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Debbie Chambers -- December 1999 -- Walt Disney World (DL) / Disney Cruise Trip


Dec. 10-24, 1999

Cast:

  • me (Debbie)--44, we own a golf course which is why we always have to travel in the winter, 4th trip to WDW, 2 to DL
  • husband (Rick)--46, 8th trip to WDW, 1 to DL
  • daughter (Kayla)--8 (this is her birthday/Christmas present), 3rd trip to WDW, 1 to DL
  • Arithia (53)--service rep, 1st time to WDW
  • Rich (53)--sales rep, been once years ago (when there was just 1 water park)

I've spent months on RADP, wdwig, & various other sites preparing for this trip. I have pages of notes on things I don't want to miss, haven't seen before, think others in our party shouldn't miss. After several trips to the van we were ready to leave.

Kayla went to school for the morning, knowing we’d pick her up at her lunch break, ready to head south. We left town at 11:35 am, had lunch in Kansas City, then drove straight through to Florida. It was great leaving the cold, but my sweatsuit was pretty warm by the time we started seeing palm trees! When we stopped for breakfast, we called our friends that were flying out from southern Missouri that day to let them know that we were in Florida and would see them at the airport that afternoon.

Day 1

Plan: pick up friends at airport, while there eat a Nathan’s hot dog, Belz Mall (if not today, then next Sun. before they go back to airport after cruise), drive through Celebration on way to DxL, check in at DxL, take boat to DD, dinner somewhere (maybe Cap’n Jacks or Fulton’s)

Objectives: Nathan’s hot dog, Celebration

Actual:

We’d arrived at Orlando earlier than we expected (24 hours after we’d left home) so we decided to go ahead and check into Dixie Landing. It was so exciting finally getting to stay on-site for our first time, and a beautiful resort to stay in! We got Alligator Bayou, building 18, per our faxed request. Our room was ready, so we immediately changed into shorts and took Kayla swimming. She had time to check out 2 pools before it was time to get to the airport to pick up our friends. We got to the airport just a few minutes before their plane, so I ran to get a Nathan’s hot dog (they’re sure good, but so small!). I’d brought them both refillable mugs to get them started off right.

On the way back to the resort, we stopped at Belz Mall and did some shopping at both of the Disney merchandise stores, then on to the resort. Our friends both loved Dixie Landing, too.

We took the boat over to Downtown Disney, put our name in at Cap’n Jacks, and looked around for a short while. We had a good meal and just enjoyed watching all the activity around us. My husband, being from Vermont, wanted the steamers, even though I had told him from information gleaned on RADP that he’d be disappointed, but he just had to try. Well, he was. They’re just not the same kind of clams that he’s use to, but I guess it’s better than nothing. Now we know what kind of clams we don’t want again. We went back to DxL about 10.00 (but took the bus and didn’t get there until 11:00--will drive next time) and got some sleep.

We did everything planned for today except for Celebration.

Day 2

Plan: EE at MGM until about noon then go to MK for the afternoon, Back to MGM for the Osborne lights and the 8pm show of Fantasmic.

Objectives: RNRC, GMR (cowboy side), shows: HoND, Mermaid, Doug, Osborne lights, Fantasmic

Actual:

This morning I left a package out for the maid with a note for her to put out the contents for Kayla’s birthday. I had bought a Disneyana backpack & rain poncho from (Heather) to continue with the Safari Mickey theme for Kayla’s birthday & wanted her to have them tonight since we were going to AK tomorrow. We had breakfast in the food court, then headed to MGM for EE. Rick, Kayla & I headed straight for RnRC while Arithia & Rich waited outside the ride. We walked right on, but by the end of the pre-show, Kayla didn’t think she wanted to ride it (just turning 8 showed us a few changes from the girl we’d been with last year, alittle fear). When she turned the corner and saw the limo take off, she knew she didn’t want to ride. She took the chicken exit, while we rode. I had to tell myself to breathe, and hope my body caught up with me by the end of the ride. I’d been alittle apprehensive, but was determined I would ride it. When I got off, I still wasn’t sure if I liked it, but Rick loved it. A lady in the gift shop said it gets better the more you ride when you know what to expect, so I decided we’d better go do it again, hopefully with Kayla the next time. At that point, she still didn’t want to ride it.

