Disney Cruising for Families of 5

Disney Cruises are made with families in mind. From larger staterooms to bathtubs in almost all staterooms to amazing activities for the whole family, there is hardly a detail that Disney Cruise Lines hasn’t thought of. This includes accommodations for larger families.

Disney Magic in Grand Cayman

Most of the staterooms on Disney Cruise Line accommodate families of 4. There is a special category, however, that can accommodate a family of 5! These are the Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms available with and without a verandah (without only on the Dream/Fantasy ships). You can also book 2 inside connecting staterooms which is sometimes less expensive.

dcl2

Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom

These Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms have a queen sized bed for mom and dad, a fold out sofa with a bed that folds out of the ceiling above it and a bed that folds out of the wall for the kids. There is also a privacy divider curtain between mom and dad’s bed and the children’s beds. There is more counter space in the Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms when compared to the Deluxe Oceanview Staterooms.

dcl3

The girls showing off their sleeping arrangements in a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah

Most of the rooms have the split bath concept that is unique to Disney Cruise Lines. The split bathroom has a door that opens to a toilet and sink and a separate area with a sink and tub (another unique Disney Cruise Line feature!) Please note there are some rooms (some inside staterooms as well as some handicap accessible rooms) that do NOT have a tub.

One important thing to know is that these rooms book VERY quickly if there is a special offer released. This is where booking with a Disney Destination Specialist like myself can come in handy! I was able to secure staterooms for two best friends that wanted to each take their family of 5 on a Disney Cruise from Galveston with the Kids Sail Free offer. One booked and by the time the other got back to me, there were no rooms available. I called Disney Cruise Line EVERY DAY at the start of business until a room opened up for them and was able to book. I can also easily help you compare the pricing on booking one Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom versus two Inside Staterooms or Deluxe Oceanview Staterooms.

So just because you have a larger family doesn’t mean that you and your family cannot enjoy a Disney Cruise! It just takes a bit more planning – something I would LOVE to do for you! Please email me at Amy@TravelwiththeMagic.com or you can find me on Facebook. You can also call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to plan your family’s MAGICAL vacation!

BINGO

Ever wonder what family fun activities there are on board a Disney Cruise that really is a lot of fun for the entire family? Well, wonder no more – BINGO! While cash prizes are awarded, and the winner for all games must be over 21, this does not stop the families from joining in on all the fun of listening for each number and waiting to call out “BINGO”!

IF

Now I remember playing Bingo as a youngster on paper cards with pieces of corn as the markers, or plastic cards with little slide windows to cover up the number and even paper cards where you use markers, or dobbers to cover up the last number called. Well, you know Disney, they don’t do it like that on the cruise ships.

IMG_0744 - Copy

If you want to play just a few cards for starts, you can purchase a sheet with 3 cards for each game. There will be a different color sheet for each game, so you do get new numbers each time around. No markers, no corn, no windows. You simply poke the pre punched cut out in each square and fold. Poke and Fold they like to refer to it. These are great cards for the kids to share.

IMG_0743 - Copy

Now, if you want to really up your chances of winning, you want to enjoy the latest and greatest gadget to the Bingo World! This amazing machine does it all. Keeps track of your top four cards, can hold up to 40 cards information, and all you do is sit back, relax and wait for it to flash, cause when it does, you have a BINGO!!

So what do you win exactly? Well, times do change and I’m sure the prizes will from time to time as well, but “typically” each game has a cash pay out based on the number of cards sold. “Typically” the first game is the lowest pay out and just gets better from there. The final game of the sitting is a cover all. If you manage to cover your entire card in 48 numbers or less, you can win some serious cash. In most cases, there is not a winner day one, and this cover all kitty carries over from drawing to drawing. They HAVE to give it ALL away the final game. I’ve seen one person win $8000. The final game, final day they play until someone wins. So no limit on how many numbers called before you win the large cash prize.

