*Our MAGICal Christmas Cruise* ~ Dec. 24th-30th: All pics uploaded (except scanned!)

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by jitsb, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    Our MAGICal Christmas Cruise 2011!!

    Ok, so I'm mainly a lurker here on the DISboards. The only time I really post/create stuff is when we're getting ready to travel and I need motivation! :rotfl: I did, however, post one previous trip report and HERE is the link to our MAGICal Mediterranean Cruise, if you're interested. ;)

    :santa: Disclaimer: This is the first time my small family and I have ever "go on vacation" for Christmas! All previous years it has been family gatherings, some involving hosting, some involving travel and one particularly hideous holiday last year which involved delayed flights on a translatlantic move with two small kids and a pair of cats. :headache: Needless to say, we are SUPER excited to be have booked such an unbelievable trip for ourselves and will ONLY be focusing on making the most of it. All negative-nellies and nay-sayers will be sent to the bring. Thank you. :santa:

    INTRODUCTIONS:
    My DH, military student extraordinaire, Jason (35)
    Myself, your intrepid-compulsive reporter, Sarah (34)
    Our DS, world-traveler oldest, Ian (8)
    Our DS, reluctant tag-a-long, Tyler (5)

    As you may have guessed, we lead what Paul Child referred to as "a curry of a life"! My DH and I met in college and we haven't settled down since! Since those far off college days, we've literally moved halfway across the world (and back!) and, more recently, developed a love of DCL. Now the hard part is convincing Uncle Sam that we need to always be stationed near something Disney and be consistently provided with ample vacation at the times we desire in order to take advantage of it. No prob! :rolleyes:

    We had an amazing time and turns out, we could not have been more grateful for spontaneously booking a Christmas CRUISE while on board! :santa: Our life has taken some frightening turns in the last year, but we are incredibly grateful that we have each other to spend this holiday with...oh, and Mickey of course!!

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    So, after 15 months of anticipation, our next big trip is almost here! By the time DH graduates, we will ALL be so in need of a vacay!! Most of my info will be pictures *cough*scrapbook*cough* and funny stories, seeing how we always end up with the strangest things to share! Guess we should be surprised seeing that our family motto, since the first move, has been "Always an Adventure!"
     
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  3. Kurby

    Kurby All the adversity I've had in my life, all my trou

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    im here

    lookimg forward to reading all about it
     
  4. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    I'm in!

    Jill in CO (and I actually know where Lansing, KS is!)
     
  5. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    Wow, look at that! I actually have people who are interested in reading! O.0 Oh, the pressure! :laughing:

    Hi Kurby! *waves* Hey jedijill! Love the name; we're big Star Wars fans around here. :thumbsup2 I think my boys are going to be super excited to spend the day before our cruise at Disney Hollywood Studios. Legos, Star Wars, and Mickey, what more could a boy ask for?! :cool1:

    We actually have had all kinds of friends and family living around the Denver area in the last 10 years so I know a bit about where you're living too!
    -------------

    T-Minus 15 days and Counting!!

    So I was tempted to take/post some pictures of my disaster of a house, but I'm pretty sure DH would kill me! This place is knee-deep in the SOS method of organizing, Stacks Of ...Stuff ;) lol! I have piles of clothes, door decorations, and swim gear all over the corners of our bedroom and the office is a "mine-field" (as DH so delicately put it) of FE gifts in various stages of completion.

    I can't believe how I'm procrastinating my preparations for this trip! :blush: I blame the fact that my son's birthday is this weekend. I've been baking Christmas cookies, prepping snacks and wrapping presents in my "free time" this week. But, hey, at least I have my dress, shoes and accessories for Christmas Dinner all ready to go! princess: A girl has to be properly attired, ya know.

    DH is officially done with his classes for the year, so for the next week and a half, the "fun" of out-processing commences. I overheard him this morning, as he was slogging through lists and calendars, grumble to himself, "Man, I can't wait for this to be over. I'm so ready for a vacation!" Yay!! :yay:

    I plan to post an itinerary next week, to help with finalizing the clothing plan before packing starts. But don't get too excited, there's really nothing much special going on this time... we're just ready to get away! :dance3:
     
  6. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    ONE WEEK LEFT !!

