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Old 05-29-2012, 01:52 AM   #76
kmedina
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I can't believe I missed the infamous CrapBag!
It's crazy all the things you've done and it's still only the first day. So exciting that Xander got chosen to be Dopey. The kids meals look awesome and Crush going and interacting with the diners, it just seems like so much fun.

Sorry to hear about your dizzy spells. I remember having bad dizzy spells during our first trip to WDW. I don't know if it was from altitude change or what, but never had it after that first trip.

I love that room service is included in the price of the cruise. I would totally take advantage of that. I agree that it would feel kind of akward not to leave tips until the end of the trip. I know they'll get the money eventually, I guess I would feel guilty.

I must admit, I am a google freak. Being a first time mom, I have found myself googling everything since the day I found out I was pregnant.

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the cruise.
I still cannot believe Crap Bag created a DIS account.

Even though we got a lot done the first day and the ship is large, it seemed so relaxing. Each day got a little more relaxing too. The kids meals looked fancier on ship than any signature restaurant at WDW. Xander enjoyed the taste a lot too. Between seeing Crush then Xander being on stage, it was an amazing evening.

My dizzy spells are only recently starting to get a little better. I am hoping to seriously get back to the gym soon.

Not tipping right away really is a different experience. We want to order room service next time just so we can experience free room service. It really is a cool feature of crusing. Room service gets immediate tips as well, so it will be a little bit of normalcy.

I can be a Google freak with some things but not with others. Crap and my sister are Google freaks on everything, so I am used to it. This time, his Googling was really a good thing, so I am glad.



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Old 05-29-2012, 05:07 AM   #77
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Good news about the dizzy spells!
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #78
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Good news about the dizzy spells!
Thanks. I hope it just keeps getting better.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:45 PM   #79
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Just caught up with both your reports.

I love musicals too...just saw Wicked the other day in Denver. My friend ran into Kristen Chenowith at dinner about a month before....she has family here in town....I was soooo jealous! I didn't particularly like Rent either...I got it but I guess I like my musicals a little happier.

Great report and your boys are adorable. I just spent the weekend with my almost 5 yo nephew (birthday is in 3 weeks) and can totally picture Xavier through the whole trip.

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Old 05-31-2012, 11:22 PM   #80
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Just caught up with both your reports.

I love musicals too...just saw Wicked the other day in Denver. My friend ran into Kristen Chenowith at dinner about a month before....she has family here in town....I was soooo jealous! I didn't particularly like Rent either...I got it but I guess I like my musicals a little happier.

Great report and your boys are adorable. I just spent the weekend with my almost 5 yo nephew (birthday is in 3 weeks) and can totally picture Xavier through the whole trip.

Jill in CO
to the cruise portion of the trip.

We are excited to see Wicked when it comes here in August. Kristin Chenoweth seems pretty cool. How neat for your friend. I love Rent so much and probably know every lyric by heart. Prior to this thread, I had never even heard of anyone not liking it. Now, I know a few. It makes sense though as I am sure no play has a 100% positive review.

Thank you. My nieces were here for part of the weekend. Girls are so different than boys. That is nice you had some time with your nephew. Xander had an excellent time and behaved pretty well most of the trip. There were only a few small hiccups at Disneyworld and one slight meltdown on the cruise, which will be in the very next update. There was another incident on our last morning, but Crap and I saw that more as a cute thing than a meltdown. Connor never really had any issues on either. He really was an easy kid to travel with. Other than some diaper blowouts (which all babies have), every other issue was solved very quickly.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:54 PM   #81
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This totally looks like Xander is on the outside of the ship saying "C'mon...let me on the ship guys!!!"

Love your son's name by the way...we were only able to have one child and we picked the names Kira for a girl and Xander for a boy...we got a Kira
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:01 PM   #82
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This totally looks like Xander is on the outside of the ship saying "C'mon...let me on the ship guys!!!"

