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Old 01-30-2014, 09:52 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 170

A mini trip report for the Dream January 19-22

Howdy all,

I just wanted to add a little information to the community since everything I read was so helpful. This was our first time on the Dream and we were celebrating DD's 6th birthday. It was a BEAUTIFUL ship. I wanted to start this mini report off by saying how lucky we should all consider ourselves to be that we can take our kids on such a beautiful destination. O.k. - now on to the details.

We flew in the day before from VA to Orlando. Booked a room at the MCO Hyatt. It was a great experience. I was not able to secure a great deal, so I paid a little over $200 for the room. We had a few hours to kill that night so it was nice being able to take our time and look around the airport. There is a large food court for quick meals. We ate at the Macaroni Grill which was in the same area; however, other restaurants such as Outback and Chilis were probably not a far walk away. Quick word of advice - buy your dramamine before leaving - it was $9 in the airport!

In the morning we ate breakfast in the hotel at the Hemisphere restaurant, another great experience. They do have a buffet for around $15 pp but you can order a la carte and they have less expensive options. Definitely most everything served here is free range, cage free, organic, so you can get a great meal here. I got a egg white fritatta with goat cheese and arugula for $11 - delicious!

As others have mentioned, you leave your bags in your room and the hotel gives you a paper to complete which you hand to the Disney Cruise desk people. They reconcile everything at the airport to make sure your bags get sent. Our bags were not waiting for us when we got to go into our room at 1:30, but they were there by 5 or so.

The paper that was given to us said that buses started leaving at 9:30. We were down by the Disney Cruise desk by 8:50 and we were able to get on the first bus and were on our way to the port by 9:19! (I kept notes on my phone so I could remember these details )

We arrived at the port by 10:03 Have your camera's ready - there is definitely opportunities to take pictures of the ship as you are pulling into the port.

I was able to secure a PAT of 10:30. (this was our second cruise - so it wasn't a factor of being concierge or anything - it was just planning and checking in on the website at midnight on the 90 day mark). It was a quick check in process (print your contract and take it with you). We got boarding group #2! We had pre-registered DD for the kids club so it was a short line to pick up the kids club bracelets. After that, it was chill time in the port - picture with Mickey and watching Dumbo on the tv's. They loaded groups #1 and #2 together. We bypassed the line for the formal portraits (there was a little big of jam there). We were on the ship by 11:30!

First stop was guest services where we got our Mixology tickets. Our mixology time was 4:00 on the Nassau day. There was another time offered on the sea day. I don't know if they added that because of the class selling out, but I think I would have preferred to go on the sea day, so I wish I would have asked if there were other times. Mixology was SO much fun and DD really enjoyed it. There were only 7 of us in the class and we made five drinks.

The nice thing about being on the boat so early was that we didn't feel rushed to get food. So we are able to take a good amount of time just to tour the ship. We went up on the sports deck and were able to play ping pong for quite a while with no interruption. We did not pack our swimsuits; however, the water is heated and it would have been fine for us to swim.

We had lunch in the Enchanted Garden at 1250. It was actually pretty crowded at this time, we had to wait in line for a seat. Lunch was good; got plenty of shrimp and crab legs. After that, it was time to check out the room. We had a deluxe family ocean view room and we really loved the large port hole. It became DD's favorte spot on the cruise. We had a verandah on the previous cruise and I honestly didn't miss it. I had ordered the birthday package and everything was set up. It was really nice - a banner on the bed, a card, a happy birthday sign hanging from the ceiling, and a large magnet.

After a nap and some Mickey cartoon we had the safety drill (please...don't be THAT guy and not show up for the safety drill - everyone ends up waiting for the cast member to realize you aren't coming).

We headed down to the sail away party after the drill. It was a lot of fun for DD - she got a spot right in front; however, to me it felt like a war zone. The amount of pushing and cutting in front from adults and older kids alike was unreal. You are best to follow the advice on these boards and go on the 12th deck and watch. If you have a 5:45 dinner time - time really moves quickly after the sail away party. We went back to the room and it was a quick turnaround to unpack and get ready for dinner.

