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Old 11-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #1
CatDenver
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The We Are Family HalloWonder 2013 Trip Report

It's the day after our family 7 night cruise to the Bahamas and my head and heart are still there even though I'm home in Colorado looking at fall leaves to be raked. It was a fantastic trip, to say the very least. I called my pre-trip report the Yours, Mine, and Ours Mystery Tour but this is the We Are Family HalloWonder trip because the family moments we had were outstanding. I love that the siblings don't refer to each other as step this or half that. It's simply my brother or my sister.

There was so much fun to be had on this trip. Booking the 2 bedroom suite was the right thing to do as it was great having the living & dining rooms as well as the verandah to congregate as a family.

We sailed the Wonder out of Galveston on October 26. This was a first DCL cruise for all of us and the only experienced cruisers were Kalen and Nicole who sailed a Carnival Mexican Riviera cruise for their honeymoon two years ago. Our itinerary was embark at Galveston, a sea day, Key West, Castaway Cay, Nassau, two sea days, and Galveston again. Sailing with us was me, my husband BJ, his son Patrick (33), my daughter Nicole (32), her husband Kalen (28), our son Michael (12), and our daughter Catie (9).

Nicole and I were the main photographers on this trip and we're still working on consolidating pictures. We have them on our two phones, my iPad, Michael's iPad, and my digital camera. Lesson learned...it's easier to use one photo taking device. Also, I need to get a really nice digital camera for the next trip. .

As I report I'll include lessons learned comments that perhaps may be useful to other first time cruisers. I'll start gathering my thoughts as I try to go all the way back to when we landed in Houston and headed for Galveston. Climb on board and enjoy the ride!

Getting to Galveston
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report

Last edited by CatDenver; 11-04-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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I'm in! So glad to see you are doing a trip report. Looking forward to hearing all about it.
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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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2000-POFQ, 2005-FW, 2006-FW, 2008-FW, Feb 2009-CBR/POFQ, Sept 2009-ASM,2010 BWI/WL/AKL/DCL Magic Western, July 2011 BWI/DCL Dream, Nov 2011 FW/AKL, May 2012 GF/DCL Fantasy-Eastern/BWI, Oct 2012 DCL Magic-Western, Feb 2013 DCL Magic-Cozumel, Apr 2013 DCL Magic-CC/WDW/KW, Sept 2013 - DCL Wonder-Bahamas, Dec 2013 - DCL Wonder-NYE-Cozumel, March 2014 - DCL Magic-4 night, Patiently waiting for: Nov 2014-Dream, Nov 2015- DCL Wonder B2B-Western & Bahamas-Galveston, DCL Wonder 2015 NYE Cruise-Bahamas-Galveston
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'm in! So glad to see you are doing a trip report. Looking forward to hearing all about it.
Thanks! I didn't realize how much work an actual trip report would be compared to a pre-trip report but I know I'll be glad I did it.
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:27 AM   #4
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Getting to Galveston

Saturday was our sail date so I had scheduled Friday to be our travel day to Galveston. I scheduled our flight for 5:45 am, though United kept changing the take off time to 5:53 am and then back to 5:45 am. It didn't matter. We ended up getting to the airport an hour before and were stuck in security for 45 minutes. TSA had one agent for the numerous hoards waiting to get through. It was awful. Needless to say, by the time we got to the gate the plane was gone. Someone tipped us to another flight leaving for Houston in 30 minutes so we along with a couple other people who also missed the plane ran to that gate. It turns out that flight was full. The United customer service rep was able to get us on a 11:20 flight out. She was a true God send. It was quite the challenge finding 5 open seats on a Friday since most of the flights were overbooked but she did it. The flight would get us to Houston around 3ish. Thank God there are like a dozen flights a day between Denver and Houston.

In the meantime, Nicole and Kalen were on a red eye from LA to Houston through Spirit. Though it took off 90 minutes late, they still made it in around 6am. They were supposed to be on the DCL transport with us when we got there but DCL made a mistake, in a good way, and their driver was waiting for them. He took them to the Hotel Galvez where they assumed theyíd have to wait in the lobby until check in. Instead the hotel allowed them to check into one of the two rooms we had reserved. So they were able to get settled, take a nap, then grab some breakfast at Millerís Seawall Grill. It turns out that not only are they a great seafood restaurant but they have a wonderful breakfast too. Kalen spoke highly of their breakfast burrito. Afterwards, they laid out at the pool.

