Posts Tagged ‘disney cruise line’

Get to Know Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream

by on January 18, 2016

Spending Christmas on the Disney Dream was a lot sweeter due to the recent addition of Vanellope’s Sweet Shop. During the late 2015 dry dock, the Dream lost its gaming arcade (Deck 11, near Cabanas) and gained an ice cream store.

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Before anyone gets upset, I’ll say up front that while there are charges for purchasing the items at Vanellope’s, you can still get free ice cream in many places. The soft serve dispensers on deck pour out a constant stream of sweet treats, ice creams are part of many buffet and dining room desserts, and you can still get Mickey bars as your restaurant dessert or from room service (though neither of these are advertised). Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way … here’s what you can expect to find at Vanellope’s.

The main offering here is gelato, ice cream, and sorbet, in many flavors, changed daily and seasonally. The gelato is made on the ship, not outsourced. The cast members on board the Dream were uniformly enthusiastic about Vanellope’s, all raved about the fresh taste and fun flavors.

They seemed genuinely excited about having something new and special. During my sailing, a four-nighter, the following flavors were available on various days: Candy Explosion, Egg Nog, Oreo Cookies & Cream, Amarena Cherry, Hazelnut, Red Velvet and Cookies, Cherry Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, Ginger, White Chocolate & Roasted Almond, Mixed Berry, Blueberry Lemon Zest, Cappuccino, Chocolate Orange, Mascarpone Cheese & Raspberry, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup, French Vanilla, Cookie Dough, Strawberry Cheesecake Chunk, Raspberry Sorbet, Dulce de Leche, and Butterscotch Waffle Crunch, and I’m sure there were several others that I missed. No promises, but my impression was that you could ask for your favorite flavor and they might be able to make it for you in the next day or two.

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Adding to the variety, are many topping options. Of course there are chocolate and butterscotch sauces, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries. Other toppers may include: chopped Snickers, chopped Kit Kat, Toffee Crunch, chocolate rocks, sprinkles, chocolate curls, Skittles, rainbow non-pareils, brownie chunks, Oreo chunks, fudge cookie chunks, pistachios, fresh strawberries, strawberry compote, cherry compote, raspberry compote, caramel popcorn, candy corn, candy canes, gummy bears, M&Ms, mini peanut butter cups, popping Boba pearls, crispy pearls, and more. Seriously, it would take even me quite a while to work through all the combinations.

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10 Great Things That Happened on Disney Cruise Line in 2015

by on January 13, 2016

Well 2015 was another great year for Disney Cruise Line!  While there were admittedly a few things that were not popular, the new alcohol policy for instance, there were also some great things that happened!  To me, Disney cruises keep getting better and better.  Here are 10 of my favorite new things!

1C4A59251. Dream Refurbishment – The Disney Dream came out of a short dry dock in October with some great additions and changes! I covered 10 of them in-depth in a previous blog post. The Dream refurbishment was a huge success in my opinion, and it excited me for a lot of reasons. Disney took a great ship and made it even greater. The Dream was new enough that Disney could have gone in, done a little sprucing up, and everyone would have been perfectly happy. But they didn’t!  Disney isn’t resting on those very substantial laurels they’ve earned, they are constantly learning and improving with their ships. They took the very popular Satellite Falls from the Disney Fantasy and added it to the Dream. They added much needed shade on the top deck after seeing how valuable it was on the Disney Magic. They added Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which began in the parks and worked wonderfully on the Fantasy. They added an all new concept for Disney Cruise Line in Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats Shop and themed it to the nth degree.  Disney took amazing kid’s clubs, which no one was complaining about by any means, and made them even better with the addition of Star Wars and Disney Infinity. They even put work in where no one was expecting it (the concierge sun deck for example)!  Disney under-promised and over-delivered on the Dream refurbishment, and I for one, was impressed.

