Quickie with Mickey - Disney Wonder 2/11-2/15, 2004
Back to the cold and home routine, still dreaming of being on the Disney Wonder last week. Memories keep the dreams alive!
Our family, Chris 50, Paul 50, PJ age 15 and Tyler age 13. We (especially me Chris) are addicted to cruising..this makes #15 for Chris, 12 for Paul and 10 for the boys. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian and this is our first Disney cruise.
Booking: made the booking for this trip with our favorite cruise agent. As always things went smoothly from the initial deposit to the final disembarkation. Booked this trip in May 2003 after finding out the boys would have 2 - ½ days along with Friday off school in Feb 2004. Had some free tickets on Airtran that we were able to book without restrictions after a battle with their customer service. A Disney cruise was always hard for me to justify with their higher than other cruise lines price tag. Not having to pay airfare and doing a short cruise made it a reasonable option. We also booked category 11 quad cabin to keep the costs down. Disney deposit of $200 pp was more than the usual bite for a short cruise. Made the final payment less hefty to pay near Christmas which was a blessing!
Surprise!! Didn't tell our boys PJ and Tyler about the cruise. On Christmas day they had a treasure hunt around the house and found clues, when they would go to the location found by clue they discovered a piece of a puzzle.. at the last location they got the last puzzle piece, a countdown calendar and also the passporter guide to Disney Cruise line along with gold foil chocolate coins inside a treasure chest. The puzzle pieces together would form a picture of the Disney Wonder and said "Surprise, you're going on a Disney Cruise 2/12/04!!!!"
Wednesday Feb 11, 2004 -- Luckily the weather gods were cooperating and we were able to escape this horrible winter in Maryland with our scheduled flight on Airtran. Arrived in Orlando 11:30 AM, picked up our van (free upgrade!) from Avis and were headed down to our 1 night stay at Pop Century by noon. Stopped by the Albertson's grocery, lunch at Chick-fil-a and then on to the newest Disney resort. Pop Century only opened mid Dec so we were looking forward to the experience. Check in went very smoothly, we were also impressed that the Disney Quest tickets that we had ordered from Ticket Mania just 3 days before were tagged to our reservation and waiting for us along with a few local Orlando discount brochures. We had requested to be in either the 70's or 50's buildings... we were given 1st floor in the 50's section, 'lake view' room not too far from the bowling pin swimming pool. Headed to the pools for a nice swim after getting our luggage inside our new 'home'. Pools were heated but just barely enough to be comfortable, clouds and sunshine were playing tag with each other all afternoon. Still so nice to be outside and warm after months of the miserable cold weather in Maryland. Back to room for a change and then we were off to the food court for an early dinner. Decent food at the food court, had the shrimp lo mein ($6.99), and Mom's night out tv dinner ($8.99) -turkey and mashed potatoes, brought soda from our room to drink. Hopped on the bus to Magic Kingdom afterward. Wanted to do some resort hopping and get a bit of Disney magic before our cruise the next day. Great statues of Mickey all decorated in different styles at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. It was already 6PM and the park would be closing in an hour. It killed the boys to be that close to the park and all the rides and not go inside. We decided to head over to Fort Wilderness and went to the landing to get on the larger boat there going across the bay. Nice evening for a boat ride, sun was setting, we could see Wilderness Lodge, Discovery Island and soon arrived at Fort Wilderness. Nice beach area there, toured the gift shop and then it was time to see the Wishes fireworks. Joined the crowd gathering on the beach, had a good view of the Ariel fireworks but not the ground displays. I had thought they would pipe in the music soundtrack from the Magic Kingdom but unfortunately not. Still impressive fireworks, many unusual shaped ones and colors. Afterwards we boarded the small boat launch that headed to the Contemporary resort. Short ride, Peter Pan was on the pier there waiting for us to arrive. Inside the Contemporary we head up to get on the monorail. Quick wait and we are riding the short distance to the ticket center. The Monorail cars look ok but smell HORRIBLE. Urine, BO, I don't know what but these cars were nasty! Transferred to the monorail going to Epcot (also stinky) and enjoyed the mini-overview of the park there. Walked to the bus depot and soon we were headed back on the bus to Pop Century. Disney transport is efficient and not too frustrating. PJ had to stop by the food court to try the tied dyed cheesecake, yummy!, Tyler opted for ice cream and I had a frozen coke (good deal for those with refillable mugs). Then off to our room, pretty comfortable beds, fluffy pillows - a bit cozy for 4 but manageable... need to rest up cuz tomorrow is the day we will sail on the DISNEY WONDER!! Best of Day: fireworks over Magic Kingdom Worst of Day: waking up at 5:30AM to head to airport
