Cruisin' With Mickey! Disney Wonder Mexican Riviera March 4th, 2012 COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by marciemouse, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    Welcome! So I decided to go ahead and write a full-length trip report on our recent cruise. One thing you should know though... I'm ridiculously detail oriented. (Insert DIS'ers singing the Hallelujah Chorus here! :goodvibes) I loved reading in-depth TR's before our cruise, and I intend to pay that forward here!

    First up, introductions!

    Me: devoted Disney fan, obsessive planner and organizer, loves Disney music & the parks

    DH: not raised on Disney but likes it now (particularly enjoys seeing me and our daughters get all giddy about it), Goofy fan, likes watching movies and generally relaxing

    Both of us love us some ocean!

    DD7: our oldest but our newest child (adopted 10 months ago), likes Tink and Princesses, especially Rapunzel

    DD4: LOVES characters (pretty much all of them) in zealous way, terribly adorable in general, friendliest child ever, obsessed with horses

    Here's a couple pictures of us, taken on formal night. Note: we don't usually look quite so put-together! ;)

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    How this trip came about...

    Flashback to October 2011... We were trying to decide if we wanted to renew our Disneyland annual passes or apply that money elsewhere. Since we now have kids in school, it's harder to make quick trips over to CA as often. (We live in Phoenix, by the way, so it's about a 6 hour drive.) While we truly enjoy DL, those trips are not exactly relaxing, especially with kids along. We've skipped "real" vacations for the last several years in order to fund and complete our adoptions. (Both of our daughters were adopted from Ukraine.) Sun, surf and sand were calling out to us in a bad way! DCL had been on our minds for a couple years, so when Disney rolled out the Kids Sail Free offer, and we decided to go for it!

    DH insisted on an oceanview room. This being our first cruise, he wanted to "do it right." I love that man! :lovestruc We decided on a 9A.

    We ended up booking through AAA, since we're members. Our member perk was a photo package worth $100. I think I'd prefer an OBC in the future, but the photo thing ended up working out well for us. Anyways... :rolleyes1

    We originally booked 6514 but moved our reservation to 7514 when it opened up. Good move! :thumbsup2 We reserved main dining, too, knowing that late dining would never fly with our kids. We also requested PTTAPTA for our dining rotation, and also to be seated alone with just us 4. You'll have to stay tuned to see if those requests were honored!

    We joined the FE exchange for our cruise and got a custom FE made as a family Christmas gift. :santa: The girls thought that was pretty exciting!

    At the 75 day mark, I checked in online, which was fairly easy. I secured both brunch and dinner reservations at Palo, and we received an 11:00 port arrival time. Perfect! We didn't book any excursions, choosing instead to think of the ship herself as our destination, since this was our first cruise. We did, however, research and plan to go to the beach in Cabo one day.

    We prayed in earnest for good weather and smooth seas. No one wants to have a lousy time on their first cruise! :sick:

    The five months between booking and our sail date went by pretty quickly, and before we knew it, it was vacation time! :yay:

    Next up: pre-cruise stay at DL and embarkation!
     
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  3. Sereina

    Sereina Mouseketeer

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    Awesome! We were on the MR trip the week before you and had a blast, so I'm looking forward to your TR! :goodvibes
     
  4. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    We decided to stay near DL for one night before the cruise. We booked a room at the Ramada Maingate, mostly for the free parking, close proximity to DL, and a very good pool for the kids. Plus, we got a great deal by booking directly and using their pre-pay special.

    (Note: if you want the full reviews of our 2 stays at the Ramada Maingate, you can find them on tripadvisor. Search my username: marcellaphane)

    We arrived an hour before check-in time, but our room was ready. We got received the specific room I had requested, so that was great. The parking lot was packed, but we did get a space. The girls went swimming. That pool really is great for kids. I love that my not-so-great swimmers can swim without me needing to get in the pool with them! They love the splash area, too.

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    After swimming, we walked over to DTD for dinner at Naples. We'd never eaten there, but we had 2 Patina group birthday coupons worth $30 each. The general manager had confirmed we could use both of them on the same check, so dinner was pretty much free. Gotta love that! The food was pretty good. The desserts were great.

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    We wandered through World of Disney (resisting temptation galore) and then called it a night.

    We all slept pretty well and woke up very excited. I was especially pleased to see that it was absolutely gorgeous outside. DH loaded up a tray at the hotel's continental breakfast, and we ate in the room.

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    We made a quick stop at Target before heading over to San Pedro. The drive was easy (no traffic) and went faster than expected. We were early... very early. So we drove over the big bridge just for fun, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the Wonder. Gotta admit, I was pretty giddy!

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    DH dropped us girls and the luggage at the curb and went to park in the port parking lot. ($12 per day) Tons of people were coming off the ship and out of the terminal, so it was a bit crowded on the curbside. However, we had no trouble catching a porter. We gave him everything except on small roller bag and my purse. (Yes, I caved pre-cruise and bought myself a Disney Dooney for my birthday, but I did buy it used off ebay!)

    We headed into the terminal around 10:00 or so. Being so early, there was no wait at all. We filled out the health questionnaire, which I was so relieved to complete as HEALTHY. We'd all had coughs and colds a few weeks prior, and I was so worried about that part!

    At check-in, I asked about upgrades. I was told that the only upgrades for a family of 4 was to a bigger oceanview room, no verandah. No worries. We were unsure of if we really wanted a verandah anyways. We received a #4 boarding card and headed into the waiting area.

    Here's a few pics from in the terminal:

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    I got in line to get the girls' Mickey bands for the kids clubs. I think I only waited about three minutes. And since I'd pre-registered them online, the process seriously took under two minutes. That was easy! I had the bands put on the girls' ankles instead of wrists, knowing they'd be less likely to pick at them.

