We drove down to Orlando a few days before our Disney cruise to stay with a friend of mine who lives in the area. The kids thought we were only visit her so it was a great cover for us! On the morning of the cruise, we told the kids that we needed to take pictures of the Disney cruise ship for the blog.
When we pulled over the bridge into Port Canaveral, we saw the Disney Dream. It will take your breath away. It is huge and beautiful and absolutely amazing. My daughter spotted it first and had a hard time containing her excitement and disappointment that she wasn’t going on a cruise.
We pulled into the employee parking lot and parked so we could get a better view. We walked over and looked at the ship, took a few photos and then headed back to the car. I told the kids that I meant to take a picture of them in front of the ship and just before I snapped the picture, I handed them letters from Cinderella and Mickey inviting them aboard the ship for a 4 day cruise.
Because we were so early, we went to McDonald’s to play for a bit. That didn’t last long because we wanted to go sit and stare at the ship. So we went ahead to the parking deck and found a spot where we could just sit and watch the activity on and off the ship.
Finally it was time for the departing guests to enter the cruise terminal. A quick stop through security and we were finally inside Disney’s cruise terminal. It is a lot like an airport, but it is Disneyfied and super clean. We checked in and then waited in front of the model of the Disney Magic to meet Captain Mickey.
We also went ahead and checked the kids in for the Kids Club and got their MagicBands. The kids are issued MagicBands to keep track of them in the kids club. You are issued a Key To The World for everything else. My hubby and son put on their bathing suits because their goal was to ride the AquaDuck.
Finally our boarding number was called (10) and we were allowed on the ship. We waited for our boarding picture (I bought the photo package ahead of time and wanted as many pictures as possible) and then it was time to walk up the ramp and into the atrium of the incredible Disney Dream. They announced our name as we boarded the ship (what a magical touch) and then we were on our own to explore.
My daughters and I went to the 5th floor to get tickets to meet the Princesses and Anna and Elsa. These are the only meet and greets that are ticketed. The line was about 30 minutes, but the baby slept and Emily looked out the portal window.
We decided to go to Enchanted Garden for lunch. It had a buffet and very attentive staff. Because I don’t eat dairy (the baby has a dairy allergy and I am still feeding her), the chef came and spoke with me and was able to whip up a pasta based dish for me to have for lunch. She also pointed out which items on the buffet I could have. Our waiter also brought the baby a chopped banana and made fruit smoothies for the kids.
Right as we finished lunch, they opened the staterooms. You can’t enter your stateroom until 1:30, but they allow people onto the boat starting around 11:30. There is so much to do though that the time will pass quickly. We made our way to the 9th floor, stateroom 9658. While it was small (241 sq feet), there was so many nooks and crannies for storage that we didn’t even utilize them all!
In our stateroom, we had 2 closets, 9 large drawers, a large cabinet, 2 smaller cabinets, 6 shelves, a long desktop and even storage in the coffee table. There is also a fridge that kept our water very cold. The said our bed was a Queen, but it felt more like a King. The kids slept on the bunkbeds and the baby was in a Pack N Play. They even supplied a Diaper Genie which was a very nice touch. The room had 2 bathroom areas. One had the toilet and a sink and the other had a sink and round tub/shower. You could choose to have the water flow from the shower head, the tub or from the rain shower above your head (so cool!).
We unpacked our carry ons and the rest of luggage was delivered a few minutes later. By 2:15, we had everything unpacked and organized. We then went to visit the Kid’s Clubs so we could see what all they had to offer. The Oceaneer Club was amazing. They had so many different activity stations for the kids to play in. Jacob’s favorite was where he could drive his own cruise ship around. That was right up his alley and he would spend hours playing that game during the cruise.
We stopped by It’s A Small World Nursery to register Molly Kate. We decided to pay for her to be in nursery during our dinner. She normally goes to bed between 5:30 and 6 at home (she is up at 4:30 – 5 am), so I knew sitting at a meal would be difficult for her. The nursery was very clean and well maintained. There were a number of different toys and activities for her to enjoy. The Cast Members who worked the nursery were from England and Australia and used words like “cupboard” and “nappy”. I just love listening to the things they say!
We then had to make our way down to the lifeboat drill. On the back of our stateroom was instructions on where we were to go in the event of the emergency. For us, it was located in one of the clubs with air conditioning. It took about 20 minutes and we were seated in comfy chairs the entire time.
