Podcast Episode 163: Disney Cruise Lines Specialty Cruises

Disney Cruise Lines has some of the best cruises in the industry, but did you know they also do specialty cruises at certain times of the year?  If there’s a holiday, there’s a good chance Disney has a cruise for it!  If you love Star Wars and Marvel, listen up because we have good news for you too!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

Podcast Episode 159: Disney For Frequent Visitors

If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to visit Disney more than once every few years, then you may be wondering what you can do at Disney that isn’t the same old thing.  We’ve got you covered with our tips for frequent visitors!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

Podcast Episode 113: Jamie’s Disney Dream Cruise Trip Report

Recently Jamie sailed on the Disney Dream with her mom and daughter and she tells us all about her experience on board, especially how she experienced cruising with a toddler!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

Castaway Cay Excursions for the Not So Adventurous

We’ve talked about Castaway Cay excursions for the adventurous, but what about those of us who’d rather take it easy on Disney’s private island? Well we’ve got you covered there too!

IMG_3319

  • Glass Bottom Boat Scenic Voyage ($42 for ages 10+, $29.50 for 0-9) For this excursion you’ll board a glass bottom boat for a voyage to the north side of the island. There you’ll experience Castaway Cay’s barrier reef system. The boat has viewing windows at the bottoms where you’ll have  a great view of the coral reefs and all the tropical fish and other sea creatures that live there! All without even getting wet.
  • Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure ($51 for 10+, $40 for 5-9) Ok, this excursion does have “adventure” right in the title, but it’s of the very mild variety! First you’ll hear some educational facts about sting rays and have a quick orientation before heading out to feed and even pet these amazing animals! After your sting ray experience you’ll be able to enjoy some time snorkeling further in the lagoon where you’ll find even more rays.
  • Equipment Rentals: If you really want to relax, rent an inner tube or float to use in the ocean all day long! Only $10.75 for an entire day’s relaxation isn’t bad at all! If you’d rather do some leisurely snorkeling there is also snorkel equipment for rent at a cost of $31.18 for ages 10+ or $15.05 for ages 5-9
  •  For adults only you have the option for the ultimate in relaxation at Serenity Bay, a massage at an open air cabana! Not a typical “excursion” these are booked through the spa on the ship.

Podcast Episode 106: Tara’s Disney Cruise Line Trip Report

Join us this week as Tara tells us all about her latest Disney Cruise Line adventure!  Find out what new shows, food, and fun she experienced all aboard a fabulous Disney ship!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

Castaway Cay Excursions for the Adventurous!

Did you know there is more to do on Disney’s Castaway Cay than is shown on the map? Well, there is! Disney also offers excursions for their adventurous cruisers. Here are some of their offerings:

parasailing_ss1_904px

  1. Fishing Disney offers four different types of fishing excursions, including fly fishing and fishing by troll boat. You’ll see barracuda, snappers, groupers and more during these catch and release fishing excursions for ages 6+ (several are for 8+ but there are fishing excursions for 6 and 7 year olds to enjoy too!). Prices vary.
  2. Snorkeling You’ll board a boat for a 30 minute ride to a coral reef abundant with fish. You may even see sea turtles, whales and/or dolphins (though not guaranteed). The cost is $102 for ages 6-9 and $113 for ages 10+. Cost includes a mask, snorkel and snorkel vest.
  3. Parasailing Adventurers aged 8+ (children 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult, ages 13-17 must be escorted by an adult) are able to parasail for approximately 5 to 7 minutes at heights of 600 to 800 feet over the waves enjoying a breathtaking view of the open water and Castaway Cay. Cost is $102.25.
  4. Kayaking A one hour kayaking adventure follows a 45 minute walk through the rural terrain of Castaway Cay. The kayaking trip will bring you to an exclusive deserted beach where you’re free to swim and explore for 30 minutes before kayaking back to the launch. Cost is $67 for guests aged 10+.
  5. Waterskiing For 45 minutes you’ll pilot a Wave Runner while following a guide to two stops where you’ll learn about the history of the region. You’ll even pass right by the Disney Cruise ship you sailed in on! Cost is $100.25 for a single rider (aged 18+) or $168.75 for double (age 8+ can ride as passenger with an adult, age 16/17 may drive with adult as their passenger).

