Friday, March 30, 2012

August 2011 Trip Report, Day 3

The magnificent Disney Dream

After years of waiting, when we woke up on the morning of August 16, 2011, we couldn't believe that the day had finally arrived.  The day that we had imagined since before the ship was even built.  We were finally going to sail on the Disney Dream!  None of us could sleep very well, and we woke up early and quickly got ready and packed our things.  We got drinks at the Starbucks inside the Four Points hotel, and then we crossed the street and ate breakfast at McDonald's.  We then checked out of our resort and headed to the Thrifty rental car building, where we would return our car and be driven to the port.

There was much controversy about the check-in process on the Dream, and I was nervous about getting on the ship in a reasonable amount of time.  I wanted to get into the terminal as early as possible, to get a low boarding number, and we arrived at the terminal around 10:50.  I don't remember exactly which boarding number we got, but it was low enough that we were on the ship within 20 minutes of boarding beginning.  Nothing like stepping onto the Dream and seeing this...

Disney Dream chandelier
Fountain in Enchanted Garden
After we were finished ogling the lobby, we immediately went to eat lunch at Enchanted Garden.  It was so good!  I love Disney Cruise buffets, and this one was no disappointment.  After lunch, we went to explore the ship a bit.  While exploring, we found my parents waiting on line to make a Palo brunch reservation, so we gave them our things.  We wanted to ride the Aquaduck!

We waited about 20-30 minutes on line for the Aquaduck.  It seemed a little excessive considering how short the ride itself is, but it was worth it! The ride is a lot of fun, even for a self-proclaimed ride wimp like myself.  We encountered a problem upon getting off of the Aquaduck, however.  My parents had all our stuff, including our phones (we were still docked at Port Canaveral, so our phones were still usable), and we had no idea where they were.  We wandered the ship for a while until we decided to try our staterooms.  Luckily, they were there with our things!

Where the Aquaduck passes the Mickey slide!
Our stateroom!
I'll do a full review on our stateroom in a future post, but we had two connecting deluxe inside staterooms for the six of us.  My parents stayed in one room, while the other four of us stayed in the second.  One of the coolest things about the inside stateroom was the virtual porthole!  At this point in the trip, however, we wanted nothing to do with the stateroom... we wanted to explore the ship more!  And the most important place to explore on the first day was the kid's area, where we wouldn't be allowed once the ship set sail.

Me with Mr. Potato Head!
The whole kid's area on the Disney Dream, called the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, is amazing.  If you have kids, I promise they will not be disappointed.  There is a huge Monster's Inc section, a fairy dress up section, a science section, an interactive play floor, and most exciting to us, a Toy Story section!  There are kid-sized versions of all the characters of Toy Story to play with and climb on.  Mr. Potato Head's body parts even come off, so you can change his expression and outfits just like the real toy!  We wished we could stay and play, but unfortunately this area is only for kids ages 3-10.

Next we explored the opposite of the kid's club... the adult area, called the District!  The District consisted of many different clubs and bars, from a sports bar to a champagne bar to a dance club and more!  (Plus the bathrooms are really cool!)  This area is for adults 18 and over at night, but during the day, my sister and cousin could join us as well.  Finally, before we headed back to the room to get ready for the muster drill, we decided to get some snacks at Flo's V8 Cafe.  I had pepperoni pizza, and I was in heaven.  I have unhealthy cravings for Disney Cruise pizza on a regular basis, and I was finally able to satisfy them!

One of our decorated doors!
After our snack, we returned to the room and decorated our doors with magnets we had made for the trip.  Then we headed to the muster drill.  For those who aren't aware, the muster drill is essentially where you visit your lifeboat stations, learn what to do in case of an emergency situation, and then you get to leave.  You used to have to wear your life jacket to the muster drill, but this is no longer required.  Our muster station was in Evolution, the dance club, and the drill lasted no more than twenty minutes.  Soon we were ready to head back to the room, but before dinner, we had to attend the sail away party!  After singing, dancing, and counting down until we left port (and the Dream played "A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes" on its horn!), we were off to sea and off to get ready for dinner.  Our first night's dinner would be in Animator's Palate!

