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Our Crazy MAGICal Disney Cruise!

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After a very bittersweet year being transferred from Florida back to SC, we were all ready for a getaway. We spent so much time at WDW when we lived only 2 hours away, and as much as we missed it, it was time for a change.... sort of. So although we really missed Mickey this time we were going to see him on the high seas! Yup, the McSparklesons head out for 7 MAGICal days in the Eastern Caribbean.


The original McSparklesons (Gilmore Girls eat your hearts out!!!)......






But we're letting Daddy come too....... rotfl2.gif

From 2008





Not only will this be our first DCL cruise, but our first cruise EVER! And to think we lived in Jacksonville where we could have taken a 3 day Carnival cruise for $119 - I don't think I can afford to LIVE that cheap for 3 days, let alone cruise for it! But we never took advantage of the opportunity, because, like a lot of things, we put it off thinking we could do it "later."


We set sail March 26, 2011 for what because "the best vacay EVAH!"

Ally will be turned 10 on the cruise???? cool1.gif


Please join us for our family's adventures as we set sail for parts as yet unknown (to us......).........

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One of the really cool things about a DCL cruise, is that passengers board one family at a time and they are announced. So about a week before we left, during dinner, I was talking about being announced as the McSparklesons, and I showed Jeff my blowing kisses wave for when we walk in, as Ally sits at the dinner table like scared07.gif......

See, on another site I wrote tons of trip reports from our WDW trips, and during one mother/daughter trip, Ally and I wore silver sparkly Mickey ears and we became known as the "McSparklesons." It sort of stuck.

Jeff got up from the table and said, "I've got a great idea...... when they announce our family's name, let's do this....."




And of course, he gave the requisite..... "SUPERSTAHHHHHHH!!!"


I'm not sure but I think Ally may have actually shed a tear or two......


Now I'm beginning to wonder if we should have just saved the money from the cruise for her therapy later on......rotfl2.gif

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So let's get this party started!!!!!! cool1.gif


If you've ever read any of my other TRs, you know that my family NEVER gets out on time, and this trip would prove no different. But I kept to my plan anyway.


11:30am - take Buckeye (our lab/chow mix and the love of this family!) to kennel. I cried when I left him. Because that's what I do. I am very emotional and I love my dog, well, actually Ally's dog. But working from home with him laying in my office all day, we bond. He's my buddy.


12:30pm - pick up Ally from school. I told her 1:00 so I had to wait until they could find her on the playground. And knowing that Jeff would NOT be ready by 1:30, Ally and I stopped for ice cream on the way home from school, because, why? WE ARE ON VACATION!!!!!! Who says "no" to ice cream on vacation???confused24.gif


1:30pm - Receive call from Jeff that he's shooting for 2pm (this is after the call I received at noon saying he was "shooting" for 1:30. I should have threatened to shoot HIM if he didn't hurry home!!!!


2:10 - Receive call from Jeff that he is leaving work - luckily he works 4 minutes down the road.


I had all the luggage out in the hall by the garage door so all I needed from him was a few muscles to get it into the car.......




2:20pm - Pulled out of the driveway. And set the GPS which estimated our arrival time at 10:53pm..... sad06.gif


Cruising down I-26 traffic was pretty heavy and I was pretty nervous. I've been in a spring break parking lot on I-95 before and I was NOT going to do it this night. And as we got closer to I-95 I knew that it was now or never. Would we or would we not be stuck? I was already checking for alternate routes through small town America if needed......


But when we came up on I-95 I could see traffic flying by and Jeff and I gave a love30.gif and cruised on.......


It was at this time that Ally's nightmares began. For Jeff became a DJ..... And we went back to Big Hair Bands, and One Hit Wonders. And Ally was mortified.....


Especially when Jeff turned on Right Said Fred. Y'all know where I'm going with this? I think this song should be played when the McSparklesons enter the Disney Magic. Oh yes, I do......


Because, "I'm Too Sexy" has become our theme song.


"I'm too sexy for this shirt, so sexy it hurts....."


Top of my lungs, "I'm a model, you know what I mean, and I do my little turn on the GANGPLANK. On the GANGPLANK.... I shake my little tush on the GANGPLANK"


And of course Jeff and I discussed how we can spin around and dance and shake our little tushes as we enter. Oh, yes. I think this is it. We will make Magic history - the McSparklesons will live on forever as the COOLEST family EVER to make their entrance onto the Magic.....


I see Ally in the rear view mirror, somewhere around Walterboro, SC. And I swear I see a tear in her eye......


I ask Jeff to give the Radisson a call to confirm our late arrival tonight, and all Ally and I hear is "Oh, by the way, do you have 'I'm Too Sexy' on your play list? Do you think you could queue it up when we arrive? Yes, probably about 10:30. Thank you so much. That will help get us in the mood for our cruise tomorrow. Great. OKay, see you later!"


From the backseat: "I think I need new parents......"


Up next: "I think those people live in our neighborhood......."

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I will cut to the chase for you...... I know you might be shocked to hear this but the Radisson did NOT have Right Said Fred queued up when we arrived!!!!! So much for Disney service, huh?


Actually, the Radisson at the Port, right down the road from Port Canaveral, was incredible. When we got in at 10:30, tired and cranky (especially when I told Jeff I forgot to pack an overnight bag so we needed to carry in ALL our bags.....) the front desk staff was very accomodating.


I had been playing with the idea of having Jeff drive us to the port and then he could go back, park the car in the Radisson lot and hop the shuttle to meet us. But when I asked at the front desk, the shuttle coordinator was there and he said it would be a lot easier to just all ride together on the shuttle. He and the front desk clerk were both shocked to hear that we had actually RESERVED a spot on the first shuttle, saying that most people don't do it, and then complain that they have to wait. But thanks to the trusty DISBOARDS, I knew I needed to reserve our seats!!!

I barely got any sleep that night, despite the Sleep Number beds in our rooms. I was way too worked up about getting on my first ship the next day. I was still very anxious about the whole idea......


We turned on the Ohio State basketball game and I fell asleep quickly. Jeff said he forced himself to sleep, which was a good thing considering the outcome of that game....


I woke up at 3:30am and had a horrible stomach. Nerves. It's who I am. So I tossed and turned a little bit before finally getting up around 6:30....


We still needed to run to Walgreens to grab a couple last minute things (Tums were high on my list.... ) but we made one crucial mistake. We did not eat breakfast first thing. And lines were out the door because I think that EVERYONE staying on the strip in Port Canaveral had a ship to catch that morning. So I told Jeff to get us back to the hotel and I'm sure we could grab something at the DCL terminal when we got there.....


When we parked our car and made our way back to our room, we were standing just outside the door and Ally looked over the railing to the parking lot and said, "I think those people live in our neighborhood."


I didn't even look. After all, she's 10. She has a great imagination. I mean, she thinks Mommy is the most beautiful woman in the world! Wait, that part is true...... but she does have an overactive imagination.....


Now keep in mind that we just moved into our home back in June, so we've been here less than a year. We are very active in the community, but we are still new.


So we hustled Ally back inside, finished getting our things together, and the three of us made the long trek from our room to the lobby of the hotel. Each of us was pulling a suitcase, PLUS we each had a carry on bag. We were loaded down......


As soon as we got outside the front door about 9:45, my shuttle coordinator from last night took good care of me. He recognized the name, and the McSparkleson charm of course...... And he made sure the McSparklesons were the FIRST FAMILY on the shuttles that morning!!!!!


But while we were waiting, I was wandering around, very covertly checking out everyone's luggage tags, checking for anyone from our FE exchange..... No dice.


The ride over was great. We were on the little 15 packer van and literally 2 minutes from the port. Just three families, 2 going to Disney, 1 to Carnival. I was on pins and needles driving over. And then I saw her.

She was beautiful!!!! I cried as she came into view. Ally looked over at me, and said, not for the last time this trip, “Daddy, she’s crying! Do something!”