Podcast Episode 101: Disney Cruise Line Overview

If you have general questions about Disney Cruise Line or you’re just not familiar with them in general, then this is the episode for you!  We give you a taste of everything that Disney Cruise Line has to offer including the ships, the entertainment, shore excursions, and the awesome Castaway Cay!  If cruising is next on your list, then you won’t want to miss this!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

Disney Cruise Line News Round Up May 2015

Photo via Disney Parks Blog

Photo via Disney Parks Blog

*Disney recently announced fall 2016 sailings and the biggest excitement was the return to New York! Along with the Big Apple Disney will be sailing from Miami Fl and Galveston TX.

The sailings from New York to the Bahamas includes a stop at Walt Disney World and includes a park hopper ticket plus round trip transportation. And of course since you are in the Bahamas a trip to Castaway Cay is in order.

Also there will be one five night sailing to Canada with stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick.

In Miami, they are now offering seven night sailings to the Western and Eastern Caribbean and all will include a stop at Castaway Cay.

Galveston will also feature seven night sailings for the Bahamas and Western Caribbean and even a four night to Cozumel, Mexico.

These booking open May 20th so get with your trusty travel agent to get yourself booked!

*River Cruising was announced earlier this year by Disney and they have now added two more sailings for 2016. The first is a seven night Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany on the Danube. It includes stops in Slovakia and Austria.

*Halloween on the High Seas for 2015 has been announced!

  • Dream: Sept 7 – Oct 30
  • Fantasy: Sept 5 – Oct 31
  • Magic: Oct 4 – 28
  • Wonder: Oct 1 – 23

Here are some of the activities according to Disney Cruise Line’s website:

  • Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, an atrium party scare-a-bration (in addition to Pirate Night) with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating, dancing and some favorite Disney Pals in their Halloween attire
  • Halloween-themed activities for all ages, including mask-making and pumpkin-carving
  • Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where you’re part of the action, followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack and Sally
  • Haunted Stories of the Sea – a campfire-style storytelling experience on the deck
  • Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids – an adults-only party that includes a costume contest

epcot

*The Very Merrytime Cruises for 2015 have also been announced!

  • Dream: Nov 9 – Dec 24
  • Fantasy: Nov 14 – Dec 19
  • Magic: Nov 11 – Dec 23
  • Wonder: Nov 6 – Dec 24

Here are some of the activities to look forward to if you sail during this time:

  • Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night, with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony, where kids can help light the tree and kick off the holiday festivities
  • Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves
  • Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday attire
  • Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties—private celebrations where teens and tweens can hang out with new friends
  • Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea and around the world
  • Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, go on a holiday scavenger hunt and more
  • A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house
  • Holiday merchandise available for this event

*October 4-24, 2015 the Disney Dream will go into dry dock and there will be some really exciting changes coming to the ship. There will be a new Star Wars themed area, a candy store insprired by Wreck it Ralph and the addition of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! But Disney didn’t forget the adults, they will also be adding Satellite Falls to the Dream, this is an adults only area sure to please.

dream dry dock 2 dream dry dock

*With the coming addition of a Rapunzel stage show we just don’t know what we are most excited about! 2015 and 2016 are going to be the best time to take a Disney Cruise!

Jillian’s DCL Trip Report Day 5 and 6

This day was a big one! When I woke up I went to the window to see a giant Christmas tree on the pier at Castaway Cay! Of course after getting ready in a rush we applied sunscreen and headed to Beach Blanket Buffett for a quick breakfast outside on the deck. I was a bit worried as it was pretty windy and not exactly hot and sunny for our beach day. In quick order we had our Key to the World card and were off the ship and on a tram to the family beach. There were a number of character meets on the way to the tram but we bypassed them as the lines were a bit long.


