Disney and a wonderful DREAM - Our Family Vacation 8/17 - 8/27

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#1
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Hello everyone....
I have finally decided to write a review / diary of our ten day trip.... Two days in Disney and then a week on the Carnival Dream.

Just some background.... we are a family of five.... Me(44).. DH (46), DS1 (16), DS2 (13) and DD (6). This is the 12th Carnival Cruise for my husband and I, 9th for the boys, and my daughter's 7th.

This vacation was planned late last year. We had cruised the last two summers to Canada out of NYC, and decided that we really missed the Caribbean. Flying to FLA from RI is a major added expense, but with my oldest getting ready to look for colleges, we knew that this would be the last year for all of us to have a major vacation. A few months ago, when the Southwest flights opened, I had an idea. "Honey?? Would you be able to get an extra day or two added to your vacation?? PULLLLEASSEE???" I knew I could! I wanted to go to DISNEY!! ..... see... my DH HATES Disney. Hates everything about it. The crowds, the $4.00 waters, the lines, the people pretending to be happy..... but I LOVE IT. I have visited with each of my boys one at a time, but have never been with the five of us. But... since we knew this was going to be our last BIG vacation for a very long time.. he agreed!!

Our Plan....
Fly Wednesday night.... Stay at the Port Orleans Resort in Disney Wednesday thru Friday. Rent a car and travel to Port Canavaral Saturday Morning. Cruise on the Dream! Rent a car and spend Saturday night at the Spring Hill Suites near the airport and spend the day at Ron Jon Surf Shop, Cocoa Beach then Dinner at the Hard Rock in Orlando.

We booked Early Saver on the Dream... in a Family Stateroom for five. Great option in our opinion. We were glad to see rooms for five return! The price never went down however. Our plans also included a visit to Paradise Beach in Cozumel, Cave Tubing in Belize, Zip Lining in Roatan and a visit to the Beach in Costa Maya.

Not all went as planned.... especially our last night..... but more on that later!

I have a lot of pictures to share.. no food porn (sorry!... if I took out the camera during dinner, I am sure the divorce papers would be sent across the table !!) ... and I hope this pretty basic review helps someone!

I do not have the most witty writing style... but I hope you enjoy!

Coming Up....
Flying to Florida and Disney!

Catrin
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#2
Las Vegas, NV
331 Posts
Joined May 2009
Looking forward to reading your review! We sail on the Dream in 30 days!!!
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Carnival Conquest May 2003 Western Caribbean
Carnival Pride - May 2004 Mexican Riviera
Carnival Glory - Aug 2008 Easterm Caribbean
Carnival Splendor - Oct 2009 Mexican Riviera
Carnival Splendor - May 2010 Mexican Riviera
Carnival Dream - Oct 2011 Suppose to be Western, but went Eastern Caribbean because of Rina
#3
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Flying to Florida and Disney

DH had Wednesday off of work, but I worked most of the day. Our flight was at 5:30 out of Providence, direct to Orlando on Southwest. We fly Southwest all the time.. best airline, IMO. No luggage fees, easy checkin, a pleasure to deal with and very flexible!

Everyone was all smiles as we packed the car... we are on our way!




Airport Check in was painless... we used Curbside at Southwest, checked in, went through security and we were at the gate in less than 15 minutes. Flying in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning was key! Here we are .. at the Gate.... relaxed and ready to fly!


The flight was terrific, and before we knew it.. we were in Orlando. I rented a movie on my Ipad... made the time fly by! DD was just excited to be at the window seat!



We were using Disney's Magical Express to get to Port Orleans. Although there was no line to check in, we did wait quite a while for a bus.. and then that bus had to fill up a bit. From the time our plane landed to the bus leaving, it was almost an hour... which was much later than we expected.

I will be back.. I have to figure out how to rotate my pictures on Webshots!!

Catrin
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#4
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Back to the Magical Express. Disney offers this service for FREE if you are staying at a Disney resort. We booked the Port Orleans Riverside for a few reasons.. 1) They have rooms that sleep 5 2) The cost - I had a PIN Code and got a rate of $111 per night for three nights... which is excellent. 3) Free Transportation

They show a 20 minute Disney World Pre-view movie, which the kids loved.. it also made the ride fly by. Before we knew it..we were at Port Orleans.