2. New Itineraries and Ports – Disney keeps trying new ports and itineraries out on us! Which I like! When Disney announced they were going to sail the fjords of Norway and journey to Iceland, there was a booking frenzy.  These sailings booked fast and were very well reviewed by those lucky enough to go.  They were so successful that similar itineraries showed up for the summer of 2016.  Disney also returned to Tortola in 2015 and will be visiting several times in 2016.  2016 has some more great additions—the British Isles cruise is going to be amazing and worth every crazy penny I’m spending on it.  We absolutely loved our cruise out of New York City a few years ago, and I’m thrilled they announced they’re going back in 2016!  Keep ‘em coming Disney!

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10 Possible Extra Costs Onboard a Disney Cruise

by on December 18, 2015

It’s that time of year when we are all thinking about money!  Oops, I mean gift giving!  But money is usually a part of that right?  So let’s talk money onboard a Disney Cruise.

I am often asked how much money you should budget to spend onboard.  My answer is – that totally depends.  I’ve been on cruises where my final bill was over $1000, and I’ve been on cruises where my final bill was $11.  How much you spend onboard will truly be up to you.

Note that I am not including gratuities in this discussion.  Gratuities are an unavoidable expense (unless you are truly channeling the spirit of Scrooge), but you can prepay them before you board.  See my Tips on Tipping blog post for some clarification there.

So let me try to help you plan!  Here are 10 ways Disney Cruise Lines tries to tempt you into spending even more onboard!

x1001. Excursions – The first chance to spend money onboard actually starts before you even get onboard! You can book excursions online as soon as your booking window opens, and they will be charged to your onboard account. You can cancel your excursions up until 3 days prior to your cruise departure date.  If you change your mind onboard, Disney will often let you change excursions as long as the price stays the same or goes up. Depending on the ports you are visiting, you could drop a lot of dough here.  The operative word there is “could”.  Excursions are in no way mandatory and there are other options.  Many ports have nearby beaches you could take a taxi to and/or fun towns to walk around in.  You could also book excursions directly with the tour operators and save money that way.  Finally, you could just stay onboard!  You’re on a beautiful ship with plenty to do!  Nobody is making you get off!  Well not until the end anyway.  Sadly, I can promise you that they will make you get off on the end.

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Kimberly-Clark Announces Strategic Alliance with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

by on December 10, 2015

©Kimberly-Clark Corporation

©Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Another company has announced that they are expanding their alliance with the Walt Disney Company. Kimberly-Clark, the company responsible for Huggies, Kleenex, Cottenelle, and more, is increasing their availability and offerings with Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line.

Through this partnership, the Baby Care Centers will now be hosted by Huggies. This also means that Guests will now be able to purchase products such as Huggies diapers and wipes, Kleenex tissues, and Pull-Ups at the Baby Care Centers, as well as in select retail area locations throughout the resorts and cruise line.

In addition, stroller rental locations sponsored by Huggies will be featured throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort and Disney Junior –Live on Stage! will be sponsored by Pull-Ups.

According to Mike Hsu, Group President, Kimberly-Clark North America, “This relationship will provide millions of parents each year with convenient access to their favorite family products featuring Disney licensed characters as well as comfortable diaper changing areas as they experience the joy of visiting Disney parks with their children.”

This updated alliance should be welcoming to hear for all parents traveling to a Disney park in the near future.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! November 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on November 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. November means we say goodbye to EPCOT’s Food & Wine – and surprisingly the “Burgy” Award winning Canadian Lumberjacks – but hello to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and while you were digesting all that turkey (or Tofurky) did you happen to notice there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX looking at what we theme park fans should give thanks for? Even better, this past weekend was also time for the Second Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year. Did your favorite make the list? 

Fear not, while you were out on Black Friday ripping items out of the hands of kids , Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

First up is a Goofy’s Candy Company Gumball Machine. Who doesn’t like a gumball machine? It’s unAmerican not to!

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Gumball.

For the first time EVER, Disney Infinity items were reduced for clearance at the Outlet. There had occasionally been a Disney Infinity figure here or there for sale, but always at full price. This month had a slew of  figures marked down, including everyone’s favorite Frozen sisters reduced to $14.99.

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Disney Infinity.

