Cass, Rob & Kira - Christmas on the Wonder - 2018. Third time's a charm!


DIS Veteran
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Aug 18, 1999
Welcome, my fellow DISers, to my latest Trip Report.


As you can see from the title, this trip report is about our third year in a row that we were lucky enough to celebrate Christmas on board the gorgeous Disney Wonder, sailing out of Galveston, Texas. I actually didn't think we would be able to pull it off for the third time but like so many times in my life, someone else took the wheel and I was just along for the ride. :love:

Feel free to check out my previous trip reports (links in my signature down below) if you need introductions because I am going to jump right in and start this now :cool1:


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DIS Veteran
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Aug 18, 1999
Chapter Links

December 19th, 2018

Part 1 - Farewell, Calgary!
Part 2 - Rockets, Longhorns and pools, oh my!

December 20th, 2018

Part 1 - Snooze, shopping, redux and a redo.

December 21st, 2018

Part 1 - Webster to Galveston, please, kind sir!
Part 2 - The Disney Wonder!
Part 3 - So long, Galveston!
Part 4 - Dinner and some whine.

December 22nd, 2018

Part 1 - Palo Brunch and a sunset play by play.
Part 2 - Dinner with a show!

December 23rd, 2018

Part 1 - A very Blu excursion
Part 2 - Moses and Bayou
Part 3 - George and Louis
Part 4 - Avoiding pirate night crowds

December 24th, 2018

Part 1 - Getting to Grand Cayman
Part 2 - Tortugas!
Part 3 - A return to the ship and lots of eating going on.

December 25th, 2018

Part 1 - Ho Ho H...whooops, there go my cookies!
Part 2 - A WONDERful Christmas, indeed!

December 26th, 2018

Part 1 - A whole lot of crying going on.
Part 2 - And the sky was crying too!

December 27th, 2018

Part 1 - Round and round we go...
Part 2 - The Good, the bad, the ugly.
Part 3 - Dinner & an iWash.

December 28th, 2018

Part 1 - Crabs and rides
Part 2 - Moody with a tween
Part 3 - A Moody tween, a Parisian dreamer and some jerks

December 29th, 2018

Part 1 - Sadness and joy

December 30th, 2018

Part 1 - And that's a wrap, folks!

Kira's pics

Part 1

Part 2


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DIS Veteran
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Aug 18, 1999
December 19th, 2018 - Day 1, Part 1

A couple of things I will need to share with you before I get started...

A couple of months before we left, Rob had his wisdom teeth extracted. He had a tough time with it, he was in a lot of pain and had some complications. Long story short...he ended up having oral surgery the DAY BEFORE we left on this trip to remove some bone fragments. :worried:

I still remember getting a text from him that day when he was at his oral surgeon and thinking...great, well, that's going to put a damper on things. :sad2: Sadly, it put a huge damper on some aspects of the trip but luckily it did not get infected (our big worry!) and while it made things a little more challenging, it didn't ruin the trip and he managed to toughen it out and get through it.

The second thing I wanted to share with you was that I recently got braces! Yup, a lovely tin grin at the ripe old age of 46 o_O

While I've always wanted teeth that don't stick out, I didn't get the opportunity to get braces as a kid and honestly, I never thought I would have the courage to do it as an adult. The last couple of years we've invested a lot of time and money into Rob and Kira's teeth as Rob got Invisalign braces two and a half years ago and last May, Kira had her braces removed. On that same day, while I was there, I had booked a consultation for myself in September to talk to them about it.

For the life of me, I don't really recall making the decision, I kind of showed up, heard the speech and next thing I knew, I was making an appointment to get my braces on in November! pixiedust:

Rob got his Invisalign off the day before I got my braces on, which meant within a three-and-a-half year time span, there was/would be less than 24 hours where none of us had braces on our teeth :lmao:

It was a huge adjustment period for me and I feel like I was just getting the hang of eating before we left, so that's good.

