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Old 10-07-2012, 04:53 PM   #31
soccermom1422
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We just got off the Magic yesterday, and it was the greatest trip! We live in the DFW area, and we have 4 boys - an almost 14 yo, an almost 12 yo, a 9 yo, and a 2 yo. We are homeschoolers, and I love being able to go on Disney vacations when most kids are in school. We have been to WDW a few times, and the boys all said they liked the cruise even better!

Probably my least favorite part of the whole trip was packing. I found it very stressful to oversee packing for six, including a toddler. Instead of just telling everyone how many days of clothes they needed to throw in their bags, we had to make sure everyone had casual clothes for daytime, clothes for dinner at night, casual and dress shoes, swim suits, candy for the cast members, and all of our FE stuff. Then we weren't sure it would all fit in the car. It would have been close to impossible to fly with all that we had packed. But once we were on our way I was really excited!

We drove down to Houston the day before the cruise and stayed at my parents' house. My mom drove us to Galveston Saturday morning and dropped us off at Terminal 2. It worked out great since it was raining, and we didn't have to worry about parking. We arrived about 11:00 and check in was very easy. Our boarding group was 6, and our boarding time was 11:30. I took the 2 yo to see Minnie Mousein the terminal, and I was happy to see that he liked her and wasn't going to be scared of the characters on board. The line to register for the kids club was long, so I decided to wait until we got on the ship. Before we knew it they had called group 6 and we walked on board. It was so exciting as we walked on and they announced our name and clapped for us.

I went straight to guest services and turned in a photo mat and autograph books to be signed by the characters, along with some candy for the cast members. Next we went to Topsiders for lunch. After we ate I took the 2 yo to see the nursery, which he loved, and the 9 yo to the Oceaneer Lab to get his wristband for the week. I'm glad we waited because there was no line. My husband took the older boys to the Edge and the Vibe. We weren't sure how strict Disney would be about the ages since our oldest's 14th birthday is a few days after the cruise. They not only let him go to the Vibe, but they said he could go between the Vibe and the Edge if he wanted to. Our rooms were ready by 1:30, so we started to unpack and settle in. We were in rooms 2012 and 2013, across the hall from each other.

We had just enough time for the little one to get a nap in before the boat drill, and then we went straight up to deck 10 to get a spot for the sail away party. The rain had stopped, and the party was really fun. We even saw some dolphins as we were leaving.

Our dining rotation was LAPLAPL, and we had the late seating. We were traveling with friends and family, so when we got to dinner at Lumiere's we had 2 tables. The 8 adults were at one table (along with our 2 yo) and the 6 kids were at the other table. We met our wait staff, who were wonderful. My 9 yo had ordered a steak, and they even cut it for him. The creme brûlée I had for dessert was to die for! Every meal we had was great, as was each restaurant. My husband is a picky eater, and our server was trying to find out what he liked to eat. One night I jokingly said that he would love it if you had some mozzarella sticks. The next night a plate of fried mozzarella sticks appeared at his place! I had read that sometimes the servers would let you keep some of the menus, but not usually since they needed to use them again. I was surprised that our servers let us keep the menus several nights. On the last night they even brought us special menus from formal night (the Prince and Princess one) that was in several different languages.

We really didn't see our older 3 boys much during the day or after dinner. They had a blast in their kids' clubs and spent most of their time there. They made lots of friends and loved the counselors. And since they were not at our table for dinner we really didn't get to catch up with them then either. The older 2 normally stayed at the Vibe and the Edge until after midnight. It was fun to be able to give them the freedom and independence to come and go on their own. My husband would go pick the 9 yo around 11:45PM from the Oceaneer Lab and then they would order cookies and milk from room service for a bedtime snack. Besides the clubs they also loved being able to get pizza or chicken strips or ice cream whenever they wanted to.

We sent the 2 yo to the nursery on our second night, which was formal night. He walked right in on his own with no crying. When we picked him up he was playing with a little plastic pig, and he didn't want to leave it, so they said he could keep it and bring it back the next night. Well, it ended up coming back to the room the next night too! He slept with the pig every night. By the end of the week the nursery staff told him he could keep it. After putting him in the nursery twice during our dinner time, we decided that we would take him with us to dinner so he could eat with us and then go drop him in the nursery for the second half of our meal. That worked out better.