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My 10 Favorite Things on the New Disney Dream

by on November 4, 2015

I just disembarked the first sailing of the new (as Captain Henry referred to it) Disney Dream, and she looks amazing! Not that I expected any less. I’m not going to lie, I love being on the first sailings right out of dry dock, which I’m sure has nothing to do with my deep-seated desire to be the first person to be in the front of the line and the first to see everything. Disney surprised us this time — while they had announced several things we could look forward to after dry dock, there were several things they had not announced! And here are ten of my favorites:

Four_Rectangles1. The Millennium Falcon – Really what else needs to be said? Disney added Star Wars to the Disney Dream.  Okay, maybe that does take a little explaining. Disney completely removed the (cute but not a huge loss) Explorer Pod which was themed after Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo in the Oceaneer Youth Club and replaced it with the interior of the Millennium Falcon. Yep, you read that right; you can sit in the pilot seats and steer as you are blasted into hyper-drive through space and onto various planets like Tatooine and Endor, where your flight continues. The details are just amazing: There’s a life size R2D2 that moves and talks!  (I am not hyperlinking R2D2 because if you don’t know who he is, you need to skip to item number two.) There are also life size replicas of the Marksman-H combat remote, lightsabers, and video games to try. Seriously, we were sad when open house ended and the children reclaimed the club!

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Video: 4 Must-See Disney Cruise Line Shows

by on October 28, 2015

must see disney cruise line shows

Pirates in the Caribbean fireworks, one of 4 must-see shows on the DCL Magic (videos by Seth Kubersky).

The Disney Cruise Line is famed for its live entertainment offerings, and the DCL Magic is no exception. Despite being the oldest ship in the fleet, the Magic has some of DCL’s freshest shows, which I was lucky enough to experience on my recent Transatlantic crossing. You can’t go wrong with any of the mainstage production in the Walt Disney Theater — I’m particularly partial to Disney Dreams, and am excited to see the new Tangled musical — but there are tons of other live shows around the boat that you shouldn’t overlook. If you are stuck on dry land dreaming of sailing the seven seas with Mickey, whet your whistle with these new videos of 4 must-see Disney Cruise Line shows from the DCL Magic.

 

Freezing the Night Away Deck Party

Ok, this first entry might be stretching the “must-see” moniker for most adults, but if your kids are still Elsa-crazed you aren’t going to want to skip this one. Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends is a relatively recent addition to the DCL deck party rotation, which debuted earlier this year on the Disney Wonder, and was subsequently added to the Magic. It serves as the capstone to a full day of Frozen-themed activities, including a chocolate scavenger hunt, maypole dance, and special Norwegian-inspired dinner menu.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever October 1, 2015: Six Things to Do During a Transatlantic Disney Cruise

by on October 1, 2015

Transatlantic Disney cruise

What do you do with all those sea days once you’ve sailed past the Rock of Gibraltar on a Transatlantic Disney Cruise? You have the Best Week Ever! (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Howdy folks, I just swam in from Spain and boy, are my arms tired! <Rimshot> If you follow the Touring Plans twitter feed, you are probably fully aware of — if not fed up with — my just-completed voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on the Disney Magic. The 11-day journey was certainly a Best Week Ever and a half, but I’m certain some of you are wondering how you can spend 6 straight sea days stuck in a giant floating hotel without jumping overboard. I had some apprehension before going aboard about being away from dry land for so many days in a row, but now I’m wishing the Disney Cruise Line had cruises to nowhere out of Canaveral, because my week on the water was more wonderful than any port of call (with the possible exception of Castaway Cay), thanks to the jam-packed schedule of activities and events and events you’ll find exclusively on DCL repositioning routes and other extended oceanic cruises. So, at the risk of stealing Derek Burgan‘s gimmick, here are my top six ways to while away your sea days during a Transatlantic Disney Cruise.

 

6. See a Movie or Twenty

Who wants to spend an expensive cruise inside a movie theater? I do! If you love Disney, you probably love movies, and there are few movie theaters on land that can compete with the Disney Magic’s Buena Vista Theatre. Over our 11 day journey, we averaged two movies a day, many in eye-popping Dolby Digital 3-D (the same system used in Star Tours and Escape From Gringotts, and far brighter and sharper than any multiplex) including Avengers: Age of Ultron Inside Out, and Ant-Man.

