Sailing With Disney – Fun on Castaway Cay!

This stop is one of the reasons we really wanted to sail Disney. Beyond the tales of outstanding service, excellent entertainment, and delicious food, everyone raves about Disney’s private island. Finally getting the chance to set foot on the island was something we were very much looking forward to!

Before getting off the ship however, we needed to get our breakfast on, so we (finally!) headed to the buffet. They have a very solid spread, and I can honestly say that everything I had was tasty. This was also the one time I got those famous Mickey waffles on the sailing:

Following breakfast, we headed off the ship. Again, a fairly quick debark, and once outside we took advantage of the bug repellent they provide, and grabbed towels from the table:

Our next stop is the one thing that really makes your realize you’re in Disney’s hands: the tram. Of course there’s a tram on a Disney property! We rode the tram from the dock over to the family beach area, where we grabbed a second tram to the adults only beach, named Serenity Bay. Being one of the first to arrive, we grabbed two hammocks under palm trees. As far as I could tell, these were the only ones that had any shade all day (even though it only lasted until ~noon), so if you happen to get there early and want shaded hammocks, grab the first ones you see on the right as you walk on to the beach. Here’s a 360 degree look at our serenity πŸ™‚

Serenity Bay beach was pretty quiet all day, and the water was just about perfect. In the first hour we were there, a Disney film crew was at the waterline just in front of us doing some filming for what I think is some contest just based on some of the lines we overheard. No idea what contest, but they were filming all week. I’d also seen the female lead and the kid filming some family shots at the sail away party, and would also see them on deck the following day. Whatever it was, that crew must have been hot out there.

The morning was pretty much just a combination of us relaxing in the hammocks and chairs, along with some to cool off. Just after 11am, we started to catch the scent of meat coming from Serenity Bay’s BBQ stand. By the time it opened at 11:30, we were already there, and were some of the first people to enjoy the food. Our lunch spot never got all that busy, as I imagine most people were over on the family beach, so that’d be one tip for Castaway Cay, if you don’t want to wait in the lunch lines on the family side, and can get away from the kids, Serenity Bay’s lines may be worth the trip! The food was pretty good, and consisted of things like BBQ chicken, hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, and steak. I had a burger and brat, and enjoyed both. I may also have made my own little ice cream cookie sandwich :). They have a full topping bar as well, along with soda machines for drinks, along with a small dessert table. One word of warning: the seagulls that hold residence on the island know what’s up. If you leave your plate alone on a table for any reason, be rest assured that at least one of them will be stealing food from you, we saw it happen more than once!

After lunch, we made our way over to the family side to do some snorkeling. Once over there, we saw the water slides on the Pelican Plunge platform and just had to try them. Yea, that turned out to be a bad choice for me. Of the two water slides available, I chose the faster, fully enclosed one. Not realizing how fast it was, and being focused on my GoPro shutting off right as I started down it, I hit the water in a way that resulted in my taking a lot of it up my nose. I was done with those slides :).

After the slide failure, I headed over to the snorkeling area ahead of the girls. We’d brought our own gear, so I put mine on and headed out. It was probably the effect of taking all that water up my nose, but their snorkeling area really didn’t impress me. You have to swim out a ways against the current, so by the time I got to an area where the water was clear, I was a bit tired. Swimming around, I did spot some fish among the relics they’d put on the bottom, along with a turtle trying to avoid some of the kids following it, but all in all, I didn’t really find the swim worth the effort. Being a man-made snorkeling area, not too surprising.

The swim out and back really drained me, so I decided to head back to Serenity Bay for a bit to relax. On arrival, I only hung out for a few minutes before packing up my stuff and catching the tram back to the family side. At this point, I figured I’d walk from the family beach back to the ship to get an idea of what all there was to see and do on Castaway Cay. While it was a hot and humid walk, it was well worth it. The family side does have a lot to offer, as covered in the “Things to Do” section here. I spent a little time walking around the rental area, a little sad we hadn’t come over to rent something, or even signed up for the jetski excursion. Oh well, next time, right? Regardless, walking back was a solid decision that supplied me with some great views of the island, as well as the ship, as you’ll see in the pictures below. On arrival at the ship, it was nice to see a stand with cold water available as well (shown in the last picture below), something not all lines do. You could choose between fruit-infused water, or non-flavored water.

That about covers it for our time on Castaway Cay. We really enjoyed the island, especially the relaxing beach of Serenity Bay, and hope to sail there again in the not too distant future! This is definitely a selling point of a Disney cruise, as it’s one of the best private islands we’ve visited in our travels!

Next up, pirate night aboard the Dream! For now, check out some of my pictures of the island!

 

Sailing With Disney – A Day in Nassau

Our second day of the cruise saw us docked in Nassau. The original plan had been to stay on board all day, if for nothing else, to allow us to check out the entire ship. Well, the plan changed, as most tend to do.Β While we were signing up for the brunch in Palo the day before, we were given the basic dress code, which we were mostly prepared for. This is a good time to mention that on Disney ships, the dinner attire requirements are relaxed. Like really relaxed. Shorts and t-shirts relaxed. That made me very happy, as I’m not really one for the pomp and circumstance of dressing up for a meal, and not having to pack that extra clothing was amazing. I did throw in one pair of pants and a casual button down shirt just in case, which was perfect for Palo, but in the shoe department, all I had were sandals and tennis shoes, neither of which were suitable according to what we were told. That meant a short trip off the ship in Nassau to hunt down a cheap pair of shoes that would fit the requirements.

Before our trip into Nassau, however, we had a couple of things on tap. First up was breakfast in Royal Palace. We didn’t really have any wait at all, and menu in hand, I immediately spotted what I wanted, the waffle sandwich. Two waffles with dulce de leche and whipped cream in between them. Out. Standing. the human body doesn’t retain calories on vacation, right?