    ...and I'm so not ready! :rotfl: At least the FE gifts are packed and labeled. Now I just need to get myself packed! And with that in mind, here's the itinerary for our Christmas Cruise. :santa:

    Thursday December 22nd: We better make sure our car is packed the night before because we have to leave bright and early to catch our 9:25 a.m. flight! Fortunately, the airport is only about 20-30 mins. away and my boys are early risers. ;)
    We should land in Orlando around 1:15p.m. and are taking the ME bus to Port Orleans resort: French Quarter! princess: We're planning to store the bags at the Bell Service and hit the Magic Kingdom! Our boys were too little last time to do Space Mountain or Haunted Mansion, so I think we'll grab some snacks and ride all through dinner time! We plan to close out the park that night and experience the parade and fireworks for the first time... at Christmas. Awesome-sauce!! :santa:

    Friday December 23rd: Another first for the jitsb crew: Disney Hollywood Studios! :3dglasses we plan to be there at park opening and stay until it's time to leave for dinner reservations at O'hana's. Anyone have an estimate on how long it will take to get to MK on park transfers at rush hour?!

    Saturday December 24th: Embarkation Day!! We also have our DISboards Cruise Meet scheduled for that afternoon. Looking forward to meeting everyone! :santa: Causal dinner (hope we get a good rotation!) means I'm wearing my Tommy Bahama sundress and shell sandals! How awesome is that in December?!

    Sunday December 25th:

    Monday December 26th:

    Tuesday December 27th:

    Wednesday December 28th:

    Thursday December 29th:

    Friday December 30th:
     
  7. honeybubba

    honeybubba Earning My Ears

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    It sounds like you will be going from Studios to Polynesian not to MK. Studios has buses to the resorts/hotels direct-ish. You may have to get on a bus that goes to Wilderness Lodge and/or Grand Floridian. It could take up to an hour or so, since you will be leaving near the end of the day along with the masses. The parks are typically at capacity or really close on these days, so lines in the buses could be full. If you wanted to go crazy, you could hop a bus to the TTC and walk to Polynesian right next door.
     
  8. KaryCam

    KaryCam DIS Veteran

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    Sarah,
    so glad you posted a picture of you and your family. Now I know who to look for at our Meet.
    Looking forward to hearing your trip report story.
    I know you'll enjoy the warm weather. It has been warmer than usual lately here in SW FL.

    My story is different than your's - DH is still not showing any interest in going and it's 10 days out. Oh well - DS and I will have lots of fun.

    See you soon!
     
  9. hiclarke

    hiclarke Mouseketeer

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    I am following and counting the days down to the cruise as well (we are on the same cruise). We are all getting very excited around here and plan on working on our FE gifts the rest of this week.

    This is also our first time where Christmas is "just us". It will be a little weird, but I'm looking forward to it!

    Hanne
     
  10. BackRow

    BackRow Earning My Ears

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    We'll be on the same sailing! Hope you have a fantastic time and I'll look forward to reading the rest of your report and comparing our experience. :)
     
  11. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    Hi!! *waves* Gosh, so glad you stopped by; we actually have a cruise meet thread going Here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=43500151&posted=1#post43500151 Be sure to stop in and get the info on the cruise meet we have scheduled for embarkation day. I think our boys would love to meet each other! :cool1:

    Thank you, honeybubba! I'm glad you straightened that out for me...can you tell we haven't spent much time in the park?? :rotfl:

    KaryCam, we actually just checked the weather this evening and it looks to be gorgeous in Orlando when we're there! We're sailing away just before the ucky weather hits! :woohoo: Now if we can just get things to straighten out in Cozumel...
    _____________________________

    Ok, so picking up where I left off... Holy Smackeroonies, how did it get to be just THREE DAYS LEFT?! I'm so not ready...

    Sunday December 25th: Our Christmas Day is a day at sea. :dance3: The boys have their Packers shirts ready for the afternoon and Mommy found a pretty, sparkley sundress ensemble that's just perfect for the Caribbean! I'm planning on doing a whole lot of nothing that day; the exact opposite of what so many of our holidays have been for the last year. Ahhhh.....

    Monday December 26th: Cozumel, Mexico. All I can say is the weather had better straighten up and play nice; we have a Dolphin Swim excursion planned and I will NOT be happy if it gets cancelled! :sad2: Since no sunscreen is allowed in the dolphin aquariums, I have matching swim trunks and shirts for the boys and coverups/t-shirts for Mommy and Daddy. Since this is also supposed to be Pirate Night, we pretty much figure we'll change into what we want to wear for dinner when we get back to the ship in the afternoon. pirate:

    Tuesday December 27th: Our next day at sea is also semi-formal night. These days are almost always my favorites; they're packed with so much fun stuff to do! I always go to the art of entertaining session and last cruise we actually bought art at the champagne auction...and even won an adorable print from the raffle! anybody know what movies will be showing this cruise? popcorn::

    Wednesday December 28th: Key West! We already got to visit this little island on our first cruise. We've done the trolley ride, the "Southern most point" picture and even went to the aquarium for the kids. We might pop off the boat for some key lime pie, but that's pretty much it this time around. We scheduled our PALO night for this day and figured the boys ought to enjoy a night carousing in the Clubs. I'm sure by this point, we will be bemoaning the end of our trip looming on the horizon.

