Geeks on a boat, now with more geeks! Literally. Alaska 2013 planning starts now!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by zweihund, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Actually, I carry around the DSLR, but my DH often times takes better pictures than I do with his P&S. Go figure! I'm looking forward to seeing your DH's pics and finding out what lens he rented to take them with!
     
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  3. Tink rules

    Tink rules <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t

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    It's tradition for us to order Tacos when we leave Houston in the AM!!! For some reason.. Taco bell always taste better that way... :rotfl2:
     
  4. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I was going to say, it really isn't that unusual in Phoenix to have a bean and cheese burrito at 9:00 AM. You were just fitting in. :thumbsup2
     
  5. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    It was a Canon EF 100-400 with image stabalization something something something. We got some amazing pics with it! That sucker was HEAVY. I have a photo of him with it from Tracy Arm day, I'll be sure to post it.

    And I totally agree - we were looking at everyone's pics last night and Jason took some amazing ones....with his iPhone!

    Well I feel much better now, thanks! Truth be told, only my Dad looked at me funny. Lionel had one too :thumbsup2

    One of my former patients used to sing the praises of tacos for breakfast. Every time she came to an early appointment I would ask what she had to eat that morning, and she would get this sly grin and whisper "tacos!" I always thought she was joking, until the day her daughter confirmed. Turns out she was really on to something :upsidedow
     
  6. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Cool! I have a Nikon and purchased the 18-300 zoom lens also with vibration reduction (it was on sale) specifically for our Alaska cruise because I didn't want to keep switching lenses. I know what you mean about being heavy! I hope 300 will be enough of a reach. :goodvibes
     
  7. IBelieveInTheMagic

    IBelieveInTheMagic DIS Veteran

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    Hi Erica!! :wave:

    I just stumbled upon this and I'm so happy I did! I can't wait to re-live some of your awesome moments and remember our awesome cruise!!! :lovestruc

    Great pictures so far! :goodvibes

    Heather

    Ps. Izzy is SOOOOO cute!
     
  8. Hedd4DW

    Hedd4DW Earning My Ears

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    Hi there! I replied to an earlier message of yours before we cruised. Seemed like we were doing everything just like you, only the week afterward. I love reading your posts and can't wait to read the rest of your TR. More importantly, please sign my name on your letter to YVR/United Airlines. OMG - I never thought we would get on the plane and get out of that torture! Line after line after line. It was not nearly that bad on our way there. To top it off, we had 2 household addresses on one airline reservation, with 3 (yes) of them having the same name. (side note - do NOT follow naming traditions if there is any way possible to avoid it!) That really confused every agent we went to in any line and the airline cancelled a seat on the plane twice for one of them! But we made it back and had a great time, despite all the rain. :)
     
  9. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    I think it will be just fine! You will get awesome pics no matter what. There were times, during the whale watching, when 100-400 was just TOO zoomed if you know what I mean. Once the whale popped up RIGHT next to the boat and Lionel could barely get a shot because we were too close!

    Thanks! It's been fun re-living it on this end too. I'm furiously uploading pics right now so hopefully I'll have a new update today. :thumbsup2

    Yeah, YVR can kiss my...well you know. lol
     
  10. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    I have another confession: after we paid the cruise balance, way back when, I almost forgot to do our online check-in. I KNOW. Consequently, the earliest port arrival times were already gone and we got stuck with 12:30. I KNOW!!! This ended up being both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because Monday morning we were in no rush whatsoever….with the exception of having an 11 am condo check-out time. We got up, we had breakfast, we finished charging our devices and we soaked up the last of the free wifi before heading out to call taxis.

    Taxis, plural, because by then our friends and their little one had arrived in Vancouver as well and we all wanted to head to the port at the same time. Alaska, ho!

    Don’t worry; I’ll get to the curse part momentarily.

