I woke up at 5 a.m. Not because I wanted to, I just did. This was the one day we could really "sleep in", as we weren't leaving for the port until 9:30 a.m., but I just couldn't sleep. I laid in bed quietly for over an hour, but the kids woke up at 6:30 a.m. anyway.
Since I'd been up so early, after everyone else got up I decided to go to the food court by myself to grab some breakfast and take some more pictures of the resort. It was so beautiful to see the sunrise and walk around the peaceful, deserted grounds of Caribbean Beach.
When I got back to the room, I sent Brian out with the boys to go to the food court so that I could get some time alone in the room to pack and rearrange our carry-ons for what we'd need for our first day on the ship. I was glad to get the room to just me and Alyssa, because I was able to pack and organize much better than if everyone was in there.
Everyone dressed in their swimsuits (boys with a t-shirt on top, Alyssa with a cover-up and me with shorts and a shirt over it). I had read that swimming is a good thing to do when first getting on board, and of course Nathan and I wanted to hit the Aqua Duck as soon as possible. And I also read that the lines at the bathrooms on board to change into swimsuits would get rather long. So we decided to just be ready to swim already!
We called bell services and scheduled a van pick-up to take us to the lobby building to meet our port shuttle van driver. They said they'd pick us up at 9:05 a.m., and they were right on time.
Before we left our room for the last time, I took this picture of the Disney cruise ship that was hanging by our bed:
When the bell hop van pulled up to the resort lobby, we could see that our shuttle to the port was already parked out front waiting for us. We dropped our luggage off at the shuttle and went into the lobby for one last bathroom stop before hitting the road.
Inside the lobby there was also a model of a Disney cruise ship. I had never noticed how much these ships were promoted at Disney World!
When we got finished with our bathroom break, our van had pulled around to the door and our luggage was already being loaded. We hired Space Port Transport to take us from Caribbean Beach Resort to Port Canaveral. I had heard good things about this company on the DIS boards, and they were the cheapest rate (if you paid with cash instead of credit card). Our driver's name was Ryan.
I had requested 2 carseats and a booster seat for the kids, and they were already in place in the van. So we were all set to go!
The ride was just over an hour, and Alyssa fell asleep for part of that. Good, she needed that!
Our driver was friendly and lived in Port Canaveral, so he was able to chat with us about the area and some of the cruise ships we'd see on the way. As we got closer to Port Canaveral, we could see the Disney Dream on the horizon!
We were assigned an 11 a.m. port arrival time when we did our online check in 75 days ago. (Remember, I stayed up to the wee hours of the night to get the earliest possible arrival time?) We wanted to get on board as soon as possible to enjoy the ship as much as we could. When we scheduled the shuttle, I had planned to make a grocery store stop on the way to the port to get diapers. But it turned out that I could fit all the diapers we needed in our suitcases, so a grocery store stop was not necessary. So we ended up getting to the port earlier than planned, at 10:40 a.m.
Here was the spot where we were dropped off. Disney crew took our suitcases from us at the curb.
Here is the front of the Disney terminal building. It's hard to see, but the clock on the front of the building has been Disnified with Mickey Mouse hands.
So we were 20 minutes before the earliest supposed arrival time, but we seemed to have no trouble getting dropped off that early. Outside we had to show our passports and cruise documents to someone. Then we had to put our bags through an x-ray and walk through a security check (just like at the airport). Then we took an elevator upstairs where we entered the main part of the cruise terminal:
There was already a lot of people who arrived before we did. And we thought we were early!
Although the cruise terminal looked similar to an airport, with check-in lines and places to sit and queue ropes, I have to say that it totally FELT different. The atmosphere was almost electric! You could sense how excited everyone was. It's hard to describe.
It was still before 11 a.m. and we saw that Captain Mickey was already out taking pictures with families! But first we had to get checked in.
First we were directed to a table with health questionnaires to fill out. We had to sign something that said we haven't had a fever or thrown up for the past X amount of hours (24? 72? I can't remember).
Then we were directed over to a check-in line. And we got with an agent right away, who took our cruise documents and took security pictures for each member of our family. We were handed a boarding group that said we were in boarding group #5. We all got our Key to the World Card, which would serve as our room keys and our credit cards on the ship.
The cruise terminal was starting to fill up.
We were told to go stand in the kids' club line to get wrist bands for our kids, but that line was long and not moving very fast. We had read on the DIS boards that it's not necessary to wait in that line and it's actually faster to just get the wrist bands on board at the club. So that's what we decided to do.
Next, we got in line to get our picture with Captain Mickey. However, by the time we got to the front of the line, Captain Mickey had to leave and was replaced by Cruise Director Minnie. And all 5 of us are actually looking at the camera!
As we were getting our picture taken with Minnie, we could hear them announce that they already started to board the ship. It was 11:25 a.m.
This is where you board the ship, walk into the big Mickey ears!
I knew our boarding number would come up soon, so we sent all of us for one last bathroom stop. I changed Alyssa into a swim diaper. And within 5 minutes of the first boarding call, group #5 was called to board. They really do go through those boarding numbers quickly!
We went through the Mickey ears and then found ourselves in one of 2 lines waiting for the embarkation photo. The lines looked long, but there were 3 stations set up for pictures, so it actually went pretty quickly.
This is our embarkation photo taken on the gangway. Again, all 5 of us looking at the camera, I think it's a miracle!
Then we had a clear gangway to move through where we could see the side of the ship. We were finally almost on!
A few pictures of the ship while we were in the gangway:
And then we were finally on the Disney Dream! A crew member asked for our family name, and then she got on the mic and announced "Disney Dream, please welcome aboard the Powell family!" Followed by applause.
Ok folks, we are on the Disney Dream!