Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Sep 23, 2012.
Sounds like you're very organized. Did you hear about the DVC special for the Premium AP?
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Yes, this is why I am holding off until next week. I don't really do the water parks and I have never been to Disney Quest. I was just going to get the normal annual pass, but this is actually cheaper and the 20% will be sweet.
This might be an excellent chance to try the water parks. Am I remembering correctly that you enjoyed the one in Dubai? This special is just amazing, I'm going to get one as well.
Yes, I love Aquaventure at the Atlantis in Dubai and therein lies the problem. We have been to both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon a couple of times and they do not even come close to Aquaventure. I think if Typhoon Lagoon was open, I may be tempted as I have not been since they added Crush and Gusher. It always seems to be in Rehab when we go to Orlando lately and sure enough it is in Rehab again for the whole of November.
Ahhh, I didn't know you had been to the waterparks before. I must have forgotten if that was in your TRs. What bad luck TL is closed again.
Checking in and looking forward to this adventure !!
ADRs for Walt Disney World
We will be doing the normal dining plan for most of the stay apart from the last night where we will have the Deluxe Dining Plan. The last night was added as an afterthought fairly late on and I could not get a studio so we are moving to a One Bedroom Villa. As this is classified as a completely different reservation, I can add a different kind of dining plan. Here are the ADRs that I have made:
Cape May Clam Bake
Olivia's Cafe (Thanksgiving)
Le Cellier (Lunch, Candlelight Processional Package, paying out of pocket)
The Wave (followed by watching fireworks from the Top of the World Lounge)
Kona Cafe (Lunch)
I also still need to call Big River Grille and Brewing Works for priority seating.
I have to say Texas was never a place that was particularly high on my to do list and the only reason it was on there at all is that at some stage I would love to see the third SeaWorld park. Houston was never even on my radar. Then the 2012 itineraries where announced and suddenly this changed. Whereas Houston was never on my bucket list, Costa Maya certainly was. The cruises out of Galveston do call at Costa Maya and better still, it is my favourite ship, the Disney Magic, that sails out of Galveston.
Whereas I never intended to make a whole holiday out of this, I always like to fly in a couple of days early when I go on a cruise and this gives us a whole day in Texas. We realised pretty quickly that there was nothing in Houston that we particularly wanted to see and do so we started to research Galveston.
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island, about 75 minutes drive away from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Galveston has had a port since 1825 and is home to a number of Carnival ships year round. Galveston has also plenty of tourist attractions. The one that appealed to us the most is Schlitterbahn and indoor and outdoor waterpark. Unfortunately it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays in November.
However, we soon found something else that captured our interested. Moody Gardens is a tourist complex, with a zoo, gardens, a beach, waterslides, a paddlewheeler, cinemas and a hotel. Some of the attractions are seasonal, but most of them are open year round. Moody Gardens features three pyramid attractions: the Aquarium Pyramid, which is one of the largest in the world and holds many species of fish and other sealife; the Rainforest Pyramid, which contains tropical animals and plants, birds, butterflies, reptiles and a variety of other rainforest animals including free-roaming monkeys and two-toed sloths; and the Discovery Pyramid, which focuses on science-oriented exhibits and activities. I think we will have a lot of fun in all three of them. The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat also appeals to us. We need to be a little bit careful though as this only operates once a day during the winter months.
Something else that appeals to me is the Galveston Island Ferry. The ferry links Galveston with Port Bolivar. It is free to ride and takes about 18 minutes in each direction. The reason why I would like to ride it is that the local dolphin population likes to play in the waves that the ferry creates and there is a very unusual dolphin that is pink in the bay of Galveston. I suppose we will see how we get on.
One thing is sure. Dinner will be at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. I have wanted to try this restaurant for years, but it never has quite worked out. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Galveston is at the new pleasure pier.
I managed to get a great travel industry rate at the Holiday Inn on the Beach, which is right across the road from the beach. I have to check out the lay of the land when we get there, but I am hoping that I might be able to see the Magic come into port either from the hotel or from the beach. The hotel offers a complimentary port shuttle so getting to the port on the day will be easy.
We looked at this cruise but were not sure which airport you'd need to fly into and how much the transfers would cost?
Houston has two airports: George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby. Hobby is closer to Galveston, but George Bush Intercontinental is where the international flights arrive. DCL offers transfers from George Bush Intercontinental on the day of the cruise. We are going to go with ExecuCar, which is a sister company of Supershuttle. We used them in Los Angeles last year to get to our friends in Seal Beach and they were fantastic. The return trip for the two of us is $120.
