Disney Cruise Line Disney Magic Inaugural West Coast Cruise May 28, 2005 – June 4, 2005

The Disney Magic sets out of the Port of Los Angeles for its inaugural West Coast cruise, and Deb Wills is there, reporting on the festivities!

(For photos, click HERE!)

Last Updated: 6/3/05 11 p.m. EST

Friday, June 3, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic.

Here we are on the last full day on the Disney Magic. It's hard to believe the week is almost over. It's been a super time for sure.

Today is another very cool day — cool as in cold — just like it was on Sunday when we sailed this same section. If you have a west coast cruise in the next few weeks, be sure to bring a jacket and pants! I think everyone on the ship today is in jeans.

There is a lot planned, as it's a Sea Day and a full one at that.

I started out going to the Captain's Corner Question and Answer session at 9:45. However, by 10 it hadn't started yet due to technical difficulties. I finally decided to head out to the next item on my agenda.

That was the Disney Art of Entertaining, billed to feature John State from California Grill at WDW. He was to make the grilled pork tenderloin with goat cheese polenta (one of my favorite dishes at California Grill). We got there and found that the recipes were for a chicken dish. We ask what happened and were told the Navigator was wrong, and that it was from the last cruise. I was disappointed. No general announcement was made to the group.

Panda, a chef from Animator's Palete, provided the cooking demonstration. He made Pan Fried Supreme of Chicken (chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, shallots, and lots of fresh herbs). It was tasty, but not my preference with the mushrooms. He also made risotto, which I really liked. I can attest that they make great risotto on the Disney cruise ships. One note, however — Panda told us all the risotto is made with chicken stock. What is weird is that it is listed under vegetarian options on the menu. So, be sure to inquire if you are interested in the risotto and don't eat chicken.

When Panda was done, Sheldon from Trinidad, a sommelier, talked about the wine we enjoyed with our sample chicken and risotto dish. It was a Bin 25 Lindeman's Chardonnay, and was very nice with the chicken.

The cooking demo was over earlier than I expected, so I hotfooted it over to the Buena Vista Theatre to catch the last half of Ducky William's talk. The place was packed — standing room only and folks were almost the full way down the stairs! He is such a nice man with a great story. If you have the time to see him, do so. As he did earlier in the week, he gave away about 20 sketches; we didn't win any.

From there I went to the Debarkation Presentation. I hadn't been to one in quite a long time, as it normally goes so smooth and runs like clockwork.

There are some differences here in L.A. The major one being that EVERYONE must clear customs before anyone can get off the ship. I know the folks who got off the repositioning cruise last week were waiting and waiting for a long time, some of them getting off the ship around 10:00 a.m., when we arrived at the port. The way you leave the ship is staggered and based on dining rotations. This is a change from Florida. I'll be sure and let you know how it goes.

Once I'm done filing this report, I plan to go pack and then get ready for the evening. It's been an awesome time and I have really enjoyed the cruise.

I still owe you my Mazatlan excursion report and perhaps a couple other things, but they'll have to wait a few days. I will tell you in summary that we really enjoyed our excursions at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. I have not heard anyone I spoke with rave about anything in Mazatlan. In fact, if I came to these ports again, I wouldn't get off in Mazatlan.

I've got some other excursion reports folks promised they'd send me next week, so hopefully I can give you an idea of some of the other activities. I also plan to get some photos online by Monday, so check back!

Thanks for reading the reports all week. I hope I was able to give you a glimpse of the new ports of call offered this summer by the Disney Cruise Line!

Adios from Mexico!

Friday, June 3, 2005

Our last full day on the Disney Magic.

Here are some of the highlights from the Navigator:

Sunrise 5:43 a.m.; Sunset 7:30 p.m.

9:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Final Jackpot Bingo

Experience the Magic
Art of Entertaining
10:15 a.m. Signature Entree with an expert
Guest Chef – John State from California Grill

2:00 p.m. Creative Napkin Folding

Disney's Behind the Scenes
10:30 a.m.with artist Ducky Williams

Navigator Series
9:45 a.m. – Captain's corner Q&A with Staff Captain and Chief Engineer

Movies: Finding Nemo; Ice Princess, Pooh's Heffalump Movie, The Pacifier,
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Captain autograph session

1:00 p.m. Final Art Auction (Park West at Sea)

2:00 p.m. Beer Tasting and Pub Trivia

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Ducky Williams Autograph Session

2:30-3:30 p.m. Stem to Stern Wine Tasting

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. – Margarita and Tequila Tasting

5:00 p.m. – Celebrate the Journey – Kid's Farewell show

Tonight's show – Remember The Magic at 6:30 and 8:30; Science and Magic of Gary
Fusion, Rock 'n' Roll Comedy of Gary DeLarna and the Disney Magic Dancers

7:45 p.m. – Family Talent Show

10:15 p.m. – 'Til We Meet Again – Final kiss goodnight with the Disney Characters

Thursday, June 2, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 7:00 p.m. ship time.

We were up bright and early today for our Chileno Bay Snorkeling Excursion in Caba San Lucas. Caba San Lucas is the southernmost tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. It is a very beautiful area.