Meanwhile, back at the DIA ranch we were on iPads reading and playing games or wandering the shops in the airport. Anything to kill the 3 hours we waited. The time went quickly and before we knew it we were on the plane to Houston. It was a great flight though we all had center seats. They were located in Economy Plus so we the leg room was very spacious and didnít feel cramped at all. Michael sat between two United pilots who were both heading home for a break. They were so great chatting with him and answering his questions about flying planes and other such topics. One had a son Michaelís age and he had recently taken them on a Disney cruise so they chatted quite a bit about the cruise.


Once we got to Houston as we were headed towards baggage claim, one of our DIS members, Craig was there to greet us. He recognized us from pictures on Facebook and was able to greet us right away. It was a pleasant surprise. He directed us to where our luggage was stored since it arrived a few hours before us and then introduced us to our DCL greeter who would take us to our transportation. I made a pit stop in the ladies room and heard a beautiful British accent say, ďAre you Catherine?Ē It was another DISer!

We finally made it to the hotel which was absolutely beautiful! My one regret was that by getting in so late we were not able to see much of Galveston. After a delectable dinner at Millerís which was right next door from the hotel we went to the poolside meet and greet. We met a lot of our DISers but we had been up since 3am and were so exhausted. It was nice to see our cruise mascot Gold Mickey making the rounds but we were dog tired. So we went to bed, very anxious to get on the ship. I was not going to be at ease until we heard our names announced.

Gold Mickey and his handler, Blake meeting two of the HalloWonder kids


By the way, we had dinner and breakfast at Millerís. What an excellent restaurant. Thereís a ton of food though so you need to make sure youíre really hungry when you go, which we were since we skipped lunch. David was our server and was fabulous! You must have the gumbo if you go. Itís some of the best Iíve ever tasted! For breakfast I would also recommend the French toast. It was very good!

Gumbo at Miller's


Shrimp and Fries at Miller's


BJ and Michael walking to the Hotel Galvez from Miller's


A few words about the Hotel GalvezÖÖÖ.excellent hotel with great service. The staff was wonderful and made check in so quick and easy. They gave us our directions for how transportation to the port would work so we were set. I had read the rooms were small and I assume that must vary. We had a king bed, in ours, which was very comfortable, and lots of floor space which we called the dance floor. We were cranking music from one of the iPads and holding our own little dance party. Our room was adjoined to the second room that had two queen beds. It was a bit tighter than the first room but not as bad as I had read on some of the reviews. The pool area was beautiful and though we didnít get to fully enjoy it, Nicole and Kalen did and spoke very highly of it.

Hotel Galvez as seen from the seawall



Some lessons learned:
1. Never assume security checks will only take 15 minutes, regardless of past experience. For a trip like this we cut it too close and didnít have buffer time for anything that could go wrong.

2. When cruising I will always plan on flying in the day before. That was a good decision and I am thankful we did.

3. Taking the week off from work was the right thing to do. I was able to get everything packed and organized so I didnít feel rushed getting things ready. The only thing I felt rushed on were FEís but more on that later.

4. I really liked staying in such a beautiful hotel but since the main point of our trip was the cruise, next time weíll stay in a cheaper hotel. If Galveston was our final destination I would definitely stay at the Hotel Galvez again. Itís highly unlikely weíll cruise out of Galveston again but if we did Iíd stay closer to the port.

5. Iíll get into the packing for this trip later but we had so much luggage it was ridiculous! That was due mostly to the fact we had pirate costumes, Halloween costumes, and formal attire. The FE gifts added another bag and a half of stuff. FE was a great deal of fun and Iím glad I did it but I doubt weíll do it again.

At the end of the day, we were thrilled to be together again since we had not seen Nicole and Kalen since January. It was a wonderful family reunion in Galveston in spite of the rocky start. I was reminded once again how blessed I am to have such a wonderful and fun family.
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:02 PM   #5
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Great start! Loved meeting you guys on the cruise and getting the chance to see your beautiful suite (and verandah, WOW!). So glad you are doing a trip report - I don't have the time to do one, but I'll be here reading yours for sure!
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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Following along!
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:23 PM   #7
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neighbor! Who would have thought security would be that bad at DIA that early in the morning?? I will continue to renew my Clear pass. Glad they got you on another flight.

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Old 11-04-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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neighbor! Who would have thought security would be that bad at DIA that early in the morning?? I will continue to renew my Clear pass. Glad they got you on another flight.

