Me- a 20something, mostly energetic
WDW veteran going on my 3rd journey of 1998 to the world. (it’s been
a very good year!)
Mom- 50something, likes to move
at a little slower pace; has been to WDW with me several times including 1/96
When we were at WDW for the 25th anniversary,
we saw a video that featured upcoming attractions such as Animal Kingdom. That
was the first time I remember hearing about the Disney Cruise Line. Having experienced
"The Big Red Boat" cruise/ Disney vacation in 1990, naturally we were
intrigued. We especially liked the idea of the restaurant that starts out in
black and white and then becomes colored in while you dine.
We never explored the idea much further until sometime in
the summer of 1998. I think it was right around the time of the Inaugural Voyage,
or slightly sooner. It wasn’t a big apocalyptic type moment and I can’t even
remember when we decided to investigate it. Initially, we had looked into going
for my birthday in March. However, somehow we ended up going in December instead.
And it worked out, by total chance, that we were going to be away for the 8
days of Hannukah. Now, why didn’t I get Hannukah presents like that when I was
We booked the package deal direct from Disney, because mom
likes the convenience of package. (personally, I tend to prefer putting things
together myself) Initially, we were going to get an outside room with a porthole
or perhaps a "navigator’s veranda" (restricted view). But I held out
for a full veranda- this was to be a once in a lifetime cruise, so I wanted
to do it right. Admittedly, it is easier for me to spend mom’s money than my
own (but of course she has more money to begin with). Eventually, she came to
agree with me, and she was thrilled that we were able to get a cabin right in
the middle of the ship. I decided we should stay at the Beach Club, even though
I think mom would have preferred Boardwalk. But I like trying different hotels
and had just been at Boardwalk in April.
I went through a period that was full of me saying "Are
you sure you want to spend this much money?" and "Do you really think
I deserve to be going to WDW 3 times in one year?" I am sure I drove mom
crazy. I drove her even more crazy sending her to menus on the Internet and
asking her to call for Priority Seatings. She was so relieved when we were able
to get all the times I’d planned out for her as a guide. I could tell she was
getting excited for the trip when she would ask me every now and then exactly
which restaurant we’d be going to on Monday and which on Tuesday- and which
parks we’d be doing each day. I kept telling her I wanted to keep most of our
park plans pretty loose. She was also concerned that we didn’t have priority
seatings for dinner on Wed night, and I assured her that I fully intended to
eat- I just didn’t know where we’d be then. This kind of "loose" touring
strategy works well with mom, and also for offpeak times and extended trips
(my previous trips this yr had been 2-3 nights at busier times so I’d had more
planned in advance). We’d both been to the parks before and agreed that we didn’t
need to see "everything"
We also planned to light Hannukah candles every night and
brought a small menorah with us. We were nervous about doing this on the boat,
but as will be shown, we needn’t have worried. At the resort, we indeed lit
candles each night when we came home and it was a lovely way to end the day.
Three days before the trip, I called the Beach Club and
made some room requests. When they found my name in their computer, it finally
sunk it that I was off to WDW! Yippee! >
I couldn’t sleep all night, so I got up at 3 am and started
to get ready. The plan was for mom to drive here at 6 and then I’d drive to
the airport and park my car there for the week. At 5:30, I was finally able
to take a nap on the living room sofa, but soon afterwards I awoke to hear voices.
Was mom starting to talk to herself and if so, did this mean I should be taking
her somewhere special other than WDW? Nope- my father decided at the very last
minute to do the driving so we wouldn’t have to pay for airport parking. Cool.
I just had to move the bags I’d so diligently put in my trunk at 5am and transfer
them into my parents’ car.
We got to the airport, yadda yadda blah blah blah- and then
we were on our way to WDW! We landed on schedule at 10:30am. Mom had been fretting
about the Disney Cruise representative who was supposed to meet the plane and
where we should go if that person didn’t show up. But no prob- she was there
with a big smile. Though, at that point, I think my own smile might have been
even wider- we were there, it was real! YAY!
We soon saw that there were tons of Disney Cruise representatives
throughout the terminal, as we made our way to the busses. It didn’t take all
that long til we were on our way to our hotel at 11:30. We didn’t have to stop
at baggage claim since the cruise people would be taking care of getting our
luggage to our room. The bus ride was nice because they showed us a little video
about WDW and the cruise.
After making sure our documents were in order, the Cruise
people handed us over to the front desk to check in. We had to show them our
passports and then give them an envelope with our documents. In return, they
gave us our Key to the World and various Disney pamphlets. I’d say that we got
the better end of that exchange.
got to the room and not only was it gorgeous, but they’d satisfied every single
one of my requests: top floor, full balcony, lagoon view. I’d been concerned
that because we’d booked the cruise package, they might put us in whatever run
of the mill room was left, regardless of requests. A very pleasant surprise!
5 minutes after check in, the refrigerator we’d asked for at check in was delivered
with a smile. Ah, the wonders of WDW!