We weren't sure how much there would be for a 2 yo to do, but there was plenty. He loved to go walk around deck 9, or get a drink or an ice cream cone. We took him to the splash area once, but he didn't play there much. He preferred walking around or climbing up and down the stairs. He loved seeing the characters and going to the shows in the evening. He is still talking about Timon and Pumbaa from Disney Dreams. He also had fun at the deck parties, but the fireworks on pirate night scared him. We also took him to watch Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo at the movie theater.

We were very happy with our shore excursions. In Grand Cayman the 2 older boys and I went on Disney's Shipwreck and Reef Snorkel. We thought it was great, and I loved that we were right next to the Magic. In Costa Maya we all went to the beach at the Tropicante. My husband and a couple of the boys rented wave runners, the kids played in the sand and water, and I had a massage. We did the chocolate factory tour in Cozumel. Joshua (the tour guide) was so entertaining! And all of the varieties of chocolate were delicious. We paid $6 for the larger chocolate bars and $3 for the smaller ones. We found out that our friends who bought them at a store near the port paid $9 and $5. We brought some back for our wait staff, and they were so happy.

I'm so glad we decided to participate in the FE gift exchange. It was so much fun. I enjoyed delivering my gifts and seeing everyone's FEs. We got some really neat and creative gifts, and they were all very much appreciated. Even on day 6 when we had run out of fruit snacks for our little one, someone put some in our FE. I tried to take pictures of everything.

We didn't end up swimming in the ship pools much at all. There was too much other stuff to do. I also didn't get as many family pictures as I would have liked. It was hard to get all of the kids together at the same time. I kind of wanted to work out at the gym just to see what it was like, but I never did. Besides I ended up taking the stairs a lot, and I thought delivering my FE gifts to all the different floors was a pretty good work out.

Although we were all sad to have to pack up, take down our door decorations and FEs, and put our suitcases in the hall on the last night, it felt like we had had a nice long vacation. Maybe because we never had to get in our car and drive anywhere, the days did not seem to fly by as they sometimes do when we are really busy. The 3 older boys all got T-shirts signed by their club counselors and friends. I also delivered treats that we had brought (candy, microwave popcorn, and gum) to the workers in the nursery and all the kids' clubs. We also gave treats to our stateroom host. He had taken really good care of us and even made a dinosaur out of towels for our little one.

I was really happy with our late dinner seating since that meant the later breakfast on disembarkation day. We brought all of our stuff up to deck 3 for our breakfast at Lumiere's at 8:45. The line of people to walk off the ship was horrible and went on forever. We leisurely went to breakfast then stopped for one last picture. When we went to walk off the boys were dancing as "Under the Sea" was playing, and there was no line. We walked right off, and by then most of the luggage had been picked up, so we went straight to ours. We walked right through customs and outside where my mom was waiting to pick us up. We can't wait to go on another Disney cruise! I will try to post some pictures soon.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:04 PM   #32
Belle6000
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Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman was a great stop! We chose to go on our own to the Turtle Farm. It was very easy. When you get off the boat there's lots of people who want to take you on a tour or give you a ride. At first, we went to the taxis. Then, we found out they were $8 per person! We asked around about the city bus and we were directed outside the little touristy cruise area and walked about a block. Their buses are really just vans. The driver was very nice and it was only 2.50 per person. He took us to the Turtle Farm and we told him to come back at 1:00 pm...which he did. The "bus" didn't have A/C...don't know if it didn't have it or if it just wasn't on, but the windows were down and it wasn't too bad. On the way back he picked up a few other people, but we didn't mind that.

Right down the street from the turtle farm is the Cayman Motor Museum and the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory. Across the street is the Dolphin experience. We didn't do the dolphin thing, but I took my son to the motor museum. This is a good place for a car lover, but it's pricey and small so I'd only send the car lover in and not pay for any extra people...they could all stay at the turtle farm! The museum has the original batmobile from the TV show though so that's why I went...I wanted to see that. My son, who is into cars, enjoyed it.

Don't bother going to the Tortuga Rum Cake factory by the Turtle farm if you want to buy rum. They can't sell it to you. I never did quite understand, but when they sell it they have to send it straight to your ship. If you're on Disney they can't send it to that ship. So you need to go to the location that is right by the ship. When you buy it they take it to customs for you and then you get right on the ship with it.

I've posted some pictures from our time in Grand Cayman on my blog if you want to check it out. I have the hardest time posting pics on the Disboards so I'll just give you the link to my blog:
http://aimeesland.blogspot.com/2012/...nd-cayman.html
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:26 PM   #33
Belle6000
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Voyage Navigator

Thought some future Galveston cruisers might be interested in seeing the voyage navigator from our cruise...

