The Pay It Forward PTR - Concierge on Disney Fantasy Eastern January 26, 2013

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by cblack, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. emmebear

    emmebear nurse & mommy.

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    great post!

    i am in room 12020 (one bedroom concierge) on the same cruise! i booked this special trip for myself, my daughter (who will be turning 3 on the 27th) & my amazing mother in may.

    i'm currently staring at excursions & still figuring out what i want to do.

    looking forward to what you chose for your family! :banana:
     
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  3. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Welcome emmebear and thanks for reading along! Our rooms will be pretty close, so I hope we get the chance to say hi! Our family is so looking forward to this trip, but how neat that you are going with your mom and DD! Sounds like a wonderful girls trip! :lovestruc

    The only excursion I am debating is the one in San Juan....and more on why soon! :goodvibes
     
  4. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    I left you all after booking excursions and rejoicing in the fact that I am not the only one logging in to Disney's web site in the middle of the night desperately trying to make my vacation magical. :cool1: So, things are all set...right? :confused3 Well, maybe. My parents have been talking about taking a vacation in San Juan since we booked our cruise (in October 2011). No concrete plans have been discussed, just a lot of, "wouldn't it be neat if we were there when you were" kind of conversation. We tried to convince them to just join us on the cruise, but my Dad and the word cruise are not to be included in the same sentence. Last week, my Mom breaks out the, "so, we have been thinking about the trip to San Juan, what week are you going to be stopping there?" Still no concrete plans, but it was obvious that she was going to be doing some research. Knowing the way they like to travel, they will decide a couple weeks before and book it with very little notice. That's ok, I can be flexible. Sure, I like to plan, but who wouldn't want to meet their parents (grandparents for DD) in San Juan for a beach day? :beach: I think I have up to three days before the cruise to cancel my current excursion if needed, so they can take (almost) all of the time they need. Seriously, folks, they have been known to book WAY last minute...not last day or week...last minute! :scared1: (I didn't get my planning gene from them - that is for sure!!!)

    The Midwest is officially headed for cooler weather, which is a great opportunity for me to start the packing. I did this last cruise, and it was incredibly helpful when I had to put things in suitcases! I start by listing out each day with itinerary info in Excel (where we are eating, special events, excursions, shows, etc.). I basically include anything that could influence what I or DH/DD would want to wear. Then, I list what we might wear for each day. I tally up how many of each item are needed and then cut it. For example, I might have a swimming suit marked for every day, but I'm not taking 7 of them, more like 3. This list just helps me to ensure I'm not forgetting anything and helps me create a list that I can cross things off of as I put them in the suitcase. This process is less about my planning addiction (yes, I can admit it, that's the first step) and more about my inability to remember anything. Also, as I am removing summer clothes and shoes from the closets, I put the items I think we might take in a laundry basket in our spare bedroom. I also put things that I know we won't use before then, like sunblock, her airplane seat belt, etc. in the basket. With these two things, packing for our last trip was a breeze; I didn't feel like I had forgotten anything and all of the remembering was already done. May be a bit much for some, but works great for me and keeps me sane.:thumbsup2

    Finally, what to do about the fish extender...we have a fish extender, and we had fun participating in our last cruise FE, but DH and I are both having a hard time agreeing to do it. :confused3 Creating the gifts last cruise was a lot of fun and gave me something to do to keep busy while counting down the days; however, towards the end, we had a bunch of new cabins sign up and that made things kind of stressful. I think we ended up with 28 cabins - that is a lot of cabins IMO! :scared: So, with this cruise, we are foregoing the FE...kind of. We decided we are going to buy a few small items to include for DD in our FE; one of our cruise mates even offered to help put items in there. I will also get a few surprises for DH and me, and I will do my best to act surprised. pixiedust: I feel kind of bad for not participating with my fellow cruisers, but at the end of the day, our lives are much different than they were two years ago and I need a stress-free pre-vacation. ::yes::

    Next up...we are having our TA look into the room-only rates that Disney just announced. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to stay at WDW because we are going later next year, but with a 35% discount...I mean, come on, I at least need to check the cost, right?!? princess:
     
  5. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    All - I'm having trouble with the DIS adding "&" signs and removing punctuation from my posts, so sorry if my posts look a little garbled. :scared:
     
  6. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Count on us to drop things off for Jayden!:goodvibes We'd be delighted. (I know you weren't asking...) Seeing as the boy is totally a lady's man these days, he'll be all over that.

