Cast: Me: 34, big Disney and DCL fan DH: 44, along for the ride and pretty happy about it DD1: 4-1/2, Disney princess DD2: 3, Disney princess #2 DAY 1: ARRIVAL (Thursday, May 31) The alarm went off at 4:30am and boy was that painful! Took a quick shower, got myself organized and began what I thought would be a terrible process of getting the kids dressed and out the door by 5:10 or so. As I woke them up while wrestling clothes on their sleeping bodies, I whispered the magic words, Time to get up so we can head to the Mickey ship, and I got only cooperation and smiles from that point on and soon we were out the door. At 5 in the morning, we didnt have to worry about traffic on the way to the airport (it is NY after all), but there were a large number of trucks on the road. I guess they all want to get out of NY before rush hour really kicks in. We got the airport a little after 5:30am, checked in at the curb, DH parked the car and we made it to the plane without a hitch. On time departure, on time arrival off to a good start and almost miraculous considering we were flying out of LaGuardia (which is notorious for delays!)! We rented a car from National, which I like because you just have to walk across the street from the rental car counter to pick out a car and drive away. (So I am a little lazy on vacation it is a vacation after all!) We got to the port around 10:15 and we were SOOO early. The very helpful porters took our bags and my DDs and I walked around out front while DH parked the car across the street literally 25 yards from where we were standing. This was very convenient. We walked upstairs to the terminal, where we were literally ALL ALONE OK, there were a few others there, but not many. A little after 10:30, I tried to check in and was told they would start around 11:15. They opened a few counters a few minutes after 11 and as there was no wait at the Castaway Club line, I went there and checked in quickly. Then, more waiting. My DDs enjoyed looking at the model of the ship and even had their picture taken with Minnie Mouse when she came out to say hello and pose for a while. We got on line a little before noon as a small group had already started to line up and we figured that as long as we had arrived so early, we may as well get on the ship with the first group. On line we met a nice family from Texas it seemed like so many families we met were from Texas as I understand schools had recently let out and everybody took off for vacation. They let us on around 12:15 after a countdown involving Beth11s children (did not know this at the time, but I just read her trip report!). It was very cute. They took our picture, but didnt announce us. I wasnt really paying attention, but I dont think they were announcing anyone at this point. Plenty of people were standing there welcoming us all on board though, which was very nice. We were directed to Parrot Cay for lunch, but instead took the aft elevators to Deck 9 to look around. Once up on deck, we hit the Beach Blanket Buffet for lunch. It was just OK, it part because we really were not starving. We much preferred the chicken strips from Plutos and the French fries, which were GREAT! We ate these many times over the next few days! After 10 minutes of lunch, DDs wanted to do nothing but swim and were incessantly asking when they could change and hit the pool - - so we did. In fact, we changed right away and had the Mickey pool to ourselves for about 40 minutes before any other kids made it in. It was UNBELIEVEABLE! To those who have seen this pool packed, which it often was during our trip, you know how cool this was Around 1:35, I realized that it was getting late and I had ressies to make, so I left DH with the girls, ran to our room to drop off our stuff and headed to Deck 3. As an aside, I had just booked this trip about 3 weeks before our sailing date as a last minute 10th anniversary event. We figured at first to just go out to dinner locally for the big day (6/1), but as I was dying for a few days off after having spent much of our March vacation working, I woke up one Saturday in early May trying to figure out how to get away from it all for a few days (with kids, of course). A few weeks before, I had received a coupon from WDW offering great rates at the deluxe hotels and at first (around 9am that Saturday morning), my plan was to spend a few days at the Poly or YC resort. Around 4 that afternoon, I made a call to the DCL to see if they had any availability on the 5/31 Wonder. I was able to book a Category 10 with a guarantee, so I was not given a cabin number at that time. I was told it would probably be assigned when we got to the port, but that I had a decent chance at an upgrade. A few days later, I checked the DCL website to see if a cabin had been assigned to us and . nothing. Then, a few days later, I checked again, and somehow the number came up 7574! This was a CATEGORY 5 with a verandah located