REVIEW: ACTIVITIES ONBOARD THE DISNEY DREAM

Other Disney Cruise Posts

Final Thoughts

Review- Disney Dream Food

Review- Castaway Cay

Review-Deluxe Ocean-view Family Stateroom

Review Check-in

Pre Disney Cruise- What to do.

Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning a Disney Cruise

ACTIVITIES

Note: At the bottom of this post are the Daily Navigators so you can see all the events

There is so much to do on board this ship, its hard to even know where to start. We spent 3 nights here and I know there are areas we never even made it to. The ship is almost like Venice where you can get lost on it, but getting lost may be the best part. On a 3 night cruise, you almost feel like to have to run around to each attraction like you were at a Disney Park.

When we first got on the ship, we split up. I took the kids up to the pool and my wife went and got tickets for character greetings. (more in a second on that). I wanted to get a few runs in on the aquaduck right away. Around 1  there was about a 20-30 minute line, which was about the average throughout the week. Maybe if you get there at 11 you can ride with no line.

They have a few different pools on Deck 11. They Have the 2 main pools, Donald and Mickeys pool. One is deeper than the other. Then they have Mickey’s slide, as well as Nemo’s Reef spray area for lil ones. My daughter could have gone down the regular water slide all day long, she loved it. The aquaduck was a lot of fun, but its pretty slow. I still don’t get their height restrictions though. First at Seaworld a few days earlier my daughter was over 48 inches and my son over 54 inches. You had to be 54 inches to ride the aqua duct by yourself. Then on the ship both my kids were now under those heights. So neither one of then could ride it by themselves. However if you are over 7, you can ride with another person who is over 7. So they were able to ride together. Doesn’t make sense to me but ends well.

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There was always plenty of towels around the pools and lounge chairs. While the Lounge chair area could get crowded, you could still find 2 chairs next to each other. The pool area is close to Cabana’s buffet so its a high traffic area.  I was just waiting for accidents to happen though as kids are running around and people are walking through the area with trays of prime rib and ice cream…. While some people would leave the food trays by the pool, and some just throw their towels on the ground, the Disney workers would be there quick to clean up anything and everything.

There are some adult only pools on Decks 11 and 13. These were more than 50% empty. Our kids went to the kids club one day for about 90 minutes and it was very nice to have a little time here. This area has nice lounge chairs as well and a swim up bar. However there was still some teenagers with their parents here. They were behaving but still would have been nice to enforce the adults only section.

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Up on the 13th deck, there is a sports area with a 9 hole miniature golf course, basketball hoop, golf simulator, and other activities.

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There are numerous character greetings going on at almost all times. You will get a schedule of them in your daily newsletter called the Navigator. You can bring your own book or buy a book from the gift shop for autographs if you wish. Some lines would only be 5 minutes, and some up to 30 minutes. I believe you can sign up for some of the group character greetings a head of time just like a shore excursion. We did not do that so while I went swimming right when we got on the ship, my wife went to guest services and was still able to get tickets for a specific time with the Princesses and with Frozen. Note Some of the princesses were only by tickets while some had other appearances, and Frozen was only by ticket. (No loaf though as he melts in the Bahamas.) Mickey, Minnie, etc had numerous appearances that you did not need a ticket for each day.

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They had a very large kids club area called Oceaneers Club and Oceaneers Lounge. They are connected to each other. Our kids went there for 90 minutes but they don’t typically like those kinds of kids clubs. There was plenty of activities for them to do from arts and crafts, to cooking, to science experiments, to video games, to board games, to small sports activities, to reading; but when we went to pick them up they decided they didn’t want to go back again. Another strange thing is that when you sign up for their bracelet online you can select that they can check themselves in our out, which we did. However when we checked them out, we had to give them our password. Luckily I remembered what i selected when registering them 2 months beforehand, but I didnt see the point when they can check themselves in or out.  I was impressed by how clean it was. When you go in, the first thing you have to do is wash your hands, when you leave, you have to wash your hands. There are lots of Disney workers at the checkin and checkout areas to make sure no kids pull a jailbreak.

