April 28, 2011

The Pollen Allergy Cure

It's spring and that can only mean ONE thing Tyler's allergies are flaring up bigtime.  The culprit?
He is like a lot of people this time of year, it's estimated that 35 million people in the US alone have a pollen allergy.
I wouldn't send him in a field of flowers but there is not much you can do to stop the bees.
He takes medication for it but I feel the only way to stop the allergies is for one man to build something
It's time for Dr. Doofenshmirtz to build an Antipollendepollenator

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 27, 2011

Disney-ed out?

Could it really be possible?

Could my boys one day not want anything to do with Disney World?

I got an email from a friend this morning who is currently visiting Disneyland in California and she said that her family is Disney-ed out. Somehow the magic is no longer there like it was the first couple of times they went with their daughters. They have not been to a Disney related property nearly as much as we have, but they have had there share over the years. My oldest son claims to have been to Disney 17 times, that includes Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, not to mention trips on the three Disney Cruise Ships, The Magic, The Wonder, and The Dream. He is turning seven in July. You get the idea, my son is spoiled.  His life without Disney?  No way!

We go a lot because it's fun, not only for them, but for us. I look forward to the annual Food and Wine Festival every fall as much as any trip we take throughout the year. Trips to Disney can be daunting for families as it seems years are spent planning one magical vacation. Really, it is an easy trip. Granted we own too much Vacation Club, which makes planning a little easier, and my wife's family has been going there for years, but a trip to Disney should not require three ring binders full of information about where to eat, where to watch fireworks, or where to sleep. There are message boards full of people requesting information on how to visit all of Disney Parks. I can see that burning people out, all the effort put into the trip and not getting as much in return.  The idea that my kids could one day not care to go is something I can't even comprehend, although I am sure that day will come.
Tyler flexes with The Incredibles
There was a point a couple of years ago that Tyler showed zero interest in the Disney characters, and honestly it was the most depressing vacation we have ever been on. Here was a boy that LOVED the characters and whose favorite show on TV was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and he was over it. It was as if someone shoved a dagger in our hearts. We had just bought Vacation Club property, Disney's version of timeshare, and our son was telling us by the way he acted that he didn't want to go there again. It was a great investment on our part if that was the case.  Fortunately for us he got over that the next time that we went and he was back to his normal self.

My friends email this morning got me thinking about that time, and the inevitable point in our lives that Disney will no longer be the big part that it is today. My kids will grow up and start wanting to go to the park across town, Universal. Tyler has begun reading the Harry Potter books and I can see that day coming sooner rather than later. I don't know how I am going to react when Tyler no longer wants to pose with Mickey Mouse, I might just cry that night.
The family with Mickey... Carter still scared
So is it be possible that MY boys could get Disney-ed out. Sure but hopefully that day doesn't happen anytime soon.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 26, 2011

Walk the Line

I think lines were only put on this Earth for kids to walk on them. I don't know what it is about a kid walking on a line that just seems so innocent. Arms stretched out as if falling off will lead them to instantly be swallowed by whatever monster lurks below. I catch my kids doing it all the time, and I don't know at what point it goes from being cute and innocent to just plain weird.

There are lines everywhere; the mall, parking lots, baseball fields, coloring books, kids are exposed to them everywhere they go.  You never see a kid purposely NOT  walking on lines, they always DO.  There is also something to be said about a checkerboard like floor too, how many kids only walk on one color?  I know mine do.  Why is that?  Is the world going to be thrown in to complete disarray if more than one color is walked on.

Maybe it has to do with that fact that as kids so much of their lives revolve around lines.  Think about it, in coloring we always tell them to stay in the lines.  In school you are always asked to stand in a straight line whenever you go anywhere.  In tic-tac-toe the winner gets three in a straight line.  As an adult we HATE lines and would do anything to avoid them.  The DMV, the grocery store, toll booths, you name it we always look for the shortest line and do whatever in takes to not have to deal them.  Once you get responsibilities of your own lines can be quite a burden.  They are everywhere and choosing the right one can be a problem.

