4-night Disney Dream with young kids! 5/23-5/27, 2016

MSPeeler

DISnerd
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Day 1: Embarkment

I wish I could say I was 100% prepared for this trip. As much research and reading and planning as I did, nothing could really prepare me for the week to come. I will say though, one thing is for sure... I will never cruise with kids under 3 and not potty trained again. Ever.

Driving into Port was breathtaking and excited. Butterflies in my stomach kind of exciting. The ship is HUGE. The kids squeals of joy were what I had dreamed of. We were on our way...


We stopped at the porters to unload our bags, hubby handed me the tip money to take care of it. In all the excitement of unloading luggage and conversation with our dear sweet porter, I forgot to tip him! UGH. (However, when we walked towards the entrance, I took a B-Line and found him, apologized and handed him the money, my mistake!)

We parked on Level 3 as suggested here on DIS boards and it was perfect. Easy breezeway, no line for initial entry. We went down the elevator (stroller with us), and into line for carry-on and metal detection. Easy Breezy and up to the check-in desks we went.


Check-In itself was fantastic, easy, exciting still and the CM was wonderful for us First-time cruisers.
This is where you show documentation, passports, ID, or Birth Certificates, etc. and have your photo taken for their recognition system. Each member of your party is granted a Key to the World card that you will likely need with you at all times. It serves as room entry as well as purchases you'd like to make. It will also have your Dining Rotation, Dinner Time, Table Number and Muster Drill location Letter located on it.

We walked across the way to Children's programming and got the kids wrist bands put on and made sure they were all sign up. Even though I pre-registered them online, you will still need to go through this line to confirm their arrival and receive the arm band. We had a very short wait (3 minutes?)

We had a 12:30 Port arrival time, but did not actually arrive till 1:30 which was fine, once we got the kids wrist bands, we walked right in!


They announced our family by name, which my 7 year old son thought was super magical and certainly we must have been important. :D

Quick stop by the Statue and then room were ready, so we headed up the elevators!


We were on Deck 7, Inside Staterooms 7019 & 7017 with a party of 7. 4 adults and 3 children. (Stateroom Report HERE)
In 7017 we had a 7 year old on the bunk bed and 2 adults (the grandparents) and in 7019 we had a 9 year old in bunk bed, pack n play for the toddler and 2 adults (my husband and myself)

Here are some pictures of our room.








Shameless Mirror Selfie, BUT!!! I did notice there is a 7x zoom mirror built in for those pesky eyebrows that need tweezing ;)


The Shampoo, Conditioner and Lotion lasted our family minus the baby a whole week without needing replacement. And in my opinion smelled FANTASTIC. I brought my toddlers own bodywash/shampoo for his extreme excema.

The rooms were cramped for a family with a pack n play. I will never again stay in an inside stateroom with more than 2 people... just really not fun to be in there at ALL. Sleeping arrangments went ok, and there is a nice divider curtain we pulled between the Master bed and kids area for night time too. There is a built in "night light" that we used also. The stars in the peterpan bunk did not work in our room, I'm not sure if they worked in the room next to ours either? Never really noticed them glowing.

The magic porthole was fun, seeing the characters float and zoom by on screen was a highlight for my boys. They didn't make appearances as often as I would have liked though.

Once we were in our rooms, and put away our carry-on's we headed to Cabanas for lunch.
My hubby wasn't feeling 100% well, he was on an antibiotic for a sinus infection the week leading up to our trip and just felt worn out. He was under impressed and "over-it". Couldn't find anything worth eating, although my plate was filled to the top. And I'm the picky one! He decided to just go back to the room before our muster drill, but just as he headed off towards the elevators, the alarm sounded and off we went. We found a cast member and they directed us to the correct area. Since we still had our stroller with us, we were able to use the elevator. Of coarse we were reminded that if this was a true emergency, elevators would not be working, nor would strollers be permitted.

This was our drill station, at least it was shaded!


