Disney Day #17

This may seem out of order but I wrote about day #16 out of order because I had gone to see Onward while I was in the middle of my trip report.

Day #17 actually happened a little over a month ago. I was in the middle of writing up by trip days so I waited to write this one up until now.

This Disney day was “Disney at Home” on the first weekend that we had to officially lockdown here in NY. I hadn’t really planned it out so I had to improvise with what I had available at home.

Started off with my Stitch lounge pants… which is actually how many days at home start!

Next was breakfast. I decided to try to make Mickey pancakes with the Golden Malt mix. Getting them in the pan wasn’t hard. Flipping it was the challenge. One ear came loose but I just pushed it back together.

I have been working my way through the Disney animation library in release order since Disney+ became available. Today was the perfect day to watch some movies. Up next on my list was Alice in Wonderland.

After the movie, I returned to the kitchen to make a cookie dough. The dough needed to chill before I can use it, so I got that started now. Mickey cookies were coming later!

I then started working on going through some prints and my pins. I had some prints that I had wanted to frame so I pulled them out to take some measurements and order frames. The long one with all the characters I purchased in Walt Disney World. The Mickey prints were free for Disney VISA card holders when I went to the Mickey Exhibit in NYC.

It actually has taken me so long to write this blog that I can actually show you what these now look like in their frames.

I also had a new pin board that I hadn’t opened up yet. So I organized my pins. I really like the full Mickey shape but I found out that it isn’t so easy to use the space well. Right now it is only has RunDisney pins, but that will change as my first board is almost full.

The dough was now ready to roll out. I love this Mickey cookie cutter. For my wedding (which was Disney themed, of course), I used this cookie cutter to make my wedding favors. I made all the cookies and then my sisters and Mom decorated them to be a bride and groom. They came out super cute. Today, I just went with a chocolate drizzle.

Then it was time for some more movies. Watched the next two on my list.

No Disney themed dinner. I wasn’t able to pull that together with no pre-planning.

After dinner though, Chris made a Disney Cruise inspired cocktail. We had done a tequila tasting on a Disney Cruise. The last drink in the tasting was a coffee flavored tequila and they put whipped cream on top. We have modified it by adding heavy cream and mixing it together.

We relaxed with our cocktails and decided to try Phineas and Ferb. I had heard good things from the ladies on my Disney Cruise. We watched about six episodes. Very cute!

All in all, considering that I didn’t plan for this day in advance, it was a pretty good Disney day!

Disney Day #15

It was our last morning. We had an flight around noon which meant a Magical Express pick up time of around 9 am.

Originally, I wasn’t going to even count this day as a Disney day as we would just be getting up and leaving. My sisters had an earlier flight so there was no way they could squeeze in a breakfast reservation. Chris is not a fan of getting up early but he said he would do an early reservation, if I could find one. The best option was Chef Mickey’s as it was right at our hotel. It is a tough reservation to get in general and I needed it to be early – between 7 – 7 am. It took a few weeks of searching daily and I found one at 7:10 am.

So we were up early and walked across the bridge from Bay Lake to the Contemporary. Love the view:

Chef Mickey is a buffet and a character meal. I have done it for breakfast once before. I didn’t really remember the food being that great last time but I really enjoyed it this time. It could have been because it had just opened so everything was hot and fresh.

The characters are Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy. We were seated right where the characters come out so we never knew when one would pop up. We had a couple with a young girl next to us and they commented that you don’t know when you should go get food because a character could come out and you would miss them. I said that all I really care about was Mickey so if I miss one of the others, no big deal.

I had my picture with Mickey and I was just going up to the buffet when I saw that Pluto had come out. When I came back the couple said, you missed Pluto! I said it was okay. Then, just before he was leaving our section, Pluto came running over to our table. I don’t know how they keep track but he knew he missed us!

And after breakfast, it was time to get our bags and wait for the Magical Express to go to the airport.

It is never lost on me how lucky I am to go to Disney at all and certainly how often I have been able to go. I have written most of these trip blog posts while being completely home bound due to the coronavirus situation. At the time I am writing this post, all the Disney parts in the whole world are closed and do not have an opening date. Yes, that does make me sad. But I know this will all come to an end. I look forward to seeing the parks open and the cruises set sail again. And, of course, I look forward to being there again.

Disney Day #14

This was our last full day in the parks.

My sisters and I started by taking the monorail to the Polynesian to have breakfast at ‘Ohana. I have eaten dinner there several times but never had breakfast.

