Part 2 of Leah’s Disney Dream Vacation

Editor’s note: Yesterday we posted the first half of Leah Bates report on her family’s recent cruise on Disney’s newest ship called the Disney Dream. If you missed it, either scroll down or click HERE to read it. Below you’ll find the rest of the story. Enjoy!

By Leah Bates, vacation-loving mama of 2

Our daughter busts a move with Minnie Mouse!

Day 3: We got up super early because we wanted to be on Disney’s private island “Castaway Cay” and camped out on the beach ASAP! We pulled chairs right up to the ocean’s edge to watch the kids play in the crystal clear water, build sandcastles and run around like wild animals. It was great! After the kids had their fill of playing on the beach, we started exploring the island.

We were just in time to see the crab races, which were hilarious. Then we ate a huge lunch (included) right near where the Disney characters were scheduled to do a dance party. It was perfect because we could eat while we watched Brookelyn and Braedyn break it down with Minnie, Mickey, Captain Hook, and Smee. It was like a movie.  I just couldn’t believe we were on a gorgeous island, eating amazing food, watching our little kids dancing, laughing and singing with their Disney idols!

After lunch, we dropped the kids off at the Castaway Cay kids’ club area (a secure, supervised play area), and Allen and I headed out for some mommy and daddy time. (Yes, the Wave Phones work on the island.) We got a drink, walked the beach, explored the shops and just enjoyed being together. During our walk we found a bike rental shop. The bikes had little kids seats on the back, and we knew the kids would love to go for a ride. So we picked them up and went back to rent bikes. It was so fun riding all over the island on the bikes. Truthfully, it was one of my favorite highlights of the trip. And the rentals were only $6! We asked a fellow cruiser to snap this shot of us during our bike ride:

The Bates' family bike ride on Castaway Cay Island!

We played on the beach for a while longer after our ride but then had to head back to the ship for dinner. We dropped the kids off at the Oceaneer’s Club about 30 minutes before dinner so they could listen to Belle read them a story and do a craft with them — my daughter is STILL talking about it — while we went to talk to the Disney representatives about the incentives for booking our next cruise while still on the ship. There was a huge line, so we were only able to pick up some paperwork before having to rush back and get the kids and head to dinner. (Tip: If you like to cruise and plan on taking another cruise on the same cruise line, be sure to talk to a booking agent while on board because the cost savings can be pretty big if you book during your trip.)

Night 3 was Pirate Night, so I dressed the kids in pirate gear. Our dinner was in “Animator’s Palate”, my favorite restaurant. It was themed like an art studio and has screens that change as you eat. After dinner, our show was “The Magic of Mike Super”. And he was super. The kids were mesmerized, and we loved it as well.

That night was the big Pirate Party and FIREWORKS at sea! All I can say is that I was impressed beyond belief. They did an amazing job and pulled it off in a way only Disney could. There were some scary “dead” pirates that scared my daughter to death, but my son loved every second of it.

While we were exhausted, the kids wanted to stay for the dance party, so we ended up dancing the night away until 12:30 in the morning! I never thought my kids — kids who go to bed happily every night by 7:30 — would be partying late into the night, dancing with dead pirates and Captain Hook. Nor could I imagine that I’d let them! But it was perfect!

A shot of the AquaDuck water rollercoaster

Day 4: After our wild night, we decided to sleep in a little. We had breakfast at The Cabana’s Food Court and headed to the pool. The kids splashed around and Brookelyn rode a smaller water slide at least 30 times (my 3-year old wasn’t tall enough). Unfortunately, Brookelyn (almost 5) wasn’t tall enough to ride The AquaDuck, so we didn’t get to experience the ship’s water roller coaster at sea, but the kids were content to play on deck. We had lunch by the pool and then dropped the kids at the Oceaneer’s Club so they could attend cooking class while we tried to decide on booking our next cruise.