By then, I was just itching to get to the parks. We’d decided
we’d go to MGM and stay for Fantasmic. I’d figured that this way, if the show
should be cancelled due to bad weather, we’d still have other chances during
the trip to see it. Finally, mom was ready and off we were off to the boat dock.
Just as we got there, a boat pulled away. I knew it would be awhile til another
one came so I was not too happy- remember, I hadn’t slept all night so I was
tired. I was also extremely hungry. It was after 1pm and I hadn’t really eaten
since my 4am breakfast. Also, it was pretty darn chilly out there and cloudy-
not at all "happy happy cheerful" weather.
But not to worry, we eventually got to MGM. Mom wanted to
know where we were eating. I’d been planning on The Brown Derby and, at this
point, I felt it was a brilliant choice because it was not far to go from the
entrance of the park. We didn’t have priority seating, but it was just a short
wait and we were seated. The waiter informed us that they’d recently changed
the menu. Mom decided to have the Grouper and I decided to have the Pastrami
Salmon, which was recommended by the waiter. What it consisted of was smoked
salmon prepared like pastrami (no actual red meat there) and served on a pretzel.
If there was any doubt as to how hungry I was, it was erased when I started
to dig into the cole slaw on top and eat it as if it was salmon. In fact, I
wasn’t cognizant enough to realize it wasn’t the salmon until I dug deeper
and found the real salmon. BTW, I’ve never eaten cole slaw and don’t much care
for it. But at that point, I would have eaten most anything. We remembered to
use our MKC discount and lunch came to $42, including tip.
Finally, time to go enjoy the attractions! We first went
to The Little Mermaid- we just missed one show and had to wait for the next.
It’s always a favorite of mine and guaranteed to bring a smile to my face. Next
up was The Great Movie Ride, which was mom’s choice. The Mulan parade was in
full swing so there was no wait at all. In fact, the entire vehicle in front
of ours was empty. We had the gangster path and it was good fun.
By then, food was digested and the ToT beckoned. I walked
mom to the waiting area where they sold the pictures and then backtracked and
got in line. It was no wait to the preshow and not much of a wait after that.
It would have been even less, but they shut down the left side of the line while
I was waiting and so everyone had to be ushered to the elevators on the right.
Mom was surprised that I got off so quickly. I would have normally gone on again,
but I was feeling effects of missing sleep the night before, and I didn’t feel
I’d be awake enough to appreciate a repeat ride. Since we were freezing, we
just hung out inside for awhile.
At about 5:15, we decided to head over to Fantasmic. First
my mom stopped at the ToT store and decided to get another sweatshirt (she already
had on a shirt, a sweatshirt and a coat). I teased her that she had no right
to wear a ToT shirt when she’s never been on the ride. Earlier in the day, she
bought earmuffs in the shape of Mickey’s hands, so she put these on too, in
preparation for Fantasmic. She got a lot of comments on them.
We got great seats in the middle, 2/3 of the way back. It
was cold but it wasn’t as cold as some times when I have been to WDW. As I was
sitting and waiting, I thought it would be wonderful if they sold hot chocolate
in the theater- I had only seen signs for "cold beer" and anything
with the adjective cold was not at all enticing! Then, Disney magic happened
and we were able to buy hot chocolate in a reusable mug that was decorated with
a Lady and the Tramp holiday theme. That was simply perfection- and it helped
me warm up just enough.
The preshow guys were interesting, and that helped pass
the time. The show itself was wonderful. However, I liked the Disneyland version
better- it seemed more magical when the areas you’ve seen all day were transformed
into the show. Still, it was nice having seats and it was still a lot of fun.
Mom hadn’t seen the DL version and she loved it.
We then headed over to Wilderness Lodge for our 8:10 priority
seating at Artist Point. I’d never been there and the wait to be seated gave
me a chance to explore (while mom sat down and waited). I took some photos of
the holiday decorations and was able to see their geyser erupt. I loved the
hotel and I hope to stay there sometime.
Dinner was wonderful- I think it was mom’s favorite dinner
of the trip. We both ordered the cedar salmon, which came to our table on a
flaming plank. It was delicious and the restaurant was very peaceful.
On the way out, I went to the gift shop and bought some
milk and juice for our fridge (either I missed it, or the Beach Club is the
only WDW resort I’ve encountered that doesn’t sell bottled or cartoned beverages
anywhere). Then, we took a taxi to our hotel ($12), called Dad, I checked my
Email and then collapsed into the comfortable bed.
The plan was to get up at 8am, eat a quick breakfast in
the room, and head over to Downtown Disney- or possibly to AK. However, I couldn’t
get up. No, I wasn’t being lazy as mom thought at first (I am sure she was thinking
"what do you mean making me get up at 8 and then not getting out of bed
yourself?!") I didn’t feel very well. But finally, after some advil and
some cereal, I was ready to go.
We decided to go to Downtown Disney since it was too late
to start out at AK. Of course, there were 3 AK busses (and 2 MK ones) before
we got our bus. We were not having good luck with transportation. When we’d
investigated this trip, I’d asked about Hannukah on radp and someone said they’d
seen Hannukah snow globes on sale at the marketplace. My mom really wanted one,
but they didn’t have any this year. All trip, I kept looking and hoping to surprise
her, but no luck. Bummer.