    The girls stayed occupied with a snack until Minnie Mouse showed up for pictures. We boogied over to the line, which moved quite quickly. Maybe a 5 minute wait? Oh my word, they were so ridiculously thrilled to see Minnie. DD4 sometimes has a meltdown when she has to say good-bye to characters, but she did great this time. I told her to tell Minnie she'd see her later on the ship. A tactic that worked mighty well all throughout the rest of the cruise, too!

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    The girls played a bit. I introduced myself to a fellow DIS'er that I recognized from our meet thread. Then Captain Mickey showed up for photos. I love him in his nautical outfit!

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    Boarding started just a few minutes later. Almost no one walked up when #3 was called, so they skipped to #4 right away.

    We stopped to have our photo snapped outside. The photographer would not snap a pic with our camera, too, which is why I'm not in this one! Note: there were actually three identical photo stations set up. Most people only see, and therefore stop, at the first one. Look ahead for less wait time!

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    Note: I think we were on the ship at about 11:50. Not bad!

    A cast member announced our family and actually got our hard-to-pronounce last name right. First stop, Guest Services. I waited maybe 2 minutes in line. I dropped off our photo mat that we'd brought to have autographed, as well as a bag of candy for the crew who do that. I also secured tickets for all of us to the Disney Friends Tea, which would be on Friday at 4:00.

    Then we headed back to Parrot Cay for lunch. The drink service was incredibly slow and seemed disorganized. We were seated at a larger table, but no one was brought to sit with us. The buffet was pretty good. Nothing too incredibly memorable though, with the odd exception of the mini corndog bites. Those little guys were yummy!

    I may disappoint you at this point. I have to warn you that no food pictures will be forthcoming in this TR. :sad2: I know, I know. I also enjoy food pictures, but before the trip, I made the choice to not photograph our meals. I had a few reasons, but mostly I just didn't want to feel like I HAD TO. It was my vacation, too, after all, and I really just wanted to relax and enjoy my meals... not a normal occurrence at home!

    After lunch, DD4 needed a potty break. I took her in while DH waited outside with DD7. While DD4 is going, DH opens the restroom door and yells, "You're missing it!" Knowing my DH's sense of propriety would typically dissuade such behavior, I helped DD4 finish up as quickly as possible. We walked out of the bathroom to see this:

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    Isn't that just the sweetest? DH had seen Snow White come out from backstage, so I'm pretty sure that DD7 was the first child on our cruise to encounter her. DD4 broke up the serenity of the moment pretty quickly :laughing:, but it was all good! Snow White was terribly perfect, and she even remembered DD7's name later on in the week. Amazing, I tell you.

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    As we said good-bye to Snow White, Belle appeared from backstage. The girls love her to pieces, so they were thrilled. She had the most perfect Belle laugh ever. I think at this point, DH decided we had already gotten our money's worth! :rotfl:

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    We decided to let the girls go swimming, knowing the Mickey pool would be a zoo. And it was, but they had a blast.

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    Soon enough, 1:30 arrived, so we dragged the girls out to go check out the stateroom. (DD4 cried about leaving the pool. :sad1:)

    Next up... will all our luggage arrive?
     
  5. kimmypie1

    kimmypie1 Mouseketeer

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    We always stay at the Ramada Maingate when we go to DL for overnight trips. We live in San Diego so we don't always do overnights but when we do, we are always there.

    We actually stayed there the day before our MR cruise in February too!
     
  6. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    We found our stateroom very quickly. All but one of our suitcases were waiting by the door, too!

    Here's the room!

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    We got to work unpacking as soon as I had decorated our door and hung our FE. Some of the magnets wouldn't stick on the exterior, so our interior door ended up with several magnets, as well.

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    Our last bag arrived after a little bit. It had a blue tag added to the handle, so I'm guessing it was possibly selected for some additional security screening. The girls stayed busy watching old Disney cartoons on TV while we finished unpacking.

    I was impressed with all the storage in the room. (Note: we had a single steamer trunk.) It was perfect for the 4 of us. I did bring an over-the-door organizer to hold a bunch of our toiletries and such, and it served us well throughout the week.

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    The bathtub side sink was initially missing a bar of soap, and we had to exchange one adult life jacket for another kid size one, but those were the only "problems" we ever had with the room. We found 7514 to be perfect for us. I was concerned about being so far from the drink station, Mickey pool, buffet, etc. but those worries were completely for naught. It only took us about 3-4 minutes to walk aft. 7514 was very close to the elevators but also incredibly quiet. We never once heard our neighbors on either side. We'd love to sail in the same room again.

    We went to our DIS meet at 3:00 and got to know some of our fellow cruisers, which was fun. DD7 especially enjoyed making a few friends that she'd see throughout the cruise.

    We headed for our muster station (E) a few minutes early... big mistake. It was in direct, glaring, broiling sunlight. Not pleasant. In the future, we'll arrive precisely at 3:59! :rotfl: The girls were bored to death, but we reminded them that it was important to be safe on Mickey's ship.

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    Once we were released, we staked out a spot for the sail away party. Knowing how our girls love characters, we chose to be right up by the rope that secures the stage. DH went to fetch drinks since the sun was still beating on us. Apparently the drink station had run out of several options, so we got sodas when we really just wanted water. Oh well. The girls each received a streamer to wave around, though I could tell they were due for a break. Both of them were looking kind of lethargic.

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    They did perk up when Mickey and the gang showed up though! Adventures Away was fun for all of us. Surprisingly, I did not cry when the horn blew. :laughing: We started moving partway through the party. I only noticed when DH pointed it out.

    Next up... will I win a facial? (Oooo, I hope so!)
     
