Tuesday, 30 September 2014

General Disney Cruise Tips

Continuing with the sidebar on cruising with Disney, and expanding on the things we loved about the Disney cruise experience.

So I like to be well-informed and prepared for any new adventure - research, research, research, so that I know what to expect and can plan accordingly. In particular, I loved reading trip reports and others' experiences. Paying it forward, here are my lists and suggestions for those cruising with young children.

From our experience

These are the random 'lessons learned' from our first cruise:
  • There's plenty of storage in your stateroom, but not for large items. It might be preferable to pack two smaller suitcases rather than one large suitcase. If your bag is too large to store under the bed, it'll take up valuable space in your closet. Also, if you can, forgo the stroller - bring a baby carrier instead, or a small umbrella travel stroller. I saw some families with full-size strollers and I truly wonder where they stored it in their stateroom.
  • If you're a first-time cruiser, bring your own card holder/ lanyard for your Key to the World card, or you'll either scramble to find your card(s) in your pocket or purse, or you may overpay for a Disney one in the onboard store. That card is used for everything onboard, so it needs to be readily accessible.
  • Resign yourself to not getting enough sleep - there's so much to see and do, and you'll want to fit in as much as you can. Try not to be a slave to the navigator schedule - but don't be so laid back that you miss out on some really special stuff. Decide what's important for you to see and experience, and prioritize from there.(Save some stuff for the next cruise... ?)
  • It's okay to relax your usual parenting rules. And go easy on your kids - it's their vacation, too. They'll likely be cranky (due to lack of sleep) or slow to react (because they're in wonder of the awesome new experience) but yelling at them is not going to make it any better, only less enjoyable for anyone. That being said, don't be afraid to sequester yourself and your child(ren) in your stateroom for bad behaviour.
  • If you need milk/ chocolate milk for your toddler at any of the restaurants and it's not available, just ask a crew member and they'll get the little carton for you.
    • If your child, like mine, is going through a chocolate milk phase, in a pinch, you can get the hot chocolate from the Beverage station then top up with the cold milk meant for the coffee/ tea (the  hot chocolate machine only dispenses a 'small' cup size anyway). Maybe add some ice to cool it down even more.
  • Check the daily schedule for the activities in Oceaneer's Club and find out what they are (the Navigator App is perfect for this), as a lot of them have freebies for your kids. DD1 went to Pluto's Pajama Party, and came back with a  huge pillow case that she had decorated. On the last day at sea, she did the Friendship Rocks show (all the kids get to go on stage with Mickey and Minnie, and got a free t-shirt).
  • Take some time to have a quiet adults-only dinner by sending the kids to the Oceaneer's Club/ Nursery (just be sure to check the mealtimes at Oceaneer's, so you know they'll be fed!). You don't even have to do the Palo restaurant, but your scheduled dinner venue will do just fine!
  • Doing laundry during the cruise isn't such a bad thing if it means you can pack less (or you have messy kids!) Set your phone alarm so that you remember to go back for your laundry (and not find it on the bench because someone else needed the washer or dryer) and don't forget to pack a lightweight mesh laundry bag to cart everything easily.
  • On debarkation morning, it's okay to skip breakfast to sleep in. There's no point in rushing to breakfast, only to have to potentially spend a good few hours waiting for your group to be cleared for debarkation.
  • Don't stress about transfers from Canada Place port to the airport (all that planning on getting there and what to do on the cruise, I forgot about how we were leaving... LOL). The Disney transfer is $25 per person. There were several options at the port. We opted to go with Westcoast Sightseeing, who ran a shuttle to the airport and airport hotels for $15 per adult (kids under 6 free)

Lastly, while not really a tip - be prepared for some serious cruise withdrawal afterward!! You might even book that next cruise on board...

From others' experiences

The following websites/ forums/ blogs were extremely informative:
Tips from others - yay for the internet and the various bloggers, forums and websites for these supremely useful and accurate tips.