Everyone went to the GMR, seeing the cowboy side for the first time. Arithia & Rich went to see Indiana Jones while we did Drew’s Sound Stage and Star Tours, then Kayla continued to do Star Tours until we met back up with them. We all went to see Doug Live, the Backlot Tour, then ate lunch at the stands over towards ToT, then Arithia, Rich & I went to BaTB while Rick & Kayla went to do the RnRC. When they got over to it, the wait was long & Rick didn’t have Kayla’s ticket, so they came back to meet us after BaTB to get her ticket so they could do fastpass. I got us all fastpass tickets, which was only 45 min. later. Arithia & Rich went to do their own thing while we just looked around until our fastpass times. That was our first experience with fastpass & it’s great. At this point, Kayla was really excited about RnRC (we knew it would be a long ride home if she didn’t ride it after anticipating it for so many months) & ended up loving it! In fact, we had to come out to get another fastpass as soon as we could. We all watched Mulan, rode RnRC again (this time Rick yelled for everyone to keep their eyes open so we could get a good picture--this was the first time I’d actually seen everything in the ride) & I finally was able to relax and enjoy it. I loved it! We did get the picture, plus Kayla had to have a t-shirt and key chain (she collects key chains so we get these on all favorite rides).

By now it was time for our priority seating at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. What fun! Our “sister” was Toni and our “cousins” were a lot of fun. Rich & Kayla kept getting in trouble for their elbows on the table, and Rich ended up with a bib on since he was messy. When I had placed the PS, I told the girl we were celebrating Kayla’s birthday, so Toni brought her a hat made from a place mat, then a cupcake & had everyone sing her Happy Birthday. Kayla was thrilled!

After dinner, we walked through the Osborne Family lights, then went to see Fantasmic! This was my first experience with the Brazilians. Now I see what everyone’s been talking about. We continued to see them around (or hear them) just about every other park this trip. We did luck out one day when we met them leaving as we were entering a park.

We returned to DxL & I couldn’t wait to see Kayla’s face when she got her Safari Mickey stuff. Lo and behold, nothing except for a cute arrangement of her stuffed animals. There was a birthday card for Kayla from Mickey & Minnie (which I think was the result of the lady at check-in) I looked everywhere, but couldn’t even find the package. I finally called housekeeping and was told to call the manager of our building tomorrow. I went to sleep alittle upset that something I couldn’t replace was missing.

We ended up spending the day at MGM without leaving, didn’t see HoND or Mermaid, but still had a great day.

Day 3

Plan: AK-- eat at Tusker House or Flame Tree, meet with Ian Blenkinsop from England, MVMCP 7-1, RADP meet

Objectives: All mountains, Pooh, Dumbo (Rick & Kayla), Kali Falls, CtX, Safari, shows: Lion King, Tarzan, bird show

Actual:

The morning started with me on the phone to the housekeeping manager of building 18, who just said he’d check into it & leave me a message during the say. Per DH, I forgot to mention that the box I’d left was a shipping box, just not ready to be shipped (therefor, maybe her confusion--except that it was spelled out pretty clearly in the note.) We all met at Boatwright’s for breakfast, then headed to AK. Kayla & I were really excited about this because we were going to meet a family from England that I’d met because of RADP. We headed for the Safari and since the wait wasn’t long, went through the line instead of fastpass. Somewhere in line we got separated from Rich while we were doing our first pin trading with a CM, then all of a sudden another CM came back & got us to bypass the line where Rich was waiting to get into a jeep. We went next to Kali River, where I discovered my ponchos were still at DxL. Arithia had extra one, so Kayla & I both got in it. Poor Rick got drenched. It was ok, but nothing I’ll have to do next time. We did the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Trail. While watching the gorillas (yes, I could spend the day right there), I finally had someone notice my RADP pin (thanks, Kaycee).