Kids don't have many responsibilities and choices to make, so lines are just something you walk on.  There may not be monsters looking to eat them on either side of the line, but there can be some pretty bad influences out there.  I guess it's my job as a dad to make sure that they choose the right lines and stay on them, and to be there if they do fall off.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Time to trot out the celebrities and the politicians planting trees in the name of protecting the environment. Earth Day I think was only invented to let famous people hype themselves. Remember the old adage, "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well, in this case it should be, "if a celebrity plants a tree and no one is there to see it did it really happen?"

I worked in Television News for almost 15 years, still do off and on, and I can't tell you how many of these nonsensical tree plantings or garbage removal photo ops I have been to over the years. You have to understand one thing it's not like these people are constantly planting trees or picking up trash everyday, they do this for the 15 minutes that the cameras are there. They put on this little dog and pony show, to make you think that they actually care. Trust me, after they plant their tree or pick up some phony garbage placed on the road by their PR people they hop in their giant SUVs and head to the airport to fly home in their private jets. No one rides a bike to these events or paddles a canoe. Last I had heard it takes a lot of gas to fly big planes and drive big cars.

Why do they do it? Certainly in the case of a politician they want you to think that they are at the forefront when it comes to protecting the environment, but all they really care about is convincing you to vote for them in their next election. It's that way with every little rally and every little tree planting. I've been there, I've seen them. Next time you see one planting a tree in their own backyard without the presence of a camera will be the first time.

Lets stop this Earth Day charade and do something about saving the environment everyday. Have our elected leaders take the money buying shovels and setting up these photo ops and put it to good use like actually buying a tree to plant it. I will do my part to tell my kids what they can do to make a difference, only I won't make a mockery of the whole day.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 20, 2011

Common Ground

There is something about a playground that brings out the best in every kid. It could be in Paris, coastal Italy, rural Germany, or even suburban Washington and you'll notice EVERYONE gets along. I have not been to a playground yet in my travels where kids were screaming at each other, throwing rocks, or shouting political slogans. Somewhere along the way in the course of growing up we have lost our sense of unity.

Playgrounds are different in different places but they all have one thing in common, kids having fun. My boys have been on playgrounds seemingly all over the world and not once did any child look at them like they were some sort of alien. Sure there is a language barrier but it doesn't take much to play chase. I remember being along the Mosel River in Germany and we stopped at a playground that had a zip line and some climbing stuff that we hadn't seen before in the states. Tyler was all of three at the time and lo and behold there was a German girl who wanted to play with him. She didn't ask him for his nationality or religious affiliation, in fact she didn't even speak english and all she wanted to do was play. It was the same thing in Paris, no one cared where we were from, they just wanted someone to run around with. We made a point on a trip to Italy to find "altalenes" and "scivolos". If you want to find the heart and soul of a country, go straight to the swings and the slides. There is nobody there that will look down on you or discriminate based on where you are from.

I am reminded about all of this as I sit at a playground in Ashburn, Virginia, nobody there knows where we are from. New Jersey might as well be China for all these kids know, and all they want to do is play. I think the worlds problems can be solved at the playground. Bring all the worlds leaders together and stick them there, let them chase each other down the slide and push each other on the swings, let them take a lesson from a kid. The worlds problems might be pushed aside for only a moment, but what a moment that would be.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 18, 2011

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Hersheypark is one of those places that you know that you have been there but you can't remember when. It seems that way with a lot people I know, they can recall going there as a kid but for the life of them can't remember how long ago that was. I know we went because my mom still has a magnet on her fridge of the Super Duper Looper, you know the one that turns Hersheypark upside down.
From what I can remember a lot has changed in the past 25 plus years since I last went. They have certainly added a lot of new attractions but it still retains that small park feel despite the huge crowds. While some rides have come and gone, one ride I think we all remember is The Comet, the grand old wooden roller coaster. It's still there as beautiful as ever.
Tyler is at the point in his childhood that he is getting too big for the kiddie rides, although he will ride them for Carter's sake, but he is too small for the big kid rides. The Comet just so happens to be a ride that is perfect for him, and a ride that WE can go on together.
He can't quite go on all of the roller coasters just yet so I still have to sneak out and get on them when I can. I love amusement parks and I especially love the thrills rides. As I have gotten older though and had kids of my own, I have found I get more enjoyment from watching the kids go on their own rides like the swings.
We have certainly been guilty in the past of taking them places they won't remember. Places like the Colosseum and Chambord will only be things they see in pictures. We have the memories of Tyler dressed as a Gladiator in Rome and the boys with their swords and shields in France, things that WE will always remember. Thirty years from now they will take THEIR kids to Hersheypark and they might not recall WHEN they went. My only hope is they remember that they did.
Tyler drew what he remembered of the day

