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Old 01-11-2014, 04:03 PM   #1
kittylady1972
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Do you believe in MAGIC? A 4-night Jan '14 trip booked less than 3 weeks in advance!

Welcome to my PRE-TRIP report for our family's 4-night cruise on the RE-IMAGINED Disney MAGIC ship...set to begin in just 16 days!!!

I'm still in shock that I'm writing this, but I am so thrilled to have another Disney trip scheduled because, quite honestly, my next real Disney trip isn't scheduled until November of 2014 and that seems SO FAR AWAY!

Stay tuned as I give you a brief rundown of how this whole trip came about for us and with any luck I'll be updating frequently and then, if I can get it together, I'll do some live updates as our trip gets underway!

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Old 01-11-2014, 04:38 PM   #2
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THE STORY
So it was early last week and I got an email...you know the ones...with information about discounted rates for cruises. I've gotten them before but never really looked into them. This time I thought...well why not? So I decided to check some rates...what could it hurt? I looked into January cruises for our family of five...and...NOTHING.

I could have given up right there but I though...hey what about checking for rooms for four? After all, I was checking for a 4-night cruise on the Magic, a smaller ship with less cabins and sure enough...I got some rates. Not only that, they were FABULOUS rates. I couldn't even believe how cheap it was going to be, even when I split us up into two rooms.

Knowing the kids had two days of out of school in January, this cruise was looking pretty good. I even checked rates for flights, which weren't bad. And yet...did we really need to be spending money right after Christmas? No

Yet later that night at dinner, I mentioned in passing to my husband about this GREAT rates I found on a cruise for January and maybe just maybe we could look into the same discount next year and book a cruise then. His response? Let's go now.

My response: No. I don't have a lot of leave at work after taking time off for the holidays, kids would have to miss at least 3 days of school, it just wasn't a good idea.

My husband said he'd go without me. After all, just last May I took a trip to WDW without ANYBODY...alone...it was nice for me.

He would take the kids and just go.

Well I'd need to go to work the next day and take another look at my leave. Maybe just maybe I could swing it. I would have to check.

He even called his parents and asked them if they wanted to go and they said SURE! He said we'd let them know the next day for sure...but he would be going with or without me.

Would he really do that? Probably not. I couldn't chance it though!



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Old 01-11-2014, 04:54 PM   #3
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The STORY cont'd
So it was Thursday, less than 3 weeks away from the potential cruise date, and I was crunching numbers and figuring out my time and attendance at work for the next few weeks. Could I swing it? With some extra time put in here and there, yes it could be done. I'd need some help but I could make it work.

I emailed my travel agent. Now normally I book most of my Disney stuff myself, but I thought I'd give her some repeat business, since it wouldn't cost me anything and she'd also maybe give us some room credit as well. Any little bit would help.

I fired off an email to her first asking if she was able to book with the discount codes I was using...and she said yes and send her the details. So that's what I did.

There were several other emails back and forth that morning. Luckily I was monitoring my personal email at work just to make sure. Originally I wanted three rooms...two for our family of five and one for the in-laws but that wasn't possible with my discount. I could only do one discount per family member using a military discount and thankfully both DH and myself qualified on our own. So I finally told her to book one room with me, my MIL and two kids and then another room for DH, FIL and another child. That would work and she was able to get it all done quickly...and even got us connecting rooms!

And so it was that we found ourselves in the midst of planning a very last-minute cruise on the Disney Magic for our family.

Up next: THE CAST
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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THE CAST

Me: I'm a 41-year old Disneyholic. I've been dragging my DH to WDW for years now...as you can see from my siggy. I have never been a fan of the cruise...took my first one on a line that I won't mention but I'll tell you this...I did not find it that "FUN" at all. That was back in 2003 though and without kids...unless you count that I found out I was a few weeks pregnant before we left!

Then we have my DH, who is 43 and has embraced my Disney passion pretty well. Our family includes DS age 13, DD age 11 and DS age 9.

We also have my in-laws. FIL is 71 years old and my MIL is 67. I am thankful that I get along very well with them and they travel with us a LOT. We introduced them to WDW back in 1998...before that they only knew Disneyland having had their own honeymoon in Disneyland and being California residents for several years. They loved and it and I think my FIL might be more addicted than I am to it. In fact, just last month I helped them plan their first trip to WDW without us for their anniversary...which is in Februrary of this year!