At 7:40 a.m. we met our group at Rockin Bar D and once everyone checked in, were escorted to the gangplank. We are anchored out in the water and so have to be tendered into port. This means that there is no dock on land to accommodate the ship, so we stay out in the water and take smaller boats to shore. These tenders, as they are called, fit about 55 persons each. It was a quick 5-minute ride in. There were plenty of tenders today both going and coming, so waits were short.

Once on land, we were escorted a little ways into the marina and onto the TropiCat, our 65' catamaran cruiser. It was in great condition and very, very clean. At first it seemed as though it would be crowded, but once everyone deposited their belongings and started to move around, we had ample room.

There was ample shade and sun for everyone. You could go on the deck if you wanted…the view was awesome but it was windy and a bit chilly! I was glad I had a long sleeve shirt on.

Once we left the dock, the ship sailed very close to Los Arches, where the bay and Pacific Ocean meet. This is a famous rock formation which forms an arch. It's quite impressive to see. The captain positioned the boat as close as he could and the crew assisted everyone in taking photographs of themselves on the boat with the Arch behind them. Great photo op! Also here on the left of the arch, were several dozen sea lions sunning themselves.

From here, the crew hoisted the sails and we were off on our 50-minute ride to Chileno Bay. As I mentioned, the ship was very clean. We had complimentary snacks, fruit, water, soda, apple juice, beer and margaritas the entire time. The ride was awesome — the resorts and homes at the water with the mountains in the background formed great pictures. And it was smooth going, even though the water was choppy! While on the way to our spot, the crew distributed gear and assisted everyone as needed. Snorkels, masks, fins and life jackets were available to everyone. We had purchased snorkel gear at COSCO several months ago (fins, mask, snorkel) for $40. It all came in a nice carrying case too! I recommend this if you plan to snorkel much.

Once at Chileno Bay, the TropiCat dropped anchor and it was time to snorkel. We knew we were in for a little "shock" when we asked the crew how warm the water was and didn't get a real answer. LOL!

There were two ways off the boat, front and back. The more adventurous lined up quickly and then we started to hear some screams as folks jumped into the cold water. We learned it was about 65 degrees. Even the kids were screaming, as it was so cold.

At that point, Linda decided not to go in and would stay on the boat, enjoying the view, the sun and the margaritas — oh, and maybe take a few photos, too! Soon, I found myself walking down the steps and before I reached the water I turned around and asked, "Should I just jump in?" The man behind me shouted back, "YES!" So I did, and boy, was it COLD! I kept moving around and quickly warmed up. I gave Linda two thumbs up and started moving away from the boat.

There were several places that the Captain said were good viewing areas — one close to shore and one near the rock formation. I had not snorkeled near rocks before so was a bit timid. I found places where the water was much warmer than others and that was nice.

One of the crew was in a motorized rubber dingy and was very alert to everyone snorkeling. We were able to swim up to the beach if we wanted. I was tempted, but was afraid I wouldn't get back in the water once I got out.

I'm happy to say there were NO jellyfish. That is one thing that has been reported at the other two ports of call, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. I found the water on the murky side, which was a bit disappointing. There were pockets of tons of fish. I have no idea what kind I saw, but lots of folks were excited by their finds.

After exploring for 40 minutes, I realized I was getting chilly and decided to slowly float to the boat.

While most everyone was off the boat, Linda had a chance to speak to the Captain. He told her he's never had an inspection like he did when the Disney folks came to town. He said they explored every detail of the excursion, down to checking and making sure the ice in the drinks was made from filtered water. I know we pay more for Disney excursions than you can get on your own…but the peace of mind, especially when it comes to food outside the US, is a nice thing! Good to know the Mouse is on the alert!

As I climbed aboard the boat, Linda took my photo! It came out super and it'll be online once I get home. As you got onto the deck, a crew member was there with a hose of warm water to wash off the salt water from you and your gear. This was a great touch, and one I had not encountered before.

Soon it was time for the Captain to signal all aboard, and as folks got back on board everyone was humming with excitement of the snorkel. The music was great and put everyone in a festive mood, children and adults alike.

The crew was awesome and very attentive. There were times they would refill your drinks for you, get you a snack, and do the "getting" for you. Once everyone got back on board and had dried off a bit, they mopped the floors to get rid of all the excess water. They were constantly picking up and keeping things clean.

We had a 50-minute sail back. Again, it was very enjoyable between the cool breeze, music, beverages and location.

At one point, I stood on the deck, looked out onto the water, which glistened from the sun, glanced back towards land, and started to cry. I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy such a beautiful place, one I never imagined I would experience. It felt as though I was in a movie. I was very moved by the beauty of the sea. It was just awesome. There aren't words to really describe it.

Both as we went out and came back in, we were able to see the Disney Magic and got some great photos.

Once docked in the marina, most of the passengers gave a standing ovation to the crew. They really were EXCELLENT! Everyone I spoke to said it was the best excursion of the three days. I agree whole-heartedly!!!

Don't hesitate to book this excursion. Also, if your friends and family are going to snorkel and you aren't, but you would like to go with them, Linda said she certainly felt she got her money's worth without dipping a toe in the water!


At 4 p.m. the Disney Magic left Cabo San Lucas. As we left the area, we went past Los Arches for one last look and photo op. It didn't last long as we were quickly out in the open seas for our trip back to L.A. There was a deck party, live music and the horn sounded several times as we headed into the Pacific.

