In today's show, Mark and Mike chat with Listener of the Month Sil Spagnuolo about his experiences with last summer's Eastbound repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal.
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Mark and Mike are joined by Listener of the Month Sil Spagnuolo as they chat about his experiences with last summer's Eastbound repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal.
Sil actually started out booking a 4-day cruise, but when Disney announced the repositioning cruise, he decided that he had to do that, as well. After a lot of planning, he managed to book the cruise two and a half hours after the booking window opened. He understands that the cruise sold out about two and a half hours later. Mark and Sil discussed possible reasons why clients of Disney travel agents might have a better chance of getting their booking in, as well as why the cheapest available cabin seems to get more and more expensive as the day goes by.
One of the discussion forums that Sil is on had about 300 people on the ship and they planned many group events, including mini-meets held as much as 15-16 months ahead of the cruise. This allowed many of the people who would be cruising together to get to know each other before the trip and build anticipation even more. The 18 months of planning fun led to lots of fun before and on board the 15-day cruise.
Sil talked a bit about "fish extenders" and how they were used on board. Outside each cruise is a fish-shaped message board, and people can create a pocketed extension to allow many other people to leave small gifts for you. The large group distributed a cabin list so that all who wished to participate in the fish extender gift exchange would know where to leave all of their gifts. Sil also described the really interesting gift that he and his family left for the others. Sil also created a Roaming Gnome door magnet and described its travels during the cruise.
Prior to the cruise, Sil and his family enjoyed Disneyland for the first time. He and Mark discussed the park and some of the differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Sil and his family went to the port via chartered motorcoach, courtesy of the discussion forum group that Sil was part of.
During the stop in Cabo San Lucas, where Sil and his wife had honeymooned, they rented a car and drove the 20 miles to the hotel that they had stayed at and went to check out what had changed over the years. In Puerto Vallarta, Sil and his family paid for the Signature Dolphin Swim, where they had two dolphins for six people for about 45 minutes. He also laid in some supplies at the Wal-Mart across the street from the dock. Acapulco was a short stop, but was very disappointing as it appears to have declined over the years.
The Panama Canal took the better part of a day, and they had an expert give them a play-by-play of what was going on with the process of stepping through the locks. The port of Cartagena, Columbia was probably the best port of the whole trip. Between the architecture and the various things set up for the visitors, it was a great stop. Aruba was also a great stop.
During Castaway Cay date, many of the group's major activities took place, including a rugby game. The trip had lots of interesting entertainment, from a crew talent shot to Aly & AJ to Don "Ducky" Williams to high-stages bingo. On Pirates night, there were people with homemade costumes that were so good that they appeared to be commercial Disney characters.
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How many items of Disney paraphernalia/memorabilia do you keep in your workplace?
Sil usually only keeps stuff related to his upcoming trip in his office, such as special offers, guidebooks, etc. Mike has his completion certificates from Disney University framed on the wall. Mark loads of stuff in his office, from plastic ride vehicles to old Mickey and Goofy kooshes, etc. Now that he moved into a new office, he'll probably be bringing a couple of posters in, as well. He also wears a Disney tie just about every day. His home office has just about all of the rest of his collection there.
In what way are you most like Walt Disney?
Sil couldn't come up with a way to compare himself to Walt, but he enjoys Walt's legacy. Mike likes the "it's kind of fun to do the impossible" quote. Mark thinks that he identifies somewhat with "it's kind of fun to do the impossible," as he likes doing things that surprise people and change their world view a little bit. He also feels that he's always trying to plus things, to improve them in little ways here and there, and to find better ways to do things.
Mike will be hosting a meet on Fridya night, June 26, at Epcot. The group will gather and chat, enjoy Illuminations, then enjoy Epcot during Extra Magic Hours. You can RSVP at the Facebook event page.
Mark's walk for the March of Dimes went well, though he did not make his goal. MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners made up more than half of the non-Mark-contributed money - thanks so much! The donations page should remain active through the end of the month, so you there's still time to donate, if you'd like. Just go to Mark's fundraising page and help to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely.
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).