After the drill, we headed back to our room and our luggage had arrived. We spent a little time upacking and relaxing until the sail-away party at 4:30. Fun! I had a minor panic attack as the boat started moving, but I don't know if I've mentioned how terrified of boats and water I am. I cried for about 15 minutes as the music was playing, people smiling and dancing, and I with my head bowed and sunglasses on had a pity party.
I don't think anyone noticed, it probably looked as though I was looking at my child in his stroller anyway, LOL. Once the boat got really moving, I high-tailed it out of there to the Oceaneers Club/Lab open house.

My hubby and in-laws stayed behind and watched the land disappear as we met back up with them at the 6:15 showing of The Golden Mickeys. Do not miss this show, we all LOVED it.

Shortly after the show ended we made our way to our 8:15pm dinner rotation. First night was Royal Palace. Our server was Budhi and Assistant server was Daniel. They were fantastic! I would not hesitate to request their tables again, should we choose another Dream cruise.

I enjoyed the late dining personally, the kids got their food first since they would be participating and Play n Dine. My daughter got Macaroni and my son got a Cheeseburger (Which he almost devoured before I could snap a picture!!). They finished off with a Mickey Bar of coarse!



I think I ordered Sirloin Steak with Baked Potato and veggies at every meal...


When I saw a yellow shirt CM walking around the dining room, I whisked the kids to the front and got the sign in for Kids Club. They do NOT come to each table to get the kids, parents will need to be on the look out for CM's and take their kids to the front of the dining hall.
My in-laws and husband were not a fan of the late dining however, so we asked Budhi if there would be any way to switch to the 5:45 dining and keep him as our server. He said he would check on it and let us know by the end of the meal.

Once dinner was done, I asked for some warm milk to take back to the room for my toddler, and ta-da, a glass arrived! That was easy :) Budhi then let us know that changing dining time would not be a problem and we would even keep our same table number, 104.

Everyone then went back to the rooms to shower, change and get ready for bed. I went to kids club to pickup my 7 & 9 year old who were having the time of their lives. I love the hand washing stations at the entrance/exit. Kids are required to wash going in, and leaving. They are the automatic wash stations, awesome.


Back to the room, and Sweet Dreams! Day One Done!​
 
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MSPeeler

DISnerd
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas

Our tour coordinator was Natasha from Australia. I LOVE HER! She was so energetic and fun. Even though she did not actually accompany us to the excursion, she remembered us each time she saw us again on the ship.

With that said, UGH... I will NEVER get off the boat for Nassau again, ESPECIALLY with Kids. Uck and Yuck and Ugh were my general feelings this day. At one point in my husbands vacation memory video, I got in the camera and reminded myself that I was miserable and hated it. LOL. It was just TOO hot. TOOOOOO HOOOTTTT. We decided to try the Forts and Junkanoo Museum Tour. We chose this excursion because it was supposedly 1.5-2 hours and I could bring a stroller. WELL. It was 4 hours and we weren't able to hardly use the stroller at all. Most of the time it had to stay on the bus! This made for a miserable day trying to keep up with a cranky toddler who missed a nap in 100 degree weather with no cloud coverage.

The BEST part of the excursion, was the Junkanoo "museum". The museum is generally speaking, someone's converted house. Regardless, we had fun, stayed out of the heat, played music, played dressup, and enjoyed ourselves.


Panoramic of the room, lots of movement, so images got a little distorted:



The funniest part of this day, was the fact that my husband and our Bahamian tour guide were wearing the EXACT same shirt, LOL



After the Junkanoo we headed on a LONG bus tour of Nassau. On this tour, I was reminded of how blessed we in the United States are as a nation. I personally would not have felt comfortable exploring on my own in the areas we drove through. We ended up at the Forts, which I thought would take maybe 30-45 minutes, since we had already spent a good amount of time at the Museum (45 mins/1 hour) and then another 15 minutes driving to the fort.

