Apr 27

An Overall Review of the Disney Dream

Well, what did I think of my overall Disney Dream experience?  One word for you – FABULOUS!!  It definitely lived up to the Disney name!  I did not encounter one grumpy cast member.  They all went above and beyond and met and some exceeded my expectations. IMG_3006 The only thing I did notice on this cruise was that the ship rocked a little more than I have noticed before.  Thankfully I had my trusty Sea Bands and I was good to go.  My son even used one of them and he was fine too.  If you tend to get motion sick, get some Sea Bands from your local drug store and put them on.  No medicine just a pressure point in your wrist.  They really do work.

Upon arrival we were announced when we boarded the ship.  I felt like royalty.  The lobby is beautiful and the chandelier is amazing.  We went straight to our stateroom on Deck 7 and put our bags down.  We, then, headed to Deck 11 to eat in the Cabanas.  There was a wide variety of foods to choose from along with several desserts.  We picked a seat near the window so we had a great view.

Our son wanted to check out the kids area (Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club). IMG_2515 So we headed there and we were able to check it all out before they were actually taking kids.  We stayed for a while then headed out to explore some more and get ready for the mandatory evacuation meeting.

Of course they have their rotational dining too.  Each night you get to eat in a different restaurant but your servers stay the same.  Our first night of dining was in the Enchanted Garden.  I have to say that this was probably my least favorite.  The place is beautiful and looks like a garden, but my meal was not the best.  I had chicken and it was just o.k.  We had wonderful servers – Romy was awesome and pointed out what he thought was the better choice.  We shared a table with another family from Massachusetts.  They were a family of mom, dad, two boys and grandmother.  Super nice family!  Their sons and ours hit it off.  They talked about the kids club and made plans to go after dinner.  So, needless to say that is where the three boys ended up for about 2 hours.

Each night we were entertained with a fabulous Broadway show.  We were scheduled for the main dining so our show was at 8:30 p.m.

Our second day we were in Nassau and we did the Dolphin Encounter at Atlantis along with the ruins.  I would highly recommend the Dolphin Encounter.  It was great and well worth the money.

Our second night we had dinner in the Royal Palace.  This was also Pirate Night.  I think that was the most fun of all of the nights.  The Pirate Party up on the Pool Deck was lots of fun and the fireworks?!?!  Where can you cruise to and have fireworks at sea?  Perfect way to end the evening.

The third day we were at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  There is so much to do if you wish to.  If you would rather relax and do nothing you certainly can do that too.  There is even hammocks under some shade trees where you can catch a nap.  IMG_3039You can slide down Pelican’s Pludge or get some ice cream.  You can even schedule a shore excursion.  We were suppose to do a glass bottom boat tour and my husband was suppose to go deep sea fishing.  Unfortunately, when we docked it was too windy that all of those excursions were cancelled.  So we just spent a day on the beach having some fun.  My husband did rent some snorkel equipment and did some snorkeling.  We also had tubes we rented and had some fun with those.  If keeping fit is your thing, you can do that here too.  They have a 5K race at 8:30 in the morning.  I was suppose to be on the glass bottom boat so I didn’t sign up for the 5K race but did run/walk it that afternoon.  It was an awesome feeling when I hit that finish line and knew that I had just completed my first 5K and there couldn’t have been a better place to do it!

Our last night of dining was the Animator’s Palette.  This was MY FAVORITE!!  They spent 20 million dollars on this restaurant alone and it shows. IMG_3053 It was amazing and the food was delicious!  As I said it was my favorite – all around!

Along with the great shows, the spa and the pools there was also shopping, putt putt, kids clubs, adult only areas, fitness center, areas for the teens and movie theaters.  There was so much to do, just not enough time.  So, if you plan on taking a cruise any time soon, I would recommend at least a 4 night cruise – maybe you can fit in most of it then.  I will definitely be sailing with Disney again.  I just hope it is soon, I am missing it already.

 

Apr 27

Sanaa, An Unexpected Favorite!

I had never eaten at Sanaa until recently.  My husband didn’t want me to make many dining reservations because he didn’t want to be tied to a bunch of sit down meals.  (Side note – I will never do that again!)  So we find ourselves on our second day at Disney tired and wanting to eat but not a quick service meal.  We are a little cranky and tired from the day and we need to re-group.

So thankfully, I have some great fans on my Facebook page (“Mouse”cation).  One of them suggested that we try Sanaa.  She said you can usually get in even without a reservation.  So I decided to suck it up and try it.  I am a somewhat picky eater.  But for my husband, I decided to give it a try.  I wanted to make sure he was happy because at this point he wasn’t really happy and wasn’t loving Disney.

