The Disney Dream returned to Port Canaveral this morning bringing to an end her first official passenger cruise since the industry shutdown in March 2020. Over the course of this week, a reader was kind enough to share insight and images with us. I’d like to thank Nick for taking the time to share. Please keep in mind, this is NOT a full overview of the overall cruise experience, this is a glimpse at some of the processes and procedures in place aboard the Disney Dream during her first passenger sailing in 2021.
There are a few variations of the port arrival experience depending on how guests arrive. TouringPlans.com tweeted about their experience driving to the port and the process in the parking garage. The important part is that port arrival times are strictly enforced if you are not arriving by Disney ground transportation. Anyone who arrives even 5 minutes early are being sent away until their designated arrival window.
As you near the port, you can see tents in the surface lot. These air conditioned tents are the testing center and waiting area. Upon arrival you need your Port Arrival form that has your party’s barcode for every step of the way. For guests needing to be tested, they are directed into tents where they undergo a quick nasal swab, and then sent to a waiting area. Everyone is glued to the tv that lets you know when you can head to the terminal (or not). Once you see your info, and your safe passage login tells you everyone is clear to sail, you head to terminal.
The terminal experience is a little different and not necessarily due to new safety procedures and physical distancing. Disney Cruise Line’s terminal underwent a significant remodel during the shutdown. The renovation project was previously planned to bring the terminal up to date ahead of the Disney Wish’s arrival. On the bright side, the shutdown allowed the contractors to work continuously without having to stop for on ship days, and Disney didn’t need to use Cruise Terminal 10 for some of the departures during the height of the renovation project.
There are mini check-in kiosks before heading into the security screening area. Your passports are scanned and once again you need your QR code.
During the first cruise, the cruise staff team welcomed guests by name and directed guests onto Mickey themed spots in the atrium to view a little welcome show.
Upon arrival to your stateroom, you will find your find your KTTW cards in your fish extender. Lanyards, and applicable Castaway Club stateroom gift. A Cast Member will lead you to your assembly area where you scan the sign to prove you went! And that’s it…
The app is your friend, your only friend. There are no longer paper navigators available, and ALL menus are in the app via QR codes. Not sure what would happen for those rocking a flip phone or for those that prefer to unplug completely during a cruise… I’m sure natural progression will result in an app based Midship Detective agency like game on the Disney Wish. So, download the app before you leave home.
Attention gym rats, be sure to check the schedule posted for the fitness center as you may or may not be able to work out when you would normally. Face coverings are required during all guest times, but optional during the designated times for fully vaccinated guests.
Characters are out for photo ops, just behind a rope to ensure physical distance is maintained between the character and guest. You can see the princesses in court behind ropes and take photos from various spots around the atrium. The characters visited Enchanted Garden, but with the spaced out seating you may have a hard time seeing depending on your table location.
All of the quick service outside have paths to follow so there is no loitering. Eye Scream is served by being placed on a table and then you can pick it up.
Another change besides the distancing between tables which doesn’t pose too much of a problem as one report suggested there were less than 1500 passengers on this sailing. Anyways, dinner arrival times are staggered every ten minutes for 3 phases. For example, 5:35 / 5:45 / 5:55 for early dining.
In Cabanas, the buffet is still present with cast member serving your food, think school cafeteria, but with better food. Cast Members are stained at the drink stations and beverages are served to you on a nearby table.
There is currently no eating in The Walt Disney Theatre, as in no popcorn! However, you can enjoy a beverage. During the first show night, PPreludes was closed last night, but eventually opened later int he cruise serving only drinks.
The pool experience is going to take some adjusting for those that are carefree and enjoy pool spending the day lounging and watching movies with dips in the pool or for the little fish that will stay in the pool all day. The pools are roped off except at the ladders preventing guests from sitting on the edge. Swimmers were allowed in for 5-10 minute intervals based on line length.
Over at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, there are mask requirements in certain areas. For example, you need to put your mask on to go into Cookies BBQ. Currently, the buffet bays are limited to one party at a time.
Pirate night fireworks are currently called Disney Ever After. Disney is offering two nights of fireworks based on dining times. Waiting for the fireworks, parties stand on little circles that are physically distanced. Even the dance party is distanced.
Tiffany who? Tiffany & Co. is no more not he Disney Dream. The venue has been rebranded as Carriage Jewels and is now operated by industry giant Diamond International. The Tiffany & Co. branding was removed, but the Tiffany blue remains as the entrance was not remodeled, just a sign change. I checked last night, and Tiffany & Co. remains on the Dream and Fantasy deck plan, but references to Tiffany & Co. have been removed from Disney Cruise Line’s website.
And that is it for the quick glimpse at the Disney Dream’s August 9, 2021 cruise.