    I don’t have fond memories of the terminal at Canada Place from our 2011 trip. It was bustly and crowded and had these terrible folding chairs. This time, however, things were much more pleasant. It isn’t the Disney terminal at Port Canaveral, but I think they did a good job of trying to bring the Disney to Canada Place considering what they had to work with – pretty much a giant, open room with some long counters and an awkward bend in the middle.
    By noon we were through customs, had checked in and were taking pictures with both Minnie and Mickey.

    There was NO CHARACTER LINE. At all. I wondered aloud if anyone even knew they were there, because it was kind of off in the corner away from where all the action was (opposite side of the awkward bend from the kids’ check-in area). Another Dad in the photo line said just minutes prior it had been a madhouse. Upon further examination, it seemed everyone was now huddled at the entryway waiting for their boarding number to be called. Being boarding group number 14 and knowing what we know about a watched pot, we were in no hurry.


    A slightly blurry Mickey – taken from my phone. I'll replace with a better one once the rest of the photos are up


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    Minnie! A better one is coming - think of this as a placeholder!

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    After pics, they called number twelve, and as we headed over to the entryway I thought I should warn our companions that I always cry when we board. Yes, I am that person. Ironically, it’s one of the few times in my life when I become a total sap. I can watch Lassie without Kleenex, and I am usually the only dry eye in the house during weddings. But on Disney Ships? I bawl my head off. I didn’t want anyone to be alarmed.

    Me: ok, just a warning. I’m going to cry.
    My Dad: what’s wrong, pokey? (yes, he calls me “pokey” after the Pokey Little Puppy, it’s been my nickname since I was crawling. NO ONE but my dad is allowed to call me pokey. Let’s just get that straight right now…)
    Lionel: nothing, she always does this.
    Jason and Stef:(concerned) you do? Why?
    Me: because when they….well…um….

    Jason and Stef were first-timers, and I wasn’t sure if they knew about the whole name announcement thing or not. They weren’t getting my drift, leading me to believe that if I kept my mouth shut it would be a surprise. I really didn’t want to ruin it for them.

    Me: …uh, well, you’ll just see.

    They appeared temporarily satisfied with the response, if not a little wary, but my stepmom was not. She leaned in closer.

    Me: *whispering* you know, when they call your name.

    She was still leaning in, eyebrows raised, clearly waiting for more.

    Me: that’s it.
    Her: *looking a little disappointed* oh.

    And then, they announced it: number 14! Peace out, Vancouver! Sure, we’ll still be docked here for a few hours….but I’ll be aboard my favorite ship, eating shrimp and giant chocolate chip cookies so HA! I gathered what was left of my pride and headed toward the entry. Inside we swiped our key cards and proceeded to wait in the longest line ever for boarding photos.

    I don’t know why we even stop for these any more. I never like them, we never buy them and they seem to take forever. Dear self-cruising-in-the-future: skip the boarding photos next time. You’ll beat like 10 people to the shrimp.

    At the top of the ramp I paused to shove our friends in front of us. They were starting to look nervous, but I made the universal “go on, shoo shoo” sign with my hands and they had nowhere else to go. In they stepped, gave their name and BOOM: newbie announcement. And guess what? Stef totally cried. So there we were in the atrium, sobbing tears of joy because some stranger pronounced our last names correctly over the loudspeaker, invoking mass levels of embarrassment for my parents and respective husbands. Stef sobbed, “ok, I get it.”

    Ah, young Padawan. It has only just begun.

    And then my parents walked past shaking their heads and chuckling, totally ruining our moment.

    Remember that curse I mentioned earlier? Here is part of it: late buffet arrival SUCKS. They give you the look, like “oh no, here come more of them” and the food just isn’t as inviting an hour later. Sure, they keep it replenished and all…but it takes a little longer to get your drink, and for your plate to be cleared, etc. And I have to say, this is the first time in 9 cruises I have ever felt like I was in the crew’s way. And that includes every farewell breakfast we have ever attended. To say it was bad service would not be accurate, because they were not unfriendly. As one of our friends so eloquently describes this occasional phenomenon at Disney, it was “less than MAGICAL.” It could have been any buffet anywhere. Except for the Disney chocolate chip cookies. They always rock. I may or may not have put one in my pocket before leaving the restaurant. Don’t judge.

