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Old 02-24-2014, 11:24 AM   #1
Mizzcoreta
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Disney Dream, February 6-9. 3 day=Not long enough!

Let me start off by telling you a little bit about my family! My hubby and I have been married for 7 years, we have our hands full with three little ones-2 boys;4 &3 and one baby girl: 7 months old. This was the kids Christmas present that they received this year. We started off our trip with four days at the Disney parks. So, if you remember any crazy looking people struggling through airport security that was us! Normally, we travel with family but on this trip, only my mom ended up going with us but she only went on the cruise part of our vacation.
I'll only do a quick summary of our Disney trip.
**Day 1: A Nightmare! First off, we requested a Toy Story room, didn't get and ended up over at the 101 Dalmatians building. We were pretty disappointed since both of our boys are really into Toy Story. My hubby had the bright idea to go over to Downtown Disney. Lets just say we left our house that morning around 5 a.m. for the airport, neither of the boys took naps, so you can only imagine how they were. They were fine at the TREX Restaurant which was pretty cool but pricey. Then we went to DisneyQuest. The boys loved this, but the baby ended up falling asleep so her and I didn't last long. You can't take strollers into DisneyQuest, so my arms felt like they were about to fall off by the time I got back downstairs. Oh, and I forgot to mention, our stroller. We brought a triple stroller with us, two regular seats, and one of the sit and stand seats on the back. Really, its not much bigger than a double stroller. It came in pretty handy with all three kids but it does get a little hard to turn when all three of them are in there. People were walking by us constantly saying, "A triple! I've never seen one of those before." So, no meltdowns so far, nope they saved those until we were leaving Downtown Disney. I have to say, our first day there, we weren't impressed with the Resort bus system at all. For whatever reason, they don't have corrals at Downtown Disney to get back onto the bus. So, we were the first ones there to wait for a bus, probably around 8:30 at night, both of the boys fell asleep and the baby had just woken up from her nap. We folded up the stroller so we could just hop onto the bus as soon as it came, even though it was going to be difficult trying to carry all three plus the stroller. Then three more groups of people show up-None of them with children probably younger than 15. A bus shows up, and what do you think all of those people did? Jump onto the bus before us! We were beyond mad. After that, there really was no room left on the bus, unless we wanted to stand which was pretty much impossible. So we waited for the next bus, probably about another 15 minutes. That bus was also full! By that time, we were pretty much like screw it, we're getting on. We were tired, annoyed by rude people, and just wanted to get back to our room. So there was only room to stand. Our 4 year old who really wasn't awake yet had a melt down. Luckily, we finally ran into some friendly people, and after they offered several times, because we really felt bad about taking people seats, we sat down.

I'll just group the rest of our days at Disney together, because really that first day was the only one that was bad. Let me just say, if you've cruised with Disney before, and then stay at a Resort, namely a Value one like we did, there's going to be a little bit of a letdown. You get spoiled on the cruise, they are definitely first class!

We did Magic Kingdom twice, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. We rode as many rides as possible, also did a lot of the shows which my boys loved the 3d ones, which surprised me, and got a few character pictures and autographs. We didn't have anymore meltdowns, mainly because we didn't stay at the parks till the very end. Most of the time we made it until about 2:00 each day, caught a bus, rested for a bit in the room, and then swam and ate. They perfectly happy with that, and so was I, because we didn't get too crabby. Plus, the baby really only lasted this long because she wanted to get out and crawl. Disney should really have more areas for that IMO.

I have to say the Quick Service dining plan is awesome! The boys basically ate the same thing everyday, but we're extremely happy about that and there were enough choices to keep me and the hubby happy. Our favorite at the parks had to be the Macaroni and Cheese with Blue Cheese and Balsamic at Magic Kingdom. We both loved, loved, loved it! So much that we also had it for lunch on our second day. Our favorite dessert had to be over at Hollywood Studios at Pizza Planet-I think they were blueberry cupcakes with lemon frosting. Ah-mazing!

Up Next:Cruise Finally!! (p.s. I totally can't figure out how to post pictures )
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Cruise Day!

