Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Our Disney Cruise --- Part I

Over the past 11 years, I’ve been on many family vacations with DW’s side of the family…but I’m pretty sure our latest one ranks as one of the best! DSC_5583

When my FIL gets something in his head, there’s a 99.9% chance he’s going to make it happen. We’re all really lucky that most of the time we’re all the benefactors of such ideas!  :)  Months ago, he decided all 14 of us should take a Disney cruise…

The whole family’s been counting down the days until our cruise on the Disney Dream.DSC_5545 I’ve read every blog post and article on tips, planned out coordinating outfits, and made list after list of what we needed to pack!

The day finally arrived last Thursday. 1Our bags were packed7 and everything (and everybody) was adorned with a Mickey or Minnie Mouse head! :)8

Aunt Kate got AB the Minnie Mouse backpack that was her carry-on, and she thought she was big stuff carrying her own swimsuit in it!

We arrived in Port Canaveral just after noon and made our way through check-in and to have our group boarding picture taken…img200

The magic started as soon as we stepped foot aboard the Disney Dream…There was a tunnel of crew members waiting to greet us and “Disney Cruise lines welcomes the Whitehurst family” was announced over the speakers. I think every member of our party of 14 was beaming from ear to ear. There’s just something about Disney that does that to people, or maybe it’s doing Disney with kids…that’s the real joy for sure!

Our rooms weren’t ready yet, so we made our way to one of the dining rooms for lunch.10

11 I nearly fell out when I saw the hand dipped ice cream on the buffet. I mean seriously? I was prepared for the standard soft serve ice cream machines (which I LOVE, don’t get me wrong), but leave it to Disney to blow my mind with hand dipped ice cream. My favorite was the pineapple coconut and I will be dreaming about it until we go on another Disney cruise and I can have another scoop. (and YES, there will be another Disney cruise!) :)

After lunch, we went to find our rooms. 1

We had inside rooms, but the “magical porthole” made it feel just like we had a real window. The portholes are screens that show the actual view from the boat. AB LOVED it…especially when different Disney characters would scroll by!

I’d read that the doors on the ship are magnetic and that people usually bring magnets to decorate their doors. So fun! I had Carrie get the Journal crew to make us a magnet for our door and it turned out so cute…Dinsey 2013 181

I made magnets for the rest of the family, too…I cute them out using my Cricut, then laminated them and then glued a magnet to the back. They turned out even cuter than I’d hoped…Image1

We changed into our swimsuits and headed for the pool deck. The Aqua Duck was top priority.  DSCN0272We’d read that it wouldn’t be as crowded on that first afternoon. DSCN0149AB had been watching videos of the AquaDuck (the water-coaster on the ship) for weeks and had planned out who all she was going to ride it with. Much to her (and our) disappointment, though, she ended up not being tall enough to ride on it. She handled it so much better than I thought she would! Since the line was short, Pappy & Nie-Nie took AB and Mames in the pool and me, DW, Adam, Lauren, Kelsey & Taylor all rode the Aqua Duck. I felt super guilty for riding since AB couldn’t, but it was really fun and I ended up being glad we did it. PLUS, I knew it was really the only chance I’d have, because I would not get on it when the ship was actually moving…hello, what if the pipe broke?!?!

AB did get to do the Mickey slide, though. Our niece Taylor went with her…12

We splashed in the pool and splash park with the girls for a couple hours before heading back to the room for the safety drill.

After the safety drill, it was back to the main deck for the Sail Away Party! DSC_5242The characters were onstage and everyone was dancing and waving their poms-poms. DSC_5241

We were 4 hours into the trip, but I already knew this would definitely not be our last Disney cruise.

We’d planned for everyone to wear red, black or white (Mickey Mouse colors) to dinner on the first night and had hoped to get a group picture of the whole family afterward. Unfortunately that didn’t happen… But everyone did look cute coordinating! :) DSC_5271Our girls wore their Disney cruise dresses that my BFF, Carrie found and called me about literally a week before our trip! DSC_5276They turned out so cute and we got lots of compliments on them. DSC_5261

The Dream has three different dining rooms, so you go to a different one each night and each is very different.5 Our first night, we had dinner at The Royal Palace. DSC_5258It’s the fanciest of the three dining rooms and your bread is served in carriages, of course. Because, what else? DSC_5259Mames had a rough start to dinner the first night. It was totally my fault though, because I had packed lots of things to keep her entertained during the long dinners, but left it all in our room that night. She and I took a walk back to the room, which worked out great because we ran into our room attendant and were able to ask him to put down the top bunk for AB.

