DCL for the non-Disney crowd: Eastern Carib. Fantasy Jan 26 - Feb 3 2013 - all done!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Conorama, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Ah- I cannot speak of Ontario winters, then, since you're in Winnipeg- and yes, you will enjoy a cruise in Jan 2014! (Even with the non-Disney thing. Honest. I'll get there!)

    Good to hear! Advanced bookings is something I'm good at. :)
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  3. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    The (annoying) last 2 months before vacation - part 2

    OK, so at last report, I was working on The List (and ignoring my husband's eye rolling), was awaiting my Etsy booty (and ignoring my husband's eye rolling), and seriously considering methods to prevent a last-minute growth spurt in the kid.

    FE and other Disney-ish stuff arrives

    Happily - all my November planning was paying off, and stuff was arriving in the mail.

    Here is the FE:


    Yep - piratey. (That's a word.) That's just how we roll around here. We plan (read: I hope) to use it somehow around the house now - suggestions, anyone? (Right now, it hangs in my kid's room.) It took about 1 month to arrive from Texas, I think and was well worth the wait (from BullfrogsButterflies - you can find her on Etsy).

    Here are a few FE gifty things - remember - must be small/light to make the shipping something I can contemplate without freaking out.


    Pirate bottle cap thingies. A vast array. I also got some Dad-friendly (or at least, Dad-inoffensive) ones with cool map things on them - I found a nice Canadian person who does the bottle cap things (PARTYCAPZNBOWS), and we purchased these images from Cobra Graphics on Etsy (image below) and she made them with zipper pulls on them - I figure if folks like them they can turn them into keychains if they want.


    I found some nice magnets from a woman in Florida - and I have some extras somewhere and I will find them soon ... I hope.

    Finally- my somewhat graphically inclined husband was persuaded to make some door magnets.


    After that, I topped up with some small local stuff - pencils with Canadian flags (I told you I wasn't going to win any awards for originality), glow sticks, Canadian chocolate/candy, more piratey stuff (when you find something that works for you...).

    (There is more to the FE saga... to come!)

    Pillow case

    Here is the personalization part of things. It's not crooked - that's just my bad photography skills!


    Getting close to being done the planning. I'm blathering on, though, since this is the stuff that helped me. Presumably, you're not reading this unless you want to!
  4. DisneyWhirled

    DisneyWhirled DIS Veteran

    Apr 25, 2003
    Subbing. Great so far!
  5. Murse09

    Murse09 Earning My Ears

    Jan 9, 2013
    Learning a lot, thank you....doing the air canada thing out of North Bay in Feb of next year to TO then Miami for 5night on wonder....this is def giving me insight....maybe planning and being prepared is a Canadian thing
  6. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    The (now really annoying) last 2 months before vacation - part 3

    So, between December 1 and departure day (Jan 25), I had something of a hectic schedule. I was working my usual full-time schtick, but the timer was running out on my grad degree, so I had a lot of deadlines to meet. I worked straight from Dec 17 to 24th (including the weekend), had 5 days off (no complaints!), then had to work all but 4 of the days between Dec 30th and Jan 25th.

    Clearly... planning was needed.

    A Perfect Gift

    Planning = delegation if you're me in this situation. :goodvibes I convinced DH to call Shirley's people, and we got our basket ordered. We asked for mostly healthy stuff (as much as can be expected) so we got bottles of water, some juices (health is relative in these situations), Goldfish and other crackers, popcorn, plus the sand pail/digging gear, and some Disney/pirate/Jake stuff for the boy. We got the tote bag thing you might have read about, too.

    Why the health kick? We recognized the futility of the gesture, but it seemed important and the time. ;)

    Good grief - more on packing?