    Thursday December 29th: Castaway Cay! Another lazy day of fun in the sun! Hopefully our boys are old enough we might get to participate in some of the activities offered. And considering my oldest got quite sick the night before our last visit, it will almost be a first time trip again! I'm bringing my jar of dirt for my picture with Captain Jack, and seeing as it's our last day, we're planning to enjoy as much of it as we can! :cool2:

    Friday December 30th: Our plane doesn't leave until the evening, so we booked a day room at the Hyatt. On the advice of a good friend, I'm pretty much planning to re-sort our day bags and carry-ons once we reach the hotel, in order to relax more the night before.

    Well, that's our trip in a nutshell. The clothes are all planned and most are in the basement staging area, ready to be packed. A few final loads of laundry, some tweaking of the accessories and we are ready! Look out Santa Mickey, here we come! :santa:
     
  12. hiclarke

    hiclarke Mouseketeer

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    What Dolphin Excursion do you have planned? We have the Dolphin Swim at Dolphinaris and like you, I am nervously eying the weather.

    Hanne
     
  13. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    ONE MORE DAY :mickeyjum ONE MORE DAY :mickeyjum ONE MORE DAY !!

    I think the excitement has finally hit me! I could barely sleep last night. :goodvibes I guess I'm always so nervous I'm just afraid to let myself feel the excitement too far out, but I think we're actually going to make it! All except for a few articles being washed, the packing is done! :laundy:

    Toiletries are lining the counter, waiting to be dropped in their ziplocs tonight and stuffed in pouches. Boys are scheduled for their haircuts this afternoon, cat sitter is arranged and stockings will be pulled this afternoon and added to the suitcases. :santa:
     
  14. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    Oh my gosh! That's the same one we booked! :thumbsup2 I haven't checked the weather yet, I'm too worried. I will be absolutely devastated if this gets cancelled, again!! My husband shrugged and told me this morning he wasn't concerned about it; either it would happen or it wouldn't and, boy, you should have seen the daggers I shot him!! :headache: I'm sure I'll find a way around it if the weather interferes, but I'm justused to having things go well on my Disney cruises, and I'd love for that trend to continue! :santa:
     
  15. KaryCam

    KaryCam DIS Veteran

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    That's funny, my DS had his hair cut yesterday and DH was last week. We have to make sure everyone looks good.

    Safe travels tomorrow. See you on Saturday.
     
  16. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    I'm so jealous! Have a fantastic trip!

    Jill in CO
     
  17. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    Ok, here we go! First day report. Photos are added post by post, so check back to see what's new!


    MAGICal Christmas Trip Report​


    *******************

    A syntax guide: Due to the nature of these boards and my tendency to slip into chat speak, I’ve invented phrases for this trip report that express eloquently, in holiday terminology, the trials and joys of a Disney Experience at one of the busiest times of the year. A short glossary of terms:

    ~ Happy Ho Ho Ho to you, too - That was such a lovely thing you just did I’d like to “salute” you in an appropriate holiday fashion...

    ~ Bah. Humbug. - Yeah, I know, I’m lucky to be here, I’m thrilled to have this chance but I’m not really feeling the Christmas spirit right now, mmkay?

    ~ MAGICal Moment - the kind of things that make it all worthwhile.:santa:

    ****************************

    Thursday December 22nd: Up early and out of the house, only a few minutes late. The boys were superb at the airport and we boarded our plane with no hiccups at all. Since we had to sit 2 and 2 across the aisle from each other, I was also seated next to a very nice young man on his first plane ride. DH (the pilot) and I were able to help him through his nervousness and share in the amazement of flying above the clouds. MAGICal Moment!!

    Not all of the flight was wonderful...thanks to some of the other passengers, I did discover that the only thing more annoying than Dora’s shrill grating voice is Dora combined with two whiney babies. *Why*, for the love of Mickey, if you’re going to shell out the dough for a portable DVD player would you not come up out of your pocket for a lousy $10 headset?! :headache:Happy Ho Ho Ho to you, too.

