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Disney Dream Review

by on March 22, 2011 · 97 comments

For Spring Break, we took our first-ever cruise on Disney’s new ship, The Disney Dream.  I have so much to tell you, but I’m also looking forward to getting back in the kitchen so I’ll try to keep it brief.  If you’ve never taken a cruise and want some info or if you’re a seasoned cruiser who just wants to weigh in or share some tips, read on and please comment! I already miss The Dream.

Disney Dream

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve boating, but the idea of taking a cruise never appealed to me until about 2 years ago when I realized that cruising would be a good way to preview places before taking a ground-based vacations. For instance, I could get a quick taste of Norway, Denmark and Finland or St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. John before committing to a week-long trip. Plus I’m at age where I appreciate the idea of “all-inclusiveness” and what better way to experience that then on a cruise?

But I didn’t know anything about cruising. Nothing. So I reached out for advice from some of my favorite sources. Among them, friends and Cruise Critic, where I found information on all cruise lines to help me narrow down my choices to what I thought would be the best “first cruise” experience.  The decision was  a 3 night trip on Disney’s new big ship. I figured that would be enough time to find out if motion sickness would be an issue, whether or not I could deal with the crowds, and if the food was as spectacularly mediocre as I’d imagined.

We booked months in advance, made arrangements to fly to Orlando, spend a day at Universal seeing the Harry Potter Islands of Adventure, then drive to Port Canaveral the next day. If you’re dealing with the logistics, here’s a tip. You can pick up a Hertz car at the airport or some hotels (Loews Royal Pacific Hotel has one on-site), drop it off at the Hertz office by the port, then pick it up a new car to drive back after your cruise. With a Costco discount, this was MUCH cheaper than using a driver, and we didn’t have to worry about paying for parking.

Seeing the boat for the first time was pretty exciting, though I admit my heart jumps a little bit every time I see any big ship. Cruise ships, though, are the most breathtaking and Disney’s ships maybe moreso. As silly as it sounds, when you’re out on the open seas, it’s kind of a nice feeling to be on a handsome ship.

Disney Dream

Yikes, I already feel like I’m going on and on too much. If you have questions about cruising or are planning one, feel free to shoot me an email or ask me here in the comment section. I’m just going to move right along to the pictures so I can get downstairs to the kitchen and start baking.

Okay, this picture is of the first meal we had before we even left the port.  After boarding The Dream, being greeted by name and fanfare (a fun Disney touch), we were sent to Deck 11 to have lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready.  On Deck 11 we found the pool, plenty of tables and chairs and Cabananas, the restaurant with  a buffet. It had just about everything you can imagine including lots of fresh fruits, salad items and cold cuts.  Or you could go with a hot meal.   Todd grabbed a lamp chop, asparagus and tomato salad.  We ate on the deck looking out on the sea and knowing this was going to be a fun three days.

disney Dream Meal

And then we went to the cabin. We are Disney Vacation Club members and had just enough banked and borrowed points to get a mid-ship cabin with a veranda. I’d heard mid-ship was good for people prone to motion sickness, but as it turned out, I felt no motion sickness during the entire cruise, which was a huge relief since the Harry Potter ride back at Universal had put me over the edge the day prior.

Disney Dream Cabin

Here’s one of the bathrooms. Disney divides the bathrooms so that one has a toilet, mirror and sink while the other has the small bathtub/shower, mirror and sink.

Disney Dream Bathroom

I think the cabin was about 250 square feet. After staying in New York hotel rooms, it didn’t seem that small!

Late in the afternoon, the ship left port. Fuzz was dying to go play in Disney’s spectacular Kids’ Club, so Todd and I took a walk around the ship. Our assigned dinner time was 8:30 (we chose the latter as opposed to the earlier 6:30), so we had a lot of time to explore.

