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. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    Loving Izzy's boots!
     
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  3. podsnel

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

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    Awww.....your daughter's face in every photo is PRICELESS!!! She is so happy, and just so sweet! Civvies or not-
     
  4. DisneyTravelers2008

    DisneyTravelers2008 Sally & Clay (Disney Travelers 2008)

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    Thanks for warning me about the tears when you board the ship...I cried the first time we took our DD to WDW and the Princess Parade passed by. ( She was 3 1/2 and all princess crazy)....so I can only imagine the waterworks when we finally get to board the Dream in 2014 after 12+ months of planning...If I cry, DH will never let me live it down. Oh great... LOL
     
  5. pequele

    pequele Some people think they are cool because they can h

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    Yeah! Joining in here! We (myself and will be then 5yo DS) are on the 9 night Alaska next year and can't wait! We have one trip to WDW planned in October and sadly I'm already mentally on Alaska. I love your report and any wait to read more so hurry up ok ;)

    I feel I'm a bit of a planner myself though I can't believe that I have not made an excursion spreadsheet nor a packing list yet! What am I thinking? There is only 305 days until we leave!!!!ARGH. I have however booked our flights (on United :eek: ) but we got an awesome deal from Boston for about $375 a person! Yeh I was looking at those $750 price tags too. Also just booked our hotel stay before and after at the Pan Pacific. We are only staying a day before and a day after so I hope we can acclimate to the time change FAST being from NH. Now I'm scared about that but hoping our arrival time at about noon helps us out like you said it did for you.

    Can't wait to read more. Oh and I have to look at my other camera lens and see if it has image stabilizer. You are the 2nd person who mentioned renting lenses. I just want to have to deal with 1 lens an not do switching back and forth for one event ya know. Ok I have to get busy. Only 43 more weekends before we leave!
     
  6. pequele

    pequele Some people think they are cool because they can h

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    Oh and may I ask a question of the people who have been on the trip already or who are going please? What are you all doing about getting cash for Vancouver? Sure I an go to an ATM while there or use my cc, but I'm talking needing tip money for the taxi/bellboy/etc.

    Thanks
     
  7. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    How can anyone be skinny when they work within spitting distance of Les Halles ;)
     
  8. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    Ha! I love it. Hangry is my new favorite word :thumbsup2

    Right?

    They really were great. And I have to say while "Ariel's" voice was a bit on the obnoxious side, she was a total pro....Tiana arrived about 30 minutes late to the Princess Tea Party (which I will report on later) and she covered her absence like a pro.

    Thank you and thank you! She was in total Princess Heaven.

    It's very overwhelming, even after nine cruises. I'm about to start crying now. lol

    Nice deal on those flights! Hopefully United will get their act together before then :thumbsup2

    We used the ATM as soon as we arrived. You can get cash in the airport. We also used our debit cards for most of our purchases as the transaction fee from our credit union was so minimal and we really weren't sure how much we would end up spending overall.

    Working on an update for tonight, trying to scare up a few pictures....apparently we didn't take many that evening so I am stealing Stef's off of facebook! Shhhh - it's our little secret ;)
     
  9. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    Picking up after Princess time....

    Post gathering I suggested Isabelle go to “Do Si Do with Snow White,” certain Isabelle she would jump at the chance for more Princess time. I was feeling rather impressed with my wily self, and was already imagining spending the next few hours either soaking in the Quiet Cove hot tub or sipping a latte in the Café as I casually flipped through a magazine without a care in the world.

    Isabelle smiled. “Where is Snow White?”
    “At the Oceaneer’s Club!”
    “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
    *assuming pile-of-limp-child posture*

    As if she had been bound and tortured by Captain Hook earlier that morning. Wait, had she? Paige piped in with “I want to go! Can I go?” Surely Izzy would buckle under the peer pressure. Right? But my daughter is nothing if not stubborn. I have NO IDEA where she got that from….*ahem* she refused. No, no, no. Though my visions of adult time were quickly fading before my eyes, I didn’t want to push it. Maybe she was tired and just wanted some parent time. Lionel and I sucked it up, enjoying the fact that for now, at least, she likes us. We took the opportunity to chalk up MAJOR mommy and daddy points by letting her pick out her princess dress.

