So the story all began sitting on the comfy chairs on Deck 4 of the Magic, many years ago, watching the waves go by, when DH and I realized that this was the first vacation we had had together since we got married that we could spend most of the time enjoying each others company. The kids were off playing with kids their own age and wanted nothing to do with us. Oh well!! So we decided that we had to do this again (and again and again)... we booked on board. And this is the story of our 4th DCL Cruise Spring Break March 25, 2006 cruise. Our family is me, DS#1 14 turning 15 on the cruise, DS#2 12 in 7th grade and DH who is over the hill . We booked on board March 2004, and waited and waited, planned and overplanned, DISed and thought about the Magic for 2 years... finally it was time for reservations, final payments and excursions. Then I waited, planned and DISed some more. But finally, the big day arrived. It was Friday March 24th. The plan was that the kids were to get home from school at 2:45, I would work from home that day and start early in the morning, so I could leave at 3 pm. DH would leave work early too. We woke up to snow then it cleared, then it snowed... UCK!! So I started to worry, what if the flight were late due to the weather, what it we didnt make our connection? And it kept on snowing. I checked the direct flight, none to be had, checked alternatives, NONE!! It was Spring Break and all of the Chi suburbs were off and headed to Florida We were connecting in St Louis.. So I worried what if we missed our flight,checked out the next one and it was not until the next morning and we wouldnt arrive in time to make the ship.. Spoke to one of my DIS friends, CADBURYSMOM, and she tried to calm me down and said that she felt that all would be okay and not to worry.. Thanks Chocolatesista.. The cab/kids/DH arrived on time and off to the airport we went. According to the monitor the flight was on time... (All the worry for nothing, Chocolatesista was right) . We sat down at the gate for our flight, and watched as it kept getting later and later and later and there was no plane at the gate. Our connection time in St Louis was getting shorter and shorter. I was not panicked yet, just paced, with arms folder and teeth clenched. 15 minutes late, 30 minutes late. Finally the planed arrived and we boarded.. 1 hour late not much of a problem but since we only had an hour layover in St Louis, things seemed bleak. What if I missed my connection, what it I missed my CRUISE!!!!! I had waited and dreamed and planned for 2 years and WHAT if I missed my cruise?? DS12 asked me .. MOM what if we miss the cruise??? Well I said in a controlled voice, I have my AP and your WDW tickets with me, so I guess we will stay anywhere we can and visit WDW for the week.... What a waste of a great cruise MOM, he said.. Yep!! I said through my almost tears.. The pilot made up some time in the air and we arrived with 10 minutes to get off the plane and run through the airport and catch the next flight. The attendant asked everyone to stay seated and let the folks with connections off first. And people listened to her.. Thanks everyone.. We got off the plane and started to run.. Well actually, my oldest son is on the high school cross country team , so I told him to just get there and hold the plane for us. There was another family that was on the same plane too. So all together there were 9 of us hurrying to get the plane. Safety in numbers I thought.. And the other plane waited I could relax, we were gonna make it.. walked down the jetway.. And down the stairs?? What is this? Out to the runway?? Wait a minute.. What is going on here? But there, parked outside by the terminal building was a stretched broomstick type airplanethingy that they wanted me to walk up the stairs and enter?? Feeling a bit like Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, I turned to DH and started to say those famous lines, when he said Come on, we are holding up the plane HUH!! So we entered, 1 seat on one side and 2 seats on the other oh so thats why they asked each of us our weight Why did I deduct a few 10s of pounds when they asked me?? Would I overburden the plane? Make it tilt to one side? Maybe I should sit with a little kid to balance out the weight .. But we got off the ground and soon were airborn on our way to Florida and the MAGIC. We arrived on time and the vacation was to start as we landed in beautiful warm Florida.. but it felt like 30 degrees outside. We got our luggage easily. I had laminated Mickey Heads from Home Depot and placed them on all of our black rollie bags. Without the Mickey Heads, our luggage looked like everyone elses as they make it round and round the luggage carousel. DH made fun of me, but it was easy to tell our bags. Rented a car and found our hotel. Next morning it was 47 degrees. Hello this is Florida not Chicago and I am on my way to a Magical Cruise.. Weatherman wake up and turn on the heat. On our way to the port,we stopped for water and wine. DCL had recently added diet Sprite so I didnt need to get diet caffeine free soda. Thanks DCL. We dropped of the car, took the shuttle to the port . The rental car drop off shuttle had moved to a different place than 2 years ago. It was a much shorter walk to the terminal. Thanks DCL for fixing that. We got to the DCL terminal and still had our sweatshirts on.. It never did warm up that day.. Check in was a breeze, since we had done so much