By the time we arrived at Port Orleans, it was almost 10Pm... a bit later than I anticipated, but not the end of the world. Although we were only in Disney a few days, I still purchased a re-fillable mug at the Food Court... well worth it! Our room was AS FAR AWAY from the Center of Action as possible! But.. no worries, this quick trip was to have fun at the parks. We knew we were not going to be able to take advantage of all the resort had to offer. We walked to our room... quite a long walk at night.. but the surroundings are lovely....

Then...
OH WHY Did we use the Luggage Service on Magical Express???

Part of the Magical Express Service.. is that they take the luggage right off the plane, and deliver it to your room. I honestly was NOT thinking right... when they said it usually takes two hours from the time your plane lands to get the luggage. That would mean 10:30 PM.... late .. but not too bad.
So... 10:30 came... 11:00PM came.... we are tired, we are a bit cranky... we want to wake up bright and early to go to the parks.... 11:30..... (call to Guest Services...).... midnight.. no luggage!
FINALLY arrived at 12:15. DH was a trooper.. he had been up since early in the AM, but stayed awake.. while the rest of us fell asleep.

BTW>> that room for five? We knew the room had a trundle bed. But.. for those ever considering that option.... it was awful... like sleeping on the floor. Once the kids saw it... well, lets just say it was a very tough sell! We were glad we were only there for two nights!!

6am came pretty quick.. but being the Disney nut I am.. I was up and HAPPY!! The rest of the family?? Umm... it took a little prodding, but we actually got up and dressed and to the parks for opening!
The one thing I did, was plan ahead for that morning's breakfast. I brought cereal cups for each kid and walked to the food court for milk early that morning. Worked out perfectly.

Coming up next.. our day in Disney's Hollywood Studios.. and RAIN!!
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#5
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Our plan was to spend the day at Disney Hollywood Studios. We would go as long as we lasted. With only two days in Disney, I knew there was no way we would see everything, do everything.... we were just going to go with the flow and maximize the Fast Pass system. DD knew we were not going to stand in line to meet Mickey, Princesses, etc.. She would have her chance when I take her for her solo trip.

We arrived before opening, and could already tell the parks were going to be PACKED!!
Our plan.. DH, DS2 and DD were going to go to Tower of Terror while DS1 and I were going to go to Toy Story Mania to get Fast Passes for the family.
We watched the opening ... well... couldn't really see it.. with the crowds... and then the park opened!


When the park opened... we split up and it worked perfectly.. DS1 and I got Fast Passes and then went right to RockNRoller Coaster Single Rider line with NO WAIT. When we got off, DH, DS2 and DD had been on Tower of Terror and were waiting for us.... But.. OH NO>>> OH NO>> DD was totally Freaked out... tears... this cannot be good. Tower of Terror, the ONE RIDE she kept talking about over and over again.. Freaked her out. Not the drop, not the ride itself.. but the entire theme of the ride. It did not help that her 13 year old brother was reminding her how scared she would be! I should have known better.. and that was my moment to be the worst mother in the world!!
DS1, DS2 and DH went on RockNRollerCoaster while I hung out with DD and calmed her down.

By the time they came out, we went to Toy Story Mania where it was almost time to use our Fast Passes. DD was still a bit shaken up, so we gave her a cure for everything.... DORITOES!! Toy Story Mania was a blast.. and a must do if you are in that park. The line was so long and Fast Pass is the only way to go.
After Toy Story, it was almost time for Disney Rocks... a show where they feature songs from the Disney Channel. DD LOVES her Disney Channel shows and she was looking forward to this show.... SHE LOVED IT!! DS1, DD and I watched the show while DS2 and DH went on Star Wars. Timing was perfect!! Right after the show, DD was able to meet Lilo... no line at all! DH and DS2 showed up right as Chip and Dale arrived and I was able to get a pic with all three kids!



