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Old 26 Jun 16, 08:05 PM  
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Scruffette
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Join Date: May 12
You've got a friend in Me(d) - Pre-trip *updated 22/8*

Hello Ahoy there and welcome to our 2016 trip report for our upcoming Disney Mediterranean Cruise on the Disney Magic

Your cast is:

Lucy – 24, will be 25 when we go. Disney World veteran, lover of all things Disney and recent cruising convert

Ollie- 25 Adrenaline junkie, amusement engineer and more recent Disney convert, also now totally into cruising.



You may remember us from such trips as:

The ‘When is the last trip not the last?’ trip – August 2013

and

Toarin’ – August 2015

Although it’s normally me, Lucy, who does most of the writing, Ollie wanted to start of the report this time.

Introduction

This post is a little unusual… mainly because it’s not been written by me, but by Ollie. His anecdotes and jokes often find their way into our trip days but here is Ollie on our 2016 trip...

Disney World was a completely new experience to me. Growing up I’d seen the films, recognised the characters and had longed to visit the most magical place on earth, but never had the opportunity to go. Not at least, until Lucy enlightened me on my first trip in 2013, and more recently in 2015 with the sights, sounds and smells of ‘her happy place’. Having worked in amusement parks for the past 20 months, I presumed that I would have been made immune to their charm. However the sheer quality of theming, hospitality and attention to detail transformed me into a child every day at the tap-styles.

Following our second successful trip to Florida, Toarin’ – an aptly named, exceedingly clever (even if I do say so myself) trip report written by my better half, we had to come up with a plan for a trip to follow our last (colossal) trip which saw us visit our highlights of Florida with time enough to swing by the Bahamas on the way home!



So here’s a bit of background for how we arrived at the itinerary for the trip; picture the scene: We had been back from our last American adventure less than a week, post-Disney depression had well and truly taken-hold, and discussions had turned to next year’s low-key holiday within Europe (given this year’s extravagance). I made the foolish mistake/had the genius intuition of asking Lucy where else the Disney Cruise Line set sail… and before we knew it, our weeks trip to France, Spain or Italy had just become a weeks Disney cruise around the Med doing all three… deposit down, stateroom selected and plans afoot for an extra night in Barcelona as ‘it would be rude not to’.

Naturally this plan has continued to evolve since then to the itinerary below:

Day 1 – Fly from Manchester to Reus, Transfer to Salou, Chill on the beach and eat paella.
Day 2 – Port Aventura Theme Park, Eat more paella, Sleep.
Day 3 – Port Aventura Theme Park, Train to Barcelona, Eat tapas.
Day 4 – Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, La Boqueria, Eat more tapas, Magic fountains.
Day 5 – Disney Cruise Embarkation Day!
Day 6 – Disney Cruise, Day at sea.
Day 7 – Disney Cruise (Salerno), visit Pompeii & Naples.
Day 8 – Disney Cruise (Civitavecchia), Day trip to Rome.
Day 9 – Disney Cruise (Livorno), Day trip to Florence.
Day 10 – Disney Cruise (Ville-Franche), Find a patisserie, Find a wine bar, Repeat.
Day 11 – Disney Cruise, Day at sea, Palo Brunch.
Day 12 – Disney Cruise Disembarkation Day, Fly from Barcelona back to MCR via Madrid.

As you can probably see, the aim of a low-key trip to Europe got lost somewhere along the way… and two days in a Theme Park got bolted on the front end, partly because Lucy has never been, and partly because we’ve yet to go travelling together in the past six years without slipping in an amusement park somewhere along the way!

So all that leaves is the name. A few names have been tossed around; ‘Finding Gaudi’ seemed strong, ‘To infinit-aly, and beyond!’ was even better… but after a lot of deliberation I’m proud to name this trip report: ‘You’ve got a friend in Me(d)’ after one of my favourite films and theme-songs of all time.

Thank you for reading and I’ll now return you to the far more competent hands of Scruffette, who I can’t wait to whisk away in 57 days… but who’s counting eh?

Edited at 03:23 PM.
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Old 26 Jun 16, 08:07 PM  
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Scruffette
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Cruise booking

The cruise was the first thing we booked, back at the start of September 2015. The dates had been out since May, but we hadn’t been on our first cruise by then so didn’t know we would immediately want to book another!



(Most pictures have been ‘borrowed’)

Prices weren’t particularly friendly, so we went for an 11C GTY stateroom. We’re not too picky about where we get, there are lots of port days and I doubt we’ll spend much time in the room (other than late night room service of course). Our stateroom is yet to be assigned, I’m impatiently waiting as I want to know what we have! I have visions of not finding out until we get to port – how will I google it excessively beforehand?!



11C is the standard inside stateroom on deck 2. I’m sure I’ll miss the verandah we had last time, but the price difference was just too much. I do wish the Magic has the virtual portholes like the Dream though!

Flights

Next on the agenda were flights.

We’re flying out with Thomas Cook from Manchester to Reus, as we’re spending the first few days in Salou. Our flight is at 6.30am. Ouch. Good job the airport isn’t too far away. We’ve paid for a case between us (20kg) and have 6kg of hand luggage each. Normally I’m good at packing light, but will have to think carefully this time!