Our shuttle driver was great. He gave us lots of advice for first time cruisers, then he dropped one family off at the Carnival Dream, and then took us to the DCL terminal. From this point on, it was smooth sailing, get it? "Smooth Sailing?" Cause we're going on a ship? Sailing? Get it?????


He dropped us off about 10:10am and we tipped him so he can afford to pay his chiropractor after lifting our bags.......


We then tipped the porter who we hoped would get our bags on the ship...... And how in the world this little tiny gal lifted my bag I'll never know. I was kinda waiting for her to just roll it into the sea.......


Next we made our way through ID check...... then straight into security, and up the escalator. And saw this…..




We walked straight through the line to check in and next thing you know, we were registered guests of the Disney Magic!




Not the friendliest cast member I've ever encountered, and she was quite confused when I asked about upgrading to a clear plexiglass verandah. She looked at me like I had big ears or something. I mean, has she looked at her boss lately?


She then proceeded to read me a memo on her screen that said, "The ship is full, no upgrades available, none, nada, don't even ask!"


So...... I think we will be perfectly happy with our solid wall verandah!!!!!


Our check in process from the time we got off the shuttle until we had our Key To The World cards in hand was no more than 15 minutes. Smooth Sailing! Get it?????


We were assigned Boarding Group# 3 - Booyah!!!!! So we knew we would be on by noon! Then we wandered around a bit, and made our way outside to the observation deck.




Funny little tidbit from yours truly, Cliff Claven.....


Disney has stolen two ship names from Carnival.... Dream and Fantasy so guess what Carnival's new ship is going to be named???


The Carnival Magic!!!! Take that Disney! Next we're gonna start taking good care of our little guests, and offering soft drinks at no charge, and providing awesome shows for families!!!!! Well, maybe we will.......someday.....


Back inside we went on the hunt for breakfast. DENIED!!!! Absolutely nothing available. Not even a cast member's purse laying around with some mints inside. I know. I checked.....


So we popped a squat and just hung out and Ally looked at me and said, "Mommy, this is good people watching...." She was right. But still not nearly as good as Walmart......




We loved checking out the ship's model, especially since we had never the seen inside the REAL ship! Would she look the same??? Would the beds be actual size on the actual ship????






While we were checking out the ship, a little guy came up and asked if we could help him find the kids clubs. So we hunted around until we found it, and pointed it out to him. He seemed satisfied as he gave a little "huh." I think he was also wondering if the chairs and computers would be actual size on the actual ship. Huh.



The whole time we were sitting there people watching, and waiting to board, we kept laughing at the line for Oceaneers Lab/Club, because WE registered online.....



Until we realized that registered or not, we still needed to get in line to get Ally's ID band.....


But we were holding firm that WE didn't need to wait in line. We are the McSparklesons!!! We're..... too sexy for that line!!!!! Right?


Let's just ignore the line..


Look! There's Captain Mickey!!!




Oh, that line is getting longer.......... so I asked a cast member if we would be better off waiting until we got on the ship to get her ID band, and they assured us that the line would be really long there, too. But we are in boarding group 3? Then she said something like, "Wait! Aren't you the McSparklesons????"


We got in line.


But honestly, it took about 15 minutes.... waaaaaay better than the line for Splash Mountain at 3pm in July!


Next thing ya know, Ally is chipped and we are on our way!




If she and the dog get lost at the same time I can now find them both just as fast!!!!


As we were coming out of the line, the first announcement was made to begin boarding for concierge guests..... so we knew we would be called soon!!!!


About 10 minutes later we were herded through the giant Mickey head (like the real head isn't big enough!). And I mean herded. With a capital MOOOOO!!!!




There was no queue, just a mob of people pushing and shoving their way. And Ally does not like rule breakers. People who push and shove should be locked up for life according to Ally. Line jumpers? Oh, you don't even want to know!!!!


But as soon as we got through the giant Mickey head, we were funneled into two lines, and since I'm a DISer, I know to ALWAYS GO LEFT!!! And the right line moved faster.......


At this point, we showed our KTTW cards and they grouped us for family photos, where they then split the photos for our individual KTTW cards. That I found amazing. So even though we were together for the photo, my photo was on my card, Jeff's on his, and Fido's, I mean Ally's was on hers.


And now it was time to cross the gangplank and enter the Magic.......


Up next: Superstaaaahhhhs????

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As soon as they announced our board group# 3, we were on our way. It was just OK, as in the OK Corral, as in we were HERDED through the gangway.... click links for video clips.....



Yes, you heard that right. I moo'd. I sure did. And I'd do it again...... So MOOOOOOO!


OK, now back to my 40's......


Boarding a Disney cruise looked like it was going to be just like the Haunted Mansion immediately upon exiting the elevator. Except the port never stretched. Not once. I don't think. Although it did have high ceilings.... but I digress..... (get used to it, it happens a lot!)



As soon as we moved through the line where our KTTW cards were swiped, for the first of many times, although this time did not include an $8 Drink of the Day so it may have been the CHEAPEST swipe of the trip, we were asked to move in front of a DCL backdrop where we were photographed and fingerprinted. OK, so we weren't fingerprinted, but after the chipping of my child, the corraling, and now the quick quick quick photo, I was ready for anything, maybe even an ear tag for quick identifying later!!!


But FINALLY! Actually, it all happened in less than 5 minutes, it was a piece of cake...... And just like the Haunted Mansion, you have that initial cattle call after the elevator, then once you get into the queuing line, you are relatively safe from the crowds, then once in your own personal Doom Buggy, it's just you and the spirits.... Same thing boarding the Magic. Minus the hitchhikers.


We have the gangway to ourselves as we make our way onto the Magic for our INTRODUCTION!!!!



And I'll bet you really wanna know how we were introduced, don't you? Were we "The McSparkleson Family?" Were we "Superstaaaahhhhs?"


Well, this is how someone else was introduced:



I really have no idea how we were introduced. I was crying. Again. For the second time that day. It was just so MAGICal. Yes, I really am that cheesy, but it's because it really was that magical!!!! I couldn't believe that the time had finally arrived. We were on our first Disney cruise!


So when we walked through the gangway and the CM asked me for our family name, the first thing I blurted out was.......


OUR NAME!!!! scared07.gif


And in hindsight, that may have been a good thing, because when we were still in the OK Corral, Ally grabbed my hand, looked me dead in the eye, and said..... "MOOO!"


OK, not really. She actually said, "Mama, PLEASE don't embarass me when we get on the ship." She was pleading with me with those big cow eyes (moooo!) and digging into my hand.


So obviously we were NOT too sexy for the Magic, and we were not even Superstaaaahhhs. But we will always sparkle.






We were met by a cast member to herd us (I really need to get out of the corral!) quickly out of the atrium, to make room for the next family. We knew immediately where we needed to be, so we quickly made our way up to Deck 9 and Topsiders. After all, it's now a little after noon and we have not eaten yet. And I'm HUNGRY!!!! Moooooo!




I would like to thank my family for allowing me to walk around all day with the hangar straps hanging out of my shirt. I feel so glamorous seeing this in all the photos.....


Our view from Topsiders looking out over the port.....


Norwegian Sun



Carnival Dream



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Kennedy Space Center







And before long, my favorite cast member (or are they CRUISE members?) came by and offered me the Drink of the Day!!! He then took my KTTW card for the first of MANY swipes to made this trip.....








We filled our plates and settled in to watch the, well, nothing really because we're not moving yet!







UP next: Let's tour the Magic!

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As relaxing as it was to just kick back on the deck at Topsiders and watch the, well, watch the traffic drive by....... we started seeing others come out looking for seats. Since I was full of heaven in a cup, I urged everyone up up up!!! Time to go check out our home for the next 7 days!


We had absolutely no idea where we were or where we were going. We kept running into dead ends and trying to look like we did it on purpose. You know cause you've done this too! Dead end..... "oh, look! That is the kind of door knob I was thinking of putting on the new house and I wanted to show you!" Uh huh........


We left topsiders and headed to the port side..... yeah, I'm all sailor Kara now. I got all my nautical jargon goin on, so try to keep up.......


