Trip log, day one. Port Canaveral.
4-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
October 26, 2015
Day 1 – Personal Navigator
On Monday morning, we loaded our suitcases into the car and drove over to Port Canaveral to board the newly enhanced Disney Dream. The arrival process at the port was similar to what we have experienced in the past. We quickly drove through and dropped off our bags before parking in the adjacent parking lot. One thing changed since our last cruise from Port Canaveral in March 2014 was that you now pay for parking when you arrive instead of on the way out. This would be a place where you could save some money if you were sailing back to back cruises! We pre-paid online and headed to park. We know there are cheaper options out there for parking, but we truly enjoy how close it is and not having to deal with shuttles. This is especially important to us for debarkation morning, where we will have to do express walk off to drive back to Orlando to work & school on Friday morning.
We made it through security and check in a rather short period of time. It was about 11:35am at this point. By now, they were already boarding group 8 so we were able to walk right on the ship. On our way up to Cabanas for lunch, we dropped our carry on luggage off in our staterooms. Since this was the first cruise following dry dock, the staterooms were already ready! We had a quick lunch and headed off to explore the enhancements made during dry dock.
Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats
Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats was the logical first stop on our tour being that it is located practically in Cabanas. Vanellope’s offers a variety of options including treats similar to those you’d find around Walk Disney World, bulk candy, pre-packaged Disney candy, macaroons and many different flavors of gelato. The prices were not bad for the gelato (one scoop for $2.95), but the macaroon for $2.00 was not worth it considering my wife thought it was previously frozen (not to mention TINY). Just for the sake of comparison we judge all macaroons based on the ones you can get at the France Pavilion at Epcot. Those are good; these are not. The bulk candy is just that — bulk candy. It is $9.95/pound & the variety was decent and may be a place to stop before heading to the Buena Vista Theatre for a movie. The prepackaged offerings were your typical Disney branded candies and the sweet treats ran the gamut of Mickey caramel apples to cookie sandwiches. For an in-depth look, check out our dedicated article on Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats (coming soon). Oh, one last tidbit related to Vanellope’s. The soft serve Eye Scream remains available those that have been asking if this was going to disappear.
Oceaneer Lab & Oceaneer Club | Disney Infinity & Star Wars
The time arrived to go see the changes to the Oceaneer Club. As soon as you walk in you will notice some major changes. On your immediate left, you will now a dedicated space to Disney Infinity in the same area that was once the Monsters Inc room. The room is all white, almost sterile like a laboratory or better yet — Animator’s Palate, but quickly comes to life with dynamic lighting painting the blank canvas. One wall features a large HDTV with a life-size Disney Infinity base on the floor allowing children to interact with the game on screen. The interactive experience is reminiscent of the Becoming Ironman experience on the Disney Magic where you are shown on the screen with overlays of the particular character. By moving around, you control your character on the screen. The other three walls of the room have individual X-box stations set up to play Disney Infinity. The space is fully stocked with all the Disney Infinity characters which are stored in a nice locked, glass display case that will require constant Windex-ing. Come to think of it, the figures are then placed on the base in another locked box to help reduce the spreading of germs from all the kids handling the figures. Don’t worry, there is a back stock of Disney Infinity figures in the event more than one child wants to play the same character. Someone asked me on Twitter how Monsters Inc is irrelevant enough to be taken over by Disney Infinity…well that is simple… This new space should prove to be a great marketing tool for Disney Infinity especially for those who do not have the game at home. ‘Hey kids.. come here play Disney Infinity and go home and bug your parents for a video game systems, starter kit and countless figures and accessories.’ This was proven when I was talking to our daughter about the new space and she said she’d like to play this at home which require the purchasing of a video game system, a starter set, and countless figures and accessories… There are also the exclusive Disney Cruise Line unlockables that the kids can use at home by keeping the $13 MagicBand… sorry Youth Activities Oceaneer Band. According to the Youth Activities counselor I spoke with the process is the same as the Walt Disney World MagicBand unlockable, just place the Oceaneer Band on the Disney Infinity base at home. The Disney Dream’s Oceaneer Club’s Disney Infinity space is very nice and will provide kids with an awesome and memorable experience. Chances are this will also be a place where friendships are made. I will have a more detailed write up with more photos and video when I get home.
Moving clockwise around the Oceaneer Club we arrive at Pixie Hollow which remains mostly the same. There are now iPads loaded with Disney apps that have replaced the computers. The printer is also gone so much to our daughters dismay; no more making and printing you own fairy.
