IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE YOUR MONEY - a Delightful Westbound Panama Canal Adventure for Kids of All Ages


DIS Veteran
Jul 1, 2012
HE WILL TAKE YOU AROUND THE WORLD - travel day, April 22, 2017
YOU'LL MAKE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS - embarkation day, April 23
REHYDRATE YOUR SOUL - Cozumel, April 25
FEELING SMALL IN THE BIG OL' BLUE - a day at sea, April 27
HANGIN' WITH THE COOL KIDS - Cartagena day, PART ONE - April 28
THE SUN IS SHINING AND THE TANK IS CLEAN! Panama Canal Transit, part one - April 29
IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE! -Panama Canal Transit, part two - April 29
ONE STINKIN' DOLPHIN! -a day at sea - Sunday, April 30
AT LONG LAST, A MICKEY BAR! -a day at sea - May 1
HERE WE (MAN)GO AGAIN - a day at sea - May 3
ZOMBIE SUNSCREEN AND THE TACO TOUR - Puerto Vallarta, part ONE - May 4
TACO TOUR, part THREE (Puerto Vallarta day, concluded)
CABO, part dos
GLUTTONY, REVISITED - a day at sea - May 6
HAILSTONES BURST MY DISNEY BUBBLE (or, why you should buy trip insurance) - May 7

Introduction – And what does that title mean?!

Every story has a beginning, and I had to think hard about where this story actually started. We are Mark and Linda, two late-50’s professionals from Indiana.

Not only am I not a history buff, I can honestly say I really can’t stand history; so, why would I want to see the Panama Canal?

I think I caught Panama Fever seven or eight years ago when our younger son was chronically ill and hospitalized many times a year for a week or so at a time. I tried to find quiet activities to do at his bedside so I wouldn’t disturb him if he was able to sleep, and often read Disney World or Disney Cruise trip reports on my phone. The longer reports (about transatlantic and Panama Canal cruises) were always nice to read, as they were usually full of photographs, and reading them killed a lot of time.

Thinking forward a few years to how I would celebrate my sixtieth birthday, I was tinkering with a Disneyland-Disney World-Disney Cruise trip, but the Panama Canal cruise trip reports crept back into my mind. I started doing a little reading and became enthralled by its story: disease, death, corruption, politics…and the incredible fact that the Canal is the same today as it was when it opened in 1914. I knew I had to see it; a Disney cruise through the Canal would be my 60th birthday gift to myself. Mark was totally disinterested, so I would go solo.

Then my mother died, rather unexpectedly. And it made me wonder what I was waiting for; what if I don’t live to see 60? How upset would I be to die at 59 without seeing the Canal? So we booked the 2017 WBPC. Yes, “we” – the more I talked about it, the more interested Mark became. And who wouldn’t enjoy a two-week long cruise?!

I knew I wanted to write a trip report, in part to thank the authors of those trip reports I read and reread so many times; there aren’t many Panama Canal cruise reports out there! One day at work, as I was comforting a crying baby, I read him a book his parents had at the bedside: “If You Give a Dog a Donut.” It’s part of a lovely series of books by Laura Numeroff about how a simple task can snowball into something much larger. And my trip report title came to me: If You Give a Mouse Your Money…

I hope the story of our trip through the Canal (and into history!) will bring enjoyment to your life, and perhaps inspire you to consider making the transit as well.
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  • Kari0180

    Aug 4, 2013
    Looking forward to your report, Panama Canal is my dream cruise, however the husband isn't quite on board, hoping maybe your report can help convince him!!


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 1, 2012
    Looking forward to your report, Panama Canal is my dream cruise, however the husband isn't quite on board, hoping maybe your report can help convince him!!
    PC and transatlantic cruises are a great value! The price per night is very low!
  • MickeyEarrings

    DIS Veteran
    Jul 1, 2012
    He Will Take You Around the World (Sat. April 22 – travel day)

    I’m an uber-planner.

    There, I’ve said it. I had things planned down to the minute. But Karma, our dog, didn’t get the memo. She didn’t want to go outside to potty in the wee small hours of the morning when she knew she was supposed to be asleep, and this put us eight minutes behind schedule. Normally, that’s not a huge deal, but we were using an Indianapolis airport-area hotel’s Park and Sleep option to park our car during the trip, and I had been warned that the shuttle bus driver was prompt.

    Mark was kind enough to drive a little faster than he normally does (I was worried about getting stopped for speeding!) and we made it to the hotel with a few minutes to spare. The shuttle arrived, our luggage was loaded, and as we took our seats we were told we were waiting for another couple. In the meantime, our driver needed coffee from the hotel lobby – which he promptly spilled on the other couple’s soft-sided luggage! Yikes!