We also had a scheduled character meet and greet that morning with 3 princesses. This is one of the ones you have to sign up for in advance due to popularity, and even with as late as we booked, Jen was still able to get tickets for this one and for the Frozen character meet and greet about 5 days prior to sailing. If you don’t see availability when viewing your booking online, keep trying! Anyway, we made our way through the line, taking pictures of Bayley with Belle, Tiana and Rapunzel:

Our morning events done, we headed for the exits.Β Getting off was pretty quick, and since we were getting off well after debark started, the line was relatively short. It wasn’t as busy as we’ve seen it in port, as there were only 3 ships there, including us. We walked around the shop areas for a bit not really finding anything but sandals shops, until finally we ran across what was basically a shop carrying a bunch of knock-offs. Clothing, jewelry, you name it (check out the “Apple watch” in the shot below). Fine by me, I just want shoes to get me through the upcoming brunch, so I bought a pair of solid black “Vans”, and we headed back to the ship.

Once back on board, we had a fairly busy schedule ahead, starting with our other pre-booked character meet and greet, with Anna and Elsa! This one was held in Animators Palate, and was easily the longest character line we saw all week. Again, this one requires booking in advance, so if your kids are Frozen fans, be sure to keep checking your booking online and grab tickets when they come available!

After our time in the kingdom of Arendelle, we headed back to Royal Palace for lunch. I’m not sure what it was about my appetite that day, but I felt the need to continue my kid-level food binge, and went with the Mexican pizza on the kids menu. I wasn’t super hungry, so as small as this looks, it was the perfect amount of food for me when combined with the molten chocolate cake on the dessert menu:

Our bellies full, we headed up to D Lounge for an animation class. This is one of those activities that the girls always loved at Hollywood Studios, at least until that entire area was replaced with the Star Wars Launch Bay, so they were excited to see it on the schedule . For today’s class, they’d be drawing Donald Duck! If you’ve never attended one of these classes before, it’s worth the time, they’re fun, and the instructors do a good job of walking you through each step.

After drawing Donald, the real fun began. One of the other things we’d done the previous day was to sign up for one of the mixology classes. The only one with availability was the 2pm class, held in Skyline Lounge. The class is $20 per person, and really was a good time. There were somewhere around a dozen people in there, and over the course of the class we learned how 5 different drinks are made, getting to make only two of them ourselves. The drinks included a Bahama Mama, Raspberry Mango Mojito (which was my favorite), a Captain Maitai, a B-52, and a Pomegranate Martini. One additional drink that got slipped in due to one of the participants celebrating a birthday, we all had what amounted to a double shot of Fireball. Like I said, it was a fun time. The only things we wish they’d change: We’d have like to have actually made more drinks. Only making 2 out of 5 was a bit of a let down. That, and one of the two we made wasn’t rally us making it. Some of it was pre-staged (pre-mixed juices, for example), so I wouldn’t truly say that we were learning the art of mixlogy. Good times, though, and we certainly got our money’s worth!

Having some time time left before the show, we decided to give the waterslide a few runs. If you’ve never seen the Aquaduck on the Dream, it’s a pretty long slide that takes you along a good portion of the ship, and it’s an absolute blast. The tube is see-though and totally enclosed for most of the ride, and the rafts you sit on have two seats, allowing you to either go solo or with someone else, and speed-wise, it’s pretty casual. Having those unobstructed views of everything around you makes for an outstanding ride, too. I think we rode it 2 or 3 times before heading back to the room to get ready for the show.

Take a ride down the #aquaduck with me! #disneydream #waterslide #cruise #disneydream529

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Tonight’s show theme was Villains, and I admit I didn’t recognize many of them, as they appeared to be from newer Disney shows/movies. The performers and sets were outstanding, up to Disney’s usual production level, but not much else to say about it, especially due to the fact I took no pictures or video, adhering to their rules. I will say that the area we sat in, up in the balcony to the far right, 3 rows up, isn’t a spot I’d choose to sit in again. While I had a clear view of the stage, I couldn’t see any of the stuff happening on the right-hand monitor or right-hand box. Again, stage sight lines are pretty good throughout the theater, you just want to be closer to center to be able to see things going on in either of the forward balcony boxes.

After the show, and a little bingo action in Encore, we headed for dinner. As mentioned in my previous post, our dining room schedule had us repeating one location, and as a result, tonight’s location was the first of two scheduled evenings in Enchanted Garden. While I enjoy the decor in this restaurant, that same crowded feeling we had for lunch in here the previous day returned. Couple that with the continuing slow service, and dinner here was just an okay experience. I think we’d have all preferred to be back in Animators Palate, if for nothing other than Crush’s tableside visit. No biggie, the food was still good, and was capped off with another delicious sundae πŸ™‚

Once we hurriedly finished our desserts, we headed for the one thing left on our schedule, a character meet and greet with Captain Mickey! We got there a few minutes early, and the line wasn’t too bad at that point, so it didn’t take long for our turn to arrive once he came out:

We did make one more stop on our way to the room, at the late night snack table in the lounge area. Just outside the District lounge, on the way to Evolution, there’s a small buffet area open somewhere in the 10pm timeframe. Mostly just finger foods that were okay, nothing special though. Following that quick snack stop, we headed to the room to get some sleep before our arrival in Castaway Cay the following day. We did order room service for the second night in a row, and this is something I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post. One thing available at no charge that isn’t listed on the menu are the Mickey ice cream bars! On the first and second night, we all ordered them. Again, the human body doesn’t absorb calories on vacation, right?

Next up, the day we were looking forward to the most, our stop at Castaway Cay!