So here we are tired and hungry and headed to Animal Kingdom Villas.  We get there a few minutes before 5:00 pm and it isn’t open for dinner yet.  She said they would be opening in a few minutes, so we decided to go right outside to wait the 10 minutes or so.  IMG_0588We got to watch the giraffes, zebras and other animals walking around and just enjoy the Animal Kingdom Villa for a few minutes.  It is a very peaceful unique resort.

Well, it was finally 5:00 so we went back inside.  I requested a table by the window and were taken to a table with a perfect view for watching the animals.  We saw giraffes during dinner and some other type of animal and a bunny.  It was a great view.

We ordered the Indian-style Bread Service which was five (5) different breads accompanied with five (5) different “accompaniments” (dips).  We chose Red Chile Sambal, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney and Roated Red Bell Pepper Hummus.  IMG_0597When the bread came, our son picked one up and took a bite.  Well, it bit back.  In an instant he was saying “HOT!” and reached for his water.  Needless to say I had to try it to see what he was yelling about and sure enough it had a kick to it.  I tried several of them and they all had a little spice to them.  I am not a spicy person so I asked what I needed to order that I wouldn’t be gulping water.

Our waitress was great and steered me to the Butter Chicken and the Beef Short Ribs with the Five-Grain Pilaf.  IMG_0601It was delicious!  Not spicy at all but just enough flavor.  My husband likes a little more spice to his meals so he chose the same Beef Short Ribs but got the Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce.  He said it was really good but did have a little kick to it.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good Sanaa was and it quickly became a new favorite of mine. It was nice to sit and relax and enjoy the view and unwind from a very busy day.  We were in a hurry to get to the Electrical Parade at the Magical Kingdom that night so we didn’t try dessert.  I will next time!  If you haven’t tried Sanaa, I would say hop on over there and give it a try.  You might find you don’t need a reservation, at least in the less busy times.

 

Apr 26

DISNEY CITY GIRL REVIEW

It is my pleasure to welcome Laurie Smith again!  She gives us the low down on Disney City Girl over on Playdom.  You can go over there and sign up – click here:  https://hiddenobjects.playdom.com/games/citygirl/signup

Disney City Girl

Playdom
Players are assigned a female character about 20 years old.  The goal is to participate in the daily fashion contest and to do assigned tasks.  Players assign their character with a job and decorate their apartment as they wish.  Disney City GirlSome items have stars to indicate the quality of the item when giving out friendship, fun, health, hygienne, and rest.  Pay to play players can avoid waiting for friends to gift needed items and to have a better gaming experience.

Unless a player has lots of friends the tasks can be daunting.  I have Jenna who is your game friend and two other players as friends.  To finish one task took me three days as I did not have enough friends.  I am stuck on completing one of the missions as I cannot get friends to donate the needed items.  I am a hardcore gamer with 1500 plus friends yet I have only 8 people who have tried this game.  I have learned to go to Jenna to get the most points from her computer. The point is that one must not go for the expensive apartment but just stick to the second level apartment while visiting friends to use their 2 and 3 star items.  I save money by using my friend’s 2 star treadmill instead of buying one myself.  The daily contest gives you Glam Points which can be used to buy furniture and clothing.  Mindlessly clicking on whatever is in front of you can get you lot of Glam Points.  One sad note is that you cannot sell excess items like bolts or good vibes.  Players cannot sell the clothes that come with the character.

This game can does have some strange things going on.  Characters whip into a towel for a shower or into an gym clothes to use the treadmill. “Relieve Self” is where the character sits on the toilet, waits, gets up and out pops nail polish and 2 EXP. The character goes for a salad and shakes the contents then guzzles down the contents.  This is the same action in one and two star fridges. I do not know anyone who guzzles salad. If one likes to dress up a character, do tasks, decorate homes, and do tasks then this is a game for you.  As a gamer it is a standard game where one does missions and tasks while working hard on using energy to gain items, reward points, experience, and money.  It is easy to play.  The graphics are well done and give the feel of a coffee shop or NYC apartment. With hard work and time one can get some nice items but there is not that much variety.  I wonder if in the future there will be 4 and 5 star items for regular players.  Pay to play really helps one get through this game as does having lots of friends.

Apr 26

Are Disney Cruises better than Royal Caribbean?

Well, I have been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and have loved them.  So, I was interested to see how Disney compared to Royal Caribbean.  We took our first Disney cruise the other day (April 18, 2013).  I am going to give you my honest opinion on what I thought of the Disney Dream.

Let’s start with our arrival.  We arrived at the terminal and were greeted by a cast member and she asked if it was just the three of us, to which I said yes.  She told me I could go down to the Concierge’s desk and check in.  So we got to by-pass the regular line – Magical Moment because we were not booked in a concierge’s room.

