Disney Dream Trip Report

Having just completed my 2nd Disney Cruise, I am now equipped to share with you my best tips for planning and enjoying your time on the Disney Cruise.  A Disney Cruise is especially awesome for several generations traveling together.  There are a plethora of appealing activities for every age.  The Disney Dream is one of two Disney Cruise Line’s brand new ships.  The Dream took its maiden voyage in January 2011.  We took our 4 day cruise on the Dream in June 2011.

THE SHIP

When I read some postings about how amazing the ship was, I thought they were over reacting.  But they were right.  It truly is gorgeous.  They really did a great job from the fresh flowers in the bathrooms to the decorations in the adult area.  It never felt crowded at all, although in reality, it was.

 The pool was not too crowded in the morning around 10:00am and my daughter had a blast swimming in the goofy pool while watching Princess and the Frog.  Her idea of a dream day.  We saw several 1st run movies together in the Buena Vista Theater and my 7 year old loved the kids’ club – the detective adventure with Captain Hook resulted in repeated requests to go back for parts two and three the following days.

What completely blew us all away was the interactive game.  You’ve never seen anything like this, I promise.  It is amazingly cool.  I don’t want to spoil any surprises, so I’ll just say that many of the wall hanging artwork comes to life and you interact with it to solve a mystery.  You don’t have to complete it all at once, so it is great thing to fill in between other activities.

THE ROOM (Room 5542 Class 5E)

We truly lucked out on our room  (5542). Not only were we in a fantastic location on deck 5, forward ship, near the staircase, but ended up with a double extended veranda.  This means it came out farther off the ship and particularly larger than most other veranda rooms.  One of the few rooms with this feature.  A veranda is totally worth the splurge!   We didn’t have  a veranda on our 2008 trip on the Disney Wonder and it added so much to our trip, from the sail away where we all stood with a nice glass of wine (that we brought with us).  Highly recommend those rooms, class 5E.  Although, it is truly hard to go wrong with any of the rooms on this ship.  Even the interior rooms have “Disney Magical Features” that make them appear to be ocean view as well.

CASTAWAY CAY
Overall winner of the Best of Disney Cruise Award:  CASTAWAY CAY.  This is what brought us back for a second cruise.  It is just about perfect.  But then, you would expect nothing less.  The weather was perfect.  The water temperature was perfect.  There was even a cloud that looked just like Mickey.  How do they do that??

But seriously, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas couldn’t be better (unless you were there alone, according to my husband).  And it was even better than our previous trip there due to the many enhancements Disney made in preparation for the much larger Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.  Enhancements include a new huge water slide play area, Pelican Point, a water fountain splash/play area as well as a new private section of the beach with family cabanas that are lovely, but quite pricey.

We located ourselves right near that private section as far down the island as you can go.  This plan helped us avoid the masses who tend to camp out as close to the boat as possible.  Here, we were nearer to Pelican Plunge (which pleased the kids) and near a lovely beach bar (which pleased my husband).   Nice people were frequently around to bring us beer and tropical drinks,  just as you would hope from a island visit.   Also, the free ice cream and calypso music were nice touches.  It is a truly beautiful island and the Disney attention to detail made for a super pleasant day and felt shockingly uncrowded.  A word of caution about the Pelican Plunge slides:  Even older kids (under 52″ inches) must wear a life jacket. My daughter was highly insulted by this since she is a talented swimmer (if I do say so myself).  But after experiencing the violent drop off the slide, I could understand why this rule exists.

Pelican Plunge on Castaway Cay

 

AQUADUCK
The AQUADUCK!  The first “water coaster at sea” and what everyone wants to know about.   Our entire party (my parents in their 60s, 7 year old girl, 12 year old boy and three adults in their early 40s) gave it a thumbs up for fun.  It is certainly not as thrilling as what you would think of as a “coaster”, but without a doubt it still puts your heart in your throat to go circling around over the open ocean in a glass tube.  After a few thrills (including flying down an open air slope) it becomes more of a lazy river ride, which allows you to take in the views of the ocean, rest of the ship, and port.  On two mornings of our 4 day cruise we made sure to eat an early breakfast so we could be there right when they opened the ride at 9am.  This way we avoided lines and were able to hop right on two times in a row.  Honestly, the lines never appeared very long at all to me.  After the aquaduck, my daughter was totally uninterested in the Mickey slide which would have otherwise been amazing in her mind.

It is important to be aware of height requirements, which at the time of our cruise was 42″ to ride with an adult (they give you a wrist band) and 48″ to ride alone.  It is much more fun to ride with someone else anyway!  1 or 2 people per raft.

Here is a video of my husband, Ian’s Aquaduck ride, post loop-de-loops at the ride’s beginning:

 

THE RESTAURANTS
Hands down the best is the Animator’s Palate.  Totally different experience than the restaurant of the same name on the Disney Wonder.  I will not spoil the surprise, but I don’t know how they pull off this technology.  We got very special personal attention from some of our favorite Disney characters.
While I have not been to Palo, their upscale adults only dining experience, I will say that when I popped into the ladies room (which was the best on the ship!) people were RAVING about the entire experience, specifically the champaign brunch. We wanted to have all our meals as a group, so we didn’t opt in for that, if you need some adult time, sounds like money well spent.  There is a slight surcharge for dining there  (Side note:  My husband and I did get to sneak away one night to the fancy bar outside of Palo which became his favorite place on the ship).  Cabanas is the main buffet dining area for your breakfasts and lunches.  The variety of foods is seriously impressive: from southern breakfast staples to crab claws, sushi, and even Krispy Kreme doughnuts(!).  Service was consistently excellent. Someone was always on hand to help with drinks, clearing plates, recommendations and checking on you.  Not to mention the fabulous views and decor.  Couldn’t have asked for more.
Major Downer:  The ice cream bar, Frozones.  I LOVE ice cream. This just didn’t cut it for the soft serve that I love.  My daughter didn’t like it either. (But never fear… hold out for the soft serve ice cream on Castaway Cay….)
THE SPA
If you are at all interested in the spa thing, I highly recommend purchasing a day pass to the rainforest room in the Senses Spa.  My mom and sister and I  went together and it is bee-u-t-ful. We also did this on the Wonder, which was great, but the’ve really outdone themselves on the Dream. They have oceanfront hot tubs, a section with heated lounge chairs (also with a view of the ocean), three different sauna experience rooms – my favorite was the one that had refreshing water fountains.  Talk about HOT.  And the most fun… the different themed showers, with themes like “Cool Mist” “Tropical Thunder” and “Waterfall.”

Comments

  1. Husband here – can say that the Aquaduck is pretty cool.

  2. shannon farran says:

    yay!!!! thank you so much for all the info…out WHOLE family is travelling on a four day cruise in march for spring break. we have 10 people ranging from 7 – 66! your suggestions were super helpful! ~ bon voyage

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