Day 1: Death by ginger & arctic tundra.

Day 1: Today is day one, but really day 3 for me. I arrived bright and early on Sunday morning and spent the next two days taking it easy & recouping from the crazy last two months. I basically did nothing and ate so I won’t bother  you with the mundane details. I ate, slept & shopped basically. I will note that when I arrived to the hotel on Sunday my room was ready at 10am!!! That’s unheard of! The cast member couldn’t even believe it! I also got to spend some time with my awesome aunts & enjoy the sights at the new Italian restaurant. We also ate while we were there, but who pays attention to the food in the Italy pavilion?! Okay, so enough about that. Now onto the real trip. You are going to be treated to a special first for this blog... tag team blogging. Dy’s going to jump in at times. When I’m talking it will be in red. Yup, when I speak it’s written in red. I’m THAT good. When Dy speaks it will be in green. We actually decided this as Christmas colors and only after the fact realized that I would be the “red letter edition”. Oh the power. Please send all your gold, frankincense & myrrh to Yorktown Assembly of God, Attention Lisa Foster. Without further adieu... our live trip report.

Jambo & Merry Christmas!

Today officially starts my latest trip, Disney World for the Christmas season with one of my oldest friends, Dyanna. You'll notice after looking over my blog that I haven't posted any pre-trip reports. You'll also notice that it took me over a month to finish my last trip report. My family has gone through quite the experience that started almost immediately following getting off the Disney Magic. I won't get into details, but my mom & I spent a month in Florida with my family. My Uncle had been fighting cancer for almost two years and less than a week after we got off the ship, while my mom & I were still in Fl with them, we were told he had no more than two months to live. About 3 days later my mom & I reluctantly went home. Once we got home my dad flew back to Fl to spend time with my Uncle. My dad & Uncle met when they were 8 years old and then ended up marrying sisters. They've been friends & brother-in-laws for 53 years. After my dad was there for about two days he called home & said we needed to be there. My family is blessed in so many ways. We are blessed with great people & great jobs that allowed us to be there with my Aunt & Uncle.  So after being home for 4 days, my mom & I headed right back for Florida. We ended up staying there a month. In that month we were able to spend amazing time with our family and be with my Uncle in his final weeks. It was a sad time to see him suffer but it was also the most amazing month of my life. You see my Uncle had a personal relationship with Jesus, so it wasn't goodbye, it was so long, 'cause it's only so long until we see him again. So it was very bittersweet. It was hard to see him suffer & hard to think that it will be a little while before we can see him again, but it was awesome to have such quality time with my wonderful family. My Uncle Art was an amazing man and what an example my Aunt gave me of true love. For better or for worse, in sickness in health. I can only hope that one day I can be half the wife and mother my Aunt is. She is an incredible woman and I was amazed daily by her loyalty and selfless acts, especially during these past two years. So after this past month I really look at life much different. I will say and if you don't like hearing it, than tough, 'cause I'm gonna say it anyway... if you're a smoker, STOP SMOKING!!!!!!!! Think of your future & think of your family. 

So that's what's been going on in my life in Oct & Nov. After getting home I had an awesome Thanksgiving and then celebrated my 25th birthday by going to see Michael Buble in concert. AMAZING. I took some video that I'll share below. Now... I just got a text from Dyanna & she's waiting for the Magical Express bus!!! Let the vacation begin! Trip Report starts tomorrow morning!!!  

It's filmed in HD, but you have to change it to 720 on the bottom right of the screen to see it in HD.

