Monthly Archives: May 2014

Disney Cruise Surprises

As someone who has been to Disney World many times, I usually don’t stress too much about planning our vacations since I know what to expect.  However, when we booked our cruise on the Disney Magic, I felt that fear of the unknown creeping in.  I  researched on the website.  I reviewed deck plans.  I browsed recent Personal Navigators on the Disney Cruise Blog so I would know what to expect.  I was nervous.

But in the end, as usual, Disney doesn’t disappoint.  We had an awesome cruise, and there were so many surprises along the way!

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Here are some of the amazing surprises on the Disney Magic cruise:

  • Applause as you board the ship – we were announced by name and applauded as we boarded through the main lobby… I can’t say I don’t love people applauding me…
  • Cleanliness – everything was exceptionally clean and I loved the fact that there were cast members passing out wet wipes at the entrances to all restaurants.  All the drink stations had signs advising to take a new cup for each refill, limiting the risk of contamination!
  • It’s still Disney-level service! It is different in a cruise environment, but I worried they couldn’t replicate the service from the parks. Apparently they can!
Disney cruise service

Disney cruise service

  • There were people without kids (that was surprising to me!)
  • It never felt crowded (except for the pool) – okay, this picture doesn’t look that crowded but believe me, it was hard to get a lounge chair!
Disney Magic Pool

Disney Magic Pool

  • The room was amazing! We got a Navigators Veranda, which had a balcony and a very big room as far a cruises go.  I had a little bit of claustrophobia when we went with the interior room on a past cruise, so this was literally a breath of fresh air!
  • Room service is included! One of the best parts of the cruise was ordering coffee and donuts from room service and enjoying them out on the balcony.  No better way to start the day!!
  • The food really is all-you-care-to-eat! I know food is a big part of cruising and that it’s basically available 24/7.  But I assumed at the sit down dinners, you ordered like a regular restaurant. Wrong – if you want all the appetizers, you can get them! If you eat your entree and want another, just ask! If you don’t like what you ordered, pick something else! And when you order dessert, don’t be surprised if the waiter brings out a few extra Mickey bars.
Mickey Bar

Mickey Bar

  • They recognize you!  At dinner, there was a photographer who came around each night and took our photos.  When we went to Castaway Cay, I saw a photographer taking our daughter’s picture in the ocean.  What they never took was our name/photopass card (that doesn’t exist on the cruise) so we asked how they keep track of the pictures – face recognition! When we checked into the ship we had our pictures taken and apparently from then on we were recognized! Pretty cool, somewhat creepy, but when we looked in our photo folder, we were happy to see all our cruise pics!
  • Always in the loop – Between the Personal Navigator and Brent, our cruise director, we always felt like we knew what was going on.  It could be easy to get bored and not know all the activities going on at any given time, but the Personal Navigator daily newsletter gave a full matrix of time/location/activity – whether it was a movie by the pool or a game of Who Wants To Be a Mousketeer, we always knew what was going on.
Brent - Disney Magic Cruise Director

Brent – Disney Magic Cruise Director

Overall the cruise was full of surprises and truly exceeded my expectations (which were high to begin with.)  While it’s completely different from a Disney Parks vacation, it is totally magical in it’s own way! What surprised you about your Disney cruise!? Let me know in the comments!

Disney Quick Service Dining – Day by Day

We’ve used the Disney Dining plan several times on our past vacations, but we’ve always had the regular plan which includes a Table Service meal, a Quick Service meal and a snack each day.  On our recent trip, the timing worked out so we got the free dining promotion, where the meal plan was included with our vacation package.  Since we weren’t staying at a moderate resort, the free option available for guests at the value resorts was the Quick Service plan which include 2 Quick Service meals and a snack per day.

I am always pleasantly surprised by the portion size of quick serve meals – I never leave hungry! And since the dining plan includes a dessert with every meal, there’s no way to feel deprived regardless of which Disney Dining plan you choose.

In addition to the free meals, refillable drink mugs were included with the plan.  I was a little nervous about the new “Rapid Refill” system after reading some reviews, but I didn’t notice any difference from when we’ve used the mugs in the past (other than I couldn’t bring my mug from home.)  Here’s where our quick serve dining took us over the course of our trip:

DAY 1

Magic Kingdom (Lunch): Golden Oak Outpost

We were heading to Pecos Bill’s but the line was out the door so we kept walking and found the Golden Oak Outpost, which was a food kiosk around the back of Pecos Bill’s.  Hint: there are two lines on the right and left – everyone was lined up on one side because people didn’t realize there were two lines. The spicy chicken sandwich was delicious!

Golden Oak Outpost - Magic Kingdom

Golden Oak Outpost (View from seating area) – Magic Kingdom

Epcot (Dinner): Yorkshire Country Fish Shop (U.K.)

MMM… fish and chips!

DAY 2

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