I'm writing you now from Quiet Cove, the adult-only coffee bar. It's a very nice, relaxing place to be. There are large comfy chairs, a big screen TV, reading material, and a small Internet cafe.

Tonight is semi-formal night, Lobster night. Folks are very excited about that. It's also '70s night at Rockin Bar D and I hear Gloria Gaynor, John Travolta and the Village People might make a special appearance (wink wink). With a little luck, we'll stay up late enough to enjoy the fun.

Also tonight we move the clocks back one hour.

Tomorrow is our last full day on the ship. Since it is a Sea Day, there will be lots going on. The Navigators aren't out yet, but once I get one I'll be sure and post the happenings. It will be sad to leave the friendly confines of the beautiful Magic and the friends we've made onboard, but it will also be good to get back to my own time zone and the comfort of my own bed on Saturday night.

Thursday, June 2, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 5:00 p.m. ship time.

They saved the best for last! Cabo San Lucas is awesome. It's been an incredible day at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja peninsular!

Here are the highlights from today's Navigator:

Sunrise: 6:34 a.m.
Sunset: 8:02 p.m.

We arrived in port at approximately 6:30 a.m. and we depart at 4:00 p.m.

Disney Dreams is playing three times today: 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Rockin Bar D has Gary DeLena (Cabaret Showtime) for families at 7:45 p.m. and for adults at 10:15 p.m. Then it's '70s Disco Night with special appearances by John Travolta, Gloria Gaynor and the Village People.

The Buena Vista Theatre is showing Finding Nemo, A Lot Like Love and The Pacifier, and there are lots of other activities for adults and families alike.

Time to change the clocks again — back one hour!

Chris from Massachusetts reported in today with a review of the Coastal Highlights Excursion:

We tendered over to the dock at Cabo San Lucas. The catamaran was huge. There were free sodas on board, and up top there were tables and chairs to relax on — plenty of room, and not oversold so you that could move around.

We went out to the Arches and to see the Sea Lions. We went to the southernmost point — the water is very rough there, so we didn't spend too much time on that side. We spent most of the time on the harbor side. There were many great photos ops, and on the way back we went past the Disney Magic for some awesome photos.

We docked and had a short walk to the buses for the land portion. The buses were air-conditioned and very nice. We drove through downtown, and went to a restaurant that was on the opposite end, so got to see Cabo Wabo and Hard Rock. The restaurant was really nice, and the landscaping was very sharp! This lasted about 40 minutes. There were great views of the water, and you had your choice of beverage. You could get off at Cabo Wabo or the marina on the way back.

It's been windy today, so I'd recommend bringing a light jacket for any excursions.

I would definitely recommend this tour for adults.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 8:00 p.m. ship time.

Greetings from hot (and I do mean HOT) Mazatlan!

Today began very early as I watched the ship come into port this a.m. It was really cool entering through the rocks and homes along the seaside.

My Historical Walking Tour of Old Mazatlan began at 7:30 a.m. this morning and went until about 12:30 p.m. I saw some interesting areas of the city, including an opera house, cathedral, bakery and cafe. I will write more about the excursion later.

Tonight we have 8:30 p.m. reservations at Palo, the adult only restaurant. We are all looking forward to dinner. I am especially looking forward to the yummy chocolate soufflé with vanilla bean sauce — yum…I can taste it already!

Last night's Pirates in the Caribbean party was great fun. The four of us donned pirate hats and patches and came to dinner ready to have some fun. Our servers loved that we dressed up! The menu was all "Caribbean" flavored. After dinner, all the servers danced around the dining room and we joined in the fun. There was a limbo bar, but thankfully they raised it for me and my old knees. The party on deck was HUMMING and ROCKIN! There was lots of energy and it was great fun. The characters were all decked out in their costumes, too. One pirate came via zip line from one smoke stack to the stage… pretty cool! Another rappelled down to the stage.

There were fireworks at the conclusion of the show, which filled the sky. A complete buffet with dinner and dessert items was very popular. We all passed on the food as we had just finished dinner at 9:30 p.m. Be sure to bring pirate gear to maximize your fun on Pirate Night!

I ended up taking a long, relaxing nap this afternoon, so am out of time for this report, but did want to check in.

The Navigators for tomorrow aren't out yet, so I'll have to let you know about those details later.

Tomorrow we are in Cabo San Lucas, and Linda and I will be snorkeling at Chileno Bay. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Today we are in Mazatlan! It's our second port on this cruise. The repositioning cruise did stop here on their way to LA last week.

I will be doing the City of Mazatlan walking tour and reporting on that for you later in the day.

Today's Navigator has the following highlights:

Arrival at Mazatlan 7:00 a.m.
Ashore Time approx 7:30 a.m.
All Aboard 7:30 p.m.
Departure 8:00 p.m.

Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer is tonight's show at 6:30 and 8:30 in the Walt Disney Theatre.

Caberet Show time – The Science and Magic of Freddy Fusion 7:45 p.m. (family show), 10:15 p.m. (adults only show).

More Jackpot Bingo and it's Time Warp '80s Night in Rockin' Bar D!

Mickey Mania at 9:45 p.m. in Studio Sea

Today's Movies: Ice Princess, The Incredibles, Princess Diaries 2, and A Lot Like Love.