    So, I was working LONG hours, and in my "spare" time, I was assembling all of our stuff. I know from previous experience that I can cut way back on what I pack (and I can also usually convince DH), but it's just impossible to cut back on what you need for a dirt-magnet/4.5 year old boy. I had read the Great Laundry Debate posts, so I didn't want to count on being able to do laundry, but we hoped we could. However, his stuff is small, so easy to pack, so I didn't sweat it. Yes, he had 3 bathing suit/swim shirt combos, and we used all 3 in one day, so that was needed.

    I had some very well-meaning advice offered to me about getting sand off my son (baby powder). I tried to accept it graciously, but, unfortunately, these people have not met my son. If there is sand, he will get it EVERYWHERE. It is minus 10 around here most days now, and he still manages to come home with his snowsuit covered in sand from school. I packed his rain boots (more on that in a minute) and was supremely annoyed when a not-so-small mound of sand came out of the boots into the suitcase- and yes, I should have known better.

    So, I decided to really cut down what the adults packed. I will say (after the fact) that there was very little that we packed that we didn't use, so I was pleased. The high points (hoping it helps others) were:

    • Cutting down my stuff by about 30% - and packing "smart" so that stuff could be worn more than one way. Yes .. I WORE THE SAME CAPRI PANTS A FEW TIMES, and IT WAS OK. I, unlike my son, do not roll around in sand, and two of these served me fine for all non-formal MDR nights.

    • I did read all the packing threads (most of them anyway), but, having traveled a lot, we knew we could skip some stuff. We did NOT bring a power bar (especially after it appeared they might be banned?) and that was fine. I did bring an over-the-door shoe holder, which... (spoiler here...) we did NOT use. Ditto the pop-up laundry hamper - since I had it, I un-popped it to put our laundry in on the day I ventured in to the land of laundry, and then I put it away - totally could have done without. (Disclaimer- we had an amazing room with more storage than we needed... so that's probably why.)

    • I am a worrier with respect to winter travel, so although we leave our heavy winter gear checked at the hotel in YYZ, I don't want to be stuck if we're redirected to "middle of winter storm, USA" unexpectedly, so I do pack strategically, at least for Conor - so he had jeans, long underwear, splash pants, boots, a hoodie, a decent rain coat, and hat and mitts. Layer him up and he's ready for anything. :) This is, essentially, a form of insurance, but I have BAD travel karma, so we need to plan for these things. Modified (much) version of the above for me and DH.

    • I contemplated backing off from my "emergencies" medical kit that I take when we're away, since we had insurance and I know they have the gear on the ship, but I couldn't do it. (If you want to know more about the kit, just ask.) This trip, we didn't need any of it (except Advil, which doesn't count), but I have used most of it on other trips, so I'm attached to it.

    • (Controversial statement here) I didn't pack super-fancy stuff for Conor. He's 4 - really. On formal night, he wore beige cargo pants, his Keen "shoe-boots" as he calls them, a blue dress shirt (long sleeves) and his very first tie (we're not so very dressy around here). That worked just as well for semi-formal night. (Photos to follow.) He did wear pants every night to dinner and a shirt with a collar, so as not to upset anyone, and that was easy - we got by with 3 pairs of pants for him, easily. We followed the dress suggestions/code/law otherwise, with no exceptions.

    • Otherwise, we packed as we usually do - due to skin sensitivity issues, we bring our own bathing and personal products. We always have Conor's "actual noise earmuffs" (noise-reducing headphones) when we travel, since the world is very loud. We placed a moratorium on how many stuffies could come, and Conor was allowed to pack his one little suitcase (that we did NOT forget), and that was it. We did pack a portable potty seat, since we have the kid who needs it (small bum!)

    • DH packed his swim shirts. :rotfl: He also had 1 jacket, 2 ties, and 2 dress shirts, 1 pair dress pants, 1 pair dress shoes, in addition to his usual vacation stuff. Life went on.

    • FE stuff was spread between our 3 checked bags and that was fine. Small = easy to pack = good things.