Thursday February 12, 2004 Embarkation Day!!! Up early, cloudy day outside. We head out and find the $3.99 breakfast buffet at the Ponderosa West of Disney World on 192. Decent breakfast choices, more food than we needed. Took a detour to the Animal Kingdom lodge on our way back. WOW, this is a great resort. We enjoyed the lobby area, walked around the pool grounds and out to the Savannah overlooks. Not much animal life in sight tho, we did see a few pelicans and also zebras in the distance. Nice gift shop too. Would be our first choice for a deluxe resort stay ($275 per night value season Savannah view, ouch!) Back to Pop Century we pack up and since we have express checkout no need to stop by front desk. Back on the road we are headed east to Port Canaveral... many toll booths later (probably about $5 total) we can see our first glimpse of the ship from one of the high bridges before you reach the coast. Ya Hoo! What a wonder to see for real!!! Have to go a few miles down A1A to the Avis office to drop off. Smooth process, the shuttle driver takes our luggage and we are soon on the way back towards the ship.
Arrive in the Disney drop off parking lot at 11:30 or so, hand over our checked bags (make sure you have them tagged for the ship) —sun is peeking out now, we are really skipping over the short walkway to the terminal. Usual security checks getting in to the terminal we go up the escalator and are now inside the beautiful check in terminal. Impressive, nice facility that Disney has built for their ships. No check in line, takes about 10 min to get our Key to the World Cards. Meanwhile Captain Mickey has arrived next to the large model of the Disney Magic. Boys get in line for their first of many photos for the weekend. We head over to the ears embarkation portal, short wait later we have our welcome aboard photo done, walk on the ship and have them announce "Please join us in welcoming the Mitchell family" with applause from cast members. Nice touch! We are sent down the hallway to Parrot Cay but before we get there they have us exit to the left and head to the elevators going upstairs. I was a bit disappointed after reading the embarkation buffet is nicer in Parrot Cay...but we were fine with the food upstairs.
Up on Deck 9, we join the 'cafeteria' lines getting food from the beach blanket buffet. 1st impression about this buffet is not good. Much more congested and less appealing than just about every lido deck restaurant we have been on. Seating crowded, lines resemble a high school cafeteria. Disney could have planned this area much better. (like their nice food courts at the value resorts Disney World). Food was good tho, enjoyed the peel and eat shrimp! Cream puffs and had a nice table on the aft deck in the sunshine overlooking the port. Ice tea, fruit punch and water are the options for drinks. Ah, sunshine, good food and no worries. Life is GOOD! Do a quick walk around the top decks, no big crowds in the pools yet. We head down the elevator to deck 7 and find our home away from home for the week, stateroom 7035. (inside category 11) Like the layout of the stateroom with the large bed, sofa and table with a pull down bunk above for our youngest son. We have been spoiled on the last few family cruises having the boys in an adjoining stateroom so having a quad was a bit too cozy...overall we managed fine. Luggage has not arrived yet. We sit on the beds, declare them comfortable and discover the little Disney touches. Like the bedside table lamps with mickey ear design on the shade. Nice propeller alarm clock, Table can rise up and down to adjust height. Safe in the closet nearest the vanity desk that you can operate with any magnetic strip card. We put our passports and $$ inside. Use the bathroom and discover we have a 'too efficient' flushing mechanism on our toilet. If you happen to just lean back slightly on the seat cover it will engage the push button for the flush! I warned everyone about the 'surprise' Not sure if this was unusual for the fixtures in the staterooms on the Wonder, but we hadn't had this problem before. Kinda scary!!!!! Like the bathroom tub with handheld shower, nice design.