We then went to the American Idol Experience. This was terrific.... all three kids loved voting and the entire show. It was nice to get out of the heat into an Air Conditioned area! Then we had lunch at the ABC Commisary. We did not have a meal plan.... and boy, can lunch add up! DH and I had an awesome Oriental Salad... I love how Disney has healthier options now. The kids had the usual..Nuggets, Mac and Cheese, Cheeseburgers... they were quite happy!

After lunch, we went to the Lights Motors Action stunt show. HOT and LONG.... I had seen it twice before, so it was quite boring for me, but the boys enjoyed it, even my DH! .... but.... then the wall came... with DD.
...... to be continued...
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#6
Portland Maine
4,218 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
nice start can't wait for more
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REGAL PRINCESS NOV 2018
CARNIVAL VISTA JAN 2018
REGAL PRINCESS OCT 2017
REGAL PRINCESS OCT 2016
CARNIVAL SUNSHINE APR 2016
REGAL PRINCESS OCT 2015
CARNIVAL LIBERTY JAN 2015
CARNIVAL SUNSHINE MARCH 2015
CARNIVAL SPLENDOR OCT 2014
CARNIVAL FREEDOM FEB 2014
CARNIVAL LEGEND OCT 2013
CARNIVAL MIRACLE SEPT 2012
CARNIVAL GLORY MARCH 2012
CARNIVAL DREAM OCT 2010
CARNIVAL LIBERTY OCT 2009
RCL LIBERTY OF THE SEAS DEC 2008




#7
Memphis
7,061 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Great start!! Looking forward to the rest of it!!!
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Pam

[email protected]

Carnival Fantasy (Bahamas) 2005
Carnival Fantasy (Cozumel) 2006
Ruby Princess (Western Caribbean) 2008
Carnival Fantasy (Progresso/Cozumel) 2009 - 50th Birthday Cruise Review w/pics
Carnival Elation (Calica/Cozumel) 2010 - Review w/pictures
RCCL Liberty of the Seas (Mediterranean) 2011 - In depth Review
Carnival Conquest (Caribbean) Dec 2012 - "The Doomsday Cruise"
Carnival Elation (Caribbean) May 2013 - Davis's First Cruise!
Carnival Dream (Eastern Caribbean) March 2014
NCL Gem (Canada/NE) October 2014 - Just me and mom!
NCL Pearl (Alaska) August 2015 - Our 10th Anniversary - Full review with LOTS of pictures
Carnival Elation (Cozumel) February 2016 - Our Valentine's Day Cruise - Review with pictures including the Chef's Table
Carnival Dream (Bahamas/Key West) July 2016 - Me, Mom and Becky!

Coming up:
Carnival Triumph (Caribbean) June 2017 - Jared's First Cruise!
Carnival Fantasy (Cozumel) May 2018 - Brayden and Peyton's First Cruise
NCL Breakaway (9 Day Scandanavia, Russia & Baltic from Copenhagen) - Sept 2018



Once, on my way to a dream, I got lost and found a better one.
#8
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Being up until 10:30 the night before was starting to take its toll... and for those of you with young kids.. you probably know what I mean!
The boys wanted to go on Star Wars again, so they went there, while DH and I took DD to the Honey I shrunk the kids Playground.. Great idea. She loved it and was able to relax and play at her pace.



When the boys returned.. we made the decision we KNEW we had to make. I could have gone all day..... but I promised that I wouldn't push. And DD really wanted to go in the pool... so that is what we did. We went back to Port Orleans and had a terrific time in the pool. They had fun music, games, etc. The kids played a musical chairs type of game for an hour... and won some beads... One thing about Disney, is they really make things fun for kids!!

The boys decided they wanted to go back to the park.. so they did .. in the POURING RAIN!! They had fun going on rides again... we decided to have dinner at the Hotel Food Court and have an early night.
Great first day overall....we may not have spent as much time in the park as expected, but I felt we had a quality day!
Coming next, Magic Kingdom....
(thanks to the Cruise fans for dealing with my Disney adventures... I wanted the whole trip on one report to share with our families... I promise.. the Cruise is coming!!)

