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Old 02-23-2012, 12:18 PM   #1
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

Birthday Cruise PTR Dream 5-night 3/22/12

Happy Birthday to me!

So I have a milestone birthday coming up in two weeks. A few months ago I told DH that I didn't want a party, but I didn't want it to be just another day either. Parties seem to take a lot of planning, money, time, create messes and stress, etc. Taking a family trip would be right up my alley. He must have done some research ahead of that conversation because he informed me that a Disney cruise was not likely because of the price. That's not to say I'm not worth it, just that we have to have limits. We tend to watch for and pay extra attention to offers like 'Kids Sale Free'.

As noted below in my signature, DH and I have been on two Disney cruises already, and DD8, DS7, DS6 have been on one with us. Our first was for our honeymoon, and the second (with kids) was when a 'Kids Sale Free' offer was available. We celebrated birthdays for DH and DS6 (then 4). Well that started the ball rolling that the rest of us want to have our birthdays celebrated on DCL also. But, the next birthday would have been mine (only one month later) and DD's (3 months after the cruise). Not really fiscally responsible or in the budget.

Fast forward to the beginning of this month (2 years after our most recent cruise)...it was time to start planning and putting something into motion. This is how we are...we know we want to go somewhere and do something, but we don't plan very far out. I tossed out some ideas, DH tossed out some ideas. We started researching, trying to find the best prices. It looked like we'd end up on a beach for a long weekend --not over my actual birthday but one or two weeks later (because of school schedules and testing). Certainly something to look forward to.

What beach destinations did we toss around? How did we end up with cruise plans? Keep reading...
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Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

Birthday Cruise PTR Dream 5-night 3/22/12

part 2

During the early planning stages...ok, 'early' is relative considering we were only planning about 6 weeks ahead of time, but you get the idea...I suggested Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle. The research I found showed there were a couple hotels with rooms that could accommodate a family of 5 in one room with a set of BUNK BEDS. How wonderful would this be?! Then I got to thinking bunk beds are for two kids and we have 3. There certainly would be fighting each night on which 2 got to sleep in it AND who got the top! But I figured we could make up a rotation schedule so they would know where they would sleep on each night. We have a rotation for brushing teeth each day too. We're pros on rotating and creating equality.

DH suggested it may still be 'cooler' weather and water in the panhandle in March, so maybe going south would be warmer and more enjoyable. We looked at several places in the Keys. We figured we'd drive down (maybe stopping one night about 1/2 way). The Keys look wonderful as well. I just don't know if it's kid-friendly.

Then, we tossed around...dun-dun-dun...going to Atlantis! Airfare was rather expensive. We considered Atlantis or the Comfort Suites next door. How exciting does that sound?!

In the end, we decided to be a little more responsible. We have plans to purchase annual passes once again in anticipation of DD bridging to a Junior Girl Scout at EPCOT in May. We will being staying on-site for the long weekend (which coincides with her birthday). She and I will go to the bridging ceremony early and have DH and the boys meet up with us when the park opens. Soooooo...We did some research about staying on property at Disney. We figured we'd save some money in the long run because going to a beach location with travel and eating out and whatever else, we would still be purchasing annual passes. Staying on-site at a moderate or deluxe and getting passes would be about the same price as the beach vacation (before getting the passes). See where I'm coming from?

After multiple days of calling and searching, we booked a room at the Boardwalk Inn for the 5 of us with a Florida Resident discount. And, we tossed around adding in a dining plan, but didn't. I was super excited because the plans were in place and my birthday certainly wouldn't be just another day. Then one afternoon, as I was about to leave work, I received a call from DH. He said, very somberly, I found something that I think I should share with you...
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Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989

Last edited by mom2lns; 02-24-2012 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

Birthday Cruise PTR Dream 5-night 3/22/12

part 3

I was totally worried that he had bad news to share.

He proceeded to tell me that although the DCL site doesn't show it, mousesavers listed that Florida resident rates were available for two 5-night cruises in March. Not 'Kids Sale Free', but doable and, best of all, it's a double dip on Castaway Cay!

We simply were not going to be able to go at the beginning of the month, which would be over my actual birthday, because DH's busy time at work is always the first week or two of each month and the kids have school. But, 2 1/2 weeks later works out better. The kids were scheduled to be off of school 1/2 day on the first day of the cruise and the whole next day. The only other school day that they'll miss is the day DD's class is going to the zoo all day. It just worked out wonderfully. I am sooooo excited!!