Decide to do a walkabout on decks 3 and 4, find all of the restaurants and show lounge locations. Nice big show lounge for the evening shows. Stop by wavebands and check on our table for dinner since we had only received 3 tickets in our room instead of the 4 for our family. Everything ok, have a table for 4, Early seating, and rotation TAP as expected. Head to cabin and wait til we hear the signal for the muster drill. Usual hike down the stairs to deck 4 and off to our station. Lucky to be in the shade, fairly painless we muddle together in our orange vests waiting to be released. Back up to the cabin we have 3 out of 4 suitcases and begin the putting away process. Not much shelf/drawer space, I was wishing I had brought a lot more things on hangers to get things put away easier. We manage to get it all stuffed away, (remember next time not to pack so much stuff!!) head up to deck 10 for the sailaway party. Get the boys some virgin colada drinks in the Disney souvenir glasses. ($14.95 for 2) Most of the action is next to the family pool on Deck 9 but we prefer our less crowded view from above on deck 10. Have the cameras out, bubbles to blow. The energized activity staff has music playing and dancing on deck. The crowd is pumped up for our sailaway. Mickey and friends join in and soon we hear the 'when we wish upon a star' signal from the ship's horn. Off we slide into the channel out to sea. Sun is shinning brightly and seas look calm. Hard to believe after almost a year of planning this long anticipated cruise is on it's way!
We stay for awhile then return to our cabin to get dressed up for our first dinner in Triton's. Would have preferred not to have to dress up this evening and had a more relaxed evening for our 1st night aboard. The boys and hubby in their dress shirts and ties, I have on my dressy top and pants and off we head to Tritons. Easy to find midship on deck 3. We are escorted to our table #68 bout dead center in middle of dining room. Our servers Cheddormar and assistant Banjong introduce themselves and bring us the menu for the evening. Nice formal atmosphere in room, I can view the large mosaic of Triton and the ocean life in front of me. We quickly order and have an enjoyable meal. (I had garlic beef tenderloin, crème brulee, excellent!) Cheddormar (who asked us to just call him Cheddar) was great with the boys, he brought Tyler's dessert under a covered platter and made him wait for a few minutes til he was able to uncover his 'surprise' a Mickey ice cream bar and sprinkles! He loved the special treatment! Sun was setting as we had our meal.
Back to cabin for a change to more comfortable wear and then off to see the 1st show, Hercules the Museical in the big theater on Deck 4 forward. Drinks, snacks etc. Are available outside for a reasonable fee. We find seats in an aisle row and wait for the fun to begin. The cruise director Jackie in her dress whites introduces the show. She's a bit more formal than the other CD's we have had before..guess Disney likes that image. We preferred the other cruise activity staff with 'regular clothes' and less stiffness. (party animals!) What a great show,, we laughed and enjoyed every minute. My son PJ a true Disney fan was so impressed with the show. Afterward we sent them to Common Grounds to participate in the teen activities... unfortunately my boys are not ones to mix in with new cruise friends. Their loss I am sure, we did see lots of teens on the ship and the activities we saw listed in their teen navigator seemed creative and fun. Paul and I head to wavebands and watch a bit of the 70's show, do a quick run around the top deck watching the stars and enjoy our first night at sea. Back to cabin 7035 all are in bed around midnight. Our cabin steward Gusti has our bed turned down, lights on low and chocolate treats on the pillow. A towel animal , sorry can't remember this night's treasure but we did photograph it! was waiting on our bed when we returned from dinner. Like the privacy curtain between our bed and the bunk for the boys. (bring a clothes pin/clip if you want to no break between curtains.) Gentle rocking of the waves sends us off into dreamland- Best of Day: Welcome from the Disney cast members when we board the Wonder. Worst of Day: Muster Drill, necessary but not magical.
