The Pay It Forward TR-Concierge on Disney Fantasy Eastern Jan. 26, 2013–Complete!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by cblack, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. sarbah77

    sarbah77 DIS Veteran

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    Aw, curse it. Thanks for the correction.

    We walked from San Cristobol to El Morro and back again (my husband was feeling very nervous, so we stuck to what we knew for paths). It was as quick as the tram... but we ARE walkers. It worked for us. And it was so worth it!
     
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  3. MDennis28

    MDennis28 Mouseketeer

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    Love your report! I especially appreciate the details of everything.
     
  4. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Thanks! I did not scan them, and I already gave them away to another family cruising in April. I will tell you that they were VERY similar to the ones posted by Disneyfan888 (I think that is her screen name). She was on the first cruise to San Juan.

    WDW in December :banana: Thinking we will visit one of the ports during our next cruise!

    Thanks, Jilljill!

    Which one was better? Is it something Jayden could at least tolerate if we bribed her?

    Thanks for reading along! Sorry for the long hiatus!
     
  5. sarbah77

    sarbah77 DIS Veteran

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    Since jilljill is a mom, she might have a better answer... but my guess would be Castillo San Cristobal (the closer one). There's a huge grassy area that was had fun just walking on. I could see a young kid having fun just being let loose to run. The other one has more stuff to climb... but more stairs and more steep angles and the like.

    :thumbsup2
     
  6. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Up next...our last sea day, or if you want to cheer yourself up, the day before going to the most beautiful island in the Caribbean! :banana::cool1::love: I will warn you, I don't have many photos for this day, but I do plan to provide some details about our Ultimate Indulgence experience at the spa.:thumbsup2

    We decided to sleep in since we knew it would be our last chance on vacation. Jeremy and Jayden went to Cabanas to grab breakfast while I grabbed something from the concierge lounge and went to get in line for the Princess Gathering. There was another couple in line and they are on the Dis and were on our Facebook page, but I didn't realize it until we got home. I spent the next hour or so visiting with them. A little before the gathering started, their twin boys and Jayden showed up...those boys were just darling! Earlier in the week, Jayden met a little boy dressed up as Prince Charming. She asked him to dance and his response was a very crabby "NO!" So, not to be deterred, Jayden asked one of the twin boys to dance, and he gave a resounding yes. Then Jayden wouldn't dance with him. Not exactly how you play hard-to-get, but she has plenty of time to perfect it :rotfl2:

    We saw all of the princesses again, but this time, Tiana was there too. Jayden was so excited! Oh, yes, Aurora was there, too. :cloud9: After the princess gathering, we let Jayden spend her souvenir money, and she decided she wanted the Jasmine costume. Jayden became a bit fascinated with Jasmine on this trip because she was in the shows, but not available for photos/autographs. We ran into Brent (the cruise director) right after Jayden spent her money, and she kindly and politely voiced her displeasure with Jasmine not coming out to take photos. So, if you talk to Jayden about Jasmine and our cruise, she will tell you, "Brent is working on it."

    After Jayden was changed into her Jasmine outfit, she was all ready to go to the kid's club. This would be the biggest test of the clubs, as we would be gone for at least 3 1/2 hours for our spa appointment. We made sure she was well-fed and sent her on her way. She didn't hesitate much, but didn't take off running in there either. Unfortunately, I worried about her the whole time we were gone, and I had severe "mommy guilt" for dropping her off. Either way, we went on to our appointment. We booked the Ultimate Indulgence, which is a couples experience with a 90 minute treatment, time in a hot tub, relaxing, etc. :dance3:

    We started by signing in at the front desk. They took us to our locker rooms, gave us our robes, and asked us to come to a waiting area when we were ready. From there, we met the two girls who would be doing our treatments. Jeremy couldn't understand the girl working with him, so it was kind of tough. They took us to the couples villa (think massage room large enough for 2 beds) and talked to us about the treatment options. We both elected to have a 75 minute hot stone massage and 15 minute facial. From there, they take you out to the verandah connected to the room and give you a sea salt foot/leg scrub. After they are done, they tell you that you have 30 minutes to enjoy the view on loungers, sit in the hot tub, or shower in a massive shower. OK, this will sound really dumb, but the hot tub was HOT!!!!! pixiedust: <---- That isn't pixie dust, it is me exploding! I have been in lots of hot tubs, but never one this hot. I couldn't stay in very long, so I hung out on the lounger and fell asleep.