We did manage to load up on stuff at the World of Disney-
I again remembered to use my MKC card and we had it all shipped back to the
hotel. I had to make a stop at Ghiradellis and mom was pleased they had some
sugar free selections though she wished there were more (she is diabetic).
Finally, we were off to the MK! We decided to go via Port
Orleans, just for the heck of it (and because I don’t particularly like the
TTC) I always get excited when I walk into MK and walk up Main St, especially
the first time of my trip. And this was no exception- "We’re in the Magic
Kingdom!" "Look at the tree, look at the decorations!" There
is something special for me about MK- perhaps because it was the only park open
when I was a kid, when I would hear about my classmates’ vacations and dream
about going back myself. <imagine violins playing a sad song in the background>
We stopped off at the Emporium and they had the monorail
toys that everyone had been talking about. Mom said I should get one, so I did
and we had it shipped to the hotel room.
We went on the new Buzz Lightyear ride first and I thought
it was cute. Mom would get upset when I moved the joystick to rotate the car,
so I didn’t do it very much. We were pretty pathetic- mom got 100 points to
my 25,000 (I think I got all of those on the same single target). Then, I sat
mom down on a bench and went to Space Mountain. The sign on Main St said it
was a 15 minute wait and the one in Tomorrowland said 20 minutes. So imagine
my surprise when I walked and walked and walked- and saw that there was, in
essence, no wait. It was a shorter line than on E-ride night last summer. I
met mom in record time ("I wasn’t expecting you so soon- It’s never been
nearly this quick before")
We headed over to Plaza Pavilion for cheese pizza for lunch.
In the course of deciding whether to do Carousel of Progress or Fantasyland
next, we determined that mom would go back to the hotel and nap and I’d stay
at the park. Mom was afraid I’d be mad at her for bailing out on me ("Are
you sure you won’t get mad at me?"), but it worked out for me to do some
of the things I wanted, without making mom sit and wait for me.
Determined to better my score once I had full control of
the joystick, I went back to Buzz Lightyear with a vengeance. But I got an even
more pitiful 20,100. But hey, I think I actually hit more targets. Really. It’s
just that they were for fewer points.
Continuing my day’s tour of the mountain range, I hit Splash
Mountain followed by Big Thunder Mountain, and then an encore of Splash Mountain.
Wait times? Practically nothing! Whoo hoo! I walked through Frontierland and
Liberty Square to get to Fantasyland- I love just strolling around WDW and enjoying
the fact that I am there. I went on Peter Pan (5-10 min wait) before going back
to meet mom at the hotel.
While waiting for mom to get ready, I checked email again.
Then we walked over to Epcot- the walk was kinda long for mom. Eventually, we
made it to Horizons and Universe of Energy. By then, it was time for our priority
seating at Coral Reef Café.
We loved the look of the restaurant- again, it was someplace
very peaceful. I ordered an Asian style tuna entrée, which was terrific
and I had a delicious chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. Mom had either
salmon or grouper, as well as a nifty banana split dessert (it was served in
a banana leaf and had some fruits).
Then we staked out a spot for Holiday Illuminations- I think we were near Canada.
We sat down by the fence. As I got up for the show, I suddenly had a bad stomachache.
I think maybe the cheesecake didn’t agree with me- though it had been so
good! At any rate, we enjoyed the show. In general, I loved the Xmas decorations
and happenings at WDW this trip- it made the place seem even more festive.
Mom wanted to take the boat back to the hotel, but I opted
to walk. I’d hoped the walk would help me feel better, but nope. I felt awful
and just wanted to go to sleep. (getting a new stomach would also have worked)
However, I’d promised mom she could use the computer to check email. So, despite
the fact that I was curled up on my bed in a fetal position, with my eyes closed,
mom made me set up the computer and she started IMing one of her friends. I
didn’t complain too much- not only because I was thankful mom took me on this
great trip, but also because I flat out didn’t have the energy to complain!
Finally, she got off and we went to sleep.
We had 7:30 priority seating for the Cape May Café
character breakfast. This was a first for us- in all my trips to WDW, I have
never done a character meal. Mom was a bit disappointed in the characters that
were supposed to be there (Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale) but it was at our hotel
and she was game to try it. I kept telling her we could cancel if she wanted.
Well, we had a ball! It wasn’t very crowded so we had plenty of character interaction
(they were all dressed in swim trunks which was cute). Also, Minnie Mouse was
there and not Pluto. We loved watching the reactions of little kids. I generally
hate getting my picture taken, but Chip (or was it Dale?) was quite persuasive
(after I had taken a picture of mom) and so I gave in. Luckily, my stomach was
doing ok- I felt like I was about 90% better.
