Monday, February 24, 2014

*It’s Almost Time!!!

(Saturday, February 22nd – AM)

We needed to be up and ready with luggage packed by 8:00am Saturday so after a restless night’s sleep for me we woke just before 7.  Can you say – too excited to sleep?!!  Hannah woke up early too, excited for our day to begin!  We checked out the Port Canaveral webcam to see that our ship had arrived overnight and was waiting for us!!

It was a matching t-shirt day although Nana and I didn’t have the fun mis-matched socks Hannah was wearing after our visit to ‘Little Miss Matched’ at Downtown Disney last night.  All their socks are sold in groups of 3 and are coordinated but not matching.IMG_2169

Mr. Donald picked up our bags shortly after 8am and they were on their way to the ship.  The next time we’d see them they’d be outside our stateroom.  Nice.  There were a number of times today that I found myself in awe that it was us who were going on this cruise. After watching others for years and dreaming of the day, the day was finally here!IMG_2173IMG_2174

We now had about 4 hours to fill before we needed to board our bus so we walked over to Art of Animation and enjoyed breakfast there.  When we got back to Pop Century Hannah was excited to learn she could go for a swim.  Playing in the snow yesterday turned to swimming outside today.  We’ll take the swimming thank-you-very-much!IMG_2179

The 3 of us were giddy with excitement and turned the camera on ourselves to catch some of the fun.IMG_2183


One final cute pic before we moved on with our cruise.  When we checked in yesterday the Cast Member told us we were staying in the Juke Box section.  When we got there Hannah couldn’t figure out why we would call this silly thing a ‘juice box.’  LOL!IMG_2187

*‘Now Boarding, ‘Princess Hannah, Nana and Mommy’

(Saturday, February 22 – PM)

Wheee!  It’s time!

Miss Nancy lined up all the families from Disney’s Pop Century Resort at 12:15, ready to board the buses when they arrived.  How long had I dreamed of that sign being for Hannah and I??  A very long time!IMG_2189

They’re here!!IMG_2190

We were the first family to board the second bus so snagged the front seats.  Our ship, the Disney Fantasy as we approached it in Port Canaveral!IMG_2197

It was raining on and off but a little bit of rain couldn’t dampen our spirits!


A model of our home away from home for the next 7 nights!IMG_2206

Disney has a neat tradition of introducing each family as they board and you pass through a path of clapping cast members.  We were excited to hear, ‘Disney Cruise Lines welcome Princess Hannah, Nana and Mommy.’  What a neat tradition!  We were in awe as we stepped on board and caught our first glimpses of the ship!IMG_2216

We made our way to our stateroom located on the second deck.  It’s a tiny room but we’ve found a place for everything and it will be our cozy home for the next 7 nights.  Nana and Papa had ordered a birthday welcome package and Hannah was excited when she entered the room to find it decorated especially for her!IMG_2219

You can also see our Magical Porthole in this picture.  Although we are in an inside cabin there is a porthole above the bed that streams live video taken from a camera pointing out of our ship.  We can see what everyone else does but with the added bonus of Disney characters appearing on the porthole too!  I’ll try to catch some video of that.  At night we just flip a switch to turn off the screen and our room stays nice and dark until we flip it back on in the morning.  A really cool feature!  Disney thinks of everything!!

We ventured up to the 11th deck for a little bite of lunch.  Supper was only 3 hours away but since we hadn’t eaten in 6 hours we needed a little something to top us up.  We went to Cabanas and all found something to suit our fancy.  Love all the places we can sit so close to the outside and enjoy the view!


Next up, mandatory evacuation drill before leaving port.IMG_2223

Our family lined up for the drill.  Photo bomb courtesy of Mr. Paul from TN! SmileIMG_2226

There are a lot of Canadians onboard this week and lifeboat drill was no exception.  The family next to us are from the city 5 mins west of us and the family 2 over were from close by too!  Let’s just say there was a lot of hockey talk as Canada was going for gold the following morning.  (We won – yay!!!  Go Canada Go!!)