And it was finally cruise day! We were so excited, our 4 year old especially because he remembered most of our last cruise and loved it. Our last cruise was on the Wonder, so in comparison, the Dream seemed huge! We had a pretty easy ride from the resorts to the ports, but it really does seem to be a bit of a drive, I think about 90 minutes or so. We went through the whole check in process pretty easily, going through the Castaway Members line which was nice and then we were getting on the boat! I think next time we might just skip the pictures coming on because they're a little annoying, we just wanted to see the boat!
Deluxe Oceanview family suite with verandahWe found our room quickly, which we were in love with instantly. Its pretty much the same size as a regular room at the Disney resorts, but thought out a whole lot better with plenty of storage. Plus, a verandah! There's no way you can compare with that. My boys did well with the bunk beds for the most part, we had a problem the first night with the younger one wanting to get on the top bunk with his brother, so we just removed the ladder until he fell asleep, and didn't have a problem after that.
First day lunchWe grabbed lunch after we got settled up at Cabanas. Unfortunately we had just missed being able to go to the dining room for lunch, which was a real bummer, because I'm not a big fan of buffets with three small kids. Somehow we managed to get all of their food, but the real problem was finding somewhere for all six of us to sit. (My mom was now with us) The only place we could find was on the deck. It was chilly an windy, so my husband went in with the baby and was able to find a two person table. The kids wanted to come in not much sooner after that and we found a table for two on the other side of the buffet. So, I was just a teensy bit annoyed with that.

Kids Clubs and NurseryWe then went to check out the kids clubs. My boys were thrilled with the clubs or Andy's room as they called it BUT they only ended up staying one time by themselves. The next time, we got a text on our wave phone saying the youngest wanted to be picked up, and when the oldest saw us picking up his brother, he wanted left too. They wanted us to go in with them, but wanted nothing to do with being left there by themselves. Hopefully, next year, they'll be okay with it.

The nursery for the baby was great! The overall design of it seems a little blah though and I would think the older toddlers might get a little bored. The staff is excellent though and probably keeps them busy. We booked once online before the trip, so we were grandfathered in at the $6/hr rate I believe it is. So, if you even think there's a possibility of using the nursery, book at least one time slot online. Otherwise, you're going to end up paying like a $9/hr rate.

We ended up using the nursery a few times. It was just nice for the baby to get down and have free range of crawling. One of the reasons why I think she loved it so much.

Next up: Summary of our dining!
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:05 PM   #3
Mizzcoreta
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Dining

My husband was very excited about this part. He kept saying that he wasn't getting filled up at the parks, so he couldn't wait until he could eat unlimited food aboard the boat and that's exactly what he did. I'm talking he had several appetizers, 2, sometimes 3 entrees, pizza and hot dogs AFTER dinner, and room service. Must be nice to be a man and hardly gain a pound! Our first dinner was in the Enchanted Garden and I think this was our favorite menu out of all three. Truthfully, I don't remember exactly what we all ate, but it was all delicious. We met our server, Woody. Let me just say, on the Wonder we got very spoiled with our server, Banjo. My kids still talk about him to this day. He was excellent! This time around we weren't as impressed. I know he had a big table that was right next to us, so it seemed as if he paid them more attention. His assistant, I believe her name was Marta, was great though. She was very attentive to the kids and made sure we had everything we needed. I did find it a little strange when it came to asking for baby food. I've read on the boards many times that they will gladly do this for you. I even met another family on board whose baby was around the same age and she said her server kept asking if they could get purees for the baby. When I brought it up to our server, he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. After a while, they finally brought something out and then the next night had a huge bowl of peas waiting for us, I'm talking enough for probably ten babies. So obviously there was lots left over. I don't know if they didn't think she ate any or what, because the next night they didn't even bother bringing any out. Our next night was at the Royal Palace which was great food as well. And finally we ended at Animators Palace. The boys LOVED AP! It was nice to have some entertainment to keep them a little busy. I would say this was probably our least favorite menu. The food was good, but the choices just weren't that great. Our little guy ended up falling asleep halfway through though, he was worn out after a day at Castaway Cay. All in all our dining experience was good, it would've been made awesome if we had a server just like Banjo, though. We did meet one server that our kids really liked. I can't for the life of me remember his name, but he had a squeaker to check if the kids belly's were full. They loved it! I wish we had gotten him as our server. I'm thinking I'll check into some great servers for our next cruise on the Fantasy and request one.