    Once we landed, we discovered something else... Warning! We have come to suspect the Southwest Airlines is hiding some sort of dragon at their luggage terminal. This creature remains elusive but we have reason to believe that it not only harbors a shoe/belt leather fetish, but has no regard for the sanctity of luggage. We remain grateful for it’s apparent lack of interest in clothes or FE gifts.
    [​IMG]

    Memories started flooding back as we entered the Orlando airport and DH took the DS’s off to entertain them as I worked with the very nice customer service folks in replace our suitcase and receiving a check for damages. We actually got a better suitcase than we lost and now it looks like I’ll have to go shoe shopping... oh darn!! :rotfl2:
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    By the time we got to WDW, our room was ready for check in.

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    We dropped our bags, changed our shoes and headed out to Magic Kingdom!! Since we got our tickets from the concierge, our KTW cards just zipped us right through the turnstiles, cool!

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    Our first stop was Tomorrowland, so we could get a FastPass for Space Mountain; it was for 8:15. Yipes! Well, guess that means we’ll have to give old Buzz a whirl while we’re here. :cool2:

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    Seeing as the poor DS’s we’re starving, we stopped at Cosmic Ray’s for dinner, and DH and I were quite shocked to seem them both devour “the big” hotdog meals, apples, fries and all! After that, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion.

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    The wait wasn’t very long, which was great, but that also meant I didn’t have time to stop and get a picture of the amazing tableau it made on top of the hill! One of the best things about this trip to WDW is being able to tie in all the things we’d seen in the Epic Mickey game to what the DS’s were experiencing for the first time. I think it took some of the edge off the fear and we all enjoyed the spookiness of this attraction at night.
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    I love the way Tyler looks like a ghost in this pic!
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    Next up, we had to make a stop at Pirates of the Caribbean ride! It was especially fun now that they’ve added Captain Jack Sparrow to the attraction and we got to ride in the front of the boat!
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    During the battle scene between Barbossa and Port Royal and cannons were splashing all around us, me and the boys threw our arms over our heads and started shouting “Parley”!! The folks behind us cracked up laughing. :rotfl:

    Ok, so here it comes. Time for me to fess up and admit, I made a *huge* mistake. Problem is, I didn’t realize it until it was too late to do anything about. :eek: We had stopped at the restrooms in Tomorrowland and still had a bit of time before our Space Mountain FastPass kicked in, so we wondered around a bit and talked about what else was going to happen that night. Then we found a place to sit right in front of the FP entrance and started chatting with the young CM there. Turns out he has the same name as my brother and is from where we are moving to next. We double checked to make sure that Tyler was tall enough for the ride and I remember, after having described the ride as slow and calm and peaceful to my kids, I had a brief moment of doubt about why the height requirement...? :confused3

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    Then the awesome CM, actually gave the boys two free 4 person passes that would get us into Space Mountain, one after the other and we’d not have to even to use our FP. :woohoo: We shot right through to the front of the line and as we came around the corner, I remember being a tad confused... I didn’t remember that all the seats were single file, not next to each other...? I really should learn to listen to myself more often...

    So we put each boy in the middle seat and positioned ourselves behind them. They were all smiles and very excited as we took off...then as we came around the first bend, my memories slammed into clarity like a ton of bricks! THIS wasn’t the ride I was thinking of... I had been thinking of SpaceSHIP EARTH..at Epcot!!! Oh Holy Jingle Bells. :scared1:

    For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you can imagine my stark terror of my 5 1/2 yr old DS sitting all by himself as this indoor roller coaster starts rocketing around in the dark. Not a particular fan of them myself, I was literally sick the whole time, straining to see in the dark and hear if he was wailing in fear, not to mention my guilt and concern that my husband was going to be very mad at me for my blunder.

    As the train of terror came to a close, all I could think was “Dear Mickey, please let him not have puked!!” The cars stopped, the doors opened, my husband got out with a grin, lifted the youngest DS out who started jumping up and shouting “That was AWESOME!!! Can we go again?!” Meanwhile, the oldest DS whips around and says “Mommy, you told me that thing was SLOW!” Mommy, on the other hand, is tottering on wobbly legs over to the nearest bench muttering “I gotta sit down.” As my husband grasps my shaking hands, I confess humbly, “I totally messed up. I’ve never been on that ride before!”

