Tuesday, March 8, 2011

family vacation :: the disney dream

The last time the boys were on an airplane was our trip to Disney World in 2003. I had an itch last February and with Tony's consent, booked a cruise. I figured booking it a year in advance would ensure the trip was paid for BEFORE taking it and we'd milk it for all it was worth, giving us MUCH time looking forward to it. Little did we know all that 2010 would have in store with Tony's pituitary tumor business, Grandpa Lito's cancer diagnosis and death, the situation with my sister, and more... nor how much we would actually NEED something to look forward to in 2011.

I'm declaring that "itch" an official God Moment.

bon voyage

Most everything about the trip exceeded our expecations. The food was INCREDIBLE - while everything served at the casual Cabanas restaurant was buffet-style, nothing was soggy. NOTHING, not even buttered asparagus! Items in the buffet included fresh seafood, the best smashed potatoes I've ever had, chocolate pancakes, fresh fruit, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a yogurt/oatmeal bar with dried fruit & nuts galore, desserts that rivaled any one of my favorite stops back home - pretty much anything and everything worth craving. Our stateroom was beautiful. Each night our host made a spectacular presentation by turning down the bedding and leaving chocolates, a towel animal critter, or some other gift. The service was excellent - I swear every staff member had a gift for working with children, even in the most difficult situations (i.e. sleep deprived, sugared-up children). Enough of the gushing, here are some snapshots from our weekend on the Disney Dream.

the ship

We booked everything through Disney, including our airline tickets - which included ground transfers to and from Port Canaveral (about an hour from the airport). The slickest part about it was that Disney even took care of checking us in at the airport on our day of departure, our boarding passes were waiting for us on the bed the night before.

meel room

On this very comfortable bed. Another shot of shot of our stateroom, which was on the 8th floor:

pirate night

At night, it was transformed into this:

our room at night

The top bunk had a starry view, complete with Disney character constellations. The bathroom was divided into two parts - one a shower/round tub and sink. And in the other, a toilet and sink.

ren bath

There was a ton of storage, a desk, couch, flat-screen television with movies on demand. A ton of movies. (The boys LOVED this.)

movies on demand

We had a huge porthole window, complete with a bench seat and perfect view of the fireworks.

castaway cay

And of Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, which unfortunately we never made it to because of the outrageous winds (our only disappointment of the weekend).

Our boys, ages 10 and 13 immensely enjoyed the kids' programs. The 10-year old spent a great deal of time in the Oceaneer's Lab while the 13-year old spent time in the Edge. This in turn, gave Tony and I time to hang out in the 18+ areas... in addition to stopping at the Vista Cafe' for a Toberlontini, taking an evening stroll around deck 5 (my favorite area), and shopping :)

toblerontini at the vista cafe

skyline bar

deck 5

The highlight of the ship for the boys was the AquaDuck "water coaster" - a cruise industry first.

aquaduck sign

the aquaduck

landscape aquaduck


We played miniature golf, watched Tron in the movie theater, and saw an incredible show in another theater on the ship.

a show

ocean view

pool day selfie

There were many, MANY special guests on board as well.


And of course, fabulous desserts:

dessert trio

We chose the late dinner seating which was perfect. While dinner rotated to one of three restaurants each evening, our servers remained the same.


As first-time cruisers, there were a couple of things worth noting:
  1. Yes, you CAN feel the ship move. Our first night was pretty bad; thankfully, none of us were ever sick but there were others who weren't as fortunate.
  2. Traveling with little ones? Let them bring their Disney dress-up gear.
  3. Prepare your kids ahead of time for the possibility the excursions could be cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
  4. Wondering if it's worth the price? TOTALLY.
  5. I recommend paying a little extra for the travel insurance for total peace of mind.
Disney has a new ship is in the making; the Fantasy will be ready to set sail in March 2012. Click HERE for details!

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Mary said...

It sounds like you had a fabulous time. Can't wait to hear all about it.

~Kathie~ said...

Great pictures! Looks like a fun family vacation!