Every few years, Disney holds their D23 Expo in Anaheim where they announce their plans for parks, movies, resorts, and more for the coming years. This year’s expo had some amazing announcements!
So, yes this is the most drawn out trip report ever but it is keeping the memory and magic alive for me as I revisit each day we had on one of my favorite vacations ever. I hope the anticipation for each new day is not too much for all of you readers! I would love to hear from you about your trip or about your questions and how you are enjoying reading this trip report. You can comment or email me at email@example.com (just think I may be able to write quicker with a bit of cheerleading!)
Okay, so now on to day 4 of this trip which is our second full day and another full day at sea. If you remember from Day 3 (or want to remind yourself click HERE) we were going around a tropical depression and the seas were a bit rougher than normal. So, today the ship was rocky. I did not mind it. It was not crazy rocky and did not disturb walking or anything just made you feel like you were being rocked in your sleep type thing. I would say 99% of the guests had no issues with it and the 1% that did were maybe a tad dramatic (I heard stories afterwards on our cruise Facebook page that someone who had an interior room on a lower deck had slept on a lounge chair by the pool). Now, that is a bit non-productive as the higher you go the more it rocks but if it makes you feel better and they let you – why not sleep by the pool? So, it was a tad overcast but that did not stop the fun. We actually had one of the best days on the ship.
First, we started off with some room service for breakfast. We had decided with our friends the night before since the weather was not going to be as good as it was the rest of the week this would be the perfect day to sleep in, have room service and all huddle up in one room and watch a movie. It was the perfect morning.
Since we had built up an appetite (sea air and all) we headed to Cabanas for lunch and had a vast array of choices as always at Cabanas, along with several glasses of POG
juice. Excellent way to kick off the afternoon.
When we finally decided to join the rest of the ship we did something I had never done on a cruise ship in the past. We played BINGO! Bingo was in the D Lounge (though note the Navigator schedule had a mistake and said the Buena Vista Theatre so note to everyone if you are somewhere and no crew is around it may be a printed mistake). We figured it out though and we had a blast playing BINGO. Now, couple of BINGO things to note, the crew that runs it makes it fun. BINGO is not free and there are a few packages to choose from and you can do one card or many and you can do it electronically or the old fashion where you poke the chad out. We decided to save our money and do it the old fashion way and bought two cards (one for each of us because on the first day we played BINGO only myself and one other companion thought it was worth it – this quickly changed and by the end of the week the whole group was playing!) So two cards were $40 and they had six games on each card. The ball scrambling machine is named Betty and when someone is having bad BINGO luck they yell out “SHAKE IT UP BETTY” and all the kids laugh (and a few adults). So, you hear “SHAKE IT UP BETTY” a lot. Oh, by the way, BINGO is open to all ages but because actual money is won if your kid is under 18 and wins you, as the adult, gets to take the winnings. If you want to give it to your child or if you want to keep it, well that is up to you. They also will randomly between games do a random name draw for prizes and though we did not win BINGO we DID win the random name. All of a sudden on the screen was my sailing companion and BINGO partner’s name! He graciously gave me most of the prize because I was more excited than probably I should have been. It was a tote bag that had several branded Disney Cruise Line gifts such as a hat, pen, lip gloss, and a phone charger. I never win anything so even though I did not win, I got the winnings and felt like a true champion.
The main show in the Walt Disney Theatre that evening was “Wishes” and I was looking forward to it and it did not disappoint. It was about three best friends that were graduating and each going their own way in life and before they do they go on a magical journey down a wishing well. Very cute and had a great message for everyone.