Our cruise history is very recent. We all went on our very first Disney Cruise in November of 2012 and while I'd like to tell you it was awesome...it was not the best trip. It was 3-nights on the Dream and though we loved the trip we had several sick family members while onboard...and NOT seasickness. My youngest son had a fever and my FIL was also ill and on that trip the only ones who got off at Castaway Cay were myself and my two older kids, and we only stayed on the island for about 2-3 hours. The water was very cold but the kids and I did rent a paddleboat which they enjoyed.



Another one of the kids at Castaway Cay in the COLD water:




Here we are with Castaway Cay in the background in November 2012:



I will say that we did get off the boat at the Bahamas and I took the kids on the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Swim but even that did not go as planned. If I ever finish my trip report (link in my siggy below) you'll learn the whole story. It was fun for some of us but not all of us.

Swimming with Dolphins:


And of course on the ship we did love the Aquaduck:


And we met Mickey:



So needless to say, a Disney Cruise re-do was really in order for us eventually and in fact we do have a hold cruise booked for January of 2015...but we were planning on moving that one to summer 2015 when the rates get released.

However just in Sept/Oct my DH and I decided to celebrate our 15-year wedding anniversary in style after I located some fabulous rates on the cruises out of Galveston! We took the 7-night cruise on the Wonder and had a GREAT time. I think that's when things started to change for me with regards to cruising.

So this will be our chance to get on our THIRD Disney ship by setting sail on the Magic, which means just one more to complete the Disney Cruise Ship Quad! I'm not sure when we'll ever be able to afford a trip on the Fantasy, but maybe someday it will happen.

For now though, we are SO excited to have this trip planned!


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Old 01-13-2014, 12:37 PM   #5
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THE PLAN
Since we got such a good deal on this cruise, and it's so close to the holidays and I'm still trying to pay off that stuff, the last thing I want to do is spend a ton of "extra" money on this cruise. The cruise price is great...but I know all too well how quickly those on-board charges can add up!

When the kids heard this cruise were headed back to the Bahamas, and when I said NO extras, the first thing my son said was "I guess no swimming with the dolphins this tims?". Yes this was the oldest son...who I paid to swim with the dolphins back in November 2012 only to have him CHANGE HIS MIND!!

The other way to save money...drive and not fly. Luckily with this being a Monday cruise, it's easy enough to travel on the weekend and the drive to MD from FL has been done by us plenty before. Right now we plan to leave really early (like before 6am) on Saturday and hopefully arrive in the evening Saturday. But where?

While I am tempted to book a place near Walt Disney World, I know very well that will be too tempting and really...it's not THAT close. The better idea would be to stay near Port Canaveral so that is our current plan. I'll book two nights in a hotel in the Melbourne, FL area for all of us.

I haven't decided 100% on the hotel quite yet...but I'm pretty close. Since we'll get in so late Saturday evening (probably after 10pm) I just hope whatever I book will be comfortable. Free breakfast is always good time, but finding rooms for a family of five can sometimes be a challenge.

Then there is Sunday. We cannot spend the ENTIRE day Sunday in the room, all five of us, without going insane. We need things local and not too expensive to keep us out of the hotel for a while. I'd really LOVE to do the Space Center but the prices...OUCH! I'm still thinking about it though because I read such great reviews about the place.

Monday morning...we'll check out and head over to the port. I think our boarding time is around 12:30pm but we'll arrive a bit earlier in hopes we can get on the ship earlier.

I can't wait to hit the pool with the kids and just enjoy some time there. I am thinking we just MUST try the Aquadunk at least once too! And of course...ice cream is another MUST!

Tuesday is the Bahamas and we won't be getting off the ship. Been there, done that, so we will just enjoy the pool and the food and the ship activities for the day.

Wednesday is Castaway Cay and since half of our travel party has never been there, we plan to get out there early and really enjoy our day on the island. The kids want to ride bikes, and maybe snorkel, and then maybe just float around and of course enjoy the fabulous buffet there. Can't wait to return here.

Thursday is our day and sea and lots more activities to be enjoyed.

Our only goals right now will be to just relax, enjoy as many activities as we can and just have fun spending time as a family. We are hoping to catch a showing of Frozen while onboard, as I'm pretty sure it will still be showing. The boys have seen it but the rest of us have not! We also hope to see some shows since our cruise on the Dream in Nov 2012 we did not see ANY shows and when DH and I went on the Wonder back in Sept/Oct I think we caught almost all of them...and they were so great!

I must say we are looking forward to leaving the cold Maryland weather behind for a week and enjoying some Florida and Bahamas sunshine!
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:44 PM   #6
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Are you my doppelganger?