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 16, 2011

How I Met Your Mother

Before we get into things, I am not going to get into what a great show this is (it is, please get rid of Zoe though) I am merely stealing the title from the show and a friend of mines blog with the same name.  I would think this title would get your attention a little more than what I would have liked to call it, "Timbo the Clown and his Collie Bailey."  Seriously, if you saw that other title you probably wouldn't have given it a second look but I will get into that other title later.   With Easter fast approaching I am reminded of a day 15 years ago, a day that would change my life forever.

Our Wedding Day October 22, 2000
Everyone has a story about how they met their better half, some are more interesting than others; bars, grocery store, work, gym, wherever.  Well I did meet my wife at work but it almost didn't happen.  It turns out in the early spring of 1996 there was a job opening at a small TV station in Elmira, New York for a reporter/ photographer.  I had made a phone call to the very intimidating News Director at the time John Herrick and set up an interview, surprisingly for the next day.  I didn't know at the time what a dump this place would be, but to this day it's still the best three months that I worked in television.  When I walked in for the interview, I passed a young woman in the hall, not really paying any attention to her as I was a little bit nervous about the interview.  Little did I know, that a decision made by her opened the door for me to start my career as a news photographer.  She had interviewed right before me and decided not to accept his offer of employment and decided to just go back to school go on vacation and figure things out.  I was offered the job, pretty much the moment I sat down.  Fast forward two weeks and that young lady is now working at the station.  It turns out the place is like a revolving door for people in our business.  You get in, make a resume tape, and get the hell out of there as soon as you can.  When another opening came about, she was offered the job again, and this time she took it.  Thank God she did because it was the day before Easter 1996, April 6th to be exact, that our two paths crossed again.  That was the day that I officially met my future wife, and the mother to my two kids.

Summer on Seneca Lake 2010
We were assigned the typical nonsense story that day.  Not much happens on the weekend in a rural upstate New York town, so the big story of the day was the Horseheads Easter Carnival.  I know what you are thinking, there IS actually a place called Horseheads.  It's a lovely place, a place I hold dear to my heart, if for no other reason than its the place that I was introduced to my wife.  Obviously at the time we did not know that day would mean much more than seeing the star of the Carnival, Timbo the Clown.  To this day Timbo the Clown still pops into our heads, and it's usually with some deep television reporter voice that we say, "Timbo the Clown and his Collie Bailey kicked off this preEaster celebration."  I will show you why in a minute.  We spent the day together, pretty much goofing around asking people what they were making for Easter dinner.  Our other big assignment was to find out if people were eating Turkey or Ham.  I know this place sounds ridiculous but for those that have worked in small town TV you know what I am talking about.  We still ask each other around the holidays if we would like ham or spiral ham.  So much of our lives revolve around that one weekend in early April.

I guess that Timbo the Clown was the original Neil Clark Warren, without even knowing it.  He's the eharmony guy for those not in the know.  It's hard to believe that day was 15 years ago and how much has changed since.  We dated, got married, had kids, bought a house and I still have my partner in crime.  If you told me that day this is how life would have turned out, I would have signed on the dotted line for even half of it.

There are four days in my life I will never forget:  My wedding day, the day Tyler was born, the day Carter was born, and the day before Easter 1996.  Without that day none of the others would have happened.   I will always look back to that day 15 years ago as the day Timbo the Clown and his collie Bailey came into my life and more importantly as the day I found someone to share that memory with.  What about Timbo the Clown you ask?   Funny thing!  It's not too often you find video of the day you met.
It's hard to believe that reporter did not make it all the way to the network level, but I think she is doing fine anyway.  We still get through Horseheads a few times a year on the way to my parents house.  I always wonder what happened to Timbo and his dog, he is surely dead by now, the dog I mean.  Do you have a story like this?  I would love  to know how you met your other half.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 15, 2011

Daddy's Rules of the Road

It's time for spring break and the family has decided it's time for a road trip.  This one will certainly be a nightmare extra special as we are joined by my in laws.  I have yet to go on a road trip with them, so this is an entirely new experience.  I should let them know there are a few basic rules that they must follow in order to make me, the driver, happy.  I always drive because as the website states Daddy's in Charge.