    Random stuff

    In this month, we also:
    • Told Conor's teacher we were being naughty by taking him out of JK for a week - she gave us her blessing, fortunately, and we just need to help him do a presentation now that he's back (he's keen on these).
    • Got my hair cut - phew.
    • Got the car tuned up for its upcoming road trip.
    • Arranged cat sitters/house checkers/mail picker-uppers and driveway plowers.
    • Circulated contact info to those who needed it.
    • Reminded the school Conor would be away. (Foreshadowing here.)
    • Double/triple/quadruple checked flights and hotel reservations (can you tell we've been burned before?)
    • Received pirate shirts - laughed hysterically at how ridiculous we would look - regained composure, and tried to minimize the ridiculous part, to no avail.
    • Checked the weather compulsively to see if one of our more annoying storms would hit the "Greater Toronto Area" when we were driving in - because, you know, those 14 day forecasts are SOOO accurate this time of year (any time of year???)

    And with that, I'll pause, and say good night.

    I think, tomorrow, we might actually leave on the bleepin' trip - but I have abs class (UGH) so it might not happen until Thursday.

    Good night!
  7. Murse09

    Murse09 Earning My Ears

    Jan 9, 2013
    Good night to you too...and the med kit...I bring mine everywhere, and I'm in the medical field so you can imagine what's in it, and yes have used it a ton too... Cheers
  8. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Finally- on our way to Orlando

    Time to get us actually traveling in this review.

    In the days leading up to Jan 25th, we checked the weather a bunch more times and decided we could safely cancel that first hotel night in TO. Happily, that didn't backfire on us.

    The night before we left

    I arrived home on Jan 24th after work (which included doing the happy dance when I stuck my "out of office" message on my email), to find out that Conor had a great day at school, dumped his milk on his pants, and ... we couldn't get them back at the end of the day due to the classroom being locked. (Don't worry - he had on his back-up pants!) Great - those will be in AWESOME shape after 10 days.

    After a quick supper, and getting Conor to bed, we spent the evening at our usual last minute rituals, which includes the comforting aspect of constantly asking one another - "did you pack X? where is Y? What did you do with Z?" ;)

    I engaged in the final great suitcase shuffle, which goes like this:

    1. Open all 3 suitcases and 3 carry-ons on the living room floor.
    2. Remove at least 2 full outfits of clothing per person from each suitcase.
    3. Redistribute these to the other suitcases.

    If you're wondering why I do this - clearly, you've never been on the lucky receiving end of having a bag go missing for a few days. (Guess who has? Yes, yes, lucky me.) This way, no one person is without underwear for 2 days -essential to happy traveling.

    I then did the checked bag/carry on reshuffle, where I change my mind 3 times about what needs to go in the carry on - this is based on 2 key principles a) what do I need on the flight to keep the kid happy? and b) what do the rest of us need to survive for 2 days if our luggage is lost? (Again, voice of experience here.)

    Frequent use of the luggage scale is essential in this shuffling - beware! Love our luggage scale. Best invention ever, I think, for my peace of mind.

    Finally, we pack one extra bag... the "leave in Toronto" bag, which is the the bag of stuff you need to miraculously transform back into someone who is ready for winter weather.

    And then, I went to bed.

    True confession: At no point in this did I have any trouble sleeping - the non-Disney in me, I guess? Or sheer exhaustion?

    We hit the road

    In my world, if I think we need to be leaving the house at 10:00 a.m., I proclaim to my family we need to leave at 9:00 a.m. :goodvibes I am not faultless in this, but my husband, the king of the "triple check" always underestimates how much time that last bit of running around takes.

    So, with a 9:00 a.m. plan firmly in place, and a 4.5 year old determined to help us pack, we did leave the house at 10:00 a.m. (after triple checking that all bags were IN the car).

    Here he is, and do NOT ask me why he put both his stuffies on his head - it took him 5 minutes to pose for this pic.


    Note the one and only Disney shirt - purchased on mega-sale at Old Navy, when I was on-line to get him new underwear and socks (it's all glamour, all the time around here.)

