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Old 06-15-2014, 07:02 PM   #1
lauralynn0612
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(Upd 8/3) I Don't Think We Are in Kansas Anymore: Disney Fantasy 5/31/14

Hello! I am two weeks post cruise, and the depression is starting to lift... Sort of! We sailed the Disney Fantasy on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary from May 31-June 7. I am determined to write a trip report after reading them extensively prior to cruising. I plan to update regularly, but forgive me if I am a little slow. This was our first Disney cruise but our second cruise. We sailed with Carnival January 2013 for our honeymoon.

Navigation:

Intro (here)

Travel Day

WDW Day 1: Animal Kingdom

WDW Day 1: Magic Kingdom

WDW Day 2: Hollywood Studios

Day 1: Embarkation

Day 1: Embarkation cont'd

Day 2: Palo

Day 2: At Sea and Formal Night

Day 3: Anniversary and Mixology

Day 3: Dinner & Ladies' Night Out

First, a little bit about the sailing group:

Laura (Me): Age 25; all-around Disney fan



Tyler (DH): Age 25; Disney first-timer



We also sailed with my parents and brothers (ages 16 & 14). They will appear periodically in the trip report so they are worth mentioning!

As the trip report title indicates, we are all from Kansas. I have been to Disney before with my parents, but it had been about 17 years since my last trip. As mentioned, my husband had never been to Disney and really had no interest in ever visiting Disney. My brothers were also visiting Disney for the first time. Thus, we chose to fly in the Wednesday before the trip so as to spend two days touring the parks. Which means I will include a few Disney parks reviews. Feel free to just tune back in when I begin the cruise portion if that is all you are interested in!

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Old 06-15-2014, 07:32 PM   #2
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May 28: Travel Day

May 28: Travel Day

We left Kansas City International Airport on Wednesday, May 28 at 11:40am Central and then arrived in Orlando at 5:45pm Eastern. After picking up our luggage, we headed to the rental car area. Because we were going to be in Orlando two days before cruising and staying off-property, we reserved a mini-van with Alamo. The representative "suggested" we upgrade from a Grand Caravan to a Toyota Sienna because we had eight pieces of luggage and six people. I was exhausted from a long day of travel and just said whatever and paid the extra dollars. Was it worth it? Probably. Both brothers are over 6-feet tall, and we all like to have our own space. But I digress. After picking up the car and navigating our way out of the parking garage (no easy feat, let me assure you), we were on our way.

Coming from a state with a turnpike (toll road), we are used to getting on the turnpike and paying when we exit. The Florida Sunpass is not quite so easy for us. We did have experience with it from our trip four years prior to Universal, but I am certain we missed a few toll booths as we headed to the resort. Oh well! For our time in Orlando, we stayed at The Fountains. It is a Bluegreen resort, and my parents have a Bluegreen timeshare. We stayed there before and really liked it so booked it again. I can certainly see the perks to staying on-site, but this was definitely the cheaper route and still within 15 minutes of WDW.

Once we checked in and took our bags to the rooms, we decided to head to Downtown Disney for dinner. Four years ago, DTD was still in progress, and Disney was not our focus anyway so this was our first visit. We ate at Earl of Sandwich and ran into a family from our cruise Facebook group. The Facebook group for the 5/31 Fantasy sailing was VERY active, but I will talk more on that later. We shopped for a bit and ended the night with Ghirardelli sundaes. Tyler chose the cookie dough sundae, and I chose Strawberry Fields. Both were delicious!

Some DTD photos: (note: I promise the pictures get better!)





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Old 06-16-2014, 11:17 AM   #3
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Yay!!! Another 5/31 TR. I can't wait to relive it all reading your report.
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #4
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Yay!!! Another 5/31 TR. I can't wait to relive it all reading your report.
Woohoo! Glad to have a follower!
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:20 PM   #5
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Parks Part 1

WDW Day 1: The Kingdoms, Part 1

We spent our first full day in Orlando travelling through the "Kingdoms." I had already made Fastpass+ reservations for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain for afternoon/evening at Magic Kingdom so we decided to hit up Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning with a goal to leave by noon.

