the bean was tired, but excited to see what the day would bring.
and three of us were extra happy to remember that we were in an airport hotel, which meant that there was easy access to some magic potion:
although we were a bit early, we decided to go ahead and get ourselves checked in for the shuttle.
this was just one of many family selfies. they all look happy here, but it was just the beginning.
it was a 45-minute ride to the port, not including the time we spent sitting on the bus waiting for it to fill up with fellow cruisegoers. luckily, we were entertained by the videos that gave us an idea of what we were going to be experiencing, along with ads for port excursions, the disney vacation club, disney world, and adventures by disney. it was definitely all disney, all the time.
and then we were there.
because it was relatively early and boarding hadn't yet begun, the terminal building was pretty crowded. there were lots of families wearing matching shirts and ears and suitcases and a whole lot more pixie dust in there than i've ever experienced under one roof. and if you know me at all, that's saying quite a lot. but i mean...look at this kid's haircut! that's intense.
luckily, the line for check-in wasn't too long yet.
there was a very detailed replica of the ship that was pretty fun to look at.
and as we got in the line to get the bean all registered for the onboard kids' club, i made sure to check out the disney cruise app i'd downloaded onto my phone.
the girls killed some time playing with snapchat filters while we waited in the line.
and then we made it to the front, where the bean happily accepted her fun wristband that would give her complete access to the kids' club.
my bag was happy to be there too. it was her mothership, after all.
and here's the obligatory family-in-front-of-the-ship photos.
i made everyone get in line so we could get this shot with mickey:
and then it was our turn to board the ship.
a disney photographer snapped our first official cruise photo (which i knew we wouldn't buy because they're so damn expensive), and then we came upon the first of many stations for hand sanitizing.
when we finally made our way onto the ship, we were announced by family name ("welcome to the wan family!") and a smattering of cheers and applause from cruise staffers. it was silly and fun, and the girls loved it.
our stateroom wasn't quite ready for us yet, so we were free to roam about the ship and check out the kids' club. they were doing an open house while everyone got their kids registered, and it was one of the few times that adults were allowed to enter the club areas.
before we were allowed to go inside, everyone was required to wash their hands. this thing was pretty sweet - it was an automatic hand washer. you put your hands in the openings and jets of soap and water washed them for the required 20 seconds. i want one in the house.
the kids' club looked like so much fun. there were craft and drawing rooms, lots of games to play, a dance party area:
there was a whole room dedicated to video games (disney infinity in particular).
and there was a star wars area, of course. it was awesome, like stepping right onboard the millennium falcon.
although i have to say, this room was my favorite. i adore the toy story movies.
there were giant versions of old school games to play.
and all the characters were represented in some way.
you could pretend to be a fairy like tinkerbell in pixie hollow:
the hub was...not as excited as the rest of us. have i mentioned that he hates cruises? oh, the things he does for his family.
the bean was having a blast, though. she went from room to room and added her name to the star board.
she had no idea what was coming next, though. because what she didn't know was that my co-leader and i had planned this trip together...which meant that one of her favorite friends was going to be on this cruise with her. and they had finally made their way onboard and into the kids' club, where the bean got the greatest surprise ever. it was so funny to watch her face as she realized what was happening.
they played for a few minutes before we decided to tear them away from there and grab some lunch.
up on the 11th deck was cabanas, the casual buffet restaurant that was serving up our first meal of the cruise. there were tons of options to pick from, although i was pretty dazzled by the huge trays of crab claws and peel-and-eat shrimp.
i managed to fill a plate with all sorts of stuff, though, and grabbed some lemonade to wash it all down, plus a nice little cookie sundae for dessert.
while the bean and her BFF hit the pool, the old lady and i headed down to check out our stateroom. we had some fun stuff that we'd brought to decorate our door and wanted to get it in place before the bean came down.
i was pleasantly surprised to see how roomy our cabin was. i'm used to those tiny shoebox-sized rooms from past experience on cruise ships, but this was almost as big as a regular hotel room. so awesome.
we met up with my co-leader in one of the theaters to listen to the port shopping talk, where we got a handful of coupons for the preferred shops in nassau. it was amusing to listen to the speaker emphasize the importance of sticking to the shops on the list...because you know, any of the other shops are probably going to rip you off and sell you inferior quality goods. i'm sure it had nothing to do with those preferred shops likely giving you a sweet kickback for all purchases from those who were coming from the ship or anything. but it ended up being worth it, because during the raffle at the end of the talk, the old lady managed to win a tanzanite necklace:
after that, we headed down to the mandatory safety meeting and then made our way through the crowds back up to the 12th deck to join the rest of the 4,000 cruisegoers for the sailaway party.
despite the fact that dinner was an hour away, we stopped in the "wreck-it ralph"-themed ice cream shop and checked things out. and grabbed a treat or two.
our first dinner was in the enchanted garden dining room. disney cruises do dinners a little differently - there are three main dining rooms, and you get to experience a different one each night. we sat at the same table number every time and had the same waitstaff in each room, and there was a different theme for every dinner.
i was torn between the lobster ravioli and the ahi tuna tower for my starter, but ultimately made a choice:
but because this is a cruise and you can order whatever you want, i got them both. ha!
the old lady tried the cucumber garden roll.
and i went with the cream of asparagus soup, because it's my favorite and i always have to have it if i see it on the menu.
the old lady chose the spinach and raspberry salad.
the hub's main course was the caramelized sea scallops:
while i went big and had the prime rib.
and then it was time for dessert:
after dinner, we dropped the kids off and headed down to the clubs to have a little fun:
and my co-leader managed to win the first game, taking home $177 as her prize.
we decided to check out the evening's entertainment inside the walt disney theater, although we ended up having to leave halfway through because the kids were tired and wanted out of the club.
in our room we found our first towel animal of the trip, along with some chocolates and the schedule for the next day.
and the entire disney vault of movies was available on our tv.
but we weren't really ready to turn in for the night yet. so instead, we threw our bathing suits on and headed back up to deck 11 to check out something we'd been looking forward to for months - the aquaduck, the ship's signature water slide that went all the way around the ship and back.
alas, i wasn't able to take my phone for pictures. just trust me...this thing was super fun and going at night is the best. there was almost no wait and we rode it a few times before the kids jumped into the pool.
our last stop was the "eye scream" for a cold, sweet nightcap. who can resist a soft-serve cone available almost 24 hours a day? not us.
phew. what a day. and up next...the bahamas!