After much discussion both with the cruise information desk and each other, we decided to go ahead and book a cruise for next April on what will be Disney’s newest ship, The Fantasy (sets sail for the first time at the end of March 2012). Then we were off to the adults-only pool and relaxation area. It was gorgeous and peaceful and just everything we needed.

The Midship Detective Agency sends kids on secret missions aboard the ship!

Then it was time to pick up the kids and get ready for dinner. We had a little time to kill before dinner, so we decided to try the “Midship Detective Agency” game. The kids had seen some other boys and girls using little detective badges and wanted to try it out. The kids registered at a little electronic desk  (see right) and then were given a mission. Basically they had to take their badges (coded pieces of paper) to different locations on the boat, flash them at a painting (computer screen) and then complete a task or listen for a clue. Every deck had a designated point at which to show your badge. The great thing is that we could do as much or as little of the mission as we wanted and pick it up later. Both of my kiddos LOVED being on a special mission and flashing their badges!

Dinner at Animator’s Palate was amazing. Crush, from Finding Nemo, came and visited our table on the big monitor on the wall. The kids loved that he talked to specific people at the table and played fun games with them. After dinner we let the kids use their detective badges to find a few more clues before we went to a show called “Disney’s Believe”.  My daughter enjoyed this show the most because it had all the princesses in it. The show was about a father caught up in his work who needed to take time to believe in magic — a great message. After the show, we grabbed pizza and ice cream by the pool and then headed to bed.

Day 5: Since we had the first dinner seating, we were assigned the first breakfast seating on the morning we had to leave the ship. That meant breakfast at 6:45 am! It was early, but we made it on time. Customs was a breeze, although dragging our luggage through the line was tricky.

A Few Last Notes:

This cruise really was amazing. The accommodations were so luxurious; every detail was taken care of, making each day easy and brainless, and it was so amazing to be able to have a little alone time with my husband while knowing my kids were enjoying themselves! Here are a few tips I’d pass along to any fellow mama taking this cruise:

  • Bring lots of Ziploc bags — for wet swim suits, to protect your Wave Phone ($250 each to replace), to keep your room keys in, and to keep sand out of every little crack and crevice.
  • Bring a small clutch for dinners. I only had my huge mom bag and didn’t like lugging that around.
  • Keep your “Personal Navigator” brochure with you at all times. This brochure is left on your bed each night and tells you hour-by-hour all the events of the day. The kids really wanted to spend more time playing the detective game, and they wished they would have had time to play basketball (on the outside top deck,) and squeeze in mini-golf, too. Also, they have movie theaters on the boat—as big as our local theater, and I really wish we would have had time to take them to see some of the 3D movies. We just ran out of time!
  • Use the kid-care areas often. They had many, many programs on the boat (think animal towel folding, family feud type games, dance classes, bingo, animation classes, etc.) that we didn’t get to go to, and I wish I would have let my hubby talk me into putting the kids in the Oceaneer’s Club more, so we could have done some of those.
  • Remember there are tons of opportunities to meet and take pictures with all the Disney characters. The “Personal Navigator” brochure tells you where and when each character will make an appearance, so you can plan accordingly. One afternoon the kids got to meet every single Disney Princess, one after another, in the gorgeous grand foyer!

I cannot express how excited we are for our next cruise in April 2012! I can’t think of a better family vacation where the entire family can truly relax and enjoy themselves. Hope this travel report helps you plan for your next family vacation, too!

We give Disney Dream a thumbs up! It's a blast for kids and fun and relaxing for parents, too.


1 Comment

  1. I’m really enjoying reading about your trip! I’m really thinking about doing a Disney cruise our next vacation (in one or two years from now) since we just went to Disney World in Nov. I especially like the fact that you can do some adult time as well and it seemed like you felt like the kid places were safe. Did you have an option of going to Disney World for a couple of days? I would love to do the cruise, but also go see Magic Kingdom as well when they re-open the Fantasyland expansion in a couple of years from now.

Comments are closed.