Friday February 13, 2004 (Yikes, I just discovered it was Friday the 13th writing this review, luckily we had a GREAT day no bad luck for us). Paul and I up early around 6:30AM or so and head up to get some coffee from Deck 9 near the beach blanket buffet. Supposedly a 24 hr drink station here. Nice insulated foam cups with lids you can put on to carry the beverages around deck. We walk a bit on deck 10 but my flip flops are slipping on the damp plastic decking and we decide to play it safe..go on deck 4 (teak wooden promenade deck) and enjoy some nice quiet sea time before we head to cabin to wake up the boys. Amazing very calm waters out there can barely see a ripple in the waves, have rarely seen it this calm. We leave the boys in bed and go off to Triton's for breakfast. Nice full service menu, we have a table with a big window, another couple from Fla/Illinois joins us for the meal. I have a Denver omelet, just ok, I am guessing they use either some form of liquid egg mixture or powdered eggs from the texture. Bring toast, delicious pastries etc. along with the ever filled to the brim coffee cup..just what we need to start our day. Decide to wait to head into Nassau after we go to see the movie "Miracle" in the big theatre lounge. Boys head up to the beach blanket buffet and get their fill up for the day with the eat all you want offerings on deck 9. Head to the theater and am slightly disappointed the preludes store is not open to sell my hoped for popcorn. Only 10AM but movies and popcorn are a must for me. Theater only fills about ½ of the seats and soon our movie is on the screen. Love Kurt Russell, always my favorite actor from back in teen age days! He sure has aged in this film, hope it is just cosmetic aging.. he's my age so can't look THAT old! Great movie, I am not a sports fan but this one is a very intense inside view of the Olympic sports world, especially during those years of the 'cold war' between US and Russia.
Stop by cabin to pick up our beach bags before going to the 'all American buffet' on deck 9 beach blanket buffet. Good food offerings, mashed potatoes and turkey which are Tyler's #1 favorite foods. Have pasta selections and taco buffet as well, Good desserts. We enjoy a nice lunch overlooking the bridge to Paradise Island. Great sunny day and probably mid to upper 70's...wow, I had searched weather reports prior to our cruise and all of them had forecast rotten rain, wind and clouds for our entire trip... Glad that they were "off course" We grab towels from the pool area and take the elevator to deck 1 gangway. Off the ship and head down the pier. We are instantly grabbed by one of the taxi drivers in the information building. We have plans to go to the Paradise Island beach and then hope to visit most of the Atlantis resort. Our family joins another group and we all fit inside the 15 passenger van, a quick ride over the Paradise Island bridge. The driver drops off most of the passengers near the Atlantis casino, he takes us past the Sheraton to the path for the beach access there. We take the path over the sand dune and are soon on the soft sandy beach in front of the Sheraton. We head up to the Atlantis beach and it is a mass of bodies... having been to the resort before I have a bit of knowledge of where to go. We head up the stairs and over the resort area along the beach. Cross over a bridge where an Atlantis employee asks for our room key. I had been at the Comfort Suites a year ago and just happened to save the room plastic key from our trip, I flashed that at the employee and we were nodded on. I had also saved the Atlantis bracelets from our prior trip, had hoped we might be able to recycle them and use them for a few unauthorized trips on the water slides....but unfortunately the colors we had saved did not include the black bracelets that we discovered were the color of the day when we arrived. Oh, well. We went past the large Mayan Slide and over to 'Cove Beach' this is a small beach cove with less activity, lots of chairs. As expected we were not hassled here and enjoyed a little beach time. Water was a bit chilly but fine once you ventured in. Relaxed in the sun and just treasured the beautiful beach time, warmth and break from winter. Packed up, showered off the sand and headed back towards the main casino building. Came to the entrance to the 'dig' aquarium, there were 3 employees waiting outside there and we anticipated them asking for some type of key or bracelet. We just walked past them and no one said a thing. Beautiful aquariums and lots of fish displayed, always an impressive tour. We passed several tour guides and groups coming from the lobby area. Took our time walking thru, then exited to the lobby, visited the impressive bathrooms there- went thru the front entrance and a van headed to the port was waiting. I had the 'shotgun' seat and was glad I managed to buckle the seat belt before we took our wild ride back to the port. Insane traffic and instant lane changes made me a bit scared, the woman driver asked me if I would like to have to drive in Nassau..NO WAY JOSE! We were happy to exit the van at the port. Short line checking id's heading out on the pier.