‘Ohana is served family style. You start with a coconut bread. Then you get a platter that has eggs, sausage, potatoes, Mickey waffles and biscuits. You can have more of whatever you want.

‘Ohana is also a character meal so we got a chance to say hello to Lilo, Stitch and Mickey.

Our plan was to then take the monorail to the TTC and transfer to the monorail to Epcot. When we arrived at the TTC, there was a cast member that said due to construction the monorail wasn’t running until 10 am. He said we could take a bus to Epcot. I had this happen once before so I sort of remembered where the buses were. However, there was construction walls up at the TTC so it was not clear how to get to the buses. After some confusion, we found the bus and arrived at Epcot.

Had to take an Epcot selfie:

We had some FastPasses for the day and we went to check out the “Epcot Experience.” The Epcot Experience is a room with a huge 3D model representing Epcot in the middle of the room. Around the walls of the circular room, there are screens. The show runs continuously and consists of little presentations of all the new attractions coming to Epcot. There are projections onto the model that go with the theme of the attractions. It was pretty cool and I watched it all the way through a few times.

For lunch, we tried the new counter service restaurant in the American Pavilion. I don’t think you can compare it to “real BBQ” that you can get in other places around the US but we enjoyed it. We tried the ribs and the pork.

I can’t go to Epcot and not go see Voices of Liberty. They usually sing old traditional Americana songs but in recent visits, they have started to do a few modern Disney songs.

This is my dream job!!

We were going to the After Hours party at the Magic Kingdom this evening and we had to pack to leave early in the morning, so we decided to go back to the room for a bit in the late afternoon.

We had a dinner reservation at 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian. I love the lobby of that hotel:

1900 Park Faire is a buffet and a character meal. The characters are Cinderella, the Prince, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s step sisters. The step sisters are so funny and the interaction is awesome. The food is very good too. The Prince insisted on a “portrait” with us.

Our plan had been to hang out in the lobby a bit and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. We had hoped to get there around 6:30 / 7 so we could watch Happily Ever After at 8 pm and then stay for the After Hours event which was from 8 – 11 pm.

The Magic Kingdom is only one stop from the Grand Floridian on the monorail so we thought we had our timing worked out. However, when we got on the monorail, there was an announcement that they were in a delay due to a maintenance issue but it would be running in about 15-20 minutes. So we waited… and then they said it was going to take longer so we needed to get off. They said they had a water taxi or buses now running for us to the get to the Magic Kingdom. We went downstairs and were lucky to see the bus pulling up as we got to the bus stop.

We got to the Magic Kingdom at around 7:30. Main Street was pretty packed with guests waiting for Happily Ever After. I have seen it a few times but my sisters had never seen it. We found a spot in the entrance hub and I said to them “As long as you can see the castle, you are fine.” The show is a lot of castle projections so you really need to see it to fully enjoy the show. We were happy with our spot and had about 25 minutes to wait for the show.

I have been trying to keep my blog posts positive, but I have to talk about what happened as soon as the show started. All the way down Main Street, it was a domino effect of parents putting children on their shoulders. We had that happen right in front of us as well as a person directly in front of me that decided to hold up his IPad to record.

If you really need to put your child on your shoulders, do it while you are waiting so the people behind you know that is going to happen and won’t stand behind you. Or stand on the side. And as far as the IPad… just no. I saw what he was recording. It wasn’t good. Half the time, he didn’t even have a full view of the castle.

I really didn’t try to move. I had seen the show. As it got to the very end, a bunch of people started leaving. I guess they wanted to get a head start getting to the buses. Their loss that they missed the finale.

I finally had a pretty good view as people left and I took a bunch of pictures at the finale that came out pretty good.

With that over, we were staying for the After Hours event. However, the masses of people down Main Street were leaving. This was going to be interesting. We hugged the front of the stores and didn’t do too badly until we tried to cross over to start in Adventureland. It took some work but we made it through.

The After Hours event was just awesome. You can basically walk on to every ride. We started at one end and worked our way around the whole park. We enjoyed the free snacks this time too because it wasn’t freezing! The only ride we waited for was Mine Train and that wait was only 15 minutes.

There was also almost no wait for a photo opp that I have seen online and wanted to do.

I would do the After Hours event again in a heart beat. It is so great to walk around without crowds and do whatever you want.

When do you see Main Street like this:

It was definitely a great way to end our last full day.

Disney Day #13

Today was our Star Wars day! I had not yet been to Star Wars Galaxy Edge’s and we had planned the day to experience as much of it as possible.