None of us had been to Animal Kingdom and were really looking forward to it.

Passing through to Disney:



And on to Animal Kingdom:



The plan was to head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris followed by Expedition Everest. As I mentioned, we already had plans for our three Fastpasses for the day so we wanted to get to the popular rides first. Because everyone in the car had their own ideas about how to get to AK (), we didn't quite make rope drop but still ended up early enough to hop right on the Safaris.



Just a short wait:



I had heard mornings were a great time to go on the Safari. Not sure if that is always true, but we did see a lot of animals:







We really enjoyed this ride! Everyone had a great time. But we still needed to ride Expedition Everest so off we go!

Some sights on the way over:





Here we are!



Prior to Disney, Tyler had bad experiences with roller coasters. We visited Cedar Point last summer on a road trip to Niagara Falls, and I thought he might pass out as we were getting off the Gatekeeper coaster. It is possible I never really believed him til then... But this fear kept him from joining us on Expedition Everest, and he took this photo of our train.



As we discovered later this afternoon, Tyler's roller coaster fear doesn't apply to Disney's coasters. Much to my brothers' dismay, the Disney coasters didn't really appeal to their thrill level, but they had a good time all the same. No one quite does "theming" (yea, my computer has notified me this may not be a word) like Disney!

After riding Expedition Everest, we trekked over to Dinoland U.S.A. to ride Dinosaur!



At that point, it was quickly approaching noon so we decided we needed to get some food so as to leave for Magic Kingdom soon. Among all places, we chose Rainforest Cafe. Hey, we don't have those in Kansas!

We decided to leave our car parked at AK and take the Disney bus over to MK even though we did check and could have driven and parked without paying again. Just seemed like less of a hassle given our navigational difficulties this morning...

Up next: Magic Kingdom!

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Old 06-16-2014, 03:21 PM   #6
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The Parks Part 2

WDW Day 1: The Kingdoms, Part 2

We made it! My family really had a hard time matching my excitement. And obviously teenage boys are just too cool to get excited about Disney.









Our first Fastpass reservation was Space Mountain, but we still had about an hour so we headed to Tomorrowland to kill some time. We checked out the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor first. It was worth the wait. We appreciated the downtime. Stitch's Great Escape was right across the way so we went there next. Not as impressed, but we just needed a filler ride. At that point it was time for Space Mountain and our first Fastpass experience. I had read mixed reviews of the new system, but I had never even used the old system so I had zero expectations. On that, we really liked it. We would have loved the ability to have more Fastpasses (obviously!), but it was nice to just "walk right on."



This was Tyler's first Disney coaster. He really liked it even though he ducked down the entire time because he thought he might hit his head. We thought about riding again as Tyler wanted to play the video games in the queue, but for some reason we chose not to. Instead, we grabbed some water and headed to the People Mover. Mainly because these are the kinds of rides Tyler typically enjoyed. It was a nice behind-the-scenes take on Tomorrowland. Our ride even stopped while we were in Space Mountain for a bit of the thrill side of things!

After Tomorrowland, we headed over to Fantasyland. Seven Dwarves Mine Train officially opened the day before (even though it had been running for a few days). I did not try to get Fastpass+ reservations because I just didn't want to deal with cancelling and rebooking and all that. Plus it was another excuse to return! The wait was over two hours, and the boys weren't too disappointed we weren't going to ride. (See unimpressed with coasters comment.) Also, there were thunderstorms in the area, and the ride kept closing and reopening. So I led us over to Gaston's and indulged in a Lefou's Brew. Beauty & the Beast is my ultimate favorite Disney movie, and I plan to have Be Our Guest reservations on our next visit.





It was approaching our next two Fastpass+ times so we made our way over to Frontierland stopping at It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Hall of Presidents on the way.



You can't really do WDW without riding It's a Small World can you?! Yes. Yes, you can.