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There is also a nursery that we saw lots of people dropping their babies off, but we did not go in.

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Just a few misc items. They do have free internet up to 50 MB but you have to sign up by midnight the first day. I did not so I bought a 100mb package for $19 so I could check in my flight online. Before I could even get to my email to get my confirmation numbers, my 100mbs was already used as I had some automatic back enabled on my google photos. However I went down to the internet desk and he gave me another 100 mbs.

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There are also photographers everywhere and a photo store on board.  They have different packages but the memory stick of all your photos was like $200 or $240. When I first saw that I was like holy cow that expensive and I have my own camera. By the end of the cruise I wish we would have budgeted for it ahead of time and purchased it. Their photographers probably took 200 pictures of us and got some pretty good ones. They have the right speed and right lighting. You have to by them by like midnight your last day, and it gets very crowded there the last day.

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You can also book a future cruise on board and save 10%. I am not exactly sure how this works as on the last night it was also very crowded in this area. I didn’t feel like waiting for hours. Next time I would go there towards the beginning of the cruise. I don’t believe you have to pick the exact dates and type of cabin, but you do have to put a deposit down and take it within so many months.

There are 2 main theaters on board the ship. One is the Buena Vista Theater which pretty much plays movies non stop. This also includes 3D movies. We started watching The Last Jedi, and then my kids said we can do this at home and decided to go do other activities. The theater is good for some down time, or if you just want to drop your kids off at one of the clubs and have some alone time.

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The Main Theater is the Walt Disney Theater. On our 3 night cruise, they had 2 main productions at night. The first night was a musical called Disney’s Believe. It was an entertaining story about a young girl getting her dad to believe in Magic. Nothing I would go out of my way to see though. The 2nd and 3rd night was Beauty and the Beast. This was full of computer special affects and I would actually pay money to go see this. It was very well put on and the computer generated backdrops were great. Seating is first come first serve and one of the best things is I was able to bring down a bottle of wine I got at port and a few wineglasses into the Theater.  Got a lot of comments from the other parents of oh that’s such a good idea.

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Another neat activity for the kids is the Detective Agency. They have these kiosks at a few places on the ship and they give you clues to go to different areas to get your next clue and so on and so on. It gets you thinking a little bit and a good way to see the ship.

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Our Pirate might was also Fireworks night. It was the night we left the Bahamas. I would say about 40% of people had some type of pirate costume on. A lot of them were the same ones off of Amazon that people probably picked up 2 weeks before they left (like ourselves). A few people go all out too. If you don’t bring anything, they have some bandanas for ya.  The fireworks were not a 4th of July caliber celebration, but still awesome to be in the ocean with fireworks going off.  They shoot off from the starboard side but when you are up on the top decks you can see them from anywhere. They have music playing that goes along with the 10 minute show.

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We decorated our door with some magnets we bought off of Etsy. I would estimate about 50% of the doors had some type of magnets. There are also some groups you can join ahead where you put a lil hanging thing on your door and exchange gifts. Would estimate less than 10% of the doors did this. To me the gift exchange seems like too much preparation and work.  I did like the door magnets as it also helps you figure out which rooms is your when your name is literally on it.Burst_Cover_Collage_20180113170741

There are so many other parts of the ship I could write for another month. So I am going to finish with some pictures and captions on those pictures.

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View from the adult section into the front of the ship. I think this is actually looking down into the teen club.
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Just of listing of areas hung by the elevators.
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Lots of shopping on Board. Only open when at Sea though.

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Venelope Van Sweets had lots of goodies, but for sale. Reasonably priced though for a special treat.

