Disney Cruise Line

Tips for Meeting Characters on a Disney Cruise

by on November 21, 2016

Disney Cruise Line - Mickey

I recently got back from my first Disney Cruise, and as a character fan, meeting characters was a top priority. I ended up meeting 22 different characters, with 57 different outfits, and a total of 70 actual meets on our 7 day Disney Fantasy cruise. Each cruise (even on the same ship and same time of year) will be different, but here are some tips on having as much character fun as I did.

Make the Navigator your new best friend. Each night, you’ll receive a Navigator for the next day, which has the daily schedule for many activities on your cruise. You’ll find the characters listed in a yellow box on one page, as well as on a tv guide looking chart on a separate page. I recommend using the yellow box to plan your character hunting, since sometimes, there are too many characters in a given time to list them on the chart. I also found the yellow box easier to read and glance at quickly. I folded the navigator page each day so that I would only see the character yellow box (tip: pick up extra Navigators at the Guest Services to keep as mementos from your trip.)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Things I love About the New Disney Wonder!

by on November 16, 2016

What a Wonder-ful trip I just had on the new Disney Wonder!  Are you Wonder-ing how many Wonder jokes I can make?  Well I’m done.  That got annoying after two!  Am I right?

But seriously, I love it when Disney updates their ships.  It’s so fun to board a ship that you feel like you know every inch of, only to discover it’s even better than before.  The Disney Magic re-imagining blew me away, and while the Wonder had very similar upgrades, it was both well done and about time.  Here are 10 of the best changes!

1ablog41. Tiana’s Place – Tiana’s had big hype going in and it did not disappoint! Parrot Cay is a distant memory of the classic ships and Tiana’s has taken over. Tiana’s is a southern-style restaurant inspired by the heroine of “Princess and the Frog” and her Louisiana bayou home.  The menu was spectacular and very different from the other restaurants.  Beignets.  Need I say more?  Yes, I probably should.  At least one of my travelling companions said the beignets are one of the finest dishes Disney has ever served on a ship.  Additionally, the entrees include Cajun spiced sea bass, shrimp jambalaya, and pork tenderloin on an andouille sausage stew.  While you’re enjoying stuffing your face, there’s live (!) music, Mardi Gras beads, and a celebration/parade with Tiana, her friends, your servers, and even you!  It’s a fun, festive, loud atmosphere—and one of my favorite restaurants on any of the ships!

2. Frozen, A Musical Spectacular – Love or hate Frozen, this new show is worth your time. The special effects are excellent, and the performers just nailed it—even the incredibly difficult “Let It Go” vocals. And oh my goodness, the puppets!  The puppetry work is so well done, and some of the puppets are so cute you just want to hug them and then take them home.  The costumes, the scenery, the choreography, loved it.  All of it.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Options for Getting to the Port for Your Disney Cruise

by on October 28, 2016

So you’re booked on a Disney cruise and ready to go!  Almost ready?  You need to figure out a way to get to the port!  Well I have some things for you to consider. 10 of them of course!

disney-magic-1091. Disney Transfers From the Airport – Disney offers transfers from at least one airport in every port city to the terminal. If you are planning on using Disney transfers, check which airport you are flying into!  For Port Canaveral, for instance, Disney transfers run to and from the Orlando International Airport.  The do not run from Sanford.  Sometimes the money you save by flying into the smaller airport isn’t worth it when you look at the new transportation costs you’ve incurred!  Several other cities have similar situations.  The transfers vary in price depending on how far the airport is to the port.  In Orlando they are $35 one way.  In Miami they are only $20 one way.  The port in Dover, England, is a very long way from Heathrow Airport, so the transfers are $75 one way there.

2. Disney Transfers From a Hotel – You can also get transfers from certain hotels to the port. In Orlando, you can get transfer from any Disney resort to the port for the same price as airport transfers, $35 one way. You can also stay at the Hyatt in the Orlando International Airport and take the airport transfers.  That’s one of my favorite places to stay because Disney will pick up your luggage from your room and deliver it right to your ship’s stateroom.  In other ports, transfers from a hotel are always available if you book a pre- or post-night stay through Disney Cruise Line.  You could also book a hotel near the airport, and just get back to the airport and take a transfer from there.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Steps to Conserve Wi-Fi Onboard Your Disney Cruise

by on October 20, 2016

I don’t want to brag, buuuut – on the last three cruises I’ve been on, I’ve actually gotten off the cruise and still had free data left. Lots of free data! And I’ve sent pictures and emails! How crazy is that? So it’s possible I’ve cracked the code on keeping usage down. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it’s possible. So let me share what I’ve learned and what is working for me. Some of these steps may not be necessary, but better safe than sorry, right? Wi-Fi onboard is expensive, people. You start with 50 megabytes free (150 megabytes in concierge), then the price goes up fast. 100 MB is $19, 300 MB is $39, and 1000 MB is $89. We want those megabytes to stretch as far as they can! My disclaimer is that I am an iPhone user. So some of my directions are iPhone specific. The broad principles should still apply though!

img_02401. Use Airplane Mode – Once you leave Port Canaveral, you will definitely want to be in airplane mode. Not being in airplane mode means you are risking using unwanted cell service—like Cellular at Sea. If you have an international plan and want to turn off airplane mode in ports, then go for it. But while you are at sea, I highly recommend airplane mode to avoid any unwanted charges. Once in airplane mode, you can still turn on Wi-Fi and use the Disney Cruise Line app and data as desired.