Monday, 29 September 2014

What we loved about the Disney Cruise experience

Taking a sidebar from our cruise trip report, since I've had many questions about our Disney cruise overall.

Let's face it, this is Disney, they're going to ensure your experience is nothing short of amazing. They lived up to expectation and then some. Not that we have experience with any other cruise lines to compare, but these things made us really appreciate our cruise:
  • The crew and cast members: each and every single cast and crew member was consistently amazing. Truly excellent service.
  • Our servers were amazing with the simple entertainment they provided: jokes and magic tricks for the kids, the crayon puzzles for us adults. We loved the dinner rotation and how they stayed with us and served us every night, so we really got to know each other. Heck, they even cut our kids' food and squirted ketchup for them.
  • The sanitation procedures: hand sanitizer gel or wipes before getting on the ship, before entering restaurants or the kid's club areas. It's good to know they're doing everything they can to prevent spread of illness and germs.
  • Security where your kids are involved. It's so well thought out, from the Oceaneer's bands to keep track of them, to the 'code word' to have your kids released to you from the kids clubs.
  • Buffet options: there are plenty of options for types of food (to the detriment of your waistline, though). The dinner rotation is very clever, you get to try all the restaurants. There are sit down or buffet options for breakfast and lunch . Even the casual food was good - Goofy's Galley served some healthy options, and I loved how they dished up only what you ask for, so there's less waste or leftovers. And there's always pizza, hot dog, chicken tenders and fries if you really must. There's 24/7 room service, too, though we did not use it.
  • The staff at Flounder's Nursery - I know I've mentioned the wonderful cast and crew, but the ladies at the nursery deserve a special mention. They were all so loving and warm, I had no reservations whatsoever about leaving DD2 (2 years, 4 months old) with them.
  • Availability of so many activities, there's never a moment to say, "What shall we do now?" There is truly something for everyone - kids-only, adults-only, family-friendly, movies, talks, seminars (how to make those towel animals!), dance parties, quizzes, etc etc. There are separate pools for kids, adults or families, and a mini splashpad for infants (all kids have to be toilet-trained to go in the pools).
  • World-class theatre productions - excellent stage shows with the convenience of a quick walk back to our stateroom after. 
  • Cleanliness: a big credit to the crew that are always around - vacuuming, sweeping up, wiping stair banisters, dusting frames, picking up trash, clearing counters etc - but blend into the background. Yes, I saw you - THANK YOU.
  • The rooms, whilst small, have everything you need. Ample storage, an ipod dock on the alarm clock, enough hangers in the closet, and the split bath/ toilet is brilliant. We loved that we knew we'd have a tub for bathing the kids.
  • Everything runs smoothly and is well thought out - very smart procedures for excursions, the Wave phones they provide for you to keep in touch with your family, the fleece blankets to stay warm whilst lounging on the deck (well, I guess this might be an Alaskan cruise thing), the ample supply of clean towels by the pools, flotation/ swimming aids for the kids... They are just so organized!
  • The Navigator App for your smartphone/ tablet is an excellent source of information. Basically all the schedules and menus for the entire cruise are available on the app - if you're so inclined, you can really plan ahead, though I did find the paper schedules quicker to refer to. At least this is one area where Disney are up-to-date, compared to their ancient Wave phones. Perhaps they'll launch a Skype-like service in the future and get rid of those clunky devices...
  • Whilst you typically get home from vacation tired and needing another vacation, you can really kick back and relax on a Disney cruise.

Make no mistake, there are down-sides to a cruise as well:
  • Getting kids to sleep in a small room. There's a privacy curtain to separate the main bed from the bunk and sleeper couch, but it's a challenge especially if they usually sleep in their own rooms. The best thing is to exhaust them during the day so they just fall in to bed!
  • The kids will be tired - there's just so much to do and see - and therefore might be tantrum-prone.
  • You will likely over-eat: everything is just so appealing, you want to try it all and food is available all the time. But heck, you're on vacation... you can handle six meals a day for a week, right?
  • You'll spend money at trinkets at Treasure Ketch (the onboard merchandise store). Either that or avoid the "buy me"s from your kids by not going in there at all (yeah, right).
  • You'll want to go on another cruise... like, right now. Start saving!