  1. There will be NO stopping.  I can't stand waiting on a road trip I just want to get there.  That means we don't stop at any farm stands or big balls of twine.  WE ARE NOT STOPPING.
  2. If the GPS says we can get there at 5:14, we are going to get there by no later than 5:09.  We all know that the GPS is programmed to follow the speed limits and does not take things into account like the prevailing winds, the ocean currents, or a lead foot.  What does this mean?  See Rule #1
  3. There will be no eating in the car.  We will not get off the highway, to stop at any McDonalds or Wendys.  The last thing I want to find on the floor of my car is a year old french fry.  You will only be allowed to eat what I pack, but since you are not allowed to eat in the car, I guess you are out of luck.  See Rule #1.
  4. I don't care if you have to go to the bathroom, you can hold it until we get there.  Otherwise you are going to have to wait until I am done with my Diet Mountain Dew.  You can use the bottle.  See Rule #1.
  5. The radio is mine.  There is no way I am listening to anything from the 60's or the 70's.  It's all 80's or sports talk on the way to our destination.  If you don't like it, buy an ipod and take the bus next time.
  6. I don't want to hear about how close I am driving to the car in front of me.  Trust me I can see that car 300 feet in front, we are not going to hit it, and a wheel is not going to fly off of it and crash into our window.  There will be no "oohs" or "yeeshes" or any "watch outs" from anyone in the vehicle.  The only time I will stop is to let you walk the rest of the way.
  7. We get there when we get there.  It's not going to get us there any sooner if you keep asking me how much longer it's going to take.  If we follow Rule #1 we will get there sooner rather than later.
  8. Traffic is our enemy.  It slows us down, it pisses us off, and there is nothing worse than sitting in traffic.  It does not help out with Rule #2 in any way.
  9. We will not sing songs a la The Brady Bunch.  See Rule #5
  10. I don't care how far below E the gas gauge is, we have enough to get there.  Gas Stations are an evil little distraction on the road where a simple 5 minute stop turns into half an hour.  Every stop at a gas station goes against Rules #1, 2, 3, and 4 and I AM NOT STOPPING.

They are simple rules and easy ones to follow.  I don't know how my in laws will go for them but as long as they know that I am NOT stopping we should be OK.  No leg of the trip is more than 2.5 hours long so hopefully the only rule we will have to follow is RULE #1.  If they are something that you can't deal with, we will take two cars next time.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 14, 2011

My Better (Much Better) Half

It's not everyday that your wife is plastered all over the news. From Yahoo finance, to The Street, to CNBC, she is everywhere. My wife just got a big promotion at work and we could not be more proud. I never fully understand what she does but for her to be recognized in this way is just awesome. She has sacrificed a lot over the years to get where she is today and it seems that hard work has not gone unnoticed. The following is a press release from AOL, but you could google her and get all the same information, how cool is that?

New York, NY – April 14, 2011 – AOL Advertising today announced that Jennifer Willey has been named Industry Practice Head for the CPG and Health categories. Willey will be responsible for partnering with sales leadership to execute a national industry-specific strategy in the two categories, in addition to playing an active role in generating new business. She will also represent AOL at industry events providing insights and trends in the industries. She will be based in the New York office.

Five Industry Practice Heads, including CPG/Health, Travel, Automotive, Finance and Entertainment, were announced today as part of the newly formed Industry Development team led by John Burke who joined AOL earlier this year. Technology and Retail Industry Practice Heads will be named in the next month.

“The Industry Development team is the next evolution of our strategy to be the most customer centric sales team in the marketplace,” said John Burke, Senior Vice President, Global Sales Strategy. “The Industry Practice Head brings domain expertise, strategic vision and significant client experience in their respective categories.”

Burke continued, "Jennifer Wiley is a big picture strategic thinker with enormous passion for the Consumer Packages Goods and Healthcare industries. She understands how these industries work, the challenges they face as marketers in the digital age and what is important to them moving forward.
I am excited to see how she will engage with the industry in new and innovative ways to drive premium advertising experiences around compelling content, products and customer interactions."

