May 26 - June 2, 2012 From Reality to Fantasy

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Dawncala, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    1st Impressions Count

    The first view of the Fantasy was amazing. She is simply beautiful.

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  3. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Terminal Time

    We gave our luggage to the porters and got in line to go through security. The line was moving quickly and we were riding up the escalator in no time. We arrived at the Castaway Club queue exactly 2 minutes past our 11:00 check-in time.

    We handed over our required paperwork, but then the computers froze (or something). Cast Members up and down the line were having trouble getting any Key-To-The-World cards to print. A manager came around to check things out. Finally the cards slowly started printing. DH got his, then both kids, but mine wasn’t printing. DS asked “Mom, does that mean you can’t get on the ship?” I replied. “No son. I WILL be on that ship.” My card printed a few moments later and we were given boarding number 5.


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    DH and I in front of the scale model of the Magic with Sailor Goofy nearby.

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    Photos of the Disney Fantasy from the observation deck.

    I took a couple of photos around the terminal and from the observation deck while the family found a spot on the floor to camp out. Captain Mickey and other characters were available for photos, but the lines were super long so we decided to wait for other character opportunities onboard.

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    "Waiting to hear "Number 5"

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    Captain Mickey going to take his turn in the photo line

    The terminal was very crowded at this point. Before we knew it they were announcing the “family of the day” and boarding the Concierge group. Does anyone know how one becomes the “Family of the day”? Is it a concierge family or could it be anyone? This family was wearing matching shirts. Is that a factor? I meant to ask a cast member, but I forgot.

    All the families kept edging closer and closer to the entrance so they’d be ready when their number was called. When #3 was called a family passing by us was trying to get through, but there were so many people they were blocked. The husband said to his wife “I guess we’re going to have to push”. I said “or you could say excuse me.” I was as eager to get on board as anyone, but let’s not forget our manners people or this will be an unhappy sailing for everyone. (I don’t know if they heard me or not, but his wife did say “Pardon me.” to someone.)


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    The magical entrance to a week of relaxation

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    Me and DS ready to board

    Finally number 5 was called and we were on our way through the big mouse eared opening. DD’s card wasn’t scanning properly and I turned just in time to see a cast member taking her and DH into a side room. I didn’t know her card was broken and secretly hoped she had just won a magical surprise or something. (one can always dream) All they did was politely fix her card and send us back on our way.

    Next was the pre-boarding photo and finally it was time to have our name announced. (This part always makes me a little teary and DH teases me) We boarded at almost exactly noon.


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  4. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Quick Cruise Overview

    Dining Rotation: ERAERRA (late seating)

    Saturday, May 26: Cruise Casual – A Fantasy Come True show

    Sunday, May 27: At Sea - Formal Night – Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular

    Monday, May 28: Grand Cayman - Cruise Casual – Live Entertainment (David Williamson: Comedy Magician)

    Tuesday, May 29: Costa Maya – Cruise Casual – Disney Wishes show

    Wednesday, May 30: Cozumel – Pirate Night – Movie night (The Avengers 3-D)

    Thursday, May 31: At Sea – Semi Formal – Disney’s Believe show

    Friday, June 1: Castaway Cay – Cruise Casual – An Unforgettable Journey show


    Rather than post the Navigators at the beginning of each day, and having them all spaced out throughout this trip report, here is a link to all of them at once. I also included the Port maps and the debarking instructions.

    Links to Navigators:
    http://smu.gs/NwUHPx
     
  5. inmyis

    inmyis Disney Dude and Diva

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    I remember your lovely family. I rode the Avis shuttle with you to the sip. We also had a great time. Anxious for more! :thumbsup2
     
  6. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Please welcome the “OMG, I can’t believe we’re finally here, I can’t stop smiling” family.

    WOW! It’s difficult to put into words the sheer size and beauty of the Fantasy. I loved everything about her and didn’t know where to look first. We circled the lobby a couple of times taking photos and oohing and aahing at everything. (Yes, I was literally making the silly noises) I think my favorite things are the chandeliers, but I also love the peacock tail carpet, and the mosaics around the ship are simply stunning. We hung out in the atrium for about 15 minutes looking up and down the long hallways and getting our bearings. Then we headed up to Cabanas for lunch before it got too crowded.