Next - General tips for going on a Disney Cruise

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Day 3 - Tracy Arm: Morning activities

Day 3 and we're now familiar with the ship. Off to our favourite breakfast buffet at the Beach Blanket. They had the usual fare, but Mickey waffles were featured today! DH and I did not eat much as we had our Palo brunch reservation later that morning.

Wake Up with Disney Junior

After breakfast, we decided to check out the "Wake Up with Disney Junior" activity in Studio Sea. Basically it's a dance party. A crew member leads the kids on to the dance floor to move and groove to music that is mostly kid-oriented (the hokey pokey, anyone?) or the theme from a Disney Junior show. These included Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and of course, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song and the Hot Dog dance.

Wake up with Disney Junior

I'd post some of the video we took, but it's too embarrassing - I don't want to subject you to watching me doing the hokey pokey...

Golden Mickey at Studio Sea

Character Meets

 Meeting Cinderella outside the Walt Disney Theatre.

  Cinderella  Cinderella


Palo Brunch

DH dropped off DD2 at Flounder's nursery, whilst I checked in DD1 at Oceaneer's Club, then we headed up to Palo.

We were greeted by a server who offered us a complementary mimosa before seating us. He then proceeded to walk us through the buffet, explaining what was available. The food was excellent - a buffet with tons of options (in tiny portion sizes, so you really can sample them all), including bread, seafood, salad, desserts (sweet and savoury). There were entrees that you could order as well.

Unfortunately, after about an hour, we received a text message on our Wave phones, saying that DD1 was requesting to be pick up from Oceaneer's Club. DH went to find out what the problem was - she was upset and would not stay at Oceaneer's, so DH brought her up to the Palo reception. I could not get her to tell us what the problem was either, so we chalked it up to tiredness. We left Palo early and went back to our room for a break.

A bit more about the Wave phones:

'These are portable cordless phones that are provided for you to keep in contact with the crew and friends/ family whilst onboard, since you either cannot get cell reception or if you do, it'll cost you an arm and a leg to use. You can use it to call or text any onboard stateroom, service (housekeeping, etc) or club (Flounder's, Studio Sea, etc).

The Wave phones themselves are basically ridiculously old technology cellphones, heavy and unwieldy to carry - in fact, reminiscent of my very first cellphone, the Nokia 2110 in shape and use (though if I recall correctly, it is a Philips device). They have a clip, but it's not very secure, and there's no 'lock', so we probably pocket dialed various numbers quite a bit. The text functionality, which we found the most useful, was painful - oh how spoiled we are, there was no predictive text. Just old-school "press '2' three times to type the letter 'c'". I'd say if you're technically challenged, you might even find it difficult to use.

Of course, if you lose a phone (there are two in your stateroom), you're on the hook to replace them, so be careful with them. Gosh, I really loved my smartphone that much more after using these Wave phones!

Next - viewing Tracy Arm from the deck.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Day 2 - Evening onboard

Back in our room, the towel animal of the day (compliments of Herold our stateroom host), as well as the Personal Navigator for the next day and a reminder that we would be sailing across time zones - we had to set our clocks one hour back (GMT -9).

IMG_0099  IMG_0098

We also received the following information from Flounder's Nursery, on our 'fish' outside the room, as well as confirmation of the time booked the next day.

Dinner was at Triton's that evening,,. dress code was formal. We got all dressed up and headed back up to the restaurant, which is on deck 3 mid-ship. There was a looong line to get in - the ship's photographers (our fellow South African Andre, and another) had set up outside the restaurant and were taking family photos before everyone went in. The photographers were great - very thorough, taking the time to set up everyone, rearranging stance, pose etc. Notice how Andre had DD1 put her right hand behind DD2, to hide the bright yellow Oceaneer's band on her wrist.

