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. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

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    Thanks for taking the time to post your very interesting trip report! I loved reading it. Especially your conclusions as to why you won't book a cruise again anytime soon. I love reading reviews where you can understand why people like something or don't as this helps me to project whether I might feel the same about an experience or not.

    I found your comments about how the fact that you aren't Disney people did take away to a certain extent from your cruise experience very interesting. While I do enjoy a lot of the Disney products, I can very well understand a lot of the criticism against Disney - and very much agree with you on the princess issue (and btw, here in Germany someone else is exploiting that niche, a storybook character called Prinzessin Lillifee). What I find interesting is that in a way it sometimes seems that Disney as a company does not only expect its guests/customers to buy the product and appreciate it, but also enter into a kind of personal and emotional relationship with the company. Disney is very much in the business of emotions, and of course if you don't want that part, I can understand how being subjected to this for a week might start to get on your nerves. And it would be more difficult to escape from than another cruise company that is just in the business of running the ships. Hope this makes sense!
     
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  3. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Ah - I was afraid someone might ask, because now everyone is going to laugh and point finders we went to Beaches Turks and Caicos. But, wait - don't they have characters there too? Um, (sheepishly, I must admit), yes, but they are far fewer of them. MUCH easier to avoid. :rolleyes2

    We loved Beaches, but it's super expensive, which is part of why we didn't go back this year. They do a great job of meeting parent and kid needs, though. We didn't use the kid's club, as there is no way Conor would have gone last year, so I can't comment on that. It seemed fine when we checked it out, but I'm sure it pales in comparison to DCL clubs, at least in terms of physical space.

    As well, it's not the same level of customer service - we thought it was totally fine, but if you read the reviews, some people find it lacking.

    So, when I say we're going back to our beach, we're not yet sure if that will be Beaches or another AI. There are a lot more options we're willing to consider now that Conor is older and not napping every day, so I'll enter the fun planning stage now.

    We will definitely go back to Beaches though at some point- we just have to make our choices about what we're choosing to afford.

    Thanks for reading along! You'll note that I've figured out I forgot things so I will do one more installment. ;)
     
  4. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! Interesting about Prinzessin Lillifee.

    Somewhere on these boards, I remember reading about some marketing research that classified people who went to Disney (not the cruises specifically), and I laughed - we fell squarely into the group of people who go on one trip per year, and we try out different things- and we are, not surprisingly, very different from those who go to Disney yearly, and way different than those who go frequently. I think Disney is just more overt about the playing on emotions thing than other companies - they all do that! Heck - Starbucks and I are in the midst of a very long, complicated relationship. :)

    We are realists, though. While we tried to delay the introduction of Disney to Conor (sounds like a plan to avoid foods that he might be allergic to!), we didn't aim to avoid it entirely. Obviously, he loves Jake, so he watches other Disney Junior stuff too. And, Disney is has my heart-felt appreciation for Doc McStuffins, because, well, she has the same job as me, and she's a strong female, unprincessy-character - and her dad seems to be the main caregiver for her younger brother and he cooks - so a lot like our house. They've partnered with the Artemis Medical Society, too (Doc McStuffins). Conor loves her, I'm pleased to report. She ranks just after Jake right now, which is pretty impressive.

    Anyhow, I really am glad so many people get so much pleasure from Disney - there are far worse things in the world! However, we just don't get that added (dare I say it) 'magic', so it's a bit lost on us. It's fascinating to watch, though!

    Stay tuned for my epilogue - it's relevant to this discussion.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful response!
     
  5. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Epilogue: By the Genius who went on a Disney Cruise, and then decided not to go back soon because it was too Disney and too Cruise

    Conor is sick with a bad cold, so he was up a bit last night. During one of these awakenings, I had one of those 3:00 a.m. sudden realizations I had neglected to tidy up a few loose ends, so now I need to post this epilogue, or I'll lie awake at night worrying about this.

