PTR: 6-5-4-3-2-1 !!! NY-CANADA-NY June 2012/ Organizing the FE gifts! - 7 June

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by HermanTriplets+1, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    SIX members of the Herman Family
    FIVE nights on DCL's Magic
    FOUR teenagers
    THREE countries: Israel-USA-Canada
    TWO official adults/parents
    ONE amazing ship and cruise line!

    Well, I guess I have decided to do a PTR after all! It might seem early, but if I have learned anything here, it's that it's never too early to plan, and never too early to get excited! I have been so enriched by my DIS life, that I think I "need to" write this! I'm not sure what my "style" will be; I guess it will show itself as I write. So let's start! I joined the DIS in August 2009, about 6 months before our first trip to WDW (well, my second, but since the first was in the mid 1970s, I think I can count it as my first trip, too!). We are a family of six (as you now know),

    [​IMG]
    not including our feline furbabies, JJ (mine, a.k.a Handsome Boy) and Gloria (DH's, a.k.a Princess).

    [​IMG]

    We built our family in bursts, so to speak, triplets (now DD14, DS14 and DD14) and then 2 years later a younger brother (now DS12). End of family expansion project! The kids were all born in NY, where we lived for 6 years. I was born and raised in the NY/NJ area, but DH is Israeli. We moved "back" to Israel when the kids were all in diapers. That was in 1999. We've lived here since, surrounded by lots of wonderful family (DH's) and unfortunately far from lots of other wonderful family (mostly mine). I work full time outside of the house, as does DH. The kids are busy with all their activities and that keeps us running, too. Luckily we are full partners in parenting and somehow it all works out.

    Our first trip to WDW was in honor of the triplets' 13th birthday (a significant birthday for us).

    [​IMG]

    It was simply THE BEST family vacation we have ever had! Are you surprised?? Over the years our entire vacation budget has gone to visiting the family in the States. With a lot of planning, we decided in 2010 that this time we would also have a "real vacation". We flew to NJ to visit my parents, then to Orlando: 5 nights with free Disney Dining Plan, in a family suite at the All Star Music Resort. Did I say... BEST VACATION EVER!!! On the Magical Express bus on the way back to the airport, the kids were watching the sales pitch on the video - and the seed was planted. A DISNEY CRUISE! They immediately figured out that if they'd had WDW for their 13th birthday, in 2 years it would be the younger brother's birthday and we could do DCL for his celebration! Seed planted. Seed germinated. Here we are!

    Followed the itineraries for 2012 -- no Med or TA (too much $$ anyway, and hey it's only our first cruise), but .... NYC!! A sign from above! And yes, I do believe in such signs, especially when they involve Disney! NYC 8 night to the Bahamas - too hot in August, again too expensive (though that day at WDW is really attractive). NY 2 night - too short. NY-Canada 5 night - JUST RIGHT!! Had to spin it a bit for the kids, "why do we want to go to Canada?", but it made the cut and we booked it.

    We've got some privacy needs in the family, so I'll explain upfront that we'll be brief on current family pics and other "embarrassing" personal details. But there is so much to tell -- I think I can do this without crossing any of those fuzzy lines.

    Future installments:
    Picking the dates for our cruise
    What kind of cabin? Where? Will it be available? Will our choice matter in the end?
    Food issues to anticipate
    Wardrobe issues to anticipate
    Character interactions, getting ready...
    Birthdays – one, two or three?
    Port day planning
    Packing thoughts

    Thanks for jumping onboard!
     
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  3. sullins5

    sullins5 alias the 'disneychick'

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    So glad to have you onboard!:thumbsup2 And I think you'll be amazed at all the 'little' things you think about, remember, find out, anticipate, and plan for!! Celebrate ALL you can on this cruise! If your family enjoyed WDW as well as mine for the first time (and it sounds as if y'all did), you are gonna LOVE this ship!:lovestruc
    Can't wait to hear more of your 'planning strategy' and see your excitement...fun months ahead!!!:banana:

    and we have 3 :cat:'s too...Mittens, Lucy, and Ella...can't forget those babies either (though they were happy they were home and not on the Magic)!
     
