Hawaiian wedding, Disneyland & 4/1/12 MR Wonder cruise- finished 5/14 !

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by mom2aidanNpiper, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    So to contunue where I left off...

    After lunch we went to go back to get our clay pieces that had been drying (make sure if you do this that you bring tissue or something with you to pack it home- they didn't have anything for you to wrap it up with) and then head to see the animals. They had a parrot, monkey and snake that you could hold. Didn't include the parrot pics since the kids did it on the beach earlier, but here we are with the other animals. The kids opted out of the snake- probably a good idea. I swear it weighed as much as I did!

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    We caught the boat back at 2:30 (after hitting up the gift shop for a nice handmade photo album for our Hawaii photos and a sweatshirt for Matt), and were back onboard around 3:20. The ride back was fun- the Vallarta Adventures crew was great and entertaining the whole way back singing and dancing.

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    Matt wanted some cold meds from Walmart and Sarah and I wanted to find a Starbucks (right next to Walmart in the mall) to get mugs to add to our City Mug collection that we have so we dropped the kids off at the kids club and then went back out into town. It was about a 10 minute walk to get there but in the heat it felt way longer! But we got everything we needed and then got back onboard.

    Dinner tonight was at Parrot Cay. For our appetizers, Sarah got the St. Maarten stack (Grilled Calabaza and Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette), Matt got the Jamaican chicken strips and I got the Ahi tuna. We also ordered the Crab dip for everyone to share- all were very good but the dips never come with enough bread/crackers/etc to dip. We end up having to use the regular bread from the table which is kinda annoying.

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    Right about now Piper fell asleep. No whining or anything, just put her head on the table and crashed..

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    For our entrees I got the grilled portabella mushrooms with sun dried tomato sauce (good!), Matt got the island spiced rib-eye (he kinda picked at it but I think it’s just cause his throat was still bugging him) and Sarah got the grouper over saffron rice (good!).

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    For dessert Sarah and I both got the Smores cake (good!) and Matt got an ice cream sundae (which made his throat feel way better).

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    After dinner we knew that Piper would not be able to get through the nightly show (Toy Story the Musical) so Matt and I offered to take her for the evening while she and Aidan went to the show. On the way to Toy Story, Aidan and Sarah ran into Mexican Mickey and Minnie! Piper took a bath in our room and then curled up in bed and watched the show on the tv instead After that it was bed for everyone!

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    Up next- our first day in Cabo!
     
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  3. luvslikepi

    luvslikepi DIS Veteran

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    I would go nuts holding a monkey...what a cool excursion. Did they charge you extra for that?
     
  4. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Nope! All part of the cost of the excursion itself! They had a little itinerary that they gave you on the boat of activities (some cost, some didn't). Most of them you just wandered over to. It was fun:)
     
  5. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

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    Awesome updates- all caught up! Your PV day looks awesome. I hope Matt feels better soon.

    Can you comment on the kids clubs? Did your kids enjoy them?
     
  6. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Sure! My kids are always hit and miss on the clubs (since this is our 3rd cruise). Well, to be more accurate- Piper is hit and miss. Aidan always loves them :)

    Aidan tends to like the video games, computer stations, meeting new friends (he found a group of Star Wars fans this last cruise and they proceeded to give Star Wars lessons to one of the counselors who had never seen any of the movies), playing the organized games like Gaga ball and Bingo, etc. He isn't too into huge group activities like the experiments and cooking things as he has high functioning autism (Aspergers) and likes small groups better. Our last cruise I couldn't get him out of the clubs!


    I did not choose to give him check out privilges- I trusted him to not get lost, but never felt the need to let him wander. Also his judgement isn't always great (he's a follower at times). This never proved to be a problem. Before I came to that conclusion I also debated whether to move him to the Edge (Tween Club) - as his 11th Birthday was the day after we disembarked. But since he plays a little young it wasn't the best fit for him.

    Piper on the other hand is very shy at first and isn't outgoing at all (even though she has been in daycare since she was 10 months old). She tends to get kinda lost in the Club/Lab.

    Our first cruise she wasn't a fan (she was 5) and cried a lot. Our last cruise (she was 6) was a bit better- she was ok when Aidan would play with her but she wouldn't chose to go there at all.

    This cruise though she seemed to enjoy herself a lot more (being in first grade and just getting older she is more assertive)- and didn't even stick with Aidan. She actually chose most of the time to go to the Club and not the Lab because she liked the acitvities more there (the Princess things, art, the slide).