We rode Big Thunder Mountain and still had some time before the Splash Mountain window started so we went over to the Pirates of the Caribbean. My youngest brother is a huge Pirates fan. The updates with Captain Jack were fun. We rode Splash Mountain. The boys were up front and got a bit wet, but we stayed fairly dry otherwise. All in all, we enjoyed our day at the Kingdoms. We drove over to DTD for dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Express before heading back to the resort. I had the chicken cavatappi of some sort. It was good but nothing to write home about. Tyler ordered the pepperoni pizza. This is what I will order next time.

And while I still have yet to try a Dole Whip I did have a churro to cope with leaving MK.



Up next: Hollywood Studios and Star Wars Weekend!
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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I'm here Laura!!!!

You did not miss anything by bypassing Dwarves Ride! Lamest ride ever that took 2 years plus to build.

Looking forward to reliving the cruise too- from your angle!
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:45 PM   #9
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Hollywood Studios

WDW Day 2: Hollywood Studios

We ended our first full day eating at Wolfgang Puck's Express at Downtown Disney. It was a late night, and our second full day at WDW was an early one. Fortunately, we were still running on adrenaline. Or at least I was. Today we planned for Hollywood Studios. It was Star Wars Weekend, and I wanted to be there for rope drop. First, I had to take my brothers and dad to Bay Lake Tower by 7:00am to meet our friends. They were going on the steam train tour at MK. Yet again, we had some navigational issues and made it just in the nick of time. Tyler, my mom, and I then stopped off at McDonald's for some breakfast. In the mean time, it would seem my research was a little lacking, and we didn't make rope drop. We got to the park about 7:45 and headed straight to Toy Story Midway Mania. I did not make a Fastpass+ reservation for it and instead booked Rock 'n Roller Coaster as our Tier 1 Fastpass. (We also booked Star Tours and Tower of Terror.)

The wait was about 15 minutes for TSMM. We enjoyed the fun queue.



Ha. Check out Mr. Potato Head's creepy eyes.



Off we go!



Tyler beat me. Really, more like a massacre. I am certain my shooter thing was defective.



When we left, the line had become much longer. Darth's Mall was right next door so we headed in to check out the merchandise. I was very tempted to purchase the Stormtrooper shirt shooting his gun with the "pew pew" sign, but it was only in youth sizes. I think it is safe to say I left youth sizes behind long ago.

With Lego Darth:



We did in fact buy the commemorative Stormtrooper stein and Darth popcorn bucket.



After our snack, we were right across from the entrance to the Studio Backlot Tour so we hopped on it before heading over to Min & Bill's Dockside Diner to check-in for the Star Wars parade. My mom had purchased the Feel the Force Premium Package because my middle brother is quite the Star Wars fan. We had a reserved section for the morning parade and then later on for the fireworks. At each event, drinks and snacks were provided. For the parade, we could choose from Mickey Bars and popsicles and water or pop.

Our vantage point:





The little jedis who participated in the Jedi Training Academy:



As soon as the parade ended, we headed over to Star Tours. The boys didn't make it back from the train tour until about 10:30 (they really enjoyed the tour, by the way) so we missed our 10:05-11:05 Star Tours Fastpass. We tried to beat the parade crowd back to the rides, and we kind of did. Tyler ended up being the "rebel spy" only adding to his enjoyment of the trip. Naturally. Ha. For me, whatever it takes to sell him on a return trip!

We had lunch at the cafeteria. One thing I didn't quite realize was that since our last trip, you really needed reservations for any sit-down place. Especially because it was SWW. We were planning on the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater as it was our "regular" spot, but there was no availability. The cafeteria worked just fine as we knew we would have awesome food starting the next day!

Post-lunch included a ride on the Great Movie Ride before our Fastpasses. Highlight of the ride was the "guide" asking, "How often do you get to say, 'I don't think we are in Kansas anymore?'" If he only knew...

We headed over to Tower of Terror.





Then Rock 'n Roller Coaster. Both were "new" rides for me. I really enjoyed them both. I had chickened out on my last chance to ride Tower of Terror so I rode it twice this trip to make up for it!