Love your son's name by the way...we were only able to have one child and we picked the names Kira for a girl and Xander for a boy...we got a Kira


Xander and I read your comment together. We both laughed, since we never saw the picture that way before. Crap did scare his Mom by telling her he was hanging over the side. When Xander looked at the picture with me just now, he said he was being careful not to fall off. Even he forgot there was glass behind him. Now, that is funny.

Thank you. Crap is a huge Joss Whedon fan. Both of our kids were named after characters in Joss' shows. Xander is from Buffy, and Connor is from Angel. Angel's son was Connor on one planet and Steven on another, so my son has both names. My niece is Keira. She and her sister spent some time here last weekend. It was nice having some girls around even if it was only a short period of time. I really want a daughter.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:38 AM   #83
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Finding Incredible Babysitters and The Lost City

Welcome back. I know that absence was longer than planned, but we have been very busy. We hosted our nieces last weekend, received a new nephew last week, and have finally been planning our Disneyland trip this week. In 18 days, we will be leaving for that. It will be four nights at The Disneyland hotel, three days in the parks, and a short time to explore the hotel before we head to Hollywood to watch Brave at The El Capitan Theatre. Xander saw his first movie (G Force) there, so I am excited to bring Connor. This will actually be Connor’s second movie. We got a private booth to watch The Hunger Games, since we rarely watch movies and did not need a sitter thanks to the booth. Sadly, that theatre does not show kids’ movies, but El Capitan is the best place to watch kids’ movies anyway. I just hope Connor does all right, because Xander never watched a movie with a general audience until he was much older. If he does not, I will take him out of the theatre. It is just hard to pass up a Disney cartoon there on opening weekend.

We have 37-39 people confirmed for Connor’s birthday lunch. Two people are still strong maybes at this point. There are still some that have not gotten back to me at all, but I am just assuming they are not coming. I have one reservation for 35 people (since that is as high as they would go) and another for 8 people (which I will adjust closer to the trip unless the two holdouts and four no response people RSVP at the last minute). Hopefully, we can all sit near each other. The reservation will include World of Color viewing for everyone on a price fixe menu. Since dessert is included in the price fixe menu, I only ordered a small 10” Mickey cake for Connor. It will look like the one we got Xander on his birthday. We have a total of four reservations (only one with other people), although Crap is still hard at work trying to get that elusive fifth one. I do not have his rolodex, so that is the one thing I cannot help with.

Some of you may remember that lovely basket Xander had waiting for us at the Grand Floridian. Even though a business associate of Crap’s sent that, I felt it set precedence for future birthday trips. While on the phone with Disney planning, I was shocked to learn that no baskets are suitable for anyone under three. They do have an option to custom make your own but have a very limited selection compared to WDW. I was surprised that they did not even have the Mickey shaped rice crispy treats (even though we will get some from the park) or a single under-three toy. The birthday hats do not even come in infant sizes either. Aaron (the CM) suggested I do an in room celebration instead, because by the time we were done creating the custom basket (which costs $25 off the bat to start customizing) we would have been near that price point anyway. Reluctantly, I agreed.

I will get back to the cruise now. Thanks for joining me on that real life detour. We woke up very early in the morning. Our Personal Navigator showed that the Royal Palace was open for breakfast. (This was not the restaurant we dined at the night before). Since we needed a table, we checked in at the podium. At this point, we only knew about assigned tables for dinner, not breakfast. A CM escorted us to a vacant table just as a hostess would do at a normal land restaurant. Shortly after being seated, we were greeted by a nice young man who served us. Crap only took one picture during breakfast. While I am not fond of the picture, I will share. It is also a nursing photo. The one thing I love about the picture is you can see Xander’s face in the Table Number. I do remember thinking it was neat that we sat so close to our regular table. Since I did not mention it in the first update, I will add here that we never sat with anyone the whole cruise. Sometimes people sit with other cruisers they do not know. While we would have been okay with that, it never happened to us.



