There are always two sides to a vacation; the parent’s point of view and then the kids.
When I booked the Disney Fantasy seven-day cruise to the Western Caribbean, everyone that I told about our trip, said:
“Omg, the cruise is EPIC! It is the best time ever! Your entire family will have SO MUCH FUN!”
I am still waiting for my epic fun to kick in.
By day three of our trip, I start to wonder if people were just sarcastic when they told me it was the “best trip they have ever taken.” Or, perhaps they only took one or two kids, the children they took on the cruise were older, OR, the adults were on Xanax and tequila the entire time.
Unless you have one adult per small child, you may or may not be screwed. Even with my mother joining us, the cruise thus far has proved to be quite the challenge.
I feel tricked and lied to by everyone. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of magic…operative word, “moments.” HA!
Here is a rundown of the first two days of the most “unmagical trip on earth.”
We take a shuttle from the Hyatt in the Orlando International Airport to Port Canaveral where the Disney Ship awaits. My family is beyond the moon with excitement to get the party started. As the shuttle approaches the dock, everyone yells “LOOK!” To our right, the most incredible and massive cruise ship is in front of our eyes! The “Disney Fantasy.” Our anticipation has been building since we left Seattle and the time has finally arrived! We jump off the shuttle, grab our 10,000 pieces of luggage and race to get our boarding group number. We’re boarding group number five. Anxiously we wait for our group to be called.
Suddenly I hear the beginning of “When You Wish Upon A Star,” chime and boarding group five appears on the screen! It’s TIME TO GO! We walk down a long hallway and step onto the ship, the entire cruise staff is lined up. As we walk by, they announce:
“Please Welcome the Trufant Family!”
Everyone cheers and claps. What a welcome! My kids’ faces are priceless. After all the months of planning and what we thought was preparing, we’re finally here as a family on the Disney Fantasy Cruise. Let the magic begin.
Our rooms aren’t quite ready, so we head to the pool! The pool is on the 11th deck, and the deck is magnificent! Equipt with two pools and several little areas for little ones to have aquatic fun. Ice cream on tap, a 300ft LED, gigantic, movie screen is in front of the pools playing Disney movie favorites and to top it off, there is the “Aqua Duck” waterslide! My kids lived on the transparent enclosed water slide that circles across the upper part of the entire deck; as you ride the slide, you can look down below and wave, hi! I mean, COME ON! This ship is every child’s DREAM!
We chose the late dinner, 8:15 pm, for the entire trip, (this may or may not have been a huge mistake). You get to dine in a different restaurant almost every night, and tonight we are in the Character restaurant. It is so darn cute! Virtual fish bowls surround us, as a turtle swims around and interacts with each table. It is pretty gnarly, and the kids are definitely entertained. We meet our servers for the duration of our trip, and they are out of this world with cheerfulness and kindness, (those poor, poor men after day two. I am pretty sure they wanted to strangle my kids). All of the staff on the cruise are amazing and give exceptional service wherever you go.
After dinner, there is an enormous welcome ceremony on deck 11. There is singing, dancing, Disney characters, all the theatrics you would expect on the first night! My kids are out of their minds with excitement. No, I really think they lost all five of their little minds on this trip.
Night one was a magical beginning for the kids. As for Marcus and I, it was a magical beginning to the end of the fun.
The time change kicks in, and everyone’s clocks are off.
Marcus and I get up around 7:45 am and hit the gym. We came back to the room, (we have two bite-sized adjoining rooms, mistake number 2,679) expecting my mom and the kids to be up, bright-eyed and ready to make it to breakfast before it ends at 10:30 am. Their room is COMPLETELY dark, and everyone is snoring. *side note: Waking the kids every morning was pure H#LL.* We start to wake them up and they are grouchy, whiny and move like slugs. But hey, the trip is still new, and I remain totally cheerful as I physically drag them out of bed, re-teach them how to grab a toothbrush and brush their teeth, and how we all need to shower to smell good. You know, things of that nature. I have complete patience as my two and three-year-old melt down, and my older girls yell and hit each other. We are on the happiest ship on earth. There is no need to lose my cool!
