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Trip Report -12 day British Isles Cruise on the Disney Magic-June 9-June 21, 2017

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line' started by JenTen1585, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member

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    I just returned from our amazing 12 day British Isles Cruise on the Disney Magic! I figured I would try my hand at a trip report since I didn't see many on here for cruises prior to my trip. It will take me a few days to get through.
    The players are myself (Jen), my husband (Derek), and our 8 year old daughter, Dakota.

    Pre-cruise-Day 1
    My husband and I, when budgeting for our cruise, had budgeted $1000.00 per person for airline flights from Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale, or Miami, FL to London. We had researched it and while the most common flights cost upwards of $1500.00, I convinced my husband that if we just kept looking and had plenty of time, we could get them for $1000.00 or under. He thought I was being too optimistic but I am a bargain shopper and willing to put the time in. We would look every morning for months. One morning, I'm looking on expedia from my work computer, and I see a direct plane flight from Ft. Lauderdale to London Gatwick on British Airlines for $450.00 per person! I thought it must be a gimmick, but clicked on it and there were no additional fees. I was at work and called my husband from work and said excitedly, "Do you see it??!" He said "I see it!" I said, "Book it!!!" And we did! All three of us with direct flights at good times for under 1500.00! I couldn't believe our good luck! So fast forward 6 months and we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale airport on June 6th and see balloons all over the check in for British Airways. The attendants smiled big smiles and informed us that we were on British Airways first flight out of Ft. Lauderdale!!! (Now we finally understood why the flight was so cheap!) We arrived at a brand new section of the airport to see tv crews and live music and cupcakes with US and Great Britain flags! They did a rope cutting for British Airways first flight from Ft. Lauderdale! We had no idea but it felt like a fantastic and auspicious start to our trip!!! Of course, with so many eyes on us, the flight took off right on time and we had a smooth flight to Gatwick. We left at 5:30pm Florida time on June 6, 2017, and arrived at 6:30am London time on June 7, 2017. After we were served dinner, we tried our best to sleep to avoid jet lag. We had a hard time but all three of us got at least a little shut eye and were running on adrenaline as we landed.

    Pre-cruise-Day 2
    After we arrived in Gatwick, customs was smooth and we quickly picked up our luggage within minutes. We then followed the signs for the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station. We bought our tickets from the live agent and we were just in time to walk on the train as the doors closed. The train was very nice and smooth and we were at Victoria Station in a half hour. I believe the cost was around 32 pounds. At Victoria Station, we proceeded to the taxis and took a black taxi for 15 pounds to our hotel - the Thistle Hotel at Trafalgar Square. We weren't far from the hotel, but the traffic was horrendous. But our driver was very nice and kept up a stead stream of conversation about what we were driving past. Our hotel was very centrally located, easy walking distance to all the sites of London, however, what we did not realize is that Trafalgar Square, while centrally located, often closes to traffic for events. But we planned to walk for most our time there so as you will see, it didn't cause too many problems. We checked into the hotel, but as we suspected, they did not have our room ready at 7:30am. No problem. They took and stored our bags in a back room no charge. The lobby was small but nice and we could see a nice looking restaurant attached, but we weren't hungry yet as we were served breakfast on the plane. So as per my plan, we started our walk towards Hyde Park. I thought it would be good for our jet lag to get in fresh air and walking and didn't suspect much else would be open so early in the morning. We got to Hyde Park in less than 15 minutes, but I had underestimated the scope and size of Hyde Park! After walking for a while and seeing several beautiful gates, fountains, and statues, we decided we weren't anywhere close to the Diana memorial playground (my daughter's goal, but on the other side of the park completely from where we came in) and we decided to call it off and exit onto Oxford Street for some shopping. But first we stopped for breakfast at a lovely pub looking chain restaurant and I ordered the traditional english breakfast. I do like beans. It's weird with eggs, but I was glad I tried it anyways. My husband and daughter ordered eggs benedict and grilled cheese respectively. After our second breakfast, the stores were open on Oxford Street so I did some shopping at their local low end stores (Primark, Next, Zara). I wasn't at the top of my shopping game - a little bleary eyed and light headed from travelling, so I only purchased one shirt. But the clothing was very cute, and quite affordable. We got to the Disney Store and I bought some Disney London souvenirs (water bottle, notebook, and shirt - same as I did in Copenhagen for my last Disney cruise- my new goal is Disney shirts from all over the world) and then walked back to Trafalgar Square. By this time, our hotel was ready and the streets were getting full. It was Pride Parade and celebration weekend in Trafalgar Square and all of the traffic lights were even changed to show support (so cute)! Busy but interesting! We were all exhausted so we all took showers and then set our alarms for 2 hours as I informed my family I didn't want us all messed up time wise, but surrendered that we needed at least a nap. After a blissful and dreamless 2 hours, we all groggily got up and dressed. After getting dressed, we all felt a bit restored and headed out on foot towards the London Eye. We stopped on the way for dinner at a cheap looking restaurant to share 2 cheese burgers and fries. The place was right across from the London Eye. I have to tell you - it was disgusting. The burgers were dry and the fries were tasteless. My husband and I just shook our heads at ourselves and vowed to be more discriminate tomorrow and not just stop at the first place we saw. After "dinner" we bought our tickets for the London eye and got in line (I mean que!)! It was a long line, but it moved fast and we were on within a half hour. It was beautiful seeing the London skyline and Big Ben and very comfortable in the pod. I was so excited to be in London after planning our vacation for so long and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face! After the Eye, Dakota of course spotted the really cool playground near by and had a blast climbing all over the logs. Dakota never misses a good playground so this made up for bailing on the walk to Diana's memorial playground in Hyde Park earlier in the day. After the playground, we rode the old carousel nearby and then walked across the bridge back to our hotel - only about a 10 minute walk. By this time, the pride celebration was in full swing and the streets were full! We went to the restaurant in our hotel and ordered two decadent desserts (an apple cobbler and awesome, rich chocolate brownie and ice cream) which totally made up for the gross dinner. Then we tiredly went up to our room and were out cold as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