In other words, for you landlubbers..... we headed to the LEFT side of the ship and up to Deck 10. This is where we would spend a LOT of time on this cruise. Nothing on Deck 10 except, well, decks...... and Wide World of Sports, Outlook Bar, The Stack (teen club) and Palo. OK, so there are a few things up here, but it's mainly just wide open decks. Filled with lounge chairs on sea days. A couple with "McSparkleson" engraved on them. More on that later......


The great thing about Deck 10 is that it is a perimeter deck. Don't know if there's anything nautical about that term, but from a McSparkleson point of view, it means that we can look down on Deck 9. Maybe I'll talk to Captain John (cause we go way back, ya know, to March 26th.... I mean, he had his picture taken with me and it's not like ANYONE can do that, right?) about getting that in the official nautical dictionary......


Mickey Pool



Goofy Pool with Funnelvision - Didn't this used to be called the Dumbotron? I wonder if Jumbotron had some issues with that......



And the lovely, QUIET Cove Pool - and not a child there all week......



Quite a few line items from THIS place on our final bill....... Guess I should have taken that as a "signal" - ohhhhh, I'm cracking myself up and it's not even 8am yet!!!!



And of course, the quiet pool was even more quiet at this point. After all, the ship hadn't even left port yet. So parents still LIKED their kids! It wasn't until Thursday that it got a bit crowded. Five days in a 200 sq ft cabin will drive anyone to dump their kids at the Oceaneers Lab/Club and run as fast as possible to the adult pool, and then make a U-turn to Signals for the Drink of the Day!


We were keeping our eye on the clock because at 1:30 our room would be ready!


Well look at the time!!!!


This is what our room looked like as we first made our way down the hall......




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And this is what it looked like after a few minutes of decorating!




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I loved loved LOVED the location of our room! We were aft (back of the ship for you novices......), with only about 4 rooms further back than we were. So we were VERY aft! Sometimes I think we were after than others, but mostly we were almost the aftest.......


People say that front or back of the ship feels the sea the most. But what I felt was the side to side motion. Now this could be because we had extremely calm seas the whole week?


But the cool thing about our location is that, even though our verandah had the solid white wall, it was considerably larger than verandahs that ran along the side of the ship. And the three rooms "after" us (cracking myself up again!!!) had even LARGER verandahs!


And you see the little jog to the right as you get to our room? It just felt so quiet down there. I never heard anyone on either side of us (one side was a family with a very young child, and the other was a middle aged couple on their 5th DCL cruise and they had no kids!!!!).


Also, I didn't mind the solid wall verandah because the only time I spent out there, I was standing up anyway. I never just sat on the verandah. Usually, I would get up in the morning, head out to see where we were, and then head in to get ready for the day. And the price difference was substantial, so I might consider booking that same room again. Loved it!


Ally's luggage was there already so I quickly unpacked her and stowed the bag under the bed. While I was doing that, Jeff's bag arrived outside our door so I grabbed that and unpacked him as well. He had to lift the bed for me to store his bag, so keep in mind that very large suitcases will NOT fit under the bed. Mine was too thick, so I stored it in the closet, which was fine.


First thing I have to do is make myself at home. I can't live out of a suitcase for a week or I feel too transient. After all, this is my HOME for a week! So I was getting a bit antsy that MY luggage had not arrived yet. They say it will all be delivered by 5:30pm, so I wasn't worried, okay, I was worried........ I had all the important stuff in there! The pop up hamper, the over the door shoe hanger, all the things to keep the cabin neat. I can not STAND to have things strewn all about, and I'm constantly picking up after Pepe and Le Pew. Drives me insane!!!!


So after hanging out in the cabin for a bit just to get a feel for it, oh, and by the way, I was so excited because I could not FEEL anything! Jeff kept laughing at me as I exclaimed, "I can't feel the ship move at all!" Well, we were still tethered to the dock.......


We then wandered up to Deck 5 to check out the Oceaneer's Club. It is for ages 3-10, but as soon as we walked in, Ally informed us, "This is for babies...." She stayed for the orientation later, but kept looking over at us and rolling her eyes.


But once we walked over to the Oceaneer's Lab, we knew we had found her spot. It is also ages 3-10 but geared toward the older kids.








They scanned her..... (sadly, she was not on sale......)



At 3:30 the air horn sounded throughout the ship, okay, maybe not an air horn, but they made sure you were awake to hear the message on where to go for your Muster Drill......


Being the good little sailors we were, we listened carefully. Then I opened my door, saw the crew member standing right outside wearing a life vest, and I panicked.... this could not be a good sign. Then it hit me.......




OK, so she was just there to direct us to our station. We were in Muster Station Q, where all the Quool kids hang out! We actually went even after in the ship, to the aftest stairs, and made our way down to level 4 and in through the super secret back door to Animators Pallete.


The minute we walked in, we were directed to find a seat with the other "quool" kids. And that's when the muster MESS began. I did discover that no icebergs had been spotted, so that was good. What was not so good was the dueling megaphones that 2 different crew members were using. And when they would turn to the opposite side, we couldn't hear a thing.


It was like..... "In the event of an emergency, you will hear....... do you understand?" "So make your way calmly to the.......... where you will..... okay?"


It was very uncoordinated and I was thankful we did NOT hit an iceberg in the Caribbean, because all I knew was to find the super secret back door to AP and sit quietly........


And what's up with our station INSIDE? If Kate and Leo had been INSIDE, they couldn't have clung to the railing as the ship flipped. They couldn't have jumped when the ship when down. And Kate certainly wouldn't have found that piece of flotsam if she had been INSIDE when the ship went down. I felt a bit like the steerage passengers that won their tickets in a card game..... or maybe I just watch too many movies??????


But good news, you do not need to wear your life vests for muster drill. Just leave them in your closet and head to your station. Hopefully you're outside so you can at least flag down the Lusitania if needed......


Up next..... Sail Away!!!!!!

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In the words of my dear friend Lionel Richie….

“Well my friends the time has come…..

To raise the roof and have some fun…..”


As we left the muster mess we were herded (again with the cow analogies???) out through the not so secret main doors of Animator’s and as the masses waited for an elevator, we hoofed it up 6 flights to Deck 10 (cause we were on Deck 4 + 6 = Deck 10 - I’m not going too fast for you, am I?) to get ready for the Sail Away party.


Now I’m always up for a good party, so I was really looking forward to this!


We found a spot by the rail right in front of the Deck 9 Goofy Stage, but we were on Deck 10 so we could look right down and see all the action!












We were singin.

We were dancin.

We were wavin pompoms.

We were mooooovin. (Get it???? More bovine humor!!!! )

We were groovin.


And Ally kept turning around to say, "Mama, STOP that!"


And then I started singin LOUDER, dancin FASTER, wavin HIGHER, and just really getting this party kicked into a higher gear.


Cause that's what Gopher McCoy wanted us to do. Gopher McCoy was our cruise director. Yes, that was his name. At first I thought it was Peter Popper. And that led to all kinds of crazy children's rhymes. Until Jeff informed me it was Peter Kopper. No, Peter Koffer. Still not right.


So it became Gopher McCoy. Well........ I couldn't very well call him JULIE now, could I? And if you thought I was going to leave this TR without a Love Boat reference, well, you just don't know me at all.


Furthermore, if you think I'm done with the Titanic references.......


This party was so upbeat and fun, I even caught Jeff doing the Cha Cha Slide with us!!!! I even think he was on Funnelvision! Ya know that commercial for RCL where the dad is dancing and acting crazy and the daughter is mortified? Yup, my family!!!


Add pixie dust and it increases tenfold!!!






After all the festivities, including the countdown at 5pm, we finally pulled away from the port around 5:30 or so...... I think Captain John was enjoying his Drink of the Day and too busy doing the Cha Cha Slide with Gopher McCoy and they lost track of time..... or something like that!


It was fun watching the Norwegian Sun and the Carnival Dream leave port first. It was amazing just how long it took them to actually get out of view.