First, we stumbled onto a Bingo Game (I won $90 but had to pay $40 to play), then found a theater where a show was beginning. The first show was called The Golden Mickeys. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about seeing a Disney show, but the sets really were spectacular and the actors and singers top notch. In hindsight, I’m glad I saw a lot of good singing and dancing rather than a not-so-great comedy act or dated cabaret type thing. Later, I heard the comedian on board the ship (a hypnotist) was super funny.

Show on Disney Dream

After Bingo and the show, we started getting hungry and taking pictures of Rice Krispies Treats in the gift shop.  Finally, it was dinner time.

rice krispies treat

We picked up Fuzz from the Kid area and had dinner at our assigned restaurant, The Enchanted Garden. Being assigned to a table with strangers was interesting.  Disney worked their magic and paired us with a nice family of three from Nashville. We got to know them pretty well, as they were our dinner companions for all the dinners on the ship save for the one Todd and I booked at Palo, the specialty restaurant for adults only.

I didn’t take pictures of our companions or mention anything about blogging, but I did take a photo of the dessert. The food was fine, like something you’d eat at a wedding, but the desserts seemed kind of hit or miss.  At this restaurant, my recommendation is to go for something with ice cream, like the bananas foster dessert our companions ordered. That, or a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar. Most restaurants will serve you one of those for desserts if you just ask.  I didn’t know that at the time and ordered this trip of mousse, cake and cheesecake.  It looked pretty, but again — go for the ice cream.

Dessert at Enchanted Garden

The late dinner seating ended around 10:30, so we just walked around a bit then went back to the cabin to read and go to bed. If you are big into night life, there’s plenty to do and a lot of it is geared for adults only. However, since we’d planned to wake up early and go explore Nassau, we didn’t really take advantage of the late night night options.

Okay fast forward to the next day.

I don’t think I’d ever go on a cruise without a veranda. Waking up in a new place, having breakfast on the veranda while reading the Personal Navigator describing they day’s events on the ship was one of the highlights of the trip; and on a cruise, you can get room service every day for free! Disney’s room service breakfast includes a nice variety of cold cereal, milk, juices, fresh fruit, all types of baked goods including muffins. We ate a lot of these little fruit muffins.

muffin

That big building in the background is The Atlantis.  I didn’t take my good camera on this voyage, so I apologize about the over exposed pictures.

Fuzz at breakfast

I also didn’t take a lot of pictures of Nassau.  We’ve been to Nassau quite a few times on ground trips and know our way around, but our goal this trip was to go to the courthouse and find the justice of the peace who married us 12 years ago to say hello.  We made it to the office where he worked, but it turns out he died.

After that we just walked around Nassau kind of aimlessly until we met a few locals who when finding out we were from Austin, asked us if we knew Alex Jones.  We talked about Infowars for a while, said we’d give our regards to Alex, then moved on.   Austinites abroad, be prepared to discuss Alex Jones and The Bachelor, Brad Womack.  I don’t live under a rock, but I had no idea he was from Austin….or that his name was Brad Womack.  Now he’s everywhere!

Okay, enough of that.  Here’s a nice photo of the ship.

disney dream

We got back on it around noon and had lunch again at Cabanas where anything goes.   I’m not a “more is better” type eater, but apparently I do love variety because I was thrilled to have so many choices during every meal. And while some of it was kind of “eh”, there were other dishes that were really good.  Cabanas actually had some of the best food on the ship.

Sushi and French Fries

After our second buffet lunch sitting on deck looking out at the other ships docked at Nassau. The Norwegian Epic was on one side of us…

Epic

…while our neighbor of the seas (we’d often see her off in the distance), The Carnival Sensation, was on the other.

Carnival Sensation

And then it was time for The Aquaduck and more fun by the tiny, tiny, pool. For such a large ship, The Dream really does have a small pool, but Fuzz didn’t care.  Here she is enjoying the dance party.   One of the kids in the photo was someone she’d met the night before at the Kids’ Club. Making friends on the ship was a HUGE deal for a 9 year old girl and she’s been talking about her new friends for days.

kids dancing on Disney Dream

That night Todd and I had an excellent dinner at Palo where we were waited on by Safit from Bosnia. He was great. All our servers were awesome. Most were from eastern Europe, so I picked up tons of travel tips for future vacations and am dying to go to Hungary.