More later from Mazatlan!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Today I did the Tropical Rainforest by Horseback excursion! It was a great time, although not quite as billed (I'll explain in the report).

Our guide, Jorge, greated us right off the Disney Magic and escorted us to a motor coach with comfy seats and air conditioning! We had about a 50 minute drive through town and countryside while Jorge talked with us about Mexico and Puerto Vallarta. He also told us a little about tequila making and that we'd get to taste some after our ride!

Jorge said it was important for him to know all our names, so he started in the front row, asking everyone their name. He would periodically go back and repeat them all. He finally heard all our names (maybe 30 or so) and then went to the front of the bus and told everyone their name. I don't think he missed a one. We were impressed!

Once at the ranch, there was fruit and pastries for those who missed breakfast on the ship as well as bathrooms to use. Those who wanted to use a helmet picked one out. I was surprised how many folks didn't use one! There were mostly adults on the ride, but at least one young lady who was 10.

Jorge and his cowboys picked out horses for each of us and up we went into the saddle. My horse was Rocket! He was a good boy and a good friend during our ride. Once everyone was saddled up, we hit the trail. It was very dusty in parts and very rocky. Rocket did very well taking care of us both in the rocks.

For a while I was a little nervous and held onto the big saddle horn with both hands. After about 20 minutes, I felt more comfortable, got the camera out for some pics and was able to relax and enjoy the ride.

I mentioned at the beginning things were not quite as billed… well, we were told it was a tour of the Tropical Rainforest, but it didn't look like my idea of a Rainforest. It was neither tropical nor lush. There were very few flowers. In fact, we saw more cows than flowers. Everyone was disappointed by that. However, Jorge and the tour were great and we all had a super time.

We rode in and out of shallow water beds which were great fun. Lots of rocks that went high up on both sides of us. The time past quickly. After about 50 minutes we got off our horses and took a water break.

Then we began our 15 minute hike to the waterfall. This is the other part of the tour that was not properly explained. It did mention a hike, but not that it would be up lots of steep stairs and across 5-6 narrow wood walking bridges. Some really wobbled and felt high up. When I get back home, you'll see what i mean by the photos. The walking was over many rocks, not like the walking paths at home. It was just the high wobbly bridges that bothered me. I guess in total we climbed around 200 steps going and coming. In both
directions, the steps were both up and down.

The pretty waterfall had a very shallow wading area. A few folks had on bathing suits and went swimming. I rolled up my pants, took off my sneakers and let the water cool me down. It had gotten pretty hot by the end of the ride. We all had lots of fun in the water; mostly enjoying the sounds and sights and taking photos of each other.

We were at the waterfall about 30 minutes. It was then time to dry off and hike back to our horses. For some reason, the bridges bothered me more going back… not sure why, as we followed the same trail. It was quite a view from above when I wasn't so nervous!

Back on the horses for the ride back to the ranch. I was feeling a little cocky now and was sitting straight up on Rocket and let one hand go by my side. I took more photos this time too. Our brave 10-year-old finally decided she had enough of the horses (she got a little scared) and got off. The tour guides radioed for an ATV to go out and pick her up. It all went very smoothly. At one point during the ride back, Jorge sang… he had a deep melodic voice that echoed through the valley and it was really really nice to listen to as we rode.

All too quickly, we were back at the ranch. We said goodbye to our horses and went to the open-air restaurant. Here we had ice cold cranberry juice waiting for us. Next thing we know, fresh chips and salsa were on the tables. Salsa was great! At that time, Jorge walked around serving shots of tequila to all the adults who wanted some. Once everyone had their drinks, we all toasted and yelled "ARRIBA" holding the glasses up high! Time for tequila! And boy was it smooth! So much so, many of us bought some to bring home. It was as good, if not better, than any of the top shelf tequilas I have had (although I should admit my experience is rather limited in the tequila world). Then we had a full lunch tray brought to us. Roasted chicken in a light tomato sauce, refried beans (really good, unlike any I had before), rice and another small dish which had cheese and beef on it. If you wanted beer, there were unlimited Coronas! Also during lunch a cowboy did a 5-10 minute rope-twirling demonstration.

Jorge brought around a sweet liqueur for tasting after lunch; but I passed. I figured the tequila was enough for early afternoon. Then we were back on the bus. Jorge went back around and said everyone's name again AND the name of the horse we had! He has quite a memory! Upon our request, he sang a number of songs… most of which he had us sing the chorus to. It made the ride back go even quicker.

All in all a fantastic time and one I enjoyed tremendously. For my first horseback riding experience was a BLAST!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 8:00 p.m. ship time.

Buenos Dias from Puerto Vallarta!

It's been a glorious day beginning with the sunrise and the Disney Magic docking at about 7:30 this morning. We've been going nonstop ever since.

I'll get right to the most exciting excursion offered — the Canopy Tour! Linda and Sharon met at Diversions at 9:45 a.m. with the other 11 adults who were taking the plunge!

Upon leaving the ship, they had a 5-minute open-air boat ride to the tours office. From there they boarded an open-air 4-wheel drive vehicle (which seats up to 14). They had an hour drive through the city and countryside, before turning off the paved road onto a dirt road and the Canopy site.