Catrin

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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#9
Scarborough ON Canada
3,626 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Talk about the perfect vacation - Disney World and the Carnival Dream!

You have a great writing style - very easy to read and follow along. Your joy really comes through and it's very evident that you had a great trip.
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Patricia (Trisha to my friends and family)

Past Cruises:
Disney:
Magic 10-30-2010 (7 nights) - FirstCruise Ever!
Dream 10-30-2011 (4 nights) - first halfof B2B on DCL
Dream 11-03-2011 (3 nights) - secondhalf of B2B on DCL
Magic 4-30-2012 (4 nights)
Fantasy 10-26-2013 (7 Nights) -Halloween on the High Seas
Magic 11-15-2015 - (5 nights)

Carnival:
Dream 3-12-2011 (7 nights) - First half of Jenna's Birthday cruises
Dream 3-19-2011 (7 nights) - Second half of Jenna's Birthday cruises
Miracle 8-26-2011 (8 nights) - PlayersClub VIP Cruise
Dream 10-27-2012 (6 nights)
Pride 03-15-2015 - (14 Night) Tampa to Baltimore Repo cruise
Pride 01-17-2016 & 01-28-2016 (21nights) B2B Baltimore to San Juan to Baltimore
Pride 07-10-2016 (7 nights) Free casino cruise
Pride 08-21-2016 (7 nights) Family trip with brother, SIL, Niece, 2 x Nephews, plus my parents - oh boy!
Sunshine 05-29-2017 (5 nights) Just because I've always wanted to try the Sunshine

Royal:
Explorer of the Seas 2-24-2013 (9Nights) - first time on RCCL
Explorer of the Seas 2-23-2014 (7nights) - a cheap getaway from a terrible winter
Navigator of the Sea 11-10-2015 - (4nights)
Freedom of the Seas 02-12-2017 (6nights)

Celebrity:
Summit 06-01-2014 (7 Nights) - my 40thbirthday cruise
Equinox 11-21-2014 (10 Nights) - mydad's 66th birthday cruise
Summit 08-30-3015 (7 nights)
Summit 02-18-2017 (9 nights)


Future Cruises:

Caribbean Princess 11-20-2017 (10 nights) Partial Panama Canal in a Window Suite!
Carnival Pride 07-01-2018 (14 nights) Another Journey Cruise!
#10
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
We all had a pretty good night sleep.... except for the inital arguments who was going to sleep on the trundle bed!! Aggrrr!!
Friday morning was Magic Kingdom day.... Our plan was to arrive again for opening and last as long as we could. DH had to return to the resort in the afternoon to go to Budget to get the rental car... so we knew we had a break in there somewhere.
We had breakfast in the Food Court... the kids were happy with Cinnamon Buns! ... and we caught the bus to the Magic Kingdom. One thing about Disney Transportation... they sure have that down. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus.
We arrived at the gates, and waited for the Pre-Opening show. I love how the Disney Characters arrive by Train and welcome everyone to the park. That is Disney Magic!


The plan.. (yes, always a plan..)... DD2 was going to walk very quickly... (notice I didn't say RUN!) to Space Mountain to get five Fast Passes. He was then to meet us at Buzz Lightyear, where we would all go. This worked out perfectly!
We rode Buzz twice with no lines... and then met Stitch again!! Then.. it was almost time for Space Mountain. After the Tower of Terror incident yesterday, we were a bit nervous how DD would be... but she was excited to go! When we approached Space Mountain, we had 20 minutes to our Fast Pass time and the wait was 20 minutes, so we decided to wait in line, then use our FP for a second ride! Well.... wouldn't you know... our DD...... Freaked.... wait.. thats wrong... she LOVED IT!! Space Mountain .. to this day, is my favorite ride in all of Disney, and I was so excited to finally ride with my three kids and husband. Those two rides on Space Mountain were my favorite part of the entire vacation. Pure Disney Happiness!!