IMG_0745 - Copy

What makes a Bingo session even more exciting are the Cruise Staff. These are the most energetic, fun-loving people you will most likely encounter on the cruise. They are there to provide you a great experience. There will be little prizes in between games as well, sometimes spa treatments, Disney Collectibles, excursions at a port coming up. All kinds of exciting gifts just waiting to be given away.

So next time you are on a Disney Cruise, don’t be shy. Check out your daily Navigator, find out when and where Bingo will be held that day and stop in for a game. Drinks and snacks are typically available for purchase as well. Good Luck!

If I can help you plan a future cruise, or vacation of your own special destination, please feel free to email me at cindy@travelwiththemagic.com . Also, follow my Facebook page as well.

Hidden Mickey’s on the Disney Fantasy

nemo

What exactly is a Hidden Mickey?  It is a representation of Mickey Mouse that has been inserted into the design of a ride, attraction, or other location in a Disney theme park, Disney properties, movie or other Disney product. The most common Hidden Mickey is a formation of three circles that may be perceived as the silhouette of the head and ears of Mickey Mouse, often referred to as a “Classic Mickey”.  Mickeys may be painted, made up of objects (such as rocks, or three plates on a table).  Hidden Mickeys can take on many sizes and forms.

Well, on our recent cruise on the Disney Fantasy, we thought we would give it a try and see how many Hidden Mickey’s we could find.  Here are some of our results:

atrium 1

One of the first Mickey’s we found was in the atrium of the Disney Fantasy, on the side of the walls next to the elevators.

atrium 2

And of course, while looking up at the stunning chandelier, we spotted some more at the top of the formation (we could see this better by going up to Deck 4)

We enjoyed many shows in the Walt Disney Theatre while on the cruise and here we spotted several more Mickey’s hidden in the detail work along the stage.

Stage

The D-Lounge is a very busy place during the cruise as well, offering many family events, BINGO, special Chef Presentations and more.  While sitting in here we found Mickey’s in the carpeting as well as a formation of the circles on the on the ceiling.

DLounge carpet

D Lounge ceiling

And of course, while walking out and around the open decks we had fun searching for more.  On Deck 13 we found some on the two golf club bags for the Goofy Golf course.  And, at the 9th and final hole, how about the Mickey latte!

And a great example of how creative some of these can be, this one was found on Deck 4 on a support beam near the deck floor.  We might have missed this one if it wasn’t pointed out to us on a tour we took.

odd creation

This one had to be a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons.  A doorbell.  We seriously had a doorbell on our room.  I loved this!  And, to think it was also a depiction of a Mickey head made it even more fun to have.

doorbell

So, my suggestion for your next Disney trip, no matter if it is in a park or on a cruise, add a little spy work to your fun and see how many Mickeys you can find. They are literally everywhere! Take some pictures and when you get home, email them to me.  I’d love to see what you find.

For help in planning your next Disney vacation, please contact me for a variety of services I can offer to you at no charge.  You can email me at cindy@travelwiththemagic.com .  You can also follow me on  Facebook.

Palo Brunch on the Disney Magic

Ever wanted to enjoy brunch at Palo?  Well, if you do, here’s some of what you can expect!

When you first enter the lobby area for Palo, you can tell you are in a very special place.  The beautiful woods, marble tiles, decorative wine bottles and glassware, and even the bathrooms ooze luxury.  The masks in the waiting area let you know you have been transported from the Caribbean to Italy.  (Be sure to check out the bathrooms in the lobby.  They are the nicest ones I encountered on the entire ship!)  The restaurant itself is small and intimate.

Beautiful masks in the waiting area

Beautiful masks in the waiting area

Our reservation was at 10 am.  We were the first to arrive in the restaurant.  It was so peaceful and serene with no one else there!  Our server Mirko met us at the hostess podium and escorted us to our table where he let us put down anything we might be carrying before he showed us around the restaurant.  Our table was along the windows and would have been very beautiful at sunset.  It was a very bright sunny day, but it was rather windy.  We enjoyed watching people try to hold onto their hats (and children) as they walked around the deck outside Palo.