  4. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    We loved WDW so much, that's why I just know this is going to be great for us, too. Thanks for the encouragement! The kids saw a clip of DCL on "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" today and asked "Is that our ship?"!:lovestruc
     
  5. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    When to Sail? 2012, yes, but...

    This is how the thought process went, in a nutshell:

    Our kids finish school around the 21st of June, usually. But I have to say that that last week is not exactly a time of great learning (understatement). Here's a picture to keep things interesting! It's the middle/high school that 2 of the kids go to:

    [​IMG]

    July is busy with camp/work/dance classes etc. August is usually pretty empty. Then back to school on September 1st in the past, though they are talking about August 26th starting next summer. THEREFORE, we are talking June or August. And the NY-Canada cruise. SO here are my pros and cons :

    June trip:
    PRO: Less expensive, sooner (!), better season for me to take vacation from work.
    CON: Would have to pull kids out of last week of school festivities, and might still be a bit jet-lagged when we board. Weather in Canada has more chance of rain and not as warm as August. And we would have no plans for August.

    August trip:
    PRO: More relaxed arrival to the States and then to the boat. Better weather in Canada.
    CON: More expensive, and a bit rushed afterwards to return home and get ready for school. Also, not as good time for me to take off from work.

    Do you know what we decided? If you've followed my postings on some other threads, you might… if not, stay tuned!
    [/SIZE][/COLOR]
     
  6. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    OK OK, 100 views so I just KNOW that you are wondering what month we decided on .... JUNE:cool1:! Actually it was quite a process to decide. I really wanted August and usually I get what I want when it comes to planning vacations:rolleyes:. But we had a family discussion and weighed out the pluses and minuses and everyone else voted for June. SO, June 17, 2012 it is! When we rebooked, the price of the June cruise had gone up and was basically the same as the August. Or maybe it was because there were no category 11 rooms left, so we "had" to upgrade to a 10C, deluxe inside stateroom instead of the standard. So now we have split bathrooms - better when you consider 4 teenagers in a room:eek:!
    OOPS I just gave away some of my next post. Oh well. Going with the flow here.
    Suddenly I am 2 months closer to our cruise - that means I must be behind in my planning and preparing:rotfl:!
    Have a great day, everyone!
     
  7. annabug

    annabug DIS Veteran

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    Hi!
    I was hoping you would pick june! I think its a better fit from what you described


    Just joining your report!
    You have a beautiful family! Looking foward to hearing about all of your plans!
    we are from NY, and will be taking our first cruise in June! we are leaving from port canaveral, a double dip to bahamas!:cloud9:
    annabug
     
  8. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I'm busy "bonding" to the June trip and I'm back to being totally excited about it:banana:! Are you thinking of doing FE exchange? We are both sailing in June so we're sort of on the same schedule! We considered going down to Florida to sail from Port Canaveral but decided to jump on in NYC instead.
     
  9. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Again! So, it was time to ... choose a stateroom!
    This required pulling together lots of ideas from years on the DIS:goodvibes! Knowing our budget, the top of the scale was clearly out (well, one can dream, pixiedust: and free upgrades and winning the lottery and such), so I started investigating from the bottom up. Or, from the top, down actually, if you consider the numbers of the room categories. I dreamed of a secret porthole room, or a secret veranda. I dreamed of a Navigator's veranda. Or maybe just an inside room near that secret deck on deck 7, aft. I thought aft would be better than forward (nearer to the drink station:drinking1). I dreamed of an inside stateroom for the kids, with an across the hall veranda room for DH and I. Even better, a deluxe inside stateroom for them, the split bathroom would be nice with 4 teens in a room. Lots of dreams and thoughts. But the bottom line was this: we needed to save money where we could, and it was going to be inside standard staterooms for us! My first booking, when I thought we were going to do the August cruise, netted us two category 11B rooms, standard inside staterooms. Not aft. BUT, sideways rooms! I was happy! Because I'm a good DISser and I know that sideways rooms are good! And it was on Deck 5, and the Edge is on Deck 5 – good for DS13! So I was happy. And I figured that we're going to be so excited to be on this cruise, and we are not going to be in the room so much, so the money is better spent elsewhere!