 

The highlight of the cruise’s cinema schedule was the multi-day marathon of the first six Star Wars films. Though screened in release order rather than episode or Machete order, these were the most recent versions created for the Blu-Ray release projected in stunning ultra-high-definition, making it the best presentation of the classic movies I’ve seen since ’77.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! September 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on September 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. That’s right, we’re out here hitting the white hot Florida pavement to provide you, Dear Reader, with the content you demand while The Blogging Elite™ like Seth Kubersky are out traveling the world and taking pictures of places like Walt Disney Studios Paris and something called “Efteling” (sounds made up to us). I’m not saying Seth doesn’t like America as much as we do (although I’m not not saying it either) but we here at the SATURDAY SIX would rather focus on things going on in American Made theme parks such as Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights or Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party. Heck, what’s more American than an Indiana Jones themed bar in the middle of Disney Springs?! Readers of this fine blog are known to have their heart size increase 7% annually, and that can be attributed solely to patriotism (technically 20% to patriotism, the other 80% to fried foods).

Before we officially start I’d also like to introduce everyone to our latest Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo. After exhaustive research top therapists concluded that I can spend, at most, 30 minutes in the Disney Outlet Store before I lose my mind. Julia will be picking up the slack by getting extra pictures after I run away screaming. Before you congratulate her, keep in my mind our last intern – the lovely Daisy Lauren – was last seen in a Duffy gift shop in Tokyo Disney Sea. This job is not for the weak.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

You may remember last month we didn’t cover any Tsum Tsums, and that’s because there weren’t any new ones. This month there was only one and I actually had absolutely no idea who it was. Found out it was Jumba Jookiba from the movie Lilo & Stitch. Of course I bought it. #TheStruggleIsReal

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Stitch related Tsum Tsum, apparently.

The next item reminded me of a particularly good episode of The Office on NBC. There was one character who needed to declare bankruptcy because of how poorly he handled money. The character was shown a powerpoint presentation breaking down where he spent his money including one area marked “things no one ever ever needs.” In the world of Disney merchandise, this OLAF RAIN GAUGE falls into that category. This one of those rare items that it’s hard to believe actually even exists, but thank God they do.

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Several things came to mind on how to describe this item, but none of them fit for a family audience. (photo by Disney Twitter Icon Mark Diba)

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The 10 Steps of Online Check-In for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 19, 2015

You’re going on a Disney Cruise!  Woohoo!  I am often asked what you need to do to get ready for your cruise.  Well one of the big things is your online check-in!  Checking in online is important for a few reasons.  It will save you time at the port once you arrive, it gives you a chance to make sure all of your information is in the system correctly so there won’t be any problems when you arrive, it’s a chance to address any special needs you may have, and you’ll get to pick an arrival time at the port!

Online check-in opens on different dates depending on your Castaway Club level and the category you are sailing in.  If you are a Platinum level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 10 times, or if you are sailing concierge, you can check-in online at midnight, 120 days before you sail.  If you are a Gold level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 5 times, you can check-in online 105 days before you sail.  If you’ve sailed at least once you are a Silver level Castaway Club member and can check in online 90 days before sailing.  Everyone else can check in 75 days before you sail.  It will be available online until 4 days before you sail.

Pro-tip – You do NOT have to be paid in full to check in online.  In order to book excursions, adult restaurants, etc. when your booking window opens, you must be paid in full.  That is not the case for checking-in online.  You can do that at midnight when your booking window opens, regardless of whether you are paid in full.

Here is a step by step description of online check-in, so you will know exactly what to expect!

1. Retrieve Reservation – Your very first step will be going to DisneyCruise.com and retrieving your reservation. At the top of the screen on the far right, you will see a tab called Planning Center. Hover over it with your mouse and you will see My Reservations.  Click on it.  You can click on the Online Check-In as well to login and retrieve your reservation, but if you click on My Reservations you can do it all on the same screen.

Retry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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