    Quick photo op before parting ways….

    [​IMG]

    Last cruise, she was immediately attracted to Belle. This year, she had been wavering between Cinderella and Aurora and Ariel and Jasmine and….well, basically she was naming a different princess daily (if not hourly). Still, I expected her to pick a classic. And then? She surprised us both by bee-lining for Merida, an option none of us had never considered.

    Kind of a bummer for Florida – it’s more of an air-conditioning dress, sadly. But it is pretty darned cute. And as a side note, she has worn it WAY more than she ever wore her Belle dress. Roleplay as Merida is hilarious. “Mommy, tell me no weapons on the table!” She will squeal gleefully as she sets her suction cup bow and arrow set down and I pretend to be a grumpy Scottish queen. Despite living there for three years, however, my Scottish accent is horrendous. Thank goodness my three year old doesn’t know the difference yet.

    I’m digressing again.

    Let's reel it back in with a photo...I call this still life “sad child in window”...

    [​IMG]

    After choosing Merida, the three of us roamed the ship for a bit and then played in the room and just when I was thinking a nap before dinner might be nice BOOM! – it was 5:30. Um, what? Were we in a time warp or something? Well, here’s where I have to interject my latest discovery. In order to explain my next point, I must provide a few definitions from the Jacques dictionary. I promise you, this is not a digression. Or if it is, it’s just a wee one.

    Cruise Time (n) – the time envelope you are folded into immediately upon entering a cruise ship, in which the minutes tick by more slowly, thereby allowing you to fit more things into your day and to provide ample time to spend more money on alcoholic beverages and overpriced 8x10 photos. Used in a sentence: “I thought we’d been in this hot tub for at least an hour, but it’s only been 30 minutes! Thanks, Cruise Time, it looks like we can go to Bingo after all!”

    Toddler Time (n) – the state of every action in your entire day taking two to three times as long as it would if you didn’t have your kid in tow. Used in a sentence: “My daughter took 10 minutes to put on her shoes and another 20 to whine about them not being the ones she picked out. I blame Toddler Time for my tardiness.”

    After much scientific research, many calculations and several “wth?” moments, we discovered that when Cruise Time and Toddler Time collide, time simply passes at the normal rate. When you are EXPECTING time to pass at Cruise Time, you can get yourself into trouble. Or you just have to send your child to dinner in her Merida dress WITHOUT fabulous hair. Though were she in modern times, I could totally see Merida in a headband with a giant blue bow…

    Off to formal night we went! Paige dressed in her Belle dress, so there were many oohs and aahs on he way to dinner as well as several stops to “twirl.” When it comes to this dinner, I remember less WHAT we and more what was going on WHILE we ate. Our head server spent a lot of time at our table chatting with “the princesses.” He said he was missing his little girl and would get to see her soon. And it pays to get friendly with your head server, because if you don’t have ambitious servers like we’ve had in the past (and don’t get me wrong, ours were very nice, they just didn’t often go above and beyond) THE HEAD HONCHO WILL BRING BERRIES FOR YOUR KIDS. And will bring them to you every night thereafter without you even asking. Merida and Belle happily ate their special fruit, feeling very royal indeed. In fact, this is the last night I remember Isabelle happily eating anything. But we’ll get to that.

    The little Princesses - note the fabulous blue bow...

    [​IMG]

    Post dinner we headed out to the Golden Mickeys, fabulous as always. I’m always amazed by the sheer number of people in these shows. What do they do all day when they are not performing? Fill roles as characters? Provide other entertainment? Lounge by the pool? I’ve just always wondered. Seems like that would be a sweet job for some young, talented person.

    Back at the room, we discovered our stateroom attendant Ana had put PRINCESS SHEETS on Isabelle’s bed. She was thrilled beyond words. Not only was it her special little bed, her beloved cow toy was tucked in under Aurora and Belle. We knew what she was going to say: “can I sleep in my Merida dress?” and before she could get to the end of the sentence Lionel and I had, in unison, said “Heh. Heh. NO.”