    I am NOT making things, though, unless they're really minor. I know what we'll put together and it will be stuff that is easy to replicate or obtain if there are last minute additions. Fortunately, I'm not working Christmas this year, so I'll have a bit of time to assemble (not make!) things. I also have Mr. Not Into Crafts as a kid, so I would be doing them up myself, and I'm missing the crafty gene.

    I totally get the not stressing before the trip. My job (which I love) is complex enough, and I have to spend a fair bit of energy making sure I leave things in reasonable order so I don't come back to a mess. (I refuse to do work on our winter vacations- I know how to turn off work email and all. I'm even good at turning it off.)

    I had to laugh (in a nice way) at your packing strategy. My husband and I have opposite packing philosophies. I do put summer things aside in an old suitcase as it gets cold, but I don't stress about it. About 2 weeks before the trip, I take them all out, see what fits the boy, and make The List. The List must be hand-written, so that I can Cross Things Off as they are packed. This is part of the ritual, and the capital letters are important. Colour coding might also be required. I've tried spreadsheets but it's not the same. I can't do it any earlier though - I have to do most of it one weekend (it's a bit of a Zen thing), then finish up in the days before the trip.

    My husband is packed now - heck, he was packed a few weeks ago. He doesn't make lists. He makes fun of my list. (Sorry - that's my List, with a capital L.) This results in things like "X... have you seen my swim shirts?" when we get to Turks and Caicos. ARGH.

    Final packing ritual? I have to have all suitcases out the night before - open. I then ensure that there are outfits (at least 2) for everyone in all suitcases, including shoes or sandals. This, of course, is as a result of having *my* suitcase go missing on more than one trip for a few days, and I've got nothing to wear. Been there, done that, not doing it again! There is also the complication of packing the "pre-flight hotel bag", the "what we have to move to checked bags" smaller bag so that's ready to go the morning of our flight, and various other complications.

    Last year, we were an hour into our drive to the airport when we realized we had forgotten Dude's suitcase - the one with all the on-flight distractions, and his carefully chosen toys. :headache: Dude and I got dropped off at a local mall in small town Ontario, while my husband made the 2 hour round trip to get the bag. Our main excuse is that we have to hide his suitcase or he repacks it. This is bad. This year - I will have a List of Suitcases, which will be handwritten, and things Will Be Crossed Off as they go in the car, and NO ONE will be allowed to make fun of me.

    Now, for business trips with just me? Like right now? I packed this morning. Who knows what I forgot??? This will become clear by tomorrow morning, I'm sure. :thumbsup2
     
  7. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Awww! Thank you for offering...we may take some of you up on this depending on how sneaky we can be :grouphug:

    My problem last cruise that I did make something that took quite a bit of time. It was a homemade scrapbook with 10 pages in it...I ended up finishing them on a plane from LAX to STL! :scared: I did learn the requirements for taking scissors on a plane in the process though :goodvibes

    I love your List of items and your List of suitcases! I only do this kind of packing for vacations. For business trips, I usually spend about 7-8 minutes packing because I have that down to a science...not so easy when you are packing for 3! If I left packing up to Jeremy, I would hear, "Cassie...where is all my stuff???" when we get anywhere...seriously, anywhere! :rotfl: :lmao:

    Pretty awesome of your DH to turn around and go get dude's bag!

    Thanks again for reading along!
     