mid-ship, starboard side on Deck 7. Could we have gotten any luckier? I dont think so! I had thought about booking a room with a verandah as we had one on our 3/00 cruise and it is so nice with little ones who nap to be able to read on the verandah while they are snoozing. However, we booked at such a late date that it would have been really expensive to book a Cat. 5 (another $1000 for 3 days, or something like that), so I was willing to take a chance that a room without a view would be OK since the trip is so short. I was so grateful that we didnt have to find out as our room was spectacular! Anyway, back to business. I walked into Wavebands, where the Palo ressies were being taken. I was asked which night I wanted, and was then given a number. After sitting for about 3 minutes, I had no trouble booking a table at 7pm on 6/1 our anniversary. I then walked down the hall to the Cadillac Lounge where someone added my name to the waiting list for the early dinner seating. That was a problem with booking the trip so late they had no room at the 6pm seating and I didnt think for a second that my kids would make it til 8:30 to eat dinner. Our backup plan was going to be dinner at the kids clubs or Plutos, but as it turned out, we got a call at 6pm that they could fit us in during the early seating, so we got dressed quickly around 6:15 and ran down to AP. I made it to the spa a little before 2 and made a massage appt for DH for 4:30 (right after the boat drill) and a spa taster (massage/facial combo) for me for the next afternoon (which DH ended up using as I didnt feel like it at the time). He was spoiled! I returned to the pool, dried off DH and the DDs then got them cleaned up so we could go sign up for the kids club. The kids were very excited about the club and after an OK start (more on this later), they had a great time. I signed them up and got our pager then we returned to the room to gather life jackets for the drill. Within 5 minutes, my 3 year old was sound asleep -- a deep state of unconsciousness which continued right through the boat drill. Fortunately, my DH was allowed to sit on a bench holding her right behind me and our other DD, who was not a happy camper for the duration of the drill. The life jackets are terribly uncomfortable and hot and my DD was just tired, so we were all happy when the drill was over. DH then headed up to the spa for his massage, while the rest of us hung out in the cabin. DD (3) slept while DD(4) and I listened to the festivities from our verandah. Sounded like a really fun party, but for the second cruise in a row, I had a child sleeping during the sail-away party, so missed it again. Oh well, at least we had a verandah so we could what was going on outside. We enjoyed watching the port departure and waving to everyone on the boats, ships and seawalls as the ship made it out to the ocean. Once DH returned, DD(4) and I went to the arcade to see it there were any fun games. Not much to hold the interest of a 4 year old. one stomping game and air hockey. We didnt go back, but it looked like older kids were having fun. On our way out, we stopped at Plutos for some chicken strips and fries to bring back for DDs dinner (as we thought at this point they would be in the Club while we ate at 8:30). Once we walked back to the room, we found out about our switch to early seating and we were off to AP, which was wonderful. Our servers were Jonas and Faisal and they were so great, polite, friendly and helpful! Our head server (from Italy, but his name escapes me at the moment) came by as well and mixed Caesar salad for us all (ours and the tables around us). So, I had the Caesar salad (which was great) and maple glazed salmon with smashed potatoes and string beans (!!!!). I had strawberry shortcake for dessert, which was also good. The kids were so excited to be eating in this restaurant! It was hard to get them to concentrate on the food (fruit cup and Mickey pasta) because they were so busy watching the colors change. It was a huge hit and a great start to our trip. Next stop was the kids club to sign in the kids. They were happy to go and DH and I went to watch Hercules. While I really like this show, our long day was finally catching up to us and when I caught DH clapping at the end of a song with his eyes closed, we headed out to pick up the girls and sleep. Their group (3-5) went to the Oceaneers Lab for a party, which Minnie Mouse evidently attended and they made some stars with glitter. DD(3) had a great time, but DD(4) thought that she was a little too old for what was going on (?) and said it wasnt that fun. Fortunately for us, her opinion of the place would change dramatically the next day, so it was off to our cabin. Our cabin host was Pat from Thailand, who was very friendly and did a great job. Our room was ready bunks, chocolates etc all in place and we were all asleep almost immediately. It was a spectacular first day! MORE TO COME ..