    DCL kids clubs are great, however if you kid is shy, uneasy with strangers, etc it's impossible for them to get one on one attention (just too many kids and not enough staff). This isn't a knock on the clubs, I think they are awesome! But having a kid like that myself, I don't go in expecting the staff to change those personality traits and suddenly make my child have fun. lol. So I think every child will have a very different experience in the clubs just depending on their own personality :)
     
  7. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Here are the Navigators for our first Cabo day (cruise day 5) and the tender boat process sheet

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  8. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Today was definitely a slow start to the morning- I woke up to a beautiful sunrise and saw that we were heading towards Cabo. Today was a tender port day, which meant instead of just walking off the boat onto the pier, you had to board a small catamaran style boat for about 5-10 minutes to the marina. Tenders were supposed to start around 9:30 and since we didn’t have an excursion today we didn’t get priority off the boat. Our plan was just to head to the beach though so no real hurry.

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    Matt and I went to Triton’s this morning for breakfast after getting coffee up at the Cove- it didn’t take long though. I wasn’t too hungry and Matt still wasn’t feeling great (worse then previous days- his cold was just draining him). The kids and Sarah went up to the buffet to eat breakfast and we met up with them in the late morning. When we got back to our room we saw that one of our lovely DisBoard friends Katy left us a fun gift (even though we weren’t part of the FE group) A cute honeymoon tote she made (which I now use daily to take various things to work), cute hair clips (for P), a tee shirt (for A) and a keychain.

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    Our tender process was pretty easy. I want to say we got to the theater (where you get tickets) maybe around 10:30 or so. They loaded up one boat before ours so we waited maybe 15 minutes I would guess. Once they cleared us for getting on a tender it was easy, just follow the stairs down, hand over your ticket and leave the ship!

    Once we got off the tender boat you have to walk down to the end of the marina to catch taxis. We didn’t want to do a water taxi for both money reasons (it was actually cheaper each way with 5 of us to do a land taxi) and comfort (no one wanted to jump out into the water, and Piper can get seasick easy on little boats). We got a taxi van and headed over to Medano Beach Club (where Matt, I and the kids had gone last year and really liked it). We got a table up under then canvas tent area (key so the beach vendors don’t bug you) so we were in the shade which was great. The kids played in the sand for a bit by our table while we relaxed and ordered a drink.

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    We all went down to the water with the kids off and on before lunch which was fun- the waves were very strong though. I wasn’t paying attention once and Piper and I were in ankle deep water or so and it knocked us flat over. The wave going back out started to pull us out (since we had fallen on our faces) so Sarah had to come rescue Piper while I tried to get up. It was funny but also a reminder it was not a beach to let teeny kids go out without holding onto them. It seemed better than last year though. Sorry (not really) for posting more pics of us frolicking in our swim suits. lol. Matt has lost a total of nearly 100 pounds since right before we started dating (60 prior to us dating, about 35 in the last year) and I lost about 12 (not that I really needed to but my wedding dress didn't zip up a few months before the wedding so I went into beast mode to get in shape). So we went most of this vacation in very little clothes because we felt awesome!

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    We eventually ordered lunch – it was good! More so because our day there was CHEAP! With tip it was $65 (we paid cash). Between the 5 of us we had: 3 bottled waters, 1 GIANT margarita, 4 regular margaritas, 1 mimosa, 2 kids meals (quesadilla plates), a huge plate of nachos, an order of tortillas and an extra order of chips with lots of fixings. I think it was a good deal! Aidan got sulky (he hates the heat) right about now and decided to rebel by turning his chair around. Lol.

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    We left mid afternoon or so to head back to the ship. We found taxis right in the same area (behind all the beach side restaurants) and got dropped off at the market at the marina. We all looked around for a bit but didn’t buy anything because we were tired and knew we would be back in the morning.

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    We went back to our cabins and I helped the kids with their homework for awhile and then P came back to our room for a bit and we all (Matt, Piper and I) dozed for a bit. Around 5 or so we dropped P back at her room so she could get ready for dinner with Sarah and Aidan. Tonight was Pirate Night which both the kiddos love! Piper had found a striped pirate shirt in a thrift store earlier this year and Aidan wore the new shirt we got from Katy!

    Matt and I had dinner at Palo tonight, which started out ok but Matt was feeling completely exhausted and not at all hungry (he made the mistake of drinking in Cabo and was feeling super off because of it). We decided (after we were already eating our appetizers) that leaving was probably for the best. Palo dinners can last a couple hours and Matt just didn’t have it in him. Matt left me to wait for our dinner (the chef and our waiter were so great and put covers on the plates for us to take it back with us). I want to say I was there by myself for about 20 minutes or so, but it felt SO much longer. It was super uncomfortable sitting by myself and having people come over and make sure I was “ok” lol. I just wanted to get out of there! By the time I got back to the room, Matt was already asleep (by 6:45).