Back on the ship...shower and grab a slice of pizza, relax with a rum and coke (brought along our own sodas and rum for in cabin use) LIFE IS GOOD! Dinner tonite is at Animator's Palate. We find the restaurant on deck 4 aft and arrive to see the original black and white creations. The boys are very excited when they detect any changes in color or pictures during our meal. I guess I was expecting something different, maybe 1 color changing all over the restaurant at a time?? I enjoy the maple glazed salmon and Paul begs our head server Michelle to bring us the recipe. (which she graciously does the next evening) Strawberry cheesecake or strawberry shortcake for dessert are excellent as well. Another great meal and good service, thank you Cheddar and Banjong. Change attire again and relax a bit before heading off to Buena Vista Theater for the Golden Mickey's show. We all enjoy the red carpet interviews of passengers on their way inside the theater. Excellent characters and story lines give us another great evening of entertainment. It is nice that even having teenagers they can be excited to see the shows and get photos with some of the characters on the ship. Stop by the game show Mickey Mania afterward, too bad PJ didn't get picked, he knew most of the answers. One duo won by a landslide and was awarded the treasured winner medal on a ribbon. Paul and I decide to try to get a bit of bubble time in the hot tub post show. Up on deck the tropical deck party is in full swing by the family pool. We are at the adults pool and only a few passengers are sharing the evening there with us. A musical duo is playing some Jimmy Buffet music, we can hear the crowd partying in the distance but prefer our more subdued hideaway. Jump into the hot tub and a half dozen teens decide to join in. I question them about their being over 18 to be there and they act like they don't hear me. A few minutes later a Disney cast member comes by and gives them the heave ho out of the adult's tub. I was glad that they had it under control. Still some grumbling from the teens but they all managed to exit in a few minutes. Hot HOT HOT!!! Almost too hot, bubbled til our skin was feeling boiled in oil, dried off and then went over to catch the dance crowd partying with Mickey. Great action from the Disney activity crew. Wish I had their energy. Ate a bowl of ice cream from Scoops and checked out the display for the midnight tropical buffet—decided to just grab a burger from Pluto's instead. Stuffed again, we did a late night watch from the Promenade deck before heading for bed to get a good night's sleep before our day on Castaway Cay. A towel animal elephant wearing MY sunglasses is reading a book on the bed, more chocolates on the pillow. Sad to have another day gone of our wonderful cruise..but looking forward to the long awaited day on the island tomorrow. Good night, life is GOOD! Best of Day: soaking in the hot tubs under the stars of Nassau. Worst of Day: traffic scares returning from Paradise Island.