  7. Cheryl726

    Cheryl726 DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your TR for your first Disney cruise! Nice FE, did you make that or order it?
     
  8. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    "Wonder"ful trip report! Can't wait to see and hear more.
     
  9. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    I wish I was so talented as to make a FE like that! I ordered it from gradysmommy on ebay. I picked the colors and designs, and she made it to order. It is pretty cute, huh?
     
  10. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    After the sail away party, we went to our cabin to change clothes for dinner. But before dinner, we dropped in to the spa for their giveaway. The woman standing next to me was the first name they drew. She won the facial I was hoping for. When a woman's husband won a diamond and sapphire necklace, I think the people back on the dock in San Pedro heard her scream! :scared1: Sadly, I didn't win anything. Maybe next time!

    I forgot to mention earlier than we had, in fact, received our requested dining rotation of PTTAPTA. So we headed down to Parrot Cay for dinner.

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    Upon being seated, we were happy to discover that we'd also been given a table for just our family. I'd actually have enjoyed other adult company and conversation, but eating with our girls can sometimes be an ordeal that I don't wish to share with others!

    We were soon introduced to our serving team: Arturo (who told us to call him Art) from the Philippines and his assistant Dan from Romania. Both spoke excellent English and were completely understandable, which was nice. (I'd been a little concerned about trying to understand through really thick accents. Lame, I know, but it takes effort and this was our vacation!) Our head server from Serbia (whose name started with an M but escapes me at the moment) also stopped by to introduce himself.

    Dinner this night was really slow. I don't think it was just our servers, either. In all honesty, it made me a little concerned for the rest of the week. Our daughters weren't going to be happy campers if dinner was going to be a two hour ordeal every night! Thankfully, service was considerably faster on subsequent nights.

    Our food was quite good this night. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding current menus online, so I can't recall exactly what we all had. I know DH had the ahi appetizer and loved it. I think he and I both ordered fish??? Anyhow, I remember the food being a pretty good start to the cruise.

    After dinner, we delivered FE gifts to all the forward cabins on our FE exchange list. The girls thought this was so much fun! We explored just a little bit and decided to call it a night. After all, it had been an incredibly full day. No one wants to deal with kids who haven't had enough sleep! When we returned to our room, we found this:

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    The girls thought the towel animals were so neat each night. They were also excited to finally see their beds!

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    Note: we removed the safety rail from the lower bed, as it made it pretty much impossible to pull the covers down. Plus, the bed seemed low enough for DD4. I called the next day and our room host took the rail away for good.

    The motion of the ship was so minimal. All of us fell asleep quickly and slept pretty well. I was impressed with the quality of the linens, though our bed had a tiny bit of a hard bump in the middle, likely due to the connector. No big deal. The bed was quite comfy and cozy. And honestly, I think each "half" was actually a bit bigger than half of a queen size bed.

    Note: the Navigator for Monday came rather late on Sunday night.

    Monday: Our First Sea Day


    We woke up and decided to have breakfast at Triton's, as I really wanted to do at least on sit-down breakfast on the trip, and we figured a not-so-warm-outside sea day would be ideal. Apparently so did a lot of other folks because the restaurant was actually quite busy. After being led to a bigger table already occupied by 3 adult men, we asked why we couldn't sit at a plainly vacant 4-top, and they did seat us there, though a bit begrudgingly.

    Breakfast was good. I had eggs Benedict, which was nicely cooked. DH had some sort of pancake/waffle combo with sausage. He liked it all. DD4 nibbled at a plain bagel. DD7 ate a Mickey waffle, pancake & eggs, I think. The girls and I enjoyed the pastries from the pastry tray, too.

    The girls were excited to go to the Club. However, it was still open house there, so we checked them in to the Lab. They took off without looking back, a good sign indeed!

    DH and I don't get much time alone when we're home. Our families live in other states, and we only have one babysitter we use. We only get date nights every couple months. So time without our children (when we know they are safe and happily occupied) was something we were definitely looking forward to!

    We roamed around, exploring the ship and browsing through the gift shops.

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    At one point, we went back to our room quickly. While we were in there, we spotted two sea lions from our port hole window. I actually jumped up and down like a little kid. :upsidedow It wasn't too long though before we got a text on our wave phone that the girls wanted to be picked up.

    We headed to the Lab and picked them up. They were basically bored over there. We took them on a potty break and then moved them over to the Club, which was by then secure programming. Magic, I tell you. They found their home for the rest of the week! :dance3:

    DH and I were hungry, so we hit the buffet for lunch. I wanted to sit outside since it had warmed up considerably (sunny and about 65 for the high, typical sea breeze). Who doesn't want an ocean view meal? DH loves pasta, and the buffet was "Italian" for the day. I don't remember exactly what I had, but I do remember thinking that the buffet was a bit better than what I'd expected. Combined with the outdoor seating, I knew we'd found our new favorite lunch location!

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    After lunch, we picked up the girls. They were actually just sitting down to lunch in the Club, so we took their plates to go. They ate in the room, and then we went to get seats for the matinee of The Golden Mickeys. We had no trouble getting great seats, and the theater never filled up.

    While we were waiting for the show to start, a member of the cruise staff named Ponz approached us and asked if the girls would like to be in the show. He said it was a small part at the beginning, so that the girls could still enjoy the show. DD7 really wanted to, and DD4 likes to do whatever DD7 does, so they were in!

    I had my first teary-eyed moment of the cruise when they paraded across the stage with Snow White and Dopey. They were wearing fake beards and tall dwarf hats. It was so adorable. And no, I did not take pictures. What kind of terrible, rule-following parent am I?! Anyways, in moments like that, I reflect on where my daughters came from and how different their lives are now. We are so blessed to have them!