Dinner that evening was at Animator’s Palate and I was looking forward to it because though we were assigned there twice during the week, I knew the second time we were scheduled there we would be eating at Palo’s – so this was my one time at AP. I started my meal with the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup and one of their specialty drinks a Bora Shake (Piña Colada, fresh Bananas and Blue Ocean). For my entree I had Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus beef Tenderloin with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Bok Choy and a Tamarind–Barbecue Reduction. I can not recommend this dish more if I tried. I challenge you to not love it. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and nothing like anyone expects from meals on a cruise ship. Bravo Disney. For dessert I went with a classic Mickey Bar. The entertainment and interaction was great and I enjoyed almost every moment. The moments I did not enjoy were unfortunately we were seated next to a large family of about 15 people and several small children. We choose late dinner, on purpose, as early dinner is usually better for the little ones. These little children were definitely tired and cranky and were throwing a fit. There were 3 or 4 that were throwing things off the table and screaming and running around and into the servers and it was quite the scene. But, luckily for the parents and grandparents of these kids, they were able to ignore it and continue their good time without worrying about anything or anyone else. For the rest of us seated near them it was not as easy. I felt really bad for the little ones because they were just tired, so you know, note to self maybe try early dinner if you have lots of little ones in your group or rotate one adult to watch them sleep each night. I am sure there is a better option for them and everyone else. SIGH. Moving on, but you all know what I am saying.
Next, we went to an adults only show! Ooh La La. No, nothing like that as this is Disney but it was in The Tube and it was the Ventriloquist and she was great. It was very crowded and hard to hear and see at points as it is an active bar but we got to see her again later that week as well and highlight of the week was her act.
So, though the day started slow and lazy it definitely got going and we did a lot that day! We did lots of new stuff like BINGO and adults only late shows (as usually I am zzzz’ing pretty early on cruises – again the sea air) but had a great time doing it all! Tomorrow Tortola and another GREAT day on the Disney Fantasy.
Want to catch up?
2016 is coming to a close and now it’s time to look forward to what the new year has in store for us. To help make sure we make all our Disney dreams come true, we’ve come up with some Disney resolutions we hope to keep in 2017! Listen in and see if you want to make some Disney resolutions of your own!
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:
Dear highly intelligent reader, we know that you can choose your clothes with no problem for your cruise. That part is usually tricky to be general, because you have to dress for your cruise. We know you wouldn’t dress for an Alaskan sailing the same way you would a Caribbean cruise. So here are some other items you may want to consider packing, what to leave at home and what you should carry on for your cruise.
What to bring on your cruise:
USB plug- This is a simple 2 prong plug that can charge multiple USB devices. A true must have for the modern family especially on vacation with limited wall outlets.
Refillable Mugs- if you are coming from Walt Disney World bring your mug along. If you aren’t then consider packing an insulated mug or cup for each person. I found this nice to carry around since mine had handles which made it easy to carry multiple cups at the same time. Plus I could carry around a hot beverage and it would stay hot longer, same with the iced drinks too. What else can the cups do? Well if you have extra glasses or sunglasses these mugs are perfect for transporting the glasses while you are in transit.
Soapy Sponges- I know, I know. You will want a dry sponge and coat it in dish soap. Let it air dry a day or two then cut it into smaller pieces. The pieces can go in a baggie and you have something to clean those refillable mugs, or sippy cups or whatever else you bring along. Then when you’ve used it up, go ahead and toss it. This is a must for me because I switch from coffee in the morning to water later so I need to get the cup washed out.
Sunscreen- You can purchase on the ship but save yourself big bucks and bring your own.
Bug Spray- You will probably not need it on the ship but if you are getting off the ship you will want to make sure you are covered in this area too.
Sweater/Jacket- this applies more to the warm weather cruises, but the temperatures can drop at night and the dining rooms can be downright chilly at dinner. I like to stick with basic black, navy or white so I can wear it more than once saving room in my luggage.
Beer or Wine- Yep you can bring that too! Check out the alcohol policy first but it is pretty nice to be able to enjoy a beverage or two while you relax on your verandah.
Dressy Clothes- You may not have a formal night on your cruise, but you can get some great family picture when everyone is relaxed and having a great time. The dressier clothes just add some classiness to the cruise.
Gum- if you are a gum chewer you will need to bring your own!