Now it was time to meet the Ian, Helen and Thomas Blenkinsop (from England) at the Boneyard. Kayla went in to play & we’d just sat down when we saw them. I took their son, who is Kayla’s age, to find her, where as kids do, they immediately started playing. We adults visited for awhile, then all went to Tarzan Rocks. Arithia slept through it (I had slept through Jungle Book there last year, something about that theater?), but I enjoyed the show. Kayla liked the roller bladers, but didn’t especially like the rest of the show. We took some pictures, then parted ways with our new friends from England. (Thanks, Ian, we really enjoyed our short time together. Kayla’s still talking about it, & has put her key chain in her collection. Very thoughtful of you.)

We got our fastpass for CtX, then separated from our friends for everyone to eat. I had the chicken satay, Rick had a turkey leg & Kayla had a hot dog (her staple food this trip). We rode CtX, then all met at the gate to leave. Before we left, I bought Kayla her Safari Mickey, which is the only souvenir she wanted from this trip, hence the Safari Mickey birthday theme.

We next parked at MK, I went in only to rent a locker & leave off our jackets, etc., then took the monorail to Epcot. I’d been trying to figure out a way to get to the TTC ever since we got to WDW since I’d purchases a brick to surprise Rick & Kayla & after living with this secret for several months, couldn’t wait for them to see it. Without spoiling my surprise by saying, “hey, I want to find your brick” I just told Rick I wanted to find a brick from one of my friends on RADP. Well, that didn’t do it. He said he wasn’t going to take time to find a brick and kept on walking up the monorail ramp. I was pretty steamed, so I found the brick, took a picture so I could show him when we got home & make him feel really bad, then followed along.

We went on to Epcot, did the Living Sea & The Land. We had the best guide ever on The Land, but forgot to write down his name. We ate at the Land Grill, then headed back to MK for MVMCP.

At this point, since we had to go down the monorail ramp to get on the one for MK, I tried to firmly tell Rick I had to find this brick & just walked to the TTC. He wasn’t too happy, but decided he’d better help me find it so I’d be quiet. Since I knew just where it was, I just kind of stood over it until they read it. First he said, ok here’s your number, now let’s go...then really looked at it. He couldn’t even talk! The rest of the trip, anytime we were close to the TTC, he just walked over to visit our brick. I’m glad it’s somewhere we usually walk & is fairly close to the top of a grouping so it’s easy to find. He still hasn’t quit talking about it to everyone...he now owns a very small part of WDW!

We loved MVMCP! This was something I’d always wanted to go to, but no one else had. I had a CM at TDS tell Rick all about it & what fun it was, so after a few days he said if our friends wanted to go to get tickets. I called Arithia & they did want to go. Rick, Kayla & I rode Space Mtn. many times, while Arithia & Rich went to a couple of shows. Arithia & Kayla rode IASW while the rest of us did Peter Pan. We told Arithia about Splash Mtn. & she decided she’d be brave just to see what the ride inside was like (she doesn’t like rides, but I knew she’d love the inside part & the drop wouldn’ t really kill her). Well, Arithia asked about ever 30 seconds, “is this the drop” until we finally got to it. She admitted it wasn’t really too bad & was worth it for the rest of the ride. However, when we got back, the CM asked if we wanted to ride again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her move so fast when she jumped out of the log--Rick & I rode again. We’d never been to MK when we got to stay on a ride before, and this was the first of several. It was great! I went to the Liberty Bell for the RADP meet that was suppose to happen, but didn’t see anyone that looked like they were waiting for anyone. Oh well, some other time. We watched the parade, fireworks, and rode until closing. It was great after the fireworks when the crowds really lessened. Rick says we’ll never go to WDW without doing MVMCP now. (He comes around, it just takes awhile sometimes.)

When we drug our tired bodies back to DxL, what did we find but my Disneyana stuff that was missing from yesterday! Our maid had fixed up the whole bed, a heart made from towels, “we love you” made from toilet paper, plus the Mickey’s arranged. I was so happy & Kayla loved it. When I called the manager to thank him, he said the maid thought I wanted her to mail the stuff so had taken it with her (from speaking with her once, she doesn’t speak English well at all). If she can’t read English, then she should have shown the note to someone that can. It turned out good though, & she’d even left a note for Kayla telling her happy birthday along with a Mickey Mouse clock. The end to a perfect day!