The first thing to accomplish was arriving early to get into Hollywood Studios at park open so we could get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.

We did not want to rely on Disney buses so our plan was to get an Uber. We wanted to get to the park at 7 am for an 8 am park opening. We were in the lobby of the hotel at around 6:40 and Chris started to look for an Uber. He found one and it said he wasn’t far away but as time went on, the time to arrive kept getting longer. He did finally arrive and we were behind schedule but we made it to the park at around 7:35 and got past the touchpoints without a problem.

We went over towards Toy Story land to wait as we had hoped we could get on Slinky Dog right after the park opened.

To get a boarding pass, you need to get on the app as soon as it hits 8 am. I had done a lot of reading about how to best do it and different people had tips and tricks. We had three of us trying separately. It was stressful!! It hit 8 am and you would start to hear little groups of people cheer as they secured their boarding group. Meanwhile Chris and I were both having problems with the app. Finally my sister got us boarding group #73.

Nothing more to do about that but wait and see what happens. Everyone seemed to have the same idea about riding Slinky Dog so we abandoned that idea and went to get some breakfast at Woody’s Lunchbox. It was busy there too so we got a table and I did a mobile order. So much easier. I got the notification that our order was ready and I walked up to the counter and picked it up.

Have I mentioned enough that I love tater tots?! Woody’s Lunchbox has a breakfast item with tater tots and scrambled eggs and sausage gravy. It was good!

After we ate we decided to walk over to Galaxy’s Edge and get a first look at it. We also wanted to see where everything was located for later. We actually spend most of the day going back and forth between Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.

Oh, but first… a Toy Story Land selfie:

I admit that I am not the biggest Star Wars fan. I have seen all the movies and I do enjoy it. Just don’t ask me specifics… I am not THAT into it. That said, the area is really cool. I spent time when we were in different sections to look around and see if I could see anything that would take me out of the story / land. To me, the only thing that takes you out of the experience is the other guests… and you can’t do anything about that. I think it is as immersive as you can get.

We bounced back to Toy Story land and did our Fastpass for Toy Story Mania and then decided to wait in the stand by line for Slinky Dog since my sisters had never ridden it.

We kept watching what number boarding groups were getting called for Rise of the Resistance. We had a reservation at Oga’s Cantina and a reservation to make a lightsaber. At the rate the groups were being called, we thought we may get called in the middle of those and have to make a decision about what to do. We had to just keep watching and see what happens.

Our next stop was our reservation at Oga’s Cantina. There is a line outside to check in and they tell you that you have a 45 minutes time limit once inside and that most of the tables are standing only and you will be at a table with other guests. You are also not allowed to walk around inside until you have finished your drinks and paid. Ok, not ideal but we were in it for the experience.

It wasn’t long before we were inside and taken to a standing table. We actually had a great spot right by the DJ.

The menu is mostly drinks with a few snack options. We each ordered a drink. Chris and I went for the Fuzzy Tauntaun mainly because it had a foam that was supposed to make your mouth tingle.

Yes, the mouth, mostly tongue, tingling does happen. It did take a few sips before it kicked in.

The whole place is cool and it’s definitely worth it for the experience. It will be more fun I think, if it ever gets to the point that it isn’t as crowded and you don’t have as many restrictions. We did get to see the DJ do his thing and even experience a drinking song. Actually, except for the DJ, the whole experience reminded me of something you might see on Firefly.

And of course we needed a Cantina selfie:

While we were in the Cantina, we had noticed that the boarding groups had stalled out which was actually good for us. The next stop for Chris and I was a reservation to make a lightsaber. My sisters weren’t doing that so they went to see the Beauty and the Beast stage show.

We had a few minutes to wait so we tried some blue milk. It was sweet and okay. I wouldn’t get it again but if you are in Galaxy’s Edge, you have to try it.

I am going to write another full post about the lightsaber experience. You are allowed to have one builder and one guest at a time. It was $200 which I know is a lot but it is a full experience, not just putting together a lightsaber. And the lightsaber itself is of good quality. One tip I would give is to do it later in your day. We did ours midday and then had to carry it for the rest of the day. They give you a case so you can wear it over your shoulder but its still a bit annoying.

We were about half way thorough the lightsaber experience when our boarding group was called! Yay! My sisters met us there when we were done.

I don’t want to spoil the ride for anyone and I don’t really want to give a full ride description anyway. It was definitely a great ride. I feel like it is a lot to take in and I need to ride it many more times to get even more out of it. I loved the room with all the stormtroopers. I wanted to just experience the ride but I did take a few pictures.