Here are some pictures, I was less than thrilled to be off the bus with a toddler running everywhere and throwing tantrums where his baby leash would not allow him to go. So I don't have too much to say other than, UGH. I would have much rather stayed on the bus... BUT then again... when the tour was over and we DID get on the bus, there was no air because our driver was off chatting with another driver and we almost got heat stroke waiting for him!



Bathrooms:


The Queens Staircase:


On our way back to the pickup/drop off location, we stopped for a "break" at a little lookout area. My inlaws and husband didn't even get off the bus for this, they were exhausted and wanted to get back on the ship, as did I... but I went ahead and got off, took a picture or 2 and let me kids walk around on the rocks.



We were back on the ship around 3pm. Starving & Cranky. So we ate at Cabanas again, honestly we were just happy to be back on the Dream, we would have eaten anywhere without complaint. This time my husband went over to Tow Mater Grill and got a hamburger since there weren't any in Cabanas. It's just on the other side of the pool area, but same deck. For anyone who is interested in the offering over there, here are the menu's.




I took some time with the kids to meet a few Characters before dinner.
Tonight we ate at Animator's Palate. My kids left early to goto Pluto's Pajama party and my husband was exhausted so he skipped dinner and went to bed (yes, at 5:30pm)
The show with crush was fun, the table next to us got all the action, which was fine since our kids skipped out early.






Then was the Villians Tonight show. My in-laws hated it and left early, my husband was still asleep, and my 7 year old chose to hang at the Oceaneers Club during it. So it was just me, the toddler and the 9 year old. It was funny at times, but I wouldn't go see it again if I have the option for some other form of entertainment.

After the show, we picked up my 7 year old and went back to the room to put the kids to bed. My inlaws were asleep in the connecting room, so we left the door open and my husband (after his very long nap) and I went exploring the empty ship at Midnight/1am.

Here are those pictures.











This hot tub was nice in thought, but there were always WALL TO WALL kids in it... so we never got in.



Day TWO- DONE.​
 
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MSPeeler

DISnerd
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Day 3: Castaway Cay

This day was by FAR the best day of our trip. We had plenty of time on the Ship without the crowds in the morning and the island is beautiful! This was taken from the pool deck.


We slept in a little, had breakfast at the Enchanted Garden buffet (YUM!) and then headed back to the rooms to change into swim wear/beach wear. Before we decided to get off the boat though, we let our toddler play in Nemo's Reef a while, and then my husband and I along with the 7 & 9 year old rode the Aqua Duck about 5 times in a row. NO LINE!!!! The worst part was climbing all those stairs. For someone without any cartilage in my left knee, I was in pain!!! The aqua duck is serious fun. I would have ridden it more if everyone wasn't ready to get off the ship!





We got off around Noon, we didn't plan on staying on the beach for more than an hour or 2 and then eating before we got back on board. That worked out well, except for the fact that we ALMOST missed the food cutoff window. I was literally the last person through the line before they closed and locked up. It took forever for us to rinse all the sand off of us and out of our shoes. The baby powder trick did NOT work :( I got a terrible sand rash between my legs, but a nice vacationer nearby suggested Vaseline! Luckily I had some in the baby bag and it worked like a charm!

Castaway Cay as I said it gorgeous. We chose just to have a beach day on the family beach, and not do any excursions this day. The beach was warm, the water was nice. None of us got Sea lice irritation. There were plenty of inner-tubes laying around, and if they weren't being used, we asked whomever was closest to them if we could borrow them. Never had any problem. The hardest part of this day was keeping my 20 month old was taking a dive in the ocean. I wasn't ever really able to "relax" at all, just chasing him around, shielding him from the deeper waters.





A nice photo view on our way back to the boat:


and a Family shot:


Before getting back on board, we ran into Mr. Smee and Captain Hook! Again, we almost missed the cut-off for the line as we were the last ones allowed. So fun! Too bad we missed Peter Pan though, but our schedules just didn't line up with his meet n greet time.