From evacuation drill we moved inside for the Sailaway Party.  This is normally held outside by the pools but given the rain they moved it inside.  Hannah raised her hand indicating that we are first time cruisers and excited!!IMG_2228

Captain Mickey and Minnie welcomed us in style along with many of their other friends too.IMG_2231

As the ship left Port Canaveral we headed up to Deck 12 to wave to our friends at home!  I know at least a few spotted us.  Cool!  And yes, that is sunshine you see reflecting off the water!  As we pulled away the sun came out and it’s been shining ever since!!IMG_2233

We still had a little time before supper so headed over to the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab to introduce Hannah.  She immediately knew she’d have lots of fun there!!IMG_2237

She had another opportunity to play with Mr. Potato Head although this one was on a little larger scale than the one she’d played with the night before.  Surprised smileIMG_2238IMG_2240

Hey, Auntie Pat!  This one’s for you!IMG_2241

We went to dinner and met the family we’ll be dining with for the week and they’re wonderful!  A perfect match and we know we’ll enjoy their company.  They’re from Illinois and there is a mom, dad, 4yo son and 2 grandmas.  Thankfully this is a Disney cruise and most on it are fond of kids.  This was especially true of Kirk, Jacob’s dad as Hannah doused him with not 1 but 2 glasses of water over the course of the evening!  Zoinks!!  Tomorrow night I think we’ll show up with a rain poncho for him!

Disney Cruise Lines are a little different from others I hear in that we will rotate between their 3 main dining rooms over the course of our cruise.  Our tablemates and servers (Tina from Croatia and Ari from Indonesia) will stay the same and we will all rotate together.  This evening we dined in the Enchanted Garden and it was beautiful and the food delicious!  Nana and I enjoyed prime rib while Hannah had salmon followed by a Mickey Bar for dessert.IMG_2248

Our first day was a huge success from start to finish!  Still can’t believe we’re here!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

First Stop ~ Disney’s Pop Century Resort

It was anything but easy getting her but, we made it!  Phew!!

Thursday they were calling for large amounts of rain that would likely induce flooding plus freezing rain and high winds which led us to switch things up and leave home at noon rather than 5:00 as originally planned.  We were SO glad we did as the weather turned nasty just as we arrived in Buffalo around 3:00.  We were thankful to be making the 3 hour drive in the daylight with dry roads rather than in the dark with heavy rain and high winds!

After checking into our hotel we went across the street to the Olive Garden for supper.IMG_2136

Thursday night I went online to check us in (after forgetting to do it in the morning – now I remember why I put a reminder in my calendar!!) and our boarding passes said something to the effect of, ‘all boarding passes numbers have been distributed.  Please see gate attendant for further instructions.’  Yikes!!  The Southwest phone number would not work from our hotel and I hadn’t got a US roaming plan for my cell so I knew a trip to the airport was in order to find out what was happening with our tickets if I hoped to get any sleep.  I stepped outside to get the car although by that time a boat would have been another good option!   I was able to speak with a SWA representative who looked up our flight and said that all should be okay.  We were within the group of the last 15 to check-in and they always issue boarding passes like this.  The flight was not oversold so we should be just fine to board in the morning.  That was great news!

I returned to the hotel to share the good news and found Hannah had moved from our bed and was snuggled comfortably in with Nana.  So cute!  (We now travel with Hannah’s sleeping bag and pillow since she is allergic to the detergent most hotels use.  Even last night I had to give her Benadryl as  she was itchy.  Poor pet!  So thankful Disney has hypoallergenic bedding upon request in both their hotels and on the cruise.  Great service!)IMG_2137

The alarm went off early at 5am Friday morning and we were off to the airport.  As predicted by the agent last night we were assigned boarding passes as soon as we got to the gate.  They were late numbers but due to Hannah still being 4 for another 6 days we were able to board early with the families.  We boarded at 8:30 as anticipated for our 8:55am flight and then…we sat.  There was bad weather down in FL so we were delayed about and hour and a quarter.  We had the option to deplane but decided to sit tight.  Hannah showed herself to be the amazing traveller she is and took this all in stride and played with her LeapPad.IMG_2146

After a second extension of our delay we got off the plane for about 40 mins. but then reboarded and eventually made it to FL about 2 1/4 hours later than expected.  Given the number of delays around us we were thankful it was only that long and that we’d made it safely to Orlando!!IMG_2149


We took the Magical Express to our favourite Disney resort, Pop Century.  After a very late lunch we made our way to Downtown Disney for a couple hours of shoppingIMG_2160 IMG_2163and oh yah, caramel, peanut apples.  Yummo!!download

After enjoying some of this apple it was time for bed after a long day.  Tomorrow is one that promises to be filled with tons of fun!  Even though this picture hides it, Hannah (and Mommy!) are beyond excited  to be starting our cruise tomorrow!!IMG_2166

Next post – Cruising with Mickey!!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bon Voyage!