    He busts out laughing, and while my oldest continues to insist that ride gave him a heart attack, we make our way back outside where the youngest DS announces he wants to take the other blue pass and go again. I gratefully hand them over. With a backward guffaw, the DH takes the newly minted (albeit by accident) roller coaster junkie for the 2nd ride of his life. I took the oldest over to by glow sticks for the parade. :laughing:

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    Now I know I’m not an expert at WDW, and those who are would have told me to get a spot early for the parade. But as you read above, my youngest was busy making a fool out of me instead! We got some ice cream along the way, got our picture taken with the lit up castle and we staggered by the crowds at the street. We couldn’t even see where we were going!

    So, weren’t sure if we were going to stay and try to watch, but as were were slowly making our way down Main Street, the music was catchy and the boys were entranced. Luckily, around one of the stores, we saw a spot within the rope lines that had some extra room. The youngest DS went on Daddy’s shoulders and the oldest DS got to stand next to a young couple at the curb. (Side note rant, what is with everybody feeling the need to record every second of every event with their cellphones?! Seriously, people. Get the heck out of the way and make room for the people with REAL cameras! :mad:) I really think this was the perfect age for them to see it for the first time. They’re eyes were huge, the watched every second and were thoroughly delighted. Even my “mature” 8 yr old, got huge eyes, smiled brillantly and said “What the...?!” when Elliot the dragon came rolling by him! :lovestruc

    We had originally planned to stay for the Holiday Wishes fireworks show, but it when our littlest one looked up at me, all sweaty and pouty and said “Mommy, I’m done!” we knew it was time to be good parents and take them back to the hotel. They showered and were tucked into bed, passing out in mere seconds. Guess that’s all we have to do to wear those little monsters out! :lmao:

    Quote of the Day ~ DH: “Tyler, you have ice cream smeared from cheek to cheek.” Tyler looks up and says, “So do you, Daddy!!”
     
  18. abcangie87

    abcangie87 Mouseketeer

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    Great start sarah, and Hy-ster-ical! Maybe you should have had a pre-briefing with your favorite travel agent and friend before you started this part of the trip...lol..! I can't believe you hadn't rode Space Mountain before! We love it! Have fun! Bon Voyage! love you!
     
  19. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

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    LOL, no kidding Angie. That's what I get for trusting my rusty old memory!

    Friday December 23rd: The day started off with an extremely odd experience; while sleeping in the same room as my children, I was awakened by an alarm! Those of you that know my children, can understand my shock at still being asleep at 0700, hence needing an alarm. It took us awhile to get started this morning, we were all pretty wiped from the day before, but that ended up being a good thing, as the boys got to watch the new Holiday episode of Imagination Movers!

    We headed down to have breakfast, and this time we were greeted with a friendly jester who gave the boys each a special coin they could toss in the lobby fountain to make a wish! We had breakfast at the Sassagoula Food Court and the kids were thrilled with the Mickey waffles, bacon and applesauce while the grownups went after the eggs and hashbrowns. This morning did remind me, however, of why I tend to get my coffee at the Cove onboard -- the stuff they serve at the buffets is yucky! >_<

    Then began the waiting game: apparently we shouldn’t have detoured to the bathrooms to wash all the syrup off the boys, seeing as those few minutes caused us to just miss the bus to Disney Hollywood Studios. Of course, we didn’t figure that out for another 15 mins and the bus was another 10+ mins late getting back to the resort. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if in the meantime, Tyler hadn’t fallen off the bench and scraped his left knee all up. Poor baby.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Once we were finally on our way, we spent more time waiting at a traffic light the we did actually driving to the resort! I could not believe the number of people who came zooming up alongside us and the other buses waiting to turn left and then crammed in to cut us off. it was ridiculous!

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    Consequently, all that waiting meant we missed the opening of the park and were way behind all the people already running to Toy Story Mania.

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    We’d been tipped off that we needed to head there first and get FastPasses...ok, no problem. Except that apparently arriving at 9:18 means you get a FP for 3:30 in the afternoon... WHAT?! Well, that’s going to be a problem. Thanks to the Southwest Airlines dragon, and the boys’ relentless obsession with the pool, we had already designated the afternoon to doing things outside the park...fine. Forget this nonsense, we’re going to where our family belongs anyways: Star Tours!!

    It didn’t take us long to find it, what with the giant AT-AT Walker outside and the wait was only 10 minutes. w00t! The Force is strong in my family!

