6/02/01 Disney Magic Cruise Cast: Me (45), DW (about same), DD1 (16), DD2 (13), DD3 (8), Mom and Dad (60ish), plus 2 other families with 5 more teens for a total party of 16. I am writing this report from memory, so it may be a little choppy. I'm really not positive about days when things like free drinks were given out. My family and parents previously did the 4 day land 3 day sea 9/98. We found the 3 day sea was a heck of a lot more fun and relaxing than the 4 days in WDW. So, when I saw the 7 day, I booked ASAP. On our 3 day we had Verandah rooms. We could only afford Cat 11 and were a bit apprehensive about not having a view. Friday, Saturday, 6/1&2 Pre-Cruise and Embarkation We booked airfare through DCL for $409/person. This included a night at the Orlando Hyatt and bus transfers to and from the ship. Ended up being a good price since airfares for flights that would work for us were higher and never came down. Left Denver at 6:30 AM Friday (6/1) for Orlando via Houston. We were checked into the Orlando Hyatt by 3 PM. We explored the Airport, swam in the Hyatt outdoor pool, and relaxed, eagerly anticipating the next day. DCL Hyatt guests are to meet in the hotel lobby from 9-10:30 AM for buses. We got there at 9:50 AM and got tickets to the first bus going to the DCL terminal. The crowd really started growing after we got there. I would suggest getting to the lobby no later than 9:30 AM, getting your tickets and grab a seat in the lounge areas. Our bus departed at 10:10 AM and we were at the terminal by 11:10 AM. Looked like we were the first bus to arrive. Check in was quick and we staked out a place in line, probably about the 10th family. The kids got their first trading card and I took pictures of the ship model before it got too crowded. I also went outside and walked around the terminal to get various shots of the Magic and DCL terminal. The line was circled around the terminal by 12 noon. At 12:20 PM, a cast member got the crowd fired up and did the countdown. We had no problems at x-ray or our first swipe of the KTTW card. We bypassed the welcome aboard photo since nobody looks that great after going through all that you go through to make it to the ship. The ship was booked solid, with only one room not occupied. It was probably under repair. I sent the family up to the buffet and went to Palos with 2 other members of our party. We got there at 12:30 and were second in line. A lovely lady who I think I recognized in a post on the Forum was ahead of us. I figured that only a DIS board reader would know the routine. The doors opened at 1 PM and the line behind us was only about 10 deep, so our line waiting was not required on this particular cruise. Since we had LAP early dinner rotation, I was planning on doing Palos dinner on the first Parrot Cay night. I was going to do the Brunch on Thursday, but the lovely lady in front of us reminded us of the seafood buffet that day. So, we all got brunch on Sunday at 11 AM and dinner on Monday at 6 pm. I requested a table for four to accommodate my parents. I then headed for the Spa which was supposed to open at 1:45 to see if my wife was in line yet. I got there at 1:15 and they were already taking reservations, and there was no line. No wife yet, so I signed us up for a 2 PM Monday Surial Mud Bath. I could have gotten just about any time for any treatment, including the cabana massages. Finally, done with the reservation scramble. Took my carry on to our room (7565) and was very pleased with the room layout. The two beds pushed together looked like a king sized to me. Our Castaway Tote and DCL picture frame (from AAA) were there. Even though we booked 1.5 years in advance, and are repeat cruisers, no upgrades. We all stayed in Category 11 inside staterooms on Deck 7. Even though DD3 was listed with my parents, she stayed in our room. In fact, on some nights, the girls and their friends had sleepovers such that we had 6 people in our room one night and everyone slept fine. We ended up loving our rooms and did not miss the verandah at all. We often slipped out to the "secret" Deck 7 verandah which was usually empty and considerably larger than a room verandah. FYI - the aft verandah now is closed from 11 PM to 7 AM. Probably due to the all nighter teenagers. This brings up a funny story. As I was walking back to the Deck 7 verandah, two older teens were ahead of me. The male looked through the door window and turned away in disgust. The female looked out and, not realizing I was right behind her, said "Eww, there's just a bunch of old people." The look on her face when she turned around and saw my face one foot from hers was priceless. She left stammering an apology. Obviously, at 45, I am well into her definition of an old person. They must have heard the rumors of the verandah being a hangout for teens. If it was, it no longer is due to the closing at 11 PM. I for one was relieved since this verandah would almost always be unsupervised. All other parts of the ship have crew and cast members present or passing by at all hours. As a father of 2 teen girls, I was happy to see that little haven of potential sin closed down. I imagine it was awful for the staterooms on either side of the verandah since you can literally lean over and look directly onto their verandahs and peek into their rooms. Must have been noisy when the teens were out there all night. Found DW just finishing up at Topsiders and told her the good news. Now, time to relax before the dreaded lifeboat drill. But I feel I have forgotten something. Oh yes, DW needs to sign up DD3 in the Oceaneer's Lab. We do that and then it hits me. I forgot about the excursions. I rush down to deck 3 at 1:45 and fill out an excursion form for the 7:45 AM Golden Eagle Catamaran and 3 floats for Castaway Cay. Find that the drop box won't be out until 2:15 PM. Since there is no line, I go get a quick bite to eat. Come back at 2:10 and a line has just started forming. I am about 10th in line. The box is set out at exactly 2:15. I figure we'll get the Catamaran excursion easily. Now I can change into island wear and relax. DD3 discovered scoops in a hurry. She must have hit them up at least 5 times a day after that. There was only a line that first day. Never a problem after that. We watched a porpoise swimming around the harbor as we