Sept 7, 2013
**I would like to encourage you, when you are on a vacation, to keep a daily journal of activities. Things you liked, didn’t like, and what you did for the day. It is amazing how quickly you can forget things, even the day we returned from our cruise, I forgot some of the things we wrote about in our journal. For our cruise, we wrote during dinner. Since you have to wait between courses, it worked out very well for us.**
We got to Port Canaveral, FL at about 10:30 am. We had an 11:30 am boarding time. We wanted to make sure we had enough time in case we had car trouble or traffic issues. Praise the Lord we didn’t have any issues getting there. By the time we got to the terminal, checked in, and checked the kids into the club, we only waited about 20 minutes to board. We had boarding group number 5. They start at 1, and go up. I know we had at least 40 group numbers because the person in front of us in line was given group 40. I think it has to do with how early a time you choose. We chose 11:30, so we got an earlier number. So don’t get to the port too early from the time you pick, or you will just wait around, and won’t be able to board early. Of course, being Disney, they had Disney cartoons playing in the terminal. Disney also was allowed to “disnify” their terminal, so when you board the ship, you enter through a giant Mickey head!
Once you get on to the ship (we actually boarded at 11:15 AM), they announce your family name as you walk on board. The ship is amazing. Yes, it’s Disney, but it is also very elegant. Here is a photo of the Lobby area:
It is so gorgeous, I couldn’t believe it! We headed to Guest Services to drop off a picture frame mat for the characters to sign. They deliver the signed mat to your room, just add a picture and you have an instant souvenir without any effort! Next time though, I will have the picture facing landscape and not portrait. For a family of 5, they rarely took portrait pictures. Once we boarded the ship, we were off and running! We ate lunch at the Enchanted Garden buffet instead of the main Cabanas buffet. The line was much, much shorter, and the food was very good. One of Marissa and my favorite desserts were at this restaurant (tip: if you love a certain dish, make sure you enjoy it that day. Food is not often repeated throughout the cruise, and we weren’t able to get this dessert again!)
We joined a gift exchange group months before the ship sailed, which enhanced our fun immensely! Only on a Disney cruise can you come back to your stateroom to find your fish extender full of goodies! You can join through Disboards.
After we boarded and had lunch, we went to the meet and greet to meet the wonderful people that we have only met online until this point. We got wristbands so we could tell who was in our group when we were walking around the ship. We had over 300 people in our group! It was broken down so we only had to exchange gifts with about 20 staterooms. After the meet and greet we had to run up to the Muster Station Drill and then to the Sail Away Party!
After that, the girls and I ran down to deck 4 to try and see dolphins as we sailed off, but no luck there. Then we ran up to the kids programs for an open house. Normally, these areas are off limits to parents, but for now, they were open to everyone. More pictures on this later when I do a post on the kids clubs.
I loved these automatic hand washing stations at the Oceaneers Lab/Club.
Magic dance floor at the kids club. This club was so huge! The kids had a blast!
Ashley checking out the teens only club. You have to take secret stairs to get there, and it is only for teens 14-17. They give you a special sticker and if you don’t have it, you can’t come in the club.
The teens have their own pool too. It’s very shallow, but they use it in their movie. Yes, the teens star in their very own Zombie movie. Ashley had to audition, and won one of the main roles. When the movie premiers, they show it in the movie theater and it was really neat to see. They did a very good job on it, and of course, Ashley was amazing!
By now, we were exhausted, but still lots to do! We went to the stage show, which you are not allowed to photograph, and then we got ready for dinner. There are 2 glass elevators in the lobby for about 3 levels, then they turn to solid walls. But afterall, this is Disney, so instead of a solid wall, you see pictures of your favorite characters, like this:
I know it’s a little blurry, but we are in a moving elevator! 🙂
Now it is getting late. We had late seating for dinner (8:15 PM), and our first restaurant is Animator’s Palate. The room changes color as dinner progresses.
I love that no detail goes unnoticed!
We got a table right near a TV screen, and Crush from Finding Nemo came over and talked with Marissa. She was thrilled!
And of course, my favorite part. . . dessert. I will post later just on food 🙂 but for now, here is a sample of what you could be enjoying:
After dessert, yes, AFTER dessert, the servers all came over and sang happy birthday to Dylan and Marissa, and Happy Anniversary to Nathan and me! They brought out MORE dessert, which tasted great, but we were so full we didn’t get to enjoy it all. I wish they would have brought that in place of dessert, but it was still very fun! They gave us all buttons and it was a really nice way to end the evening.
There are lots of places on board to have a photo op, so keep your eyes peeled.
And you don’t even have to wait in line to get photos with characters. Sometimes you just see them walking by you:
Today was a very long and amazing day! Of course we went shopping that night and got some goodies. One thing about a cruise is when things run out in the shops, they are out. No way to replenish them, so if you see something you love, snatch it up. They did run out of a lot of things by the end of the cruise. Luckily, we purchased them at the beginning, so we didn’t miss out on anything.
Day 2 on next page.