February 14, 2004 Valentine's Day on Castaway Cay Up early again around 6:30AM and head up hoping for some sunrise photos over Castaway Cay. Ship is still a few miles out from island. We grab coffee and head down to deck 7 aft over look to watch them dock the ship. I am so happy the sun is shining and the waves are just a gentle ripple on the surface. Having missed the private island of Coco Cay on the Sovereign 2 yrs earlier I had worried that the weather might prevent our day on CC. The wonder gently slips into the channel next to the dock, you can see all the trams on their journey to pick up supplies etc. for the day. Get the boys up and moving and we all head to Parrot's Cay for breakfast. Very tropical atmosphere in PC , perfect for our day ahead. Think I like this restaurant the best of the 3, cute portholes with palm tree accents, light fixtures with parrots and bananas, comfortable chairs with palm trees carved into the seatbacks. We have a nice table for 4, order our drinks and head to the nicely displayed buffet of foods, Omelet man available for special orders, great jelly donuts, YUM! This is a great place to start your day! Back to cabin we lather on the sunscreen, grab our snorkel gear, put on our matching Cruisin' with Mickey T-shirts I had made and head down to the gangway. No lines getting off ship, get our beach towels for the day, (too bad they only have the small white pool towels instead of the large excursion towels we have had on the other cruiselines, probably worried about theft??) jump on the tram waiting to take us to the family beach. Head down beach past the playground in the water and grab a couple lounges, chairs and an umbrella for our family home in the sand. Paul takes a dip and decides to check out the snorkel area. Boys go in and Tyler swims out to go on the rope hanging part of the playground. Water is a bit nippy going in but clear, that beautiful aqua can't believe it is real color. I am on the chair soaking it all in...the beauty of the island, the ship off in the distance, the reality of this day at last on Castaway Cay. Even better than I had imagined for so many months ahead of time. I wished I could just stay here forever. Take the boys up the beach and get them tubes ($6 each) for the day. These were very well used and it was great to see these overgrown kids play in the water together as they have done since toddler days. LIFE IS VERY GOOD! Paul drags me in the water and we swim up to the snorkel trail, it is a LONG ways out there but we see the underwater Mickey, treasure chest, schools of fish and enough sealife to keep it interesting. Take the swim under the ropes and surprise the boys from behind the water playground on our way back.
Almost noon, we send the boys over to the Cookie's BBQ for lunch, tell them we will be back by 3PM—stay together and be safe—Paul and I wait for the tram to take us to Serenity Bay. It is a wonderful memory on the tram, listening to the disney music take us away to our slice of paradise. Feel a bit guilty about leaving boys behind, but with their many cruises experiences and being level headed young guys we are comfortable with their being on their own for a couple hours. Lifeguard is on the beach a few yards from where we were staked out for the day. Both boys are excellent swimmers. On to Serenity bay. We decide to have lunch and enjoy the small picnic area. Good steak and salmon sandwiches. Salads adequate, enjoy the cookie dough frozen yogurt, fruit. Just enough. Walk over to the beach and grab a couple lounges under an umbrella. Someone had nicely deserted their foam mat in front of us so we take that 'freebie' into the water and take turns soaking in the wonderful bay. Bit of seaweed and rocks on bottom. Perfect perfect perfect, it is almost too beautiful to believe. This is probably my favorite cruise port/beach/place on planet earth that I have had the privilege to visit in my 50 yrs of life. Paul orders me a Konk Kooler in the cute coconut cup to sip on the chair when we are drying off. We see a couple crew members in the distance swimming on their adjacent beach, nice that Disney provides that piece of paradise for their hardworking crew. Want to savor each minute, it all passes way too quickly. About 2:30 or so we are back on the tram to the family beach. Find the boys lounging in the shade, they had snorkeled, eaten, swam and explored. We go past the bike rental and take some more photos looking back towards the ship. So pretty, I want to find a place to hide on the island and stay for a month, year, century?? Or so!!! Pack up our gear and stop by the sea shell's shop for a couple Castaway Cay souvenirs. Jump on the tram, get some stamps for the postcards. (need cash 55 cents each, post office closes at 4PM, beach closes at 3:30, all aboard at 4:30) take a photo of the welcome to Castaway Cay sign, and the cute pole high mailbox. I don't want to have to leave but we join in the crowd heading back aboard the ship. Castaway Cay, a dream come true!!! Tyler grabs pizza and brings it back to the cabin for all of us. We take turns getting in the shower to wash away all the sand that has come back on the ship with us.