Formal night

There were also backdrops set up on either side of the main photo area, but we decided to skip these shots because they were way too cheesy, even for us. (One was a sunset backdrop with the Disney Wonder, the other was a lit-up Disney Wonder docked at night.)

The photographers came around to all the tables again.
Formal night, Triton's  Formal night, Triton's

Dinner at Triton's was excellent (sorry, we're not foodies, so no grand details of the food/ menu). DD1 was once again kept busy with the menu/activity sheets for the first half hour. Levy and Bojan had remembered our drinks orders and seating arrangements, so we were shown to our table with DD2's high chair next to DH and chocolate milk waiting, awesome!

After dinner, Levy showed DD1 the water and pepper "magic" trick and the look of amazement on her face was priceless. She called him "Magician Levy" from then on. For the amusement of DH and myself, he set up a brain teaser using the crayons ("matchstick puzzles") - he laid out the crayons with the numbers 100 and said to remove two to make ten. Tricky. Next, was the fish puzzle, which we easily figured out.

After dinner, Goofy was just outside Triton's, so we lined up for a photo. Of course, Goofy was in his formalwear, too! (Goofy turned out to the the character we saw the most on the cruise).

Formal Goofy

The Golden Mickeys show

Each night, there is a performance in the main theatre - there are two performances (6pm and 8:30pm), to accommodate the two dinner seatings. 

After dinner, we went straight to the Walt Disney Theatre for "The Golden Mickeys" show - look who we came across wandering the corridors outside the retail stores. (Ariel was also the Princess we saw the most on the cruise).


Just outside the entrance, they had a glammed up television 'host' (complete with camera crew) interviewing people before heading in to the theatre. We declined, unsure of what exactly was going on. Basically, it was a mock red carpet and the 'celebrity' (cruise patrons) interviews were being broadcast on the large screens in the theatre to those who had already taken their seats. Gee, we missed our opportunity to be on the red carpet :)

We had arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the show, but the theatre was essentially full - people were already standing at the back and some kids were sitting on the steps in the aisle. We walked closer to the front and were able to find two seats together, so we sat with the kids on our laps.

The show itself was wonderful - the "Golden Mickeys" are basically an Oscars-type award show, and the premise of the show is a backstage crew member, Ensign Benson, who has to take over the host's duties. The ship's Captain is meant to host the awards show, but he cannot be found. Ensign Benson is very shy and there is a video "chat" from the CEO of Disney, who encourages her to be more confident. Various songs from Disney shows are then performed, showcasing strong and confident characters and how they overcame adversity - Snow White, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Mulan, Cruella de Ville, Pocahontas, and The Lion King (there were possibly more, those are the ones I recall). Ensign Benson reluctantly participates in the songs at first, but by the end, is much more confident and part of the show. Mickey and Minnie come out at the very end.

One of the advantages of being on a cruise is the short walk back to the room after the show. DD2 was exhausted, so whilst I got her ready for bed, DH took DD1 to the Mickey and Minnie character meet, since she had missed out earlier in the day. They were still dressed from the Golden Mickeys show.

Golden Mickey and Minnie  Golden Mickey and Minnie

Golden Mickey and Minnie  Golden Mickey and Minnie

Next - Day 3, the morning before cruising in the Tracy Arm Fjord

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Day 2 - At Sea: Exploring and Character meets

We slept like the dead after our long journey the day before and still no signs of sea sickness , thank goodness. I felt the motion mostly while standing in the tiny bathroom. We could feel that the ship was really cruising along overnight but overall it was really smooth sailing.

Our alarm clock aka DD2 woke us up early at 7am. Come on, we're on vacation!! We decided to head on to the Beach Blanket Buffet on deck 9 for breakfast. Walking along on deck 3, which has the large portholes, we could no longer see land anywhere! It was a cloudy morning, cool and breezy.