    (To be continued, along with pictures for the first two days later on this evening ...)
     
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  2. jjbrooks567

    jjbrooks567 New Member

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    So glad you're doing a trip report. Can't wait to read more!
     
    JenTen1585 likes this.
  3. Love Mickey 18B

    Love Mickey 18B Member

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    Glad you are doing a trip report. I can relive our trip from last year. :)
     
  4. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Gate at Hyde Park

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    Fountain at Hyde Park

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    Disney Store in London

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    Brunch at the steakhouse (full English breakfast).

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    Trafalgar Square

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    Getting ready to go on the London Eye

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    Playground by the Eye

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    Carousel by the Eye (disregard the closed eyes, only picture we have =()
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    Walking back home! Good night London Day 1!
     
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  5. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Pre-Cruise-Day 2 in London
    After a nice long sleep we woke up a little later than anticipated at 8:30am! But we felt good and on the right time! We had free breakfast at our hotel (a pretty big breakfast buffet, which was good!)! Then we set out towards the Tower of London. The streets around Trafalgar were closed for the Pride Parade, so we walked to Charing Cross Station (only a 5 minute walk or so) and went down to see if we should brave the underground to get to the Tower. We got a little overwhelmed since it appears that we would have to switch trains, and the cost was only a few dollars difference for the 3 of us, so we went back up the stairs and found a cab instead. The cab dropped us off at the Tower. The lines weren't too bad to get in as it was still before 10am. The Tower was fascinating to me. It's a fairly big complex. It was built originally by William the Conqueror (the Norman) after he conquered England. And it was used as a fortress and a prison and still houses the crown jewels to this day. Monarchs stayed there occasionally and there are royal residences, but no monarch much liked living there for an extended period of time. The White Tower is the largest and oldest building there and contains a chapel, as well as the armory- which was really cool, seeing all the armor and weapons!! My daughter took hold of the camera at this point and we have about 100 shots of weapons and armor! As a prison, it was used mostly for political prisoners who were high class in the beginning and the prisoners were kept in fairly decent style and comfort. Ann Boleyn was of course famously kept at the Tower of London. The Tower has actually been a tourist attraction since Queen Elizabeth I's reign and it used to have a menagerie of exotic animals, which are now memorialized by beautiful statues around the palace. The animals were not treated well, obviously. When the English Civil War happened and Charles I was removed from the throne, all the crown jewels were destroyed or sold. So all the crown jewels had to be replenished and re bought starting with Charles II in 1660. A few old pieces, which had been sold, have been donated or sold back to the monarchy. The crowns are really cool to see. Back in the day, guests used to be able to touch them! They were almost stolen by Thomas Blood in the late 1700s. Anyways, lots to see and explore at the Tower of London but after around 3 hours, my Dakota was tired of it (she's a really good girl, very well behaved and easy going, but every 8 year old has their limits on history). So we exited towards the Tower Bridge. We were hungry, so we got a couple of muffins, coffees and juice at the starbucks right by the Tower Bridge. Then we crossed the Tower Bridge. So cool! A very pretty and cool looking site! We thought about taking the tour, but Dakota wasn't into it. We walked up the Thames until we came to a Thames River Cruise and bought tickets back towards Trafalgar Square. The cruise was quick and easy and dropped us off close to our hotel. By this time the streets were mobbed with people dressed in rainbows. It was a beautiful and interesting site and I loved the spirit of the gathering. We missed the actual parade but it was fun seeing all the beautiful people! My husband was a little overwhelmed by the crowds though. We made our way through and to the Lego store. What a cool lego store! They have a london bus, guard, and whole city scape built out of legos. The store is 2 floors! Very cool! My daughter got a couple of souvenirs and we headed back to our hotel for a rest. I picked up snacks at the convenience store across from the hotel and we put our feet up for a bit, then got ready for the evening!!!