    [​IMG]

    DH had never been before and it was drastically changed from the last time I’d visited, so we were all vibrating with excitement. The DS’s watched the droids instructions far more avidly than any airplane ride they’d ever taken and were beyond ecstatic that Threepio was in the cockpit of the spaceship.

    [​IMG]

    As my oldest DS exclaimed, “It felt like we were really jumping to hyperspace!!” An even further frustration, we couldn’t get a fastpass to comeback later because of the bogus Toy Story fiasco blocking us. Bah. Humbug.

    Up next, we visited the Muppets Studio, given that are kids have become the newest generation of fans after a recent trip to see them in the theatre. :)
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    We all enjoyed the hi-jinx of the Muppets as they attempted to master 3D vision, with absolutely no cheap tricks. ;) After wandering around for a bit, we found a place that opened at 11:30 for lunch: The Brown Derby!

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    What a fantastic idea this turned out to be! We were a bit hesitant when we saw the fancy decor inside, but the other patrons also wearing jean shorts and tennies put us at ease. We knew we were going someplace fun for the kids at dinnertime, so we wanted a “grown-up” type meal for lunch today! The wait staff was superb and they even had kids books (and menus) to keep them entertained. We really enjoyed ourselves.

    The DH got the Duck Two-Ways and I had Filet of Beef with truffled potatoes and they boys were totally impressed with their triple decker grilled cheeses on whole wheat bread! The red wine with the meal reminded us how grateful we were for Disney transportation and the decadent desserts stuffed us full for our busy afternoon! We almost didn’t want to go back out into the hot, crowded park, but the Magic of Disney Animation awaited!

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    I’ll never cease to be amazed at how little kids are completely entranced by real people talking to characters on a TV screen and completely buying it! The artist had quite a routine going with Mushu, which the DH and I got a big giggle out of and we spent quite an enjoyable bit of time letting the kids explore the light, sound and color kiosk stations. According to Lumiere, my oldest DS is most like Flik from A Bug’s Life, the youngest is most like Aladdin (heaven help me!) my DH is most like Jiminey Cricket (coulda told ya that!) and I am most like Cinderella. Ah, yes, a true princess... (Stop laughing, Bonnie!!!)

    At this point, we had to collect our photos from last night’s Photopass and our Star Tours photos from the front gate. We then took the bus back to the hotel, as the boys were jonesing to hit the dragon pool outside our room!

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    It was a great chance to cool off, relax a bit and get things organized before we headed someplace we none of us had never been before: Downtown Disney!

    We were on a mission for two very specific things; which ended up being a life-saver! This place was huge and there’s no telling how much damage we might have done if we didn’t have something to focus on! The DH’s belts were one of the misfortunes of the SW airlines disaster and he needed them for his dinner outfits and I had (apparently naively) planned to buy our embarkation photo t-shirts somewhere in WDW a few days before Christmas... right? Yeah. So the good news was our resort was connected to Downtown Disney via boat. The bad news is the engine on that bad boy rattled so loudly in its metal hull I thought the fillings of my teeth were going to shake loose. >.>

    But we arrived intact and only a few steps off the boat, we discovered a small kiosk that sold handmade belts and custom belt buckles! With a vendor from Green Bay WI...yeah, that’d be kismet, my friends! The DH had a blast picking out a casual brown and classy black leather belt (with a little help from the kids!) which were both fitted to his size and buckle preference. I took the boys off to be delighted by some local musician, playing his heart out at the nearby margarita bar... this is my kind of place!

    At this point it was about 4 p.m. or so and we decided on a snack to tide us over until our late dinner; pretzels it is!! Sadly, having been raised on German-style gourmet pretzels, our whole family was sort of gooky and turned off by the lumpy pile of fried greasy, baked dough that is the American idea of soft pretzels. *sigh* After that, we divided and conquered at Disney’s “World of Toys”. And yes, for those of you that haven’t experienced it personally, it’s just as crazy as you might think.
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    I sent the boys off to look at toys as I figured I did not want them around while trying to find something as boring as t-shirts. Unfortunately, that didn’t matter much as I couldn’t find anything left and it was still 3 days before Christmas. And I don’t want to hear anything from the Disney veterans who are rolling their eyes right now, I’m telling you, such expectations are NOT unrealistic! Where else would you be able to sell off this stuff other than WDW resort 3 days before Christmas?? How can you be afraid of over stock? Seriously!!