  Deck 3 porthole Deck 3 porthole view

Check out some of the ship's interior, deck 3 (main deck where we came onboard)

Overhead light fixture
Disney Wonder

Mickey hand for the elevator:
Disney Wonder elevator

Triton's restaurant entrance, Ariel statue just outside:
Disney Wonder

Breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet
We took the mid-ship elevators up to deck 9, but to get to the Beach Blanket at the aft (back) of the ship, you need to walk across the open deck area. It was pretty cold in the wind! (We later learned to cross from mid-ship to aft on deck 5 or 6 to avoid the open air section).
Outside the restaurant, a crew member was handing out sani-wipes - I loved this about the cruise: upon entry to every restaurant, everyone is has to sanitize their hands. Unlike dinner, it's open seating, so we grabbed a table near the food...

Breakfast was great - a great selection of all of your typical breakfast fare and then some. Our kids honed in on the Froot Loops cereal, and I had a cereal I'm totally missing here in Canada ... Coco Pops (okay, they are 'Cocoa Krispies' on the US labels but my SA and UK readers know what I'm talking about! We have Cocoa Rice Krispies in Canada but they are so not chocolatey enough...)

Yes, we had some of the healthier fare, like scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. too. We met a family with a five year old girl and two year old boy - they were sitting at the table next to us. They turned out to be fellow Canadians, from Calgary. 

After breakfast, DD1 was very eager to explore the "kids club". We went over to the Oceaneer's Club but it was still closed (it was that early still). There were a few other eager kids and parents waiting outside for the club to open at 9 am. In the mean time, we went to see Flounder's Nursery, to visit it with DD2 and have her meet the caregivers before her upcoming time there the next day (we had a Palo brunch reservation the next day, which is $25 per person). Palo is the adults-only restaurant onboard, so we had booked time for DD2 at Flounder's Nursery the next day and planned to leave DD1 at Oceaneer's Club.

The nursery was relatively small, but very clean. It was mid-ship, so there were no windows/ portholes. There were separate areas for diaper changes, sleeping (an area with a couple of cribs), and another area for eating. The main area had a soft play area and a TV, and the walls had shelves with infant and toddler books and toys. DD2 was quite comfortable and immediately grabbed some toys to play with. DD1 of course had to join in. We met the crew from the nursery (they were British and Welsh) and they told us that despite the booking system limiting the number of hours you can book for babysitting, they would take the kids as long as they had capacity.

DD1 rushed in to Oceaneer's when they opened the doors. It was an open house that morning (meaning you could not drop off your kids but had to stay and supervise them - the idea of the open house is for families to explore and see the kids' areas, as adults are not otherwise allowed in these kids-only areas). DD1 honed in on the craft room, and we made some Mickey wands before DD1 went to play on the computers (which were locked to kids games).

We had our Anna and Elsa meet and greet, so we didn't stay long, but went back to our stateroom to put on their Frozen dress up clothes.

Anna and Elsa Meet-and-Greet

The meet and greet was at the Animator's Palate restaurant. We took a couple of shots of our princesses just outside before going in to meet the newest Disney princesses.
Sisterly love

There was a very short wait (for the one family already there). Since it was our first official character meet, I completely forgot to bring the kids' autograph books :( DD2 was super excited and totally enthralled, but we had a hard time convincing her to take out her pacifier for the photograph.
Anna and Elsa meet and greet

Ship's photographer's photos:
Anna and Elsa meet and greet

Anna and Elsa meet and greet

The girls were given some "Frozen" activity and colouring sheets before we left, and that was it!

