Here is what was intended to be a brief recap of Marvel Day at Sea on the magic a couple weeks ago (but I can see it isn't going to be so brief). This whole trip started because I intended to fly out to California to run in the Avengers 5 and 10k runs in November. We are from NJ and had a couple days off from school due to NJ Teachers week. Waited too long to book and the hotels were all booked by the time I was prepared to move on it. So we shelved that trip and went to Hershey instead. But on my facebook feeds, I kept constantly seeing ads for the Marvel Day at Sea. Did a little research and the price was in same ballpark as what I would have spent to fly out to California and spent the week in Disney there to run the race. Plus it’s a cruise! My only concern was not being able to get the ticketed meets. I read that they existed, saw people complaining about getting shut out of the meets and activities. I generally had no idea how many things there were to sign up for in advance and you can't see what’s offered or available until you actually book. Getting shut out of meeting some of the characters would have been very disappointing. But I decided to chance it and in early December, we booked it (my wife, and 9 year old son) for the January 21, 2018 MDAS cruise. I logged in to set up the booking and I was able to book the NY Heroes experience ahead of time (Black Panther, Spidey and Iron Man, 2 of 3 which are huge meets for a big Marvel fan like me, Spidey we meet every year in Universal so not as big a deal). Got a 7:30 am slot. We also booked the Frozen meets and the Princess meets (my son seems to have a crush on all the Princesses). Groot was sadly sold out. I called to double check and was told to get on the ship as early as I could and check with the guest services desk as they would likely have some tickets available. I was prepared to do that but didn't want to have that hanging over my head so I constantly checked the cruise site, hoping for an opening. One random day, BOOM, one Groot ticket opened up. I grabbed it , figuring I could add another down the road and even if not, at least my son could meet him. I assumed they would let me in with him regardless. We surprised my son a couple weeks before the trip with the Mickey phone call and he was beyond excited as he is a big Marvel fan too. As the weeks went by before our trip, we looked online for trip reports, navigators, pics, etc and bought some new Marvel t shirts. I may come back on here and discuss the rest of the cruise but I will start off with Marvel Day. The only real Marvel presence before Marvel Day on the ship was a Marvel Day at Sea backdrop you could take photos in front of (with or without the Disney pro photog), Thor Ragnorak movie in the theater, the refillable popcorn bucket, and some merchandise sold in the stores (I bought myself a Marvel Day at Sea t shirt, got my son one as well, although I expected a bigger MDAS merch presence). I was a little nervous about how we were going to find a way to meet everyone. I had reviewed the navigator from the MDAS in November and could get a general idea of what was ahead. We got our Navigator before going to sleep the night before and I could see there was a lot to do. How bad would the lines be? From what I heard of the earlier Jan 2018 MDAS cruise, lines were tremendous. I don't mind waiting and I’m generally very good at surveying the situation and strategizing a way to accomplish it all with these kinds of things. We had the heroes meet set for 7:30 am (purposefully scheduled it as early as possible to get it done way before the 9:15 scheduled meets were to begin), figuring breakfast right after and then I could line up for the 9:15 Loki meet by 8:30 at the latest. Figuring be one of the first to meet him and then set off for the next (9:45 am) meet. We got to the Heroes Meet room by 7:15. About 5 -6 families already there ahead of us. I think that was the first NY Heroes meet of the day. Things moved pretty quickly as I will give you the meet times based on my camera phone to give you an idea of how the morning went. First up was Spidey at 7:42 am. He was awesome, very much like the character. In fact, to shorten me saying that for every character, the character interaction was tremendous. They were all very much like the characters they play, both looks wise and in behavior/attitude. I was extremely impressed with the casting. They also looked to be having a lot of fun. Not to start a debate but sometimes with the princess characters, there is a level of fakeness that you can easily pick up on. Didn’t get an ounce of that from the Marvel characters. Anyway, Black Panther was next at 7:44 and we met Iron Man at 7:45. They interacted with everyone, took pics with my son, and then my wife and I would also jump in. I’d get back up pics done on my phone camera, however, I bought the digital package and their pictures were stunning. Highly recommend. The lighting was not so great for my phone camera (especially in this room, the Groot room and even some of the other lobby area staged back drops) but the Disney camera pics were amazing. I am very happy with the service they provided, especially with all of our MDAS pics. The NY setting was a really cool setting for the three characters, each of them with a different back drop. It was apparently the first time anywhere you could meet Black Panther. And supposedly the only place to meet Iron Man other than a Disney park overseas (I think someone said Shanghai). From there, we hit breakfast, I gobbled mine down and headed to the 9:15 Loki line. I was there at approximately 8:30/8:35 and there were 2 groups already waiting. My family arrived to