Next bummer is having to pack. Get out the suitcases and start stuffing it all back inside. Have a large trash bag in the boys duffle for all of the dirty clothes, have to leave out the shoes, clothes etc for the next morning. Prepare the tip envelopes and also the small boxes of valentine hearts for our servers, and room steward. Head to dinner for our last one on the Wonder. Tonite in Parrot's Cay. Steel band playing island music. Our servers greet us and give us the menus for the night. I have little Valentine gifts for the boys. It is another great meal, favorite choices makes it hard to decide what to choose. Crab Nuremberg is the choice for all 4 of us as appetizer. YUM! Michelle brings us our requested recipe for Maple glazed Salmon. I choose Prime rib and then the crème brulee cheesecake for dessert. All too soon we are saying goodbye to our servers, rewarding them for their great service with the tips (had prepaid with vouchers from the purser's desk, very reasonable for the quality of service we received). They danced for us and we exited the restaurant, very sad this Valentine's day was almost over. Stopped by the atrium and bought the Disney Cruise Line limited edition Valentine's cruise 2004 pin. ($10.50) cute and will decorate our scrapbook page. Change into clothes for tomorrow and finish packing the luggage, put the Mickey tags on the handles and put them in the hallway for delivery. Off to the theater for the Disney Dreams show. Very touching show, an absolutely magical experience that brought tears to my eyes. Great Job dancers and performers on this ship. We were seated in a row with some preschoolers and they were screaming at every character entrance during the performance. Really the only time we felt the numerous kids on the cruise was waiting for the shows. Packed to the limit in the evening, you have to get there about 20 min ahead to get a decent seat. Lots of row saving by individuals not Disney friendly!! PJ goes to atrium afterward and takes the photographs of the many characters at the farewell greeting. We stop by the internet terminals trying to get our boarding passes for airtran the next day. Unfortunately the server was down, we had to wait for the internet manager to come and clear our account. She was nice enough to phone our cabin that evening to let us know they had restored the connection. We were able to log on and get that taken care of on Sunday morning before we disembarked from the Wonder. Paul and I head to the wavebands lounge for the 'match your mate game' Have seen this many times on prior cruises, Disney wins for the best stage props, cute lattice white benches and flowers. 3 couples with newlywed, 5-10 yrs, and 10+ yrs marriage are chosen. Liked the Disney question ''where was the most unusual place you and wife 'discovered the magic.' One couple claimed to have become 'magical' at the Disney World parking LOT, mid day!! Brave ones!!!!! We stopped by the hallway outside the Cadillac lounge and have a couple appetizers from the table there. Listen to a song inside the Barrel of Laughs club by the piano duo...not that funny to us. Wish Disney would have some adult comedians?? Instead. Dance to a song by the Seabands (Seawaves?? Have to check my navigator) group. The activity guide Teeshia is hosting the 80's party. What a HOOT...she has this huge afro wig on and is a great party starter for the small crowd. Enjoyed the boa dancing girls, the John Travolta 'body floss' with white jackets. It was a most memorable Valentine's Day!!! We walked out on promenade deck for a last night view of the ocean and stars. I am feeling sad to be almost finished with the cruise. I spend so much time (thank you disboards) researching the trip, I have mentally planned each minute ahead of time and I still have a hard time accepting the cruise is something that has to end!!! Back to the cabin, we are welcomed by the 2 swan towel animals that make a heart shape. Boys are bouncing around. PJ chattering about all the characters he has seen and taken photographs of. They are excited to be going to Disney Quest tomorrow. Lights out, I drift off to sleep, a bit of rocking and rolling on the ship tonight. Good night. Best of Day: floating on a mat at Serenity Bay. Worst of Day: Packing up the suitcases.