    The show was amazing. The girls loved it, as did DH and I. It was better quality than I anticipated, and it made me look forward to the other shows to come!

    After the show, we got ready for formal night. Our girls had been looking forward to wearing their fancy dresses for some time, and I must say, they looked ridiculously cute. We got several great photos on deck 4 and then inside with Minnie, too.

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    At dinner, the girls ate their entree while we ate our appetizers. DH quickly took the girls to change clothes and then dropped them at the Club. He and I got to eat our meals in peace and enjoy each other's company. It was quite nice.

    I should mention that I told our assistant server Dan that our girls were born as his neighbors (Ukraine & Romania border each other.). He thought that was pretty cool and seemed more interested in them after that.

    After dinner, DH and I finished up the FE gift deliveries before picking up the girls. They didn't want to leave the Club, but Princess Tiana was out for photos, so we used that as motivation. They had their faces painted int he Club, as you can see in the picture.

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    We went back to the room and put the girls to bed. I downloaded and edited photos while DH watched The 3 Musketeers on TV. Once the Navigator showed up, I planned out the next day. I also put out the room service card to order our breakfast.


    Next up... a gorgeous day with brunch at Palo! (Oh, how I wish there was an emoticon that said, "Yum yum yum!")
     
  11. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    I forgot a few things from Monday, so before I forget again...

    DH and I went to The Art of Entertaining: The Appetizer in Studio Sea. I believe it was at 10:15, which was why we put the girls in the Lab. (Since the Club was open house until 11:00AM.) The chef from AP was making wild mushroom risotto with a porcini twist. We were given copies of the recipe to take home. The cooking demonstration itself was fun to watch. Be sure to get a seat where you can see the chef as well as one of the TV's. There is a camera above the stove and work surface, and they put that view up on the screens. We were given a small portion of the risotto to sample, as well as a sample of wine to go with it. DH and I enjoy watching cooking shows, so we knew we'd like this activity.

    I forgot to show our towel animal from Monday night, too. And aren't those little chocolates so adorable?

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    And one last thing. I remembered our head server's name: Maladan from Serbia.

    I'm off to a playdate at McDonald's. Oh, how I wish I was off to brunch at Palo instead! Stay tuned!
     
  12. ColoBlu6

    ColoBlu6 Mouseketeer

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    :cool1: Yea, another great trip report!!!
     
  13. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    Tuesday morning:

    Room service arrived just a few minutes before the 30 minute time window I had selected, but we were up anyways. However, I had marked that there were 4 people eating, and it seemed like they didn't really send the right amount of food. DH hates complaining in situations like this, and prefers to correct the mistake on his own rather than bringing it to the attention of whoever is really responsible. I've learned to not fight with him about it anymore, so he ran up to BBB and grabbed a couple more donuts. The picture shows what room service sent.

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    DH took the girls to the Club while I finished getting ready. Then it was time to work our way up to Palo! It was absolutely gorgeous outside. The day had started just a tad foggy, but it burned off quickly. Lovely outside, as you can see here!

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    Our reservation was for 11:00. We were quickly greeted and then seated right next to the window, pretty much dead center. It was perfect. We even spotted a whale within a couple minutes of being seated. Here we are at the table.

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    Our server was Klaudia from Poland. She was very good and quite personable. The only thing she could have done better was removing dirty/empty plates and refilling drinks quicker. Not major gripes for us though, and certainly better than a server who constantly hovers! Klaudia gave us a tour of the different stations, recommending items at each one. At the dessert table, she insisted that we try one of each. My kind of girl! She offered us the complimentary mimosa or sparkling wine, but we declined. I had Coke. DH had lemonade with his meal and hot tea with dessert.

    We made several trips up to the buffet stations. A few things that really stood out to me: the crab claws (with lemon mayonnaise), THE CHEESE TABLE (all fabulous, but the Boursin was crazy good!), and a couple desserts (see below). Seriously, I could have just had cheese and been happy. The selection was really good.

    We ordered a grape and Gorgonzola pizza to share, and we both enjoyed it. (Though DH probably liked it a tad more than I did.) DH ordered the oysters Rockefeller (good but not outstanding). We split the chicken Parmesan (so moist... best we've ever had!), and I ordered an eggs Benedict (very good).

    As I perused the dessert station, Klaudia noticed me there and once again reminded me to take one of each. Between DH and I, I think we did try them all! DH loved the tiramisu. I really enjoyed the cocoa de pot (too rich for DH), but my favorite was the berries soaked in Grand Marnier. Klaudia had suggested topping them with the whipped cream located at the pastry table. I did so, and it was amazing. So good. Mmmm!

    The only "improvement" I could suggest would be to have some additional grapes and/or berries on the cheese table. I wasn't the only person "stealing" the fruit garnishes off the various cheese plates. Hmmm, maybe I should have grabbed one of the Grand Marnier berry cups to go with my cheese! :rotfl:

    I also enjoyed teh chocolate covered strawberries, and when I asked Klaudia for a bowl of them to go, she willingly obliged.

    We had talked about leaving an additional tip, and when we discovered from another server that it was Klaudia's birthday, we decided to definitely do so.

    Overall, we truly enjoyed brunch at Palo. I think I probably enjoyed it even a bit more than dinner. Maybe just for the view and the cheese table! :lmao: It was a wonderful experience, and we would definitely do brunch again on future cruises.