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Always some type of entertainment at night in the main deck area in the middle of the ship.
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The Hall of Wonders

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Adult bar area

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So now a copy of the Daily Navigators which has a ton of information on it. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

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REVIEW: DISNEY DREAM CRUISE STATEROOM 7636 DELUXE FAMILY OCEANVIEW STATEROOM WITH VERANDAH CATEGORY 4C

Other Disney Cruise Posts

Final Thoughts

Review- Disney Dream Food

Review- On-board Activities

Review- Castaway Cay

Review Check-in

Pre Disney Cruise- What to do.

Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning a Disney Cruise

Stateroom

When booking a Disney Cruise, one of the hardest parts is figuring out which stateroom category to book. Do you have the idea of only spending 7 hours a night in your stateroom sleeping so interior is ok? Or do you want to be able to relax as needed throughout the day and sip a glass of wine on your balcony in the middle of the Ocean? We decided a Deluxe Verandah for our first family cruise. Mrs. Trup’s parents booked a regular verandah view category 5c 7658 and I will briefly compare those 2 at the end.

We were on board the fabulous Disney Dream ship. Our deluxe verandah room was plenty big for the 4 of us. Immediately upon walking in to the left were 2 small wardrobes where you could hang your items and put your clothes away. You could also put 1 carry one size or medium sized suitcase in here and still be able to open it. An in room safe was also in the wardrobe. It was pretty tight here so hard to get any good pictures.

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Opposite the wardrobes was the bathroom. There are two separate bathroom areas which makes it very nice for getting ready. They were bigger than I anticipated for a cruise ship. One door lead to a basic commode and sink. The other door lead to a small tub/shower combo. This had a hand held shower head as well as a rainfall shower head. There was also a clothesline for drying clothes. Disney provides toiletries as well. In both bathrooms there was plenty of hooks for hanging bags or clothes as well as shelves with bars on them so you could put all your items in there and they would not fall off. It made it easy to get organized without a huge counter top. Disney services the room throughout the day so there was always plenty of towels.

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Now you are past the hallway and can see the main portion of the room. The king size bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of space underneath of it for large suitcase storage. There was a lamp on each side of the bed for reading as well as an electric plug. Then there was a curtain that could be closed to provide a lil privacy when sleeping at night.

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Pass the bed is the 3 person couch as well as a large desk. This desk had several sets of drawers where we put our kids clothes away. At the desk area is where the other electrical outlets are. There is a small TV that can be rotated as well. Note you cant see the TV from the bed if the curtain is closed. There is also an ottoman that opens up that we put our dirty laundry in. It had vents in the bottom so hopefully that’s what it was for. Built into the desk area is a refrigerator that was pretty small, but big enough for a few bottles of water and wine. They did not have a bottle opener but will provide one if requested.

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Also at the desk is the hair dryer outlet for the hair dryer that’s in the drawer. Note it only works in this one outlet, its not made to work in the bathroom. Also at the desk is 2 phones and one charger that you can take throughout the ship. This is a great way to keep in touch with other rooms or if your family is doing different activities.

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Next was what made the room expensive. The balcony. It was pretty basic with 2 chairs in a small table. For our 3 night cruise we were on the starboard side.  None of the docking ports were that impressive. We did have a view of Castaway Cay though where the port side would not have.

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When you are out to dinner your stateroom attendant will come in and provide turn down service for the evening. This includes replacing any towels and making the foldout beds. Most staterooms have the couch that folds into a single bed, and then a bed that can come out of the ceiling. This deluxe room had an additional bed that falls out from the wall next to the balcony door. As you can see in the picture they had bed rails if requested as well as a buckle if the water was rough.

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There was a nightlight built in to the ceiling that provided the perfect amount of light for kids sleeping.

The stateroom attendant would also provide some towel and blanket animals each night with chocolates and the next days activities.

I am not sure what all of these are, but apparently they all needed my wife’s sunglasses!

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Then e the door is magnetic and probably about 50% of the doors have some type of magnetic decoration on them. We bought ours off of Etsy.