Breakfast was good. Our server was awesome. This was the time I learned a lesson about tips and dining at the place you had dinner at the night before to eat with your serving team. You have no check, so you cannot leave a tip via credit card unless you order a drink (which Crap never does at breakfast time). We had an early excursion to Atlantis, which we were told is a cashless resort. Therefore, we left all of our cash in the room, except a few dollars to tip our driver. I walked up to the podium and waited a while for someone to approach. The lady told me that it was okay not to leave a tip when I tried to see if she could charge our card. She said people sometimes dine at a different breakfast restaurant than the one they eat dinner at. When this happens, the servers do not expect a tip. Then, she explained that if you have breakfast at the same place you ate dinner the night before, you go straight to your table and will enjoy your regular servers.

If we had more time before our check-in time for the excursion, I probably would have gone back up to the room to get some cash. I really felt guilty about leaving there without tipping. It was a strange feeling. We headed up to the fifth floor to utilize babysitting. This excursion was going to be just me and Crap. All through breakfast, we prepared Xander for the Kid’s Club experience by telling him things I’d read about it. Despite the fact that he had been attending full day pre-school two days a week for almost two years at that point (he has done 2.5 years rather than the normal two, since his birthday is in December), he was having a fit! Xander did not want us to leave him in the Kid’s Club. It all came to a head when we reached the Oceaneer Club. He had a meltdown at the sign in desk.

I asked Xander if dropping Connor off first in the nursery would make him feel better. Connor was easily handed off to the nursery. There was no wait to check him in, and he gladly went to the nursery CM. She took his diapers, wipes, back up clothes and the milk I pumped. I do not pump often, since Connor never accepted my milk from my MIL or husband. Whenever I do, it takes a long time. I started pumping right after I delivered the fish extenders the night before, but was not able to finish. Luckily, I was able to finish pumping very early that morning. Pumping always reminds me why Connor nurses so much longer than the average kid. I must not produce a lot of milk. It takes him a long time to nurse. After warning the CM that he does not take a bottle, she informed me the same thing the pediatrician said. If he gets hungry enough, he will take it. She assured me that he would be fine. Less than five minutes after I walked in, I was already walking out. Dropping him off only got faster every time we used the nursery later in the trip too.

After seeing his baby brother go in easily, Xander finally agreed to go into the Oceaneer Club. We spent the previous week at WDW without a single meltdown, so that drop off scene really surprised me. Luckily, it was the one and only real issue Xander had the whole trip. He cried one other time on our last day, but Crap and I found that more endearing than annoying.

Drop off took longer than we expected due to the ordeal. We still made it down to the Walt Disney Theatre in plenty of time to check in to our excursion. It was the Atlantis Aquaventure. Disney provided transportation to and from the resort, a lunch certificate and access to the water park. They must have been running late, because we sat in the theatre for a while before someone came in to take us outside the ship. It was a beautiful day outside. The weather was perfect.



The ship really is beautiful. Since you enter the ship through Port Canaveral, I had not seen it from this angle yet. Being that close to it right on the ground made it look even more majestic. I loved it.



A CM walked everyone over to the gate to enter the island. The guard at the gate let us in, and she continued with us all the way to the shuttle. It was just outside the market. Entering the market was like nothing I had ever seen. People were approaching everyone to sell their items or services. It reminded me of when your browsing in a store and employees keep asking if they can help you but on a much larger scale. This was our first cruise, so I am not sure whether or not this is normal at other ports. Luckily, the walk to the shuttle was not too far.

The shuttle driver waited a few minutes after loading before we took off. On the ride over, he explained that we could leave any time we wanted. Shuttles would arrive every hour until 1pm and every half hour until 5pm. They would pick us up in the same place they dropped us off. I think the ride was about a half hour long. We were greeted on the curb by a guide. She was very friendly, and our adventure was about to start.

On a side note, no one knows what the original Atlantis looks like, since it was lost. This replica was pretty neat as you will see in the next update.

Last edited by kmedina; 06-03-2012 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:47 AM   #84
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At the risk of setting off an international incident, let me just say that tipping is such a North American thing. We don't tip in Australia unless we want to and only if we think the service was exemplery.

Having said that, I have no issues with tipping when we travel to the US....it is the custom over there and I always try to do the right thing by local custom; including trying to hit the correct % amount for the tip.



Glad to see that Xander and Connor were happy to go to the kids club.