Willey joined AOL in 2010 as Health Category Sales Director, overseeing sales, account management and strategy for Pharmaceutical and Consumer Healthcare advertisers across the US. Prior to joining AOL, Willey held various roles in sales and management at Everyday Health, RealAge (a division of Hearst), Yahoo and TV Guide. She has been solely focused on creating innovative digital solutions for Health and CPG brands for the last decade.

“I’m thrilled to be recognized as a leader in the CPG and Health industries and honored to take on this leadership position at AOL to build out and execute our national strategies,” said Willey. “AOL is devoted to creating innovative, strategic platforms, products and solutions for marketers. My in-depth experience and deep roots with clients will help me thrive in this new role.”

A big congrats to my better half, a great wife and a wonderful mother.  I love you so much and could not be more proud of you.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 13, 2011

Cleanup in Aisle Seven

There is nothing I hate more than going to the grocery store. It always seems you spend over a hundred dollars and all you walk out with is a new bottle of ketchup. I hear they actually have food that you can eat but it only seems like I freeze everything that I just bought, and yet I never thaw anything out. If it doesn't end up in the freezer it goes in the pantry, never to be heard from again. I looked in there the other day and I had 35 boxes of pasta, 17 cans of tuna fish, and half a box of bran flakes. What actually am I buying and where does it all go? I have no idea, but you can't live off boxed macaroni and cheese as much as my boys would tell you otherwise.

I hate the little grocery store games you have to play. It's harder to find a melon than it is to find the Loch Ness Monster. Some people shake them, tap them, or toss them in the air. I, not wanting to feel left out, do a combination of the three. I have no idea how that tells someone that a melon is ripe, but if everyone is doing then it must tell you something. Then you've got the eggs. How many cartons do I have to go through before I can find an actual dozen. It seems like they are all broken or missing an egg. Someone really needs to be in charge of these throughout the course of the day. My brother-in-law once came to our house with what was supposed to be a dozen eggs, only to find out two were missing and three were broken. Of course there is always the coupon thing, I have the time to do it but have ZERO desire to do so. I once saved $45 with coupons but I don't know how much I actually spent in getting them. It felt like quite an accomplishment at the time, but I am not sure it's one I could replicate every week. Then there is the shopping cart thing I won't get into as to not offend any more women.

In order to make the shopping experience more enjoyable however, I bring my kids whenever I have the chance. For some reason they enjoy it much more than I do, and there is something about seeing Carter trying to lift a gallon of milk that puts a smile on my face. I know a lot of people can't get anything accomplished with the kids in tow, but I have never had that problem. Maybe since I have been taking them with me wherever I go, they have gotten used to it. It's alway good to have someone push the shopping cart so I can focus on what I need to get.
Of course we do end up getting a few more things than we normally would, but that's OK. Just having the boys along is worth the extra money spent on candy bars and cigarettes chips.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 12, 2011

My Tuesday Starring Legos

There is a day to day monotony involved with being a stay at home parent.  It's not all glitz and glamour like it's portrayed in the movies.  You haven't seen those movies?  Well, trust me it's not all that exciting. Except for Tuesday when Carter tagged along with me to get some much need errands done.  Looking back I should have left him with my mother-in-law.

The Movie

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 11, 2011

Finding Nemo

My little guy LOVES the pool. Not unlike a lot of kids his age he would sleep in there if he could. Monday nights are swim class night for us, and it is something Carter very much looks forward to. We decided to put the boys in private swim lessons just to give them more time in the pool. In the group lessons there is more time sitting on the edge of the pool than actually swimming in it.
It seems our decision has paid off, as Carter has really taken a liking to the water. Over the past few months he has gone from someone who was really cautious in the water, to a kid who looks more like a fish. Sure he might look really goofy with his goggles on but since he put those over his eyes he really has started to excel in the water.
Today he decided he would swim THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE POOL, not once but four times! For you and I that would be a hundred yards and most likely the death of me, but for a four year old who is barely three feet tall it's gotta be like swimming a mile! Do we have a future Michael Phelps on our hands? I think right now we are closer to Nemo, but I wouldn't put anything past this little guy.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


What I Learned This Weekend

Here are just some of the things I learned or picked up over the weekend.