    THEN, the dates changed. The Family :grouphug:decided we should go in June, not in August. The Family:grouphug: didn't care so much about the sideways rooms. The Family:grouphug: figured that I would figure out something good for us. Back to DU, and of course now it's 8 months before the June date and the room choice is very limited. But, pixie dust was with us! While there were no 11A or B rooms open, we snagged 2 of the last remaining 10C rooms, for basically the same price as our August 11B rooms! OK OK that's because the June sailing is supposed to be cheaper, but when you make changes, you make compromises. 10C are deluxe inside staterooms, so we got the split bathrooms after all:thumbsup2! And we got "aft" like I'd dreamed of. And they are connecting. So … not bad at all. Big sigh of relief on my part, let the planning continue. Oh, and we made sure to list two in one room (1A / 1C) and four in the other (1A / 3C) to get make sure that the rooms would really sleep 4.

    Onward with the planning! We have an itinerary, we have a date, and we have a room! Next ... let's think about FOOD:mickeybar!
     
  10. annabug

    annabug DIS Veteran

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    I think your rooms will be great!
    We booked our cruise back in January!! So we had pick of the litter! But being a first cruise with our little ones we spurged on deck 9 4a. I know we will be happy to have a verandah, an extra space for our super busy 3 yo DS!

    Its gonna be a long winter waiting for this, but its so exciting to look foward too!
     
  11. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    A verandah sounds GREAT:thumbsup2! If it was a grown-ups only cruise, I think I'd splurge on one - without the second room to pay for it would seem more reasonable! And if we had little kids, I also think it would be worth it. Now that we have such big kids, we'll make due with inside! But I'm REALLY glad we got the split bathrooms. Anyway we're going to have some competition for bathroom time! Glad that there is a good shower in the Spa! And it will probably be a whole lot more peaceful there, too:rolleyes:! How old is your DD? Isn't it hard to wait?! But imagine, the winter would be even worse if we didn't have this great bright light at the end of it:cool1:!
     
  12. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Some thoughts about Fish Extenders and FE gifts. I'm totally psyched to participate in this event! I've been combing the threads and thinking about what to do for months. On the one hand, we'll be flying from Israel so anything I make here has to be small enough to travel with. On the other hand, I could just order supplies to meet me in NJ before the cruise. But then I wouldn't have time to prepare things. My options here are pretty limited in terms of craft shops - no Michael's, no JoAnn's! But I have some good ideas - I'm not going to spoil it and tell you:rotfl:! I've also been picking up little things as I see them. Yesterday I found Disney/Mickey and Friends crayons, in round containers. Imagine if these containers
    [​IMG]
    had 12 crayons and were decorated with Mickey and Friends designs. That's sort of what I found! SCORE:thumbsup2!
    Did you know that Israeli books open on the left side, not the right? Thought that might be sort of novel for kids so I also got some small Disney themed blank lined notebooks. Not sure what I'll do with the stuff, just "collecting" so far! It's fun!
    Regarding a FE, here's my idea. I'm not big on sewing, though my MIL is great at it. So I thought of asking her help. However, now I have a better idea :idea:! Someone on the FE thread made a duct tape FE. Hmmmm. Then I saw some great Mickey polka dot oil cloth material, black with white dots and also red with white dots. And I copied all the ideas for a no-sew FE. See where I'm going with this? I'll keep you updated...
    That's my thoughts for tonight,
    Have a great day wherever you are!
     