But. Now. It. Was. Our. Turn!!!!!


We grabbed a couple of drinks - I think Captain John may have just handed me his DOTD as he sprinted back toward the bridge, but I can't really remember for sure - we made our way back to our cabin to unpack. We hung out on the balcony as we slooooowly pulled away.....



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All the cast members hung out on the observation deck, waving with the giant Mickey hands.... either that or they all simultaneously slammed their hands in the door.......


Leaving Port - VIDEO


There was some commotion outside our door and sure enough it was my luggage! I think I heard some cursing too, same as when Jeff loaded it in the van, and when the porter took it, and when...... It was a HEAVY suitcase!


So I grabbed it, heaved it up on my shoulder, then sprinted into the room, jumped on the bed, and finally threw it to the ground, where it burst open, all my clothes flew into the drawers and closet and all was right in the world.


Or something like that.


As I was unpacking, Jeff and Ally would call me out to the balcony from time to time. It was so fun to watch the people on shore who obviously chose Saturday afternoon to come down to watch the cruise ships leave. It really is neat to see.......


They are just so large and majestic and they move through the water so smoothly.






Watching all the fishing boats coming in, they would wave to us and hold up their catches for us to see.


Ally was really loving it. She looked to me at one point, and said, "I feel like a star!" She really thought everyone was waving at HER! Get that princess wave going there, girlfriend!!!!




There were several restaurants and bars along the shore and at one point I heard a kid yell..... "LUCKY!!!!!!!!"


I realized then, just how lucky we were. Truly. This was just the beginning a magical vacation and I really did feel on top of the world.






That was the last I would see land for the next 2 1/2 days. It only took about 10-15 minutes after that to lose sight of land. Captain John was Cha Cha Sliding us out into the big blue!!!!!!!


Up Next....... The Motion of the Ocean.......

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As I was finishing up the unpacking, Jeff and Ally were getting cleaned up. AFter all, it's about 6pm by now, and we need to grab showers and get ready for dinner. After all, that Cha Cha sliding and sweating in the Florida sun really gave the McSparklesons a new aroma.... just saying..... Plus, the Oceaneer's Club open house is at 7:15.


So once they are ready, they head to the Open House while I get ready. I head out to meet them at the Lab about 7:30 and get stuck in a VERY long line of overly excited parents who are just minutes away from being childless. Not wanting to wait since I"m not dropping off a child, I go in the out door, and ask to be let in to find my family.


I quickly learn that this is way to do it. Wait in line to drop off kids, cut to pick up.


This is when I find they are over in the Club instead of the Lab. Once we realize that Miss Maturity wants nothing to do with the Club, we head out and begin roaming the ship. And then it hits us.....


We missed the "All Aboard" show!!!! We have been at sea less than 2 hours and already we can't keep up with the Navigator!!!!! Apparently it IS rocket science for the McSparklesons.......


So we head to the Promenade Lounge to grab a drink before dinner. The PL is right outside the first restaurant in our rotation, Parrot Cay, so what better way to relax and start the vacation than with one of these.....








Wow, the PL sure seems empty... oh wait, that's because everyone is either eating in the first dining rotation or watching the show!!!!!


I had requested a specific dining rotation and second seating, which were both given to me. So we would begin with Parrot Cay, which would also put us here for Pirate Night and it's the most appropriately themed for that night. And we would have Lumiere's, the most formal restaurant, for formal night! So reading the DIS really paid off!


It was about this time that I started watching the level of my wine starting moving right.... then left.... then right.... then left......


I wasn't digging it. There's movin, and groovin. And white boys playing that funky music. And then there's moving, and swaying in a most unnatural way (well, that's kinda the white boys dancing too, but that's another story......).


I didn't feel "sick." I was just freaked out.


But there was no way I was going to admit it. After all, I was the one who pushed for this trip. I was the one who had been talking about it and planning it for the past 4 months. I was the one who was sooooo excited!


So I sucked it up and tried to act like all was well in the world of Kara.......


Until Ally said, "I'm nervous."

Kara: "About what?"

Ally: "I've never been on a ship in the middle of the ocean before."

Yeah, like I have? I'm scared to death right now and don't have time to coddle your wimpy behind! Suck it up kid, there's no whining on the Magic!

.... is what I wanted to say. What I actually said was.....

Kara: "There is absolutely nothing to worry about! This is so exciting, right?"

Ally, as tear begin to well up: "Yeah, but I'm just nervous....."

I hug her as Jeff rolls his eyes, no doubt thinking, I spent how much for this?


Before long we notice a line forming outside Parrot Cay, so we get up and get in line.


Soon we are met and taken to our table.....


Soon our super servers showed up and introduced themselves as Dobo from Bulgaria and Willy from Phillipines. I don't think I understand a darn thing they said all week.......


As much as I enjoyed them, and I did....... they were some odd birds..... Dobo was a dark conspiracy theorist who was basically burnt out from the crazy hours they work and he was looking forward to his 2 months off, coming up soon. And Willy was just the happiest guy who seemed to have so much fun that he started stammering like a little kid! Loved them both though.....


Willy came to get our drink orders and I stuck with water. Jeff knew something was up then.


Ally ordered a smoothie, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you what it was. Mango I think????




What I absolutely loved about every dining experience was that they brought out the kids' food first. If your kids are like mine, you know that one dinner could easily outlast Gone With The Wind..... WITH the intermission!!!! So having them bring Ally's food so she could begin eating before we were even finished with our soup or salad was wonderful!


Now another way that Jeff knew I wasn't doing so well is that I didn't take many photos at dinner......


But I do know that Ally was loving her menu. Every meal she would say, "For my appetizer I'll have....... and for dinner I'll have....... and for dessert I'll have....... And the smoothie I'd like tonight is......"


Practically verbatim every night.


Her first night was cheese pizza and she deemed it, "Awesome!"


I started with the Baked Crab Martinique, Jumbo Lump Crab in a Creamy Cheese Sauce, follwed by the Cold Cream of Mango and Papaya Soup. I ate the crab and barely tasted the soup. Not even sure what it all tasted like....


Jeff had the Jamaican Marinated Chicken Tenderloins in a Sizzling Spicy Jerk Sauce with a Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing, and and the Cream of Green Asparagus Soup with Crabmeat and Asparagus (but not really sure).


I was just so busy focusing on watching the water levels sway on all the tables. Then I'd watch other guests to get their reaction. Were we listing awfully far to the left? To the right? Were the crew members getting nervous? No? Well why the heck not???????


At this point, I'm dreading the rest of the trip. How long until we get to St Maarten???? No way am I getting out of bed tomorrow....... no way, no how! Just wake me when we get to land.


But until then, I need to eat, so I order the Mixed Grill, Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Lamb Chop, Bacon Wrapped Sausage, and Jumbo Shrimp with a Cabernet Mushroom Sauce. I think it was good. I ate a couple bites of tenderloin and shrimp........


As served.....



AFTER Willy came and peeled the shrimp for me.....



Willy cutting up Ally's cheese pizza. She got soooo spoiled with this treatment for breakfast and dinner each day, that she's impossible to live with now!!!!






I had the French Toast Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce for dessert.....



And that's all I ate.....


I mean, who can eat when it's quite obvious that the ship is about to tip over!!!!! And our muster station is inside so there goes my saving flotsam!


After dinner, Jeff wanted to check out Beat Street or one of the clubs, but Ally and I were ready for bed. I know Jeff was not very happy with us, but I was happy that he didn't express himself.


To everyone who told me, "you can't even tell you're on a ship," um, SO NOT TRUE!!!! It's not like walking through the halls of a hotel. And I knew darn well I was on a ship, in the middle of the ocean.


But once I got back to the cabin about 9:30, and crawled into bed, the most amazing thing happened. A feeling of total peace and calm seemed to envelope me. I watched the drapery pull swing ever so slowly back and forth, and I could hear the soft hum of the ship's engines, and I drifted off even before Jeff and Ally had gotten into bed. And I slept through the night - not a dream, not a single waking moment until 7am.


