Friday, December 1, 2017

Disney Cruise Planning: Countdown to our next cruise aboard the Disney Dream

83 days... but who's counting? Well, we are actually! We were excited to learn while we were at Walt Disney World in October 2017, that we were invited back to Disney Social Media Mom Celebration 2017. (You can check out a recap of our 2017 Disney SMMC experience HERE.) And after the initial squealing died down... the planning began!

2018 Disney Social Media Mom Celebration

The 2018 Disney Social Media Mom Celebration will again be a land and sea adventure, with three days at Walt Disney World and three days at sea, aboard the Disney Dream! Our family was especially excited to find out we would be cruising again, as we have had such a great time on our past cruises! They are a wonderful relaxing vacation for the whole family - and the kids love it because they get to feel very independent by getting to chose how much time they want to spend in the Kid's Clubs onboard and at Castaway Cay.

Cruise Prep and Planning

This will be our third Disney cruise, and our second cruise aboard the Disney Dream! The exciting thing is, they've added a number of wonderful new things, like the Beauty and the Beast stage show (our YouTube friend Allison just got a chance to get a sneak peak of the show, you can check out her review HERE), and we will also get another chance to catch things we missed on our first voyage - like the AquaDuck, believe it or not! And eating in the Enchanted Garden restaurant. (We had reservations at Palo on the night that our rotation went to that dining room.)

I'm planning on sharing a detailed Cruise Packing List, coming up soon... with some suggested items that we always like to bring along, and also what I've seen suggested that I found we could leave at home. What does planning look like at 83 days out?

Here are the things I'm focusing on right now!

Fish Extender

This will be our first time participating in a "Fish Extender" aboard a Disney Cruise. These started out as a fun  exchange between a few people aboard an early sailing, and turned into a mass organized thing that has become somewhat tradition with veteran cruisers. On our previous cruises, I didn't sign up for a Fish Extender Group (yes, I said "sign up" - there are typically Facebook groups for each sailing on a Disney Cruise which we join and within in those, they generally host or have a link to a "Fish Extender Group" that divides and then pairs people up with whom to exchange gifts) - I felt like I wanted to just focus on the cruise itself. Which was more than enough, I promise!

Now that we've been on a few cruises, I thought it would be a fun extra thing for the girls to take part in, to bring along small gifts for fellow shipmates, and in return potentially receive surprises back in our Fish Extender. The actual Fish Extender, is the hanging bag that is left outside a hook by your stateroom and can hold mail or other fun things left for you. These are completely optional of course, but a fun thing to participate in just like decorating your stateroom door.

Fish Extender Planning

At 83 days out, my plans for the next few weeks are to get our actual fabric bag, "Fish Extender", ordered from an Etsy vendor - so that it will arrive in plenty of time before our cruise. I've also already spent time researching fish extender gifts and have started narrowing down our choices with those. So I will as begin ordering those items, so that I know those things will be here in plenty of time before we leave as well.

My goal is to leave half of a suitcase available for fish extender items, although most things that we will be bringing along won't be too big or bulky. It never hurts to have extra room for souvenirs too though!

Disney Vacation Planning - What Else Will I Buy?

Since we've been on other cruises before, I don't have too many other items that I need to purchase pre-cruise. I will stock up on Bonine and Kid's Dramamine, preventative sea sickness medicine to bring along "just in case". I'll check our suntan lotion to make sure it is all well within the expiration date, and make a little travel wellness kit, with items such as bandaids, ibuprofen, sinus medicine, and other frequently used medicinal items. I'll also start taking note of what kind of travel items we may be running low on or need to replace, like special lotions or body washes that we like to have in travel size

Clothing wise, since we live in a warmer climate now - we are pretty covered for warm weather clothing. I may pick up one or two special outfits for the conference portion, and an extra Disney shirt or two for the girls. One thing we do tend to do right before a Walt Disney World trip is buy newer tennis shoes and spend a few weeks breaking those in at home before we go, so we have newer shoes with good support - but not brand new, along with a few other specific planning items to going to Walt Disney World. I'll save the rest of those tips for a Walt Disney World planning post though.

Seeing Good Friends

Planning aside... One of the best parts about getting to go to conferences like Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, is seeing the friends we know in the social media community! Our friends from Jones Family Travels will also be at Disney SMMC again this year, and we're looking forward to meet up with our fellow YouTube buddies! They are also avid cruisers and own a travel agency, so they KNOW travel! They also are easy going and love to have a fun time, so we always have fun when we get together!

Check out some of their cruising videos here:

All in all, it will be an awesome vacation, with lots of awesome people. I'm looking forward to sharing our preparation process and experience that we have while we are there! Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is truly a unique event with lots of surprises along the way, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us this year!

** This post was sponsored. All opinions are my own.

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