    I was looking forward to this all day! I love the theater and had bought us tickets to see Matilda at the Cambridge Theater! We walked through the masses of crowds towards the theater district, not far from our hotel. Along the way, we came upon an Italian restaurant called Jamie's that looked trendy and fun! It was so, so, so good (fresh pasta!) and really affordable! After a fantastic dinner, we walked to the theater. Matilda was so good and so much fun!!! We sat is Row S, on the ground floor, which was perfect! The view was great and Dakota as well as Derek and I really enjoyed the music and the show!
    After we got out of the theater, the crowds for the pride celebration had grown even thicker! Derek's eyes got wide and a bit panicked. Then we saw a row of rickshaws lined up outside the theater. One was blaring the Matilda music. So we quickly boarded and spent a fantastic 10 minute ride to our hotel while the driver blared the Matilda music and expertly wove through the crowds! The wind was in our hair and I had a huge smile on my face! It was worth the exorbitant price (35 pounds!)! It was just one of those moments that I truly enjoyed and it made the end of our night!
     
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  6. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Pictures for Pre-Cruise Day 2 in London
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    Tower of London
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    The Tower Bridge

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    Lego Store-London

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    Dinner at Jamie's

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    Matilda at Cambridge Theater!

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  7. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Embarkation Day - Day 1 of the Cruise!

    So we woke up well rested and on solid London time Saturday morning! We were all excited to get to the ship! We had breakfast at the free buffet at our hotel and then realized that all the streets were again closed around our hotel ... this time for a marathon I believe. We were fairly close to the underground station we walked to the day before, however, a walk with 6 pieces of luggage is a lot different than a regular walk. But it was the best we thought we could do so we were gathering our things in the lobby, preparing to walk where we could pick up a taxi when a staff member of the hotel who was getting off his shift kindly offered to drive us to St. Pancreas Station (since he was leaving to head home, he was allowed to drive out of the area)! What a nice man! He drove us the 15 minute ride to St. Pancreas and we paid him 20 pounds for his trouble and for saving us a whole lot of hassle!
    At St. Pancreas, we quickly purchased tickets for the Dover Express Train, and just like at the airport, we walked right on right as the train was leaving (we were anticipating taking the next train, but got there just in time for the 9:30 train)! The train ride took about an hour and 15 minutes and was very comfortable!!! Once we arrived at the Station, we waited in a short line for taxis to the ship. The taxis were lined up and were ready to take all the passengers to the Magic. It was a short 5 minute taxi ride that you could technically walk (but no one would want to with all their luggage for a 12 day cruise)!

    On the train:
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    We arrived at the terminal, which was I am sure, not as glamorous as the terminal at Cape Canaveral, but similar to the terminal in Copenhagen. It was well set up and as second time cruisers, we had our key cards in about 10 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!! So exciting! We got Dakota her kids club bracelet! And then we waited in a very short line to take a picture with Mickey!!!