We didn’t eat where I’d planned at AK (although Arithia & Rich ate at Tusker House & really enjoyed it) but I really liked my chicken satay, didn’t see the Lion King or bird show, but did everything else. Will catch them next year.

Day 4

Plan: EE at Epcot, then at 11:00am head to the World Showcase. Spend the rest of the day there per request from daughter who hasn’t spent much time in that part. May try for PS at the Rose & Crown to be there for Tapestry and Illuminations.

Objectives: TT, Ice Station Cool, Am. Adv., cheese soup at LeCellier, Beaver Tails, Cast in Bronze, Off Kilter, send e-postcards, get passport for Kayla to do in countries, Mill. Vlg., Tapestry, Illuminations

Actual:

Breakfast at the food court, then off to Epcot. The lines to the turnstiles were very long, & not moving. No one was going through for about 15 minutes. When we got up there, the CM said they’d tested for Y2K, & it didn’t work.

By this time, everyone but Kayla & I have blisters so we move pretty slowly. First stop, TT, & walked right on. Arithia stayed in Mouse Gear while we did this, but after determining that she could handle it, got her & rode again, and again, and again. The longest wait we had this whole trip was when we had fastpass for TT, got into the preshow & the ride went down. Still, ended up riding it within 30 minutes.

We all did HISTA, JIYI (awful) then separated until lunch. Kayla & I sent some e-mail postcards (see Kayla at http://www.ibm.com/Epcot/postcards/19ED36), where I saw my only RAPD button the whole trip, on a lady waiting with her son for our station. We went through Ice Station Cool, where I was evil & let Rick & Kayla try each flavor. It was great fun just watching their expression. The only other time I’ve seen that look on Rick’s face was when he tried caviar! So we all agree, skip Beverly!

Everyone met up at LeCellier for lunch, & yes, the cheese soup is great. Had a great waitress, Kara, that had only been there 2 days. We then separated from Arithia & Rich so they could do the shows that Kayla would be too impatient to sit through.

Kayla bought a passport which was one of her goals. We walked through Millennium Village, but wasn’t overly impressed. Liked the eggs in Sweden, though. Saw British Invasion & could have listened to them all day, then caught part of Off Kilter. It was just too loud so we moved on. We worked our way around the world, getting the passport signed. Kayla really enjoyed doing that (at this point). I was telling them all we were celebrating Kayla’s birthday & having them write something along those likes in her passport. In the UK, the CM all of a sudden handed the phone to Kayla & said it was for her. On the other end was Goofy (I think she said) who wished her a happy birthday & sang to her. What a bright smile!

While doing the passport, we’d lost Rick, but found him at the tables outside the American Adventure. While sitting there, ToN came by. What a great show! I liked it better than anyone else in my party, but I can’t wait to get back to see it again. Those drums...WOW!

We went to American Adventure, which I’ve always wanted to see. We thought it was horrible. As someone on here said, it’s a good place for a nap. The US could sure have done something better. By the time we got to Italy, she’d had enough of “no rides” so her & dad went to ride Ellen & Body Wars, while I finished up her passport for her.

By this time I was really dragging. I wanted to catch the night parade of ToN, but of course was on the wrong side of the world, so had to go on around where it comes out by UK. I agree, the night one is the best. I still had to go out to the van to get the camcorder (why didn’t I rent a locker?), so I got that & came back to meet everyone for our PS at Rose & Crown. We had about a 30 minute wait, but that was ok--I was sitting. We got our table, 2nd tier, rail. The food was excellent. I want to thank everyone on RADP for this tip for watching Illuminations. The view & show was excellent. Afterwards, the waitress (Rachael) brought out a birthday cake for Kayla & they all sang happy birthday. This delay also let the park clear out. While we were sitting there, a very nice lady came over & said she’d seen my RADP pin. Margaret is from Boston & came down by herself. I wish we’d know sooner & she could have gone around with us more. She led us down a path we’d never seen on the way out, which was beautiful. We missed the beaver tails & Cast in Bronze, but if I’d had to walk any extra steps today, I would have just forgotten it.