When the drill was over, we needed to make our way to the pool deck for the Sailing Away party. This was insane. Everyone was trying to go up, so the elevators were slow and busy (we were in the aft of the ship). I had the baby in the stroller, so I couldn’t take her up or down the stairs. I sent my hubby and kids on up to see the show and told them I would meet them. I tried to be patient and show a good attitude, but it was very annoying to watch people go down to the 3rd floor and then take the elevator up. When it would open on the 4th floor, they would just smirk at me. So I would suggest to you that you do not take a stroller to the lifeboat drill. Carry or wear your child if possible so you can avoid the elevator situation.
After 15 minutes, we finally made it up to deck 12 where my family was watching the show. The kids always love seeing their favorite characters dancing and singing. I also enjoyed looking over the other side of the ship as we pulled away from the port. It’s fascinating how smoothly and precise they can operate the cruise ship.
I took Emily up to check out the Edge (the club for tweens) before we headed down to dinner. She wasn’t as impressed as the Oceaneers club, but she was looking forward to hanging out with her peers.
We dropped Ms. Molly Kate off at the nursery. They gave her a MagicBand to wear and told us what was on the menu for dinner. Since she has a dairy allergy, I had packed her some food which they were happy to feed her. She was excited to play with the toys and get the attention of the Cast Members.
Our first dinner was in The Royal Palace. This restaurant serves French inspired cuisine and has very elegant and upscale decor. If you plan to dress up for dinner one night, I would for the night you are dining here. One of our favorite touches was that the bread is served on your table inside a wire carriage.
Each table is assigned a head waiter (only seen once during the meal), a waiter and an assistant waiter. The assistant waiter is responsible for your drink order, refills, bread service and anything else you might need. Your waiter will help take your meal order, serve the food and make sure everything is to your satisfaction. Our waiter was absolutely amazing. He had a number of delicious recommendations and was eager to help me find dairy free options. He even brought me the menu for the following night so I could go ahead and pick my meal out. This would enable the chef’s to prepare it without dairy and have it ready the following night.
The kids ate quickly and ran off to the kids clubs before the adult entrees were even served. I knew it was important for them to go on the first night so they can make friends with other kids. They had so much fun in the kid’s club that we had to pull them back to the room at almost 10 o’clock that night!
After we finished our delicious meal, my husband and I had a few minutes before we had to pick up the baby. We decided to use this time to browse the gift shops. The shops aren’t open while you are docked in port, so you have to make sure to shop while you are at sea. I had read that it was best to shop on the first night because if they sell out of something, you won’t be able to get it during your cruise.
We browsed the various shops and ended up purchasing a couple Tervis cups with Disney designs (these are absolutely amazing), a photo album (something I get on every trip), a magnet, Christmas ornament and new plushes for the kids. We collect plushes of the characters in different outfits. We got sailor Pluto, pirate Mickey and a plush cruise ship for the baby.
When we got to It’s A Small World Nursery to pick up Molly Kate, we were overjoyed to be presented with artwork she had done during her stay. They took her footprint and made the cutest little prints. How thoughtful was that?
We took her back to the room and got her settled for the night. They provided a Pack ‘N Play for her as well as a Diaper Genie. There is a heavy curtain that separates the room in half, with our comfy bed being on one side of it. This was helpful as we could put her to bed on one side and still move about quietly on the other.
I ordered the family warm cookies and milk from room service while my husband called the kids on the Wave phone (special phones provided to each stateroom for use onboard the ship and Castaway Cay) to come back to the room. The kids enjoyed their snack and we all headed to bed after a very exhausting and exciting first day.
Unfortunately, the parents didn’t sleep long. Ms. Molly Kate did not like the way the ship moved in the night and ended up sleeping on our chests all night. We would take turns with her, trying to lull her back to sleep. I didn’t think about how the ship moving might affect her sleep. You can’t feel it that much, but it does make strange noises that she wasn’t accustomed to. Even though she sleeps with an ocean sound machine, she was not fond of the real ocean sounds especially when the ship would turn.
Overall, our first day on the ship was great. We enjoyed every moment of it and it was interesting comparing it to the parks. They don’t compare at all except you can see some of the same characters!
Stay tuned for the Day 2 trip report.