Highlighters- Ideally you will want one color for each person in your party. You can use these to highlight activities in your Daily Navigator that you want to do. The colors can help you all differentiate who wants to do which activity. Much easier than circling then trying to figure out who want to do that (not that I would know anything about that, ha).
Extra batteries- you will be taking a lot of pictures! If you are using a camera other than your phone you will want to make sure you have plenty of juice to take those amazing photos.
What to pack in your carry on when getting on the cruise ship:
If is it before the time when stateroom are open you may have some time where you will be unable to access your luggage. It is always a good idea to have a small bag, backpack or carry on luggage until the time when the staterooms are open.
Swimsuit- The best time to get in the pools and on the water slides right is as you get on the ship. Or even better wear your swimsuit under your clothes and take extra clothes in your carry on. Towels are provided by the pools.
Medication- VERY important, always keep this in your carry on. You never know when luggage services may be delayed so it is key to keep this with you!
Valuables- Jewelry, electronics and any other thing of value should be in your carry on just to be safe!
Sunscreen- It might be worth packing this into your carry on baggage especially if you are hitting up the pool areas.
Extra clothes- Especially with children it is nice to have a change of clothes available in emergencies. Or if you an adult like me who seems to spill things at the worst possible times.
Chargers- Whether you have an external battery source or plan to plug into the outlet this is something that can be helpful to have.
What to leave at home:
Hard liquor- Sorry friends, Disney no longer allows this. And we wouldn’t recommend trying to sneak it on. They will find it!
Power Strips- This is on the banned list from DCL. Go ahead and bring that USB outlet and leave this one at home.
Hanging Organizers- These can damage doors, so unless you have a large party with a lot of small items in tow, this is something you can leave behind.
Snacks- No reason to bring food unless you are on a special diet. You can get food at all hours of the day and night in the many dining rooms, quick service areas, and room service. You will not go hungry!
Beach Towels- Disney provides beach towels at each pool area and they are always plentiful. Of course if you find you want the really oversized towels then by all means bring one. But this is definitely a waste of space.
Too many clothes- Disney Cruise Line has washers, dryers, laundry soap, irons and large sinks available for guest use. I believe I paid $3 to do a load of laundry which is downright cheap for Disney. Just know that you can do a quick load and not waste any time of your vacation and save you the headache of over packing!
As always we want to hear what you think is important for packing for a Disney Cruise!
We all know that taking kids on a vacation will lead to a lot of fun, but sometimes we encounter some education along the way. Walt Disney said “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” All of us agree with that philosophy that you can learn a lot and still have fun. Some of us have done this and probably will again but sometimes we have to take our kids out of school for a vacation. While you have the make this personal decision based on your own situation we are not here to judge either way! But we do know that when kids miss school they sometimes have to make up that missed time with what they learned while away from school, so I wanted to give some ideas of where your kids could learn while on a Disney vacation.
You will be able to do some first hand research and experiencing and then when you are finished with your vacation your student will be able to do the research that will help them put together a report.
California Adventure Park: Learn about the history of California on the basis of the different lands such as Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peaks, Buena Vista Street or Hollywood Land. These lands are themed around real places in California.
Disneyland Railroad: Check out the original steam trains and Presidential Train Car the Lilly Belle.
Sleeping Beauty Castle: Enjoy this walk through attraction of the story of Sleeping Beauty. A fun way to compare would be to read other versions and see how they compare
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln: This attraction has nothing but history in it from the 1964 World’s Fare to the subject itself, Abraham Lincoln.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters: If you want something really modern check out this trackless attraction. How do the cars move? Where do they get commands? These are just a couple questions you can find out on this attraction.
Walt Disney World
Wilderness Explorers: Learn all about different animals and explore the entire park with this fun scavenger hunt!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch: You can watch veterinarians at work here, not to mention get up close to a few animals. This is a great opportunity for those kids that are wild about animals.
Kilimanjaro Safari’s: This is another obvious choice, but you can see so many unusual animals that could spark an interest in one and then lead to a fact finding mission about a species.