Tonight was Pirates night, so we got back onboard, showered and changed into pirate gear. They supplied us with bandanas and the kids had their own costumes. Dinner was pirate themed at Animator Palate again, but with obvious different flair. We celebrated my inlaws 43rd anniversary and daughter Birthday at dinner this night and I got a picture of our servers and the Head server singing to her and my inlaws.

(Because of lighting, my menu pictures are unreadable... sorry!)

My son did not like anything on the menu, so I asked if they would be able to bring an uncrustable, PBJ for him and this arrived!


After dinner we went to the Buccaneer Blast and Club Pirate, my inlaws, husband and baby bowed out for the night and headed back to the room after the little show and Fireworks.




My 7 & 9 yr olds and I stayed for the dance party. They LOVED it.



It was 11:30p when the Dance Party ended, so we headed back to the room and went to bed after a last minute stop for free ice cream! (This is Strawberry and banana twirl)


Day Three- DONE!
 

MSPeeler

DISnerd
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Day 4: At Sea

This day is honestly kind of a blur for me. We didn't follow a certain itinerary. So my apologies if this is kinda sporadic!

We ate the breakfast buffet again at Enchanted Garden. I thought I had lost my phone, so I spent a LARGE amount of time in the room searching for it. I sent the rest of my party ahead of me and continued looking. I really would not have cared so much about it, but it was my ONLY source of pictures and the thought of losing all those memories gave me a minor panic attack. It was atleast an hour of looking & I could NOT find it anywhere. The last I had seen it was when my toddler was playing with it in our bed... then POOF. Nowhere. I of coarse had no way of calling it, since we didn't have any service.
So I stopped searching, and met my family down at the buffet before it closed up. I got in the incredibly long line to get my food and just as I sat down, my 7 year old comes to me saying his face is really itchy. Well, I bet it is... he has HIVES all over his cheeks and throat and it starting to swell! I haven't mentioned before but he has food sensitivities, but generally knows what he can and can't or shouldn't eat. BUT since I was upstairs looking for my phone, I wasn't there to tell him no grapes, because they were mixed in with Melons and he can not have melons. So.... I ate 2 bites of my large plate of warm food and ran him to the room for his allergy medicine. While we wait in there for it to take effect I start looking for my phone again, by this point I am ripping apart our room. Our poor stateroom host, Yasa, would have thought it were a crime scene had I not ran into him on the way back to breakfast. I still didn't find it, but while looking I lifted the mattress and shook all the covers off the bed in the process. When I got back to (my very cold now..)breakfast, I was in tears but my 7 year old was cleared up and healthy again so that's the 1st good news! My husband and in-laws decided to go back to the room and look for the phone. WA-LA! 2nd good news is that my husband looks under my side of the bed and there it is. When I flipped the mattress, I must have shaken it free from whatever GRIP the bed had on it and I didn't bother to look under it before leaving the room...

My husband watched Captain America: Civil War, We partially watch Jungle Book one night, but fell asleep mid-way through and decided to go to bed. (That was probably the night we explored the ship? I don't remember)
We went walking the deck for a bit, the water was crystal clear yet SO blue.


I took the kids around to meet different princesses and characters during the day, back to back. We went to the Character Dance Party in the Atrium which was a lot of fun!





Somewhere during the day we had a clothing change... I don't remember why? lol.






My toddler was asleep as we walked up to meet Snow White, and just as she bent down in his face to look at him, he woke up and this is the face he gave her.... not impressed, LOL


We sent the kids to Oceaneers Lab/Club for a couple hours before Disney's Believe show. I missed the show because I needed to finish packing. So my in-laws took the kids for us, they said it was good.

We spent a small amount of time in Nemo's Reef, I let the kids slide on the Mickey Slide, but we skipped the pools and the Aqua Duck because the crowds and lines were something of a comedy act.

We skipped dinner tonight in main dining, in order to see a movie with the family and opted for Cabana's again. However, when we arrived, it was closed.. so we ate at Tow Mater Grill again.

