Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Ocean Voyage - Prologue

Now that I've had a few days to catch up, I'm ready to start blogging our trip. Of course its been a couple of weeks so there may be details I forget, but this should be a fun way to look through all our pictures and various trinkets we collected to remember. I only took about 800 photos from Thanksgiving and the cruise. 

I'll start with some history. My wife and I have gone on a few weekend trips, but we haven't taken a real vacation. We both have family in south florida, so when we've taken extended trips over the last couple of years, it has been for visits and not true vacations. No offense intended for anyone, but visiting family is NOT a vacation. So we've traveled quite a bit, but not taken a vacation. We had decided that this year, for the girls' 6th birthday we would take them to Disney World. So my original plan was that sometime in September or October we would take the girls to Disney for a couple of days, then continue south, drop them off at the grandparents and take a few days to go to the Keys and spend some adult time. However, I forgot this plan when I volunteered to coach soccer for the fall, so it became impossible for me to get away for a week in those months. 

That pushed us back into November and we started looking at spending Thanksgiving at Disney. The more I thought about that, the less I liked the idea. Taking the girls to Disney by itself is decidedly not a vacation for me, as it would only be running and going, no relaxation. Plus, I don't think we could have dropped the kids off at the grandparents for Thanksgiving and take off by ourselves. I honestly don't remember how we shifted thinking to a cruise, but when we started looking into it, it seemed perfect. Access to the Disney characters, fun for the kids, relaxation for parents, food, drink, aahhhhhh yes. We priced the week of Thanksgiving and it was pretty ridiculous, however the week after Thanksgiving was pretty well priced, so we booked it thinking a week away from school in Kindergarten wouldn't really hurt the girls. 

Now, since we needed to be in Florida on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we really couldn't come up with any reason not to go for Thanksgiving and visit the families. Believe me, we tried and tried, but nothing worked. So the plan was complete. We drive to Boynton Beach on Wednesday, spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws, Friday with my mother and then to Port Canaveral on Saturday to board the Disney Magic.

I have to make a confession here. I think at this point I became a little bit obsessed about planning for this trip. I was definitely the most excited in the family at first. We made the reservations in July, so it was hard to fathom but I started researching activities and such. I didn't want the girls to miss out on anything that they could experience on the ship, and I wanted to make sure that we took advantage of everything the ship had to offer. I found some message boards dedicated to Disney cruises and made myself as expert as I could. I do feel that this all worked out for us, because we were able to experience a lot of special moments and knew some secrets that others had previously discovered. I'll take some credit for that.  

In fact, it was doing this research that I found out about the 5K held on the Disney island Castaway Cay. I thought it would be a lot of fun to run, though at the time I wasn't yet running. It was the spark that started me on my running journey.

Now the only thing left to do was to wait for the trip to come. We had a lot of fun talking about Mickey's ship. We even had Mickey call the house to tell the girls about the trip. It seemed like it would never come, but it did and what a trip it was.

more to come...

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