    Life after DCL

    We've been back 3 weeks now, and back in the swing of work, school, skating and swimming lessons. We had the first snow day of the year (Feb 8th), and, obviously, we've acquired the first bad cold of the winter. We survived making valentines (yes, I insist on making them, missing crafty gene notwithstanding - I HATE buying valentines).

    (My friend whose son is in school with Conor picked up the milk-encrusted pants for us and washed them for us. Sent them back the day Conor returned, and then they went into missing pants limbo land for 2 weeks - but we just got them back early last week. I know you were all worried about the pants.)

    I got back to work to find out that Conor's school had called on the Tuesday we were away (St. Thomas day) to try to reach me because they were closing the school early due to impending freezing rain. My colleagues assured the school that, while I was away and couldn't come to the phone, they were pretty sure I had in fact brought Conor with me on vacation, so he wasn't at school to be picked up. Good to know that my 2 messages about him being away got through. :) I'm sure it was chaos, though - they decided at 11:00 to close the school at noon- so finding parents for some 250 kids would not have been fun.

    Most of the FE stuff has scattered in the wind - the few princess things I brought home were passed on to Conor's girl friends, who were, of course, delighted. As of now, no postcards have arrived from CC. Some leftover FE stuff has made its way into the rainy-day box, which is used to entertain Conor on days he can't go outside - we also raid it when we are heading out on road trips. Most of the pirate stuff that didn't go in the garbage (Conor is anti-tattoo) is now in the dress-up drawer.

    Conor has yet to do his presentation - we're aiming for this week. We just wanted to get him back in the routine of school first. So, now that I'm done my TR, we'll work on his presentation - that's homework we can handle!


    Why DH DOES win the parent of the year award


    I will first confess that DH does not know I've written this TR. Let's not tell him, OK? He was suspicious for the first time last night when he saw all the emoticons that I was up to something, but I ignored him and he went away. :)

    So, you may recall DH bought old, expensive (but duty-free) scotch at MCO on the way back. It came in a fancy-pants box. Said fancy-pants box has undergone a transformation...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yep - it's a pirate's treasure chest, for Conor's pirate treasure. DH used his superglue to glue on a few things to cover up the scotch info.

    Conor is delighted. His only disappointment was that his spy-scope didn't fit in there, but that doesn't usually bother him anymore. He brings it out to show everyone who visits. (Meanwhile, DH gets to enjoy the former contents of the box...)

    Final thoughts

    We are fully back to normal now, and I can honestly say I don't think there is any more Disney in our lives now than before - if there is an increase, it's minor. This morning, while I've been typing this, Conor has been resting on the couch after his bad night, and he has not been asking for Disney stuff - instead, he's thrilled to be watching Sid the Science kid.

    He hasn't changed - I will risk another reason for Disboards eviction by telling you about his latest jaw-dropping conversation.

    It was last Saturday, at 7:00 a.m. - I was in my pre-caffeine state, which is to say my brain cells are not fully operational. Conor had just finished in the bathroom, and he came out to present the following near-monologue:


    Conor: "It would be a BAD idea to pee outside today, mom. My p**** would freeze."

    Me (in pre-coffee state): "Um, sure, bud, but I don't know if it would freeze. Ask your father."

    Conor: "Yeah, you're a girl, and girls don't have p*****s. You just have a hole. (Pause.) It's a flat p****. (Pause.) Not like mine - mine sticks out (looks down) - well, it's sticking down right now."

    Where the &$(n is my coffee, anyway???



    So, thanks DCL - you gave us a great time. It's not your fault you're a bit to Disney and a bit to Cruise-y for us. We appreciated all you did for us.

    THANKS!
     
  6. Karen87

    Karen87 Disney Dreamin'

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    As someone who was indoctrinated early into all things Disney (we lived close to Disneyland in California and as a child we made frequent trips) and now owns a Disney Vacation Club membership at WDW, let me say that I really enjoyed your trip report. I get it that Disney isn’t for everyone. We got grief about going to WDW for our honeymoon (Isn’t it just for kids?) but I think it’s more important to spend vacation time with your family in a way that make you happy.