Dinner on the first night was in the Enchanted Garden. We were seated with another family who were wonderful. They had a daughter the same age as DD so they became quick friends. Food was good. DD ordered the soup and it came out piping hot! so be careful. Our wait staff were good; however, the head waiter was a little hard to understand. We were celebrating DD's birthday and it was difficult trying to coordinate a birthday celebration. We did not order a cake - but all I wanted was a Mickey bar with sprinkles. We got that plus a small cake from the back with a candle in it, which unfortunately we wasted.

Since this was our second cruise, again we didn't feel compelled to do the shows. DD went to the kids club and DH and I went to the District to catch the end of the football game. We did a quick tour of Pink. The bartender told us that the pink lights had just gone through a refurbishment so that the lights would "twinkle" like bubbling champagne. We dropped of DD's birthday card (the one we got from the package) at Guest Services to be signed. We also got a Bahamas stamp from guest services (.65 charged to the room). I am glad we did this early because the post office was closed when we got off at CC and they only excepted cash.

I really like the way that Shutters is organized. All of your photos are kept in a book so you don't have pictures of your family for the whole world to see.

The kids club is HUGE and so much fun! There is a ton of stuff to do there. You may want to consider going to the open house even if you get your band at port. We did not. When we picked up DD on the first night we found out that she only stayed in one room the whole time because she basically didn't know the other stuff existed. The check in/check out process is not very organized IMO. People just crowd and the CMs don't have very good control of the whole process. The hallway gets very crowded and because they are trying to get people in - you have to wait to get out. They really need a dedicated line or some signage to help out.

We stayed on the boat for Nassau day. We did not do a ton of characters but we made sure to see Princess Anna. Her arrival time was 9:00 on Nassau day (she also had a second appearance on the sea day). I think there were 3 showings for the Princesses. I am glad we got to see her on the boat because the wait at Epcot was 4 hours!! We ended up doing both of the Midship detective agency puzzles - a lot of fun. DD loved the moving artwork. We saw three movies on the boat over our three days (Saving Mr. Banks, Thor, and Frozen). There were a lot of opportunities to see movies.

CC was amazing! First time there. The weather could have been warmer but we found a great spot with a hammock (there are plenty; especially on the first beach) and we hung out all day. Cookies BBQ was really good and DH and I enjoyed a few cocktails at the beach bar while DD went to the kids club on the island.

DH and I did Palo brunch on our Sea Day. I am sure I am in the minority here, but I enjoyed the dinner we took on our first cruise much better (the Wonder) The brunch food was good - not amazing IMO. In the end, I paid $50 + tip for brunch. I would be happier paying that price for dinner. I'm pretty sure the restaurant is located right under the basketball court because we heard pounding throughout our entire breakfast. a nutshell that's it. It was a GREAT trip. I loved the Dream and can't wait to go on the Fantasy someday. We have been on five other cruises, all of which have been 7+ days. I was worried that four days wouldn't be "enough" but it really was a great four days. I think getting on the boat early and staying on the boat at Nassau helped us to get the most out of our trip. Sorry, but I'm not able to scan navigators.

Happy Cruising!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:07 PM   #2
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I enjoyed your report. I'll be on the Dream in 2 weeks and I'm looking forward to the mixology seminars.
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
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Great report!
For the love of Disney...
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:24 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Thank you very much for your report, and all the tips you gave us. We are going on our first Disney cruise on the Dream in 2 weeks --- we are also staying at Hyatt MCO the night before, plan on early start the next day. So it was so good to hear that everything went so smoothly for you.

We also plan to stay on the ship on Nassau day. I've shown our 5 year old videos/photos of the Club, and she already has told us she's "staying there all day".....we shall see.

My fingers are crossed that Anna is still on the ship for our cruise, but if she is that will be icing on the cake, not a make/break for the trip. Our mindset going in is that it will all be a wonderful Adventure....

