Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Epic Winter Road Trip - Christmas Eve on the Disney Wonder

(While it's closer to Winter 2023 than Christmas 2022, I'm loving reliving this adventure, so I'm going to get this posted so I can catch up on the rest of life. I've missed writing and missed the blog - and yes, I've missed my readers, ye brave, ye few.)

On land, I am rarely awake with the sun (unless I have to be). For some reason, on a Disney Cruise, I am awake with the sun. I never want to miss pulling into a port - which is a remarkable feat of human coordination to complete successfully day after day. But there is something inherentlyt magical about the sunrise from the deck of a ship. So on Christmas Eve, I got up early to get coffee from the Cove Cafe (all coffee is included in Disney Cruise line fair except for the goodies at Cove Cafe - which are priced on par with a local Starbucks and offers a frequent buyers card). The characters they put on our lattes are always a welcome touch. 

We looked on the schedule and found that Daisy, The Impossible Girl's favorite character, was greeting that morning, so we stopped to say hi to her on our way off the ship. 

What you may not know, is this type of interaction is a really big deal for her. She almost got out of line several times and it took other kids reassuring her to get her to stay. Her knees were shaking and she wasn't sure about meeting her hero. Daisy seemed to know just how to handle it, helping keep the interaction just the right length and letting us get some great photos to remember her by. A year later, she remembers meeting Daisy and said it was a scary experience at first, but she's proud she did it anyway.

Then our Mexican adventure began! 

A bus took us near downtown and we strolled through a pavillon where a few merchants were offering wares. The Impossible Girl was struggling a bit with the change of scenery, but a yoyo at a local shop caught her eye, and that became her momento from Ensenada. We strolled down the port as she worked to master her yo-yo skills. 
We were able to walk through the waterfront district nearly completely undisturbed - aside from a few overzealous coffee shop and bar barkers. Christmas Eve is a time when many families in Mexico celebrate at home, so much of the hustle and bustle of shop keepers was quiet. The day couldn't have been more beautiful.
Art abounds on this little stroll along the port and I found the statues truly fascinating. All in all the walk was about a mile on way. While I was disappointed I wasn't able to find an open place for a legendary fish taco, we were all ready to head back to the ship for a late lunch.

I held out hope that they would do a Mexican themed meal, but alas I was a little disappointed. Not in the food. Cabanas, the on board buffet is always delicious. It would have been a really nice touch though! While the kiddo took some time to unwind in the room after lunch, I spent a little down time on the verandah enjoying my score from a local merchant. (It's been almost a year and it's still a favorite blanket in our household.)
Have I mentioned how awesome the kids clubs are on Disney ships? I know I probably sound like a paid advertisement, but I'm not. I'm just a fan of a vacation where I can actually spend some time with My Sailor. It's a rare currency in our world - and certainly makes these cruises worth every penny. 

After lunch on board and some downtime in the room, The Impossible Girl went to the Oceaneer's Club (she loves the Frozen area, complete with a modest Oaken in a steamy sauna) and My Sailor and I got to enjoy some downtime together.

We got a drink at the New Orlean's themed bar beside Tiana's Place (a New Orlean's themed dining room), played a round or two of Bingo (the only gambling on Disney cruise ships - we didn't win, but it is always a fun time), and walked a few laps on the deck enjoying some time to reconnect (and maybe be a little but Goofy).

We picked up The Impossible Girl in time for dinner at Triton's. While it wasn't really a special holiday menu, any menu is special when it's at Triton's. This dining room is more elegant than the other 2 on board (Tiana's Place and Animator's Palace). I am chagrined to admit that on our first sailing on the Wonder, we had 3 meals in this room and I never noticed this giant mosaic. 

We did the early dining, so our dinner was followed by a show. Tonight was the Golden Mickeys - a fun little show that is set up like an Oscar style award show gone-awry, including a variety of Disney acts looking to win the Golden Mickey (instead of an Oscar). It's always a fun show, and we all enjoyed it. 
Since tonight was Christmas eve, it only made sense to stay up a little late and let Mrs. Clause pop in for a reading of The Night Before Christmas. On our 2019 cruise over the same dates, Mrs. Clause was in front of the Christmas tree, but this year they opted to use a D Lounge (the ship's small stage) instead. While it was slightly less magical, the kids had a great time (especially when Mickey and Friends came out after the show). 

On our way back to our cabin, the crew was handing out milk and cookies for Santa, so we could take them back to our room. It was a fun gesture that really made me smile. Our shipmates had gifted us a small mug with a slot for a cookie in it, so we used that to make sure Santa had an appropriate place to enjoy his goodie. 

And our cabin host didn't slack on the holiday cheer either.

 Now, our kiddo has never really been about the gifts at Christmas. If you've followed previous blogs (ye brave, ye few), she's more about the fun of it. I feel like Santa could have missed us all together and she still would have had a great time. Now that Santa was coming tonight, who knew what tomorrow would bring? 

Stay Tuned for Christmas Day! 

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