Jill in CO
It was a surprise to me, Jill. I typically take a 6am flight when going to San Francisco for work and it's never been more than a 5 minute wait.
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Moi DH Michael (13) Catie (10)




Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Great start! Loved meeting you guys on the cruise and getting the chance to see your beautiful suite (and verandah, WOW!). So glad you are doing a trip report - I don't have the time to do one, but I'll be here reading yours for sure!
Julie, it was so great meeting you and Blake! I'm glad you could stop by but sorry you couldn't partake in the Happy Hour with us.

I'm trying to get this done before I go back to work on Wednesday. Otherwise it will take me 6 months to finish.
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Moi DH Michael (13) Catie (10)




Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #10
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Wow, what a start to your trip! The Galvez is beautiful, but as you said, it's pricey for a quick overnight trip before a cruise. Glad that at least some of your travel group got to experience some of it's amenities.

Trip reports do take some time to organize but I love reading them! It's so interesting to see through other people's eyes.
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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

Jenny & Scott
2000-POFQ, 2005-FW, 2006-FW, 2008-FW, Feb 2009-CBR/POFQ, Sept 2009-ASM,2010 BWI/WL/AKL/DCL Magic Western, July 2011 BWI/DCL Dream, Nov 2011 FW/AKL, May 2012 GF/DCL Fantasy-Eastern/BWI, Oct 2012 DCL Magic-Western, Feb 2013 DCL Magic-Cozumel, Apr 2013 DCL Magic-CC/WDW/KW, Sept 2013 - DCL Wonder-Bahamas, Dec 2013 - DCL Wonder-NYE-Cozumel, March 2014 - DCL Magic-4 night, Patiently waiting for: Nov 2014-Dream, Nov 2015- DCL Wonder B2B-Western & Bahamas-Galveston, DCL Wonder 2015 NYE Cruise-Bahamas-Galveston
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #11
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Great start. Looking forward to hearing all about the cruise.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:47 PM   #12
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My report is slowed down a bit by 1) a nasty cold that has me zapped of any energy and 2) still collecting pictures between my daughter and I and getting them to our SmugMug account. More info to come though!

Oh yes, and a bit of the cruise blues too. Wishing we were back on the ship!
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Moi DH Michael (13) Catie (10)




Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #13
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My report is slowed down a bit by 1) a nasty cold that has me zapped of any energy and 2) still collecting pictures between my daughter and I and getting them to our SmugMug account. More info to come though!

Oh yes, and a bit of the cruise blues too. Wishing we were back on the ship!
Hope you feel better soon. The post-cruise blues are no fun, it's such a harsh reality check when you realize it's all over.
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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

Jenny & Scott
2000-POFQ, 2005-FW, 2006-FW, 2008-FW, Feb 2009-CBR/POFQ, Sept 2009-ASM,2010 BWI/WL/AKL/DCL Magic Western, July 2011 BWI/DCL Dream, Nov 2011 FW/AKL, May 2012 GF/DCL Fantasy-Eastern/BWI, Oct 2012 DCL Magic-Western, Feb 2013 DCL Magic-Cozumel, Apr 2013 DCL Magic-CC/WDW/KW, Sept 2013 - DCL Wonder-Bahamas, Dec 2013 - DCL Wonder-NYE-Cozumel, March 2014 - DCL Magic-4 night, Patiently waiting for: Nov 2014-Dream, Nov 2015- DCL Wonder B2B-Western & Bahamas-Galveston, DCL Wonder 2015 NYE Cruise-Bahamas-Galveston
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:50 PM   #14
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It was a surprise to me, Jill. I typically take a 6am flight when going to San Francisco for work and it's never been more than a 5 minute wait.
It was unusually horrible the day before your flight too. I flew out Thursday at around the same time in the morning and waited about 40 min in line. It's almost never like that! I don't think I've ever waited more than 15 minutes before that day. I'm sorry to hear you hit a busy day too.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:48 AM   #15
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Hope you feel better soon. The post-cruise blues are no fun, it's such a harsh reality check when you realize it's all over.
That is so true, especially when it comes to preparing dinner. The first night back my husband and I looked at each other like, "When is Nadia bringing our dinner?"

Being sick isn't fun but some of my cruise mates are far worse off than I. Just hoping it doesn't linger forever!
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Disney HalloWonder Bahamian Cruise - Oct 26, 2013
Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
Trip Report We Are Family (I've got all my children with me) HalloWonder Trip Report
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