Palo brunch is a buffet with different stations set up in the middle of the dining room.  There are also chefs there to make some items to order.  Mirko showed us each of the stations – antipasto (with dried meats, cheeses, breads, caviar, fruits and vegetables), seafood (with crab legs, shrimp cocktail, scallops, crawfish and more), bakery (sweet breads, rolls, etc.), and the desserts (chocolate covered strawberries, tiramisu, and LOTS more).  He also showed us where the chefs were making the made to order items – Palo’s signature pizzas, strawberry soup, eggs Florentine, veal saltimbocca and more.

The antipasto table

The antipasto table

It all looked SO wonderful; we couldn’t wait to dive in!  Mirko brought us our complimentary mimosa while we visited the antipasto and seafood tables first.  Everything here was amazing.  I found a new love for braeseola and prosciutto and cemented my love for Parmesean cheese!

The bakery table was probably the thing I was most unimpressed with.  The cinnamon roll/sticky bun was very good (warm, soft, gooey and super sticky) but everything else I tried was a little too hard for my taste.  I was expecting some of the items to be a bit softer.

We decided to split the veal saltimbocca and the gorgonzola/grape pizza.  I also had to try the strawberry soup for my 6 year old.  I had heard raving things about the gorgonzola/grape pizza and it definitely did not disappoint.  It was drizzled with a balsamic vinegar that really made the flavor of the gorgonzola cheese stand out.  The veal saltimbocca was amazing as well.  I had never had this dish before which is why we decided to try it.  The veal practically melted in your mouth!  The strawberry soup was very good as well – almost more like a smoothie than a soup.  However, it was served with a mixed berry (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry) and mint garnish that I didn’t really care for.  The soup itself though was wonderful – creamy and definitely full of strawberries!

Yummy strawberry soup!

Yummy strawberry soup!

Last was the desert table.  OH MY WORD.  All of the desserts I tried were wonderful.  The tiramisu was AMAZING as was the pot de chocolate.  They were both creamy and had great flavor.

Desserts, desserts, desserts

Desserts, desserts, desserts

The service here was also outstanding.  Mirko was at our table immediately if we needed anything.  Our place setting was replaced every time we got a new plate.  He was incredibly attentive and when I told him that my husband and I would be dining for dinner later in the week, he said “see you then” (and he did…he was our server for dinner as well).

Palo brunch was an incredible experience and one I’m so happy I was able to share with my mother-in-law.  It was well worth the $20 charge!  The attention to every tiny detail in the restaurant was amazing.  I felt as if I had been transported away from the hustle and bustle of the cruise and was in my own private world.

Want to experience Palo for yourself?  I cannot wait to help you plan your MAGICAL vacation on the Disney Cruise Line!

Contact me at amy@travelwiththemagic.com, 1-800-670-4312, x129 or on Facebook

Some Hidden Costs of Cruising

When booking a cruise, you may hear the words “all-inclusive”.  While this is MOSTLY true, once you get on board there are a few costs that are not included.  This is pretty much the same industry wide, but this article will cover the extra expenses you will find on Disney Cruise Lines.  For the most part your snacks, meals, activities and entertainment ARE included in your cruise fare making cruises a wonderfully efficient use of your vacation funds.  However, there are a few things you will need to budget for.

Soft Drinks

A common option on non-Disney cruise lines is the soda card or the soda package.  If you are cruising Disney Cruise Lines, all fountain drinks are included!  Be aware that if you order soda from a bar or from room service, there is a charge for these drinks.  The free refill stations are up near the quick service restaurants.  Specialty coffee drinks, drinks from the bar, and all “drinks of the day” (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic) are also an extra fee.  An additional 15% gratuity is automatically charged to drinks ordered at the bars.  We like to bring a large cup onboard and use Disney’s cups to fill that cup (Disney prefers this for sanitary purposes) and then keep it in our beverage cooler in our room all day for easy access.  We found the refillable “coffee type mugs” to be a good bargain for us.  They were only $8 (instead of $15 at Disney World!) and you got a discount when you purchased the non-alcoholic drink of the day.

Amy jan1

Caption:  The souvenir cups for the drinks of the day will cost extra.