After we finished there, we had two more Fastpasses to do. We went back to Toy Story land to ride Alien Saucers and then we were back in Galaxy’s Edge to finish up by riding Smugglers Run.

Chris and I were both the pilots. Walking into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon was super cool!

This is another ride that I need to do again. It is obviously interactive so it is hard to look at everything because you are paying attention to what you are doing. Towards the end the entire screen went blank and Hondo came on our little video screen and told us that this is what he calls a Massive Failure. So the ride had broken. The door opened and the cast member directed us out. Chris asked if we could ride again because the ride broke. The cast member said no because we got almost to the end. We could have pushed it, but we let it go. We know we did most of it.

That completed our day at Hollywood Studios.. which was basically Star Wars and Toy Story but that’s fine.

We took the Skyliner to Epcot. That did involve transferring at the hub at Caribbean Beach but still it is such an easy way to get places. I really liked it.

The Skyliner drops you at the International Gateway entrance. When we went in, we saw that Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were out. They are usually in the Character Spot but that is currently closed for renovations. I can never resist and opportunity to see Mickey plus the line was short.

We were mainly at Epcot to do a dining package followed by the new Epcot Forever fireworks show. We had some time so we did Soarin’ which didn’t have a bad standby wait at all and also rode Living with the Land.

It was a chilly night and the dinner package was supposed to have us eating outside on a terrace by the water so we could stay in our seats for the fireworks. However, because it was chilly, they had us sit by heat lamps under an awning. When the fireworks started, they rolled up the awning so we could see.

The package we did was at Rose and Crown. It is a set menu. You get an appetizer, entree and dessert. You get your appetizer and entree before the fireworks and the dessert is a sampler platter that you get after the fireworks.

I had the cheese platter and the fish and chips. Wine and beer are also included so I had a beer as well.

I had not seen Epcot Forever yet and I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure the view would be great from our seats but it was fine. We did have the option to go outside on the terrace if we wanted to but it was too chilly for me.

This was the dessert sampler… all good 🙂

The park was closed after the fireworks so by the time we finished dessert it was pretty empty walking out. I hadn’t been to the front of Epcot yet on this trip so I got to see all the walls due to construction. There is always some kind of construction going on at Walt Disney World but I have to say this is a lot of walls!

We took the monorail to the TCC and then back to our hotel.

Disney Day #12

Knowing it would be a late night before, we planned breakfast at our hotel so we only had to roll out of bed to get there.

Donna and Pam introduced me to the the Wave for breakfast a few years ago. They considered it an undiscovered secret. Well it isn’t that anymore. We checked in and had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated.

There is a menu to order from or you can do the breakfast buffet. The buffet isn’t as big as other places, like Boma, but I like it because it has some different items. I enjoy the sweet potato pancakes and the cheesy hash browns especially.

Today was our full day in the Magic Kingdom. We decided to ride the monorail around to get there instead of walking.

Our selfie for the day (Chris was still sleeping)

I played with the settings on my phone for some different photos in the hub.

We had our three Fast Passes for the day. Everything else had a pretty long wait time. We chose to wait for a few rides, with an hour being the longest we were willing to do.

I had all my race medals with me as I wanted to get a picture in front of the castle with them. Sometimes you can get a cast member that wants to have some fun and take some more interesting pictures with the medals. It wasn’t my lucky day for that, but I was happy to have my picture.

We had an early dinner at 4 pm at Liberty Tree Tavern. The dinner here is served family style and it is an all you care to eat Thanksgiving dinner. You start with a salad and rolls. Then you get a platter with turkey, pork and roast beef (which is my favorite). There is stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and macaroni and cheese. The server will bring you more of whatever you like. For dessert, you get the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake with vanilla ice cream. I have eaten here a few times and always enjoy it.

It had been a long day before so we were ready to make it an early night. We looked through the shops and then walked back to the room. We hung out for a little bit and then called it a night.

I will leave this post with a few pictures from Small World, my favorite ride!

Disney Day #11

This morning it was time to leave the Disney Dream. I have always just gone to the airport from the ship and gone home but this time I was fortunate enough to be going back to Disney World for a few days. Sadly, Donna and Pam had to go home. I had new travel companions arriving – both of my sisters and my husband.

I had signed up for Disney transportation to the resort and I received a letter in my stateroom saying I needed to disembark early that morning making my only breakfast option the buffet. Donna and Pam were leaving later so we said our goodbyes in the room and I went upstairs to grab breakfast.

