Staying with family was great, they even made us pancakes but by now we have realized that pancakes + road trip = car sick for our youngest. We actually didn't learn that until the day we disembarked but it helped piece together why he was sick on the way home. We repacked the car at their house because we knew it would be hectic trying to unload all our luggage at the Park n' Cruise, although our repacking and saying goodbyes put us behind our schedule until my husband remembered we were avoiding tolls. We decided to bite the bullet and pay the toll so we could get back on schedule. Where we live we don't have tolls and have absolutely no clue how they work but I will continue avoiding them because it didn't save us on time nor money by the end. We would drive 3/4 mile and have to pay, another 4 and pay, 1/4 pay... you get the idea. I think when we totaled it up it was over $20, honestly I stopped counting after $18, I just wanted to get off.
When we finally got to Park n' Cruise we quickly sprang into action unloading and then the waiting began. Last year we used this company and they were pretty small but word had apparently spread, they are very good and inexpensive, we were second in line for our cruise but had to wait about 40 minutes until the next shuttle to take us to port. The only reason I was frustrated was because we were suppose to check in at 12:30 and didn't make it until 1pm.
Crowds get me a little anxious...ok very anxious. So arriving I felt just thrown into the hustle not able to regroup but our boys did great keeping up not complaining much. 3 bags were taken to our room while we carried the rest, not a problem except carrying 24 bottles of water gets a little heavy.
I did find out you are able to take small suitcases as a carry on ::Note to Self:: next time put water in small rolling suite case. Going through the metal detectors is always fun with kids because they are asking a million questions about the process and why they are taking our stuff and then not wanting to go through it without mommy or daddy. Our goal was to take pictures of the whole process but running late and trying to keep up with where to go...well there are no pictures, sorry.
Minnie and Mickey were taking photos when we first walked in the terminal but we decided to just go ahead and jump in line to check in. We normally eat lunch at 11am central time zone and it was already 1pm eastern so food was a high priority but we were hoping to put everything in our room before. Check in went very smoothly because we had done everything online before arriving and had our passports ready to go, 5 minutes tops and we were on our way. They took a family photo that was scanned into their system so when they would swipe our card they could see not only each of us individually but know we were together.
Right before we entered the ship they took our family photo to purchase later...we didn't. As we walked onto the ship they announced us and several staff were lined up clapping and welcoming us aboard. To think there was over 4,000 passengers...
First we tried to find our room but were directed toward the dinning hall because the rooms were not ready yet. Passengers disembark by 9am and check in for the next group begins at noon, so we were off with all our stuff to the Enchanted Garden to eat. We were escorted to our seat and after dropping off everything headed to the buffet. Felt bad for those sitting near us with all our junk everywhere until I realized they were in the same boat (literally). The food was ok granted there were a lot of people so I was still on edge and didn't feel like I could look over the food to see what I wanted. Buffets are not for me because they are always so busy.
Finally time to check out our room and dump our bags! It was pretty much like the photos on their website. I was impressed.
If eating with children at the late seating you can sign them up to eat and then be picked up to play at the oceaneer club. Just have to take them to the lobby area and find a team member in a yellow shirt. We never did this but thought it was a great idea.
Since we could barely move after eating a great meal we headed back to the room to find a seal waiting with the navigator (schedule for the next day)
An amazing thing happened, my youngest slept through the night in his own bed! Maybe this place is magic ;) Since it was a Sunday we ran up grabbed some breakfast enjoyed the view a little before going back to our room and worshiped God. It was important to us that our boys know that no matter where we are to take the time to do what we have been commanded.
Afterwards we grabbed our Navigator Schedule and headed out looking for an adventure. We headed to the Buena Vista Theater and watched Monsters University in 3D. Most of our family was having a great time but since we were one of the last to get in we were closer to the screen, honestly perfect spot for sliding in and out as need be, but my oldest has very sensitive hearing. We have tried to do movie theaters in the past and never have been able to stay the entire time. While he kept asking to go telling us he didn't like the movie we encouraged him to stay and he made it to the end liking it. Our youngest loved it.
Lunch and then off to see if we could swim. Every time we had seen the pool it had been crowded as it was this time but then we stumbled upon this little jewel.