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #34
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Personal Navigator Day 1

Here's the personal navigator from the first day. I'm sure things can change from cruise to cruise, but this should give you a peek at what awaits you!



I'll post the other days in separate posts.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #35
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Personal Navigator Day 2

Day 2: The twice charmed show was really good! Perfect for any Cinderella fan.

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:56 PM   #36
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Personal Navigator Day 3

The John Charles show was great. Don't know if he'll be on all the cruises or not, but he was really funny. We saw his adult show the night before and it was great too!

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:57 PM   #37
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Personal Navigator Day 4

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:59 PM   #38
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Personal Navigator Day 5

We stayed extra long at the beach so we didn't see the Villians tonight show, but I heard it was fantastic! Also, we originally thought the ship would only be in Costa Maya until 5 pm, but it ended up being there until 11 pm so watch for that in case they change it up again.

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Old 10-08-2012, 03:00 PM   #39
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Personal Navigator Day 6

The Disney Dreams show was great!

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Old 10-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #40
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Personal Navigator Day 7

The final show (Remember the Magic) was just ok, in my opinion. I wish I would have skipped it and gone back to the rainforest room instead. It's just several variety acts that were on the cruise earlier and then a little bit of the Dreams cast doing some segments.
Sorry about the messy navigator for this day. The only one I ended up bringing home was the one we wrote on.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:03 PM   #41
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Thanks for all the updates and reviews/blogs so far. We leave this coming Saturday so I'm reading!! Lots of good information from everyone.
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Wandering The Gulf on the Wonder - Inaugural Bahamas Cruise Trip Report
Magic Your Way to the Magic Kingdom...another Galveston trip report
Our Magical Trip From The Lone Star State - Oct 13, 2012

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Old 10-08-2012, 05:53 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soccermom1422 View Post
.

Our dining rotation was LAPLAPL, and we had the late seating.
Can you tell me which day your character breakfast was? And do you remember what time it started?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccermom1422 View Post
.
We did the chocolate factory tour in Cozumel. Joshua (the tour guide) was so entertaining! And all of the varieties of chocolate were delicious. We paid $6 for the larger chocolate bars and $3 for the smaller ones. We found out that our friends who bought them at a store near the port paid $9 and $5. We brought some back for our wait staff, and they were so happy.
Did you take the kids to this? If so, did they like it? And if not, would it be appropriate to take kids to (we have two girls, 10 and 7). Did you reserve it ahead of time and take a taxi to get there?

TIA for the info! I'm an obsessive planner -- 33 days til our cruise!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:14 PM   #43
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Can you tell me which day your character breakfast was? And do you remember what time it started?

Our character breakfast was on Monday, and I believe it was at 9:30. We are not early morning people, so it was nice not having to have the whole family ready for an early breakfast. I had read that the character breakfast was the first at sea day after you eat at Animator's Palette, and that is how it worked for us.

Did you take the kids to this? If so, did they like it? And if not, would it be appropriate to take kids to (we have two girls, 10 and 7). Did you reserve it ahead of time and take a taxi to get there?

Yes, we took all 4 kids, and they all liked it. Well, I'm not sure if the 2yo loved it, but he seemed pretty happy until he fell asleep in the middle of the tour. The kids got to grind some of the caocao beans, and they loved tasting all the varieties of chocolate. It is a small "mom and pop" business, so you do need to reserve it ahead of time (but you don't have to pay until the end of the tour). I would have liked an earlier time, but by the time I made my reservations, the only time available was 1:00. They sent me back a detailed map and written directions. I'm glad we brought these with us because it is located in a residential area and the taxi driver had to drive around the block a couple of times before he found it. It only took about 10 minutes to get there. We arrived about 30 minutes early and had to ring the door bell for them to let us in. Joshua, the tour guide, was awesome. He gave us lots of the history of the Mayans and chocolate and the science behind making it. He also explained the difference behind his chocolate and Hershey's.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #44
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Some pictures from the chocolate factory

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...07053110_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...10973910_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...90022371_n.jpg

I can't figure out how to post photos, but maybe these links will work.
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Our Disney Magic Cruise, Galveston 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtR8...8Fxc_EHR3s_Sxw
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:45 AM   #45
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Thanks for all the detailed info, soccermom! Do you remember about how much the taxi to the factory was? We are trying to make Cozumel our inexpensive, no-excursion day, but this looks very interesting!

Did you do any shopping in the port? Did you eat anywhere in Cozumel?
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