Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dream Trip Report Day 4 (Part 3)

In an effort to remain organized, here is what I have so far:

Music Videos:

Part 1 (WDW)

Part 2 (Cruise)

Trip Report So Far:

Day 1 Getting There

Day 2:  EPCOT (Part 1)

Day 2:  EPCOT (Part 2)

Alternative Day 2:  Hollywood Studios

Day 3:  Magic Kingdom

Day 4:  Embarking the Disney Dream (Part 1)

Day 4:  (Part 2)

And now for Day 4, Part 3:  (still our first day on the ship):

We had just left the kids' club open house and were searching for a snack.  Brian was also tired and wanted some coffee.  We went to the Vista Cafe, which is on Deck 4 on a balcony overlooking the atrium.  The Vista Cafe has specialty coffees that you must pay extra for (kinda like Starbucks drinks) but they also had a food case that is free.  While Brian ordered coffee, we snacked on cookies and brownies.  (Ok, not so good for me, since I'm not used to eating so much sweets and I would be running in a 5k the next day.  But I was STARVING!)

The Vista cafe had nice sofas and chairs all along that side of the balcony of Deck 4.  It looked like a great place to relax with a good book.

We didn't have too much time to eat and relax because it was almost 4 p.m. and time for the mandatory lifeboat drill.  We basically had to go to our meeting point and they took attendance and then we waited for an announcement.  Most of the time we just stood there.

Immediately after the lifeboat drill, we went back up to Deck 12 to meet some of our DIS board cruisers that we had been chatting with online.  We decided to meet on Deck 12 near the top of the Mickey slide.  We met up with I think 5-6 other families.  And it turned out to be a great place to watch the Sailing Away party on the Deck below and also a good place to see us pull out of port.

The deck below us was empty at first...
But soon filled up as the Disney singers/dancers started the show at 4:45 p.m.  The characters also got involved.  This was a high energy show!  Lots of dancing.  The mood was still very electric!

I was under the impression that the show would end at 5 p.m., the ship's horn would blow and then we would start moving.  But another DIS family pointed out to me that we were already pulling out of port around 4:50 or so.  Back at the cruise terminal, the Disney Cast Members waved bye to us with their big Mickey Mouse gloves.

The Sailing Away party/show was still going on, but I found myself more interested in pulling away from port.  We saw dolphins diving in the water next to our ship.  (Can you see the dolphin in my picture?? He looks small).
I stood on the side of the ship and waved for the Port Canaveral webcam.  I was standing next to another DISer who said their sister called them on their cell phone and said she could see us waving on the webcam.  The webcam zooms in really well.

Nearing the end of Port Canaveral and looking up at Cocoa Beach:
So at this point it was about 5:15 p.m. and our dinner seating started at 5:45 p.m.  We decided to go back to our room for a few minutes and freshen up.

Here is a picture of the outside of our stateroom door, with our magnets and our Fish Extender hanging on the side. When we got back to our room, we already had treats in our pockets! The kids were thrilled.

I think it was at this time that we met our stateroom host.  He was responsible for cleaning our room in the morning and turning down our beds at night.  His name was Suryadhi but he went by a nickname (I think his nickname was Noyomen, not sure if I got the spelling right) and he was from Thailand.  He informed us that he already put a diaper genie in our room and asked if we wanted to use bed rails for Alyssa or get a pack 'n play for her to sleep in.  We opted for the pack 'n play and he was back in a minute setting that up for us.  Noyomen was a great stateroom host!  He called us by name in the hallway and gave our kids extra chocolate.  :)

The Disney Dream has 3 themed main dinner restaurants--Animator's Palette, Enchanted Garden, and the Royal Palace.  Basically, you rotate through all the restaurants and repeat one or more depending on how long your cruise is.  We had requested to start at Animator's Palette on the first night because we knew that was the one restaurant we didn't want our kids to miss. And we were trying to pre-book nursery time for Alyssa so that we could have 3 dinner dates with just me and Brian.

Our request was granted!  Our dining rotation on our Key to the World card was AERRA.  Which  meant we had Animator's Pallette twice and Royal Palace twice. 

We were assigned to table 116.  I was a little relieved to see that we were not eating at the same table with another family.  We had a 4-top table and they pulled a high-chair up to the end of it. (On many cruise lines, they fill tables to capacity so families will be assigned to a table with another or multiple families.  I wouldn't have minded if we shared a table with another family, it's just that sit down dinners are tough for our kids and I'd hate to ruin another family's meal with our kids' crying).

Animator's Palette was our favorite restaurant out of all 3.  It has over-the-top theming.  There is no mistaking that it is a Disney restaurant.  The butter knives are little paint brushes.  The chairs look like Mickey Mouse's pants. 

The highlight of the restaurant is the talking Crush (the turtle from Finding Nemo).  There are several big screens throughout the restaurant, and at some point during dinner Crush comes on the screen and talks to people.  It's kind of like Turtle Talk with Crush at EPCOT, if you've been to that.