    First stop - you guessed it - Starbucks, then hello 401. It was an easy drive mostly - the weather was good both in and out of the car (4.5 year old had new TV to watch and new games on his "phone" (my old i-pod touch). Toco Robot rocks, by the way, if you need a new app for your 4 year old. We made one short pit-stop to have our usual conversation.

    "Conor - come on bud, we all need to go in to pee."
    "I don't need to pee."
    "Yep, bud, we should all pee. We have another hour and a half to drive and we need to all make sure we have peed."
    "I don't have any pee."
    "Buddy- remember, every time we talk about this, you say you don't need to pee. Every time we go in, you try, and you find out you have sneaky pee, that's hiding."
    "No - I don't have any. My p**** is empty" (Yep - my kid is inventive.)
    (At this point, you want to avoid precipitating a meltdown - you're in public, you have to get another long drive in, and you've just started vacation, so you resort to creativity as opposed to "mom says...")
    "Well, bud, why don't you come in and help me pick out a donut?"

    Yep - Tim Hortons to the rescue. How Canadian are we anyway?

    Needless to say, once in the building, suddenly someone decides that maybe he should check for "sneaky pee" (his term) and voila, it's there. (Sorry for TMI!)

    Back on the road - in the throes of the ugliness that is the 401 across Toronto, snow squalls start, which just adds that extra je-ne-sais-quoi as one is trying to get to YYZ in one piece. Happily - we made it fine, and found a good parking place "indoors", so to speak, near the hotel. Then, realize we don't want to be trucking our luggage up one level in the parking garage, so we get BACK in the car, and Conor and I and all the luggage get dropped off at the hotel, while Brian hopes the spot is still there. (It was.)

    YYZ tips

    In the end it was just after 1:00 p.m. when we got to the Sheraton - it's in Terminal 3, if you've not been there before. Our flight was leaving, of course, from Terminal 1.

    (If you didn't know, one of the perks of staying at the Sheraton Gateway is that you can leave a bag there for the duration of your trip - so we leave that "winter transformation" bag - complete with everything we'll need the night we return.)

    The only downside of the Sheraton Gateway (other than the cost) is that there are no luggage carts there (officially speaking) so you have to truck your stuff down to the monorail to terminal 1. This was not awful, but interesting with me corralling the over-excited 4.5 year old, so I couldn't take as much as I normally would.

    Fortunately, not far into Terminal 1, we located carts, and we were on the way.

    We found our check-in line. (Cue the Air Canada complaints.) For some reason that NO ONE has ever been able to explain, most of the time, we can't check in an advance. I am the person who LOVES doing these things in advance - be it on-line or at a little booth thingie. Nope - we are rejected. We don't know why, so we have to stand in the check-in line. :headache:

    This was a typical line -we were there for about 20 minutes. (Happily - the aforementioned new rocket app on the i-pod touch was good for all that.)

    Rant here - why were we in line this long? Not, I will say, because of Air Canada (this time, anyway). The line was slow due to the 2 families who apparently don't read the rules so they had bags that were, oh, 60 lbs, and they didn't want to pay for overweight. So, the rest of us sit there watching them argue and move things around in bags. (No, ma'am, I do not think that you moving your kid's diapers out of that bag is going to get you down 10 lbs. - try moving the men's shoes!) ARGH! Then, they didn't know they had to pay for their bags even if they weren't overweight (yes, it's annoying, but it's well advertized), so they argued about that, then spent seemingly forever finding their credit cards. ARGH again!

    By the time we checked in, it was about 1:45 - we were organized, and our bags were underweight (thank you luggage scale) and our documents were in order, so we were done in 5 minutes. We were directed to, I think, the "f-gates" (?) which is where we got ready to clear American customs or whatever that is called. You fill out that form, and then you stand in line some more. This line was moving pretty quickly (it wasn't too busy that day) so we were through in about 15 minutes.