    :offtopic: Now that I've got Palo on the brain, whatever I eat for dinner is going to seem like garbage! :sad2:

    We picked up the girls from the Club (which they were still loving!) and got them slathered in sunscreen for some pool time. Before they got to swim, they had to eat, so they both had hot dogs and fries. Then we let them loose in the Mickey pool. DH and I just sat and supervised, which we found fairly relaxing. And really, who wants to hop into a bathing suit after they've just eaten a huge meal at Palo?! :rotfl:

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    When the girls began looking like drowned rats, we took them back to the room to get baths. Gotta love the tub in Disney staterooms! All clean, we hit deck 9 for Minnie's Fiesta Grande. We staked out the same spot we had for Adventures Away. The girls were looking tired, but they perked up when the show began. I thought it was a really cute show. Nice Mexican costumes for the characters.

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    After the show, we took the girls back to the cabin for some down time. They watched most of Bambi, which they'd never seen before. Then we changed clothes and headed to the lobby for some character pictures before dinner.

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    Dinner was in Triton's for their French menu. The girls ate quickly, and were once again whisked away to the Club for some fun while DH and I had a peaceful dinner. I was excited about the menu, but ended up being a bit disappointed. DH and I both liked the French onion soup, but even then, we've had better. The lamb shank was cooked perfectly, so tender, but we didn't love the flavor. I kind of wished for the same kind of meal but with beef. We tried the lobster macaroni as a side dish, and I thought it was bleh. The lobster pieces were good, but the sauce was yucky and the noodles overcooked. The Grand Marnier Souffle was yummy, but maybe I still had the Palo desserts in my brain!

    In the future, I'd consider this night/menu a good option to skip in favor of dinner at Palo.

    One thing to mention about dinner though... DD4 pitched a fit when she discovered that spaghetti was not on the menu. Apparently two nights in a row wasn't enough for her. Art said he could probably get plain spaghetti for her. Within a few minutes, our head server Maladan showed up with a plate of hot spaghetti noodles. He noted that, although it was not listed on the menu, he could get it for DD4 whenever she wanted. So there he earned his tip, and we were spared a hideous no-other-noodle-will-do tantrum!

    After dinner, DH and I looked at our photos at Shutters and then headed out for a loop around deck 4. There was a full moon, and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. The moonlight reflecting on the water was so beautiful. We looped around once, stopping to check out the machinery and such at the front of the ship. Pretty interesting.

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    We picked up the girls from the Club. DD7 had made this crown. And then we retired for the evening, finding this guy to keep us company in our room!

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    Next up: will most people go ashore in Puerto Vallarta? (We hope so!)
     
  14. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    1,588
    Puerto Vallarta

    I woke up a bit early on Wednesday morning, so I go to watch us come into PV. Actually, we arrived into PV just a little bit later than scheduled. (maybe 30 minutes or so?) I think we weren't quite docked yet when I took these pictures from our port hole window.

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    We all went up to BBB for breakfast. It was already very nice out, so we sat outside with a nice view of Walmart. :laughing: At breakfast we ran into our assistant server Dan. We chatted with him a little bit. He told us that when they get breaks in port, it's only for about three hours, so not really long enough to go enjoy a beach. He (and our main server Art) seemed just a little confused or disappointed about our choice to not go ashore there. Anyways... :rolleyes1

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    We decided to take advantage of the empty Mickey pool. Yes, our girls were the first ones in! They only had it to themselves for about five minutes, but they didn't care!

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    After a bit, they decided they were done swimming and would rather go to the Club. DH and I were happy to oblige! So once they were dressed and checked in, we headed for the Quiet Cove pool. We had no trouble getting loungers in the sun. DH read a little bit, and I walked up one deck to snap some pics of PV and the almost deserted ship! :dance3:

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    Eventually we both got in the pool. The water was so comfortably warm. I hate cold pools, and the water temp really was perfect. We swam and sunned and enjoyed the peace and quiet until we got hungry.

    We ended up at BBB again. The buffet's theme this day was "land and sea." I remember a really yummy salad, and I know we had some sort of carved meat and crab legs and claws. Pretty yummy.

    I think the girls ate lunch in the Club again, though I'm not sure. Sadly, this is the point in the trip when I stopped making notes. Unfortunately, I'll have to rely on my memory from here on out!

    I think we took the girls back to the Mickey pool to use the slide. I do know we made the girls take a nap, knowing they'd need it if they were going to stay awake for the show after dinner. They conked out for about two hours. DH watched most of Captain America on TV, I think. Shortly before the girls woke up, I ordered the All Hands On Deck cheese plate from room service. It arrived about the same time they woke up, which worked well, because they woke up hungry! We all enjoyed the platter. Palo it is not, but it was good. :thumbsup2

    Before dinner, we spent some time on deck 4. DH and the girls enjoyed playing shuffleboard. We went in to meet a few characters before dinner, too.

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    Tonight was our show dinner in Animator's Palate. The girls were excited that Mickey was coming to dinner. I don't remember too mcuh about dinner, but I think both DH and I had the veal shank. DH liked it better than I did. I must have been waiting for some good dessert to save the day, because I ate most of DD4's brownie sundae, as well as my own dessert (chocolate cake?). The big surprise of teh evening was when DD7 decided she wanted a Mickey ice cream for dinner. I told her they were out of the bars and she'd likely get an ice cream sandwich. She was fine with that, but lo and behold! The classic treat had somehow magically arrived on board! I think I was happier than she was about this discovery!

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    The show was brief, and Mickey never passed by our part of the restaurant (way in the back). However, I think this may have been the favorite restaurant of the girls. They liked the art and colors changing. Just before dessert, the entire restaurant started shaking and humming, as the engines kicked on for us to pull out of PV. Kind of an odd sensation at that particular location on the ship.

    Note: I always felt more motion at the rear of the ship, whether we were on deck 3 or deck 9. Not enough to get sick or even really annoyed, but the movement was much more noticeable to me when we were aft.