We made our way back to deck 3, and ended up on deck 5, between Oceaneer's Club and Oceaneer's Lab which, although also for ages 3-12, seemed to cater for the older kids. Oceaneer's Club was more of a indoor playground that had an open area with a stage, and a craft/ computer room. Oceaneer's Lab was more 'high tech' with computers, science lab/ kitchen and tables with seating. There was a desk outside where people were signing up their kids for the Youth Activities. Since I had already completed all the 'paperwork' online, I simply had to verify the information (which included a security codeword that you would use when picking up your child from Oceaneer's Club or Lab). Now that she was officially signed up for Youth Activities onboard, DD1 was given an Oceaneer band, a wristband for identification. It is a bright yellow band which they secured to her wrist with a Mickey zip tie. We were told that it is waterproof, so she could swim and bath with it.

From the deck, we spotted lineups to meet characters - most of the scheduled character appearances are on deck 3 outside Triton's, or on deck 4 by Studio Sea, which is open to the main mid-ship area below. We rushed off to join the lines!

First up was Princess Sofia:
Sofia the First Sofia the First
Sofia the First

Followed by Doc McStuffins:
Doc McStuffins Doc McStuffins
Doc McStuffins Doc McStuffins

Doc McStuffins

After that, DD1 wanted to go to Oceaneer's Club. I checked her in and met Karli, South African crew member #3. Keeping with the good sanitation procedures onboard, they squirt liquid soap in all the kids' hands upon entry to the kids area, and they have to go straight to the sink to wash their hands. No longer open house, I was not allowed in with DD1, but was allowed to escort her in for this first time - I was given a visitor tag to hang around my neck. I made sure that DD1 knew where the washrooms were and then she all but told me to leave her so that she could go play!

I met up with DH and we went off with DD2 to continue exploring. Jake was doing photos and autographs and there was a very short line. DD2 went very eagerly, even though she had no clue who Jake was!

Jake and the Neverland Pirates  Jake and the Neverland Pirates  Jake and the Neverland Pirates

I headed back to Oceaneer's Club to check whether or not DD1 wanted to come with us, but she did not! You can peek in through a window that is right by the club entrance, and she was pretty busy. When I went in to talk to her, she practically ignored me as she was so engrossed with her craft.

A bit more about the setup at the Youth Activities: when I approached the front desk at Oceaneer's Club, I told them that I wanted to check in on my daughter and I gave them her name. The crew member looked it up on their system and told me that she was in the craft room. So, every time the kids move from one secured area to another, they scan their Oceaneer band and they are therefore able to give you a pretty accurate indication of where your child is. They are also able to tell you what else your child has been up to in their time at the club, including whether or not they were served a meal.

DH, DD2 and I wandered around some more and came across another character appearance outside the Walt Disney Theatre. Now these characters DD2 definitely recognized!

Minnie Mouse  Minnie Mouse

Captain Mickey  Captain Mickey

Captain Mickey

We picked up DD1 from Oceaneer's Club and went back to the Beach Blanket Buffet for lunch. I honestly cannot remember much about the food, except that it was good. There were always simple options for the kids, and the mini desserts were absolutely scrumptious!

After lunch, we visited Shutters to find out about the photography packages. We decided to buy the package since we figured this way we wouldn't have to worry as much about getting the shots at the character meets, and we decided to get in front of the ship's photographers at every opportunity to take full advantage of the package!

After a busy afternoon of character appearances, DH took DD2 back to our stateroom for a nap, while DD1 and I explored a little more.

We met Donald, all dressed up for dinner (since it was formal night).

Formal Donald  Formal Donald

Daisy was also around, and we stood in line to meet her, but by the time we were halfway there, Daisy left and Pluto arrived. This was really disappointing - we weren't told anything, the character just changed. This was very unlike earlier in the day in the Sofia line - the crew members cut off the line and told us we were the last ones to meet Sofia, and that anyone else lining up behind us would be for Doc McStuffins. (Daisy proved to be very difficult to meet - there were no other scheduled appearances we could make, until the very last day.)