Day 5

Plan: No EE today (figure I can let the rest of the family rest just once on this trip), go to which ever park we need to complete everybody’s wish list. If warm enough, go to a water park for awhile (another first). Go to DisneyQuest (another first). MK for fireworks, MSEP.

Objectives: water park, DQ, fireworks & MSEP

Actual:

Breakfast at the food court, the off to Epcot, where Arithia & Rich wanted to spend some more time. Rick, Kayla & I took the monorail to MK to do some more rides. (Well, when you’re 8 that’s the most important thing to do.) Our main ride here is Space Mountain, so we got a fastpass, then went ahead through the line while we waited. This was our second longest wait of the trip, 25 minutes. As soon as we rode, our fastpass was active, so off we went again. Kayla rode the teacups & Dumbo again. We had lunch at Pinnochio Haus, which was pretty good. We met Arithia & Rich at 4pm to go to CoP & ride TTA (finally a ride that Arithia thought was just her speed). Rich wanted to do Timekeeper, so Arithia, Kayla & I walked over to Liberty Square to find a place to watch MSEP. I couldn’t believe all the people on Main Street 3 hours before the parade. Just to get seen on TV? After the parade & fireworks, we left & went to 192 to eat at Shoney’s. A fairly early night.

This day didn’t turn out anything like I’d planned. I still want to go to DQ & Kayla really wants to go to a water park, but everyone was happy with the day.

Day 6

Plan: EE at MK for our last time of rides there--Space Mountain is always the last ride of our trip. Leave about 11:30am for the Wonder. Explore ship, take daughter to Oceaneer Club (she’s really looking forward to that--am afraid we’ll have to fight with her to get her to spend time with us so we can enjoy her cruise experience!).

Objectives: Mountains at MK, Wonder

Misc. objectives: Breakfast at Bonfamille’s (PO), benign’s (sp), strawberries/cream, banana stuffed french toast (DxL), Pinnochio Haus, egg roll

Actual:

Everyone was exhausted by this time. Kayla begged to ride RnRC one more time, so her & her dad went to do that. I wanted to go to DD to do some last minute shopping, but waited quite awhile for the bus, then remembering the hour it took us to get back the last time, decided I didn’t have time. I stopped at the food court & brought my breakfast back to the room. I’d just got there when Rick & Kayla were back. If I’d known it wouldn’t take so long I’d have gone with them. I think RnRC have now replaced Space Mtn. for our last do ride. We loaded up the van, stopped by the World of Disney for our last minute buys, then headed for Port Canaveral, where the Disney Wonder awaited us. This was the only day that was overcast.

Rick & I were the only ones that had cruised before, so everyone else just couldn’t believe the size of the ship. It didn’t take long to board, find our rooms, then find lunch. There was a buffet on deck 9 with the biggest prawns I’ve ever eaten. Unfortunately, it was cold. We about froze on the deck, but when you’re on a ship you can’t stay inside. We stayed on deck 9 for the ship to leave port, & waved at the white Mickey hands on shore. Kayla danced with everyone at the Goofy’s pool at the very upbeat party. We quickly changed & went to dinner at Triton’s to meet our waiter. Ziggy is from Poland, & great fun. Our assistant waiter, Estelle, is from Africa. They were both great. There was just the 5 of us at our table. For dessert, Kayla didn’t want anything. Ziggy brought her a plate with “nothing” written in chocolate, then brought her out a birthday cake that was beautiful & tasted great. We ate on that for the next 2 days. Kayla’s always thought it was neat when we were in a restaurant & they sang happy birthday to someone. She certainly got her dose of it this trip!