    Meanwhile the kids and Sarah were having a great night at Pirate Night! For dinner Sarah had the Bib Lettuce salad with raspberry dressing and then the Macadamia dusted Mahi (mild flavor but good).

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    After they had dinner, Aidan wanted to go the clubs so Sarah dropped him off and her and Piper went to do photos with Captain Jack and Captain Hook.

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    Eventually Piper got tired, Sarah went back to get Aidan and they went back to the room. Piper fell asleep in their room before fireworks but Aidan and Sarah watched them from the verandah in their cabin. I saw part of them from my room but was just so discouraged and feeling sorry for myself I just went back into the cabin. I know, not a great attitude but I felt like we had spent so much money and gone to all this work making sure that we would have a great honeymoon and Matt was sleeping the whole time! I knew it wasn't his fault or anything, but if there was any vacation to get sick on this was NOT it. I kept trying to tell myself that we at least had an AMAZING time in Hawaii. I did read the last Hunger Games book though tonight- so that was something productive. Lol.

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    Up next- our last day in Cabo!
     
  9. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

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    I don't blame you for being bummed. Not at all how you envisioned your honeymoon. I hope things improved.:lovestruc
     
  10. spiiffy

    spiiffy Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for posting the pics of your son in the shirt I made. We actually ended up missing pirate night because my son Logan had a seizure and we were taken off the ship by paramedics and ended up in a Cabo hospital overnight. I was so sad to miss pirate night. Looks like Matt missed most of it too! Sorry he was so sick.
     
  11. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Here are the Navigators for our 6th cruise day, our second day in Cabo!

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  12. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    We had agreed the night before to meet up in the morning to head back into town fairly early (we had limited port hours today). I want to say it was about 8 am when we all met up. Matt was feeling so-so, which I guess was better than nothing. His energy level seemed higher today though!

    Our goal this morning was to hit up Starbucks (and get our last city mug of the trip) and hit the little market by the marina to do shop shopping. Nothing big, and we hoped to be back on the boat within an hour or two. Aidan decided he wanted to stay in the clubs so it was just the 4 of us venturing out. We headed down to the taxi area (after asking around and realizing it was going to be a very long walk and it was already hot out) and got dropped off over by the star bucks. It was $8 each way. Yes I know, that’s $4 a person total just to go to Starbucks- but hey- I’m from Seattle! We got our coffee and our last mug and headed back to the marina.

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    Here are all my mugs from this trip: I am a new collector (some friends have bought me mugs from places) but my favorite had always been my Bahamas one from the Starbucks I went to in Nassau on a DCL 2010 cruise. Now I have lots of new cute ones!

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    Once back at the marina we poked around for maybe 30 or 40 minutes shopping. Us adults got some nice hand blown wine glasses, Sarah and I got some Victoria Secret knock off Cabo tee shirts (that looked like the “PINK” stuff) , the kids each got Cabo Angry Bird tee shirts and I got Aidan a little bobble head creature and Piper a little guitar. Shopping done!

    We got back on the boat and I took Piper for a bit to let Sarah have a break. We took her to the pool to play around, then Matt ran to get Aidan out of the clubs to meet up on the pool deck with Sarah. We got the kiddos lunch and then she took them back to the cabin to eat, while Matt and I took some food from the buffet down to our cabin as well.

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    The kids watched from their cabin as we left Cabo! You can see how the tender boats worked too.

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    At 2:00 Matt and I had a spa treatment that we were SO excited for- the Couples Choice Villa. We got checked in and then were told to go to the relaxation room for awhile to wait for our therapist. I think we both almost fell asleep in there! At about 2:10 Julie (my therapist) and Orlando (Matt’s) came to pick us up then take us to our treatment villa. Here is stock photos (I didn’t take my camera in) of the area- this is exactly what it looked like!

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    Our treatment started in the covered deck area with us sitting down and them scrubbing our calves and feet with this wonderful ginger lime salt scrub while massaging. (I later asked to purchase this- they didn’t even have to try and seel it to me, it was wonderful!). After that we were left to the Jacuzzi (which they had filled as we were getting our leg work done) and added lots of yummy smelling salts and gels. We had about 30 minutes in the tub to just relax. Matt almost fell asleep. Lol. It was nice to just sit in quiet and enjoy the space. One thing though- I’m honestly not sure which villa we had but if sitting in the tub close to the sliding glass doors of the verandah, I could see into a jetted out area (crew maybe?). Not sure but I wouldn’t have gone topless there… we brought our suits with us until the massage part.

