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Danielle Thomas -- June 1999 -- Walt Disney World (BCR) / Disney Cruise Trip


Danielle's pre-trip report has been online for quite some time now.  If you've read the pre-report and would like to jump down to the trip report itself, just click on this link...

Dates of Trip: June 11-14, 1999: WDW June 14-18, 1999: Disney Magic

This, my friends, is my first Pre-Trip Report. Unlike most other pre-trip-reports, it is probably the first of many, and it is far in advance (185 days to be exact). This part alone is probably the longest Pre-Trip Report you’ve seen... But hey! I’m longwinded! Give me a break! ;o) (And pray that I never become a public speaker...) Also, I have included some of my strategies to making counting down to WDW/Disney Cruise fun. Hopefully I can give this trip the coverage in trip-reportdom that it deserves! ;-)

The first time I heard of the Disney Cruise Line was in February 1997, whenever I was writing for the Birnbaum Kids Guide for 1998. I went to their head office in Celebration Place on the veeeery top floor, where I met Amy Foley, a press manager of some sort for the DCL. She told us all of the tentative details of the cruise line, and I listened. But I never expected to go. I eyed the prices on the brochure she gave us, which were far above our usual $2500 per trip limit. So I sat and wrote about how fun it would be to take a cruise on the ship. We learned of Animator’s Palette and Castaway Cay, the Children’s Pool with the big Mickey Slide and the big movie theater. And who could forget the Kid and Teen areas, which were yet to be named.

That was the last that I thought of the Disney Cruise Line until the infamous movie came out, "Titanic." Yeah, I know... Why would I even *think* of cruising after I saw that movie? It wasn’t all of those sinking and dying scenes that got to me, but the scenes of all of the things there was to do on the ship when it was still afloat that got to me. "That sure would be fun," I thought.

After that, my thoughts drifted away from cruising and back to my fast-approaching WDW trip in June, 1998. On the first night we went to Downtown Disney, and stopped by the DVC booth at the West Side. Nana and I certainly have no interest in the DVC... We’re just 2 people and we don’t need a big villa. We stopped there because of the picture of the Disney Magic on the front. Nana inquired about reservations, but the man at the booth said that they were booked solid for 2 years. I really didn’t believe it in the first place... 2 years??? I thought that he had to be blowing it out of proportions, so when we got home I began to surf the Internet for information.

It didn’t take me 5 minutes to find a room on the Disney Magic for any day of the year. With that settled, I secretly began to look for the best deal that I could present before Nana. After literally weeks of searching, I hadn’t found a better deal than the first agency I checked, Marathon Cruise and Travel, MinniCruzer’s old agency. $2015 per person staying 3 days at the Beach Club and 4 days on the cruise in a Category 6 room, June 11-18, 1999. Although it was the best deal to be found, it still exceeded the $2500 per trip limit by far, and I had yet to add in food at WDW, Trip Insurance, and wallet-eating souvenirs. But we *really needed* a vacation of a lifetime, especially in the summer of 1999. Nana is going to retire next fall, and I will be entering High School. I told this to Nana, and she reasoned that we should celebrate my graduating high school in the year 2003. I quickly came back with the excuse that I would be finalizing my college plans and everything, so we began to settle in on the summer of 1999.

After a few more weeks of begging, we decided to call Marathon to make sure someone hadn’t made a typo when they put $2015 per person on their web page. We talked to Wendy, who was very nice. We told her everything we needed, which was:

  • Air out of Lexington, KY (or Louisville, KY or Cincinnati, OH if needed).
  • A 3 day stay at the Beach Club, starting June 11. We needed a room close to the bus stop and/or boat launch, if possible.
  • A Category 6 room on the Disney Magic.
  • Early Seating at Dinner.

With that taken care of, Wendy went to work figuring up a price. Within about an hour, she called us back. After bugging Nana a bit, we decided to book!!! :-) A few days later, our booking confirmation was sent in the mail. I happily read that we would be sailing on the Disney Magic starting June 14, 1999, with a 4-day cruise. We got our Category 6 cabin, which turned out to be room #6080, a nice midship room. BTW, has anyone here booked that room and/or stayed in that room? That would be cool... We got air out of Lexington and 1st seating at dinner as requested! We requested a 1st floor room near the lobby. The total cost of everything (including port charges and insurance) was $4204, saving over $800 off of Disney’s price! Woo-hoo!!! :-) We were on our way... Now all I had to do was plan!

In the days, weeks, months, etc. before a Disney trip, I do tons of planning and countdown activities. First with the planning. I bought the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cruising, which is by far the most helpful guide out of all the ones I have read. I’d get the hard part over with first... Cramming WDW into a 3 day trip. Keep in mind that I am the type that refuses to keep going until I’ve done it all. Yes, my touring plan is breakneck and probably nobody here would even *think* of using it, but oh well. It suits me perfectly! :o) Here’s the final (as of now LOL) schedule. If you have any comments, please tell me! :-)

Friday, June 11, 1999:  Arrive in Orlando, Check in at the BC. Go to Blizzard Beach while Nana unpacks, and then come back to the hotel to wash up for dinner. Eat dinner at Spoodles, and then Nana goes back to the hotel and I go to the MK for E-Ticket. I’ll probably get my wrist band, and then go sit at the Main Street Railroad Station to wait for the Main Street Electrical Parade (if it’s running this summer instead of Spectro). Then, off to the E-Ticket attractions I go and back to the hotel. La-te-dah.

Saturday, June 12, 1999:  Spend morning at Epcot, go back to the hotel for a swim and evening at MGM. Watch Fantasmic.

Sunday, June 13, 1999:  Spend morning at Animal Kingdom, back to hotel for a swim and rent a water sprite. Eat dinner at Spoodles (I love the place!), and back to Epcot for a few more Test Track fixes and Illuminations! :o)

Monday, June 14, 1999:  Eat breakfast at Cape May Cafe’, board bus to Port Canaveral. Board cruise ship

Tuesday, June 15, 1999:  Day at Sea

Wednesday, June 16, 1999:  Nassau, Bahamas - Go to the top of the water tower, see the marching flamingoes. Eat lunch at Planet Hollywood and go somewhere on Cable Beach that offers parasailing. :o)

Thursday, June 17, 1999:  Castaway Cay, Bahamas

Friday, June 18, 1999:  Arrive back at Port Canaveral, fly home

Obviously, I’ll only be able to see my very favorite attractions at each park, since time is so limited. I want to avoid early entry at all costs... I’m very wary of it. Well, that’s my schedule as of right now. It will probably change many times as your comments (hopefully) come in. I don’t exactly have any cruise plans except for Nassau... I just want to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it and relax. That’s the entire point of cruising, isn’t it? :-)

To see all of my must-see-or-I-will-most-certainly-die attractions in WDW, at some points I’ll be going at warp speed. Of course, Nana can’t be going at my speeds, or she’d end up in the hospital with a bad back like she did last year. :-S So this year it’s going to be different. Nana’s the type that would set me free in a theme park just as long as she was in the park also. But whenever I’m at AK and she’s at Epcot... Woah. Totally different story. So I decided to plan her trip according to that characteristic. The only time we won’t be in the same location is when I am at Blizzard Beach and E-Ticket. She has no desire to go to Blizzard Beach on the first day... She wants to get used to the hotel. So on that day I will be at BB and she’ll be at the hotel. Last year she tried E-Ticket, but it was waaaay to late for her to enjoy it. Never again. For the rest of the trip, while I’m at any particular theme park, she’ll be there too, only I’ll be going at one speed and she’ll be going at another, and we’ll meet up at a certain time. Problem #2. Nana knows nothing about the WDW parks. Ugh-oh. Yes, I know she could just read a map and be fine, but she’d still be too uncomfortable with that. Here comes my "class" idea...

Every Thursday starting in January, we’ll have a 30 minute class about WDW. I’ve already made out a brief outline of what she’ll learn. Each month will have a particular topic (a theme park, for example), and the first 3 weeks will be all about the different attractions she’d enjoy in that theme park. The last week of the month is the most important for Nana... Air conditioned places to sit down in that theme park. I think this would be good for *any* senior who’s a newbie to the parks and would like to tour them by themselves. If you’d like to see a "class outline," feel free to E-Mail. I’m too creative. LOL

Oh, yes. Back to Nassau. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about this city, especially the downtown area. The only real things I’m doing downtown is the H2O Tower and Planet Hollywood... Both which are musts since I love things that are high in the air and I always love Planet Hollywood. :o) My ultimate goal is to parasail... #1 priority being a place that actually LETS a 14-year-old parasail and #2 priority being that this place is somewhere on New Providence Island, since I have heard that Paradise Island (ex. Atlantis) is not exactly the best conditions for parasailing. PLEASE, if you have ANY advice for this, E-MAIL ME! :o) BTW, I’m really looking at the Radisson Cable Beach and the Nassau Mariott... But I can’t seem to find if they offer parasailing... Anyone with info there? Oh, and I also need to know the name of a reputable taxi service... Since I’m not the type that just jumps into a cab without previous knowledge of the company. :o)

Okey-dokey. There went the majority of my planning. Now it’s time for the long, agonizing part, the countdown. I have very strange... Sometimes obsessive countdown rituals every year. Yes, I do the usual things like the Countdown Chain of Paperclips and the various forms of countdown software and the Daily Viewing of the Disney Vacation Video after it comes out on Christmas... But I do more. Every year I come up with a superhuge list of websites and number them. Then I visit one Disney website a day all up until the day before I leave. But the links are even organized... Like the last 20 days are all links to last-minute sites... Like Deb’s RADP meet list site and the park hours on TUDLP and any last-minute reports on the BC or Cruise on Brian’s site. (BTW, please don’t take it as a personal offense if I didn’t mention your site... Trust me, it’s probably on my list. But E-Mail me the URL anyway just in case)! :o) If I have more links than days (which is good...), then I visit 2 sites per day, 3 sites per day, and on up. Then, starting 28 weeks in advance, I advance one year on the Timeline on the WDW Explorer, finally landing on the current year the week before we leave. (This is where it starts getting obsessive! LOL) Also, starting 30 weeks in advance I play a game on the D-Show, since there are 30 different shows. Oh, and last, but certainly not least... 38 (or is it 37 or 36... Shame on me) weeks in advance I watch a Disney Animated Feature each week, starting with Snow White and this year the one I’ll watch the week before is Mulan.

By now, I’m probably really SCARING you or you’re thinking "Hey! Good idea!" Well, if I’m scaring you by now, just skip on down to the "Questions" part because my countdown obsessions really don’t get better from here...

Last, but not least, there’s my lavish 100-Day Party! ;o) That’s where I start the day off with Mickey shaped pancakes with assortments of chocolate all over to simulate Chef Mickey’s breakfast bar. I’ve never encountered Day 100 to be on a school day, so the festivities go on all day long. All of my friends know not to call on that day... Because they know I won’t be there to answer the phone. Lunch is usually the infamous Mickey Burgers, which, if you’ve forgot already, is not actual mouse burgers but hamburger in the shape of Mickey! ;o) At dinner we *try* to make a Mickey-shaped pizza, TRY being the key word, with chocolate cake for desert, baked in a Mickey pan, of course! :o) Other than eating, on Day 100, I present The Official Plans to Nana in their entirety for the first time. There is also an "Inside Out" marathon of all the episodes I have taped, and the photo albums are drug out from previous year’s trips. The 100-Day Party is really what starts my WDW trip every year! :o)

Well, those were my annual countdown rituals... Maybe it gave you a few ideas of ways to make the time go by quicker, or maybe it just proved that I truly am a nut. Well, anyway... Here is the beginning of many, many questions I will probably ask in the 183 Days, 19 Hours 23 Minutes, and 3 Seconds to WDW! :o)

QUESTIONS

  1. Which airline(s) does Disney usually use for their Disney World/Cruise vacations?
  2. Where is the cruise block of rooms at the Beach Club? Is it possible that they would honor our requests for a room close to the bus or boat stops for health reasons?
  3. Is it possible to watch Illuminations from the BC? If so, where?
  4. I know, I know... Old question... But when does Fantasmic usually show, should I see the first or second show, and when do I get there?
  5. Is Main St. Electrical Parade, new JII ride, Tiger Rapids Run, Rock n Roller Coaster scheduled to be open then?
  6. Is Test Track open yet???? (Just joking)
  7. What time does the bus pick you up at WDW to take you to Port Canaveral? When is the luggage supposed to be outside of your room on the last night at the BC and the Cruise?
  8. Are the only Category 6 rooms with overhead berths the ones listed with a 4 in a circle in the DCL brochure?
  9. Are soft drinks included in the cruise fare?
  10. Can I, the 14 year-old, order off of the Kid’s Menu in the restaurants on the boat? (No joke... Please?)
  11. Does ANYONE out there have a daily schedule from the cruised scanned or typed that they could E-Mail me? Please?

Last, but CERTAINLY not least....

  1. Where can I parasail on Cable Beach? :o)

Sorry for bugging you guys... I promise to pay you back with a nice, detailed (hehe) trip report! (And maybe even on time, too!!!) :o)

Planning Update

As many of you know, I wrote a Pre-Trip Report a few months ago about my upcoming Walt Disney World/Disney Cruise Line vacation. Since then, I haven't posted to RADP very much because of server troubles, finals at school, and a current bout with bronchitis that stuck me in the Emergency Room this past Sunday (don't worry, I'm fine now, and I'm on a speedy recovery for vacation!) :-) Well, plans have changed a little since then, so I decided to go ahead and write another... Why not? (BTW, Brian, you already have my full permission to post this PTR to your site right under my original one, if you wish). Here goes....