Up Next...... Our first Day At Sea.....

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When I woke up at 7am, Jeff was nowhere to be found. And despite the fact that DCL has large staterooms compared to other cruise lines, there is STILL no place to hide. Believe me. I tried......


I stepped out onto the balcony, wondering how I would feel and I was pleasantly surprised. There was nothing to see but the big blue.... and I was totally fine with that. It was so peaceful to look out and see.... NOTHING.


Ally was totally sacked out and there was no point in waking her. I knew Jeff was out roaming the ship, hopefully bringing his beloved a much needed cup of coffee........


I turned the TV on low and discovered my nirvana.




I am a Weather Channel junkie. I love weather. I love storms. I love blizzards. I love hurricanes. Lightning - the more the merrier. If it's gonna thunder, I want it LOUD! Love it when the power goes out......


Yes. I am afraid pirates are going to attack the Disney Magic or we are going to just tip right over from the 1-2 foot swells...... , yet I love a good hurricane...... ok, so I have issues. Let's move on......


Walking by the Buena Vista Theater on Deck 5, I would stop EVERY time to check this channel that was always on. And I think it was showing somewhere else, too.


And of course it was the last thing I checked on my TV at night, and the first thing I checked in the morning. Oh, channel 19-3, I think I love you......


And not only did it give us longitude and lattitude, it told us how fast we were going (FYI 21 knots is approx 25mph). It gave wind direction, and wind speed. And it showed our course and where we were on course.


Well, we all came to the conclusion that Goofy was driving this big ole boat, cause we were NEVER on the line! Or maybe I'm thinking of Fidelity...... either way, I was waaaayyyy off the line!


And while channel surfing, I found another channel that offered a plethora of information (Ellen, that's for you! ), I learned something very valuable. It appears that pee is about 2 deg warmer than body temperature. After all, the adult pool was reading 86 degrees. The Goofy pool was ready 87, and the cesspool (aka Mickey pool) was reading 88 degrees? Coincidence? I think not.


There's a reason the water appeared green in all my photos......


So now you know and you too can be a wealth of information at Book Club with the knowlege that pee is indeed warmer than body temp. You know you're gonna do it........


After about 15 minutes of Channel 19-3, and not much changing at all, Jeff walked in with a nice warm cup of coffee. He wanted to head back up on deck so I hopped in the shower while he woke Ally. We were dressed in our swimsuits and coverups and on our way up to Topsiders in no time.


Topsiders had basic breakfast fare, fruit, breads, pancakes, eggs, pig parts, etc. I was starving after not eating much the night before, so I had to make up for it at breakfast. And I made Jeff proud......


We ran back to the room and grabbed the pool bag and off we went up to Deck 10 to grab a couple lounge chairs. Time to stake a claim.


I see all sorts of threads on here about people who can't find chairs, people hogging chairs, people saving chairs, etc. Well, I just didn't see that at all. Maybe down right by the Goofy or Micky pools, but fortunately with Ally 10 years old, we didn't need to be right with her, and thankfully we didn't need to spend any time in the cesspool.


But I saw lounge chairs all over the place. Unless of course it was 2pm and you're just now venturing out on deck. Then yes, they were probably all in use. We only kept two chairs, because Ally never sits still long enough anyway. And it was never a problem if Jeff and I got up to look over the railing (yup, still a bunch of water out there), or go take a dip in the adult pool. Nobody was freaking out because there was a shortage of chairs......


We were still trying to get our sea legs, but quickly learning to relax onboard. Not that we had much choice. Again..... lots of blue out there and no green.


I tried to get my bearings but seemed to be doubling back all the time. And for the life of me I could not get off an elevator or come up/down a staircase and know which way to turn. I had a 50/50 shot each time and went the wrong way every time. I didn't know my port from starboard or my aft from a hole in the ground!


Soon it was time for Ally to go to the Lab to make flubber.


As I was checking her into lab, I overheard Lise (who I assumed was the head mad scientist in the Lab) telling a child that she loves to leave her flubber in her mum's purse. At this point, Ally is rubbing her hands together saying, "I think I"m going to like this......"


Once I dropped Ally off, I made a beeline back to Deck 10 for some child free sunshine time! Jeff and I headed down to the QC pool and grabbed a couple of drinks.




Even though I felt a lot better, I still felt the need for a bloody mary. And a couple men at the bar changed their orders when they saw this......




I'm thinking I was not the only one feeling a bit wonky this morning......


Actually, since I was so out of sorts the night before, I never heard our Dobo explaining that the first night is always like that. Kids falling asleep on tables, everyone looking a little glassy eyed. Between catching flights, driving, and general anxiety, apparently it's the norm.


The weather was absolutely gorgeous but it was very windy. The apparent wind speed, apparently, was head on and it actually made it a little chilly at times.





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It's been so long since Jeff and I have been to a pool without Ally..... it was kind of nice!


Soon it was time to grab our cover ups and head to the Lab to pick up Ally for lunch. Imagine our surprise when she informed us she wanted to stay! woohoo.gif



She wanted to eat lunch in the lab with her new friends so we were on our own..... And we'd only been gone less than a day into a week long trip,.....


So off to Topsiders Jeff and I went alone..... for an Italian buffet.


We stopped in the lab after lunch but Ally didn't even see us. Once we saw that she was happy, we were happy.


As Jeff said, "the love connection has been made." She had her new friend and we were chopped liver....... Since she's an only child, nothing makes me happier than to see her comfortable in settings like this. She's never been shy, but she does complain a lot that she doesn't have a brother or sister.


And even though I know I"m the world's coolest mommy.... what? I AM THE COOLEST MOMMY!!!!! Or since we moved back to SC, I'm the world's coolest Mama now.......


We notified the lab that we would be in the spa at 3:30 for an hour. VERY IMPORTANT to let the Oceaneers Lab or Club know if you will be in the spa as they do not allow wave phones in the spa........


It was starting to get busier out by the pools after lunch....


The cesspool




Goofy's pool




And.... the I'm so glad my child loves being in the lab and I have the afternoon to myself pool.......





Feeling even better after lunch, it's time for what????


The DOTD!!!!




I call it the Drink of the Day.... Jeff refers to it as $8.00!!!!!!


Soon we were gathering up our things and heading to the Vista Spa for our Exotic Rasul appointment. Or as Jeff now calls it.... the "Kara is too much of a clock watching control freak to relax and enjoy herself" appointment.....


But along the way, we had to stop to declare...


I'm the King of the World!!!!!!!





Up Next: Who is this Rasul dude?????

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We checked in to the Vista Spa a couple minutes early and the oh so mature CM behind the counter giggled when she said, “Oh….. you’re here for the Exotic Rasul, right?”


We were asked to have a seat and fill out a couple of forms. As I looked around I thought, Oh, they all KNOW what’s about to happen……..


About 20 minutes later the same very mature CM came to escort us back to the locker room. As we were walking back she said, “My boyfriend and I would like to do this some time…..” <giggle, giggle>


What is up with this girl???? Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m reading “Cruise Confidential” right now – a Carnival crew member’s accounting of his time working on a cruise ship. And let’s just say that if Miss Oh So Mature is “dating” another crew member, I hope her mother never reads this book. Not exactly a mission trip, if ya get my drift……


When we got to the locker rooms, Jeff went to one and I went into the other and we were told to change into robes, and she’d be back to get us “shortly.” Well, I think she and I use different dictionaries because after I got changed I stretched out on a heated lounge chair and watched not one, not two, but FOUR women come through and get showered. And still no Miss OSM……


It was about 3:10 before we were taken into our spa room (our appointment was at 2:30). The giggle monster explained all the scrubs, lotions and creams and the order in which they should be used. She snickered her way through explaining the showers and then left saying she’d be back in 40 minutes.


Nobody told me I needed to bring a stenographer to keep track of everything she said. Or at least a notebook…..