By this time, Kayla was ready to go to the Oceaneer’s Club & we went to Hercules. What a disappointment. In fact, after that show Arithia & Rich didn’t go to any other shows. I tried to tell them that I’d heard this was the worst of the 3, but they didn’t care. This was the main thing we noticed from our other cruises, the shows just weren’t very good. Disney Dreams was certainly the best of the 3. We picked Kayla up, much to her chagrin, & went to our room. Caroline, our room steward, had made out the sofa & also the bunk since she didn’t know which Kayla would prefer. She loved the bunk.

As far as my misc. objectives, we did eat the stuffed french toast, egg rolls (delicious) & Pinnochio Haus. The rest, well there’s next year.

Day 7

Plan: 17--Swim with the dolphins. Spend time just enjoying the ship. We’ve been to Nassau before, which was enough.

Objectives: Swim with dolphins

Actual:

We watched the ship dock at Nassau. Either it’s a new dock, or different from where we docked 9 years ago, but much cleaner. In fact, we noticed all of Nassau to be cleaner than the last time we were there. Still don’t much care for Nassau, though.

We waiting on the ship looking for Rich for about 30 minutes, then waited just off the ship. We finally saw him coming from the bridge to town. He was mad ‘cause he said he’d been waiting for us for 30 minutes & we were mad that he hadn’t even told us he was leaving the ship. This turned out to be the norm of the trip. I don’t know where his head was, but it seemed to forget there were others in the party. Our best friend, but not for traveling. (Sue’s--WDW1972--TR talked about her friend like this & I could really relate.)

We hired a cab to take us to Paradise Island, where we would get our boat to the Blue Lagoon for our dolphin swim. We were told to be there at 9:30, we were, & sat for an hour. Rich’s comment was that they know how long it takes women to get ready so they tell us an hour early. Not a very good comment on someone that just made the rest of the group mad. Arithia was mad at him for most of the trip for forgetting there were others in the party, or talking about last time he was at WDW with his ex. Made for an interesting trip!

The boat finally came to take us to Blue Lagoon. What a pretty island. We had a short introduction to what the programs were about, then went to meet our dolphins. They said they had wet suits to rent, but I’d never minded the water in the Bahamas, so I didn’t get one for us. Arithia, Rich, Kayla & I were the only ones going to swim, Rick was going to film. He didn’t realize that everyone was swimming with the dolphins or he probably would have. He’ll have to do it another time; he’d love it. When we got in the water, I was sorry I hadn’t got a wet suit. I’ve never been in that cold of water down there. It was awful & Kayla really threw a fit. It was at this time that she let us know she thought we were going to be in a tank, not the ocean. She’d never swam in the ocean & promptly got salt water in her eyes & mouth. She hung on to me where I thought she’d choke me & was petrified. It didn’t help when she & I were a ways out interacting with a dolphin & the trainer told us to hold still until he dipped out a jellyfish.

Kayla did love the interacting with the dolphins & the tricks we did with them. However, after the jellyfish (then another one), she was done. She did everything but the end, where the dolphins push you through the water. It was a great experience & I’m really glad I did it. Kayla’s dream is still to work with dolphins, so she just said she’d have to get use to the ocean. If I’d known ahead of time that she thought we were going to be in a tank, I maybe could have alleviated her fears. (I didn’t think about the fact that the only dolphins she’d ever seen were in tanks). The boat took everyone back to the dock where we were picked up & when they found out we were on the Wonder, they took us over to a dock there. They were going there to pick up another load of people. Since I’d booked our swim, Disney now has the Encounter as one of their excursions. However, they just do the encounter, where you just stand in the water & interact without getting much more than your feet in. I’m glad we paid the extra for the actual swim.

We went back to the ship to change, eat & take Kayla to the Oceaneer’s Club. Arithia & Rich napped (were coming down with the flu, but didn’t know it then) & Rick & I walked off the ship for a very short time. We hadn’t gone to the Straw Market last time, no loss. Why do the people have to grab at you? It sure made me want to get back on the ship. We just checked out the ship until time for dinner at the Animator’s Palette. Kayla went to eat with us, then back to the Oceaneer’s Club. Rick & I went to the Ghost Ship show, picked up Kayla & headed for bed.

Since our only objective was the dolphin swim, we did good today.