    The next few hours passed in a blur. We popped in and out of our rooms, and we gave everyone the quick ship tour. Popped into the kids’ club to get the girls’ wristbands and to let them explore, and then headed back to the room to unpack. As I was pushing the suitcases under the bed, they made the mandatory drill announcement.

    And then it dawned on me: I had forgotten ALL ABOUT THE DIS MEET. Well, poop. I felt awful. How would I know who anyone was now? Would I spend the rest of the vacation eyeballing my fellow cruisers, trying to figure out if I knew any of them? Would anyone recognize me from my picture? What excursions were they all going on again? I couldn’t remember. It’s hard to just walk up to someone and say something like “BrysonandKatiesMom? No? Oh sorry, I could have sworn…” without getting the hairy eyeball.

    Another curse of the late arrival – time gets away from you and before you know it you’ve not only missed the DIS meet but you’re running late for the sailaway party. WITHOUT A DRINK IN YOUR HAND. An oversight my husband soon remedied.

    Traditional sailaway drink! Cup MAY since have been re-purposed for rinsing kid hair in the tub....

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    The whole gang: me, Stef, Jason, my Dad and my Mom – if you look closely you can see the pink puffball on my daughter’s headband

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    We came, we waved streamers, we pumped fists and then without any warning the party was over. It just…ended. We weren’t moving, the horn didn’t sound, just…nothing. Everyone was leaving the dance floor and the cast members had all disappeared. I was so confused. I hadn’t even finished my drink! About 15 minutes later, we started inching along and the horn eventually sounded, but it was kind of anticlimactic. I’m not sure why we left late, but I do wish they would have kept the party going at least in some form or fashion until we actually started rolling away. As was, it felt like “Yay, here we….oh wait, we’re….still….here…..”

    I was actually starting to stress about making our 5:45 dinner time. I really REALLY wanted to stay out on deck until we went under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, because for some reason giant bridges are really novel from a cruise ship. It was taking so long to sail out that I didn’t think we would make it. In 2011, I distinctly remember having lots of time on deck before dinner, and we were in early seating! I also distinctly remember having much more fun at the sailaway party. Ah well. At least we were moving in the general direction of Alaska. At this rate we would surely make it by Friday.

    Sea plane!

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    Leaving Canada Place - VERY SLOWLY

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    The bridge was getting closer and closer, and time was ticking away. And then with 5 minutes to spare we went under. I snapped about 10 pictures because DARNIT, WE HAD MADE IT. And then, for the first time ever, I went to the dining room wearing jean capris because there was simply no time to change. Ladies and gentleman, I think you will agree that it was worth the fashion sacrifice. Also, pretty much everyone else was in their embarkation duds as well. In a last-minute effort to look civilized I did add a sparkly scarf, which probably didn’t even match.

    There it is….off in the distance…

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    Pfffffft…."BRIDGE!" (that’s a little Star Trek humor for you geeks out there)

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    Our server team were Sunil and Gerda, both lovely and low-key. I’m not much of a foodie so the meals don’t stand out much in my mind, but I do know Isabelle had what became the traditional “mini cheeseburgers.” I think she thought “mini” was actually “Minnie” but fortunately did not seem too disappointed upon the arrival of a smallish cheeseburger with a ridiculous amount of green peas. I think this may have actually been the one and only night she ate more than a few bites at dinner. More on that later.