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So what is the difference between a deluxe verandah stateroom and a regular verandah stateroom? The main difference was the extra bed that came out of the wall.  The deluxe had about 5 extra feet in the length to allow for this extra bed. This meant some of the desk area was slightly different. The width of the room and bathroom were the same as well as the balcony. If you have 5 people in your family and need that extra bed, then the deluxe makes sense. For our family of 4, we did not really need it and would not book that same category again.

Now sleeping on a cruise ship can be hit or miss. Our neighbors on one side of us had 2 young children that we never heard. They probably went to bed before we did and hopefully we didn’t wake them up. Our neighbors on the other side had a least 3 kids in that room and while not they were not that loud, you could hear them when they returned around midnight each evening. We would call it a night around 1030-11 so we would just fall asleep and then be woken up. Luckily our kids never woke up and I could just put in headphones for a few minutes.

The night that we were going to Castaway Cay was a lil noisy. In January it can get windy in the Bahamas and around midnight the whole room was shaking. It wasn’t swaying back and forth, but literally shaking.  After about 20 minutes of this I decided to walk around the ship along with some other sleepless dads. Guest services informed us that typically they dock early in the morning but it was calm seas right now and they wanted to dock at night which requires the ship going in reverse. If they didnt dock at night there was a good chance of them not being able to dock at all the next morning. I did read upon our return that a ship a few days later was not able to dock because of high winds and just spent the day at sea. So I was glad to lose an hour of sleep to get to go to Castaway Cay.

Overall our DELUXE FAMILY OCEANVIEW STATEROOM WITH VERANDAH CATEGORY 4C was great and bigger than what we needed. It was in good shape and was very clean with service to it several times throughout the day.

I still have several more postings coming up in the next week so stay tuned for more!

 

 

REVIEW: CHECK IN FOR OUR DISNEY CRUISE

Other Disney Cruise Posts

Final Thoughts

Review- Disney Dream Food

Review- On-board Activities

Review- Castaway Cay

Review- Family Oceanview Stateroom

Pre Disney Cruise- What to do.

Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning a Disney Cruise

Check In

The day was finally here. We ate breakfast, we cleaned up our condo and we loaded up our minivan. We had a 12:15-12:30 registered arrival time. As we mentioned earlier we rented a minivan for the week. We  left Orlando around 10am and planned on getting to the port around 11am.  The drive is quite easy and direct. However there are numerous tolls. We ended up paying about $4 over about 4-5 tolls along the way. Once you get a few miles from Port Canaveral, you are driving over water and are getting more and more excited. There were signs for different terminals and we missed seeing which one was Disney and got off the first exit, which was the correct exit and we just followed the signs. There are staff every few feet guiding you along the way. It was now about 11am and there where a few cars in front of us but nothing bad. One checkpoint checked that we had our cruise papers and glanced at all of our ID’s and directed us to drop our luggage off at the curbside porters. We parked next to the curb and a staff member was there to help with a few bags and we kindly tipped him a few dollars. Next they direct you to parking. Our 3 night cruise was $68 in the garage or $88 in the preferred lot. The preferred lot is only like 20 feet closer, so no need for us.

We park and are finally out of the car! You can see the long line of people just waiting to go through security. Sorry I don’t have a lot of great pictures of this process as they don’t like you taking pictures here. We get in line behind everyone else and notice a staff member waiving people around the corner every few seconds. people aren’t paying attention to her but I gladly jump out of line with the family to follow her and go inside a side entrance. I felt like VIP for 2 minutes as we place our bags on the scanner and walk through metal detectors with our carry on bags. At this time we go upstairs to a large area and you can see multiple different lines. Its probably getting close to 1130 now.

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check in to the left, line for boat through the ears.

We get into the check in line that verifies you have completed all of your information. This line seems short as they have like 20 or more stations over to review your documentation. During this time they also hand you a health questionnaire for each family to complete.  (I don’t know what happens if you check that you are sick…) If you have already checked in online (which you should) all you need to show them is your printed of form and your passports.  There was no need for the Disney book if checked in online. They saw our kids were signed up for the kids club online and gave them their Oceaneer bands. However you still had to go to the club to get them temporarily clamped on. This is also where they give you your room keys that you must have to get on and off and back on the ship. They inform you that your room wont be ready until 130 so please don’t go to your room before that. As well as bags will be arriving between now and 6pm. Then they give you a card with a position number that relates to your boarding time. Were were number 17 as our boarding time was 1215-1230. This checking process took only about 5-10 minutes. So we had about 30 minutes still. So even if we got there at 9am, we would have been waiting as we still would have received group 17.