    After 30 minutes, they knock on the door and ask you to come in. From there, they do the massage and facial. We both fell asleep because it was AMAZING! The hot stone massage was different - I tend to go with swedish massages, but the hot stones definitely made it better in some ways and not in others (every time she used a new stone, I tensed up until I got used to the heat).

    After our treatments, they tell us to enjoy the verandah for another 30 minutes or so and bring out fruit and tea. I cannot drink tea after a massage because the tea smells the same as the oils they use...just can't get past it. We sat in the loungers and talked about the trip, talked about the packing we needed to do, talked about definitely going on another cruise, and of course our sweet little bug. :cloud9: We don't get uninterrupted talking time very often, so it was nice to reconnect. I will say that I was ready to go get Jayden when they came to get us, again, mommy guilt and I was missing her. This is the second time we have done the Ultimate Indulgence, and while nice, we probably won't do it again. We both thought that the treatments were longer the first time we did the Ultimate Indulgence (in 2011), and the shorter treatments just didn't feel like a good value. I will probably try to book a 60 minute massage next time and will likely feel just as relaxed.

    Ok, this is where the mommy guilt gets even worse...we walked in the kid's club, and Jayden was laying on one of the padded benches almost asleep. :scared1: Yep...felt pretty awful. I asked what was wrong, and she said she had just had a really long day. We took her back to the room, and she took a nap while I packed up most of our clothes/stuff. This way, I didn't have to worry about it while at Castaway Cay!!! The concierge reception was during Jayden's nap, so I went up to the sundeck to get Donald's autograph:

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    When Jayden goes through her autograph book, when she gets to Donald, she says, "Mommy took care of Donald." That has gotten a couple laughs. :lmao:

    On our way to dinner, we got our lithograph from Julia - I really like this one and I think I will have it framed and put it in Jayden's room. Dinner tonight was at Royal Court and the food was really good. Jayden had lobster and lots of corn...I don't think she could have been any happier with the food. :woohoo:

    After dinner, we went to see Cinderella. This is one of the few pictures I have of Jayden in her Jasmine outfit:

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    From there, we saw Chip and Dale and Daisy and then saw Disney Believe. This was, by far, my favorite show of the entire cruise. Jayden absolutely loved it, too! After the show, we made a quick stop at the lounge to see "the girls" as we were saying by this point. Jayden and Jeremy went swimming while I finished up the packing. Around 11pm, I went down to the pool to get them so we could get some sleep before getting to Castaway Cay. :cheer2:

    I almost forgot something...

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    We walked into the room, Jeremy saw this and was in heaven. His quote..."THIS.IS.IMPRESSIVE!"

    Sorry for the text-heavy update!

    Up next: The most magical island EVER! It really was a perfect day!
     
  7. Luv2Diz

    Luv2Diz We love the Wonder and Magic of Disney cruising!

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    I enjoyed your latest TR update. Can't wait to read your CC report. I want to go there soooo bad. Maybe later this year'
     
  8. KarenMP59

    KarenMP59 DVC Member

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    Great TR!!! It's getting me through the wait until our cruise in 44 days!! :cool1:
     
  9. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    Yay an update! Thanks, it was a great one.
     
  10. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    It is such a nice place, really...CC report coming up!

    You are almost to the point where you can say, "this time, next month, we will be doing...." One of my favorite points in the countdown!

    I'm trying to get this finished! That darn thing called life keeps getting in the way! :lmao:
     
  11. KarenMP59

    KarenMP59 DVC Member

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    We have been doing that every Saturday night at 5:00 for weeks!! Lol
     
  12. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    OK….I will finish this, I promise! Castaway Cay was our absolute favorite stop on our cruise in 2011….will this stop live up to our expectations??? We will have to see…

    We started the morning with breakfast in Cabanas. It was still a bit annoying with the lines and such, but we got our food and had a good breakfast as we docked at CC.
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    We only waited around for about 10 minutes after breakfast and they released us to go on the island. It was a bit chilly on this morning, and we heard it would not warm up much, but we decided to brave it with our swimming clothes, figuring we could walk back to the ship if we got too cold. There really wasn’t a line getting off of the ship, which was nice. We walked just a bit and found the line for Captain Jack Sparrow. I insisted that Jayden wanted a picture with him (hehehe).
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    After that picture, we made our way to the tram stop. We were lucky in that one was pulling up right as we got there. Everyone is smiling and ready for a good day!
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    We got to the cabana check-in place and were right behind our cabana-mates. We all checked in and then they took us on the golf cart to our cabana.
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    There have been lots of photos and videos of the cabanas, but here are a few photos of the inside so you can see “what you get” with the cabana. By the way, the towels in the cabanas are AMAZING! Very soft!
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    The view from and of the cabana:
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    We immediately ran into Kemisha and she showed us around and made sure we knew that we could get bikes, snorkeling gear, etc. Jayden didn’t care about anything but getting in the water. The water was chilly, but warmed up throughout the day. Each trip, I have a "favorite" photo, and I think this one might be it:
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    This was my first photo of Jayden on the beach, so if I remember correctly, she ran ahead of us and was dancing. Either way, love it! :cloud9:

