Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by DisneyZell, Dec 8, 2008.
Enjoyed reading so far, will be back for more.
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Thanks for the encouragement...er....threats???
I know, I know, I should do nothing but sit here and type the report...unfortunately my family and boss don't agree with that...
He is just the bomb...we've been on three cruises, and I think he was great. He's been doing that for 7 years...wow that's a long time to be on a cruise ship cleaning cabins, but I'll bet he supports a family that way.
and I'll provide more...right now!
Friday the 19th came along and I was wrecked. My cold, coughing and lack of sleep had definately caught up to me. DW and DNW and the kids (minus DS6) walked to McDonalds for breakfast (you know what? we found out that little plastic card that you swipe actually costs money! it's not just Mickey's way of giving you things for free. How crazy is that??? ), while DS6 and I stayed in bed trying to sleep it off. My goal was to be the smallest amount of sick possible by the time the cruise started...
When everyone got back it was time to hit the pool again. go ahead and use your imagination on this one...this was Goofy shooting the water cannon toward home plate (DNS11 is on top)
By about noon it was time to head to Downtown Disney. Because we were staying on property, the easy thing to do was to hop a bus (er...motorcoach, I wonder if I'll ever get that right!). This ride was an adventure. Let's say slow boat to china would have been giving a compliment here! we stopped at every All Star resort and then we took the longest way possible to get to Downtown Disney. I can think of a few other ways that would have been better:
but I digress. The hightlight of the trip, actually was talking with a couple of kids from Pennsylvania who were there for a high school basketball tournament. They had qualified for the finals the night before and had the day off to wander and do the parks, etc. These were great examples of young people who will one day lead the country. They were very polite and very well spoken, especially when faced with 4 adults firing questions at them about what they were doing. Unfortunately I don't remember the school, and the chances of them reading these boards are slim to none, but if they do, I hope you guys won (nope, I have no idea!), and thanks for being so polite!
Ahem. Anyway, back to the story.
OH! WAIT! why do I know we took the long way to Disney you ask? (ok, you didn't really ask, but bear with me! ). The company I work for had assigned me to Disney, so I spent quite a few weeks on-property in spring 2008. Alot of driving from the Team Disney building (right accross from DTD) to these trailers behind the scenes at AK. That was actually pretty cool. you had to go past this guard shack where they would check your name, and they have these massive barriers that would pretty much keep anything from getting through. However, once your back there you can drive around wherever you want to go. One time I took the long way out which took me by the parade staging area and who is standing on his float waiting to start the parade? (seriously, if you didn't know the answer to that question you should get some sleep or something. Why are you reading this if you aren't a disney fanatic???). Anyway, he was even in character with the CM's he was interacting. Naturally I could not get my dang camera phone to work. That would have been too easy! OK, one more behind the scenes story and I'll move on (sorry).
I had one meeting behind the scenes at Disney's Hollywood Studios. There are a bunch of office buildings on the property there. After the meeting was over I was walking along chatting with a coworker. We stopped at the edge of a street when all of a sudden... Along came the tram for the studio tour! Yup, the one you get to ride if you are in the park. What would you do in that situation? Think about if for a second.
OK, times up. Yup, I waved at everyone like I was someone important. I'm sure some of the kids thought "wow, that must be someone really important there". Or not. Anyway, the cool part is that once your inside you pretty much can go anywhere. I could have walked right out onto the path where the trams were. We also could see the warm-up area for Lights! Camera! Action! or whatever it's called.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, DTD. Dang, is anyone still reading this??? I owe you a cup of coffee.
so we arrived and went to Earl of Sandwich for lunch. Holy Frijoly, have you ever eaten there?? They had this Holiday Turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce on this incredible bread and their on proprietary (no idea how to spell that word) kettle baked chips. YUM! I had never eaten there. I find that truely sad because I spent so much time there and never knew it existed. I'm going to assume that it was built recently and that there was no way for me to know. WHEW! I feel better, do you?
After that it was shop until you drop. I drop I almost did because I still wasn't feeling well. And shopping with a 6 year old is quite the experience. He is all about pirates, and guns scared1: ), so we spent alot of time looking at that stuff. But it gets really old really quickly. PLUS we knew we would have time to shop on the cruise PLUS we were thinking about coming back in February to hit the parks
So we made our way out of World of Disney and down to the sports store. Have I mentioned that our kids are all about sports? I think I already bored you with that so I won't do it here.
WAIT! I forgot to mention! All T-shirts and hats were 40% off, and all Christmas stuff was 50% off. I looked like this when I saw that: Disney, on sale? how weird is that? Hopefully it will still be on sale when we return in February. Oh yeah, we are coming back
We did have time for a picture:
All the kids in the postcard spot.