    Here is a link to photos of the atrium and a few hallways.
    http://smu.gs/N0QW7m
     
  7. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cabanas

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    When we got to Cabanas it wasnt very crowded at all. Had we noticed at the time how big it actually is it would have made sense.

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    Perry met with Australia's "Agent P"

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    Sand "Castle" art

    Through the main center doors there is a right AND a left buffet line of equal size, and that size is extra-large.

    We found a window table and DH and the kids went off to check out the buffet while Perry and I sat with the bags. Cast members were going around offering drinks of the day (additional fee) and selling cases of water which they would deliver to your stateroom. I opted for neither. Another CM insisted on getting me an iced tea while I waited for my family to return (so sweet) so I took her up on her offer. We had at least three CMs offer us drinks or cases of water while we ate. They politely left when we declined. (No hard sell)


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    Many self-serve drink stations are located throughout the dining area

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    The view of Port Canaveral harbor while Perry and I watched the table

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    DS's first meal. I understand the lamb and big pile of proscuitto (two of his favorites), but I don't understand the two lonely french fries

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    DH's lunch (plate #1) We definitely got our money worth of crab claws and peel-and-eat shrimp on this cruise

    We ate many breakfasts and lunches at Cabanas during the cruise and we never had any difficulty finding a table. For the most part the food was hot, fresh and there was always a large variety. One thing that is different from the Wonder is that the desserts at the buffets were behind glass and not self-serve. There are CMs there to get you whatever you want and you can have as many as you wish. Also, right next to the dessert cabinet you can get hand scooped ice cream with (or without) toppings like hot fudge and sprinkles. We loved having this option in addition to the free flowing soft serve near the pool.

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    The deserts varied from day to day so if you see something you like don't wait with plans to get it tomorrow
     
  8. goofymama

    goofymama DIS Veteran

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    I sure didn't plan it this way, but I ended up eating at Cabanas just 1 time the entire time I was there. It was the first sea day for breakfast. I tried one time for a ate lunch, but they weren't open. I'm not a big breakfast eater, so the rest of the time I ended up eating lunch at Flo's. I never made it to the MDRs for lunch either. The week just went by way too fast!
     
  9. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    I so agree. If it wasn't for all the photos I'd swear I dreamed the whole thing.
     
  10. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Great start!! The week did fly by and you are right about time speeding away with a vengeance since we got off the cruise. I can't believe that a month has gone by since we got off :sad1:
     
  11. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    :eek: Wow, it has been a only month. (Although it feels like the cruise was a lifetime ago) I'm going to have to start planning the cruise we prebooked onboard to slow down time again. Time always creeps by when I'm waiting expectantly for our next Disney vacation.
     
  12. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cabin 9077 is #1

    Even though we probably would have received an upgrade (we know many others did) had we booked with “guaranteed” status, we chose to pre-select our exact cabin at time of booking. We really wanted to experience one of the new animated porthole rooms at least once. Our cabin, #9077, was on deck nine mid-ship, just behind the stairs and elevators. It was a super convenient location. No matter where we were headed we felt like we didn’t have too far to travel. The kids loved that it was exactly two short floors straight up to the soft serve ice cream machine. I was concerned that we’d hear noise from people at the elevators, or hear the elevators themselves, but we never did. In fact the room was surprisingly quiet day and night.

    It is interesting to note that the interior cabin doors do not face the main hallway, but are in their own mini-hallways running perpendicular to the port and starboard hallways. Our little hall had four cabin doors. I heard this format was a little confusing for people searching for rooms to hand out fish extenders gifts because you can’t see all the room numbers unless you enter the hall, but I think it gave us extra privacy and perhaps cut down on some hallway noise.

    DCL opened access to the cabins around 1:30 and all our luggage was waiting for us by the door. This standard inside category 11A stateroom is only 169 sq ft which makes it the smallest cabin size on board. (even smaller than the 187 sq feet on the Magic and Wonder) It only has the one full bathroom, not a split, which was the thing that worried me most about booking this cabin size. With some careful storage choices and flexibility with the bathroom we made it work. It would be a better fit for a couple than a family though.

