Friday, May 22, 2009

More from the Vacation....

I forgot to tell you about the BEST PART ABOUT TUESDAY!!!!! It wasn't the semi-submarine. It wasn't the free gemstone necklaces. It wasn't Anne and Gary taking Brooke to the pool in the afternoon. It was--meeting with the DVC rep, Dave, and locking in/committing to buy/joining the DISNEY VACATION CLUB (DVC). This is Disney's version of a timeshare program and we had thought about it for two years. We were soooooooo excited to finally do it. I'd picked the brain of several DVC members that I had seen on the ship (they had on hats or lanyards, etc). We wanted to do it 2 years ago but just weren't quite ready financially. I don't know how much more ready we are financially now, but it just felt right. We were so pumped. DVC works different than the average timeshare. Often, you buy "a week at this property" each year; and if you want to go a different week or destination, you have to "trade it," etc. With DVC, you buy points. The points at the DVC owned properties (scattered throughout WDW, one at DL, one in Vero Beach, one at Hilton Head, and soon to be one in Hawaii) are fixed from the time you buy. So... it will take X points to stay in a certain room category in 2009 as it will in 2039; whereas regular hotel prices will increase about 8% every year. We can also use our points to stay at partnering properties throughout the world. And all we do is call member services and have them help us get it planned. DVC resorts aren't hotels- they are more condo-like... so we will have the choice of a studio (hotel room with kitchenette), or a one-bedroom (sitting area, kitchen, washer and dryer, with separate bedroom), or a two-bedroom condo, and even the chance to get a 3-bedroom grand-villa on occasion. We bought at a points level that, based on our preferred travel time (early May), would allow us to get a 2-bedroom condo at the new property at the Contemporary for 5 nights, or we could get a studio for up to 9 nights! We wanted to be able to have enough points to get a decent-length vacation booked that would accomodate Matt's parents going with us; since they do so often and help with the girls. But someday, we'll do a lot more trips on our own, so we can do 9 nights if we want. And again- we can go anywhere, go anytime; however our points will work! AND it is a 50-year ownership, that can be willed to the girls, etc. WE WERE SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Before I dive into Wednesday, I forgot to post this picture of Hannah from Sunday morning... she fell asleep in her high chair at was really too funny.

Wednesday, May 6th was a day at Sea. It was supposed to be our day in Cozumel, but due to the Swine Flu outbreak, Disney decided not to port there. So we spent that day at sea working our way back to the Bahamas.

We had a wonderfully lazy start to the day. After a yummy breakfast with the characters, we let the girls do a wandering around on deck 4. That is a deck with a long promenade area and a lot of the shops and restaurants, and it has a long covered outside area running along both sides of the ships. It's also the deck that a lot of people go jogging on. Not me...other people! Hannah loved getting to run her little legs off. In these two pictures she was making her way to the anchor room. I can't decide if she looks so little or the ship looks so big!

Here's a pic from the anchor room. Check out how gigantic the chains and ropes are:

Then we took the girls to the Playhouse Disney dance party where they got their groove on for awhile. Again, Hannah was happy for some freedom, and Brooke was doing great as the big sister watching out for and dancing with the little one!

As 10a.m. approached, it was time for Hannah's nap and Mommy's next attempt at Bingo. Sarah joined me for that, as did Brooke because she didn't feel like going to the Oceaneer Club. She did pretty good sitting thru Bingo with me, where they were giving out Disney Channel freebies like Jonas Brothers posters, Hannah Montana magnets, etc. I spent the money for one of the electronic bingo machines-- it keeps track of all the numbers, always has your best-looking card on the screen, starts flashing when you have a bingo, etc. Mine did not flash. But we had fun, and I won a raffle prize--Brooke had me pick out the Disney Vacation Club travel blanket.

After Bingo, we all joined together for some lunch on deck9- there is unlimited food up there-- we always had our choice of tacos, burgers, hotdogs, chicken tenders, pizza, fresh fruit, sandwiches and salads. We could also always go to the buffet as well. Several different days when we ate the "quick service" stuff, I'd go to the back entrance of the buffett and get some of the yummy desserts.

Wednesday was the day for Matt and I to do our own thing for awhile... so Brooke went to the Oceaneer Club for Toy Story Boot Camp, a Magic Show, and some free time. Matt and I went and did the closing on our DVC ownership, then enjoyed some time at the adults-only pool. We swam awhile then went up to deck 10 to lay out and drink a celebratory daiquiri. I made Matt go to Bingo with me.... which he found funny in a cheesey sort of way. (The people running Bingo were quite animated). One of the games we had to get all of our Bs and all of our Os... so the girl said "Now if you get a bingo, I want you to stand up, throw your arms in the air, and shout 'I've got BO!!!!'" about 5 minutes later, never would I have imagined myself doing this, I am standing in a room of about 100 people screaming "I've got BO!!!!!" (I didn't want to just say bingo and have them say i didn't do it right!!!). I won!! Unfortunately so did someone else, so I had to split the pot- but I still got a $240 cash prize! Yipppeee! Matt decided it had been worth it sitting through bingo to be there for that moment. Nat, the girl running the program said "never have I heard someone shout out their bingo so enthusiastically" haha.

This night was semi-formal night on the ship. We got all dolled up. Love my dress. It was a $10 clearance dress at NY&Co last fall and I love it:

This is also "Captain's Gala Dinner" which means one thing to many -- LOBSTER. I'm not a huge lobster fan so I ordered this incredible parmesan crusted chicken alfredo...but they had extra lobster tails and so our waiter offered me one. I was holding Hannah because she was so exhausted, so our darling waiter Sameer came and took my plate, cut up all my meat for me, as well as this lobster tail, so I could eat one-handed. It was delightful.

Let me pause and tell you about the service on DCL. It is incredible. Disney knows how to do it, don't they?! Well on the cruise there are three main dining rooms, each differently themed, etc. You are given a rotation when you get on board, and you rotate from one dining room one night to another the next. The great thing is, your wait staff rotates with you. You have a server and an assistant server that tend to your every need each evening. They are amazing at remembering what you're going to want. By the 2nd or 3rd night, our assistant knew that I was always going to ask for Sprite, so she had it waiting for me. The first night I asked for a slice of cheese for Hannah, and the waiter asked if I'd like to have that waiting for us each night. I said that'd be good, and didn't have to ask for it again. They take such amazing care of you. I teared up when it was time to say goodbye to Sameer and Alenka. They were great:

I tucked out early with Hannah and went to put her to bed, and Matt brought my dessert for me. Then he stayed behind while Anne, Gary and I took Brooke to the production of "Twice Charmed, an unusual twist to the Cinderella story" which was very well done.

I said I was going to start shortening these posts, but I had a lot to talk about today--what with the DVC news, all the stuff we did on Wed. Bear with me, sadly-the trip is almost over and then what shall I blog about?

I hope you enjoyed reading...! And if you've ever thought of a timeshare or the DVC, feel free to ask me more questions. They are kind of a travel-agent's worst enemy, but the Disney one is so awesome and I at least get credit for referrals haha!
And remember----A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.....

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