Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Disney trip 2010: the cruise



Before I went on a Disney cruise, I thought cruises were cheesy; too many years of watching The Love Boat will do that to you, I guess. Not Disney's. We were on The Wonder (last year we went on The Magic), and they're both almost identical and in beautiful shape. They're also meticulously clean, one thing you really want in a ship. The crew bent over backward for the four days we were onboard to make both kids happy and accommodate Max's needs.

We were chosen by the kids' club staff (a drop-off place to leave the kids and flee for the sun deck) to be the Family of The Cruise. I'd like to think it's because of my wit and good looks, but I have a feeling Max charmed them.


Every morning, they made a personalized card for the kids and posted it on our door. At the end of the cruise, they gave us a bag of goodies for them including sun hats, Disney pillowcases to color in and t-shirts. Sweet!

There were several times each day when you could meet up with the characters. Max was enchanted every time. He'd squeal, he was so excited. If the line was really long, sometimes they'd let us go right to the front. If things were on the quiet side, though, I'd have Max wait in line like every other kid. He has sensory issues about crowds but still, I don't want to spoil him.


He decided that he wanted to really impress Daisy. So he went right up to her and snorted. Max had a bit of a cold, and he's recently learned how to blow his nose, something he's quite proud of (he has issues with air control). Sure enough, a big glob of grossness came right out of his nose. Max looked very pleased with himself, Daisy keep her poise, I made quick use of tissues.


Goofy got down on the floor and rolled around for Max, who joined him. Oh, and yes, Max is wearing his pj's. He declared one day Pajama Day—not a bad idea, right?


Max thought Pluto was a laugh riot.


And, of course, he was in awe of Mickey.


Here he is with his future wife. I think he and Minnie were practicing a jitterbug for their wedding first dance, but I can't be sure.


"Hey, babe, want to see a snot bubble?"


Sabrina got a kick out of the characters, too. She liked to flash her cabin card at them because it had her name on it.


This is the only time she wore a dress; she still only wants to wear Max's stuff. I'm thinking it'll save me a bundle on spring clothes.


Sabrina had firmly told me, before we left the cruise, that she wasn't into princesses anymore—except for Tiana. Just in case, I brought the Snow White dress she wore for all seven days of our cruise last May, but true to her word she did not wear it.


She loved the pool. And pole dancing.


She wrote her first postcard and sent it to her pre-K class.

The ship stopped in Nassau the first day. It was pouring, and we'd been there before, so we just roamed around the port area, which is filled with jewelry shops. Dave is obsessed with watches and he had to try on one at every store. He also got a bargain cigar, just because (he doesn't smoke). On the second day of the cruise we hit Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. It's beautiful. We played on the beach, enjoyed a barbecue, took naps (OK, that was just me).


This was one particularly beautiful sight to see, let me tell you. It's the first time Max ever did any kind of floating by himself with a tube. And, yes, he is wearing Sabrina's suit because it has purple in it.


Sabrina, of course, had to wear his.

There were a ton of activities on board. You and the kids could go to a dance class, mini soccer, Disney movies—we got to see Alice in Wonderland, which was fantastic. There were also plenty of grownup activities, including cooking demonstrations, wine and beer tasting, Pilates and other exercise classes. Dave and I mostly vegged out, went swimming (hel-lo, hot tub), and roamed around the ship with the kids. They are big fans of shuffleboard. They are also big fans of eating their body weight in ice-cream.

True to form, Max preferred room service over going to the ship's restaurants. A couple of times, he and Sabrina stayed at the kids' club for dinner, and they fed him, no problem. Although they do not change diapers, they give you a pager so you can be on poop call. The staff really looked after Max, helping him do crafts and even changing his shirt when it got wet from drool. And best of all, they remembered to refer to him "Purple Max." I am thinking of getting his name legally changed.

One night, Dave and I dined at the Italian adults-only restaurant, Palo. It was excellent (the food is generally very good, and I have an extra three pounds to prove it). Dave, Sabrina and I also saw shows at night including Toy Story, the musical, and The Golden Mickeys. Max happily stayed in the kids' club, because performances wig him out.


Every night, our cabin steward would leave a towel animal; this was Max's favorite.


I know, I want to be there too.


Our four days flew by. The kids were bummed about getting off the ship, but they had Disney World to look forward to. Disney trip part 2, coming up. Off to make the towel animals!

24 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a fabulous time! Awesome photos.

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  2. Hooray! Sounds like you had a great time.