We put our Toddler in Nursery to watch Zootopia 3-D at 8:30pm. It was funny, if you haven't seen it, GO see it! Anyway, my toddler HATES nursery anywhere, so I was surprised they said he fell asleep. However, about 15 minutes before the movie ended, I got a call on the wave phone that he was upset but they were trying to calm him.
I finished the movie and headed straight there to pick him up, we all came back to the room. We ordered some room service since we had all eaten so early, and I tried the cheese plate as suggested by many. It was..... gross, but then again I'm not a fan of ANY cheese but cheddar. I also had the grilled cheese which was ok.



I packed up a bit of everything and we all went to sleep for the last night on our Dream Cruise.

Day Four- DONE.
 

MSPeeler

DISnerd
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Day 5: Disembarkment

Since we had changed our late dining to early dining, this meant our morning meal would be bright and early at 6:45am. I don't think I've ever eaten that early in my life, until now. Breakfast was fare. It wasn't buffet of coarse, but they had cranberry juice which made me and my father in law happy. Typical breakfast foods, but no mickey waffles today either :(

We had to bring all of our carry-on's with us an leave them just outside the restaurant. We ate at Enchanted Garden.


Our server Budhi was kind and attentive as ever, but our assistant server, Daniel, seemed annoyed and off-putting this final morning. So much so that it stood out to me... not good. We ate fairly quickly and headed off the ship by 8am. We walked right off, got on an elevator down to baggage claim, grabbed a porter waiting for us just down the escalators/elevator and off we went to claim our bags. I had written that we had 9 bags to pickup so we spend about 10 minutes longer than necessary searching for 1 missing bag which I never found... I must have miscounted, because we only had 8! DOUBLE CHECK YOUR BAGS PEOPLE, lol.

We got in line to go through Customs, and I would have taken a picture but no phones or cameras are allowed in this area according to signage posted all around. The line was long but moved quickly. Once it was our turn, our Paperwork/Identification was re-checked just as it was when we checked in and we went again through Baggage check and metal detection. Once through that, we were on our way to the car and heading to our next destination.

DISNEY DREAM CRUISE- DONE!

Final Thoughts: I will never cruise again.... that is until my toddler is over 3 and potty trained. When I can drop him off at Oceaneers Club with his siblings and not have to pay a $9/hour fee. It was EXHAUSTING and not what I consider a vacation at all. I also will never get off the ship is Nassau again. I LOVED the cruise itself though.
My husband did NOT, I will repeat... he did NOT like the cruise. In his words, it was over-hyped and did not live up to his expectation of what it claimed to be. The food was fair at best and entertainment was just ok. Castaway Cay was the only day he enjoyed I think.

With that said, we did receive the Magical Moment certificate from our dining team which was nice. I guess they liked us!


Thank you all for the kind encouragement and help with planning this trip. If it weren't for all the friendly, and NOT so friendly comments and replies here... I would have been a bigger mess than I already was! :D
 

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  • TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    Thanks for sharing. I know you had a lot of nerves before leaving. I hope you have some fun memories to look back on too.
     
  • Sytrace

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 15, 2015
    We can never find Mickey waffles for our kids on dcl.
    My daughter always found them at Cabanas at breakfast time. I think there was one day that they did not have them there though, which was fine. I think she would be okay with never seeing another mickey waffle again after her binge a couple of cruises ago. :)
     

    MSPeeler

    DISnerd
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2016
    How did you only use one shampoo bottle for your family for four nights? We need more than one per day.
    I have no idea! 2 girls with long hair and 2 boys... We only use about a quarter sized amount and just kept lathering till it is through all of our hair. We do this at home also and never have a problem?
     

    EllieBride

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 13, 2010
    Thanks for sharing - the good and the bad. I just booked our first DCL for next summer and it will be DH's first time cruising. I'm really worried that he won't like it.

    P.S. Where did you order your cute mouse ears from?
     

