Monday, February 11, 2013

Our MAGICal Disney Cruise Day 1 Part 2: First afternoon on the ship


YouTube Music Video:
Our MAGICal Disney Cruise

Day 1 Navigator
Day 2 Navigator
Day 3 Navigator
Day 4 Navigator

Trip Report:
Day 1 Part 1:  Intro and getting there

We boarded the ship around 2:45 p.m. The fog had delayed boarding by about 3 hours. On our last cruise, when we entered the Dream, I recorded our entrance onto the ship because they announce family names over the loud speaker and clap for everyone (you can see it here).  It was quite grand and exciting. I decided not to record it this time and just experience it.

Good thing I wasn't recording, because they didn't do the grand entrance!  We walked in and I was kind of looking around.  Two cast members were clapping with Mickey hands on.  I guess because of the fog delay, they were just trying to get everyone on board as soon as possible so that ship could get to Cozumel on time.

I had gone into this cruise with the resolve that I would try to be more calm and laid-back, especially on the first day.  On our last cruise, the first day was very hectic and we tried to ride the Aqua Duck and go swimming and go to the kids clubs and do everything on that first afternoon.  Not this time, I said.  We will be calm and leisurely.  Well, that plan went out the window with the 3-hour delay.  In order to fit everything in, Disney changed the schedule and now the lifeboat drill, sail away party and dinner were all back to back.  I felt rushed and not relaxed at all. Maybe on our next cruise, it will be different.

My boys in the atrium of the Disney Magic
We were told that lunch and our cabins would be ready around 3 p.m., so not too long.  We decided to go upstairs to the buffet in Topsiders restaurant.  We had eaten lunch off the boat at 11:30, so the kids were ready for a snack. They opened the buffet line shortly after we arrived.

We admired this ice sculpture at the beginning of the buffet line
In the buffet line

Some desserts--my kids loved the jello with sprinkles

Eating at Topsiders buffet

My girl and her chocolate
A Disney crew member always volunteered to carry our kids' trays every time we were at the buffet, which was very helpful!

My kids mostly ate desserts, and there were plenty of good ones there!  I had a roll with chicken salad--it was light and delicious.  While we were eating, an announcement came that the cabins were ready.

We had two connecting inside cabins for our group of six people.  We were in cabins 2645 and 2643, on Deck 2 aft (back end of the ship).  When we got to our cabins, they were already turned down for the night with chocolates. (Usually, the bottom part of the bunk bed is a sofa).  Each room had a queen bed and a bunk bed, and two bathrooms (one with shower, one with toilet).

Room 2645

Room 2643

We had bedrails added to Alyss's lower bunk in our room.
For some added fun, and to make our doors easier to spot in the hallway, we added door magnets to both cabin doors. You can get free designs on the DIS boards and print them on magnet paper at home.

Sorcerer Mickey door

Captain Mickey door
We also hung up our Fish Extender from our fish outside our cabin door.  We were participating in a gift exchange with 10 other cabins.  For more information on a Fish Extender exchange, see this post.

We ended up really liking our cabin location.  We were towards the end of the hallway, so we didn't get much hallway traffic noise or hear kids running down the hall. We were close to the aft elevators, so we could easily take them to the pool and buffet restaurant for breakfast.  We were also only one floor below the atrium where a lot of the action is. We did notice a slight sewer smell in the hallway leading to our cabins, but somebody must have complained because later we saw some air purifier machines out in the hallway. With our cabins being located in the aft, you can hear loud noises when the ship docks.  We were prepared for this since we read  about this in several room report reviews for our specific cabins.  This really didn't affect us, though, because it was after 8:00 a.m. when we docked in Cozumel and we had already been awake for a few hours.  On our last day, we docked in Galveston around 6:30 a.m. and we were also already awake.

We dropped off our carry-on bags in our rooms.  Our checked suitcases were not there yet.  We decided to go to the kids' clubs for open house.

In case you are not familiar with Disney's kids' clubs, they have some for all ages.

Flounder's Reef nursery is for ages 3 months to age 3.  You need to make reservations there and the charge is $6/hour.  This is the only kids' club with an upcharge.

Oceaneer Club and the Oceaneer Lab are two separate clubs for kids age 3-10.  Your child must be potty trained to enter.  The clubs are usually open 9 a.m. til midnight or 1 a.m. If your child is age 8 or older, you have the option of letting them check themselves out (we did not do this).

The Edge is a tween club for kids ages 11-13.   And The Vibe is a teen club for kids ages 14-17.

The clubs have slightly different names on the different ships.  There is stuff to do in each club, plus there are organized activities happening at certain times that you can see on the navigator.  The clubs are restricted to the kids and Disney counselors only (meaning you can't just go into the clubs with your kids all the time and play with them/take photos), except during a few times when they have open house.  On the first afternoon on board, all of the clubs are in open house mode so you can check them out with your kids and get them comfortable with the space and the counselors.

We first went to Flounder's Reef nursery.  It was very similar to the one on the Dream.  I talked to the counselor about where Alyssa could use the bathroom since she was potty trained.  They have a back door that leads into the Oceaneer Club right by the bathroom.  It is literally just outside the back door of the nursery.  So I was happy to see that the bathroom was super close and they would take her and help her go.

The counselors said they rotate the toys every day at the nursery so the kids don't get bored.  They also had a small slide that I saw them take out later in the cruise.  The nursery has a one-way mirror on the outside so you can check to see how your child is doing without them seeing you.

 We left the nursery to check out the other kids' clubs.  Down below we saw Cruise Director Minnie waving to her fans.

Our next stop was the Oceaneer Club, which is for ages 3-10 but really geared more for the 3-7 crowd.  This club is completely different than the one on the Dream.  The theme throughout the club is a pirate ship. It was really neat.

 I took my 5-year-old to the bathroom there so he knew where it was. It has little sinks and little toilets, and potty seats in every stall to put on top of the toilet if you need one.

 My kids loved climbing to the top of the pirate ship to slide down.

 You could climb stairs, or climb the cargo net.

At this point, it was 4:30 p.m. already and the Oceaneer Club was shutting down for the lifeboat drill.  We would have to wait until another time to see the Oceaneer Lab (geared for the 6-10 crowd). I think on our next cruise, since we've seen all the younger kids' clubs, I would use this first afternoon open house time to check out the Tween and Teen club.  I've heard good things about both of those clubs, and I'd like to see what it would be like for my kids if we go on Disney cruises when they are older.

Just a note about the kids' clubs:  You can pre-register your kids online before your cruise and I HIGHLY recommend doing this.  You just have to enter some info about them and pick a secret password that you will use at pick-up time.  When we got to the open house that afternoon, it just took a few minutes for them to get their Mickey bands (which are then used to swipe them in and out of the clubs, also a tracking device). We saw lines of people who did not pre-register online and the lines were pretty long!  You can also register them/pick up Mickey bands at the cruise port while you are waiting to board, but those lines are generally fairly long.  For our cruise, their computer system had not yet cleared out the previous cruise so we were unable to get their Mickey bands at the port.

Up next:  Lifeboat drill, sail away party, dinner, first night on the ship

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