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Old 05-14-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
mmfinn
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First Timer! Any tips you wish you knew before your first DCL?

First Timer alert and WOW am I ever excited. Leaving next week for a 3 night cruise on Dream. We have cruised before (just the adults), but never on Disney and this time we are bringing DD with us - it's her first ever cruise. Any must know tips that you wish you had known before your first Disney Cruise that you can pass along? I know it's a short one, but I especially want this to be an awesome experience for DD

THANKS!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
adellel
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I am not sure the age of your daughter, but we brought our 2 year old and just followed his queues of what to do/what not to do so that he was happy (not tired and cranky). This way we all enjoyed everything! When going to see characters, try to get there early. Otherwise, just enjoy and have a great time!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:53 AM   #3
mmfinn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adellel View Post
I am not sure the age of your daughter, but we brought our 2 year old and just followed his queues of what to do/what not to do so that he was happy (not tired and cranky). This way we all enjoyed everything! When going to see characters, try to get there early. Otherwise, just enjoy and have a great time!
DD is 9, so I know she'll love AquaDuck and characters and stuff. Just don't want to miss out on anything "I wish I knew" LOL
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:54 AM   #4
Moxin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmfinn View Post
First Timer alert and WOW am I ever excited. Leaving next week for a 3 night cruise on Dream. We have cruised before (just the adults), but never on Disney and this time we are bringing DD with us - it's her first ever cruise. Any must know tips that you wish you had known before your first Disney Cruise that you can pass along? I know it's a short one, but I especially want this to be an awesome experience for DD

THANKS!!!
The only mistake I made before my first cruise was booking a 4 nighter instead of 7!!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:55 AM   #5
mmfinn
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Originally Posted by Moxin View Post
The only mistake I made before my first cruise was booking a 4 nighter instead of 7!!!!
ROFL...I'm already thinking that and we haven't even cruised yet!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmfinn View Post
First Timer alert and WOW am I ever excited. Leaving next week for a 3 night cruise on Dream. We have cruised before (just the adults), but never on Disney and this time we are bringing DD with us - it's her first ever cruise. Any must know tips that you wish you had known before your first Disney Cruise that you can pass along? I know it's a short one, but I especially want this to be an awesome experience for DD

THANKS!!!
Rebook onboard to take advantage of 10% off your next cruise and to get the OBC. Read your navigator so you know whats going on at all times. Don't try to do everything because you will not be able to. If your DD is interested in the characters there will be lots of opportunites to see them and get pics taken. Try new foods and don't be afraid to order more than one thing if you want. Relax and have a great cruise.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:03 AM   #7
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I would offer that you need to make a "to-do" list of on board activities AND, from that list, pick only a few MUST DO activities because there is soooo much to see it is impossible to do it all on a 55 day cruise!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
elaine amj
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I should have known (I really don't know how I didn't know) - all food outlets close by midnight. We started hunting for food around midnight or so after the kids were settled in bed (We put them to bed about 11pm).

We were avoiding room service so we could have time away from the kids and also to let them sleep in peace.

Nothing anywhere on the ship. We tried to convince them to deliver the food to a close by elevator and no dice. Later on, we realised we should have just ordered room service to a cabin number NEXT to the elevator (there are phones at the elevator), and grabbed it from them as they delivered the food. Felt stalkerish though ROFL!!

It was odd we didn't realise this before the cruise - I must have had a mental block about it. All I saw in my head was our RCCL cruise with a 24 hr cafe and a 24 hr pizzeria where I would go for my 2am snack.

The nightlife (lack of it) was our only disappointment with the Disney cruise. FINALLY we were on a cruise my friends' kids enjoyed and finally she entrusted them to Disney's excellent childcare (they did not like RCCL kids programs) and we really had little to do

Also, if you are someone who gets completely lost all the time (like me), try to find out which terminal the ship docks at and know it if you plan to drive and park at port. Our plan was for DH to drop us off at Port and then he would go park the car at an offsite parking lot. I decided to rely on signs. We missed one of the signs somewhere and then started freaking out about which terminal to go to. All the signs said at that point were the names of the 2 different terminals. We took a stab in the dark - and chose the wrong one. After driving 5+ mins out of the way, we turned around and then by a fluke, chose the correct exit off and found ourselves at the right terminal. Stressful when we were just super excited to BE on the ship!

Thinking back, we must have done something wrong along the way as I've not heard a single report of anyone having difficulty making it to Port. Or what's more likely to be the truth...we're just dunces We got lost trying to drive to Poly as well, ending up in the MK parking lot instead!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:12 AM   #9
mmfinn
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Awesome tips...thanks everyone who has commented so far! I'm taking it all in!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:18 AM   #10
wcw57
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one more:

THIS I knew about but I will pass it along to you

Don't know how old your DD is BUT they used to have veggie races..like boy scout pinewood derby.....made out of veggies. FUN! especially since my DGD was the big winner.....but just plain fun no matter what...

BUT...now pay attention....get there early. There is limited space.

hope they still do this want to do it again with DGD #2 in a few years
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:20 AM   #11
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To relax and not try to do everything or stand in every line. You will be back again!