    Jayden also had fun bringing water up for sand castles...I shot this one when she was on her way...
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    The weather really turned out great on this day….I mean, seriously, look at that blue sky!
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    We spent the entire morning swimming, playing in the sand, finding coral, sponges, and shells in the sand, and just having fun as a family. Jeremy and Jayden started a tradition on the last cruise of burying Jayden in the sand….and here we go again! I can’t believe she is a willing participant in this process!
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    After everyone was cleaned up, we went to get lunch at Cookies BBQ. The food is not spectacular, but it does the trick! :thumbsup2 We walked our food back to the cabana and ate there. After lunch, we were back to the beach. We played a few games with Jayden on the intertubes and floaties. I also wanted to provide two pictures to illustrate why we like getting a cabana so much. Now, this isn’t to say you can’t have fun without a cabana…not my message at all…we like our space and the cabanas at CC give us that space…
    I took both of these pictures right in front of cabana #1, looking left and then looking right.

    First, the family beach….lots of people!
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    Second, the cabana area beach…not lots of people!
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    It really is that simple for us! And, sharing the cabana with another family greatly reduced the cost (in fact, we spent more on our excursion in San Juan than we did on the cabana).

    We hung out for a bit longer and decided we would head back to the ship so we could go to the Til We Meet Again show. We were fairly certain we would not go to the one at 10:30…or maybe it was 10:00 p.m., and we knew Jayden would want to see the princesses one last time. We were able to shop a bit before we headed back to the ship and we picked up a few t-shirts and a picture frame. So, did today live up to our expectations….. ABSOLUTELY!!! :cool1: This is still my favorite island for all of the same reasons I mentioned in my pre-trip report…shallow water, great sand, private beach, and sunshine!
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    As you can see, Jeremy and Jayden are sad to be leaving, too.
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    We did have one final stop to make to see Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. Mr. Smee was so incredibly nice and was able to get Jayden to calm down quickly for this photo.
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    I think she may be close to being over her fear of characters….except Donald and Goofy, and “Mommy takes care of them.”

    Up next….Til We Meet Again and Our Final Night on the Ship :sad1:
     
  13. Karen87

    Karen87 Earning My Ears

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    I've really been enjoying your trip report - thanks for sharing. Your daughter is adorable! princess:

    I'm glad you posted pics of the cabanas. I was wondering why they were so expensive, and now I know! I am going on my first DCL cruise on the Magic out of Galveston on April 26th, and I can't wait for our CC day! :cool1:
     
  14. KarenMP59

    KarenMP59 DVC Member

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    Absolutely love your TR. Your family is adorable. We also enjoyed our stay in a cabana last year It was our 5th cruise but our first time with a cabana. We did try to get one for our upcoming cruise but they were apparently instantly gone (we are concierge too). We are not at all upset that we didn't get one. We decided to run the 5K (ok walk) and then rent bikes, lunch, then back on the ship. We really aren't sit around on the beach people, especially now that the kids are grown up. So I just want to say that the cabanas are great, but they are hard to get and it's more than possible to have a fantastic time on CC if you can't get one! :beach:
     
  15. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    Oh Wow! I can't wait for Castaway Cay!! Thanks for the preview. Your favorite photo is amazing! Great shot, and in most of them it looks like you've got the place to yourselves.
     
  16. Conorama

    Conorama Mouseketeer

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    Love the dancing pic!

    And it really did turn out to be a great day - even if we elected not to try swimming - couldn't have removed Conor from the sand anyway, if we'd tried. :goodvibes
     
  17. lizzyb

    lizzyb DIS Veteran

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    Castaway day looks amazing!

    That picture of Jayden is soo sweet!
     
  18. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    :cool1:

    I read a lot of questions on the boards about "is it worth it" or "it is too expensive." I think everyone places a value on things, and for us, space/privacy is something that we LOVE! :cloud9: So, just trying to explain why the cabanas work for us. But, I know that we would have an amazing time at CC no matter what!