I'm still not used to having them in my mouth exactly, and I am constantly playing with them, with my tongue and my lips. There are times where I bite myself...not even chewing!! Just sitting there, watching TV or writing an email and I bite the inside of my lip! :lmao:

Smiling is weird too. I have a RBF...a natural frown, if you will, so I feel like I need to smile in photos, otherwise I look miserable but when I do, often my lip gets caught on the bracket and the whole thing just looks and feels weird. :rolleyes:

Okay, so now you know everything you need to about our dental history :laughing: :rotfl:

So on with the report...:rolleyes1

In the past, we've flown into Houston, spent a couple of days before the cruise in Galveston, then flew home the day we disembarked. This year would be different as Rob was meeting up with someone so we decided to stay in Webster since it was closer for him and then spend some time in Galveston after the cruise. The cruise was a 6-night cruise so that worked better for us anyway.

We started our countdown calendar at day 35 but I redid the numbers with newer, updated characters since the previous one was done in 2009 and contained a whole lot of princesses :p

The evening before we left, I had dropped off our dog, Boo at my brother's house as he kindly takes cares of her while we are gone.

Our flight left Calgary at 7am so I was up at 2:45am to shower and get ready and get the last-minute stuff packed.

We were packed and ready to go just before 4am...thankfully, no huge snowfall this year :rolleyes:

We were half-way to the airport when Rob says "Oh look! The Wonder!" :rotfl2:

Not OUR Wonder :rolleyes:

Got to the airport, was getting our usual pics when someone kindly offered to take a family pic for us.

Rob went to drop off our vehicle at Park2Go while Kira and I tried to get our luggage tags. I had upgraded our seats to Plus during the online check-in and didn't realize that Westjet has a special manned Priority area where someone does that for you. :rolleyes1

So, we found that area, dropped our bags off and waited for Rob to get back.

Onward to security and then customs where Rob did NOT get flagged. :cool1:

Wooo hooo!

He had recently found out that the reason he kept getting the extra security check was because his account showed an expired passport so once it was updated, smooth sailing :goodvibes

Our usual stop at Wolfgang Puck's The Kitchen...

It looks like something weird is happening to my hair on the right side but it's just the lady behind me :rotfl2:

When I first saw this pic, I was wondering what the heck happened to my hair that morning. It was a pretty early morning after all. :lmao:

I gave Kira an early Christmas gift...a new stuffy. Yup, I know, like she needs another stuffy, right? But it was Stitch so all is good :laughing:

Kira got the french toast...

Rob got his oatmeal...

And I got my usual...delish!

We headed down to our gate where Kira was already done with photos and spending time with us apparently :lmao:

So, Rob and I took a selfie and joked about how we were going to leave her at home :rolleyes:

It wasn't long before they started boarding!

And Kira was thrilled to be sitting far away from us, on her own. :teeth:

Although we couldn't take our usual family selfie, we adapted :rotfl2:

She was very happy with the extra room and no one sitting right next to her. :thumbsup2

I was not as happy when this jerk reclined his seat three minutes into the flight. :eek:

I really think airlines should remove the recline feature on all aircraft! Good thing I was reading and not trying to watch a movie on that screen in front of me :sad2:

I watched a beautiful sunrise...

They gave us some hot cloths, which Rob used to wrap around his very sore jaw. :sad1:

This was Rob's breakfast...

I ended up getting a ham and cheese croissant but never ate it as I didn't want to get food stuck in my braces while in a plane. :scared:

About four hours later, we arrived at our destination!

Grabbed our bags and headed out to the rental car shuttle, where it was waiting for us :thumbsup2

Then straight to Alamo's garage where we picked out our car for the next 12 days.

We originally had found a Murano but then Rob spotted a Rav4, which is what he drives at home so we grabbed that instead.


It wasn't as well-equipped as the one he has and it was super touchy on the gas pedal and it didn't have the best tires on it so he ended up skidding a lot. I wish we had gotten the Murano :rolleyes1

We loaded up and headed to Webster. :thumbsup2

It was foggy and cool, my kind of weather :goodvibes

Traffic was light, except the usual congestion just before you hit the 45.

About an hour later, we had arrived at our exit :cool1:

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  • stacaka4321

    Apr 28, 2015
    Oh my, Kira has grown so much since your trip last year! What a beautiful teenager she has become! I don't really comment on posts so you probably have no idea who I am but I was just shocked how much she's changed :) Can't wait to read the rest of your report!



    Celebrating 32 Ears
    Dec 11, 2008
    Yay! Another Christmas report, looking forward to hear all about your travels.
    Kira has grown so much, what a difference a year makes! She looks so much older, love her hair, she is just adorable!


