Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Letter to Santa

Jackson Township has set up a mailbox for letters to the North Pole. So, Sydney and I sat down and wrote Santa a letter. Below is her dictation.......

Dear Santa,

My name is Sydney and I want you to come play with me. I’ve been good this year but, I did hit my brother, Mommy put me in time out.

I want you to send a pirate ship for my brother so he can sleep in it when he gets big.

I want a scooter, Barbie car, and Genevieve.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Sydney Lavelle

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

First Visit With Santa

Andrew met Santa for the first time today. To my relief he had no fear. Although he was not able to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, Sydney happily told him she wanted a scooter. That was news to us, of the dozens of requests she had made that was the first time we heard about the scooter.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Disney Cruise Photo Slideshow

Thanks for your patience. Here is the photo slide show of our Disney Cruise. Make sure you turn up the volume on your computer first.

You may need to cut & paste this link....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Disney Cruise

WOW! What more can I say about the Disney Cruise Line. Working in the travel industry & this being my 10th cruise I had very high expectations, which they met and many ways exceeded.

As predicted the kids were totally surprised and thrilled. We woke them up around 5:00 am to leave for the airport so they were pretty groggy and didn't really question where we were going until we arrived in Orlando. Once we collected our baggage and headed for the Disney Cruise Line desk Sydney recognized the cruise line logo, looked at me and said "We're going on a Disney Cruise"!

As passengers boarded, the cruise staff introduced each family over the PA system. "The Disney Magic now welcomes aboard the Lavelle Family"!!!!! That was a nice warm welcome. The first night we dined in the Animator's Palate restaurant. The room is black and white and as the dinner progresses the room and character animations slowly gain color. Throughout the week we rotated between 3 dining rooms while our waiter and table mates remained the same. Compared to other cruise lines this was a nice change. Andrew & Sydney loved the buffet line especially for kids. Pizza, chicken nuggets and Mickey mac & cheese 24/7.

We are sending a shout out to Elena, Jose & Carla, our tablemates from Puerto Rico! Sydney & Carla became friends and had a great time digging in the sand together even though they didnt speak the same language.

One of our ports was Cozumel, Mexico where Sydney & I took the dolphin encounter excursion. We spent about 35 minutes in the water playing, kissing and dancing with a 9 year old bottle nose dolphin named Romulo. Sydney was very nervous & cried during most of our swim but finally warmed up to the sweet playful charm dolphins exude. She did give him a goodbye kiss and now says that was her favorite part of the trip.

Andrew had many favorites; riding the elevator, dancing with the characters, running on the track, flirting with the ladies,and saying "AAAARRRRRR" like a pirate to anyone within shouting distance.

The children's programs are much more extensive than others I have seen. DCL has dedicated an entire deck to children's programming; we had to force Sydney to come out of there. She enjoyed the pajama parties, character tea parties, story time, Mouseketeer training, dress up fun, water slide, beach digs, and pirate face painting, just to name a few. They also have a movie screen above the pool so everyone can enjoy all the classic Disney movies while swimming or having a snack.

Of course they had plenty of non Disney things for the adults too. Matt loved anything sports related. I enjoyed the dessert & cooking class, towel & napkins folding demonstration and reading a book on our balcony. AHHH!!! I wish I could go back.

This was the cleanest ship I have ever seen, at times their attention to sanitation was almost insane. As some of you know, cruise liners are sensitive to highly contagious gastrointestinal bug called Norwalk Virus. Not a pretty thing! And with a high ratio of children on board it can spread like wildfire. Therefor, Disney Cruise Line pulled out all the stops. The housekeeping staff kept the ship immaculate and crew members were stationed everywhere handing out antibacterial wipes. Every time we entered & exited the ship, kids club, restroom, and dining area someone was there. And, it works. As far as I know, no one fell ill on our sailing. :)

For the first time we enjoyed fireworks on board a cruise. After many years Disney obtained permission and became the first cruiseline to launch a small firework display during their Pirate Deck Party. Very cool!

We made two stops at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Where Andrew got to experience the ocean & sand for the very first time. He was not thrilled! :) But we had a great time anyway. The characters even joined us in their beachwear. This was our last port and I wish I would have had my video camera out on deck when we cast off. The island's full time staff stood at attention as the ships horn blared a final "When You Wish Upon a Star". Saluted, then dawned their Mickey gloves and waved us goodbye. It brought a tear to my eye. I am a sucker for attention to detail!

As you can tell, we had a great time! I cannot say enough about the cruise & it's crew. As always we are putting together a photo slide show and hope to have it posted soon. Here are a few pics in the mean time.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Surprise SHHH!!!!

A great travel agent rate passed over my desk last week. It was an opportunity to cruise aboard the Disney Magic, and we couldn't pass it up. We leave on Saturday for 7 nights in the Caribbean sun. Seeing it already snowed several times here, we could use the sunshine. Best part is... the kids have no idea, we decided to surprise them. Sydney asks us on a daily basis to take her back to Disney World. She still has no concept of distance or money, but I love her passion & spirit. She has told me countless times that she doesn't want to live in Ohio anymore, she wants to live at Disney World.

Even though we will not be visiting DisneyWorld this trip I think she will be just as happy. Ever since she could walk & talk she has been pulling the Disney Cruise Line brochures off my office shelves, so she is well aware of what it is. I cannot wait to see her face when she realizes where we are going. We have been packing in a spare bedroom so hopefully we can make it to the airport before her questioning begins.

Please, if we see any of you in the next few days..... SHHHHHH!!!! Don't spoil the surprise!