June 25, 2017

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The wonderful thing about receiving a trip for Christmas is that it is the gift that keeps on giving.  

There was the fun of opening it, the fun of the anticipation (which became the theme of Sadie's birthday just before we left.  Sadie was so baffled by the "Hidden Mickey" cake that I made her). . .

And then there is the fun of finally GOING on the vacation!

The portal to FUN:

When you enter the ship the magic hits you instantly with the beautiful lobby:

One of our rooms:

Sometimes it is really fun to have a wheelchair accompany you wherever you go -- like when your state rooms are the extra large accessible cabins!

We had our room attendant unlock the balcony divider so the balconies of our two rooms were connected.  We made a boys room and a girls room.  We set up Bridger's travel bed over the Murphy bed and pulled down the ceiling bunks. So spacious and roomy!

No longer a Disney cruise newbie, I knew some tricks to make this cruise even more fun - like decorating our doors!  Upon boarding, I snuck down to our cabin doors and decorated them while the kids were hitting the buffet.  When they came down to find our state rooms their expressions were priceless!

And because scheduling fun for 7 gets really confusing and you find yourself missing activities that you didn't even know happened, I had brought along 2 magnetic document sleeves that we put the daily schedule in and stuck it to our doors.  Everyone highlighted all of the different activities they wanted to do, so we never missed a beat.  We also had dry erase boards on our doors so the kids could leave us a note as to where they were and I could tell them where to meet up as plans evolved throughout the day.

I also put suction cup hooks on the doors for everyone to hang their Key to the World cards each time they came in - which I learned last time were easy to get lost in all of the cabin flurry.

Bridger's favorite daily obsession was wondering which towel animal our room attendant would leave next.  He would scream in delight each time we entered our room to find a new terry-furred friend.

To fuel that obsession the girls and I took a towel origami class.

We also attended a cooking demonstration by one of Disney's amazing chefs.  Yummiest strudel ever!

Lance isn't in these pictures much because he loved his teen club.  Kudos to Disney for creating such a cool space that a 15 year old actually wants to be there!  We would see him for meals, and caught an occasional sighting of him on the main deck - which is where we spent most of our time.  Specifically, Nemo's Reef.  Bridger would scoot around all of the sprayers as the toddlers dodged the big bum-scooting obstacle as they ran around.

A Disney cruise is perfect for Bridger, because here his meltdowns don't hold us all hostage.  His meltdowns don't keep his siblings from having fun because Alan or I can hang with him in the room where he parks himself in front of the Mickey cartoons that play 24/7 and he can "reset" himself in time for dinner (as he chatters in between cartoon segments about the next towel animal that will be left for him.)

We weren't too big on the character meet n' greets because they had their fill of those on our park time before the cruise.  But who can resist one more encounter with Ana and Elsa?  Truthfully, we just went because Bridger wanted to see Olaf.  We had to talk Bridger through his brewing tantrum when he learned Olaf was a no-show.  He recovered.

Lance, who remembered all of the amazing menu offerings from the first cruise, continued to amaze us with his mature palette and would always order the most unique offerings on the menu.  Tuna tartar, Duck Confit. . . you name it - he ate it and loved it.  Eliza was so full after dinner, when they asked her what she wanted for dessert, she said, "Nothing!"

So that is what they brought her, in chocolate and Mickey sprinkles.

The girls and I enjoyed Goofy golf and ping pong before our dinners and the boys would do the midnight showing of Star Wars and other Disney flicks.

Vacations with young children rarely provide opportunities for parents to relax.  

And vacations with children with special needs will never, ever, never allow for a SINGLE moment of relaxation.

But guess what?! We have discovered that a Disney Cruise is the ONE vacation that there may be some such moments, however brief, that relaxation will be available to each of us, including for Alan and I.  THAT it what makes it magical.

Our favorite magical cruise memories I will post of in my blog tomorrow.  They deserve a blog of their own.

Until tomorrow. . .