Next up Nassau and CC!
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:16 PM   #4
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Boat Stops

Being a three day cruise, we only had stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay. Somehow I got lucky enough to snag a cabana at Castaway Cay, so we decided not to do any excursions in Nassau. So instead we hit up the pools. My kids loved the Nemo splash area, even the baby. I think she and I sat at one of the water spouts for about an hour. The boys loved it, too, but I have a few complaints. First of all, the slide is an accident waiting to happen. If parents aren't in there to direct, the kids all try to go down at the same time or don't wait for the kid that just went down the slide, before there going down themselves. It honestly made me a nervous wreck and I'm a pretty laid back mom. Also, I didn't like that there were two different openings to go in and out of. It made it a little hard to keep track of all three kids at the same time. We even had one instance happen where I was with the baby, my mom was with the oldest and she THOUGHT my husband had our middle one. Nope. I really have no clue what my husband was doing, sometimes he's in lala land. Well, the middle one decided to go over to the Mickey Pool by himself and then he came back to tell us about it. Thank goodness nothing happened, that pool is pretty shallow though but you never know what could happen. After that, we went for naps. I wasn't really interested in getting off the boat, plus the kids needed naps, so my mom and my husband got off just to check out Atlantis. My moms into casinos so they went there for a bit, but said it wasn't anything special.

Then to Castaway Cay. The very best place ever in the world! We had spectacular weather. Water was a little cool but us Michiganders just came from below zero weather, we handled it just fine. Okay, the cabana. Wow. It was amazing. We got a stocked fridge with pops, water, fresh fruit, cool washcloths, towels, suntan lotion, sand toys, a pack and play, lots of comfy seats, our own hammock, rafts, tubes, snorkeling gear, bike rentals, seriously, I could go on and on. It was that great...but also expensive. We really liked having it with the baby, it came in handy for nap time. Would we do it again? Probably not on the next one since we're doing a seven day, but for the three day, since we didn't do any excursions, it worked out great. The food at Cookies was awesome as well!

Up next...over all too soon
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:26 PM   #5
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Its over already?!?!?!

So, some miscellaneous things that we did on the ship. We went and saw the sing along version of Frozen! I was nervous to take my boys to see this at the theaters at home because I didn't want to pay a ton for tickets and them think its a "girly" movie. So, it was awesome that it was playing on board and they loved it. I did have to take my oldest guy to the bathroom halfway through and for some reason he was thinking it was going to get scary so I had to drag him back to the theater, but he ended up loving it. Other than that, we really didn't have time to do anything else. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that it was a three day cruise AND we had three kids to handle. Everything just felt rushed. We didn't get to do any of the shows, we started to do the detective thing but just didn't have enough time. The only character we got pictures with was Minnie, once. And then we asked them at the end of the vacation what they liked better, the parks or the disney boat? They both quickly replied the Disney boat! So, that's how we ended up booking a 7 day cruise onboard for next January, can't wait!

So, the disney cruise was by far the best part of our vacation. Disney was great too, minus the first day there. The only bad experience we had on the boat was the elevators. We didn't get our stroller out, just shoved it under our bed, because it was way too big to navigate around there, so we used the stairs when we could. But on our last night there, our middle boy had fallen asleep, he's close to 40 lbs. and my husband had to carry him. So he waited for the elevators, people came to wait AFTER him and would all rush on to the elevator before him, even single middle aged people, with no kids with them. Okay, I know just because we have kids doesn't mean we should get special privileges or something, but really? I know my husband and I would let someone with a small child on the elevator first if we were kidless. It just seems like some people forget about common courtesy when they're on vacation or something. He ended up having to climb the stairs because he couldn't get on one. And there were crew members standing by the doors for whatever reason and they didn't help him.