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular: It will give you a very basic idea of how movies are made. This is great for young kids since they will love the special effects and they way you feel like you are looking backstage.
World Showcase: This entire part of the park is a learning experience. Talk to Cast Members from all over the world, try new foods, listen to new music. The possibilities are endless whether you choose one of many countries to explore.
The Land: Take the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land Pavilion and you can find out some really interesting things about greenhouses, growing crops and even where those plants grown there end up!
The Seas: This pavilion is similar to the Kilimanjaro Safari as you can learn to much about many types of fish or larger sea life. If you are old enough you can even swim with dolphins!
Spaceship Earth: This classic attraction takes you through communication in world history from caves to computers. You are sure to learn something new along the way.
Hall of Presidents: Like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln this is definitely the place to get a presidential history lesson.
The Haunted Mansion: Pepper’s Ghost is the main attraction here, not it isn’t a real ghost but an effect that is used and it is really fascinating. If your student is one who always wants to know “how do they do that” this is a great subject to study. You’ll need to ride more than once of course.
People Mover: Did you know this has a real life application at the George Bush Airport in Houston? That is the only other place in the world this technology is used for the people mover.
Sword in the Stone: Do you have a kid interested in stories and fairy tales? This a great place for them to research the stories of King Arthur. And if you have to rewatch Sword in the Stone that wouldn’t be too bad either.
Swiss Family Robinson and Tom Sawyer’s Island: Again if you have a reader they will love to do a report on either of these stories and how they are portrayed at Walt Disney World.
Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel: This carousel is something special. Originally called Liberty with an Americana theme it was lovingly restored by the Walt Disney World Company. Check out the history of carousel and you will have plenty of research fodder to write a paper on!
Adventures by Disney
This entire vacation will be a learning experience, particularly if you are traveling to a foreign country. So many new things to experience even if you travel on an Adventure by Disney within the United States. New cultures, foods and experiences will be everything here. For instance if you travel to Italy you can learn to make pasta, in Germany, pretzels. You will tour castles and historic sites. Meet amazing local guides who can tell you anything you ever wanted to know about the country you are visiting.
Disney Cruise Line
Like Adventures by Disney this entire experience can be one big learning experience while having so much fun. In port you can take excursions of the historic, foodie and adventurer types. Or you can check out local museums, forts, ruins, or cultural centers.
There is plenty of edutainment to be had on any Disney vacation so we hope this article can help get the creative process moving in choosing something to research. And who know, this may be the start of the next Disney Imagineer career!
Do you consider yourself a Disney expert with fantastic writing skills? Have you ever considered applying for the Disney Parks Mom’s Panel? The search for the 2016 panel begins September 8, 2015 at 10am.
The Disney Parks Moms Panel was launched in 2008 as a resource for park guests to ask questions and receive answers from people who love Disney.
The panel is made up of more than just moms, it includes dads and grandparents too. They answer questions in four languages.
It has since been expanded to Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, runDisney, and ESPN Wide World of Sports.
There are 3 rounds of interviews to pass and in order to qualify you have to have visited the park or taken a cruise, or take part in a runDisney event within the last year to date.
If you have applied before please let us know in the comments your experience!
Last July, I went on my first Disney Cruise with my two tween sons and my two best friends. There were many decisions and choices to make and excursions were no exception! We did the 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream with a stop in Nassau, Bahamas. After reviewing all of the excursion choices, my boys said that they really wanted to see Atlantis (probably based on all of the TV commercials they had seen is my guess) and so the decision was made. We signed up for the “Atlantis Aquaventure” and all were excited for the day. The 4-6 hour excursion included transportation to and from Atlantis, passes to use their water park, a tour of the property, and lunch.
The morning we arrived in Nassau, all who had signed up for this excursion met in the
Walt Disney Theater. This is where they checked us in and gave us our ‘admission bracelets’ and lunch vouchers. From there we disembarked the Dream and walked through the port till we got to a series of buses, which is where we waited to take the bus to Atlantis. One thing to note is that there was quite a bit of walking involved with this excursion – so I would recommend wearing sneakers or comfortable swim shoes.
