RMNAAFA's Disney Cruise

Text by Patti Kelly. Photos by Joe and Debbie Obrin
RMNAAFA's first trip was a big success. Joe, Debbie, Nick, Jan Marie and myself went to Disney World and then took a 3-day cruise on the Disney cruise ship, "The Wonder". I feel like we went full force the whole time. Joe had the Disney World agenda down for us. He made some good dining reservations for us so we had several very special meals while there. Disney World is fantastic! for those of you that have been you know what I am talking about. For those of you that haven't it is worth doing. And believe me it is not all thrill rides and kid stuff (I do confess to enjoying that part, however). There are lots of good show and informational things to keep adults happy.
I LOVED the new Animal Kingdom! We only spent a half day there as we needed to get to the cruise ship that afternoon. We saw some great animals in their natural setting. Disney does the photo safari tour in such a way that the retaining barriers for the animals are not easily seen, if at all. We also saw a great 3-D film there called "It's Tough Being a Bug". Several special effects. It was a great time.
We stayed at the Polynesian Hotel and that was fantastic! It really made you feel like you were away in the South Pacific. The Luau there was also fantastic. Nick even got to be a part of the act.
The cruise was a delight. they make sure they take good care of you and feed you nonstop! Honest! Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided with 24 hour a day room service at no additional charge. Also there are places to get pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and fruit that are open most all the time, all of this at no charge. Then evening dances and parties with more food! I felt like there was no end to the food! The Bahamas were fantastic! Turquoise water, perfect weather and friendly locals. At Nassau everyone but me went on the Glass bottom Boat (I slept in as I had come down with a cold...one we all shared...I was the last to get it). Jan did some shopping in town and in the afternoon I had a local taxi driver take me on my own private tour of Nassau. In port the largest ship in the world "The Explorer" was docked next to us. The Disney Wonder we were on was huge too but you could tell this other was bigger.
It was great watching the ships pull in and out of the port. The next day we went to Castaway Cay, a private island that Disney owns. Man was it nice! Built for play, play, play! Joe and Debbie went snorkeling, Nick hung out with his youth group for most of the day. Jan swam a lot and hung out with Joe and Debbie. I took the tram to the far end of the island to Serenity Cove, an adult only beach. It was so peaceful and beautiful there! I got a nice chair under a palm tree and just relaxed with a drink then had some BBQ that the crew members cooked up out there on the beach. It was so beautiful and relaxing! They had private cabanas for "open air" massages. I wanted to do this but since I was sick the day before I had not made my reservation before all the time slots were taken.....NEXT TIME! Where the adult beach was quiet and relaxing the family beach was alive with fun. A DJ playing music, more BBQ food, a couple open air bars for refreshment, "banana" boat rides, snorkeling and a whole lot more. It was a wonderful day. 
On board ship there were three pools. A kids only, a family pool and an adults only pool. Several bars with activities going all hours of the day and night, Debbie won 72 dollars playing BINGO. Several great shows. A movie theater that shows first run movies. A beauty shop and health spa. An ESPN sports area (I never checked that out) with a basketball court. The crew members had their own private pool. Four restaurants, a buffet and several snack bars. Several onboard stores for shopping. The best part was the crew that would do anything to accommodate you. We had great rooms with verandah. I really enjoyed this and am glad we went for that option. Anytime of the day or night being on the verandah was great. At night it was so dark out there you could not tell where the water ended and the sky started. You could see the lights from distant ships sometimes but that was it. Back on the ship, I was worried the roms would be very small. They were small, but not nearly as small as I thought they might be. The one downside was the bathrooms were tiny.
I still feel like I am on the ship sometimes, like I am floating or bobbing in the water. You do feel the motion sometimes, mostly when you lay in bed. We didn't get sea sick but it made you wonder what it would be like in stormy waters. We were very lucky to have beautiful weather all the time during the cruise. We did have some rain at Disney World but I didn't mind that as I think it kept the crowds down.
As many of you know I have a lot of trouble/pain with my knees that make walking hard. At all the Disney theme parks I rented an ECV (electronic convince vehicle). It was one of those electrical scooters. It was a godsend! I never could have done it without one of those! Building up to our trip I had some ego problems thinking about riding on one of those but I will tell you the minute I got on one and rode off it all changed. The freedom of movement without pain is very liberating. There have been so many time I have not done things I wanted to because it is so painful for me to walk. It was great to "wheel" around those big parks without a care for my pain level. OK, so I ran over Joe and Nick once each and almost ran the ECV (with me in it) off the loading deck onto the tracks of the Big Thunder roller coaster, but other then that I did fine! Really they are very easy to work with and I would recommend it for anyone with mobility problems. 
On another note I want to say Disney seems to have come a long way in their hiring. Over the years of going to Disney World I used to think they only hired young adults that looked like the "kid next door". Much has that changed. I saw several BBW and BHM that worked at the hotels and parks. There were also people of all ages and nationalities. At the animal kingdom we saw a middle aged man in a wheel chair because he had lost both his legs working for Disney. I think they have come a long way. It was really great to see so many people of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages working and enjoying their work. 
I want to thank Joe for doing all the work setting this trip up and making it such a great time. I want to thank Joe, Debbie and Jan Marie for helping me with my limitations and understanding my restrictions. I want to thank Nick for entertaining us at every opportunity and making me laugh so much. I have never been to a Disney Park with a child before and seeing his face beam with joy when he saw Disney Characters or had fun on a ride was enough to make anyone's day. We missed you all and hope more can go when we plan another RMNAAFA trip!

Patti Kelly


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