    I agree :thumbsup2

    We really did have most of the beach to ourselves. I'm not sure what all of the other cabana folk were doing. :confused3

    Conor = Dude = Sandboy :goodvibes Did you show him the picture of Jayden submerged in sand up to her neck??? That is some serious sand! Also, if there was ever sand to be covered in, the sand at CC is pretty darn good.

    Thanks!
     
  19. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    As soon as we made it back to the ship, we hustled to our room to get ready for the Til We Meet Again party. Our experience in the past was that not many people attended these, and it was a great opportunity to spend extra time with the characters. Those characters in attendance at the afternoon party were: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Cinderella, Snow White, and Tiana.

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    Jayden instantly went for the princesses, and we made sure she knew that she was telling them goodbye until our next trip (parent lesson #3 [only behind feed them and let them sleep]: set expectations! There were hugs all around until we got to Tiana...and then things got really bad! First, they said there was only one more minute to take photos with the characters...we were second in line at this point. The family in front of us goes, and the family behind us decided that they didn't care what they had to do, their daughter was getting in the photo, too (with a family they didn't know). This caused confusion and took more than a minute. We warned Jayden that she may just have to wave goodbye to Tiana. I asked Tiana's handler if Jayden could still get a photo, and she said of course. As Jayden was walking to Tiana, Donald was heading back to his spot for the final farewell and totally tripped over Jayden. I saw this tangle of duck feet and a Cinderella dress. :rotfl: Jayden was terrified and went into flight mode. It took a bit to get her calmed down, but Tiana was patient and waited. Donald also realized that he was scaring the crap out of her and went on his way. I think we can safely say that Jayden will not get in a photo with Donald in the forseeable future. In fact, in my mind, I fast-forward 20 years to her being in WDW saying, "yeah, not sure why, but I have never liked Donald." :lmao:
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    After the party, we went to dinner at Animator's Palette. This was the night where we drew our own characters and they did the show. It was a lot of fun, but we felt kind of rushed through dinner. Here is a lovely photo of our assistant server, Ninja and our server, O'Neil and some photos we took while waiting to go to dinner. Both Ninja and O'Neil were delightful and they set the perfect pace for us for dinner all week.
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    After dinner, we went to the final show. It brought a couple tears to my eyes as I reflected on the great memories we made over the last week. From the show, we had to go say our goodbyes to Julia, Kemisha, and Alice...boy, I knew I would be missing them!
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    From there, we planned on going to bed, but that didn't happen. I finished up packing while Jeremy gave Jayden a bath. After bath, it was nearly time for the final Til We Meet Again party. So, since we had kept our 4 year old up way too late all week, we decided, 'What the hell? What's one more night?'

    So, off to the party we go. While we were waiting, I met a lovely CM from Michigan (she was the emcee for the baby races). I talked to her about her job and then asked which princesses would be coming out. She said they had a last minute change and Cinderella wasn't going to be there, but Aurora would be in her place -- she also told me where each princess would be standing. I knew this would be perfect for Jayden, but I kept my lips closed. The princesses that came out were Belle, Ariel, and Aurora. Jayden made a beeline for Aurora. When Aurora saw her, she ran to her, said, "hi, Jayden! How are you?" and then danced with her. So then, we began the cycle. We saw Belle and then Ariel, but we noticed that no one was in line for Aurora. I think in total, at the party, Jayden saw Aurora five times.
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    I just realized that Aurora was holding Jayden in this photo. :love:
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    The last time, I overheard Aurora say to her handler, "she says she doesn't want to go home because she will miss me" as she wiped a tear from her face. :cloud9: Disney Magic, folks...that feeling will keep me coming back time and again! Aurora also kissed Jayden on the cheek...I was fairly certain that Jayden would never let me wash her face. As we walked back to our room, she was in shock and just kept saying over and over, "she kissed me...can you believe she kissed me?" :rotfl:
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    Also interesting, the handler from Michigan came up to us as the party was ending, and asked what our room number was. I'm not sure why; I thought we might get a magical moments certificate, but we never did.

    I would say we all went to bed that last night with happy Disney thoughts in our heads and with some closure to this wonderful vacation.:love:

    Up next...our final travel day and final thoughts.
     
  20. SigalTchelet

    SigalTchelet Mouseketeer

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    I agree-the picture of Jayden with the Fantasy in the background in the back is the best. I am glad you wrote about the Cabanas. I would need Cabana #1 as it is hca. I like that you have a private beach! Loving the tr. Do you have pics of Jayden and Conor together? I am following both TR!
     
