OK, here is a continuation of a rundown of our Disneyworld family vacation:Sunday, November 15 (day at sea)
- we had a TON of dining credits left, so we ordered in room service (double credits) and gifted breakfast to some surprised yet delighted folks in the dining room and then hit the gift shop to buy chocolate bars, treats and lollies with our dozen or so remaining snacks (note to self: a bottle of WATER is counted as a snack on the dining plan, so don't bother buying bottles of water if you've got the dining plan! just use your snack credits!)
- then we headed over to the Disney Cruise luxury bus for about a 2-hour ride to Cape Canaveral (the little ones slept -- yay! and they showed cartoons on the bus). The (whaddya call it? port station? can't remember the term for it -- just remembereD: CRUISE TERMINAL) is gorgeous, and very Disney-esque (of course!). The guys checked us in for the cruise while us mommies got the kids registered for kids' camp. I think this is the longest line we stayed in, about 25 minutes or so.
- got onto the ship, visited our rooms (gorgeous, lovely verandah with excellent unobstructed views) and went to grab a bite at the buffet. It's been awhile, but I seem to recall the food on Carnival being much better. But then again, the buffets rarely have the best stuff (in my limited cruising experience). Unpacked while the boys took the kids up to the splash pool area, checked out the kids' club area, and got ready for an early dinner (5:45PM) at Parrot Cay. Food was not great -- my fish was totally overcooked and the service was kind of crappy. Andy talked to the head waiter, as it wasn't quite what we were expecting based on what was promised on the Disney site (waiters were not attentive, mixed up drink orders, delays were very, very long, etc.)
- after dinner, the kids went to play in kids club for a little bit, then we collected them and put them in jammies for the 8:30 pm show called "The Golden Mickeys" which was quite good. The children were all mesmerized by the show (a good thing) and went straight to bed afterwards. Monday, November 16 - Nassau (Bahamas)
- We decided on a sit-down breakfast in Triton's dining room since we weren't planning to bolt off the ship straight away, and it was nice. Children got a little antsy but we brought them over to kids club straight away after brekky and we took some time to relax and chill out before disembarking into Nassau. The grown-ups (plus Clair) went shopping and had a bite to eat (and a few cocktails) in Nassau before returning to the ship. While we were away, Sally got to attend "Animation Antics" and learn to draw Mickey Mouse, and also the Ratatouille Cooking School where she made chocolate chip cookies. She definitely enjoyed both of those activities.
- Sally really wanted to go ashore with us, so Andy and I picked her up from kids' camp and she enjoyed walking the streets of Nassau with us at dusk, even though all the shops (including the ice cream parlor) were already closed. But Andy took her for a snack on the ship while I started getting ready for our evening out.
- that night, we had arranged to eat at Palo at 8:30PM -- the upscale on-board dining room for adults only. The Atkinsons had babysitting all set up for Clair, and we took the other girls to kid camp for the evening. We stopped for a cocktail en route to Palo and took some fun pix. The food that evening (and we splurged on some pricier wine choices) was oustanding -- everything was positively top-notch. Truly what Andy and I have come to expect while dining on a cruise! It was a long evening (about 8:00 until 11:00PM) and at kids camp, Sally, Sydney and Emily all got to play dress up and attend their own "Royal Ball" which they all enjoyed. The kids were all definitely ready for bed when we picked them up. Another outstanding day!Tuesday, November 17 - Castaway Cay (Bahamas)
- Today we grabbed a quick brekky in the buffet since we planned to exit the ship sooner rather than later. Meal was OK, then we suncreened up the kids and all disembarked together. Castaway Cay is beautiful -- some construction was going on, but it wasn't disruptive at all. After dropping Clair off at babysitting and dropping the other 3 girls off at kid camp on the island, we headed to Serenity Bay -- the adults only part of the island. The beach is gorgeous, there are plenty of chairs and umbrellas and staff from the ship handling drink orders.
- Meals on the island are included in the cruise price, and when we got hungry, we headed over to the BBQ for lunch. Had some outstandingly good ribs (so yum!) and a killer veggie burger, among other things. When it was time for the Atkinsons to pick up Claire from babysitting, Andy headed back too to take care of some stuff and put Sydney down for a nap, and I picked up Sally from kids' camp for some mommy & Sally time.
- Sally had a blast at camp on the island -- there was a Captain Hook treasure hunt and other cool stuff she definitely enjoyed. None of us got sunburned (thankfully!) and all had a great time. Not sure what Syd did in camp, but whatever it was, she LOVED it.
- Sally and I played on the beach, went for a walk, and made some new friends. We mailed postcards from the island to take advantage of the "Castaway Cay" postmark at the island post office (though the island's real name is Gordo Key). We wanted to see the sand castle making competition, but apparently it was off due to poor turnout (we were late getting there). Sally thoroughly enjoyed her ice cream cone and I loved watching her enjoy it. :-) It was a great day on the island! Then I took her back to the big Mickey pool and the hot tub.
