Jennifer and Dave's Western Caribbean Cruise Adventure

Dates: May 10-21, 2002


Transportation: Northwest Airlines (from Detroit Metro Airport), Avis, and Tiffany Town Car

Ship: Disney Magic (Inaugural Western Caribbean Cruise)

Resort: Dolphin Resort

Parks: Kennedy Space Center, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Pleasure Island

Restaurants/Eateries: Orbit (KSC), Fischer's Seafood (Cocoa Beach), Flamingo's (Radisson), every restaurant/eatery aboard the Disney Magic, The Dolphin Fountain, Chevy's (off-property), Bongo's Cuban Cafe, Restaurant Marrakesh, Palio, Yorkshire County Fish & Chips, and 50s Prime Time Cafe

Background: This was a R&R trip (relax and research) for Kennedy Space Center and the Disney Magic. We also spent three nights at Walt Disney World just for the fun of it.


Updated 11/21/03

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Day One - Friday, May 10, 2002

3:30 am… rise and shine! After only a few hours of sleep, it was time to wake and get ourselves to the airport. While our flight didn’t take off until 6:55 am, we wanted to arrive early so we could check out the new terminal at Detroit Metro. It’s absolutely gorgeous, with wide open spaces, lots of moving walkways, plants, and a tram from one end to the other. If you’re leaving out of Detroit, take a Northwest flight so you can enjoy this wonderful terminal.

The flight was uneventful – we slept (and one of us snored) most of the way. Upon landing in Orlando, we collected our luggage and went down to the Avis counter. There was a small snafu with our car rental (they had us renting a week later), but they fixed it quickly and efficiently. Once the paperwork was signed, we went back upstairs to pick up the car. We had a red Chevy Cavalier – small, but cute and zippy.

The drive to Cape Canaveral was very easy. It took about 45 minutes. When we arrived we got a bit lost trying to find the Radisson Resort, but we spotted it soon enough. We checked into the Radisson and were given a room immediately. Our room (#132) was pleasant, though it was on the second floor and we had to cart our luggage around quite a bit because the elevator wasn’t nearby. While our second-floor room was a bit inconvenient, it was in an ideal location otherwise – just steps away from the Avis office, the lobby, and the restaurant.

Note that while the Radisson is the closest hotel to the Disney Cruise Line terminal, don’t expect to be able to see it from your room. Our room looked north towards the terminal, but we were only able to see the top of the smokestacks when the Disney Magic was in port.

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A view of our room at the Radisson

Once in our room, we noticed our room had no closet, though it had a large armoire had hanging space in addition to shelves and the TV. One interesting aspect to our room was that it had an air purification and water filtration system – no stale air or metallic water here.

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The huge armoire that doubles as a closet

After checking out the room, we unloaded our luggage and headed off towards Kennedy Space Center. We arrived at the center around 1:00 pm. We noted upon arrival that no weapons or luggage, including backpacks, would be allowed inside. We left the backpack we’d planned to carry in the car, though we noticed that plenty of other people took them inside and were not stopped. Oh well. Security was good otherwise.

Admission for the two of us, plus two passes to the NASA Up Close Tour, cost $92.22. A bit pricey for an afternoon visit, but worthwhile. (Without the tour, admission for the two of us would have been $52.)

We began our exploration of the Kennedy Space Center by going into "orbit." Ok, so Orbit is the cafeteria – we were hungry! Orbit reminds us a bit of the food courts at the moderate resorts – there were three different food stations (one of which was a revolving food display case). Here’s what we had:

1 turkey sandwich - $5.95 (came with fruit and cole slaw)
1 personal size pizza - $6.00
1 fruit cup - $3.50
1 orange juice - $2.50
1 soda in a souvenir cup - $2.50
Total = $21.68 (with tax)

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The Orbit Cafeteria at Kennedy Space Center

After lunch we went to the Launch Status Center and walked through "Explorer," a full-scale replica of a space shuttle. We also dropped into the Space Shop and picked up an official tourbook ($5.95) and two bags of "space food" (freeze dried strawberries, $2.95/bag). The strawberries were delicious, but if you get them don’t bother bringing them home. We stashed one bag in our suitcase -- by the time we opened it there was nothing more than strawberry dust.

It was now time to go to the boarding area for our NASA Up Close Tour. After a short wait we boarded a comfy, air-conditioned bus with our tour guide.

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On board the bus for the tour

We were each given a "tour kit," which was a folder with several photo/info cards of the shuttle, space station, and so on, plus a coupon for $2 of a novelty photo. The back of the kit has a map of the area, which we referred to on our tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable – his father worked for NASA and you had the impression he’d spent a lot of time around the center. The tour took us to several restricted areas, including an observation gantry from which you could see both main launch pads. We also stopped at the Saturn V Center, a modern facility with several interesting exhibits. At the conclusion of the tour (it lasted about ninety minutes), we were each presented with a small gold pin of a space shuttle. We loved the tour and highly recommend it! To learn more about the tour, visit

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Dave taping in front of one of the launch pads

Back at the main center complex, we swung by the Astronaut Encounter area to listen to one of the visiting astronauts. Then it was off to the IMAX theater to watch "The Dream is Alive." IMAX is included in your admission price and there were two shows on the day we visited – "The Dream is Alive" and the new "Space Station" in 3D. I (Jennifer) really wanted to see "Space Station" but the tour got in the way of that. "The Dream is Alive" was quite good, though, and conveyed a lot of information.

Kennedy Space Center was enjoyable, but we really could have used more time. One full day would have been ideal. There were many exhibits we didn’t get the chance to visit. We’d like to come back one day and bring Allie – we think she’d get a lot out of a visit. To learn more about the Kennedy Space Center, visit

Back in town we begin searching for a good place to eat. We’ve heard about Rusty’s Seafood, but while we’re driving we hear on the radio that they’re "partying" at Rusty’s tonight and we can hear people screaming in the background. We decide Rusty’s isn’t for us. We drive south and through Cocoa Beach. Eventually we find a place called Fischer's Seafood Bar & Grill (2 S. Atlantic Ave). It’s actually three different restaurants but all under the same management. Fischer’s is the moderately-priced place, with Bernard’s Surf on the high end and Rusty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar on the low end. This is a different Rusty’s than the one having the radio party. After some debate over which restaurant to eat in, we settle into a booth in the moderately-priced section. The food was decent and the service was great considering that the place was packed with locals. Dinner for the two of us came to $64.50, which included two appetizers, two main courses, one dessert, and two drinks. You’ll find more information on the restaurant and the menu at

After dinner we went back to the room and turned in early. We have a big day tomorrow… our cruise!

Next: Day Two

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