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Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 7

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Our last day of vacation!  Sigh.

Day 7  October 5 Monday


We woke up and got dressed for breakfast.  But this was no ordinary breakfast!  Today we were having breakfast at O’hana at the Polynesian Resort.  Amy made all the arrangements.  We drove over (CSP’s foot wouldn’t allow us to take the boat/monorail) and sat down to wait for our reservation.  We were chatting about our drive home was going to be affected by Hurricane Joaquin and I mentioned that my friend and travel agent Lisa sent me some information about highway closures.  Just then this lady says “Excuse me, who is your travel agent?”  I said “Lisa Reese”, and she said “I work with her”!  It really is a small world after all!  'Ohana

Our buzzer went off and we were seated and breakfast was served.  Scrambled eggs, potatoes, Mickey waffles, sausage, biscuits, fruit and bacon are served family style.  Not too far into breakfast and Mickey appeared! 'Ohana Then Lilo, Pluto,'Ohana and finally….my favorite…STITCH!!!! 'Ohana I’d never met him even after all my Disney cruises! 'Ohana He signed a painting Amy & Kevin gave us and was so sweet and careful about it.  I was so excited!!!  Especially when I found out that besides the cruises ‘Ohana is the only place you can meet Stitch now!'Ohana

Once breakfast was over CSP rested in the lobby while I bought a couple things in the gift shop.  Then it was back to the room to pack, say our goodbyes and hit the road!

We left about noonish and our route was fine up until when we were supposed to take I-26 from I-95 to Columbia. 70 miles of I-95 and large parts of I-26 were closed due to flooding from Hurricane Joaquin!  CSP, being super safety conscious and conservative, wanted to drive to Atlanta then home from there- adding another 8 hours to our drive!  I said no way.  I just knew I couldn’t do it.  We were up late last night and there was no way I could drive 14-16 hours home.  So we took 95 up to just below Savannah.  Then I cut over on 16.  I pulled over onto an exit and studied the map then took 119 North through South Carolina to Columbia.  We passed through the funniest little towns on this 2 lane highway.  Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc!  They all were really just wide spots in the road but they all had a Dollar General!

Once we were on 77 North I felt better, but then that’s when we saw evidence of the flooding.  There were exits closed where the entire interchange was under water.  Spooky.  And then we needed gas.  I tried exit after exit but all the gas stations, restaurants etc. were closed.  So creepy!  We finally found a gas station about 40 miles north of Columbia.  We filled up there and made it home by 11 pm!  Only 2 hours longer than normal!  The pugs were so excited to see us!  And we were thrilled to see them too.  Too bad they don’t allow pugs on the Disney cruise ships!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 6

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Day 6 Sunday October 4


We woke up at 6am to dress and pack last minute things and we were out in the lobby about 7 am.  We decided to skip breakfast on the ship (it’s not the buffet, it’s a sit down and ours wouldn’t have been until 9 ish) so we handled our own luggage and walked off the ship about 7:30 am.  We got in our cars and CSP & I followed Amy & Kevin as we tried to make our way out of Miami.

We made a turn and there was a rail road crossing with the lights going and the bars down.  So we waited.  And waited. No train. Then a taxi behind me started honking its horn.  What was I to do?  I was trapped!  All the sudden this guy got out of his van.  His friend drove the van through the bars.  Van Dude then calmly walked over to a tree and ripped off a branch.  He walked back to the rail road crossing bar and held it up over his head with the branch, all the while EATING A SANDWICH.  That must have been one good sandwich!  It was hilarious!  But we got through!  And on the road to Orlando.

Florida has a million toll roads and turnpikes and it cost us $20 to drive from Miami to Orlando.  Yikes!  Luckily they also have these travel plazas in the middle of the highway so you can access it from both directions.  You can get gas and food.  We stopped at one about an hour outside of Miami and got bagels and gas then made our way to Orlando.


We made it to Walt Disney World and the Wilderness Lodge! MNSSHP It’s so nice!  We were staying in one of the 2 bedroom villas there.  The lobby was just gorgeous!  We checked in then went to our villa and got settled in and took a wee nap. MNSSHP CSP got about 45 minutes in but I only got about 20.