    Another note: None of us ever took anything for motion sickness, and we were just fine. Mind you, we did have incredibly smooth seas. Aside from aft, the only place I had some trouble was in the Walt Disney Theater. I felt a little dizzy (though not queasy) whenever we were in there. Nothing hideous, but just enough to be slightly annoying.

    Speaking of the theater... We waited in line for a few minutes to get good seats for Toy Story: The Musical. The girls really enjoyed this show, although they could have skipped the scenes with Sid, mostly because those parts were louder than normal. DD4 is incredibly familiar with the movie, but not all of the scenes translated very clearly for her. She asked me often what was going on. For example, when Buzz gets knocked out the window, she hollered, "But what happened to Buzz Lightyear?!" Naturally, she chose a moment of silence for this outburst, so several audience members got a chuckle out of that.

    After the show, it was bedtime. I think I'm missing a picture of our towel animal from this evening. Oh well. Rest assured, there was one! :laughing:

    Next up: Cabo, Pirates & Palo... oh, my!
     
  15. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    Navigators and Food Pics:

    Yes, I know my TR lacks both. However, my fellow cruiser Erin has both in her TR from the same cruise. You can find her TR HERE. In fact, if you look closely, you may even spot us in one of her photos! :)
     
  16. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,581
    Awesome TR!!! Your family is just beautiful! Can't wait for the next installment.
     
  17. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    5,587
    Wonderful TR, I'm really enjoying reading along
    Your girls are sooo cute and you all look like you're having a great cruise :)
     
  18. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    Sorry for the delay in posting the next installment. DD7 had to have a tooth pulled today, and DD4 has an ear infection. :sick: I think I should have some time to post tomorrow!

    A tidbit of cuteness to hold you over...

    You know how some people hang a tennis ball from their garage ceiling so they know exactly how far to pull in? (like when the windshield bumps the ball, you stop!) Well, I needed one, but I didn't want a plain old tennis ball. Instead I got a Captain Mickey antenna topper and hung that! Now when we pull in, the girls ask me to "kiss" Mickey with the windshield. Or sometimes they yell, "Aye aye, Captain Mickey!" I love pulling in and seeing this:

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    My vehicle does not have an antenna, but I think the Disney antenna toppers are so adorable. This was a perfect fix for my problem!
     
  19. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    We woke up to another truly gorgeous day on Thursday. We were up early enough to see us come into Cabo, which is a much prettier view than PV! There were already three other cruise ships in the harbor, so the Wonder had to anchor quite a ways out.

    We had breakfast up at BBB again, I think. Then the girls went to the Club for a bit. DH and I explored deck 10 some more. DH wanted to shoot some hoops and happened to walk on the court just in time for a 3 pointer competition. It was only him and two other guys. Sadly, someone else won and walked away with a really nice DCL travel mug. Can't blame DH though. I doubt he's picked up a basketball in at least a year. :laughing:

    We took a few pictures from the bow. Then I happened to run into the captain. No, not Captain Thord. Mr. Tall, Dark & Handless himself, Captain Hook!

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    We went into this day knowing we wanted to go ashore and go to the beach, but we were playing it pretty flexible. We decided to make sure we had lunch first, knowing that otherwise the girls would say, "We're hungry!" as soon as we got to shore. So after a bit, we picked up the girls and got ready to go. Since we were just planning for beach time, we wore our swimsuits with cover-ups over them. We ate lunch before noon, which meant our only lunch food option was quick service. The girls ate hot dogs, fries and fruit. DH had a burger and fries. I got a panini and fruit. The panini was pretty awful and not even warm. Everything else was decently good. Then we headed to the Buena Vista Theater to tender. Disney was having issues apparently, and there was a long wait. In fact, I think we waited almost an hour.

    Getting into the tender wasn't too bad, although the sea was a bit rougher than usual, according to the crew. It took 15-20 minutes to get to shore, since we were anchored so far out. This is what the tenders looked like:

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    I had hoped to get some good shots of the Wonder from the tender, but no such luck. The port arrival area was ultra easy to navigate. I wish we'd have had more time to wander there a bit, but the girls were incredibly anxious (fussy) to get to the beach.

    Of course, we were immediately approached by a guy offering us a water taxi tour. This was our plan anyways. I haggled him down a bit on price, so it was $20 for the four of us. In retrospect, I maybe should have asked to see the boat first! :rotfl: It was a bit of a beater, and was worn enough that the vessel's name was illegible. From reading other trip reports, I know that our water taxi situation was not ideal, however it worked amazingly well for us. We ended up on the water taxi with two other really nice families also from the Wonder. We all had kids about the same age. One family spoke Spanish and was able to translate everything for the rest of the group. There was also a member of the Spanish family (the grandma) who didn't want to swim, so she happily watched all of the group's valuables and possessions. We actually got to have some really great family time because of that. If we go to Cabo again, we'd roam further up the port are to find a nicer taxi boat, but in this particular instance, things worked in our favor.

    Note: we had to pay a $1 per person "port fee" to a guy sitting on the dock where the water taxi was tied up. I'm pretty sure that's a rip off, but oh well. The other families on our boat were asked for the same.

    Anyways... The water taxi ride included a little tour out around the arches to see the various rock formations and the sea lions. They also threw some tortillas in the water to lure up some tropical fish for us to see. I liked that part. The water in Cabo was clear as can be and really gorgeous.

    Our group asked to be dropped at Lover's Beach. Getting out of the boat there was a wet experience. As we pulled into shore, a huge wave hit the back of the boat. One guy fell down flat on his back, but was thankfully unhurt. Everyone and everything else... soaked. There was water on the floor and on the seats. So we were pretty much wet before we even jumped out into the water! There were a couple guys there helping people in and out of boats, which helped a bit. I imagine it's not so bad on a calmer day, but remember that we had the rougher-than-normal day. I took tons of pictures but you can find a zillion similar ones online and in other TR's.