We then went to Fantasyland .. DS1 ventured to Splash Mountain to get Fast Passes.. and DS2 and DD went on the teacups. The lines were starting to grow and grow and grow.... and we knew that waiting in line for an hour in the 95 degree heat was not our thing.... so we went to the wonderful Mickey's Philharmagic Movie... I love that show!
Then.. something really funny happened. When we got out, DD saw Cinderella's Step Sisters and Wicked Stepmother were meeting kids. There was only a few kids in line, so we ventured over. Well.... they were HYSTERICAL!! They told DD that her goal is to become a Trophy Wife, or a Gold Digger... and told DS2 that he would make a wonderful Butler someday. DD was in awe....

We then walked across the park to Splash Mountain... and our Fast Pass time was approaching. We were able to get Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain before Splash Mountain.. this Fast Pass quest was working out well. We all went on Splash Mountain.... even DS1 who remembers being deathly afraid of it at age 5... and enjoyed it!

After Splash, we were ready for lunch. We went all the way back to the Columbia Harbour House, which is my favorite place to have lunch. But.. our experience was not a good one. First, a woman in front of us, got to the order taker and had no idea what was on the menu. Why can't people decide before they get in line? Then, she was very demanding and was very rude. Then we ordered and walked to the counter to pick our order. But.. there was an older woman there, who started to get our order, but was in a daze. It was like watching someone who was possessed by Zombies. She started our order, then put it down and walked away, then started another order.... then walked in circles. I was VERY concerned for her. She had no idea where she was. I tried to reach a manager, but was ignored. Finally I said.. quite loudly.. CAN SOMEONE HELP ME?? (this was after a good ten minutes). I explained what was going on, and that I was concerned for the worker. In the meantime, our order was lost and my kids were upstairs saving a table for 20 minutes wondering where I was! I had to re-order our lunch, but what happened next was pure Disney. They had me go to my table, and they brought us our lunch... with a full refund. I never asked for a refund.. to be honest, I was more concerned with the lady. The food was great, btw... Tuna for me, Fish and Chips and Clam Chowder for the boys... At the end of our lunch, I found her wandering around the dining area, cleaning tables!

Because of our extended lunch.. our Fast Pass time for Big Thunder Mountain was up! We went on that ride with no wait, and laughed the whole time.

After that ride, it was time for DH to head back to get the rental car. DS1 had a great idea... DD wanted to go back into the pool. DS1 had enough and he would take DD to the pool while DH got the car... DS2 and I would stay in the park and keep going!

We all took the train around the park to the front of the park. The one thing I wanted before they left was a family picture in front of the Castle.
Well.. being 95degrees and we were gross and sweaty, it did not come out as good as we hoped.... (oops too many pictures this post.. it will be on the next one!)


DH, DS1 and DD left .. DS and I walked back to Tomorrow land and went on Carousel of Progress... we love that show! Before we took the train, we used all five passes for some more fast passes for Splash Mountain and Big Thunder, so we walked back there. DS then went on Splash alone twice and Big Thunder once or twice. I was just happy to find a shady spot and wait. While waiting I struck up conversation with a nice woman who travelled from Chicago by car to Disney. She had been there for a week and knew NOTHING about the Fast Pass system. They had been waiting for hours in line all week. It amazes me how people do not research! I guess everyone is not the AType personality like me!

DS and I went on Pirates of the Caribean, with a 25 minute wait.. but everything else at this point was well over an hour. We kept cycling Fast Passes.. as soon as you use one, you can get another. We wanted to save some just in case DH came back with DD.

Around 5PM, I got a text from DH that he and DD were coming back to the Magic Kingdom. DS2 decided he wanted to go back to the hotel and have dinner there and relax... so we took the train again to the front and he left for the hotel. He ran into DH and DD at the entrance.... I took the train back to Splash Mountain and met them there. ...
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#11
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001


Family picture as promised!

On the train back to take DS to the exit, a nice Mom asked us if we wanted some Fast Passes for Winnie the Pooh and Philharmagic! WOW>> that was terrific! When DH and DD met me at Splash Mountain, I told DD we could go to Winnie the Pooh! BUT>>>> we also had Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Fast Passes! We had a plan!

