A Single Mom Meets the Magic (2/2-2/9) *LONG*


Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99
Aug 16, 1999
Cast: Me, 35, and DS, turning 6 in two weeks. Gave up our annual week-in-WDW for this, and it was the absolute best week of my entire life. Cruising is absolutely *the way* to vacation, as far as I'm concerned!

This isn't going to be so much a day-to-day trip report as a stream-of-concsiousness smattering of impressions and experiences. If anyone wants more detail on anything, please let me know!

We flew in the night before and stayed at the AmeriSuites Airport-West on the $25 Priceline bid I got. I like AmeriSuites because they're always consistently clean, comfortable and nice. Expanded-continental breakfast was free, and they have a free shuttle to and from the airport. Check in at the (gorgeous!!!) terminal was a breeze, and we were on the ship shortly after noon, if I remember correctly. Went to the buffet at Topsiders, took one look at the food and made what was, I'm sure, a horrible face, and headed straight for Pluto's. A much better choice. :)

I'll comment on the food here: I will not critique the food in any way, as I do not like "weird" (i.e., everything on the menu) food at all. I was quite happy to either have pizza and hamburgers, or those YUM chicken tenders from room service. And luckily, I was able to just order a nice, normal, delicious steak every night, so I was happy. :) My only sorta complaint is with lunch. Couldn't Topsiders have just a "regular" Golden-Corral-type buffet for lunch every day, and leave the weird themed stuff to the sit-don places? Just my thoughts.

I tell ya this much: I hate cooking on a good day, and now I keep wondering where that "in-stateroom dining" button is on my phone. LOL!! We're so spoiled with that now. And they always acted like YOU were doing THEM a favor by letting them serve you!!

Which brings me to service. I have never, in my life, even at the fanciest hotels, experienced the level of service we received 24 hours a day on the Magic. I was completely blown away. Whatever you want, they'll do -- and they'll thank you for letting them do it. Incredible. And I can't get over how totally spotless everything is! I don't care what time of day or night it was, there was always somebody polishing or shining or sweeping. Everything absolutely *gleamed.* You couldn't have found a speck of dust if you had to.

Our servers were incredible. Our server was Inyoman (from I can't remember where) and he talked me into things other than steak a couple of times that I loved. I ordered my steak, but he still would bring me the other dish too, and just set it down and smile and walk away. Sneaky. :) And each time, I did indeed love it. He was great with DS and the other little girl at the table, always making cool creatures out of the napkins. Our asst. server was Corrinne from France, and she always had my iced tea and DS' Sprite waiting for us. :) Very sweet girl. And I had heard so many stories about "invisible" head servers -- ours was completely the opposite. Christophe knew us by name, greeted us every single night when we got there and when we left, and in between too. He would stay and chat with us, and remembered things about us. All three got tipped well. BTW, we had late seating, which we requested, and it worked out really well for us. We're nightowls by nature.

I can't say enough about the Oceaneer Club and the counselors there. I couldn't drag DS out of there, and after seeing that cool pirate ship to play on and stuff, I wanted to stay too. :) I felt that they had a really good balance of free time and structured activities, and indoor time and sports deck time. And, every activity that was in the Navigator was exactly what they did at the specified time. He especially loved making flubber, and Goofy's Giggle Gala. They were given little travel-size pillows with "Disney Cruise Line" and pictures of Timon and Pumbaa on them, which they got to color themselves. They'e so cute! And best of all, we got to have the pillow signed by Ernie Sabella, the voice of Pumbaa.

Ernie was one of the most down-to-earth people celebrities I've ever met. He didn't even know about the pillows with Pumbaa on them, and was so excited when DS brought his up to be signed. He also signed a very cool poster with a collage of pictures of the Magic and other Disney stuff. It's really handsome, and I'm going to get it framed. Ernie was on the ship celebrating his father's birthday, and he did a couple of Behind-the-Scenes sessions. You kept running into him all over the ship, and he was always friendly and open. It was so funny, though, to hear Pumbaa's voice come out of a person and not a warthog! LOL!!

Moving on to our stateroom... we were in 5132, deck 5 aft, port side, Navigator's Verandah. I really, really loved that room. If you're trying to decide between either of the types of verandahs or save some money and get an inside, by ALL means get the verandah. It's not that I even spent so much time out there, but oohhhhhhh was it worth it. The Navigators Verandah feels so intimate -- I loved going out there right before bed, and leaning into the curve of the giant porthole, and just staring up at the stars while the sea breeze played against my face. And every morning we would eat our ordered-the-night-before continental breakfast out there and it was just bliss. It was worth every single extra penny.