2. Get Disney’s Helpful Internet Sheet – Sometime during the first afternoon, stop by the internet help desk and pick up their sheet describing how to minimize data usage. They have a sheet for iPhones, Galaxy, Droid, etc. There may not be anyone at the desk the first day, but that’s okay. There’s usually a brochure holder on the desk full of them. Look towards the back of the pile if you don’t see them. Follow the steps. Some are listed below.

3. Turn off Location Services – Location services are a data sucker! Turn that baby off! No one needs to find you while you’re sailing! Not apps, not friends that are stalking your phone, no one! Turn it off. On iPhones, you turn it off in “Settings” and then “Privacy”.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Hurricane Matthew: October 8 Update

by on October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew

We will keep this short and sweet because it’s Saturday and you really just want your Saturday 6 from Derek. We hope this will be our final Hurricane Matthew post.

Theme Parks – Open

Universal, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld –  all back to normal or close to normal hours today. Animal Kingdom even started the day with Extra Magic Hours. If you are in the parks today, take some photos and tweet them to #HeyTouringPlans – we’d love to see them. The wait times in our app will self-adjust after the parks open. We have not adjusted the Crowd Calendars.

Walt Disney World

If your Halloween Party was cancelled, you can call 407-939-7818 beginning 9AM Eastern Monday morning for refunds or rescheduling (this is from Disney’s web site – so it does seem you will need to explicitly request a refund).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Hurricane Matthew: October 7 Update

by on October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew

This post will be updated as we get new information.

Updated 2:51 PM with Disney Springs and Orange County curfew info.

Hurricane Matthew hit the Central Florida coast as expected in the early morning hours of Friday, October 7. The good news for those in the Orlando area is that the storm moved more north and east than was originally forecast. However, this a serious hurricane that did affect many in the Caribbean and along the east coast of Florida. Our thoughts are with everyone still going through Hurricane Matthew.

Important links:

I-95

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Insurance for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 26, 2016

If only I had a dollar for every question I get about travel insurance!  Well I might just be able to pay for another cruise.  A short 3-night cruise in the off season in an inside cabin, but still.  Insurance is a mysterious creature.  Coverage is hardly ever cut and dry, and there are reasons for that.  And it’s not cheap!  Trust me, I understand it’s painful to pay for something you may or may not ever use.  In fact, you are paying for something we hope you never have to use!  I can’t tell you what to do, but maybe I can help you approach the insurance choice for your Disney cruise from a more informed place.  Here are 10 frequently asked questions!

1C4A28351. Should I Get It? – My answer here is an unequivocal yes. Yes yes yes. I’ll be honest, the odds are overwhelming that you aren’t going to need it. But, oh if you do. I’ll spare you the full retelling of the story of my healthy mother coming down with pneumonia on a Greek Isles cruise a few years ago. But, needless to say, her insurance bills were over $5,000, and they almost made her stay in a hospital in Athens which could have multiplied that bill by 10. If not more. here are so many other stories of a child’s appendix unexpectedly rupturing in Mexico (and really does it ever expectedly rupture?), a teenager breaking an arm in port, stories of people missing the ship because their flight was delayed, etc. etc. etc..

I even used my trip insurance one time to get reimbursed for having to spend the night in Seattle when weather prevented us from getting to Vancouver from Colorado for an Alaskan cruise. That was in May. No snow, no storms, just a windy day! Just remember, a cruise isn’t like a normal vacation where you can just go a day late should travel delays or weather occur. If you miss the ship, you miss your vacation! Insurance is important for so many reasons on a cruise.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Things to Do After You Book Your Disney Cruise

by on August 12, 2016

So you’ve booked your Disney cruise!  Woohoo!  After the high of booking starts to wear off and before the low of the credit card bill arrival, what’s next?  Well here are ten things!

Day 1 0241. Find Your Documentation – Do not wait until the last minute to find your passport or birth certificates. Don’t do it. Now is the time to go locate whatever you need to travel.  Now, when you still have time to get new copies of the one you were so sure you had is missing or expired.  Lay eyes on it.  Check the expiration date.  Don’t assume and get into a bind when it’s time to sail!

