On Sunday, April 26th, we set sail on the Disney Magic for a 7 night cruise to Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay.
We had been planning a trip to Mexico over Andrea's birthday, however we ended up having to cancel it, so this was a vacation to celebrate Andrea's and Paige's birthdays.
It was our first time on the Disney Magic and we really liked the boat. It is smaller, the same size as the Wonder, however it's been reworked and updated fairly recently. We heard conflicting things on whether the boat was filled to capacity when it sailed, but we don't think it was full. Either way, it never seemed crowded at all and we only stood in one short line one time to get back on the boat after Castaway Cay. Every other time we went anywhere else, it was empty. The best example of this is when it was time to get off the boat at Cozumel. The announcement was made that we were clear to debark, so we went down the stairs to the gangway and were stunned to find that we were the first ones there.
When we arrived at the terminal, we got on the boat and explored for a while. Belle was out in her casual attire and we took a pic with her during the kid's club open house.
Usually you can't take pics in the Oceaneer's Lab or Oceaneer's Club, so it was a good opportunity to look around and take some pictures.
We went up to the top deck and Andrea made some spa appointments for the girls and I ate some ice cream with the kids.
At dinner time, Paige changed in to her Snow White dress.
After dinner, we went to a lounge for a family dance party. Initially, the kids were more interested in jumping around on some soft play equipment nearby.
Eventually, Paige got out on the dance floor and did some dancing.
I danced with her for a bit, but whenever we dance together, Paige is intent on a balance between 10% dancing and 90% tricks, spins, and dips.
On Monday, we had an appointment to see Elsa and Anna, so we gave Paige one of her birthday presents a little early.
After meeting with Elsa and Anna, we dropped the kids off at the camp and Andrea and I got off the boat together to explore Key West by ourselves. We took a tour ride around town and it was a little bit long and uncomfortable. The tram system had hard bench seats without much leg room and the ride was a bit bumpy. The historical buildings in Key West were charming, and the history was interesting, but after a while the houses and buildings all started to look alike. It didn't help that this turned out to be the hottest day of the entire trip. It was miserably hot out. We did a little shopping in Key West to replace Andrea's lost sunglasses (which we found on the last day of the cruise, they were under the bed), and then we walked to Sloppy Joe's for lunch. We had Nachos, I had a chicken wrap, and Andrea had a Sloppy Joe. It was a delicious lunch, we will definitely go back there if we're in town again.
After we got back to the boat, we went to dinner, went to the show and then eventually to bed. On this boat they had a "Setting Sail" show, a Cinderella show "Twice Charmed", "Villains", "Dream", and a "Farewell" show. The Cinderella show was new to us, and we went to all the shows except "Villains", which isn't so great. All the shows have such a high production value, and are so well done. On this sailing they also showed the new live action Cinderella movie and "Avengers, Age of Ultron" premiered. Lots of movies, shows, and things to do.
On Tuesday morning, we got up fairly early to get all fancy to meet with the princesses for a princess gathering. Typically there are 4-5 princesses, but on the Magic there were just three to meet with.
After the princess gathering we ate breakfast and then the girls had to leave for their spa appointment.
Andrea had scheduled a pedicure for Paige and herself and since Paige's toes were so tiny it went pretty fast for her. Andrea decided to get Paige's nails painted as well, and apparently Paige thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. She's definitely a girly girl.
We spent the day relaxing, playing in the arcade, and swimming. Then, it was time to get all fancy for dinner. We had to take some pics with the characters, of course.
On Wednesday, April 29th, we stopped at Grand Cayman. Andrea and I hadn't been there in a while, and this time we decided to try the beaches. We did a little shopping, then we took a taxi to a local public beach. It was definitely not our scene. The water was pretty, but the beach was packed and there weren't really any facilities there. There was an overcrowded and rundown restaurant on the beach, but it didn't look very nice. We had thought about going to one of the resorts, and in retrospect, that would have been a better plan. That morning, I'd counted at least four Carnival boats and one Royal Caribbean boat in the harbor as well. It was a busy day at Grand Cayman.
All that said, the kids had fun while we were at the beach. They chased leaves around in the water, dug in the sand, played football, and I built a mermaid tail out of sand for Paige.
Thursday, April 30th, was Paige's 5th birthday. We arrived in Cozumel and took a taxi to our favorite resort, Paradise Beach.
Unfortunately, her birthday had the worst weather of the trip. It was a little cool out, cloudy, and at times it sprinkled. It never rained hard, but it wasn't fantastic beach weather. The beach had tons of seaweed on it anyways. The workers were actually raking it in to giant mounds. It wasn't a good day to swim in the ocean, but thankfully the pool was heated and pretty comfortable. We bought some yummy guacamole, quesadillas, strawberry daiquiris, and pina coladas.
After we got back to the boat, Andrea straightened Paige's hair for the first time and we all got dressed for dinner.
After dinner, the waiters all sang to Paige, which she definitely loved.
Our cabin stewardess also had a surprise for Paige, and had her bed all made up with pink princess sheets.
Connor went to the store before bedtime and picked out a coloring book and coloring pages that Paige would like.
Connor was also excited to get his souvenir for the vacation while in Mexico. As everyone knows, Connor loves football, so he picked out a San Francisco 49er's poncho. It was cut for a full grown adult, so it was more of a blanket for him that he could poke his head through. He liked to sleep with it on.
Friday was our last sea day. We had a pretty relaxing day for the most part. Right before dinnertime, Paige had an appointment in one of the shops for a twisty hair and glitter appointment. I can't remember exactly what it was sold as, but it was essentially a twisted hair style with a pink clip, some makeup, a sticker on the face, and then about 10 pounds of gold glitter. It only took about 5 minutes, and Paige thought it was fun, which is the important part.
Paige was happy to do a little posing afterwards.
For dinner, Connor decided he wanted to eat and play in the Oceaneer's Lab, so we just had dinner with Paige.
Paige liked to order pasta and steak on the cruise. Avril, our assistant waitress, was good about cutting it up for her.
For dessert she got to decorate her own cupcakes.
On Saturday, we arrived in Castaway Cay. It was our fourth time to the island, and it never seems to get old.
The water was a little chilly, but the sun was out most of the day, and it was a beautiful day to be at the beach.
Connor was brave enough to try the monkey bars out in the water this time. He made it about halfway across each time before falling. It gets very hard towards the middle where the next handholds are harder to reach due to the bowing of the ropes.
Paige had the most fun with catching fish. Usually, it's nearly impossible. In the past I've caught a few, but I got very lucky this time around and caught five for her. She loved seeing them in the bucket, and grabbing them out to let them go.
In the morning we played in the ocean for a bit, then the kids spent a little while at "Scuttle's Cove" to play with other kids while Andrea and I spent a couple hours at the adult's only beach. There was a sandbar about 100 yards from the shoreline that was possible to wade out and walk on. I carried Andrea part of the way where it was deep so she wouldn't get too wet. We didn't risk taking a camera there, so no great pics of it.
I found a pretty neat starfish that was hard on top and had slits on the bottom. Andrea took a pic so we could show the kids.
In the afternoon, some dark clouds rolled in and we went back to the boat around 3. We watched the farewell show in the evening, and got all packed up. Sunday morning we were up by 7, in the car by 8, and home by 10.
The vacations with the children are more and more fun as they get to be a little older. Connor spent some time in the kids club, but we did a lot together and had so many fun and new experiences with him. Paige enjoyed the princesses, the pampering, and the formal dinners. She had a wonderful birthday, and went on and on about how it was the best birthday ever and we are the best Mommy and Daddy in the whole world. I hope she always likes us so well!