Thursday, February 11, 2016

Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 7: Castaway Cay

Disney Fantasy Trip Report So Far:
*  Vacation Video
*  Hotel Review: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort 
*  My Tween's Review of the Edge on the Disney Fantasy
*  DCL Port Adventure Review: Tour to Virgin Gorda (TT23)
*  DCL Port Adventure Review: The Legendary Kon Tiki Sightseeing and Beach Cruise (ST45) in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
*  Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport--Diamond Benefits and Day Use Room 
*  Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 1: Getting There, and Pre-Cruise at Disney World
*  Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 2: Saturday on the Disney Fantasy
*  Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 3: Sunday at Sea
Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 4: Monday at Sea
Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 5: Two Days in the Virgin Islands
Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 6: Thursday at Sea

Disney Fantasy Trip Report Part 7: Castaway Cay

Before I start writing about our last day on our Disney Fantasy vacation, I feel compelled to mention something. If you go on a Disney Cruise, don't forget to book your next cruise on board. Or a placeholder for a future cruise. You may think at the time that your cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but I guarantee that once you come home you will kick yourself for not booking another cruise on board. If you book another cruise on board, you get 10% off the cruise fare (which can be a big chunk of money). You also get an on-board credit from DCL ($100 for 6 nights or less, $200 for 7 nights or more). If you book a 7-night or longer cruise, the deposit is only 10% (instead of 20%). The best thing to do is to book a future cruise placeholder, which you can use up to 24 months in the future, for $250 a cabin. Then, once your future cruise is announced from DCL, transfer your placeholder to an actual cruise on opening day for the lowest price plus all the benefits mentioned above. Every single Facebook cruise group I've been a part of has had people who regretted not re-booking on board.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Today was the day the Disney Fantasy docked at DCL's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. The cruise director warned us the day before that rain was in the forecast, but we were hoping that somehow the rain would skip over the island.

We woke up around 9:00 a.m., got into our swimsuits and went up to Cabanas for breakfast. We could see it was cloudy and sprinkling outside.  Since this would be our 5th time at Castaway Cay, we really just wanted to spend a few hours at the beach and eat lunch on the island. We had done a lot of activities on the island on previous cruises and weren't too bummed out about not getting to do more on this visit.

As we left the ship, crew members were handing out Disney rain ponchos. At this point, the rain was light. We were able to get a photo with Daisy Duck under the cover of the post office:

There were supposed to be characters at a few other spots, but I guess they were unavailable due to the rain.

The rain was on and off, but in the morning it wasn't raining too hard. We did what we came here to do--play at the beach!

I went all the way in the water and was surprised that it wasn't too cold! Much warmer than it was in January 2014.

Somewhere after 11 a.m., the heavens opened up and it was raining HARD. Everyone ran from the beach to take cover. We debated going back on the ship, but Brian and I really wanted to have lunch at Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach. So we dropped the two younger kids off at Scuttles Cove, the kids' club on the island. They ate lunch there under cover. We dropped our tween off at one of the family restaurants on the island to meet up with other kids from the Edge. Brian and I took the tram to Serenity Bay to have a mostly dry lunch there. Serenity Bay has a few lunch items (like steak) that the family restaurants on Castaway Cay do not have.

After lunch, we picked up the kids from Scuttles Cove (the rain had stopped and they were having fun in the sand there). Our oldest had already returned to the ship on his own. The boys all wanted to see Star Wars in the theater one more time (their 3rd time). Alyssa wanted to watch Beauty and the Beast in our stateroom.

At 4:30, Alyssa and I went to the atrium for the final character farewell event. This happens twice on the last night, and it's crazy. All of the characters come out for 20 minutes and people rush around trying to get a photo with as many as possible. We managed to get three:

Of course she had to see Ariel one last time!

We took a few more photos around the atrium:

Then we met up with the guys on Deck 4 to watch us pull out of Castaway Cay.

At 5:15, we decided to return to La Piazza to hear Clara Oman play one more time. We had the kids with us, since they would be going to the final dinner at Animator's Palate with us. Unfortunately, the kids were a little too loud for the atmosphere at this bar, so we left early.

At 5:45, we had our final dinner for the week in Animator's Palate. Tonight was the animation magic show, which only happens on cruises 7 nights or longer. Each person gets to draw a character:

Then, towards the end of dinner, we watch our characters become animated on the screens. It really is fun to watch!

At the end, we saw all of our signatures:

On our last 7-night cruise, one of our kids fell asleep for this, and the other two were tired and grumpy. This time, our kids did great during the last dinner and we all could enjoy the animation show. Woohoo!

The kids with our server:

The last night is always a bummer. We dropped the kids off at the clubs (Alyssa did an activity with Stitch that night). Brian and I went back to our room to pack up our suitcases, since we have to leave them outside the room by 10:30 p.m. The Edge was having an open house, so Nathan requested we show up. We also toured The Vibe (teen club for ages 14-17) on the last night. We picked up the kids around 9:30 p.m. for their final ice cream on the pool deck. Nathan stayed at the Edge until midnight.

Our final towel animal and nightly chocolate:

The next morning, we had to be off the ship before 9:00. Since we had the early dinner seating, we were supposed to eat breakfast at 6:45 a.m. in Animator's Palate. We got smart on our last cruise and discovered that the Cabanas buffet is still open in the morning, which allowed us to sleep in until 7:30. It gave us just one extra hour of sleep, but I'll take it!

This is how Joshua felt about getting off the ship:
We debarked the ship around 8:30 a.m., breezed through customs and took a private shuttle to the Hyatt Regency at the airport for the day use room. Our flight left at 4:30 p.m., and we were home in Dallas around 8:00 p.m.

So that's a wrap! Unfortunately, as I mentioned in a previous post, that was the last time we can pull our kids out of school for an entire week because our oldest is starting middle school. I'm glad we got to take advantage of DCL's off-season prices one more time! A Disney Alaska cruise and a Disney Christmas cruise are on my bucket list!


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  2. Nancy, I wouldn't completely discount pulling your oldest in junior high. We did this past year for the Panama Canal cruise and it was not a big deal at all. He was in 8th grade and missed two and a half weeks of school. It was bad timing as between holidays and fall/winter break he was only at school for 3 full weeks the entire quarter. Our cruise was right in the middle. Next year (when the grades really count) we won't do that but the principal and most of his teachers agreed the trip was a good reason to miss school and they worked with us to make sure he didn't miss too much or have too much work to do on vacation. It actually didn't effect his grades much at all and he was able to keep up with all his classes just working on the way to the ship and home.

    1. I would love to do the Panama Canal cruise someday! I guess I can't say for sure that I won't pull him out a week, but even in 5th grade it was a little hard for him to catch up on all his work. Previous years had been easier. And Texas is really strict about missing school. :(