    A quick word about stateroom attendants: we have been on many Disney cruises and had all levels of service from our dining team. And from guest services. And from the gift shop attendants. The one service area that has NEVER wavered for us has been our stateroom attendants. Always with a smile, always saying hello when you pass them in the hall (even if they have no idea who you are, because you’re schlepping across the entire length of the boat to get to the laundry room) and always GENUINE. Ana was no exception to this rule, and in fact she went above and beyond so many times during our journey that it truly felt like we were the only room she had been assigned. Now THAT is service. I half-joked to Lionel that we should make her an offer she couldn’t refuse and bring her home.

    To top it off, Ana had also put the towel animal on Isabelle’s made-for-a-princess bed. Izzy immediately picked it up and its head fell off….I tried to balance it back on top, but it was never quite the same. Poor little towel bunny rabbit never even saw it coming…

    We managed to wrestle Isabelle out of her dress and she passed out immediately. I assumed my nightly position in bed with the navigator in one hand and a highlighter in the other. We were all gleeful at that moment in time: Izzy dreaming of princess things, me planning away for our Tracy Arm day and Lionel lovingly caressing his giant rental lens. Tomorrow would hold great things – we all knew it.

    Up next: seals! Glaciers! And the only time on the whole cruise I was close to being cold.
     
  10. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Thanks for the update. Your little princess sounds a lot like mine. However, mine was 8 when we heard Nooooooooooooooooo! when we suggested she go to the kids club! :laughing:

    Can't wait to see the photos from the beloved rental lens!
     
  11. AZMermaid

    AZMermaid DIS Veteran

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    Great update! We are just back and the princess meet was one of be highlights of the trip.... Well, besides the line! I didn't have my stuff together todo a real trip report, but when I am home and not laying in a dark hotel room in Vancouver, I will have to do a mini report of the meet!
     
  12. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    Aahhh cute photos of the girls together. I'm loving Izzy playing Merida at home that's even cuter!
     
  13. Ellester

    Ellester DIS Veteran

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    Love, love, love the report! We sail on the last cruise of the season in 39 days! Who did you book the condo through? We are a party of 7 and currently have two rooms booked at the Delta Suites but I agree that with kids a condo is sweet. We are spoiled by DVC! Looking forward to hearing of your further exploits.
     
  14. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    I'm hoping it's a phase....but your comment is not inspiring me with confidence! :lmao:

    Yes, the line was a bit intense. You definitely need to bring something for the kiddos to do! We had food and an iPad and lots of adults to swap out during the standing lol

    Thanks! Since she's been home, grandpa has gotten her a suction cup bow and arrow set. She likes to put on her dress and shoot the sliding glass door while Brave plays in the background. She's got surprisingly good form!

    It was through homeaway - if you go to homeaway.com you can look at what is available by location and size, and see pictures of the prospective places. Ours was meant to "sleep 4" but we made Isabelle a little bed on the floor and she was fine. They have all shapes and sizes!

    I have a new chapter in the works, look for a few updates this weekend. :thumbsup2
     
  15. AZMermaid

    AZMermaid DIS Veteran

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    This is where we stayed. We did not realize that the "suites" were not really two separate rooms. The bedroom was separated by these sliding doors with frosted window type things. There is also an open space on one wall near the ceiling between the two rooms, probably 3ft high by 6 feet long. Because of these things, we sat in the dark after the kids fell asleep. Really, we probably could have turned on the TV after they were asleep, but didn't want to chance it! We had it on while trying to put them down and you could see the light flashing through the screens and my kids couldn't ignore it. But, they are little 1 and 2 years- older kids would probably be fine to ignore it! We are also poiled by DVC, so this was hard for us. The hotel does give free meals to kids under 6 in the restaurant and it was a manageable walk to the port (without luggage.... we walked over there to the food court area for dinner). We liked the hotel fine, but the room configuration was just not what we were expecting!
     
  16. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    Today was the day. Tracy Arm! I had such fond memories from 2011…hanging out on the balcony in close proximity to central heating, clutching my cup of coffee with smuggled-in creamer and seal-spotting with our good friends while Isabelle pretty much slept through the whole thing.