Getting off the ship was fairly easy, although my timing wasn’t great as the first seating for breakfast had finished just about the time that I was leaving. I found my suitcase in the terminal and waited on the line for customs, which was long but moved pretty quickly.

I followed the signs for the resort buses. A cast member asked what resort I was going to and I was directed to the correct bus. It was about an hour ride to the hotel. I had already received a text that the room was not ready. Not a surprise, as it was about 9 am.

More on the room later, but we were staying at Bay Lake Tower, so this is a picture of our home for the next four nights.

Bay Lake Tower

I dropped my bags at bell services. The timing worked out great and my sisters arrived about 20 minutes later. Chris would be coming in the early evening. They dropped off their bags and we made our way to our park for the day:

First stop was Starbucks! It was chilly and my sisters had been up for an early flight. I got a hot coffee and one of my favorite snacks: the Mickey cinnamon roll. I had seen these before but never thought much of them, until I had one on a food tour of Disney that I did last year. Now they are a favorite.

We had a fast pass for Kilimanjaro Safari so we went in that direction. We were a little early so we walked through one of the paths to see some animals until it was our time to ride.

I always love the safari. Sometimes you see more animals that others and you just never know, but that’s ok. Since the weather was cool, the animals were more active. It isn’t easy to take photos as the vehicle moves quickly and only stops briefly. I was able to get a few. One is of the new baby zebra that was with her mom. Very cute!

Our next Fastpass was for the new Animation Experience at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You have to take a train to get there. I haven’t been there in a really long time. There is an Affection area where you pet some sheep and goats. We walked in there. Not many people were there and the animals were nice and relaxed.

We would have made it into the Animation Experience without the Fastpass, but when it was at Hollywood Studios it was super popular. It could be that guests don’t realize it is now in Animal Kingdom.

The experience has a Disney artist walk you through drawing a Disney character. In the past you received a blank sheet of paper. Now the paper has guidelines already on it, which speeds up the process and sets up the proportions of the drawing. I am not an artist at all but this is really fun and anyone can do it. Our character was Tick Tock from Peter Pan.

We had a dinner reservation at 4 pm so we took the train back and looked to see what else we could squeeze in. There was a performance of Festival of the Lion King that worked so that was our next stop. Who doesn’t love some Tumble Monkeys?

Our dinner was at Yak and Yeti which is a favorite of ours. I tried a new menu item which was a Dragon Roll Bowl. It was all the elements of a Dragon Roll with the rice on the bottom. I loved it! I would go back for one right now!

Yak and Yeti also has one of my favorite desserts. Cream cheese filled wontons on skewers with pineapple pieces between them and a vanilla sauce on top. YUM!

Dragon roll bowl

After eating, we left Animal Kingdom and went back to the hotel. Chris would be arriving soon and I had wanted to do some laundry before our evening activity.

Thanks to the generosity of a friend, we were staying at a 2 bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower. The room was amazing! Chris and I had a bedroom with a king size bed and our own bathroom. My sisters had a bedroom with two queen beds and their own bathroom. We had a full living room, a full kitchen and another bathroom in the main area. There was also a stack able washer and dryer.

Chris arrived and he went to grab some food for dinner to bring back to the room. There was some confusion and long delay in getting our bags from bell services but they did finally arrive. I was able to get some laundry started.

We had the After Hours Villain party that night at the Magic Kingdom. The party was from 10 pm to 1 am, but you could enter at 7 pm. Staying at Bay Lake, the Magic Kingdom is about a 10 minute walk which is really convenient.

It was cold!! I had multiple layers on and borrowed my sister’s scarf. We walked over to the park and got our wristband for the event. The park was still open so we went to do some rides before the party officially began.

Because it was a Villains theme, there was a special stage show and mini parade that we wanted to see. We decided to do the last showing of each one and do rides until then. There were a few special add ons to two attractions. There were live actors in Pirates of the Caribbean.. but we didn’t make it there. We did do Space Mountain which was completely in the dark with Villains saying classic lines all around. I have ridden Space Mountain in complete darkness before (at the Halloween party) and actually find it less scary because you can’t see anything that is coming at all.

A highlight of the After Hours Party is that you can get unlimited amounts of Mickey ice cream bars, Mickey ice cream sandwiches, popcorn and bottled soda / water. It was so cold that I didn’t want any ice cream. I did have a popcorn.