After being greeted by the guides, they received their equipment and listened to a safety lecture. All of your belongings (knapsacks, fanny packs, etc.) are placed in one huge bag and then locked in a locker. The guides put their equipment on them and they were cautioned NOT to touch a thing! Then a 5-minute walk up the hill to the diving board — where the first launch would take place!

Linda braved it out and went first, followed by tree hugger Sharon! The guide hooks you up to the line, you get in a sitting position in your harness with feet forward, and gravity just takes over….and there you go! One hand is behind and above you acting as your "brake." The other hand is holding the tethered line hooked to your harness.

As you approach the next platform the guide is facing you and giving instructions on whether to brake or keep coming. The guide catches you as you get to the platform, you stand up, get unhooked, get tethered to the tree and watch several folks come in, too!

Once being released, the adrenaline is soaring and you are screaming and yelling (at least Linda and Sharon were). Part of you is concentrating on form and what you need to do (or not do) from the safety speech. It was very, very smooth! The rough part was learning how to use your hand to brake properly.

If you brake too soon, as Linda and Sharon both did once, you just STOP in mid air! With that, you then have to turn around backwards, lean back and put one hand over the other to pull yourself to the platform. A short distance feels like it takes forever. While embarrassing, many folks seem to have this happen once.

There were nine lines of different lengths, and each of the lines had names like: Big Mama, Big Papa, Who's Your Daddy, Tarzan Swing, etc.

You can't take any photos of yourself or friends, as both hands have thick leather gloves on and you use both hands all the time you are on the line. The excursion company does take a video/DVD that you can purchase ($51 for DVD, $38 for VHS) which will be mailed to you in about three weeks. Cash or credit cards are accepted.

At the end, you have to rappel to the ground, about 80 feet or so. Once everyone was on the ground, you hiked back to the vehicle. The hike was very strenuous, the "worst" part of the whole excursion according to Linda and Sharon. It was about 20 minutes uphill all the way, over rocks. At the halfway point, everyone stopped for a water break.

Once back to the starting point, all equipment was turned in, more water was consumed, a restroom break was given, and it was time to order the video if you desired. After retrieving personal belongings, everyone got back in the vehicle and headed back to the boat (no boat ride).

It was exhilarating, exciting, fascinating, terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. You found your confidence building each time you did a line. It was great cheering on the other people on the tour. The guides were great fun and very knowledgeable.

One of the folks had done the tour in Costa Rica and felt this was much better!

Both Linda and Sharon recommend the experience to those in good physical condition! Linda is ready to go again now! Sharon, well…she'll think about it. 🙂

Overall, they both HAD A BLAST!!!!

Sandy took the Puerto Vallarta City Tour. This tour was given in an air-conditioned motor coach.

At first, all the guide wanted to do was go through the touristy area, and the expensive condos and resorts, but then they finally got out of the port area and into the city itself. She said that she wanted to show the contrast.

It was a nice tour of the town square, and they visited Our Lady of Guadalupe church, which is 100 years old, with marble floors. There were 4-5 tiers of flowers around the alter. The church was the pearl in the midst of a very old town. There is a crown of angels at the top of the main steeple of the church that lights up for special events.

Most of the tour was driving through narrow cobblestone streets. It traveled up the coast to Arch Rocks, which are rocks that look like islands in the middle of the water. Folks were snorkeling there as well. They saw where Night of the Iguana was filled in the '60s, and they drove by Richard Burton's house — the one that Liz got in the divorce. She since sold it and it is now a bed and breakfast.

Next was the El Patio restaurant, where they had a choice of beverage (soda, water, beer or coconut). This was nestled in the middle of beautiful vegetation — adobe or brick arbors and mango trees, almond trees, and lots of beautiful flowers. Made in front of your eyes, quesadillas were served up with guacamole, refried beans and salsa. The hosts were most gracious and made sure everyone had plenty to eat and drink.

Across from El Patio, was a completed house, one under construction, a burro and a horse, which made for very artistic photos of the contrast of new and old Mexico.

The guide, a local tribal Indian, provided narration of the tour and offered a lot of history and culture of Puerto Vallarta.

The tour went back down the mountain in the bus to a tile and pottery store. You could either find your way back to the ship on your own or board the motor coach to go right to the port. Sandy stayed at the shops and found some interesting small flea markets along the way back to the port. She found this tour to be very relaxing.

This tour took about four hours, and was very interesting and relaxing — not much walking involved unless you wanted to. Sandy said she would definitely recommend it for other cruisers!

(Still to come, Deb's first hand report of the Rainforest Horseback tour! This was lots of fun!)

Tonight is Pirates in the Caribbean Party Night! Already (it's 8 p.m.) I see folks running around in costume and with their Pirate bandanas on. I experienced this deck party on the Wonder in January, and it was definitely a high-energy event! I'm sure tonight will be no different!

There is no show tonight, but A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was showing in the Walt Disney Theatre at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m.

Tonight we turn our clocks back one hour. We depart Puerto Vallarta at 9:45 p.m., the time the Pirate deck party begins.

It's almost time for dinner, so I'll have to write later about my fun Horseback Riding excursion!

The one thing to note is that the Canopy and Horseback tour were both called Tropical Rainforest tours. We all expected lush vegetation and flowers. This wasn't the case. It was really neat in the valley, but not at all what I had in my mind as a rainforest. Just about everyone was disappointed by this. Nonetheless, we all had an incredible day!