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    We got a snack at the terminal of muffins and sodas and then waited for about a half hour when they began calling groups to get on the ship! We were called about 15 minutes after they started calling the first members to board the Disney Magic!

    Now when we were on the Norwegian Fjords cruise on the Disney Magic in 2015, it was a wonderful, beautiful, magical cruise ... but one thing was .... because of the way the ship was parked at the port in Copenhagen, passengers, boarded through the 2nd or 3rd floor entrance and there were no family announcements. So I waited with baited breath as we walked on the gangway towards the ship to see if we would be announced this time .... and as we got closer, I could hear them announcing the families! I actually jumped up and down a bit! We walked on the ship into the atrium and they announced us! Such a magical feeling! (Can I go back to the start of my vacation please?! I'm sitting at work right now, really bummed out remembering the feeling of arriving on the ship!!! =(!)

    Our room wasn't ready yet, so we went up to Cabanas for the buffet ... as you do! We weren't that hungry from our snack in the terminal, so we mostly got fruit and dessert (because who doesn't get dessert at their first meal on a cruise ship?!). Then we explored and played a little on the sports deck:

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    Played a little at the oceaneer's club open house:

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    Then our room was ready! We got a standard inside cabin. Room 5635. It has a king bed and a couch that turns into a child bed. It was in the perfect location. Aft, in a really quiet part of the hall way, but really close to the kid's club, movie theater and the restaurants! Perfect! We explored some more, went to the spa raffle (where I didn't win anything - boo!), got our spa reservations in order (really, the spa reservation system seemed the most disorganized of the trip. I booked in advance massages on the website, but when I arrived on the ship there was a card telling me there was an error and I had to rebook them ... and when I went to the spa to rebook them, we could only get couples massages, instead of individual ones at the times we previously had booked. I was annoyed at this, but what can you do ... first world problems! And a massage is still a massage.)
    Our luggage arrived right before the muster drill, so we started unpacking, then went to the drill. When we came back we finished unpacking just in time to throw on our dress clothes for our first dinner! We had the first seating at 6pm. We took some pictures:

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    and sat down for our first dinner at Lumiere's:

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    Now Dakota had been talking for the last week about whether she would get a girl as a dinner mate. She really, really hoped she would get a girl! Last cruise we sat with a lovely family with two boys, one of the boys were Dakota's age. But as an 8 year old, it was very important to Dakota to get a girl. When we arrived at the table, we saw the cup next to Dakota had the name Giselle on it, and shortly thereafter a lovely family of three arrived with a girl of 8, just like Dakota! We proclaimed this Disney Magic! She was a very outgoing girl, which is perfect for our shy Dakota, and they quickly decided to go off in search of the bathroom together! You cannot beat the smile on Dakota's face as they quickly became friends in the way that kids do! I really enjoyed the parents as well who were a lovely couple - Americans who were stationed in London! We really enjoyed them all through our 12 days and always had fascinating conversations that flowed easily! I learned a lot from them and we shared a lot. As they said at the end of the trip, you don't chose who your tablemates are and it can really make your trip if you get the right ones, and this lovely family helped make our trip even better than it would have been otherwise!

    Also, soooo importantly, we got the best server on the Disney Magic. I know, I know ... I have only had one other team before, so I couldn't possibly know that ... but I do ... no one could be a better server than Sebastian! He was attentive, funny, interesting, sweet and so, so knowledgable! The head waiter assured us that we were in good hands as Sebastian used to work in Palo, but choose to work in the dining room as he enjoys kids so much. He was so sweet with Dakota and Giselle! And the assistant server, Maria, was a sweetheart as well! She made the girls paper flowers every night and always remembered our drink orders. They were magnificent and truly made our trip. Here is a picture of Sebastian with Dakota on one of our last nights:
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    After dinner, we went to the show, which was All Aboard, Let the Magic Begin! Little excerpts from shows coming up in the week! Fun musical numbers! I love going to shows on cruises and am easily pleased, but Disney, by far, has the best shows! We also met our cruise director, who was a fun and funny American! He declared that he wanted to take a selfie with everyone on the ship, and while I didn't have my phone with me, so I couldn't take a selfie with him, he was true to his word. Everyday, all day, at all different times and places I saw the Cruise Director out and about, interacting with guests and taking selfies! What an ingenious way to get the passengers to approach the Cruise Director! I think he made a ton of personal connections this way! He would start each show with "Who's on vacation??!!!!" And we would all put our hands up and scream back "We're on vacation!" Gosh ... I wish I was still on vacation!!!