    When that didn’t work we tried the sales associate’s idea of the 365 Days of Christmas store, but, hey wouldn’t you know...they don’t have a single t-shirt of any kind...really? So then I suddenly remembered the place I researched: Design a Tee! You can put any design you want on a t-shirt and even personalize it! We showed up and waited anxiously for someone to answer our question... it takes an hour to print shirts. It’s now 5:45 and we have 7:30 dinner reservations. Given our problems of cutting it short the whole day, we decide waiting might be a bad idea. Can you send it to a Disney resort? Sure, it’ll take 48 hours...what?! We’re 15 mins away by boat, lady!! Ugh and Bah Humbug!

    Thoroughly disheartened at that point, I couldn’t condone dragging my kids anywhere else, so I left them with the DH, happily playing in the fountain while I trudged back to World of Disney to buy non-holiday shirts. As I walked slowly along, I passed a shop called “Fun Finds” that I’d actually cut through briefly earlier in the day. But this time I passed by a display window, with a dad and son mannequin wearing the exact shirts we needed for our cruise! After briefly Deciding against a mug-and-run, I went into the shop and marched up to a sweet-looking sales man and told him I needed those shirts in 4 sizes, where are they? He showed me what they had left and I managed to snag them in sizes for me and both the boys. Hm, well, guess Daddy will have to make do with a light-tangled Mickey shirt and his Santa hat.

    Elated by my purchase, I make it back to the boys in time to suggest we head over to the bus stop and we arrived within a few minutes of the bus pulling up to the curb. It ended up being a *very* long ride as apparently it was necessary to switch drivers in between and we just barely made it to the Polynesian Resort with enough time to make it to dinner. Good thing we didn’t wait for the t-shirts! :rolleyes1

    I guess after reading reviews of Ohana’s online, I was expecting mass chaos, and maybe us being the 4th seating made a difference, but I thought the restaurant was almost too quite! I’d told my kids all kinds of fun stuff would be happening and I think they might have been a tad bored during the first part of dinner -- the youngest DS almost fell asleep in his booth seat!

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    We did all enjoy the coconut races and the hula lessons and the photo ops, but the boys were really not interested in the food (inorite?! Sacrilege!) so we were all very ready to head “home” by the time the bill came.

    We inquired at the front desk and found that the monorail left from the same level we were on to head back to the Magic Kingdom... another first for the Barnes Crew! Then we walked a quick jaunt from there to the bus transfer lines and boarded the line back to French Quarter. All was going well, our sleepy boys were curled up on our laps in the dark bus...when suddenly DH sat bolt upright and said... “Do you have the bag?!” WHAT??! Yes, that’s right, we’d committed the ultimate tourist faux-pas. Leaving the restaurant and not bring our belongings with us. :headache:

    So there we were, in the middle of a bus ride, realizing we’d made a mistake and there was nothing we could do about it. All that time and effort finding the right shirts and belts and now they were gone! Trying not to bug the kids, we frantically began whispering ideas about what to do. DH was all for turning around with the bus and heading right back to claim it... I was all for talking to the staff at Port Orleans. Given that we still had to discuss DCL details with Bell Services, my idea won out. And boy am I glad we did!

    We met a very nice Cast Member at the concierge desk who helped us out despite our stressed state. She invited us to go back to our room and relax, as she would call the restaurant and resort and see what she could do. She promised to call us in our room before she left that night and let us know what was going on. DH was reluctant, but we had to get the kids to bed.

    Things were very tense as time went by and we didn’t hear anything. We could sure use some pixie dust right about now! The kids snuggled right down to sleep and we quietly worked in the semi-dark getting our luggage ready for the DCL 0830 pickup the next morning. Finally, exhausted and a bit deflated, I decided to take a shower to try to help me feel better. By the time I got out, my husband came over and whispered, “They found it.” I said I hadn’t heard the phone ring and he said Grace just left a message on the voice mail so she wouldn’t disturb the kids. We could hardly believe it; we’d gotten our Disney Christmas miracle! :santa: This is what I love most about Disney: where else in the world could you possibly lose expensive merchandise and not only get it returned, but even have it delivered to your hotel?! We went to bed that night with huge smiles on our faces! :goodvibes

    Quote of the Day ~ DH: “I was afraid a day and a half in the park would be too little, but MAN, I’m so ready to get on the boat!”
     
  20. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,868
    What an awful feeling to realize you left the bag! I love the Disney magic the CM was able to find and get it delivered to you!

    I thought about you guys last weekend...I was back in KC for an early Christmas and saw coverage of the graduation on the news.

    Merry Christmas!

