Saturday, September 21, 2013

DisneyWorld and Disney Cruise – Day 17 – Castaway Cay

September 13, 2013

I never got a chance to write yesterday.  If I get a chance I’ll try to remember what we did and fill in the details.  For now, I’ll just write about today while it’s fresh in my mind.

We arrived at Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) midmorning today.  After a quick breakfast in our room we headed down to get off the ship.  We realized that we didn’t have Max’s ID card with us after Kyrie, Jacob, Ella and Zoe were already off the ship.  They told us to go up to Guest Services where they would be able to give him a new one very quickly.  So Max and I did that, but there was a very long line at guest services so it took a while.  Then, when we got it and headed back down to the gangway, they told us that adults need a photo ID as well to get back onto the ship (they never did ask for these when we came back).  So, Max and I (and Zach) went back to the room to get Kyrie’s and my drivers licenses. 

Meanwhile, Kyrie and the others have been standing outside the ship in the hot sun for quite some time now. (40 minutes or so!)  They couldn’t go to the beach because I would have no idea how to find them.  They also couldn’t really get back on the ship, because we might have not seen each other and wouldn’t know what was going on.  Needless to say, Kyrie was not very happy by the time we got out there.

At least the kids were able to see a few characters while we waited, watching everyone else file off the ship and head to the best spots on the beach.

We found a very small spot of shade and I sat on the beach towels to wait until I realized tiny red ants had invaded and were biting me everywhere.  We were trading in the towels when the rest of them finally showed up. 

You can see our verandahs at the tip of the top of the flag (the two to the left)

Kyrie never really was able to enjoy herself at the beach today.  It was very hot and by the time we finally got to the beach the only shady spots were in the back where you couldn’t even see the ocean.  (Just a sea of empty beach chairs in the shade with no one sitting in them.) We’ve been to Castaway Cay on our two other Disney cruises, but both of those were on the older ships that hold far fewer people.  We weren’t used to this many people being there at the same time.  We tried to make the most of it. 


The boys and Ella enjoyed the Pelican Plunge waterslides.  Ella and Zoe had fun digging in the sand.  And Zach got his first dip in the ocean. 

The Conch Coolers helped brighten the day. But there was also something biting in the water.  We all still have marks a week later.  Someone suggested it was jelly fish.  Not our most enjoyable Castaway Cay day!

Lunch on the island was good and we didn’t have any trouble finding a table since we ate later in the day.  After that, we headed back to the ship for some pool time.  The kids enjoyed watching movies while dipping in the pool and taking one more spin on the Aquaduck.

The kids had their own sail away party as we left Castaway Cay.  They were given these huge bubble wands that couldn't travel home easily, so this was a great time to use them! 
The beaches at Castaway as viewed from our verandah

Before dinner, we solved our Midship Detective Agency case from the day before.
It was neat that the game used artwork that decorated the ship.  If you didn't know about the game, you never would have guessed that someone could wave their detective badge at it and it would become interactive.  I tell you, it is impossible to be bored on this ship!

The sea was unusually still tonight.  I was used to seeing small white caps on the waves, now there were no waves except from the wake of the ship.  

Porthole view of the calm ocean on the way to dinner
After dinner the older kids headed back to the kids club and Kyrie and I took Zoe and Zach to the show in the main theater.  They both really enjoyed it.  I thought that Magic Dave was the best part.  I don’t know that his magic is that great (Zoe never seems to let me actually watch the trick), but he is very funny with kids.

Still fascinated by the unusual look of the sea now at dusk!

Zoe used the automatic hand washing machine at the kids club a hundred times!
Following the show, Zoe took me through all of the stores and talked about all of the different things in there.  Then it was time to pick up the others from the kids’ club.

We ended the last night of our cruise by going up to the top deck to make wishes and sprinkle pixie dust into the ocean.

The pool deck after dark

Some final thoughts about our trip:  Obviously from reading any of the prior days, it’s clear that this was not the easiest trip anyone has ever been on.  Juggling the two babies constantly has been kind of a pain.  But, we have still had a good time.  I definitely would have chosen a shorter vacation if I could go back and do it again, but I would still have done it.  The older kids had great time on the cruise and even Zoe enjoyed most of it.  Cruises are such unique vacations - there really is not any experience like it that I know of.  I look forward to our next one, but it definitely won’t be before Zoe is old enough to go in the kids’ club!

I don’t think I would have shortened the trip.  I think we took it much easier than we would have since we had so many Disney days.  It was nice that we had the time since I was on maternity leave.  It was hard with five kids (mostly because of an obstinate two year old) but so is life.  I’d rather be at Disney than not at Disney!  (And I’d rather have five kids than an easy time.) We had a great time and lots of magical memories!  Zoe on the other hand did not recognize our house when we pulled up, so perhaps it was a bit long for her!