    We had made a loose plan to hang out as a group on deck 10 as much as possible, weather and preschooler permitting, with a back-up plan of battling for elbow room on our balcony while the girls watched cartoons on the stateroom television. At the very least we would be seeing a giant glacier and tons of seals. How could I not be excited?

    I bounced out of bed, got everyone ready and up to the buffet we went. Everyone was there! Well, expect my parents who were….you guessed it….seeing all of the whales Alaska had to offer. They joined us later for Wake Up with Disney Junior – which we managed to catch this morning thanks to my waking up at what would have been the crack of dawn were it not summertime in Alaska. I was so excited, and happy that Isabelle would be able to dance around with some of the other kids on board. Maybe it would encourage her to go to the Oceaneer’s club….hmm….

    But it was pretty clear by this morning that our peanut was out of sorts. Instead of dancing like a psychedelic monkey, which is one of her favorite pastimes, she was a whiny, clingy monkey. Yes, she is three…but she rarely acts that way unless she is tired or hungry. Or sick. Since we had just eaten and she was not feverish, we assumed she was just off her schedule and I proposed an early nap so she could catch up.

    The rest of the morning is a bit of a blur. I think Paige went to the kids’ club and I know we had lunch in there somewhere. Most likely a Panini. I had a lot of paninis. And fruit. So much fruit. And then I took Isabelle back to the cabin for a little quiet time while everyone else roamed the ship and practiced the quick-draw mechanism for switching between lenses.

    Immediately upon entering the cabin, Izzy removed her pants. I knew that meant she was serious. She climbed up onto the bed, and I tucked her into her special fuzzy blanket (we always bring it), gave her her cow toy and turned on Cinderella. I confidently texted Lionel “she’s about to fall asleep, I’ll text when she wakes up” and settled onto the couch with my iPad, silently patting myself on the back so as not to disturb the sleepy child. I had totally ROCKED this. Now for a little Plants Vs Zombies until the ice floes started drifting past…

    30 minutes later, I was stuck on this level with bobsledding zombies that just WOULD NOT DIE….AGAIN….and my daughter was in the same position, eyes fixed wide. As if she were training for the longest-hours-awake championship in her age category. I stroked her hair and sang her a song, turned down the lights in the cabin and went back to the couch for another half an hour.

    NOTHING.
    Seriously, who gave my kid no-doz?

    In the meantime I had been popping my head through the curtains, as if the glacier would pop into view any moment and I might blink and miss it. I was starting to see the odd ice floe, which was making me sweat. Things were not going according to my plan. By this hour I was supposed to be up top, with my husband and my friends and my daughter and my parents, sipping hot cocoa and taking in the breathtaking scenery. Instead, I was trying to bargain with a grumpy, pantless three year old.

    “Honey….everyone is up on the top deck, shall we go visit them?”
    “No.”
    “Paige is up there….”
    “No.”
    “So is grandma!”

    In my experience, the grandma card has about a 75% success rate. I only use it when I’m desperate.

    “No.”

    No? Crap. I was running out of options. Time to change tactics. Think. THINK!

    “We can bring the iPad! You and Paige can watch a movie.”
    “I want to watch a movie HEEEEEEEEEEEERE!”

    I’m not sure that accurately conveys the sheer whininess with which she uttered that sentence.

    “Let’s go get some ice cream!”

    She gave me the look. The one that says “#&%^, PLEASE,” and I knew I had played my last card. My three year old had won. Why did I let her take off her pants??? Curses!!!

    Cue husband.

    The door flung open and there he was – in his fleece-lined jacket and ski cap, giant lens of doom around his neck and a huge grin on his face. “Let’s go see some seals!!!!!” Isabelle eyed him suspiciously, clearly waiting for more. “And some hot cocoa!” She was still listening. “With grandma!” Within minutes she was ready to go.

    The classic three-bribe combo. Well played, Lionel. Well played.