    Jill in CO
     
  21. jitsb

    jitsb Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    106
    Hm, so apparently, I'm getting some slack for posting while still onboard the ship! Phooey. I have to have *something* to do while waiting for the kids to fall asleep!

    Saturday December 24th ~ We all woke up in a good mood, wishing each other a Happy Christmas Eve; we couldn’t wait for our cruise to start! We hung around the room, watching Christmas shows until the bags were picked up and then we got dressed in our schnazzy new shirts and headed out for breakfast... is it even possible to get sick of Mickey waffles?!

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    We definitely had a Bah. Humbug moment when we discovered we had to check out of the hotel by 11 a.m. (and we had an anxious housekeeper) but the DCL bus transfer would not be picking us up until 12:15. Really? We pay all this money to stay on property and we’re not given priority boarding over the people who just drive to the port? Hmph. :snooty:

    But it was nice to have a quiet, leisurely morning after all the running we’d been doing. It gave us time to make phone calls (while still in the U.S.) as well as send emails, and I even got my nails painted! Sparkly red with gold glitter crackle; very Christmas-y! That did, however, cause us to forget to arrange for food before the bus showed up! Being the stellar parents we are, we grabbed the snickerdoodle cookies and lemonade being offered and bribed the kids with pizza once they were onboard! :laughing:

    The bus actually made it to the port faster than he was anticipating so we were pulling up to the curb at 1:15. We got through the check-in line quickly, thanks to being Castaway Club members and even got the kids their Club wrist bands, paused for photos and bathroom breaks and were still on the ship, being welcomed within 30 mins! Awesome! The ship looked gorgeous all decked out in it’s holiday attire and I got tears in my eyes; so happy to be back! Our staterooms were ready, so we dropped our bags and headed up to Deck 9 to grab some food.

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    Our DISboards meet and greet was fun; so nice to be able to put faces with the names we’ve been chatting with! We also met our neighbors during the lifeboat drill. It was great not to have to wear the jackets, but our muster point was staring directly into the sun! It was hot, bright, and I swear I got sunburned! =p It took some cajoling on my DH’s part, but we finally did head up to Deck 9 for the Sail Away party. And I was really happy he talked me into it! I’d forgotten how much fun it was to count down to the blast of the Magic’s horn. The boys danced with their streamers and we afterwards, we were all in a much better mood!

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    We got ready for dinner; our first night in Animator’s Palette! We were quite thrilled to have the Show Dinner for Christmas Eve but somehow I managed to forget my camera...again! I think I’m cursed; that makes 3 shows and 3 times with no camera. UGH! DH had the Asian beef tenderloin and I indulged in the pasta while the boys both snarfed their burgers. We very much enjoyed meeting our servers; the early dining is sure busy!! But they all made a point to try to stop and chat and we’re very happy with our team of Oscar and Deneval. :thumbsup2

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    After dessert, we were all stuffed, but the boys could not wait to go to the Lab! They’d been jonesing for it since 3 that afternoon. We were in line behind a boy who was really unsure about leaving his dad so it was very funny when our boys walked up, beeped their wristbands, got some soap and took off for the bathroom without so much as a backward glance. We tried to say goodbye and let them know when we’d be back, they didn’t even slow down. Ok, then!

    DH and I stopped by the railing on deck 5 to watch the King Triton’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and it was wonderful! All I can say is I’m so glad I didn’t know about it ahead of time, since they chose a boy to be Prince for the Day. I would not have been able to resist being down in the thick of things and wrangling for one of my kids to get picked. Yipes. As it is, I was just happy to watch and enjoy the beautiful lights everywhere! MAGICal moment!

    Seeing as we were terrible parents and forgot our boys’ bedtime loveies, we decided to stop by Mickey’s Mates and pick out stuffed animals. An adorable pair of Chip and Dale sailors have joined the Barnes crew! We wandered the upper, adult-only decks marveling in how we could be on a boat with a couple thousand people and still feel like we had it to ourselves. That would never happen in a park hotel! We stopped in at Sessions piano bar and not only met Tim Moss the piano player, but we also got on a first name basis with the staff. Good deal; I think we’ll be spending quite a bit of time here!

    It wasn’t easy prying our tired boys away from the computers in the lab but the promise of Santa’s arrival for sleeping boys seemed to do the trick. They were once again out in a few minutes and we had the time to ensure everything was safe within our stockings before hitting the hay ourselves. The Magic of Christmas awaits!

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    Quote of the Day ~ DH: “Literally, the button just popped open on my pants”
     

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