We were pretty pooped out at that point. We headed back to the resort and ordered some Domino's pizza. Tyler and I headed over to the liquor store to stock up for the cruise. By the time we made it back, it was time to return to Hollywood Studios for the fireworks. My dad and brothers hadn't yet ridden TSMM so Tyler took them over that way while my mom and I returned to Darth's Mall and bought the commemorative poster. Plenty of trip commemorating happening. The fireworks and dessert party was great. There was a wide variety of desserts and alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks.







I would like to think there is a slight hidden Mickey in the fireworks...



Up next: EMBARKATION DAY!
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tinker326 View Post
I'm here Laura!!!!

You did not miss anything by bypassing Dwarves Ride! Lamest ride ever that took 2 years plus to build.

Looking forward to reliving the cruise too- from your angle!
Definitely glad we didn't wait the 2 hours to ride!
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:40 PM   #12
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Looks like you had a blast at Star Wars Day!

I love Donald as a Storm Trooper! Very cool!

We are almost on the cruise!
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:19 PM   #13
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can't wait for more on your trip.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:35 PM   #14
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Embarkation Day

Day 1: Embarkation!



Yes! We finally made it! Here we are, ready to start the cruise. Just a few tidbits about this cruise:

Aside from the group I listed in the intro post, we were immediately cruising with family friends, one of whom happens to be a travel agent. She had also booked two other families, and all four groups' reservations had been linked so as to sit near each other at dinner.

This trip was also serving as an anniversary / graduation trip for Tyler and I as well as an anniversary cruise for my parents.

We had a VERY ACTIVE Facebook group. The group bordered right on 200 members who represented probably 400-500 cruisers. Additionally, we had a ladies' group that started with weight loss in mind but really ended up bonding on sarcastic comments and trip planning. It would seem now we are thinking about weight loss again.

I participated in one of the seven FE groups. (The seventh group was organized by the last-minute additions.) My group had 13 cabins. I will talk a little more about the FE gifts / process in a separate post.

Through the Facebook group, we had organized: sailaway t-shirts, bracelets, a Bernard's tour for St. Maarten, private Mixology groups, champagne tasting Rainbow Loom bracelet exchanges, a group meet, kids' activities for the meet, among other things.

With some of those introductory items out of the way (which arguably could have been done in the introduction...), on we go with our day!

We woke up early to get everything packed. Instead of DCL transportation, we were travelling to the port in a private charter bus with six other families from our Facebook group. So that meant we needed to meet at Bay Lake Tower by 8:45. I dropped the whole family off at Bay Lake Tower and drove over to the Disney Car Care Center to leave the rental car. We had previously arranged a cab, and he was waiting and ready to take me back to BLT! So far, so good. We loaded up the bus and headed to the Embassy Suites by the airport to pick up the last two families before heading to the port. Unfortunately, our driver didn't seem to be much for schedules, and we were quickly falling behind for those with 10:30 PATs...



Other than the slow start and slow going, our trip to Port Canaveral was pretty smooth. The day was a bit cloudy and overcast; we ran into some rain on our drive out. Soon enough, we saw the ship!

My first glimpses:





Eventually we pulled up to the drop-off area and left our luggage with the porters. We were directed to get in line for the security check and quickly made our way into the terminal to check-in. It was about 11:30, and we had an 11:30 PAT. How convenient! The not-so-convenient part was that it seemed as though EVERYONE was at the port right now. It didn't make for great photo ops, and I was kind of in a bit of a rush to get on the ship.





They were pretty much calling all boarding groups so we walked through the happy Mickey ears, took our group picture, and walked through the doors of the Disney Fantasy. It was quite fun to hear the CMs announce our family. We decided to head straight to Cabana's for some lunch. Our rooms were supposed to be ready around 1:30.



Usually I am always on top of food pictures, but I managed to space on getting lunch pics.