    I understand about the crowds. We have never (and will never) go to WDW in peak season – we always go at “slower” times of the year. We also hit the beach for a few days at the end of our family WDW vacation to have some down time after the busy days at the parks and have some unscheduled lazy time.

    Thanks again for the trip report. My DH has arrived home with Starbucks on this fine Texas morning, so I will bid you a fond farewell.
     
  7. Ensusieasm

    Ensusieasm Mouseketeer

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    Thanks so much for your entertaining and informative trip report! :flower3:
    I have so enjoyed laughing with you while at the same time gleaning so much insight into a Disney cruise on the Fantasy! Wish you were cruising on my upcoming voyage...because you would be so much fun to talk to. I would laugh so hard my cheeks would hurt! :) I will write more later. I had written a longer post but I somehow lost it before posting it. Will try again soon.
    All the best to you and your family. Hope Conor is feeling better very soon. I think he's going to need both sock pals today!
     
  8. Ensusieasm

    Ensusieasm Mouseketeer

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    Here is a shorter version of the post I lost.....
    Reading about the beach vacations you like to take, I would like to give you an idea for next winter that sounds like a good match for your family. Yes, it is a Disney resort, but you would hardly even know it, except for all the things that Disney does best: Customer service, attention to detail, providing a clean, safe, beautiful environment....all on the Atlantic Ocean and almost two hours away from the Disney parks! You may want to take a look at:
    DISNEY'S VERO BEACH RESORT
    I have so much more to say about this resort, but since I lost all that typing I will have to come back later to tell you so much more. (Character sightings are extremely rare...only sometimes at Saturday brunch and easily avoided)
    Till then.......
     
  9. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the feedback! I agree 100% - do the vacations that bring you happiness. Having that strong childhood connection must make a huge difference. I'm sure we will go to WDW at some point - but we'll wait until there is at least one person in the family other than me that likes rides! :)

    Nice DH you've got there.... mine does a wicked job of making espresso drinks at home, so no complaints here either. :coffee:
     
  10. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    I hope you have an amazing time!

    Conor has had better days - he had a nap yesterday (now renamed a "doze") and was still falling asleep at supper. He didn't have a great night, either, so I think we'll have a quiet day of lying on the couch and watching TV. If I hadn't been done my TR, today would have been the day, for sure. :)

    Thanks for reading an all your comments along the way. And... see below...

    Interesting - I didn't know about that one. I'll add it to my research list. ;)

    Thanks again!
     
  11. Ensusieasm

    Ensusieasm Mouseketeer

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    :beach: Well, once again I typed quite a lot about Vero Beach and lost it all because this site logs out if Im typing too long or somthing like that. So, if you do look into Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and have any questions, just let me know here on your thread and I will answer.
    Thank you for the best trip report I ever read! If I have any more questions before my cruise in TWELVE DAYS!!!!! I will come back here and ask the expert! All The Best to you and your family (sock pals included) ! :wave2:
     
  12. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for the great TR, it was nice to read on with a different perspective. You gave us lots a food for thought, as we prepare for our 1st Disney Cruise. Thanks again for your time, honestly and sense of humor!
     
  13. kelly1275

    kelly1275 Earning My Ears

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    The Mickey bar was a bit hit, but he didn't even come close to finishing it - those things are HUGE

    I can't believe they had the Mickey Bar! We went on the Dream last year & all they had were the ice cream sandwhiches which are good but I had heard a lot about these Mickey Bars so i'm excited the Fantasy has them as we are going June 1. Loving your trip report!
     
  14. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Wow - I'm humbled. *Blushing* Delighted to answer your questions!



    I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time, and I haven't forgotten I need to send you my packing spreadsheet - hopefully tonight, now that the banking/taxes/backlog of paperwork is in order. :)

    Thanks for reading!


    We got the Mickey Bars a few times - room service has them too (I read that on here) even though they're not on the menu, if that helps. It was Conor's special dessert the night we went to Palo. He was a happy boy - but he didn't finish it then either! :)

    Thanks for reading, and have fun in June!
     
  15. superme80

    superme80 DIS Veteran

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    Loved the report!
     