  13. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Well about a week ago we managed to get all of us out on a family daytrip, to go hiking near the Dead Sea. We only left our house around 11 am, due to a morning math lesson and some last minute supermarket shopping for picnic supplies. The drive from our house takes us basically in an Eastern direction, skirting around Jerusalem, past Jericho, and on to the Dead Sea. It took us one hour to get to the Northern tip of the Dead Sea, and another 1/2 hour to get to the Ein Gedi reserve where we wanted to hike. Ein Gedi means "Wild Goat Spring". It is the name of a kibbutz/communal settlement on the edge of the Dead Sea, and of a national park there. There are two main trails, and we decided to do Wadi Arugot. On this schematic map, it's the trail on the left side of the map.
    [​IMG]
    Because we didn't get an early start, we knew we'd only get up part of the trail, but that was ok! It starts to get dark at around 4pm in this season at the Dead Sea - there is no light pollution and as soon as the sun dips behind the mountains, it is DARK! Here's another view (from the Internet) to show you where we were. It is as if you were hovering in a helicopter over the Dead Sea and looking at Ein Gedi:
    [​IMG]
    It was very, very hazy and dusty that day. This is how it really looked as we set out on our hike
    [​IMG]About 10 minutes in,
    you have the option of a "wet trail" or a "dry trail".
    The kids did "wet", of course!
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    [​IMG]
    Don't worry, that jumping kid isn't one of mine!
    The trail continues onward and upward....
    [​IMG]
    We made it about 2/3 of the way to the end of the trail. Made me want to come again and start early enough to do the whole thing! On the way down we saw some local residents:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Cute! The bottom one is called a Boulder Bunny in Hebrew, and is a distant relative of the elephant! Maybe someone here knows the name in English?
    Afterwards, it was time for refilling our water bottles and ice cream for some. Then a quick dip in the Dead Sea for 4 of us, while the other two chilled out. I finally got to my son's pictures : here is a typical scene of bathers in at the Dead Sea, and the rocks on it's shore.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    By 5:30 it was pitch dark. And we headed home. Even though we live here, we really don't get out to do these kind of hikes enough. Like living in NY and not visiting the Empire State Building!
    Hope you enjoyed this detour!
     
  14. sullins5

    sullins5 alias the 'disneychick'

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    :thumbsup2 Amazing! I can't wait to show my dh these pictures! Would love to see Israel, Jerusalem, Bethlehem....just all of it! And we haven't been hiking in a while, though we love to geocache, camp,and fish. Looks like y'all had a ton of fun and a great day. Loved the pictures! We love animals, so I'll have to ask dh what he thinks a Boulder Bunny is.:) And here, we think getting to go to the beach is great and you get to go to the Dead Sea! Wow! Thanks for the detour!
     
  15. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Glad you enjoyed it!
    We also love the beach. One of the best things about where we live is that we can be at the beach in just under 30 minutes! There's a huge problem with jelly fish during the summer months, though, so we tend to go in the spring and fall.
    The Dead Sea is an experience to swim in, though you more float in it, and not everyone likes the feeling of the slimey mineral water! It's pretty cool.
    I hope you can visit here one day!:goodvibes
     
  16. annabug

    annabug DIS Veteran

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    Fascinating! Such a beautiful place. What a great experience for your children! Thanks for that detour!
    Your FE gifts sound great. I have decided not to participate this trip. It is our first cruise, and I just "want to get my feet wet"..I am sure we will do it next time!

    I do want to make magnets for the door. I am sure my kids will like doing that. My DD will be 7 at time of sailing, she is a great big sissy to my DS who will be 3:hug:

    I have to research how to make the magnets:surfweb:
    annabug

    btw....i looked up my flights for jet blue from ny to mco in june....outrageous!
    not sure what im going to do!!
     