Crush talking to guests at Animator's Palate
Perhaps I'll do a full review of Animator's Palate in the future, but it was very good!  Plus Crush came and talked to a bunch of the tables, which was a lot of fun.  And he had us all up and dancing around.  After dinner, it was time for the show.  If I'm not mistaken, the show on the first night was a duo of comedians/jugglers.  It was a lot of fun.

I can't remember exactly what we did that night, but most likely we explored the different bars and clubs in the District.  I'm not positive, but we likely went to bed relatively early... we had a big day coming up at Castaway Cay!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Dream

Sunday, March 25, 2012

August 2011 Trip Report, Days 1 and 2

My sister, me, and my cousin - about to leave for the airport and very excited!
As you may or may not remember, seven months ago, I went on an amazing Disney vacation... on the Disney Dream and to Walt Disney World!  Although this trip report is a little late, and as a result, may not be as detailed as one may desire, is it really ever too late to talk Disney?  I didn't think so either...  Just a note:  I'm going to combine days 1 and 2 of the trip into one blog post because they aren't super eventful, and then I'll most likely give each subsequent day its own post.

Day 1:
This journey starts on August 14, 2011.  We left my house late morning - my parents, my sister (Samantha), my cousin (Jessie), my at-the-time boyfriend (James), and me - and headed to the airport!  After a nondescript flight, we were in Orlando International Airport before we knew it!  We grabbed Starbucks in the airport and headed to rent a minivan (the most comfortable type of rental car that would fit all six of us).  Soon we were in the minivan, listening to the Disney music CD my sister burned for us, pulling up to our hotel for the night: the Four Points Orlando Studio City.

The resort was fine, nothing special, and after checking in, we didn't stay for long.  We left to head to my grandma's house for a short visit before we headed to the Beach Club for dinner!  (Now we're getting to the good stuff!)

Since we were a party of eight (we were joined by two family friends), we had to wait an hour for two tables to seat us all at Beaches and Cream.  But we (at least the Disney-obsessed ones of us) declared that this was worth it, so we sat around and chatted, watched a little bit of Gnomeo and Juliet on the Beach Club beach, and we were even able to see some of IllumiNations from where we were sitting on the beach!  After an hour, our tables were ready, and we got down to eating.  I had a cheeseburger, and it was good as usual.  And since we were celebrating my sister's birthday, we decided that there was no other acceptable way to end the meal besides a Kitchen Sink.

Samantha and the Kitchen Sink!  They even put a candle on top for her birthday!
Yes that's right, the Kitchen Sink.  Eight scoops of ice cream, all the toppings in the house, and a whooooole can of whipped cream!  Between the four of us that were at the table with her, we scarfed the thing down.  It was so good!  At that point, it was getting late, so we headed back to the hotel and got some rest.  Although not all of us would be back to Walt Disney World at the end of the trip, James and I would!

Day 2:
Day two of the trip was relatively boring.  We woke up from the Four Points Orlando, and after breakfast, we packed up all our belongings, got back in the minivan, and headed for another family visit. After an hour or two visiting my other grandma, uncle, and aunt, we were on our way to the shore!  That night, we stayed at the Four Points Cocoa Beach, near the port.  We were to be getting on the Dream the following day, so we wanted to stay in a hotel nearby.

At Cocoa Beach!
We ate a late lunch at the restaurant in the hotel, and it was pretty good!  We also visited the Ron Jon store that was next to our hotel.  Then, after a rainstorm passed over us, we walked to the beach.  Cocoa Beach was only a few blocks from the Four Points, and it was about a five minute walk.  Since it had been raining earlier, the beach was virtually empty.  The weather was warm, and even though we didn't bring our bathing suits, we waded in the water up to our thighs.  We took some pictures, generally messed around on the beach, and soon we were ready to head back to the hotel.

Being silly on the beach.
That night, we were joined by two of my parents' friends that they had met on a previous Disney cruise.  They lived in the area and came by our hotel to catch up.  Since we had eaten a late lunch earlier, we hadn't eaten dinner, so we ordered some food to-go from the hotel restaurant and brought it up to the room.  We enjoyed our late night snack, chatted, and soon it was time for bed.  We had a very eventful day coming up...  Soon we would be getting on the Disney Dream!

To see all the photos from this trip on Picasa, click here!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Where Dreams Come True