    We then get in the next line (don't you love traveling?) to go through security. Since the great luggage reshuffling process also includes prepping for going through security, we were ready. We did have a stroller (don't judge) which kept the 4.5 year old happy (it's a rare event for him) so this got us in the special line. The only glitch here was the usual last minute negotiation about the fact that Sockie would have to go through the scanner. Fortunately, that day, Sockie was keen, so long as he could stay with Teddy, so we got through that OK.

    All in all - we emerged on the other side of security, intact, and after our customary "Don't you have the passports?" moment of panic, we headed straight for lunch, as it was way late - 3:00 p.m.

    Yes - tactical error- so tip for all - it took 2 hours to get through all of the lines at the airport - so our plan to get lunch right after we checked in fell apart - so we were all hungry and grumpy.

    Air Canada - my metaphor - skip this if you don't care what I think about them!

    4 years ago was the last time we traveled to the US and we decided we didn't want to take Air Canada for once. We had taken AC for years not so much due to choice, but rather due to the fact that they are the only airline that fly out of our local airport, and with an infant, it was just easier. (Also - they have a near-monopoly on places we go often to visit family.)

    We flew on an American airline, and, to be blunt, it was awful. They were not even polite when we explained we couldn't do the advanced check-in - they made us try again (with a 9 month old) at the kiosks, then they patronized us and tried to help us use the kiosk, only to proclaim with great astonishment "Oh, it's not letting you check in!"

    After various experiences like this, we had our last leg of the flight on Air Canada. It occurred to me that while AC frequently loses my bags, runs late, has near-monopolies on certain destinations, and changes their rules with great frequency, they are, to us, like a co-worker you don't really like, but with whom you still have a very productive working relationship. You're never going to go for drinks after work, but you understand each other's weaknesses, and you know how to deal with them.

    We've tried West Jet - very fun, but their flights rarely work out for us, and what's the deal with the no milk on board? We've tried to book Porter - once again - the flight times never work out.

    So, even though we can now drive to one of 4 other airports within 3 hours of our home, we end up on AC more often than not. So, yes, we appear to keep working together. Since this trip was on points, I really shouldn't complain... much.

    And, I will leave you here, as we were eating overpriced lunch in Terminal 1, before heading to our gate.

  9. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012

    Sounds fun! I'll put in more Air Canada stories as we go on - I have a ton. :) As for the planning, what else am I supposed to do on cold winter nights? :lmao: I think it's just my coping strategy, though.

    Ditto as to the job front and the need to bring too much medical gear. It has kept me/us out of the ER so far!
  10. lizzyb

    lizzyb DIS Veteran

    Oct 8, 2007
    Joining in!

    As a fellow canadian we always fly out of the US ( Buffalo in our case). I hate flying out on YYZ.
  11. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

    Sep 8, 2006
    I am really enjoying your report! And I love all your planning details and the story about the sneaky pee! :rotfl2: Can't wait for you to finally get on that ship!
  12. magrudersmakes3

    magrudersmakes3 DIS Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    I have a checklist for all bags/items now as this happened to us a few years ago. My husband stuck things in the closet and I didn't know it so we were 2hours into our trip when we realized it. :sad2: We didn't go back, but made a very expensive trip to the neaerest mall.

    I'm loving your trip report and look forward to the rest of it!
  13. KarenMP59

    KarenMP59 DVC Member

    Mar 29, 2012
    subbing :coffee: We live in Rochester with a cottage "up north" (Clayton) so I feel like we're neighbors lol
  14. kalel29

    kalel29 Dis Dad #101

    Aug 1, 2006
    Thats awesome that you provide your own personal tips and tricks for preparing for a trip. I'm sure a lot of it will be useful to those who are 1st timers or don't travel alot. :thumbsup2
  15. Woodmnky

    Woodmnky DIS Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Sneaky pee :). I will be using that with my now potty learning 2 yo.
  16. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Yeah - we've considered Syracuse, but again, we're wimps, and we just didn't want to take on such adventures in January... maybe the next time we fly in a more hospitable month! I'm used to YYZ, so I know its secrets.