The After Hours parties have a low amount of tickets sold, which makes the wait times for rides minimal. We were able to ride several attractions before going to the hub for the stage show and parade.

Honestly, I thought the stage show was long and not very interesting. I am not sure that I can even summarize the plot. It didn’t help that it was late and I was cold standing still. One part that I liked was they did projections on the castle that represented different villians.

The “Cursed Caravan” parade started soon after the stage show. It was cute. The characters had funny things to say as it moved along. The highlight is the fire breathing dragon towards the end.

One thing that we had fun with at the party was the Magic Shot photo opportunities. This is when the photographer tells you do act or stand a certain way and you have no idea why. Then when the photo comes up in your Disney account, you see what was added. There were several of them at the Villains party and we did a few.

It was nice to able to just walk back to the room. Overall, it was fun. Can’t help that it was cold. I am not a huge Villains fan but I am glad that I checked out the party. Since it is only three hours, you do take away from your ride time if you want to see the stage show / parade. Spoiler alert: We did the regular After Hours event on our last night and I preferred that one.

Disney Day #10

This was our last full day of the cruise and it was a full day at sea. I love sea days!

** I have basically almost no pictures for today. Oops.

We got up leisurely as our first activity was brunch at Palo at 10:30 am. We needed a little something before that so we went to Cove Cafe for some coffee.

Cove Cafe serves specialty coffee drinks (like Starbucks). They are not included in your cruise fare so it is an extra charge.

We enjoyed our coffee and then made our way to Palo. We had a group of 12 ladies from our cruise group reserved for the brunch. We had mentioned to our server at dinner the night before that we would be returning for brunch. As I expected he might, he made sure that he was our server for the brunch. We had to divide into a table for 8 and a table for 4. He was our server at the table for 8.

The brunch works like this: You started with a buffet of “appetizer” items. There is a table of pastries and breads, a seafood table and a table of antipasto type items. For your entree, you chose from a menu. Being brunch, there are breakfast and lunch choices. Then for dessert, you return to the buffet for a dessert selection.

My favorites on the starter buffet are the brioche breads and then ALL the cheeses! For the entree, I have tried different things in the past. Today, I went with the lasagna which I have not had before. It was very good. And then for dessert, my favorites are the chocolate covered strawberries and the tiramisu.

You will not leave Palo brunch hungry. That is for sure!

After brunch, we did a little shopping. I had also made a note of when the Diaper Dash was taking place. I got a spot to watch that activity from the upper deck looking down into the atrium lobby.

The diaper dash is basically a baby race. There is a mat put down with a start and a finish and five lanes. Parents register their baby to race just before the event begins. The rules are that the baby must crawl. They cannot walk at all. You put one parent at the start and one at the finish and the baby that gets there first wins.

If there are more than five babies, they do heats. For example, on this day there were ten babies so they did two heats of five each and then the winners faced off to determine a winner.

I found a picture of the set up from a previous cruise:

Later that afternoon, we had a meet up with the ladies from the group. Ashley had shirts made for the group and we took a group photo and chatted a bit.

Unfortunately, then we had the ugly task of packing ahead of us. You need to leave your main suitcase outside your room by 10:30 pm so the staff can move all the luggage into the terminal area in the morning. We wanted to get a jump on the process before dinner.

We came back to the room to find a surprise. Another perk of Platinum level is your choice of a bottle of sparkling wine, fruit bowl or truffles. I had picked truffles and they had been delivered. And I actually have pictures!

We thought we may miss the show that evening due to packing, but we finished in plenty of time to make it. The show that night was Disney’s Believe. The story is about a dad that doesn’t “get” believing in things like Tinkerbell or magic. He is visited by the Genie from Aladdin and gets to learn about believing from other Disney characters. And, of course, he comes to believe in the end.

For dinner that night, we were at Enchanted Garden. Home to one of my favorite food items on Disney Cruise Line – the Ahi Tuna Tower. Raw Ahi Tuna with avocado and crispy noodles on top. It’s good stuff.

As I mentioned previously, we had had some issues with our dinner service staff and Disney changed us to a new team. We had missed the first night with the new team because we went to Palo dinner. So we only had tonight to spend with them.

They were obviously aware that we had been disappointed in our previous dinner experiences and went above and beyond to make sure everything was amazing. I actually think that they are probably amazing on a day to day basis. They were definitely the quality that I would expect from Disney Cruise Line and I am glad we had even just one night with them.