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Check in line to get your room key and verify all your information.
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If you checked in online, you wont need this much.
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Your official Key!
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Health questionnaire
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They give your kids the bands at check in and then you have to return them before you debark the cruise before your last day.

There was a line to get pictures taken with Mickey so we got in that line. This line moved like all the lines and it was 5-10 minutes long.

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There was also a nice cutout of another Disney Ship so you can see all the different sections of the ship before your board.

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No we had about 20 minutes so we sat on some of the couches they had and had a snack we brought and took a quick bathroom break. There are also numerous TVs throughout playing Disney movies.

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Every few minutes they call a boarding number and promptly at 1215 they call number 17. We get up and get in line to get on the ship. After confirming we were number 17 and confirming our passports we were through and onto the walkways. It was a little congested here as there were multiple lines for more photo ops. The really was no way around these so we got our photo taken and back in the walkway line. Next up was finally the stepping over part. They scan your cruise card/room key and then they announce you arriving onto this majestic trip. I will have a video of this posted shortly.

Finally you are on the ship! It was about 1230!

 

 

PRE DISNEY CRUISE- WHAT TO DO? SEA WORLD!

Other Disney Cruise Posts

Final Thoughts

Review- Disney Dream Food

Review- On-board Activities

Review- Castaway Cay

Review: Deluxe Oceanview Family Stateroom

Review Check-in

Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning a Disney Cruise

What to do before Disney

We landed in Orlando on a Wednesday night and our cruise left on Friday. We had a whole day to spend in Orlando and had to decide what to do. We figured we would have quite a bit of the mouse on the cruise so we decided to skip Disney parks and go to Sea World. We were able to find tickets to Sea World for the 6 of us with all fees for $517. ($79 person for purchasing one day in advance compared to $99 gate price) While not a great deal, that is cheaper that what we could find for Magic Kingdom which was $670. There are much better deals if you plan on going 2 or more days at each park. Not much to be had for just one day though.

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Sea World Pricing for 6
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Disney Pricing for 6

Sea World was only about a 15 minute drive from our Condo. We left at about 9am, payed the $20 parking and was in our spot by 9:20. We put on sunscreen, packed our water bag, and was in the in the security line by 930. We were the second family in line. Sea World allows water and snacks, but not full lunches. Although I did see some families bringing in full lunches.

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The Huge Long Line 🙂

At about 945 they let you through the gates to go visit stores and take pictures. You can only go a few hundred feet until the rope. Even by 10 o’clock when the rope dropped, there was probably only a 100 people in that area. Knowing that this wasn’t a full day since the park was only open from 10-6, I wanted to hurry up and get as many rides as we could in. According to SeaWorld, my son was just over 54 inches and could ride everything, and my daughter was just over 48 inches which meant she could do quite a few things. (on the cruise they shrunk to 53 and 46 inches- more on that in an upcoming post)

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When its not busy, its not a very exciting rope drop

We first decided to do a ride all 6 of us could do, which was the Empire of the Penguin. This line was about 5 minutes. We also did it in the afternoon when the line a lot longer, i think we waited 6 minutes then. They have a spin version and a non spin version. Its a fun little ride good for all ages that lets you out in a penguin exhibit where you can get up close to them.  It is very cold so this is great on a hot day or if you have a jacket on.