    A couple of new feature of the rooms are the electronic door locks and key-card room lights. To enter the room you swipe your key-to-the-world card over the sensor and the door unlocks. You can even keep your KTTW card in your plastic lanyard holder and it still works. We did discover that if you have multiple KTTW cards in the holder together the sensor doesn’t work.

    Once inside the room there is a slot to put your KTTW card which activates the cabin lights. When you remove the card there is a delay before the lights shut off. You can use any similar sized card in the slot. We used an old Arcade card we had so we didn’t have to keep removing our KTTW card from our lanyards. I do applaud Disney’s desire to conserve power and go green when possible. I need this system for my house. My kids are constantly leaving lights and electronics on. Other room features we utilized…mini-fridge, closet safe and Wave phones. All were working properly during our stay.


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    We mailed down a box (zappos) filled with Fish Extender gifts in advance and it was waiting in the cabin.

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    Unfortunately, in the smaller cabin there is also a smaller desk area. Keeping it neat and organized was a daily chore.

    The main beds on the Fantasy are very, very comfortable. (I had a hard time dragging DH out each morning) DCL has also put the beds on raised legs so all the suitcases, even our extra-large one, fit underneath easily. We used the suitcases to store dirty laundry and items we wouldn’t be using every day. Everything was still very easy to get to when we needed it. Also, the sofa table is actually a chest so we put the kids’ folded clothing in there and DH and I used the shelves in the closet. I hung most everything. The closets are actually quite spacious and DCL provides a decent number of hangers, but I’m sure we could have asked for more if necessary.

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    DS didn’t have any complaints about the fold out sofa bed, but DD was not thrilled with the upper pull-down berth. She is 5 foot 4 inches tall now and she couldn’t stretch out fully on the bunk without hitting the railing so she had to sleep on a diagonal. (A small price to pay for cruise she didn’t pay for)

    stay tuned for "Cabin- part 2"
     
  13. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cabin 9077 is #1 - part 2

    Our room host was Aris. We occasionally saw him in the hallways but that is because we were hardly ever in the room. He took good care of everything. The room was always made-up or turned down as needed with special towel creatures, fresh Navigators and bedtime chocolates.

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    Perry and the hanging, flying towel

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    Not sure what this is supposed to be, but it is wearing DD's sunglasses and is made using the bed blanket

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    As returning cruisers, and silver castaway club members, we received a small welcome back gift. It was a blue backpack with a few snacks, and a keychain. We loved the backpack and used it on our port outings, but the snacks were disappointing.

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    The TV system was pretty cool. There were the basic “what’s going on around the ship” channels and some live TV, but there was also a “boatload” of On-Demand TV shows and movies for all ages. (Heavy on the Disney brand, but not exclusively) Another cool feature was that one channel would show us photos of our family with details about how to find them at Shutters.

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    My least favorite feature of the TV’s was that the volume on the channels was not consistent so if you changed the channel it might suddenly be blasting. Also, it was mounted on the wall next to the room dividing door (9077 connects to cabin 9577). I was always worried about disturbing the family next door if we were watching TV late at night. We rarely heard them and never heard their TV so maybe it was a non-issue.

    The animated porthole was definitely entertaining. Your virtual porthole gives you the same view as your porthole is facing. In our room the porthole was above the bed facing the bow of the ship so we had the same view as the captain on the bridge. (Most of the time at least. Sometimes I’m pretty sure it was projecting a side view) Pixie dust sparkles would appear a few moments before the magical animation which gave everyone time to look. We saw at least a couple dozen different animations throughout the trip. (and yet I only took a photo of one)

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    Taken at Port Canaveral before we left port.

    The strangest thing about the porthole was at night. We kept the porthole turned on most of the time we were in the room, but it was odd once the sun went down. The first night DS said to us “The porthole is broken. It’s all static.” We said “No, it’s just dark and that is the moonlight reflected on the ocean.” (Seriously looked like static though)

    We kept the porthole on while we slept because it was novel to wake up in the morning and see the sun shining on the water, or see the port we were approaching or docked at. The funniest moment was waking up and seeing Mr. Potato Head peering down at me. I’m glad we tried a magical porthole room once, but will probably opt for an upgrade next time.