    DIS Veteran
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Aug 18, 1999
    December 19th, 2018 - Day 1, Part 2

    We arrived in Webster and headed straight for our hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites, where I had already checked in online and even got to choose our room! I love that feature with Hilton :woohoo:

    Kira came in with me to get our room keys.

    I had booked us a mini-suite, knowing that we would be in cramped quarters for the last 9 nights of our trip. It was actually less than a regular room with two double beds in Galveston since this was Webster and 30 minutes away from the popular island :rolleyes:

    Kira was happy about having her own space, away from us. :flower:

    We unpacked a little and settled in as much as we could for two days. :p

    We were starving so we headed to Cheesecake Factory. We don't have these in Canada and the last time I was in one was many, many moons ago in Las Vegas.

    We got some bread, which was very tough to eat for Rob and I since it was very hard and crunchy on the outside. :scared:

    I didn't want to eat too much so I just got some cheeseburger egg rolls, which were delicious and hit the spot!

    Kira got the corn dogs from the kids menu...

    Rob got some type of chicken stir fry...

    And we shared an Oreo cheesecake...

    We made a quick stop at Target for some water and Diet Coke and a few other things before it was time for Rob's meeting.

    He was meeting someone at NASA, at the Rocket Park, so Kira and I joined him and explored while Rob was busy with his meeting.

    She was wearing the right hoodie for the occasion :rolleyes1

    This is the first stop on the tram ride for Johnson Space Center Visitors tour and that is how most people come to explore this area. You can also park there and check it out on your own but I don't think many people do that because we were asked several times if we had parked there ourselves, especially right after a tram left and we were the only ones left :rolleyes: :rotfl2:

    Here is one of those trams...

    Once the tram left, we noticed that there were some cattle across the way. We walked over there and it looked like it was a public space so we went to explore...

    We found gorgeous Texas Longhorns!

    Oddly enough, this was the best part of the visit for Kira and I :rotfl2:

    Rob is the space geek and while Kira and I enjoy space stuff too, we are huge animal lovers so this was our jam :goodvibes

    Back to the park and Rob was just finishing up so we showed him everything we had just explored.

    As we were leaving, we notice tons of deer across the way...

    And we caught a great sunset view of the replica of the Shuttle Independence and the NASA 905 shuttle carrier. :thumbsup2

    Rob has been to Johnson Space Center before and I think Kira would be slightly bored with it all so we skipped it this time but maybe on a future trip we will visit here. :scratchin ;)

    It was now pool time! :banana:

    If you have read my previous reports, you know how much Kira and I love to swim at night on vacation. :love:

    It was a chilly night, about 8ºC (46F) but usually we're okay in a heated pool. So we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool.

    It was just us, which suited us just fine!

    It suited us until we stuck our foot in the pool and found a FREEZING cold pool! :eek::eek::eek:

    Clearly, it was not heated! Not even a little! I like cool water and can handle most pools when it's way too cold for most people but this was ridiculous!! :scared1:

    At one point, Kira actually went into the pool, which shocked the heck out of me because she likes warm pools and normally won't go near a pool if it's even remotely cold.

    So, when she plunged into that cold pool, I figured I would too. :P



    I tried...really...I did! It was just too cold! :cold::cold::cold:

    We, instead, opted for the hot tub, which was actually, the same temperature as the pool should have been. :rolleyes2

    So, a cold pool and a warm tub. o_O

    We still managed to have a good time and enjoy ourselves. :D

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    Lesley Wake

    Bright Suns
    Mar 16, 2017
    I'm here too! :wave:

    Although we couldn't take our usual family selfie, we adapted :rotfl2:

    Haha, very nice!

    I really think airlines should remove the recline feature on all aircraft! Good thing I was reading and not trying to watch a movie on that screen in front of me :sad2:

    Ugh, I agree! I rarely every recline, but I tend to pay extra for an exit row so I don't have to deal with recliners!
  • jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Jan 17, 2005
    Holy cow Kira has grown up so much! What a beautiful young lady! Christmas on the Wonder sounds amazing! Someday when I can be done with family obligations. :) Sorry to hear of all the dental drama!

    Can't wait to hear about the cruise!

    Jill in CO


    Dec 10, 2014
    Woohooooooo you've started the new TR!!!!