    They came and knocked on the door to let us know we had 5 minutes before the massage part so we got up, rinsed off and changed into our robes. We had been given a choice of treatments (I honestly don’t remember what they all were) but we chose the 75 minute hot stone massage. This was heaven! Very hot though so if you are temperature sensitive to oils and stones I may not recommend it- I thought it was great though! Matt fell in and out of sleep during it. Lol. At least he was relaxed!

    After our massage we were given a few minutes to change then invited to go back out to our private deck and relax in the roman bed for awhile (they said it would be 20 minutes but I feel like it was much longer). We ate fruit and drank tea and just watched they ocean. We got another warning knock and then they came out to give us our payment folders and see if we needed anything else. I also bought some Elemis foot cream since my heels get really cracked in dry (Seattle) weather.

    In all we spent a LOT of money, but it was such a great once in a lifetime type spa treatment. Also, when we were back in the locker room I checked my clock right away and it was just after 5:00. We were in there for 3 hours and yet only was scheduled for 2 so I feel like our relaxing times and Jacuzzi times were definitely longer than it was supposed to be. Yay for us though!

    During our spa treatment Sarah had put the kids in the clubs after doing homework and went to a martini tasting! She said it was fun to get away and talk with some other people. Lol. I was jealous, no tastings at all this cruise since Matt wasn’t drinking. Oh well! Next time. Sarah also snapped a great picture of the lobby!

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    Since it was so late getting out of the spa, we went back to our room right away and changed for dinner. Tonight was semi formal night, and we were eating in Animators Palette again.

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    For appetizers Matt had the Beef and Sun-Dried Tomato Consomme which he asid was good (for his throat esp) and I had the mushroom soup topped with truffle oil (loved it!). I don’t think Sarah had an appetizer…I can’t find a picture! I think it’s because she ordered 2 entrees. Lol.

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    For entrees Sarah and Matt both had the fettuccine with parmesan crusted chicken (they both said was good) and Sarah also had the Lobster (good). I had the asparagus and blue cheese risotto (SO good. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…).

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    For dessert we all had the warm chocolate lava cake (YUM!).

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    So I know I mentioned back in my first post that we had an awesome head waiter- here he is with Aidan. His name was Tektas and I was super impressed. He stopped by our table every single night to talk to us, he often walked us personally to our table as well. He did sort out the whole dining alone thing for us the first night but he didn’t “have” to always go so out of his way. He was great- the kids loved him!

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    After dinner was the show for the night- Disney Dreams. I LOVE this show. It is my absolute favorite. We got there early to make sure we sat towards the front. To enjoy some of the show’s “surprises” it’s good to sit in front of the first row of theater lights above you. We got good seats and enjoyed the show. And Matt was still awake! Lol.

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    When we got back to our room from the show after tucking the kiddos in, we found another cute card with turn down. So sweet!

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    Up next, our last sea day! Then off to Disneyland again!
     
  13. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    I love the water in Cabo! I'm so tempted to take another MR cruise later this year!
     
  14. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

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    YAY! for spa pixie dust!
     
  15. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Aidan loves the shirt:) He was so excited to see it!! I know we've chatted a bit on our FB group but so sorry about Logan :( Aidan is special needs (though not medically like Logan, though we have had some big medical scares) but as a baby he needed many procedures, minor surgeries, etc and now we tackle the Aspergers and mostly OCD as an issue. Taking care of high needs kids can be so tiring! I'm glad you guys made it back on the boat though!!!

    Yeah, this was our 2nd MR cruise (we did the other one a year previous) so we couldn't do another one I don't think for awhile. We did book a dummy date onboard though so who knows where we end up next!

    Yeah, considering we walked out of there after the package, the 2 products (totalling $100) and tip, a grand total of $700 poorer, I was happy to have some extra time in there!!!
     
  16. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    Here are the Navigators, tip sheets and envelope and also our disembark instruction sheet!

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  17. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

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    I’ll apologize in advance for the extreme lack of photos and details of this day! This was a total blur, and so far in writing this report I have pictures and my little notes I jotted down during the day to go off of. I have nothing today!

    So I think our day went something like this: Slept in, had breakfast, kids went to clubs, did some end of cruise shopping ( I did buy full size H20 products) and went up to the cove café to relax. We ran into Sarah up there and we all talked for a bit. Sarah did get some pics of the ship while she wandered a bit.

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    I think she also went to the rainforest room (unless she did that yesterday…not entirely sure). I remember taking Aidan out of the clubs to see if he wanted to get anything signed by the captain (no) and then him wanting to go back. I think we took the kids out of the clubs before lunch time? But I have no idea where we all ate for lunch. Lol.

    I know that Matt took a nap in the afternoon sometime and Sarah and I went to the adult pool area and hung out in the hot tub for an hour and then went and got Piper afterwards. We were supposed to go to the Princess and friends tea party but Piper had no interest so around lunch time we turned the tickets back in for the people on the waiting list.

