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About mikeandkelli

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. A Disney gift card will almost certainly not be charged to a travel category because it could also be redeemed for merchandise. I had a Capital One Venture card a few years ago, and I could use the card to give me a credit for travel expenses, such as hotels and airfare. I converted it to another Capital One card that had a higher cash back.
  2. If the price difference was $1000-$1500, it would have been a tougher decision. Basically an extra day at sea or in Orlando at a park. Since my kids want to do the Magic Kingom, Hollywood Studios and both Universal parks, our kids definitely preferred the shorter cruise. Only so much you can squeeze into spring break.
  3. Well, we went ahead and booked ... the 4 nights on the Dream. My wife and I preferred the Magic and Cozumel, but when we discussed it with the kids, they were strongly in favor of the Dream. (They preferred an extra day at one of the Parks instead of an extra day on the boat. Plus one was a little nervous about being on the boat longer.) We didn't really make a final decision until we got the prices from our travel agent today. We were distressed that the price of the 4 night Dream cruise increased 20% over similar dates for 2019, but it was still about $2400 less than the five night Magic cruise. (I was shocked, and double checked the fares at Costco, just to be sure there wasn't a mistake, even though our travel agent said she had double checked them.) Needless to say, that tilted our choice to our Dream.
  4. You have to provide Disney with your date of birth for your reservation, so I'm sure that Disney's computers flagged your reservation as a celebration automatically.
  5. Well, the total vacation time is the same whether we take the 4 or 5 night cruise. But I have noticed that there seems to be a general preference towards the smaller boats, despite seeming to have fewer amenities. ("Seeming" because there may be something I'm missing.) Whether it's crowding on the decks, boarding, dining or at Castaway Cay, people who'd done both seem to trend towards the smaller boats.
  6. I'm getting ready to reschedule our spring break trip for 2020, and we have two options that could work. There is the 4 night Disney Dream cruise out of Port Canaveral. We can pad it out with a couple days before and after at the parks. That was what we had originally planned before we had to scuttle our spring break 2019 plans. The 5 night Disney Magic cruise out of Miami caught my eye when it was announced. It too would fit our schedule, and Cozumel sounds much more interesting than Nassau, plus we'd get two sea days. The down side is an extra two hours to drive to the parks from Miami after the cruise, and only having three days at the parks afterwards. This is our first cruise, so I don't know whether the boat should make a difference or not. I suspect that it'll be easier to get Palo brunch reservations with 2 sea days on the Magic, though. We have 2 kids that will be 13 and 10 (almost 11). Thoughts?
  7. Disney has scheduled an online webcast on Thursday morning 9/27 to announce their early 2020 itineraries. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/09/watch-it-live-disney-cruise-line-to-unveil-new-cruises-in-2020-this-thursday/
  8. My experience with traveling with my toddlers is to use your car seat, especially if the seat is approved for the airlines. (Most toddler seats are, based on my experience.) Why? My kids were used to them, and slept in them without an issue on the plane. The airline seat belts were simpy too loose, and the kids flop over when they fall asleep anyway. You can use them after the plane on your ground transportation. As long as there is a shoulder belt, you'll be able to secure the seat, and it'll be safer than having your child on your lap. Can you rent/borrow one? Yes, but you'll probably spend more time adjusting that seat to fit your child than figuring out how to hook your seat in. Then there's also the sanitary part; at least you know that it's your child's cracker crumbs that are buried in your seat. (And if you have to rent the seat, why are you even bothering with it?) If you don't need the seat on the plane, all airlines will check them free of charge like your stroller. The only downside to bringing your own car seat along for use on the plane is the hassle of lugging it through the airport and through the gate. (I accidentally bumped a guy who was already on board and seated on the plane, so I've been there. It was a rough airport experience that night; I really should have gone back and bought him a drink, but I was too frazzled after dealing with the airline, security, etc.) On a cruise, I suspect there's also the issue of tripping over the car seat all trip in your cabin.
  9. We tried an AquaVault this spring on a trip to the Dominican Republic, and the lock jammed on the fourth day. Couldn't get it unlocked no matter how many times I tried. I thought I was going to have to call maintenance and possibly destroy a beach chair in the process of getting it cut off, but before doing that, I went back to the room and fortunately had my laptop there to search the internet. Turns out this is a known problem, as the combination can occasionally get changed as you open and close the stupid thing. So I went back to the beach, and started trying one off combinations of my code, and sure enough, 10 minutes later, I had it opened. I never used it again, because I figured I had more risk of getting it stuck than getting robbed on the beach.
  10. The four night Dream cruises typically leave Port Canaveral on Monday and return on Friday. Depending on your schedule, if you can swing arriving on Saturday, you could still experience a park that day and then again on Sunday. Likewise, you could then hit a park on Friday and Saturday after the cruise. Magic Kingdom is a no-brainer for a four year old, but I'll be contrarian: seriously consider Hollywood Studios instead of Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios just opened a new Toy Story Land which kids should love, and can change the dynamic. (My kids were seriously underwhelmed by Animal Kingdom last year.) Although to be honest, a four year old could be completely content to go to Magic Kingdom every day they are at Disney World. As Moki points out, there's no way you can see everything at Disney World in one trip, so don't even bother trying. Figure out what things you'll really like to do, and concentrate on those.
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