Both your ADRs and Galveston plans look great
OK, I finally came over here. Those are a lot of firsts! I can't believe you've never had a verandah stateroom on your cruises and you've been on so many. I've actually never had an inside stateroom. I'm not sure I could handle not being able to go out on the verandah, but we spend a lot more time in the room than you and Graham.
OMG! I just saw you haven't stayed in a one bedroom villa!!!!!!!! We finally gave up studios last year. We bought DVC because of the one bedrooms because of the kitchens, but even more so the jacuzzis. You are going to LOVE the Jacuzzi at OKW. Last year we stayed there one night because BLT didn't have availability and OMG! The accomodations there are insane! If this is the only 1 bedroom you have stayed in, don't get your hopes up because none of the other one bedrooms compare to OKW. These Villas are huge!!!! The tubs are insane and the amount of space you get is mind boggling! I'm looking forward to a trip where we can go there and just relax and hang out maybe have friends over, but so far I don't see it in the cards....
I can't wait to hear about how this trip unfolds and while in Texas you must find somewhere that you two can have a Chicken Fried Steak. It is the State food! I love visiting Texas, they have a passion for eating that outlives any state. Everything is Larger in Texas and they continually tell you so!
We have had one ocean view stateroom on our second cruise. This was supposed to be our first cruise and Graham could not imagine not having a view. However, when we booked this, the cruise we had really wanted was sold out. This changed again about 4 months prior to sailing. I decided to book this for us, but all I could afford was an inside cabin as we were already doing another cruise and were also staying at Disney World. We have not looked back since. I realized on our second cruise that I had a big issue with the split bathroom. So we have only done category 11s since. However, on this occasion the veranda stateroom actually worked out cheaper than an inside cabin. I also realized on the Hawaii cruise that I never really used our bathroom. I really only used it to brush my teeth or if I had to go to the bathroom in the middle night. I much prefer the showers in the spa locker room and used them every day.
I think Graham will spend a lot of time just relaxing on the veranda. I will have characters to see, tastings to do and all kinds of other activities to do so for me not much will change. I nearly gave away yesterday. We were having a bit of lunch in town and I said to Graham that I really want to have room service for lunch one day on our cruise, which will be another first for us. I was just about to say that it will be lovely to sit on our veranda having lunch, but just managed to hold back and said that we can sit by the porthole enjoying the view.
When we are at Disney, we don't tend to spend much time in the room either. The only exception to this was when we stayed at Jambo House. It was not planned there either, but I was so captivated by the animals that I had trouble tearing myself away from the balcony. So we always stay in a studio to maximize the points. The only reason why we have a one bedroom for the last night is that at the eleventh hour, I decided to extend the trip for one extra night and there were no studios available. I am really looking forward to trying a one bedroom though.
Your forthcoming trip looks fab! I notice that you have done the Hawaii cruise, was that the Disney one in April? Did you do a trip report? If you did could you post a link as would love to read that too!
Yes, it was the inaugural Hawaii cruise on the Disney Wonder in April, which was absolutely amazing. The trip report is still a work in progress, but all the cruise installments have been posted. You can find it linked in my signature under "Taking Stitch To Hawaii and NOT Leaving Him There".
I am getting so excited about this trip and can't believe that 5 weeks from today, we will be on our way to Houston.
Sorry about being lazy about updating this, but life has got in the way. Not only is it the end of the quarter, which is normally very busy anyway, but it is also appraisal month which adds to my workload and I have to be super organized as I am going to be away for most of November. Having said that, having this trip to plan is keeping me sane.
I can't wait to see my favourite ship again although I have to admit that I will really miss the Outlook Cafe. The first cruise out of Galveston came back last Saturday and fortunately somebody posted the Navigators so I could indulge in a little of preliminary planning.
For me, one of the main draws of a Disney cruise is the characters and it looks like I will be thoroughly spoiled in this respect. I have only noticed Stitch listed on Pirate Night, but that is OK. I was spoiled with Stitch last cruise. As long as I get to see him at least once, I am happy. I can always try to find him at Walt Disney World after the cruise. Something that I was very excited to see is that Aurora was out multiple times during the cruise. I am not really into the princesses, but I have photos with a lot of them and I am still missing Aurora for my collection.