Gratuities

Gratuities are also not included.  For a 6 night sailing, Disney recommends a total of about $12 per person per night split between your Server, Assistant Server, Head Server and Stateroom Host/Hostess. You have the option of prepaying for these gratuities before your sailing or they will be automatically charged to your onboard account on the last day of the sailing.  (Contact your travel planner for more information).

On the last night of your sailing you will receive envelopes and a perforated printout of the gratuities (either the recommended amounts or the prepaid amounts) and gratuity instructions.  If you would like to adjust the amounts, you can visit guest services with the letter that is delivered to your stateroom.  If your service has been exceptional (which has been our experience, more often than not), you can add a personal note and simply add cash (in addition to the printout) in the envelopes.  It is typical to deliver these to your servers on your last evening meal, and you can leave the tip for the hostess

Your head server is the person in the main dining room who is in charge of your section and oversees all of the servers and assistant servers.  Your server is your server in the main dining room who takes your food order each night.  Your assistant server is your server who takes your drink orders each night.  Your stateroom host/hostess is the person in charge of cleaning your stateroom (and making your wonderful towel animals!).   The recommended gratuity amount per person depends on the length of your sailing.  Please remember that the bulk of the salary that the servers and room hosts make is from gratuities.

Pictures

As with all Disney adventures there are plenty of opportunities for pictures and ample Disney staff to capture those magic moments.  When you board the ship, you will have your picture taken, typically with Mickey or Minnie, but the characters will rotate throughout the day.  There will also be photographers with the characters at each of the greetings.  Photographers come to each dining room table on Pirate Night and Formal and Semi-formal nights.  There will also be backdrops set up around the ship on different nights with photographers available to take your picture.

All professional photos will be printed and displayed in Shutters for purchase.  Single 6×8 photos are $9.95 each and 8×10 photos are $19.95 each.  There are photo packages starting at 10 6×8 photos or 5 8×10 photos for $84.95.  You may also purchase a CD with the images, starting at $249.95 for a 3 night sailing.  The ship photographers cannot take pictures with your camera, but if there is a regular cast member there, most are more than happy to take a picture with your personal camera.  If there is not a cast member, ask the next family in line!  If you would like to purchase ship pictures, check into the packages, as it may save you some money.

Port Adventures

The ship takes you to different ports, but what do while you’re there?  This is where Port Adventures (shore excursions on other cruise lines) come into play.  The Port Adventures offered by Disney Cruise Lines vary in price from inexpensive beach breaks to all day swimming with dolphins.  Please remember that tips are appropriate for most tour operators, so bring small bills into port with you.  You can sometimes find less expensive excursions by booking on your own, but I prefer the security of booking with the cruise line.  Many of the excursions do not include meals or drinks, so either budget for meals on shore (which tend to be pricy), bring snacks from home, or pack some of the cereal from the breakfast meals.  Remember that only sealed food (ie no fruit or pastries) can be taken off board, so plan accordingly.

Amy jan 2

Caption:  My kids loved swimming with the stingrays in Grand Cayman

SPA
The spa onboard is not included in your cruise fare.  Services range from mani-pedis (starting at $25 for a manicure, $45 for a pedicure), shampoo/cut and style (starting at $52) to massages (starting at $81 for a half body/25 minute massage).  Take advantage of the spa during port days to get some savings.

Amy jan 3

Caption:  The Spa is a great place to relax and unwind!

LAUNDRY

Laundry services are available on board for an extra fee.  You can send your laundry away to be done for you (dry clean or laundry) or you can take advantage of the self-service laundry rooms on board.   One nice thing about Disney Cruise Lines is that you don’t have to have a roll of quarters.  Simply swipe your Key to the World card, and you can wash, dry and even purchase soap.   (All is the detergent of choice on board.  If you prefer another detergent or would like to plan ahead to do laundry, bring your own.  The laundry room also has an iron and ironing board and a large utility sink. The ironing board is in high demand on formal nights, so plan ahead.  Dry cleaning services range from $2 for a tie to $9 for a 3-piece suit.  Laundry services range from $0.75 for a handkerchief to $3.50 for a pair of pants.