Day 8

Plan: Castaway Cay if it’s put back together. If not, that’s ok. There’s plenty to do on board.

Actual:

Just after breakfast we got off at Castaway Cay. Kayla & Rick swam some (Kayla still didn’t like the salt water & it was still really cold). We just laid around until lunch time, ate, & took Kayla to where the Oceaneer’s Club was playing. She won 1st for her sand castle, so was pretty proud. They gave her a notepad & DCL pin. Rick & I took the tram over to Serenity Beach & walked around, then just sat at the bar & visited with the CM’s. They were all so friendly. I think that’s one thing we found on DCL was that the staff seems overall friendlier than other cruise lines. It was overcast most of the day, the wind came up which made it chillier, so we got Kayla & went back to the ship. She swam in the Mickey pool for awhile, then it started to rain so we went to get ready for dinner at Parrot Cay. This was our favorite restaurant. We wanted Kayla to see Disney Dreams, so she stayed with us after dinner. She did go to the show, but slept through the 2nd half. After that, she was ready to go to bed. (Maybe I did wear them out alittle, when an 8-year-old says she wants to go to bed!) Rick went to bed with her while I toured the ship just alittle more. We’d already put out our luggage to be picked up, so then was time for bed.

We really enjoyed Castaway Cay, but find the private islands are usually nice. The dock was still a bit damaged from the hurricane, but they sure did a good job quickly to get it back in shape.

Day 9 to home

Plan: :) Take friends back to airport, pout, cry because I never want to leave--plan next trip...

Actual:

We had breakfast at Parrot Cay, then took one last trip to deck 9 to say good-bye to the ship. We then went to the lobby to wait for Arithia & Rich to disembark. Once again, after about 20 minutes, here comes Rich looking for us. He’d already gotten off the ship, found our luggage & didn’t know why we still on the ship. I explained to him that we were waiting for them where we’d arranged to meet & that I wouldn’t have just left the ship when other members of my party weren’t with me. Yeah, long week. Disembarkation & finding our luggage was probably the easiest of any cruise we’ve done. We were off the ship before 9:00am & their plane didn’t leave until 2:30pm, so we drove up to NASA to find it wasn’t open yet, but there was a shuttle outside that we could go see. As we headed into Orlando, we saw a few alligators in the waters beside the road. No one had anything they wanted to do, Rich & Arithia were starting to feel their flu coming on strong & just wanted to sit at the airport. We felt bad about just leaving them there, but it would put a few hours ahead of schedule.

After leaving the airport, we stopped on 192 for lunch at an IHOP, then drove through Celebration. What a neat little community. It was so clean & fresh looking. I sure wouldn’t mind living there if the prices weren’t so inflated. We then went to buy some oranges & grapefruit to bring home at the u-pick-em place on Hwy. 27 someone on here had mentioned. Their fruit was very good. We didn’t take the time to pick our own this time, but next year we will so Kayla can have that experience. We headed on up the road, finally stopping in Columbia, SC for the night.

For once, I was too exhausted to want to continue our stay at WDW. (It actually took me about 4 days at home before I was ready to go back). The only thing I missed doing on the ship was getting a pressed penny for Kayla’ s collection. Since we only needed our room card for everything I never had any change on me. Maybe someday I’ll know someone going on DCL that can get me one.

(I won’t say any more on this WDW TR about the trip home, since it’s not WDW related. Suffice it to say, we spent 3 leisurely days in a chalet on top of the Smokey Mountains & it was a great way to relax after a great, though busy, WDW vacation.)

Final Thoughts & Kudos

It was a great vacation. As aggravated as Arithia got with Rich, she thinks she says it was the trip of a lifetime. However, she said that she will make sure I do the exact same trip in 9 years & see if I can keep up. I did wear us all out, but in the past we’ve always had 5-7 days that we had to pack 4 into this trip. I didn’t realize we must rest alittle more than we did this trip. I take the entire blame, but as a Disneyholic, I wanted them, as first-timers, to see as much as possible. This trip started out as a dream, & turned into reality. This was also the first trip since I became addicted to RADP. Because of this, I went armed with information that I’ve never known before (little things to look for, places/food to eat, people to look for (Bruce when we rode the train) & MVMCP).