    After arriving at Indianapolis International, Mark lost a discussion about whether his carry-on bag would fit in the bin (it wouldn’t – too many fish extender gifts!), so we checked it and our two rolling garment bags. As is our custom, we had a nice sit-down breakfast at Café Patechou in the Civic Plaza area before entering the secured zone. For a change, my artificial knees did not warrant me a complementary pat-down, but my Mickey Mouse carry-on got pulled. We both have TSA PreCheck, so we don’t put our liquids into a baggie, or we would have realized that Mark’s brand new tube of shaving cream was more than 3 ounces, and it got confiscated. Darn it. I hope they donate those things to homeless shelters… Oh well, if that’s the worst that happens to us, that’s okay.

    We had A-group boarding for our Southwest flight to Orlando, and after the first few rows filled up we noticed a strange buzzing. It was the jetway, and they didn’t want to continue using it so we were pushed to another gate to continue boarding. This made us depart a bit late, but after a rather bumpy flight we arrived on time.

    My vacation books were both about dogs: “Free Days With George” by Colin Campbell, and “Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home” by Pauls Toutonghi. I purposefully chose books where the dogs don’t die – who wants to have a big snotty cry on vacation?! One of the first few pages of “George” explained the title, and it really spoke to me. To paraphrase, a “Free Day” is a day spent with people you love, doing things you love. On those days we don’t grow older – they are “free” days. I smiled and looked forward to two weeks without aging.

    Disney’s Magical Express delivered us and our luggage safely to the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. We had gotten a text while on the bus that our room was ready, so we dropped off our bags, put our cash, cards and cruise documents in the safe, bought some shaving cream, and set off for lunch at The Polynesian. We took the bus to Epcot, then the monorail to the TTC, where I was thrilled to see the magnolia trees in bloom! They’re so fragrant! I wish I could have one in my back yard…

    After walking around a bit, we checked in a little early for our lunch at the Kona Café, and were seated almost immediately. Mark had the Kona Salad and California roll

    and I had the Teriyaki Steak plate lunch with sweet potato fries instead of the pasta salad, which contained mangoes (I’m allergic).

    We met our new cruise friends Molli and Tami and their husbands as we left Kona on our way downstairs to get Dole Whips for dessert.

    With full tummies, we set out to find Mark’s favorite candies from Disney World. They’re small mints, in three different flavors, sold in tiny tins or in a large assortment. They are traditionally very hard to find, and today was no different. Finding nothing in the Poly’s gift shops, we monorail hopped to the Grand Floridian, then the Contemporary, but came up empty-handed. After a little more air-conditioned comfort in the monorail, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom, where we caught a bus back to POFQ. It felt strange to be so close to Splash Mountain but not able to ride… Back at the resort, I napped for most of an hour (having gotten out of bed at 3:30!) while Mark took his book to the pool bar.

    Our evening was spent in Disney Springs, and we took advantage of the boat system to get there. Our driver had a magnolia blossom tucked behind the wheel! We bought some artwork in the Art of Disney Store that was rather large, but without those fish extender gifts there would be lots of room in our luggage, so no worries there. The Christmas store let me down – nothing of interest at all! But we found the mints at Goofy’s Candy Kitchen!!

    We had decided not to have a sit-down dinner, but have nibbles and drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar instead. The place was packed, except for one table, which we quickly took! Mark had a beer and I chose the Fountain of Youth, a screaming blue concoction made with vodka, blue curacao, white cranberry juice, and sweet & sour mix – yum!

    Our dinner was the Tanis Tuna Tacos, Rolling Boulders Sliders, and the Air Pirate’s Pretzels.

    It was an awesome meal, but we had plans for dessert…

    After walking off a little bit of our meal, Mark went into Planet Hollywood to see how it looked after its refurbishment. Then we got our desserts to go from Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen – Hummingbird Cake for me, and Shine Cake for Mark (there’s moonshine in the cake AND in the glaze!) With the proverbial fork stuck in us, we were done. After a quick bus trip home, I was asleep by 10:45.
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    <<This space intentionally blank>>
    Jul 13, 2005
    What a great start to your vacation, once you finally made it to Orlando. I cannot wait to go to Chef Art Smith's Homecoming in August, although I won't be getting the hummingbird cake (don't like pineapple). Doesn't that day seem like such a long time ago now, even though it was not even a month ago!!


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 1, 2012
    What a great start to your vacation, once you finally made it to Orlando. I cannot wait to go to Chef Art Smith's Homecoming in August, although I won't be getting the hummingbird cake (don't like pineapple). Doesn't that day seem like such a long time ago now, even though it was not even a month ago!!
    Yes, it does!!

    And when will we be seeing your trip report?...


    It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!
    Apr 19, 2007
    We love Port Orleans and have stayed there before all of our cruises out of PC.


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