The Seas are full of WONDER and waves! Our first Disney Cruise - 7-night Eastern Caribbean; Feb 2018

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Looking forward to hearing about your first Disney Cruise - my daughter and I are boarding the Wonder in May for our first back 2 back, so excited!
Thanks for joining! Now having been to Castaway Cay I totally get the appeal of doing back to back or double dip cruises!


Great start! I’m looking forward to reading about your cruise!
Thank you! Hope I can keep it up! ;)


We leave Sunday on this same cruise - also our 1st Disney cruise. So I'm REALLY interested in reading this. Although Im guessing you may not get a chance to add much before we leave!!!!
Oh wow - going to St Marteen and San Juan as well? Obviously won't get the entire TR done before then but if you have any specific questions let me know. We loved the Wonder and the Frozen show is amazing and we loved Tiana's restaurant (probably the best desserts of all of them)


I’m in!!! Can’t wait to read all about your cruise!
Awesome! Thanks for joining!
 

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
I'm following along! I never been on a Disney cruise so can't wait to see what it's like.
Thanks for joining - hope this gives you a good idea of what one is like ... definitely different than visiting the parks!


Excited to read about your first cruise. Having an inside room and balcony room was a really good idea to save a few bucks.
Thanks for joining! Overall the idea worked out quite well (a bit of the kids wanting to go back and forth between the rooms/cross the hallway, but wasn't too bad


Excited to read along. I just planned my first Disney cruise for next April. You make a good point about starting with the smaller ships so you can move up; I had never thought about that. Our first is scheduled for the Dream, but we needed a shorter sailing for a couple of reasons, so I guess that's out for us. I'm interested to read from the perspective of a first time cruiser, but Disney vet.
Thanks for joining! I did speak to a few people on the ship who had started with a bigger one and then did the Wonder and they were fine with it, so I am sure you will love it as well. Definitely a very different vacation than the parks - especially as I am a bit of a hyper-planner with spreadsheets, etc.


Hi Phil... I've been sort of burned out on DISBoards the last few months, but excited to have a very good reason to start coming back again. Looking forward to comparing notes from our October trip on the Wonder. :hippie:
Thanks for joining Matt! I definitely reviewed your Wonder TR a few times to get some tips (especially for what food to get) - so hopefully reading mine is interesting to you as well!
 

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Part 3) Travel to Port

Going to start off with the post that is everyone's favorite - Travel Day! Ok, no, it usually isn't the most exciting but thought I would include one post about it just to share how we got there, what services we used, and our thoughts on it overall. And I will keep it to this one (albeit a tad long) post


Friday, February 16th

We actually started on Friday, February 16th, 2 days before the cruise. Here are the bags we are using - the two largest ones basically just covered our Fish Extender gifts, other things for the cabins (pop-up hamper, door magnets, etc.) and shoes. We were flying Spirit Airlines and they charge for any bags, but the charge for checked bags is actually a bit less than carry-ons so we figured we would do fewer, larger bags and check them


I'll take a quick minute to explain why we traveled the way we did. Coming from the NY Metro area, where the vast majority of schools have at least part of President's Week off, we found the flights down to Florida to be crazy expensive. So we extended our search and looked at cheaper carriers and found that the most cost effective plan would be to fly using Spirit Airlines out of Baltimore. This was about 1/3rd of the price of anything we could find out of NYC - so when you have 5 people that adds up a bit. Also will mention now that my mom, who lives on Long Island flew down separately out of a smaller airport on Long Island and then we met down in Orlando.

We picked the kids up a bit early from school and then headed to Pennsylvania so that we could drop our dogs off with my in-laws who would be watching them while we were out. We got there about 8pm or so and Judi and I went to bed fairly quickly as we needed to be on the road by 6:30am the next morning.


Saturday, February 17th

We did ok in getting out and drove down to the Baltimore airport with only a quick stop for gas and then some food. We used the Express Parking lot there which worked out great! It was $10 a day but they have a shuttle that picks you up (and then drops you off) right at your car - so with having the 5 big suitcases and 3 small kids, that worked out really well. So definitely recommend.

Finally in the airport, the line for checking in the bags at the Spirit counter was quite long, but it moved pretty fast. One quick note, Spirit does cumulative weight - so if one bag is 5 lbs over the limit and one bag is 5lbs under the limit, that is fine, you don't need to shift things around.

One thing that worked out really well for us was that our boarding passes, in both directions, came up with TSA Precheck. I have that but the rest of the family doesn't so not sure if we just got lucky or what, but it definitely helped not having to deal with taking off shoes or taking out my laptop or whatever when getting the kids through security.