- that night was our dinner in Triton's restaurant. The food was better, but the service still sucked. In looking around, it seems as though we just got the bum wait staff -- the other waiters seemed to be doing a great job. Hmmm....we'll rectify this soon enough!
- The theme for dinner was "Pirates IN the Caribbean" so we dressed up the kids and took lots of pix. All 4 of the children were positively insane that evening and Emily had a bit of a nutty and flat-out refused to go to kids camp. So...... after dinner, she and Claire were put to bed and the grown-ups played cards while Sally was at kids' camp for a little while.
- We tried to have Syd take a nap (they were both hell-bent on seeing the 10:30PM fireworks...why the heck were the fireworks so dang late, anyway???) and had a little meltdown around 10PM, but we got through it, Andy and Kieron took the Grant Girls to the fireworks, and Kristi and I watched from our verandah -- it was actually a nice view of the fireworks, even though ship employees had told us you can't see any fireworks from the staterooms. (Not true it seems!)
- Bed time for everyone after the late-night fireworks -- tomorrow is a fun day at sea!Wednesday, November 18 - Day at Sea
- this was a nice, easygoing day that we didn't all spend together -- everyone slept in a bit, and then after breakfast, we went to an animation lesson (where we all learned to draw Mickey and Donald) and then everyone sort of did their own thing. The Grant girls went to kids camp in the AM, mommy shopped on board (there are only 2 shops on this Disney Wonder -- seems pretty sparse for a cruise ship if you ask me, but I found some nice things) and then we all relaxed a bit.
- Picked up Syd around 12:30PM or so (after the Do-Si-Do with Snow White, which she REALLY loved), took her to a sit-down lunch (just Mommy & Sydney) at Triton's where she was fawned over the whole time -- they did magic tricks for her, cut up her meat, made her ketchup into a heart shape, brought other waiters over to our table to fuss over her, and of course she just ate it all up. Food was mediocre at best, but the service was top shelf.
- Then I put Syd down for a nap (daddy was still asleep in the room and wound up napping about 3 1/2 hours!) and picked up Sally from kids camp for some mommy time. We hung out, got her some food (one of the line workers at the pizza place was quite smitten with her, told her she was the most beautiful girl on the ship and gave her a light-up Tinkerbell). More Magical Moments at play! Took Sally to see "A Christmas Carol" in 3-D on board the ship, which I didn't particularly like (I don't care for those animated live-action films like Polar Express -- I find them creepy and unnerving!) but Sally loved it and we got popcorn and treats for the show which she thought was cool.
After we got back, the Atkinsons (all of them) and Andy went to see the movie Sally and I had just watched, and I started packing up our stuff (our bags had to be put outside the room by 11PM, and we wouldn't see them again until the Denver airport) while Sydney napped and Sally rested and played in our room.
- When Syd finally woke up, I took them both to the pool until it was time to get ready for dinner -- today was Kristi's birthday, so we went to dinner which was at the Animator's Palace. Sally and Sydney went to kids' camp to eat dinner there instead, so we could have a peaceful dinner for Kristi's b-day. Though the kids all got along great, I definitely think they were ready for a break from each other. We got switched to different wait staff for this dinner (and brekky the next day) and they were AWESOME -- exactly what we were expecting on this cruise. Interestingly enough, the food was much better, too.
- After dinner, the Atkinsons headed to their room to pack up and put their kids to bed, and we let our girls stay up for the 8:30PM "Disney Dreams" show which was quite impressive. We all enjoyed the show, then put the kids to bed around 9:30 or so, then showered and finished up packing by 11PM -- tomorrow would be an early day!Thursday, November 19
- Breakfast (if you wanted it) was served at 6:30AM (yikes) and then we had a few minutes to check out shipboard photos and purchase a few, and then it was time to disembark. Our bus ride was about an hour 15, and it went by pretty quickly. Fortunately, we were able to check our luggage directly from our stateboard room on the cruise all the way
to the Denver airport. Hot damn, that is one cool feature!!
- We arrived at the airport with about 5 hours to spare (and no luggage to schlep) so we cabbed it with the Atkinsons over to the Florida Mall to kill some time. Kristi was excited to visit the M&M store since she was looking forward to seeing that in Vegas (and they've decided to skip Vegas this trip) and I found the perfect red blush at Sephora (and also discovered that there's a Sephora just 15 mins from Castle Rock -- woohoo!!!)
- found a play area for the kids for a bit, said our goodbyes to the Atkinsons, then cabbed it back to the airport and checked in. United had that "spin and win" promotion going on, and I won "early boarding" and free bottled waters for all of us (technically, Sally won, because I let her spin the wheel) so that was cool. Man, that flight back is loooooooooong. I know it's only 3.5 hours, but I swear it felt longer than a transatlantic flight.
- Sally slept in the limo ride home from the airport, and our driver was kind enough to let us make a stop to pick up Chinese food (thank you!!!) We had a fabulous trip and now we are so so glad to be home!
p.s. the unpacking fairies again neglected to clear out our garage while we were away. *sigh* At least we are not traveling anywhere until January...Momma is exhausted!!!