    Overall, the room was a big winner.
     
  14. figment52

    figment52 <font color=royalblue>Oh man, I checked out the we

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    Loving the updates - the virtual porthole and inside cabin was very informative. I can't wait to hear how the rest of the trip unfolds.
     
  15. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    Thank you! This is a great report, I can't wait to read more!!
     
  16. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Going Clubbing

    For the most part the kids’ clubs are kid exclusive, no matter how young at heart you are. If you want to get a glimpse at how the 17 and under crowd will be spending their time without you you’ll have to plan a visit during one of the scheduled “Open House” times. During these times kids of all ages are invited to come in and check things out.

    Most of the open houses were scheduled early in the morning before the clubs officially opened. The exceptions on our cruise were on debarkation day and during the Castaway Cay shore day. On debarkation day the clubs held an open house from boarding time until the life boat drill. After that they begin their normal “kids only” operation. On Castaway Cay day the Club and Lab had open houses during most of the time we were docked and only the kid club on shore was open for activities.

    Notes: 1) You do not have to have kids registered in a club to attend an open house. 2) Not all clubs necessarily have open houses at the same time so check your Daily Navigator to see which ones are open.
     
  17. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Oh To Be Young Again

    We began our tour by visiting the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab (ages 3 – 12) My kids really enjoyed the Oceaneer Lab on the Disney Wonder and I knew DCL had kicked it up by a few notches on the Fantasy. Needless to say it was simply incredible. I couldn’t believe how big it was. It was also strangely quiet since not everyone was on board yet. I would have loved to have seen the clubs in full swing with all the computers turned on and the cast members leading groups in the various activities. There is definitely something in there for every age and every imagination. We all loved Andy’s Room on the Club side the most. The theming was fantastic. I thought the animation room on the Lab side would probably have been DD’s and my favorite spot.

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    DS looking to see what Ham is hiding

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    DD likes RC and his racing noises

    Each club also had its own huge Art/Project/Experiment rooms which connected the Club and Lab, and the child-scale bathrooms were simply adorable. The clubs span the entire width of Deck 5 so there is plenty of natural light coming in through the portholes as well as plenty of overhead lighting to make the space cheery and bright.

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    One of the many touch table gaming systems

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    DS steering the Virtual Fantasy

    My kids’ went wacky over the new automatic hand washers. They must have each washed their hands 4 or 5 times in the 30 minutes we were there and they insisted DH and I try it. When you put your hands and forearms into the machine a wash cycle, with a cool twisting water motion, is automatically activated. The water is cool which was surprising as I was expecting warm water. Unfortunately the machine does not also dry your hands for you. For that you will need one of the regular paper towels located at the station.

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    Not the most dignified photo of me, but I do look like I was having fun washing my hands

    After touring the Club and Lab I informed DH that we’d be borrowing some younger children for our next cruise so we could spend more time in there.

    Click this link for more photos of the Oceaneer Club and Lab. http://smu.gs/Ob1cbd

    Note: The recommended ages for each of the clubs overlaps by a year or two and DCL does ask that your child choose only one club and stick with it throughout the cruise. Because of this, if you have a child that falls into that in-between age group I’d suggest you schedule a tour of both clubs during the debarkation day open house so you can make an informed decision. Since our son is 11 he could have gone to either the Oceaneer Lab or Edge. DS tends to have older friends at home so even though he saw so much in the Lab he knew he’d love, he knew he would prefer the older activities in the Edge.
     
  18. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Edge-wise

    Next we visited the Edge tween club on deck 13 mid ship. (Age 11 to 14) Located in the forward funnel this club has lots of natural light. Its view of the Currents bar area is a little disappointing though. I’m not sure it’s the best view for the tweens and I’m sure the adults at Currents don’t particularly want tweens staring at them either. I think it would have been better to have had the windows on the sides of the stack so the tweens would have an ocean view.