DD and DH went on Big Thunder.... while.. the skies totally opened up.. DOWNPOUR!! Guess where our ponchos were? in DS's backpack!! We tried to wait out the rain with no luck, so DH made the run to the gift shop for Ponchos.. another $20 bill down the tubes.
We then walked to Fantasyland to go on Winnie the Pooh and Philharmagic. Despite the Rain, the park was MOBBED. The park was opened until 2am .. and the night time crowds had arrived. After those two rides, the rain was over.... typical Florida weather!!

We walked back to Splash Mountain and rode it one more time..... it was quite different at night!! And so much fun. We then took the train (again!) to the Front of the park... by the time we got out, the Electric Light Parade had just begun. We watched the parade, then stayed for Wishes, the Firework show..... I loved the look on DD's face this night. Pure Disney magic for her. That night was quite special, she loved being the only child! The fireworks were awesome, as always.


After Wishes, we said goodbye to the Magic Kingdom and took the bus back to Port Orleans. The boys had dinner at the food court, went into the pool and played some video games. They were fast asleep when we returned.

Overall, we had a nice time at Disney. Going in late August is certainly a challenge.. crowded parks, hot humid weather, cranky people. As much as I love it, I am grateful for the early December, late January times I have visited in the most recent past!
Disney remains very expensive.. tickets for two days was NOT a value! Food, while expensive, is actually very good and portions are huge. While we did get to do a lot of rides, there were many we skipped because of the lines. One thing is for sure.. we were certainly ready for our cruise and RELAXATION!!

Coming up next..... and finally!..... our Carnival Dream Cruise....

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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#12
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Originally posted by meatloafsfan
Talk about the perfect vacation - Disney World and the Carnival Dream!

You have a great writing style - very easy to read and follow along. Your joy really comes through and it's very evident that you had a great trip.

From you, I will take that as a compliment! You write the best reviews ever!! I have a hard time getting really expressing our emotions, frustrations, and humor... mine are more fact based.. but hopefully people will enjoy!

More tomorrow!
Thanks,
Catrin
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#13
Ottawa, ON, Canada
889 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
So glad you decided to post your review as I'm really enjoying it! Our first cruise was 3 days at Disney and 4 days on Wonder and we've also done Disney and cruised Glory from Pt. Canaveral. You're right about the heat and theme parks in Aug. "What were we thinking?" I ask myself every time.
Heather
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Disney Wonder Aug. 20-24, 2006 Carnival Valor Dec. 30, 2007-Jan. 6, 2008 Carnival Glory Aug. 16-23, 2008 Carnival Glory Aug. 8-15, 2009 Carnival Liberty Aug. 7-14, 2010 Carnival Freedom Aug. 7-13, 2011 Carnival Breeze July 14-20, 2013 Norwegian Sky July 22-26, 2013 Norwegian Pearl Jan. 5-12, 2014 Carnival Freedom July 13-21, 2014 Norwegian Getaway July 18-25, 2015 MSC Divina March 18-25, 2017


#14
367 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Loving your review so far. Of course, I am a disneynut too
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04/2011- Disney Dream (Nassau & Castaway Cay x2)- Family cruise
04/2012- Carnival Legend (Cozumel, Belize, Roatan & Grand Cayman)- Family cruise
08/2013- Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas (Nassau & Coco Cay)- Anniversary Cruise
04/2014- Carnival Freedom (Key West, Ocho Rios & Grand Cayman)- Family cruise
04/2015- Carnival Sunshine (Cozumel, Belize, Roatan & Costa Maya)- Family Cruise

Always dreaming of that next cruise......

#15
13 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Great report so far! We have been a Disney family (so far) but I'm ready to venture out onto a cruise. But we'd probably add a few Disney days onto it for good measure
#16
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
and now.. finally it is cruise day!

Some background... for those who are just joining us....
This is our 12th Carnival cruise... 9th for my boys and 7th for my daughter. We find that Carnival provides a good mix for all of us... from Camp Carnival to Trivia, from Fruit Loops to Filet Mignon.. all of us are pretty easy to please.