Amy jan 4

Caption:  One of the laundry facilities onboard

Activities

Most of the activities on board ARE free but there are some exceptions.

BINGO: Bingo, of course, is an extra fee (there are packs starting at $20).  You might win back what you’ve spent to play – though I never do – but friends we met on board walked away a diamond necklace!  There are electronic packs as well as paper games.  Paper games are less expensive, though the number of “cards” is less, and the electronic cards will automatically keep track for you.  Once you purchase a game for that round of Bingo, your name is included in the raffles they do that session.  Raffles can be anything from free rounds of Bingo to Disney Cruise Line merchandise.

LIQUOR:  Any of the alcohol tastings (wine, beer, margarita/tequila, mixology, etc) are an additional charge, typically about $15.  The wine tasting we attended featured 4 wines, and totaled approximately 1-1.5 glasses of wine in total.  The tequila/margarita tasting had 3 shots and 3 spirits, with the potential for another shot and another spirit if you pay attention and answer questions properly (if you still can after 3 shots and 3 spirits!)

I make guest services my first stop after boarding to sign up for the tastings as they are limited in space.  While there I also make arrangements for Tea with Alice (NO CHARGE if offered on your sailing) and seasonal offerings (ie making gingerbread houses at Christmas time – also NO CHARGE!)  Please contact your travel planner for more information for specifics on the offerings.

Amy jan 5

Caption:  The Margarita/Tequila tasting was wonderful!

Adult Dining Options and Other Snacks

If you choose to dine in Palo or Remy, the adult only restaurants on Disney Cruise Line, you will be charged an additional fee ($20/person for Palo and $75/person for Remy).  Please note that an additional 15% gratuity for your server will automatically be added.  Wine pairings are also available for additional fees.  The wines available are typically more expensive than those included with Disney’s Classic wine package, so if you have the classic package, you will receive a $28 dollar discount on the wine available.  Be prepared – at Palo, the cheapest red wine was $37, which we paid $9 for, but it was a great wine.  Also, the snacks (popcorn is popular – about $5 for the smaller bag) from Preludes (the snack bar outside the Walt Disney theater) are an additional charge.  If these are not something you want to spend extra money on, bring your own movie theater snacks (candy) from home or simply make sure everyone has a meal or snack before you head into the theater.

Caption:  Part of the Palo brunch offering

Amy jan 6

Internet Service

If you must be connected with the world outside of your ship, you will have to pay for internet service.  You can pay as you go for $0.75/minute or purchase a package for $75 for up to 250 minutes on 7 night sailings or $150 for up to 500 minutes on longer sailings.  Please be aware that the service is via satellite and so it can be spotty and slow.   Plans cannot be upgraded once purchased and you will not receive a refund for unused minutes.  You can save some money here by locating a coffee shop or other location while you are in port and using free wifi.

Art

Art is available, ranging from $125 to $6000 or more.  The options on board our last sailing included items from the Pixar Gallery, Thomas Kinkade interpretations of Disney princess castles, and more.  There were also multiple silent auctions throughout the cruise.

Souvenirs

Of course, you will want to budget in money for souvenirs.  One nice thing about Disney Cruise Lines is that you can apply a gift card or your Disney Chase Visa rewards redemption dollars to your onboard account.  Ask for Disney gift cards for holidays or birthdays if you are sailing soon after.  If you let your children know that they have a set amount they can spend, and they know ahead of time, it can save some heartache in the shops.  On our last sailing, my children had one day to shop onboard to spend gift cards from family members (that I had applied on the first day onboard).  They never once asked to purchase anything else in port or onboard.

Remember, just because these things are an additional cost does not negate the wonderful value of a cruise vacation.  Your meals, drinks, activities and entertainment are all included.  On our first cruise, with the exception of some drinks, our excursions, and gratuities, we didn’t purchase much else onboard.  With a little planning, it’s not hard to stay within your budget on the ship!