  21. cblack

    cblack Mousketeer

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    Staying up really late and getting up really early do not go together well!
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    Jayden was a bit crabby after the late night and the pre-sunrise wake-up. Oh well! We went to breakfast so we could say our goodbyes to O'Neil and Ninja, and because we knew we had a fairly early pickup. Once we left breakfast, we headed right off of the ship. Finding our bags took no time at all, and we had a lovely porter help us get our luggage through the security line and to the curb. The security line felt long...we probably waited 15 minutes or so, but with a crabby 4 year old, it felt like an hour. We called Tiffany Towncar when we made it to the sidewalk and they were there in about 5 minutes. Our driver had a coloring book and crayons for Jayden waiting in the back seat...I thought that was a very nice touch! :thumbsup2

    We made it back to the airport too early to check-in for our flight, so we sat outside of security for about an hour and called family to let them know we were back on land and heading home. The check-in and security process was not too bad given how insanely busy MCO is. Once we checked in, we had plenty of time to get lunch and then wander around the shops for final souvenirs. Our flight was on time...but...we sat and sat and sat. After 30 minutes of sitting on the tarmac, they told us that that pesky second engine wouldn't start. So, we sat some more and some more...in all, I think we sat on the tarmac close to 2 hours. Under normal conditions, this would have been horrible, but since we exhausted our child to no end, she slept from the time she sat down in her seat until we landed in St. Louis...4 hours in total. Once we were back in St. Louis, we took the shuttle to our car and headed home. We were so excited to get home to see our furry family, until I got the phone call. It seems that my in-laws thought that a perfect time to go to someone's house and wait for them to get back is when they come back from a 9 day vacation. Jeremy knew that I was less than happy at that point, but it got worse! We get home, and our living room rug (large rug) is missing. It seems that our dog/house sitter didn't quite know how to clean up dog poo, so he put our large living room rug outside on our deck in the rain/snow/etc. We couldn't even pick it up it was so heavy! Really??? :crazy2::confused3

    So, at this point, the in-laws say they came down to "clean up" because we had 7...7!!!! people stay at our house while we were gone. My natural next question (without the expletives) was WHY? Again, it seems the dog/house sitter got a bit busy and asked others to come and take care of everything. So, not only do I just want to unpack, visit with my furry family, and chill, but now I have to entertain in-laws and wash my sheets stat! :crazy2: :furious: A little less than ideal homecoming, but at least all of the furry family was still alive. Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. For what its worth, we still have not been able to move the one-ton rug. I'm hopeful that when we finally get some consistent sunshine, it will dry out and we will be able to lift it.

    Once the in-laws left, I immediately pulled everything out of the suitcases and started laundry. We all crashed that night from exhaustion. I was very happy that I had taken the Monday after vacation off so I could finish laundry and get everything put away.

    OK, final (and random) thoughts...
    • We loved the Fantasy. We can only compare it to the Magic, but the new features are SO nice, and the concierge experience, in my opinion, is far superior to that on the Magic. Having the lounge seemed silly to me before we went and I didn't think we would use it, but it really was a nice home-base for us.
    • We didn't do the AquaDuck. Jayden was about a 1/3" too short, and we decided that we all wanted to ride it together for our first time. Will be adding that to the to do list for next cruise. Since we went swimming every evening, we could have easily went on it several times with no line.
    • We also didn't do the Mid-Ship Detective game or putt-putt golf. I wanted to, really, but we chose to do other things when we had time. Again, maybe next time.
    • We have been terrified to try non-Disney excursions on the islands, but I think we are more comfortable now and may choose to go non-Disney in the future.
    • I really liked having a Disney-themed dinner the night before the cruise. I think we made the right (but not cheap) choice, here. I am certain that we would have been bored if we would have stayed at the Renaissance at the airport.
    • I am hopeful that our next cruise will be "slower." I am a bit torn on this one because I don't know what we would have skipped. Jayden's 'wants' on this cruise were very different than our last cruise, so it required a faster/scheduled pace to do the things she wanted to do.
    • I don't think we will do Palo on our next cruise. It was nice, and I may very well change my mind, but we felt like we missed out on family time.
    • I still didn't get to read a book on vacation. I am doomed and will never be able to sit down and read while on vacation. :crazy2:
    • Finally, before our next vacation of any kind, we will be teaching our dog/house sitter how to clean up messes and will only make payment if he/she is actually at our house. :rotfl: See, I can laugh about this now.
    That's all folks...thanks for reading along! I will keep an eye on this and respond to questions if anyone has any. pixiedust:
     

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