Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting Ready For A Disney Cruise

Hi, Disney Fans!!!

     Ohmygod. I'm freaking out a little here, guys! By the time you read this, I'll be less than 48 hours
away from departing for a Disney Cruise!!! So I'm packing. And making lists. And freaking out. And checking my itinerary again. And looking at weather in the ports. And letting the kids watch Disney Cruise Line videos to get prepared. And freaking out. And making sure we have the kids pirate costumes. And triple checking my time off of work. And freaking out. Did I mention the freaking out? It's partial anxious/stressed freaking out, but mostly insanely, euphorically, excited freaking out.

     Let me give you a little of my DCL history. So, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I'm straight up obsessed with Disney Cruise Line. I first sailed in September of 2002, on a 4 night Bahamian cruise on The Wonder, and was smitten from the moment I stepped onboard. From the impeccable service of the Crew Members, to the gorgeous details all around the ship, the scrumptious food, to the fabulous shows and entertainment... each new thing was better than the last! I immediately started planning for a 7 night cruise in April of 2003, (since 4 nights was not nearly enough). Well, that 7 night cruise on The Magic  happened to be the one where I met the man who would become my husband. While dating, we did one more 3 night and one more 7, and then in September of 2005, we got married the only place that felt right... on a Disney Cruise! Since then, we have been on two more short cruises on The Wonder, three more 7 nighters on The Magic, and one 3 nighter on The Dream.Then in September of 2003, just after our kids first moved in with us and long before they were legally adopted, we got to do a 14 night Panama Canal crossing on The Wonder. That was an incredible cruise! Of course, it helped that it was my first cruise as a mother to the kids I had always dreamed about having, but it was also an amazing experience getting to spend 14 nights onboard the ship, befriending the Crew Members, and getting to do all sorts of activities we had never had time to do onboard before. Of course, with the Littles in school now, and not being kajillionaires, I don't foresee any more 14 night cruises in our immediate future, so I'll settle for a 7. (I know, how snotty of me!)


     So now, here I am, amidst pre-cruise chaos, trying to get my stuff in gear. Do all of our cameras, phones and devices have batteries or power chords? Are all of our documents in order? Do we have a pet sitter? Have I cancelled all appointments that may have been scheduled during the time we will be away? Do my clothes fit? Do I have a pirate night outfit? (I swear that eye patch was around here somewhere...) So much to do, with very little time left to do it. So how do you go about getting it all done? Personally, I break it up into three categories: Stuff That Needs To Get Done FOR The Cruise, Stuff That Needs to Get Done At HOME Before We Go, and The Fun Stuff. This just helps me make different lists and get organized. You can also use it as a way to incentivize yourself to get the more tedious stuff done. Do two things from each of your "Needs" lists, and then reward yourself with something from the "Fun" list. You'll have your own items in each list, of course, but here are some of my items to inspire you:

Stuff That Needs To Get Done FOR The Cruise
- Make final payment
- Make flight, transport and hotel arrangements, if necessary
- Buy trip insurance if desired
- Get family documents organized, including passports, birth certificates, or whatever else is needed
- Complete online check in, including entering all documents and registering kids for the Oceaneers Club. Print documents and keep in an organized folder with all confirmations.
- Notify Disney Cruise Line of any food allergies, and special needs or requests
- Get out suitcases
- Make packing lists for each family member
- Try on clothes and buy any needed clothing or toiletry items
- Iron and do laundry
- Fill suitcases
- Make sure all devices have storage available and have charging chords with them
- Notify credit card company or bank that you will be traveling so that you can use your cards in ports
- Double check weather to ensure that you have packed appropriately

Stuff That Needs to Get Done At HOME Before We Go
- Get time off of work
- Notify kids' schools of trip (if necessary)
- Arrange for house/pet/plant sitter and have keys made for them
- Pay all bills that are due while you are away in advance
- Cancel any appointments you may have for while you are away
- Leave instructions and emergency contacts for house/pet/plant sitter
- Set timers for sprinklers, lights, etc.
- Arrange a ride to the airport or port


The Fun Stuff
- Create a Disney Cruise Line mix CD or playlist to enjoy as you get ready for the cruise, (you can borrow mine from Spotify HERE.
- Create a Disney Cruise Line countdown with a paper chain, or simply a calendar, so that the kids can countdown too
- Research the various ports that you will visit, and decide on excursions and/or plans on your own
- Join a Facebook group of other cruisers that will be on the same cruise as you, or join a chat board thread of the same nature. There are various fan sites that you can do this through.
- If you're a "joiner" and like partaking in fun little activities, do some research on "fish-extenders" and join up. This is kind of like a "Secret Santa"-type of activity, where cruisers leave small gifts for one another in special pockets that hang from the number outside of your stateroom. It's fun to do, but this takes a lot of pre-planning and can cost you a pretty penny if you aren't careful.
- Design, make or buy matching t-shirts for your group for boarding day.
- Put together your pirate costumes for Pirate Night.
- Design, make or buy cool door magnets to decorate your stateroom door. There are lots of pre-made options through various markets on Etsy.
- Check out some of the awesome Disney Cruise Line ship tour videos on YouTube. There's even an e-brochure and video that your can get through DisneyCruiseLine.com. Kids especially will love checking out all the cool stuff they are going to see and do. Plus, if your Littles are like mine and get overwhelmed easily, it gives them a chance to be more mentally prepared.
- Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App to your all of your traveling party's smart devices, so that once you're onboard, you can chat via text without using data, have access to the ship's activities schedule, (aka "Personal Navigators"), and even see menus for your meals in advance. The only function that works from home is the little countdown, but it's a cool thing to have for a quick reminder of how few days you have until you're in paradise!
- Anything else you can think of!!!

*o*

   And there you have it, folks. That is how I'm spending the next couple of days, along with chasing the Littles around the house, peeling them off of the ceiling. They are excited out of their minds at this point! (Me too!!!) I can't wait to tell you all about our cruise when we come back, but in the meantime, have a magical week!!! I'm saaaaaailing AWAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! (Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with meeeee!)


   Oh, and if you'd like some help planning your very own Disney Cruise, contact the fine folks over at Kingdom Konsultants Travel. They'd be happy to help you plan everything, (or nothing at all), to your heart's content!

- Jenn aka "Tink"

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