online. Lots of Characters were out for pictures. We were boarding group 7, the whole boarding thing moved fast and before we knew it, it was time to board the Magic. Pictures taken, we were announced to the Magic and then off to Parrot Cay. I love Parrot Cay; it is my very favorite restaurant. It says Welcome to the Magic to me. The line moved slowly due to the servers handing you the plate and serving you. We chatted with fellow DISers in line behind us but we didnt know it until the sail away DIS meet. Hi CAMOM.. We sat at a table with a family on their second cruise and had a great time talking with them. The mango soup was just a yummy as I remembered. My boys ate and ran, they had to much to do and so they were off with a reminder to be at the cabin for the safety drill. We were in 5020 a SPH room.. We loved it.. We have only stayed on Deck 2, cat 10 before.. and this was wonderful.. My whole family agreed that this was our room from now on. We had another DIS family next door to us( Hi Skibum and Minnie328) too and another DIS family down the hall ( Gimpeaux). DS#1 headed for the Stack and DS#2 went to Ocen Quest and the sports deck. The kids met other repeat cruise boys and found friends very fast. When I went to the Stack to see the dry dock changes the CM told me that DS14 and 4 other boys had become friends and were now planning to do things for the rest of the cruise. DS12 loved OceanQuest and met other boys that were 7th grade and almost 13 too and they hung together all week. DH and I then went to check out other parts of the ship. We ate like Hobbits Meanwhile, the boys decided that they needed a second lunch and headed to deck 9. They had several pops, and tasted the wraps from Goofys gallery and the ice cream too. Goofys Gallery was to be our family spot for the cruise. The boys loved the wraps and sandwiches. A small salad with some fruit was perfect for me and we all ate more than our share of ice cream everyday. Having quickly noticed that the ice cream cups next to the softserve machine were the 3 year old size, we looked for suitable containers for our ice cream. We conducted an experiment and measured the amount of ice cream that the soda cup and the coffee cup could hold. It was decided by TEAM ICE CREAM that the soda cup could hold more ice cream, so it became the ice cream cup of choice, During the week, we made Coke floats, milk shakes- with chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and milk, plain sundaes and ice cream coffees. It was a ritual at dinner to ask the boys what they ate all day. They had breakfast, second breakfast, 11ish snack, lunch, 2nd lunch, mid day treats, pre dinner dinner, dinner and then more food until the pizza place closed at 11 pm, then they went trolling for more food at whatever was open. Not mention that they both had 2 Mickey Bars each from room service daily. They told me at dinner, the number of burgers, pizza, wraps and ice creams each one had eaten. I can understand why DCL charges adult prices for the boys, they ate more then than most people in a week on a daily basis. Really, taking Teen age boys on a cruise is really less expensive than feeding them anywhere else. After the safety drill, we went to Deck 10 for the DIS meet. I met most of the people I had been talking to for the past year and hoped to meet them again and chat more.. DH and I went to the welcome aboard show and then to change and get ready for dinner. DS 1 and 2 arrived, cleaned up and off the dinner we went.. The boys ate and ran to get back to their friends and other activities. We had 8 pm seating. It was Perfect, rotation was APL. The food was much better this trip and so was the presentation. After dinner we walked around a bit, watch a bit of the movie on Deck 9 and then headed to rockin D. Sunday was Key West. We went to breakfast and then to the DVC meet. We got our lanyards, hats and other goodies. We got to meet some other families from ILL that were DVC and some fellow DISers too. When the boat docked and we were ready to go to Key West, we forced the kids to join us. We started off to explore Key West. We walked to the southern most point in the US and met a man with no teeth that was taking pictures. He was really nice and offered to take a picture of the 4 of us. We chatted about the Illini. ( Dh has his Illini shirt on and DS#2 has his Illini cap). Walked over to the beach and then up Duval Street, we had the best Key Lime pie ever at Blonde Giraffe. We talked with another family from Illinois as we ate our pies. Then walked up Duval. We were going to go to the pirate museum but DS#1 was feeling uncomfortable and DS#2 wanted to go back to his friends. I was not happy either, watching all the men looking at DS#1 and the suggestive t-shirts. So we headed back to the ship. The kids scattered, and DH and I went up to Deck 9. The wraps were wonderful and he wanted another one, plus some ice cream. (Yes we all ate a lot) After that we went back to Key West and went to the pirate museum. It was fun and worth the admission. We went to the winery down the street and taste some different wines. DH loved the Mango wine; it was too sweet for me. We got back in time for the show and to clean up for dinner. After dinner we went to Who wants to be a Mouseketeer. After the 3rd contestant from Illinois was chosen, Christian, the asst cruise director quipped, Another one from Illinois? Did ya leave anyone back in ILLINOIS? No cause it was Illinois