  17. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Jet Blue is supposed to be the best price, too :eek: yikes!
    Have you looked at the cruise magnet thread - it's amazing! Here's the post that tells a bit about how to ask for a special magnet:
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2745821&page=55
    I've been collecting ideas, too, but I haven't tried to print any yet. Even my big kids are getting a kick out of the magnet idea. My almost 15 year old asked me one day "Did that magnet guy answer us yet?" !!:laughing:
    Thanks for following my PTR!
     
  18. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Like any good DISser, I love me some good food porn:cool1:! Who amongst us has not drooled over a description of a chocolate souffle from Palo, or a breakfast plate filled with Mickey waffles and other goodies? We are pretty basic food consumers. Not what you'd call "foodies". Some of the kids would be willing to eat only pizza, hamburgers and ice cream during our cruise, others will look for some good salads and fruits
    [​IMG] We are all pscyhed about free soda! Neither DH or I drink alcohol. Five of us eat meat, one doesn't. We have one big food challenge, though: at home we eat Kosher food only. This means that we won't eat dairy products and meat products in the same sitting. And we won't eat any pork products or shellfish. Within our family, we have different levels of observance when on vacation. DH is quite strict with following the Kosher rules. At WDW he ordered special kosher meals at all the table service and most of the quick service restaurants. Some were better than others! And we know he can do this on DCL too if he wants. The kids and I are more flexible and we just choose to eat either a dairy meal or a meat meal each time. So we'll have to choose well. But it worked fine at WDW with the free Disney Dining Plan, and I know we'll have so many choices onboard that it will be great! DS12 is a vegetarian so he will also have to figure that into his choices. Actually it makes following the rules of Kosher eating a bit easier! No need for Palo for us - yay more money saved! Oh, but I'm sure I'll need some good coffee treats from Cove Cafe - yay, saved money spent! And maybe some fun drinks (nonalcoholic can still be fun, right?) and smoothies for the teens? And we'll definitely use room service for some late night snacks :mickeybar and maybe some breakfasts - so need to remember a stack of dollar bills for that.
    I think this is one of the areas that I will need to let go on. Let the kids order what they want, let my DH do whatever he needs to stay within the Kosher rules. If they want pizza three meals a day, well ... :thumbsup2!
     
  19. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    The past week or two I've been thinking "magnets". The amazing DISigners on this board have great ideas and talents way beyond anything I could ever hope for:cool1:! Here's a taste of some of the magnet DISigns that I'm going to use:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And there are more, too!!! Isn't it cool? A big :hug: to Jordak and CruiseCrasher who did these.
    I'm leaning toward printing/laminating and then gluing on magnets like all the ones we get as advertising. Either that, or print on magnetic paper. Just want to make sure they are strong enough and won't fall off the doors.
    Have a good week, all!
     
  20. annabug

    annabug DIS Veteran

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    I think your kiddos will be fine with pizza and smoothies all week,! I know mine will!
    It is vacation after all. Lol!
    and non alcoholic drinks are fun! Especially when out on the beach, the last thing you should be doing is drinking alcohol in the hot sun!
    I especially like virgin piña colada, so refreshing and carribbean!
    I can't wait to have one!
    I LOVE your magnets! So cute
    I have to get started on mine

    I think I am going to buy magnet paper and print out a few designs

    How do you download the image to print?
     
  21. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    Pizza at LEAST once a day, with an ice-cream chaser! Kids will love it, actually.
    I've collected so many ideas for magnets, I should really try printing some. I save them by double clicking on the image. Some of the DISigners save them on Photobucket or 4Shared (if that 's the right name). When you double click on the image here on the DIS, it takes you to that site. Then you can copy/paste it right into your own computer. Or click on "download" and that does it. I'm pretty basic in my computer skills but I found that if I followed the prompts it worked pretty well. So far I've only saved them, though!
    I'm trying to decide if the weather on a June Canada cruise will be chilly enough that I should make sweatshirts instead of t-shirts for us:banana:.
     

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