meet me on line about 9:05. Loki (as did all the characters) arrived exactly on time. In fact, he appeared in the lobby area a few minutes prior, make a short speech to everyone and then headed to his meeting spot, which I believe was 4th floor lobby area. He was amazing. My favorite interaction as he was tremendous with my son. We met him at 9:17, then I headed to the Walt Disney Theater area to wait for the 9:45 am Black Widow meet. That was a decent line by the time I got there, I’d estimate at least 15/20 in front of us. My wife and son came with me and while we were waiting, we watched Star Lord and Gamora walk by. My wife stayed in line and me and my son followed. They walked a short distance, stopped, and started taking pics with people. We were prob 3rd to go, met them at 9:32. A nice little line seemed to start up. They lasted a few minutes, then disappeared. I did not see them again until I snapped a pic with them a later that night 11:30 pm in their event at Fathoms. But from what I heard, they were around. We went back to the Black Widow line to wait it out but while waiting, me and my son ventured out again. We saw Hawkeye meeting on the 5th Floor lobby area so we headed up, not really any line. We met him at 9:48 am. My son waited there and my wife and I switched places on line so she could meet Hawkeye with my son too. They returned to me on line and at 10:02, we met Black Widow. From there, it was over to the Thor line, which wrapped around the whole lobby area. Loki was still meeting in the area, as Thor wasn’t scheduled to come out until at least 10:15. Basically, if the meet time is 30 minutes, as long as you are on line in that 30 minute period, you are supposedly guaranteed the meet. So if Loki was meeting at 9:15- 9:45, at 9:45, they will cut the line for Loki and then start the Thor line. Everyone who was there for Loki at or before 9:45 will meet him and then when all of them have met him, Loki will leave, and Thor will then arrive and start his line. While waiting for Thor, my son went to wander on the 5th floor with my phone camera and came back with a Dr. Strange selfie. He was apparently meeting on the 5th Floor, no line. So we asked the family behind us if they would mind holding our place and we went up to Dr. Strange. Met him at 10:10 am, no line. Thor was a nice wait. We met him at 11:01 am. By then, we had met everyone there was to meet except Captain America and Groot. So that was a pretty good morning. Cap wasn’t coming out until 12:45 pm so we had some time to kill. I wasn’t going to stand there for that long so we went to Marvel Super Fan Challenge in Fathoms. They gave you a remote control to record your answer as you were competing with everyone in the room. We got there a couple minutes late and might have missed a couple of questions but the top 10 people after the first round moved on. It was multiple choice and I thought I did well but not good enough. I did not advance. The next round you wrote the answers on a white board, it was not multiple choice like the first round and if you were wrong, you are out. Those were even harder as I would have been knocked out almost immediately. However, the next round, 3 people advanced and it was like Jeopardy. Answer as fast as you can. These questions I would have done very well with. The final two advanced and in final round, they showed Marvel faces from both comics and movies, for 30 seconds and you had to yell out who it was. Whoever named the most was winner. This one I would have got every one right. So if only I advanced past the first 2 rounds, it would have been smooth sailing for me haha! We really enjoyed it, my son especially. From there, I headed over to see what the Captain America line looked like. Black Widow was 12:15-12:45 so her line was huge, went around the whole area. She had not even arrived yet I don’t think and her line was still growing as it hadn’t been cut yet. So obviously they hadn’t yet even started the Cap line yet (he was scheduled for 12:45). I decided to start the unofficial line for Cap then and very soon after, they cut the Widow line and told everyone it was now a Cap line. We met Cap at 12:52 (he started 7 minutes late as he was waiting for Widow to finish up), and that ended all Marvel meets except Groot, which was set for 3:00 pm. When we got on the ship, I was told there were more Groot tickets available at approx 11:00 am, but I thought it would interfere with our other meets so I left it at 3:00 pm, even though we only had the 1 ticket, hoping they would let us in with my son anyway. Figured it was a good gamble. After meeting Cap, we grabbed lunch, watching for a few minutes the Funnel Vision Marvel cartoons outside, and then walking back, to wander the lobby area, we saw that unannounced, all the Mickey characters dressed as superheroes were out in the lobby. We were planning to meet them later that evening, so I would have loved to knock them out here but not knowing this was happening, we caught the tail end of the set. We did manage to meet Chip and Dale dressed as Thor and Loki, which was really fun. Met them at 1:53 pm so I believe they probably came out around 1:30 pm, 3rd/4th Floor lobby area. Mickey/Minnie, Donald/daisy and Goofy/Pluto were all out together, no Disney photogs though. From there, we headed to the movie theater for a talk given by Marvel artist Todd Nauck, 1:45 pm- 2:15 pm (we arrived just before 2). Very interesting, they raffled off a drawing he did live as he talked about being a Marvel artist. They also did a q and a and my son asked who he liked drawing the most. Very fun for my son to participate. After the talk, we went down to grab a picture with him. He