From Reality to Fantasy - May 26, 2012

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by Dawncala, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Pre-Trip

    We have officially dipped below the 60 day countdown mark (Woohoo! :yay:) so I decided if I was going to write a pre-trip report I should get started. I had so much fun writing the trip report for our Alaska cruise on the Wonder last year I just had to do it again. This cruise will include the same cast of characters only a year older and to a new, more tropical location.

    If you would like to read my Alaska TR you can find it here. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2707642 It is photo heavy and contains all the Daily Navigators and other informational papers and an entire meal section with photos of many of the dishes and menus.
     
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  3. luvslikepi

    luvslikepi DIS Veteran

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    Yay!! I loved your Alaska TR - I'm much more a Caribbean girl so seeing the Alaska trip through another's eyes was fun. Can't wait to read your PTR and your TR for Fantasy...only 13 more months til my Fantasy comes true.
     
  4. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you. :) I am really looking forward to the Caribbean. I hope your 13 months preparing for the Fantasy flies by with magical Disney speed.
     
  5. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    I just saw your adorable baby timeline. Congratulations!!! :woohoo:
     
  6. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    Can't wait to hear all about your trip. I'm on the 10/6 Fantasy and cannot wait!

    Jill in CO
     
  7. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cast of Characters

    I’m Dawn (DW), the researcher, planner, scheduler, travel agent, photographer, archivist, blogger and dreamer. (to name just a few of my starring roles) Cruising with me will be my hubby Ryan (DH), our 13 year old daughter Josi (DD) and 11 year old son Chance (DS) and Perry (DP: Disney Platypus). Conveniently we are all Disney fanatics so I never get any argument when it comes to planning a Disney vacation. This will be our third Disney cruise in 3 years. Our first was a 4 night Bahamas cruise in January of 2010 on the Wonder, and the second was a 7 night cruise to Alaska, May 24, 2011, also on the Wonder.

    Us from last year's Alaska cruise.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Disney9.9.10

    Disney9.9.10 DIS Veteran

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    Joining in :) I can't wait to read all about your trip on the Fantasy!
     
  9. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    I loved your Alaska TR so I am really looking forward to this :goodvibes

    We are going to be on the fantasy a couple of weeks before you so I will be sure to look after it for you :thumbsup2
     
  10. TamieH

    TamieH Mouseketeer

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    We are on the same cruise and can't wait!!! Let's hope we have beautiful weather and calm seas....regardless, we will be on the FANTASY!!! That beats a day at work and home anyday.
     
  11. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    So excited to see you started the pre trip!! Following along
     
  12. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you! Will you be doing a trip report? I'd love to hear about your adventures and learn any tips or tricks you might suggest.
     
  13. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Hello TamieH and Verygfy. Nice to see some familiar names. 47 days and counting girls. :cool1:
     
  14. 15isto2

    15isto2 DIS Veteran

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    Cute platypus
     
  15. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Can you believe it is almost here :yay:
     
  16. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    The Planning, The Booking, The Waiting

    The easier part, booking all the travel, is done. The hardest part, the waiting, is really just beginning. Boy does the calendar move slowly when I am looking forward to a Disney vacation. I booked this cruise way back in 2010 so we have been waiting quite a long time. (538 days to be exact)

    We are booked on the May 26th to June 2, 2012 Western Caribbean cruise. The 9th official cruise of the beautiful Disney Fantasy. We booked almost immediately after reservations opened up. It might have been the 1st day. I don’t remember for sure. :confused3 (It’s been a while.) We wanted to have a magical porthole room mid-ship and I knew the only way that was going to happen was by booking ASAP. Luckily we had no trouble getting our first choice. :thumbsup2 We have mid-ship cabin 9077, near to the front funnel stairwell and elevators. Just two short decks up to the Quiet Cove pool area and Cove Café and another couple to the Edge Tween club where both our kids will probably be much of the time. Our main reason for mid-ship though was that DH & DS are prone to sea sickness and DH requested it.