Let me skip ahead now…. You don’t REALLY think I’m going to detail those 40 minutes, now do you?????? ;)


I think the Exotic Rasul would be a lot of fun for a couple IF one or both of said couple are not absolute control freaks. I felt like Captain Hook the whole time, all I could hear was “tick, tock” and I kept “hearing” the giggle monster knock at our door…….


Once the REAL knock came, we waited…. And waited…. And waited….. and the giggle monster never came back.


So I opened the door and waited…. And waited…. And waited. Still no giggle monster.


So off we went to the locker rooms. We got changed and met up in the hall and made our way out.


Giggle monster ran after us as we were leaving to have us sign the receipt. Tip? She wanted us to leave a tip????


Of course we did, but I was not happy about it. She did absolutely nothing. I can understand tipping for a massage. Or a pedicure. But for explaining a couple of body scrubs and then disappearing? Oh, wait, I forgot the going rate for a KNOCK must be 18%...... sad20.gif


Because we got in so late it was nearly 4:30 by the time we got out. So Jeff went to pick up Ally in the Lab while I went back to the cabin to get showered. After missing the show the first night there was NO WAY I was missing tonight’s show.


I had read that you needed to get to the theater 30 minutes early to get a good seat. And being the good DISer I am, I would follow this advice.

Plus, it’s FORMAL night!!! So we get to get all gussied up…….


When I walked in the door I saw Jeff’s shirt hanging neatly over the closet door – he had it pressed for dinner after getting all wrinkled in the garment bag. One thing I learned is that I will not take a garment bag again. I will just send all items that need pressed out the first day. They are back before dinner the same day and charged less than $3 per item. WELL worth it…….


By the time Jeff and Ally got back I was out of the shower and ready to begin the task of – duh duh duhhhhhhhh – drying my hair…… I have VERY thick hair and using this reverse vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment took me about 20 minutes, during which time I had to continually switch hands to keep from getting burned. You would think as hot as it got on the outside, that it would dry well…… You would think wrong.


If you have long or thick hair, I highly recommend bringing your own hair dryer……. This would be my ONLY complaint in our stateroom.


After Ally finished singing in the shower – and it’s NOT a pleasant experience to listen to that howler monkey – we were ready to roll. It was 5:40 by now, Day 2 of the cruise and I was convinced that if we did not walk out the door RIGHT THEN that we would miss the show at 6:15!!!!! Cause it’s a loooooooooong walk, down three levels and forward so we needed to get our AFT in gear!!!!


I told Jeff that Ally and I would meet him there. We grabbed one wave phone and told him to call when he left the cabin. We hurried to the Walt Disney Theater and were there in about 3 minutes……. Okay, so we hauled AFT to get there. And it was on Day 2 at 5:43pm that I realized the ship is just not that big after all!!!!


When we got to the theater, exactly 32 minutes before show time, the echo was quite pronounced. I think we were the only ones there. Except for these guys……




So happy that the first characters that Ally saw on the trip were her two favorite squirrels….. and I dare you to call them squirrels to their furry faces…….


Jeff met us by 6pm, and came bearing drinks…….





And now…. SHOWTIME! Twice Charmed, a Twist on the Cinderella Story.

Great show, worth the price of admission. OK, not quite. That’s my claim for most shows at WDW. But I guess a one day ticket to Animal Kingdom to see Festival of the Lion King MAY be a bit less than the price tag on a 7 day DCL cruise……. But I digress……


Definitely a “Broadway style show” as Peter Popper would tell us every night when he introduced that night’s show. I think this would be Ally and Jeff’s favorite of the week.


After the show we tried to make our way down one level to Beat Street to catch the family cabaret show in Rockin Bar D. I think people got out of early dinner seating quicker than we ever got out of the early Peter Popper/Gopher McCoy Broadway Style Show each night, because we NEVER got a decent seat at Rockin Bar D for the early family show. In fact, we just stood inside the door and watched about 3 minutes of the hypnotist. Ally was not at all interested so we left to just wander the ship a bit before dinner.


I think this was my favorite themed area of the ship....





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We knew we wanted to have our photo taken with all the characters in their formal attire, cause what’s sexier than a tuxedoed mouse??????








Or a dressed up captain?




Do you know why he is snarling? Because he just realized that because he posed with the McSparklesons, the line would now form for others to have photos taken with him too..... Just look what precedent the McSparklesons have set.... yet again...... rolleye11.gif


Or Gopher McCoy/Peter Popper? WHAT? His name is Peter Hofer???? But Peter Popper rolls off the tongue so much better. I think I’ll just let Ally correct me the rest of the week and continue to call him Peter Popper………




Dinner tonight was in Lumiere’s and I was really hoping I could make up for lost eating from the first night…….

Up next, Lumiere’s and some soft core food porn!

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Since I had such a hard time eating the first night, what with pirates, Titanic, etc...... I was ready to get my eatin on!!!!


But I must admit, I did have some concerns. This would be our first time in Lumiere's the most "formal" of the dining rooms. And after a couple DOTDs today, plus a glass of wine during the show, I was concerned about Mrs Potts. Or even Chip for that matter. I mean, seriously..... what would YOU do if you saw a giant tea pot during dinner??? And it talked to you in that Murder She Wrote voice that might make going down with the Titanic the best option of the night????? Next thing ya know, you hear the Law and Order theme song and Lennie Briscoe turns on that awful French accent and waddles over to light YOUR fire? Hmmmmm?


Yeah, it was all going on in my head. But I can tell you all. There are NO giant tea pots, psuedo French Lennie Briscoes, or walking grandfather clocks. None at all. So rest assured, your time in Lumiere's can be spent on the atmosphere and the food.....








We started off with a bottle of Pouilly Fousse Chardonnay......

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For my appetizer I ordered the Double Baked Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese Souffle with Gorgonzola Bleu Cheese, Spinach and Marscapone Sauce with White Truffle Oil.




Oh my. Ally heard the word "cheese" and she was all over it. Jeff took one bite and HE was all over it. So we ordered another. And we were ALL over it, too!!!


Jeff ordered this....




But I cannot remember what it was!!!! He did enjoy it, in addition to our two cheese souffles!


Then we both ordered The Beast's Potato and Sausage Casserole Soup

a hearty recipe with a touch of paprika




Ally ordered her usual pizza with french fries, and her ketchup came out tonight with a bow tie.... after all, it IS formal night!!!!




I ordered Roasted Filet of Beef Wellington

covered with mushroom stuffing wrapped in puff pastry served with fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables, and a cabernet black truffle jus




I can honestly say, I was sopping it all up, just shy of licking the plate. Of course I didn't.... I mean, I might have dribbled it on my dress.....


Jeff ordered the Rack of New Zealand Lamb with a Dijon Mustard Crust

with gratin potato cakes, baby Mediterranean vegetables, and rosemary flavored jus




He said it was excellent.... "mate." I don't know where that came from, but American lamb chops don't bring that response.... just sayin....

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For dessert, I ordered the Sweet Temptations

Miniature tasting of Cinderella's Lemon Cheesecake, Chilled Chocolate Souffle and Tiramisu. I got this quite a few nights because it was a nice little sampling of three desserts. And three is always better than one, right?




Jeff got the Prince Charming Chilled Chocolate Souffle

Semi-frozen chocolate cream with almond brittle.




Ally couldn't even finish her smoothie,


but she sure as heck finished her dessert!!!!





After dinner, we wandered. We went up on deck and watched the sea go by. We went out on deck 4 and watched the sea go by. We went back to our room and onto the balcony to watch the sea go by.


Yeah, the McSparklesons really know how to shake it up!!!


When we got back to the cabin, there was a message from Ally's new BFF, Tori on our whiteboard, and they decided to head to the Lab after dinner. So we all got changed, dropped Ally off at the Lab and Jeff and I made our way to Rockin Bar D to watch Taylor Mason, a hilarious ventiloquist that I have seen somewhere before.... I'm thinking back in college when he was just getting started.