Next to Pixie Hollow along the back wall of the space previously occupied by the Nemo Sub full of computers is now the home for Star Wars and the Millennium Falcon. This area is extremely well executed in the center you have the cockpit for the Millennium Falcon where kids can sit and fly the spacecraft. In a way, it was like controlling your own Star Tours because it is the same video used in the attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On the left side there is an area with iPads loaded with a few Star Wars apps. To the right of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit is a nice booth table with an HDTV on the wall which will be used to display Star Wars related video during special programing.R2D2 has a dedicated spot in the space and appears to interact with you if you stand near the droid. On Tuesday, we are going to go back to check out the Jedi Training Academy during open house and I will have a more detailed write up with more photos and video when I get home.
Overall, the enhancements to the Oceaneer Clab are great and really focus on keeping the 8-12 year old crowd occupied! That is not a typo, I think It will be easier to refer to the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab as the Oceaneer Clab since kids can easily move from side to side when there is no open house.
Midship Detective Agency
Pepe the King Prawn from The Muppets now has his own stateroom on the Disney Dream so he can now split time between the Dream and the Disney Fantasy. The reason for Pepe’s door, which is not rubberized like the counterpart on the Disney Fantasy was added because Midship Detective Agency was enhanced to include The Muppets game which was previously exclusive to the Disney Fantasy.
Edge & Vibe
Our daughter wanted to check out Vibe and Edge, two locations she is still too young to enjoy, but still wanted to see. Vibe had a wall knocked out to expand the side room. I think I know where Isabelle will be spending her time when she is a… teenager. Similarly, a wall was removed to open up the space. Since our kid is too young for these spaces, I do not really have much experience in these locations to tell you what is new or enhanced. Hopefully, these photos will provide you with some insight on any changes.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was added on deck 5 replacing the conference rooms because we all now makeovers are more profitable than meetings. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I realize this was probably due to guest demand, but remember, I’m a jerk. Plus, again, in the theme of being different, we do not have a princess-crazed daughter (nor has she ever been in her younger years), so this isn’t something personally we will be doing. The space looks just like the one on the Disney Fantasy. They are selling an exclusive Celebration Package with a t-shirt and a really nice looking tutu that you can only get in the package. This would be a great addition to the gift shops on its own as I know one adult who purchased the Disney Fantasy tutu which was available in the gift shop for her runDisney races. I’m sure this particular person is not the only one that would buy one for a runDisney race who doesn’t need/want the full package.
Disney Vacation Planning Center
The new Disney Vacation Planning Center adjacent to the Vista Gallery in the area previously used for Shutters digital photos selection strikes me as a time share office that I want to avoid at all costs, but I know I will eventually visit to rebook onboard. The relocation of the Disney Vacation Club kiosk and Onboard Booking Desk into this central area along with Adventures By Disney, Walt…..you get it. It is a catch all location to sell you Disney Destinations. The room features DVC on one side and two booking desks on the other with a table with tethered tablets to explore the various vacation options.
Satellite Falls Pool
The new Satellite Falls pool on deck 13 forward should put a smile on the faces of many adults looking for a quiet getaway away from the kids. Unlike the Disney Fantasy, the mechanicals for the pool are not well integrated due to the retrofit. I’m sure there is a reason, but it would have made more sense to build the mechanicals in between the pool and the concierge wall. Regardless of the new layout, the pool is a great addition to this area of the ship.
A similar Funnel Puddle Pool was added on the Dream along with new shaded areas, but at least on embarkation day the chairs were absent. There is a Donald Duck hat that is like a sprinkler/waterfall for the kids to enjoy.
Scenes Spa & Salon
We toured Scenes Spa & Salon for the first time on either the Dream class ship. Emily has been a regular visitor of the gym, but we have never explored Senses. Our tour guide for the day was Amy who showed us all the unique spaces. We almost went for the Len Testa suite, I mean the Rainforest Room package, but on a 4-night cruise we did not think we’d have time to make it worth our while although I am sure our daughter would not have a problem with more time int the Oceaneer Clab. Emily received a massage demo and I had the opportunity to lay down in the special bed in the seaweed treatment room. WOW, that experience was literally like a warm hug! My fear is once we go Spa there is no turning back. During dry dock, the Senses Juice Bar was added.