At the time that I wrote my first PTR, one of my main worries was my flight times and the E-Ride Nights for June. Since I booked the airfare with DCL, I didn’t know my flight arrangements until 30 days in advance, which was torturous for me. As luck (or the lack thereof, really depends on how you look at it) would have it, I dislocated my knee at school 30 days before my vacation, so I was able to go home and call the TA a few hours earlier. This erased my major worry, since I had heard so many horror stories of late-arriving flights into Orlando on the first day. This would be a particular problem for me since I only had a short few days in WDW. Luckily, the flights couldn’t be any better... Delta all the way, which is good since that’s the airline Nana and I are used to. We leave at 6:15 in the morning on June 11 and arrive in Orlando at 10:03 AM, giving us plenty of time to do the WDW thing on the first day. There is an hour layover in Atlanta, which couldn’t be helped since there are no direct flights from Lexington to Orlando. Oh well. Coming back, we’re leaving at 2:25 PM, having an hour layover in Atlanta again, and arriving back in Lexington at 6:27 PM. We’re leaving Orlando a little late, but at least it will extend the vacation a bit (the glass is *always* half full, never half empty LOL). When it comes to E-Rides, I’m happy... There’s an E-Ride Night the day I arrive, so hopefully since I’m getting there fairly early I can still purchase a ticket!

So, now that there only 9 days until I embark (Single digits! Single digits!), I have a fairly solid itinerary set up. As I’ve said before, it’s quite busy, but I’m the Disney Commando type, and there’s no stopping me once I get going! Here goes:

Friday: Arrive, Check-In Beach Club (I’m going to fax the room assigner a few days in advance in hopes of getting a first-floor room close to the lobby). Eat at Spoodles, then head to the Magic Kingdom. Watch MSEP in Liberty Square at 9:00, then head to the Splash Mountain Meet at 9:30. Get wrist band for E-Ride Night at Splash Exit, then do E-Ride and return to hotel.

Saturday: Epcot of a morning, Back to Hotel for afternoon swim, MGM of afternoon/evening, watch Fantasmic. (Speaking of MGM, I’ve heard rumors of a June 12-16 CM Preview of Rock n’ Roller Coaster. This day just happens to be the 12th. Any CM’s here that would really like to make me happy and wouldn’t mind riding a roller coaster?? Please??? Heehee)

Sunday: Blizzard Beach of a morning, back to hotel to swim, then on to the Animal Kingdom for the afternoon/evening.

Monday: Cape May Cafe’ character breakfast, board the Disney Magic!!

Tuesday: Day in Nassau. Still, the only thing I really want to do is go to the top of the water tower, get a Planet Hollywood T-shirt, and PARASAIL. I still haven’t decided where I’m going to parasail, I figured I’d get the input of the CM’s on the cruise, unless of course you fine folks would like to give suggestions, of course! :-)

Wednesday: Castaway Cay, have a lovely day

Thursday: Day at Sea, see above

Friday: Leave ship, go home, and begin pouting for a trip next year (Hey, members of the Castaway Club *do* get discounts... LOL)

If anyone has any comments on the itinerary or if you’re going to be on the same cruise as Nana and I, please drop me a line! :-) Last, but certainly not least, here are a few questions I had...

  1. Legal Question Alert... My parents are divorced but my grandmother (whom I am traveling with) has full custody of me. Some sources say that I have to have a letter from both parents giving Nana permission to leave the country with me, yet others say since she has full custody of me, no letter is needed (this makes the most sense). Does anyone have a definite answer? Should I just be safe instead of sorry and take a letter anyway?
  2. I got the little pamphlet of DCL merchandise with my documents yesterday, and am interested in the photo album and the DCL pillowcase that comes with sugar cookies and a storybook. Does anyone know if this merchandise is available on the ship, or do I need to order it now? When it comes to the pillowcase/cookies/book gift pack, the only thing I am interested in is the pillowcase, so if it was available on the ship I could buy it there and not have to pay for everything else.
  3. Once again, your recommendations on where to parasail in Nassau will be gladly excepted! :o)
  4. I was looking at the shore excursions available and saw the Teen Cruise in Nassau... Generally how many teens usually do this? Are there any kids from other ships?
  5. Last, but CERTAINLY not least, are there any WDW CM’s out there who would like to make someone VERY HAPPY on the afternoon or evening of June 13th by letting a certain 14-year old ride a certain roller coaster with them???? ;-)

That's about all... I can't believe it's actually almost time to go, I've been waiting for 3/4 of a year and now I only have 9 days. Wow. I owe you all a trip report when I get back! :-)

The Trip

I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime. If you're not a fan of big huge novel-type trip reports (The Band Trip Soap Opera of April 1998, for instance), just read that sentence, or maybe the conclusion, and continue on with your browsing. But if you want to learn *why* I had the trip of a lifetime (and hear the good, bad and ugly about every aspect of the trip), continue on! (I'll have to make this extra long, since I'm also writing this for my Honor's English Summer Journal... I thought summer was for *forgetting* about school, not doing extra work. Oh well I guess I was wrong. Don't worry I'll edit this part out in the journal, wouldn't want to upset the teacher)! ;-) Oh yes, Brian! You have my permission to post this on your site, I guess you already have all the info you need from my pre-trip reports). If things go as planned, I'll be heading out for another voyage in 354 Days, 5 Hours, 58 Minutes and 25 Seconds. By the time I'm finished writing this, hopefully it'll be a lot shorter. Here goes! :-)

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Danielle - That would be me, the one who writes these huge trip reports and is the Disney Commando of the family. Lover of Summit Plummet, Hater of people trying to get you to let them braid your hair, and all things in between. 14 years old, fifth trip to WDW, first cruise.

Nana - That would be, well, Nana. She just goes along for the ride and tries to understand that I know my way around WDW with my eyes closed (although she can't be that trusting on the massive Magic hee-hee). Lover of the Beach Club, Hater of the Nassau water taxi (can we see a pattern here... Nassau is nasty), and all things in between. 65 years old, fourth trip to WDW, first cruise. (Nana says to add in that she gets the lucky job of signing the checks... We're awaiting the credit card bill with blood pressure medication in hand).

Various friends made on vacation - They'll pop up everywhere in the trip report, trust me. I'll go on a first-name basis, since this *is* the Internet. Safety first!

TRIP SPECIFICS

Dates - June 11-14, 1999 at Disney's Beach Club Resort, Room #1569 June 14-18, 1999 on board the Disney Magic, Room #6080, Catergory 6

Pre-Trip Planning - Read that nice pre-trip report on Brain's site, or search Deja News!

June 11, 1999

The first sound I heard was "It's a Small World" BLARING out of my alarm clock at 2:15 AM. Obviously, I had forgot that my little clock radio is much louder playing the pre-programmed songs (one of which is IASW) than 104.5 the CAT like it usually does. I rolled out of bed, my first concern being to turn off the darn thing before the entire neighborhood, including the residents of the cemetery, awoke from the racket. I had already packed my suitcase and was ready to go, so the only thing I had to do was get dressed and run downstairs. Once I got down, Nana was already dressed and trying to lug her suitcase out to the car. Apparently, "traveling light" means having a suitcase weighing less than 2 tons to Nana, since her huge suitcase (I can fit in it, all zipped up, with room to spare) was packed to the point where it bulged. Soon after, Mom arrived, and we were able to get it in the trunk, with all of us lifting it, of course. Luckily, the back seat of Nana's car can be pushed down to extend the trunk, so we were able to load everything in and be on our merry way by about 3:15. It's about an hour's drive to Lexington, and we had a quick stop at Denny's (the only 24-hour restaurant in town) for Sprites to drink on the way. We got at the airport at about 4:30, and the Delta check-in counter didn't open until 5:00, but it almost took that long to wheel Nana's suitcase up there, so everything was fine. At the gate, I thought I saw a DCL luggage tag but I wasn't sure, so I decided to keep my mouth shut to avoid looking like an idiot (a practice I did many times throughout the course of the trip). At about 5:45, they started boarding the plane and we said our good-byes to Mom. Once getting seated on the plane, I saw a woman and her family sit down in front of us who had DCL ticket booklets, so I introduced myself. Turns out we'd be seeing this family a lot throughout the course of the trip, and we became good friends. We took off at 6:15, perfectly on time (the only time this occurred on this trip, need I say more). After an uneventful flight (with a beautiful sunrise, by the way), we landed in Atlanta at Gate D28 (I think). This was where the fun began. We only had an hour layover, so we took the tram to Concourse A and had pizza for breakfast (yum). We hiked all the way down to A1, where we found lots of Disney Cruise Line guests beginning to board the huge plane. About ten minutes after boarding, we taxied down the runway and finally were first in line for takeoff. From my window seat right above the wing, I was able to watch the pilot test the flaps. Two of them did not go up. Ugh-oh. Needless to say, we stayed on the runway for about 10 minutes, then the pilot announced that the flaps were broken, and maintenance would be coming shortly. We got off the runway a bit so we wouldn't block traffic, and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. After about an hour, we were asked to take the plane back to the gate. After doing so, I was anxious to get off to see if there was any quicker route to Orlando, since I had been waiting for so long for this trip, and it was the ultimate torture to be stuck in the airport. After realizing that my luggage would still remain on the current plane, I tried to stay put. After about an hour of more sitting, we were able to get off the plane. I talked to a gate agent and they guessed that we would have an 11:00 takeoff. I called Mom from the gate to tell her what was going on so she wouldn't be worried if we didn't call her on time. I went back on the plane, which was now very hot, and sulked to myself, since we were *supposed* to be in Orlando at the time. Boo-hoo. After about five minutes, the pilot came on the speaker and announced that the flight was canceled. Great, just great.

As soon as I found this out, I ran off of the plane. I didn't mean to be rude and leave Nana alone with all the carry-on luggage, but I had a purpose for doing so. A line was forming at the ticket counter, so I hopped in. I was about the 15th person in line. By the time Nana got off the plane, most of the 250+ passengers had got in line to get new tickets. Needless to say, she was glad I had ran ahead. Nana told me of something funny she had noticed on the plane... A man fell asleep with eye shades on, and when the flight attendant woke him up he thought he was in Orlando. He said "Oh, I can feel that Orlando sunshine already! What a smooth flight! Thanks!" The poor flight attendant then had to explain that we hadn't left the ground... The flight was canceled. The thought of it was funny, but I still felt sorry for him since he had to get at the back of the line. :-( Soon, we got to the front of the line, and were issued new tickets for a flight leaving around 1:00. I assumed that all the other cruise line guests would be put on this flight, for the ease of the DCL employees waiting on us. They gave us each $8 meal vouchers for lunch, so we headed up to Chili's where I had really good chicken and fries. After lunch, we took the tram to the T gates to board the plane. When we got there, we were at the end of the T gates and had to go all the way to Gate T1! Nana was already tired from all the walking of the day, so we hopped on the back of one of those little cart things and rode all the way down there. When we got there, though, the plane had just left the gate! It wasn't heading for Orlando, though, it was going to Laguardia in New York! I asked the gate agent what on earth was going on, and he said our flight had been transferred to Gate C-something. Grrrrrrrr... We hopped back on the cart and rode back to where we had previously been, and caught the train to Concourse C, where we eventually found the gate full of DCL guests.

We found the family from Lexington, so we sat down beside them and told our tale of woe. There was still about 30 minutes left, so I occupied myself by wheeling around in an abandoned wheelchair (or at least trying to, I kept on running into that stupid carry-on Size Wise thing). Finally, we were able to board the plane. I crossed my fingers during take-off, and breathed a sigh of relief when we finally landed in Orlando. Let the vacation begin!! :o)

We got off of the plane and met the DCL CM at the gate. When all of the group had got off the plane, we started walking towards the tram, saying "Hi" to other CM's along the way who wanted to meet the infamous Flight 1777 bunch. After riding the tram to the main terminal, we walked down to where three lines were set up and got in the middle line, the one heading for the Epcot Resorts.

Par with the lovely luck we began the trip with, the Epcot Resorts bus was the last to leave. By this time, as you can imagine, I seriously needed something to calm me down, for the safety and sanity of all the other passengers on the bus! ;-) We were soon on our way, and watched the video. I love how they have it timed to where it says "any second now, you should be arriving at the Walt Disney World Resort" *exactly* whenever you drive under the big archway. Disney Magic, I guess.

We dropped off guests at Caribbean Beach and the Swan and Dolphin first (grrrr...) and finally drove up to the Beach Club. With my navy blue envelope filled with documents in hand, I stepped in the lobby where a DCL representative was awaiting us. We all went in and sat down on a few couches, and learned that we needed to meet at Ariel's at 11:45 (preferably earlier) on Monday to head to Port Canaveral. After making sure that we had our documents, the CM sent us on our way to the front desk.

Check-in went smoothly, and we headed to our room. Before arriving, I had requested a room on the first floor in the very first wing on the right before you reach the shop. That was exactly what we got, but when we entered the room we soon discovered that it was a room for guests with disabilities, and had no tub. Since we take long showers on vacation, and I didn't wish to flood the floor, we decided to go get a new room. There wasn't much of a problem with being assigned to the new room, #1569, which was on the first floor, the second wing on the right, just past the shop. At first, I thought it would be quite a long walk from the lobby area, but I was wrong. The room was excellent and very convenient, and I will request it again next year (notice I'm using the phrase "next year" a lot hee-hee). The door going to the quiet pool was directly opposite the door to our room, so it felt like we had our own little entrance to the pool. Our porch overlooked the sand volleyball court. After unpacking the things in our carry-on, we were having trouble turning on the main light in between the two beds, so we called maintenance and someone was there to adjust the screw or whatever was wrong with it right away. This was the only technical-ish problem we had the whole trip, other than the broken flaps, of course, I'm proud to say.