Ok, enough text :)

Peter was excited about his first attraction of the trip - the moving walkway! They were rather slow and Peter insisted on not walking while on it, so Judi and the girls, who just walked, got way ahead of us


Once we got to the gate we had about 30 mins or so before boarded so I took Peter and Emma to look for something to drink or eat and got the first splurge of the trip - a large smoothy for everyone to share. It was a special for the week which had Caribbean fruit and immune defence included so seemed pretty appropriate


And our plane was there - always feel better when traveling and see that the plane we are to be on is actually at the gate vs waiting for it to arrive


Emma was happy to get on the plane and Peter was happy to look out the window (arguing over who got the window seat was definitely the biggest issue of the travel)


One thing we didn't to great was put together activity packs for the plane - we were so focused on getting everything for the actual cruise together that we sort of forgot to think about the plane ride. be we did have some coloring and color wonder stuff. Peter took the opportunity to draw a picture of the ship - which I think is pretty good for not having seen one in person yet and not having seen images of one in a while!


One thing with Spirit airlines is that everything is an extra charge - so no food or drink (even soda or coffee) is included. So we figured if we were going to buy something anyway, and having officially started vacation, while not get an adult beverage. so Judi and I split a pack that came with two of these BuzzBalls and a snack (which we got as chips with hummus). We both got the Mule and it wasn't half bad for a pre-made drink. Nice way to start out the trip!


We landed pretty much on time (about 1:30pm) and I got a text from my mom (who had an even earlier flight) that she was already over at the hotel and in the room - so we were going to collect our bags and head there. But first, the 2nd attraction of the trip - the Fake-o-rail!


Did make time to get our first picture with Mickey as well!


After collecting our bags it was time to find the hotel shuttle - passing the Disney Cruise Line shuttle (so close, yet so far!).


This was one "fail" I had as I assumed it would be easy to find the sign for the hotel shuttle but it really wasn't and was just grouped in with one or two spots that all the hotels use and I actually had to call the hotel to request a shuttle. So this process took a bit longer than I thought but is what it is and we made it safe so really no big deal.

We stayed at the Homewood Suites Orlando Airport for a few reasons. We knew we wanted to head down a day before the cruise in case there were any travel issues and with my mom on a different flight than us it just seemed easier to meet at a hotel in Orlando rather than traveling that day to a hotel near the port. And as a suite this room was big enough for all 6 of us to sleep in one room - most other options (including staying at the MCO Hyatt) would have required 2 rooms which really increased the price. All in all it worked out fine and we were able to walk to a Bonefish Grill for dinner that night and then rearranged the stuff in the suitcases a bit as some things that needed to be checked for the flight but carried on the cruise (namely the beer I brought for the beer swap I would be participating in).


Sunday, February 18th

It was certainly nice to wake up and see this when checking the Disney Cruise Line app


The hotel included a pretty decent hot breakfast - which featured make you own Mickey waffles - so I made a bunch for the table


And after not too long our car had arrived that would take us to the port. I had looked into a lot of ways to handle the transfer from Orlando to the Port. With 6 of us, as the Disney Cruise Line shuttle is priced per person it worked out actually cheaper to take a private car - and they picked us right up at the hotel, did a stop at Publix so we could get some wine and snack for the movie theater, and then on the way back met us right at the port and brought us to the airport. The service we used was Orlando Airport Towncar Service and they were great! We got a brand new large capacity van and our drive was very friendly, the service worked great, and in the end it was about 20% cheaper than using the Disney shuttle. Also, as the kids are still small, they provided a car seat for Emma and a booster each for Olivia and Peter, so we felt better about that for a near hour long drive (you can see Judi getting Emma into her car seat in one of the pictures below)


A relatively quick stop at Publix and then before too long we were seeing the ship and I think it started to feel "real" for most of us at this point



Coming up next - we board the ship and things really get "real"!!!!!

TTFN
 

BigRed98

Professional Disney Fan
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
I didn't know your from New York, I'm from New York also. Packing and making sure you have everything is definitely stressful but once you arrive and you see that cruise ship for the first time, it must be exciting for your whole family.
 

DDuck4Life

DIS Dad #649
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
With our trip now less than a year away I'm going to try and follow along. Hopefully I can pick up some tips for our first time from yours and can't wait to see how the whole trip was.

Sounds like a good start so far nothing too stressful.
 

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  • rteetz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    Looks great so far! MCO can definitely be confusing with shuttles and what not. Can't wait to hear about getting on board!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Hey, Phil, thanks for dragging me back onto the DIS! I've been far too absent, but want to change that and I can't wait to hear all about your trip! Sounds like a relatively smooth travel day - glad everything went pretty well. Looking forward to more!
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I didn't know your from New York, I'm from New York also. Packing and making sure you have everything is definitely stressful but once you arrive and you see that cruise ship for the first time, it must be exciting for your whole family.
    Yup - live in the lower Hudson Valley, about 1 hour north of Manhattan

    Definitely was a bit stressful getting everything packed - especially with the Fish Extender stuff and other stuff we thought we might want for the rooms and stuff. Definitely was a long time in the planning so was a bit of a relief too seeing the ship


    With our trip now less than a year away I'm going to try and follow along. Hopefully I can pick up some tips for our first time from yours and can't wait to see how the whole trip was.

    Sounds like a good start so far nothing too stressful.
    Best of luck in your planning and hopefully this helps some. Definitely has a different “feel” than a parks so took a while for me to adjust


    Such an exciting moment when you see the ship!!!
    Definitely! Lot’s of planning and waiting and a few days of travel to get to that point!


