Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Disney Day 6: Animal Kingdom and the Cruise

We finished packing all our luggage up and left it at the door of our room for Disney to transfer to the ship. We just took one day bag and the stroller with us to Animal Kingdom. We were a little nervous that somehow we wouldn’t get all our luggage, but it turned out to be just fine. We were a little sad to be leaving the Polynesian too. We really liked staying there and highly recommend it to anyone looking to go to Disney – although I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to afford to stay there again! We got up extra early as we had a breakfast reservation at Donald’s Breakfastasaurous at Animal Kingdom at 8am. We needn’t have gotten up quite as early as we did as the bus to Animal Kingdom did not show up til almost 7:30a anyway, but we were at the bus stop at 7am as we were advised by Disney Dining. Once we got to Animal Kingdom we checked in with the Cruise desk and checked our day bag with them. We ate breakfast at Donald’s and it was our only character dining experience and I guess I was expecting a little more. The food was okay, standard breakfast buffet kind of stuff, eggs, bacon, biscuits, cereal, donuts, yogurt, sausage, etc. The characters were nice too, posed for pics at each table and Katie really liked that part although Alex was rolling his eyes a bit. Nothing to really complain about, but I doubt I’d pay the $18.99 price per person (over 10yrs) again though.

We just had the morning at Animal Kingdom, but we did the safari ride, the Pangini Forest trail, Triceratop Spin, and saw the Nemo show before having to head to the front of the park for the bus ride to the ship. It was challenging to keep Katie quiet and well-behaved on the bus ride, but somehow we made it without any major meltdowns. There was a video about the cruise on the bus that showed some of the characters doing various activities onboard that semi-entertained her and that helped some. The granola bars and cheez-its I had in my bag helped even more. Mercifully she fell asleep in my lap with about 30 min. left, so I got to relax a bit before we reached the port.

Finally the ship came into view outside the bus window! Woo Hoo, we were almost there. We got off the bus and put Katie back into the stroller to stand in line to get on the ship. The line was just those from the buses and moved pretty quickly. Most of us were on Land and Sea vacations and had already “checked in” at our hotels, so we really just needed to pass through security and board the ship. We did have to make one stop to register Katie for the kids programs once we got past security. We had registered Alex online, but since Katie was a few weeks shy of her 3rd birthday we had to register her in person. They allow kids within one month of being 3 to join in the kids clubs as long as they are fully potty-trained, but you have to do it in person.

Once we had that taken care of, we boarded with no trouble at all – just showed our key to the world cards and we were on the boat! We went right to our stateroom to check it out. Our bags were arriving just as we were so that was nice too. We loved the balcony and I took tons of pics that all look about the same just cause I loved being on the balcony so much. After dumping our stuff in our room, we headed up to Beach Blanket Buffet and had lunch. It was a pretty good spread – lots of hot and cold choices. I had a ton of peel and eat shrimp as it is one of my favorites. They also had a lot of dessert choices and I tried the raspberry cheesecake, but I have to say it wasn’t very good. Very grainy and didn’t really taste like cheesecake – it didn’t have that rich flavor at all. And frankly, none of the cheesecake I tried onboard was any better. This was the one area of cuisine in which I was very disappointed. Apparently, the Disney Wonder cannot make a good cheesecake. The rest of the food was very good though and we were hungry because it was now pushing 2pm and we had eaten breakfast at Donald’s at 8am.

Next up was the lifejacket drill they make everyone do. Katie looked pretty hilarious in her little lifevest. Our station was in the Animator’s Palette restaurant and we sat for a few minutes and were accounted for and were then able to leave. One of the cast members told us we could leave a few minutes before everyone else since we had a small child. We went back to our stateroom and dressed for dinner and then went back to Animator’s Palette which was also our assigned dinning room that evening. Dinner was wonderful! The servers were super attentive. I had some sort of mushroom and gravy appetizer in a sort of a bread bowl – cannot remember what it is called now. The waiter saw DH trying some of this off my plate and brought him one too. It was really yummy. I ordered the Filet Minot, and I think DH had salmon? Cannot remember now what DH ordered. We are used to ordering two different things though and then sampling off each other’s plates. Well, the waitstaff saw us doing this and then brought DH another Filet Minot. We could not eat it all but it sure was tasty!

About 15 min. into dinner Katie was getting restless. We tried to distract her with the pictures on the wall – they were black and white sketches from various Disney movies that were slowly becoming colored as the evening progressed. Very cool. This was not working though – probably because she was tired and over-stimulated from just another longish day with no nap on vacation. So I took her to the kids club after she had eaten a reasonable portion of the kids hamburger that she had ordered. I got to enjoy my entrée and the start of dessert – I ordered a hot fuge sundae – yum – before they paged me to come pick her up! She had a potty accident. Oh no, I was worried that meant she couldn’t come back to the club, but the staff was very understanding and reassured me that she could come back after she was changed and cleaned up and it was no problem at all. Apparently, she was in the bathroom when it happened – she had trouble getting into the stall and up onto the toilet by herself and that is what caused the accident – not that she didn’t try to go when she needed to. The toilets were the same as they were in our stateroom, so I helped her practice there a few times that night before taking her back to the club the next day.

I should also mention for those of you reading because you want to know about how the cruises are that there was a big sail away party with Mickey and Goofy and that the pools and everything were all open during all of this. There was also a nighttime show that is supposed to be very good. We avoided the sail away party because we hate crowds and it seemed like it would be hard to enjoy yourself it that many people in one place. We didn’t go to the nighttime show (live entertainment) either and instead we explored the ship and then turned in early. We were very tired from several big days in a row at Disney World and we needed to just get a really good night sleep. Alex though stayed out late at the kids club. He had a blast! Since he was in the 10 – 12 group he was allowed to come and go from the club as he pleased (as long as we consented to this arrangement and we did), and he really enjoyed his freedom. The club would page us whenever he left though, so we knew where he was at all times. When he’d leave the club they’d page us and tell us he was on his way to the stateroom, or the pool, or wherever and we’d go catch up with him. Even though we didn't request it, our stateroom host provided turn-down service each night of our cruise. Here is the towel animal he left us on the first night.

Just more cruise to tell about for the next installment.


Susan said...

Great post, Jenn! I've been waiting to hear about the cruise; I guess I'll have to live vicariously through you, because I don't think I'll be going on one anytime soon.

Jamie said...

Happy birthday Katie. Sounds like day 6 was a good one... I love reading about it.

Little Grey Cat said...

I've really enjoyed all your Disney holiday photo's and stories. Katie has been soo good considering her age, disruption to routine and all the excitement. She's a star!