We headed out to AK after breakfast. Because of the vast
expanse of the park, mom rented one of those ECV’s. She pronounced this the
best decision she made, as it made her enjoy the park much more. We started
off with the safari- we found it extremely confusing to find the wheelchair
entrance but we made it. Mom liked this ride a lot (I think it was her favorite
of the trip), even though she had thought of not riding because she doesn’t
like getting bumped around a lot. After walking through the path formerly known
as "Gorilla Falls", we headed to It’s Tough to Be a Bug- we got there
as they were still filling up the theater so we missed everything in the pre-show
area, which I enjoy (and I knew mom would have loved). Oh, well. This was also
a big hit with mom.
We went to the Lion King show and that was great as usual-
again, I sat in the Lions section, where I always sit. We went to the Pocahontas
show and it had to be stopped at one point when an animal wouldn’t get offstage.
We were all the way in the back and it was a bit hard to see, but it was cute.
For lunch, we did pizza again, this time at Pizzafari. Then, it was off to CtX.
I had tried to get mom to go on ("It’s really not that bad. There are no
big drops or anything- they just shake you up"), but she wouldn’t. At least
I convinced her to get in line with me and see the pre-show, and she was glad
she did that.
Mom loved the park, but it was time to go to the hotel and
take a mid-day break. We decided to make a priority seating for Alfredos that
night. Because of the success of our breakfast, we decided to ask if the castle
breakfast was available at the MK next day- as expected it wasn’t. Next time…
Before heading to Epcot for dinner, I went to MGM while
mom still rested up. I actually had good luck getting a boat and I got to the
park at about 6pm. After a quick ToT, I went to see the Osbourne lights- the
main reason I’d headed over there. When I got to NY street, I saw the "snow"
that I had read about. It was falling so gently, and everything felt almost
like it was in slow motion. It was just so magical!
I’d seen the Osbourne lights once before (1996, I think)
and they didn’t disappoint. Everything was so lovely and colorful! Walking through
NY St and then through the lights was the best of Disney magic- truly incredible!
They gave out these 3-D glasses that made the lights appear like angels, but
I liked them better without the glasses.
There was a huge line for the bus to Epcot. I didn’t make
it on the first one, but that was ok because the next one was something! It
was sorta like a truck thing, hooked up to a passenger area. I’d never seen
anything like it.
At 7:30, I made it to Epcot and set off on a counterclockwise
tour of World Showcase, with Alfredos as my final destination. I bought lots
of food and candy at the Japan pavilion- I love Japanese food! As I passed by
the America Gardens theater, I could hear the orchestra playing- I assume it
was the beginning of the candlelight processional. To my pleasant surprise,
they were playing Hannukah music. Later, mom said that when she passed, they
were singing stuff- she also enjoyed stopping and listening for a few minutes.
For dinner, mom ordered Salmon and I had Spaghetti and Meatballs
(though I didn’t eat most of the meatballs). It was very good, and I’d been
in the mood for Italian food after all the seafood I’d been eating! It was a
huge restaurant, and they had people walking around and playing music which
was nice. It wasn’t my favorite meal of the trip, but it was great.
Again, I walked back while mom took the boat. (she said
she got to see Illuminations again while waiting in the boat) I stopped by Stormalong
Bay and dipped a finger in- it was nice and warm! I planned to go there the
next day- I hoped it would be a little warmer outside.
That afternoon, we’d been delighted to find our purchases
from the previous day delivered right to our room. I’d already set up the monorail,
but I didn’t have a screwdriver to get to the battery compartment. We asked
at the front desk that night and some nice men came up to our room right away.
Once we got the batteries in, they wanted to stay and see what the monorail
was like- they quite enjoyed it and were like two little kids on Xmas day. It
was indeed very cool.
My mom was justifiably skeptical that I would be able to
get up as I'd planned to do early entry at MK. However, it was my last full
day at WDW and I had never done EE, so I was motivated. I got up at 7am and
got to the bus stop by 7:20. Unfortunately, it took forever for the bus to come
and I didn’t arrive at MK until about 8am. I was worried it would be crowded
by then, but I figured I’d do as much as I could. Mom had gone back to sleep
once I left and the plan was to meet up with her later.
First stop was Space Mountain. As I walked and walked and
walked through the queue, I finally saw that there was even less of a line than
Tuesday- if that was possible. Way cool! I then went across the way to Buzz
Lightyear and was pretty damn proud of myself for managing to get a score of
100,500. Then it was right back to Space Mountain. BTW, the monitors in the
queue area (the ones with interplanetary commercials and the like) were not
on and that seemed to make the ride darker than it had been in the summer.
I walked to Fantasyland, which the little girl in me considers
to be "quintessential Disney." I saw that Dumbo had practically no
line, and on a whim I went on it. I had entirely too much fun- much moreso than
is justifiable for a 20something with no kids. I moved the joystick up and down-
wheeeee! I don’t think I have been on that ride since I was 4.
I rode Snow White before making my way to the Adventureland
gate at the main hub by 8:45 or so. I got there just in time for the announcement
of the park’s opening and proceeded to follow the CM’s to my destination of
choice, Splash Mountain. I would have been in the very first log of the day,
except that they loaded the 2nd log before the 1st one.