After about 15 minutes in the room, I headed to Guest Services to see if the E-Ride Tickets for that night had been sold out. On the way, I noticed people laying down sheets of plastic on the carpet in the first wing where our previous room was, so the Beach Club must be in a state of refurbishment. I was glad that we had switched rooms! :o) To my joy, the E-Ride tickets had not sold out, so I purchased two. They said that Nana still had to pay for one, even though she wouldn't be riding any rides, just sitting at the Ice Cream Parlor as usual. Oh well.

We decided against eating at Spoodles for dinner, since our Priority Seating time had long past thanks to flight #1777, and I really felt like a burger, so we went to Beaches and Cream. What everyone says is true, Beaches and Cream is the BEST place for burgers and fries on property!! Yum! After the huge burger (I don't see how anyone could eat a Grand Slam, but I watched someone attempt it... They didn't succeed) I was too full for ice cream. Oh well, maybe next time (there I go again)!

By the time we got back to the room, the luggage had arrived, but we didn't unpack anything since it was time to head to the Magic Kingdom. Like clockwork, as soon as we got to the bus stop, the bus arrived! Woo-hoo! The temperature inside the bus was below freezing, so whenever we got off I was actually glad to get out of the polar air conditioning and into the Florida heat and humidity. That's a first! We went inside and got our tickets exchanged for arm bands, and I got my Magic Delivery passport stamped. After that, I dropped Nana off at the Ice Cream Parlor (remember that from last year?) and headed over to Winnie-the-Pooh to see what all the hoop-la was about. After about a 30-minute wait, I boarded the Hunny Pot (I thought the pots would be different... Like have a tall pot with one side carved out and that's where we'd sit). My opinions on the ride are like most everyone else's... If they're going for an Audio-Animatronic wonder, it's most definitely no Splash Mountain. If they're going for something more "techno" than Toad, they're lacking there, too... Still those cardboard cut-outs. It's a cute ride, but not worth anything over a 15-minute wait, and it's not worth killing a classic, IMHO. We emptied out into a Pooh shop, surprise surprise.

I went back to the Ice Cream Parlor to pick up Nana for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and she begged me to sit on the now packed Main Street curb, but I decided on going to Liberty Square. "But all the people are on Main Street!" Nana says...

"That's the point!" I reply. Tee-hee. We get to Liberty Square and hardly nobody is lined up along the parade route, so we choose a nice spot in front of the Christmas shop, a curbside seat with nobody around for me, and a bench for Nana. Who could ask for anything more? ;-) We only waited about 10 minutes for the parade to begin, and by that time it had filled up a bit more, but there was still enough room for more people to sit/stand, unlike Main Street. I liked MSEP, I suppose because Pinocchio characters were featured a bit more (I don't remember seeing them at all in Spectro). Anything with Pinocchio in it gets a thumbs-up from me, because of my little Pinocchio Thomas von Doggie the Miniature Schnauzer! :o)

After the parade, I ran through Adventureland in hopes of making the RADP meet at Splash Mountain. But, as usual, just before the bridge to Splash, I came upon the last fourth of the parade and all the crowds that go with it. Darn! As soon it was over, it was about 9:45 (15 minutes after the meet was scheduled to begin) and there was no RADP buttons in sight. Darnit! I ran in line anyway, and had no wait whatsoever at all. I requested the front seat as usual, and had a great ride, with the fireworks going off as we went down the big drop. Woo- hoo!

Next I ran over to Big Thunder, where they were now checking for wrist bands. Because of this, I didn't have a wait, and was able to request the back seat! Yay! Big Thunder in the back is the bestest, but don't request it when I'm right behind you in line! ;-) After the ride I ran over to check on Nana at the Ice Cream Parlor, and then went to Tomorrowland to buy a Skippy Large Bean Bag Plush. He's so cute! After that I went on Buzz, with no wait (do we see a pattern here... E-Ride Nights are fun!). It was an OK ride, I guess I feel that way because I was no good at it (I got the third worst rank LOL). I would wait about 15-20 minutes tops for it. I guess it would be good to go through it one time just to check out the scenery, and the rest of the times to play the game (maybe I'll do better next time).

Next it was Space Mountain, where I had a 5 minute wait. I got the back seat as requested, and tried riding looking straight up at the ceiling, thinking that if it gave you a better ride on the Tower of Terror it might do some good here, too. I was right! Everything was much more unexpected (I still think that one big last drop is better on the right side than on the left). Since Nana and I had been going strong since 2:00 AM, and it was 11:30 at night, I decided it might be a good idea to go back to the hotel (wink), so I picked Nana up at the Parlor and we left. After a short bus ride back to the hotel, we took showers (in nice bath tubs, thanks to the room change) and hit the sack in no time, making sure to get a wake-up call for 8:15 the next morning (a Disney record for me, usually it's around 6:00! Congratulations are in order!) ;-)

That's all for now! The next day's edition is coming soon! :o) (By the way, I hope the spacing on this thing looks right, since I wrote it in Microsoft Works and pasted it in the Deja News posting box. If it doesn't look right, my apologies!)

June 12, 1999

Instead of the blaring alarm clock, it was the phone ringing, followed by Mickey's voice awoke me. Big improvement in a little over 24 hours, huh? Nana decided to sleep some more and then explore the resort a little, so I told her that I'd be back in a few hours, got dressed, and went on my way. My first stop was Beaches and Cream for breakfast. I had heard so-so reviews of this place for breakfast, but I found there to be something for everyone. My breakfast was a huge donut twist with chocolate frosting on top. I got a bottle of water that I'd use for the rest of the trip, also. I went outside and ate, watching the birds try to steal everyone's food and seeing the ducks swim around in Stormalong Bay. After breakfast, I ran back to the room to pick up the Squeeze Breeze that I had forgotten (eeek) and was on my way.

I love the Beach Club's proximity to Epcot, but I wish they had bus service since I mainly stay in Future World, and the walk back to the International Gateway isn't too good on aching feet. It was very cool walking through that part of World Showcase without anyone around, though, and I snapped some very good, people-free pictures. I ran on ahead to Test Track, where the line had now filled up the entire outside portion (Darn! I shouldn't have taken so long snapping those people-free pictures). I waited for about 20 minutes, reading the little thingies along the way. When I got to the entrance of the single's line, I went right up to the briefing room and was in my vehicle in about five minutes! Too bad they don't let you get in the single's line as soon as you approach the ride, eh? Or do they, and I just waited in the outside portion for nothing? Who knows! LOL

I loved Test Track just as much as I thought I would... It's a great ride! Too bad they didn't open it earlier, though! ;-) Thank goodness for the single's line, it really saved me a lot of time. I wish they did this on all the other attractions, too! It sure would be great for me!

After Test Track I headed over to Innoventions and sent a few E-mail postcards, and then went to watch the JAMMitors, but they never did show up. Oh well. I went back inside Innoventions and was disappointed to see that a huge area of it had been blocked off. Oh well, I'll see it next year. I stuck my head in that big purple wall where you see the stupid-looking dog panting. For the first time the dog actually did what I said and didn't sit there and stare at me! Woo-hoo!! ;-)

I continued my journey through the Experimental Plywood Community of Tomorrow (this Millennium Celebration thing better be good) to Ice Station Cool. I thought I would enjoy playing in the snow in Florida, but it was a bit *too* cold (duuuuh, that's why they call it Ice Station Cool) and I was scared that my camcorder might get hurt, so I continued on. This place would have been a blessing to me last year, but this year it seemed at least 15 degrees cooler than it was the last, I guess because there was no wild fires, and it had rained pretty much every day before we got there. The coke-tasting booths were pretty much empty, so I grabbed a cup and tried them all. I'd say my favorites are the orange-looking one and the Ginger Ale. Take my advice... Beverly is VILE!!!!!! Don't drink it! It's horrid! If you want to do something that will make you laugh and relax at the same time, just go in there, sit down, and watch people's faces as they taste that nasty stuff! Disney should have a camera that takes a picture of your face as soon as you get through drinking it (or after you take your first sip, which is also your last). The results would be hilarious, and I know I would have bought mine! If you want to do something really cruel, fill a water bottle with it, and give it to a poor family member who is about to die of thirst, so they'll take a nice big gulp as soon as they get their hands on it... Well, now that I think about it, you better not, for your personal safety! ;-)

I drunk about 10 cups of Ginger Ale and still couldn't get that rotten taste out of my mouth, so I decided to head to Pasta Piazza Ristorante for some pizza. I got a DELICIOUS Mickey pizza, and had finished about 3/4 of it when the nasty taste of Beverly finally went away. After that, I headed back to the hotel to pick up Nana. She was in the room, and she decided to go back to Epcot with me. She went to Electric Umbrella for something to eat, while I rode Test Track again, with a 20 minute wait (20 minutes in the outside line, 0 minutes in the single's line, yet again). I met back up with her and we went to the Centorium shop, which they are remodeling, so now it's really small. The CM there said that it would be really beautiful when it was completed, so I'm looking forward to spending more money there. I got quite a few T- shirts, my favorite being one with Mickey ears that says "I'm Never Going to Grow Up"! LOL

We stopped by Ice Station Cool again, and since I no longer had my camcorder with me, I was able to throw a few snowballs. I gave Nana a big cup of Beverly, and I thought she was gonna barf since she gagged. Whoops. It was getting really hot, so we went back to the hotel, deciding to wait on a boat since I had been walking all day long. When we got back in the room, I decided to rent a Water Mouse, so we went down to the marina and got one. Nana sat on the dock and talked to the CM's while I headed on over to the Studios. Other than almost getting hit by a Friendship and getting very close to getting in the weeds, I had a smooth trip! ;-) Tip - When turning a corner or going under a bridge, stay to the right side of the waterway, because a Friendship might be on the other side going the opposite way, and you might have an Unfortunate Accident! ;-)

After zipping around for 30 minutes, I headed back to the Marina and picked up my room key. We went back to the room and I changed into my swimsuit to go to Stormalong Bay. I went down the slide a few times. Stormalong Bay is the BEST pool on property, no doubt about it! I love how you go under waterfalls when traveling along the slide! I checked out the sinking sand, which is really fun and feels really good on tired feet! I swam around quite a bit more, then went back to the room.

A little while later, Nana and I went to the Atlantic Wear Emporium and bought a few souvenirs... I was really disappointed in the amount of Beach Club merchandise (especially T-shirts) there were. There was only one T-shirt that came in an adult small, and it was really cheap looking, so I didn't get it. :-(

At 6:00, we headed out to the boat dock to go over to the Studios. As we approached the walkway out to the lighthouse, the Studios boat had came up and passengers were boarding, so we ran all the way out there and hopped on the boat (just barely making it). We made our way over to the Studios, while I pointed out some of the places I had went to on the Water Mouse to Nana. The boat ride was shorter than I had thought it would have been, maybe because I was so busy looking around and pointing out all the sights to Nana, who knows.

There was quite a line to get in the park, so once we stepped onto Hollywood Boulevard, it was 6:30. I decided that I'd ride the Tower before Fantasmic if the wait was less than 45 minutes and afterward if it was above that time. When we got to the end of Sunset the posted wait time was 20 minutes so of course I got in line, dropping off Nana at (what I thought was) the entrance to Fantasmic. Going through the line outside of the Tower, I ran into Vickie and Justin, two members of the family we had talked to in the airport! They had decided against the Tower, and were on their way out. The line was only about 15 minutes long, and before I knew it I was boarding the elevator! :-)

*SPOILER ALERT* Ever since ToT II was changed to "Fear Every Drop," I didn't read one report on it since I wanted to be surprised. Well, surprised I was whenever I sat there, waiting for that gray wall to appear before my eyes, and we dropped and never saw it! LOL What fun! I really enjoy having all those full drops instead of half-drops... Tons of air time!! Woo-hoo ToT!! *SPOILER ALERT OFF*

I would have went on the Tower again, but decided against it since it was time to meet up with Nana for Fantasmic. She was waiting outside the exit to the Tower, where I left her, talking to the family from Lexington. I said "hello" to everyone and we talked a little. Eventually, it was 7:30, an hour and a half before Fantasmic, so since they weren't seeing it (or at least I don't think they were) we went our separate ways. Here's where I messed up. Me, being an idiot, thought that the entrance was at that big gate right outside the Tower. Well, as many of you know, that is totally wrong. I waited until about 7:35, and there was no crowd, so I asked a CM what was going on, and he pointed me to the REAL entrance of Fantasmic back before the Tower entrance on the right. Whoops.

We turned around and ran to the entrance of the amphitheater, and saw a sea of people in front of us. I knew that the early seating was packed, but we were tired and wanted to do it then, so we continued on, almost sure we'd get a bad seat. Not so! I ran down to the center section right in front of the central water screen, just a few rows back and got a seat. Yay! After we sat down and got settled, Nana decided to go get hot dogs, popcorn, and Sprite for us for dinner. I saved her seat, and she soon came back with the food. The hot dog was a foot long, and there was no way each of us could eat a foot long hot dog, so she bought one and we cut it in half. Yum! The popcorn was great, too... Heck the Sprite tasted better than it does at home! LOL Disney Magic yet again! ;-)

After our "dinner," CMs were going around selling all kinds of toys with lights, and one had a case full of really cute Sorcerer Mickey plush. I couldn't resist, so I went down and bought one. I didn't notice the Walt Disney World patch on the bottom of his foot until it was almost show time! How cute! :o) There were two ToT employees that kept the crowd (and a crowd it was... the amphitheater was PACKED!) entertained... Juggling on top of ladders, walking down the steps on their hands, and the like. Then, Four for a Dollar came out and sang for about 20 minutes. Woo-hoo!!! I got all kinds of video from that! They are so talented!