Day 19 & 20: Castaway Cay & Final Morning

Today was our last day and what a better way to spend it than on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (key!). We were not supposed to get there until 11:30am and we had to leave by 4:30pm. The captain felt bad about this, so he booked it and ended up getting us there by 10am and said we didn’t have to get back onboard until 5pm. What a guy! So we got up and had some breakfast. After breakfast we headed off the ship. My dad went to get us seats at the adult only beach, Serenity Bay, while my mom & I shopped. All the good merchandise & sizes are gone by the afternoon so we always shop first. After our little shopping time we met up with my dad at the Serenity Bay. He got us great loungers & we laid out & swam for the morning. It was time to eat. Now we could have stayed right there at Serenity Bay for lunch, but our favorite meal on a disney cruise is the BBQ buffet over by the family beach. Plus we were planning to meet up with Renaldo. So we got on the shuttle to the family beach. While on the shuttle I spotted Renaldo walking towards the adult only beach. I thought he looked at me so I waved but the guy didn’t wave back. My mom saw him too but said it wasn’t Renaldo. Oops. So we get to the buffet and don’t see Renaldo. We get our food and have a relaxed lunch. Daniel was working our area and came over to talk for a while. He also brought us those beloved mickey ice cream bars. After sitting for a while we decided to walk around the other seating areas to find Renaldo. We couldn’t find him. We ran into literally every waiter we’ve talked to on this entire 2 week cruise, but not our favorite, Renaldo. Everyone we talked to said he was probably “in the back of the house”. So after our hunt for Renaldo we gave up and decided to head back on the ship and have some pool time since it would be empty. There were actually a pretty surprising number of people already back on the ship, but the pool was close to empty. My mom & I headed in while my dad napped (i’m guessing) somewhere on the ship. After some pool time we headed back to the room to change for dinner. Once we were ready for dinner we headed to our last show in the theater, Remember the Magic: A Final Farewell. This was a mixed bag of a show with some other special stuff like a compilation video of our cruise, comedians, officers, etc. It was nice, but sad! John Charles performed & was amazing as usual. Next it was time for our last dinner. How sad! We stayed for a while talking to all our waiters who we had made friends with. We took some pictures. It was sad. Next we headed to our room. Our luggage had to be out in the hallway by, I think, 10:30pm. So we changed, packed & put our luggage out. Then we headed to see John Charles in his extra performance. It was great. I just love him! After John Charles the cruise staff did Pub Night & that is not to be missed!!! Every cruise on the last night the cruise director staff do a special “pub night” that includes a skit called “If I were not upon the sea.”. Oh my God! It was great! It’s never the same. You can see it on youtube but be careful if you do, ‘cause you’ll end up waiting like 2 hours trying to figure out which it the funniest. By far ours was the funniest. Our cruse director made a special appearance. I don’t want to wreck it, but he was dressed as a female ballerina. Priceless. After that it was time to call it a night on our last night of the cruise. We headed back to our rooms & what a sight. To walk into a room you’ve called home for the last two weeks and see it empty. That was sad. This cruise really felt like home. I’ve never experienced anything like it in all the cruises I’ve been on, both Disney & other lines. I think it was because most days we had the same routine, we were totally unpacked & moved in- everything had a place & because the cruise staff were really like family. Every night we were headed to dinner with Renaldo & Z and the rest of the waitstaff family. This really was a vacation of a life time. 
Our final morning I woke up pretty early. We had to be off the ship by 10am. We headed to breakfast for our final meal with our family. We exchanged info and Renaldo gave me his info for Facebook. Z was in a hurry because he was heading to the airport too, as his contract ended today so he was excited to get home. Z brought us our breakfast and then said goodbye and left us in the capable hands of Renaldo. Renaldo sat with us at our table for quite a while talking to us. He had never done this before, always just squatted next to our table, but I think because it was the last morning & the ship was headed to dry-dock things were much more relaxed. So we sat with Renaldo and talked. Then it was finally time to say goodbye. My dad had a flight to catch & my mom & I were headed to Ocala, Fl to visit family. We said goodbye to Renaldo & as we were walking out he began to tear up. It was adorable. He told us that he loved serving us because when he was with us he felt like a weigh was lifted and he was with family. We loved Renaldo! I guess he could feel that. After our last goodbye we walked off our home-away-from-home and headed to pick up our rental car. We had a great porter who was originally from NY, surprising I know. He was hysterical so I was happy about that. It kept our mind off the fact that we were officially back to reality. We got on the shuttle to Alamo & had the world’s worst bus driver! The guy didn’t know how to get to Alamo. It’s literally 2 minutes down the one road in Cape Canaveral but apparently that was too difficult for him. We had to give him the address so he could put it in his gps!! This was the rental car shuttle bus! For the life of me I can’t figure out what his deal was. I think he was on drugs or something. So we finally get to Alamo 20 minutes after leaving th port. Yeah, it took us 20 minutes when it should of taken 2!!! It was the ride from hell! So we get inside & their computers are down. After another 20 minutes we finally head for the airport. We get to the airport, I head to the rental car area to pick up my mom & I’s car for the week and my mom & dad head to check in my dad for his flight. THANK GOD my mom went with my dad. They couldn’t find his reservation!!! He ended up having to buy a ticket at the counter! We still don’t know what happened??? So now after all this he’s late. He’s freaking out so the Jetblue lady walks him thru the security line. At security the stop him and make him unwrap all of our souvenirs! He finally makes it onto the plane. He was the last one to board. Talk about a way fly right back into reality- pun intended. 