Anyway, to the Sports store (I don't remember the name). Spent alot of time looking around, found some New England Patriots trading pins for $3 (bargain, bargain, bargain!), and not much else until...wait for it...we found the clearance hats! They were well hidden throughout the store, but I think we walked out with about 6 hats of various kinds (mostly ESPN). Very cool! I feel like I belong on the Slickdeals.net website or something! we were on fire!!
DNH and family had to rush off because DNH's cousin was coming to meet them at the resort with their kids...so they ran off and we went to the other bargain spot around DTD...Goofy's Candy Company! I'm going to let you in on a secret now...so go get your pens. Seriously. go get them.
ho hum, ho hum...OH, you have a pen now? ok.
don't buy the pre-packaged stuff in the case...keep going to the right toward the back. There is a big counter with paper and pencils and you can choose your own combination of carmel apples, pretzel rods, marshmallows or rice crispy mickey heads. What do I mean? I mean...dip it in light chocolate, dark chocolate. then have them cover it in chopped up M&M's, resess peanut butter cup, white and dark chocolate chips, sprinkles, just about any concoction you could ever ask for. and you can pick as many as you want...not just one. The apples are the best, they are around $6. yes, $6. and when they are done they are HUGE. We have bought carmel apples like this in the store for $15 or so...and they weren't nearly as good as these. It's a great treat.
(Disney, you now owe me the sponsorship fee for this segment...oops, did I say that out loud??? )
so anyway, we each got a mickey head rice krispies treat and covered it in our various concoctions. We would have gotten an apple but didn't figure we had a way to cut it up. Only to find out later that they will do that for you! yet another service provided by the latest tip from disneyzell!!!
So it was around 5pm when we made our way back to the bus, back on the slow boat to china, or snailcoach.
We have a tradition in our family. Whenever we go on vacation we wander and take pictures of our kids on things that look cool. There were lots at the All-Star sports resort.
Somwhere in the middle of the resort...DS10 and DS6.
Yup, a giant basketball hoop. very cool.
A giant pool cue ball? A spit wad? nope, the marble in the middle of a giant whistle. You couldn't see the kids if we took a picture of the whole thing!
Yes, Donald was angry. Who wouldn't be with kids hanging all over him all the time.
by then DNH's kids and his Cousin's kids were all in the pool so we joined them. The kids had a great time swimming and then they even played a game on the football field in the football part of the hotel. I guess this hotel turned out to be pretty good overall.
One thing our kids had bugged us about non-stop since we arrived was the Caricature guy in the lobby. they soooooo wanted to do this. We finally relented and got them each one after parting with our right and left legs. Oh wait! we used the plastic card! It was free for us!
Connor gets drawn
And Connor's drawing. Note the 33, that was his number when he played for the Amherst Patriots this year!
Nick gets drawn
And Nick's Drawing. Same thing with his 81. He so wanted to be like Randy Moss!
After that it was time to shop a bit more (why not??), and go back and pack...for tomorrow we head to the ship! What can be better than that? We had lots of things planned, a 8am pickup by the van we were taking, so our 6:45am wake up call was entered.
So at 6:45am Mickey called to get us out of bed (I just love that). No time for breakfast...but being the incredible parents we are, we DID have chocolate and various other candy covered mickey mouse shaped rice krispy treats...and rice krispies are a breakfast cereal, right?
Connor Chows down
Nick does too...I would tell you about the outfit...but you will have to wait a bit longer for that!
So that's it! Thanks for sticking with me. I honestly thought this one would be short. But apparently I'm long winded. If you fell asleep and your head hit the keyboard I recommend Advil. Until next time...go make someone's day!
Next up Chapter 4: Van, Grocery Store, the terminal and yes, Day 1 on board!
great report so far!!! We leave in 45 days and your report is what is getting me thru till we leave. I am really looking forward to your next segment....I can't wait to hear about my room. Marci
ok so waiting for more!!! we are home now for about a month and miss it very much so bring it on!!!!
Subbing...great report so far!!
OK, I'm now jealous. we, of course, are all done with our cruise and your in the fun run-up time to yours! I'll try to do the room justice!
I know...I missed it pretty quickly after we got off. My neighbor put it best...someone else is sleeping in my bed and getting taken care of! it's just wrong!
And for those who just joined me on my journey, welcome! as I have already warned the others, Advil works best when you slam your head into your keyboard after falling asleep. And now...on with the show...
ok, so I promised alot at the end of the last chapter. But I have to be honest, unless I do a severe reduction in my story telling we aren't going to get all of that in. But I'll give it a try.