2. Join Your Cruise Group – If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend finding the cruise group for your cruise and joining. Search Facebook for your ship name and cruise date and you’ll usually find it. These groups are full of great information. Many groups set up meets onboard, private mixology and tasting groups, fish extender exchanges and more. Many years ago, we were able to tour the Walt Disney Suite on the Disney Magic when a member of our group invited everyone for a tour. Sometimes you’ll find a family who wants to book a cabana but doesn’t want to pay full price for it and you can share one for the day! You’ll also often find people joining together for private tours and renting cars together. Even if you’re not into socializing with people you met on the internet (valid), there is still a lot of good information shared. Recommendations for port adventures, updates on what’s booked before your booking window opens, dining rotations, and more! Join! What have you got to lose?

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

10 Tips for Your Europe Cruise (Disney or Otherwise!)

by on July 6, 2016

Bonjour! I recently returned from an amazing 12 night British Isles cruise with Disney Cruise Line! It was my third European cruise and I learn something every time I go! For various reasons, I find European cruises take more planning than standard Bahamian and Caribbean sailings. I wouldn’t recommend going in unawares! So here are 10 things I’ve learned. Hopefully they’ll help you out too!

1C4A4223

Mathew Street, Liverpool

1. Rent Mobile Wi-Fi – I can’t even tell you how what a lifesaver this was, and I’d like to publicly thank a commenter on a post of mine last year who told me about these devices! There are a couple of options here, you can buy a device and pay a fee based on the number of days you use, or rent a device and pay by the day for the rental period. The data is unlimited and you can use up to 5 devices at once. If you’ve got a cell phone signal, these handy little mobile devices create a Wi-Fi network for you. We chose to rent the device from Tep Wireless and we picked it up and dropped it off in Heathrow. It was a super easy process. I’m all for unplugging as much as you can on vacation, and I did. I had someone covering for me at work and I didn’t even look at it! But I had Wi-Fi! So I knew if there was an emergency or a question, they could get a hold of me. Being plugged in actually helped me unplug if that makes any sense at all! Plus, what fun it was to post to social media at will?! Or google when we had last minute questions about where we were going and what we were doing, or downloading handy city-specific apps (see #6 below). It was wonderful! We named our device (Jeb) and may or may not have gotten a little attached to it, making that the only hard part of turning it back in.

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

2. Skype App – Now that you’ve got Wi-Fi, you can also make incredibly cheap international calls with the Skype app. Our flight was delayed repeatedly leaving the US, and I knew our transfer company in the UK wouldn’t wait at the airport indefinitely for us. Unfortunately, they had an international number and I was dreading how much it would cost me to call them.  Until I checked out the Skype app. I bought a $10 Skype credit and called right from the app on my phone. Calls to most of Europe range from 2.3 to 10 cents a minute.  A minute!! There’s also a connection fee around 5 to 10 cents with each call, but even so, that $10 is going to last me for a very long time! We ended up using it a few times while traveling. We had to make an emergency phone call back to the states at one point and it was a lifesaver having the Skype credit to enable us to do so without mortgaging the house. It even came in handy when we got back home and I realized a hotel had overcharged us and I needed to call back to clear things up!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Dinner at Cabanas: A Review from the Disney Dream

by on June 28, 2016

As the saying should go, if you starve on a cruise ship, it is by choice alone. At any time of day there is always something to eat. For many, the highlight of the day is typically the main dining for dinner, where themed dining rooms and a carefully crafted menu combine with a little bit of Disney magic for an unforgettable meal. Sometimes it can be too much of a good thing, however, and there may be reasons why you want to skip main dining. Perhaps you don’t feel like dressing up. Maybe you want a quieter meal. You might have even overslept and missed early dining. Thankfully, on select nights, there is another option–dinner at Cabanas.

On my most recent cruise on the Disney Dream, my husband and I tried dinner at Cabanas. Here’s our experience:

Because it was pirate night for our cruise, I was wearing jeans and a pirate t-shirt–something that I would have felt awkward wearing to Royal Palace (where we were assigned that night). Because dinner at Cabanas is more casual, my outfit was not out of place at all. The dining room is changed a bit from breakfast and lunch service. You have two servers assigned to your table, just like in the main dining room. These are servers who are training for the main dining room, and so they go over the top trying to be attentive to whatever you need. The dining room itself has placemats and fun “Cabanas-style” napkins, plus glass plates and glasses–a step above the plates and cups at other meals.

DSC03822

Unlike the main dining rooms, where you have a set time to show up, you can show up without a reservation at any time during Cabanas’ dinner service (which on our cruise was 6:30-8:30). When we arrived at the beginning of the dinner time, we checked in, gave our stateroom number, and were seated immediately. Due to lower seating capacity, if there is high demand, you may have to wait for a table.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print