wandered the ship and swam in the pools. The lifeboat drill started at 4 PM and lasted until 4:15 PM. It was fun to start looking at all the castmember badges and seeing what country they were from. All of the girls got ready for dinner and then headed up to the sail away party. We set up on Deck 10 to watch the festivities on deck 9 from above and still be able to look over the rail as we set off. The music and dancing were infectious. Do not miss this party. It is probably one of the most exciting parts of the trip as you realize your dream vacation is finally underway. The countdown and ships horn occurred at 5 PM, and the DCL terminal employees waved goodbye to us with Mickey gloves. We didn't actually start moving until 5:15 PM. We stayed on deck listening to the loud music, dancing and waving to all the poor common folk watching our behemoth party ship heading out to sea. I felt really, really good at this time. When we entered the open sea, I got showered and ready (jacket and tie) for dinner in Lumiere's. Our party of 16 was together at 2 tables for eight. Eight adults and eight kids. Hmmm, who sits where. You guessed it! The kids got one table, and the adults the other. Both the adults and kids were very pleased with this arrangement. Our server and assistant server were confused at first, but adjusted quickly. Our server was Wisanu and assistant server was Pema. Wisanu was very funny, helpful and managed to put up with our constant picture taking. Everybody absolutely loved him. Pema was a bit more reserved (shy?), but warmed up as the cruise went, winning all of our hearts. Both Wisanu and Pema treated DD3 as the princess of our group. Most of the kids ordered virgin smoothies for every dinner. DD3 mostly stuck with the kids menu, except for desserts where she got adventurous. All of the other kids went with the adult menus. They even tried Escargot. Alen was our head waiter and he was great. He came around to chat every night, and was often seen helping out the servers by carrying food. He was constantly reminding us that anything we wanted, just ask. After dinner, everyone went to the variety show except DW and myself. We went shopping. Sounds like we missed a funny show. I wanted to make sure and get my must buys as determined by reading the DIS Forum. We got a model ship for $25, Radko ship ornament for $32, and 3 standard DCL ornaments for the girls' 2001 ornaments at $6 each. DD1, 2 and their friends were rarely seen after dinners. We dropped DD3 in the kids club. Was told that there were about 1000 kids on this cruise. The kids clubs were packed, which meant the counselors had little individual time for shy kids like DD3. In fact, when DW asked one counselor what else our daughter could do since she was bored, her reply was that there was plenty to do and that she didn't have time to help our daughter out. Sorta pissed off my DW. Even though DD3 had some great times in the Lab, she never really got into it. Fortunately, our older daughters, their friends and my parents would spend time with her as well as us. She always was having a good time. We bummed around the rest of the evening, checking out the adult clubs. The Rockin Bar D was always packed. The dueling pianos were also fun to sit in on. Sessions was always dead. Went to the ESPN lounge to inquire about the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Go Avalanche!). Said they didn't get ABC. Bummer. Oh well. I didn't really like the idea of spending 3 hours of cruisin' time watching TV. As it turned out, I would have been bummed out by the first 2 games (4&5) anyway. The 6th game was televised on some Spanish CNN station, but delayed. It didn't start until 12 midnight, and that was the night before Castaway Cay. I don't think so. The ship was moving very smoothly. In fact, for the entire 7 days, it never rained and seas were 1-4 feet. 4 foot swells are nothing to a ship the size of the Magic, although you could feel movement. Most of us had taken Bonine earlier just in case. Even though movement was slight, I was still feeling it for several days after the trip. Had a good nights sleep with our first ever day at sea coming up. Sunday, 6/3, Day at Sea Woke up to perfect weather and smooth seas. Since we were sailing into the wind, it was quite windy on deck 10. I did manage to find something to watch up there that would amuse me the rest of the trip. Looking over the side on Deck 10 forward, from just behind the crew platform on Deck 9 where they stand during docking, I would occasionally see flying fish skipping and gliding away from what they probably thought was the largest whale they had ever seen. I even saw a dolphin swim by one day. Not the mammal type, but the beautiful blue/green fish type. Grabbed a pastry and coffee for DW and myself from the Deck 9 self serve station since we had brunch today. The girls eventually went to breakfast at Topsiders. Dressed up in my best shorts and headed for brunch. The Navigator said resort casual which I later found out meant no shorts. Not a problem for brunch since I was not alone in what I wore there. I won't repeat the menu items since many have covered them, except the fresh OJ was perfect and they had a lemon meringue pie that was more like a lemon cheesecake, very good. Our family discovered the padded lounge chairs on Deck 4. What a quiet, comfy place to watch the ocean go by. Due to the high winds, I showed our party the "secret" verandah location. Quiet and very little wind. Many of us laid out there, making runs to scoops for ice cream and wonderful fresh fruit. The pineapple slices were my favorite, very sweet. We all took turns in the various pools and relaxed most of the day. Dinner was at Animator's Palette. This was one of my least favorite dinners due to me being a picky eater. They also didn't do the color show until our next AP dinner. This would have been the better night for us to do Palos. After dinner, we hit the Hercules show. Been there, done that on our 3 day cruise. Wandered around until the 11:30 PM dessert buffet. I got there right at 11:30 and there was a long, slow moving line. It took me 25 minutes to get through. The layout was beautiful, but the desserts were bland, mostly cake and whip cream layers with different colors. Time to turn in for a very busy, relaxing day at sea.