When we arrived at Atlantis, we were met by a tour guide and given an ‘orientation tour’ of the resort as we walked to the ‘Aquaventure’ water park. I must say that the resort is extremely large but was truly beautiful! We walked through the huge lobby of the Royal Towers (which is a site to behold in itself), through the hotel grounds and various marine exhibits and over to the water park. The water park is the best I have ever been to. It is 141 acres in size and features state of the art water slides, river rapids, waterfalls and pools. Our personal favorite in which we spent most of our time was their ‘Aquaventure river’ that went around the entire water park. Unlike ‘Typhoon Lagoon’s ‘lazy river’, this one at Atlantis actually uses special escalators and waves to transport you around it. It was a great way to spend a good deal of the day and kept us nice and cool in the hot July sun! Traveling in the ‘Aquaventure river’ is also a great way to see the entire water park and figure out where you want to explore next.
After we spent a good deal of time in the lazy river and exploring some of the water slides we got hungry and decided it was time for lunch. The lunch vouchers we were given were good for any one of the quick service restaurants that were located around the water park. The food was pretty standard fare (burgers, wraps, pizza and salads) but it hit the spot. One thing I did notice is that there was not a lot of tables or seating for the quick service restaurants; but, I assume that most people get their food and go back to their beach chairs.
When we were done with lunch we hit the water park again. We ended up spending some more time on the Aquaventure river and then the (somewhat) famous water slides that go through the shark tank! The wait times were not very long for the water slides, in my opinion, and there were so many of them it spaced everyone out evenly.
Once we were thoroughly waterlogged, we decided we would check out the ‘ruins’ of Atlantis called “The Dig” before heading back to catch the bus. Buses left every half hour back to the port, which was nice, because it really did allow you to spend as much time as you wanted at Atlantis and gave you some flexibility. “The Dig” was an amazing themed walk-through labyrinth of sea life in large viewing windows. The added benefit is that it was cool and these areas were air conditioned which made for a welcome relief from the hot sun. The marine life and presentation was truly wonderful and very extensive.
As we made our way out of “The Dig” we walked back through the lobby of the Royal Towers and rested a little in the lobby, taking in all of the grand architecture and design. We then headed back to the bus, where we were brought back to the port, and boarded the Dream again.
Atlantis is so large that we could go there again for another excursion and probably not do the same things twice. There are actually many Atlantis excursions to choose from. So if you are not a big water park fan you can book the “Discover Atlantis Tour” and basically walk around and look at the marine exhibits, shop, play at the casino and eat. There are also Atlantis excursions that feature Dolphin interactions at their Dolphin Cay, snorkeling and golf options as well.
In my opinion the Atlantis excursion was well worth the money –especially if you have tweens, teens or older kids. The orientation tour at the beginning was good for first timers to the resort but a bit long – if I booked another Nassau excursion I would probably bypass the tour.
Hands down though, the best part of the day was being able to walk back onto the Disney Dream (we were greeted at the port with ice cold lemon water and frozen facecloths to wipe our faces with – heaven after a day in the hot sun!).
Have you been to Atlantis? What excursions have you done with DCL and what did you like best?
Recently, Disney Cruise Line announced a new itinerary for 2016, the British Isles! This is a 12 night sailing on the Disney Magic from Dover, England around the British Isles.
The ports of call are some pretty big highlights like Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; Liverpool, England; and Guernsey in the Channel. If you have ever wanted to travel the UK or Europe and want to check out more than a few places in a single go-this is the perfect vacation for you.
Disney will so be revisiting the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean as well at the Fjords of Norway, the Baltic Sea, and Iceland.
Of course there are the other standards like Alaska, Caribbean, and Bahamas. The booking window opens March 26, 2015. The best prices can be found at earliest booking so get your deposit down!
As always, if you are interested in any of these sailings contact us at DoleWhipped@gmail.com and we can provide an obligation free quote and our services are always free.