Other than that, Disney cruises are by far the best vacation, just make sure to take a long one!
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:17 PM   #6
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Nice TR! I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise. In order to post pics you have to have a photo sharing account (I use photobucket) and click the link of the pic and paste it here.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the TR! I am glad to hear that overall it was a great vacation.
I love how you decided not to push it to the limit and took time to relax and let the kiddo's nap. That isn't easy to do when you are trying to do it all and get the most out of your vacation.

We are getting ready to go on our first cruise so I always learn from these.
You mentioned that you were going to have lunch in the MDR. I didn't know you could do that. Do you have to let them know you want to do that or just show up? Do you have to add extra tip for that or is it included with what they added to our account for the tips?

Thanks again!
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:20 PM   #8
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love it...we are taking our first cruise in August and I can't wait
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:06 PM   #9
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Yes, I saw some kids having meltdowns throughout the day and I was like phew, we ended up actually doing pretty good I think, lol.

Well, the last time we cruised on the Wonder, we flew down that same day and got on the boat late, so we didn't get to do the MDR lunch either, but from what I understand, they have one of the MDR open and I think its like a buffet style, but there's servers there that seat you and help you with your food and then get you drinks and all that. Not as crazy as Cabanas on the first day and it would've been a whole lot easier with the kids! So, we're going to plan on getting there as early as possible next year. I think we're driving and plan to arrive in Port Canaveral the night before, so we should be good.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:06 AM   #10
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Thanks for your review.....I too cannot figure out the pix thing...

My boys are big boys, I always want to applaud parents who cruise with the little ones. I am glad it was a great time for your family.

I also think a Disney cruise is much more relaxing then of course the parks. I actually really love it. But for the kiddies....they love the parks.

Thanks for your thoughts on the cabana. We are cruising on a 3 night on the Dream this August and we were contemplating the cabana instead of excursions.

We did a lot of excursion at CC last time and to be honest it would be almost the same price.

Again, thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:46 PM   #11
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On embarktion day the only options for lunch are Cabanas and Enchanted Garden (Dream/Fantasy), Parrot Cay (Wonder) or Carioca's (Magic). They are both buffet style but as noted above but at Cabana's you get your own table, drinks, food, etc (more a real buffet) where as in the other dining room you are seated at a table (that will fit your party) and the server brings your drinks. You just need to hit the buffet for food. The MDR ends sooner than the buffet to allow time to set up for early dinner seating.

On regular sail days you will find that the following is available for food:
Breakfast - Cabana's (buffet, Enchanted Garden (again buffet but given a table with server getting your coffee/juice, etc) or the Royal (Dream/Fantasy), Triton's (Wonder) or Lumiere's (Magic) offer sit down with ordering from a menu.
Lunch - Again Cabana's and the buffet MDR's (see above) with the same service or again the Royal/Triton/Lumiere's for a sit down ordering from lunch menu.
Dinner - Assigned MDR's. Also check upper deck buffet since they will sometimes offer sit down (no assigned times) which they use for training servers, etc.
NOTE: CHECK YOUR NAVIGATORS FOR ALL OPEN TIMES ON ALL THESE OPTIONS.
As always, there is availability of foods on the upper deck (fast food, sandwiches, pizza, ice cream). You can also find snacks in various locations set up during the day (primarily in the adult entertainment area - wings, nachos, etc) but can find dessert type snacks and cheeses in the afternoon in the Cove Cafe.
AND on top of all of this there is the room service menu available!!

Note that any food taken/served during the day does not require leaving a tip regardless of where you eat. This is all covered in your tips at the end of the cruise. You will often see your servers working breakfast or lunch or buffets. Believe me they earn their tips!!

The only exception would be room service. It is customary to tip (most people tip $1/item on average). This is why I always carry a envelop of $1 bills on my cruises.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:54 PM   #12
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I too do not understand the need for people to rush on to the elevators. I can see occassionally they might feel they are late for something but pushing in front of people is not going to get you there sooner. AND, it's really often easier to take the steps (especially down). Now, I'm older so I will admit that I will take the elevator any time I have to go up more than two decks! But it's so easy to go down!

