WHO: Me (41) DH (40) DS13 (13) DS10 (10) WHAT: 7 day cruise on the Disney Magic WHEN: August 11 - August 18, 2001 FRIDAY - August 17 I got up around 7:00 and everyone was still asleep, so I went to Topsiders for breakfast alone. They all came up just after I finished eating. It's a gorgeous day for Castaway Cay, but the captain announced that afternoon showers are predicted. We went up to deck 10 to watch the docking. We backed in, just like the other dockings, and the best views are from the starboard side. I took some pictures, but again I wish our camcorder was working. We had our plan of action for securing a good spot on the beach. Inside our Navigator, that was left in our cabin last night, there was a map of Castaway Cay. I showed my sons the approximate location of where I wanted to be - not far from the water playground, sort of towards the Heads Up bar. I had read on these boards that was a good location since it's near bathrooms and the barbeque, and is also less crowded. We decided ahead of time the boys would wait in line to leave the ship, then sprint over there quickly and grab come chairs with umbrellas, and maybe, just maybe, a hammock. DS13 even wore his sneakers so he could move faster. They had their radios with them, so they went downstairs to the 2nd floor to wait in line to leave the ship, while DH and I relaxed in our cabin. The captain requested that people not clog the stairs waiting to get off the ship, and announced that there would be two ways to get off the ship, from both the front and aft exits on deck 1. The aft exit was better because it was closer to the beach. DH and I figured it was time to get off, so around 9:00 we headed to deck 2 aft to exit, but there were ropes across the stairs and they were not letting people off. My sons were at the front of the line before the rope on one side of the stairs. There really wasn't that many people waiting on the stairs. We were there less than a minute when they took the ropes down and let us off. DH and I took our time, since we knew our kids would get us a good shady spot. We first stopped at the post office. I wanted to mail a souvenir postcard to ourselves (which has not yet arrived, over a week later.) It cost $.65 and required two stamps - a .55 one with a picture of our ship on it, and a .10 shell stamp. The woman in front of me had 16 postcards to mail, and then she decided to buy more postcards AND a sheet of stamps. It took forever for her to finally finish her business. All they had was one teller, and she was on "island time", moving very slowly. I only had just the one postcard but it took a long time because of the woman in line in front of me. At least it was air conditioned inside the post office. DH was waiting for me outside in the hot sun. Finally we were on our way. (By then the line at the post office had gotten quite long.) The kids radioed us to let us know they got a place with an umbrella and a hammock, so we set out to find them. We decided to walk, since it looked like the queue for the tram was long. The place they got was midway between the water playground and the Heads Up Bar, near the lifeguard seat. They were saving the hammock, and DH and I grabbed the two umbrella'd lounge chairs that were near the foliage and in complete shade. I tried out the hammock, but it was pretty uncomfortable. It was made of rope and very itchy and rough. Plus it was in the sun. I decided to keep my lounge in the shade. The kids also decided they didn't want the hammock, so we left it for some other family to claim. The mad dash to the beach that I had read about never materialized. Even by the time DH and I got there, there was no one else around on our section of the beach. (But by 11:00 there were only a couple of free chaises around, and they were all in the sun.) The kids went and played on the water playground for 1/2 hour before our banana boat ride, and it was a good thing...Disney closed it soon after that because the water around it was too shallow (low tide?). We walked to the boating beach for our 10:00 banana boat ride. We actually rode on the blue "shark boat", which is really the same thing, except it's not yellow. Both are pulled by a jet ski. For some reason I had a fear of falling off, even though I swim reasonably well plus we had to wear life jackets. I think it's because I wear contact lenses and I did NOT want to get salt water in my eyes again. The ride lasted almost 20 minutes and it was a lot of fun. You need to sign a waiver for each member in your group, so I was glad we went a little early. The boats seat 10 (2 rows of 5). I hung on very tightly for the first couple of minutes but relaxed when I saw it wasn't so bad; that I wasn't going to fall off. I wore my sunglasses and it was a good thing, because sea spray is constantly blown in your face. DS10 wore his snorkel goggles. DH had to remove his glasses before the ride and leave them at the boat rental station. If you have a strap, you don't need to remove your glasses. (You don't need a strap in order to wear sunglasses, though.) After the ride, we walked back to our spot and DH took the kids snorkeling...DS10 didn't want to go after his not-so-enjoyable attempt at St. John, but DH made him, knowing he'd enjoy it with flippers and a life vest. DH rented gear for himself and just flippers for DS10 (DS13 had his own gear). All three got life vests, too. They were gone about an hour, and all three seemed to enjoy the experience. While they were gone I had a scare - I couldn't