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Old 07-29-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
tkalita
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First day/boarding tips for a first timer??

I've been on 10+ cruises but never on a Disney cruise. You can always tell the repeat customers because they're on a mission right when they first get on the ship. They know what you should sign up for right away and what do to while you wait for your luggage. I was just wondering if any regulars would like to share some of those tips...pretty please!
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:25 PM   #2
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Great question I'm interested also.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #3
DynamicDisneyDuo
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1st - Make sure you let the photographers take your boarding picture as they use facial recognition software, based partly on your boarding pic, to help get all your pictures together to look at on the kiosks/buy the CD.

2nd - If you were unable to book Palo, want to change your Palo ressie based on your dining rotation, want to request a different dining rotation/seating/specific servers...be at the appropriate location when it opens to make these requests. On the Wonder, it is at Wavebands. Not sure about Magic, Rockin' D I think. You will get a navigator for the day when you check in and it will tell you where/when. I think it's 1 or 1:30.

3rd - Start eatin! If you prefer a relaxed/air conditioned environment, head to Parrot Cay. It's easier to get to and easier to track your carry-ons. If you wanna start the cruise experience right away, or long for fresh sea air, head upstairs to the buffet. Beach Blanket Buffet on Wonder, Topsiders on Magic. The cast member directing traffic at Parrot Cay may refer you upstairs because they are busy. Just tell them you'll wait if you want PC as we've never seen it full to capacity on embarkation day, although I suppose if you get there late enough, it might be.

4th - You must attend the muster drill prior to departure. All ships services shut down during the drill, as cast members all have responsibilities, so you won't miss anything.

5th - Get to Deck 9 or 10 early if you want a good view of the Sail Away Party.

6th - The first night out, crossing the Gulf currents, can be ummm....interesting. Don't worry, the ship and you will be fine.

Last, and most importantly, leave all your cares outside the big Mickey Ears and enjoy your cruise!

I'm sure others will pop in with more.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DynamicDisneyDuo View Post


5th - Get to Deck 9 or 10 early if you want a good view of the Sail Away Party.


Last, and most importantly, leave all your cares outside the big Mickey Ears and enjoy your cruise!

I'm sure others will pop in with more.
What time do you suggest we get to deck 10 for Sail Away Party?
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:21 PM   #5
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If you care to enjoy the pools that first day, carry your swimsuits and sunscreen in your carry-on, so you'll have it even if your luggage isn't in your cabin when you're ready to swim.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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Get to the port about 10:00. We have done this 4 times and every time there is no line for check in and we get the #2 boarding cards. It is a bit of a wait the until boarding begins but worth it when they call your number to board and the terminal is packed and you get to go strolling past everyone to get on the ship.


Lunch when boarding... Definitely go to Parrot Cay for lunch, even if they are directing you upstairs, even if when you get to Parrot Cay they say you have to wait a few minutes, wait (if you are in the early boarding group this will not be an issue.) The food is the same, but in Parrot Cay there is tons of seating, waiters bring you your drink and if there is soooo much more room at the Buffet to go up several times if you want, get your main course first, then go back later for dessert etc.. Upstairs it is a cafeteria line, once through it is not easy to go back, you have to get your own drinks and seating can be hard to find, especially if you are a group of more than 4. We did upstairs once so we could sit on deck and "enjoy" lunch in the sun but after doing it wouldn't do it again, especially if you have any luggage . There is plenty of time to enjoy the deck later in the day and over the cruise.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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Lunch when boarding... Definitely go to Parrot Cay for lunch, even if they are directing you upstairs, even if when you get to Parrot Cay they say you have to wait a few minutes, wait (if you are in the early boarding group this will not be an issue.) The food is the same, but in Parrot Cay there is tons of seating, waiters bring you your drink and if there is soooo much more room at the Buffet to go up several times if you want, get your main course first, then go back later for dessert etc.. Upstairs it is a cafeteria line, once through it is not easy to go back, you have to get your own drinks and seating can be hard to find, especially if you are a group of more than 4. We did upstairs once so we could sit on deck and "enjoy" lunch in the sun but after doing it wouldn't do it again, especially if you have any luggage . There is plenty of time to enjoy the deck later in the day and over the cruise.
hey, you stole our "secret". We learned this too... one guy told us Parrot Cay was "full" and directed us towards the stairs up to deck 9. My wife and son did a big "awwwwww", so another guy took us aside and said "just wait for couple minutes and I'll get you in". I figured it was because we were wearing matching Disney outfits and we were getting some special "cute family" service. Now we know -- if they say Parrot Cay is "full", just say "We'll wait".

Another benefit of Parrot Cay for boarding day lunch -- Captain Mickey comes thru the restaurant, and you can get your picture taken with him, right at your table. So, if you go to Parrot Cay -- have your camera ready!

Bring your swimsuits in a carry-on (or wear them), in case it's HOT outside and/or your kids CAN'T WAIT to jump in the pool. On boarding day, I see TOO MANY kids standing in their street clothes, staring longingly at the pool... with the mommy telling them "we didn't bring your swimsuit, it's packed in the suitcase". shame shame!

Another boarding day tip for first-timers -- the kids clubs are "open house", so you can tour them, meet the staff, and ask any questions... you don't "have to" sign up before you get on the boat, nor are you forced in anyway to use the clubs if you see something you don't like.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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I love all of these ideas! We'll be taking our first cruise on the Dream in February. I can't get enough information & advice - and February can't come fast enough.

Thanks for this thread! I can't wait to read more.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:05 PM   #9
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I think the Parot Cay vs. upstairs buffet is a matter of preference. We are not huge buffet lovers so we went straight to the pool. We got chicken wraps from one of the quick service places on deck 9 and enjoyed an adult beverage by the pool.

So there are several options. You just need to decide what is right for your group.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:12 PM   #10
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I think the Parot Cay vs. upstairs buffet is a matter of preference. We are not huge buffet lovers so we went straight to the pool. We got chicken wraps from one of the quick service places on deck 9 and enjoyed an adult beverage by the pool.

So there are several options. You just need to decide what is right for your group.
Glad to hear from someone else that does this. This is my official plan. That way we can eat and the kids can immediately start enjoying the pool!
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:12 PM   #11
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We took our 1st Disney Cruise last year and enjoyed it very much. I listened to the DIS weekly show and boy was it a life saver!

Another helpful tip is to bring your own drinking cup. The ones the ship have are kind of small. With your own, you don't have to keep going back for refills

If I can find the old shows regarding 1st time on a Disney Cruise, I'll post it for you.

Have a great time and can't wait to hear how you liked DCL!
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:19 PM   #12
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DCL 1st timers DIS podcast

I found it!

http://www.wdwinfo.com/disney-podcast/archives-2009.htm

Begin with Feb 29 - Mar 25.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:43 PM   #13
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Glad to hear from someone else that does this. This is my official plan. That way we can eat and the kids can immediately start enjoying the pool!
I should add that on our upcoming cruise (the first leg of a B2B) we will do Parot Cay bc we will have first-time cruisers with us and we want them to have the "full cruise experience". When we reboard we'll just head to the pool--after exploring a nearly empty ship! Can't wait. Our first B2B!
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the helpful tips
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:17 PM   #15
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great thread!

We are also first timers with DCL and can use all the tips we can get.

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