After years of dreaming and 13 months of planning, our cruise begins tomorrow!  Hannah and I are beyond excited to share a week with Nana onboard Disney’s Fantasy!disney fantasy

Today we fly to Orlando and are staying at a Disney resort for 1 night before boarding our ship tomorrow.  I’ll be writing posts while on board but will need to wait until we’re home to post since we won’t have Internet access.

As much as I’ve read, discussed and prepared for our cruise I really can’t imagine what it’s going to be like.  We love Disney so spending 7 nights on a floating Disney vacation should be amazing!

If you’re interested, Port Canaveral has a live webcam that shows the port and zooms in on the top decks as ships depart.  Our ship is scheduled to depart around 4:45 tomorrow night and our plan is to be on the top deck waving, holding our Canadian flag with pride. 

1 more sleep!  Wheeeee!!!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine’s Day 2014

What a wonderful day!  Not many pictures but we were just having too much fun together to pick up the camera.  Ahhh…just as it should be!

Our day began when Hannah woke up and said, ‘Mommy!  It’s Valentine’s Day!’  Nothing better than to wake up with my little love!  I ran downstairs to pick up her little treats and our day began.


Hannah enjoyed parties  at school and daycare in the afternoon and shared her Valentines with her friends.  For supper we went to Mom and Dad’s and enjoyed our time with them before they headed off on their Hawaiian cruise

A wonderful day from start to finish!  Happy Valentine’s Day my sweet love!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Early Birthday Celebration

Since we’ll be away on Hannah’s birthday we decided to celebrate with the family a couple of weeks early this year.  She understands with the cruise we’re not going to have a ‘friends’ party this year so she’d told me she wanted a ‘Frozen’ party with her friends when she turns 6 next year.  This led me to go on a crazy search to purchase Frozen items for this year’s party.  It was a rough go but I eventually found a place online that had everything in one package and they could ship it in time for her party.  Woo hoo!!

Here’s Hannah’s reaction to her ‘Frozen’ birthday party surprise.


Hannah and a few of her cousins waiting patiently for supper.IMG_2056


Nana 3 - CopyHannah’s Auntie Trish offered to make her cake and it was beautiful!  Thanks Auntie Trish!  What a special gift your cake was to Hannah!  The doll was Hannah’s gift and she loves it!  What she didn’t know what that Grandma and Grandpa had bought her the matching Elsa doll so she has both.IMG_2053 

Celebrating with a cool flowering candle.

Wow Sweetie!  I can’t believe you’re almost 5!!!  Mommy loves you so much!  Happy Birthday!!  We’ll celebrate again soon when we’re on ‘Mickey’s Boat!’


Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 CNY Celebrations

Hannah and I shared 2 weekends of CNY celebrations with family and friends.

She was invited to take in her story books to school and also shared red envelopes with gold chocolate coins with her classmates. 

We kicked off our celebrations at our favourite Chinese food buffet with Grandma.  Cotton candy for dessert.  LOL – not your typical CNY dessert!IMG_1981

The day after this we braved the snow and went to a mall about a 1/2 hour away to celebrate with a local Chinese Cultural Centre.  We enjoyed walking around listening to the beautiful Chinese music, watching people create neat things like paper hearts, IMG_1988and Hannah’s name written in Chinese.IMG_1990

Face painting is always a hit with my girl and this little panda was adorable!IMG_1994

There was a place set up where the children could also try Chinese calligraphy.  She really enjoyed this and practiced for about 20 mins before asking to move on.IMG_2000

Once we left we went to celebrate with friends from our agency.  I love the friendships our girls share!IMG_2001

Debbie made this beautiful cake to celebrate the year of the horse.


While the adults were chatting around the dinner table the girls were playing upstairs.  It’s amazing how much noise 4 little girls can make!  We were sure they were going to come through the roof so E and I went up to check in.  We laughed when we saw what our creative little girls were doing!!

Thanks for hosting such a great party Debbie, Dave and Charlotte!  We love being invited to share in your travel group celebrations!

Our final celebration was with a group of friends, many who live locally and a few who drove a distance in the snow to join in the celebration.  Back in 2006 all of us began to attend a Waiting Mommies group and now we all have our children home to share in the celebrations!  Perfect!!

Opening their red envelopes.IMG_2086

A wonderful time of celebration Gong Hey Fat Choy!!IMG_2106

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