What a great week! We all agreed it was the best time ever and hope to be able to go again in 2003! Our Me (DW 39), DH 47, DS 11, and DD 9 First I just want to say thank you to all of the Disers whos advice and help before our trip really made the difference. I had so many incidents where we would be talking with people and they would say "oh, youve done this before" and Id say, no, and explain our boards and all the great advice we had planning. So thank you all!! We arrived Friday afternoon and stayed at the Radisson. The hotel was very nice and we had a room for $99 which was ok. Carpet was stained and the room was very "lived in". Next time I would spend alittle more $$ for a nicer room, but it worked fine. We had a huge storm Friday afternoon and we even heard there was a tornado at Cape Canaveral. The weather reports predicted the same for Sat. afternoon, and all I could think of was I hope our Sail-A-Way party didnt get rained out! We caught a 10 am shuttle to the port Sat. am. I met Skeegan and her family in the lobby that morning. We were quickly at the port and it was practically empty! After about 20 minutes they started checking us in and then we quickly moved to stand in line (the first of many "Disney Lines", we called them!) to get onto the board. We were probably the 10th people or so in line. While at the port, I met Patches4, Jet, Indymom and Equilos DW (hope I didnt forget anyone). It was really nice to put faces to the people I have "talked" to for so long! First let me say that we were told we were on a full ship of 2,700 and half were kids!! It really didnt seem like that many We boarded the ship around 12:10, our family was announced and they took our picture. They all clapped for us and we were in awe as we walked into this magnificent lobby with all these uniformed CMs clapping for us! We were made to feel special right off the bat!!Went to Topsiders for the buffet (yes, the shrimp were fantastic!) I then went to Palos..ressies started at 1 pm and I walked right in and got our Brunch reservation made for Monday, no problems! We decided not to do Palos for dinner, and eat with the kids, so brunch was "our thing". (it was GREAT, more on that in Part 2) We then made our way to our stateroom (6110-Cat. 6 w/verandah). Our stateroom host was Jeff from the Philippines and he was wonderful. Our room was cleaned 2-3 times a day, we had great towel animals every night which my kids loved (hey, me and DH also did!!) He kept our collapsible cooler full of ice also. We brought 1 ½ cases of beer with us .so the cooler worked our very well. Our dinner rotation was LAPLAPL, which surprised us. That gave us Animators on the formal night and Lumiers on the Tropical night. We thought with kids we would get maybe PAL, or APL, but maybe with the ship so full and our kids on the sort-of-older side, they gave us that. It all worked out fine though. We had the early seating, which we did have to rush a bit for each evening, but I dont think we could have done the later seating. Dinner took 1 ½ hours and I couldnt see us eating till 10 pm at night. Our servers was Jelidi from France (ooo-laa-laa!), Willy from the Philippines, and our Head Server was Jeff from England. Jelidi and Willy were fantastic Jelidi gave my DD (9) especially so much attention and took her by the hand every night and lead her to our table. He wrote messages on her desserts and gave her hugs and kisses at first my DD was a bit hesitant, but I explained to her about different cultures and how the French were and how in 10 years she would be dying to get this attention from a French man!! After that she was abit more comfortable. The food was great, we had no complaints, which our bathroom scale can certainly vouch for us!!! My DS often ordered an appetizer from the adult menu, his meal from the kids, and a dessert from the adults! My hubby caught on quickly that you could order 2 appetizers, and he even ordered 2 entrees a few times. All the restaurants and meals were great and Jelidi always had some magic tricks to end the night with. Our first day at sea was really spent getting acquainted with the ship. The kids loved the kids clubs my DD spent quite a bit of time in her club. My ds (11) spent some time, but then met friends and we basically let him "do his own thing" as long as he checked in with us and we knew where he would be. It worked out fantastically. Both kids made many friends also. The counselors were awesome,. You could tell they really enjoyed their jobs and they really kept a good eye on the kids. If one started to "wander", someone was immediately there rounding them up. I felt very secure with them with my kids! Our first day at seas was wonderful. I must say that I was expecting a real problem with the lounge chairs, but we didnt experience any of that. We are early risers, and were normally up at the pool by 9:30 and there were tons of empty chairs by all of the pools. Even around 10:30 there were still chairs available. Now if you were to wait till 12:30 and expect to get a few chairs together, you may have a problem, but many chairs cleared out around 1 or so, and there were many tables around in the shade which were available. Scoops was a hit with the kids and Plutos had the BEST chicken tenders any of us had ever had! Pizza was also very good. You never went hungry! Well, need to get thoughts together for Part 2!!!!