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Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post

I'm still in shock that I'm writing this, but I am so thrilled to have another Disney trip scheduled because, quite honestly, my next real Disney trip isn't scheduled until November of 2014 and that seems SO FAR AWAY!
Hello! I am in the process of booking this right now as well because of the insane discount! We are dual military, DD11 and DS (turning 9 on cruise). Also have a trip scheduled for November of this year and here's the kicker...based upon your description of how much school your kids will miss, I believe we live in the same county in MD.

This is too crazy! I loved reading your posts and hope to see you onboard.

-Sharon
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tinkybell14 View Post
Hello! I am in the process of booking this right now as well because of the insane discount! We are dual military, DD11 and DS (turning 9 on cruise). Also have a trip scheduled for November of this year and here's the kicker...based upon your description of how much school your kids will miss, I believe we live in the same county in MD.

This is too crazy! I loved reading your posts and hope to see you onboard.

-Sharon
OMG that is great! My DD is 11 and DS is 9 and I have a DS13. So AA CO schools? Let me know when you book...would love to meet if you would like. My DD would love to have a friend to hang with too!
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:26 PM   #8
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AA county

So, did you tell the school that your kids will be out? I'm not sure how to handle this since the county says 3 unexcused days they can fail them for the entire course. I thought this would be a good week to miss since it's the beginning of the term and they won't be testing or anything.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tinkybell14 View Post
So, did you tell the school that your kids will be out? I'm not sure how to handle this since the county says 3 unexcused days they can fail them for the entire course. I thought this would be a good week to miss since it's the beginning of the term and they won't be testing or anything.
I have not told the schools yet. I will probably tell the principal of the elementary school as I have a good relationship with her and it is up to them to decide if they allow it to be excused. As for middle school, I will probably just write a note when he returns asking for him to be excused due to illness...my exact words. Notice I am not saying he was ill, but asking for him to be excused due to illness. Semantics I know but I agree it is beginning the of the semester and they should have enough time to make up the work. My kids do pretty well and don't struggle so they should be fine. Spending time with family is important to us with such busy lives and being with us and their grandparents I think is a good thing.

Can't believe we are so close to leaving. Plan to work on my very first fish extender this weekend!!
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:20 AM   #10
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So I have my miniature free labor working hard on some trinkets for my FE...even though I haven't told the kids we are participating. They know nothing about it, other than they probably remember seeing people with things on their doors on our previous cruise. I am really looking forward to going around and handing out all of our goodies!

Gotta get the FE made this weekend!

Told my FIL last night that we were really going to try to do a Palo Brunch at least. He asked if he needed to dress up for that but I think khakis and a nice button up shirt is fine for brunch. On our Wonder cruise out of Galveston I was shocked to see some of the patrons in Palo in jeans! Anyway I think he'll be okay with business casual, no jacket, for brunch.

Can't believe we will start our journey in just nine days. DH had brand new tires put on my truck last night, as that's the planned vehicle to drive for this trip. I have over 95K miles on my 2008 Honda Pilot and I don't think I'll cross over 100K for this trip, but definitely by the end of this year. This is my 3rd set of tires and DH insisted on picking them out because he hated the ones I put on them last time. I liked them because they looked rugged...but he continued to insist they were loud and called my car the "Woogity Woogity" car. I drove them this morning and they seem fine, though I thought I little noisy at higher speeds. We'll see.

Two more days of work and then a nice 3-day weekend here! Yippee!!
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:34 PM   #11
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Got the "A-Ok"

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I have not told the schools yet. I will probably tell the principal of the elementary school as I have a good relationship with her and it is up to them to decide if they allow it to be excused. As for middle school, I will probably just write a note when he returns asking for him to be excused due to illness...my exact words. Notice I am not saying he was ill, but asking for him to be excused due to illness. Semantics I know but I agree it is beginning the of the semester and they should have enough time to make up the work. My kids do pretty well and don't struggle so they should be fine. Spending time with family is important to us with such busy lives and being with us and their grandparents I think is a good thing.
So, I broke down and emailed the middle school vice-principal...I know myself and I would have stressed the entire trip about the make-up work and whether her grades would suffer and whether or not I made the right decision (meanwhile, my daughter would be having a blast without a care in the world!). So, I emailed and just said that attendance is important, but so is family time and is there any way he would allow her to make up her work for credit. It took a couple of days, but he finally responded that it's not a big deal and that she will be able to make up and get credit for anything that she missed. HUGE sigh of relief. It also tells me that I can book my cruise for next January while onboard.

