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A Wonderful Trip

The end of July we took the family vacation of a lifetime. We went on a Disney cruise. You all know how the trip ended. All I can say is that the rest of the trip was AH-MAZ-ING!! I can't wait to be able to take another one. We sailed on the Disney Fantasy. When we booked our trip our itinerary was St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Disney Castaway Cay. When we arrived on board our itinerary had changed to Castaway Cay, San Juan and St. Thomas. There was a tropical storm we were trying to avoid. I was okay with that.
Now....prior to the cruise Mr. Mayer and I neither one had EVER been on a cruise of any sort. Other than taking the kids to my in laws house in New Mexico we had not taken them on any other vacations. We were going to have to get up at 4AM to catch our flight to Florida. Needless to say I was very anxious about this trip. I was anxious about traveling with 3 kids. Two of which had never flown. I was anxious that Disney told us to drop our luggage off in Tulsa and it would arrive in our room on the ship. I was anxious about packing for 5 people for 7 days. I was anxious about the kids being stuck on a boat. I was anxious about getting sea sick. I was anxious about being anxious.
Disney makes staying with them way to easy. They definitely cater to your needs. And~our luggage did arrive safe and sound to our room. Our first night there we just acclimated ourselves to our new surroundings. We cleaned up and went to a show and then dinner. Just to feed into my anxiety we drew the short straw and got the late dinner seating. It was at 8:15. That is 2 hours later than my kids are normally used to eating AND there was an hour time difference between there and home (which really helped us). Yikes!! The first two nights were a little rough. Especially that first night. I felt terrible for our servers. After the second night everyone got used to it and the rest of the week went much better. And the food was FABULOUS!
A note about dinner~ on our cruise (I have no experience on any other cruise) we had two servers. Oriel from Jamaica and Istvan from Hungary. They were FABULOUS!! There were 3 restaurants that we cycled through during the week. Oriel and Istavan went to each restaurant and were our servers the entire week. After the first night they had the kids chocolate milks waiting on them when we got to our table. They would bring extra butter for Owen to eat (it's so gross. He would just sit and eat butter). They took the time and got to know us. The kids were slobs. We spilled things, threw things and were loud. It never phased them. All they would say is "It's no problem man!" They would make animals out of napkins and play with the kids. If they couldn't the servers at the tables around us were. The kids loved it. One night at dinner we were given some papers and told to draw a picture and they would animate it on the screens through out the room. That was so much fun. Carter drew on himself more than his paper, but Olivia, Mr. Mayer and I got our pictures animated. It was fun to watch them dance across the TV screens.

Our first stop was at Disney's Castaway Cay. We did a glass bottom boat tour when we first got there. They stopped out on a reef and let everyone feed some fish. This was very exciting. After our boat ride we went to the beach. Mr. Mayer and I have been to the ocean. We have hung out on a beach. I have been in love with the ocean since my first visit. My kids were immediately in love with the beach. They played, splashed and swam for hours. Carter played so hard that he crawled in my lap midday and fell sound asleep. Snoring asleep. I was yelling at Olivia and Owen out in the water. Talking to people around me and the kid never wiggled. I carried him to lunch. Castaway Cay was beautiful. It is in the Bahama islands and looks exactly like something off of a brochure.
Our second stop of the week was San Juan. Now....what happened was no fault of Disney. They were fantastic about the situation. However, when we got to San Juan there was a labor dispute and the transportation workers were picketing. We had a beach excursion planned. We went to our designated waiting lounge and waited.....and waited. For 2 hours we waited. The kids were getting restless and cranky. A lot of excursions were getting cancelled. They couldn't tell us how much longer we were going to have to wait. We scraped the whole thing and went to the pool upstairs and played for a while. Then Olivia went to the kids club (more about that soon) and the boys took a nap. Mr. Mayer hung out with the Dudes while I went and lounged myself in a chair by the pool for a few hours. It was not a bad way to spend the day.
Our third stop of the cruise was St. Thomas. We arrived sometime in the wee hours of the morning so when we woke up later in the morning we were greeted by some breathtaking views. Another scene straight from a brochure. We had a trip to an outdoor zoo/aquarium type place and a butterfly garden. The kids had fun touching sting rays and looking at fish. They even got to feed some birds. However, the butterfly garden was super exciting. They got to hold butterflies and chase them all over the place. I had never seen kids so excited as when a butterfly would come land on them. Over. The. Moon.
Days we weren't docked somewhere we did a detective mystery who done it scavenger hunt with Olivia. We hung out at the pool. We saw all the characters. Many times. Olivia went and had a make over at the Bippity Boppity Boutique. And they had activities for all ages through out the day. From dance parties to fun and games on the top deck. Something was always going on. There wasn't a chance to get bored.
On the ship there was a kids club called the Oceaners Club. It was for kids 3 and up. Kids could come and go anytime. They had games, crafts, quiet rooms, computers and anything else you could imagine. Olivia loved it. Kids under 3 went to a nursery/daycare that was available on the ship. It wasn't as exciting as the kids club, but the Dudes still managed to have a good time. The Dudes were 6 weeks away from being 3. And potty trained. I was a little more than bummed that they Dudes couldn't go into the kids club. You have to pay extra for the daycare. But, for the few hours of downtime it gave this Mama it was so worth it. Mr. Mayer and I took advantage and went and had a Champagne Brunch in one of the adult only restaurants on board the ship called Remy (you know, like off of Ratatouille). Again, it was FABULOUS.
Each night before our dinner time there was a "show." These were so good. One night they did Aladdin, they had magicians, ventriloquist and a couple of musicals exclusive to the ship. I wasn't sure how the kids would do sitting through a show like that. Again, my kids amaze me. I also learned that Carter REALLY loves musicals. He would get so excited. Their joy was contagious.
Each night aboard the ship there were different themes. One night was formal night and we all got gussied up and had cocktails and Shirley Temples in the vestibule. Another night was pirate night. I put together some pirate outfits for the kids to wear. I had also found some foam swords and eye patches before we left Oklahoma that I packed. The boys were so excited about pirate night. Olivia was mad at me because I wouldn't go buy her the $75 pirate princess dress in the gift shop. She had to wear the boring outfit I packed for her. Good. Grief. However, pirate night was their favorite night I think. There was a show on the top deck complete with fireworks after dinner. It was a late night, but everyone slept really good that night. Our last evening/afternoon on board we got a special VIP invite to a private meet and greet with all the characters. We didn't tell the kids. We told them we had a surprise and then just showed up. The excitement was through the roof. I had never seen happier kids.
We decided to take a cruise because we weren't sure the boys were big enough for Disney World and we had been told that the kids get more access to the characters on a cruise. This is absolutely true. Every time we turned around there was an opportunity to meet a character, take a picture, get an autograph. One afternoon we were walking out of our room and Chip & Dale were walking down our hall. Not another person in sight. The kids went bananas. I didn't even know they knew who Chip & Dale were up until that point.
Because there are 5 of us we had to get the "bigger" room. I thought that the kids would have to share a bed. Nope. Mr. Mayer and I had a comfy queen size bed and each kid had their own little twin size bed. They had beds in the ceiling, the wall and the couch. The bed was high enough we could slide suitcases under the bed out of the way. There was plenty of closet space and drawers for our stuff.
We had a wonderful trip. I cannot wait to have a chance to do it again.


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