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Name: Lauren         Location: Middle Tennessee, USA

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Friday, January 18, 2013
A Disney December, Part Three
On Wednesday the 19th, we woke up ready to head to Port Canaveral.  We were excited, but very tired.  Staying at the Christmas party until midnight on the evening before the cruise was probably not the best idea.  My kids don't sleep in, even after a late night, so we didn't really recover from this until after we got home (but we still felt the party was worth it).

The drive from WDW is about an hour (it would be less if you didn't have to go through 2,357 toll booths on the way).  As we neared the coast, we could see the Dream waiting for us in all her glory.  She is truly a beautiful and very large ship.  The kids were amazed.

We dropped off our rental car and boarded a shuttle to the terminal.  This process went very smoothly, and check-in was quick and easy.  We had a few minutes to wait before boarding, so we got in line to see Captain Mickey.  As soon as it was our turn, it was time for Mickey to prepare the ship for our arrival, so we posed with Minnie instead.

Not long after our photo, our group was called, and we were able to board.  Emily was impressed with our entrance: each family is introduced by name as you enter the lobby/atrium.  She felt very regal, especially considering that the grand lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

We were directed to deck 11 for lunch, but we stopped on the way for the kids to don their swimsuits.  They were very excited to experience the Aqua Duck water slide, and we knew that this would be a great time for them to ride without lines.  They enjoyed it four times without a wait, and then we took a break for lunch.

At 1:30, we could enter our rooms, and Emily was thrilled with our verandah.  We were on the very back of the ship (aft), so our verandah was extra deep.  Emily has always had an affinity for balconies, so this was very exciting for her.

Truthfully, we didn't use the verandah much during the cruise, so we probably won't splurge for one again.  I do like a window (I am claustrophobic), but we were so busy most of the time, that we didn't take the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view.

We spent the afternoon checking out the kids' clubs.  Emily loved the Oceaneer's Lab, and she enjoyed quite a few activities during the cruise.  Some of her favorites included the Super Sloppy Science program and the cooking program: she got to make flubber and chocolate chip cookies.  Did you know that Mickey has an oven that can bake chocolate chip cookies in 3 minutes?  He's very impressive! The oven comes in handy when the kids make their own dough and get to eat the finished product during a 30 minute window.

After a mid-afternoon muster drill, we headed to deck 11 for the sail-away party.  Mickey and the gang came out to get everyone pumped up for the cruise, and we had a countdown before the boat pulled out of the port.

As dinnertime approached, we were very tired.  Our first meal was in Royal Palace, the most formal dining room on the ship.  Everything was delicious, but we had to wait a little longer than most because my meal was gluten-free, and this wait was tough because we were exhausted.  From this dinner forward, I was given the opportunity to order my meal each night for the following evening, which meant no delays.  Disney is so amazing when it comes to meeting special needs. I really appreciated the care they took of me in the dining rooms (although my waistline would have been better off if they hadn't accommodated my needs so well).

After dinner, Emily, Adam and I went to see the Golden Mickeys, while Andrew spent time in the kids' club.  The shows are first-class musicals, and Emily was enthralled with the performance.  As soon as it was over, however, our eyelids could stand it no more.  We all headed back to the room for some much needed sleep!


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