Sometime mid-summer Scott and I got a wild hair to plan a trip to WDW over the Thanksgiving holidays since it had been four years since our last full visit but this time we really shook things up by adding a three day cruise into the mix.
It was a great decision. Truly. I support it fully.
Years ago (like party like it's 1999 ago) Scott and I took a Carnival cruise and loved it but we are now whole hearted Disney cruise converts. Once you go Disney you don't go back.
We drank the Kool-Aid. Is what I'm saying.
We boarded the Disney Dream Sunday mid-morningish and kept ourselves busy exploring the ship, exploring the lunch buffet and eventually exploring our room.
I think we somehow stumbled onto a handicap accessible room because it was actually quite roomy (I was prepared for a cracker box) with a roomy bathroom (I was thinking like a RV sized bath), sofa/bed for Annelise, a desk area and two nicely sized porthole windows to avoid that pesky claustrophobic feeling.
We finally set sail after the mandatory safety drill (I did feel twinges of claustrophobia and heatstroke while wedged shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of strangers, but thankfully the drill didn't last too long) while enjoying a deck dance party/celebration with Mickey and his friends.
See that habi-trail tube looking thing going all around the deck? That's a water raft coaster thing. Crazy cool, huh?
Here are a few photo highlights from our at sea adventures...
We loved the ship, it was incredible. Tons of family friendly activities all.the.time, so much so that you have to pick and choose and we regretted missing out on some things (with only two full days the time flies).
The first night we enjoyed one of the live shows (wonderful!) then went to dinner (we had the late seating, 8:15, which was nice but we're not used to four course meals which made for late nights and the fact that we had to sit with another family threw Annelise for a loop, but she persevered) then Scott and I went to see the 10:30 showing of Lincoln while Annelise went to the Kids' Club (which was a highly popular feature for what seemed like most of the parents on board but we only did it that first night).
A little side activity that Annelise (and we did too) had major fun with was collecting clues and solving two interactive mysteries throughout the ship, like a scavenger hunt, one was finding lost dalmatian puppies (what a coincidence, right?) and the other was helping Mickey recover stolen paintings from a cast of possible Disney villains.
Monday we docked in Nassau and I'd like to tell y'all we had amazing adventures exploring the island but...we didn't leave the ship.
Maybe that makes us duds but there weren't any excursions that really interested us, the ones that did (spending the day at Atlantis or swimming with the dolphins) were CRAZY expensive and we felt like since it was such a short cruise we'd miss out on enjoying the ship, for which we'd already paid. Plus the fact that our cruise letter kept warning us of all the possible dangers to tourists awaiting us did not motivate us at all to disembark.
Annelise had a BLAST at the pool (both of them!) and she especially loved the water slide and making friends along the way. I enjoyed reading my book and catching rays all from my comfy lounge chair, Scott enjoyed the classic Disney movies they played on the jumbotron (well, we all did) and who can resist unlimited soft serve ice cream? Not us!
Tuesday was our day at Castaway Cay which is Disney's private island. We rented snorkeling gear, floats and bikes. I don't know what the shortest record for snorkeling is but Annelise probably came close to breaking it. Not a fan. At all.
I liked the floating.
Annelise got nibbled on by a crab.
That went well.
I loved sitting in my beach chair reading (you're not surprised I'm sure).
Scott and Annelise took a short bike ride after lunch then she declared she'd much rather swim in the pools on board so we packed up (about an hour before everyone was supposed to re-board anyway) and were soon happily back on the pool deck swimming (A.), reading (me), and watching the Jungle Book (S.), everyone was content.
Our towel animals. Such cheesy fun.
(Totally random side note: Given the multi-cultural aspect of 98% of the crew I couldn't help but worry about human trafficking and harsh (possibly) working conditions and feel vaguely guilty for three and a half days.)
The next morning (Wednesday, for those of you still reading this) we toted our bags to our last breakfast buffet bright and early (8:00! Gasp! Isn't this a vacation?) and soon cleared customs and were on board the Disney Magic Express on our way to begin the next phase of our vacation, the parks.
So the cruise was short, in fact it was a bit of a whirlwind, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and would definitely do a Disney cruise again, it's the perfect environment for families. I highly recommend it!
I'll leave you with one final picture.
Stay tuned for the next riveting phase of our Disney 2012 adventure, including but not limited to, our park visits, my birthday, Thanksgiving and my confrontation with a crazy lady.