Monday, May 30, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 10:30 p.m. ship time.

Tonight we move the clocks back an hour. This back and forth… my body doesn't know what time it is anymore!

It's been quite a busy day. Sea days are SO much fun and there is always a lot to do!

Some of the group I am traveling with went to watch The Incredibles on the big screen, while I went back to the room to download photos and try to find some good ones.

In case I didn't mention it already, this morning's sunrise was awesome! Not at all like the east coast; just gorgeous. I think I got some great shots to share with you next week.

I went to see Twice Charmed, the newest show on the Disney ships. It's a take-off on the Cinderella story, and brings in another villain. Think what would happen if all of the glass slippers broke before Cinderella got to try them on…

The four of us (all adults) thought the acting and singing were outstanding, but the plot just didn't do it for us. I spent time talking with lots of families, however, and all of them, kids and parents, loved it! I'm glad I saw it once, but won't go out of my way to see it again. If you have kids, especially girls, make sure to see it. There is a long scene where everyone is in black and white costumes and it's very striking. Several of the
young girls pointed this out to me, too. As the show draws to near to the end, all the black and white costumes transform to color… it's very cool.

At 5:15 p.m. was the Castaway Cay reception. There are over 700 return cruisers on this ship! Quite a number, though not the 1400 or 1500 that were on the repositioning cruise. The announcements were exactly the same ones mentioned on the 14-day cruise. When the Magic goes in for dry dock in the fall the main changes will include: Huge Movie Screen on Deck 9 for movies under the stars (which should be VERY cool), conference rooms on one of the lower decks will become expanded children's areas, and the exercise room will be expanded.

Prior to dinner we went to the adult lounge, Sessions. Had a chance to talk with one of the ladies who did the Martini Tasting yesterday, Bonita from Jamaica. Nice lady. So many of the cast members on the ship have children at home being taken care of by others. They work on the ship because the income is better.

Tonight's dinner was in Parrot Cay and we all LOVED the ribs! High marks also go to the Onion Soup and Grilled Veggies with Quinoa salad. There was a three-piece steel band playing during dinner. Our server Sachen, from India, performed more magic tricks for us — tonight they were card tricks. We had a good time with them.

I'm soon off to bed. Tomorrow we get to our first stop at Puerto Vallarta! It will be the first time a Disney ship is here and so I hope to get up for our docking around 7:30. It's a huge excursion day! Linda and Sharon of my travel party are doing the canopy excursion (zip lines through the rainforest). I am doing the Rainforest by Horseback! Look for reports tomorrow evening of our day.

It's been a wonderful cruise and I'm so glad to be here. I keep meeting folks and everyone is great! If you are on board and see me, please say hello!

Signing off after another fun and magical day!

Monday, May 30, 2005
Reporting live from the Magic at 12:30 p.m. Sea Time!

Our character breakfast at Parrot Cay was lots of fun. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy went around to the tables, and Chip and Dale did a couple of very lively song-and-dance routines. We really enjoyed them — they are always so much fun! I was a little disappointed that in one hour we saw very little of Mickey…but what can you do!

After that, I went right to the Ducky Williams talk in the Buena Vista Theatre. I was able to have my photo taken with him. He told the story of how he came to work at Disney. What persistence this man had! He spent years and years trying to get a job in Disney's art department. There were raffles at the end of the talk, and folks won original Ducky sketches that he created during his presentation. Moley won one of the pieces. I don't know the others who won but they were very happy! Ducky also told us he did a special litho for this cruise and we will get it at the end of the sailing.

This afternoon I will be going to the new show, Twice Charmed. I can't wait to see it!

8:30 a.m. ("Sea Time"!) We set the clocks an hour ahead again last night!

I'm happy to report that they finally got the ship warmed up last night and we saw many happy folks! The weather also cleared about mid-afternoon and the pools filled quickly.

To continue where I left off yesterday (Sunday): After I last reported in, we went to the 2:15 p.m. show of Golden Mickeys! It was filled with lots of kids, but they all quietly sat in their seats watching the show. I really like this show a lot and it's my favorite for sure. I also love the film clips of Walt and the appearance by Roy Disney.

At 4:15 we went to Sessions for the Martini Tasting. The lounge was filled with about 30-40 folks. We had two hosts who talked (one of whom was very funny) and we learned the history of martinis. We got five to taste for a $12 fee, and these were about 2-3 ounces each — enough to get a good sense of whether you'd like it or not. We had Melontini, Washington Appletini (made with Crown Royal), Raspberritini, Chocolatini and a Classic Gin Martini. There is another martini tasting later in the week. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. For me, it just confirmed I love a good ol' Grey Goose (vodka) martini with a lemon twist!

We went back to the cabin to rest and relax, and had room service deliver chicken tenders and a cheese platter so we could nosh before dinner. We then met friends in Cove Cafe for drinks before dinner. This is a really nice comfy place (adult only) up on Deck 9.

Dinner was in Animator's Palate tonight…which I always enjoy. It was also Formal Night and it was great to see everyone decked out in their fancy attire. We saw a number of men in tuxes and that always makes them so handsome. Complimentary cocktails were available since it was also the Captain's Welcome reception — Cosmos, Shirley Temples and one other drink.

