Kicking off my Disney Dream cruise review, here’s a look at the expectations we went in to this sailing with!
Taking a short break from my Norway series (which I’m way behind on already), I wanted to get a few posts up on our experience sailing on the Disney Dream while it’s still fresh in my mind. I don’t consider a sailing on a Disney ship to be your average cruise experience, and as such I want to give it my complete attention for a few days. To that end, I’ll start by documenting our expectations going in to this sailing.
To start with, this was very much a last minute booking for us. Some agent rates opened up about 3 weeks before the sailing date, and the timing of it fit perfectly in our schedules, so we decided to jump on it. I’d have liked to have had more time to research things, but thankfully the Facebook group that already existed for our sailing provided us with a ton of useful information. We’ve joined sailing-specific Facebook groups before, but have never found them as active or helpful as this one. Generally we’d be looking at the Cruise Critic roll-call for whatever sailing we were on, but in this case, the group was incredibly active and I don’t even recall looking for a CC roll-call leading up to the trip as a result. For Disney sailings, I definitely recommend searching Facebook for a dedicated group related to your sail date.
Normally the first time we sail a new line we go in without any real expectations, but Disney’s a different beast, one with a land product we know pretty well. We’ve been to Disney World a number of times over the years, staying both on and off property. We’ve visited Disney Land a couple of times as well, including one last summer where we stayed at Disneyland Resort in an effort to compare the on-property experiences. In short, there is no comparison in my mind. Disney Land is fun, for sure, and offers a smaller park experience that has its benefits, but nothing compares to the fully immersive experience a stay on-property at Disney World offers. They’re exceptional at, among other things, making people forget there’s a world outside of the one they’ve created, a feeling we didn’t really get with the “on-property” stay at Disney Land. They’re also very good at customer service (something true for both sets of parks), and frankly, we went in expecting both to hold true aboard the Dream.
Past experience at the parks wasn’t all we were basing our expectations on, however. Additional things included our tour of the Dream back in December of last year, a couple of days prior to sailing on the Carnival Vista. Seeing the ship in person, we saw that Disney’s attention to detail wasn’t limited to their land properties. The decor was outstanding from bow to stern, and they were meticulous with upkeep. Heck, on the tour, all agents were asked to refrain from pictures in areas that hadn’t been cleaned yet or were in the process of being cleaned, because they only wanted the ship shown in the best condition possible. That’s the first time on any ship inspection that we’ve had that request. We were impressed throughout the tour, and having spent those 2-3 hours on board were really excited when the agent rates opened up for this ship.
We’ve also talked to people in the past who’ve sailed on Disney, as well as some of the normal contemporary lines, and have heard phrases used like:
It’ll ruin cruising on other lines for you
The food is some of the best we’ve had on any line
Their private island can’t be beat
You’ll need a vacation from your vacation
I’m sure there were others, but those were the ones that have stood out over the years. When you add it all up, we definitely went in to this with high expectations. We were definitely looking for that Disney magic they’re so good at in the parks.
Did the experience live up to the hype? Keep up with this blog to find out, as the next post begins my review of our time aboard the Disney Dream on the May 29th sailing!
I’ve mentioned before that embarkation day is a love/hate thing for me. Going in to this boarding day, I was excited enough to not care how painful boarding would be, but we still decided that we weren’t going to rush to the port, instead opting for a slightly later arrival in the hopes of avoiding some of the crowds. Well that didn’t really work, as in our excitement we still left a little too early :). Around 11:30, after moving our cars over to the cruise parking area at the hotel we’d stayed at, we grabbed a Lyft and headed to the port. For anyone who’s familiar with the area, it took all of 5 minutes to get from our hotel, the Radisson, to the port. So much for a more relaxed arrival time that would allow us to walk on with little wait!
After passing through security, we headed for check-in. For non-concierge folks, there are two possible lines you end up in, either the first time Disney cruisers line, or the Castaway Club line. Being our first Disney cruise, we obviously landed in the former. It moved pretty quickly, and start to finish I think it might have been 10 minutes before we had our cabin keys are were off to wait for our turn to board. Not too bad! Part of that check-in is getting your boarding group number, which in our case was 25, about 22 from where they currently were. No biggie, we decided to get in line for a picture with Minnie prior to boarding, which definitely killed some time, as they were all the way up to group 17 by the time we finished.