After dinner, we caught the sunset with Adam & Lauren on the deck. DSC_5295It was gorgeous. DSC_5282


We hit the family dance party where AB and Nen did the Cha-Cha Slide and then AB and I did some kind of party dance they were teaching. DSC_5302After a little free-styling, AB said she was ready to go. :)DSC_5315

We walked around the ship a little more… Mamie loved all of the lights and chandeliers. The chandelier in the main lobby was unreal.DSC_5281 Everything about the ship was just beautiful. DSC_5548

3The hallways had window seats in the portholes and AB thought she had to sit in one EVERY time we walked by. DSC_5639I think we have a picture of her in every outfit she wore sitting in a porthole.

After some more exploringDSC_5348

we headed to the theater for the show. How fun that we ran into Princess Tiana down one of the hallways! DSC_5352


“The Golden Mickeys” was the show the first night. Outside of the Walt Disney theater, they had a red carpet set up for photos with a golden mickey…DSC_5361

The shows were all fantastic! DSC_5364I so had to contain myself from singing along loudly to most of the songs! :) I loved seeing lots of the classic characters, too. One night Mary Poppins even flew in!! DSC_5374

DSC_5366This blur is AB who was sitting on her Pappy’s lap when one of the characters came up to her during the finale that night. We sat in the same spot all three nights, and every night something like this happened to us! So fun!

After the show, we called it a night and headed for our rooms.

AB was SO EXCITED to see her bunk bed when we got to the room!DSC_5380 It had stars on the ceiling above her bunk and the next morning she told me she’d seen “Peter Pan’s boys” in them.DSC_5381 Sure enough, some of the stars made characters. So cute. The girls did so great sleeping in the same room with us (and each other) the entire trip. I was so proud of them. I think it helped that they were so exhausted every night by bed time, too!

Friday morning we woke up in Nassau.DSC_5419 The girls woke up to find surprises from Mickey & Minnie in our room! DSC_5387I got this idea from my friend SaraBeth…AB loved it and bought right into it. She was so excited to wake up every morning to see what Mickey had left. We thought it would be a fun treat for her, plus it would save us from buying tons of souvenirs and stuff on the boat. (I sprinkled the mickey mouse confetti that AB had gathered up from the deck party the day before and she loved that!)

DW and his Daddy, along with Adam & Lauren took a snorkeling excursion on a catamaran that morning. This is an underwater pic of DW and a whole bunch of fish…Dinsey 2013 055Nie-Nie & I took the girls to the princess gathering in the lobby. DSC_5393AB had her Belle dress on and we got in line about 10 minutes before the gathering was scheduled to start . The line was already pretty long, but AB really wanted to see Snow White (she’s the only one of the main princesses she’s never seen and she’s not been at Disney any of the times we’ve been)… Peter Pan was also scheduled to be in the lobby and AB wanted to see him, too. (She JUST watched Peter Pan for the first time, the week before when it came on the Disney channel, so she was excited to hear he was there). The princesses were all introduced and came out to take their places around the staircase and we hunkered down, prepared to wait A WHILE… Then, some of that Disney magic happened and Snow White and Peter Pan were the ones who were walking up and visiting guests while they waited in line!!! WHAT are the chances!??!?! DSC_5398 AB got to see both of them and we only had to wait about 15 minutes! Perfection! I told Nie-Nie that I feel like Disney just always seems to work out for us! :) DSC_5408

Next up was breakfast on the deck…DSC_5421

With a view fit for a princess…DSC_5424

We all got our swimsuits on and headed for the pool. DSCN0156

DSCN0144My SIL, Amber, had saved us a good spot at the pool, since Warren had been up and in the water since daylight. :) DSCN0160