The Sea Bass and Crusted Chicken/fettuccine entrees were both quite good! After dinner we went to the Golden Mickey After the Show Party. I don't know if this is new or not, but it was the first time I saw it.

The Deck 3 atrium was packed with people, and we and many others were on Deck 4 looking down. Two "disco" dancers and an emcee and loud music had the place rocking. There were complimentary drinks here as well on Deck 3. Everyone seemed to be dancing and when the Pointer Sisters' "Jump" played, everyone did jump — that floor must be really strong! After about 15 minutes of partying, the characters made their debut. Mickey and Minnie, Donald, and Chip and Dale were the ones who I could see. The grand finale was the hundreds of gold balloons coming down from above — it was a great sight! Unfortunately, one whole bunch of balloons stuck and they filtered down slowly but otherwise, it was a great time with lots of high energy and fun.

Once again, we pre-ordered room service coffee and muffins. When I woke up, I thought I had missed the sunrise as the Navigator said 6:47 a.m., but much to our delight, we watched the sun come up at 7:47 a.m. Guess someone forgot to tell the Navigator that we set the clocks ahead again last night.

Today, the sun is warm and beautiful, and there are some clouds. It looks to be a wonderful day. We enjoyed coffee on our verandah this morning (a navigator's verandah – my fave).

Today is our second day at sea and there is a ton to do. In fact, we have our Character Breakfast at 9:45 in Parrot Cay…so I may have to cut this short.

Today – three shows of Twice Charmed. We plan to go to the 2:30 p.m. show.

Experience the Magic Series
Art of Entertaining –
10:15 a.m. – Dazzling Desserts
2 p.m. – Cake and Plate Decorating

Navigator Series
1 p.m. – The Making of Disney Magic
2:45 p.m. – Art of the Theme Show Tour

Behind the Scenes
11 a.m. – Don Ducky Williams, senior Character artist for Disney will be giving a talk

There is also another Park West Art Auction, the Mickey 200 race, a Beer Tasting, Bingo, a Wine Tasting, Learn Latin Dancing and much more on the schedule.

I'm off to get ready for our Character Breakfast — more later!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

1:00 p.m. (UST – Unknown Standard Time!): I'm not sure what time zone we are in! We set the clocks ahead one hour last night.

Today is the first of our Days at Sea so that means lots of activities onboard. There was only one word for this morning — COLD! It was SO cold overnight and throughout the morning. The skies are cloudy and showers are expected this afternoon. As we got out and about this morning, we heard everyone complaining about how cold it is. I've never been this chilly on a Disney Cruise ship…no matter what time of year. Guest Services has been inundated with complaints…and they said they are working on it. Some folks are in the stores buying sweatpants because all they brought were shorts and dresses. Be sure to bring at least a pair of sweats and sweater or sweatshirt with you!

We had room service deliver coffee and muffins to us this morning, which was a nice way to begin the day. I had an 8 a.m. spa appointment for an Aroma Stone Massage. While these are more expensive then a regular massage, they are heavenly! The heat from the stones penetrates into your muscles and it is a much more thorough massage. The sad thing was the spa was also very cold this morning, even though they had the room temps turned all the way up. 🙁 But, if you want to do a splurge massage, I highly recommend an Aroma Stone Massage. It's a full body massage and I think I fell asleep during it — LOL.

I returned to the stateroom to shower and change for brunch at Palo! It's a champagne brunch with "divine" food, as our server described it! It is an additional $10 per person, which pays for the server's gratuity. You get a glass of champagne and all the food you can eat.

There are several stations and here is just a highlight of the offerings: Fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries with fresh whipped cream. All kinds of pastries and danish. King crab legs and claws and fresh shrimp. Caviar, grilled veggies, fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes, sun dried tomato salad, regular greens, smoked trout, smoked salmon, melon with proscuitto, and a wide array of gourmet meats. Then a cheese table with 5-6 kinds of cheese, several different kinds of crackers and breads. Desserts, including chocolate covered strawberries (awesome), lemon meringue pie, tarts, ricotta cheesecake and more.

Are you still with me? Then there are the hot items to order from your server! Four kinds of gourmet pizza including a unique hot fruit pizza topped with soft rich marscapone cheese! Want hot breakfast? Omelets to order, Eggs Benedict, Florentine and with salmon, pancakes. Two soups. Oh, and now the main entrees! Filet mignon, tilapia, oreccheti pasta with cheeses and broccoli and chicken parmesan. WHEW!

Lots of folks want to know what the movie schedule is, so here you go:

Saturday Around the World in 80 Days
Sunday Racing Stripes, The Incredibles, National Treasure
Monday Incredibles, National Treasure, Ice Princess, A Lot Like Love
Tuesday Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Taxi, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Wednesday Ice Princess, Princess Diaries 2, A Lot Like Love, The Incredibles
Thursday Finding Nemo, A Lot Like Love, The Pacifier
Friday Finding Nemo, Ice Princess, the Pacifier, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Today there are three showings of the Golden Mickeys show, 2:15 p.m. and then 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. At 10 p.m. is a special Golden Mickey After Party (the ceiling is full of golden balloons in nets!).

Adult Enrichment Series:
10:15 a.m. – Great Expectations – The Appetizer
2:00 p.m. Fruit Carving and Fabulous Cocktail Making Demos

The formal night is tonight with the Captain's Welcome Reception.