This time round, I am hoping to have a peak at the various youth programming areas during Open House on the first day. I have been to the Oceaneers Lab for Adult Flubber on our Transatlantic cruise in 2010 and I had a look at The Edge on the Wonder during open house on the Panama Canal Cruise, but I am really curious about Vibe and also how The Edge on the Magic compares to the one on the Wonder.
Other things that I am really looking forward to are the DVC Member celebration, the Castaway Club reception, a couple of tastings and I got silly excited when I realized that they had Pirate trivia on the cruise. This is one of my favourite activities, but I missed in on our Mexican Riviera cruise last year as my excursion finished very late and they did not offer it on the Hawaii cruise. Of course, I will also spend a fair bit of time in the Rainforest Room.
One highlight of our cruises is Palo. I managed to get a brunch and a dinner reservation. Dinner has not quite worked out how I had hoped. Initially people had been advised that Pirate Night would be on the 5th night, which just happens to be my birthday. So once I had this cruise booked, I booked Palo for this night. Graham hates Pirate Night in the dining rooms so that seemed perfect. I has now turned out that Pirate Night is actually on the Grand Cayman night, which is a day earlier. I am still pondering if I should give up Palo on my birthday and book it for Pirate Night instead or just be selfish and stick with Palo for my birthday and go to the dining room on Pirate Night. In this scenario, Graham can either head to Topsiders or get room service on Pirate Night. Graham has also suggested that I should check on the ship if I can get a second Palo reservation so that we can eat there both nights. This would be the best solution.
Our first port on this cruise will be Grand Cayman. We have been there once before on our Western Caribbean cruise in 2009. Grand Cayman is a tender port and the tendering process was not particularly well organised. We had booked an excursion through Disney and we had to wait forever until they had a tender for us. The tenders that they used in the morning were essentially just floating platforms with seats and railings. Add to this that the sea was a bit choppy as well and this turned out to be quite an adventure. This taught me to fear the tendering process. Coming back in the afternoon the tenders actually resembled boats and this was a far better experience.
Last time round, we visited the turtle farm. This was OK, but the initial tour was too long for my taste especially as it was a hot day and there was little shade. It was nice to be able to hold a turtle. Once we got let loose, we spent a fair while in their aviary, which we loved. It was also nice to swim in their snorkelling lagoon ( I had not mastered snorkelling yet at that stage). We saw a bunch of birds that we had never seen before and at one stage an Iguana was swimming right in front of us. It was quite an enjoyable day, but once was enough. What I really enjoyed was the quick photo stop at Hell. This was fascinating to see.
The excursion that seems to be the most popular on Grand Cayman is a trip to Stingray City. Everybody that I know who has been to Stingray City, loved it. Part of me really wants to do this, but part of me knows that this would freak me out. I have a bit of a stingray phobia. It took me many visits to Discovery Cove to be able to tolerate being surrounded by stingrays and eventually touch them. I still can't feed them. The stingrays at Discovery Cove are the tame, de-barbed kind. The stingrays at Stingray City are very much wild stingrays with their barbs still attached. They are used to human beings, but I am not sure if I could get used to them.
So the most likely course of action will be getting a taxi to one of the beaches and just spend a few happy hours swimming in the sea. Seven Mile Beach is the closest to the port, but I have heard great things about Rum Point. I will have to do some more research on this before we leave.
Hopefully the Palo situation works out. I'm a firm believer of doing exactly what you want on your birthday so the best solution sounds like trying for a second reservation.
Grand Cayman was a wildcard when I thought I would do a Western in March, had to switch to an Eastern because of dates. I think I had just decided to do a beach day as well. The options didn't seem as fun as some other ports.
Well, I have decided to stick with Palo for my birthday. If we can get a second Palo dinner for Pirate Night, then wonderful, but if not, it is not a big deal either and we work something out.
Of all the ports I have been to, Grand Cayman is probably my least favourite port, but I loved Cozumel and I can't wait to get to Costa Maya.
Grand Cayman - Second Thoughts
Well, both Graham and I were at home today and we spend some of the day doing some research. We were trying to figure out which beach would be the best to visit. During our research, we came across something completely different. We found the website for Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (http://www.botanic-park.ky/). We are both birdwatchers and from what we read, there is some good birdwatching to be had. The park is also supposed to be a good place to see the rare blue iguana. Initially we thought we could do it the DIY way, but the cost for a taxi there and back was just too much. I did however manage to find an excursion to the park that was an absolute bargain and also includes a stop at a small local brewery. I think this day is going to be a lot of fun after all.
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