Our next stop on our self tour was The District to check out 687 and Pink which I will cover near the end of this article as we returned after dinner. I’ve always loved 687 because I thought it was a closer match to my original favorite, Diversions on the Disney Magic before it was O’Gilled. 687 received a nice makeover with an expanded bar and more importantly, an expanded draft beer system. While I know some may still say the choices are blah, I say it is an overdue improvement. The menu now features some pub grub which frankly is nice, but there is nothing on the menu that I’d pay extra to get. For the life of me, why doesn’t the pub grub feature mozzarella sticks, potato skins, buffalo wings, onion rings, soft pretzel sticks, or any other appetizer I’d order at a sports bar to go with my beer. Thankfully, the late night snacks are still available, so this should be considered as an added option rather than a nickel and dime tactic by DCL. Nothing has been taken away from what was normally included so I can’t fault DCL. Besides, you know if it was free people would be ordering the food just because it was available for free and there would be a ton of additional waste.
For the most part we had seen all of the new enhancements on the Disney Dream. We still had some time before the muster drill, so we returned to the stateroom to unpack our suitcases which were waiting for us outside our stateroom. Following the muster drill we returned to the stateroom for the sail away, as the deck party was moved inside due to some light rain at Port Canaveral. As we were sailing out of the port between Fish Lips and Jetty Park, the Disney Dream sounded her new horn… Do you want to build a snowman? Yes, this is not a drill, like it or not, the Disney Dream now has a Frozen horn!
Emily ordered Isabelle a caesar salad from room service and I went to get some grilled chicken from Flo’s to complete her dinner. Isabelle headed off to the Oceaneer Clab and we made our way up to Palo. We arrived a little early so we waited in Meridian where we saw a new (to us) addition to the menu… a Light Tastings add-on option.
We had a 6 o’clock reservation and ended up being the first party seated this evening at a lovely table facing the sunset. We met our wonderful server for the evening, David from Hungary. Although we saw Ross, who was the Palo sommolier during our summer cruise on the Disney Magic, neither of us opted for the wine pairing menu tonight. As usual, we started with the antipasto plate drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar & chili infused olive oil & bread. Emily ordered a glass of Taittinger champagne. For appetizers, I went with my tried and true white bean soup and Em chose the calamari. We both chose the gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese for the pasta dish, and for entrees, I chose the turbot and Em chose the scallops. For dessert, I went with the panna cotta with gelato and Em the tiramisu. Dinner in Palo was nice. David was a fantastic server and the meal was paced just right.
After dinner we headed down to another dangerous place on the ship… the gift shops. The Halloween on the High Seas merchandise was well stocked, but it was the same design as last year. I was all prepared to buy this year’s Halloween on the High Seas shirt and Tervis so I thank you Disney Cruise Line for saving me money. However, I gave that savings right back with a red tagged Nike pullover. I still feel like I made out on the night considering I would have likely purchased the pullover anyway.
Earlier in the day, Emily saw a new-to-her Moet & Chandon Vintage 2002 champagne bottle in 687. She asked about a price, but it was not yet in the new POS system. The bartender suggested the she try the Champagne Trio Sampler in Pink for $25 which included the 2002, so we headed back to check out Pink which is now labeled a ‘wine and champagne bar’ based on the new graphics on the entrance. The space feels much bigger and open. While Pink is a cool theme I/we much prefer the ambiance of Ooh La La on the Disney Fantasy. While the space may not be our liking, the bartenders were amazing and knew their product very well. Emily ordered the previously mentioned Champagne Trio which was served in a very cool stand with baseless champagne flutes. The trio was all Moet & Chandon champagnes. Emily was told to start with the 2002 grand vintage, then the Imperial, followed lastly with the Moet Ice. Emily is no newbie to Moet & Chandon champagnes, so the only new one was the 2002 Grand Vintage, which was her favorite. She jokes about going back each night for the trip, and I am betting this is not a joke. It’s a terrific value – although it’s not full glasses, it’s not 2oz tasting pours either. We are going to see if we can get an answer to on the 2002 Grand vintage glass/bottle prices as well. On a side, but very serious note, I’d buy the Pink tie in a heartbeat if it were sold in the gift shop!
I skipped out of Pink leaving Emily to pay the bill — yeah I know, I’m an awesome husband — to head back to the Clab to get Isabelle. The two of us headed over to the Vista Cafe for her late night snack of parmesan cheese, grapes and carrot sticks, then headed back to the stateroom to call it a night. I tried to type up this post, but the bed was too comfortable and once the lights were out I couldn’t keep the eyelids open. I will say this, I am sorry of the delay posting the enhancements to the Disney Dream. I do a much better job sharing the new stuff in real time on Twitter if you can deal with my frequent nonsensical tweets about things unrelated to DCL, but often Walt Disney World related.