If you would like to sail the seven seas, contact me today!  I cannot wait to help you plan your MAGICAL vacation on the Disney Cruise Line!  Contact me at amy@travelwiththemagic.com, 1-800-670-4312, x129 or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicAmy).

Royal Treatment on the Disney Dream

As a little girl, I dreamt of fairytales and castles, fancy meals and tea parties. Little did I know that as an adult those dreams would come true. For our sons senior trip we planned a Disney cruise on the newest ship the “Dream”. My expectations were undetermined because I had never cruised before. I did all of my research and planned every step of the cruise. The rotational dining is something I was most looking forward to. Although each restaurant had something special and it would be hard to choose which was better than the other, I have to say that upon my arrival to the Royal Palace, I instantly knew that my childhood dream was becoming a reality.

Royaltableentry

As you walk into the restaurant you are greeted with a large staff dressed as if they were serving the King and Queen. The carpets are a royal blue with pillars through the room. The lighting fixtures are breathtaking, Cinderella’s glass slippers hang from the lights. The details are absolutely the most impressive thing I’ve seen on a ship. I felt as if I were really in a royal palace awaiting a fine meal. It took me several visits during our sailing to really grasp the décor.

RoyaltableMenu

Our table was on the wall so we had a gorgeous view of the water. I felt like the window was taking us on a journey, we had the early seating so we were able to enjoy a skyline of waves and sunshine.

Royaltablelighting

My four course meal started with the Princess delight which was the best non alcoholic drink I’ve ever tasted I’m sure it’s because it was made for the queen. I ordered Jumbo Shrimp as an appetizer and then was served with Belle’s French Onion soup, the cheese itself was thick and delicious once I got through that I was able to enjoy a very rich onion broth that I could have eaten as my meal. It was amazing. I knew it was only going to get better as they brought our bread in the most adorable carriage that resembled Cinderella’s ride to the ball. My Husband enjoyed the Royal Market Green Salad, he said the dressing was excellent. We both enjoyed the same main course of Aged Angus grilled Beef Tenderloin. I think the title of the dish speaks for itself. It was cooked to perfection and the taste was mind blowing, rich and husky wood flavored is the only way I can explain it. I asked for potatoes from a different dish which they did with no questions asked. I hardly had room left for dessert but we were on vacation so how could I pass up a sweet treat fit for a queen? I couldn’t. I had the strawberry shortcake sundae. The strawberries were the freshest berries I’ve ever tasted and the whipping cream was pure perfection, creamy and just sweet enough to keep you going back for just one more bite.

Royaltablefamilypic

My night of dining in the Royal Palace was coming to an end, it did not disappoint and as I write this blog my mouth is watering and I keep looking at the calendar to plan another visit  on the Disney Dream so I can again be treated like royalty.

If you would like to be treated like a King and Queen, please contact me so I can make your next Disney vacation the trip of a lifetime.

Amy Blades

amyb@travelwiththemagic.com

1-800-397-4674

Adult Activities on board Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruises are more for the kids, right? Wrong! There are plenty of reasons to sail on board one of Disney’s 4 cruise ships…even if YOU are the “kid” in your traveling party!

There are tons of activities for adults on the Disney Cruises. Whether you are traveling without children or trying to find something to do while your kiddos are enjoying some kid club time, there are some great ways to relax and enjoy some time with your fellow adults!

  • Adult Dining- Palo is an amazing restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine and has a beautiful view of the ocean. Adults love the view, food and quiet time that is offered here. No children are permitted.

 

  • Spa – Who doesn’t love a good massage? The spas on board Disney Cruise Line are like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Pamper yourself with a massage, have your hair done in the salon or get your sweat on in the fitness center. A couples villa sounds like the perfect way to spend the day!

 

  • Pool – Quiet Cove Pool is a fantastic way to escape the business of the ship. This is an adult only area and is a great spot to relax and enjoy the quiet, grab a drink and soak up the sun.

 

  • Nightclubs – There are multiple nightclubs on board the ships…each with its own theme. Whether you are in the mood for dancing, singing, laughing, relaxing or even watching sports – there is something for you here!