My middle brother and dad took the walking ship tour, and my mom and I explored the adult area before waiting for the ropes to be removed to get to our room. It was a bit after 1:30. We had booked Category 5C, connecting rooms. They were immediately off the Aft elevators and stairs. Definitely handy for my Cabana's visits. As we entered the cabin, we noticed that we had our Palo reservation envelope in the fish holder. Our reservations were for the next morning, and I think this was the only reason we received it so quickly. Fellow cruisers with reservations later in the week did not have anything so early.











The cabin seemed just a bit smaller than the one on our Carnival cruise, but we figured that might have something to do with the split bathrooms. The split bathrooms were kind of handy but not a must with just two people. One fun moment from the first day occurred when I tried to take a shower before dinner... I could not quite figure out how to turn the shower on. No, it really isn't that hard. Not sure if the little temperature nozzle made much of a difference.

As soon as we checked out the cabin, it was about time to head down to our private group meet in the D-Lounge.



The meet was well-attended, and it was great to finally meet some of the people we had been chatting with for the last year or so!





We went back to the room and started to unpack. I was not expecting the luggage so early so definitely a nice surprise. This is one of my favorite things: unpacking the whole suitcase and putting everything away for the entire week. I just love the concept of travelling to different places and not having to lug a suitcase around or live out of a suitcase. I had just enough time to decorate the door before we headed to Muster station M.

Our door:



Time to head up top for the Sail Away party!

continued next post...
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:36 PM   #15
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Day 1: Embarkation continued

We did not have a prime spot to observe the Sail Away Party and instead chose to stand near our cruise group banner for the webcam.







At some point I bought a Drink of the Day. Just in time for our Sail Away selfie. You can also see the front and back of our group shirts in this picture.



Out to sea!



After Sail Away, my brothers decided to go check-in for Vibe. My dad, Tyler, and I went along as it was open house, and I wanted to see what it looked like. I tried not to take too many pictures as to avoid embarrassing my brothers which means I didn't get any pictures of the outside deck.





The boys really did not go to the Vibe at all during the cruise. They kind of did their own thing instead. My middle brother did do the ESPN Basketball Draft, and they were both signed up for the teen Wild Side Adventure on Castaway Cay.

We had main seating so we had just enough time to change for dinner and head down to Animator's Palate for the Turtle Talk with Crush show.



For the appetizer, I chose the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes. They. Were. Delicious. Quite possibly one of my favorite dishes.



Tyler chose the Sliced Serrano Ham with Tomato Bread. We really liked the ham.



For dinner, I went with the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken. Seemed basic, but it had a great flavor.



Tyler had the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin. He is very much a "red meat" guy. My dad went with the plain old sirloin steak and was really wishing he had gone with the Angus Beef Tenderloin.



Finally, for dessert I chose the Chilled Mango Mousse. It was fine. Nothing too crazy.



Tyler went with the Cookies and Creme Sundae. I was kind of wishing I had gone that route.



Also, a table mate ordered the Make Your Own Pie dessert. Really, this was probably the coolest one on the menu that night.



Just a quick shot of the main Animator's Palate entrance.



Just as a bit of commentary, I really loved the location of our room. As previously mentioned, we were located right off the Aft elevator and stairs. This made it very convenient to get to all the restaurants (including Palo) except for Enchanted Garden. We could also pretty much go to whichever level we wanted without walking down the stateroom hallways.

After dinner, we decided to do a little shopping before heading to the Welcome Aboard show. I spotted a few shirts I hoped to purchase, and we looked through the Chamilia Charms. I received a Pandora bracelet as a graduation gift, and I wanted to make sure the Chamilia charms would fit. I really liked the ship charm but decided to wait. I will note that a lot of people were buying the Vera Bradley and Dooney purses, but they were restocking and some sizes were still left by the end of the cruise.

The Welcome Aboard show was okay. What you would expect. The cruise director narrated and used the show to talk about the main events for the week. Ronn Lucas the ventriloquist performed a segment from his show, and he was definitely entertaining. Tyler decided he wanted to attend the adult performance the next day.

By then, we were pretty wiped out so we headed back to the cabin for bed.



Up next: Day 2 & Palo Brunch!
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