As for my son, his school has always been understanding and I worked it out with his teacher and he's good to go too!

Now if I can only get my FE gifts going and gather up all our gear!
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkybell14 View Post
So, I broke down and emailed the middle school vice-principal...I know myself and I would have stressed the entire trip about the make-up work and whether her grades would suffer and whether or not I made the right decision (meanwhile, my daughter would be having a blast without a care in the world!). So, I emailed and just said that attendance is important, but so is family time and is there any way he would allow her to make up her work for credit. It took a couple of days, but he finally responded that it's not a big deal and that she will be able to make up and get credit for anything that she missed. HUGE sigh of relief. It also tells me that I can book my cruise for next January while onboard.

As for my son, his school has always been understanding and I worked it out with his teacher and he's good to go too!

Now if I can only get my FE gifts going and gather up all our gear!
Good for you! I am actually going to do the same thing myself. This snow situation has really changed the rules. Now I know he will miss at least one day of exams, and I'm pretty sure it's gonna end up being at least two as I don't expect they will return to school tomorrow either.

So I had already decided I would go ahead and email the school as well and make them aware of our situation. Let's hope they are as understanding. My son is already stressing out about it. After all, it's not HIS fault we are dragging him on vacation!

How is the FE going? I had to work partially today and probably will tomorrow as well, but finished my FE over the weekend, printed some magnets tonight and I think everybody is packed. However now that the weather might not be quite as warm as I hoped, I may repack a little bit and have some warmer clothing replacing the shorts.

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Old 01-22-2014, 07:13 PM   #13
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The Moving Countdown continues....
Nothing like a blast of cold weather with temps in the negative with wind chill and some snow to make you think...maybe we should leave NOW?

No we have not already hit the road for Florida...but it's very tempting.

Right now our plan is to travel on Saturday...departing at 0500 (or oh-four-forty-five according to my husband) for the long 14 hour or so estimated drive to the Port Canaveral area.

And yet...there is the slight chance we might depart on Friday instead.

Right now due to the two unexpected days at home the kids have had due to snow (they last had school on Friday 1/17) and the weather-related school schedule, we still aren't sure quite what will happen on Friday morning.

Kids will return tomorrow...going in two hours late...after their 5-day weekend. The original school schedule had them getting out two hours early tomorrow, but that won't happen now...since they are going in two hours late.

As for Friday...well if they return to the somewhat normal schedule, they will get out two hours early. If they go in late...same as tomorrow they will stay until normal time.

Confused yet?

*IF* they get out early on Friday then we *MIGHT* just leave on Friday afternoon. Yet that would require us to get home from work early, do a rush job and pack up the car and get the dog headed off to her home-away-from-home this week with my SIL. Can it be done? Yes. Will there be stress? Yes. But we are going on vacation...so that makes up for it right?

Stay tuned...we will either be hitting the road in two days...or three right now. Either way we will be getting on a cruise ship to warmer weather as of Monday...which is awesome!

Now to continue to convince my daughter to let us do some adult activities. I think she might be okay going to the Edge club with her older brother now...and leaving her younger brother in his own club, which I think he'll be perfectly ok with quite honestly.

We shall see.

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Old 01-24-2014, 08:29 PM   #14
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LAST SLEEP before we get this party started!! Due to weather conditions, school did not dismiss early today so we felt no need to hit the road until tomorrow. My olderst son was able to take all of his 8th grade exams today so that is done.

We are all packed and ready. Wakeup time is 4am and we will be on the road by 5am. Dog is already at my in-laws house where she will be spoiled rotten for the next week. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we will be settled in a hotel in Florida for our 2 night stay.

Now to see how well packing the luggage goes tomorrow. My DH is always concerned it won't all fit on our rear cargo basket but I am sure it will all be fine!


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Old 01-26-2014, 07:45 PM   #15
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,412

So we left as scheduled yesterday. Not too many stops. We had lunch at an Arby's in SC around noon. We figured we'd do a longer dinner on the road but we really started cruising after lunch. Stopped for gas and DH decided to repack the luggage moving a lot of it to the roof. He claimed the Pilot was riding too low and rolling a lot. I was driving and it did feel different but we had a LOT of wind I believe.

We rolled up to the hotel around 7pm and just moved luggage off the car and to the rooms then walked to a nearby Bob Evans for dinner. Got back in the room around 8:30pm and hit the pillows. After MAYBE getting 4 hours of broken sleep the night before and driving about 6 hours of the trip I was out cold by 9:30pm.

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