A 40th celebration to end the world! PHOTOS ADDED 1/1
A 40th celebration to end the world!
Pre-trip report – part one: we need to take a cruise on the Fantasy
Dates: Thursday 6 December 2012 – Wednesday 1 January 2013 Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (39, turning 40 on this trip ) and DH Mark (47) Destinations: Walt Disney World, a cruise on the Disney Fantasy, Disneyland, national parks of California Resorts: Beach Club Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Grand Californian Villas, Shilo Inn Suites in Palm Springs and the Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley Meets: Hopefully lots! Celebration: the big 4-O for me!
A question to start this pre-trip report off... if you’ve already celebrated your 30th and your 35th birthday at Walt Disney World and you’re a huge Disney fan, what are you going to do for your 40th?
You got it – enjoy a little bit of Disney, but this time a little differently, as you’ll discover!
Before I begin, let me quickly explain about the title to this trip report. Some of you may be aware of the Mayan calendar that ends on 21 December 2012, which led people to say that this would be the end of the world. Well, that also happens to be the day that my 40th birthday falls on. So it seemed like an appropriate title to use…
I’ve since been told that actually the world won’t end that day, because apparently the Mayan calendar didn’t take into account things like leap years, so actually the world ended a couple of years ago, working on that theory. I personally didn’t notice… Anyway, it seemed like a good title to me, so I’m sticking with it!
Firstly, not to be rude, I’d better do some introductions.
I’m Cheryl and I’m the one who’ll be hitting the big 4-oh, although when you’ve got a wonderful vacation to look forward to, that does make knowing that you’ll be hitting that milestone ever so slightly easier. I started off my love affair with Disney during some visits to the World with my parents and I knew that I always wanted to stay on property, a dream that came true during our wonderful honeymoon in 1999 with my husband Mark. Here we are during our last visit to Walt Disney World, all the way back in April 2011 in our favourite park, Epcot:
That trip also saw us take what was then our third Disney cruise and our first on one of the new ships, the Disney Dream, where we got some professional photos done that have taken pride of place in our living room:
It was while on board that we decided that we needed to take another cruise, on the Fantasy that was being launched the following year. We already had the last Alaskan cruise of the 2011 season booked with our dear friends Sue, Steve and Barb and Bob, but that was on one of the older ships, the Wonder. We couldn’t resist the idea of the Fantasy, so we visited the cruise booking desk while still on board our Dream cruise – and that’s where the story of this trip really starts.
We poured over various options, marvelling at just how much money Disney can charge to be at sea over Christmas itself. Let’s just say that one was ruled out pretty quickly... We looked at some others and I have to confess that I was naturally drawn to the Western Caribbean itinerary, much more than the Eastern one. However, once Mark pointed out that if we took the 15 – 22 December sailing, we’d actually be on board the Fantasy for my 40th, I think that was the cruise sold. After all, who needs yet another birthday at Walt Disney World? In fairness, it’s about time I tried something new, having been at Disney for four birthdays in the last 12 years – it’s not a bad score really!
So we went ahead and booked, with me fascinated by the itinerary, which goes like this:
15 December Departure day 16 December At sea 17 December At sea 18 December St. Thomas/St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands 19 December San Juan, Puerto Rico 20 December At sea 21 December Castaway Cay 22 December Return day
I was immediately attracted by the stop in Puerto Rico, which is a place I never thought I’d visit in my lifetime – in fact, it’s a place I’d never even thought of visiting, so that really interested me, as it’s very different to the usual Disney Cruise Line itineraries.
While we were away, we talked about what we’d booked and whether we were happy with the stateroom we’d booked. We’d gone for a category 6B, and the more we discussed it, the more we figured that actually we wouldn’t be happy with it and perhaps we should go for something a little higher and located more in the middle of the ship. We got in touch with our wonderful travel agent Sara who told us that the room we had was aft, which is where we’d always sailed up until now. To go up to a midship position, we’d need to book a category 5C stateroom. We talked about it, but as it was only another $200 for seven nights, we decided what the heck and went ahead and booked, scoring one of the best position ones we could for that category. In fact, just three doors along, people will be paying for a category 4C stateroom, that’s how good the location was!
After that, very little happened on the planning front for some time, mainly due to other vacations, but as soon as those were out of the way, the painful job of paying off the cruise started, with me paying off a little each month, so that the remaining amount dropped nicely on a regular basis.
Something that did happen just after we got back from the Alaskan cruise was that we changed our dining rotation from late back to main, as we had just found the late dining on the Alaskan cruise far too late for us. Thank goodness Sara was able to quickly tweak that for us. It would also make life a lot easier when it came to trying to get Palo, and Remy reservations, as we could at least go to the main dining room first, not miss any part of the show there, then head off for our adult dining, if we could get it, of course....
At this point, I’ll say here that we’d talked to Heather (ilovedisney247) at quite an early stage about our plans to cruise on the Fantasy and she was very keen to join us. I was delighted when, just after Christmas, the early hours of 26 December our time, to be precise, she messaged me to say that she was going ahead and booking, as she had the deposit ready. As she didn’t know which room we were in, I was even more impressed by the fact that she managed to get one just down the hall from us on deck seven!
Next: so where to spend our final week then...
By the Golden Gate Bridge. The trip report is now underway for our visits to San Francisco, Victoria, our Alaskan cruise on the Wonder and our return to Disneyland. The pre-trip report for our visit to Boston and New England is also underway.
Location: Virginia - a day's drive to WDW or NYC :)
Yay! I'm excited for another Cheryl TR. I must say when I first saw the title, I was thinking "goodgrief she is being a bit dramatic", but now that I've read the reasoning about the Mayans, I find it quite clever . And I've even had a bit of learning this morning as I was unaware the world had already ended. That takes a bit of pressure off my long to-do list .
I love how you are using in one vacation as much vacation time as I get for a whole year, plus some . Will you please talk America into some British vacation allowances? Thanks
Yay! We both started our TRs at the same time! I remember hearing about the Mayan Calendar a while ago, when they figured the world was supposed to end. Sure glad they were wrong, as I have a few things to cross off my bucket list yet! Your stateroom location sounds perfect and I can't wait to hear your descriptions of the Fantasy and see the photos. After this trip you will have sailed on all four of the DCL ships!