When they dimmed the lights for the show (finally!), you could really notice dark clouds in the distance behind the tower, and even though we didn't want to get rained on, we decided to stay because I had heard how cool Fantasmic was. Plus, we hadn't been sitting there for an hour and a half just to get up and leave! The show started, and it was really good. Everyone applauds for Mickey, and the show seems to be going along quite well, until the Pocahontas sequence. When the actors began to climb the big rock wall, all the lights went out and all the actors and actresses and people in boats just *stopped.* Not knowing what was going on, we just sat there for about 30 seconds when a voice came over the PA system. Oh no.

It turned out that there was a lightning storm fast approaching, and they had to evacuate the theater (Hey... What about Mickey's right ear at the entrance to the park being a lightning rod and protecting us? LOL!). Well, just our luck. At this point, I was beginning to think that the trip was jinxed; first the canceled flight, and now this. It wouldn't have surprised me if the ship had hit a sand bar and sunk! ;-) I didn't have much time to sit around and sulk, since I realized that we had to catch a boat, not a bus, back to the Beach Club, and we'd have to get moving or have bad luck. A big crowd of people were bypassing everyone walking up the aisles by walking up the bleachers, so Nana, I, and Sorcerer Mickey joined them. By the time we got to the top, a CM scolded us for not walking on the walkways. "Yeah, well we won't be walking anywhere if we get struck by lightning," I thought. I guess I was just bitter about missing the show, that's all! I'm glad I held my tongue, the poor guy was just doing his job and I was just having a hissy fit! ;-) We all took some walkway that poured us out onto Sunset Boulevard, and we ran down the two boulevards to exit the park. It's a good thing we ran out, since we were the last two on board the boat before it was full! Whew!

It was really really fun riding the slow boat back to the Beach Club in the middle of a lightning storm (wink), but we eventually got there. So much for my plans of swimming in Stormalong Bay! We went to the room, took showers, and hit the sack early, first setting a wake-up call for 7:15 (I couldn't wake up late EVERY day of the trip! Plus, we were going to bed early anyway! LOL). Maybe tomorrow will be better... :o)

June 13, 1999

Mickey called us at 7:15 AM, and I was up out of bed in no time. Yet again, Nana and I decided to go our separate ways for the morning, she staying at the hotel again and I heading to Blizzard Beach. I got dressed and went on my way to Beaches and Cream, where I had the usual chocolate covered donut twist. (Too bad I didn't think and buy a whole supply of those things to take back home... They were good!) After eating, I went back to the room and dropped off my mister fan, realizing that I wouldn't need it at a water park, and grabbed a towel, something that I would need. Nana was busy packing for our departure the next day.

I walked to the bus stop and claimed a spot on one of the benches. I sat, and sat, and sat, and sat. After consulting the transportation guide on the wall, I realized there was a problem since it said the BB busses came every 20 minutes starting a half hour before park opening. It was then 8:45, so I knew something was up. Soon, an Animal Kingdom bus pulled up, and I knew that was close to Blizzard Beach so I asked the driver what was going on. She said that Blizzard Beach and Animal Kingdom shared a bus, so I got on. If I hadn't of asked, I still would have been sitting there waiting for the bus. (Moral of the story - Never be afraid to ask in WDW!)

Soon, I (finally) arrived at Blizzard Beach, and ran inside the park. The Ski Patrol Captain of the Day was sliding down Summit Plummet to open the park as I walked through the gates, so I picked up my pace to avoid a long wait for a locker. It didn't bother me that I didn't even have a chance of being the Ski Patrol Captain for the day because I was late since I got to be it last year, and it was only fair that someone else get to do it! :-) Plus, I didn't want to have to swim around wearing that darn medal. That thing is heavy!

I rented a small locker with no problem, and took the chair lift to the top of Mount Gushmore. Of course, I ran straight to Summit Plummet first! There was no line, since most people tried Slush Gusher and then Summit Plummet, but not I! This time, I tried it with my eyes open (previous times I'd closed my eyes, avoiding the possibility of water shooting in them at 65 MPH. Yikes!). Surprisingly, no water got in them until the very bottom of the slide, so I'll keep them open from now on, you get a much better experience (even if it is just a blur since you're going so fast)! :o)

After scaling the Summit a few more times, I went on the family raft ride, which was great fun, as always. Our raft was going so high on the curves that I thought it would tip over, but it didn't. Oh well, maybe next time! ;-) After that, the lines for the chair lift were getting long so I went over to Downhill Double Dipper, one of my other favorite slides in the park. As usual, I got great air time (which is especially fun when you're in a tube)! At this point, my legs were way too tired to climb all those steps to the top, so I went over to Ski Patrol Training Camp, which was relatively uncrowded. Now what does a 14 year old girl who loves Summit Plummet find thrilling at the pre-teen area? Why, that slide that is over by the rock climbing wall, that's what! Since this slide is just a simple cylinder running through the ground, many people miss it, but I noticed it last year and gave it a try. It is a fun slide, and you do pick up some good speed on it, enough to usually send me to the bottom of the 8 foot deep splash pool. If your kids aren't strong swimmers, don't try this one...

The park was beginning to fill up, so I headed for Summit Plummet one last time, taking the stairs to avoid the 30-minute wait for the chair lift. UGH! I wish they had just made it a straight staircase up to the top, sure it would have taken away from the atmosphere but it would have saved my legs from a ton of pain. A group of teenage boys starting climbing those stairs trying to act all macho, but by the time they reached the halfway point they were moaning and groaning like the rest of us!

There was about a 10 minute wait for Summit Plummet, and I had to give my traditional "Close your eyes and count backwards from 6 and by the time you get to 0 you'll be at the bottom" speech to a woman behind me. Soon I was first in line and went down one last time... This time the Plummet gave me a particular beating, so I decided to head on out.

I got everything out of the locker, and when I returned the key I bought something that proved to be very valuable and useful for the rest of the vacation for only $6. It was a purple watertight container with a Blizzard Beach logo that was on a string so you could wear it like a necklace for safe keeping. If you're going on the cruise, this is one of my best pieces of advice... Buy one of them!! They are so useful, and not as bulky as a fanny pack, plus they're water proof!

I exited the park and as soon as I got to the bus stop, a bus pulled up. Woo-hoo! Back to the hotel I went, where I met Nana back in the room. I decided on going to Stormalong Bay, where I swam about an hour, not having to wait in line for the slide! :o) I talked to a father and daughter while trapped in the sinking sand, and eventually got out of the pool to eat lunch. Nana met me at the side of the pool and we went to Hurricane Hanna's, where I had the chicken tenders kid's meal (with that yummy BBQ sauce!!) that came with the cute little character cookies.

After eating my share, I fed all of the ducks who congregated around our table. There was a Mom and Dad with their cute little babies that stayed around our table... I fed one of the babies a french fry, which fell out of its mouth and one of the parents stole it! Hey, I thought parents were supposed to CARE of their babies, not steal from them. Oh well. After lunch I went back in Stormalong Bay and explored the Yacht Club side, which I didn't think was as interesting as the Beach Club side, so I swam back over and went on the slide a few more times before getting out for good.

I met Nana in the room and changed into dry clothes, being sure to pick up the video camera and mister fan before heading out to the bus stop for Animal Kingdom. When the AK bus came, since it was mid-afternoon, all of the people got off, and Nana and I were the only ones that got on. Our bus driver was named Max, and he gets my vote as WDW's best bus driver (or at least out of the ones I've met). He told about how he had been President of Air France operations in the United States, retired, came to WDW on vacation and stayed for good. He was a great driver, and if you've ever been on his bus, especially when it was almost empty, you'll know what I mean. I made sure to mention him on my comment card that night! We soon pulled up to the bus stop at AK and bid farewell to Max, seeing another family from Lexington that would soon be cruising getting on.

My strategy of touring Animal Kingdom in the afternoon/evening worked, since we were the only ones in sight entering and droves were exiting. I walked through the Oasis, stopping to check out the anteater, who fell fast asleep about a minute after I started watching. We continued through the Oasis, and I made sure to video how you turn that one corner and see the Tree all at one time. Wow. What a tree. I still can't get over how huge and detailed that thing is, even though I'd seen it before...It's most definitely one of the most majestic and detailed structures on Earth.

We walked down through the Tree of Life gardens, and I got some good video footage of the otters who were out and about. Next I dropped Nana off at Pizzafari and went to see It's Tough to be a Bug. As usual, there was no line, but I had about a 10 minute wait (since it takes that long to go through the line area and get to the entrance LOL!). I noticed along the way that they had set up a free water station... Good idea! Wish I had found that thing last year when it was 120 in the shade! ;-)

The show was great as usual, even though I couldn't smell the stink bug, just like the rest of the times I've watched the show... Weird. I guess I should be glad, though, since a lot of people were commenting about how nasty it smelled. At the end the family beside me left their video camera in there, and I grabbed it and ran ahead to give it back to them. At first I thought I had forgot mine also, but I remembered that Nana had it back at Pizzafari. Whew!

I walked back to Pizzafari and found Nana, and we headed to see Festival of the Lion King. Quite a few people in the line were getting angry at the fact that we had to stand out in the hot sun, so they let us in early. Woo-hoo! We got great seats... Very first row that people without wheelchairs could sit in. After about a 20 minute wait in there, the show began! It was even better than I remembered it last year... Thank goodness for video cameras. I got great footage! Speaking of video cameras, I'm surprised that the humidity warning thing on my camera didn't come on, since it was so humid in there. I'm glad it didn't, or I would have missed a lot of things to get on tape!

After the show, which got rave reviews from Nana, I headed on to Africa while Nana went back to Pizzafari. I went on the Safari, which had no wait at all! Woo-hoo! We saw lots of animals... Hippos both in and out of the water, elephants, giraffes, but no lions this time. Oh well. Video camera tip - Don't even try on this ride, it's waaaay too bumpy! Even with SteadyShot enabled on my camera, it still turned out bad and I had to edit a lot of it out! :o( I guess they call it a photo safari for that reason, if it was meant for video cameras they'd call it a video safari! ;-) After that I headed on to Asia, using the path that went directly from Africa to Asia, not going through Safari Village. By the way, along this path is a great photo spot for the Tree of Life's back side. Check it out!

When I got to Asia, I headed to Kali River Rapids, where I had about a 15 minute wait. This is a fun ride, but it's MUCH too short, with only one really good drop. I was disappointed at the length, but happy at the fact that I got soaking wet! :o) Thank goodness for the little area in the center for your things, or my video camera would have been killed! :-S Next I headed for the Jungle Trek, where I encountered a sleeping tapir and a whole bunch of sleeping bats. Fun. When I got to the first tiger habitat, both of them were asleep behind the foliage. Most people just walked by, but I stayed to see if they would wake up, since tigers really interest me. Just when I was about to walk on, one came out and got right on the edge of the fountain and lay down to sleep there! It sure picked a MUCH better spot to sleep! ;-) It's back was facing the crowd, so I got a picture of its beautiful stripes. I went on to the next tiger viewing area, the one with the stream right out front. As soon as I got there, another tiger jumped into the water to cool off, and looked RIGHT UP AT ME for such a long time! It was so cool, I got all kinds of video and stills of that one! It kept its eyes on me (it was probably thinking "Yum! Dinner!") until another tiger came up, and it went back out of the water to play. A lot of people around me were commenting on how they had bigger tigers at their zoos, but I didn't care. This one looked DIRECTLY AT ME so it's the best! ;-)

At this point, it started to sprinkle and I was worried about my video camera, so I shoved it in its case and prayed that the case was waterproof. I couldn't spend much time in the bird area, since it looked like it was really going to start pouring soon, so I ran as fast as I could to Pizzafari. By the time I reached the Dino Land USA bridge it was absolutely POURING. I ran as best as I could trying to shield my camera from the rain. When I arrived at Pizzafari, I stood on the porch for a second (thank goodness it was covered) and tried to wring the water out of my hair and shirt. I was SOAKED. Next, I checked on my camera, and luckily it was fine! :o) I went into Pizzafari and found Nana at our table. She was afraid that my camera was ruined, but I showed her how the case was waterproof and how everything was fine. She went to order pizza while I saved the table.

The pizza was great, and by the time I finished my slice it had stopped raining, so I went to the store right beside the restaurant and bought a couple of shirts and some elephant earrings for Sarah for her birthday present (she's lucky... My only friend who has a birthday in early June, so she's guaranteed a gift from WDW every year, but all my other friends are stuck with something from the mall). It was sprinkling again when I exited the shop, so I headed back to Pizzafari, picked up Nana, and ran out of the park to beat the rain.

Almost as soon as we got under the bus stop, it started pouring again. Lucky us! We only had to wait about five minutes for a bus to pull up, and before we knew it we were back in the room again. Since it was pouring rain, I couldn't have one last swim in Stormalong Bay, so I packed everything up for the next day, took one last shower, and set the alarm clock for 7:00 the next morning, since we had got a card saying our luggage had to be ready to go at 8:00. After all of that, we fell asleep one last time in our beds at the Beach Club... Tomorrow at this time we would be on the Disney Magic!! :o)

June 14, 1999

That morning at 7:00 AM, the phone rang once again, and I heard Mickey's voice wish me a good day one last time until next year. Nana was already up and had packed most of everything, so I was able to stay in bed for about 20 more minutes. Eventually, I got dressed and put everything I would need that afternoon in the carry-on. It was 7:45 and we were hungry, so we headed to Cape May Cafe' for our traditional last- morning character breakfast, being sure to leave our luggage at the entrance to the room.

At Cape May, we went right into the waiting area where I got some cute video of Minnie Mouse, who was making a special appearance that day to greet people while they waited. We got our table and Goofy, Chip, and Dale came around to say hello. Breakfast was really good, and we headed back to the room full and satisfied. When we got there, our luggage had already been removed, so we only had to wait for 11:45 to come so we could head out to Ariel's!