    After dinner Isabelle went with the gang to see the show, and I Lionel and I walked around soaking up the sights and sounds our favorite ship. We visited the Cove, and deck 4, and peered hopefully off into the distance in search of whale spouts. None tonight – at least not for us. The next morning, however, my parents were talking about all of the whales they had seen. This became a daily event. I would silently shake my fist as I listened to their excited tales of whales at sea.

    When Isabelle returned we tucked her into her little converted couch-bed and she conked out almost immediately. I spent the rest of the evening tucked in bed, feeling the ship rock and highlighting the Navigator. I made big plans for Isabelle, including “Where’s Tink?” and the “Do-Si-Do with Snow White.” Lionel had his eyes on Bingo, and I was watching for signs of the elusive Champagne tasting. Few of our plans made it to fruition, unfortunately, but we will speak more of that as the report goes on.

    Goodnight, almost-Alaska! Coming up: first day at sea. No vomit!
     
  11. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Awww.....I cry when I embark, too! It just is that overwhelming feeling of "IT'S REAL!!!!!" for me. :rolleyes:

    I wonder what was up with the Sail away? It usually goes for so long after you leave port. :confused3

    Glad your parents saw the whales- hope you eventually had some whale time, too- I know that would be one of the things I would most be looking forward to on an Alaska cruise. :goodvibes
     
  12. Jennifer48

    Jennifer48 Not a Disney bride but engaged and honeymooned at

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    I'm in the I-cry-upon-entering-a-DCL-ship too!

    Sorry embarkation day didn't go exactly as planned but it wasn't too bad. So glad you friend Stef "got it." :thumbsup2

    Can't wait to hear more! :goodvibes
     
  13. jrosstrinity

    jrosstrinity Earning My Ears

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    We are on the July 29 Alaskan cruise...our first cruise ever! I, too, forgot to choose a port arrival time and got stuck with a 12:30 time. What time should we arrive....we are staying the night before at the Pan Pacific...to get through customs?

    I would have liked to board earlier, but am just so darned excited about going at all.....hooray....Less than 3 weeks til we sail...unbelievable!!!!!:banana:
     
  14. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    Well hello there - we were on your cruise and quite frankly I am too damn lazy to write my own TR so I am really looking forward to yours ;)

    We also arrived in Vancouver on the Thursday prior to the cruise and completely fell in love with the city

    I totally agree with you about Gas Town, we spent all of 10 minutes there and hated it

    DH (having never read a guidebook in his life) asked why people were taking photos "in front on a broken clock" !
     
  15. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    We didn't have the best start to our cruise last year either and we to missed the DIS meet but it got a lot better and I hope yours does to.
     
  16. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    I have no idea what happened with the sailaway....in 8 cruises we have never had the party end BEFORE we left the dock. :confused3 but hey, we were on the cruise so we really weren't too bothered :thumbsup2

    We left the condo a little after 11 and were checked in WELL ahead of our 12:30 arrival time. You can check in any time you want once they are open, they will just give you a boarding card with a higher number. It moved quickly, just make sure you have all your ducks in a row and all of your forms and you'll breeze through!

    :rotfl2:
    I didn't put this in the report, but after we arrived at said clock I apologized to everyone for making them walk so far. For THAT.
    We probably passed you guys many times in Vancouver! You'll have to scan your pictures and see if you can spot yourselves ;)

    Oh yes - in spite of a rocky start and Isabelle's mystery illness we still managed to have a great time. Even Izzy loved it! It's pretty hard to be grumpy on a Disney Cruise.

    Speaking of trip report updates...(what, we weren't speaking of that? Are you sure?) a funny thing happened to Lionel's computer. Mid Tracy Arm upload. It crashed. It crashed so badly that the IT guy said "wow, I've never seen one do that before."

    YEAH.

    The good news? Said IT genuis managed to recover every single photo from the cruise. Oh, and Lionel's important work files, but whatever. The photos are safe! The bad news? He lost all of the "darkroom" work he had done and now has to start over again. So an update is coming, but it might not happen until the weekend.