  16. Whirl

    Whirl Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for this fantastic and detailed TR....you have answered soooo many questions...and we not typical disney somewhat of non- disney folks, too. I mean. The children are young (5,5, and 8) and have been a couple times, but we are very lo key when we go. Your perspective is helpful.


    Anyway, I am curious about getting your baggage and checking in at MCO.....I guess I thought that when you did DCL transfers that you didn't have to deal with anything other than your carry on again after customs in port, but you seem to have been " reunited" with all your luggage several times and wait In the usual check in lines........is this different because you are traveling to Canada or have I just misunderstood all along?

    Thanks, Whirl
     
  17. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for reading, and I'm glad things are helpful.

    As I understand it, (and I might be wrong), you have to be on a participating airline (for on-board check-in) for the bags to magically move along - I'm pretty sure I looked and Air Canada was not, but I also think that it's only something they can do for US-bound flights. I'm sure someone can help out and clarify.

    (I guess I'm saying - it's not the DCL transfers that makes bags move along without you from port to airport - it's the on-board airline check-in process, if you qualify.)

    Despite this (and despite my whining), the only issue really was that we weren't allowed to check in right away. Otherwise, the porter (TOTALLY worth it, and we only had 1 kid) dealt with the luggage from port to the bus. DH just popped into MCO to find a cart, and we loaded up the cart to get from the curb into MCO to do our rearranging. Normally, we would have pushed the cart to the check-in lines and said good-bye to our bags.

    (In an ideal world, we would have been able to do the advanced check-in thing, but as I mentioned earlier, we're rarely allowed - not sure why - but that would have put us in the much shorter "baggage drop off" line.)

    So, it was really just a minor nuisance to have to walk about with our bags for an hour. I just whine a lot! :)

    Have a great trip!
     
  18. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks!
     
  19. Whirl

    Whirl Earning My Ears

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    Thank so much. I appreciate the clarity. Of all things I have really Ben stressing abut this one mater of transportation....
     
  20. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Oh, I hear you! Feel free to ask more - we do take Conor a lot on trips (my work, family trips, plus our one 'for us' vacation per year), so we've figured out tricks (or rather, we've had enough problems that we now know how to anticipate .... most of them anyway!)

    One other tip if it's luggage you're worried about - we love the Heys bag we have for Conor - he's been pulling it since he was 2.5, and it's really well designed. We like that half of it is a zippered compartment (no spillage) and it opens the right way for you to leave it open under the seat in front on the plane and you can still nab things from it. If he won't pull it (rare) it's easy for us to manage.

    [​IMG]

    It is, unfortunately, the one we forgot in the closet one time, but that's not its fault. :)

    We've used it extensively for 2 years, and it's going strong.

    Just a thought!
     
  21. Whirl

    Whirl Earning My Ears

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    Each of our 3 have one of those heys and they are (virtually!!!....ha, ha) indestructible....although, we only have 2 of the 3 remaining; The one that broke was clearly abused since my oldest was wheeling the younger ones around it like a ride-on toy, which proved just too much for the telescoping handle....yes, they have a 7 year warranty, but this was undeniable misuse and not the intended treatment, so we just pitched it.

    We actually don't use them anymore and have now made the kids each carry their own lighter backpack, for which they must take FULL responsibility for contents and carrying and mom and dad are not picking up the slack anymore. With 3 of them lugging one of those, since they are bit bulky, they take up a fair amount of luggage space and were too difficult to carry and add to load if one ( or heaven forbid 2, or 3) gets too "tired".

    I guess we worry most about the luggage and the lines...adding to the 3 children are 2 80-somethings in the mix, so talk about a lot of bathroom breaks! So we need to stay nimble and flexible....we have gone back and forth with disney transport versus our own ( on another thread) trying to really sort things out....so overall its a quest for maximum convenience ( not as concerned about cost, more concerned with minimization of lines and crowds and most direct means to our destination).

    Its tough to judge from others, because what denotes "convenience" can be surprisingly pretty subjective.....

    Anyway...again great report from a familiar perspective and the details help sort through some questions....
     

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