Inside the Disney Dream
Our port arrival window at Miami Cruise Terminal was 11:15am, and within an hour we had boarded the ship through the Atrium Lobby. We were required to check in on deck four and watch a video about emergency procedures. A few locations were open for lunch and our state room was ready by 4pm. Dining and entertainment activities branched from the Atrium lobby on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors. The District was a series of six small bars that are adults-only in the evening. While Alice was in the Oceaneer’s Club we enjoyed late-night acoustic music at the District Lounge and watched Karaoke in Evolution.
We loved our verandah stateroom on the starboard side of the 9th deck; we were able to walk directly up two flights of stairs to the Cabanas buffet entrance with easy access to morning coffee and the pool deck. Coincidentally our floor was Alice in Wonderland themed, so it was easy to know when we arrived “home.”
Outside on the Disney Dream
The pool deck has two levels, and the adults-only section of the ship is on the Forward end. There are a few small pools and bars in this section, and it’s the closest access to the Senses Spa.
We could watch Disney movies throughout the cruise on the pool deck or in the Buena Vista Theater.
For dinner, the Disney Dream has three table service locations; the Royal Palace, the Enchanted Garden and the Animator’s Palette. For each meal I had at least three vegetarian apps/salads and two entrees to choose from. The food was comparable to the better table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World. For meals on the level of Signature Dining, we could have booked Remy or Palo for additional added cost. Desserts were the highlights of all of our dinners. The only location that didn’t offer a breakfast and/or lunch option was the Animator’s Palette.
- Our servers rotated with us each night. For gratuity, we were automatically charged $15 per person for the servers and $5 per person for the head server. We received envelopes on our last night to provide additional tips. We loved our wait staff; after learning our dining preferences they were able to make suggestions and they added entertainment (riddles, magic tricks, etc.) throughout our stay.
- We added the lower tier of wine service to our dinner package, and for $150 we were able to select four bottles that could be used however we preferred.
- Cabanas Restaurant was a wonderful buffet-style breakfast or lunch option. Cabanas is located on the stern of the ship with floor to ceiling glass and both indoor and outdoor seating. We loved eating breakfast at Cabanas with views of each port before we disembarked for the day.
- We didn’t try the quick service pool deck-side options, however we did use the area for 24-hour coffee service and soft-serve ice cream on demand.
Alice would have spent the entire trip in the Oceaneer’s Club/Lab without us. There are open houses where parents can see the space, but for most of the voyage she could attend grown-up free between 10am-12am. For older kids (11-17) Vibe and Edge provided a space to hang out with their peers. We visited Vibe during the open house to see one of the coolest spaces on the ship, the lower forward bow.
We spent a lot of time just lounging by the pool or on our patio, but had we wanted to be “joiners” we could have attended many activities, including bingo with high cash prizes, cooking seminars, trivia, etc. Alice and I were chosen to compete in the “Do You Know Your Family” game show, where we failed miserably. My first choice for the one item I thought she might take to a dessert island was a “LEGO” and she thought the subject I taught the worst was Social Studies. Alex found other nautical enthusiasts at a half-hour seminar about the history of the Disney Cruise ship fleet.
For the main entertainment at 8:30 each night everyone from the early dining rotation gathered in the large Walt Disney Theater. On our first night John Cassidy entertained the crowd with a mix between a comedy routine and a magic show. The second night was an Awards Ceremony for Disney Characters, and many guests wore suits and gowns for an “informal” formal night. The two live “Broadway-style” evening shows were impressive. I almost didn’t go see Beauty and the Beast because I thought it would be similar to the version at the Hollywood Studios theme park. Instead, the performers were all “face characters” or actors with puppets. I’m not afraid to admit I cried multiple times during the closing show “Wishes.”
We splurged quite a bit at the Senses Spa. We bought a couples pass to the Rainforest Room, with adults-only access to relaxation rooms, saunas and hot tubs. The pass also allowed us to use the spacious locker room showers/amenities daily instead of our small stateroom bathroom to get ready. On the first day they offered a raffle for gift cards, and introduced the multiple options, from massages and facials to consulting for “light” facial medical procedures. By attending the workshop we also received a voucher for what equated to 20% off three treatments per person. There were so many options for bars on board that even we couldn’t try them all.
Pirate-themed activities have always been a little “meh” for me, but even I couldn’t help but be sucked into Pirate night. (I did crochet two Smee hats for the event.) The pirates-themed pre-show, character meet and greets, dance party, and fireworks all flowed together well.
Top three things we wish we had known before we cruised for the first time……
- How to use the Navigator App
We wished we had access to get to know the Navigator App before we traveled. We weren’t able to login until we were on board to plan our trip, and we were still figuring out where to find information throughout the cruise. Additionally, we weren’t able to access the cruise folio after leaving the ship. Thankfully we had taken screenshots of other relevant items, like contact info for Alice’s new vacation pen pals. One major complaint of a lot of cruisers was the internet access. We paid for a medium plan, but made the rookie mistake of not logging out our first night, burning up most of our data immediately.
- What to expect on disembarkation day
We chose the early 5:45pm dining slot over the later evening dining, which meant we were assigned 6:45am dining on disembarkation day. We thought this meant we had to be off the ship immediately after breakfast, but in reality guests were able shop and relax around the ship until just after 9am.
- What to expect for drink packages
We brought our allotted two bottles of wine and one six-back of beer. When we arrived we were rushed through the options of the additional drink packages. We DID appreciate that we purchased the 12-beer pack with a good IPA and two refillable drink cups. The insulated bags were high-quality souvenirs and the cups gave us the option of purchasing the signature daily drinks for $5/each. We DID NOT need the 12-pack of cider (only because we didn’t like it). We were unsure of whether we HAD to consume these drinks in our room, but we were able to walk around the ship with them.