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Old 04-01-2011, 03:47 PM   #1
scrapbookjulie
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 333

Disney Dream 3/27 - 3/31 First Time Cruisers/Concierge Experience (Updated 4/6)

I spent so much time researching and reading everyone else’s trip reports before our first cruise on the Dream. I thought it was only fair that I repay the favor and post about our experiences! The cruisers were DH (39), me (39), and DD (9). We had a fantastic vacation from the very beginning until the moment we stepped off the ship. I’ll try to report on everything I can remember. Feel free to ask questions about anything I forget to mention!

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The Day Before 3/26

We flew in to MCO on Saturday. We stayed at the Hyatt in the airport. SUPER easy. We’d definitely stay there again the night before cruising. Before I booked the Hyatt, I purchased a stay certificate for about $140. When we booked, I mentioned that certificate. Upon check-in, all we needed to do was present that certificate, and we were good to go. At check-in, we told them we were sailing on DCL. They handed us the list of instructions for the morning. Our room was nice.


The Morning of the Cruise 3/27

On Sunday morning, we got up early. We read all the instructions in black on our DCL sheet, but we still weren’t convinced our bags would be picked up. We had no idea how Disney magically knew where to get them. We tagged them and left them in the room as instructed (but planned to run upstairs before the bus got us to see if they were gone). We went to the DCL check-in on the first floor of the airport. Weren’t quite sure where to go, but an airport employee got us pointed in the right direction. The form said the counter opened at 8:30, but from reading posts here, I figured it would open earlier. It did. We got down there a bit after 7:30, and it was open. A very friendly CM helped us check in. He showed us on the Hyatt instruction form that there is a section on the bottom in blue that needs to be filled out and turned in to get your bags picked up. Not sure how we missed that! But we filled it out and gave it to him and then did not feel the need to go back up and check on our luggage. Since we were concierge, the CM actually couldn’t get us any further on the check-in process. We would need to complete our check-in at the terminal. By getting to the counter early, however, we were able to get on bus #1, Goofy. We had at least an hour before the first bus left at 9:30, so we grabbed some breakfast in the airport. Then we returned to the Magical Express check-in area to wait for our bus. They called the Goofy people to line up around 9:30. We chatted with a very nice family in front of us in line. I suspected they might be disboard members, but I didn’t want to seem crazy and ask in case they weren’t! The ship boarding card numbers seemed to be passed out somewhat randomly. The family in front of us got a 4. We got a 2. I knew we’d be boarding with concierge, so I swapped our 2 for their 4. The bus ride took a little less than an hour. The cruise video and Disney cartoons made the ride go by quickly.

The Terminal

We entered the terminal around 10:30. We went through security…pretty similar to the airport except that you can leave your shoes on. We went up the escalator to the terminal. The concierge check-in was in the back. I glanced at the regular line, and it didn’t seem long. The kids club check-in line was HUGE. No way I’d wait in that. Register online and get your wristband sometime at the club that first afternoon. The concierge area didn’t have a line. We checked in with our passports and spiral book that we got in the mail from DCL. We were directed to the walled in seating area for concierge. We went outside to take a few pictures of the boat. Mickey came out, so we went and got our pictures taken with him. The photographer used both his own camera and ours. We went back to the concierge area, and DD met a friend her age. We boarded the ship from the concierge area, not under the ears, before noon. They took our picture. I’m not sure if they actually use that photo for facial recognition at Shutters or not. With the exception of dinner, every time we had a picture taken, they took our KTTW card and scanned it.

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On The Ship

I wondered how they boarded everyone so quickly if they announced everyone’s family. It’s because there are 2 lines. As one CM is announcing, the other CM is asking your name. A different CM came over and escorted us to the elevator and told us to go to the concierge lounge. We were the first people to get up there. Not sure how that happened since several people boarded before us! Anyway, they had some fruit and cookies and drinks up there. They asked us to help ourselves. Then Lynda came over and went over our itinerary for the cruise. A kids club rep came by to make sure we’d registered (we had), and a spa rep came by to see if we wanted to sign up for anything (we didn’t). The lounge was nice. I agree with many others who have posted that you won’t find too many kid friendly snacks besides the cookies in there. It was great to be able to run up and grab a can of pop or water bottle, though.

We left the lounge and headed right for the Aqua Duck. We got in 2 rides with only about a 10 minute wait. It was fun. It’s definitely not a thrill ride, but it was still worth the short wait. After the Duck, we stayed by the pool knowing that it would be our best chance for DD to swim without a crowd. She hung out with the friend she made in the terminal and swam in the pools and went down the Mickey slide several times. It was a fun afternoon. The weather was perfect. Low 80s and sunny the whole trip. We just ate lunch by the pool. The chicken strips were delicious. Pizza was okay. Edible, but not fantastic. I liked how fruit was always available. I probably ate my weight in fresh pineapple this week!

We went to check out the room around 3:00. Everything was very nice. I loved being on the new ship. We didn’t have any trouble with our tv like some others have reported. The light switches were a little odd. Some dimmed lights, some turned them on and off. Never quite figured them out 100%, but we weren’t in the room very often for it to matter. We usually forgot to take the wave phones with us, but the 2 times we used them, they were nice and worked well. The fridge was stocked with a couple of Cokes, Diets, Sprites, and waters. It wasn’t restocked for us, but we could get what we wanted at the concierge lounge. I really liked being on Deck 11. It was so convenient if you wanted to run and grab a drink from the drink station or check out the pool or go to Cabanas for breakfast, etc. You could usually get an elevator quickly, too, because there was almost always one waiting on 11 since so many people head there for the pool. It was also nice being in the forward part of the ship since it was so easy to get down to the theaters. Our stateroom attendant, Nortel, was so friendly. She introduced herself and chatted with us every day.

Before the muster drill, we went to the kids club to check it out and get DD her wristband. The kids club area is nice. Had my DD gone on this cruise with a friend or relative, she would have spent a ton of time in there. As it was, she was by herself, so she only tried it once on her own and didn’t love it. Liked it. But got bored being on her own. There were plenty of things for her to do around the ship with us. We went to the muster drill. Our leader John was hysterical. We found out later that he also starred in 2 of the shows. He was Hades in Villains and the genie in Believe. We actually can’t believe how many roles each CM has on the ship. Scheduling all of them must be quite a task. We saw certain CMs popping up at almost everything we attended…shows, character meets, classes in the D Lounge, etc. They work very hard. Next cruise, DH and I are going to play a game and tally all the times and places we see certain CMs. After the muster drill, we went to the Sail Away party. We really liked it. I haven’t seen the show on the old ships, so I have no comparison, but it was cute.

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More to come on the show and dinner. I’ll also try to figure out how to add pictures!

Last edited by scrapbookjulie; 04-06-2011 at 11:02 AM.
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