Darn. But the 2nd log was still pretty cool. When we got to the end
of the ride, the people behind me asked if they could ride again- the CM said
that there were people waiting who had to get on. Well, they were only waiting
for the front row- so those of us in rows 2 and 3 stayed. Yippee! I was sure
that wouldn’t happen again after ride #2, but once again there was no one waiting
so my new friends in the front stayed on and I did as well. That made Splash
Mountain 3 times in a row without getting off! I loved it! It was a little warmer
than it had been on other days and I wasn’t even very cold from getting wet.
I’d decided it was finally time to move on (and to get a
life... ha ha), which was fortunate because there was indeed a small line after
ride #3. I went on Big Thunder Mountain and then walked around the shops at
various places in MK. Time to head over to MGM for some terror! But before ToT,
I noticed they would be doing Belle’s Enchanted Christmas in the courtyard in
front of The Great Movie Ride at 11:30, so I went to wait there. I am a big
BatB fan (my cat is named Belle) and it was very cute.
Continuing my trend of pizza lunches, I ate at Pizza Planet.
And then it was time for ToT- even though it was just after eating. There were
no lines at all, so I ended up going on 3 times. Of course, unlike Splash Mt,
I had to actually get off and get back in line each time. Once, the CM at the
gate greeted me with a "Welcome back!" I smiled as I walked by. I
naturally had to ask for the seatbelt seat once, and CM Gary was terrificly
creepy about it: "How do we ask?" I added a "please" and
I was directed to the appropriate spot. I could have gone on all day, but I
wanted to get back to the hotel to do Stormalong Bay and to nap.
I picked the right day for Stormalong Bay- it was sunny
and it was warmer than any other day on our trip. Still, the couple next to
me on the boat to the hotel thought I was nuts when I told them I was going
to swim. However, I’d long decided that even if it had been in the 30’s all
trip, damn it, I was going swimming! The pool was everything I’d heard it was-
the sand bottom was cool and I enjoyed the slide, even though it seemed the
stairs to get up there never ended. (I have a big fear of heights)
When I got up from my subsequent nap, I saw that Mom had
arrived back- she’d slept in and done some of MGM: Muppetvision, the sound show,
and Indiana Jones. Then it was off to dinner at The California Grille, by way
of the MK. After we got seated and ordered, I went out on the observation deck
to see the 6pm fireworks. It was getting chilly out but it was fun to watch
from that vantage point.
Dinner itself was wonderful! I had California Roll as an
appetizer and the main course was Udon noodles with tofu and mushrooms. (yes,
I had quite the Japanese theme going) I’d asked for the mushrooms on the side
because I don’t generally eat them, but I tasted them and they were ok, so I
dumped them in with everything, as my mom laughed at me. She had a vegetarian
egg roll appetizer and a salmon entrée. After we ate, our waiter apologized
for not asking earlier if we wanted the souffle, but we were in no hurry and
we decided to split one. One word: "YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!" It was a triple
chocolate chip souffle with a light peanut butter sauce. It was almost like
solid hot chocolate. We devoured it. Dinner was quite pricey but well worth
it. I think mom would agree that the souffle alone was nearly worth the price
of the entire meal.
We took the monorail to MK- as we had just missed one, I
thought there was an excellent chance we’d get to ride up front. But no. Someone
behind us had asked for it first. Not only that, the CM was extremely snippy
and that ruined the magical mood that had been building up all day. It wasn’t
a catastrophe (though I’d hoped to surprise mom with a monorail copilot’s license)
but she should not have been so rude. In fact, she seemed to be snippy toward
another CM as well.
It was immediately apparent that there were tons of people
heading over to MVMCP, just like us. And in fact, we saw more crowds than at
any other time during our stay. We headed over to Belle’s Enchanted Christmas
and got 2 of the last chairs- it was a very cute show and it was fun how they
brought children from the audience onto the stage. We then went on It’s a Small
World which was a walk on, and the Haunted Mansion which had a bit of a line.
We were walking to the Adventureland side but we were blocked by the parade.
However, there was a photo taking place right before the parade and it had no
line, so we seized that opportunity to get our free portrait taken.
Then we walked back through Fantasyland toward Tomorrowland.
We debated going on Peter Pan, but mom thought it had a bit too long a line.
I got some free hot chocolate and cookies- that was a really long line. Mom
headed to get us seats for Mickey’s Twas the Night Before Xmas, while I walked
closer to the hub for the 10:00 fireworks. The Xmas finale was great, with fireworks
going off 360 degrees around the park. Mickey’s show was also very cute and
At about 10:45, we staked out positions for the late parade-
I insisted on Main St since it is supposed to snow there during the parade-
I was disappointed it wasn’t snowing when we sat down, but it was when the parade
started. Before the parade, I went into the Emporium and bought a stuffed Simba-
it is a bit of a tradition for me to get a stuffed animal each trip to a Disney
park, and I’d finally decided on one. The parade was great- long and a lot of
I had originally intended to stay for closing, but I was
tired and I knew mom really wanted me to come back to the hotel with her, so
I did. We had to pack our bags and leave them outside the door by 8am so they
could be picked up and delivered to our stateroom on the Magic.