  8. geekboy

    geekboy Platinum Castaway Member

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    It looks like this January 26, 2013 Fantasy sailing is filling up. I wanted to change my room from a CAT 4A to a 00V (concierge) and they are ALL GONE! Likewise, most of the Verandahs are gone and there are slim pickings in the lower categories. At first, I thought it was just the 26th, but it appears that the Jan. 19th sailing (Western) is filing up too.

    It should be a great time regardless. We have connecting CAT 4A rooms on deck 10 (I think they are 10574 and 10576). There are 4 of us, all adults, and it's our pre-superbowl trip; we head to New Orleans immediately upon disembarking.
     
  9. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Hi, Geekboy! I recognize you from our meets thread - welcome and thanks for reading along! This cruise is filling up big time! The concierge rooms were all gone a couple months ago, or at least, it seemed that way when I looked online.

    This trip should be amazing! I know you said you and your friends work the superbowl...that sounds like a lot of fun! What do you do? I married DH on February 5, so I tend to celebrate my anniversary every year at a superbowl party :goodvibes
     
  10. geekboy

    geekboy Platinum Castaway Member

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    We volunteer to work each year for a charity. This will be my 5th Superbowl in a row as a volunteer. We are not paid, and the trip can be very expensive since we don't receive any discounts on hotel rooms! We typically end up 30-60 miles from the stadium (at a minimum) and still end up paying $300/night per room for 3 nights... at a low end hotel!

    So, my Superbowl teammates have no (non-adult) children and I brought them on the Disney Dream last January (January 29, 2012) and they enjoyed it so much, we rebooked! I had been on the Dream previously and the Magic as well, so I knew what to expect. We had a 00V concierge room and a CAT 5A room and we hardly interacted with any children. We spent time in the concierge lounge, the Cove, and the District mostly. We did the Jet Ski Adventure at Castaway Cay, bike riding and hanging out at Serenity Bay. In fact, one of my Teammate's DD (who is 21 while on board!), is going to work the Superbowl with us and cruise with us.

    I was trying to prove that you could actually go on a Disney Cruise without children. On my prior two Disney cruises, on the Magic and Dream, I was with my friend and her children (DD-10, DS-7) and words can't describe how much fun we all had. Couldn't get them out from Oceaneer's Lab and the DD seemed to memorize the entire character greeting schedule. I feel guilty going without them, but I gotta do what I gotta do!
     
  11. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Scrapbooks? That's die-hard. I am SO not crafty - I'd be doing bad things with the scissors (why I shouldn't bring them on planes!). I'm tossing all our spare change in a bucket, and that will fund our gifts. We're getting rid of the penny here in Canada, so that's as good a use for our stash as any, I figure.

    Someone absolutely had to go back to get the back - the bag had the CARES harness, and 100% of the "how to keep the boy amused on the flight" stuff, including his special friends Bunny and Sockie. I believe you understand how critical these last items were (what do I mean - they still are!) so it was non-negotiable. I will tell you, though, that spending 2 hours in a really crummy little mall in the middle of nowhere with a 3 year old wasn't any picnic either... :rolleyes1 I had to cave and buy myself black and silver sparkly leopard print (crappy) shoes at a store at his insistence - yes, they are as hideous as you think they are. I was then expected to wear them to dinner since they were "pretty". The only saving grace is that they were about $10. I do not feel a career in fashion is in his future... :lmao:
     
  12. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    The scrapbooks weren't expensive, just very time intensive!! :scared: Canada is getting rid of the penny? That is amazing (maybe a little more interesting to me than most because of where I work :goodvibes).

    I completely understand the bag of tricks! We use the CARES harness, too and love it! You could really get use out of those $10 shoes and wear them on this cruise too :lmao: :thumbsup2
     
  13. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    The last penny has been produced up here - as of Feb 4, 2013 (right after the cruise), cash transactions (but not electronic ones) are to be rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. We can still use pennies - they just won't be issued anymore and they'll be gradually removing them from circulation. I'm reasonably positive this will be a not so smooth transition...