And OP, if someone offers you their seat on the bus, please just take it and thank them. They are often very happy to help (most have probably been in your situation) and they also probably feel awkward sitting there while you are trying to juggle a little one while standing. Believe me, you get to at least sit (relaxing is not an option when traveling with small ones) and they get to feel good.

Oh and you are going to love the 7-day!! It's so much more relaxed and people are usually more mellowed out and not trying to cram everything in a short amount of time.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicMe View Post
On embarktion day the only options for lunch are Cabanas and Enchanted Garden (Dream/Fantasy), Parrot Cay (Wonder) or Carioca's (Magic). They are both buffet style but as noted above but at Cabana's you get your own table, drinks, food, etc (more a real buffet) where as in the other dining room you are seated at a table (that will fit your party) and the server brings your drinks. You just need to hit the buffet for food. The MDR ends sooner than the buffet to allow time to set up for early dinner seating.

On regular sail days you will find that the following is available for food:
Breakfast - Cabana's (buffet, Enchanted Garden (again buffet but given a table with server getting your coffee/juice, etc) or the Royal (Dream/Fantasy), Triton's (Wonder) or Lumiere's (Magic) offer sit down with ordering from a menu.
Lunch - Again Cabana's and the buffet MDR's (see above) with the same service or again the Royal/Triton/Lumiere's for a sit down ordering from lunch menu.
Dinner - Assigned MDR's. Also check upper deck buffet since they will sometimes offer sit down (no assigned times) which they use for training servers, etc.
NOTE: CHECK YOUR NAVIGATORS FOR ALL OPEN TIMES ON ALL THESE OPTIONS.
As always, there is availability of foods on the upper deck (fast food, sandwiches, pizza, ice cream). You can also find snacks in various locations set up during the day (primarily in the adult entertainment area - wings, nachos, etc) but can find dessert type snacks and cheeses in the afternoon in the Cove Cafe.
AND on top of all of this there is the room service menu available!!

Note that any food taken/served during the day does not require leaving a tip regardless of where you eat. This is all covered in your tips at the end of the cruise. You will often see your servers working breakfast or lunch or buffets. Believe me they earn their tips!!

The only exception would be room service. It is customary to tip (most people tip $1/item on average). This is why I always carry a envelop of $1 bills on my cruises.
Thanks so much for the information! I know we will figure it all out when we get there but it sure is nice knowing and not being so lost when we step food on the ship.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicMe View Post
I too do not understand the need for people to rush on to the elevators. I can see occassionally they might feel they are late for something but pushing in front of people is not going to get you there sooner. AND, it's really often easier to take the steps (especially down). Now, I'm older so I will admit that I will take the elevator any time I have to go up more than two decks! But it's so easy to go down!

And OP, if someone offers you their seat on the bus, please just take it and thank them. They are often very happy to help (most have probably been in your situation) and they also probably feel awkward sitting there while you are trying to juggle a little one while standing. Believe me, you get to at least sit (relaxing is not an option when traveling with small ones) and they get to feel good.

Oh and you are going to love the 7-day!! It's so much more relaxed and people are usually more mellowed out and not trying to cram everything in a short amount of time.
I agree completely! I have been there done that and would be more than happy to give someone with a child my seat.

As far as the elevators... It shouldn't surprise me how rude people are now days but for some reason it still does. I could never do that.
Enjoying your vacation is all about attitude though
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #15
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Thanks for the input about the dining room on sail away date! I knew that it was open, but wasn't totally sure, and of course we've missed it both times. I'm making it a point to get there early enough next time, lol. Buffets are just so hard with kids IMO. Overall, it was a great vacation with just a couple of complaints. The elevator thing was what really got me. I definitely understand anyone who wants to use the elevators, but it gets a little ridiculous sometimes. Thanks to everyone for all of the input! Oh, and I would highly suggest the cabana if you're doing a three day. If we were doing another three day, I would definitely consider it, probably not for the seven day though unless family wants to split it with us. Countdown is on for our next one!
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