Once upon a time, I used to have a regular “mommy blog”. I wrote about my pregnancy and our adventures with young twins. I wrote trip reports for our vacations, and shared whatever else I wanted. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but eventually it started to stress me out when I would be super behind on sharing what we had been up to. That blog transformed into something else, that eventually transformed into this blog – whatever it is 🙂
Despite zero effort on my part to find them, people somehow discovered and read that blog – and actually seemed to enjoy it. I certainly don’t have time to go back to chronicling what we’re up to, nor would it be nearly as exciting since most of my time these days is spent as a chauffeur and homework monitor. But as we get closer to our next cruise – one on which my mother- and father-in-law will be joining us – I started thinking. We were going to put together a sort of primer for them on what to expect for their first Disney cruise, but instead I am just going to revive our trip reports – at least a little.
Read along if you’d like, either for the sake of story or to glean a bit of what to expect on your next trip. It will be a slight departure from the regular content here, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it. Or skip it. It’s entirely up to you 🙂
OCTOBER 11, 2013: The dreaded Travel Day. Except actually, wait. It went pretty well?
Looking back, it appears my lackadaisical approach to traveling (whereby lackadaisical means “compared to my previous self”) first appeared back in 2013, when we took our first cruise as a family. I was up at 3:30 ready to go – or as ready as I was going to be. I didn’t jump out of bed, I didn’t have a playlist for the drive, and I was mortified by the amount of luggage we had. We were on vacation though, and that’s all that mattered!
We were Columbus-bound by 4am, with all three kids awake until just before we got to the airport. Check-in was smooth and we were relaxing on a couch eating donuts in no time, waiting for Kyle to return from parking the car. The flight was great; Nolan slept about an hour, the girls did word searches, crosswords and hidden picture puzzles. We also got to track the flight and watch My Little Pony on the iPad; the girls got a kick out of it!
From MCO we drove to Cape Canaveral. We hung out a bit at Manatee Reserve Park (which was hugely disappointing), ate lunch at the infamous Grills, dealt (pleasantly!) with Humana and CVS to get a vacation override on Nolan’s medication, and finally checked into our pre-cruise hotel.
By about 3pm, it was obvious that nobody was going to rest – despite the early morning – so we decided to hit the beach. It was lovely weather, the private stretch of beach was practically our own, and we had a great time. After a quick dinner out, bedtime came early. Everyone was getting pretty excited about the cruise, so we were all in bed by about 6:30pm. All three kids were sound asleep within 10 minutes, and the adults weren’t too far behind. It was almost time!
October 12, 2013: Embarkation Day!
On embarkation day, Nolan woke up at 4am – and woke everyone else up by 4:30. Instead of sticking around the hotel for what would certainly feel like an eternity, we decided to leave around 7:00am, praying for naps in the car as we drove around town. Eventually we drove by the port, and we could see her – the Fantasy had gotten in overnight! The girls lost their mind, even seeing only the top half. I may or may not have teared up a little.
We drove to the Kennedy Space Center, where even checking it out from the parking lot was kind of cool. Someday we’ll definitely take a day trip here, but the only admission option is expensive and 8+ hours long – which isn’t going to work with kids at this age.
At about 9:35 we were at Budget car rental waiting for our ride to the port, since we had a 10am Port Arrival Time. When they told us it would be over an hour, we got a cab – and gave the cab company business from at least three other infuriated families. (You’re welcome, whoever you were.) Finally, we were headed to our ship… in an orange minivan that the girls thought was to die for.
We got there by 10:30am and found there was already quite a line to check in (which would be a recurring theme). When Kyle and I cruised had previously, we had the whole terminal to ourselves for a while; looking back, we were feeling quite spoiled. This particular morning felt like line after line – security, another security point, tickets, kids club registration, DVC check-in, boarding groups. Eventually we made it through the glorious yellow Mickey ears though, and were on our way to the ship!
The girls were thrilled to hear our family name announced, and were taken aback by the gorgeous atrium. I enjoyed those things too, but mostly was just glad to have arrived – and to get the dining rotation we really wanted. We ate lunch at Cabanas, then when the staterooms were ready I headed up with a few surprises!
After previously sailing in an interior stateroom, I was really impressed by the Deluxe Family Oceanview room. I couldn’t get over how much storage it had; the girls couldn’t get over the porthole seat. ????
Oh geez… vertical video. So 2013!
In the afternoon, Kyle took the kids to the splash area while I finished unpacking. The muster drill was painless and we got a front row “seat” for the Sail Away party! I’m pretty sure Avery didn’t stop bouncing for even half of a second.
By dinnertime, Nolan was horribly tired, sick and crabby… but leave it to Mickey to cheer him up!
Dinner was excellent, and our service team (Denis and Hanti) were spectacular. At Elise’s request, they even made special “Minnie Bars” for dessert!
Nolan was too exhausted for the evening show, so I went with the girls while Kyle took him to the room to sleep. I’m so glad we went, because it was there that we met Anthony. He told the girls they were going to be best friends, and little did we know then, he kind of meant it. He actually came into the theater just before the show to find us, because he had forgotten to ask their names – but he wouldn’t forget them the rest of the trip!
Everyone was utterly exhausted by the time we made it back to the room. Elise was freaking out, afraid to sleep next to the porthole. The girls were losing their minds fighting over which bed they were sleeping in. Nolan was still quite sick, and I was following closely behind. We prayed for rest for everyone, but were so very thankful to be underway on our first family cruise!