We didn’t have to get our bus til noon, but I ended up sleeping
in and not doing any of the parks. I’d originally intended to get some last
minute stuff in, but I decided against it. The bus ride (less than 1.5 hrs)
was uneventful, save for the sad moment when we passed back through the entrance
gate to WDW. Mom told me not to be upset because we were still going to be on
Disney. Yeah, but it just isn’t the same. They showed us a short video of the
ship which was cool- and it was exciting to see the Magic in the distance and
to see it get closer and closer.
The terminal was new and beautiful. Mickey was posing for
pictures inside- and on reflection, I realize I should have taken one. But we
wanted to get on the ship. So it was off through Mickey’s silhouette! There
was no one to direct us to the stateroom- it might have been nice if there were.
But we found it just fine. The elevators were crowded when we boarded, but they
were fine the rest of the trip.
We entered the room and noticed immediately that the 2 beds
were pushed together into one. Not good. Our going away package- the one Mom
told Dad to order for us- wasn’t there. Nor was my suitcase- though mom’s were
both there. We looked at our dining tickets and saw we had late seating even
though we were supposed to have early seating. Everything was a big adjustment
and neither of us were feeling very happy. However, we did immediately love
the veranda- which also made the room feel more spacious and airy.
I went to Palo, the adult only Italian restaurant, to get
reservations for the night we were due to eat at Parrot Cay (neither of us really
wanted Caribbean cuisine)- I got there at 1:40 or so and they started taking
reservations at two. They had three tables- one for each night. The ones for
Fri and Sat were pretty empty- most everyone lined up for Sun, the last night.
Which is also when I wanted to go. But I had no problem- the funny thing was
that I was so stressed about getting ressies that when they asked me what time
I wanted, I had no clue. Then they asked my cabin number, and I couldn’t think
of it, either.
I looked at Topsiders Buffet, where my mom was supposed
to be. It had quite a line and I didn’t see her, so I just went to Pinocchio’s
pizzeria to have a slice of pizza. Yes, I am so predictable- yet another pizza
lunch for me! I stopped by guest services to get credit for my annual pass and
then went back to the cabin. Mom came by soon afterward and our cheese plate
was finally delivered, so we enjoyed noshing on that.
There is a mandatory lifejacket drill at 4. We found the
jackets to be quite uncomfortable and were happy when it was over. Still, it
is a necessary evil.
We went to a Hannukah lighting ceremony in the conference
rooms on deck 2- it was arranged by a young crew member named Larah, who was
great. We were thrilled not to have to light our own candles, and there was
a pretty nice turn-out. However, I missed seeing us start moving since that
happened while we were lighting candles.
We had the 6:15 show each night, and the first night was
Disney Dreams- it was about a girl named Annemarie who is visited by Peter
Pan and by a slew of other Disney characters (including my faves, Belle
and the Beast) and she learns that the magic of dreams is inside of her
and she can fly. It was very cute, but there were technical problems.
Also, the woman playing Annemarie was a little hyper and annoying. We’d
had to wait awhile for the theatre’s doors to open (they were late) and
I could feel the motion of the ship more than I’d expected- I was very
happy when I was finally able to sit down!
Then we went back to our cabin to change quickly for dinner
at Lumiere’s, which is a bit formal. However, we were locked out. One of our
pieces of luggage was also outside- neighbors walked by and told us it was delivered
to their room by mistake, and the steward couldn't get in to put it in ours.
So, now we’d gathered that not only our keys didn't work, but the steward's
pass key didn't either. Pretty obviously, it was the door that was at fault.
However, when I called down from another cabin, guest services insisted that
I bring the keys down so I had to wait in line in order for them to tell me,
gee, the key works just fine. They said they'd send someone to the room right
Meanwhile, mom was still talking to the stewards upstairs
(not just ours but a couple others were around). They called twice for someone
to come up. All in all, it took about 35 minutes for a manager to come up and
40 minutes for the carpenter. All that time, we were standing in the tiny, claustrophobic
hallway seeing the same people go back and forth and ask us with amazement "You're
still here?" So we finally got in and the manager got someone from the front
desk to call and that person promised us she'd send something up to our room
for our inconvenience (ok, so we prodded her to offer even that). When we finally
came back that night, we were excited to see what our surprise might be- only
to see that there was *nothing*
Anyway, dinner at Lumiere’s was great. We were seated with
2 young couples and they were very friendly and a lot of fun. For dinner, I
had french onion soup, sea bass, and a bit of chocolate cake. There was a slight
comic incident where mom picked up my glass of diet coke and it split in two
(yes, it spilled all over) but other than that, things went smoothly. We went
to Off Beat, the improv comedy club, afterwards and it was a lot of fun. They
even took one of my suggestions- a stuffed Mickey Mouse bomb. I think you had
to be there!