Have fun with planning for DLR. It sounds like you'll have your hands full with that many people in attendance.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:46 AM   #85
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At the risk of setting off an international incident, let me just say that tipping is such a North American thing. We don't tip in Australia unless we want to and only if we think the service was exemplery.

Having said that, I have no issues with tipping when we travel to the US....it is the custom over there and I always try to do the right thing by local custom; including trying to hit the correct % amount for the tip.



Glad to see that Xander and Connor were happy to go to the kids club.


Have fun with planning for DLR. It sounds like you'll have your hands full with that many people in attendance.
I have heard that some countries are not used to tipping. Some of them are probably used to American tourists tipping, since we have such a tipping culture. I am guessing that servers in other countries are probably paid more than they are here. Employers pay servers here very little, since they assume most customers will tip them. It is better to know that employers take care of the servers rather than relying on the customer to do it. Not all customers do, so it is presumptious of the employer not to take care of them. On the other hand, servers in nice restaurants can make a very decent living based off tips. This is a good thing, since nicer restaurants tend to have higher levels of service.

Connor had no problem going to the nursery. Xander did not want to go to the kid's club. It was not a pretty sight.

It has been a little stressful thus far planning everything and trying to ensure everyone has tickets. The recent price increase did not help matters. I decided to have everyone worry about their own tickets from here on out. After hours on the phone with multiple people, I did not come to that decision lightly. My Dad called a few days ago to ask if I had booked his hotel room. You usually need a credit card and/or a deposit to book a room. Plus, I am not in the habit of booking people into rooms and not telling them. He sensed my sarcasm and said he would have my sister book it for him. I love him, but my Dad likes other people to do his vacation planning. It really is a shame he is not married, because most wives I know happily do this. If I was not so busy, I would have helped him. I ārranged everyone's Magic Mountain tickets on our last trip. My Dad even bought everyone's tickets, since I found such a great deal.

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Old 06-03-2012, 02:58 AM   #86
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Your Birthday Trip is so close!!! I'm glad that you're finally able to plan for it. If you do a TR for it, I'd love to hear all about it.

That's so strange that they don't have anything for kids under 3! I'm eager to hear what you came up with for the in room celebration.

How fun to see Connor's first movie on the trip too! Maddie already has 2 Merida dolls even though she hasn't seen the movie I hope it's good!

I think it's great that you have so many family traditions and that you work so hard to keep them up.

I would have felt bad about the tipping thing too. That's weird that the CM said the servers didn't expect to be tipped. I've never met a server who didn't expect a tip

Poor Xander. I can understand why he got nervous, but I totally understand why it bothered you and Crap. You finally had something scheduled for you, and you end up with a meltdown. I'm eager to hear if he ended up enjoying himself. I suspect that he did.

We've only been on a cruise once (our wedding/honeymoon). We went to the Bahamas, and ventured into Nassau to explore. The Straw Market (I believe that's where you were) was lots of fun, but I can see why it freaks people out. We were younger and less irritable then so we might hate it now.

Looking forward to hearing about your Atlantis excursion!
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:06 AM   #87
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I have heard that some countries are not used to tipping. Some of them are probably used to American tourists tipping, since we have such a tipping culture. I am guessing that servers in other countries are probably paid more than they are here. Employers pay servers here very little, since they assume most customers will tip them. It is better to know that employers take care of the servers rather than relying on the customer to do it. Not all customers do, so it is presumptious of the employer not to take care of them. On the other hand, servers in nice restaurants can make a very decent living based off tips. This is a good thing, since nicer restaurants tend to have higher levels of service.

I think minimum wage in Australia is about $15 - $16 per hour; hence why we don't have a tipping culture.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #88
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Your Birthday Trip is so close!!! I'm glad that you're finally able to plan for it. If you do a TR for it, I'd love to hear all about it.

That's so strange that they don't have anything for kids under 3! I'm eager to hear what you came up with for the in room celebration.

How fun to see Connor's first movie on the trip too! Maddie already has 2 Merida dolls even though she hasn't seen the movie I hope it's good!

