Sunday, October 30, 2011

Castaway Cay and Pirate Night!

I completely forgot about continuing my Disney Cruise review last night (whoops! big surprise there!).. but here I am now!

Disney cruises have these amazing broadway shows every night in the Walt Disney Theater. They play them twice -- at 6:30 and 8:30 (ish? I can't remember the exact times). If you go to dinner first at 5:45, like we did, then you would go to the later theater time. But if you have the late dinner, then you would go to the broadway show first.

Capish? :)

Bad news for the Cox family -- Adalyn wants to go to bed at 7:45pm! So, sadly, we missed the first night's show, which was called The Golden Mickey's, or something. I was pretty bummed out about it, because it looked AWESOME. But the second night? I was determined to go! So we put Adalyn in her cookie pajamas and took her to the show anyway to see Villains Tonight. It was FANTASTIC! Folks, I am going to admit that I h.a.t.e. musicals. I hate them so much!! All the singing really gets on my nerves. But this? This was truly perfect. This show featured all of our favorite villains (Hades, Ursula, Scar, Cruella, Captain Hook, and more!) and they all sang and it was so funny!

Adalyn was glued to it at first, and then went to sleep like a perfect angel. Thank you, child :)

Hades - the main character - was so funny! I couldn't recommend this enough. The third night had an odd ventriloquist, because the main show was the Pirate Party up on the 11th deck. (more on that later!)

The next morning - Tuesday - was a day at Castaway Cay! This place was perfect and was truly paradise. It's an island owned only by Disney, so it's completely un-comercialized and everything is free. Basically. Once you get off the ship, you can line up and meet any character you want! We posed with Chip and Dale and Mickey - the different characters come out at different times all day long. But first we wanted to find a spot at the beach, of course!

The great thing about CC is that the boat drops you off right on the beach. It was about a 5 minute walk along the coast of the island to the Family Beach. Disney has different beaches - even one for adults only.

Oh, the ocean. It was the best. Disney put nets up, so no scary fish or sharks can come in! Adalyn played in the sand and was in the best mood. She loved digging her legs in the sand and crawling around like our little sea crab :]

We worked up an appetite and headed over to Cookies Too, Disney's free restaurant! Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, BBQ chicken, tomato basil salad, cole slaw, and a ton of other food plus an array of desserts.. unlimited! You just stand in line and get as much as you want. They have these beautiful pavilions to sit under and enjoy your lunch. Adalyn scarfed down their famous chocolate chip cookies and banana nut bread. The servers from the cruise are there to help you - they took my tray for me and brought it to my table. So helpful!

What else can I say about Castaway Cay? It just wonderful. If you're worried about the beach being overrun with kids, think again! We were able to find our own secluded spot with a huge umbrella for shade, and I rocked Adalyn to sleep in complete peace. Then, when she woke up, I seriously nursed Adalyn out on the beach right next to the water. Um, a mother's paradise! It could not have been better. We then walked around to the gift shops, took photos, and just took in the beauty of the island!

Then? Back on the boat! We wanted to take Adalyn to Nemo's Reef, which is their baby splash pad for children who are not yet potty-trained. The ship has 3 pools, I believe.. an 18+ pool, two kids pools, and then a big splash pad. We were the only ones in the splash pad when we went, so Adalyn was able to crawl around and explore!

Mark was itching to take a ride on the Aqua Duck - Disney Dream's huge water slide that wraps around the whole ship. He loved it!! I got my camera out just in time to snap this photo:

After a surprise encounter with Donald Duck and Lilo, it was time to get ready for Pirate Night! Disney surprised us with little bandanas to dress like a pirate for dinner, and they gave us some Mickey tattoos! So fun. Of course we dressed up our little buccaneer! The dinner was a special seafood-type deal, and it was fantastic. I had shrimp and scallops, and the shrimp were still in the shell! But the food was absolutely delicious. I scarfed it down so fast! Mark had some beef something-or-other. And Adalyn? Well, we made the mistake of ordering her macaroni and cheese. The kid hates macaroni and cheese.

But tonight was special because our servers celebrated her first birthday! She got her very own little chocolate mousse cake, a birthday pin, and everyone sang to her! It was so sweet. She just stared in awe.

And with that, our third cruise day was over!