Didn’t take any pictures at Palo (Todd might have, and if he did I’ll post them later), but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Email me if you have questions.

Also that night, after picking up Fuzz from the Kids’ club where she’d made chocolate chip cookies, colored a pillow case and listened to a comedian, we went to a big pirate party on the top deck and watched fireworks.  I think The Dream is the only ship that does fireworks at sea and they are pretty darn cool.

Fast forward again to next day.

We woke up docked at Disney’s private artificial island, Castaway Cay. This, surprisingly, was my favorite port. Todd and Fuzz went parasailing (I got back on the ship and watched from Deck 13), then we walked over to the island and had lunch at Cookie’s barbecue. Cookie’s was another buffet type affair with offerings such as couscous salad, corn, ribs, chicken, etc. Second to Palo, I liked the food on Castaway Cay. The chocolate chips cookies were excellent.

chocolate chip cookie

The apple cake was interesting. It tasted like a packaged snack cake, but fresher and very light. Or maybe I was just super hungry.

castaway cay

apple cake

Fueled up, we found the place with rental bikes. Austin is a big bike riding town, but the only person in our family who rides a bike is Fuzz. I hadn’t ridden a bike in quite a while, which made this excursion even more fun. The trails included an old airplane runway which veered off into more shady trails that led to a beach. We rode until we were tired, then headed over to the big slide so Fuzz could do some swimming before getting back on the boat.

bikes on castaway cay

 

castaway cay

Fuzz refused to get into the water because she saw all the fish. Ha. Back to the boat we went for more riding on the Aquaduck and exploring.

Here’s another tip. If you don’t want to stand in line for the Aquaduck, plan on riding it in the morning before noon when everyone is heading over to Castaway Cay. Deck 11 clears off until about 1:30 or 2:00. The line goes back to its usual 30-40 minute wait by 3:00. Or at least that was our experience. As we departed, I heard some little kids saying “Bye bye, Aquaduck. Sorry we never got to ride you.”. That was kind of sad.

aqua duck line

On our last evening, we had our picture taken with the captain of the ship. He’s from Sweden.

captain of Dream

Then we had a final dinner with our Nashville friends, took the girls to the gift shop for a sword fight, and went to bed very SAD to be leaving.

sword fight on ship

 

Oh, let me back up a bit.  The last meal was at Animator’s Palate and I enjoyed the food there more than Enchanted Garden (I never got to try Royal Palace).  Everyone loves Animator’s Palette and I liked our servers and company.  As for the atmosphere, it’s kind of crazy with SO much going on in every corner and talking turtles on the wall.  I kind of felt like my head was going to explode.    Still, the kids enjoyed it and I had a glass of wine so I was able to deal.  But oh my was there ever a lot going on in that room.

And this is a good time for me to mention that for more details on the food and Disney Dream Restaurants, check AJ’s Disney Food Blog.

Disembarking was pretty easy. We put our bags out the night before and kept day bags in our rooms.   The next mornings they had us all go to breakfast at a now much quieter and relaxing Animator’s Palate, where we said goodbye to our servers and ate our glum (but tasty!) departure breakfast.

Then there was more standing in line, showing ID, then we were back on land.

We’re officially cruise nerds at this point, so if you want to comment on cruising or share tips or memories of your own, I’d love to hear them.  My big dilemma is do I book Disney again or try another ship?  Celebrity Solstice seems like something we’d like, Seven Seas is supposed to be incredible, but it will be hard to break away from Disney and Fuzz is absolutely enchanted.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile so much — not even at the parks.

Published on March 22, 2011

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather I. March 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Our family is obsessed with the Disney Cruise. I’ve been 4 times and am ready for #5. I say stick with Disney!
Thanks for the great Dream review. I want to go on that ship oh so much. Husband’s vacay is in April and the ship is 100% booked :( Awesome tip about the Aquaduck. Can all ages go on it?