DisneyWorld and Disney Cruise – Day 16 - 3rd Day at Sea

Okay, it's taken me more than a week to getting around to writing about this day and we didn't take many pictures that day, so the details are a bit sketchy.

It’s our last “At Sea Day” and there is so much we still want to do!  We slept great last night!!!  We all woke up about 8am but it took a while to get ready.  We ate together at  the buffet this morning then Zach and I split to see Iron Man 3.  The big kids went to the club of course!

We thought lunch would be easier with table service today so we went to the Royal Court.  The choices were limited, Zoe didn’t want to sit or eat, and even though the porthole view was nice, lunch wasn’t great.  With the kids back at the club, Marc got Zoe down for a nap, and I got Zach asleep.  Now we have time to rest a little and finish delivering our fish extender gifts. 

I decided to include some pictures from other areas of the ship that we haven't talked about yet.  
Goofy's Mini Golf on the Sports Deck
 "Aqua Lab"  A splash are for bigger kids

This is what the pool deck looks like on an at sea day

...and that's why we spent time here on port days instead!

 This is the adults only swimming area... The Cove 

 And the Cove Cafe for gourmet coffee

This afternoon we finally investigated the Midship Detective Agency.  We had to help the Muppets find out who stole their missing props.  All around the ship, art work comes to life and we find clues to solve our mystery.

The cruise director joked that this is the Parents Exercise Program and that couldn't be more true.  To find each clue you have to go back and forth, up and down and all over the ship.  It's a lot of work, but it's a fun way to spend a couple of hours (and to make sure you've seen every last corner of the ship!)

We had dinner at Enchanted Garden and it was semi-formal night so we spruced up a bit.

A pouty princess!

We went to a funny magic show after dinner, but before the BIG show of the night

So, we didn't actually go see the big show tonight.  Instead we decided to pack.  We knew that tomorrow we would be busy at Castaway Cay and enjoying our last cruise day.  We spent a couple hours packing while the older kids were at the kids club.  I don't remember for sure, but Zoe and Zach must have slept through the packing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

DisneyWorld and Disney Cruise – Day 15 – St. Thomas


After a late night last night, I even went back to sleep after Zach’s morning wake-up call.  Finally Jacob got up at about 8:30am and we quickly got ready and snuck out to breakfast before the others woke up. 

Zoe woke me up soon after and that woke Ella and Max up pretty quickly.  Overall, it was a very relaxing day.  After our breakfasts, Kyrie took the older kids to the pool and the babies and I went for a little shopping walk in St. Thomas.  It’s nice that in St. Thomas you can get off the ship and see some shops without having to get a taxi or anything.  The shopping is just tourist stuff – no chance of seeing the real St. Thomas there – but it’s still fun to look through some of the shops.  I can’t help but find it strange that St. Thomas is part of the United States.  It seems absurd to see a US Post Office on this tropical island.

A view of St. Thomas from our verandah:

A couple ships docked behind ours

Zoe's souvenir from St. Thomas... a Del Sol shirt that changes color in the sun: 

When we returned to the ship we joined the others at the pool.  I took turns with Jacob and Max on the Aquaduck.  When I was on with Max the person in front of us had gotten stuck in the tube.  When I saw them, I was concerned that we were going to end up stuck as well, but luckily we were going fast enough that when we bumped the other person’s raft that got them going enough and didn’t stop us.

Zoe had a nap and is ready for dinner

Our dinner tonight was at Animator’s Palate again.
The kids  in their Hawaiian outfits
Kyrie's drawing

This time we each were given a placemat to draw a character on and then after dessert our characters were brought to life on the screen.  It was a lot of fun and people did a good job with their drawings.

Seeing your drawing come to life and dance with real Disney characters was amazing!  A major highlight of the trip for sure!  Your name even appears in the credits at the end of the show.  Then the wait staff gave us the placemats back with an official seal that we are now Disney animators!  So cool!

The boys watching a magic trick from our waiter JC:

After dinner, the kids traded pins with the officers and then Kyrie and most of the kids headed to the main show which was Wishes and Zach and I went to the movie theater to watch The Lone Ranger.  Zach let me watch it this time – he just slept in his sling.  Walking around with him in the sling gets us an awful lot of attention.  The movie was excellent – much different than I was expecting.

Here’s how it went down, we all had seats in the theater. Marc sat the kids down with a couple bags of popcorn and handed me a cocktail then asked if I would be okay with the kids while he went to a movie.  Umm, sure.

Zoe enjoying her popcorn before the show.  (Note to Disney - I want real popcorn on the ship! - Marc)

Made it through the show!  And ready for bed! 

 Kyrie managed to get all of the kids to bed before Zach and I returned from the movie - which I’m certain was not easy!