When we got there, about 15 minutes before show time, it was packed. And there was a little 10 or 12 year old bulldog holding about 15 or 20 seats. Not kidding. I was not happy because we were waaaaaaaay off in the corner. By ourselves. And we had a great view of Taylor's right ear through the whole performance.


This was really the only time I saw someone so boldly saving seats. I should have gone all fire hydrant on the little bulldog. After all, they were too young to be there anyway!!!!!


But we got our drinks and settled into a nice round booth in the corner. I actually sat up on the back of the booth and had a much better view. Taylor Mason is hilarious and while this was the "adult" cabaret show, it was very clean, with a bit of adult humor, but nothing raunchy.


Right near the end of the show, my neighbor from SC came in with the other 2 women from her party and they were able to join us in our mega booth. Again, how big is the ship? And in they walk and make a beeline toward our table. Crazy!


After Taylor Mason, the "Disco Legends" show was beginning. I love me some disco music, always ready to let my Disco Inferno burn, but his was ultra cheesy. The "Walt Disney Theatre Dancers" came out on the itty bitty stage and danced for a few minutes. I'm guessing the dance floor opened up after that, but we were out of there. Jeff always gets a little scared when he sees a dance floor. It takes a LOT of DOTD for him to get his white man overbite going.


You know about the white man overbite? Just go to a club and watch the middle aged men. For some reason they get that bite going and think that gives them the rhthym that absolutely NOTHING will give them.......


We left around 11:15, waaaaaay past my bedtime in real life and headed back to the Lab to pick up Ally. By the time we made it back to the cabin, it was nearing midnight. Not because it took us 45 minutes to go from Rockin Bar D to Lab to cabin 6648. But because we diverted up to Deck 10 to.....


Watch the sea go by. Oh yes we did!!!!


Then down to the drink station on Deck 9 to grab some drinks, and finally back to the cabin.


Where we were greeted by this guy....




But once more... let's head out to the balcony to....




Up next..... Another Day at Sea....... Are we really only on Day 3 of this cruise????

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Ahhhhh, wide awake at the crack of dawn, a big stretch and a look at my calendar......


No place to be.... no one to see... nothing to do. Check.


Another stretch.


Looks around.... where is Jeff?


Knock on door......




Do I really care where JEff is??? I have my choice of a mimosa or a bloody mary!!! Or BOTH if he doesn't get back soon!!!


He had ventured up to Deck 9 to get coffee, but being the McSparkleson that I am, I arranged for room service the night before.... so I had booze AND coffee arriving at 7am sharp!


At 9 years and 362 days old, Ally was getting harder and harder to wake up. But when we told her we were heading to Lumiere's to see "her boy" for breakfast, she was up and in the shower in no time.....




As much as I really enjoyed sitting down for breakfast, I think I enjoyed Topsiders more. After all, I am on a ship in the middle of the sea.... not exactly my every day sights and sounds..... so why would I want to sit in a dining room? I have a dining room at home!!!


Oh, yes, it was for "Ally's boy."


I must say, this was some good stuff.....






After breakfast, we made our way back up to Deck 10 to grab some seats for the day. But today the McSparklesons were gonna get crazy...... instead of sitting on the starboard side....


We're goin port Baby!!!!!


We told Ally that she needed to get some Vitamin D today, after spending 6 hours in the Lab yesterday, gettin her flubber on.....


She was more than happy to spend time at the pool, and since she had already snuck out of the room and down 5 or 6 doors to write on new friend Tori's white board, she knew that her friend would be seeking her out soon. Heaven forbid she should spend some time with her "too sexy Superstah" parents!!!!


I swear, I think Ally and Tori must have snuck out to check their white boards every 10 minutes.... "did you hear that? I think someone wrote on our board....."


I don't know that our butts had even made indentations in our lounge chairs, before Tori and her mom Tammi came bouncing over. Well, Tori was bouncing... Tammi was way cooler than that....


And they were off.....


I had no complaints though, because as an only child, Ally is very outgoing and I love that she was able to make a friend so quickly. It made the trip that much more enjoyable for Ally, and also for Jeff and I because we did not have to spend all the time trying to entertain her. As much as I love to spend time with her, I was happy I did not have to spend time in the cesspool...... after all, it was considerably warmer....


Ally and Tori were all over the place, but mainly on the slide, in the pool, on the slide, in the pool..... lather, rinse, repeat.....


So when it came time for lunch, a simple, "Ally, we are going to lunch, do you and Tori want to come along?" was met with a resounding, "No, I'll get something later...."


So to Topsiders we went... alone again.


As we walked past the atrium, I looked down and saw the Princess Gathering......



which about killed me......


I lost it...... I was WATCHING the princess gathering instead of fighting my way to the front of the line, taking out 3 year old Ariels along the way.... wait, I never really did that. I made sure they were 4 before I threw them an elbow......


Jeff, on the other hand, found it quite funny.....



When I finally made it to Topsiders, all puffy eyed, it was Asian buffet, my favorite of the trip. I am not a huge Asian foodie, but this I really enjoyed.




OUr view again.... I was beginning to get used to this....



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When we got back to our chairs, Ally raced up and asked if I'd go with her to Pluto's for a burger...... I think Tori and her family were off to lunch or something so now Ally needed her mama again..... cloud9.gif


This would be the last time, however, that Ally asked me to accompany her to get food. She figured it out pretty quickly and was never afraid to hit Pluto's or Pinnochios, or the ICE CREAM, alone again!




I think I must have punched her in the eye while practicing my princess gathering moves....... hey, if she's not gonna go with me anymore, I can't let myself get rusty, right? After all, there will be grand kids one day and I need to be on my game to get them to the front of the line, too!!!!


So, it's now after 12:00, maybe 12:01..... so time for the DOTD!!!!!




At 1pm the day before, I had watched the activities director lead a bunch of kids in Fun in the Sun and I really wanted to make sure Ally was around for this.


After that first DOTD, it was time for Goofy Fitness!



Ally and Tori were right in the thick of the action. But once Goofy really started making them work out, they got the heck outta there! Push ups on Vacation???? Who could blame them for moving to the outskirts of the action?








Andif you didn't get enought of the Cha Cha Slide at the Sail Away Party....






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Today was the day that Toy Story 3 Director Lee Unrich was speaking. I had every intention of making that but that darn pool gravity took over and I could not seem to tear myself away from... well, from doing nothing!



From what I hear this was well worth it..... like so many other things that we just never made!!!!


At 3pm I went to the St Thomas Shopping Highlights in the Promenade Lounge. "Flash" Gordon gave us the ins and outs of deals in St Thomas and since we were getting Jeff a new watch for his birthday......


When I went back to find Jeff, he was still in the same place.... snoozing. And I was really jealous.


Ally was off bouncing from pool to pool with Tori. And it was at this time that we gave Ally "the test." We told her that because she had been so responsible all day, keeping us posted where she was at all times, that we would give her in/out priviledges at the Oceaneer's Lab and Club. She was so proud and so excited. Yes she was only 9 years old (10 in a few days.....) but I guess I had that false sense of security because we were on a DISNEY ship. I would NEVER let her go off by herself at WDW, yet for some reason I felt very safe here......


And as comedian John Charles sang on the last night..... (to the tune of When You Wish Upon a Star.....)


"When you're sitting at the bar.....

Wondering where your children are.....

Here's a tip....

You're on a ship....

They can't.... be.... faaaaaarrrrrr!"


So true, so true.......


Well on this day, I finally decided to shake that pool gravity, get up, throw on my coverup, and head to the Promenade Lounge to hear "Flash" Gordon give me some St Thomas Shopping highlights.


Now this is the job I want. Travel around on various cruise ships and spend a couple hours each day telling people where to get the best deals in port. And for my research, and a sure tax write off, I need to go shopping....... Sounds like a no brainer, right??????


Well, "Flash" gave us tips on who to ask for in each shop, and rated the shops from 1 - 10 based on where we could get the best deals. Oh, and did I mention freebies? Who doesn't like freebies? No, not frisbees, although those are fun, too, especially when thrown to dogs to catch, although my dog is either too fat or too dumb or too uncoordinated to catch a frisbee. But I still like them anyway.