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    The surf was still suitable for the kids to play in. DD7 couldn't get wet enough. She was having so much fun. She kept flinging out her arms and yelling, "Mom, I am having a GREAT DAY!" :laughing: It actually was a really great day for all of us. We walked up the beach to Pelican Beach, which looked better for getting in and out of the water taxis. Again, oh well. DH and I waded a bit but never really swam, as the water was fairly cool. DD4 doesn't have an ounce of body fat on her, but she never got chilled. She enjoyed playing in the sand more than being in the water anyways.

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    While we were on the beach, the Wonder sounded a few horn blasts and began moving. Since two of the other cruise ships had left port, the Wonder moved much closer in.

    There are no facilities, food, drinks, etc. out at Lover's Beach, but thankfully no one ever needed to use a restroom. Though we did explore a prominent cave, and from the smell, you could tell that plenty of folks use that area as a bathroom.

    Our water taxi driver returned right on time to pick us up. (We stayed 2 hours at the beach.) The same "helper" guys lifted all the kids and all our stuff into the boat. DH went next so he could help others in. The it was my turn. The helper guy grabbed me (like he was going to hoist me up) and stated counting, so I figured it was go on three! I had no trouble getting in, but some of the other adult had a rough time. (We saw "grandma" later at Palo, and she said she had lots of bruises.) The boat was still pretty soggy, but it was only a couple minutes back to the dock. We tipped $5, making our "excursion" total just $29. Not bad for a really wonderful beach time!

    Just before we got on the tender, DD4 had a major meltdown, saying her eyes were hurting. I'm guessing it was from the salt water. She screamed so much that a few DCL employees and port workers came over to see if she was okay. I rinsed her eyes out with bottled water that I had, and she settled down.

    The tender ride back to the Wonder was quicker than the ride in, since the ship had moved. However, there were several jet skis making waves around the ship, so getting out of the tender was tricky. The tender kept banging very roughly against the ship, even knocking a few people out of their seats on the tender. It scared DD4 considerably, but we got off quickly and she forgot the whole thing right away.

    Disney had a huge bin for used towels, so we deposited our soggy towels there. (We had taken several with us.)

    In the room, I gave the girls baths. I have no idea how DD7 got so much sand in her swimsuit! :laughing: While I bathed them, DH ran up to get them burgers for dinner. They ate and watched TV while he and I showered and got ready for dinner. We were so excited for Palo, and we'd worked up quite an appetite at the beach!

    We dropped the girls at the Club and had it noted in the computer that we were going to Palo. We had picked this night for Palo, as the girls don't care too much for pirates. However, they did want a picture with Minnie in her pirate garb!

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    We arrived at Palo a couple minutes before they opened. We were the third table to be seated. We had the same table as we'd had for brunch, and we also had Klaudia as our server again. The view out the window was nice, but we couldn't really see the sunset or rock formations. (based on the ship's orientation, not just our table location)

    The antipasta plate was good, though most of that sort of food just isn't my favorite. However, the chunks of Parmesan were amazingly good. I also liked something that included roasted red peppers.

    I had the chef's trio appetizer. DH had calamari. I'm not usually a big fan of calamari, but it was really wonderful and not at all rubbery or greasy. The shrimp in my trio was good, too. We ordered two portions of the lobster ravioli, as DH was convinced he wanted a whole order to himself in addition to his entree. I ordered the filet, and he got the sea bass. Oh, he also got a glass of pino grigio with his meal. I think it was about $10.

    DH loved his sea bass. It was buttery and perfect. My filet was good, though I've had better. However, the red wine sauce over it was amazing. I thought we'd made it pretty clear to Klaudia that we wanted two orders of the ravioli, but I guess not, since she only brought one. I already told you about how DH feels in situations like this, so he didn't want to say anything. I let it slide, since I knew I shouldn't eat a whole order of ravioli by myself anyways! :rotfl: DH ended up eating two, and I ate one, which worked out just fine. I probably could have eaten a few more, but this way I had more room left for dessert!

    Naturally, we ordered a chocolate souffle. It was pretty wonderful. DH ordered tiramisu, since he'd loved it there at brunch. It was exactly the same (only bigger), and he was pleased. I asked Klaudia for her input, and she suggested the panna cotta. I went with her suggestion, and it was really wonderful. Actually much better than I anticipated and on par with the souffle. Yum.

    We again left an additional tip for Klaudia, and then rolled ourselves out of there! :rotfl:

    Note: we had pulled out of port while we were in Palo, which made for a nice view.

    We picked up the girls and headed back to the room. This little guy was waiting for us. The girls liked him so much that we left him hanging up for the rest of the cruise.

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    DD7 wanted to see the fireworks, so we let the girls stay up and watch a movie while we waited. DD4 decided she'd rather not see the fireworks, so DH stayed in the room with her. Honestly, I think she was just too tired. He said she fell asleep less than a minute after DD7 and I walked out.

    We went up to deck 9 and right away found a spot with a halfway decent view of the stage. Initially DD7 was a little freaked out (she's mentioned before that pirates are "gross.") but she quickly lightened up when I pointed out the silliness and humor. We caught just the last couple minutes of the pirate party and watched Mickey swoop down on the zipline. We had a perfect and not even remotely crowded view of the fireworks, which was nice.

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    We skipped the buffet and headed back to the room. DD7 fell asleep almost instantly. DH was waiting up, thinking he would go to the Prem-EAR at Sea of John Carter, which was at 12:01AM. However, the Navigator for Friday came and showed a 10:30PM showing the next night, so we all called lights out for the night.