Anna March 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Heather, thanks for the comment! I think we could get obsessed too. Judging by the number of people with lanyards saying “Gold Member”, we’re in good company.

We loved The Dream, but from what I hear there are people who still think The Magic and The Wonder are the best.

For the Aquaduck, you have to be 48 inches or taller.

JoanS March 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Sounds like a really wonderful trip, Most of your photos did not open on my screen – will check back later and see if they work. I’ve never had this problem before.

Anna March 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Joan, thanks for mentioning. I was having some technical issues here ;). They were showing up fine, then they disappeared. They seem to be fixed, though.

Sue March 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

So glad you all had such a great time! It was a lot of fun reading about your adventure!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Looks like such an amazing time! Sadly, I have never been on a cruise but I have been eying the Disney cruise lines for awhile now. Thanks for the heads up about the veranda! Hopefully I’ll have one with my room should I ever get to go on a fantastic voyage. :)

Nancy March 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I really enjoyed reading this re-cap so thank you for posting it! One question for you, would you still have chosen the Disney cruise with an older child/teenager?

Anna March 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Jenn, this was ours too. If you like Disney and it’s your first cruise, they set the bar pretty high.

Nancy, a lot of people on Cruise Critic say teens love Royal Caribbean, but it really depends on the teen. Since I’ve only cruised one line I’m biased. I need to take a short cruise on another line just so I can compare the two.

Pam March 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

We are cruising veterans and really enjoy the NCL ships, primarily due to their freestyle dining options. It is basically just like going to a restaurant — you go whenever you’re ready to eat, and you’re seated either with only your own party, or with others if you indicate that you’re open to sharing a table. Also, the dress code is very relaxed so there is no need to take formal or dressy clothes. They have great kids programs, though perhaps not quite as elaborate as Disney’s. We’ve had great food on some ships, and so-so food on others, though I’d have to say most of the time the food has been really good. They always have a variety of entertainers, including comedians, hypnotists, and a couple of musical variety shows.

Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat March 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Looks like a blast! I want to go on a Disney Cruise and I don’t even have kids!

stephanie March 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

My hubby lost it at Universal HP ride too! He was ruined for the day. He is so scared of taking a cruise, but after 20 years of begging, he has agreed to one this fall. However, he will be getting the patch before we even set a foot on the plane (alone with a bunch of back-up remedies). So glad you didn’t have a problem on the cruise. It is no fun for anyone when motion-sickness hits! Thanks for the cruise link, I will be checking that out!

Anna March 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Pam, thanks for the info on Norwegian. My dad cruised Norwegian and really enjoyed it. Also, I think they have some kind of partnership with Cooking Light so you can get healthier meals and take culinary classes. Disney’s Kids’ area was incredible, but I think Fuzz would have been happy with a smaller one too, so long at the staff were attentive and she had plenty to do. I’ve heard the one on Regent of the Seas (Seven Seas) is excellent, though very small.

Amy, there were plenty of singles and young couples on board. The adult areas such as the pool were always very quiet and relaxing.

Stephanie, I love Harry Potter but that ride ruined my day. There were plenty of warnings about motion sickness, but because so many rides have warnings about motion sickness, I just ignored them. I was fine on Toy Story and Soarin’ (at Disney), but the Harry Potter castle ride was quite possibly the most nausea inducing ride I’ve ever been on. The cruise was a walk in the park. I bought all this Dramamine for nothing.

Tiffany March 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for the review. We love Disney, but have never done a cruise. Your review makes me want to give it a try!

Louise March 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

You need to stay away from Cape Horn and the Drake Passage. We had 50 foot waves going one direction and a perfect lake the other direction.

Carole March 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Our first cruise (we willtake #9 in June) was a Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder. It was a 7 day cruise.