So I lied a bit at the end of my last chapter, Mickey didn't call to wake us up at 6:45, it was actually Mickey AND Stitch. They were fighting. Very, very funny. So if you stay on property, you HAVE to get a wake-up call. That holds for the cruise too, but we will get there...eventually, we still haven't even made it to the terminal yet! you people are so impatient!
Last cruise we rented a big van to haul the 8 of us to port. That worked just fine, but last time we weren't staying on-property for a few days, and so that just wasn't going to work. DW found Happy Limo (I'm sure by surfing on these boards as she spent many an hour digging through, helping out and liberaly stealing ideas). So they were all set to pick us up at 8am.
I know. 8am. Surely it takes 4 hours to drive to the port, right? 8am? we are going to beat the ship to the port. BUT, with all that DW has done, do I complain? of course I do, but that was before we even left, not when we were at the resort. I'm not that crazy!
Ahem. Anyway, so we dragged our 8,000 suitcases (ok, not really that many, but I think we had 4 big suitcases and 2-3 carryon's...we had alot of stuff. Too much stuff you ask? Alas, another answer for another time. Holy cow, I hope I remember all these things I'm promising to tell you later. I'm sure all of you will remind me, right??? ) to the front desk. I don't think we had to check out because Mickey came and put our bill on the handle of our door.
And guess what??? Much as I referenced in my last report he DID charge us for all that stuff! All those free things that we got just by swiping a plastic non-credit card card? not free. Harumph. (Just in case someone you really believe that I believe that Disney believed they were giving me anything free clearly believe that I believe that I'm insane. No I don't have any idea what that sentance means).
So we walked outside to get in our Happy Limo van. HAPPY LIMO. Hmmm...that man in the hat that appears to be our driver apparently has not read the side of the van he is driving. I think I'll write a letter to the company and suggest that when he drives they have one of those magnetic signs (much like the door signs...but, DOH, that comes later! Oops, there I go again) so he can change the van to read "GRUMPY LIMO". Think of the Disney tie in! Money to be made there. Cha Ching. Anyway, we weren't going to let a grumpy old man make our trip not good!
The big advantage of Happy Limo is you are allowed one stop at a grocery store on the way to the port. Woohoo! Yes, this means Beer. So we stropped at Publix when we were almost there. One thing we screwed up on in our planning was we forgot to bring a soft-sided cooler. We have one. Oh yes we do, from the last cruise. It was sitting nice and dusty and dirty on top of our refrigerator at home (which was sitting unplugged from the ice storm where we lost all our food.
the other good thing about Publix was that I was still coughing up a lung and running out of drugs...so restocking too place. We checked out the soft sided coolers they had...and they were all expensive. But we each grabbed one anyway...as it just wouldn't do to not have beer. And then we found a whole other option. Have you ever been to the grocery store and seen those HOT/COLD bags? They are silver, about 2 foot square? DW has some for taking home cold stuff. At least she used to...now we are on to these cloth bags which she bought because they are easier than the hundreds of plastic bags...but I digress.
These hot/cold bags are about $2 each. So we each bought two. I figured we could put one inside the other when onboard and it should do just fine keeping my drinks cold. Woohoo! saving money already. cha-Ching!
We each grabbed a case of beer (Sam Winter (yum) and some wheat beer (not quite as good). We also each grabbed a six pack of froo-froo drinks for the wives. Oh, sorry, you don't know what froo-froo drinks are? Bacardi Ice is what we purchased in this case, but froo-froo could be anything like that...or even wine coolers. Not big drinkers, our wives. Then again, I'm not a lush either.
We just made our 15 minute limit (actually I have no idea if he would have thrown a fit if we went over it. He was rather grumpy so I'd say yes...but you just never know!) and jumped back into the van. We made it to the port at 9:30. We pulled up and unloaded our bags by gate 3 (at least I think it was gate 3. Here is a spot where GRUMPY Limo helped...he seemed to know where to drop the bags.
Here is where it got funny. A Disney guy walks up and asks us if we know where our ride is. Ahem, we just arrived, sir. OH! scary psycho DISers clearly (well, I'm sure that is what he was thinking, he actually said, ok and verified the time we could actually go in and that our luggage was, indeed, in the right spot). The kids and wives went over to the entrance to the port to wait to go in and we kept our spot right where the porters would come. The kids and wives got to go in at 9:55 (can you believe my memory? incredible that I have this down to the minute...locked up in this steel trap mind of mine. Oh, what? You read that I'm using my wife's journal...DARNIT. thought I could sneak that one by you .