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    The schedule outside the door shows an overview of the day's activities

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    Except for the computer and gaming alcoves, this is a view of the entire club

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    The view out the big windows

    It is not a very large club, but DS said it was rarely crowded when he was in there and he never had any difficulty getting a seat at a computer station or getting a turn playing other games. He said the green screen “newsman” activity had the longest wait, but that is because only one at a time can use it. He said it was worth the wait though and definitely his favorite thing there.

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    A CM explains to DS how the green screen room works

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    DH watched the kids play one of the many games available on the touch table (air hockey)

    While there are some scheduled group activities in the Edge, things are mostly more laid back and free-form and the kids can come and go as they please.

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    DH demonstrates how "laid back" it is in the Edge

    Note: The soft serve ice cream station is two short decks straight down from the club so we often saw tweens running down for a quick cone fix.
     
  19. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    I’m Getting a Teenage Vibe

    We visited the Vibe teen club (age 14 to 17) during a morning open house before we docked in Costa Maya. We happened to stumble upon the entrance during a stroll around the deck 4 walking track. We had to take a remote set of stairs, in the bow of the ship, up to deck 5 to get in. I’m not sure if there is another entrance on deck 5 or if this is the only way.

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    The entrance hall is filled with monitors showing photos of teens having fun

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    A lighted hall cycles through a rainbow of colors

    The teens have a very large colorful indoor space which includes a seating area with a huge tv/gaming screen, a smoothie bar, a movie/game room and funky individual computer stations. It was well lit with both natural and artificial light, and is a place I could imagine teens would want to spend lots of time. (I know I wish I could have hung out there)

    While we were there a group of teens were having an X-Box Kinect dance off and the cast member we spoke to said it was common for the dance competitions to run non-stop during operating hours.


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    The smoothie bar area

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    Part of the gaming/movie room

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    A computer station (oops...blurry)

    Teens also have their own outdoors area which includes hot tubs, a small pool, lounging and gaming areas. To get outside area you have to go through two sets of doors. The first is an electronic door opened with a button. The second is a large, metal, watertight door with a high threshold leading to the outer deck. It is a great little area, but quite hot. Because the area is completely surrounded by metal walls there is little to no ocean breeze in there.

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    On deck there is plenty of seating, foosball and ping pong tables and the tall orange poles are misters which I'm sure come in handy since it is quite warm out there.

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    The two hot tubs and small pool kind of form a Mouse ear hat shape.

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    Colorful showers

    Note: The outer deck is only open during select daylight hours. Because the deck is located in the bow of the ship, and is overlooked by the bridge, DCL has to turn off the forward deck lights at night for safely and visibility reasons. The only exception to this is when the ship is in dock after dark.

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    The view of the bridge from the Vibe teen deck

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    The view of the Vibe teen deck from the Satellite Falls area

    Cast Member Fact: This area is a “cast member only” pool deck on the Magic and Wonder. I asked a CM if they had a new pool area now or if they were allowed to use the teen area after hours. She said that the CM’s rarely used the pool on the Magic and Wonder which is why they repurposed the area and that CM’s were allowed to use the regular guest pools on the Dream and Fantasy during their time off. She said that Disney took very good care of the CM's and they had special areas for R & R which I was very glad to hear.
     
  20. bluejasmine

    bluejasmine DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying the report cant wait for more!
     
  21. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Mickeys Memorial Day Fantasy Meet-n-Greet

    At 3:00 it was time to meet our DIS group at the Vista Café on deck 4 midship. It is great group meeting spot because there is quite a bit of seating available which was necessary since probably around 100 members came and went in the time we were there. The café has free pastries, drinks for an upcharge and it overlooks the gorgeous atrium lobby where they were still announcing boarding families during our meet.

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    The cruise rebooking and shopping desks are in the foreground (they were not open during our meet) and the rest is Vista Cafe seating.

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    More Vista Cafe seating, the pastry cabinet and the drink bar

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    I think I posted this photo earlier, but it shows our view from Vista Cafe and the CM's greeting the boarding guests so here it is again.

    I met many of the families that I had been chatting with on our DIS meet group page and dedicated Facebook page for the past year or so. We also received our custom lanyard orders. With the distinctive red lanyards it was easy to spot our group members around the ship and we met many families this way. Verygfy, if you read this, thanks again for your efforts organizing that.
     

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