So that was our once in a lifetime trip! It was amazing. I can't say that enough. I hope you enjoyed reading along. It was a joy to write about it each day. 

Stay tuned. A lot has gone on since getting off the ship that I will be sharing in my next post. One of the most exciting things... I'm sitting on my balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge & will be starting a live trip report today, so stay tuned!!

Day 18: Final Day at Sea

Better late than never... (explanation coming soon)
So today was our last day at sea. You’d think after all this time I’d be sick of this ship but not at all! I am so sad that this is our last sea day. I started the day just like any other sea day. Woke up way too early, this time I took some time to start packing. After it was a decent time of the morning I headed to breakfast. I had finally started to get my appetite back. Don’t know why, but I didn’t mind. Breakfast was amazing. After breakfast I headed to my seat, the one I had commandeered the entire cruise & read for a while. Next it was time for our final cooking demonstration. This was also sad, as we really enjoyed these “Art of Entertaining” demonstrations. Today’s did not disappoint. Today it was the three head chefs onboard. They did it kind of like a tag team/iron chef sort of thing. One was French, one Italian & the other was Irish! We went full circle on this trip. Started with Ireland & ended (kind of) with Ireland. The chef from Ireland was really funny. He had non stop “jabs/zingers” at the other two & he never even cracked a smile. It was great. The French chef was more serious. I know, big surprise. The Italian was just silly. It really was a lot of fun. They made my favorite entree of all the cooking demonstrations, a filo wrapped salmon with peas & potatoes. It was soooo good. I’m definitely going to make that one at home. After that my mom & I found my dad and headed to the buffet for lunch. After lunch, my mom & I went to OUR chairs and my dad went off somewhere. After quite a while we headed back to our rooms to finish up packing what we could and then relax. My favorite comedian that I had seen on my first Disney cruise was doing a late night show tonight. I was really excited. Next we got ready for dinner and the show. Tonight’s show was Disney Dreams. Usually I find this show completely cheesy & boring. However, this time the girl who played the main character was amazing and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it!  Dinner was really good tonight. Probably because I had my appetite back. Renaldo was hysterical as usual. We had another lemon display waiting for us. After dinner, we headed back to our rooms to change since tonight was semi formal night. We got comfy and then headed for the main theater to see John Charles. He did not disappoint. LOVE him. He’s like a walking jukebox. He has the crowd yell out songs and he plays, sings & mocks them. I’ve never seen him get a song he didn’t know. He was great! The crowd was so into it he went about 30 minutes over and then promised that he’s do another special show tomorrow night. I was really excited. Off to bed before our last day tomorrow at Castaway Cay (pronounced key).