After wandering the boarding area for another 20 minutes, our boarding group was called, and it was time to get things rolling. One of the cool things about boarding on Disney is that as you walk on to the ship, you’re welcomed on board by name:
Once on board, we headed for Royal Palace, as we wanted to try and get reservations for the brunch buffet at Palo, and hadn’t been able to prior to sailing. Having boarded at 12:55, we only had 5 minutes before they opened the room to allow passengers to come in and request dining changes like this, so we jumped in a line that was surprisingly short, with only 5 or so groups in front of us. As you’ll see in a later post, we did manage to get the reservation, so that little victory behind us, we headed to lunch. We’d decided ahead of time to eat our first meal in the Dream in Enchanted Garden to avoid the buffet crowd. Not a bad call, other than somewhat slow service. The dining staff were very friendly and quick to respond to whatever you needed, but it seemed like there were too few of them in a space where there are too many tables crammed around each other. The sundae at the end of the meal made up for it, however. Amazing. That proved to be a common theme on the cruise, as their ice cream is delicious!
After lunch, we headed to the room. We were booked in cabin 7004, a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Porthole (OV) all the way forward on deck 7. It’s a fairly spacious cabin with plenty of storage with a porthole that overlooks the front of the ship. One thing I really like about the room’s design is the split bathrooms. One bathroom with a sink and toilet, the other with a sink and bathtub/shower combo. Having another bathroom with its own sink separate from the shower allowed more than one person to be getting ready for dinner at the same time. So nice :). My only gripe about the room was the slanted front wall, due to that being the front of the ship. I intentionally chose that side of the bed (power outlet and USB ports in the alarm clock FTW!) and ended up hitting my head more than once. Really, that’s all I’ve got in the complaint department where the room is concerned, I really liked it. Here’s the 360 shot of it, take a look around!
Here are a few more of the room, including the bathrooms, and one of the couch after it’s been turned into a bed:
After dropping our stuff in the room, we gave Bayley a tour of the kids club since it would be the only time she’d be able to go in. As expected, Disney’s got a great setup down there. I posted some pics of it during our tour of it back in December, but to recap, some of the highlights include a Star Wars themed section where kids can fly the Millenium Falcon, Andy’s room from Toy Story, and large video enabled floors where games can be held. As we walked through, there was in fact a game going on at one of them, which Jen and Bayley happily took part in. Jen thinks they were frogs, stepping on the screen to throw out its tongue and catch bugs:
After a little walking tour of a few areas, we headed up to deck 12 to take in the sail-away party. Having mis-judged the number of people who’d be attending, and getting there as it was starting, our initial spots weren’t that great, so I moved around a little to get a better view:
It’s a good time, complete with a number of Disney characters, so if you want a good view, get there a little early and get up against the rails on either side of deck 12, or up front by the stage on deck 11.
After the sail-away party, we explored the ship a little more before heading to the main show. We’d been assigned late dining (8:15), which we normally don’t like (this trip did nothing to change that), so we were in the early show. The first show of the sailing was the Golden Mickeys, an awards-style show geared towards celebrating Disney’s vast catalog of movies. We do like the Dream’s theater, as it’s fairly open throughout, with excellent sight-lines in most places. They do use the forward balcony boxes in the shows, so the closer to center the better, but we sat on the sides a couple of times and had clean views of the stage itself. Couple that with snack bars just outside the theater by each entrance, and it’s up there as one of my favorite theaters on any ship we’ve sailed. Far better than whatever it is that Carnival decided to do with the main theater in the Vista.
The show is where I really started to appreciate Disney’s ability to provide outstanding entertainment regardless of location. Prior to this, MSC held the title of best entertainment at sea in our eyes, but Disney’s on a whole other level. For that very reason, I still categorize MSC as the best in the contemporary non-Disney class when it comes to original shows. When you factor in Disney’s vast catalog of movies and cartoons that they can pull from for the show (without having to pay royalties), there’s really no way for anyone else to compete, as Disney’s in a league of their own. The show itself was outstanding, with excellent performers and vocalists, a theme that held true all week.