When reviewing my blogs stats Sunday I noticed that one of the searches someone did to find my site was for "hairy daddy." I tried to replicate this search in Google but could only find porn sites. Great, what are people thinking when they are looking for my site, a big hairy daddy in charge? Since I couldn't find the site through Google, I realized that someone used "ask.com" to find my site. So I learned two things from this, there are perverted people out there searching for hairy daddies and that ask.com still exists. Why anyone does not use google or yahoo, I don't know. (disclaimer: my wife works at AOL so you should all be using their search engine)

A trip to the amusement park revealed quite a bit this weekend. I am officially old, Dippin' Dots is no longer the ice cream of the future, now it's just ice cream. I guess that the future is now, making me an old man.  Somewhere along the way the present and the future collided.  I never thought that I would be able to see the future, but apparently I can.

I can go on roller coasters called Nitro and Steel Force but I can't go on rides called Road Runner Railroad. First of all, I barely fit and second of all every time the train hits a bump my back is perfectly positioned in the car to absorb it. I have never been in as much pain getting off a ride than I was exiting this death trap. Of course the kids wanted to ride it THREE TIMES IN A ROW! Who's in charge here anyway?

Back on the roller coaster point, Nitro is hands down the BEST roller coaster that I have ever been on. This roller coaster has no flips, it's just sheer speed and hills. It really gives you the sense that you are flying. Everytime I ride it I exit with a smile in my face, I can't say that about a lot of other roller coasters. If you would like to experience it for yourself, take a look.

Finally, my in laws will fall asleep anywhere. It's something that we have had to deal with since I have known them. One minute they are wide awake and you are having a conversation with them and the next you realize that you are talking to yourself. You just never know when they are going to decide to take a nap. Here they are in the middle of Great Adventure, a convenient place to take a rest if you ask me.

Oh yeah we bought a car too, but there will be much more to come on that in the future.  I don't know if I completely learned anything from that I didn't already know.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


April 8, 2011

The Disney Dream Extended Review Part 5... Ports of Call

When you sail out of Port Canaveral on a three day or four day cruise there really is not too many places that you can go.  The obvious is The Bahamas.  I am not a big fan of the country as I just think that it is a dirty place especially now that half of the main port area in Nassau was destroyed by fire.  Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise as they have the opportunity to rebuild something beautiful.  Disney's other stop on this cruise is their fantastic private island Castaway Cay, which couldn't be further from Nassau in terms of beauty and things to do.


There is really only one place to go when visiting Nassau and that is The Atlantis, and the Atlantis knows this.  It's the only way to explain as to why I had to sell my youngest child just to step foot inside the door, IT IS EXPENSIVE!  I was lucky enough to get discounted tickets to explore all that this resort had to offer, but it was still $60 per person.  There is no way that I would have spent $120 to step inside this enormous hotel.  Don't get me wrong, the place is beautiful with some of the nicest grounds to a resort that I have seen in my life.  However at the price you pay you should be getting a little more in return than having the ability to NOT get a beach chair and paying $20 for a sandwich.  We were unfortunately shut of of the lounge chairs as we didn't realize that it was going to take a full hour from the moment we stepped out of our cab to find the place to buy our tickets.  Did I mention the place is enormous?  I swear I feel like I am still walking.

After getting our tickets it was another 45 minutes to get to the pool we wanted to go to, as you have to then snake your way through the Aquarium, which I will say is quite nice.  If you are going to do this excursion it might be worth it to spend the extra money through Disney as i am sure that it will cut down on time spent trying to find where you are going.  There are a ton of things to do here like snorkling, kayaking, and swimming at the beach and pools but is it all worth the price, I don't know.  It seemed to me that by the time we finally got to our little table to put our stuff on, which took a while, we had to turn around and head back to the ship.  They need an easier way to get to Atlantis and the rumor is that there is going to be a bridge built from the port to the hotel.  Of course this will probably just raise prices, you might have to sell BOTH of your kids just to step inside.  Needless to say on our subsequent three day cruise we stayed on the boat and so, it seemed, did everyone else.