We woke up and freshened up and got dressed for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! IMG_0141 Amy had matching orange shirts made for all 4 of us with our names on them.  CSP won’t wear anything with his real name on it so his says CSP!  Ha! MNSSHP Amy had LED light up necklaces for us all (here’s my get up) MNSSHP and for us girls she had tiny witches hat headbands. MNSSHP So cute!  Please disregard the deranged look on my face!  I was excited!

We took a boat over to the Magic Kingdom MNSSHP and got checked in just in time for our dinner reservations at Tony’s (the Lady and the Tramp restaurant).  We were all hungry as that breakfast stop was a long time ago!   We had a great dinner then took the train over MNSSHP to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  CSP & I haven’t been to the parks since 1999 so we were thrilled to get to ride some rides.  And God bless Amy because she got us fast passes so we wouldn’t have to wait in line.  Just standing on CSP’s foot is harder than actually walking.  Getting on and off rides proved challenging with his big boot.  But the staff was great and very accommodating.  For instance on the Haunted Mansion you have to hop into your Doom Buggy from a moving walkway.  Well they slowed it down for us so CSP could get in and out without killing himself.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean and even It’s a Small World. MNSSHP

The weather was perfect!  It started out cloudy, then it drizzled, then the temperature dropped to nice and cool and the drizzle stopped.  It was awesome! MNSSHP

The Magic Kingdom was all decked out for Halloween! MNSSHP It looked so cool all lit up at night!

Before we went on this trip I polled all my Facebook friends about whether or not I should take my big DSLR camera or just my iPhone.  Thankfully I was convinced to just take my phone.  I got great pictures and didn’t have to worry about lugging around a big camera!  It helped that just a couple days before we left I was able to get the iPhone 6S which has a 12 megapixel camera.  I was pretty impressed with its performance!

After riding our rides it was time for the parade.  Amy got us the Happy Hallowishes Dessert Premium Package.  So at 8 pm we went to the Town Square and had preferred viewing areas all roped off for the parade.MNSSHP  Prime spots! MNSSHP The parade was awesome! MNSSHP I know this pic is blurry but it is of the Gravediggers, who were so great and I kind of know one of them because he’s my friend Leah’s brother! MNSSHP Baloo the Bear came over and kissed my hand and another character (I can’t believe I can’t remember which one!!!) high fived me!  MNSSHP MNSSHP MNSSHPWe even got to see the Headless Horseman on a gorgeous, giant black horse. MNSSHP

After the parade we were led through a back stage area over to the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant MNSSHP for a dessert party.  There was a lovely dessert buffet with Halloween themed desserts.  IMG_0123 So tasty!  Then at 10 the Hallowishes fireworks show MNSSHP began and we had perfect seats for it. MNSSHP Once the fireworks show was over we made our way back over to the front of Cinderella’s castle for the Sanderson Sister’s Show. MNSSHP It was super cute!  By now poor CSP was really hurting.  And silly boy wore a short sock under his boot thinking it would be cooler.  Well instead of being cool it allowed his boot to rub his leg raw!  So we decided to call it a night and headed back to the docks to take the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge.

When we got back to our villa there was a big Halloween sign on our door.  We opened the door and found the entire common room had been decorated!  There was a flickering candelabra, spiderwebs everywhere, luminaries all over, candy, and of course a huge Mickey Mouse on the coffee table!  It was SO cool!  And I totally forgot to take pictures of it all!  I was so tired from our long, but amazing day, and I was just in awe of it and so surprised!

We enjoyed the decorations for a little while then went to bed.  We had to be up early in the morning!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 5

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Day 5 Saturday October 3

Day at Sea!

CSP & I decided an early breakfast is a good idea so we were back at Cabanas at 7:30 am, even with losing an hour due to the time change.  Then it was back to the room for a nap.  I was tired as CSP didn’t get in until very late from his movie and he decided to shake my foot to wake me up and let me know he made it back.  We’re on a ship!  How far can you go?  Then I lost an hour on top of that so I was ready for my after breakfast nap.

We woke up and dressed and went up to Cabanas for lunch.  Here’s where I’m not a fan of buffets.  I love a good breakfast buffet but lunch and dinner I have a hard time.  I found some gnocchi and had a spoonful of that but that was it.  Meanwhile CSP was chowing down on some peel and eat shrimp. I love shrimp but I hate having to peel them.  It’s the prissy in me.  I thought I’d have time to grab something by the pool to eat like the schwarma, but next thing we knew it was almost 2 pm.