Our plans for the remainder of the day include the 2:15 p.m. showing of Golden Mickeys, a Martini Tasting, dinner and who knows what else!

In terms of special merchandise, there isn't much to say. There is ONE T-shirt for this inaugural cruise — white with navy lettering and the dates and ports of the cruise. That's it. And it's only $12! When have you seen a Disney T-shirt for $12? There are also some T-shirts, a tote bag and a sweatshirt for the generic west coast cruises.

There are hardly any pins on board. Cast Members say that they sold out during the last cruise. We can't seem to get a straight answer on a limited edition pin for this cruise. Yesterday they all said they didn't know. This morning one Cast Member told me to check my navigator for details. I asked if it was in today's, and he told me I'd have to read it myself! "Management told us that all we could say was to keep checking your navigator." I said I sure hoped there wouldn't be a fiasco as there was on the repositioning cruise. One cruiser (Moley) told me she heard it would be LE 1500 with one available per cabin. I hope that is right. More if I hear anything!

That about does it for now. The Internet cafe is now full with folks waiting, so I'll write later.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

11:50 p.m. (PST):What an incredible day this has been!

We started out for the port early, using Super Shuttle private van — meaning it was for us only. The cost was $79 from Disneyland to the Port of Los Angeles for the four of us. The driver was there on time and we were at the port before 10 a.m.

I've already reported on much of the port information. One thing that was different was that we boarded the ship on Deck 4 and then walked down the stairs to Lumiere's. The crew was there to help folks with their carry-on luggage.

We had lunch at Parrot Cay — the usual Disney Sail Away lunch buffet with shrimp and lots of other goodies.

After that, we headed to our cabin to unwind a bit before the mandatory safety drill. We were SO glad we were able to make our excursion, spa and Palo reservations online before we left home. It made today much more relaxing!

The safety drill was 15 minutes late and began at 4:15 p.m. Upon completion we hurried to return our life jackets, grab our Mickey ear caps and head upstairs. Soon Decks 9 and 10 became very crowded with hundreds of folks so excited about the cruise. The characters were out and the Disney Magic blew its horn about a dozen times. It seemed like hundreds lined the shores; there was the incredible boat display I mentioned earlier and the atmosphere was humming! Everyone was dancing and moving about the ship to catch a glimpse of what was next. As we finally left the port channel, a barge set off another fireworks display…and then the Magic was on her way.

We went back to the cabin and enjoyed some champagne and goodies before dinner.

We set our clocks ahead an hour tonight…so for folks coming from the East, it's another hour to catch up on. Tomorrow and Tuesday are sea days. I have a massage scheduled for the morning and then we have brunch at Palo.

We found many of our previous servers on the ship, which made for a great homecoming! Two of the folks remembered us from September 2003! We also saw Sasha, Putra and Head Server John.

Well, it's now midnight and time to close this chapter. What memories we all have from the sailaway.

'til the next installment…..

5:00 p.m. (PST):The Sail Away Party is underway! Our ship was escorted by a magnificent flotilla, which included a fireboat, coast guard cutters, sailboats and police cruisers! In the sky were two biplanes, both with banners — one red with the words "Disney Magic" and the other with "Disney Cruise Line – Inaugural West Coast Cruise." There were streamers, kites flying overhead, and even fireworks marking the event!

3:00 p.m. (PST):Upon entering our staterooms, we found that every cruiser had received a gold brimmed cap (with mouse ears!), a special Mickey Mouse bon voyage sign, and a beautiful red scarf, sporting the words, "Inaugural West Coast Cruise — May 28, 2005," all for the Sail Away Party scheduled for 4:45 p.m. How much fun will this be? Also, as Castaway Club members, we received a lovely commemorative blanket!

We also received the week's schedule:

Day/Port of Call


Evening Entertainment

Saturday –
Depart 5 p.m.

Sail Away Party

All Aboard – Let the Magic Begin
(Ventriloquist, Juggler)
Sunday –
At Sea

Character Breakfast
Formal Night
Captain's Gala
Golden Mickeys
Monday –
At Sea
Character Breakfast
Casual Attire
Twice Charmed
Tuesday –
Puerto Vallarta
Pirate Attire Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party
Wednesday –
Casual Attire Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer
Thursday –
Cabo San Lucas
Semi-Formal Night Disney Dreams
Friday –
At Sea
Character Breakfast
Casual Attire
Remember the Magic – A Final Farewell
Arrive Los Angeles
6 a.m.

12:30 p.m. (PST):Around 11:30 a.m., Captain Mickey and Sailor Donald arrived for photos. It's getting pretty crowded here, and the excitement is building — we should be boarding any minute!

11:00 a.m. (PST): We got to the port *very* early today in anticipation of all the events planned for Disney's first-ever west coast cruise — and waited..and waited — only to be told that the festivities wouldn't begin until later in the day! We did, however, see many of our friends who sailed on the repositioning cruise, leaving the ship laughing, smiling, and with happy tears!

Finally, at 10:20 a.m. (PST), the check-in process began. All the agents here are brand new, so things moved along efficiently but at a pretty slow pace. After the check-in was complete, we were sent to an entirely different area of the port, where a 4-piece Mexican band was playing, and where tables were set up for signing up for the children's activities.

Stay tuned — more to come!