Ports: We wandered onto St. Maarten long enough for me to finally get my hair braided and do a little shopping. The clothing was really inexpensive and really pretty, and we both got spiffy new outfits for tropical night. We were back in the ship by lunchtime, and I had a spa treatment that afternoon. I did the Spa Taster, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Also worth every single expensive penny. That spa is just gorgeous! On St. Thomas we did the St. Thomas Island Tour, which we both really enjoyed. St. Thomas is so beautiful! And like everyone else, I wondered why we stayed longer in St. Maarten than St. Thomas, when everyone else seems to want it the other way around, or even two days in St. Thomas and skip St. Maarten altogether. Our server told us it's because after the sun goes down, St. Thomas has a horrific crime rate. He said that everything is just fine during the day, but that you would never want to be there after dark. I would have thought St. Maarten would be that way! It just seems "rougher."

Our biggest disappointment, no fault of Disney's, was Castaway Cay. We had gorgeous, sunny, mid-80's weather all week, until we got to Castway Cay. It was SO cold, and overcast, and just generally unpleasant. Instead of sunbathing, everyone was wrapped in every towel they could find, trying to stay warm.
:rolleyes: There were quite a few kids in the water, nonetheless, and lots of snorkelers. Personally, I think they were nuts. ;) I waded ankle-deep into the water, and my feet went numb. DS's lips were literally *blue* when he got out of the water, but he claimed he wasn't cold. Okay, whatever. ;) We had all been looking so foward to Castaway Cay, it was just kind of disappointing. But the island, even shrouded in gray, is still beautiful. Lunch at Cookies was great. I can't wait to go back and see the place in the sunshine without freezing to death. :)

And last but not least, because I really need to get to bed... :)

... the cruise staff. I can't say enough about the nine of them. I know that there is generally a very small single's showing on the Disney cruises, and I wasn't expecting anyone at the singles' functions in the Navigator. And after 5 years alone with little human contact outside of work, I felt like I had the social skills of a houseplant. But determined to NOT just lock myself in my stateroom, I forced myself to go to that first event, a casual get-together the first night at Sessions (the quiet piano bar.) There were just two other women, plus Powell from the cruise staff. Powell is an absolute sweetheart, SO cute to boot, and he got us talking. The other two ladies and I just hit it off right away, and decided to do the informal single's lunch thing posted for the next day. Kylie hosted that one, and she was the other main factor in my having the time of my life on this cruise.

We started to draw in more singles, because we were always giggling and partying and drawing attention, I guess. :) We started, by the second night, to meet at Rockin' Bar D every night for whatever fantastic entertainment was going on that night. By the third night, we were at about 10-12 rowdy singles, sitting in "our" section of Rockin' Bar D, and having an absolute ball with each other and the cruise staff. We danced through the 50's, 60's and 70's together, did karaoke together, and did adult scavenger hunts together. (Wait'll you see the pics from THAT one.) At the end, Powell said that usually the singles are a non-existant group, or really quiet if anyone shows up. The whole cruise staff grabbed us out of Rockin' Bar D one night and took us into a different room, where they took a group picture of the lot of us. They said that we were the best group they had had yet since they had been cruising. I made some wonderful friends, and leaving at the end was like leaving summer camp. Many tears were cried. I'm hoping we all keep in touch. Jeez, it's choking me up again to even write about it! I miss all of them, and Powell and Kylie, already.

Okay, that's enough out of me. Back to work and the real world in the morning. Now I have to go climb into a boring ole' bed that doesn't even rock me to sleep. :(

Off to dream Magic dreams....

I tried my best to get my adult DD to go to a singles meet on our cruise. She kept saying she was afraid she'd be the only one there. I'm going to show her your report so she'll try it on our next cruise.
I only have a minute to post before heading back to the "real world" but Gina, wasn't it a great cruise?? We did have such great weather every day til CC, and I will try to post a trip report too this week.

I could tell you were having a lot of fun, and we did too. It's almost impossible NOT to have fun, there is something for everyone, all the time. I'm glad the singles group turned out to be fun, but with you as part of it, how could it NOT be?

I agree about the dining servers, ours were so great too. Our head server was Alen from Croatia, he wanted everything to be "excellent", and "very good" was not good enough. He checked in with us regularly and we appreciated that.

Well, I better save all this for my report, still not done with laundry and gotta go back to bad old work today. My thought last Monday was "everywhere else in the world it's Monday, but on the Magic every day is paradise".

We had Inyoman from 'Indonesia' as our asst server last April -- I wonder if he now moved on up to server! He was a wonderfully cute young man, and my DD-18 still stays in contact with him via email. Unfortuanately he will be on 'vacation' this coming April when we sail again!
Any suggertions on how to get the Amerisuites for the great price that you got it for?? I have it reserved in April for $59 thru the internet, but would sure love to get the rate you did. I've gone into Priceline but not too sure how to tell when I'm getting what hotel. Any advice?? Thanks! Oh...great report thanks!!