    Matt and I started packing pretty early and just designated one carry on for everything we might need in Disneyland for the next couple days. We packed up all dressy stuff, super beachy wear and sandals, etc and added them to our wedding luggage.

    During the day when our room was being cleaned, we got some papers left for tonight. We had gotten our tip sheets the night before, and we also got our disembark papers, customs sheet and luggage tags (will go over this in a minute). Our tip coupons were a little tricky since we had 2 different sets of servers but we figured it out (we went to guest services though to make sure it was split up accordingly). After filling out the sheet they give you little tickets (that look like movie tickets) and you put them in their little envelopes to give to them the last night at dinner . You leave your stateroom host one during turndown the last night as well. See my above post to see all the forms :)


    Also- here are pics from our cabins (they were both cat 5B verandah cabins). The one of the bed is from my cabin (6556 right by the midship elevators) and the rest are of Sarah and the kids’ cabin (6550- 3 doors down). We loved our cabins. I always stay midship deck 6 and find it’s the best when it comes to getting everywhere and not having to rely on the elevator. Our cabin was VERY creaky though- more than I have ever experienced- it was like something was loose in the ceiling. We only ever were kept up all night on the first 2 nights when we were going through the storm. Sarah’s cabin wasn’t like that. Her cabin issue though was that it was facing the “wrong” way. While our couch and bed faced the front of the ship going forward, Sarah’s was reverse and she had more motion sickness because of that (feeling like she was going backwards).

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    Our last dinner was in Parrot Cay. Normally on a cruise I am so sad to be leaving but honestly I was kinda checked out at this point. I just kept thinking, I am SO done with this cruise but can’t wait for our next one when (knock on wood) everyone is healthy. Matt was feeling much better though and so I was hopeful for Disneyland the next couple of days.

    Our last menu was the Till we Meet again menu. For appetizers Matt and I both had the Potato Leek soup (very good) and Sarah had the Grilled Chicken Sate. I also got the spicy jalapeno and artichoke dip to share and once again we didn’t get enough things to dip it with. I know I could’ve asked for more but our servers (while ok) were frazzled often and not stellar.

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    For entrees both Matt and Sarah got the Beef Tenderloin (ok I think- maybe not the best if I remember?) and I had the Portabella Mousakka (SO good).

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    For dessert, Matt and I both had the apple cranberry pie (GOOD!) and Sarah had both the Baked Alaska and also the sweet temptations (good I think).

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    Here we are with our waiters (though not good pics). That is our assistant server Shane with Matt and Piper and then our server Agung with Matt and I.

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    After dinner it was finishing packing time! But first, here is our last towel animal with Easter eggs instead of the little chocolates we normally got! Oh yeah- tomorrow is Easter!

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    We were so busy for the next couple hours. I got the kids all packed (which took some time) while Sarah took P to the hot tub and Aidan was in the clubs. Then I went over to get myself completely packed (we had a lot of breakables, etc we had to pack carefully). Then I had to fill out all our custom forms and get all our paperwork/passports, etc organized for the morning.

    Around 9:30 or so I headed up to the cruise onboard booking desk (last minute, I know! Normally I do this on day 1 and I really regret not doing this). I waited for FOREVER and there were only 2 families ahead of me. Once I got up there though it was easy- I just told him I wanted to book a a “dummy date” and he got it all set up. We got 2 cabins (for Matt , I and the kids) and was booked for a cheap Dec 2013 cruise. We planned on figuring out all the details when we got home as to when we wanted to cruise again. But by booking onboard it saved us 10% plus then $200 onboard credit for each room (assuming we stick with 7 night cruises).

    While I was dealing with that, Matt was hanging out with the kids and getting them tucked into bed while Sarah was at Shutters. Sarah and I decided to split the 20 credit package ($150) which would give us a total of either 20 5x7 pics or 10 8x10 pics. All our pics that we had were pretty much 8x10 photos so our initial plan was to get all of those and make copies at home. But at the kiosk we realized that we could order that photo as either an 8x10, or a 2 up 8x10 (so 2 to a sheet) but not a solo 5x7. Super confusing. But we did it that way because neither of us actually needed them as 8x10s and this way we had photos in hand for each of us right away. We chose 10 photos that we liked and ordered 2 up 8x10s since we couldn’t order them as 5x7’s individually to save money and get lots more photos. So we came out with 20 photos total (2 double sets of 10). Hope that makes sense?

    Oh- to cover the disembark issues.. So you have a couple options (as you can see if you look at the disembark sheet).

