We cruised 2/25 and it was fabulous. This was our 5th Disney Cruise - myself, my DH, DS, DD and her DH and 3 DGC and our 2 friends. My DS and her DH came with us. This was their first cruise. This is from her journal. A Dream is a wish the heart makes And a dream it was -- our first Disney Cruise. Seven days in the western Caribbean, along with my sister Barb, brother-in-law Bob, their family, and some friends of theirs, Mike and Loretta. My sister is an outstanding planner -- I think her true avocation is travel agent! This was the 5th time Barb, Bob, and her family have done Disney cruises, and she really knows how to do it right! She taught us a lot of the insider knowledge that makes everything even more special. Sitting here now, back in California, where it is 60 degrees and pouring rain, it is easy to imagine myself back on board the Disney ship, Magic. So come along, for a virtual tour. The family began the vacation with 3 days at Disney World, staying at Port Orleans, the French Quarter Resort. What a lovely place, with a river walk and lots of flowers and magnolia trees. Dale and I arrived Thursday, mostly relaxed Friday, then joined in the fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. This show has become a family tradition, and many members of the family have actually become PART of the show over the years. David (now 32) at age 3 was chosen for the part of sheriff, I think Bob and Bill both played the angel in a tutu at different times, and Christy was the dance hall girl. This time, Bobs friend Mike was chosen for special attention by one of the cast -- a pretty girl! Saturday, we began our journey to the ship at Port Canaveral by taking a HUMMER LIMO!! See what I mean about Barb and her plans? Inside were 3 TV sets, a bar, and leather seating. Cool, huh! But however cool it looked, the limo didnt have enough room for 25 pieces of luggage for 12 people even though Barb told them ahead of time what to expect. So the limo company had to pay for an additional taxi van to shuttle most of the luggage from Orlando to Port Canaveral. Our first glimpse of the ship was amazing -- it is so huge, and beautiful -- well, see the pictures! While our luggage was being transported to our rooms by crew members, there was a great welcoming deck party with music, dancing, and entertainers. As the ship was leaving, Barb and Bob had white Mickey gloves for everyone in our group to wave goodbye to the folks on the dock, and bubble stuff -- just held it over the rail, and the wind made huge bubbles everywhere! Now for a brief ships tour There are 10 decks. Deck 10 overlooks 3 swimming pools below in the center areas of deck 9, and there are basketball courts and ping pong tables on deck 10 forward. Also on deck 10 aft is the Palo Restaurant for adults only, and it is absolutely marvelous. Forward, on deck 9 is the adult pool, with two hot tubs. Mid ship is the family pool, with two hot tubs and a giant movie screen, and a stage for entertainers. Farther back is the childrens pool, with Mickey ears serve as wading pools, and the pool has a nice water slide. All the way aft is the Top Siders Buffet, where you can get breakfast, lunch or dinner, if you choose, buffet-style. And everything is free all you want, whenever you want, except alcohol, which you can purchase, as well as specialty drinks, such as smoothies. Decks 2, 6, 7 and 8 are mostly stateroom decks. Deck 7 has a secret aft deck area for quiet reading while taking in the sun and the sea. Deck 5 is also mostly staterooms, but has a large movie theater, which plays current Disney Company movies throughout the day and evening. The ship plays other current and recent Disney movies on 4 or 5 of their television channels again, for free. Deck 4 has a running or walking deck outside, with shuffleboard courts, and very comfortably padded lounge chairs. Deck 4 also has gift shops and the main theater for the nightly Disney productions of Broadway-like shows. Deck 4 has the Animators Palate restaurant, and Shutters, where you go to see/purchase photos taken by the Disney photographer staff of your group and individuals throughout the cruise. On deck 3 are Lumieres and Parrot Cay restaurants. Your group is scheduled to rotate through the Parrot Cay, Lumieres, and Animators Palate restaurants throughout the cruise and the servers rotate with you. Or you can make reservations to Palo, the adult only restaurant on deck 10, which has the most elegant foods and service weve ever seen! There are also areas set aside on the ship for game shows and activities throughout the day .and the wonderful kids clubs, that no one can match Disney has over 50 people on their staff just for kid club activities. Beth and Brent have three great little girls, ages 10, 8 and 4, and each of them loved Club -- the littlest never wanted to leave! You keep track of all the activities and events by the nightly newspaper slipped under your door called the Navigator. There is so much going on every minute Family games, live music, movies, ventriloquists, comedians, and the absolutely wonderful Disney evening shows! Or, you can CHOOSE to be alone, to sit on a deck chair and read a book, or just relax its all up to you. When in port, there are all kinds of activities to choose