Good Morning! Welcome to this edition of Amy’s Amazing Disney Adventures! One of the best vacations we’ve ever had was our recent cruise on the Disney Dream. Today I’m going to discuss my favorite things about the ship, as well as some on board activities, and the tips and tricks I learned during this Amazing Disney Adventure! I will also touch on a few things that I think could be tweaked, or even scrapped.
Let’s start with something that I think Disney does like no other cruise line: dining.
1. Rotational Dining. There are three main dining rooms aboard the Disney Dream. They are Enchanted Garden, Animator’s Pallet, and Royal Palace. Each night of the cruise you will dine in a different restaurant, which is so much fun. Each of the restaurants has it’s own unique theme and menu. The other great thing, is that your servers follow you along your rotation, so they get to know your preferences for drinks, seating, menu items, etc.
2. The servers in the dining rooms are just amazing! We had two wonderful gentleman serving us during our cruise. I have no idea how they do it, but after the first night, they know exactly what you’d like to drink, what the kids prefer on the menu, and everyone’s names at the table! We sat at a table of 8, and it really amazed me the quality of the service we received. One of our servers even went out of his way to keep the kids happy during dinner in between courses by giving them little riddles to figure out, and he’d also perform magic tricks! They really made our dining experiences extra special.
3. Themes and types of menus:
Enchanted Garden is designed to look like a magical garden, like something you’d see at Epcot.Inspired by the luxurious gardens of Versailles, Enchanted Garden magically transforms from day to night throughout the meal. The menu at Enchanted Garden is described as “Market Inspired Continental”. There are things on the menu such as sea food, lobster ravioli, pork tenderloin, and of course some amazingly decadent desserts. I was not very impressed by this restaurant. I felt like the theme could have been a little more creative, and the menu didn’t impress me either. It reminded me of the cuisine you’d find at Bonefish Grill or Joe’s Crab Shack. Nothing spectacular. So, if you are planning to have a special adult dinner at Palo or Remy, I would say this is the night to go, because you won’t be missing anything special. I would also say that if you’d like to take one night and break from the more formal dining and enjoy maybe the AquaDuck, then do it that night and just dine casually at Cabanas Buffet up on the Lido Deck.
Royal Palace is inspired by classic Disney films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. Royal Palace serves French-inspired, continental cuisine ” fit for a king or queen”. The menu includes such things as duck, escargot, French onion soup, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb. And of course no French dinner would be complete without some amazing desserts, and Royal Palace does not disappoint. Creme Brulee and Grand Marnier Soufle are what I would say are the best on their menu, and some of our favorites of the entire cruise. The theme in this restaurant is very well done. Very lavish and luxurious. Beautiful chairs with a royal feeling. Gorgeous artwork. You just feel like royalty while dining there.
One of the highlights of the cruise is Animator’s Palate. It is just amazing. If you’ve experienced Turtle Talk with Crush at the Nemo Pavillion in Epcot, you will LOVE Animator’s Palate! They really outdid themselves with this dining experience. It’s really a dining experience and a show in one. Not only does Crush come out and talk to guests at each table, but they’ve designed this restaurant so that it’s all under sea themed, and ineach window in to the under sea world you will see these virtual characters from Finding Nemo swimming around the room. They will stop along the way in each window and for example: Peach will let you know in no uncertain terms that she REALLY wants to go to her happy place. Bruce will ask you if you’re having fish tonight. Nemo, Dory and Marlin will all stop to say high and ask you where they can find each of them in the tank. So it’s really a major event on the ship. NOT TO BE MISSED!
Moving right along…there are so many things to enjoy on the upper decks of the ship.
There’s of course the ever famous AquaDuck – the first “water coaster” at sea. I would really describe it as more of a combination of a waterslide and lazy river zooming above the ship. There’s even a brief moment in the beginning of the ride where the tube actually hangs out over the side of the boat! But it happens rather quickly, so be sure to look down or you’ll miss it. It’s an even more amazing ride at night, when it’s all lit up inside the tube in red, white and blue! So much fun. And the lines for the AquaDuck are very short at night, first thing in the morning while most of the passengers are still sleeping or having breakfast, and pretty much anytime that the ship is in port. We took full advantage of the AquaDuck while we were docked in the Bahamas. And it made for a great day!