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Then my wife and son and I all headed over to ride Kraken. You can put on virtual reality glasses for this, but we decided to do it all natural. Its a fun intense roller coaster with flips. Again, less than a 5 minute wait. We then decided to rush over and do Manta. Manta is a newer ride where you get strapped in and feet and arms dangle like you are flying. you do an inverted flip that is just crazy. Again less than a 5 minute wait. Our grandparents were able to watch and entertain my daughter and she had several snacks while we were gone for 10 minutes.

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This is how you start Manta!

We then went over to the Dolphin Theater and watched the Dolphin Show.  Getting there 15 minutes before the show started, there was plenty of seats. Of course my daughter wanted to sit in the front row when its 60 degrees outside…. This show is very entertaining as the dolphins get very high. The trainers are also in the water and the way the dolphins push and flip them is amazing.

It was getting close to noon by now and I couldn’t believe how empty the park was. It was a 6 on undercover tourist’s crown calendar, but so far we have not had more than about a 5 minute wait. We hit up Shamus Happy Harbor where my son and wife did the Shamu ride a few times. My daughter wasn’t feeling it yet and just decided to play on the big playground. I eventually talked her into it and she had a good time. Such a good time that I think her and her brother rode it like 4 times without even getting off. We also ended up doing the Carousal which again had no line.

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My daughter “this is so much fun” as we go up the hill.
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“I want to get off now” as we go down the hill.
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Just look at how many empty seat there are. My kids rode this like 4 times in a row before they had to get off.

It was now time for the Famous One Ocean with Shamu show. We arrived about 15 minutes before the show and could pick our seats. Again my daughter wanted to sit in the front row. She got soaked and I decided to sit about 5 rows behind her and still got plenty wet. Its amazing what 6 whales can do. While the trainers are no longer in the water, its a great show.

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About this time we decided to get a late lunch. Often this is the worst part at a theme park. And it was for us as we just hit up a fast food style restaurant and it took about 10 minutes. This is quick, but literally our longest line all day. There was also plenty of seating around the restaurant. The food was OK and about what you would expect from Sea World.

My son and daughter then decided to hit up Manko which is an old school no flips roller coaster. I didn’t really feel like doing this coaster after eating. They had a great time though and my son said it was his favorite.

We then decided to hit up the Sea Lion Show. Its an entertaining show with some bad slapstick comedy.  My kids enjoyed it, i thought it was okay, and grandpa didnt get it.

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After the show we went back to Manko where I got on it. No line and I agree with my son that its the best coaster there.

Walking around the park we ended up petting the stingrays, seeing the manatees, and then the turtles. There was a few dolphins in dolphin cove but at about 530pm, they weren’t very active.

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We did everything we wanted to do in about 7 hours and called it a day as the park was closing in about 30 minutes.

Bottom line is a Wednesday in January is an awesome day for Sea World!

 

Planning our Disney Cruise

Other Disney Cruise Posts

Final Thoughts

Review- Disney Dream Food

Review- On-board Activities

Review- Castaway Cay

Review: Deluxe Oceanview Family Stateroom

Review Check-in

Pre Disney Cruise- What to do.

Pre Disney Cruise- SWA flights and Avis Car rental

Planning

Booking details of our Disney Cruise Vacation- oh and our kids had no idea until we picked them up out of school at 130pm to catch our 330pm flight!

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I am not sure how we ended up on a Disney Cruise, but we did. We like Mickey, but we have never been die hard Disney vacation fans. We have been to Animal Kingdom in Orlando, but have never been to Epcot or other Disney parks there. Although we do like to throw in a good theme park if the destination we are visiting has one. That’s why we have been to Disney Paris, Disney Tokyo, and Disneyland in Anaheim. (among other theme parks) So Mrs. Trup’s parents asked if I could plan a Disney Cruise vacation where we each pay our own way. I never turn down a vacation so I said sure for a 6 person vacation.

