MAYBE. If not, spend this evening exploring WL.

Friday, 12/4: Hollywood Studios
  • HS is great for our kids since there is such an age difference. DD9 is loving coasters now, so ToT and RRC are awesome. DD4 loves the playhouse Disney stuff, we’d all enjoy AI, and we definitely have to do TSM again.
  • Lunch at Sci Fi. I still can’t believe how quiet it is in there and that my kids sit next to each other quietly and nicely. It is one of the most relaxing meals EVER. Hmmm, maybe we should put old movies on at home during dinner ;-)
  • Osborn Lights at 6pm. We have never done this, so I really want to see it. There are several awesome holiday light displays near home, so I keep wondering if this is really better.
  • 7:15pm: Take the DDs to the NeverLand kids’ club while we eat at Cali Grill IF we can get in. Right now, there is no availability for the Neverland club . We had the Deluxe DP on our last trip and finally tried Cali Grill – OMG! I don’t eat sushi and I adore CG. We have never tried a WDW kids’ club, so I am a bit nervous, but I think the kids will love it. This is our big splurge on the trip.

Since we are staying on points at BLT, we cannot partake of the free DDP. However, I am considering purchasing DDP. I would usually create a spreadsheet to figure out if it makes financial sense to do so, and pay OOP for the remaining meals. I have not had a chance to do that yet. Anyone have experience with this?

Saturday, 12/ 5: Bye bye BLT, Hello Magic!
  • Quick breakfast at Chef Mickeys? We still need to make our ADR for this morning. Right now, Chef M and Ohana are both booked, but I am still hoping to get one of them.
  • We are leaning toward taking a town car to the ship early Saturday morning, but have not booked it yet. Recommendations?
  • 12:30p: Grab lunch and Get on Waitlist for Palo brunch/dinner.
  • 1:30p: Unpack
  • As time permits: We will take swimsuits in one carry-on so we can swim in the Mickey pool while it’s empty.
  • 6p: get ready for show and dinner. We have late seating, so we’re a bit nervous about how that will go with the kids. I hear that some people have their kids eat quickly and then take them to the clubs.

We get to book shore excursions, Palo, etc. tonight at midnight, so wish us luck!
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
Mojodisney
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Sounds wonderful. We did a similar trip to yours a couple of weeks ago. We stayed at Pop Century for 5 nights, did parks for 4 days and then were on the Magic for 7 days on Eastern, but did not go to St. Croix. We got a car service to take us to the ship for 6 of us, 4 adults and 2 7 year old girls. We stopped for liquor for the cruise, it was great. Left a little later so we didn't get to the ship till almost noon. Our boarding # was 17. We got on and ate lunch at Topsiders, inside, since there was a serious line for Parrot Cay. Food was fine and we found seats inside for all 6 of us. After we finished lunch the rooms were open so we went and unpacked. Had a Dismeet by Goofy Pool and hung out till sailaway party. When we got off the ship, sad day in this family's life, we got a rental car from Budget and drove to Epcot. Our flight was not until 6:30. We stayed on board later so we didn't get to Epcot till almost noon. Would suggest if you want extra time either at DTD or any of the parks, then get off sooner than later, we did have a bit of a wait at the rental car office, DH said there was someone who didn't get how rental cars worked and slowed up everyone. We were only at Epcot 2 hours before we bagged it and went to the airport. DH had gotten a cold on the last day of our cruise and DD had new molars coming in and making her listless. Sorry this was so long!!!!

YOur girls are cute. I would recommend not telling them until just before you leave so they aren't driving you crazy with when are we going. We did this with DD for ther first DW trip. We didn't tell her till the night before when we needed to pack her clothes and princess costumes. Didn't want her freaking out when they suddenly disappeared.
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:46 PM   #10
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Thanks for the heads up on the pack cubes.
I went check them out and looked like they would organize and keep everything from falling all over the suitcase. I ordered 2 sets of the LG, they were on sale for 19.99!
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:41 PM   #11
amyngary
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Neverland Club update and Replies

I called again today for my other hopeful ADRs, and we got into the Neverland Club! Yippeeee! I know our kids will adore it. We just watched Peter Pan again last week, and they loved it.

And just in case the clubs on the ship don't meet our expectations, DH and I will get one night out alone.

Quote:
I'm sorry about your job, but glad you're still able to go on your trip.
We feel very fortunate. The only reason we are still going is because the cruise was free (DVC purchase incentive) and we're staying at BLT on points. Therefore, we only have to pay for our food at WDW and excursions on the cruise. And it helps that DH is still employed, and that I saw it coming; we have been planning for the worst all year. So at this point, I am looking forward to some time off to recalibrate (my employment ends September 30). I know it will all work out, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much.

And Desi: I'm glad you found the packing cubes - we cannot wait to use ours. I love the idea of being able to just transfer the cubes from the suitcase to the dresser and back again. I'm going to use them for our carryons as well.
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyngary View Post
I called again today for my other hopeful ADRs, and we got into the Neverland Club! Yippeeee! I know our kids will adore it. We just watched Peter Pan again last week, and they loved it.

And just in case the clubs on the ship don't meet our expectations, DH and I will get one night out alone.

We feel very fortunate. The only reason we are still going is because the cruise was free (DVC purchase incentive) and we're staying at BLT on points. Therefore, we only have to pay for our food at WDW and excursions on the cruise. And it helps that DH is still employed, and that I saw it coming; we have been planning for the worst all year. So at this point, I am looking forward to some time off to recalibrate (my employment ends September 30). I know it will all work out, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much.
YAY for the Neverland Club! When we stayed at the Poly we took a look at it (kids didn't stay there however) and it looked like fun for them. I do not think the clubs on the ship will disappoint, however. I could not get my kids out of them!

That free cruise is a nice DVC purchase incentive! We would love to get DVC at some point... and BLT is our dream. There have been layoffs at my company too - and while I am safe now, it does make one think carefully about every purchase. So DVC remains a "someday."

Love your plans so far!
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:06 PM   #13
amyngary
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Neighbors!

3dog2kidmom,

We too are from St. Louis. If I knew how to PM, I would have, so I hope you don't mind me speaking up on this thread!
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyngary View Post
3dog2kidmom,

We too are from St. Louis. If I knew how to PM, I would have, so I hope you don't mind me speaking up on this thread!
Click on my user id and there is a drop down menu from which you can choose "send a private message". Small world!
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:02 PM   #15
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Sounds great



Hey! I think all of your plans look great. We were able to be at the Disney last year just before Christmas, the Osborne lights are fantastic. My children were totally amazed. We also went to the Very Merry Christmas party and really enjoyed it. It was less crowded than a regular day in the parks, plus being able to eat cookies and drink hot chocolate while watching the Holiday version of wishes was enough to make me cry!!! We are going back to Disney this Christmas, we leave for our cruise on the 20th, but are making a pit stop by Magic Kingdom on our way through!!! Can't wait to read more.
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