    Ah, yes, the sneaky pee - a constant (and I mean constant) source of discussion at our house, with Mr. "I don't need to pee" ... EVER.

    Glad the details are helpful (Packing details - probably not peeing details!)

    ARGH!!! I could even handle buying stuff, but this was key stuff for the 3 year old - comfort items and all. Thank goodness we were "only" 1 hour away.

    Thanks, all, neighbours and others. :thumbsup2

    I'll see if I can get us to Orlando tonight. Stay tuned!
  17. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Flying and MCO

    We left off at the fact we were finally eating lunch at 3:00 p.m. Everyone felt much better after this.


    This was, I am delighted to report, almost completely uneventful. We boarded on time (we do take the early boarding when offered, since we use a CARES harness for our son). We did get delayed for about 20 minutes for de-icing, but that's just par for the course with flying in January, and heck - how can you object to the whole "let's get the ice off the plane before we fly you around" business?

    So, nothing to report here. We used our usual strategy of non-electronic distractions first, and when those were used up (at about 1 hour), we switched to electronics. All good.

    MCO and how they count down there

    So, we got off the plane at about 8:00 p.m. (usual bedtime for the 4 year old - eek), and followed the signs to the shuttle, and then to the baggage claim area. All lovely and straightforward, even though we've not been to MCO before.

    Down in baggage claim, though, we hit a snag. The lovely digital signs said our bags would be on carousel 6. Now, up here in Canada, we generally put 6 in between 5 and 7. Not at MCO though, it seems. After 5 minutes of confusion and trying to figure out who to ask, and ridiculous conversations between us like: "Hey - they look Canadian - maybe they were on our flight? Let's follow them..." DH figured out that there were 2 carousel 7's and so we parked ourselves between the two, and found our bags - all of them - yippee!

    At this point, we headed off to the Hyatt. A tactical error was made (again) with respect to food - if I'd had my time back, I would have grabbed food at the food court, since it was already late... oh well, hindsight and all that.

    Next: MCO Hyatt review
  18. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Hyatt Regency - MCO

    Getting to our room

    I'll preface this by saying that this part of things - the "get off the plane, find your bags, get a cart, get to where you're going" is, by far, the worst part of traveling with kids in our experience. In our case, we'd been traveling for more than 10 hours at this point, awake for 14, and we were exhausted. Your brain is telling you that you've arrived, but NO, you haven't really, as you still have a number of hoops to jump through, and usually the better part of an hour before you get to where you're going, if you're lucky.

    I know this intellectually, so I try very hard to expect the worst of this part of things. (Wow - that sounds depressing, but it's not - that way, I'm just never disappointed!) So, anything that runs smoothly here is totally welcomed.

    As noted above, we chose to stay at the MCO Hyatt Regency due to the time we were arriving, and not wanting to mess about with traveling to another hotel - either near the airport or near the port.

    We nabbed a luggage cart and followed the signs to the Hyatt, and found, much to our relief, we could take the cart into the elevators up to floor 4 (or wherever it is that you check in - can't remember). This was key, since it took most of the attention of one parent to keep over-tired 4 year old boy from bouncing off the walls.

    We did as the great big sign told us (we're obedient) and told the nice lady at check-in that we were taking a Disney cruise, and received our orders to have our bags packed and tagged before 8:30 a.m. if we wanted Mickey, or his peeps, to come and get the bags. Noted!

    Happily, the nice porter brought a fancier luggage cart that was allowed above the 4th floor (or wherever we were), and he was happy to chat with Mr. "I have a thousand things to say" Conor.