We returned to our stateroom to find towels on each bed
shaped like a swan. How cute! Despite our problems of the day, we were definitely
getting in the swing of things.
I decided to sleep in and boy did I ever! Mom had gotten
up earlier and eaten breakfast at Lumiere’s. We were already in port at Nassau
by the time I got up, and we could see other ships out our windows. We made
fun of them and thought our ship was nicer. Mom was going on a glass bottom
boat excursion but I decided to stay aboard the Magic and explore. She ended
up enjoying her excursion except for a part when they went near the Atlantic
Ocean to see a shipwreck- she said the waters got very choppy. The later excursion
didn’t stop there.
Meanwhile, I went to Lumiere’s alone for lunch. They had
pasta which was great- I had a tomato soup with meatballs and penne with a roasted
garlic tomato sauce. For dessert, I had chocolate frozen yogurt with chocolate
sauce. Oddly enough, no one seated at my table (a family with a son about 20
and another couple) talked to me, so I just took notes on the WDW portion of
my trip for my trip report.
I then explored the ship some more and saw some of the deck party on deck 9
by the family pool- it was mostly for kids but it was really cute. Anthony,
the cruise director, was leading it and the Disney characters all turned up
(Minnie, Goofy and Pluto- later replaced by Mickey, Chip and Dale). I participated
in one of the games where they needed a line of adults. Music was playing and
it was quite fun.
I then changed and went to the gym at the Vista spa on deck
9. It was excellent! There was a view of the bridge and the water and there
were also personal video monitors that you could set to your favorite station
(from those received on the ship) and then put headphones on. I went on the
stairmaster for 20 minutes and watched the beginning of "A Goofy Movie"
(there was an all-Disney movie channel). I then switched to the treadmill for
a cool down and ended up doing 20 minutes there- I hadn’t intended to watch
any TV, but I decided to put the headphones on (without pausing to change the
station) and I saw the end of "Miracle on 34th St" (from
an all-movie channel) I don’t think I’ve ever seen the beginning. All in all,
it was a very pleasant experience.
Back at the room, I met up with mom. We went to the Hannukah ceremony again
and then to that evening’s show which was Hercules. This was the weakest of
the shows- they did it with the concept that they were a troupe of actors performing
the show, and that a bunch of the actors were missing so understudies were going
on. It didn’t really work. It wasn’t bad, but I could have missed it. However,
it was fun recognizing people from the previous shows in their different roles
(example- Peter Pan was also the young Hercules)
We decided to make some purchases at the gift shop. However,
our keys to the world weren’t working for some reason and they wouldn’t take
cash. Fortunately, mom had her VISA card. So then we headed down to Guest Services
again. They never did explain why we weren’t able to charge- someone said that
our original keys weren’t valid and had been changed and someone said they were
never changed. We finally talked to a manager, Rodney, who was great about calming
us down. We also told him about our experiences the previous day, and he agreed
it wasn’t handled well. He promised to personally get back to us- he even fixed
our voice mail so we’d be able to get a message. We never heard from him again.
Dinner that night was at Animator’s Palate- I was so excited
to eat there! At first, I was disappointed since all they had were monitors
that had a rotating selection of Disney pictures went from black and white to
full color, while the music from that film played. However, there was more to
it and it ended up being really magical. I had a dumpling appetizer and a veal
entrée. Mom had smoked salmon appetizer and a salmon entrée. Yeah,
that sounds redundant but she doesn’t eat meat out (she keeps Kosher). Dessert
wasn’t that great- there was a choice of fruits or cheesecake and there was
strawberry sauce you could put on it. I didn’t like the cheesecake very much-
I thought it was pretty bland.
We again did the Off Beat club, and they had a different
show. I thought it was better the first night, when there had been more audience
participation. When we got back to the room, we laughed when we saw the night’s
animal towel sculpture- it was a monkey, hanging from a hanger on the ceiling!
It had some toilet paper as its tail- it was totally cool. I still wanted to
stay up and read on the veranda, but I ended up going to sleep so I wouldn’t
This was the day we docked at Castaway Cay, Disney’s little private island.
I actually managed to get up at 7am, and we went to Parrot Cay for breakfast.
Both Parrot Cay and Lumiere’s have the same breakfast menu (there is also a
breakfast buffet at Topsiders on deck 9, by the pools) and we decided on the
Cay since we wouldn’t be there for dinner. It was a very colorful, festive place-
and yes, there were parrots on the chandeliers. (no, not real ones!) There were
also parrot sounds while you waited to get in. My waffles were ok, but kind
We got off the ship soon after they announced that it was
ok to disembark. Then we walked to the tram to the main area, at which point
we had to walk to another tram to the adult only beach. It was so quiet and
peaceful there- we immediately snagged a red and white cabana type thing to
be our home for the day- it protected us from the sun and we felt so secluded.
What to say about the beach? Ahhhhhhh! It was gorgeous and
relaxing. So relaxing, in fact, that we both ended up taking short naps. The
blue water was lovely, though a tad cold for me. However, it was fun to see
the little fishies swimming around by my feet.
