We've done WONDERful, now let's go for MAGICal! **Updated 8/24**
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We've done WONDERful, now let's go for MAGICal! **Updated 8/24**
Hello! I am Heather and I love Cruising and Disney (not necessarily in that order), so when we finally decided to put the two together, something WONDERful happened! That was waaaaaaay back in December 2007 Enough time has passed that it's time for another cruise, but this time....it had to be MAGICal! So, we're heading out on the Magic for a Western Caribbean cruise October 3-10, 2009!
Let's start with the players and our history, in case you've not "met" me before:
DH and I had previously been on two cruises before Disney, both the exact same itinerary but on different cruise lines - Carnival (ugh!) and Royal Caribbean. The cruise was a quick weekend getaway for us down to Ensenada, Mexico (out of Long Beach). These trips were perfect because we were able to leave the kids with our parents and drive down to Long Beach from Vegas on a Friday and back home on a Monday. The kids and my in-laws had never cruised before, so when we started planning our 2007 trip, we had a lot to think about. This was going to be an "all out" celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary. We had honeymooned in WDW, but usually visited Disneyland for our annual vacations/getaways. But this was special - this was a "Vacation". And what better way than to plan a land/sea combo?
So, eventually, we decided to spend a week at WDW and take the 3 night cruise on the Wonder. I argued for a longer cruise, but gave in to the argument everyone has before their first cruise (what if I can't find my sea legs) and agreed to go for the shorter cruise. After all, we still got to go to Castaway Cay, which was going to be the highlight of the cruise, IMO.
Here are some pictures from that WONDERful cruise, to introduce us properly:
The kids get ready for the muster drill...
Enjoying our meal at Palo (I don't remember our server's name, but he was SO great)
Castaway Cay and a certain famous movie prop!
As you can see, we made our home in stateroom 6072, which was connected to the room my in-laws were in. Our last day was on Castaway Cay. As we relaxed on the beach, we discussed our experiences with cruising. Of course (OF COURSE!) everyone agreed that a longer cruise would have been even better. But, really, when would we be doing something as extravagent as that again?!? So, there was no need to sign up for the cruise onboard and get the discount. (And since you already know the future - )
Fast forward about 6 months later. I discovered that DH had a conference scheduled not just in Orlando, but at the Contemporary at WDW in October 2009! Lucky! But, if he goes to the conference, his airfare is paid for by work and we have a place to stay the night before the cruise. Hmmmm. Hey, Honey? What do you think about this? He said yes!!!
Originally, if I had my "druthers", I'd do the Eastern (more days at sea), but since this cruise was based on his conference dates, Western it is! So, we made our reservation for one stateroom for 4, please! And I started looking into all the things we could be doing. Now, we usually "do Disney" with my in-laws. But, we sort of planned this without officially inviting them. Then, MIL started thinking more and more about it and getting envious of our 7 night cruise. So, they invited themselves along! After all, the more the merrier! And it never hurts to have some help with the kidlets.
So, we called up the Castaway Club phone line, to see about switching our stateroom around to a connecting one, without our losing the gas fee waiver (we'd booked about 3 days prior to the fee going into effect, but MIL/FIL would have to pay it). As long as we didn't change the "players" of our reservation or the level, we could switch around the staterooms, no problem. If I recall, we tried to get back into 6072, but it wasn't available. So, we settled for 6064/6066 which eventually got changed to 6044/6046. These staterooms are for four, so each room has the pull down bed, which could come in handy, if either couple wants some alone time. Now, remember, we booked this cruise based on DH's conference dates. As we were dotting and crossing everything, I realized that October 9, we would be on Castaway Cay, which also happens to be MIL's birthday! OK, how cool is that to be able to spend your birthday on a tropical island? Though it had no bearing on our booking the cruise, it was sort of neat, especially in light of Disney announcing the WWYC theme for this year after that.
We got onboard credit for booking online and we'll get onboard credit for paying for it with our Disney Visa. And we've got points built up on our Visa that we'll put on a card prior to the trip as well. But in the meantime, we also had a trip to Disneyland (Dec 08 - pictoral TR) and WDW (Feb 09 - totally unexpected after WWYC promos announced - TR linked in my sig) to plan for! Now that those trips are out of the way, I can concentrate on all the things I want to figure out before we set sail.
- Pirate garb (already bought Pirate Ears really cheap at the Character Warehouse here in Vegas)
- Formal garb (I got a cocktail dress after the holidays and DD has a Cindy dress I bought after Halloween)
- Excursions (to swim or not to swim with dolphins, to semi-sub or fully submerge)
- Maps of our ports (detailed walking maps, not the cut outs I've been finding - I think I need to contact their CVBs)
- Passports (decision made - we're getting the books. End of story, DH)
So, that's where I am. We have 5+ months to go, with the ability to make our reservations sometime right around the 4th of July. I'm hoping to get into Palo for Brunch and a dinner for the 4 of us adults (High Tea doesn't interest me, so I'll leave that coveted spot for someone else). We're trying to convince MIL and FIL to go to Palo just the 2 of them on her birthday, but thus far she's remained steadfast in her desire to have dinner with the grandkids (though she'll have spent the day (and week) with them). We'll see.
Coming up - A Wish List of activities, excursions and FABs!
Great start, Heather! You will be on the Western just before ours which is 10/17! October birthdays are the best! We will both be celebrating ours again on DCL! I totally understand celebrating with the grandkids... to us grandparents, the grandchildren are the reason for living!!