    :wave: joining in! Looks like fun so far!
    Thanks for joining!
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Looks great so far! MCO can definitely be confusing with shuttles and what not. Can't wait to hear about getting on board!
    Thanks Ryan - I guess I figured it would be easier to find the shuttle since they did mention anything on their website about having to call or anything ... my mistake! ;)


    Hey, Phil, thanks for dragging me back onto the DIS! I've been far too absent, but want to change that and I can't wait to hear all about your trip! Sounds like a relatively smooth travel day - glad everything went pretty well. Looking forward to more!
    Glad to drag you back! Hope you find it worth the return :thumbsup2

    A bit of “planes, trains, and automobiles” but things worked out fairly well in the end with regards to travel on both end of the trip
     
  • TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    STATUS UPDATE

    Just an FYI that we got hit pretty hard by the storm that hit the North East and are without power ... and then our generator failed so we have no heat or water or anything. So we are staying at my moms which is great but just not sure if I will be able to get another full update done for a bit, but will try!

    Best estimates for power restoration is late tomorrow night (which would be a total or more than 3 days without power) - but hoping for sooner
     

    MommaBerd

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2011
    STATUS UPDATE

    Just an FYI that we got hit pretty hard by the storm that hit the North East and are without power ... and then our generator failed so we have no heat or water or anything. So we are staying at my moms which is great but just not sure if I will be able to get another full update done for a bit, but will try!

    Best estimates for power restoration is late tomorrow night (which would be a total or more than 3 days without power) - but hoping for sooner
    Praying for you and your family and everyone affected up there!
     

    Kari0180

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2013
    Following along, I've always enjoyed your trip reports, really excited to see your take on cruising!
     

    BigRed98

    Professional Disney Fan
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2017
    STATUS UPDATE

    Just an FYI that we got hit pretty hard by the storm that hit the North East and are without power ... and then our generator failed so we have no heat or water or anything. So we are staying at my moms which is great but just not sure if I will be able to get another full update done for a bit, but will try!

    Best estimates for power restoration is late tomorrow night (which would be a total or more than 3 days without power) - but hoping for sooner
    Stay safe Phil. Luckily Long Island (where I'm from) has power.
     

    khertz

    Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!
    Joined
    Aug 10, 2008
    Yikes, hope y'all fare ok with this storm!

    But back to your update, DH and I were actually scrolling through together the other night to see which transportation service you used, because we started looking into options for that as well. The Disney transportation, while convenient, is just too expensive when there are so many other options out there, so we will probably end up going with another service as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed we can maybe even stay onsite a night before and/or a night after we leave the cruise since I'm thinking we will want to tack on an additional day for travel on both ends.

    Nice pic that Peter drew of the ship! I'm glad the travel day wasn't too stressful.
     

    kid-at-heart

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2006
    The hotel included a pretty decent hot breakfast - which featured make you own Mickey waffles - so I made a bunch for the table
    Yum, how many Mickeys could you make at a time? Was breakfast complimentary?

    I hope your power is back on soon. Bummer about the generator.

    Kate
     

    TinkerbellLuvr7

    Tinkerbellluvr7
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2007
    Signing on! My aunt, uncle, and cousins are on your same itinerary (boarded today.) They found out at check-in that their St. Maarten stop was cancelled and they will spend an extra day at Castaway now!
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Praying for you and your family and everyone affected up there!
    Thank you so much! We are still without power and another storm is coming Wednesday so hoping we get it back before then!


    Following along, I've always enjoyed your trip reports, really excited to see your take on cruising!
    Thank you so much! Cruising was definitely different than what we are used to but we definitely get why people enjoy it so much!


    Stay safe Phil. Luckily Long Island (where I'm from) has power.
    Thank you - we did go to my mom's for one night - she is on Long Island and had power. We still do not, but borrowed our neighbors generator so trying to get back to normal a bit


    Yikes, hope y'all fare ok with this storm!

    But back to your update, DH and I were actually scrolling through together the other night to see which transportation service you used, because we started looking into options for that as well. The Disney transportation, while convenient, is just too expensive when there are so many other options out there, so we will probably end up going with another service as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed we can maybe even stay onsite a night before and/or a night after we leave the cruise since I'm thinking we will want to tack on an additional day for travel on both ends.

    Nice pic that Peter drew of the ship! I'm glad the travel day wasn't too stressful.
    Thank you Kristy! Still without power so not back to normal but hoping to get it back soon!

    Yeah, we did Orlando Towncar Service and was very happy with it. We also got a quote from Southern Elegance Limousines and they were pretty similar but quoted a smaller car with a trailer for the luggage vs the one larger van we got which we preferred. I know a lot of people use Happy Limo

    We looked into staying on site but with needing room for 6 people and with it being the Winter Break it was just way to expensive to justify - it was nearly $600/night for an Art of Animation suite ... the $169 we paid for the Homewood suite was just easier to stomach!

    The day was a bit stressful just to get done but everything overall went as smoothly as possible so overall was one of those "I love it when a plan comes together" moments
     

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