I decided to take my video camera and do a walking tour of the outside of the resort, so I was gone for about 30 minutes. Stormalong Bay wasn't open yet, so I got some nice people-free footage of it. Funny moment - I commented that usually there were some ducks swimming around Stormalong Bay at that time of the morning, and I didn't even get a chance to finish talking when two ducks went flying straight for the camera, then splash landing in the pool at the last second, quacking all the way, perfectly on cue! It's really funny to watch! :o)

I went back to the room and Nana and I decided to watch everything I had recorded so far on the LCD screen. This was where I discovered that when waiting for Fantasmic, I forgot to turn the camera off and it recorded for about 30 minutes that I didn't know about! Whoops! ;-) After that I packed up all the camera stuff in the camera bag and Nana and I went out to the beach and swung in the 2-person swing that they have set up. By this time it was about 10:45, so we decided to head back to the room and then go to Ariel's a bit early. We bid farewell to Room #1569 and arrived at Ariel's at about 11:00. We got a table, and not a moment too soon, since by about 11:15 there was no more places to sit! :-S A CM came around and we showed her our Key to the World cards (and something else, I think... I'm having a memory lapse here! LOL). At about 11:30 everyone formed a line and we marched out to the awaiting bus.

We boarded the first bus heading out from the BC (Woo-hoo!) and were soon on our merry way. About the time we had left WDW property (Boo- hoo!), they turned on a video that kept me occupied, but I knew most of the stuff on it already! ;-) Thanks to the help of the video, we were in Port Canaveral before we knew it, going over the infamous bridge to get our first view of the Disney Magic! Holy cow what a big ship!! The commercials don't do it justice, it's larger and much more beautiful in person! About five minutes after first viewing the ship, the bus pulled up right beside her. I RAN off the bus, anxious to grab my carry-on and get on the ship!

Disney has a beautiful terminal for the Magic, and I'm sad to say I didn't get to sit down and take it all in. Once we had got inside and went up the escalator, we only had enough time to steal a quick glance at the beautiful model of the ship set up (which makes the $25 10-inch model I have at home look like a piece of trash) and get in line to walk through the Mickey ears! While in line, I was handed a card inviting me to go to the Common Grounds 411 thing at 10:00 that night. I held on to it so I wouldn't forget, since I didn't know if it would be listed on the Personal Navigator or not. It wasn't. We quickly went through security and stepped on board the Disney Magic.

The lobby absolutely took my breath away... Glass elevators to our right and the grand staircase and Helmsman Mickey to our left. A CM quickly ushered Nana and I aside to take our picture beside the "Welcome Aboard" sign. After that, we hopped aboard one of the glass elevators that took us, very quickly I might add, up to Deck 6. Our room, #6080, was on the port side and a few rooms down from the midship elevator lobby. We soon got there and were in the room in no time. #6080 is a Category 6 room, and I was surprised at the size, since I thought it would be a lot smaller. I thought the verandah would have been smaller, also, but I happily found out that it had enough room for two chairs, a table, and even more standing room.

I quickly pulled down the back of the couch to reveal the bed and pillow, and claimed it as my bed for the week since I had heard it was very comfortable, which it was. Plus, I wanted to be as close to that ocean air as possible! :o) We went out on the verandah for a minute or two, saying hello to the family on the verandah to our right and waving to the passengers across the way on the Little Red Piece o' Junk (or at least it looked that way compared to the Magic). I went back inside to the bathroom, and flushed the toilet just to see if all the comments and jokes on the Internet were really true. Darn those things are loud!! This was far beyond the Turbo Toilets which can be found in WDW, so therefore I referred to it as "The Cannon." Every morning while on the ship, go out in the hall between 7 and 9 AM, and you'll hear a nice good morning greeting... Since anyone who uses The Cannon in the middle of the night can't flush it (for the sake of their sleeping family members), everyone waits to flush of a morning, and you an hear a nice chorus of "Shhhhhh... BOOM! Shhhhh... BOOM!" going up and down the hallway! LOL Just something for you to do if you're really bored early of a morning! ;-)

I noticed the first Personal Navigator sitting on the desk, along with our meal tickets. We were scheduled for the 6:00 seating (as requested, woo-hoo!) and would be dining at Lumiere's that night. Oh no! Both of our formal dresses were packed in the suitcases, since I hadn't planned on eating there that night! I prayed that the luggage would come in time and looked over the Personal Navigator.

We were both hungry, so we took the elevator on our first of many trips up to Deck 9. I saw Pluto's was open with hamburgers and the like, so I was attracted to it, while Nana went to Topsider's for the Welcome Aboard thing. We met back up and ate at a table on the starboard side overlooking the terminal. I ate quickly and headed down to Guest Services and booked the Junkanoo Jam Teen Cruise shore excursion for the next night, and went back up to the room, where I met Daniel, our stateroom host. Daniel was a GREAT stateroom host, and was always there to help, make towel animals, give us chocolate, or give the traditional "Hello Princess Danielle!" greeting (Princess Danielle... I could get used to this)! ;-)

I went back into the room and wanted to go out on the verandah, but for some reason, I couldn't get the verandah door open, so I called maintenance and made a total fool out of myself. To open the verandah door, don't pull on the handle, because that locks it! To avoid following in my footsteps and looking uneducated, open the verandah door with the handle facing DOWN, not to the left! LOL

While up on deck the Goofy pool had looked VERY welcoming in the 90- degree heat, so I got into my bathing suit (I had learned from the Wise and packed it in the carry-on) and went up to the Goofy Pool. I swam around for 30 minutes from 2-2:30 in the afternoon and had it ALL TO MYSELF! Now who else here can claim that? LOL I was the very first passenger to swim in the Goofy Pool on Voyage 96, and since everyone else was eating lunch or still trying to find their way around the Massive Boat, I had it all to myself. Noticing that the slide was open at the Mickey pool, but nobody was using it, I decided to try my luck and see if I could get down the thing without being scolded, since I'm 14 and the age limit is 12 (I know, naughty naughty but it's really not fair... I've met 12 year olds that were MUCH bigger than me... What's the deal with that anyway? The slide looks sturdy enough... Oh well). So, after going to the Mickey pool I figured that I'd have to go up on Deck 10 to get to the top of the slide. Big mistake.

You know the Sunscreen Song? "If I could tell so-and-so ANYTHING, it would be this - WEAR SUNSCREEN." Well, my advice would be WEAR WATER SHOES. Especially on the Disney Magic, on Deck 10, in the middle of the afternoon. You see, I didn't pack water shoes, in fact, I don't OWN water shoes. But I climbed up Deck 10 and sure learned a lesson for not bringing them (or maybe it was just getting me back for trying to ride the slide unlawfully). As soon as I got out on the deck, I noticed a nice burning sensation in the bottom of my feet. It wasn't THAT bad, just comparable to that of Blizzard Beach pavement in the heat of the afternoon. As I got further out on the deck, I sure got a shock though. The wood here is HOT!!! HOT HOT HOT HOT!!! By then I could have cared less about the slide, but I was too far away from the stairs to go back to Deck 9, which is comfortably covered by Deck 10 (except for the pools that are out in the open, but you don't have to worry about burning you feet in a pool). I ran/hopped/walked on my toes (a nice skill I learned in ballet) around the front of the aft smokestack, in which I hoped to find some shade in the shadow of the massive thing. WRONG. It was the wrong time of day and the shadow was facing the other direction. Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Eventually, I couldn't take it any longer and hopped up on the railing.

A woman walking by with her children (all in shoes, might I add), gave me a look of that said, "You're crazy! You're going to fall backward!" but I didn't care. I didn't want serious burns on the bottom of my feet for the rest of the cruise. I scooted along the railing to the stairs on the other side of the ship, which I slid down back into the comforts of Deck 9. Whew! I ran to the Goofy pool and jumped in. If you saw an intense cloud of steam rise from the Goofy pool that afternoon, you'll know it was just my feet. I looked at the bottom of my feet as soon as I got in the pool and they had cooled off a bit, and they were bright red. Luckily, they only really hurt the first day, but they stayed red for the rest of the cruise. So much for the slide.

I swam a bit more, then went down to the room and met up with Nana. It was about 3:30, so we put on our life jackets, which took about 15 minutes (LOL) and went to Assembly Station L, arriving about 10 minutes early. Since we got there early, we got a nice seat on a box of life jackets, so we were happy. :o) Like clockwork, the not-so-nice sounding alarms went off, so we sat there. And sat, and sat, and sat through the drill. What fun. Eventually it was over, and we were free to go back to our room. Woo-hoo!

When we got back to the room (we took the stairs this time, since it was just two decks and the elevators were packed), we were glad to see that the luggage had arrived, so Nana went to work hanging up all the dinner clothes for the voyage. After I found my dress for Lumiere's, I headed up on deck for the Sailaway Celebration! The horn blew "When You Wish Upon a Star" and we were on our way!!! Wooooo-hooooo! :o) I went back down to the cabin and got in my bathing suit again, and went on a 30 minute swim to the sounds of the Heart's Desire Band that was playing on the stage. It was then 5:30 and I had dinner at 6, so I rushed down to the room, took a shower, got in my dress and down to Lumiere's I went!

We were at Table #62, a table that seated 8. We met our tablemates (I'm horrible with names, just bear with me LOL). There was a girl my age, Stephanie, Stephanie's Mom, a 4-year-old named Danielle (now how could I forget THAT name? Hee-hee), her Dad, and a couple on their honeymoon. Although I can't remember names, I sure can remember their wedding date since it was the same as my Uncle's... June 5th. We all sat down and did our introductions, and met our servers, Dwight and Mario. Stephanie and I breathed a sigh of relief when we were offered the choice of a Kid's or Adult menu, since I had never heard of anything on the adult menu!

Mario took our drink orders (Sprite for me!), and never had to take them again for the entire cruise. For the rest of our meals he just remembered our drink of preference and brought it out! Yay! :o) Dwight pointed out some of the things we might like on the menu, all of which sounded fancy and foreign. After all of the speil, I said matter-of- factly, "Well, I want chicken fingers," which got a chuckle from the table. LOL I'm not one for exotic new foods, although I did try the French bread they had as an appetizer... The only new food I tried for the week! LOL Soon the chicken fingers and fries were there, along with BBQ sauce which Dwight found for me.

When dessert time came around, I was stuffed and wanted to check out the Mickey Mania game show that was at 7:30. It was 7:15, and I noticed that everyone who was too full for dessert was leaving, so I excused myself and got out of the dress and back into REAL clothes! Woo-hoo! :o) I went down to Studio Sea to check out the game show, and was dismayed to see that it was played with teams, and I knew Nana was still probably eating dessert. Darn! I left, hoping that they'd offer it later in the cruise so Nana and I could play.

I wandered around the ship for quite awhile, which was an attraction in itself since it was so massive! I thought about seeing a movie (Doug's First Movie, Bug's Life, The Other Sister, and Rushmore played during our cruise) but decided against it since I knew I could rent movies at home. I went to the very front of the ship on Deck 10 which overlooks the crew pool, and is about as close as you can get to the "I'm the King of the World!/I'm Flying!" scene from "Titanic." Be sure to check this out on the first night, since there's nothing like it! It's great, but it's windy! Hold on to your hats and glasses, folks... ;-) On the way back, since there's a day at sea, you're going at a measly 5 knots, so there's not much of a wind unless you're travelling through a hurricaine which is pretty unlikely, and you'd be stupid to go outside during a hurricaine, but that's beside the point... By this time the ship was really rocking, and making a few guests sick, but luckily it never did bother Nana or I... That's good since we didn't even pack Dramamine. Oh well.

It was about 9:45, so I went to Common Grounds for the "411" thing. I expected it to be more like an organized "Get to know everyone" thing, but pretty much it was an overview of all the rules. Fun. Luckily, I already knew one person (Stephanie) from dinner and she had met another person so I got to meet her, too, and so on and so forth. At about 11:00 we all headed down to Studio Sea, which is pretty much filled with the 13-17 age group from about 11:00-1:00, so be prepared!

I said "good night" to everyone and left Studio Sea at about 1:00, since we'd be getting into Nassau at 9:00 and I wanted to be awake enough to get it on video. Adding a very comfortable bed and the toned- down pitch and roll of the ship equals a great night's sleep... I was conked out in no time!

June 15, 1999

Instead of a telephone awakening me that morning as expected, it was Nana telling me that we were arriving in Nassau early that got me out of bed. I ran and grabbed the video camera, just as we were approaching the harbor (you know, where that lighthouse is). I got some video of Atlantis and the two cruise ships already at the dock. After that, we got dressed and headed up for breakfast at Topsiders. I loved Topsiders for breakfast, but never got used to the fact that the Cast Members there put your plates, napkins, and silverware on the tray *for* you and then let you go on through the line. Ah, the life of luxury! ;-)

In remembrance of my traditional breakfast at the Beach Club, I got a chocolate donut (the frosting is very soft and messy... Parents of small children beware) and some sausage links. Yum! After breakfast, we went down to get the beach bag, and it was almost time for us to go ashore in Nassau so we went down to Deck 1 and were among the first ones off the boat.