    Option 1 (only if you have an early flight- and you have to prove you do)- meet at the designated place before 8 am and you will get priority walk off. We did this last year and it worked great. You get a special sheet in your room the night before explaining the process, but basically as soon as the ship clears you get to bypass the line and get out of there!

    Option 2 (normal process) – wait for your colored luggage tag to be called and then you get to leave the ship. We actually had different tags (even though our cabins were linked). Because we weren’t doing this we didn’t care, but hopefully if this happens to you, you can get them changed at guest services. Most people choose this option and have breakfast when they are assigned as well. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the tags being called. So you could be first at 8 am or you could be last.

    Option 3: (express walk off) – this is what we did. You line up at the rope in the lobby (and if the line gets too long they ask you to wait in the Promenade lounge) and when the ship is cleared you leave. You do have to handle all your luggage though since it won’t be in the warehouse waiting for you (the whole point of the colored luggage tags). Pros are you get to leave asap, cons are you have to carry your own stuff.

    So to wrap up the cruise portion- The cruise flew by and dragged at the same time. I was super excited to get back to Disneyland- mostly I think because we had such a great time there pre cruise and I was so hopeful that Matt would be all the way better. Plus DL has such a special place in my heart with the kids going back to their first trip.

    Anyway, everything was good but not great- but that wasn’t anything to do with DCL itself. It just wasn’t a “magical” vacation for us like our first 2 cruises were. I think having come from Hawaii and having done some truly special things there, and then getting lucky enough to be in the villas at the Grand and having a great couple days at DL- the cruise was almost a let down not a highlight. Of course a lot of that was Matt being sick, but some of it was not having the kids in our room (we thought it would be nice, instead we missed them!), our so-so serving team, the super rocky boat, etc. Highlights were definitely the spa and the food! We will for sure sail with them again, but not on a MR cruise (twice in a 13 month span is enough). Our next cruise will most likely be in 2014 (but more on future trips later!).

    Up next- Easter in Disneyland!!
     
  18. sarahmarie

    sarahmarie Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Nice job on the trip report! I finally sat down and read all the way through it. Still haven't gotten around to starting mine...I will soon though. And it's nice that yours is about done (assuming you'll talk about DL at the end of the trip?) so if I can't remember anything, I can check yours for clues about what I/we did.

    One editing note - the food pictured above is NOT chicken breast, lol. Even though you don't eat meat, I would have thought you'd know what a chicken breast looks like! This was Matt's appetizer - Duck Confit (Salted and Slow-cooked Duck, Dried Prunes, Candied Walnuts, Chicory and Mixed Leaves with Apple Walnut Dressing). I'd debated that as well - and so the next time I saw duck on the menu I ordered it. And remember, we got mad that he started eating before we took a picture? My entree was the same as Matt's - the steak. Which I really liked (better than the steak I had later in the cruise). Very tender and juicy. The bacon wrapped green beans weren't very good though - the bacon was undercooked and the beans were kinda blah.

    Bummer about P's swim suit being permanently stained! I'd wondered if you'd gotten it out once we were home.

    I have absolutely no recollection of ordering (or not ordering) an appetizer this night...the first part of dinner is sort of a blur, thanks to the martini tasting. :rolleyes1 I know I ate some bread (figured it was a good thing to eat after the tasting), but I would have thought I'd have ordered an appetizer of some sort. But I guess not. Maybe I was feeling full? And like you'd said, wanted to save room for my two entrees?

    And the chicken fettuccine was just so-so. The chicken was over cooked and dry, but the noodles and fettuccine sauce were really good - and paired nicely with the lobster.

    Spiify/Katy, so sorry you had such a rough pirate night :( Aidan was so excited about the shirt you made! Since I didn't have any pirate gear, and with just me and the kids at dinner I was feeling "left out", so I actually tried to convince him to wear the other pirate shirt he'd packed so that I could try to squeeze into yours. He absolutely refused. No amount of bribery worked - it was HIS shirt, made just for him, and HE was going to wear it. :)
     
  19. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,231
    lol (about the chicken) - that's what happened when I am trying to sort a million photos and looking at menus I barely remember! thanks for that catch. Looking back, yeah it doesn't look like it at all!!!
     
  20. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,231
    So we woke up around 6:30 this morning since we wanted to walk right off the boat as soon as it was cleared. We decided not to eat breakfast this morning and just wait until we got to the resort to grab something to eat. We all met up around 7:30 in the hallway right when we were docking and headed downstairs. It took 2 different elevators for us to get out of there and I won’t lie- lugging everything was a PAIN. However, Matt and I had 4 big suitcases plus a duffel , backpack and another bag just for us, and then the kids had to manage their stuff too. On a normal (non-wedding) vacation we travel lighter so it wouldn’t have been such an issue. We went down to the lobby where they had a roped off line started. I want to guess there were maybe 15 or 20 families in front of us (and most all had 1 suitcase plus some sort of carry on).