If you have your ownchildren , grand children or you just love children a Disney Cruise is for you.

justJENN March 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Love it! How fun!
Now I need to hear all about Harry Potter…

Anna March 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Jenn, we booked a resort hotel so that we could arrive at Islands of Adventure an hour early. That is, at 8:00 AM rather than 9:00. We arrived at 8:00 AM on the dot, rode both of the dragon roller coasters without standing in line, then stood in a 45 minute line for the main attraction, Forbidden Journey — the one that made me sick. After riding that ride, I was too sick to really and truly enjoy myself. Plus, the crowds had grown so big they closed off Island of Adventure so that if you left, you couldn’t re-enter until a certain time. I ended up going back to the hotel around noon and Todd and Fuzz stayed to ride The Hulk and the water ride. Because they had resort fast paces, they only had to wait 25 minutes, but without the fast pass lines were up to 2 hours! So really, the crowds took away from some of the Harry Potter magic. We knew it would be bad during Spring Break and the fast passes did help, but based on the crowds and being sick, I don’t have great memories of the day.

Oh yeah. The line for Butter Beer was 45 minutes, so we didn’t get any of that either (not that I wanted any since I felt like I just woke up from surgery most of the time).

We did like the Loews Resort hotel, Royal Pacific, despite the fact the restaurant (Tchoup, Chop) was a joke — completely overpriced with terrible service. The rest of the hotel was very pretty, had great service, and a really fun pool scene where Fuzz played musical hula hoops and other games led by youth coordinators. The pool scene at the Royal Pacific was almost more fun than the parks.

Anyhow, I’d recommend visiting the Harry Potter attraction when kids are in school.

Lisa March 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Sounds like you had a great time–I’d highly recommend a longer Disney cruise (the 10-day Christmas one is great fun). We’ve been on the Magic 5 times, and have also done 3 NCL cruises. I’d recommend sticking with Disney till Fuzz is a teenager; our daughter wasn’t thrilled with the kid stuff on NCL till this year (she’s now 13, & very social).
I loved your Epic photo–we were on it in February. Nice to know what it looks like from a distance!

Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie March 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Looks like you had a wonderful time! I’ve been on a cruise once and really enjoyed it. I am planning to go to the Harry Potter park at the end of next month (I’m a BIG HP fan). We’re going on a Monday so I hope it’s not too crazy crowded.

vanillasugarblog March 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm

oh anna i’m obessessed with disney as a whole. never ever done a cruise because of the tiny rooms, but you might have changed my mind.
thats too bad about the JP.
when we go to the bahamas we stay at the ocean club….if you ever go back go there for dinner in the courtyard its so beautiful.
(i just mentioned you in my recent post….your midori cake inspired me ha ha)
and oh! love the sushi & fries LOL!

Gloria March 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm

We took a 3-day Royal Carribean cruise to the Bahamas from Miami in December. Our ship was Majest of the Seas. We have almost the same picture of the cruise ship docked in Nassau! Thanks for the reminder of our great trip. I’m with you…a room with a balcony is the only way to go (if you can afford it). We also were not that impressed with the desserts on the ship AND one of our favorite lunch spots was the barbecue on their private island coco cay! Our ship was older though. I would love to go on a brand new ship!

Kim March 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Your review made me even more excited for our upcoming cruise in August on the Dream! My daughter will be 3 and, based on your review, will have an absolute blast on this ship!!!!!!! Oh, so will me and my husband!! Thanks for the well-rounded review.

Anna March 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Lisa, I think we’re going to try a 7 Day cruise next time. A few people have said you don’t get the full cruise experience in a 3 night cruise. While we had a lot of fun and I felt like I did get quite an experience, I can see the advantages of a longer one.

Mackenzie, the Harry Potter adventure shouldn’t be quite so crowded when you go. You’ll have a blast.

Dawn, thanks for the tip on Ocean Club! We always stay at Atlantis, but I’ve heard good things about Ocean Club as well.

Gloria, it sounds like you and I have the same cruising style. I hope you get to try a new ship one of these days.

Brenda, I think The Wonder might be next on our list.