    After dinner, we went straight to bed as the next day was an early start. We were porting in Le Havre, France and going to Disneyland Paris for the day!
    To be continued ....
     
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  8. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Day 2 on the Cruise-Le Havre (Disneyland Paris)
    So we have never been to Paris and I've always wanted to go, but Le Havre is 3 hours (minimum, as we would find out) from Paris and the shore excursions to the city itself seemed rushed. Also, when deciding what to do, I considered my 8 year old little girl who would be going to lots of castles and historical sites, and decided we should start the cruise off right with a trip to Disneyland Paris. The shore excursion write up said it would be a 3 hour bus ride to Disneyland Paris and approximately 7 hours at the parks (both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios). I knew 7 hours wouldn't be enough to do everything, but it seemed a decent enough amount of time to make it worth it.
    We boarded the bus at 7:15 am and our "guide" (really she didn't have much of a job) was a French woman who didn't show a lot of personality or excitement. She announced that we would be stopping half way for a bathroom break and would arrive in approximately 3 hours. We all went to sleep. About 2 1/2 hours later, we still had not made a stop and people were starting to wake up. We pulled up to a gas station around that time. All the passengers were speculating whether we would be there in a 1/2 hour or what this meant. The guide said as we pulled away that we would be there in about 1 1/2 hour from that point. So now we were all grumbling and adjusting our plans for the parks. And she was wrong again! We actually got there in over 2 hours from that point! So what was supposed to be a 3 hour ride, took almost 5. And that meant we would only get 5 hours in the parks, and that included the time to walk back to the bus parking lot, so really 4 1/2 hours, or 4 hours after the amount of time taken to get tickets, go to the rest room and get in the park. Boo!!!! Everyone was grumpy at this point from the lost time, but I tried to tell myself that it is what it is and to enjoy the time we had there.
    And we did!
    It was surreal walking in Disneyland Paris. Main Street looks so similar to Disney World, and yet, different as well ... kind of like being in an alternate universe! The castle is gorgeous! And everything seems a bit more feminine than Disney World, if that makes sense ... more flowery and pink.

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    (My husband is incapable of taking a good photo in the sun!)

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    We headed straight to Thunder Mountain and picked up the old school paper fast passes. Then we went on the Phantom Mannor (Disneyland Paris's version of the Haunted Mansion). It's interesting in Disneyland Paris because they said to read the description of the story before hand, and I'm so glad I did. The story links Thunder Mesa (Fronteirland) with the Mannor. The Mannor looks more like a western home than the Mansion. The ride itself has some similar scenes but it plays differently because of the difference in the story. Where in the Mansion, the bride is evil and a murderer, in this story the bride is the victim. Very interesting!

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    Here is the story according to Wikipedia:
    Henry Ravenswood (born 1795) was a Western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, thus creating the city of Thunder Mesa (Frontierland as a whole). Ravenswood became rich and built himself a Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where he raised a family and had a daughter, Melanie Ravenswood (born 1842).

    Big Thunder Mountain was rumored by natives to be home to the Thunder Bird, a powerful spirit possessing a treasure. According to the legend, its wrath could be materialized into a terrible earthquake. However, Ravenswood would not believe such stories. Time went by, and the gold in Big Thunder Mountain became scarce, making miners dig deeper into the mountain.

    Melanie grew from a young girl into a beautiful young woman, and became engaged to a train engineer who planned to take her far away from Thunder Mesa, much to the dismay of Henry. Henry did everything he could to stop the wedding, but his useless attempts were put to a stop when a terrible earthquake killed him and his wife Martha (born 1802). It seemed the Thunder Bird had been awakened, and the family was never heard of again. After several years, the story of what really happened came out from underneath the rubble:

    On Melanie's wedding day, a mysterious Phantom unknown to anyone appeared in the house. While Melanie was preparing in her room, the Phantom lured her groom up to the attic where he hanged him by the neck from the rafters.