We got all checked in and boarded the ship and we had to wait about 5 minutes for our room to be ready.  I walked in the room and had 2 thoughts. IMG_2986 Wow this is nice but WOW this is a narrow room.  We were booked in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah.  I have always stayed in a verandah room on Royal Caribbean because I am claustrophobic.  I like to have some space and a way out even if it is to jump in the ocean.  I have trouble sitting in a booth on the inside.  I can do it if I have to.  So this was one negative thing about the Disney Dream and for most it isn’t that big of a deal.  The entrance is very narrow.  My husband stood there and was almost shoulder to shoulder to the walls.

The queen size bed is the next thing to come after that narrow entrance and it doesn’t get much wider than that.  Two people could not go around the end of the bed. IMG_2987 I stuck our suitcase at the end to show you how much room is left from the end of the bed to the wall. Now please do NOT TAKE THIS as a put down.  This is just my opinion and remember I am claustrophobic so this sort of thing bothers me.  Overall, I loved the room.  I just wished it would have been a little wider.  I LOVED the split bath.  So very nice that I could get ready in the morning while my husband was taking a shower in the next “bathroom” without steaming up my mirror.  The other thing I noticed on the Disney Dream was that the toilet did NOT stink!  The last Royal Caribbean cruise we went on I almost gagged every time I went into the bathroom because the toilets smelled and it wasn’t because someone had used it.  There was a good amount of counter space, closet space and drawer space.

The next thing that I want to compare is the amount of things to do on the cruises.  Can I just say there is so much to do on a Disney Cruise that 3 nights was not long enough to do everything!  Believe it or not we never got in the pool.  We never rode the AquaDuck either.  That was the first thing that we were suppose to do but our son backed out after seeing that part of the tubing was dark (it goes through the smoke stack).  After that we were so busy doing other things that we just didn’t get a chance to go again.  There are shows on both cruise lines.  Both are VERY good. Our last Royal Caribbean cruise was a 4 night cruise and by the last day I was getting bored.  Now this was only a 3 night cruise but I know I would have things to do on that last day without being bored.  We could have played putt putt, gone to the pool, rode the AquaDuck and much more.  I am not one to sit around in the room and watch TV.  I usually am doing something.

Overall the food was good – there were things that were really good and others that were just o.k.  You will have to watch for my blog on our dining and find out which one was my favorite.  I did learn a thing or two on this cruise.  I will make sure my next room is NOT an adjoining room unless I know the people next door.  We had some ladies that were very loud next to us and even were ordering room service and talking at 1:30-2:00 in the morning and they were not quite.  I even heard one of them snoring 2 days in a row.  Other than that I never heard anyone on the other side of us.  You occasionally heard a toilet flush but overall the noise level was good.  We were even mid-ship right there with the stairs and the elevators.  Those never bothered us.

On Royal Caribbean you can get a beverage cart in your room – you pay extra for the drinks.  On Disney they have soda that you can get from the pool deck for free.  IMG_2495Bottled water did cost extra.  Something else I noticed was that you can get free ice cream up on the pool deck too on the Disney cruise.

My last thing that I want to compare is the our dis-embarkment.  On Royal Caribbean we were assigned a time of when we were to get off the ship and it was usually later in the morning.  On Disney, however, we were assigned a time when we could go to one of the restaurants and sit down for the buffet meal or go up to the Cabana at whatever time.  Our time for the restaurant was 6:45 a.m. (all guests on first dining had the 6:45 a.m. time and all guests on the second dining had the 8:00 a.m. time).  I would have much rather had the 8:00 time.  Needless to say, we did NOT make the 6:45 time and just grabbed some finger food at the coffee bar on Deck 4.  I did not like the early breakfast and the fact that EVERYONE had to be off the ship by 9:00 a.m.  We had no specific time slot to get off (which was nice if you have an early flight – but we had a 2:30 flight), so it was kind of go as you please but get off by 9:00.  The other thing was they started making announcements at 7:30 a.m. that the boat had been cleared and we were able to get off.  They made those about every 15-20 minutes.  Kind of annoying when you are hoping your child will sleep in a little (which he didn’t with all that going on).  That was the only other thing that I wasn’t too keen on.

Overall, I would DEFINTELY go on another cruise with Disney!  I think overall it beats Royal Caribbean especially for families.  There are adult only sections of the cruise but having a child of my own I didn’t experience much of those areas.  I did visit the spa.  Look for my experience on that in the near future.

Well, it has been a pleasure to share with you my thoughts about a Disney cruise.  Have you sailed with Disney?  With any other cruise line?  What are your thoughts?  Your comparisons?  Let us know……