WHO: Me (41) DH (40) DS13 (13) DS10 (10) WHAT: 7 day cruise on the Disney Magic WHEN: August 11 - August 18, 2001 SATURDAY - August 10 Today's the day! I woke up at 5:30 after an OK night's sleep. It's a nice sunny day, and warm of course. I didn't want to wake everyone, so after I got myself ready, I read in the bathroom for almost an hour. I got tired of that so I went in the room and turned the TV on. The volume was left kind of high and I ended up waking everyone up. Oh well - it's almost 8:00. Get up already! We went to McDonald's for breakfast and checked out. Rick drove us to the port and dropped off me, DS10, and all our luggage, while he and DS13 took the rental car back. AVIS brought them back to the port a short while later. It was just after 10:30 a.m. I was surprised to see how many people were waiting in line to check in already. Signs at the counter stated check-in starts at 11:00, but at 10:40 there were a few windows open so I got in line. The couple in front of me took forever and I felt quite impatient. My checkin didn't take long at all. DS10 went to explore the terminal while I checked us all in. I happened to hear the names of the family at the counter next to me and realized it was JanMa and her family, so I introduced myself to them. They have a son the same age as my DS13. During checkin I was informed that my kids automatically get charging privileges on their KTTW cards, and if I didn't want them to have it, I needed to go to the Guest Services desk once on board and ask them to remove the charging priviliges. Ugh - that's one more thing I need to do. Apparently the Bahama immigration forms that Disney sent in my documents are now the correct ones, because I did not have to fill out new ones. I wanted to get in line immediately. It was already forming at the Mickey ears, and went all along the wall. I got in line just as it started snaking back. I looked at my KTTW card and was WICKED disappointed to learn we got the worst possible dining rotation (in my mind) LAPLAPL. We had first seating and I had wanted PLAPLAP, and my second choice was APLAPLA. But instead we had three nights in the formal dining room and none of them fall on the two formal nights! DH and DS13 arrived, and they shared my disappointment in the rotation, and I vowed to try and change it. I noticed people in line had Navagators that they obviously got when they checked in. I didn't get one so I sent DS10 over to the counter to get one. Then I noticed they all had maps of the ship that apparently came in their Navatator. So I had to go back to the counter and ask for a map of the ship. We got to board the ship shortly after noon. We were announced as we boarded and we were directed to Parrot Cay for the buffet. Along the way a cast member will try to sell you the wine package. I just said "No thanks, I don't drink wine" and they let us go. None of us were really hungry so we didn't eat very much and we still got pretty full. Then we headed straight for the Mickey pool. Thanks to a great tip I got on these boards, the kids wore their bathing suits on board, so they were able to go swimming as soon as we finished eating. They had the entire pool and slide to themselves for the longest time! I had decided DH would stay with kids. We had family radios to keep in contact, and I would handle the reservations scramble. First was Palo's...they supposedly started taking ressies at 1:00. I got there at 12:45 (I wanted to make sure I could find it!) and they were taking ressies already, and there was no line! I got my day and time (Sunday, at 6:00), so I went back to the Mickey pool. It was really hot and humid on deck. The next thing on my list was the spa. They supposedly started taking ressies at 1:45. It was only 1:00 but I was hot and I wanted to see where it was, so I went and guess what?! They were taking ressies already! Two people were in front of me at the time. I signed up for the Surial Bath and got my day and time (Monday at 9:45 a.m.) I met up with everyone in the cabin, since it was now after 1:00. We dumped all our carry-ons and took pictures of our room. We had a category 11. DH and I had taken a RCCL cruise a few years back and we had a similar category stateroom. Disney's didn't look any bigger (or smaller) to me than what I remembered. It is very small - OK for two people, but kind of tight for four. RCCL's made better use of the space, too, with shelves and nooks and crannies everywhere. And the person from these boards who told me the shower curtain hung on a rod, not a track, was mistaken. The curtain is hung on a track. (I'm glad I didn't buy that over-the-shower-rod pocket holder thingy I was contemplating.) Disney's bathroom was very nice, all tiled and very nicely decorated. We placed some sodas in the refrigerator and left at 1:30 to sign up DS10 in the Oceaneer's Lab and DS13 at Common Grounds. Wow, everything is really going smoothly. DH took the boys back to the Mickey pool, while I went to Sessions to try and change our dining rotation. In front of the door was a cast member whose sole job seemed to be convincing people to keep the dining assignment they had AND be happy with it. A family in front me me had several small children and were trying to change to first seating, and were being told all the advantages of having late seating. (I suspect first seating was full anyway.) I was next and explained I wanted the PLAPLAP dining rotation. He asked why. I told him I had two boys who would now have to dress for Lumiere's 3 nights AND do two formal nights. He then explained to me that tonight was casual dress in all three dining rooms, and Tuesday night was Tropical night and we could wear shorts if we wanted to! AND he said Friday night was also casual, so according to him, we wouldn't have to dress up for Lumiere's at all! I realized that I wouldn't get anywhere with him, and he