    :badpc:
     
  17. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    :badpc: Bad computer!!

    I hate when that happens. We will try to wait patiently for further updates! :goodvibes
     
  18. jedijill

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

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    :worship: to the IT genius! That is awesome he was able to recover all the pics! Looking forward to the next update.

    Jill in CO
     
  19. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    Alaska sea days are awesome. You’re tooling along, and all of the sudden there’s a glacier. Or a really cool fishing boat. Or a buoy. SOME people even see whales, but I’m not mentioning any names. *cough cough* Parents *cough cough*

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    When last we typed, I was highlighting the Navigator for Izzy. Well, our first scratch-off occurred at 8:30, when we slept right through the Disney Junior wake-up in the Promenade Lounge. Oops.

    If you have young kids who love Disney Junior, the wake up is lots of fun. It’s a chance to wiggle to all of the show’s theme songs. Like “nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh-NUH, Handy Manny….” They seem to do it most mornings. A cast member plays the songs and herds the cats leads the kids in something sort of resembling a dance routine.

    Yes, I am aware of how utterly lame this sounds but I assure you, it’s a hoot.

    Disney Junior wakeup aside, we dragged ourselves to the buffet where I finally found the Mickey waffles I thought had been discontinued: next to the omelet station. Seriously? How long has this been going on? I swear, I have not been able to find these things for the past three cruises – is that where they’re been? I had to eat three to make up for lost time. Actually, I probably ate more, but no one needs to know about that…I know the Mickey waffles are made from the same mix as those boring old square waffles (which, let’s face it, are nothing special) but darnit, they just taste better. They are the one exception to my “don’t eat anything that smiles back at you” rule.

    Stef and Jason had joined us for breakfast (my parents were too busy seeing every whale in Alaska to join us), and we adults made big plans to RELAX while the kids went to the Oceaneer’s Club. After breakfast we told the girls about “Where’s Tink?” expecting a resounding WOOHHOOOOOO YEAH!!!!!

    “I don’t WANNA go to the Oceaneer Club!” *insert whiniest 3 year old voice imaginable here*

    Wait, was that was MY kid?

    Let me tell you something: well before Isabelle was ever conceived, we were excited about the kids’ club. I imagined myself strolling along, lovingly kissing my child on the top of the head and waving goodbye as said child practically ran over anyone in the path just to get into the coveted club. I mean, they had a pirate ship! And Peter Pan! And Snow White! Heck, I wanted to go to the kids’ club MYSELF! I thought I would have to drag her out of there kicking and screaming just to see her every once and awhile….and there she was, whimpering “don’t LEAVE me” as if abandonment were a regular practice of mine.

    We discussed the merits of seeing Tinkerbell, and she agreed that – for Tink – she would try it out. I promised we would come and get her if she decided she did not want to stay, but she had to at least try it. So up we went, her clinging the whole time and me feeling like a terrible parent for “making her” go play pirates with Tinkerbell. And then? When we arrived? Just as I was preparing for scream-fest 2013? She tapped her wrist and went straight in without so much as a glance back at us.

    We had done it. She and Paige were in. Freedom!

    Stef and I exchanged a glance that said “KID-FREE SHOPPING!” and we were off. The boys had also exchanged a secret glance that said “Bingo!” and they were gone. That was fine – I wanted to scope out Princess dresses, as we had promised Isabelle she could get a new one during the vacation.

    After shopping Stef and I realized the Princess gathering was only 30 minutes away…time had kind of gotten away from us and we hadn’t planned well enough ahead to have the girls all dolled up for the even as initially planned. As we were making plans to just catch the next one (they have two or three during the course of the cruise), there was a call from the Oceaneer’s club: Paige was ready to leave. Surely Izzy would follow suit. So we had a decision to make: grab the girls and head for princesses in their playclothes, or grab them and find something else to do while the boys finished at Bingo.

    Civilian attire it was.