Shortly thereafter the guys took our bags (by the way, the porters are invaluable...on both ends. I remember our last trip when we had rental cars we pulled right up and they unloaded the bags and took them away...and this time they were so nice and helpful...I'm a big fan. they are worth every penny. but I digress). We strolled into the terminal, let our beer slide through the xray and up the escalators we went.
Did I mention we were the first ones in the terminal?
Empty, Empty EMPTY empty!
Did I say empty?
yeah, we were. Very exciting stuff. Except that now we have to wait for 2 hours. DNH had to run over and show his ID, or give his credit card or something (I honestly didn't ask), but I was able to go plop down on the chairs with the family. We were all set, we had our boarding number:
Woohoo! #2. I gave DW a hard time, though because she somehow managed to snag a #1 the last time we were there. What can you do, she is slacking!
We also got our Castaway club lanyards (our neighbors got theirs for the first time), so we quickly looked quite stylish walking around the terminal. I noted that DW also handed me another card that looks suspiciously like the card I was given at All Star Sports. No way! I was not going to fall for that one again. Not this time. Noooooo....I know they are going to actually make me pay!
Now, it was time for pictures.
Christmas decorations were up...this was my favorite.
All the kids looking at the model
I guess now would be a good time to tell you about our outfits. We made shirts for this little adventure. Each person got a character that they either chose or suited their personality. more or less.
I got Mickey. Clearly this was because I am regal in nature and will someday preside over the Magic Kingdom. And I'm the one that did them.
DW got Minnie because clearly she belongs with me.
DS10 got Chip and Dale because he is sneaky and likes to have fun. Well, and they are his favorite.
DS6 got Stitch. Let's just say it was a perfect fit!
DNH got Eeyore. ah....I'm going to leave that one alone
DNW got Roo...we were going with a theme here people, work with me!
DNS11 was Tigger, his favorite character. He doesn't, however, bounce like Tigger!
DND8 was Pooh...I love this picture.
On the back we customized it with the name, and of course our neighbors had one girl stick figure...here it is...
In addition we all had New England Patriots santa hats. That got us quite alot of comments at various times, including once when we had to take them off for a pictures....but you have to wait to find out about that! (DARNIT).
Where were we...oh yeah, pictures.
The kids came up with the idea of having the characters sign their shirts...what a great idea! The only bad thing was that at one point I stuck my foot in my mouth when I suggested we turn the shirts in to be signed by everyone. Both DS10 and DNS11 both said "So that's how you did that pillowcase the last time". The only problem was that the pillowcase was delivered home by none other than *sigh*
But luckily that never came back up!
DNW and DNH hanging out before we got onboard.
Mickey and the crew in the terminal. Note what is on the kid's heads. This will come up later
About 10:30 the kids club table opened up so we grabbed the pagers, and got the kids signed up. We also moved DNS11 down so he would be in the same club as DS10. No wristbands yet though...there was a problem.
The rest of the time we just hung out...reading books, kids watched cartoons and wandered a bit. I did got get a Diet Coke (in the 3 cruises I had never gotten anything in the terminal). I tried to pay with cash. No go...they will only accept those evil cards....it starts already!
So, we have our shirts, we have our dining rotation (APLPLAP) and our Table (#16), and we are all ready to go.
At 11:50 (yup, mind like a steel trap!) they called boarding group #2...that's us!
But you will have to wait until next time!
Next up: Chapter 5: Finally! Day 1 onboard the Magic!
Awesome trip report- I'm waiting(and not so patiently) for the next installment I can't believe you guys were first to the terminal- that's nice. Love the pictures!!
I remember seeing you all in those shirts in the terminal. Wow - you guys were there first? How very cool! We got there early enough that it wasn't busy in the terminal yet, but it did pick up.
Loving your report, and your pictures are absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing!
Great TR-no Advil needed. Thanks for the tips on the cheese sause and apples. That terminal looks great empty. Can't wait for the cruise report.
I'm still trying to figure out how you got to the terminal before me! I swore we were the first ones checked off at the gate. It was really nice and empty for awhile, wasn't it? I was just glad that DH put our luggage right by the place where the gates opened. That was just luck on our part.
Loving your TR! It's always nice to read the reports of others on your same cruise.
Happy New Year Zells!
Love reading your TR. Can't wait for more!!
Loving your report! Keep it comin'
Another outstanding start to what is sure to be another great report. I decided not to be a lurker this time, but I may have to egg (I mean encourage) you on to finish before our trip in May (an Eastern this time). I will say that you are my muse for writing my own report.
I am with you on the castle lights. We went to Disneyland for Thanksgiving and I was thinking that I have got to get some of those lights.
That is a great idea for using the shirts as autograph books. I will be interested to find out how often they were used.
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