    I'm sorry, I thought you said Kira was on the trip? I can't see her in the photos, just a VERY GROWN UP looking daughter!!! :earseek: These darn kids, growin' so fast!!

    Ok......that is tooooo cold for even me to swim in, yikes! Glad you were at least able to use the warm tub :thumbsup2


    Dec 30, 2016
    Yay for another Cass trippie! So glad I caught this one from the beginning. Like other posters have mentioned, Kira really is a beautiful young lady, the kid looks are gone! Love her hair too!!

    Deb Stoltman

    Earning My Ears
    Aug 4, 2017
    Yay! I’m so happy to see this! Well, I must agree...Kira does look so grown up. And beautiful!

    Ohhh...I totally get the braces thing! I’m 52 and just got full braces. My daughter got hers off and I admired her teeth so much and, like you, the next thing I knew I’m making an appointment to get my own. They are so weird and after 4 months I’m still not completely used to them.

    Can’t wait for more!
  • cntkg1

    <b><font color=blue>Runs with Scissors!!<br><font
    Feb 1, 2005
    Geeeez Cass, don’t you ever stay home? .

    Glad to see another trippie from my bff. Wish I would’ve been on this cruise with you too.

    Love the pic of Kira with you guys in the background on the plane. ❤


    DIS Veteran
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Aug 18, 1999
    December 20th, 2018

    The biggest aspect of this trip for me when I was planning it was to make sure we have lots of relaxation time.

    The older we all get, including my kiddo being a tween, the more we realize we need time to just chill on our vacations. I could never understand people who just vacation at a beach for an entire week. Well, I certainly understand now. I still need to do more things than just lay in a chair somewhere but the desire to fill every second with activities no longer appeals to me. And this holds very true for Kira, becoming a typical teenager. Her happy place is in her bed, in jammies, with her phone and ipad. :rolleyes:

    In fact, she's been there since we got home...mostly :p

    When you take her out of her element, she gets crabby and grumpy and crusty. ::yes::

    Seriously :rolleyes1

    Even with 12 hours of sleep, she can have an attitude, especially on vacation. :rolleyes:

    So, with that in mind, I did not plan to do too much and I built in lots of chill time. Today was mostly a chill day. The only goal was to get a little shopping done. Kira is at that stage in her life where she is too old and too tall for kids clothes but I find that a lot of women's clothing is just too old looking for her.

    I am finding it a little tough to shop for her now but I had noticed in Orlando when I shopped at Kohl's, that they had a nice section dedicated just for the tween/teen girl and I knew that I wanted to check it out, with her in tow. She is not fun to shop with most of the time and is very new to it as she has never been picky with her clothing and has always been happy with whatever I had gotten her. So basically, that was my only goal today, get her some new clothes, without having a huge meltdown :teeth:

    So, we slept in, quite a bit actually and then went for brunch. When I was researching Webster, I found a Snooze AM Eatery that had just opened a few weeks earlier about two minutes from our hotel so I thought we would check it out. :thumbsup2

    You know it's gotta be good when the wait is this long :scratchin

    I checked us in and they texted my phone when a table opened up, which was about 30 minutes later.

    Kira got regular pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and she LOVED it!! :love:

    About half way through, she said "This place is MY Keke's" :rotfl2:

    You wouldn't get that unless you read our summer 2017 trip report but basically, this was her jam!! :laughing:

    Rob got the pancake flight, where you get to choose three kinds of pancakes, he chose blueberry, pineapple upside down and the sweet potato pancakes. He said it was very good.

    I had ham & eggs and it was very delicious! Not Keke's delicious but pretty darn good :rolleyes:

    We asked for more strawberries and whipped cream for Kira and she thought this was the best thing ever :laughing:

    What I thought was the best thing ever was this little thing attached to the inside of the bathroom door so that you didn't have to use your nice clean hands to open the door :worship::worship::worship:

    Umm, restaurant owners....please put this thing on every single public bathroom door!!! :worship:

    After eating, we made our way over to Target again, then a quick stop over to Walmart and then over to Kohl's. I was looking for water shoes for Rob but they weren't in season and I couldn't find any.

    Rob sat in the car patiently, reading his book while Kira and I spent a good 90 minutes in Kohl's. She found some great stuff that she liked, that I approved of and that didn't break the bank. I'm really liking Kohl's now :worship:

    Our last shopping stop would be the Tanger Outlets.