Getting ready to enter Animal Kingdom, Jul '11
One Blessed Man: Kenny
Now, can anyone guess how I found my way to Passporter? Yes, that's right....through the cruise guide. I kept seeing this really cool book at the bookstore and I liked that it wasn't propaganda. It was advice, based on what people have tried and liked/disliked. It was a compilation of many people, but examples were given that plans could be based on. So, I ended up ordering both the cruise book and the WDW book (through PP, at DH's suggestion to save money, which we did!).
Of course, I didn't discover you guys until 3 months after our trip, but at least I found you! My first TR was abysmal - not that you guys ever let on! It was a single post that basically said, "We did this, then this, then this and we had a good time." Y'all were so nice, posting that it sounds like I had a great time, etc. And then I read some other TRs!
And, now, since I'm well and truly hooked, I look to Passporter for all my planning needs and questions. On our last WDW trip, I took a laminated schedule, mousekeeping envelopes, thank you cards and ordered from Green Grocer! And for our upcoming cruise, I've been working steadily on fun things to do. One thing I found here (and through subsequent links) was all about door magnets. Love this idea and I'm now starting to branch out on my own.
I've done the "borrow" idea and have some great .jpgs I've seen online to make into signs. I'm hesitant to use our names (mostly because I think DH would draw a line in the sand at that), but I've got so many fun ones that you might have seen before, like the funny faces princesses, the mickey icon made out of water, the Magic on the water at night, etc.
But, I've also come up with my own designs (some are still ideas attached to the picture posted):
The Mickey icon is in front of our 2 staterooms - that way people can find their way out!
This is for CC day. I will cut off the bottom. There will be a "You are here" arrow pointing to the ship and a "We are HERE" arrow pointing to the family beach.
I'm not sure, but I think I'd like to maybe have a ship that moves on the route. I dunno, maybe just something about 3 countries in 7 days sort of thing....
After reading Navigators of the Western cruise, and knowing what we learned from our last trip, there are things I want us/the kids/the adults to try:
Martini tasting (in-laws did this last time and I've since discovered how good they are)
Wine tasting for MIL/FIL (they are wineax (pronounced winos" and tour wine country every summer)
Palo brunch (and dinner, as mentioned)
Tea with Wendy (or Alice) with DD
Massage (either regular or hot stone)
PJ party in Oceaneers club for DS
Camp-out on deck for DD (Oceaneers Lab)
DH really wants us to see the shows, but I'll play that by ear for me personally
Talent show? It's in the back of my mind. I tried it on Carnival and the best I could say was "It was a fun experience". We'll see (but I keep a running list of possible songs in the back of my mind).
We've discovered that we don't want to pack our port visits with excursions, so we don't plan on doing a whole lot. But there are some that appeal to us.
On Key West, the plan is to explore on our own. We'll probably do the trolley that allows you to jump on and off, so we get a narrative/tour, but can visit some of the hotspots on our own time. The family wants to visit Sloppy Joe's, but I'm not sure on timing for this one, since we don't get off the ship until lunchtime. I'm not worried about visiting Margaritaville - it's the original, but we have one here in Vegas, so I'd rather do something new. It might be fun to visit the Southernmost Point, since we were just at South Point in Hawaii, which is the southernmost point of the entire US (not just continental). But it'll be an easy day.
On Grand Cayman, we're thinking about the Atlantis submarine ride, the one that completely submerges. They offer it on both GC and Cozumel, but there are other things Cozumel offers. One of our challenges is having a 5 year old. There are quite a few things that sound cool, but start at 8 or 10. So, right now, we're leaning toward the sub. Tours probably won't cut it with DS, so unless it sounds super duper exciting, then it's a no-go.
On Cozumel, we may split up. MIL really wants to try the Mexican Cuisine excursion, where you meet with a chef and prapare an authentic Mexican meal that you then go ahead and enjoy. There's an age restriction, so DS (and DD, I think) wouldn't be able to go. So, while the Atlantis sub ride here includes Chakkanaab (or however it's spelled), we can enjoy it as a family on GC. I can't remember what else I've saved as a favorite for here - I'll have to check and update from there.
On Castaway Cay, the only excursion I can see us trying is the stingrays. Last time, we just vegged at the family beach and the kids enjoyed the club for awhile. MIL has considered a cabana massage, but the price difference is such that we both figure we can relax on the beach, get a massage on the ship and save money for FABs! I think, if we put the kids in the club this time, we may wander over to Serenity Bay for awhile. But then we risk giving up a hammock, if we're lucky enough to get one! We got snorkle equipment last time (last minute, rather than reserved ahead of time) and DH and I explored. DD chickened out at the last minute because she saw fish swimming around her ankles (in shin deep water ) and freaked out about swimming with the fishes! And DH developed a foot problem from having ill-fitting fins. So, I'm not sure if we'll try that this year.
I'm at the stage now, where I'm ready to take multi-colored highlighters to the Navigators I've printed up, so that we have a rough idea of what we might want to do. But for right now, I'm going to Penney's to shop a sale! I'm keeping an eye out for dresses for DD and perhaps something for formal night for DS...wish me luck!
Sounds great! One day we will do the cruise on wonder or magic. Hoping not too far in future but I have lots on land to experience at WDW. Loved my Eastern caribbean on Royal but my dream is to see Grand Cayman.
Have a wonderful time - planning and experiencing!