Pluto  Pluto

Next - our second evening onboard.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Day 1 - Sail Away Party and Dinner

Our luggage had not yet arrived - whilst the kids watched the Disney Junior channel on the TV, I unpacked the stuff we had in our carry-on bag (I always pack toothbrushes and a full set of clothes for everyone,  just in case our luggage gets lost/ doesn't make it on time to our destination).

I fired up the Disney Cruise app and signed up for the free 50Mb Internet access. I could not stomach the idea of paying the ridiculous fees, so I'd just have to use those 50Mb sparingly for our entire cruise!

Safety Drill
We went to explore further before the mandatory safety drill at 4 pm. It was a lovely sunny day with clear skies.

Bench on deck 3
For the safety drill, we had to gather at our lifeboat station (ours was "K", as indicated on our KttW cards). We made our way there and had our cards scanned to 'check in'. The drill was very similar to the airplane demonstration, the crew showed how to use the life vests, and the ship's horn sounded the emergency signal so we'd know what it sounds like (yes, it's loud).

It was pretty tedious for us - DD2 was now over-tired, DD1 was hyped up and wouldn't stand still. Once the drill was over, the crew allowed us to leave first (since we had a young child, others with mobility aids were also allowed to head out first), so we went back inside, but still a little unsure of what to do.

Sail Away Party
We decided to head up to deck 9 and 10 since that's where the pools, restaurants and other activities are. We saw the kids' pool, empty for the time being, as were the decks.

Mickey's kids' pool

A crew member handed the kids some streamers as we went to find Goofy's pool where the Sail Away party was going to be held.

Deck 10 overlooking Goofy's pool Deck 10 overlooking Goofy's pool

Finally we came to Goofy's Pool which was covered to make space for the Sail Away party - people were starting to gather for the party!
Goofy's Pool
Ready for the Sail Away party

Peter, the cruise director did a countdown and Mickey and friends started the party!

The Youth Activities director came on and asked the kids to come up and dance.

At the end a bunch of streamers were dropped down on us - the kids had lots of fun gathering it up afterwards.

Sail Away after PartyRunning around after the Sail Away PartyFirst selfie of the cruise on my fancy new camera phone

Dinner in Parrot Cay

After the Sail Away party, we headed back to our stateroom to change for dinner. As per the Personal Navigator, the dress code was "Cruise Casual".

Disney has a dinner rotation in place, meaning that each night your party is assigned one of the three sit down restaurants on the ship. You have a table number and three crew members (1 host and 2 servers) that follow you - so the same people serve you and have a change to get to know you and your family's preferences.

Our first restaurant was Parrot Cay, where we had our lunch. Our table was in a corner right by a large porthole. It was a bit disconcerting at first, as we had yet to accustom to the ship's movement - but thankfully no one was actually seasick. In fact, I don't think the kids noticed at all. DH and I had to avoid looking directly out the porthole :)

Mickey high chair

DD2 had a high chair all ready for her - very cute, with a Mickey on the back of the seat. DD1 had a booster on the chair.

We met our servers, Bojan and Levy, who gave us a rundown of how the dinner rotations worked, then took our orders. Our main server, Bojan is from Croatia, and our assistant server, Levy, is South African. (South African crew member count is now 2!)

The ship's photographer came around and took some photos.
Dinner at Parrot CayDinner at Parrot Cay

The food was fantastic (though honestly I barely remember what we ordered, and besides we're not that picky). There is a separate kid's menu - and they have a cup of crayons on the table, and the kid's menu is a colouring/ activity sheet. DD1 was actually kept quite occupied for at least half an hour by these sheets each night! 

Come dessert time, we ordered the Mickey ice cream bars, which the kids loved, though neither of them actually finished theirs.

Mickey Ice Cream bar Mickey Ice Cream bar

Our dessert came with a Mickey chocolate on it!
Mickey everywhere!

The kids were very tired by dinner-time on the ship so we headed back to our stateroom for bed. It was a long and busy day!