    By the time we got there, it was really cold! The wind had picked up tremendously and we were all chilly.

    Rob ran back to the car to grab Kira's hoodie while we dashed into the Nike outlet where I had to make sure I didn't time travel back to the eighties. :rolleyes1

    They were selling some stuff that I swear was really big back in 1981 :rotfl2:

    Rob caught up with us and we checked out a few more stores.

    We ended up buying a belt and some new shoes for Kira, a pair of pants for me from Old Navy and I grabbed some Star Wars socks for Rob. :darth:

    Once we were done, we headed back to Webster and back to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We were super starving now.

    Kira got a cheese pizza, which I thought was good but she didn't care for it at all. :scared:

    Rob got...this.

    Salmon? I think! :scratchin

    And I got a club sandwich. It was good but I didn't eat most of it because it was just too hard to eat with braces. I've been eating keto for over two years (I take breaks from it on vacation) and haven't had non-keto food (like sandwiches) since I got my braces and I didn't realize how difficult it would be to eat. :worried:

    I think I had one quarter of it and then nibbled on her pizza because it was easier to eat. :rolleyes2

    We ended up getting her some fries because on vacation, that is pretty much her main food group :P

    Obviously, very happy about it. :D

    We split the peanut butter cheesecake and all agreed that the oreo one was much better as we didn't even finish this.

    Back to the hotel and back to the warm tub for Kira and I :cloud9:

    She was hoping that the pool would be warmer that night but it wasn't so we just stuck to the hot tub. It was surprisingly deep for a hot tub and she still managed to have fun :-)

    Tomorrow we board the Disney Wonder :woohoo::jumping3:


    Mommy to Claire
    Oct 28, 2006
    Woohooo!!!! I’m so excited for this report!
    How the heck did Kira grow up so much in 6 months? I swear she looks totally different... and those legs! She’s so tall !
    It looks like a great start. This is my goal for Christmas. Maybe this year?


    Can you package some Main St. music and send it to
    Apr 30, 2002
    Woop woop, guess who's here!! Hiya Cass! I love how fast you started this one, wow. I looked at your departure date from home, I just got home from Australia the day before!! It was so great. But I digress. Omg Cass, Kira. She is absolutely such a beautiful girl. Holy cow, Rob's in trouble in a few years with her dates coming to the house lol. Nooooo, that won't happen till she's 30, no worries :) right. I LOVE that you take pictures, for our point of view, as if we're there with you. Never get tired of that, ever. Especially the food of course! The more the better. Keep em comin', I'll be waitin'!

    Tink rules

    <font color=teal>The kids in my family sometimes t
    Dec 30, 2006
    I had to go redo my password to follow you!!!

    I'm in as always! Wow! Kira is BEAUTIFUL! Just like her mom and dad! Then again...I'm biased...

    I'm going to send this to my nephew's families. They just did the Wonder out of Galveston for Thanksgiving and they grew up in Clear Lake/Webster area, so I'm sure they will like the little tour. Both of my nephews went to middle school across the way from Monument Park at JSC. I remember taking my oldest nephew to school for the first time at orientation. He's staring out the window yelling "hey... there's the football field" and I'm staring out the other window, pointing and saying "OMG... it's a ROCKET!!!" Back then the big Saturn rocket wasn't under cover so it was totally cool... the last time I was at the Space Center, I was chaparoning my younger nephews graduation after party.

    The cruise that they went on was a surprise for them. My sister took her whole family. They didn't know they were going on a cruise until that day. They brought us gifts, so I'm not so upset anymore that they went without me... lol maybe... lol...



    DIS Veteran
    May 30, 2002
    Yippee.. another trip report. Kira looks so grown up. Her teeth look very nice. Can’t wait to read the rest.


    DIS Veteran
    May 14, 2015
    I always love your trip reports, so I am excited to follow along. I hope everyone's teeth are feeling better now. (I laughed out loud at the RBF bit. People are always asking me what's wrong and I have to explain that my face just looks this way naturally. Sigh).


    Celebrating 32 Ears
    Dec 11, 2008
    I love Cheesecake Factory brown bread, it so good, especially when they bring it and its warm.
    That and a slice of cheesecake and I'm good to go!


    DIS Veteran
    Aug 31, 1999
    You're off to a great start. I love Kira's hair...she's soooo cute!


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