Our flight back is from Barcelona to Manchester with Iberia, via Madrid. We opted for indirect as the flight times worked out better. The direct times were either early morning (I don’t want to rush off the ship!) or really late (what am I meant to do with luggage in Barcelona for the day?)


Accommodation

Our hotel for the first 2 nights is the Hotel Acqua in Salou.



Ollie has been to Salou twice before, so I left location choosing down to his expertise. We have breakfast and dinner included in our rate. The dinner wasn’t much extra, so if it’s rubbish we can always eat somewhere different the second night. Also, it will be nice and easy after a theme park day. As it’s peak season, we struggled to find somewhere for just 2 nights, as many of the nicer places have a 4 or 5 night minimum.

In Barcelona we have two nights at Hotel Gaudi.



The hotel is just of Las Ramblas and looks to be a central location. We booked direct with the hotel and got breakfast included.
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Old 27 Jun 16, 01:27 PM  
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DisneyDreamer81
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Your trip sounds amazing! Far better than a low key week Looking forward to reading more! x
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Old 2 Jul 16, 05:19 PM  
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Scruffette
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Originally Posted by DisneyDreamer81 View Post
Your trip sounds amazing! Far better than a low key week Looking forward to reading more! x
Thank you These trips always end up evolving quite a bit!
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Old 31 Jul 16, 09:13 AM  
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stecee
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It looks like you have a great trip planned
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Old 2 Aug 16, 07:12 PM  
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EJSakaAnna
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Just come across this, sounds like a brilliant trip! And much better than a quiet week in one place . Looking forward to following along!
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Old 5 Aug 16, 06:02 PM  
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Scruffette
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Originally Posted by stecee View Post
It looks like you have a great trip planned
Thank you! I'm super excited

Originally Posted by EJSakaAnna View Post
Just come across this, sounds like a brilliant trip! And much better than a quiet week in one place . Looking forward to following along!
Thanks for reading I can't wait to cruise again!
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Old 7 Aug 16, 12:54 AM  
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Jack Daniel's
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Looks like you are on the cruise directly after us..
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Old 7 Aug 16, 08:47 PM  
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Scruffette
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Originally Posted by Jack Daniel's View Post
Looks like you are on the cruise directly after us..
Have a great cruise Make sure you leave some ice cream for us...
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Old 7 Aug 16, 08:51 PM  
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With just over two weeks to go, it’s probably time for an update.

Disney Cruise check in

Cruise check in seems like years ago now!

Check in opened for us at the end of May – yes I was one of those people crazy enough to get up at 5am! At least it fell on a Sunday, so I could go back to sleep afterwards. I also convinced Ollie to get up at 5am with me.



I had two priorities – an early PAT and Palo brunch. The site was being a bit glitchy (as Disney sites often are) and wouldn’t let us checkin, although we could select activities. First stop – Palo brunch for the final sea day at 10am. There was plenty of availability. We picked the earliest slot available, so hopefully we are hungry again by dinner (if you’ve read any of our other reports, you know this won’t be a problem for us).

On the spur of the moment, clearly a bit sleep deprived, Ollie said to book Palo dinner! We’d been debating this for a while, but he had the sensible logic of booking it and potentially cancelling later if we change our mind. (Weirdly, I had a dream about forgetting to cancel the reservation the other night). We really enjoyed our meal at Palo last time (hello chocolate soufflé ) but found it difficult to know which night to pick as we don’t want to miss the Animator’s Pallette shows or some of the nice sounding menus. Last trip we changed our dining rotation on board to get our Palo reservation to fall on the night we wanted and ended up being sat by ourselves. This time we want to see who Disney pairs us up with!

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate this beauty…



However, since writing this, the exchange rates have taken quite a hit. With this in mind, we’re probably going to cancel this reservation as it’s another expense which isn’t really necessary. The funds can go towards making up the difference on our other spends. Although I haven’t cancelled this yet so this could all change!

A few minutes later we could complete the check in process, which was fairly quick as they already had a lot of our details. We selected a PAT of 11am, which was the earliest we could choose at the time. I don’t know what time the PATs start from at Barcelona, but we will be there promptly to try and get on the ship in good time.

About a week and a half later, we found out some character meet and greets were available to pre-book. We’re part of a facebook group and a fellow cruiser posted these were available to prebook, which was nice as we hadn’t been notified by email.

We booked the frozen meet and greet for the first day and the princess gathering for the last sea day. I had a brief moment of feeling self conscious as an adult booking these, and then remembered it was a Disney Cruise and this is totally acceptable! We passed on the character breakfast which was also available to pre book.



Room allocation

In other news, we’ve been assigned our stateroom. I’d been checking every 3 days or so, and finally noticed it on our reservation about 35 days out.

We booked a GTY 11C and have been assigned an 11A – so that’s the same type of room but in a better location. Rather than being on deck 2, we’re on deck 7. I’m really happy with the location – there are staterooms above and below so it will be a bit quieter than being below a restaurant or similar!

Thanks for reading I’m working on some more detailed daily plans which should be up soon.
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