    Izzy and her Cocoa

    [​IMG]

    Up top the view was indeed spectacular. Waterfalls galore, ice floes becoming more frequent and people were just SMILING. The weather was amazing. Sunny and warm – well, warm for being in such close proximity to a giant glacier. You’ll notice in all of the photos we were bundled up, but it was less for the temperature and more for the wind chill. We were also all wearing sunglasses.

    The water looked like one of those spa baths you could just soak in that make you all soft and yummy-smelling…or in this case, freeze you to death before you could even call for help

    [​IMG]

    Giant blocks of black ice…is that like yellow snow?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Wonder, looking majestic amongst the mountains

    [​IMG]

    We had secured a great spot up on deck 10 – port side, midship, right next to the middle elevators. We were all snuggled in, with places to sit at the rail, no crowding. Everyone was pretty much up at the front of the ship….and I’m sure it looks fabulous from up there, but really we saw everything that they saw just by leaning forward and looking. And it wasn’t NEARLY as crowded and windy.

    Here we are! Aren’t we cute?

    [​IMG]

    We were smiling, we were relaxing and snapping photos, and we were all HAPPY. All up there, sitting for hours, taking in what Alaska had to offer with joy. It was awesome. I’ll warn you, it’s about to get picture heavy. Turn your browsers up to full speed for the next update!

    Next up: there be ice and seals ahead!
     
  17. Tink rules

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

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    I love all you wonderful bundled up Floridians... but after surviving upstate winters... I'd have probably been in shorts!!! :rotfl:
     
  18. zweihund

    zweihund I tagged myself. I'm it.

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    Yeah, yeah. It was windy!
    Ok, and also we are from Florida.
    Hey - don't make fun of us, y'all are the crazy ones who come to Magic Kingdom, the park that has NO SHADE, in the middle of the summer! :rotfl2:

    Ok, where were we? Ah yes. Finally up top.

    So there we were in this tiny little channel filled with giant blocks of ice, passing waterfall after waterfall and pointing at everything. Look at that! Did you see that? Look at THAT!!! I checked in with the kiddos to see how they were faring. Paige had fallen asleep on the lounge chair watching Monsters Inc, and Isabelle was snuggling with Grandma.

    The Grandma card: use it wisely.

    [​IMG]

    I turned my back for ONE SECOND, and then I saw this:

    SERIOUSLY? *sigh*

    [​IMG]

    The good news is, now that both kids were out like a light, we could watch all of the scenery we wanted without hearing “I’m bored!” Win win! Except for Grandma, who was stuck watching the seals and glacier through the somewhat clean plexiglass.

    Here’s some of what we saw:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We passed all kinds of seals, most of which seemed to be planking. I refer to those as “sassy seals.” As we got closer to the glacier, there were more and more ice floes covered in seals. It was quite spectacular. I wondered how many were out there, hundreds and hundreds?

    Planking seals...

    [​IMG]

    Loch Ness Monster seals...

    [​IMG]

    Mom and baby seals – d’awwwwww....

    [​IMG]

    Would you say I have a....PLETHORA....of seals?

    [​IMG]

    It’s funny…you see all these seals and at first you’re like, “omigod, SEALS! Look, that one is swimming! Look, that one is asleep! Oh look, a baby!” but then after about an hour or so you’re like “yeah yeah, seals, move it along….trying to see the glacier here.”

    I’m going to cut it here, because there are WAY more pics coming. Well, once dropbox finishes synching. Which will probably be after my bedtime....so, tomorrow. ::yes::
     
  19. Tink rules

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

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    Not me Babe... I don't come down until it's cold enough up HERE to appreciate it!!!

    & the grandma card.... HA!!! The kids in my family are in their 20's and they're suckin every bit of the grandma love they can get out of her!!! (especially when it's their favorite recipies...)
     
  20. VowRenewal13

    VowRenewal13 Mouseketeer

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    Love your pictures and trip report. We were on the Dream 14-18 July. Our Grandaughter practically lived in the Oceaneer Lab (she's 8). Two years ago, we couldn't get her into the club until the 3rd day of the cruise!
     
  21. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    I wonder if the grandma card will work on my furture little one. We didn't see anywhere near that many seals on our trip, maybe because it was earlier in the season.
     

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