Sunday February 15, 2004 -- Disembarkation Day Alarm off at 6:15 along with last wake up from Mickey. Quick shower, pack up all the carryon's and head to our last meal on the Wonder. Breakfast is in Parrot Cay again. Welcome Home menu. PJ's whining about not wanting to leave the ship. I agree!!! Good food and service, it is nice to be able to thank our servers and give them the goodbye hugs for all they have done to make this a memorable cruise. Thank you Cheddar and Banjong, service ranks tops of the 15 cruises I have been on. We stop by shutters and get the photo of the boys with Captain Mickey and Mate Minnie with the Wonder in the background. Also buy the one of the family together on Castaway Cay wearing the Cruisin' with Mickey T-shirts I had crafted ahead of time. Go to the internet cafe and log on to get our seats on airtran along with boarding passes. It's only 8am and part of me just wants to linger on the ship til they MAKE us get off, but we decide to head up the deck and join in the short line exiting from the Wonder. No holdups with customs, they grab our declaration form and glance at the passports. In the terminal I am amazed at the orderly easy luggage display. This is the easiest, best, most organized and hassle free disembarkation ever. Disney wins hands down by a mile!!! It was a painless experience, (besides the PAIN of having to get off at all). We roll the suitcases over to the tent in the adjacent parking lot and all too soon the Avis shuttle is there to pick us up. We gaze at the few early passengers coming to the terminal with envy...wish we could turn the clock back 4 days and have it be our turn to be getting ON instead of OFF. Smooth check in with Avis, no upgrade this time. We squeeze everything into the compact Oldsmobile Alero and drive west to Downtown Disney. More tolls later we are at Disney Quest around 10AM. PJ checks to see if they are opening earlier but finds the ticket office won't open til 11:30AM. We drive to the Marketplace, spend some time and $$ in the world of Disney store. Take the boys back to Disney Quest with their tickets around 11:15. Say we will meet them at 2:15 in the giftshop of Disney Quest, stay together!! Paul and I go back to the marketplace. I drag him into the Once upon a toy store and have a lot of fun filling the box with the Mr Potato head parts. The nice castmember repacks my purchase and tells me to head back for more things to include. I have that box bowed out and the top barely closes-- can't wait to play with MY new toy! We walk thru most of the shops and then stop at the Wolfgang Puck's to share a pizza and soda. Circle around and then get a great hot fudge Sundae at the Giradelli's (spelling??) ice cream shop. Diet starts tomorrow!!!!!! Drive back to Disney Quest and wait for boys to show up, they are right on schedule at 2:15. Back in car, fill up gas tank, prices for gas have gone UP this week! And drive off to I- 4 to the tollroad to the airport. Circle around terminal A 1 time before finding the rental car drop off. Quick return to Avis. Short line checking in with Airtran. We are at the gate about 3:30 for our expected 5PM flight. They then announce our flight is delayed due to storms out of Atlanta. Expect to depart at 6PM. We wait at the gate and then decide to buy diner around 4:45 PM. Order a pizza—I head back to check at the gate and now they tell me they will be boarding soon and leaving at 5:30! Our pizza comes out of oven at 5:10, we carry it to the gate and wolf down a piece just before our row gets called for the plane. Pack up the remaining pizza to eat on the plane and we join in the crowd. Uneventful flight home, we wait for about a 1/2 hr at the baggage claim for luggage. Just delayed enough to meet up with my sister returning from her cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. Nice to have a rendezvous in the terminal with her.
Welcome home, it's 26 degrees outside. We open up the suitcases and pull on the sweatshirts and windbreakers we had brought along for the cruise but never needed. PJ is still in shorts, I try to get him to change into pants but he isn't ready to make the change. Outside we freeze for 10 min til the shuttle arrives to take us to the car. Home sweet home, thermostat at 60 takes a bit of time to warm up..I make everyone hot chocolate with marshmallows for comfort. BOO HOO! Don't wanna be home... have a mountain of laundry, groceries to buy and a pile of bills on the counter to pay. I huddle under a blanket and wade thru the hundreds of emails in my acct. Log on to the disboards to get my post cruise fix. No nice rocking of the ship to lull me to sleep tonight. Good night. Best of Day: waking up and still being on the Wonder. Worst of Day: going to sleep in a cold not on the Wonder anymore bed! Life is NOT GOOD!!!! But still, I am a lucky one. Have been on many cruise adventures, have many more planned and hoped for in the future.
Thank you Disney Cruise line for this memorable cruise. A WONDER-ous adventure, a quickie with Mickey. OK, really--Life is GOOD. Read Less