was a really nice guy. We then went back to Fathoms for Super Showdown (2:30-3:00 pm), half the room against the other half, Family Feud style. If you won the face off, you would pick a category , Jeopardy style. However, you might get a question to answer or you might get an activity to do- dance showdown with your face off opponent, describe a character charades style, etc. Not really being into the dance stuff or charades stuff, I chose to not participate to the chagrin of my son, who kept trying to volunteer me. This ended around 3:00 pm and and we headed to Groot (our time was listed at 3;15 pm). There were probably 15 ahead of us. It turned out to be no problem with me and my wife to go with our son to meet Groot even though we only had the 1 ticket. I asked a few character handlers in the previous days if they thought this could be a problem and they basically told me unless I was showing up with a large group, me and my wife could go with him no problem. The room was awesome, in Animators Palate, the costume was amazing. Really fun experience. From there, we headed to the Dr. Strange show in the Disney theater. I knew they took volunteers to participate in the show and mentioned this to my son earlier. He refused to participate. However as we walked in a few minutes early, they asked my son if he wanted to be in the show. Of course he jumped at it and they took him away. Him and about 10-15 other kids were apprentices, kind of like jedi training in a way. The show about 20/25 minutes, very entertaining and my son had a blast. We then headed down to meet the Mickey characters in the lobby area, starting at 4:45 pm for Chip and Dale (which we didn’t have to deal with since we met them earlier) and Mickey at 5. I expected rough lines as they were in super hero clothes but the good thing (for us) was no autographs allowed at that time to move as many people through the lines as possible. We met Mickey at 5:07, Daisy around 5:20, Donald at 5:31, Minnie at 5:47 and Goofy at 5:53. We skipped Pluto as he wasn’t really in a costume, just a Marvel bandana around his neck. Back to the room for a brief rest, change of clothes and we saw they had left us a great Marvel banner. People had a great idea to get them signed but it was too late for us at that point to start in with autographs. We then were off to the Mickey characters Dance Party on deck outside 9th Floor stage area. They started to come out one by one and danced, but my favorite part was that they showed the kids in the kids zone area on the big screen. Got a few great candid pics of my son that way. It started raining though so the party was cut short. However, the night before, when we were meeting some of the Pirate characters, one of the handlers told me no matter what, do not miss the lobby area on MDAS at 8:00 pm. Wouldn't tell me why but obviously we were going to check it out, and hope that the rain stopped before the Marvel deck show later that night. We headed to the lobby area just before 8:00 pm in time to see Thor and Loki arguing from across the lobby area. Then Spider-man appeared out of nowhere, plopped down into a chair and hung out. Basically, a bunch of the heroes roamed this lobby area for the whole time we were there (which was until about 8:15 since we had second seating dinner). No real lines. This time our meets were as follows: Spider-man 7:56 pm, Black Widow and Hawkeye together at 8:02, Black Panther at 8:03, Thor at 8:04, and Loki at 8:06. No other heroes were roaming at this time but if you couldn’t get NY heroes tickets, at least you could have met Black panther and Spider-man. No photographers either but it was very cool to meet 6 of these guys in 10 minutes as opposed to the hours you would have spent earlier. From there, we went to dinner. The wait staff wore these amazing Marvel ties. I looked for them in the gift shop but they were not for sale. They would have been great sellers. The menus were special for Marvel night as well. Fun dinner. From there, we went outside and saw the rain had stopped. It was time to try to get a good spot for the 10:15 pm show. It turned out to be the best cruise show I have even seen. It was like being in a movie, the Marvel heroes, the villians, their henchmen, live action, video action, fireworks, surprises. We loved it, the kids all loved it from the Kids zone, the heroes all walked over to the kids and high fived them after the show. My crew then called it a night and went to sleep. I went to check out Fathoms at 11:30pm, which was taken over by the Ravagers from the Guardians movie. Got another pic with Star Lord and Gamora. There was some comedy from the villians for about 30 minutes. From there, I caught a few minutes of Avengers Ultron in the movie theater and then called it a night. But that was some day! The ship was decked out with Marvel posters and some other decorations, Marvel cartoons on Funnel Vision all day, Marvel movies in the movie theater playing all day. Every thing about it was awesome. Also, for a day at sea, it was windy, cool and a little drizzly , which for us, was perfect weather as we were participating in marvel events all day. Had this weather been our other day at sea, that would not have been good. I doubt most people are as crazy as we are when it comes to this stuff. But if you want to maximize the day, having a schedule or game plan helps. Showing up early also helps. And I can’t stress how amazing my ship photographer pictures came out. I would have been content with my camera phone pics as well but the cruise photog ones were way better. Any questions, happy to answer. At some point later, I’ll recap some of the rest of the cruise. It was so much fun.