The theater is also where I started to notice and appreciate Disney’s enforcement of the rules. Leading in to the show, they’d warned people multiple times that no photos or video recording were allowed in the shows, and as usual, people didn’t listen. What set them apart from other lines is that they actively enforced it. In Cats when we were on the Oasis of the Seas, a woman a few seats over recorded a large chunk of it fairly obviously (the screen on her phone was large and bright), and none of the staff members did a thing even though we were all warned before the show about doing just that. In here, the ushers quickly spotted those with even the dimmest screen, walked over, and told them to stop. It made for a much more enjoyable experience. I admit I did take one picture, but well before the show started so I could show our viewing angle:
After the show ended, we still had time to kill before our 8:15 dinner seating, so we headed to D Lounge to catch part of the Family Fusion game show. Good stuff, similar to the Match Game. I didn’t stay in there long, I wanted to get some outside shots as the sun was going down, so I headed out to get a few shots while the girls watched the game:
After that quick stroll outside, I headed back in to meet up with the girls so we could head to our dining room for dinner. For those that haven’t sailed Disney, they have multiple dining rooms that you switch between each night, with your dining staff following you. For night #1, Animators Palate was on tap. That’s a really fun venue, and probably our favorite MDR of the sailing. Being that we had 4 nights in 3 dining rooms, one was repeated, and I really wish it had been this one. Beyond the cool decor, Crush is jumping between the different screens talking to various guests at their tables while they eat. If you’ve ever been to Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot, it’s very similar, just in a dinner setting.
Dinner itself was delicious. From the top left, moving clockwise, I had the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes, Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, Ginger Teriaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin, and the Cookies and Cream Sundae. Like the sundae at lunch, it was outstanding. I could have eaten sundaes all week and been perfectly happy :).
Our only complaint with dinner was how long it took. Felt like we were never going to get out of there, taking just over 2 hours from the time we were seated until we were done with dessert. One of the reasons we prefer early dining is that they actually have a set schedule to keep, needing to get people out quickly so they can clean up for the next seating, a deadline that’s just not there with late seating. Our wait staff was great, it just seemed like another case of too many tables for too few staff. It took so long that we missed one activity that started around 10pm or so. Might have been a character meet and greet, but I forgot to note it unfortunately.
Our dinner finally over, we headed to the Quest game show, which was followed by their version of the marriage show. Normally we like to play along during Quest, but getting there so late and being completely full from dinner, I really wasn’t up for it. There weren’t any really convenient seats for running up to the host, either, so we just watched this round. The host for both of these events, Chris, was outstanding. I highly recommend attending the late night stuff he hosts if you’re looking for fun without the kids :). In case anyone from our sailing happens to read this, I’ll close this post out with some shots from those games, including a picture of the marriage show couples. Couple #1 was one of the funniest pairs I’ve ever seen in this type of show, for reasons that should stay on the ship 😉
At this point we’d only been on-board for half a day, but were having an absolute blast, and for the most part our Disney cruise was living up to the hype. Next up, the ship makes its first stop. Did we get off in Nassau? Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy a few more pics from day 1:
Recapping our first full day on board while docked 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. 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. 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.
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 🙂
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!
Read up on our time on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island!
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 🙂
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!
Pirate night is one of the busiest nights on a Disney Cruise. What’s it like? Read on!
After a little rest following our fun on Castaway Cay, it was time for pirate night aboard the Disney Dream! This is another part of the cruise we’d been looking forward to, as we’d even picked up some Disney-themed pirate shirts for this night while we were at Downtown Disney a couple weeks earlier. Disney also leaves you Mickey-themed ‘Pirates in the Caribbean’ bandannas to wear as well, as we found out when we got back to our room!
First on the night’s agenda, pictures with Captain Hook and Mr Smee! These took place down in the little rotunda outside the shops, and there really wasn’t too bad of a line:
We walked the shops a little during that time, and one little tip for those who want to participate but didn’t have a chance to pick up pirate shirts or gear prior to sailing: There’s plenty on-board. Disney knows it’s worth stocking the stores on pirate night, and they had a pretty good selection of shirts, hats, and other pirate garb.