Kim, one thing I didn’t touch on was all the character exposure. Your 3 year old will be in character heaven! They were everywhere. We had opportunities to get photos with Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Chip & Dale and just about all the princesses. Sadly, I think Fuzz is past that stage. I kept suggesting we go for various character photo ops and she said “Nah” and suggested we do something else. The only one she wanted a photo with was Captain Jack Sparrow….and that was for a friend.

The Candy Crusader March 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm

The dessert looks great! especially the chocolate chip cookie. I would just eat all day!

Barbara March 23, 2011 at 6:12 am

Disney knows how to do things right….the cruise looks like fun. As far as the Bahamas are concerned, we always stay at Atlantis because of the kids….but The Ocean Club is elegant and more for adults only. We always go there once for dinner, kids and all.

I’ve been on a couple cruises, but am not terribly fond of them. I was sick as a dog, running a fever with a throat infection on the Greek cruise and I also took one years ago to Hawaii. Got seasick on that one. I stay away from cruises now. :)

Katrina March 23, 2011 at 8:14 am

Welcome back! Sounds awesome. Makes me want to go on a cruise again (our honeymoon was on Royal Caribbean)
Love all the photos. TFS
Love that last picture of Fuzz with the sword. Cute dress and I like her shorter hair.
Now–bake us something. hehe jk

Kim March 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

I saw the title of you post and came over from Brenda’s Canadian Kitchen. My family and I have been on two Disney cruises before and we love them! We were debating taking a cruise on the new Dream, but were torn because we really want to go for a week cruise next time. It’s pretty sad to hear that some of the kids never got to ride the Aquaduct. That’s the biggest draw to taking the cruise in my opinion. Glad you all got to ride it though. It looks like lots of fun! Sounds like you had a wonderful time though.

I did want to share some information about booking the cabins though. On our first cruise I was told (by a Disney employee) to go ahead and book your cabin with the idea that you will get an upgrade for free. We booked the cheapest cabin and since the cruise wasn’t full, we got upgraded twice (two levels). On the second cruise it happened again. Just a tip that really helps to save money.

Thanks for sharing your post!

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hello! Thank you for your review! We are going on the Dream in May with our 1 year old son and are so excited! Can you help me understand the available dinner times? I can not find much information about them. We are currently scheduled for the “second seating, 5PM show”. Does this mean that our dinner time is 8:30? If so, I just don’t know how that will work with our son, who’s normally in bed by 8 PM. Any information/advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!

Anna March 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

Jenn, I’m excited for your!

About the dinner times, we were scheduled for second seating 8:30 and show at 7:00. They didn’t monitor who went to what show, but dinner times were strictly scheduled and we had an assigned table number and dinner companions. So unless they’ve changed things, second seating is 8:30.

You might want to give them a call and see if you can get this changed. Good luck! If you can’t, don’t worry too much about it. There’s so much going on in the dining room that he’ll probably be fine. I’d definitely call them, though.

lindsay weiss March 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Anna, thank you for this! We’re debating doing the Dream next year, and this really swayed me! Or maybe the Fantasy? (I really like the thought of a NEW, CLEAN ship!)

Anna March 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Lindsay, if you like new ships go for The Fantasy. It’s due to set sail in either late March or April from what I’ve read, and I think it’s filling up quickly. I’m looking at that one too.

bubble March 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I’ve been on the disney wonder and there aren’t enogh words in the world to describe it! I am sailing on the disney dream in april for 4 nights and i am very excited! I am one of those people who reaserches everything possible about their vacation before atually going. My only conern was that i am 12 and the tween club edge seems very boring from reviews, videos, and pictures. But the teen club vibe looks extraordinary. Any suggestions on what to do on the ship that might be fun for my age? I hope my experience was just as great as yours!

Anna March 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Bubble, The Edge might be more fun than it looks, so it’s worth checking out. I obviously didn’t go in there, but if I were 12 I would go in just to see what Disney thinks 12 year olds want. If it’s boring, there are tons of other options.