    Pole dancing? You're killing me.

    If you're gonna love a princess then I think Tiana is the way to go. Just sayin.

    Charlie LOVES restaurants. It's funny how kids can have the same diagnosis, but it manifests in many different ways.

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  3. what fun can not wait for d world post in 24 hours

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  4. Oh, I cannot get enough of beautiful Max's smiles.

    What a vacation...I hope Disney Cruises sees these posts. They are awesome.

    Nice job, ELlen. love seeing the joy in their faces. What memories.

    Alexandra

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  5. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Great pics, love seeing the kids so excited.

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  6. What an awesome trip! I love that they are so caring about every kind of kid. Even pole dancers and cross dressers!

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  7. Lol at snot bubbles and related events :D Looks like it was an amazing experience though:) Jen.

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  8. Gosh, that looks like an amazing time! And I have to say that I absolutely adore that you just go with the flow with Max. Pajama day, wearing his sister's suit, blowing snot bubbles as an introduction - he's the best and you're my hero for not stressing over the small stuff.

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  9. We're currently saving up to do a Disney Cruise in 2 years...After seeing these pics and reading this I want to go NOW!!!!

    Think they'd provide an ASL interpreter for Graham?

    Oh, and I hope I don't need that poop pager by then... fingers crossed.

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  10. What a blast! The photos of the kids are great. I especially love pole dancing and the look on Max's face in the first one:) Hope you have fun at Disney. You know, it seems like the kids are doing very well--that is a lot of excitement--my kids tend to be so difficult when they are really busy:)But it is Disney:)))

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  11. Fabulous! I'm sending emails to my husband everyday, telling him to read your posts, watch the video, etc., and slowly twisting his arm to overcome his cruise-resistance and do this with our family. Keep up the good work! :)

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  12. So fun! That sounds like the trip of a lifetime!

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  13. WOW!!! That looks like so much fun:)

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  14. How was Toy Story Boot Camp? Did they go? That sounds like the most interesting activity.

    (Celeb Fit Club Boot Camp was on last night so I have Boot Camp on the brain)

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  15. Barbara from BostonMarch 31, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Good one, GingerB.
    Glad you had a phenomenal time. Great pictures! The kids are getting so big and grown up. Are max and Sabrina about the same height?

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  16. My little sister are OBSESSED with Tiana. and Barbie. and my little pony.

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  17. Let me push down feelings of deep, abiding ENVY and say WOW...what a dream vacation! Just...WOW!!

    Max looks like he's having an absolute blast in those photos and interacting beautifully. Sabrina looks happy, confident and self-assured--and adorable, as always.

    Who knows, maybe one day they'll decide that these cruises are allowable therapy sessions for insurance purposes!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't force kids into "outfits" because they're "supposed to" look like a page from the JCPenny catalogue, or something!

    What vicarious fun for those of us who read and enjoy!

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  18. Oh so envious!!
    I can't get my husband to give up just one year at Disneyland. I've explained over and over it's a DISNEY Cruise but to no avail.
    I'm not giving up though!!

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  19. Awesome post. Love all the photos...and it looks like you all had a fantastic time. Someday...

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  20. It's so fantastic to see the pure joy of a child having fun. Loving all the pictures! Looks like yall had a great time.

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  21. Sounds like you had so much fun.
    If you ever get a chance a Disney cruise is also a great getaway for two!!! We did it last fall and it was wonderful.

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  22. How fabulous! Looks like everyoen had a blast! PS is max facing fewer sensory issues these days? Seems like it.

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  23. Marcella, yes and no. We're better able to expose Max to new situations (i.e., a new restaurant when we're at home) and he'll adapt. But things like crowds and noises still bug him.

    Cristin, I asked a Disney rep I know about whether they can provide an ASL interpreter, and here's what she said:

    Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that a counselor who is fluent in sign-language will be onboard at all times. However, some of our counselors know some basic ASL or basic signs and they can assist, if necessary. Siblings and parents are always welcome to attend Youth Activities with the child to provide additional assistance. If we have a child in Youth Activities who is hearing impaired, we’ll work with the family to find out what we can do to ensure the child has a great time. Each situation is unique. As always, a guest should let the reservation agent know of any special needs at the time of booking to help us make their experience the best it can be!

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  24. I so want to take my daughters on a Disney cruise. I am encouraged by your post. I honestly thought there would be no way that I could take Haley on a cruise like this. You have given me hope.

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Thanks for sharing!