As soon as we walked off the gangway, we were greeted in true Nassau style. UGH! Taxi drivers swarming everywhere, screaming at you to let them drive you to wherever. Nana let me do the talking, and I soon learned that the drivers thought they could take advantage of me since I was younger. Hmph! Not so. I couldn't find one driver I would trust with one of my socks, much less my business, so we headed on to the water taxis. I noticed some of the braiders eyeing my long hair, so Nana and I quickly chose the water taxi that seemed the most seaworthy, paid our $6 per person fare, and hopped on, safe from the braiders, or at least for awhile. Now usually, I would have labeled this as a mistake, but the taxis on land (or at least their drivers) didn't look or act any better, so I didn't fret. So far, I was NOT impressed with Nassau, and was longing for a big sign to drape over me that stated, "NO I DON'T WANT TO BUY ANYTHING OR DO ANYTHING THAT INVOLVES LOSING MONEY! GO AWAY!" Sadly, no such sign was available, so I waited for the water taxi to head on out. Future cruisers, making a sandwich board type sign like that would REALLY come in handy for your day in Nassau, you might want to consider it!

After about a 20-minute wait, the boat was officially filled way beyond a safe capacity and we set off for Paradise Island. A man had sung and played his guitar (his guitar playing was far superior to the singing... Ugh) before we headed out, and requested tips. Usually, we would have tipped just following the rules of good manners, but we were told when we boarded the boat that we would incur nothing else that would require money, which was a lie, so we kept our hands away from our wallets, along with most of the others on board. Then, yet another man got up and gave us a "tour" of Nassau, all of which I knew already and some of which was a lie, so we didn't tip. Call it bad manners if you like, but I wasn't about to tip someone who got up and told lies. Hmph.

We FINALLY got off at Paradise Island near the entrance to Atlantis. My main concern was parasailing, and I heard that the parasailing at the Paradise Island public beach was cheaper and better, so we headed there. We walked about a mile (almost getting hit by a few cars along the way, since we weren't used to motorists driving on the left side of the road), and finally got to the entrance of the beach, a barely noticeable sand path. Oh, the luxury.

When we finally got settled down, I went into the nearby hotel and changed into my bathing suit. The public bathrooms were being cleaned (Someone CLEANING something in Nassau... I should have got photographic proof!), so we were able to use the bathrooms inside the hotel. I went back outside and swam in the ocean for awhile, and yes, it really is that clear! :o) Be prepared if you have a weak swimmer in your group, since the currents I encountered here were really strong, even at the shoreline where it's only a few inches deep. Also, the depth of the water cut off really sharply from 4 feet to about 7 feet, so you might want to keep that in mind.

At the public beach, there were a few shops and a hair braider's hut... Luckily you weren't pestered here, so I was at ease. There was a man with a clipboard standing in the middle of the beach, so I went to him and inquired about water sports. I was in luck! The parasailing boat wouldn't be arriving for another 30 minutes, so I decided to go on a banana boat ride. If you don't know what a banana boat is, just think of a big inflated banana with people on the back that is pulled by a speed boat. Fun! It was $10 for 15 minutes, which was cheaper than I had paid on previous trips to other beaches. After about a five minute wait, I was on the back of a banana with some other people and away we went! Since I was on the back end, I got a better ride than everyone else, which was lots of fun! If you go on a banana boat, be prepared to hold on tight, since you're going fast and the waves are big! Woo- hoo!!! :o)

As soon as the banana boat pulled back up to shore, I noticed the parasailing boat coming up so I ran back to where Nana was camped. We brought my ticket to the water sports guy, and found out that Nana could come out on the boat with me for free, so we put all the stuff back in the beach bag while the man flagged down the boat. We walked out into the ocean for a bit (which was a weird sight, since Nana NEVER swims or gets out in the ocean). We climbed into the smaller boat, which took us out to the larger boat. Once on board the larger boat, it sailed a little bit down the shore, where we met another small boat with a couple in it that were going to parasail also. We talked to them and found out that they were on the Carnival ship that was docked right beside the Magic. Cool! I stepped into a harness, which was hooked to the deflated parasail (or whatever you call that big parachute-looking thing LOL). The harness was a pain in the butt (literally), but I guess I had to wear it to stay up. Oh well! ;-)

As soon as we got to a prime location, I walked to the back of the boat and sat down. The boat sped up, and up I went! I went up into the air pretty quickly... It only took a minute or so to get up to where the cable was fully extended. Parasailing is a BLAST! It's not like a roller coaster, since the thrill of it is how high up you are and how beautiful the sights are. If you aren't afraid of heights, I recommend this 100%!! If you ARE afraid of heights, it's a guaranteed way to get over that fear! :o) It's BEAUTIFUL up there, and you get to see all the fishies swimming around down in that clear water! It's so much fun... You truly feel like you are flying! What an experience! :o) All too quickly, it was over. I was afraid that it might be hard on my knees when I landed back on the boat (My knees dislocate sometimes... Yeow! That's an entirely different story), but it was very smooth! Nana was nervous at first since she really didn't know what parasailing was all about, but she felt fine once I got up in the air, and took quite a few pictures. But she was "still glad that I got back down on the ground, though," LOL!

As I got myself out of the harness, the other couple went up, one at a time. I got video of them, and soon we went back to the smaller boat, which took us back to the shore. We were beginning to get hungry for lunch, so I went to the bathroom inside the hotel and changed back into regular clothes, then Nana and I went out front to see if any of the taxi drivers there were a bit more sane looking. We saw a driver standing beside his van who actually didn't run up and attack us, so we decided to go back to the pier with him. He was really nice, and gave us a nice tour of the city without going out of the way (Wow, that has to be a first in Nassau! LOL). Too bad the drivers at the pier weren't as nice. Oh well.

We made a quick dash back onboard the Magic so we wouldn't be bothered any longer. Whew! Nassau itself, from what we saw at the pier and in the cab, wasn't nice AT ALL, but Paradise Island was really nice, and if you can't afford the $25 per person cover charge just to get into Atlantis, much less do the water sports, I'd really recommend it. Plus, if parasailing is your main concern like it was mine, I'd definitely go to the public beach, where it is the same price but you get to stay in the air longer.

Nana went up to the room, while I headed to Pluto's for my usual lunch of a hamburger and fries. I sure wish that all non-alcoholic drinks on the cruise, not just water, coffee, and juice were included in the cruise fare. Because you have to pay for soft drinks, at Pluto's you had to wait in line for not only your food, but then get in another line for your drink. Luckily you're not charged for them in the dining rooms at dinner, though. Also, there was only one or two people manning the food section of Pluto's, which wasn't too good since there were about 20 people in line! :-S

After eating, I went down to the room and got in my bathing suit and headed up to the Goofy pool. (I know... Naughty me for swimming right after eating. Oh well, I'm still alive to tell about it so all went well!) It was people soup, but it was really hot out so I decided to swim a bit anyway. My little purple container/necklace from Blizzard Beach really came in handy when I went swimming and when I went to Castaway Cay, since I needed a place to keep my Key to the World, but I didn't have any pockets in my bathing suit and I certainly couldn't hold it the entire time! Since the container was waterproof, I didn't even have to worry about my signature getting wet and coming off! Just thought I'd share some more about the importance of getting a little purple thingie... :o) No, this time I didn't even TRY to go sneak on the slide, since I had learned my lesson from that the day before! ;-) After about 30 minutes I went back down to the room and washed my hair, then headed up to Common Grounds. I found one of my friends there (I can't believe this! I'm forgetting everyone's name! This is horrible!), so we went down to her room. She had got her entire head braided, and it looked really cool, but it would have taken them HOURS to do mine, plus everyone said that it hurt really bad, so I'm glad I steered clear of the braiders.

We went to Scoops and got some ice cream, and I got the usual cone of vanilla with rainbow sprinkles on top! Yummy! :o) After finishing the ice cream, we went back to Common Grounds for the DigiHunt that started at 3:00. Our team had to figure out a code, which led us to the statue of Mickey in the atrium. One member took a really stupid picture of the rest of us surrounding Mickey with a digital camera, and we went on our way upstairs. I think it was supposed to last longer, but it was pretty unorganized so I went back down to the room. I picked up the video camera, and went on a walking tour of the ship, which turned out really good, but makes me sad to watch it! :o( I MISS THE MAGIC! :o( They were taking the lifeboats down and testing them, so I got some video of that, and then got ready for dinner.

Nana and I went down to the atrium to get our pictures taken with the statue of Mickey, since we had forgotten to do so the night before. After that, we headed up to Animator's Palette, which was all black and white, of course, and said "Hello" to all our tablemates! I really wanted to go to the Disney Trivia game at 7:15, but didn't know if I'd be able to make it in time since dinner was so long. I cleared that from my mind and looked over the menu. I told everyone of my adventures parasailing, and Stephanie said that she and her mom had went on the Caribbean Queen Snorkel Boat shore excursion. I talked to many other people who had went on that excursion also, and they all had good reviews of it, so I decided that I would probably do that when we went again. Anything that bypasses downtown Nassau is fine by me! :o)

I got the spaghetti which came with a huge meatball, which was really good! :o) Mario was there to cut it up for me, even though I would have been glad to just twirl it around my fork as usual. The life of luxury yet again... ;o) Danielle and I got finished early (I guess eating fast just comes with the name), so the servers brought us a Mickey Premium ice cream bar with rainbow sprinkles on top!! Yummy! It was about 7:00, I had had my dessert and Nana was stuffed, so I considered going to the trivia show at 7:15. I hated to leave before the big finale, but I really wanted to do the Disney trivia, so we decided to head on out, promising everyone we'd stay for dessert the last two nights! ;-)

I really hated leaving Animator's Palette early, but looking back on it it was the right decision, since it gives us yet another excuse to cruise again, plus we had a great time at the trivia show, and Nana says it was one of her favorite times on the cruise. We got to Studio Sea just in time, still dressed up from dinner, sat down, and were given a piece of paper and a pencil. There were 25 questions, most of which I knew the answers to, that came directly from a Disney Trivia game (The Wonderful World of Disney Game or something like that). Even though we didn't win (the winners must have been REALLY Disney smart heehee), we still had a great time.

When we left Studio Sea, the Captain's Party was almost over in the atrium lobby, so we ran down the grand staircase and got line to meet Captain Henry. He was really nice, and Nana was sure to comment on how smooth the sailing had been so far (liar liar pants on fire... That ship was ROCKING the night before! LOL). We got a really good picture which we bought in Shutters later on. After meeting Captain Henry, I ran upstairs to change for the Teen Party Cruise. I went up to Common Grounds about 15 minutes early and sat down with some of my friends. When 8:30 rolled around, we all went outside and were told to get our tickets ready. DARNIT! Since I was in such a hurry to change to get up to Common Grounds in time, I forgot my ticket in the room! I barreled down the steps (no time for the elevator!) and to the room, where I was in and out, with ticket in hand, in a flash. I got back upstairs in less than a minute and nobody missed me! LOL

For anyone in the 13-17 age group reading this that is planning on going on the cruise, I would definitely recommend going on this excursion, since I'd say about 95% of the teens who went to Common Grounds went on it. When everyone had turned in their tickets, we headed downstairs (taking the stairs and making as much noise as possible, of course). We walked off the ship and headed for the boat, which looked a whole lot more seaworthy than our water taxi a few hours before! Most of the group I was with stayed on the upper deck and talked, but when a good song was playing I'd run downstairs and dance stupidly with another group of friends! :o) Everyone went downstairs for the Limbo Competition, which I didn't even try to participate in since I was afraid my knee would dislocate. I would have been so angry at myself if my knee had dislocated the night before Castaway Cay... That certainly wouldn't have been cool! One of the employees on the boat was REALLY good at doing the limbo, and could clear the bar when it wasn't even a foot off the ground. How cool! :o)

At 10:30 we arrived back at Prince George Wharf and boarded the Disney Magic once more. For some reason, everyone got separated since about half of us took the elevators up and the other half took the stairs. I took the elevator on up to the room, where Nana was out on the balcony. I begged her to come up to the Deck Party, but she was tired so I said good-bye and headed on up to Deck 9.

On the night you are in Nassau, the Goofy pool is covered up and there is a HUGE party up there from 9:00-1:00. Since I couldn't find any of my friends I just went up on the wooden covering for the pool and talked to people at random and did the Disney-made-up line dances to the music. They set off fireworks at 11:00, and everyone on the other ships watched enviously. A CM said to "Yell and scream and tell everyone in Nassau that when Disney does a cruise, THEY MEAN BUSINESS!!" Of course this was loud enough for everyone on the other boats to hear, also! Hehehehe ;-)

After the fireworks I went to Common Grounds and jumped in one of the conversations... There was talk about the new Tiki Room... A general comment was Anti-Zazu-and-Iago... Sorry Bruce and Ronnie, you can't win 'em all! :o( The topic turned to Nassau, and most everyone in the group said they disliked it. The people there are just too pushy and rude. I've heard the people all throughout the Caribbean were generally like that towards tourists, but they can't be like that EVERYWHERE, can they? Does anyone here know of an island that would be better for this cruise? There HAS to be one somewhere (Castaway Cay! Castaway Cay! Two Days! Two Days! Heehee).

I left a little while later and played Ping-Pong with some of my friends from the Party Cruise, and then we headed up to Deck 10 overlooking the crew pool and sat and talked for awhile. After about an hour, some decided to go swimming, but I knew swimming at 1:00 in the morning wouldn't go over too well with Nana, so I decided to call it a night. Goodbye (and good riddance) Nassau... We'd be on Castaway Cay before we knew it...