Originally posted by kritters4
Any suggertions on how to get the Amerisuites for the great price that you got it for?? I have it reserved in April for $59 thru the internet, but would sure love to get the rate you did. I've gone into Priceline but not too sure how to tell when I'm getting what hotel. Any advice?? Thanks! Oh...great report thanks!!

Hi! I would never have had the guts to do Priceline without this awesome website for guidance: http://pub4.ezboard.com/bpricelineandexpediabidding
Just take some time and read the FAQ's, then watch the Orlando hotel board there for a while and see what bids people are winning for where and when. I forgot to mention in my report that I also used Priceline for the night we left the ship, since we didn't fly back until Sunday, and got the Renaissance - Airport for $27. Veeerrrrryy nice place. :)

Good luck!

I'm single too and going on the 7 day March 23rd. I was curious how you knew about meeting other singles. Were the others single moms too?We're so excited, have booked our excursions-Atlantis sub trip and Golden eagle catamaran trip. We're in room 6089 an inside stateroom.My DS is 9 and Ds 7 so they are pretty self sufficient -used to doing things on their own. Dad's not really in the picture.Any other tips for being single would be appreciated. Thanks
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Thansk for taking the time to post a trip report! We are sailing on the 7 night cruise on 3/23 and are very excited! Reading our report makes me wish our trip was not so far away -- winter is getting me down! :)
Originally posted by kcand sunshine
I'm single too and going on the 7 day March 23rd. I was curious how you knew about meeting other singles. Were the others single moms too?

Hi! The singles get-togethers are posted in the Navigators. For the Magic, the events listed were the first-night informal get-together at Sessions, and then the informal lunches every day at 12:30 at Parrot Cay. Each event is hosted by one or two members of the cruise staff. Several others in the group were single moms -- we fell into the habit of all signing in our kids at the same time, and hitting Rockin' Bar D. :-) I know that sounds bad, and believe me, I did not abandon my child so I could go party -- he just loved the club so much, I never had to talk him into going! :-)

I hope you have as wonderful a time as I did. Go to the singles events!! And if you run into Powell and Kylie, please tell them Gina from the wild singles bunch said 'hi.' :-)


We are planning the April 20th cruise and staying at Amerisuites the night before I was wondering where and when did you met the bus to port??
I enjoyed reading it! So glad you had a great vacation, and that you forced yourself to go to that first single's gathering. Just think, had you not gone to any you would have missed out on so much fun!! :D But oh no, please leave Topsider's buffet just as it is!! Hubby and I loved it on our cruise a year ago, we ate there every day for breakfast (after our early "wake up call" breakfast delivered to our room each morning!) and lunch and thought it was wonderful! I can't believe you didn't try those jumbo shrimp at the "welcome aboard" buffet!! They were awesome!! I see you did try a "few new things" at dinner though, when your server would bring you "something extra" along with your steak! Glad you enjoyed them. :D We're going again next January and can hardly wait!!! :D
The shuttle from AmeriSuites to the airport ran every hour and half-hour, and I got to the airport at about 9:30am. I just wandered around the main terminal area for a few minutes until I spotted a DCL rep in their easy-to-recognize blue blazers, and they walked us right down to the DCL sign-in desk on the lower level. Couldn't have been any easier! :)

Hi Gina,

We were in the same stateroom as you the week before you. 1/26-2/2/02.
We really enjoyed the navigators veranda and we loved spending time eating our breakfast out in the fresh air!!!
It's nice to hear about the family that stayed in our room after we left. Your trip report brought back many happy memories.

Thank you,
Wow, what are the odds that there would be back-to-back DIS-ers in the same stateroom?? That's so cool! :) I feel so territorial about that cabin now... I was so excited when my DU agent told me the other day that she got us booked back into that same stateroom for next February. :D

Gina, loved your trip report. We just got off the ship this past Saturday, and have to agree with you about the cruise staff. Yes, Kylie, Power, Darren, Big John were all so wonderful. They really made our trip a success. I actually just wrote to Disney about how wonderful they all were.

Powell, helped us feed the fish at CC when most everyone else was gone and was a pleasure to talk to. They all have so much energy to keep doing the same stuff week after week.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Thanks for your great and enthusiastic report. It keeps me wanting more!!!
Just back from the Magic!!Had a great time but not many fun singles like your trip!Powell said to tell you Hi. He was so nice. He's actually from the South like me. Our whole boat was full of Northerners,etc. No southerners. They were all very nice and fun.I went to the 1st luncheon,mainly older ppl traveling alone.I really just hung by the pool and did the shows and activities with my kids. It's a great trip. The food was so good too. Gotta go get ready for church!


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