    At 8:00 or so they let us off before calling any tags. It was super easy- we were off within a minute or so of them opening the doors (since all you had to do was swipe your KTTW card). It reminded me of park opening at Disneyland- it looks like a long line but as soon as it opens you just fly right through the line.

    Next we had to drag all our stuff all the way down to the customs area (considering I was carrying more luggage than my body weight I was hurting!). No lines there though which was great (since we were first off the boat) . We walked out around 8:15 to the taxi area and had to wait a few minutes to get a giant taxi van (so much stuff!!). We didn’t do the DCL bus to DL because of 1: the price ($30 each way for all of us) and also the timing- the bus wasn’t going to leave until 9:30 (most likely later for boarding of luggage, waiting for everyone, etc). Our taxi was about $70 total for the 5 of us to Disneyland- not too bad.

    On our way to Disneyland we stopped at a grocery store so Matt could run in and get cold meds (we only had enough for a couple days from the stuff we got in Mexico). Since Matt’s only real symptom was a sore throat (his energy level was back) it turns out chloraseptic was a life saver! Just numbed his throat and was good to go for awhile. After that we were on our way – we checked into the hotel by 9:15am.

    We had decided to stay at Paradise Pier resort (originally we were booked at HoJo’s but changed our reservations). I have to say- we were NOT impressed. It doesn’t help that we consider our Disneyland “home” the Grand Californian. Paradise Pier was just not worth the money. Next time we don’t stay at the Grand we might try DLH or just stay offsite at Homewood Suites (and rent a car) – which we really liked when we were there a cpl years ago. It had a definite “hotel” feel and not “resort” feel.

    Check in took forever and the front desk guy wasn’t too friendly- just kept telling me that the resort was completely full (not true actually- I looked online in the car on the way and you could still book) and got irritated that I didn’t tell them I needed 2 rooms close together (Sarah was in her own and us and the kids in another). I told him it didn’t matter too much but he was still kinda grumpy. We did manage to get 2 rooms on the same floor though which was nice- and they overlooked the rooftop pool.

    When we checked in he issued my card under my new name (by accident but it was still fun!)
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    We left our luggage with bell services since our room wasn’t ready yet, headed across the street to the Grand Ca hotel (which left me incredibly wistful!) and over to Whitewater snacks to eat breakfast. Around 9:45 we finished up and headed into Disneyland! We had no idea what to expect since today was Easter- we were expecting huge crowds but it wasn’t bad at all!

    The villains were out right when we walked in – it was funny, they were bantering back and forth. You can see here the crowds were minimal!

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    We hit up Pirates, Big Thunder Mountain then let the kids play at Tarzans tree house.
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    Then we headed over to Jungle Cruise which was a little of a disappointment because we got the same skipper (which means the exact same “skit” as earlier this week).

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    After that Aidan really wanted to ride the Disney Railroad while Piper wanted her face painted so we split up! Sarah took Aidan while Matt and I took Piper.

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    Turns out getting your face painted at the Princess Fantasy Faire is risky. Lol. We got into an altercation with another family which is totally not us!

    We got there and there was only 1 Cast Member doing face painting (not a big deal since its in the shade and there is a little bench)- FYI anyone wanting to go back there, it’s super cute and you do not have to wait in the man PFF line. You just walk around to the back. Anyway, there was one little girl (and a sibling) getting their faces done. Then there was a family in front of us. Then us. So the family getting their faces done was finishing up and this other lady comes out of nowhere and just plops her kid up on the little princess seat. Matt/I and the other family in front of us just looked at each other like, what do we do? So we both proceed to ask her to get down since our children were patiently waiting. It didn’t go well! She got really angry, refused a bunch and then threatened to “go get her husband”. We weren’t sure what that meant!! Luckily she left in a huff and then our kids got to go. We weren’t even yelling at the lady or anything but she totally snapped when we nicely told her that we had been waiting. Some people….

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    After making both kiddos happy, we headed over to Toontown for some quick lunch and to play for a bit. Right about now we realized we were HOT! During the couple days at Disneyland before the cruise it was in the low/mid 60’s (jeans and hoodies). Today it was getting to be near 80!

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    We headed out of the park (and snapped a pic of the new CA Adv park entrance- we miss the letters!). We walked through the Grand again and across the street to our hotel where the kids took a pic with the Goofy statue in the lobby.