    In the ballroom, the bride sat alone. Hours went by with no sign of the groom. Guests slowly filed away, leaving Melanie alone in the house with the staff of maids and butlers. "Some day", she told herself, "he will come". And so, having never taken off her wedding dress or dropped her flower bouquet, in preparation for her loved one's return, she wandered the house aimlessly, singing melancholy songs of lost love.

    But the Phantom was still in the house, laughing at her human devotion to her intended husband. One after one, he invited his dead, demonic friends from the afterlife to fill the house in an eternal party. A dark curse fell upon the house, and the shape of the house was slowly transformed by the evil forces. No one ever set foot in the house ever since.

    Inside and outside, the house was decaying with age. Dusty cobwebs covered every inch, the disheartened staff not caring, for it was rumored that Melanie had lost her mind. She wandered the house for years and years, singing softly to her groom, while all around her demons and ghosts reveled and danced. Everywhere she went she was reminded of the wedding. The Phantom's eternal laughter still carried through the walls of the house. Outside, the once beautiful grounds were falling apart and crumbling. The gilded staircase and structure were dotted with mold and trees and every plant on the grounds died. As if sensing the evil inherent in the house, nothing living ever trod there. Even so, Melanie kept her hopes, waiting for her love's return, and never figured why he didn't show up at the wedding.

    The earthquake that killed her parents all those years ago cut a huge gouge in the west half of the property and in the crumbling ghost town of the old Thunder Mesa. The deserted buildings were rumored to be called Phantom Canyon, the dark supernatural version of the town, and anyone who entered the ghastly old town at night never came back.

    Today, no one knows if Melanie Ravenswood is still alive in that old house on the hill. If she is, then she is well over 100 years old. Her beautiful voice still carries over the town at night though, through the walls of the house and night air. And sometimes, people still see lights in the house.

    Some nights, when the moon is full and the sky is clear of clouds, you can still hear the lonely mourning of the bride, the maniacal laughter of the Phantom, and the faint tinkle of glass and the laughter of party guests. Whether she is alive or not, what is well known is that poor Melanie never really left the crumbling mansion. She waits for her groom until Judgment Day.

    Many people believe the Phantom to be Melanie's late father, Henry Ravenswood, seeking vengeance from beyond the grave. Others believe that it is the pure spirit of evil, and that a curse was upon the young girl.



    So at this point, we were starving and HANGRY, so we went to eat at Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost as Pizza is always a good bet. The food was very good and regular Disney priced and quick! We all felt a little more stabile after our lunch.

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    We then went on Thunder Mountain, which was AWESOME! It's longer and better and more thrilling than Disney World's version in my opinion.

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    We really wanted to go on their version of Space Mountain, but the height limits are higher there, so my daughter couldn't go on. So we went and saw the dragon next. The dragon is an animatronic under the castle. Pretty cool. Just a walk through, but a nice touch.

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    After the Dragon, we only had a couple of hours left, so we proceeded to Walt Disney Studios. I warned my family that we might not be able to get on Crush Coaster as I had heard it had no fast passes and long lines, but the wait was only 35 minutes! I'm so glad we went on this one as it was AWESOME! So much fun and surprising! And fun to go on something completely different from Disney World!

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    Next, we wanted to check out Ratatouille since were were in Paris! Cool looking area, and the restaurant looked awesome (but no time for that!). The ride itself was just ok to me. It was a moving 3D simulator and made me a little queasy. Reminded me a bit of Spiderman at Universal Studios. But I'm glad we went on!
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    Sadly, at this point we had an hour left and the rest of the rides close to us were kiddie rides that looked unappealing. We were not very hungry but we knew we should eat before the long busride back, so we went to the Walt Disney Studios Front Lot where they had a lot of their counter service options as well as shopping. Because if I haven't bought something somewhere ... then I haven't been there. We shared a burger, which was just ok. Then I bought a Disneyland Paris t-shirt, Dakota picked out a couple of pencils and a stuffed animal and we got a Disneyland Paris Pin (We sort of half hazardly collect the pins. We don't really wear them, but we enjoy buying them as mementos occasionally and looking at them at home. I have to find a better way to wear them than on a heavy lanyard. Last time I pinned a few on my jean jacket.). Then sadly, we made our way back to the bus. Everyone on the bus was saying universally that they had fun, but not enough time to really enjoy. Sadly, I don't know when I will ever make it back ... but someday hopefully! The bus ride back also took 4 1/2 hours, so in my opinion, there was no way this trip was ever going to take 3 hours and it was false advertising. We complained to the Port Adventures desk but they said they could not account for traffic (personally, there was no accident, it looked like regular traffic to me, so I think you could have accounted for it and disclosed it properly).
    We stumbled tiredly back onto the boat at 11:30pm, right when they were getting ready to leave. Not the most relaxing start to the cruise, but there were great elements of fun in the day, and I tried my best to remember those, and not the crazy long bus ride from ... well, you get the drift.
    Next stop .. (Portland) Stonehenge!
     