We pretty much ran through the halls like people in movies when they are being chased and we BARELY make breakfast. Day two on the cruise was a travel day, meaning we don’t get off the ship. We spent the day keeping the kids from drowning in the pool, feeding them ice cream and Marcus and I just so happened to find the “adults only” pool and made friends with the bartender. Later that evening, we dined in the “Enchanted Garden,” as a family, we all sang “Respect” at karaoke and Marcus and I hit what we would call, “the 90’s club” and made friends with more bartenders.
Today is the day when my husband decided this trip was no longer going to be fun for us; that it’s a work trip for him and I and it is all about the kids.
He was spot on.
The Disney Fantasy ship arrives in Cozumel, Mexico and we finally get to LEAVE THE BOAT! Before I go into today’s details, I will start off by saying anyone with anxiety, today’s sequence of events would make you question your existence. Sticking true to the vacation-morning-routine we were late for breakfast. I pre-booked an adventure off the boat to go to Cozumel’s unique beach and water park, therefore we have to be off the ship and on the shuttle by 11:00 am. At 10:30 am, we sat down to eat. My anxiety at this point is at a level six because I know we need to leave and NO ONE else has a sense of urgency.
After eating for 45min, being lost on the boat trying to find the exit, making sure we had diapers, Hydroflasks filled with milk for Kash, sippy cups, sunscreen and all of our “keys to the world.” (Keys to the world are our identification cards, which you MUST have to exit and get back on the boat). We fumble through the exit and get off the ship a little after 11:00 am. My anxiety level is at about a consistent eight. The shuttle to get to the beach is gone, and we are standing in the middle of Mexico. We have no idea where to go, who to ask to get to where and it’s hot as all get-out.
Anxiety check, 9.5.
After we figure out how to catch a taxi big enough to hold a Cadillac-sized double stroller, 25 bags, 36 backpacks and the eight of us, we head to the beach! It is a 30-minute drive to the beach, and the single portable fan in the front by the driver indicates there is no air-conditioning. About 25 minutes into the trip, my kids are covered in sweat and miserable. Guess what the driver does? He turns on the air-conditioning. I didn’t even curse him out; I just want out of the van.
We arrive at the beautiful beach and of course, we are not on the list to enter because I mean, did you expect anything less on a Trufant trip? We pay for all of us to enter the beach and quickly realize being the last ones to get off the boat, there are NO SEATS WITH UMBRELLAS. Wait, there are no seats at all!
Congrats! My anxiety, level has officially reached a 10!
I lash out with anger because no one got ready this morning in a timely manner, everyone ate too slow and no one cared about being on time. Marcus ignores me, picks up the double stroller and starts walking the beach looking for seats. He is covered in sweat carrying a stroller the size of three kids. I am so mad, you can see the steam coming off of my body. My mom is cool, calm and collected, telling me to calm down while my kids are whining because it’s about 90 degrees and they want to get in the water. I am one second away from going back to the boat. My mom eventually finds seats, and she tells me we can now relax…
We spent 2.5 minutes at the beach before one kid is brought back to us by a stranger because she swallowed a bunch of water and Kashius doesn’t want to wear a life vest because he is two and a half and thinks he can swim and he throws 10,000 tantrums. The life jackets at the beach are ill-fitting and it’s hard to keep track of all five amongst everyone else. I make the executive call, and we leave the beach and head over to the water park.
The water park is in a more controlled environment, and we can keep a better eye on the kids. We spent the rest of our time at the water park and then head back to board the shuttle back to the boat.
Well, guess what? Because we missed the shuttle coming into the park, they wouldn’t let us ride it back. Two kids are crying, one is sleep and my older girls are hot and tired. You know, at this point I am so drained I can’t process too much more! So, I sit down and watch the “not only can you not ride back, but you weren’t supposed to pay to get into the beach, nor pay for your food, but you need to take that up with Disney,” magic unfold. I let Marcus handle that.
You don’t know how I am to return to the boat.
Five more glorious days left!
To be continued…