    Yes, in my head I imagined her in her new dress (which we hadn’t even bought yet) with her hair all done, smelling like flowers and twirling around like a little angel while we took the perfect photos that would make all of the other parents immensely jealous. In reality, however, she really doesn’t care WHAT she is wearing when she gives Belle a hug. She just wants to give Belle a hug! As an aside, this is one of the major things that I have been able to change about myself since I became a mom – the ability to let go of preconceived notions of what things SHOULD be like. I’m not 100% on this, but I’m getting better. Fortunately Stef is the same way.

    Stef grabbed the girls while I secured a spot in line. People, the Princess gathering gets CRAZY. Don’t think you’ll show up at 12:30 and walk right up to Snow White – uh, uh. At 12:00 we were wrapped halfway around the atrium and stretched toward the side entrance of Tritons. As we waited for the boys, it dawned on Stef and I that the kids had not eaten yet…and we were going to be there for awhile. The forecast was looking like meltdowns all over the place. We had to make a decision: leave the line and risk missing princesses (cue meltdown!) or stay in line and meet princesses SANS lunch and make some drastic mistake like, oh I don’t know, pressing the elevator button and CUE MELTDOWN!!!!

    Y’all folks with preschoolers know exactly what I’m talking about here. It’s a slippery slope when dealing with a hungry or cranky child. Everything is devastating. Most days of my life involve some variation of the following:

    Isabelle: “I wanted to do it myself! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” *falling to the ground in slow motion, forming a limp kid puddle*

    Me: “…but all I did was hang up a towel…”

    And then, along came Mister Incredible. Two of them. Bingo winnings in one hand ($350! Of course we spent about the equivalent of that on further Bingo games…you know what’s sitting on my nightstand? Bing ball lip balm. High five if you got that) and in the other cups containing chicken tenders, grapes and forks.

    Money AND portable kid lunch. If we hadn’t married them already, we would have proposed to them right then and there.

    I highly recommend the portable kid lunch, by the way. It passed some time in the line, and the girls each held a cup and then traded halfway through. By the time we got to the front they were fed and happy and SO ready for princesses. Ok, they might have also had some crumbs on their faces, but thankfully Mister Incredible also had the kid bag with wet wipes.

    We came, we saw the princesses, and Izzy talked their ears off.

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    I’ve been to many a Princess gathering and I still wonder if these ladies think it’s the best thing ever or whether it’s the most dreaded event of the day. I mean, I think my daughter is both hilarious and adorable (she gets it from me) but I’m sure by the hundredth three year old saying “I have a princess dress too!” and all of the bustling that it gets old. Plus some of the adults were a little…..creepy? I wonder how often they rotate Princesses. I did note Ariel was played by the same girl on our Alaska cruise in 2011.

    This one was probably the best I’ve been to with Isabelle – ALL of the Princesses looked and acted the part. Moms, you know this: every now and then you get an odd Princess who doesn’t QUITE look right, or doesn’t really know how to act. Let me tell you – Ariel was in full character, Cinderella and Snow White were incredibly sweet, Belle was gorgeous and Tiana put on a great southern accent! Other than the initial disappointment that Merida wasn’t there, Izzy loved it.

    Up next: it's raining seals!
     
  20. jedijill

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

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    Someone coined a phrase "hangry"...I can't remember who...but I think it is brilliant! Those photos with Izzy and the Princess Gang are precious! She doesn't need a Princess dress to look adorable.

    On a side note, I met Anorexic Cinderella at Epcot last year. I just wanted to go buy her some pastries from France. She was scary skinny.

    Jill in CO
     
  21. racingfandj

    racingfandj Mouseketeer

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    We just got back from Alaska too and the princesses on the Wonder this year are wonderful (no pun intended). We ran into Belle around the ship several times, the girls suspected photog assistant Claire was Belle out of costume, and she is just as nice out of costume as she is in.


    Jill
     

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