Since it was our last evening and we all had different departure times in the morning, a few of us went to the Cove Cafe to just hang out. We had thought they might have been serving cocktails but they still had their regular coffee menu. We were happy to just sit and chat for a bit before calling it a night.

Disney Day #9

Today we docked at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private Island in the Bahamas.

We packed our beach gear and went up to Cabanas to grab breakfast until we could disembark.

There is a 5K that is free of charge that you can do on the island. I have done it twice and wasn’t interested in a third time, so Donna, Pam and I had plans to go to the adult only area on the beach and grab some lounge chairs for the ladies in our group after they were done with the race.

The beach area has been impacted by storms and there isn’t as much beach as there used to be. We weren’t the first people to arrive at the beach but we were pretty early and we still had to walk a bit to find enough room to accommodate all of us.

Castaway is really a beautiful beach and the weather was perfect. There are full lounge chairs and umbrellas and then there are chairs that you can bring down to sit in / near the water. I haven’t sat by the water in many of my past visits but it was so nice out that I did for a while this day.

We had gotten quite a bit of sun by after noon. I don’t love the buffet at the adult beach area plus it was Ash Wednesday so I wasn’t sure they would have much for non-meat options. We decided to call it a day at the beach and go to the ship for lunch.

I always have to get a picture of the ship from the island.

We got a table on the main deck upstairs and everyone went to the food location of their choice and brought back their lunch.

Again, the weather was so beautiful that we went out on the balcony in our room for awhile. I may have had another nap. 🙂

Instead of the main dining room, Donna, Pam and I had booked dinner at Palo for this evening. Palo is an adult only restaurant that has an upcharge ($40 per person). A perk of being a Platinum level cruiser is that I get one meal at Palo for free for myself and everyone in my stateroom.

Palo is Italian inspired cuisine. It is a beautiful restaurant and there is a dress code which makes it a special dining experience. Sorry again for no photos. I had burrata with cherry tomatoes for an appetizer and then Dover sole for an entree. The server filleted the sole table side. It was quite impressive! And then it’s pretty much a rule that you have the souffle for dessert. It is so good. Chocolate souffle with a vanilla and chocolate sauce and vanilla gelato.

It was pirate night on board which means fireworks! We went back to the room to change clothes and then went to Ashley’s balcony with the rest of the group to watch them. It was a little rainy but they still pulled them off. It’s always fun to be able to have fireworks at sea and it was a good end to the evening.

Disney Day #8

This morning the ship was docked in Nassau. I never get off the ship in this port. I use the day to enjoy a quieter ship and do some on board activities.

We went to Cabanas, the buffet, for breakfast. I always enjoy it. Can’t go wrong with some Mickey waffles!

After breakfast, we had a reservation for the Princess Gathering. This is a meet and greet with 4 Disney princesses in the atrium. As you can imagine, this is a popular activity. Because of that, Disney starting making it reservation only. You can make your reservation in advance (recommended) or you can go to Guest Services when you board to see if there are any reservations available.

I have never done it myself but, in the past, I have gone to the deck above to watch. There are usually little girls all dressed up in their Princess outfits. The Princesses are so good with them. It is very sweet to watch.

Since we had just run the Princesses races, we put on our race shirts and ALL our medals for some pictures. The princesses can vary. For our Princess gathering, we had Tiana, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Belle. It was fun to hear what they had to say. Rapunzel wanted to know if we could run as fast as Maximus. I showed Cinderella the medal that had her on it and she said the Fairy Godmother had done a very good job with that.

After we were done with the Princesses, we saw that Mickey was out taking photos as well. Can’t resist a picture with Mickey!

We went back to our room to put away all the medals and then we went to the movies. Disney ships have a movie theater that shows all current Disney releases. We went to see Frozen 2. I had seen it but Pam and Donna had not. I am never opposed to seeing most movies again, so I was good with it.

The movie finished up mid afternoon and we went to our cabin to relax a bit. The weather was beautiful. The perfect weather for a nap in a lounge chair. Which is exactly what I did.

The show for that evening was Beauty and the Beast. This is a newer show for Disney Cruise Line and it has won awards in the cruise line industry. It is a stage version of Beauty and the Beast based on the live action movie version that came out a few years ago. It is an excellent show. I have seen it once before but I think I enjoyed it more this time.

It was formal night so we went back to the room to get changed. I am not a “dress up” person and I am really not a dress person. But I knew other ladies would be dressing up and I found a dress that I liked so I went with it.

Our entire group met in the atrium so that we could get our picture taken all together on the stairs. Minnie was in her formal wear as well so we all met her too.