    Because I'm no good at "time intensive", I implement "save money" so as to buy stuff. :) The scrap books sound amazing. We'll be aiming firmly for "good enough" ... as usual!

    Don't joke about the shoes. I'm NOT allowed to get rid of them. Every time I try to sneak them away, he notices. They are glittery and all. UGH.
     
  14. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    As I mentioned in my last post, our travel agent, who I must say is WONDERFUL, was looking into costs for staying on property. My first recommendation to Jeremy was to stay two nights on property and do one day at the parks. My thought was we could find a character meal, take a slow pace in one of the parks, and just get ourselves into the Disney spirit. Well&even with a great room-only discount, it was WAY too much. :scared: Not to mention that we would need to change flights. It really doesnt pay to go to Disney for anything less than 5 days. Bummer! :headache: But I wasnt done yet! BWAHAHAHAHA (done in my most evil-conspiring wife voice). I came up with three more options&sometimes those tricks we use with the kids work on adults, too. :rolleyes1

    • Option 1: Stay one night at the Grand Floridian in a theme park view room and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take Magical Express from the airport and change our car service to pick up at the resort.
    • Option 2: Stay one night at the Grand Floridian in a standard view room and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take Magical Express from the airport and change our car service to pick up at the resort.
    • Option 3: Keep our existing hotel reservation and get ADRs for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Take the hotel shuttle to the hotel from the airport and then take a taxi to GF for dinner.

    Do you see what I did there :goodvibes Jeremy has options, but my highest priority item (dinner with Cindy) is in all three options&tricky, tricky! :joker: Jeremy was a bit more difficult than usual with this one, but I wrote down all three options yesterday morning, including differences in cost. I also shared that I thought it would be a let-down that we were going to surprise Jayden before leaving for the airport, and then we were going to a Renaissance with no Disney. Just seems wrong! :sad2:

    Jeremy noodled on it for about 30 minutes, and then texted me to, book it. :yay: I assumed this meant to book option 1; he should have been more specific if he didnt want the best option! :lmao: Our TA is currently working on booking our room. I booked an ADR at 1900 Park Fare for dinner, and I changed our car service reservations. Wishes! will be at 8pm the night we are there, so our plan is to finish dinner and then go to our balcony to watch the fireworks. pixiedust: (I know this isn't fireworks, but if you say "BOOM!" right when the pixie dust flies, you can almost, kinda, sorta see fireworks)

    Our new pre-cruise hotel picture:
    [​IMG]

    I am going to figure out a way to do a dinner invitation from Cinderella for Jayden. My thought is I will either give it to her when we tell her where we are going that morning, or I will ask the front desk to hand it to her as though it were in our file. Cindy is #1 in Jaydens book right now, so I think she is going to LOVE this; princess: also an excellent way to start our vacation! :love1: (This will be Jeremy post-dinner with Cindy)

    Finally, I dont like this part, but just to be 100% transparent, our total savings is now closer to $400, but as I argued to Jeremy, we are just using the money we saved on flights and parking for GF and 1900 Park Fare. :dance3::cheer2:
     
  15. Fastpaks

    Fastpaks Living the Dream, One Image at a time!

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    Love the PTR! As long as you all aren't Cubs fans, I'm sure we can live in the same thread. (If you are, well I guess we can live in the same thread Lol)

    I know there was talk early in the PTR about the cabanas. My advice... CHECK EVERY DAY! The last trip we were on in Oct of last year, my sister and my parents got one with in a few weeks of the cruise. In fact, I believe it was #2 on the family side. She would check every morning before she would go to work and eventually they got one. They are REALLY relaxing. We were the one closest to the family beach and you could hear a pin drop.