Bingo was a lot of fun and they do let kids play and win, so long as there’s an 18 plus person along with you to claim the prize. We also enjoyed the game shows. There’s a pirate game show that’s kind of silly, and another one involving Disney trivia (which we didn’t do). Keep your eye on The Navigator because there are also ship tours. We missed the ship tour, but in my opinion that would be a lot of fun for a 12 year old. The shows start later in the day and you will probably enjoy those, and if you have time you can catch a movie. I believe Tron, Mars Needs Moms and that movie with the girl from Glee were showing. We only had 3 nights so we skipped the movies, but I would have taken in a movie on a longer cruise. Other things I remember from The Navigator were a Villains dance class and a morning yoga class. Oh, and how could I forget the animation class where they taught us how to draw Donald Duck! Also, there was a hypnotist show for families. We missed that, but it was supposed to be all ages. There’s also mini golf. We never played it, but I was glad it was there in case we got bored.

bubble March 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Thank you so much i can’t wait untill my disney dream adventure! I have another question i heard they have a smoothie place on deck 11 i belive next to the ice cream machine………. did you try it? was it any good?

Anna March 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Deck 11 does have smoothies and ice cream. In fact, it’s all-you-can-eat ice cream which you pump yourself. They have chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and banana and cones. There are people there to help you if you need assistance with the pump (same people who make the smoothies), but I liked being able to make my own ice cream cone any size, any time I wanted. Sorry I don’t have more info on the smoothies, but they were available :).

Debbie March 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I know you had a great time! We went on the Disney Wonder in November of 2004 & had a fantastic vacation. Our son was 11 & our daughter was almost 7. Captain Henry was our captain too! When I saw the picture of your family with him, I instantly recognized him & went to find out scrapbook from the vacation & I found the picture I took of our daughter & Captain Henry. What wonderful memories!

Josie March 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm

“Bye bye, aquaduck. Sorry we didn’t get to ride you.” That is sad! The trip sounds really surreal and totally fun. Like a floating Vegas. I’m intrigued– and now I have some great resources if we need to research further…

Lynn March 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

I enjoyed reading about your cruise and the pictures are great! Our family of 4 will be cruising on the Dream on April 3 for spring break. I’m so excited! I have been on one cruise years ago but this will be the first for my husband and kids. My kids are 14 and 19. Do you think they will be bored at this age? I have read reviews from adults who loved it but I’m more concerned about my 19 year old who will be considered an adult but would rather be included in the teen activities. Any thoughts?

michelle March 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

I was happy to read all the reviews and comments; we are sailing on April 17th on the Dream with my 4 year old daughter. If she is not 48″ tall, can she still ride with a parent on the Aquaduck? We also have the late dinner reservation, which I am a little worried about. I don’t recall anything about a show time. Do any reservations need to be made prior to sailing (or recommended)?

Deanna March 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I have booked a cruise on the Disney Dream for next March. I’m really excited, but don’t feel very secure about leaving my girls at the age appropriate clubs…how secure are they? Can they just come and go as they please or do they have to be picked up by a parent to come out of those clubs. Mine would be in the age 10 and 13 areas. Also how much was the bike rentals at Castaway Cay?

Anna March 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Lynn, I’m not sure what the stipulations are for riding Aquaduck with a parent. Maybe someone else knows? About the shows, we just walked right in and had no problem finding seats. No reservations were necessary, though I believe they do try to get an idea how many people might attend shows based on how many people are at dinner. Good luck getting your dinner reservation changed, but if you can’t I’m sure things will be fine. There were plenty of little kids at the 8:30 seating. They seem to adjust.

Deanna, I think older children can come and go only if you give them special permission. The clubs had staff manning the door, so the kids would have to be pretty tricky to sneak out. Bike rentals at Castaway Cay were $20 for the day.