    We booked using our DVC points at a cost of 554 points for the four of us. The cash price when we booked was $4,600. By May 2011 the cash price had gone up to $5,300 and it is now $6,700 for our same category 11A cabin. :scared1: I feel that we got a pretty good deal and have really enjoyed being DVC members so far. (300 pts at Saratoga Springs) We have taken quite a few DL & WDW land vacations and this is our second cruise.
     
  17. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Hey neighbor!! Did you realize that we are across the hall from each other :goodvibes

    554 points doesn't sound unreasonable!! Amazing how the prices have jumped since we booked.
     
  18. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    We are! How cool! Looking forward to meeting you neighbor!
     
  19. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    The Mickey Mouse Fan Club at Sea

    After booking, the next order of business was joining a DIS Cruise Meet group. We are officially known as Mickey’s Memorial Day Fantasy and have around 60 members. It’s been fun getting to know people who will be on the cruise with us, exchanging tips and tricks and dreaming together about our upcoming adventure. My daughter has also become friends with another 13 year old girl on our cruise. They text each other often to discuss “stuff” and are Facebook friends. It will be nice that she already has a friend on board so she will feel comfortable in the club from day 1. It took her a while to warm up to the club on our Alaska cruise, but once she had some friends she had a blast.

    So far our group has planned a 1st day meet, Fish Extender exchange, Postcard Recipe exchange and we’ll have our own custom lanyards. (Thanks to all the awesome ladies who volunteered to coordinate those.) We are also hoping to take a group photo in the atrium. Plus one very talented member even created us our own special logo.


    [​IMG]

    If you are planning a Disney cruise and you have not joined a DIS meet group I highly suggest it. It is great fun to share the experience with others and meet new people from all over the world. If you’re worried about not having time for Fish Extenders or on-board meets…don’t. You can participate as much or as little as you like.
     
  20. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    There and Back on $364.25
    We live near Seattle so getting a family of four to a cruise that departs from Port Canaveral is no small feat. Airfare is anything but cheap so this is where we could end up doubling the cost of the trip without some careful research and planning. Thankfully we were able to use frequent flyer miles and American Express points converted to air miles for our flights. Total cost = $100 in various fees. :cool1:

    We also need a hotel Friday night in Port Canaveral. It would require a non-stop flight and more luck and pixie dust than I have on hand to fly out on cruise day and make the 3:30 last call boarding time. Travel to Florida pretty much takes all day in each direction. (10 hours average) And we lose 3 hours by default just by traveling east. We could book a red-eye, but who wants to begin their cruise bleary eyed. So… we are staying at the Four Points Sheraton near the port Friday night. This hotel was specifically selected because it is a Starwood property and my husband had some points stocked up. Our 1 night stay will be free. :woohoo:

    Next we needed transportation. We used Disney’s Magical Express for our Bahamas cruise in 2010 (one way from WDW to PC) and while it is a wonderful way to travel to the port, the cost was a shocker. $35 per person, one way, and no discount for children. (Family of 4 = $140 one way or $280 round trip) I knew I could cut that price in half at least so for this trip I have rented 2 one-way Avis rental cars. We used Avis before and it was really easy. They have a shuttle that stops right in front of the cruise terminal. The price when I first started researching was averaging $67 each way. Still a huge savings over Magical Express. Then when I was ready to officially book it the price had dropped to an average of $43 each way. (Ka-ching!) :cheer2:

    The last thing I’d need to book is airport parking in Seattle. We live about 45 minutes from the airport, and we park the car in an off-site lot and take a shuttle. By my calculations, since our flight leaves at 6:30 AM, we’d have to get up by 3:00 AM to get there with the kind of time buffer I like. My family is notoriously difficult to get out the door at normal hours, let alone 3:00 AM, so after much debate I decided to book an airport hotel for Thursday night. Unfortunately there wasn’t another Starwood property nearby, but I did find a hotel which would let us park our car for the entire nine nights AND shuttle us to the airport. Total cost $178 & change. Normally the parking would have cost around $120, so for $58 more I get to sleep in a little and the car is already parked. (Worth it!)
    :cloud9:
     
  21. Sereina

    Sereina Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! How exciting to be going on the Fantasy! She looks like a beautiful ship. Oh, and I'm from the Seattle area as well. :goodvibes
     

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