I think it's great that you have so many family traditions and that you work so hard to keep them up.

I would have felt bad about the tipping thing too. That's weird that the CM said the servers didn't expect to be tipped. I've never met a server who didn't expect a tip

Poor Xander. I can understand why he got nervous, but I totally understand why it bothered you and Crap. You finally had something scheduled for you, and you end up with a meltdown. I'm eager to hear if he ended up enjoying himself. I suspect that he did.

We've only been on a cruise once (our wedding/honeymoon). We went to the Bahamas, and ventured into Nassau to explore. The Straw Market (I believe that's where you were) was lots of fun, but I can see why it freaks people out. We were younger and less irritable then so we might hate it now.

Looking forward to hearing about your Atlantis excursion!
We are so excited about the trip. The planning is almost all done. I am going to do a trip report although I doubt this one will be done by the time I get back. That should give me some extra time to upload pictures and possibly order a photo pass CD.

I agree they should have more items available for the basket. Aaron told me what was included with the in room celebration, but I already forgot. Some items will surprise me as well.

It will actually be Connor's second movie but first time at El Capitan. The funny thing about traditions is we almost did not take him to the Hunger Games, so he could see his first movie at The El Capitan. At least, we can still say it is his first kids' movie there.

The thing I feel the most bad about on the whole 11 day trip is not tipping that server. We always tip even for lousy service (not that I can remember the last time we even had lousy service), so it was so hard not tipping for great service. Yes, Xander had a meltdown as kids do, but that not tipping thing could have been prevented if I had cash on me. I learned my lesson and will ALWAYS carry cash when I have a meal at an off restaurant. Then, the hard thing will be figuring out how much to tip when none of the food has a price list. Disney does give a suggested tip amount per day for your regular servers, but I am assuming that includes breakfast and dinner. Maybe we would subtract a little from the daily amount for just a breakfast.

Crap and I rarely go out by ourselves. We were nervous about leaving the boys (mostly Connor since he does not take bottles), but we were excited to have some time to ourselves. Xander did not want to leave when we picked him up. There was no meltdown, but he did not walk out quietly. These kids clubs are amazing and so Disney themed. Maddie will love it. They allowed me to walk through when I picked him up. I wanted to play there.

Yes, it is called the Straw market. Thank you for that as I could not remember what it was called. I am from Vegas and brought almost no cash with us, so all of the people approaching us did not freak me out. It was just a little annoying. They were violating personal space with quite a few people. Luckily, we were not approached too closely. One lady was very bothered that someone walked right up to her (I am guessing 10 year old) daughter and grabbed her hair asking if she wanted to have it braided. It bothered me a little too. Do not touch someone else's kid, lady! I would never purposely touch a strange kid (since I am a stranger to that kid as well and the adult should know better) unless the kid was in danger and the parent could not get there in time (like a kid falling into a pool, or about to stick something in a socket). I have actually done both of those.

We had a great time in Atlantis.



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I think minimum wage in Australia is about $15 - $16 per hour; hence why we don't have a tipping culture.
I believe most start between $2 - $4 an hour here. They need tips. My sister said she averaged $15 an hour with tips when she waited tables on the grave shift, so a worker in Austraila already makes that without a single tip. I prefer your way of having the employer take care of people rather than the customer. This is such a tipping culture here that we tip some positions that pay more as well, like hairdresses, massage therapists or any service you can get a spa or salon.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:29 PM   #89
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I wouldn't worry too much over the not tipping thing. I'm sure it happens a lot and hopefully their regular passengers take good care of them so that they don't feel bad.

Looking forward to hearing about Atlantis!
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:57 AM   #90
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I wouldn't worry too much over the not tipping thing. I'm sure it happens a lot and hopefully their regular passengers take good care of them so that they don't feel bad.

Looking forward to hearing about Atlantis!
I hope their regulars took care of them. That would make me feel a little better. The lady up front who would not run our credit card for tipping did say it was common.

We had a lot of fun in Atlantis. Crap actually knows someone who works there, but we did not drop in and say hello to him.
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