There are four pools: Donald’s pool is the main family pool. The main events of the day, big screen movies, as well as all of the Pirate Night festivities take place at Donald’s Pool. Seeing as how you’re on a boat, and sharing it with a few thousand other guests, lounge chairs are at a premium. So, get there early. Just be courteous of the other guests. Don’t reserve chairs if you don’t plan to use them. Don’t just throw a towel and a banana on the chair, and expect to come back to it two hours later, and find the chair still available. There are signs posted everywhere asking you to not reserve chairs, and it really isn’t fair to other guests. So, if you’re not going to be “lounging” on those chairs, let others use them. If you are going to ride the AquaDuck there are ample cubbies near the entrance where you can leave your sandals, tote bags, and towels.
Mickey’s Pool is intended more for younger kids. Think 11 and under. It’s a shallow sort of wading pool, about 2 feet deep and it has a great winding yellow slide that splashes down right next to it.
Nemo’s Reef is more of a toddler splash pad. It’s adorable. There are little fountains that pop up from the splash pad, and a few little slides as well. There is a tall plexiglass wall that surrounds Nemo’s Reef to keep little escapees from slipping past moms and dads.
The Quiet Cove Pool is reserved for adults 18 and over. Great pool area, fairly quiet, nice swim up bar, plenty of lounge chairs. I never found it particularly crowded, and there were always plenty of places to soak up the sun, or lay in the shade if you prefer. The lounge chairs there have nice comfy cushions, and it’s a little more luxurious that the other pools on deck. The one thing I didn’t care for at the Quiet Cove is that the elevator at that end of the ship stops right outside the entrance to the pool area and the spa. So, families with kids who choose to use that elevator have to actually walk through part of the Cove to get to the rest of the deck for their activities, and to get to the different dining options on the deck. This was poor planning on Disney’s part. And I wish there was a way to change the flow of traffic.
Goofy’s Sports Deck is a lot of fun. It has what you’d expect – volleyball, baskeyball, a running track and a few other things. But there’s also mini golf designed in Goofy style. And once in a while he and his posse will come out to play and mess with guests. The fitness center also holds early morning classes up there as well.
Tons of dining options up deck. Cabanas Buffet – which we loved for breakfast. Nice and big, wide open, and a huge variety on the menu. There’s 24 hour ice cream, 24 hour drink stations, various quick service food spots with pizza, sandwiches, pasta, burgers, and the like. Great food to be had. We had no complaints. The food was always hot and fresh. There were a few creative twists to some menu favorites. Plenty of seating, and great service. One piece of advice: try to catch lunch a little early, or a little late. Makes for easy seating and shorter lines. So think 11-11:30am or 1:30-2:00pm
The Spa is amazing. They have typical treatments you’d expect at a high end spa, and prices to match that level of service as well, so beware! The one thing we found well worth our time and money is the Rainforest. You get a 4 day couple’s pass for $99, a little more if you’d like the different body scrubs too. You have access to the lockers, private dressing, showers, plush robes, heated towels, and slippers. There are great chromatherapy showers that offer different experiences. There are 4 of those. I suggest turning it on while you’re not standing in it, just poke an arm in there to see if it’s something you’d like. Because some of them have different intensities in the shower jets, as well as pretty big variances to the water temperature – from REALLY cold, to pretty hot, and everything in between. There are also 3 different steam rooms, again with varying levels of steam and heat. Two spa hot tubs that sit on an outside private deck overlooking the ocean – so amazing. And a room with heated tile roman loungers. This was my favorite room to take an afternoon siesta. Laying in a comfy robe, with a pillow, heated tiles, while listening to the tranquil spa music was heavenly. Until Tony would touch my arm and say “time for lunch” and I’d let out a sad, but quiet as not to disturb the other nappers – “Noooooo!!!!!” Just a little longer please. Give me 20 minutes more! And, Tony would poke me again and say ” but I’m hungry! UGH
There’s the Midship Detective Agency.It’s basically a scavenger hunt that runs the length of 3 or 4 different decks on the ship, and it works with the magic of the virtual art you can find all over the ship. If you’ve been to Magic Kingdom and tried Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, it’s very similar, but with a different theme.
And, you can always take advantage of bingo, catch a matinee in the Buena Vista theater, do a little (or a lot) of shopping, enjoy an after cocktail at one of the many lounges. There are tons of family activities, arts and crafts, cooking demos, and so much more to do aboard this incredible and magical Dream of a ship!
So, that will wrap up this edition of my Amazing Disney Adventures. Please join me next time when I will continue to talk about all the amazing experiences aboard the Disney Dream, there’s so much more to do and see!