    On my next cruise, my wife doesn't care about the cabanas, BUT we are going to get a week long pass to the rain forest room... LOVE THEM!! I laugh thinking about how people got into the showers and don't READ what the experience is...LOL (hint: one of them is dedicated to COLD and clearly states it!) But the hot tubs with the open breeze, sananas, and the chairs to sit a read a book on ... '14 can't come fast enough!!

    Could you do me a favor.. if you can remember.. ask what a week long pass is when you do go there? I want to make sure I got it in our budget!!!

    Jonathan
     
  16. bitlerzx4

    bitlerzx4 DIS Veteran

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    Love this trip report!
     
  17. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Thanks for reading, Jonathan! :goodvibes

    Cubs fans? :laughing: No! We bleed Cardinal's red! ::yes::

    The cabanas are AMAZING! And I second your recommendation! For anyone reading and hoping for one, they DO open up! You just have to check, check, and check again and get on the waiting list once onboard.

    I have not done the rainforest pass, but what a surprise you could get if you don't read :rotfl2::rotfl: I'm glad it is an all-adult area, because I'm sure there are choice words shouted when someone does get a surprise! :scared1:

    I already have something booked at the spa, so I am making a note to ask about the week-long pass and will report back :thumbsup2
     
  18. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Welcome and thanks for reading along! :hug:

    ETA: Just noticed from your signature that you are 1 year and 1 day away from your cruise!!!! YAY! The "one year to go" date is always exciting for me!
     
  19. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    I'm not sure when this happened, or how, but Jayden recently decided that Cinderella is #1. She dressed up as Cindy for halloween this year, and totally took on the princess character. princess:
    [​IMG]

    I currently have her booked to get a Belle dress for BBB, so I may need to find a creative way to ask her what kind of dress she would want.

    Tomorrow, my DM and I are surprising Jayden with "Tea with Cinderella." I'm not sure what to expect, but am hoping this will give me an idea of how excited she will be when we FINALLY tell her about the trip. Yes, I want to tell her RIGHT NOW! But, I won't...the surprise will hopefully be worth it! :cheer2:

    We are getting closer to the holidays and busier times. Every weekend between now and the end of the year is booked for something, and I have a day off or travel every week through the end of the year. Hopefully this means that the countdown will go super-fast!

    I am hoping to catch the post-Christmas clearance for a few small FE gifts for Jayden. I am also planning to get a gift basket from Shirley. We did this with our last cruise, and it was amazing. I am planning to contact Shirley right after the holidays to place my order. With the last cruise, I did a basket for Jayden and then one for Jeremy and I to share. I will likely do this again and have Shirley create a princess basket for Jayden. We will definitely get a few beach toys and some of her favorite snacks included. For Jeremy, I will make sure there is a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper or Pibb, as these are his favorite and are not available on the ship. For me...peanut butter cups! Chocolate and peanut butter combined is a weakness of mine, and I discovered during our last cruise that there are not a lot of options for this combination. :goodvibes

    The first cruisers to visit San Juan returned to Port Canaveral today, so I am impatiently waiting for someone to post the Navigators! I'm hoping to use these to identify those "can't miss" activities prior to getting on the ship. :thumbsup2

    Until next time...
     
  20. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    We're going to do the gift basket by Shirley too - I figure that having beach toys delivered to the room makes it worth it right then and there (no need to pack them at this end!) and some snacks for the room. I had to Google "Pibb" as I don't think that has made its way to Canada, or at least, not where I hang out. :)

    And yes, eagerly awaiting reviews for San Juan... impatiently, really. Heck, they've all been off the ship for over 12 hours now, right??? :rotfl:

    Now, back to planning tomorrow so that DH can have a nap, and then stay up until midnight to book things for us... finally!
     
  21. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    :rotfl:Jeremy would argue that you have missed out big time by not experiencing Pibb! I think it is very much like Dr. Pepper, but for those with more refined taste, like Jeremy, it is VERY different! :lmao:

    I am so excited that you get to book tomorrow! I hope you are able to get everything that you plan for! pixiedust:
     

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