I might have been just as excited as the kids, because I was up before the alarm to watch our first sunrise aboard the Disney Dream. A massive funnel cloud on the horizon was fascinating to watch as a storm brewed on one side while a pink sun rose on another.
The massive ship slowed and gracefully backed into Castaway Cay (Disney’s own private island) without so much as a lurch. At first glance, it looks like a pristine deserted beach. But apparently a couple hundred Disney employees reside on the island just to accommodate the passengers that pull into port for a day’s time. The ship docked about 7:00am and disembarked another several hundred employees who transformed the quiet beach into a tropical paradise with brightly colored umbrellas, BBQ buffet restaurants, live music band equipment and characters decked out for dance parties well before passengers were allowed off the ship to explore the island.
When princess Evie woke up, there was a special surprise from her best friend Maggie waiting to be opened – a beautiful “puffed sleeved” Cinderella dress. The other girls also had Disney princess gowns laid out by their “lady in waiting” (aka mom!) and a personal invitation from the princesses was awaiting them and received with squeals of delight!
We donned our dresses and descended the grand staircases (trains flowing behind and hands clasped in anticipation) and made our way to the grand atrium where the princesses were holding court.
Oh the look in Gigi’s eyes when they appeared waving and welcoming her!!
Its been a 3-year wait for this wish to come true, but honestly, the timing could not have been more perfect! A year earlier and Gigi would have been too young to remember it, and life would still have revolved around a necessary nap time. A year later and Abi for sure would have been out of the princess stage. This girl of mine – she is the most mature 13-year-old I know, yet still loves all things girly and wanted a Jasmine costume for the cruise. Of course this momma was happy to oblige and have 5 girls all dolled up in princess pretties! We’ve decided Abi might have a promising career as a Disney Princess!! She is a magnet for kids and could pull of the homecoming queen wave and pinky-up curtsies!
The princess conversations were hilarious! Snow white invited the girls to come visit her at her home “through the black forest and past the seven waterfalls, then mine is the little cottage in the clearing!”. And Cinderella didnt understand Evie when she said she flew on an airplane to get there. “Whats an airplane? I always take a carriage everywhere I go!”
The girls left practicing their waltz, wave and talking with their pinkies up like Snow White.
When we got to the Frozen gathering on the other side of the ship, we were early for our princess appointment. However, because Evie was a wish kid, they whisked her to the front of the line and gave her an extended period to talk to Elsa and Anna. Anna acted completely baffled that Gigi had a matching dress….and I must say, Britain’s Elsa braid was more authentic than the actual Elsa’s 🙂
Then it was off to dine alfresco at Cabanas. Breakfast buffet with Mickey shaped waffles (and all the toppings) and an extensive variety of pastries, eggs, breakfast meats, crepes, yogurts and fresh fruits to choose from. A lovely view from the balcony of the ship looking out over Castaway Cay….all well and good until a squad of seagulls started dive-bombing our plates!
We hit the Aquaduck after breakfast during the non-peak-time while most of the other cruisers were on the island. This is the massive waterside aboard the ship, that swings out over the ocean and then covers the length of the ship, twice! There was one little duck who was seriously upset that she wasn’t tall enough! Seemed like the perfect time to offer a concession prize – soft serve ice cream available 24 hours a day onboard. Who cares that is just past breakfast time!? We’re on the vacation of a lifetime!!
We disembarked for a lovely afternoon on Castaway. We were so busy having fun, we totally forgot to stop for lunch and hit the BBQ buffet (not to worry….no one was below the recommended calorie count ever on the cruise!) White sugary beaches. Emerald blue water. A majestic view of the ship. And a little shade offered by a towering palm tree for this poor guy who couldn’t go in the water due to the cast on his arm (theres another story – shattered his wrist and had to have surgery last week….not the best timing!)
Before dinner time, we hit up the pool (and the ice cream machine) again just in time to watch a movie starting at the dive-in-movie.
The ship cast off again and we returned to our stateroom to dress for the evening activities. There was a note again at our door with tickets for our Wish Kid for an excursion planned for the next day….and a platter of chocolate covered strawberries!!
Another fabulous show, and then it was dinner at the Royal Palace with the servers all dressed in their Prince Charming dress coats looking very dapper and complimenting the romantic decor of the restaurant that has mosaics of scenes from some of Disney’s traditional and classic love stories.
When we told Gigi she needed to drink water too so she wouldn’t get dehydrated after all the time in the sun, she mastered this skill so she didnt have to slow down guzzling her Shirley Temple.
I was paranoid about the kids clubs before boarded the ship, but my friend Sarah who is a weathered cruiser, and the impressive system for security for the kids, quickly put my mind at ease. The place is awesome and so, so safe with tracking devices on each child and in our case, an older sister who is always looking out for a younger one. We let the girls go to the club for about 45 minutes after finishing dinner. Sure enough, when I came to pick them up after the allotted time, Gigi burst into tears because she didnt want to leave. Apparently dancing with tinker belle is more fun than bedtime!