This is where all cruise lines wish they were Disney.  There is no better island in the cruise world than what they have to offer.  If they would let me, I would put a little bungalow on the other side of the island and call this place home.  I mean seriously Disney think of the possibilities of having me as a full time resident!  Castaway Cay is just begging me to be a castaway on this island.  There is no lack of things to do here, from jetskiing, to parasailing, to snorkeling, to biking, or just plain relaxing and building a sandcastle, Disney has it all covered.  I have heard complaints from people saying that there weren't enough lounge chairs at the beach, especially with the larger amounts of people visiting but we didn't find that to be the case.  We got off the boat a little later than some and still were able to get a couple of chairs and pull them right up to the waters edge, I didn't see a problem there.

For those that have never been to this island you are in for quite a treat, it really is the perfect beach vacation spot.  There are no waves, the water is relatively warm, the sun is plentiful, and they serve you lunch.  When you get off the boat you have two options; you can walk or you can take the tram.  Now if you have your stroller or you just want to take in the island I suggest you walk, its really not that far to get to the beach or wherever you might want to see.  That being said if you don't feel like walking, take the tram.  You are on vacation afterall.

Grab a chair, grab a cocktail, grab your snorkel, the day is limitless as to what you can do.  While this is a great beach to go to if you have kids, part of me wishes that I could experience everything that it has to offer without kids.  Remember in other reviews how I said don't go on this cruise if you don't have kids, well this is one place you can go and have a great time.  We like to play on the beach and dig a giant hole and let the kids figure out how to get out, I should have dug a little deeper and ran off and did the things I wanted to do.  Unfortunately someone had to watch the kids, bummer.  However, if my kids would have let me I could have put them in the Island version of kids club, Scuttles Cove.  Seriously kids mommy and daddy aren't that much fun to be around.  While my kids would rather spend time with us I know most kids LOVE going to these beach hangouts.

There are plenty of things you can do as a family, like renting snorkels, floats, tubes, kayaks so the fun is limitless.  Now my kids were a little young for snorkeling, we did find that Disney recently added a huge water slide, Pelican Plunge, in the ocean that is just as much fun for us as it was for them. The only problem is that it is a good 100 feet out to the "floating" platform.  We could tow our kids out there, floatation devices are provided free of charge, holy cow! so you don't have to worry about little Susie and Jimmy sinking to the bottom of the ocean.  Its pretty neat, the lines weren't too long but I could see people getting a little chilly out there if there was any sort of wind.

There are also tons of character greetings all over this island, I can't say that we waited very long to get our pictures taken, definitely not as long as we waited on the boat.  Characters are a touchy subject around our house as our oldest loves them and before this trip my youngest would scream bloody murder at the very sight of them.  That being said the magic of the island brought out the best in him as we actually got pictures of him for the first time in three years with these Disney greats.  God bless Castaway Cay, it now makes our lives that much easier.

There are plenty of places on the island to get yourself a cocktail.  You are on vacation after all, so you might as well get yourself an island treat, in fact get yourself two and tell them I sent you.  They will probably give you a confused look like they have no idea who I am, but thats their way of just playing with you.  While you are at it get your kids a beverage as well, thankfully my kids have never complained when I wanted to saddle up to the bar.  They seem to enjoy it as well, just go easy on the rum.  Lunchtime is served Bar-b-que style.  Hot dog, hamburgers and ribs are the order of the day.  While its not Cabanas and their unlimited supply of shrimp, it's certainly an enjoyable meal.  I actually like the change of pace from all of the formality on the boat.  Seeing everyones faces plastered with bar-b-que sauce certainly makes for a more enjoyable meal, at least for me.

There is one area that I am sure people will have questions about, the Cabanas.  Now I don't know about you but the idea of paying $500 to have a little structure above your head when you are AT THE BEACH seems a little steep to me.  Granted you get your own section of beach and maybe a place to put a sleeping kid in, but that just seems crazy.  I could think of way better things to spend my money on, but if you have the money go for it.  I hear it comes with a refrigerator full of drinks, the Disney kind, some snacks, and even some fruit!  Seriously though you are at the beach don't waste your money on this, maybe I am just jealous I didn't get one.

The bottom line is that this little stretch of beach is one of the main reasons why people LOVE DCL so much.  It certainly is one of the highlights for me every time we go on their ships.  I almost wish they would skip every other port of call and just stay docked here everyday.  When the only other place on a three and four day cruise is Nassau it really makes you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay

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John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?