    The Room

    We had asked for a room with King bed & rollaway cot, that was quiet, and we got all that. (Forgot to mention that I made DH call to confirm the cot about 3 times... or so it seemed!) We had a balcony overlooking the airport (exciting), and we were on the same floor as the place that does breakfast - 9th, I think?

    So, here's the deal - you don't stay at airport hotels because you're looking for a fabulous room. You want a place to stay and sleep, and I give the Hyatt full points for that.

    The room was nice, but definitely on the small side, especially with the cot out, which we had to have butt up right against my side of the bed (why is it always my side????) because there were no bedrails, and we have Mr. Squirm at night. (He has fallen out of bed onto hotel floors and not woken up - great way to give your parents a complete panic when they find you, seemingly unresponsive, having toppled out of a regular bed. We have mostly recovered... or not.) We then shoved the chair and ottoman up against the other side of the bed, and we had make-shift bedrails.

    (Now, here, well meaning people usually jump in and suggest using pillows/towels/pool noodles/gizmos/gadgets/family pets/whatever, in lieu of bedrails. Been there, done that, and I own the t-shirt that says: your suggestion didn't work. He can overcome mountains. Thanks, though! Large furniture will work in a pinch, it turns out.)

    We really noticed the squishy size when we started The Great Rearranging of stuff. We needed to move everything we would need for embarkation day into the carry-on stuff, and shift plane survival gear into the suitcases. Due to my (obsessive) packing strategies, all the stuff we needed was packed last, so was on the top of the suitcase (yeah to me!) but this still takes a while to organize.

    (To be fair to the Hyatt, this would have probably been less squishy-seeming if the 4 year old hadn't been bouncing off the walls (now at almost 1 hour past bedtime) and "helping". NOTHING hinders like an overtired 4.5 year old who is helping. )

    Anyhow - we wanted most of this done at night, as we didn't want to be rushing to finish for our 8:30 deadline in the morning.

    Room Service

    Main complaint? SLOW. It took well over 45 minutes. We were already into crazy-tired zone with Conor, so this was a LONG time. When it came, we learned they were quite short-staffed that night (nice guy who brought it was chatting up Conor) so maybe it was just that night.

    It was, however, hot, and quite yummy for hotel room service. There is quite a good kids menu, which was good because 1+ hours past bedtime is not the time to experiment with foods.

    The Meltdown

    Now, you may chose to skip this part of our trip in your own trip, or in reading, but since I report on all major events, this must be mentioned. Conor had been super-good the whole day, but he really just hit the wall just before the food arrived. I believe he freaked out about our insistence on him peeing and had, for him, a spectacular meltdown. Really, though, we had the worst possible ratio of low blood sugar/high pee levels/overtiredness that we ever get (we stick to a schedule for a reason), so we couldn't blame him, and, hey, he waited until we were in the hotel room and not in public - good timing, bud.

    Said meltdown ended with some quality quiet time, Sockie, and parental ignoring of the goings on.

    Sleep - or, seriously, you're reporting on this?

    Yes- because, as noted above, airports in hotels exist to promote sleep, in my opinion, so one needs to discuss this.

    All 3 of us went to bed at about 9:30/10:00. (Crazy late in our world. Yep, we're the wild, partying type.) So...

    King bed: Comfy - no complaints. Good bedding and plenty of pillows - key.
    Quiet?: Definitely (good and quiet), so long as the balcony door was closed.
    Temperature: Easy to control.

    So... great night of sleep - right?

    WRONG. Overtired boy = bad sleep. At somewhere around 3:00 a.m., he had a nightmare or something, and wasn't settling, so I heaved him into the bed with my husband, and I got in the cot. Now, before you feel bad for me, remember the squirmy nature of the kid (I have been known to end up with feet in my face when he sleeps with me) so I got the better end of the deal. :rotfl2:

    However, I can't really blame the Hyatt for this, of course.