I tried to get a summary from my family, but couldn’t get much. I finally got the following:

  • favorite ride: RnRC (all of us)
  • favorite part of the trip: MVMCP (Deb), Disney Wonder (Kayla), & Rick liked everything about it
  • least favorite ride: JIYI (Deb), IASW (Kayla), Rick had none he didn’t like
  • least favorite part of the trip: getting separated from Rich (Deb), too short (Rick), going to any shows (Kayla)

I had read a lot on hear about walkie-talkies. I didn’t think it would be necessary & that was a mistake. They could have saved a lot of aggravation. I’ll remember that if there’s ever a time when we have anyone other than ourselves. However, that brings up another topic. Rick & I have both decided that we’re about done with traveling there with other people. This trip started out to be our very first trip to WDW without anyone else, then that got changed. We’ve decided our next trip will be definitely alone! (see Sue’s -WDW1972--TR, Day 13--oh Sue, I understand so well). I do know that within the next 2 year’s we have to meet Rick’s youngest brother & family down there, with probably his mother. We’ve met all of his other brothers there, so I know he’ll expect the same, & we’ll never hear the end of it if we don’t. He has a daughter Kayla’s age & they fight a lot (Kayla’ s a tomboy, his daughter is rather prissy), so it probably won’t be a wonderful trip. I really love them all, but after this vacation I’m just not looking forward to touring with others. I love his mom a lot & hope she gets to come with them.

The weather on the days we were at the parks was great. We needed a sweater early mornings & after the sun went down, but the daytime was perfect. The day we got on the ship was cold & overcast, as was the day we came back to port. Nassau was sunny & warm, but Castaway Cay was mostly cool, with a brief period where the sun came out & was warm.

We really liked DxL & Alligator Bayou. We heard night noises, bugs, crickets, etc., every time we came back at night. I imagine that’s just a part of the magic, but it sure fit the theme & made us feel like we really were out on a bayou. We’d gotten an upgrade to an outside cabin on the ship (5002) & were pleasantly surprised at how large the window was.

We’ll probably not go on DCL again. There’s nothing wrong with it, but next one will probably not be designated so much for kids. Hey, I like kids as well as the next person, but when over ½ the ship is so young... Well, next time just won’t be a ship for kids. I think one of my main problems with that whole deal was all the characters, & the pushy parents to get their kids (or themselves) up to them. We usually avoid that kind of crush in the parks. Kayla said she has most of their autographs & pictures so doesn’t need them again. The food was ok, but not as spectacular as other cruise lines. The rooms were great, though. They were larger than any we’ve had before & we really liked that. We also really liked all the CM’s. They were by far the friendliest of any we’ve been on. There was one waitress (Rose) that remembered our names & always spoke to us after just visiting with her the first day. I did like it that they weren’t walking around pushing the drinks & the deck parties were very high energy & fun. I would recommend it to someone with kids, but probably not to someone without kids. This trip was entirely for Kayla, so it was fine this time. We didn’t know if she’d like cruising as well as we do, but within the first hour she was saying she wanted to go on a longer cruise. She had a wonderful time which is what counts.

We went to the Sportshow in KC last night & found a camper we really want. When we got home & were looking through the brochure (Coachmen) we saw a picture of a camper at Ft. Wilderness & saw they’re the official RV of WDW. Rick decided that maybe it was fate & we’re meant to buy it since he knows I want to camp next year when we go down. Tomorrow, we call the bank.. What can I say, Disney endorses it so we’d probably better have it.

Thanks again to all the wonderful people on RADP & those of you that keep such great web sites going for all of us. The information out there is invaluable. Rick asked me if I thought anyone would read this & if they did would they understand the abbreviations. I’ve seen a couple of responses to what I’d already posted (yes, Ronnie, the maid at DxL didn’t understand spoken English very well, I found out when I tried to ask her about towels), so I want to thank you for taking the time to read this.

Hope you all have Disney dreams.

Debbie Chambers

rdkchamb@netins.net


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