Again, thanks for posting and glad you had such a good time....what a wonderful start to the New Year.

Quick question: any special tips about CC? What did your DD enjoy most?? What did You enjoy most???
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:30 PM   #5
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Hi there! You will have a great time. My experience going to CC as a first timer was great! We were not the first to get off. We enjoyed breakfast at royal palace and then headed down. I think it was around 930. There was a tiny wait to get off. All of the excursions were cancelled on our day because of wind.

There were people handing out towels as we got off. I never saw anyone else handing them out so grab what you need. We did not take the tram but enjoyed walking along the path and staring at the water/snapping photos. There is a gift store once you get close. We got DD a Cinderella Castle sand bucket. It was pretty cute and "only" $5.

It seems that the tram lets you off farther down the beach because there were plenty of chairs/umbrellas/ and hammocks as we approached. We got a spot closer to the tree line rather than the water. It was great and it would have been even better if it was warmer, however, to each their own, you know where you like to sit on the beach . Our spot allowed us easy access to the restroom and Cookies but it was all so close I am sure any spot would be good.

If you walk, you will walk by the spot where they hand out life jackets. I wish I would have grabbed one on the way because when we finally went to get one it felt like it was miles away.

We hung out for a better part of the day. It was cool on our day but DD and i still got in the water.

We had our first snack break around 1130. They had a huge buffet of fruit set up - grapes, mangos, bananas, apples, pears. They also have an ice cream machine. DD enjoyed ice cream on the beach. There was live music and character interactions (at one point I saw kids doing a conga line with Mickey and Minnie and thought "now this is what a disney cruise is all about!"). We did not participate in any of that but it looked like fun. The navigator will give you times for all of those activities.

DD was in the club for probably 1.5 hours or less. She really enjoyed it. There was a big pile of wet sand for playing in and a water spray play area.

As I mentioned, DH and I hung out at the bar when DD went to the club. I asked the bartender for something with banana in it and she made me a delicious banana piña colada. We were there probably around 2:30 and they started selling 2 for 1 konk koolers, so we definitely took advantage of that deal

Cookies has quite a few protein options other than BBQ ribs (chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs). We ate around 130 and walked over to cookies 2. A short walk. The line was not long and we were able to find a seat with no problem.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:34 PM   #6
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Sorry, I didn't answer your question about what I liked most... The short answer is EVERYTHING . If I have the blue caribbean water to look at I'm a happy camper. But I really enjoyed relaxing in the hammock and I also liked hanging out with DH while DD was in the club. It felt like a second (albeit short) honeymoon on a tropical island!
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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a banana pina colada?? YES THANK YOU!! So kids can go to mixology classes?
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lulucornbread View Post
a banana pina colada?? YES THANK YOU!! So kids can go to mixology classes?
Haha. No. I reread my post and was like DD loved it?! That was a typo. I meant DH.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:58 PM   #9
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We will be on the Dream with our Granddaughters in May! Thanks for the review!!
What A Blessing It Is to CRUISE!!


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Old 02-24-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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Princess Ana is one of the characters on the ship?! We will be on the Dream April 3-6 and my daughter will be ecstatic!!
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #11
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we are going on our 2nd Dream cruise in February next year and have a deluxe family ocean view room with large port hole and not wait! We had a inside room the 1st time and it was fun..... we hope to get in for dinner at Palo it's going to be Valentine's on the 2nd night so hearing that you like Palo for dinner makes me want to try to get in more lol
[B][COLOR="Magenta"]Me mom loved Disney from 1972
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:54 PM   #12
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Thank You so much! Great info!
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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We received our postcard from CC this week!

P.S. - there are (or at least were) two free postcards in the desk in the stateroom. We used that one and sent a postcard to DD . So I guess that took about 4 weeks.
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:00 PM   #14
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It's funny you mentioned the port arrival time. They must be doing something new because we're staying at the Hyatt at MCO and when we went to choose a PAT, it told us we didn't need one.
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