When mom wanted to go back, I stayed and walked on the hiking/
biking trail. It wasn’t that thrilling, but it was a nice walk and it was very
quiet. I finally went back to the room and saw my mom there- she’d opted not
to eat at the BBQ on the beach and she’d just ordered room service. So I placed
an order as well and took a shower. I was amazed that my order came with mom’s
order, just about 10 minutes after I’d placed it.
We also had finally received our surprise from Guest Services
for our inconvenience. The note was addressed to "Mr. & Mrs. Burwasser"
which was weird since Dad wasn’t there. It was also kind of odd that we got
a children’s package but it was cute- a pillow case with a picture of the boat,
a storybook, and 3 chocolate chop cookies. It was apparently sent by the chief
My mom called down to guest services for more towels and
was told that it would take 10-15 minutes. They didn’t come til 3 hrs later.
The steward said he’d just received the page 5 minutes earlier. Hmmm…. At any
rate, I spent the afternoon reading on the veranda while mom watched Clinton
stuff on TV. I was adamant that I didn’t go on vacation to see politics or to
see stuff about Iraq.
We lit Hannukah candles once more, for the last night. I
thought I might never hear the ship’s horn, but they sounded it right before
we went downstairs- it plays the first notes of "when you wish upon a star"
and it was definitely worth hearing. I also saw the Xmas tree lighting ceremony
that night, which was very cute- the characters were there and they picked a
child out of the audience and someone sprinkled pixie dust into her hand and
told her to wish for the tree to light up. It was a lot of fun.
Our show that night was Voyage of the Ghost Ship, an original
show. We liked it the best of all 3, even though it was really a "Scarlet
Pimpernel" wannabe—and the leading character was totally a "Doug Sills/
Percy Blakeney" wannabe. Still, it was entertaining and I always love seeing
a good swordfight onstage! We continued our little game of recognizing actors
from the previous nights.
Then, off to Palo! We didn’t get seated by the window, but
that was OK. The food was great! I had a four cheese pizza appetizer, a pasta
dish of crab and eggplant tortelloni and the sea bass entrée. Mom also
had the sea bass, and appetizers that I don’t remember. We started talking to
the couple next to us, who were on their honeymoon. When we ordered our souffles,
the wife also ordered one; she had already eaten her dessert but she’d tasted
her husband’s souffle and she wanted one of her own. This was a chocolate hazelnut
souffle- the waiter poured chocolate and vanilla sauces into it. Totally delicious!
Though I admit I have a slight preference for the souffle at the Contemporary.
(mom preferred this one)
Then, it was time to pack since our bags had to be
outside our room between 10pm-12am. Sob… everything was coming to an ending.
But we were treated to one more animal sculpture- it was a towel in the
shape of a snake on my bed- it was surrounded by all my stuffed animals.
The best touch was that he had put my sunglasses on the snake- we couldn’t
stop laughing! After packing, I read outside on the veranda until it got
a little too cold and then I went to sleep.
We had the late seating for meals which meant we had an
8:15 time for breakfast. Everyone was supposed to eat where they were assigned
for the previous night (or they could go to the buffet at Topsiders) so we were
once again at Parrot Cay. Our servers, the same ones who had rotated with us
to the regular restaurants, were awfully slow; I had just gotten my oatmeal
when they were making the announcement that the gangplank would soon be taken
away at 9am!
We made it off and it was easy to spot our luggage- they
had given us color coded tags based upon where our stateroom was located. There
were plenty of porters on hand to help, and one of them took our bags through
customs (which was a snap) and then over to the USAir desk. We were surprised
and pleased that not only could we check the luggage in there, but we also got
our boarding passes!
The bus ride was sad, but they showed us a Mickey cartoon:
"Ship Builders" which eased the pain. We got in the airport at plenty
of time and, after we looked around in the shops, we ended up chatting with
someone else who was on our return flight and who had been on our initial flight
was the best time to visit! Attraction lines during regular hrs were practically
nonexistent. I don’t think I ever waited more than 10 minutes. Plus, the Xmas
decorations were an extra special touch. I’d definitely recommend early/mid
December as ideal for going to WDW.
- MVMCP- I think ticket sales
should be further limited. It wasn’t so much that it was overly crowded- I’ve
been there when lines were much greater. But, it was way more crowded than
any other times that week. The shows were fun, though it is nearly impossible
to see them all. I think it is worth going once, but I am not sure if I would
- Beach Club- Great location and
a great hotel! I loved everything about it and recommend it highly.
- The Cruise Line- still has some
bugs, particularly with the responsiveness (or rather, the lack thereof) by
Guest Services. But it is a beautiful ship and it is a lot of fun walking
around and spotting the characters! Disney’s island is also great- I can’t
imagine anyone not liking it. The other passengers were all friendly and down
to earth. I’d recommend the ship for couples as well as for families (all
the kids just loved their activities!)- really, for anyone who likes Disney.
I also highly recommend getting a room with a veranda if one can afford it.