Time for Mixology!

We headed down to Keys bar.  There were about 30 of us who signed up for this class.  Each class is different in that you learn different drinks and techniques.  And it’s only $20 each!  You get 5 drinks for the $20, not bad considering your average cocktail on the ship runs about $8!  This is where I wished I had eaten more at lunch!  We made a Double Crown, Sea day Ratatouille Martini,Sea day Dr. Pepper (with beer),Sea day a B 52 shot,Sea day and a classic mojito.Sea day  I drank CSP’s martini and shot and gave him my mojito.  I like the flavored mojitos but am not crazy about the classic.

At the beginning of the class the bartender called up 4 of the men to do what he called a Taxi Cab. Sea day It was a shot of beer and then you’re supposed to drink the rest of your Corona as fast as you can, but the kicker is the bartender filled up the Coronas with Bacardi Limon!  And you’re supposed to do all this while standing on one foot.  Well CSP was called up to drink the Taxi Cab. Sea day All was fine until the one foot thing!  Kevin finished his cab the fastest!  We were having so much fun and had so many drinks to finish that when the class was over we just moved to party next door to O’Gill’s.

Jo, from the cruise staff, was in O’Gill’s hosting a pub quiz.  We signed up right away.  I love trivia.  Amy won!  She won 4 Disney Cruise Line baseball caps and gave CSP and I one each. Sea day Fun!

You might have noticed in some pictures I’m wearing a lanyard around my neck with a card in a plastic pouch.  I wanted to take a moment to explain the card.   It’s your Key To The World card and it acts as your room key and credit card while you’re on the ship.  You also present it to get on and off the ship. There’s a lot of information on this card.  Your name, the sail dates, the ship name, A for adult or C for child, what level Castaway Club member you are, your reservation number, dinner time, dining room rotation, table number, and the big letter is your muster station.

Then it was time to go back to the room to dress for dinner.  Our last dinner on the ship!  Tonight was in Carioca’s Sea day and it was a South American theme.  At the beginning of dinner at the large table next to us a man got down on one knee and proposed!  She said yes!  The room went wild!  It was SO loud all night.  We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to our wait staff.  They were so great!  Back to the room to pack. Sea day We didn’t get to sleep until almost 1 am!  Yikes!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 4

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Day 4 Friday October 2

Cozumel, Mexico!

Today CSP & I woke up super early to catch the breakfast buffet at a much less busy time.  It was so peaceful in Cabanas without the masses! After breakfast we went back to our room for a nap.  Nothing like an after breakfast nap!   We woke up and got dressed and went to Lumiere’s for lunch.  On the way we ran into Amy & Kevin who were on their way to a Tequila Tasting!  We decided not to get off the ship today as CSP’s foot was hurting him and we couldn’t afford a set back in his recovery.

At lunch Bianca from South Africa stopped by our table!  She was our server the 2 previous cruises on the Magic.  She remembered us!  It’s amazing to me that they can recognize a face out of the millions they see!  After lunch we went up to the pool deck and scored 2 of the coveted loungers in the shade. Cozumel There are only 8 of them and they are usually all taken by 8 am!  But it pays to stay on the ship when everyone else gets off!  I bought CSP and I some water shoes so we put those on and got in the hot tub.  He couldn’t go barefoot with his broken foot and needed some support. The whirlpool felt great on his poor feet.  Cozumel Our loungers were on the port side so we had front row seats to the pier when the skies opened up.  There was a huge rainstorm.  Remnants of Joaquin I’m sure. We spent the whole afternoon on the pool deck just lounging and getting in and out of the whirlpool.  Then it was time to get showered and dressed for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was back in Animator’s Palate Cozumel Cozumel and it was Pirate Night! Cozumel I love seeing all the people dressed up as pirates.

After dinner we went up to Deck 10 for the fireworks. Cozumel Cozumel We had great seats and Disney put on a fantastic show.  Cozumel Cozumel Then CSP & Kevin decided to go see Ant Man in the theatre.  Amy and I decided to retire to our cabins and hit the hay! Cozumel It was a really relaxing day!