At this point, it should have been show time for us, but based on the schedule, we decided to skip it. It wasn’t a Disney show, it was one with the on-board magician, and while I’m sure we’d have enjoyed the show, we wanted to partake in as much pirate goodness we could. As such, we also decided to skip eating in our assigned dining room (a repeat of Enchanted Garden) and instead headed for the buffet to try and save time. On arriving, we encountered a twist we’d never seen with any other ship’s buffet before: it was table service, and pirate themed at that. The service was outstanding, and while the food was good, I’d have preferred to have had a full buffet selection vs a smaller table service menu. We went to the buffet for a reason, to shorten our dinner time, and table service doesn’t really accomplish that.
After dinner it was time for the first pirate show, so we headed up to deck 12 to get a good spot overlooking the stage. Having decided on a faster dinner, we got a pretty solid spot that gave us a clear view of the entire deck below, and even allowed us to participate in the pre-show fun. They have various cast members dressed in pirate garb walking around deck 11 playing various games with the guests. In our case, Bayley played ring toss with one of the girls. In addition, there was some pirate ship basketball going on a little farther aft on 11:
The first show, named Mickey’s Pirate Academy, was more targeted at the younger kids, and was a musical show that taught them the necessary steps to be pirates in Mickey’s crew. As you can see from the video, it’s a typical high-energy show Disney that the kids seemed to be enjoying!
Once over, we had a bit of time on our hands before the show that opens the fireworks, so we headed inside and walked around a little before getting in line for pictures with Pirate Stitch. Bayley’s always been a huge Stitch fan, and waiting for this was a no-brainer for her. We got there early enough to only be 78 people back in line, but this line did get and stay pretty long, so if you have plans to get pictures with pirate Stitch, get there early! Right below Stitch was Pirate Minnie, so we ended up getting pictures at both places! Those lower lines had been pretty long at one point as well, so we were happy to at least get shots with Minnie!
Shortly after, we ran in to the cruise director, who in my opinion had the best costume of the night. I’ll add that there were a number of guests in some pretty good costumes, but living on the ship, especially in an entertainment role has its benefits, one of those being that you have a reason to go all out for your theme costumes :).
After all of our pictures, the time had finally come for the fireworks! We headed outside and found ourselves a spot a little over halfway back in the pool area on deck 11 (which they cover for these shows). In hindsight we probably should have gotten there earlier to get a little closer, or even aimed for the starboard side of deck 12 to keep the water slides out of our view. No matter, the spot still wasn’t bad, and we were able to sit down for the show and fireworks and still see all of it. Note that deck 13 aft was closed for this show, so don’t assume that area will be open if you want to see fireworks from there.
The pre-fireworks show was a Pirates of the Caribbean themed show where Jack battles for possession of some, for lack of a better work, magical wrist guard, which is billed as the ultimate weapon. The show is fine, but went on a little too long in my opinion. Most of it was made up of the bracelet going back and forth between Jack and those trying to get it. A long game of keep-away, basically. We really just wanted to get to the fireworks, so we were happy when they finally began. As you can see, even sitting in the back half of the open area on deck 11, we were able to have a pretty clean view of the show:
Not a bad show, especially on a moving ship at sea! Once again, Disney does not disappoint! That wasn’t the end of the night, either, we still had a couple of things going on, starting with the 10:45 pirate themed buffet! As soon as the fireworks ended, we headed up and grabbed some food, eager to get to our final event of the night. One thing I might not have mentioned yet is that Disney has a pretty large movie theater on-board, equipped with a solid snack bar. They do charge for items on the snack bar, but they also allow you to bring in other food, including stuff from the buffet, so all three of us had loaded buffet plates, including some dessert crepes, tacos, and other goodness.
The nice thing about the theater is that it plays some popular movies from the Disney catalog along with a first-run movie or two, so on pirate night, our goal was to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean while sailing in the Caribbean on pirate night, and by the time we got there, we realized we weren’t the only ones! The theater was pretty full, but we managed to find 3 seats down low and spent a couple of hours enjoying a movie that had only released days earlier while eating our buffet food. All in all, not a bad night!
A successful pirate night behind us, we headed back to the room to get some rest for our last day on the ship, which just happened to be a sea day! Next up, all the fun we had on that final day aboard the Disney Dream!