We picked the Dream for several reasons: 1) Pricing - the ability to be in one cabin again was a win for us. We priced two outside cabins on the Legend, and Liberty... and this was a better deal. 2) Ship - we were excited to go on this new ship! Many of the features were made for families.. such as the expanded Camp Carnival areas, Teen Hangouts, Waterworks, etc. 3) Itineary... although we have cruised many times, we have never been to Belize, Roatan OR Costa Maya.. and we love Cozumel so much that this was a great choice!

Saturday 8/20 -
Our plan was to leave Disney between 8 and 9 am and go to Port Canavral. We rented a car the day before from Budget. The terminal is at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Disney. My husband was able to have someone pick him up and Port Orleans and bring him to the Doubletree. I got our rate through MouseSavers.com. It was less than $50 for a Ford Taurus for the day. $50 for the five of us, compared to fees for shuttles or limos was a steal.
We left around 9, but the kids wanted to go out to breakfast. We decided to stop somewhere we have never been before.... Waffle House! Great place for a basic breakfast and yes.... terrific waffles!

This put us behind our schedule a bit... but not by much. We stopped at Publix to get a 12 pack of soda for DH and I and some snacks. Yes, we are on a cruise for 7 days, but sometimes having packages of crackers and granola bars for the islands sure comes in handy!

We drove to the Budget Rental agency right near the port. We jumped right on a shuttle bus and we made it to the port by 11:10am. Let me say this about Budget..... it was perfect. Cheap rental car, no lines.. simple as can be. We would do that again in a heartbeat.

Our first glance of the Dream ... a WOW! Even Bigger, even better!


Checking In >>
Because we are Platinum, we had VIP Check In. It could not have been easier. By the time we got checked in, they were already loading passengers on the ship.. so we went right on!
One of the great perks for being platinum, is that they allow us to go to our rooms right away. We did not have to wait until 1:30. Our room steward was right outside and welcomed us to a room that was 100% ready. He knew we were platinum, and our room was waiting for us with our Stationary. We just wanted to drop our luggage off and head to the Lido Deck with our Bathing Suits ready... it was pool and lunch time!
But first.. a couple of family pictures on the still empty Lido Deck..Our first impressions... we loved the layout of the Pool area. It was different from the Stadium Style on the Liberty, Triumph, and Glory. The Umbrellas on the Lido were a big plus and I would be seeking those out! We could not get over how small the pool was.. but we realized we would not be doing laps!



For lunch, I was determined to try the Pasta Bar. I had heard some terrific things here on Cruise Critic and I knew that my pasta loving kids would really LIKE it!! It is located on the Second Floor of the Grand Buffet area.. and when we walked up the stairs, we were the first ones to arrive!


How it works.... you fill out a ticket for what you would like. You choose what type of pasta you would like ( I picked Penne), the Sauce, and the goodies. Anything from Shrimp, Chicken, Beef, Eggplant, Zucchini, Sausages, etc.... then you can have Garlic Bread and Salad as well.

Well, of course.. we created a confusion. My husband and I had a bowl of goodies.. I had Zucchini, Eggplant and Sausage with Marinara. BUT>>> my two younger kids just wanted PLAIN PASTA with Cheese. PLAIN?? You mean with Sauce?? NO. Plain. ...... PLAIN????? are you sure?? Yes, Plain. Ok, maybe not plain. They ad a pound of grated cheese on it, and then they are fine. We really liked our lunch here, but did not return for the rest of the week.... no reason really, we just never made it!
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#18
Rhode Island
3,626 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
We had a few goals this cruise....

Me - I wanted to read a book or two. I work 60 hours a week, and with three kids, I cannot remember the last time I read a book.. probably last cruise! I loaded a few easy reads on my Kindle for the week.

DH - He wanted to do NOTHING. We had been on cruises with tons of adventure, and late nights in the casino and shows.. this wasn't the cruise. He wanted to find Serenity and live there for the week.

DS1 - He wanted to abandon us for the week. One thing he loves about cruising are the friends he makes. He was going to find Club 02 and attach himself to a group and have himself a vacation. We had rules for him... Port Days with Family. 4 Dinners with Family. Curfew every night. Must be in Club 02 or find us. After 9 cruises, he knew that wandering around the ship was not acceptable.