    MSPeeler

    DISnerd
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2016
    Thanks for sharing - the good and the bad. I just booked our first DCL for next summer and it will be DH's first time cruising. I'm really worried that he won't like it.

    P.S. Where did you order your cute mouse ears from?
    My best advice is to not over hype things, be realistic. If you are sailing without kids, it may just be perfect! Young kids are what made ours so hectic I think. And mark out your itenerary together the night before on the navigator.

    Most ears I ordered from OnceUponAMouseEar on Etsy! The ones in my profile pic are from TheHandMadez.
     

    MeliMel702

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2016
    Thank you for posting an amazing report:thanks:. Love all the pictures and the details ::yes::. I am completely skipping Nassau and exploring the ship on that day. Maybe even schedule a massage and some other activities on that day too. I didn't see the Magical porthole in your pictures. What did the kids think of it? My girls will be 10 and 12 next year, so I think I might have more freedom:yay:.Then again my girls have the tendency to get bored easily. As for your toddler, the way I see it is you have two years from now to save up for another amazing vacation:hourglass.I'm traveling alone with my girls and currently trying to convince some of my coworkers to join me so I won't be completely alone on the ship ( I imagine the girls might not want to leave the club).

    I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the cruise! The next time you will go I'm pretty sure will be better since you already have an idea what to do and where to go.:sail:
     

    MSPeeler

    DISnerd
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2016
    Thank you for posting an amazing report:thanks:. Love all the pictures and the details ::yes::. I am completely skipping Nassau and exploring the ship on that day. Maybe even schedule a massage and some other activities on that day too. I didn't see the Magical porthole in your pictures. What did the kids think of it? My girls will be 10 and 12 next year, so I think I might have more freedom:yay:.Then again my girls have the tendency to get bored easily. As for your toddler, the way I see it is you have two years from now to save up for another amazing vacation:hourglass.I'm traveling alone with my girls and currently trying to convince some of my coworkers to join me so I won't be completely alone on the ship ( I imagine the girls might not want to leave the club).

    I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the cruise! The next time you will go I'm pretty sure will be better since you already have an idea what to do and where to go.:sail:
    Oops! I have a picture of the magical porthole, I am not sure how I missed it, I will add it when I get to the computer.

    My 7 year old and 1 year old loves it openly. My 9 year old loves it secretly, LOL! However, the characters did not appear as often as we would have wanted. A 7 year old is only so patient ;)

    We are currently saving for a 7-day western Carribbean cruise on the Fantasy! Probably not till end of 2017-early 2018. My 1 year old will be 3 by then, and as long as potty training doesn't take as long as it did for my 1st son, we will be Perfect :D
     

    MeliMel702

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2016
    Oops! I have a picture of the magical porthole, I am not sure how I missed it, I will add it when I get to the computer.

    My 7 year old and 1 year old loves it openly. My 9 year old loves it secretly, LOL! However, the characters did not appear as often as we would have wanted. A 7 year old is only so patient ;)

    We are currently saving for a 7-day western Carribbean cruise on the Fantasy! Probably not till end of 2017-early 2018. My 1 year old will be 3 by then, and as long as potty training doesn't take as long as it did for my 1st son, we will be Perfect :D

    Yay! Thanks for posting that:thanks:. I think I forgot to mention you have a beautiful family and the pictures were amazing. It's larger than I thought it was. Wish they had a button to speed up the time. I specifically chose a deluxe inside #9547 because I heard it was a great room, but mostly because of the porthole. I think I'm waaaaaaaaaay more excited about this trip than my own kids:mickeyjum. Lol!

    Did you do the on board booking? How does that work? I'm thinking of just doing a 3 day in 2019 on the Magic since I'm planning to go to WDW in 2018 for the first time. I'm actually waiting for the new ships:sail:. Scarlet, my eldest, will be 16 the year first new ship will set sail and Leilani my youngest will turn 16 when the second new ship will set sail.
     





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