Note: This post was originally written on Sunday, January 29th.
Well, we got a nice early start this morning. Lia woke up at 6 am local time, Max got up at 7 am, and Ava got up closer to 8 am. We ate some cereal, watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel, and I re-packed all our suitcases.
I ended up packing about 8 carry on bags. I know that sounds crazy, but I read that you should have swimming gear with you, dress clothes for dinner, each of the kids had their own bag with lunch/snacks/water cup, we had the laptop, camera bag, etc etc etc. We were about ready to head to our 7 night Mexican Riviera cruise on the Disney Wonder.
We loaded up into the car around 11 am to leave from Corona to head to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California. We stopped to pick up our awesome friend Jen who drove us to the port (thanks Jen!). Thanks to a random stroke of (accidental) brilliance, I signed us up to check in between 1 pm and 1:30 pm.
We arrived at the port around 1:15 pm and it was practically empty! We quickly unloaded our suitcases and were ushered in. We followed the Disney guides who were directing the flow of traffic to an area to check in. I had done most of the work for checking in online (which is awesome by the way!), so it took us about 5 minutes to get checked in.
We headed to security after that, and there was no wait. We quickly sailed through security and got in line to board the ship. We skipped right past the boarding photo opportunity and headed right inside. The kids thought it was pretty awesome that they announced us onto the boat as ‘the Solar family’.
Once we got in, we went immediately to the Waveband lounge area to request a change to main dining. I had NO IDEA when I booked the cruise that we were slated for the late dining. I found out about two months ago that late dining STARTS at 8:15 pm (yes, that’s 10:15 pm to my kids!). As I expected, there was already a waiting list 2 pages long of other families who wanted to switch as well. So, needless to say, we were stuck on late dining.
After that, we decided to head to our room to drop off our carry-ons. They don’t have the rooms ready until 2 pm, so we had to wait a little bit, but not too long. As soon as 2 pm rolled around, we dumped our stuff off in the room and made a beeline straight for the Beach Blanket Buffet since we were all starving.
The food was okay… about what you would expect from a buffet, though there really wasn’t a lot of kid-friendly options. The kids all had macaroni and cheese. I had some baked salmon and cocktail shrimp. Josh had chicken and rice. The kids really wanted some fruit, but it was empty on the buffet. I asked one of the staff and he went all the way to another food service area (Goofy’s Galley) and brought us back a giant plate full of fresh watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe. The kids tore it up. We also devoured several servings of dessert!
After we ate, we headed to the Oceaneer Club to get the kids registered and then went back to our room to get ready for the mandatory boat drill. Surprisingly, our luggage (well, 2 out of 3 suitcases) had already arrived. I emptied the suitcases into the drawers and closets of our rooms.
I started decorating our doors with all the Happy Family Movement stuff I printed out before we left Kansas City when the alarm started going off. We headed out for the boat drill, which was quick, efficient, and well-managed (good for peace of mind after the Italian cruise disaster recently).
Right after the boat drill, the Adventures Away sail away party started on the main outdoor decks (9 & 10). Cast members were handing out streamer wands to all the kids and there was some entertainment on the stage coupled with staff introductions. We watched most of it, then headed to the front of the ship (on deck 10) to play a little foosball and ping pong and watch the ship set sail.
We watched the ship pull out of the port and out into the Pacific Ocean. After that, we headed back down to deck 9 to get something for the kids to eat. Max chose cheese pizza from Pinocchio’s Pizzeria and the girls both got a hot dog from Pluto’s Dog House. We stopped by Goofy’s Galley and got another giant plate of fresh fruit. Then another and another and another (and I think one more). The kids could not get enough of it! I seriously think they ate half a watermelon and a whole cantaloupe.
After the kids finished eating, we headed back to our room and got changed for dinner… nothing too fancy, but they don’t want you wearing shorts or beachwear to dinner. Since we’re on late dining, we watch the show for the night before dinner. We made our way down to the Walt Disney Theatre for tonight’s show, which was All Aboard: Let the Magic Begin.
The show was a combination of the cruise director talking about different amenities offered on the cruise and some live musical style performances. There was also a magician and the kids were literally laughing so loud, it was crazy. The show lasted about an hour.
Afterward, we headed for the gift shop. The kids were itching to spend their souvenir money. Max bought a stuffed captain Mickey, a mini cruise ship boat, and a Cars 2 drawing book. Ava picked out a Minnie Mouse figure set (you know the ones that say 3 and up, but the outfits are almost impossible for even adults to put on? Yeah, that’s the one she got). Lia demanded that she get a 5 piece mini (Barbie doll style) set of princesses. It was WAY overpriced and I really didn’t want her to buy it. But in the end, it was her money and she wasn’t going to change her mind.
We had a few minor meltdowns but we made it out alive. We went back to our room and opened all the new toys. It was about time for dinner by that point, so we headed down to Animator’s Palette. The line was super long since we arrived about 10 minutes early. But as soon as 8:15 pm hit, everyone was quickly ushered in and to their assigned tables.
We were seated at a table for 8 and quickly met our tablemates, Dan and Karen, who are from Vancouver and their 7 year old son Luka. Our servers Carlo and Andre took everyone’s orders and we chatted with our new friends. Lia about fell asleep in her chair. The kids didn’t eat much, but I expected that. For appetizers, Josh had baked potato and cheddar soup and I had some amazing salad that had raw tuna and raw salmon on the side (I didn’t eat that part).
For the main course, Josh had lemon thyme chicken and I had baked salmon. Everything was very good! When we first entered Animator’s Palette, everything was black and white. As the evening went on, the room slowly transformed into a colorful artist’s masterpiece and Sorcerer Mickey made a cameo appearance. And then it was suddenly time for dessert!
We both had apple crumble a la mode for dessert which was very tasty!! The kids were SO tired and it was about 10 pm local time by the time we finished up dinner and headed to our room. We quickly tossed them in their pajamas and into bed.
Because we are a family of five, it was less expensive for us to book two connecting rooms than it was for us to book a suite. (They won’t let you put five people in a room unless it’s a suite). So, we had two rooms. Each had a queen size (super comfy!) bed and bunk beds. Lia slept in one of the beds and Max and Ava slept in the bunk beds. We slept in the other room with the connecting doors open and the coffee tables pushed against the stateroom doors so no kids could escape.
Note: This post was originally written on Sunday, January 29th.