 

  • Castaway Cay Activities – Castaway Cay is Disney’s own gorgeous, private island. The adult activities don’t end once you step off of the ship. Enjoy a massage out in the open beach air on Serenity Bay. This is an entire beach just for adults and the ultimate way to relax!

 

If you are interested in learning more about Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Adventures by Disney, contact me today!

Erin Santamaria – ErinS@travelwiththemagic.com 877-377-0505

You can also contact me on facebook or follow me on Pinterest. http://www.facebook.com/ErinxSantamaria

http://pinterest.com/erinsanta78/

An Experience of a Lifetime

Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter

As I sit down to write this post it is 28 degrees outside and there is snow on the ground.  I am NOT a cold weather fan, so to say that I am dreaming of warmer climates and the feel of sun on my face is a definite understatement!  So, with that in mind, lets take a trip down memory lane to warmer, happier, time and place…..

Last year we took a cruise to the Bahamas on board the Disney Dream, and while we loved everything about the ship itself, one of the most memorable things we did on that trip was in the port of Nassau.  Our excursion of choice that day was a trip out to Blue Lagoon Island

The island itself is beautiful and there are several excursions to choose from.  There is a Sea Lion Encounter, a Dolphin Encounter, a Dolphin Swim or you can just elect to spend a day at their beach.  Your travel agent can help you decide which one works best for your family.  We chose to do the Dolphin Encounter and what an amazing experience it was!

First we were taken by boat out to the island, then we broke off into our respective groups.  After you are given a short training course to educate you about dolphins and their behaviors, they take you down to the docks.  There are lockers there where you can put your things during the encounter.  Then you get to meet your dolphin.  This was Andy

We had a pretty large group, so we actually worked with two dolphins, the other one was still in training and his name was Clarence.  The big group is broken down and you enter the water in smaller groups of about 8 people.  Here you get to ‘pet’ the dolphin, dance with him, feed him, play with him.

 

My husband thought it was quite funny when Andy decided to splash me

We ended our experience with hugs and kisses, and yes, I did kiss the dolphin, right on the lips!

What a special experience it was for my family to get to interact with these special creatures.  This was by far one of the biggest highlights of our trip!  I’d love to help you create amazing family memories like these, just drop me a quick email at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com and lets get started.  Remember, when you book your vacation with me, all my planning services are free!

Pirate night on the Disney Dream – What an adventure!

Never in a million years did I expect that my whole family would be dressed like pirates while sailing in the middle of the ocean. In preparing for our trip on the Disney Dream this past March my husband was adamant that we should dress up and take part in the nightly festivities. I couldn’t actually believe that my family was so excited about something like this, so as soon as my husband said the word the costumes were ordered and packed for our adventure at sea.

The evening began with every Disney character dressed in pirate attire. Lots of Photo op’s everywhere. Once we were satisfied with our pictures it was perfect timing for dinner. The dinner menu featured food that only a pirate could love.

The bread service started the evening for us and was a unique Johnny Cake with a relish.  My personal favorite to kick the meal off was Black Beard’s Jumbo Crab Cake however my husband went for the Pirates Golden “Pot Stickers”, both extremely delicious.

Next we had to choose our soup or salad option. This was easy for all of us we agreed on Jerk Chicken salad, however friends that were vacationing with us were really into the Caribbean-style conch Chowder.

It was now time for the main course which was very difficult to choose from. Something interesting I learned on this trip was that I could pick several things, they would come on one plate in an appetizer size. I was game for this and tried Captain Hook’s Macadamia Nut-dusted Mahi Mahi, Treasures of the Seas Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops – and Jack Sparrow’s Barbecue Marinated Beef Short Ribs …Needless to say Yummy was the word. How was I ever going to make room for dessert especially when Jack sparrow was awaiting my arrival? I managed to finish off the rum Soaked Chocolate Cake and if I hadn’t made plans to hit the deck for the dance party I have to admit I may have asked for another piece. The fruit cobbler was another favorite at our table to.