Disney Magic to the Bahamas?? Day 3

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Day 3  October 1

Key West!

Our ship was diverted to Key West for our first stop because of Hurricane Joaquin.  We were only allowed to be on the island from 8 am to 1:45 pm! Well, none of the fun bars open before 11 am and we’re respectable adults. :)  No one wants to take day drinking to the 10 am level!  So at 9 we ate breakfast at the buffet at Cabanas.  We got off the ship and took the shuttle to Downtown Key West. It was when I was packing my day bag for Key West that I realized I left my prescription AND regular sunglasses in my car!  Boo!  Thank goodness Amy had some cute ones in my goody bag!  Our first stop in KW was Ron Jon Surf Shop where I picked up some cute sunglasses so I’d have a backup pair.  Then we went to CSP’s favorite, Sloppy Joe’sKey West We hung out there for about an hour Key West then stopped into Irish Kevin’s so our Irish Kevin could buy a hat. On the way there I got sucked into one of those over priced lotion stores by the sales dude who was slathering sea salt scrub all over me.  Before I knew what was happening he was bagging up $80 scrub and lotion!  Luckily Amy came in and saved me!  I hate confrontation and I know Lotion Dude was not happy with me leaving empty handed!  Amy & Kevin had to stop into CVS so CSP and I grabbed drinks at Starbucks (we had been saving up our free drinks to use on this trip).  It was a brand new Starbucks which was mercifully air conditioned but there was no seating! So back outside we went.  CSP & I found some shade on some steps while we waited for Amy & Kevin.  Then it was on the tram back to the ship!  On the way back to the ship we saw tons of the famous Key West chickens. Key West I just love how they hang out everywhere!

Our time in Key West went way too fast!  We were changed into our swimwear and up on the pool deck by 2 pm! Key West We grabbed something to eat at the lite bites counters.  I tried chicken schwarma and it was so good!  CSP got a coke from the bar and they served it in these cool cans. Key West He LOVED the Coke on the ship because it was made with real sugar!  We hung out for a while at the pool and people watched until we realized the Vacation Planning Desk was open.  So we scooted down to deck 4 and got in line to book our future cruises.  If you book online you save 10% and get a handsome onboard credit!  We booked for October 2016 and a placeholder cruise (which is now February 2017) because the 2017 prices weren’t out at the time.

Back to O’Gill’s for another pre-dinner drink.  Amy & Kevin had gone back to their room instead of O’Gill’s (I think) but we were able to keep in touch via Disney’s cruise app which allows texting! Key West So cute and fun!  And free!  So many Disney emojis!

We went back to the room and showered and dressed for dinner. Key West CSP enjoyed a beer in his new coozie courtesy of Amy & Kevin while I got ready. Tonight’s dinner was in Animator’s Palate.  It was a Pacific Rim theme.  Here’s where things got a little wonky.  At the first dinner we noticed that some kids were running through the dining room.  That’s no good for SO many reasons. But tonight at dinner it got out of control when Amy was hit in the head by a flying paper airplane!  People!  I know it’s a Disney cruise but that’s no excuse to allow your children to go wild!  After dinner we went back to our rooms for bed. Key West By now we knew our final itinerary. And we had to set our clocks back an hour. Where to next??

Cruising Tips and Tricks Vol. 2

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I’m fresh off my 4th Disney cruise and my 13th cruise overall.  My Cruising Tips and Tricks blog post has gotten quite a few reads so I thought I’d update my tips list with a few more tricks I’ve learned.

– Drive or fly to the port the day before your cruise.  You don’t want a wreck or construction on the interstate or delayed flights to make you miss your cruise.  This gives you time to decompress and run to the store if you realized you forgot something.  Plus, if your port city is interesting you can explore it a little.

-Board the ship as soon as you can.  You’ve paid for this cruise, you might as well be on board every minute possible!  Use this time to explore the ship before the crowds and activities set in.

– The night before, if you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, consider staying at Disney instead of a port hotel.  We stayed at Art of Animation, a Disney value resort, for the same price as a standard hotel in Port Canaveral.  Staying on Disney property meant we were able to extend the magic a little bit and also eat dinner at ‘Ohana in Walt Disney World.