But back to freebies....... Flash told us about each shop we could walk into and get a free charm, necklace, print, etc. And this would prove to be lots of fun for Ally once we hit St Thomas.......


So after my enlightening visit with Flash, I headed back up to Deck 10 to round up the troops. OK, so my troops are limited to 2, but sometimes they feel like a whole lot more.......


We headed back to our cabin to get cleaned up for the evening. Tonight was our first night in Animator's Palate and The Dobo had told me every time I'd seen him not to forget my camera this night because we had "the best" table for "the show."


We always got ready so early and just explored the ship before heading to the show. At first we were ready early because we thought we needed 30 minutes for the commute. Cause you never know how much traffic there will be in the elevators, or along the promenade deck. What if there are rubberneckers looking down at the characters in the atrium? That will slow us down for sure!!!!


Then there is the occasional broken heel and the whole family has to stop to help jack up mom while she changes shoes...... And don't even get me started on walking rage, when family A cuts off family B..... it can get really messy.


But once we realized that the commute wasn't so bad, we just liked to wander and see what we could find.


Oh look!!!!!!




I cannot even begin to tell you this was one of my favorite things on this cruise. The intimacy of the character interactions. They were wandering all over and sometimes alone. I know, I know.... not smart for a hot mouse to wander alone, but this is a Disney ship, okay? So I think it's fine...... But usually they had their handlers with them. Except for the princesses. On more than one occasion I saw a princess holding court with one or two little girls and their families and nobody else around. Well, except for me. I was round, and probably crying because Ally was off rolling her eyes at me and Snow White. But really, how awesome is that to have the characters all to yourself?????







Now I absolutely have no idea what Jeff did to offend Mickey. But it was obviously something big...... I'm surprised we were allowed to rebook for next year, based on this photo. Luckily Mickey doesn't hold a grudge.......




WAIT!!! Could it be that Mickey saw the pic of Jeff and Minnie? Speaking of intimacy with the characters!!!!! I just KNEW there was something up between Jeff and Minnie!!!! This confirms it! Mickey found out and that's why he wouldn't even stand next to Jeff.


I can assure you, there is a certain Mr McSparkleson who has some splainng to do tonight after work!!!!!


But I won't bore you with our domestic problems. I should have listened to my sister though when she warned me about "her." Kami always told me to stick with Mickey and avoid "her." Now I know why........ The homewrecker......


Even Donald knows who's #1.....




Oh, Ally, my sweet baby. If only you knew about Daddy and "her."


Yeah, "she" would be flipping her hair around too...... if the little vixen HAD any hair to flip. So you just flip away Ally. Show "her" who's a little hottie.....





I guess the wife is always the last to know, huh? But I went along my merry way and off we went as a family to see the next Broadway style show, "Villains Tonight."

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This was my favorite of all the shows, mainly because I think it's the only one that allowed my mascara to stay on all night. sad20.gif It was funny and colorful, and didn't make me cry once!!!!!










I lied. I did cry. I cried when Ally leaned into me and knocked my FULL tall gin and tonic into my lap. It was cold. It was wet. And I was wearing white pants.......


I jumped up and raced out of the theater without a word to anyone. I sprinted back to our room, thankful that 99% of the cruisers were either at dinner, or watching me race out of the theater. But nobody was in the hallway.


Except for the cabin stewards. I lost count of how many times I smiled sheepishly and said, "my daughter spilled a drink on me." I think by the time I finally made it to my cabin, my story had turned into, "little brat threw a drink at me!!!!!!!" Or something like that.


Now, did I mention that the Walt Disney Theater was in the furthest forward part of the ship on deck 4. And we were, say it with me, AFT on deck 6. I made it from the WD Theater, to my cabin, changed clothes, and back to the theater.... in 8 minutes flat!!!!


AND that includes stopping at Preludes, outside the theater, to order another drink......


Yeah, cause I'm good like that. And it just goes to show you, that either I'm a world class sprinter, OR the ship just ain't that big...... I'll leave it to you to decide.


But when I got back to the theater, along with about 6 pounds of paper towels from Preludes...... poor Ally was still crying. She felt so bad and because I jumped up so quickly, I didn't have time to let her know I wasn't really mad AT her, I was just upset at the situation. Well, and the fact that I looked like I missed my calling as a Depends spokesperson.......


So I snuggled with her for the rest of the show, and kept my drink safely on the floor away from her flailing arms......


Up next..... Animator's Palate dinner show.......

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Well I was scared half to death during "Villains", no not by Maleficent, cause she must have forgotten her lifts this night - she was really SHORT! So the battle royale between her and the Snow Queen surely went to the icy chick.


But that's not what was so scary.


Have you seen the price of a drink on a cruise ship?????


Yeah. And since I was running so fast, so fast..... like lightning, Steve Austin would have been a blur as I blew by him!!!!! But the problem with my lightning speed is that my pants were mostly dry when I got back to the room that I couldn't even suck the gin and tonic out of them!


Not that I would do that...... Unless I was really thirsty. Like from running the length of a ship or something.......


After the show, we made our way down to the Rockin D bar to see Taylor Mason, an awesome ventriloquist! I swear I have seen him before, I'm thinking he made the college circuit back when he was first starting out?


Yeah, like I remember anything from college!!!! Oh, Kara, that's a good one!!!!!


Anyway, this guy seemed sooooo familiar...... NO!!!! Get your minds out of the gutter! I meant he might have PERFORMED when I was in college! Oy vey!


The problem I found with late dining, is that the early show gets out later than early dining, so trying to find a seat for any show between first and second dinner seating, was next to impossible.


Yes, even with my lightning speed!


So we were way up front on the side. So I got a good look at Taylor Mason's ear hair. And Romeo's ear hair. And Paco's ear hair. And that was just about as cute as a pig's ear........ OK, for those of you who have never seen Taylor Mason, first of all, you should check out his act sometime. VERY funny! Second of all, Paco is a pig. Get it? Cute as a pig's ear? Get it?


Oh, I need a minute to collect myself. Just cracking myself up again. Talk amongst yourselves......




OK, I'm back.


I still had my SECOND gin and tonic (well, first one I was able to drink through a straw......) and I think Jeff ordered a beer. We got Ally something fruity, but by now she was complaining of an upset stomach.


Uh, oh......


She didn't drink any of her drink. Again, terrifying. Have you seen the price of a virgin drink on a cruise ship????


After a bit, she started to sniffle a little bit, so I thought I'd better take her out of the bar. Yes, I just said it was time to take my 9-year old out of the bar...... You won't hear me say THAT every day!!!!!


We made our way to the restrooms, hoping that would alleviate the problem.....


Then we just walked around a bit. Leaving poor Jeff all alone with the ear hair......


I think Ally had a nervous stomach after spilling my drink. After all, she had 8 minutes of not knowing if I was mad, hurt, or what was going on. Then I think Jeff showed her the price of a drink on a cruise ship....


So we just found ourselves a port hole and popped a squat. Actually we kicked back and layed down for a bit. I think that's just what was needed because Ally started to perk up a bit after that.




We waited outside the bar for Jeff, and then made our way to dinner, this night in Animator's Pallet.




For the past two night, our server kept telling us we had the BEST table at AP and not to forget our camera this night. And I've learned to never doubt the Dobo...... Well, anyone who knows me knows I go NOWHERE without my camera. So I was well prepared......


Jeff asking if he should get the water with lemon, or lime......





And I knew what I'd be getting!







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All I kept thinking is "I could get my house painted a lot faster with a brush THIS size!"




Still not feeling 100%, but pull out a camera and she's all smiles!




For starters this night, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartare

With Caviar, Chives, and Wasabi Cream.....




This was EXCELELNT!!!!!


Jeff got the Wild Mushroom Risotto and Porcini Twist

Served with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Black Truffle Oil....






Not so excellent, but not exactly terrible, was this.....




I can't remember what it was, but it was not finished......


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