June 16, 1999

The phone rang at 7:30 AM, and I ran outside on the verandah to get my first view (in person) of paradise, also known as Castaway Cay. Wow! I could see the family beach from a distance, and I couldn't wait to get off the boat and go swimming in that beautiful water! :o) Nana and I got dressed and headed up to Topsiders, where I got the usual chocolate donut and sausage links. Once we got through eating breakfast, it was about 8:15, so we went back down to the room and got the beach bag and went on down to Deck 1. We were cleared to go ashore at exactly 8:30, and (finally) stepped foot on Castaway Cay! :o)

After picking up some towels that a CM was handing out, we headed immediately for the post office, where we were the first customers of the day. We sent two postcards back home, one for me and one for Mom, and I just got mine yesterday, which was really depressing! :o( After that we ran to the tram stop and caught the very first tram out to the family beach. As soon as we got there, I ran ahead and claimed a nice spot up front near the water, fairly close to the snorkeling lagoon. We had a lounge chair, a regular chair, a hammock and an umbrella, so we were quite happy! :o) I went over to Gil's Fins & Boats, where there was no line since it was so early in the day. I purchased my snorkel equipment for the day and headed on out, since I had heard that early in the morning was the best time to go, before all the sand got stirred up.

Not wanting to tire myself early, I headed out on the beginner's course first. There were lots of fish swimming around, and since I was quiet I didn't scare them back into their concrete homes. The concrete balls that Disney has put at the bottom of the snorkeling course have begun to attract coral, and I can imagine how beautiful they will be in a few years when the coral has had some more time to grow! :o) Heading on out a bit further, I spotted a sea turtle swimming near the bottom of the water, so I decided to follow it around. After about 5 minutes it got used to be and started swimming closer to the surface, at one point swimming about 3 feet directly under me!! How cool! Another 5 or so minutes later it headed out towards the family beach area of the water, so I decided to continue along the trail, not wanting to lose my way (which would be easy since I was without my glasses). I never saw that turtle again, and I scolded myself for not bringing an underwater camera so I could have taken its picture! :o( Oh well, maybe next time.

About 30 minutes later I headed back to shore, where Nana was relaxing with all our stuff, talking to a lady beside her. I walked down to the teen beach to see if any of my friends were there, but it was pretty much deserted so I headed back. Be prepared... The shallow water on this end of the family beach is ROCKY! Ouch! As if my poor feet hadn't been through enough already... :-S There was an interesting looking playground (for kids of all ages) set up in the middle of the water about 50 feet out, so I swam out and explored it. There were no slides into the water (boo-hoo), just basically nets that you go out over the water on using your hands. When people could no longer stand the pain of the ropes, they'd drop into the water, often forgetting it was saltwater because it was so clear and leaving their eyes (and mouths) open. Yeow/Yuck! I had already discovered this when my snorkel got filled with water and when the mask leaked, so I avoided the problem here! ;-)

I headed back to Nana's encampment and we went to look at the shops, being assured that the lady beside us would watch our stuff. First we went to She Sells Seashells and bought a few shirts and some postcards. I REALLY wish they sold more Castaway Cay merchandise... I was disappointed, as was others, in the selection. It's such a small shop, and it doesn't do the beautiful island justice! We then headed over to Cultural Illusions where Nana bought a few little decorative things for the house (a REALLY cute fish made out of a coconut, to name one). I bought some Bahamian coins and a Bahamian dollar because they looked interesting (the coins with the one dollar bill were $18, while the coins with the $3 bill were $24... Someone isn't doing their math correctly! Heehee).

We headed back to the beach and I relaxed for awhile in the hammock... Ahhh, *this* is the life! :o) We were really intelligent and forgot the sunscreen in the room, but the lady beside us had some and urged me to put it on, so I did. It was about 11:45, so Nana and I went back to Cookie's BBQ for some lunch. I really like Cookie's... They had all of the Kid Food you could ever wish for! :o) Basically, if it can raise your cholesterol to an astronomical level, you can eat it here!! Yummy!! :o) I went through and got a hot dog and a GIGANTIC chocolate chip cookie. They didn't have any soft drinks (grrr..) so I just got water. Nana and I snagged a nice picnic table right by the entrance to the buffet line, and started to chow down. Yum! We saw Danielle and her dad come up, so we invited them to come sit with us. They dropped off their stuff at the table and headed through the line. A few minutes later, Stephanie and her mom came up, so they sat down to eat with us too! Just like dinner! :o) I expected the other couple to come along, too, and that would have made everything complete, but we never did see them. :o( I guess they were at the adult beach. Little Danielle had BBQ ribs, which would usually spell trouble since she's only 4, but she did quite a good job at keeping herself clean. I was impressed! :o)

When lunch was over, Danielle's dad said I was welcome to use their raft since they wouldn't be using it, so I gladly took him up on the offer and went out in the water for about 30 minutes, almost falling asleep! The current had pulled me and the raft all the way down the family beach, so I swam back to our encampment, where Nana and Danielle were "baking sand cakes." I decided on going snorkeling again, so I donned my equipment and swam out on the advanced trail. The beginner's trail was really beginning to get murky, but the advanced trail was much clearer since not as many people had went on it. I saw quite a few larger fish, but alas, no turtle. The little map and species guide they gave me broke off and sunk down to the bottom, so I was a bit lost. I headed back about halfway through the course (that course is LONG! It took me about 45 minutes to swim half of it so plan accordingly).

It was getting really hot so we decided to head back to the ship, snapping a few pictures along the way on the tram ride back. Nana went back on board the ship, while I went to the observation area and took a few pictures of the back of the ship and Goofy's painting job. I boarded the ship one last time, saying goodbye to Castaway Cay. What a place. Like everyone else on the ship, I really wish that they would offer longer visits there and forget Nassau! It was WONDERFUL! :o)

I headed back up to the room and showered off. After relaxing on the verandah a little, I headed up to the Women's Opposite-Hand Ping-Pong game that was supposed to be going on at 4:30, but I never did see a gathering of people so I decided to head up to the front of the ship to the Bridge Overlook to get video of Captain Henry sailing us out to sea. There were quite a few people up on Deck 10 overlooking the bridge, so I decided to stay there. I got video of us pulling out, and I also captured the horn blasting "When You Wish Upon a Star" two times in the background. Everyone was really sad to be leaving Castaway Cay, and we all waved sorrowful good-byes to the Cast Members on the island that were waving at us. Boo-hoo! :o(

I went back down to the room and got dressed for dinner, then Nana and I headed down to Mickey's Mates since it was opening at 5:30. I got more T-shirts, along with a Captain Mickey stuffed animal, a DCL beach towel, and a DCL photo album. They had DCL watches, but none of them lit up. I'm searching for a new Disney watch, but I want one that lights up like the Mickey one I have now, but the only ones that I can find that light up are digital, which I don't like! I can't seem to find one anywhere! :o( Can anyone give some suggestions on where to find one?

After buying all the loot and lugging it back to the room, we headed down to Parrot Cay for dinner. I had the chicken fingers and fries yet again, and the Kid's Dessert Cake for dessert (yes, we stayed for dessert!! Woo-hoo)!! ;o) Everyone was gushing about how wonderful Castaway Cay was and how sad we were to be leaving and how we wished we stayed there longer and, well, you get the picture! We told the head server about our desire to stay at Castaway Cay longer, and he said that that was the #1 complaint that they had received (Hmmm... Then wouldn't it make sense to fix it?) and to make sure to put it on the comment card we'd be getting. I made a mental note to do so, and continued with the meal. Yummy! :o) After dessert, I went upstairs and changed back into regular clothes and put some lotion on the sunburn that was beginning to creep over my skin. Ugh-oh.

We headed down to the Walt Disney Theater which was beginning to fill up for Hercules the Muse-ical, one of the two shows we were interested in seeing. I scanned the audience and found two seats down in the front section by the family from Lexington, so we went down and said our "hellos" and watched the show! This show was really funny, and I enjoyed it. Most of the audience didn't pick up on the "Waaaah! Katzenburg stole my lunch money!" punch line but I did! Heehee. The male Muse was a hit with the audience... He was really funny. When it was over we headed on back to the room. Lots of the ship's population was heading up to the ESPN Club for Game #1 of the NBA Finals, but I figured I could catch the score later and spend some time doing something else. I certainly was doing something else, but it wasn't what I imagined...

As soon as I got back to the room, I reached for the purple Blizzard Beach container which had my Key to the World in it, and it was GONE! Oh no! Nana opened up the room with her key and I dropped the video camera off and ran downstairs to Guest Services, where I got a new (bright yellow) card so the lost one couldn't be used as a charge card/room key. I filled out a "lost item" form and went to the Walt Disney Theater again to look for it, but it wasn't there. Darn! I went back up to the room to tell Nana everything was OK since I had got a new card and the old one was invalid, but she was gone. Darn again! At that point it wasn't that bad of a situation, since the only things I had lost were my purple container, glasses cleaner and $10 cash that was in there, but I was really going to miss the container since I didn't have anything to put my (new) Key to the World in when I went swimming! :o(

Nana came back to the room about 5 minutes later, with the container in hand! It turns out she had went to Guest Services also, and as soon as she got there a woman was turning it in! Cool! I scolded myself for not keeping up with it better, and went down to Shutters to look at pictures. After Shutters I went to Common Grounds for awhile, where I saw quite a few nasty sunburns! :-S My sunburn, which thankfully wasn't as bad as most of the others, was really beginning to hurt, and I was tired from such a busy day, so I decided to say good-night to everyone and turn in early (11:30 LOL). I set the wake-up call for 11:00 the next morning, just in case I felt like sleeping around the clock (a far- fetched idea, but who knows). There was only one day on the ship left, and I wanted to enjoy it!

June 17, 1999

Surprisingly enough, I woke up around 8:15 that morning with no problems at all! So much for the wake-up call, huh? Nana was already awake out on the verandah, so I went out to tell her that I was up. I put some more lotion on my painful sunburn, and let it go in before we got dressed and went up to Topsider's ONE LAST TIME for breakfast. :o( I got the traditional chocolate donut and sausage links, and decided to eat outside at one of the tables they have set up overlooking the huge trail of foamy water our ship was making. After a yummy breakfast, the wind knocked over my glass of water and soaked my shorts, so I headed back down to the room (using that convenient aft staircase to avoid embarrassment). After getting new shorts, I met Nana back up at Topsider's and took her down to Deck 8 to show her the Walt Disney Suite, since that was something she was interested in seeing. The stateroom host wasn't cleaning the room, so the door wasn't open, but she did get to see the door and how huge the suite was, since there were no other doors in sight. Waaaah I wish I could stay here, nobody here would happen to have any pictures of the inside, would they?

After that, I was determined to get Nana to do SOMETHING, so I took her down to the Promenade Lounge for the "How to Care For Your Fine Jewelry and Watches" seminar, since that's her type of thing. We ran into Cruise Director Jacqui along the way, and told her how much we were enjoying the cruise. I guess Disney has hired a new Cruise Director, since Jacqui was definitely not male and she wasn't annoying, either. Females always do the job better! ;o) Heehee I couldn't resist. After dropping her off, I headed back up to Mickey's Pool (no, not to experiment with the slide again... Never!!) for the character appearances. There were no characters, but there was a guy with one of those life-preserver thing-a-ma-bobs, so I stood in line to get a picture, since I hadn't had a picture taken of me with one around my neck yet.

I went back to the room and grabbed the camera and went around the ship, snapping pictures all the way. That took quite awhile, so when I was through I went to see how the jewelry talk was going. They were through, so we went back to the room to pack. We packed earlier in the day, since we had a busy evening ahead of us and we didn't want to waste it packing! I didn't go to the debarkation talk, since I knew I could watch it later on at my convenience on the TV in the room instead. I went down to Guest Services and picked up all the forms we'd need (I didn't have to stand in line since they have it all set up there for you to grab at your convenience). I must admit, I grabbed one of each color luggage tag, except for orange, which I got 4 of... 3 for the luggage and one for me to keep. Naughty, naughty, I know... But they all look cool hanging up on my bulletin board! ;o)

I went back up to the room and filled out the forms (We had to do two Customs Declarations since Nana and I have different last names... Ugh). Instead of trying to rack my brain for all the amounts of every purchase we made since stepping foot on the ship, I decided to wait for our account statements to come that night so I could fill in the exact amount without all the math. After filling out the forms and affixing all the luggage tags, it was about 11:30, so we headed down to Studio Sea for the 12:00 Mickey Mania show. I know, I know, it was a little early, but we got a front row table (heehee) and watched the kids practicing for their "Discover the Magic" show. Cute. They changed the props from those of the "Walk the Plank" show to the Mickey Mania ones, and we were ready to go!! When they asked for volunteers, Nana and I jumped up and screamed like mad, and we were picked!! YEAH!! We were the Green Team, so we got the Goofy hats, which kept falling off. Ugh. We were announced as "Danielle and Nana from Kentucky" (Heehee... I expected someone to say "Kentucky Fried Chicken!" since that was the usual remark from anyone we told about our home state. Strange enough, we don't even have a KFC in our town, and we live in KY! LOL On the same note, everyone asked me if I was from the UK or Australia! Now how on Earth do they take a Kentuckian accent, which I hate, and make it sound British or Australian!? That's what I asked... Oh well Heehee)!

In the first round, the host would ask an easy Disney Trivia question, and the first one to buzz in would get a chance to answer. If they answered correctly, they would get a harder Bonus question related to the same subject (Example - What is the Disney series starring Goofy? Goof Troop. Bonus - What was Goofy's original name? Dippy Dawg. Stuff like that). In the second round, we went down off the stage where they rolled out 4 maps of World Showcase, one for each team. There were magnets for each country all jumbled up in the middle of the lake, and we had to see who could correctly arrange all the countries around the lake where they belong in less than 30 seconds. Since I'd been to WDW so many times, this was really easy for me and I had it done in less than 15 seconds! Woo-hoo! The last round was similar to a game on the D- Show CD ROM, where we viewed a messed up, blurred picture of a Disney character and it slowly came into focus. The first team to recognize the character buzzed in, with help from the audience, of course. No, I didn't have an advantage since I have the D-Show CD-ROM, since the characters here were different than they were on the CD, so everyone had a fair advantage! At the end of the game, Nana and I had 700 points, so we won!!! Yay!!! We got medals that say "I'M A WINNER!!' with the DCL logo in the middle hanging from a red, white, and blue ribbon. Yay!! My Disney Trivia knowledge finally paid off! :o) (Many thanks to Ron & Marie for maintaining the Disney Trivia Mailing List... I wouldn't have known half of the questions if I hadn't read every single question that had been on the list since Day 1... Heehee) A CM got some pictures of Nana and I standing behind the Green Team podium with our medals, and we went on our way back up to the room.