With the food out of the way we could now get to the big Buccaneer Blast…the night we had all been waiting for. As the lights on the ship dimmed and the music started with pirates on the screen and in the crowd I knew this was going to be a night to remember…..here I am with my husband, the love of my life and our 3 boys. We are in the middle of the Ocean on the Disney Dream, dressed as pirates with pirates surrounding us! All of a sudden a loud blast and beautiful color cover the sky. Before I knew it Captain Jack Sparrow was fighting off the bad guys right in front of my eyes…as he maneuvered his way to victory we all cheered and continued to watch the bright colors radiate the sky. Where else can you have a moment like this? The night ended with a Pirate dessert buffet that was amazing. As we made it back to our cabin and got the boys tucked in I walked on to the balcony very thankful for this extraordinary evening where as a family we made magical memories together.

If you are looking to make magical memories I would love to help you out with my FREE service. Contact me for a FREE quote!

 Contact me at:

 amyb@travelwiththemagic.com

or

1-800-397-4674

                                                                                                                                                                      Amy Blades

It’s a Small World Nursery – Cruising with babies & Toddlers

 “I can’t wait to take my kids to Disney when they’re older. Right now they’re too young.” – I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this…too many!  People often feel the hustle and bustle of the theme parks at Walt Disney World might be too much and too crazy for their little ones so they would rather put off their Disney vacation. But why do that when you can satisfy your Disney craving now AND take your kiddos with you? A Disney Cruise is the perfect way to get your Disney fix and still have a relaxing and entertaining vacation with your family…no matter their ages! There is truly something for everyone on these amazing ships.

Based on their ages, there are TONS of activities to keep the kids occupied. For this blog, let’s focus on what Disney Cruise Line has to offer for their smallest guests (ages 3 months to 3 years).  It’s a Small World Nursery on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy was inspired by the classic attraction, of course, and is a colorful, happy and safe place for your children to eat, play or nap. The kids love it! Most importantly though, you will love knowing that they are in good hands and having fun!

Its a Small World Nursey

There are 3 areas of It’s a Small World Nursery.

Acclimation Zone

Play Area

Napping Area

The first area is meant for children to get used to their surroundings. This might as well be called the “welcome area”. I haven’t heard of many children crying while going in…only crying when leaving!

Its a Small World Nursery area

While you are having a massage or enjoying some time at the adult only pool, your kids will be enjoying the play area of the nursery. Trained Disney counselors will lead your children in crafts, movie time, and other activities that I wish I could participate in myself. Games, books, puzzles…it’s all here!

It's a Small World Nursery

If your kids decide that they’ve had enough fun and need to rest up, there is a separate area for taking a snooze and recharging for some more baby fun and adventure! Did I mention that the crib sheets are adorable? Well let me take this opportunity…so cute.

It's a Small World Nursery

Some key pieces of info to remember for It’s a Small World Nursery:

Items typically found in your diaper bag should go with your child to the nursery.

This includes:

Diapers, wipes, bottles, milk, formula, extra clothes and a favorite blanket or pacifier

There is an additional charge for kids to stay in the nursery but it really is worth it.

$6 per hour for the first child

 $5 per hour for the second child in the same family

A spot for your child must always be reserved in advance.

120 days in advance – Concierge and Platinum Castaway Club Guests

105 days in advance – Gold Castaway Club Guests

90 days in advance – Silver Castaway Club Guests

75 days in advance – all other Guests

Hours should always be confirmed once on board but are usually as follows:

9am-11pm on the Disney Dream.

For Disney Fantasy hours, check the Personal Navigator to confirm times.

To say that a Disney Cruise is a great place for small children (as well as big ones!) is an understatement. It’s the perfect way to introduce Disney to them gradually and prepare them for the Disney Parks!

If you would like more information on Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or Adventures by Disney, feel free to contact me for more information.

I would love to help your family plan the first of many Disney Vacations.

Contact me for a free quote and let me help you set sail on a journey you’ll never forget!

Erin Santamaria

ErinS@Travelwiththemagic.com

Toll Free: 1-877-377-0505

You can also find me on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ErinxSantamaria