  9. JenTen1585

    JenTen1585 Active Member Original Poster

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    Day 3 on Cruise-Stonehenge (Portland, England)
    So we woke up still a little wore out from the day before, but we knew we had a shorter shore excursion this morning, even though it started bright and early again at 7:15am! (The good thing is, we got an extra hour of sleep due to the time change!)
    Today we planned to see the iconic Stonehenge on a port adventure booked through the ship. We boarded the bus for a little over an hour ride (this seemed like nothing after the day before) and arrived at Stonehenge. As we were pulling up the skies opened up and our tour guide, who was cute and friendly, proclaimed that this happened to her a lot here. She had us park and went to go get our audio guides and snacks that came with the tour when she returned less than a minute later with wide eyes. "They're bringing everything to us!," she exclaimed! The bus driver smiled and said "It's Disney. They treat them special." So a few minutes later we disembarked and picked up our tickets, audio guide, snack and water bottle. And low and behold, the rain stopped. Disney magic I tell ya! We caught the shuttle to the site and then walked around and listened to the interesting audio guide. You can no longer walk in the circle because the ground is soft and so it causes the stones to shift and they don't want them falling of course. I totally understood this, so while I didn't get to touch them, I did get a wonderful sense of mystery from them. I love that there are still things in this world we don't understand!
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    After touring the stones for about an hour, we took the shuttle back to the gift shop. It was mobbed but I happily purchased a beautiful blue stone (what the stones are made of) necklace for both myself and my aunt, a little lamb for my daughter and a cool t-shirt for my husband. We ate our snack (a MASSIVE scone, the size of a personal pizza) and a package of cookies on top of it! Weird snack! I happily ate the scone, which was yummy, and put the cookies in my bag for later.

    Now comes the sad part, my daughter and I fell asleep on the way back to the ship and when we disembarked, I forgot my Stonehenge gift shop bag!!!!!!!!! I didn't realize it till later that evening!!!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!! My treasures!!!!!!!! I checked with the lost and found on the ship but no one had turned it in! BOO!!!! It was about $100.00 in treasures, but even worse, I loved that necklace. When my daughter heard that I had left the bag, she immediately burst into tears for the loss of her little lamb, but then saw it on the couch and realized she had been sleeping with it on the bus and harried carried it herself back onto the ship. So she had her little 5.00 lamb, but I lost my beautiful necklaces and t-shirt.
    But guess what, I checked online, and I can reorder them, which I plan to do once I recover a bit financially from this trip, lol!
    For the rest of the trip, I was more careful!

    When we got back on the ship, we got a snack, played in the kids club open house a bit (they have fun little tablets and computers that I honestly enjoyed playing on as well), and then got ready for dinner. Tonight was Cariocas as we missed the first night in Animators while we were in Disneyland Paris. The dinner was wonderful! I think we had filet, which is my favorite! We had a great time catching up with our tablemates and then went to our first bingo I believe! My husband and I love to gamble and so the one thing a Disney cruise really lacks for us is a casino. So we take bingo when it comes. Not as good as a casino, but our daughter can sit with us, and still a good time! Tim ran the Bingo on the ship and while we knew his sayings by heart by the end of the cruise, he was witty and fun! I split a winning that evening and won 70.00, which wouldn't begin to cover our losses for the trip, but for now, we were ahead of the game! Then we went to the show, which was amazing as always!

    This day felt like our first true day on the Disney Magic and we had a wonderful day!!! I was so happy and the rest of my trip stretched before me like a long dream!
     
    jme, C&D and ChuckElias like this.
  10. jme

    jme Well-Known Member

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    So far it sounds like you had an amazing experience. Can't wait to see more!
     

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