The kids swam while Mames and I took a little stroll around the ship. I thought she might catch a nap…but there was too much too see and too much ice cream to be eaten. DSCN0176We got a cone and headed back for the pool where everyone else was having a snack, too. Unlimited pizza and french fries poolside is something they could all get used to. DSCN0178

The splash park “Nemo’s Reef” was perfect for Mamie. DSCN0210

DSCN0195She loved it, and it was even great for AB & Warren, too…DSCN0191



After lots of splashing and some lunch, the girls and I headed to the room to get Mamie a nap. DW got back just as Mamie was laying down, so he took AB to the theatre to see Oz. DSC_5434The ship has a movie theatre on it and shows movies that are currently in the theatre!DSCN0213 It was even in 3-D. DSC_5432

Aunt Carrie & Allie Claire got AB the Disney cruise necklace that she was wearing that day…it was so cute and she LOVED it!

We’d planned to take the girls off the ship when Mamie woke up from her nap. I texted DW when she got up on our wave-phones (Disney gives you two “cell” phones that work on the ship so you can text and call each other if you separate…how awesome is that?!?!) AB & DW left the movie early and we got off the boat…DSCN0216



We walked down by the water and took some pictures.DSCN0230 AB couldn’t believe how green the water was in the shallow parts. DSCN0236She kept saying, “its just beautiful.” I knew she’d love the water the next day at Castaway! DSCN0222

After Mamie got to stretch her legs a little and run free, (as free as you can be with a “leash” attached to you) :)DSCN0252 we made our way back on the ship to get dressed for dinner. (You can see in that picture how mesmerized she was by the big boats…she even said “boat” for the first time on the trip!) DSCN0265That night was Pirate Night on the ship! We’d read up on it and had all packed our pirate best. DSC_5462

Before dinner, Pirate AB got to meet Tinkerbell. DSC_5453

Dinner that night was at “Animator’s Pallet.”Dinsey 2013 149 It was really neat and lots of fun. DSCN0320

DSCN0327During dinner, the portholes on the wall come to life and interact with guests. Our table, where our whole party of 14 was sporting our pirate get-ups, got chosen! :)Dinsey 2013 118The Turtle, “Crush” from Nemo came on the screen and started talking to Nie-Nie…DSCN0316He called her “Pirate Lady” and asked her name…then asked why she had such a big group of pirates with her. He wondered if we were celebrating a birthday or anniversary or something?? She told him, we were just celebrating LIFE! :) He went back and forth with her and kept calling her by name, it was the craziest thing. The kids were loving it. Dinsey 2013 117

Dinsey 2013 147(AB told me later she loved it when “that turtle called Nie-Nie, KELLEE!!!”). Later on, when she was taking pictures, he came back and posed and told her take his picture, too. Dinsey 2013 140It was such a fun dinner! Dinsey 2013 159

After dinner, we hit the deck for the pirate party! Dinsey 2013 165

There were pirate games, songs, dancing and more eye patches than you could count!

DSC_5474We all got schooled on how to act like a pirate…and we were even there when Captain Hook and Mr. Smee took over the ship!DSCN0372

AB & Mames had the best view on the boat thanks to their Daddy & Pappy. Dinsey 2013 177

The deck party ended in true Disney fashion with streamers and confetti!


There’s still more pirate fun and another whole day of the cruise to recap, but I’ll save that for next time…



Immeasurably More Mama said...

I have said for awhile that we need Will to get us on a Disney cruise and reading this just makes me want to go even more!!! The pics from pirate night are my favorites but it all looks SO fun!!!

SaraBeth said...

What a fun vacation!!! I'm so glad you guys had a great time. I can't wait to see the rest. I need to find out from Carrie where she found those precious dresses for our next trip:)

Katie said...

It looks like so much fun! Cant wait to hear the rest!

Carrie said...

I love everything about this post! Oh my word, I feel like I went on the trip just reading your words and seeing all the amazing pictures. My favorite is of your little family in front of the porthole, with the girls wearing their matching dresses, and both AB and Mamie looking at the camera (when does that ever happen!?) I can't wait to read Part 2!--Get with it :)