Tomorrow's post will include: A day at sea, meeting the Disney Princesses, and the fancy schmancy night! Plus the special things that Disney does for their cruisers!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Disney Dream Review! Part ONE!

Hi, remember me? Yeah, I didn't think so. It's been a month and a half since I last checked in. Since then, our babe has grown so much and celebrated her first birthday with a Minnie Mouse party. Oh, and we also went on a Disney Cruise! Which is why I'm here -- to tell you all the ins and outs of our cruise!

We took a 5-day, 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is Disney's private island in the Bahamas, and it is absolutely paradise. But more on that later!

We stayed in a Deluxe Stateroom with a Verandah (a balcony), which I completely recommend. There's nothing better than having your own private and quiet space to sit and enjoy your personal ocean view. While Adalyn napped, we could go outside. And when she wasn't napping, she absolutely LOVED crawling out on the verandah and exploring the ocean for herself.

I'm trying to think of everything to tell you guys, but there's just so much. Basically, I will just say that you would think this cruise would be just over-run with children and would be so loud and crazy. Um, definitely not. There were tons of older people, single couples, etc. with no children! And the children that were there were absolutely well behaved. I mean, they were on the Disney Cruise. With Mickey Mouse. Of course they were all in the best of moods! But really, the cruise isn't crowded at all. We were always able to get any seat we wanted, we were the *only people* in the splash pad when we went, and it was just fantastic for our family.

The best part? The food. "Cabanas" is a buffet-style area on deck 11 with 9 stations. Basically any food you can imagine is here -- every meat, every side dish, every dessert.. it's pretty amazing. All Coke products, milk, coffee, and juices are free, which is one of the perks of Disney! We were always able to get a window seat while eating, so we could view the ocean! Perfect!

Our first dinner was at Animator's Palate - this restaurant is designed with Disney's animations. During the meal, the animations come to life. The screens turn to the ocean, and Crush, Dory, Nemo, and Bruce come and talk! They've got some secret cameras (or something?!) and actually talk personally to the kids. Ex: "Hey you in the blue shirt! What's your name?! Are you liking your chocolate ice cream?" Or whatever. The kids It was pretty cute, and Adalyn stared a hole through Crush when he came on!

Our babe was r.e.a.d.y. for bed by the end of dinner (turns out she's a huge fan of french fries with lots of ketchup!) and we had to miss the Golden Mickeys, which is an amazing musical in the Walt Disney theater. I saw a preview of it on tv, and it looked just spectacular. Stinky that we had to turn in so early, but we had to get rested up for our next day...


Mark and I had already been to Nassau on our honeymoon and took a full tour, so we decided to book a different type of excursion this time around and went with the Atlantis Beach Day. Basically, a bus took us to Atlantis, and we got a tour of the resort and were able to get access to their private little cove. It was pretty spectacular, though the walk there wore us completely out. Poor baby had red cheeks from being so hot, so we were ready to jump in the ocean!

We loved the beach but decided to head back to the boat in the early afternoon. And it's a good thing we did, because a downpour of rain came flooding in as soon as we got on the boat! I forgot to mention that one of the neat things about a Disney cruise is your "Key to the World Cards." Each person has their own card - including babies! - and you do everything with your card. Including turning your lights and tv on in your stateroom! You disembark with your card and then scan it again when you board back on the ship. I think it's a fantastic idea, because we had to use our passports to board back on the ship with Carnival. Much easier this way!

We finished our second day with a dinner at the Enchanted Garden, which is themed around princess-y stuff (?). The ceiling and flowers turned from daytime to nighttime throughout the course of our meal. It was pretty.. well, enchanting, and Adalyn loved the beautiful water fountain. I loved the lobster ravioli - I was practically licking the plate. Kidding. Kind of. I had a jumbo prime rib and the most amazing desserts.

Adalyn was more hyper than ever and was in such a good mood. The Disney Cruise was seriously enchanting for her. She just LOVED it!

She also loved the unlimited chocolate ice cream. Is that dirty little Minnie Mouse cute or what!?

And that sticky little critter just woke up from her awesome nap. Tune in tomorrow for a review of Villains Tonight, Castaway Cay, and Pirate's Night!

(Questions? Comments? I have no idea what you all - those of you who asked me to blog about this - want me to cover. There's just so! much! to say! I could write a novel... )