find my camera in my beach bag, where I swear I'd hid it before our banana boat ride, but after frantically searching for it everywhere I found it on DS13's chair, under his stuff. Whew! A nice waiter happened by, so I ordered one of those famous Konk Koolers I'd read about. It arrived just as the guys got back from snorkeling. It cost $4.50 and YUCK! I did not like it at all. It tasted like bananas, which I don't like, and it had too much rum in it. DH kind of liked it, and he was thirsty, so I gave it to him and he drank about half. We were getting hungry so the kids and I went to Cookies to get our lunch, and to bring something back for DH. It was 11:40 and no one was there yet. We saw our assistant server, Dennis, serving up food. We got cheeseburgers and and a hot dog for DS13. DS10 also had a rib. I had cole slaw and potato salad, and we got huge, chocolate chunk cookies. They offered fruit punch and ice water to drink. There may have been ice tea, also, but I don't remember. We were stuffed! I brought a tray with a cheeseburger, cookie and punch back for DH, and then took a walk to She Sells to see if I wanted to buy anything, but I didn't. Walking back to the beach was really hot, so I took a quick dip in the ocean to cool off...the water is much cloudier and has a lot more grass floating in it now than there was this morning. Around 1:00 DH took the boys to rent a catamaran, but because the water was too shallow (low tide?) they weren't letting any boats out, so they rented a couple of kayaks instead. While they were gone I read my book and took a short nap. A big, puffy cloud blocked the sun at 1:30, making it feel more comfortable. From then on, the blue sky was dotted with an occasional puffy white cloud; the rain storms that were predicted never materialized. It really was a great day, weather-wise. Even though it was pretty hot, there was a nice, steady breeze on the beach all day long which kept me comfortable, (unlike at St. Maarten). After kayaking, DS10 wanted to explore the kids area of the island. He came back and reported that it was for younger kids. At 2:30 we decided to pack up our stuff and head back to the ship. After a brief stop at the outdoor showers, and a picture taking stop at Mount Rustmore, we caught the tram just before it left. Once on board, DH took the boys up to the Mickey pool, while I took a shower. One by one they came down for showers. I attended the disembarkation talk at 4:30, and then hurried up to deck 9 and met up with DH, DS13 and DS10 for the 5:00 sail away. It was sunny and clear (no more clouds) and six castmembers stood on the dock waving good-bye at us with big, white Mickey gloves on. I spied "our spot" on the beach, and felt a bit sad to be leaving this wonderful island - all the little umbrellas were now closed up, and our banana boat was safely tied up. Our last dinner was at Lumiere's...right where we started. It was suggested that men wear a jacket. DH and DS13 wore jackets, while DS10 wore khakis and a polo shirt. Hardly anyone dressed appropriately - not many men in jackets or ties. It looked more casual than the embarkation day's dinner, which was casual. I had the Jamacan fruit plate with sherbet, which was good. DH had the soft shelled crab tempura from the Philippines, which he liked. We both had prime rib, which was good but a bit fatty. DH had a glass of burgandy with his dinner ($14.50 per glass) while I ordered the Asti Spumanti. We both had the baked Alaska (from Norway) for dessert. DH really liked it. I thought it was good, but I wish I had ordered a Mickey ice cream bar like I was contemplating. We handed out our tips and almost left, but Gonzolo (head server) stopped us and suggested we stay for the "show", which we did. He led us to a vacant table for 4 near the door so we wouldn't have to walk all the way back to our table. The "show" was some chefs who marched out in single file, carrying flaming baked Alaska. Then all the waiters followed carrying flags, because tonight was the "It's A Small World" themed dinner. After dinner DH and I tried to pick up the bracelet that I ordered last night at Treasure Ketch, but it wasn't ready yet (it wasn't quite 7:30 - the time they told us it would be ready), so we came back to the room to change clothes and begin packing. It was back to Treasure Ketch to get my bracelet and then on to the Farewell Variety Show at 8:30. The ventriloquist, Michael Harrison, was funny, using a 6 year old boy from the audience as his dummy (poor kid). The comedy/musical act with Dan Riley was hilarious - he made several Wisconsin jokes since that's where he's from..."Who let the cows out? MOO! MOO!" This was followed by a song/dance number by many of the characters from the previous shows - especially Disney Dreams. It was sort of a rehash of last night. All in all it was an enjoyable show. We came back to the room to finish packing. We had to put our suitcases out in the hall by 11:00. We finished packing well before then, but we forgot to put them out and at 10:15 we suddenly remembered we had to do that! Our final towel animal was a crab, who was wearing my sunglasses and holding the cruise questionnaire. DH and I took a brief walk down to deck 4 and then to the aft 7 veranda. There weren't many stars visible tonight, maybe because it's hazy. We went back to the cabin to tuck the kids into bed and get ready for bed ourselves. DH went down to Beat Street at 11:00 for a snack and said the public areas of the ship were deserted at that time.