Shortly after we sat down, we met our assistant server, Desiree from Trinidad.  From what I could tell, she was in charge of our drinks, bread, and giving us menus.

Soon after, we met our main serve, Vijay from India.  He seemed to be in charge of recommending items from the menu, taking our orders, and delivering our food.  I was impressed that he could remember all of our courses without writing anything down, ever.
We also met our head server, Zita from Sweden (I think, or was it Switzerland?)  She is like the server supervisor.  She explained her role and told us that we could count on her to help with anything (like the timing of bringing our kids' food out, etc.)

On the Disney ships, the serving team stays with you the entire cruise, and they rotate around to your assigned restaurants with you.  So we got to know them fairly well.  We also ran into them several times on the ship during the day.  They all had other jobs during the day but made it a point to come over and talk to us.

Here we are at our table:

The dinners on cruise ships are big.  We could order an appetizer, a soup or salad, an entree, and a dessert.  There were usually 4 appetizers and 4 soups/salads to choose from each night, and about 6 or so entrees and desserts to choose from.

Now I am not a food snob, in fact if you've read my blog you'll know that we hardly ever go out to eat.  I thought the food on the ship was really, really good.  Now of course it tasted better than anything I could make.  And maybe it tasted better because I didn't have to work to make dinner!  This was the longest break I've gotten from cooking in a long time.

I didn't take pictures of all of our food--I did at times, but I didn't want to be working too much while at dinner.

I had some cheese filled pasta for an appetizer.  Yummy.

And some baked potato soup for the soup course.  Still yummy.

The kids had lots to choose from, including their favorites like mac 'n cheese, chicken, hot dogs, pizza, etc.  Any time they asked for ketchup, they were given a Mickey-head-shaped blob on their plate.

Every crew member on board this ship called Alyssa a princess.  Vijay brought Alyssa some cupcakes for dessert the first night (these weren't on the menu, he just thought "the princess might enjoy some cupcakes!").

Nathan enjoyed a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar for dessert.

Towards the end of dinner, Crush asked all the kids to stand up and they did a little jig/repeating song thing with the words AWESOME and DUDE used frequently.  Because it was 4 courses,  dinner lasted about 90 minutes, which was long for the kids.  But being in Animator's Palette with Crush certainly kept them entertained.

After dinner, we had nursery reservations for Alyssa from 7:30-9:30.  The kids also wanted to go to the kids club without us.  So we headed to Deck 5 and dropped them all off.

ALONE AT LAST!!!  We had 2 hours to ourselves! 

There are lots of things we could have done.  There was a show called Villains Tonight playing in the theater.  But instead we decided to spend some time exploring the ship (including the adult-only areas) and then unpack our room.

We first headed to the Cove cafe, which is a coffee place during the day and a wine bar at night.  So cozy.
We also saw the Quiet Cove adult pool with a swim-up bar. (It was empty since most people were at dinner or the show).

We went to the front of the ship ("I'm the king of the world!") and looked down on the outside part of the teen club.  They have their own private deck with hot tubs.

Another shot of the pool area--again, mostly empty during dinner/show time.

We saw the Goofy miniature gold course toward the back of the ship.
We also went into one of the gift shops and I bought a t-shirt for my run the next day.

When we returned to our room, our beds had been turned down and we had the first of our towel animals displayed on our bed.  I think this one was a crab.  Oh, and the nightly chocolates were out, too.  I could get used to this!

Here is what the kids' beds looked like at night.  The sofa turned into a bed, and there was a pull-down bed above that.  I wished I would have captured this on camera, but above the top bunk in the ceiling there were stars/constellations of Disney characters.  The boys thought this was so neat!  They took turns sleeping on the top bunk for the cruise.  (There is a murphy bed that pulls down from the wall behind the bunk beds, but we weren't using that). The pack 'n play fit nicely into the room.  The curtains were drawn and trust me they do not let in any light at all.  Our room was really dark.
There was an iPod docking station on the desk, and we used it to play white noise during the night.  We also pulled the curtain shut between our bed and the kids' beds so that we could have our light on while their light was turned off.  The TV could be swiveled to be on either side of the curtain.

We got a page at 9:05 p.m. that Joshua wanted to be picked up from the kids' club.  We had just finished unpacking and organizing the room, so we decided to pick up all 3.  We're not sure why Joshua paged us, because when we went to the Oceaneer Club he was actively playing and having fun.  I think he had just finished an activity and was in transition to another one and maybe it took him a little bit to get involved again.  Not sure, but both boys said they had a lot of fun at the clubs that night. Nathan had gravitated toward the Oceaneer Lab.

When I picked Alyssa up, the staff told me she had fallen asleep.  No way!  She never falls asleep when I drop her off at our church's Parents' Night Out!  She must have been really tired!

We took the kids back to the room and got them ready for bed.  We showered.  I think we were in bed by 10 p.m.  Which is late for the kids.

What a long day!

Tomorrow:  Castaway Cay!

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