Luckily once we got to the first beach we were able to meet Mickey and Pluto with no line! We continued on to the beach and tried out the water. It was pretty chilly this coming from a northerner. We had brought our own bucket and shovel for Petra to play. You can purchase them there but we decided to bring our own since we had an abundance of space in the suitcases.

After getting comfortable in my beach chair Petra decided she was ready to attempt Pelican Plunge. Apparently I wasn’t thinking because I failed to warn her that the water was salty as well as cold. Well we took our turn and the slide was pretty awesome but when a five year old gets salt water up her nose you are all done. So we dried off and she said she was ready for Scuttle’s Cove. Scuttle’s Cove is the youth club on Castaway Cay. This is a HUGE perk since you can drop your kid off and they have lots of things to play with. I didn’t take pictures but I did explore it, it has a splash pad, toys, soccer nets and other things to keep kids happy while parents can enjoy some adult time. In fact she even was able to eat lunch there in the company with other kids.

Also some other things to do are games, live music, character meets, water slides, Monstro’s Point (whale bone dig), adult drinks, massages, crab races, adults only beach and even a 5K. There is really something for everyone.

With my daughter having lots of fun we went to Cookies BBQ for some delicious lunch. And decided to take the tram to Serenity Bay the adult’s only beach. This beach was amazingly quiet. All you hear is the ocean and the occasional conversation from other people. It is perfect and romantic and I highly suggest at least a quick trip that way just to check it out. We explored and laid in hammocks and basically had a very relaxing day.

But like all good things it had to come to an end. Petra had expressed interested in doing a program with the youth club called “Friendship Rocks”. They were doing the prep at 4:15 and then would be on stage at 5. So at 3pm we rounded up our child who did not want to leave Scuttles’ Cove but finally agreed and we left the island after a few stops for pictures along the way.

After cleaning up Petra and I wanted to check out the “secret” deck. On deck 7 aft there is a deck that not many people know about and since I knew it would have a great view of the island we checked it out. Once Petra and I checked out this little secret she went again to the kids club for practice.

We went to the Walt Disney Theatre to watch Friendship Rocks along with Mickey and Minnie. She seemed to enjoy the stage and was having a lovely time in the club so she decided to stay. We had plans for Palo this night so I knew she had to be there for a while longer. She did not seem torn up about it.

We got ourselves gussied up for our Palo reservation at 6. We arrived a bit early and had to wait for it to open along with a few people. This dinner was amazing. I think it is well worth the $25 per person charge. Our server Toni was from Coatia and was very talkative. He spend lots of time answering our questions and did a splendid job! First we had the cheeses, meat and olives, it was delicious! For appetizers we both started with the calamari and it did not disappoint. After our lemon sorbet palate cleanser we were onto the main course. I had the wild mushroom risotto and the Beef Tenderloin “Palo” both were amazing and delicious. Chelsey had the grilled tuna which I was able to try and it was also so so good. When our entrees came out we also ordered the chocolate soufflé as our waiter said it takes some time to make. Chelsey wasn’t sold on the soufflé but decided to order anyway. He did order the Panna cotta with strawberries and while he meant to order this as his only dessert but both were brought out. I gladly finished mine but was too full to help with his. It was really one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

We rolled ourselves out of Palo and went to get Petra from the kids club where she was participating in Pluto’s Pajama Party. We then went go to see the last stage show, “Disney Dreams: an Enchanted Classic”. This one featured Peter Pan, princesses and lots of amazing singing. This was my favorite show of them all. So if you could only see one show the entire cruise this is the one I would not miss.

Petra got ready for bet but said she was hungry so we thought we would order room service to check it out. She got chicken fingers, grapes and French fries plus a bowl of cereal. She said it was all very tasty. While Petra was served dinner on a silver plate I was working hard to pack our suitcases. The suitcases have to be in the hall by 11pm so I was trying to pack and repack our cases so that we would have the things were needed for the next morning and our luggage would be ready to fly in the morning.