– If you’re a soda or alcohol drinker, consider buying a soda or adult beverage package. Some cruise lines charge for soda and they can really add up.  And all cruise lines charge for alcohol.  There are wine, beer, soda, and cocktail packages available at multiple price points.  They can really save you money!

– Try the premium restaurants on your cruise ship at least once.  They often have a surcharge, but it’s nice to get away for a fine dining experience.  If you can’t get a reservation before your cruise, check as soon as you board as they may have cancellations and can get you in.

-Unpack on day 1. No, it’s no fun but if you unpack now and stow those big, bulky suitcases under your bed your stateroom will feel so much larger.  Speaking of making your room feel larger, spend 5 minutes each day and just tidy it up a bit.  You’ll be able to find everything more easily in addition to maximizing your space.

-Pack a small container of baby powder.  Sprinkle it on your sandy skin and the sand will release like magic!

-If you’re a social person and are on Facebook, join your cruise’s Facebook group.  Most sailings have a Facebook group.  Just go to the search bar and type in your ship’s name and sail date and your group will come up.  These groups are great places to learn insider tips and get to know fellow cruisers.  My cruise group for this cruise had a cocktail party meet up, a Mixology class and we organized a Fish Extender exchange. Plus it’s just fun to share in the excitement and anticipation of your upcoming cruise with other people who are literally in the same boat.

-Book your excursions through your cruise ship company.  You can trust the companies they work with and most importantly, your ship won’t leave without you.  Sure, it may cost a few dollars more, but peace of mind is worth it.

– If you decide to go it on your own for your excursion- do your homework.  Research everything you can online, compare prices, and you’ll come out ahead. When we rented an electric car for the day in Key West I had taken a screen shot of the company’s website deal on my phone.  They used it as a coupon and gave us our 3rd hour free.  The people next in line renting the same car at the same time paid the same price for only 2 hours.  And always, always ask for a discount.  They may say no, but you may save some money!

-If you don’t mind eating breakfast on the road or in town and not on the ship, then choose Express Walk Off/ Debarkation on the last morning of your cruise.  The lines will be MUCH shorter and you’ll be at your car/shuttle/airport much more quickly.  You have to carry your own luggage but these days with spinner suitcases that’s a much easier feat.

– Be sure to carry lots of small bills with you on your trip.  You’ll need them for many things: tipping room service waitstaff, tipping porters/ luggage handlers, tipping drivers/tour conductors, etc.  You might just make someone’s day with a nice tip, and they might just make your cruise even more magical!
Disney Fantasy

Hope you find these tips helpful!  Happy cruising!

Disney Magic Western Caribbean Day 8- Heading home

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We woke up at 6 to be in the main lobby at 7.  We carried our own luggage off the ship and if you do that you can walk right off at 7am!  No waiting in line at customs!  We breezed right through and were in the packed car by 7:20!!!  That means we skipped breakfast on the ship but  we just grabbed a bagel a little ways down the road.

Before I wrap up this trip report I have to tell you about Disney’s new cruise line app.  It’s awesome! I think CSP loved it even more than I did!  I took some screen shots on the last day so you could see what it covers.  It works via Disney’s wi-fi so it doesn’t cost you anything and you can have your phone in airplane mode while using it.  We used it every single day, multiple times a day.

The welcome page: IMG_6428

Page 2: IMG_6429  You can see all activities based on age group.  Then touch the activity and it gives you a detailed description, plus the location and times. And when you find something you want to remember to attend, just press the heart and a reminder will pop up on your phone 15 minutes before the activity starts!

Page 3: IMG_6430  Every day would be a different article.

Page 4: IMG_6431  You can find out when your favorite character would be appearing.

Page 5: IMG_6432 The menus.  This was CSP’s favorite part.  He liked being able to plan his meals ahead of time.  You could see what they were eating in Palo and all the other restaurants.

Page 6: IMG_6433

Page 7: IMG_6434

Page 8: IMG_6435

Main Menu: IMG_6436 LOVED the deck plans.  Really cuts down on getting lost. This app really has everything you need in it!

We made good time going home and arrived just before 5 pm.  CSP’s parents took us out to dinner and we gave them their cruise surprises.  But first we loaded up on pug kisses!  This was an amazing cruise and we had the best time!!!  Can’t wait for the next one!


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