Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 2: Embarking the Disney Fantasy

Trip Report so far:

Part 1: Getting There

Part 2: Embarking the Disney Fantasy

Saturday, October 4, 2014

After a very late arrival at the Hyatt inside the Orlando airport, we managed to sleep in until around 8:00 a.m. (7:00 a.m. Texas time). Because no matter how late my kids go to bed, they still wake up at that time. We showered, and Brian went downstairs to the food court inside the airport to bring back some breakfast to our room.

We met up with another family from our cruise Facebook group at 9:45 a.m. because we were sharing a van to the port. This was our first time sharing a shuttle with another family, and it was fun to have another family to talk to and get excited with on the way to the port. We would totally do that again.

We arrived at the port close to 11:00 a.m. after a bit of a traffic jam in the parking lot. My kids waited on the bench while the porters took our luggage to the ship. As you can see, they were very, very tired.
My youngest got 3-4 hours less sleep that night than she usually does, and we paid for it the entire day. It was actually kind of a rough day in total. She was crying the entire way to the port, and a good majority of the time on the ship the first day. She was SO TIRED! She doesn't nap any more, and there was really not a good chance to try to get her a nap that first day.

After we went through the security check point and got checked in, it was around 11:15 a.m. Our port arrival time (that we picked through online check-in) was 10:30 a.m., and we were assigned boarding group #2. The ship had already started boarding, and our group had already been called. We decided to skip the photo with Mickey in front of the ship's model and just head straight onto the ship. That was quick!

Enter the ship through the Mickey ears

The kids on the gangway--almost there
As we walked on the ship, our names were announced over the microphone and the officers clapped for our arrival. My favorite part of embarking a Disney ship!

So we had looked at the navigator at the port, which told us about getting free tickets at the Port Adventures desk on Deck 5 to a meet and greet with Anna & Elsa as well as a separate Princess Gathering. I also needed to get to Guest Services to try to book the Royal Court Royal Tea as well as a galley tour. We decided to split up to get this accomplished faster. Brian took the boys up to the 5th level to secure the princess tickets, while I stayed on Deck 3 with my daughter for the other tickets. In retrospect, this was not a good plan, given the tired/grumpy state of my daughter. She thought the boys were going to do something fun that didn't include her, and she proceeded to wail the entire time I was in line at guest services. Oh, fun times.

But we did get all of the tickets we wanted after about 20-30 minutes of waiting.

Since the weather was warm, we were dressed in our swim suits and headed up to the pool deck for lunch and swimming. The pools are not too crowded in the early afternoon on embarkation day. Brian took Joshua to ride the Aqua Duck first thing, since on our last cruise on the Dream he was too short to ride. The wait was about 20 minutes. He loved it!
The Aqua Duck!
A little later, I rode the Aqua Duck with Nathan.

The Mickey Pool was not crowded!
My boys discovered they liked the hot tubs on the side of the pool deck. These hot tubs turned out to be a big kid hang-out place. My oldest met a few friends on that first afternoon that he hung out with the rest of the week.

I took Alyssa to the Nemo's Reef splash pad, which is actually quite large. This was really the first time this day that she stopped crying and whining, thank goodness!

Boys in the hot tub
We ate lunch on the pool deck. We got the kids some hot dogs and fries from the fast food places. I got a sandwich and a wrap from there as well, while Brian got a to-go plate from the buffet restaurant.

Our stateroom was ready at 1:30 p.m. I left the pool deck with Alyssa to take some photos of our room and put up our door decorations. We were in cabin #8512, Category 8B Deluxe Family Oceanview on the front starboard side of the ship. It sleeps 5. This is the same type of room and almost the same exact location we had on our very first Disney Cruise on the Dream ship.

I hung our Fish Extender and put up some magnets.

View from the closet hallway

View from the porthole
When we had this same type of room on the Dream, my youngest was sleeping in a portable crib that was set up on the floor in front of the porthole. So at night, we didn't utilize the porthole window that much. But on this cruise, we had no crib blocking the window and we used the window a lot. My oldest son slept in the murphy bed that pulled down right by the window, and every night he would look out at the ocean that was illuminated by the moonlight.
The giant porthole
And here is how the room looked at night. Bunkbeds over the sofa, and the murphy bed. A heavy curtain separates the kids area from the adult queen bed.