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Tokyo Disney May 2017
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Disneyland California May 2017
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Disneyland Paris May 2016
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Animal Kingdom March 2013

Now Disney Cruises are not cheap, and there are not really any great discounts off of the advertised prices. You can buy gift cards from an office supply store and get 5x points on some credit cards. Or you can use certain credit card like Capital One among others to use points for travel expenses. Those are good examples, but we are not talking about getting a free cruise or 50% off. The cruise prices also vary quite a bit based on the time. Of course holidays and summer are most expensive when kids are out of school. The example below is just for 2 adults and 2 kids and you can see its fairly cheap in January, and expensive during the summer, and then very expensive during the holidays. It can be a 50-90% difference just over a few weeks. So that’s why we decided to go in January!  While I would have loved to do a longer cruise, that’s just more expenses and more time off school and we weren’t sure how our kids would no on a cruise so 3 days seemed perfect for us.

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We could not find any travel agencies that had discounts either. But we did use Allison at Dreams Unlimited who was awesome to work with. While the pricing was the same as the Disney website, we did get a $250 onboard credit and a good personal booking experience. We picked a few different weekends that were on the cheaper side and then searched for airfare. Leaving from OKC, there are not a lot of great flights. After having 2 southwest companion passes for the past 4 years, we were only able to secure 1 for 2018/2019.  Booking through Dreams was very  straightforward and required deposit upfront with remainder about 75 days before the cruise. We had minimum spend requirements on new credit cards so this helped nicely with that.

We didn’t want to pick a cheap cruise time and then pay a high airfare amount, but realized all the airfare was about the same for the dates we wanted. Eventually we settled on Mid-January when our kids would already have a day off. So a least they are missing one less day of school. Our kids are good students (school spelling bee champion!) so at this stage in their life we don’t mind taking them out for a great experience. We will see if this changes as they get holder. And there will be homework on board! We knew we wanted to use book Southwest flights as they were the cheapest and we had one companion pass. Knowing plans change and weather in January can be unpredictable we wanted to use points as Southwest has the best change policy if you use points- they just get re-deposited back to your account. Flights per person were 22k points or $356 for the times we wanted. We also booked Mrs. Trup parents using points and they just paid back us back in cash. That way if something changed between June when we booked and January when we departed, its essentially fully refundable.

SWAflights

We decided we wanted an extra full day or 2 nights in Orlando so we can relax a lil before the cruise and go to Sea World. (I figured we would have enough Mickey for the next few days and opted not to go to Disney) Airfare was also a lil cheaper leaving 2 days before the cruise compared to the day before.  As well as have plenty of travel time built in in case there is some snowstorm that delays travel. Whenever booking a vacation far in advance, I like to book a hotel immediately that’s refundable and then revisit when it gets closer. In Orlando you have lots of choices, and I just decided to go with an Embassy Suites on International Drive that was about $130 pre taxes and fees to start with. While I could have used points, hotels are cheap so I just decided to plan with the cash rate and the revisit it later. Now if you are staying close to Disney or at a higher end hotel, using points may be a good value. So total for 2 rooms and we were staying 2 consecutive nights would be about $600. This was booked in June. In December I started looking at VRBO’s and found a 3 bedroom 1500 sqft condo off of International drive for $405 with all service fees. While I love getting hotel credits and points, I love additional space more. Since I knew we would be crammed into a small cruise room for the next 3 nights, $405 was cheap and had a lot of room. So we went with the VRBO.

vrbo
Our cheap VRBO Condo

Now from Orlando to port Canaveral there are several ways to get there and it all depends on how much flexibility you need. Several people may come in the night before or the morning of the cruise, and then leave right after the cruise. This may make sense to book a taxi service or the Disney Buses which are $70 per person round-trip. For our family of 6 we needed more flexibility since we were visiting Sea World, as well as we had a late flight after the cruise so we decided to visit Kennedy Space Center. We paid about $300 for a Minivan through AVIS, and then parking at the port was $68. This would have been compared to $420 for a Disney Bus for the 6 of us.

disneybus

disneyparking
Disney says $64 but its been changed to $68 in 2018

 

In this post I didnt get into many tips or my opinions as this was just the planning phase. Stay tuned for upcoming detailed posts and reviews of all aspects of the cruise!