Experience Deck 4 outside at night.

Eat lunch just once in a restaurant. Its very nice.

Don't miss Palo Brunch. Its take a while, you miss stuff, you have to get out of your swimsuit.. but, oh my! Amazing!

Keep walking further on CC - just keep walking to the end of the family beach and you will get the best spots.

There are no lines at Cookies at the end of lunch service if you can wait.

Get a day pass to the Rainforest room

Take at least one shower down in the spa

Sit at least once at the Cove Cafe and order a drink and relax

Make sure you go into the hotubs and look down on the Dream and Fantasy

There's awesome pub food outside the clubs late at night

Pee everywhere! - no seriously, use the bathrooms everywhere on the ship! So much fun to see the different themes!

There's so many more! Just explore and enjoy!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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Don't miss Animators Palate...pick one of your other nights to do Palo, but definitely do Palo!!!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:38 AM   #13
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Pack your swimsuits or have your DD wear hers so when you board pool and Aqua duck are an option before or after lunch while you wait for your cabin to be ready (1:30pm).

Go to the Buena Vista Theatre for a movie....the place is gorgeous........

Play Mini Golf or ping pong on the upper deck.....my sons on our last 3 Day Dream cruise got to play ping pong with Goofy. We are going our another 3 night Dream next August.

I would not worry about food .....it is everywhere.... On Pirate night their is a buffet.....you have room service....late night snack in adult area etc.

Take in the beauty of the terminal....the model of the ship .....characters...walking thru the ears....and boarding.....hear your family na,e announced and seeing the beautiful atrium when you first walk on to the Dream....your not dreaming.....

Also....you will not believe the attention to details through out the ship ....it is gorgeous very elegant ....

Oh play Mid Ship Detective.....I good keep going on...lots to do....

Have a wonderful cruise.....
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:41 AM   #14
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Don't miss the Golden Mickeys. It has Ariel, Snow White, Lion King, Cruella, Tarzan, Rapunzel, all the princesses at the end. It's got a sorta cheesey sub plot but it didn't matter because the musical sequences were totally top notch. Mom missed this one because she was afraid she would be rushed getting ready for dinner. Don't miss this one, it was our favorite one for all the sequences it covered.

Go to the Family Karaoke at least once, because they are some gems. Similarly, our Fiesta party with Donald Duck was one of the most entertaining things I"ve ever seen! hahaha lil kids doing 'merengue' and all ages having a blast. Too full to dance from dinner but man I'm glad I watched it. It was hilarious.

We missed getting a Mickey bar at least once off the kids menu for desserts. Since sundaes are a lot of their signature deserts, I plan to get one for sure next time instead.

We also missed the Pirate buffet, although the rest of our family went, I don't know how they ate, but they raved about the crepes, and I plan to sample at least a taste on my next one.

Research your ports. People act like Nassau is not worth getting off the ship, and of course, that is your choice. But there are some gems there and the island is gorgeous once you get a little out of the port, so do your research so you don't miss something you may like to do.

Bring some mask, snorkel and fins sets for the family. If you have your own, you don't have to rent to $25 each place you go to. (And then its yours, always handy, and don't have to think of all the people using it...) Snorkeling at Castaway is free if you bring your own gear! And it's got tons of fish too.

You can bring some items to stock your room if you don't already know about that on your carry-on.

Make sure all your cruise documents are in order, that is the number one priority with passports being the easiest and most secure way and you will be ready for years.

Get plenty of sleep the morning you embark so you aren't so tired on your first day! We had a disney parks hopping day until 1am the night before. We did all 4 parks (went to one of them twice) along with a nice dinner at the Contemporary. That morning in Orlando, we got to get some rest and didn't have to leave our hotel room til about 10. It's only an hr drive to the port, and you can't really check in much before 11, so we were so glad we got sleep. We were able to stay up and have a great time every night. We only had a 3 day, so each night had to count,and we definitely made it count!

Our only downside to the trip was the back of the tram on Castaway was improperly loaded. No one was checking it, Mom and Dad were getting on and it started to leave, so Dad jumped back off of it and I guess it jarred him pretty badly. So maybe only load very close to the front of the tram driver to avoid that.

Make sure you have a camera if you go to the princess gathering for photos in the DLounge. We thought the professional photographers would be there like downstairs in the lobby, but they weren't! We didn't have a phone or camera or anything and a nice lady took them for us and emailed them to us, but we learned to have a camera with us next time for all evenings!

Come in the night before unless you are within an hr's drive of the port, come in earlier if you want to have a great park day to start your vacation, or add one on to the day you get off the ship to make your 4 day a lil longer and a great vacation (and if you go after leaving the ship, it helps to postpone the post-cruise blues!)

Ok that's all I can think of for now. It's such a great trip!
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:30 AM   #15
mmfinn
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Wow, you guys have some awesome advice! This is getting me more and more excited about the trip!!! I cannot wait!! Thank goodness we are headed to WDW after the cruise otherwise I think I would fall into depression!! ROFL
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