Prologue This was the cruise that was never supposed to happen; and therefore it did. Just over two years ago, I heard the first rumours that once the first of the two new Disney ships would come into service, one of the older to ships would go to the West Coast of the USA. At the time, I was pretty sure that this would be the Magic as she had spend the summers of 2005 and 2008 doing Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles. We decided that if this rumour would come true, we would be on that cruise. A few months later, the Port of Los Angeles released a press statement that the Disney Wonder would be home ported in Los Angeles. If anything, this made us even more determined to be on that cruise. My favourite ship is the Magic, but Graham has a slight preference for the Wonder. After doing 4 out of our 5 cruises on the Magic, it appeared only fair that Graham should finally get another cruise on the Wonder. It was not until mid September 2009 that Disney Cruise Line finally unveiled the itineraries for 2011 and officially admitted that the Wonder would go to California. At that time, our enthusiasm got slightly dampened. It looked like the cruise would set sail in January. January is not a good time anyway as it is too close to Christmas and still part of the peak season for me at work. It also meant that there would be a very short interval between our Transatlantic Cruise and Panama Canal Cruise. Still, we kept an open mind. About two weeks later, bookings opened. We had one look at the prices, laughed and gave up on the idea. Considering what we had paid for previous cruises, the prices seemed astronomical. We promised ourselves that we would look at it again when they would be doing the next Panama Canal Cruise and hopefully that would be at a more convenient time. At that time everybody expected that the Wonder would come back East to go to dry dock. Since 2009, the ships have gone to dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas and as the Wonder is registered in the Bahamas, it would have made sense to bring her back to the Bahamas for dry dock. That would have meant a couple of Panama Canal Cruises every two to three years. Last summer it became clear that they had no intentions to bring the Wonder back East for dry dock, but that she was going to dry dock in Vancouver instead. We were suddenly hit by the reality that if we wanted to do a Panama Canal Cruise with Disney, that this would probably be our last chance for at least a decade. We were still sitting on the fence about this one in the run up to the Transatlantic Cruise, but we had decided to speak to cruise sales person on the ship. I decided to play it safe and get the leave for January confirmed just in case. I figured that I could always cancel it again if we decided against the cruise. However, I knew that I would be in deep trouble if we decided to book it and then I could not get the leave sorted out as the cancelation period had already started about a week before we went on the Transatlantic Cruise. Needless to say, we could not resist the temptation. About half way through the Transatlantic Cruise, this cruise was booked. It was kind of a risky proposition as our already high expectations had become even higher after that fantastic cruise. You will be the judge if it was worth it. So let the adventure begin!