We went straight from photos to dinner. Our dinner tonight was in Animator’s Palette. It was “Crush” night so you have different screen around the restaurant showing fish and characters from Finding Nemo. At some point in the evening, Crush comes on the big screen in your area and talks to some guests (Like Turtle Talk with Crush in Epcot).

I don’t want to get too much into the events of dinner. I will say that it was no where near the quality of dinner service I have experience on any other Disney sailings. There were several “misses” by our servers and at the end of it all, with some discussions with Guest Services, this was our last night with these servers.

On a positive note, it was Ashley’s actual birthday this evening. Disney Cruise Line will provide a complementary small cake but since there was a big group of us, I ordered a big celebration Mickey cake. It was really good!

And, as usual, as dinner was night time for us! Here was this night’s towel animal.

Disney Day #7

The races were behind us and it was time to cruise!

We went to the food court area and had breakfast.

I had scheduled a town car to take us to the port. I have always used Disney Cruise transportation from the resort to the port. It’s convenient because they take your luggage in the morning but it also only gets you to the port in the early afternoon.

Now that I am Platinum level on Disney Cruise Line (having completed 10 Disney cruises), I can check in early and be one of the first to board. So it makes sense to use a car service and get there early.

I prefer Mears for my car service and they were right on time. We arrived at the port around 10:30, dropped our bags with the porter and went to the Platinum check in desk.

Check in was easy and we were in boarding group 1. While we were waiting, we went outside to take a look at our home for the next four nights.

We got on board so early that the buffet wasn’t even open yet. But we grabbed a table and waited it a bit until it was. Personally, I like the buffet on the ship. We enjoyed our lunch and then went around to explore the ship a bit, as this was a first time cruise for Donna and Pam.

When our booking window for on board activities had opened several months ago, I spotted a beverage tasting that I hadn’t seen before. It was called Kick of your Cruise and it took place in the Senses Spa Juice bar. We booked it in advance and made our way there.

I have been to the gym (in the Senses Spa area) several times on previous cruises but I have never been to the Juice bar. It was a nice little area with a bar type set up and some little tables near the windows as well.

For our tastings, the cast member made us three different smoothies and then a bloody mary and a mimosa. He explained about the ingredients and how they can modify ingredients for you if you come during the cruise to purchase a smoothie, as long as they have the ingredients available.

They have a super powerful blender so smoothies that had ingredients like spinach or kale were so blended you couldn’t tell. All the smoothies were good.

For the bloody mary, it was made with fresh tomato juice. The mimosa was also made with fresh orange juice. He showed us the big machine they have to slice and squeeze the oranges. I don’t like bloody marys but I had a sip to try it. The mimosa was awesome.

By the time we finished the tasting, the rooms were ready so we went to find our stateroom. We had a category 4E which was midship with an extended balcony. Extended balcony gave us two regular chairs and two reclining chairs on our balcony where a normal balcony would have two regular chairs. Sorry no pictures… but I did take a picture our door with our magnets!

Our bags had arrived so we unpacked and got organized. A safety drill is a requirement on any cruise so that was next on our schedule.

Our whole group was heading to Ashley’s cabin for the sail away. She had an extended balcony on the back of the ship and was next to another member in our group as well. So they had the balconies opened up to make one big balcony. It was a fun place to spend the sail away.

The way the schedule works on the Disney ships in the evening is that there are two performances of the evening show and two scheduled dinner times. Our group had the late seating for dinner (8:15 pm) which made our time to see the show the earlier performance. Typically, I pick and chose which shows I attend because I have seen most of them more than once. However, Donna and Pam have not seen any of them so we had a plan to go to each one.

Tonight’s show was the Golden Mickeys. It is a take off of an awards show which includes a variety of performances from different Disney movies.

The Walt Disney Theater is beautiful.

After the show, we changed and went to dinner. If you have never been on a Disney cruise, there are 3 main restaurants for dinner. You are assigned to a table and a dining rotation which will have you in each restaurant at least once. Your servers travel with you each night so you have the same servers for the length of your cruise.

I had linked all of our groups’ reservations together so we had one big table all together each evening. Our first night was at Royal Palace. Again, having been on many Disney cruises, the menus really don’t change much so I am pretty familiar with them. My general feeling is that the food is good… not amazing.. and I do have some favorite items.

With a late dining time of 8:15 pm, I am usually ready for bed afterwards. And tonight was no different.

Always fun to come back to the room to a cute towel animal! And, of course, chocolates!