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    We spent the next few hours relaxing. We took the kids down to the pool to play while we got drinks and snacks at the pool bar, and then all took naps. I slept for a bit (so did Matt) and Aidan played his DS for awhile. Piper relaxed in Sarah’s room (easier to split the kids up for quiet). I took the opportunity to run down to the business center to check in for our flights and print our boarding passes for tomorrow.

    Around 4:30 we met up again and headed out to Downtown Disney to eat dinner at Naples. We had a Patina restaurant group birthday coupon (my b-day is tomorrow) for $30 off our bill. The kids got little pizzas, Matt got a “personal” pizza (GIANT) and Sarah and I both had the pumpkin ravioli (GOOD!).

    Then it was off to the parks! The kids were already kinda tired so our plans of making it to the fireworks would not be happening. Oh well! We decided to power through until the kids were about to crash. Before we went to CA Adv. We decided to upgrade our park tickets to add one more day for tomorrow morning.

    So we got to the park and rode Soarin over California, Little Mermaid again and then over to ride Goofys Sky School a couple times for Piper. There were definitely some things we missed in DCA this time around (Animation building, Aladdin show, etc- next time!).

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    We got back to the hotel and made sure that we were all packed for the next morning and headed to bed.

    Up next- rope drop at Disneyland then off to the airport and home!
     
  21. mom2aidanNpiper

    mom2aidanNpiper DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,231
    Today was mine and Aidan’s birthday (yes, he was born on my birthday- very early – 30 weeks- so it was a birthday gift to me!).

    Our day started with room service! We found the prices not to be too outrageous for breakfast which was nice (about $10 a person including beverages). I had it delivered pretty early (around 6 I think) while we were all getting ready.

    We met up around 7:15 or so in the hall and then we were off to Disneyland! I think we got to the main gates around 7:30 and we were let into the park almost immediately. We made our way to the ropes and planted ourselves right in front of the castle (we were in the very front!).

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    There was a huge line to the right of us for people getting into Tomorrowland (Star Tours and Space Mountain) but we wanted to keep to Fantasyland for the most part. This hour and a half or so was kinda a blur. I know we did Peter Pan, Dumbo, Storybook Canal boats and others. It’s a little hazy since I have been dragging my feet doing this report!

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    Anyway, we powered through a ton of rides and then it was back to the airport to go home! We got our taxi around 10ish and we were on our way. Our flight was out of Long Beach, which was nice however our flight was delayed by about an hour and a half. And that airport is really not the airport you want to be stuck at. Very tiny, nowhere to walk around, no restaurants, etc. The kids finished up their homework for the trip and then we boarded the plane!

    Our flight home was really uneventful (and short since we live in Seattle). Before we knew it we were getting to another taxi to get home and unloading everything! It was about 5pm on Monday and it was back to school and work for us the next day!

    I guess that it about it…in short when I look back on my very favorite vacations I have had with the kids my 2010 Bahamas/WDW trip is prob my favorite. After that, last year with Matt our DL and Mexican cruise was next. This trip just had so many bumps along the way- BUT it was still a great trip. And when I think about my week with Matt in Hawaii it makes me sad that we had to leave. That week was PERFECTION.

    So what’s next for our family? Well Matt and I got home ad after a few days we got into vacation planning mode again. We knew we wanted to do something soon since the last part of our trip was kind of a bust. However neither of us were keen on the kids missing school again. Not that they can’t keep up- it’s just a pain to bother with while we were away.

    We knew we had our spring break (April) trip planned next year- we are going back to Hawaii as family for our anniversary trip. We will be staying a few days at the same bungalow in Haleiwa, showing the kids where we got married, etc. Then heading to Aulani for 5 days! They will LOVE it there.
    As great as our Hawaii trip will be, it does seem very far! Our budget doesn’t allow for that and a cruise this year so anything else we want to do will have to be less extravagant.

    We decided on taking the kids back to Disneyland but staying a full week. The longest any of us have done in the parks at a time was 4 days so this will be so fun! We are most looking forward to all the non-ride activities. Looking in all the shops, seeing the shows, just exploring the parks in general. By then Carsland will have opened too so Aidan will be thrilled. We are going Sep. 1-8 – I am hoping for low crowds after the 3rd (labor day) as most should be in school. Our district here is weird and we don’t start until the 10th this next year.

    We are planning on staying at the Grand Californian again (no villas though- no availability in short notice) and are waiting for a pin code or fall discount rates to come out before booking. We will be going to Legoland one day (renting a car) and also have booked Sarina Love Photography again to do a family shoot with all of us and also a separate shoot with just me (boudoir shoot). Fun! Should be a relaxing week and a great end to the summer. If you have subbed n here then I will come back and post the link to my new trip report when I start one!

    Thanks for reading everyone!!
     

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