Day 6

Sadly, our breakfast for the next morning was scheduled for 6:45am and we were definitely not getting up for that. We decided to wake up when we would. Since Disney wants you to leave your room empty before breakfast we went over the room a couple times before gathering up our things. We thought we had it all and then get breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffett again for breakfast.

We stopped at the photo kiosks to see if we wanted to purchase anything, but we did not so we made our way to the atrium to get off the ship. On our way we noticed that we could not find our daughter’s Key to the World card. In order to get off the ship you have to show and have your card scanned so I was pretty concerned at this point. I asked a cast member what we should do and she said called over her manager. Her manager said that it would be okay since our photos were all one file. We check out with no issues and went to collect our luggage. It went fairly quickly and were in line for customs. We didn’t have anything to claim so we had a painless experience and went out to grab a taxi. There in lies the end of our Disney Cruise experience but since we still had a good number of hours for our flight we dropped our luggage at the airport and then decided to check out the Miami Children’s Museum and get lunch before heading back home to Michigan.

We had an amazing time and had a wonderful, relaxing vacation. If you are interested in a Disney vacation that is much more relaxing this is the trip for you!   Don’t worry if you are still wanting more about Disney Cruise Line you can check out some of our other trip reports and articles about Disney Cruise Line!  Thanks for joining us on our adventure!

If you missed the beginning here is Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.

Pre-Cruise Trip Report

My family and I will soon be sailing on our first Disney Cruise, a 5 night Western Caribbean on the Disney Wonder. We have previously cruised before on a Carnival Cruise so this is still a somewhat new experience for all of us.

As a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney vacations, I am a certified graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge. The courses are informative and I have studied the Disney Cruise Line, but nothing beats first hand experience.

I love to travel, but cruising wasn’t really on my radar. My first concern was for my family and how they would react to the motion of the ocean, would we get seasick? The next, is there enough to do on a cruise, you are essentially stuck for a few days. And lastly, safety. The media will never pass up a story about a ship without power or damages and even personal tragedies. I don’t believe all these worries are uncommon for many travelers, but we decided to try it out anyway.

I am happy to report that after our first cruise we had none of these issues and ended up having a FANTASTIC time! So almost a year later we were ready to go again! On our previous cruise we did a 5 night Bahamian and wanted to do something different. As I said we are doing another 5 night with stops at Cozumel, Mexico and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island).

So far we haven’t booked an excursion for Cozumel for a few reasons. The first is that we are traveling with a 5-year-old and there are a number of excursions that have age requirements. In some ports children can be left in the kids clubs so that is an option if your child is still young. But I love to travel to see new places and try new things and I want that for my child as well. We are not into snorkeling and prefer to make our beach day the day we are at Castaway Cay so those are out as well. One thing that interests me the most is visiting San Gervasio; a Mayan archeological site, being a historian it is high on my list. Also, being a big fan of Mexican food, my other plan is to get an authentic lunch.

Our other day off-ship is at Castaway Cay. I have a feeling this will probably be our family favorite. On our previous cruise we stopped at Little Stirrup Cay and we loved having the beach day, especially coming from Michigan in December! Castaway Cay is so much better, as well, with kids activities and play areas, adult only beaches, and bike rentals. My plan for this day is low-key: play on the beach and have some fun!

On our cruise we have two sea days plus our departure day, I am sure that we will spend plenty of time exploring the ship, swimming, watching shows and movies, meeting characters and of course playing in the kids club. Since we are going before Christmas we will have a Christmas Ball and a chance to meet Santa!

Another thing I had to do was make a reservation for dinner at Palo for my husband and I. Since I have heard so much about it and I had such a hard time choosing between brunch and dinner but since I decided to count it as a date night I decided on dinner. But I’m not ruling out brunch either just so I can compare for myself.

I am so excited to try cruising with the Disney difference and of course will be sharing my experience here with all of you here at Dole Whipped!