Magic-al Thanksgiving Cruise - And We're Off

Welcome to my very first trip report! I was so thankful to be able to set sail aboard the Disney Magic on DCL's first Thanksgiving sailing from the port of Galveston this last week, November 17, 2012. After a good night's rest, the kids shot out of bed predawn, much like on Christmas mornings while I tried not to forget any of the last minute odds and ends. They got out their little pre-cruise goodie bags so they were armed with sunglasses, pirate bandanas, lanyards and even some "My First Cruise" journals (some handwriting worksheets specific to our itinerary, coloring sheets off the castaway club website, car scavenger hunts for the way down, pirate bandanas, etc.) to hopefully keep them amused during the drive down to Galveston.

I enjoyed the last of the free stateside Wi-Fi and 4G to do a little web surfing and found out something terrible on Facebook. My acquaintance Kathryn and her family were to be sailing with us (their first cruise ever) but she sent me a note late the previous night that they could not for the life of them locate her DH's birth certificate. She pretty much said they wouldn't be making it. I sent her a quick note saying to text me WHEN they made it. Then I started praying that they find it or a way around it. After a stop into Egg and I for a quick breakfast of Mickey shaped pancakes for the men and oatmeal with all the fixings for the vegans, and a forced restroom run, we set out for the ball or for Galveston anyway. While driving southward, the kids managed to direct their pixie dusted enthusiasm into finding green cars, campers, semis, cement mixers and whatever else appeared in their scavenger lists. Thank you DISigners! Ben managed to get us all the way south of town where we encountered our first snag. Kylee's favorite jacket lost a button during our one and only pit stop, which as luck would have it, occurred in a Wal-Mart. So I procured a travel size sewing kit, pocketed the wayward button and promised princess that I would sew it on as soon as the opportunity presented itself...it still hasn't, but I haven't lost the button yet, so it's still a possibility, although quite remote as later events will reveal. And again, the sewing kit did end up getting used during this cruise, so it wasn't a total waste.

We passed the port en route to out parking area and got our first glimpses of the Magic from Harborside. After trying to get several good photographic angles as we drove past, I concluded that maybe the reason there aren't very many photos of the Magic in port is the very industrial feel of the port just didn't look very vacation-y. Ben thoughtfully pre-booked at EZ Cruise and the turn by turn directions on the iPhone spared me the general stress of navigating an unfamiliar terrain while maintaining peace in the backseat.
The bright orange signage along the EZ Cruise aided made it, well, easy to spot. Parking breezed by and after unloading the suitcases and preschooler from my vehicle in a clown car type maneuver a helpful employee ushered us and our luggage into the shuttle. Minutes later we hopped to the curb, another porter to the terminal and our bags ventured into the unknown of port security, hopefully to be reunited with us later in the afternoon. We looked at our phones, and it was still a while until the terminal opened. Our port arrival time was 11, but we still had about an hour to kill.
Thankfully, the kids felt like we were finally on vacation and quite enjoyed dancing about outside the terminal and walking around until they let people inside around 10:30. Also thankfully, the restroom in the terminals was available even when we were still waiting outside. The Castaway Club line let us walk directly up to check-in and the people at the next check-in desk were hearing that no upgrades were available as the sailing was full, so we didn't ask about them. Ben and I got our first Silver lanyards, boarding group card, first day navigators and key to the world cards. We all headed over to the kids program registration area. We met Beth, the kid's club counselor who cheerily explained that the computers were down, but we were welcome to hang out and let the kids color while they worked on it, or go take our seats in the open part of the terminal. We opted for patience. Besides, Kylee could color endlessly and be cheerful about it. Chris can too, for that matter. So we had a fair amount of time to talk to the Californian behind us in line, who as chance would have it, later ended up being selected as family of the day and boarded the boat first. She also loves running, but as it was her first cruise, hadn't any idea how exactly that would work out as a 12 miler is a bit much on a treadmill. She seemed skeptical, about the laps as much as the whole "Disney cruise thing" blaming her sister for setting it up.

I let her know I prefer running laps on deck 4. We ran into each other repeatedly, but never while running and she seemed to buy into DCL as whole heartedly as anyone else I've seen. The counselors fixed the computers and we had our first Q/A about Kylee's diet and age with the counselors (yes, she's really three, she just talks incessantly and clearly, no she doesn’t have an anaphylactic reaction to milk, no she doesn't have an EPIpen). She explained that special meals could be arranged for delivery to the kids clubs or we were welcome to take her out and feed her and drop her back. And with their new bracelets, the kids cheerfully wandered off to the open seating to wait for our group to board. Around 10:50, another mom wandered by and pointed out Mickey needed company at the other end of the terminal. So off the kids went to meet Mickey for the first time. Chris sauntered right up to Mickey, although Kylee originally needed to be restrained to keep from going directly under the ropes to meet the mouse, a couple steps from the fateful meeting, she realized he is humongous in real life.
They announced boarding would be delayed until 11:30, so we got the first of several really awkward family photos. The family of the day got called to board (Hey, we know them, cool!) and then they called groups 1-27 to board. After the mad rush to get the obligatory boarding photo (which believe it or not is even worse than the one above), they welcomed Chris and Kylee and their entourage on board the Magic. I got so choked up watching the awe in the kids' eyes, that I didn't get a single photo. I remembered to head straight to guest services and request four "Tea with Alice" tickets and drop off pillowcases and sharpies, while Ben and Chris hit the restrooms.

This post is Post 1 of an Ongoing Trip Report Covering Our Thanksgiving Cruise 2012

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