made some good points...I didn't really want the hassle anyway, so I gave up and left "happy" with what I had. TIP: Don't fret your dining rotation. It REALLY doesn't matter what restaurant you're in for formal night or for Tropical night. Everything is really quite the same on those nights. I ended up happy with what we had. We got to eat in the most beautiful dining room for three nights AND have our final breakfast there. I next headed over to the excursion desk. We weren't planning on any excursions - I just wanted to sign up for a banana boat ride on Castaway Cay, and do it in the morning. I didn't think I'd have any problem getting it - I just wanted to get everything over with. I got there at 2:00 and the ressie box wasn't put out until 2:15. There were a lot of people there filling out their excursion forms. I noticed many families were still arriving, and each one was still being announced and they boarded. An excursions guy came out around 2:05 and started collecting the forms, so I handed him mine. He asked what time I'd like the banana boat ride, and I said 10:00 or 10:30. He wrote 10:00 on my form and that's the time we got. I considered going to Guest Services to remove the kids' charging privileges, but I thought "Nah, I'll do that another time." I wasn't sure if I needed to have their cards with me at the time. Wow - it's 2:00 and I'm done with everything!! I went back to the room. Our luggage was arriving, one piece at a time. As each piece arrived, I would unpack it. There isn't much space to put things in Disney cabins. I hung up a lot of stuff in our closet, and was glad I brought extra hangers. TIP:If you have four people in your cabin, its advantageous to put EVERYTHING away, and keep it in its place. This will avoid room clutter. The only thing we kept our were our shoes, radios, books, and lanyards, which he kept hanging on the hook on the closet door when we were in the cabin. None of our suitcases would fit under the bed, not even the small one, so we stuffed the garmet bag in the closet, put the small suitcase inside the medium one, and put it at the foot of the bed against the wall on one side, and the large suitcase was at the foot of the other side of the bed against the wall. They were pretty much out of the way. By 3:00 all of the suitcases had arrived. I met up with DH and the kids and we explored the ship a bit. Did I mention it was very hot? A breeze would help. We had to do our life boat drill on deck 4 at 4:30. It was extremely hot, and it didn't start on time. We only had three life vests in our cabin for the four of us, so DS10 didn't have to wear his during the drill. They brought one to our cabin later that night. I'm not sure what the point of making us keep them on throughout the entire thing, and we were told not to remove them until we got back to our cabin. Fat chance - I'm melting here and I'm taking mine off as soon as this drill is over! An announcement was made that we would depart at 5:45 instead of 5:00 because some late passengers and luggage was still being loaded on the ship. We went to the sail-away deck party, and started worrying about having time to get ready for our 6:00 dinner. We thought it best to dress for dinner and then come back before the actual sailing. Unfornately, after we dressed and returned to deck 10 at 5:40, the ship was already sailing, so we missed it! At least we were on deck earlier when the whistle blew "When You Wish Upon A Star" and the streamers fell. Dinner tonight was at Lumiere's. The Navagator did state that Lumiere's was casual dress tonight. I wore dockers and a blouse and felt underdressed. I had fried camembert with marinara (good), roast tenderloin in peppercorn sauce (yum!) and chocolate mousse cake (OK). DH had shrimp, roast tenderloin and creme brulee (loved it). DCL's dinners were only three courses (unlike RCCL's 6) and dinner only took about an hour each night (vs. 2 hrs. on RCCL). Our server was Arnel (nicknamed Toto) and our asst. server was Dennis. Both were from the Philippines. They seemed kind of quiet and not very gregarious, but efficient. The kids got their dinners served before we did, and they were done eating before we even got our food. Then they had to wait until we were done before they got dessert. This was probably a good method of serving little kids, since they get easily distracted and can take a while to eat, but our kids are older and this seemed strange to me. DH ordered a glass of burgandy ($5.25) with dinner, but instead he got a glass of Chardonnay FROM Burgandy ($8.75). They were willing to replace it but he told them it was OK. After dinner, DS10 went to the Club and DS13 and I checked out the "secret" veranda on deck 7 aft. Nice, and no one else out there. We saw the most gorgeous sunset. We met up with DS10 and DH and went to the Walt Disney Theater for the variety show. Tony Duncan was the juggler...he was OK (dropped the balls several times) but kind of funny. The comedien/magician Rick Purpura was hilarious. I'll have to check out his show in the Rockin' Bar D later this week. While here, I noticed several new mosquito bites on my leg...when did I get these? On board? At the hotel last night? Next we went to Studio Sea for the Mickey Mania game show. DS10 and I volunteered but we didn't get chosen. We enjoyed this but one team was clearly going to win - they knew almost every question. Two teams didn't seem to know anything. DS13 then went to his Teen Meet. DS10 and I went back to the cabin. Our fish had a note saying we had a $75 ship board credit (from Dreams Unlimited). Our towel animal was a crab, but it was actually made from a blanket, with chocolates for the eyes and mouth. We hadn't yet met our room host, but so far I liked him/her. DH took a soda from the "beverage cooler" and it wasn't cold at all (this was at 10:30 p.m.) There was plenty of ice, though.