week on the Magic. We saw more White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Illini T-shirts all over the ship. We met people from the same town, and every time we turned around there was another family from Illinois. Monday a sea day DH and DS#2 went to the movie and saw Chicken Little. I lazed around and walked Deck 4 and read. We ordered Mickey bars from room service. A wonderful day Tuesday was Grand Caymans we had booked with Capt Bryon for the stingray city and 2 snorkeling stops. The water was so clear, waves were high and the sea was very chopping but the snorkeling was great. Loved the Stingrays and it was nice to be on a 50ftBuccaneer Catamaran with only 20 people on it. Lovely excursion We were dropped off in town by the dock and tendered back to the Magic. Kids left to find their friends and to eat. DH and I wanted to clean up and then start off to lunch. I decided to throw a load of laundry in on our way up Luckily got two washers and then met up with CAMOM. We chatted and chatted. She gave me a tour of the Walt Suite and I showed her our SPH room. With the laundry done, Dh and I went to the Castaway Club reception. They didnt have the buffet like in the years passed. This time the servers were bringing around food for all and some wonderful green drinks. That night was Twice Charmed. I thought this show was ok. I am glad that I saw it but won't go out of my way to see it again. Wednesday Costa Maya We went on the Chacchoben Ruins tour with DS#1, DS#2 wasnt interested so he stayed in the lab all day. It was a great tour our guide gave us a lot of information about the Mayan culture and history. The ruins were wonderful. We got back at 5 pm. DH and the boys went to Shaggy Dog. I watched the Magic as we sailed away from Costa Maya, saw the lady walk up the pier 10 minutes after the ship was supposed to sail.. What was she thinking? Costa Maya is an isolated place. I didnt see an airport. If one got stuck there, you might as well stay and open a Ghirardellis chocolate and ice cream store and watch the ships and the profits roll in. I walked/ran on deck 4 and saw a family/small group that had ordered the cheese platter, and had a bottle of wine. What a great idea!!! I made a mental note for next trip to organize a DIS or family meet on Deck 4 with the cheese and wine. After dinner DH and I went to the Pirates party, which really was a loud dance party. There were several families that had saved tables so they would have a great view. One family put their soda cups down to reserve the table, but never showed up again. Another family had Grandma and Grandpa save seats but they danced and left early to get the kids to bed, so poor grandma and grandpa were all alone. Good thing we chatted with them and kept them company. Next time, I will miss the loud dance stuff and show up later for the fireworks. But the fireworks were great. And of course the chocolate from the buffet was another highlight. Thursday was another sea day. We relaxed and enjoyed the day at sea. Ordered Mickey bars from room service. Dinner was semi formal and the food was great. We went to the movie at 10:30 then off to the Chocolate Buffet at Lumieres. The chocolate and cheesecake buffet was fantastic.. a not to miss . Friday was Castaway Cay. I had to get up early to get DS#1 up, breakfasted and off the teen excursion at 9 am. I was supposed to do the nature walk and kayak but it was canceled, due to lack of participants. Woke up DS#2 at 10:30 and after breakfast, we left for castaway cay, found loungers in the shade and enjoyed the day at the beach. Cookies has never been my favorite meal, but I thought that on this trip it was much improved. DH and I decided that next cruise we will eat at the adults side. In the afternoon, the water was very high tide and you could walk out almost ½ way to the shark nets. We got back about 3 pm, ordered Mickey bars and relaxed in the room for a while and started packing. Dinner was wonderful. DS#1 joined us but DS#2 said that Ocean Quest had a pizza party so he wasnt going to do normal dinner, just more burger, piuzza, wraps. HMMMM It was sad to say good by to our servers and to the Magic. but we knew we would be back We went to the CM Talent show night, then off to Rocking bar D .. Saturday was breakfast at Annimators, another hug for our severs and off we went to do a quick walk around the ship - our way of saying Bye to the Magic.. See ya in 2 years. The car rental was easy and we got the WDW by 9:30. DH dropped me off at AK so I could ride Everest and took the boys to POP to check in. The they headed to Epcot. I went to the single rider line and rode Everest twice and then off to Epcot to meet the family. The boys has gotten a fast passes for Soarin and went to The Living Sea and saw Crush. I met up with them at the new revised coke station. On that day, the crowds were at AK and there were not lines at Epcot. The rides were all walk on. We did Mission Space twice and then Test Tract 2 times. The MS and TT again. Lunch was at Le Cellier. We had Patrick as a waiter and he was great. If you can get him, he is very talented and sings and makes the entire dining experience great. After lunch , we did Soarin, Mexican boat ride, Malstrom, MS, TT , Spaceship Earth, MS, TT and Ellen. We were getting hungry so we went back to POP for a snack. Sunday we left and had the whole airplane thing again. So that ended our Spring Break 2006 trip in which we ate like Hobbits.