And there are constellations to look at over the top bunk.

We changed back into regular clothes in our room and then headed to the kids' clubs for the open house. Except much to our dismay, the kids' clubs were closing down very early in anticipation of the lifeboat drill. They were closed by about 2:15 p.m. (on past cruises they didn't close until closer to 3:30 p.m.) So we actually have no photos of the kids' clubs! Our kids went in the clubs at least once a day. Here is a blog post that explains the clubs a little better with some photos.

We went back to our room to begin unpacking, and our kids enjoyed the on-demand TV (which has every single Disney movie you could ever think of). I went to the spa to take some photos of the Rainforest Room, because I pre-purchased a day pass that I would use later in the week. The Rainforest Room has heated tile loungers:

Several different showers and saunas with varying temperatures and aromas:

And two small hot tubs on a covered deck:

Around 3:15 p.m., we decided to visit the Vista Cafe for some goodies. This cafe overlooks the atrium on Deck 4 and has some nice tables and sofas. It has specialty coffee drinks and alcohol (for an extra charge), but all of the food is free. And the food is yummy! Brownies, cupcakes, peanut butter bars, etc.

We took some photos around the atrium. You can see some Halloween decorations on the side:

We took a family photo by the Minnie statue. We wore tshirts designed by someone in our cruise group (we had over 100 people wearing the same shirt on embarkation day). Please note that this is the first time I've ever convinced my husband to wear a matching shirt.
But soon it was time for the mandatory lifeboat drill. This is required on all cruises, but it's not the most fun thing. Of course, my daughter was crying during the whole thing.

After the lifeboat drill, we headed to the top decks to watch the sail-away party. Our cruise group had a planned meeting to watch this together on Deck 12. There was such a crowd to get from the lifeboat drill on Deck 4 to the upper decks that we were late to the party. We had a hard time finding a clear spot to watch the event. Because of our matching shirts, I was able to meet and talk to others in our cruise group.
Sail Away Party

As the party progressed, some people left and we were able to watch more of the dancing, and we also found a good spot to watch us sail out of Port Canaveral.

We were happy, excited, grumpy, tired.....

We still had about 30 minutes until our first dinner, but we didn't want to go back to our room and lose the kids in the on-demand TV. So we waited in a very short line for a photo with Captain Mickey:

And the kids rested in these Halloween-themed portholes in the hallway in front of the restaurant:

For dinner the first night, we were assigned to Animator's Palette restaurant. Actually, I had requested this restaurant for our first night since it's the most entertaining for our kids. I was relieved to find out that we did not have another family sitting at our table (I wouldn't have minded, but our kids have a hard time sitting through these long dinners and I didn't want another family to experience that with us).

My daughter almost fell off her chair during dinner, she was so tired. On this first night at the restaurant, Crush (from Finding Nemo) entertained everyone on the screens. We were lucky that our table was close to one of the screens.

Mickey ice cream bar for dessert!

As soon as dinner was over, the boys wanted to rush to the kids' clubs. Brian took them there while I waited with Alyssa to see Ariel in the atrium. She was thrilled, as Ariel is her favorite princess (at the moment).

At 7:30, there was a pumpkin tree story telling in the atrium, but the kids wanted to go to the clubs instead. I snapped this photo of the crowd by the pumpkin tree.

While the kids were in the clubs, Brian and I unpacked the rest of our clothes and organized our room. We also picked up a few things in the shops. We came back to find this lovely towel swan and chocolates on our bed.
Since Alyssa had such a rough day, I picked her up from the club early and put her to bed first. My husband picked up our middle son about 30 minutes later, and we allowed our oldest to check himself out of the clubs around 10:00 p.m. We found this staggered bedtime scheduled worked well for us and the kids.

We went to bed with the hope that a good night's sleep would do a lot of good for us all (especially my daughter).

Next up: Part 3--First Day at Sea (and my daughter's birthday)

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