    As noted in other reviews, the Hyatt's breakfast buffet is really lovely. Service was good, and there were lots of healthy options (trying to get back on schedule). I think it was $8 for a kid? (We didn't do the buffet, for some reason that escapes me now... a vain attempt at being virtuous before the cruise, perhaps? :rotfl:

    Check-out was smooth, I'm told, with no unexpected costs.

    Overall Hyatt rating? 9/10 for an airport hotel. Happy to recommend it. Was very glad it was there to contain the meltdown. :cheer2:

    Tomorrow... we might actually get on the ship! Good night.
  19. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

    Jul 4, 2012
    I'm joining in, this is a great TR, I'm really enjoying it. Looking for the next installment:goodvibes
  20. bitlerzx4

    bitlerzx4 DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2008
    I'm joining!
  21. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

    Jul 18, 2012
    Having done our bit with planes, trains (shuttle), and automobiles, we clearly need a bus now

    After yummy breakfast, we got back to our room just after 8:30 a.m., and the bags were still there. I was trying to not get anxious about this, and failing miserably, so DH suggested that I take Conor out to the airport while he got stuff together and made sure the bags left the building, so to speak.

    Just as we were leaving the room ... voila! Our first Disney CM to come and get the bags. He was, as promised, super-nice, and very helpful. His accent (Southern US - Georgia, maybe?) had Conor speechless - for a minute - no small feat.

    Contrary to Disboard advice (Shhhh), we did NOT rush down to the ME desk. Rushing on vacation = BAD in our world. I hung out in the airport with Conor for about 20 minutes while DH did whatever DH does when he's getting things together. We spotted important places (Starbucks), and obtained caffeine (for me - not for Conor!), before DH joined us (I gave him coffee too - important for happy marriages) heading to the ground transportation area.

    This, I recall, as being a long-ish walk - Totally OK for Conor, but would have been nuisancy with a younger child - so heads up.

    We arrived at about 9:45 - there was virtually no line up. We checked in (just for Ground transport - no more other checking in there, and we being foreigners wouldn't have been allowed anyway even before they changed the rules). Whoo hoo - our 2nd CM! Oh the thrills.

    We left straight from checking in to join the line-up for the next bus, as instructed by Purple Stitch piece of paper, newly stapled to our cruise documents. ("Who is that monster, Mom?" "Is he a nice monster?" "Why is he purple?" I told you we don't do much Disney. :) ) We were barely there when the line starting moving.

    Mouse Bus

    Conor has long had an affinity for buses - it was one of his first words (it came before Mommy, but we won't talk about that...) and he has accumulated an extensive collection over the years, including a 3-pack of miniature Disney buses that our friend bought him.

    So.... "Mom! I HAVE THAT BUS!" Yep. You might be excited about Mickey and all (and I'm not saying he wasn't) but really - this was one of HIS buses, AND he was going to ride on it.

    Anyhow - inside, it's a nice bus, so far as buses go. Not much to report, except that we didn't realize there is no food allowed on the bus (or at least, you can't eat or drink on it). This wasn't a big problem for us as we had just eaten ... and it appeared it wasn't for others who just ignored the rule. ;)

    We left shortly after 10:00. The Disney propaganda - I mean "helpful videos" - started up after we got going. I will be fair - I suppose if you hadn't read (on Disboards) all about how things work on the ship, you might have learned something from the videos. However, since obsessive researching is what I do, it wasn't needed for us.

    The videos did, however, keep Conor amused, which was not a bad thing at all. After the DCL video, there were some old Disney cartoons and Disney trivia (at which DH and I failed miserably).

    After about 45-50 minutes, we could tell we were getting close to port, and we did see the Fantasy off in the distance. I will confess here to... no emotions whatsoever, except relief that the travel marathon was almost over. I kept this to myself, though, so as not to interfere with folks having their tearful moments or ecstatic moments... I mean, good for them!

    OK - it appears we're almost there... see next post(s) for us actually getting on the ship - it was bound to happen eventually. :woohoo:

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