Erin April 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Anna-I was on vacation at Disneyworld and HP and completely missed this post. Katrina sent me over to check it out since we are considering a Disney cruise. It would be a lot easier for us to go out of L.A. so we may do our initiation cruise to Mexico. I’ve yet to hear anyone have anything but superlative reviews. But then again, it is Disney and what they do, they do so well. As for the HP ride-never felt worse in my life. That one really grabs you by the stomach and shakes you upside down. If I would have had a nickel in my pocket, it would have fallen out. As for the butterbeer, sorry you missed it. It’s insanely sweet but oh so good. Thanks for another great post, friend!

katarina April 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Hello,
I’ve come across your review and utterly enjoyed it! We are getting ready for our very first cruise this weekend. I’m putting aside clothes already as we leave Chicago very early Saturday morning. So my question for you is, what were some of the clothes you brought and were you happy with your attire? I’m struggling with what to wear to dinners and of course worrying about overpacking! If you get a moment, I would appreciate your thoughts on that. Thanks so much!

Anna April 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

Hi Katarina,

Don’t worry too much about your wardrobe. There were people dressed to the nines at dinner and people wearing shorts. The first night I tried to stay somewhere in the middle and just wore a skirt, shirt and nice sandals. At Palo, I wore an Ann Taylor cocktail dress (Palo is dressy and shorts aren’t even allowed) and on the last night of the cruise I wore a dress because I noticed people were more dolled up up for the last meal of the voyage. Just wear what you’d wear to a nice restaurant and you should be fine. During the day, anything goes. Most people were dressed in casual active wear, although there were ladies who wearing heels, lacy cover-ups and earrings with their bathing suits.

Here’s another tip. If you are going on a longer cruise or if you have something that needs pressing, take advantage of the shipboard laundry service. The prices are very reasonable (Todd had a shirt pressed for only $2.00) and it will save you the hassle of ironing before-hand and having your shirt wrinkled up again. And for longer voyages, you can pack fewer items if you commit to just sending some dirty clothes down to get laundered.

Katarina April 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Hello Anna,

Thank you so much for your great response! Now I can chill a little and definitely be very excited our Dream cruise this weekend! I can’t wait. Thanks also for the tip about the laundry/pressing! Good point too!

Julie April 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

Hi Anna!
I love your blog and your dream review. We are going on the dream in August and live in San Antonio, I was wondering how long it took you to get off the ship and to the airport for your flight home. What time do they let you off the boat? There’s only one nonstop a day from Orlando to here and it leaves at 10:50. I’m wondering if we can make that.

Anna April 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

Julie, it doesn’t take very long to get off the boat, but I have to admit I wasn’t paying a lot of attention because rather than stress about getting to the airport on time, We just tacked an extra day onto our trip, enjoyed an evening in Orlando, then made our way to the airport the next day. It takes about an hour to get from port to the airport and since the ship gets in very early and you could probably get off the boat as early as 8:00 (though check with Disney on that), be out of there by 8:30 and at the airport by 9:40. You might even be able to get off the boat a little earlier than that. But if you have the luxury of adding an extra day, I recommend it. However, if you can’t then I’d call Disney to just confirm that this is do-able. I think most cruise lines recommend that your departure flight is after noon. What if there’s traffic? What if the boat is delayed? You just never know.

Deanna April 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

What time is the official “check out” for the cruise? If they listed that somewhere I must’ve missed it. I was wondering what the latest time was for us to be off of the ship the day we return.
thanks

Anna April 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I think they try to get everybody off by 10:00 at the latest.

Julie April 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I really wish we could take an extra day in orlando but we’ll be missing a couple of days of school already. Wish San antonio schools went back after labor day! (That’s awesome that you went to school here, my kids go to saint marys hall.)
Thank you for the tips and for that picture of the chocolate chip cookie on castaway cay. Definitely going to get one of those! Were there any other really good stand out snacks on board? I am a total snack seeker, lol (once took a cab from The lower east side to the upper west side at
rush hour just for hot levain bakery cookies- totally worth it!) I’m also addicted to the chocolate covered caramel Minnie and Mickey apples
they sell on main street in the magic kingdom, they are super cute too!

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