    Next up: day two in Cabo!
     
  20. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    This morning we were already anchored in Cabo when we got up. The seas were, in fact, considerably smoother than the day before. However, it wasn't as clear and sunny.

    We ate breakfast at Triton's this morning, I believe. I tried a chocolate pastry off the platter they carry around, and it was really delicious. Good thing I didn't discover those earlier in the cruise! :laughing: Our service that morning was a little off, but we enjoyed our assistant server from Turkey. He seemed so excited when we thanked him in Turkish. We walked with him a little bit about the trip we took there in 2005.

    After breakfast, we went outside for some family games.

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    In all honesty, I'm not sure what we did with the rest of this morning. I think that once the Club became secured at 11:00AM, we took the girls there. Then DH and I went up to deck 10 to take a few more pictures and look for whales.

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    Somewhere in that time frame, we also ate lunch. (BBB again, possibly the Tex Mex theme day) As the ship pulled out of port, we saw a few distant whale spouts. We'd been hoping for better views but were too windblown to stick it out, so we went down to our cabin for a bit. While we were in our room, we spotted some whale watching boats and noticed some splashing. At first we thought it was dolphins, but the splashing was too big. We kept watching and realized it was a baby whale totally putting on a show! You can see his splash on the left side of this photo that we took from our port hole. That was pretty cool for DH and I.

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    We retrieved the girls around 2:30 and went to get seats for the matinee showing of Dreams: An Enchanted Classic. We got great seats again. We all enjoyed this show quite a bit. DD7 was particularly fond of it, as she really likes Peter Pan. DD4 was excited to see Pumbaa and Timon, as she's never seen them "live" before. The show really did have a fun variety of characters. We all liked it.

    As soon as the show ended, we scurried over to Studio Sea for the Disney friends Tea Party. (Remember, we got tickets as soon as we boarded on Sunday.) The girls had been looking forward to this event. We let them wear their princess "dresses" over their clothes. Cruise staff member Drew hosted this with Princess Ariel and Cinderella. Ariel's role was really cute. She asked the kids to remind her of the names of all the "human stuff" like the napkins, which she called whirligigs. Cinderella taught the basics of the waltz, and everyone got up to dance for a song. Ariel made the rounds to check on each table, making sure the kids were taking small bites and using their napkins. The "tea" was apple juice, and they also served chocolate chip cookies. After the party was over, Ariel and Cinderella posed for photos.

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    DD4 in particular loves characters. And Ariel is her favorite princess. To say she was enthusiastic would be an understatement. He joy did not go unnoticed either. Drew asked me for our stateroom number and I willingly gave it, having read about the same thing happening to another DIS'er. I was excited, as I knew it likely meant an invite to an exclusive character meet and greet the next night. I told DH but kept it from the girls, just in case I was wrong.

    After tea, we went back to the room to get changed for semi-formal night in Triton's. My fitted dress barely zipped up, in spite of the fact that we only took the stairs all the time! (Unless I was wearing heels, which only happened a couple times!) We took a few pictures in the lobby, but they were mostly really cheesy poses. No thanks. We did get a cute shot with a very dapper Goofy though!

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    Dinner was decent. I had the shrimp appetizer, which was good. I think DH had oysters? DH got lobster, which he enjoyed. I got the fettuccine with Parmesan crusted chicken. It was okay, but I wouldn't order it again. The best part of the meal was the chocolate lava cake. DH and I each had one. YUM. DD7 got a Mickey bar. Poor little DD4 was all tuckered out and fell asleep as soon as she finished her food. Quite honestly, I'm surprised she didn't fall asleep any other nights at dinner!

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    However, a catnap was all she needed. After dinner, we changed clothes and took the girls to a dance party at the Club. While they were there, DH and I roamed around deck 3 for a bit before we picked them back up.

    Note: the form for distributing tips was on our bed with the towel dinosaur.

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    The girls and I went to bed. DH went to see John Carter. He enjoyed it and was happy he went early to get a god seat, as the theater completely filled up.

    Next up: our last day! :sad1:
     
  21. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    You know, I think DH and I may have hit the hot tub at the Quiet Cove pool area after dinner on Friday night. We had it all to ourselves and found it quite relaxing, although it was quite chilly when we got out! As with all hot tubs, it was not quite as hot as we'd like. Really, I can't remember which night it was, but I'm thinking it was Friday. Anyways...

    I thought this was as good a time as any to mention our FE experience. The girls especially enjoyed checking to see if they had received anything. It sometimes helped us transition them out of an activity to return to the room. (Come one! We've got to go see if we got any presents!) They loved the little trinkets and treasures they accumulated throughout the week. I got some nice Bath & Body works products, as well as some handmade glass magnets that I really liked. I don't think DH had a favorite gift.

    For the gifts we gave... For the younger kids, I made baggies with mini-size play-doh tubs, bubbles, etc. The two babies in the group got pirate rubber duckies. The older kids and teens got Disney pins attached to business size cards that read, "Welcome to Disney pin trading! Have fun!" For the adults, I had custom magnets and postcards made (at vistaprint) using designs made by ****** and Milliepie here on the DIS. The 2012 design was at the top of a calendar magnet, and the journal design was on postcards. Each cabin got one magnet and several postcards.

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    I packaged the gifts up in plain white envelopes, sealing them with stickers with that same journal design on them. I got a stamp made and stamped each envelope:

    To: Our DIS Amigos
    From: marciemouse & family

    I thought the gifts turned out very nice and classy looking. They were also easy to pack, as they were flat and fairly small.

    So that was our FE experience. We'd do it again for sure and would recommend it to anyone cruising with kids. :thumbsup2
     

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