from. For instance, in Key West, Florida, there are 10 different tours, from sailing and kayaking, snorkeling, to a schooner sailing trip, tram tour and museum, glass bottom boat, shipwreck historeum, pirate scavenger hunt, or butterfly nature conservatory. Unfortunately, it was a very rainy day, and our scheduled trip on the Western Union Schooner was cancelled due to high winds and seas. We took the 90-minute tram tour of the city, which was okay but we all got pretty wet, since the tram didnt have sides or windows to keep the rain out At Grand Cayman, you can take a 2-tank dive, snorkel, visit stingray city aboard a 65-foot catamaran, take a submarine expedition (some go down 800 feet), or the Nautilus Undersea tour. You can also take a two-person inflatable motorboat, and visit a submerged shipwreck. We opted for the island tour, which also included a boat ride to Stingray City Observatory basically a large pontoon boat. The pontoons were made to climb down into, with large windows to view colorful fish and the large number of stingrays that stay in the area. We then proceeded to the sea turtle farm some of the turtles weighed over 500 pounds. They release about 25 percent of their turtles to the open seas each year. By the way, the waters of the Caribbean are unbelievably gorgeous -- jewel-like greens, to various blues, to almost purple shades, sparkling in the sunlight. Our ship was originally scheduled to visit Cozumel, Mexico. But because of extensive hurricane damage last Fall, it was canceled, and Costa Maya, on the coast 130 miles south of Cancun, was substituted. There were 13 different excursions to choose from snorkeling, catamarans, several Mayan ruins tours, all-terrain 4x4 tour, kayaks, dune buggies, horseback riding, biking, jeep adventure, and a dolphin encounter. We chose the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins for our tour. We found it very interesting, and many of its buildings there could be climbed. The Temple of the Masks had several of the original masks made of stone and placed in the front sides of the temple, although looters had got to some of the ruins over the years. The Mayans lived in this area for a long time, and this ruins covers several square miles about 5 acres is open to the public for tours, and archeological digs are still going on in other parts. The ruins here were discovered in 1912, and most of the buildings date from 250 900 AD. Our tour was a little more remote than some of the ruins tours offered, and the bus ride was over 2 hours each way. We did get to spend nearly 2 hours at the ruins, and the guide was very informative. Mike and Loretta, another couple from our group, opted for the Chacchoben Mayan ruins, and enjoyed them, as well. For us, the very best day came last, at Disneys private island, Castaway Cay. It is really a tropical paradise. You could easily spend the whole day in a hammock or lounge chair under an umbrella, or swimming in those warm, beautiful green waters of the protected lagoon. But just in case that isnt enough, there are over 15 different excursions to choose from: snorkeling, bottom fishing, renting a tube, float or bicycle, banana boat, parasailing, catamaran, kayak, glass bottom boat, jet skis, hobie cat, or, OUR FAVORITE, feeding and snorkeling with the stingrays. It was really neat to feed them, and to spend some leisurely time snorkeling in their large fenced off area of the lagoon clear, green water and soft sandy bottom. It was exciting being amongst them, and seeing them swim so closely below and beside us! A very satisfying end of the day adventure that will be remembered fondly for a long time. Of course, being with Barb, Bob, Bill, Beth, Brent, Cassie, Allie and Kendall is always a laughter-filled, happy time. We went for early morning swims, while Beth and Brent went to the gym or for a massage at the spa. Brent took a scuba dive in Costa Maya, and Bill, Beth and Brent snorkeled off a ship in Grand Cayman. Bill and Bob took a jeep tour of Costa Maya. We all dressed in Pirate costumes for Pirate night. One night we stayed up late for a movie, Flight Plan with Jodi Foster, and another evening Beth and the girls cried through Eight Below, about a dog-team stranded in Antarctica. Our best memory of the wonderful shows presented each night was of the Golden Mickeys, although Disney Dreams, and Twice Charmed were fabulous. On the night of the Golden Mickeys, kids lined up to be interviewed about their choice for "Favorite Disney Character" (Goofy, by a landslide!)--well, last was this tall, white-haired 12-year-old--BOB! How funny! Our servers came with us, from restaurant to restaurant, and soon knew our preferences -- so our favorite beverages were waiting, and our table perfect. Erasmo, from Chile, and Jonathan, from the Philippines, not only served us wonderful meals each evening, but entertained the little girls with various types of napkin-folded hats, and games. Erasmo earned a kiss on the cheek from Kendall for cutting her steak each night. Disney knows how to do it -- and always does it just right. For us, vacationing with our loved ones makes those moments magical -- times we will always remember. So dont delay -- take a trip with your family soon, and make your own magic and memories.