Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our Ocean Voyage - Part 3

Day 3 started with the threat of some bad weather. Again I woke up earlier than the family and got out on deck to some beautiful skies and flat seas. Unfortunately they weren't to last. Today was the first scheduled day at sea, and my wife and I had reservations for brunch at Palo at 10:30. When we checked the daily newsletter the night before we saw that the Princess Gathering was scheduled for 11:30 this morning and we knew that we didn't want to miss this. I called Guest Services to see if there would be another one on the later sea day, but while they could tell me that there would be a character meeting, they couldn't guarantee who those characters would be. So our decision was to keep our reservation and risk going to the meeting later in the week, or miss Palo brunch in lieu of the Princess Gathering. It really wasn't a decision, as meeting the Princesses was the number one reason for coming on this cruise for the girls.

The family was still sleeping and I was wandering around the ship. I stopped by Guest Services to find out about changing my reservation and they said that someone would be at Palo at 9. So I grabbed my Kindle and sat on our balcony for a while reading as I watched us sail into darker skies. I ran upstairs and grabbed a bite to eat and then went to cancel our reservation.  I explained to the manager my situation and he graciously moved our reservation to the same time on the next sea day. I was so relieved. I went back to get the family and they were just waking up. By this time the rain had started.

We went back upstairs to Topsiders for breakfast. After going through the line it was so crowded that we couldn't find a table. A cast member led us out onto the pool deck and found a table under an overhang. While we were getting rained on, it was terribly we out there and the family was not happy. On top of this, one of my daughters refused to eat, saying she didn't feel well.  This did not bode well for the rest of the day.

We went back to the room and the girls changed into their Princess dresses.  You can't go to a Princess gathering if you aren't dressed as a Princess!  We have one Cinderella and one Belle. The gathering started at 11:30 and when we got to the deck 3 area at 11:15 the line was already tremendous. And on top of it all, the ship was rocking like nobody's business. We tried to make the best of it, making friends with the families that were around us and generally trying to remain as pleasant as you we could. The were some cast members sent up and down to give information about the wait, which was looong. But they assured us that everyone would get to see the Princesses.

We kept sane with the thought that if we were in the parks, every day would be filled with ridiculous lines like this, so we could deal with it for one morning. With the weather the way it was, its not like we were missing pool time. The time in line gave my daughter time to recover from her poor stomach and about an hour later we neared the front.

There were 5 princesses there to meet and greet. They each signed autographs and took a few moments to chat with the girls. It sounds corny, but
it was completely amazing to watch my girls interact with the princesses. They were awestruck and couldn't wait to hug each one. There was Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Tiana and Snow White. Each Princess posed for pictures from both the ship photographer and from my own camera. They were all gracious and wonderful.

Of course, if you remember from Saturday, my wife and I were on a mission to figure out if our wonderful assembly leader was a Princess. Well, when we got down to Snow White, the last in the line, we saw her ... not as a Princess, but as one of the helpers. She was so sweet, calling out the girls' names and giving them a big hug. My wife and I joked that we'd expected her to be a Princess. She laughed and said she's too tall to be one, but that we should look for her in tonight's show.  The girls were overjoyed at having met their favorite Princesses and the weather didn't seem to matter anymore. We slipped into Lumiere's and grabbed lunch.

After lunch the girls wanted to go to the kids club, and who was I to stop them! As for me, well I got to fulfill my greatest wish for the cruise. I grabbed my Kindle and found a deck chair near the adult pool. They had some wonderful loungers set up looking out at the sea. I read for a few minutes and fell into a wonderful nap.

We didn't have long to nap though, because we had tickets for Tea with Alice at 4 that afternoon. This was a cute little show where Alice talks about her trip down the rabbit hole and the girls get to drink tea (apple juice) and cookies. Earlier in line for the Princesses the girls made friends with a little girl named Sadie, and we saw her and her family there. The show was cute and we had a chance for pictures and more autographs after.

After Alice it was rest time for the girls and time to get ready for the show and dinner. Showers and changing in the evening always seemed to be a challenging time for us. This was the toughest time for the girls, because they were getting tired but didn't want to rest. We decided to divide and conquer. After I got ready I took one daughter downstairs and we wandered around while the other got ready with my wife. This was formal night, so everyone was all dressed up. While we were walking around, we ran smack dab into Minnie dressed for the evening. Minnie stopped for a photo and shortly after, we ran into Donald, who took the time for a picture and a quick dance. Of course, having only one girl there at the time was heartwrenching. Its hard to think of the other one missing out, but you have to feel joy for the one who's there.

We got to the theater early and were able to get seats in the third row. The show tonight was called "Twice Charmed" and was a re-working of the tale of Cinderella where the wicked step sisters are given a second chance at Prince Charming. Well, it didn't take long for us to find our magic friend ... she was one of the wicked step sisters. The show was wonderful and the girls got such a thrill out of seeing her up there on stage. She even gave them a little wink at the curtain call.

After the show Mickey was out taking pictures in his tuxedo, so we stood in line to get a family picture with him. While in line we met a family and started talking. Turns out that the woman and I went to the same high school. She and my wife hit it off and we'd run into them several times through the rest of the cruise. We got our picture with Mickey and then went off to Lumiere's again for dinner. Everyone at the table looked great in their dressy clothes and once again we had a wonderful meal. All the girls had taken to having a Mickey ice cream bar for dessert everynight and the parents enjoyed a couple glasses of wine and each other's company.

For a day that started out headed into clouds, we definitely found the silver lining. That has got to be the epitome of the Disney Magic.

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