Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bobby and Traveling TJ do the Disney Fantasy Part 1

Bobby is becoming quite the traveler. In June we traveled to Luray, Virginia for the Reece's Rainbow Reunion and then on to Baltimore, Maryland for the PPMD conference. He has also traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio for medical evaluations as well as Gainesville, Florida for and imaging study. In October we went to Orlando in order to visit Walt Disney World in preparation  for Bobby's first Disney Cruise.
A little background on our cruise, I had re-booked a cruise onboard the last cruise Taylor and I sailed and had to switch the date during the beginning of the adoption process. I chose Thanksgiving over the summer so that Bobby would hopefully be ready for such a trip. When I switched the date, I only knew his Chinese name and his date of birth. Since I knew that his name would be different (but hadn't decided exactly what yet), he was listed as TBD :) You will be glad to know that he was no longer TBD as we boarded "Mickey Boat" :)

So begins our story....
Bobby was bouncing as the school day ended. He knew that today was THE day! It was off to Walton to wait for his sister to get out of school. The Baird family had an extra member of their traveling party join at the last minute. Traveling TJ(aka Thomas Jefferson) was packed and ready to go! The Baird family would be showing Traveling TJ the wonders of the modern world via a Thanksgiving cruise on The Disney Fantasy.

Taylor jumped in the van and off they went! The family arrive a little after midnight at the Marriott Residence Inn at Port Canaveral. The trip was off to a great start with a free night at a great hotel through the Marriott Rewards program.

Bobby was the first one up and soon the family was eating a quick breakfast before driving to the port. The excitement was definitely building. Even Traveling TJ was bouncing!

The van pulled in to the port ahead of schedule. The passengers from the previous cruise were still disembarking. Luckily a great parking spot was secured and after all the luggage, totes, wheelchair, kitchen sink and stroller were unloaded, the excited Baird family joined the ever growing line waiting for the terminal to open for check-in.

Finally the porters start to arrive and they take the luggage to the loading area. The passengers were trying to wait patiently, saying Open!Open! Open!  (sorry, wrong commercial!) Finally the line begins moving forward, well at least a few yards. The group waits a bit longer on the breezeway, longingly looking at the Disney Fantasy and snapping pictures.

Then the line surges forward! Into the terminal, through security and there they are...the check in counters with those smiling, friendly DCL cast members just waiting to welcome everyone! Check in was smooth and easy. Taylor secured bench seating close to the bathroom as she knew her brother would most certainly have to go during the wait to board! Mommy and Bobby headed to the Kids Club check-in area and Bobby was given his wristband that was his all access key to the fun! They then rejoined Taylor (and all the carry-ons) As soon as they sat down, Taylor's choice of waiting area proved to be a success. She and Bobby were off to the bathroom, just as she predicted :) While they are gone, Traveling TJ checks out the Navigator to see todays activities and schedule.

Soon boarding numbers were starting to be announced. The Baird family had number 5, so they were among the first on board. Unfortunately due to the passengers being so excited, many did not listen to the announcement to stay back away from the boarding area until their number was called. The crowd in front of the queue area was impossible to pass through and there was a moment of frustration as the Baird family could not board! Well, mom decided to go all the way around and ask for help. After explaining that there was no way to get Bobby's wheelchair to the entrance through the crowd, the cast member unhooked the queue rope and the family was finally in line to board! The first stop was to scan the cards and then on to the Welcome On Board photo.

After finishing the photo op, it was on to actually cross the gangway onto the Disney Fantasy. "Disney Cruise Lines welcomes the Baird family!" Finally, on board the Fantasy!
First stop was Guest Services to turn in 2 pillowcases to be signed and for tickets to build a gingerbread house. With that done, let the feasting begin!  Up to deck 11 and Cabanas. What a better way to start off the cruise than shrimp, fresh pineapple and Asian stir fry (for Bobby!)
With full bellies, the family headed to visit the kids clubs while waiting for the cabin to be ready. Who did they run in to? Why Snow White! Now, Bobby is partial to Ariel and was not too sure of Snow White. He didn't want to make Ariel mad after all ;)

Bobby loved the Oceaneers Club. Who wouldn't love to crawl through slinky dog...

Or build a giant Mr Potato Head?

Or play computers, or dress like Captain Hook, or play on the magic light up floor or......Fun!!
Soon it was time for the cabins to be ready. Off to deck 7 and cabin 7596! A great location mid-ship. Awaiting Bobby as he entered the room was a basket from Jake and the Neverland Pirates :)

Taylor also had a basket waiting for her :)

Mom hung up the Fish Extender outside the door (but forgot to take a picture) and arranged some magnets on the door to make it a bit easier to find the room. After checking out everything in the room (with many "Awesome's!" from Bobby), the crew headed to the D lounge for the FB group kids meet. What a great way to kick off the cruise! The kids did a scavenger hunt type activity and won prizes that mom got to hand out! Bobby met several new friends as did Taylor. Mom loved being able to put real people with the FB names.

Then it was on to the Beuna Vista Theater for the lifeboat drill. Once everyone was checked in, they allowed those in wheelchairs to leave first, which was very helpful in order to be able to catch the elevator up to deck 11 for the Sail Away Party. Traveling TJ was so excited!

Once again Disney provided! There was an area reserved for wheelchairs that allowed bobby to be able to see the Sail Away Show without people standing in front of him. He decided to sit on the steps and really enjoyed the show.

Then it was back to the cabin to watch from the verandah as the Fantasy left the port.



The luggage arrived and the unpacking began. Soon it was time to head to Royal Court for the first dinner of the cruise. Food was wonderful and having another family share the table was so much fun! Bobby had his first ever Mickey Ice Cream bar. He loved every bite!


After dinner, the crew headed to King Triton's Tree Lighting Ceremony. Gotta love the holidays with Disney!
Once again the Baird's were on the move. This time they headed toward the Walt Disney Theater to see A Fantasy Come True. Bobby was enjoying the show, but after a long exciting day, he fell asleep before the end of the show. So after the show it was back to the cabin and off to sleep. Well, for mommy and Bobby it was off to sleep. Taylor was off to make new friends at the Vibe. Tomorrow would be a day at sea and a chance to explore the ship!        

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