DS2 - He wanted adventure. He could not wait to go Cave Tubing, Zip lining, Rock Climbing. He also wanted to find out when Circle C offers free video games. Ahhhh.. to be 13.

DD - She wanted to PLAY. She could not wait for the Dance Party, Camp Activities, Swimming in the Pool and the Water Slide!

After lunch we went exploring...
AFT Lido Pool

Waterworks in the background...


and then it was pool time!

One of our favorite times is that first day.....people are walking on the ship.. many for the first time.. in awe.
DH and I have a game...how to spot a rookie? The bar waiter offers him/her a Drink of the Day! "SURE!!!..... (takes a sip)... Oh... I have to PAY for that??" Welcome to Cruising!!

DD wanted to go right on the waterslides, so she and DH played there... DS1 and DS2 wanted to explore and find Club O2, Circle C, and the Video Game area.

At that time, I went to go check our dining room table. We wanted a table for the five of us. One thing that creates a lot of stress for us, is if we have to dine with another family. Nothing against the others, but in the past, it just works better if we are alone. That way, I do not have to get so stressed out about saying the right things, using the right fork etc.
I could have requested a table for five via John Heald... but I wanted to do it the old fashioned way.... and in retrospect, I should have not been as stubborn and just requested it through him! We had a table for 10, with another family... and were told that it would be switched the second day.
Now, that provides an awkward situation the first night, ... "Hi,nice to meet you... we have no desire to ever eat with you ever again... have a nice night".

Once I fixed our dining, I went to hang out in the Waterworks area for a bit... took some pictures.. by that time DS2 had joined DH and DD.




Then it was time to head back to the cabin.... rest a bit.. see if our luggage arrived and get ready for the Life Boat Drill....
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19 Carnival Cruises!!
Review of 2012 Liberty Cruise http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1757587
Review of 2013 Splendor Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1894153
Review of 2014 Magic Cruise..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2037569
Review of 2015 Conquest Cruise .. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2205948
Review of 2016 Sunshine Cruise ..http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2349469
#19
55 Posts
Joined May 2005
I am so enjoying your review. My family of 5 is also doing the Dream Christmas Week. I want to convince DH to add on a couple of days at Disney before the cruise as well. We'll see about that since DH is returning from a year long deployment and Disney with 3 kids, (11, 4 and 2) is w-o-r-k!

In any case, I am loving every bit of your review and look forward to reading more!
#20
Memphis
7,061 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
I did not realize that being platinum gave you access to your cabin any quicker than the rest of the general population.

Is this new??
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Pam

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Carnival Fantasy (Bahamas) 2005
Carnival Fantasy (Cozumel) 2006
Ruby Princess (Western Caribbean) 2008
Carnival Fantasy (Progresso/Cozumel) 2009 - 50th Birthday Cruise Review w/pics
Carnival Elation (Calica/Cozumel) 2010 - Review w/pictures
RCCL Liberty of the Seas (Mediterranean) 2011 - In depth Review
Carnival Conquest (Caribbean) Dec 2012 - "The Doomsday Cruise"
Carnival Elation (Caribbean) May 2013 - Davis's First Cruise!
Carnival Dream (Eastern Caribbean) March 2014
NCL Gem (Canada/NE) October 2014 - Just me and mom!
NCL Pearl (Alaska) August 2015 - Our 10th Anniversary - Full review with LOTS of pictures
Carnival Elation (Cozumel) February 2016 - Our Valentine's Day Cruise - Review with pictures including the Chef's Table
Carnival Dream (Bahamas/Key West) July 2016 - Me, Mom and Becky!

Coming up:
Carnival Triumph (Caribbean) June 2017 - Jared's First Cruise!
Carnival Fantasy (Cozumel) May 2018 - Brayden and Peyton's First Cruise
NCL Breakaway (9 Day Scandanavia, Russia & Baltic from Copenhagen) - Sept 2018



Once, on my way to a dream, I got lost and found a better one.