We took a few days to book the cruise, and cancel the on-site reservation. DH sat with the kids to get ideas of what they think we should do for my birthday celebration--after the cruise was booked! The first thing out of their mouths was a Disney cruise. But then things got serious...DS6 was worried about the ship sinking (in light of the recent ship that sank). They talked about other ideas, but agreed on a Disney cruise. I think DD8 and DS7 still want to celebrate their birthdays on DCL too. I'm thinking maybe when DD8 turns 10...as a special double-digit birthday celebration. We'll see how that all plays out.
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Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

Birthday Cruise PTR Dream 5-night 3/22/12

part 4

While we had a 5-person room during our first cruise with the kids, we booked two connecting category 5 rooms for this cruise because the category 4 rooms were not part of the offer (initially). In total we could accommodate 8 people if necessary. My husband briefly suggested asking my mom if she'd be interested in coming along. Wow! What a great idea and it would be minimal to add her because two of our kids were already counted as adults for pricing purposes. We thought about inviting DH's parents too, but they cruised two years ago and indicated they weren't interested in cruising again.

My mom is coming! I love it. She'll love it. We'll all love it. Our biggest complaint during the cruise two years ago was that DH and I couldn't do anything together out of the room after the kids went to bed, and they were 4, 5, and 6 so still needed to go to bed at a more reasonable time than not. This time, I think they might be able stay up a little later, but with my mom helping, we'll be able to go do other things even if the kids are in bed. Maybe we'll make a rotation schedule of which two adults can go out after the kids go to bed. See how that works?!

We noticed that a few category 4s came available for the same price, which we considered asking the TA to change us to, but we thought about it too long and they weren't available the next time we checked. We don't think we would have been able to change either, but it was exciting to consider having a little extra space in both rooms. Either way, we've got two rooms, two balconies, two bathrooms, and 6 people.

Part 5 follows, and may be the end at this point...
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Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989

Last edited by mom2lns; 02-24-2012 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:57 PM   #5
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

Birthday Cruise PTR Dream 5-night 3/22/12

part 5

We have a Palo dinner booked, a Remy dinner booked, online booking is complete. We've checked into excusions. We're looking forward to two stops at Castaway Cay! We weren't able to stop there two years ago because of bad weather and another ship not being able to leave the day earlier. DH has been looking for navigators for previous 5-night double dips.

I have a list of things to purchase and bring along. I've purchased pirate costumes for the kids. DD isn't happy with hers, but it's cute and will be cuter when we embellish it a little. (Speaking of, maybe we'll go get some rhinestones to add to the top. Sounds fun.) I might have to alter the boys' costumes a little, as I bought them a little big. I even purchased matching t-shirts for the 6 of us. Each shirt has Mickey with a bunch of stars and the wear-er's name. Mine also has 'Happy Birthday' on it. Again, I bought the kids' shirts a little big. My kids do not enjoy wearing shirts that are too big. I'll have to figure out something creative to fix that. DD is happy pulling hers to the side with a rubberband. The boys, not so much. I have an app on my phone that is counting down the days. Basically we embark four weeks from today!

I have to say, and this is why I started the PTR...I am absolutely OBSESSED with the disboards (especially the cruise board)! I am constantly checking to see if new posts are listed and what they have to say. I think I've read or reviewed every post in the cruise section for the past two weeks. I don't know what to do when there aren't new posts. I need help!

4 weeks can't go fast enough...
__________________
Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
mom2lns
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76

part 6

Did I say how obsessed(!!) I am with these boards? I check and recheck, hoping for more information that I can absorb. With as often as I check, there’s usually not much new information. I try to hold off but I can’t. I started thinking of what we’ll use as our boarding name. This is fun. I’m really thinking of having them announce “Sheryl’s Birthday Party”! Or, tone it down a little with a combination of all our names “Dashka Lanaste”! Our party two last names, so we could be boring and just have them announce one last name then the other. I’m going to give it some more thought.

Last time we cruised, we parked at the port. This time, we’re planning on parking at the port as well. However, through my obsessive reading, I’ve come to understand there is a park and ride lot that is significantly cheaper. Oh, how to convince DH this is the route to take. The terminal lot is sooo convenient to come and go when we’re ready. Through the park and ride, we’d have to deal with waiting for shuttles both ways and maybe dealing with one getting full before we were able to get on. Oh, what am I doing worrying about this? The kids are going to school after we disembark, time will be important. Port parking it is. Thanks for helping me think that through.
__________________
Mom2lns

Disney Fantasy EC 7/2014
Milestone birthday--Disney Dream 3/2012
Disney Wonder 2/2010
Campground, Port Orleans, Dolphin
FL resident annual passholder 2007-2012
Honeymoon--Disney cruise & Grand Floridian 10/2001
College Program at Hollywood Studios 1994
1st visit to WDW 9/1989
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