Adventures Of Fatherhood – March 24, 2017

Adventures Of Fatherhood – March 24, 2017
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I don’t know if I’m a cruise person or not, but I have come to realize I’m definitely a Disney Cruise Line person.

We went on our second Disney cruise in as many years last week and the experience was wonderful once again. We had such a great time last year we booked another one onboard.

It was unquestionably our most relaxing vacation to date as a family, thanks to Disney’s mission to provide constant entertainment and observation for the children. Their commitment to the kids resulted, in our case, in two happy parents who rarely get time to themselves to relax.

Some other highlights included:

•What was initially frowned on turned out to be a blessing.

On our last Disney cruise, we were seated by ourselves, but this time we were with another family of four. I’m sure I didn’t mask my disappointment when we were initially sat with the strangers.

By the end of the cruise, the four adults were sitting at one end of the table and the four kids were doing their thing at the other end.

As luck would have it, or maybe it was Disney magic, this family had two boys about the same age as ours. Like our family, the youngest boy had special needs. His disabilities required a wheelchair. It was a great experience for our sons to meet him and see how he overcomes his challenges in life. The little boy named Xavier was inspiring to our family.

All four boys got to know each other well over the week and hung out together on their own in the supervised kids club. Our boys even pushed him in the wheelchair several times.

As we were leaving on the last day of the cruise and exchanged our goodbyes, Beckett turned to Xavier and yelled, “Keep on being the beast that you are in that wheelchair dude.” Xavier smiled and gave him the thumb’s up.

It was a magical match for both families.

•Prior to vacation, we were excited by the Star Wars Day At Sea. By lunchtime, that was no longer the case.

The sheer volume of boys engaged in lightsaber battles throughout the day wore on our patience. Everywhere we turned boys were swinging all models of sabers, resulting in Beckett of course wanting to join the fray. He wore us down by mid-afternoon and I spent two hours in the lobby area watching him in lightsaber duels with his new friends. At one point, the roaming Ewoks even got into the mix.

Disney took this special day at sea seriously and went all out. All the staff donned suitable costumes for the occasion. Rather than having the classic characters, like Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, roaming the ship like a normal day, it was the traditional Star Wars characters making the rounds.

After a week of hugging and chasing down friendly characters for hugs and photos, Carson was taken aback when Boba Fett did not greet him as kindly. Carson went in for a big hug and Boba Fett moved away. Carson nearly fell to the ground because his hugs are really more like desperate lunges requiring him to essentially be caught by the recipient.

Instead of catching Carson, he simply waved his finger at Carson and shook his head “No.” When we asked for a photo, he obliged but reluctantly. He then went on his way startling other kids wandering around in excitement.

•Pam and I treated ourselves to on-board massages during one of the days at sea. To ensure we had kid coverages, we booked them at separate times.

When I was called back to my room, I mistakenly responded to “Steve” when the attendant called out. On board based on how I booked the cruise, I went by my first name “James” for everything. I forgot about this and therefore out of habit went back to the room when “Steve” was called.

As I walked into the room, I wandered what I had gotten myself into. I immediately realized that I was not the intended Steve when another man popped up off the table and said, “that’s not my Steve.” There I was standing in my robe confused. Apparently there was a couple’s massage planned for the room. After we cleared up that confusion over the names, I turned to walk out and the real “Steve” came rushing down the hall with shopping bags in hand, apologizing to his partner for being late for their massage.

I went back to the waiting room until “James” was called.

•The last full day of our cruise was reserved for a day at Disney’s own island, Castaway Cay, in the Bahamas.

Since Pam and I were planning to run a 5K in the morning, we dropped the kids off at the outside club area reserved for the children only. It’s great fun for them, as there’s plenty of staff and games to keep them entertained.

After we ran the race, we started feeling parental guilt for not enjoying the last day of vacation with them. When we went to check on them, we were greeted with disappointment. Neither of them wanted to leave because they were having so much fun. Each had made new friends and they all wanted to stay together.

We were fine with that and then asked for directions to the “adult-only beach.” Our idea was if we weren’t going to be with our kids, there was no reason to be around anybody else’s.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.