We deposited our medals in the room, and I headed up to Pluto's one last time for lunch! :o( It was as good as ever. I went back down to the room and watched the Debarkation Talk on TV, where I learned that I needed to take my DCL tags from the first day OFF to avoid them being sent back to WDW when they got back at the airport! Yikes! I got a comment card from Daniel and filled it out, giving all good comments except to Nassau. I made sure to write to spend more time at Castaway Cay, then headed down to the lobby and dropped it in the box near Guest Services.

I went back to the room and packed a bit more, and at 3:00 Nana and I headed up to Deck 9 for the Ice Carving. This was so cool! I don't see how anyone could transform a 100-pound block of ice into a beautiful sculpture of two flying eagles, but it most certainly can be done! I ran back down to the room to get my video camera, and got some great video of the completed sculpture. I went down to the room to drop off the camera, when an officer came over the intercom announcing that there would be an emergency drill for some of the ship's personnel, to not be alarmed. It scared me at first, since he sounded all serious and didn't get to the point about it being a drill quick enough! LOL After that, I headed down to Studio Sea to see the end of the Mickey 200 vegetable car race, where I ran into the family from Lexington yet again. It's a small world after all... We watched the rest of the race, then I headed on out, where I caught rumor that there was a helicopter on top of the ship!! Wanting to check it out, I took the elevator on up and ran outside, where surely enough was a helicopter flying away! At first I was worried that someone had been hurt, but I found out that it was just an annual Coast Guard drill. It turns out Captain Henry had made an announcement about it, but it was so loud in Studio Sea I didn't hear it. Oh well. The helicopter lingered around in the sky for quite awhile, causing a bunch of annoying noise, until it finally flew away about 45 minutes later.

At 5:00, we got dressed for dinner and I went downstairs to Mickey's Mates to buy a plush Captain Minnie to go with Captain Mickey. In the long check out line, everyone was commenting on how this was their 5th or 6th "last visit" to the shop. Heehee you never can get enough Disney merchandise! ;-) I looked down at the line for Guest Services while waiting for the elevator... It was GIGANTIC and stretched down the hall towards Parrot Cay. I guess most of the people there were waiting to charge tips to their account. We just put cash in the little envelopes and saved a bunch of time! I don't see why other people don't consider this idea, since they DO accept cash tips. I went back up to the room for a little bit to get a picture of the BEAUTIFUL water we were sailing through... Nana had to drag me away from those great dark chocolates that Daniel had left so I wouldn't spoil my dinner!

On a 4-day cruise, the last night in the restaurants is the "Disney's Master Chef Series" night, where the menus feature different foods from WDW. The kids menu had this great sampler platter that had a chicken strip, two miniature hot dogs and a minute steak with fries. I didn't know where to start! LOL By the time dinner was over, I had no room for dessert but those that ate it really enjoyed it. The only problem with the Master Chef Series menu is that it lists who the chef is and where in WDW they work, but it doesn't go to great detail explaining what exactly it *is.* LOL Dwight and Mario had their work cut out for them when they had to explain the menu to 8 confused people! ;o) When the photographer came around, he got a picture of the whole table which turned out really good! We didn't say our tearful good-byes to them just yet, since they told us they'd be our servers at breakfast the next morning.

I went back upstairs and put more lotion on my sunburn... Ouch ouch ouch! We headed down to the Walt Disney Theater 30 minutes early, since I heard Disney Dreams filled up quite early. The theater was almost PACKED already!! Luckily we found two seats down in the middle of the front section and grabbed them. A girl in front of me recognized me from the Green Team, as did many other people throughout the night. I guess since I was concentrating on the questions I never realized how many people were in Studio Sea during Mickey Mania! The show began at 8:15 on the dot. Wow! I won't give everything away, but this is a MUST- SEE show! What everyone says is true... This show is GREAT! I'm glad I got so much of it on video. At the end all the performers got a standing ovation, of course. Disney Dreams is the show that really defines Disney Magic... It would be a great addition to the Magic Kingdom, wouldn't it? After the show, I made sure to HOLD ON TO MY PURPLE THINGIE and went upstairs to drop the video camera off in the room. I wanted to go to the "So You Think You Know Your Music" game at Studio Sea, but by the time I got down there it had already started. I was heading back for the elevators when all of a sudden Captain Mickey came out, so I hopped in line immediately, of course. The line was gigantic, but luckily I got in it as soon as he came out so I only had to wait about 5 minutes and got my picture taken! Woo-hoo!

I went upstairs to get Nana, and we headed down to Shutters to buy pictures. Every picture we had taken was great, so we bought them all! LOL Thank goodness we didn't have many pictures taken by the ship's photographers or we would have gone broke! ;o) I brought the pictures up to the room, and decided to go for one last dip in the Goofy pool (waaaah)! It had started to sprinkle rain, but I didn't care since I would be getting wet in the pool anyway (duuuh). It was actually kinda chilly out so I tried to go in the hot tub first, but hot tubs and sunburns don't exactly mix, so I got out just as quick as I got in! ;o) Since it was a temperature in which you couldn't fry eggs on the surface of Deck 10, I was thinking about trying my last-minute luck on the Mickey slide, but then remembered it closed at 8:00! :o( Boo-hoo! Maybe next time they'll lift that stupid age restriction... I swam a little bit, and the water that would have been too cold for anyone else felt really good on my aching sunburn!

After about 30 minutes of swimming I headed back downstairs and took a shower (one last time!) and headed back up to Common Grounds at 11:00. I met up with everyone and headed down to Studio Sea (one last time! Waaah) for the Party in Paradise at midnight. They handed out awards (Flirtiest, Worst Sunburn, etc.) and did a slide show of pictures taken throughout the cruise. It was soooo sad! :o( At about 1:00 I said my good-byes and headed back up to the room, noticing that they hadn't taken the luggage yet. Oh well. I fell asleep to the rocking of the ship one last time...

June 18, 1999

The phone rang one final time at 6:15 that morning. I walked out on the verandah and looked out upon Port Canaveral, seeing the Little Red Boat being pulled up to its spot. I packed all of our last-minute things in the carry-on and said good-bye to Room #6080. Luckily, we had already said good-bye to Daniel the night before because we didn't see him again. We headed downstairs to Parrot Cay for breakfast, and sat down at good ole' Table 62 one last time. Everyone was sad to be leaving, but anxious to get home. I had fried eggs (egg whites only, just the way I like them!) and sausage for breakfast... To my dismay there were no chocolate donuts, but I knew I'd have to break the donut/sausage tradition sometime, so the last breakfast was a good time to do so.

After breakfast we all said our good-byes to each other and Dwight and Mario... All of us were on separate airlines and the honeymooning couple were heading to Universal for the day since they had a late flight, so we wouldn't see each other at the airport. :o( We headed on out to the lobby, which was a madhouse, and stepped off the Disney Magic. :o( :o( :o( WAAAAAH!!! We went down the escalator to a sea of baggage, where Nana found a porter and I found the luggage. We cleared Customs in about 3 seconds (so much for working so hard on the paperwork) and headed out to the Delta area where we checked our luggage at the curb, and boarded the DCL bus. From the time we left Parrot Cay to the time we were sitting on the bus was about 5 minutes. It almost went *too* fast. :o(

We got a good seats in front of a TV and settled in for the ride back to the airport. We waved good-bye to the Magic, and I made sure to say (loudly) "See you next year!" The drive to the airport didn't seem too long since they played a video with Disney trivia on it, which I learned a few new things from. On the video, Disney doesn't waste any time trying to get you to come back... "Rediscover the Magic... Rediscover the Wonder..." LOL! It also told us about the Castaway Club membership packet we'd be getting in the mail, which I'm STILL waiting for. Hmph. Soon we arrived at the airport, where we hopped off the bus and got our carry-on luggage from down under it. We took the monorail out to the gate, and when The Monorail Guy wished us a safe journey home, it really sunk in that we were leaving! :o(

We checked in at the gate and sat awhile... Then I headed to the Disney Stores to make sure that there was NOTHING that I was forgetting to buy. There wasn't anything else that I wanted, so I went to get Nana and we ate lunch at Burger King, our introduction back to Real World Food. UGH! :-S We went back to the gate and waited some more, until the family from Lexington came and we went to talk to them. We looked at each other's pictures, and they were nice and kind and let me use some of their Aloe Vera (a necessity we forgot to bring) so the scratchy plane seats wouldn't be as painful. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Eventually the HUGE Boeing 777 pulled up, and about 30 minutes later we were finally able to board.

When I got to our seat I rejoiced in seeing that it was in a bulkhead row, so we would actually have some leg room! Yay! So much for cruise lines not being able to get good seats, huh? :o) My joy soon turned to dismay when I noticed that Nana and I didn't have TV screens like everyone else. You see, on a Boeing 777 plane, there are little TV screens on the back of the seat in front of you for you to play games or watch programs on. Since we were in a bulkhead seat, there was no TV in front of us, but the remote control for it was on the armrest, so I asked a flight attendant where it was, and she pulled it out from in between the seats. I had successfully made myself look like an idiot yet again. Hmph. As it turns out, the TV didn't do us much good anyway, since the plane was only a month old and nothing had been installed in the TVs yet except for the little program that showed us the route of the flight and exactly where we were. Oh well, I guess that was better than nothing! Too bad the games weren't installed... :o(

2:25 (the scheduled time of take-off) came and went, and we still sat at the gate. The pilot came over the intercom and announced that we wouldn't be taking off until 3:10 because of fog in Atlanta. Great, just great! So much for a leisurely layover in Atlanta. We sat at the gate some more, and eventually took off at 3:15. At least we were off the ground! The flight wasn't too pleasant, thanks to a little girl behind us trying to teach school (loudly), but we eventually landed at the good ole' Atlanta airport (UGH) at 4:45. Our next plane took off at 5:20. Usually this would be bad, but the flight attendant said that the gate was E5, and we were arriving at E12, so it wouldn't be too bad! We got off the plane and strolled to E5... Delta Airlines service to Singapore. What!? SINGAPORE? We asked the gate attendant what on earth was wrong, and he informed us that the flight to Lexington is at Gate B5, not D5, scheduled to leave in 20 minutes. Oh, dear. Nana and I ran like mad down the concourse to the train stop and boarded the awaiting train, which whisked us off to the B concourse. Once we got there, I ran ahead and told Nana to flag down one of the cart thingies, since there was no way she could run all of those gates. All of the laps I've run at Band Camp really came in handy here, since I had to run at full speed all the way down to Gate B5. When I finally got there, I collapsed in a chair and told our friends from Lexington about the mistake we had made. After catching my breath, I went to the counter and checked in. Whew! A cart pulled up with Nana on the back, so everything was OK. I went back and sat down on the floor to rest a bit from my little run. That was when they announced the flight was delayed.

"WHAT!?" I exclaimed. "I did NOT just run all that way for nothing!" Yes, Danielle, you did. UGH!! I banged my head on the ground for about 30 more minutes, until we were FINALLY able to board the plane. We left Atlanta (good riddance) and got back in Lexington 45 minutes late, where we met up with Mom again. We were finally back home. What a trip!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my trip report as much as I have enjoyed writing it! :o) Throughout the trip, a lot of "bad" things happened. I don't view them as bad things though, since now there are no more "what- ifs." What if my flight gets canceled? What if I wait for Fantasmic an hour and a half and we get evacuated because of a lightning storm? What if I lose my Key to the World? Stuff like that. I now know exactly what to do in all of those situations, so there's no more what-ifs. Woo-hoo! :o)

A WDW/DCL vacation is like no other, and now a WDW vacation by itself without the cruise just won't be the same. A cruise without all the great friends we've made won't be the same, either, but with every cruise we'll just make new ones. Although I wish our vacation next time would be the exact same (except for the canceled flight and Fantasmic... We've learned, we don't need to learn again LOL), there is one thing I'd like to change, and I've E-Mailed Disney about it, too. LONGER ROUTES! It's such a shame that the Disney Magic and Wonder will be sailing the exact same 3/4 day routes. They're beautiful, huge ships, and it takes much longer than 4 (much less 3) days to discover what all they have to offer! 7 days! 10 days! 12 days! Something longer! If they ever offer a different route, Nana and I will most certainly go on it, and that's why we haven't booked our next cruise just yet... The remote possibility of Disney changing their routes before summer 2000. Is there ANY chance that they could do this, or do I just need to book early, forget about different routes and get that nice early-booking discount? Who knows...

Oh yes... Next time, we will most CERTAINLY leave from Louisville, KY instead of Lexington, so we can get a non-stop flight to Orlando, and bypass Atlanta, since we haven't had many good experiences with that airport! ;-) LOL That's an understatement, huh?

Another thing, thank you all so much for all of your nice compliments! I've had so many comments from people on RADP, the www.disneyinfo.com boards, and the disneyeverything and disneycruise mailing lists... So many that I haven't got to reply to everyone. Thank you so much... Everything you've said is so nice! :o) That's pretty much everything I wanted to say... Thanks for reading!! :o)

Part 1... WDW/DCL 2000 Coming Soon! :o) (346 Days 7 Hours 28 Minutes 11 Seconds)

Danielle Thomas

Danielle@searnet.com


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