It’s been over a month now since we returned from our Disney Cruise, and both kids keep referring to the trip as something that’s going to be happening again and again – as in “When we go back on the boat…” and “On our next Disney cruise…” I’m not sure if the kids have been this affected by a trip or if they’re just that much more verbal now they can express their feelings afterwards. I had a feeling this trip on the Disney Fantasy blew their minds, and I guess I’m right!
We all slept really well on board the ship, and upon waking we were delighted to see the clear turquoise waters as we docked at Castaway Cay. Getting ready took no time at all, as the stateroom’s split bathrooms allow one to shower while the other brushes teeth, washes faces, etc. I was pleased my husband was so organized when putting our stuff away, as finding clothes for everyone was easy as we all had our “zone”.
Breakfast at Cabanas is a buffet so vast I recommend you remind yourself you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try everything. I tend to have a bit of a self control problem when it comes to buffets, so I ate enough to last me most of the day! The food is fresh and delicious, and there is plenty of coffee, juice, and milk at hand. The lattes and specialty coffees are extra – I think it was $5 for a large, non-fat vanilla latte. I had one the first day but didn’t bother for the rest of our trip. We tried to eat outside but the morning was a bit breezy so in we went – the interior of Cabanas is lovely anyway. I was astounded by the attention to detail with the beautiful tile work.
The nice thing about docking at Castaway Cay is you can walk directly off the ship. And the fact that we were there all day meant that we didn’t have to rush – although we did hustle since we were so excited to hit the sand. We are beach people, and Castaway Cay satisfied our need for sandcastles and salt water in a very beautiful and easy way. The water was a little cooler than the Caribbean we are used to, but we quickly adjusted to the temperature and spent most of the day in it. Sand toys were a tad pricey at the gift shop, so our kids made do with cups from the restaurant for their scooping and filling needs. Lazing in the sand, splashing in the sea, floating in the salty water – this is our ideal way to spend a vacation.
The food at Castaway Cay is included in your cruise fare, and there are also included beverages available as well – including water. There is no milk or coffee available, though, so if you need a caffeine fix or a nap-inducing bubba you’ll have to nip on board or bring a traveler. As you approach the beach, you’ll come across beach-friendly strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs that you are free to borrow (first come, first served), and there are also lots of rentals for watersports.
We had a lovely late lunch – barbecue chicken, potato salad, fresh fruit and, of course, self-serve ice cream, before heading back to the boat. My daughter wanted so badly to go to Scuttle’s Cove kids’ club on Castaway Cay (I insisted on family time!) that I agreed to let her play in the Oceaneer’s Club while her brother napped. Of course being tired and grumpy was not a good enough reason to sleep, so it was back on board the Disney Fantasy to Deck 4 for a few laps. While the boys slept and the girl played under the supervision of the fab Oceaneer’s Club staff, I had a few minutes to explore the ship and take a few pictures, and pop into the gift shop for some Pirate trinkets.
Bub napped late, which I typically try to avoid but I wanted us all to enjoy the shows that evening. He was very tough to wake, so my daughter and I headed to The Enchanted Garden first so we wouldn’t be late for dinner. This evening was a pirate party, so each guest was given a red bandanna to wear, and my daughter was delighted with her newly procured “pirate princess” outfit. A quick tip- packing a few costumes or accessories means fun at the theme parties without expensive trips to the gift shop!
Dinner was really delicious, and our awesome servers (hi, Jorge and Brent!) had the kids’ drinks ready, my glass of wine poured (leftover from the bottle I purchased at dinner the previous night) and were ready with a quick smile or joke to entertain the kids. Bub was pretty grumpy when dinner first started, and Brent not only had him laughing, he cut up his food and fed him. I sipped my wine and marveled at the Disney magic 😉 My husband’s tuna and avocado appetizer was delicious, and my prime rib was really good. Actually all our food this evening was wonderful, but I think the fabulous service made it taste even better.
This evening’s show was called “Wishes” , and while the interstitial bits were a little corny, the song and dance numbers were really wonderful – fabulous production value with fantastic costumes and special effects. The kids absolutely loved it, even Bub – who at still only 2 has trouble sitting still for very long. I’m so glad we were able to see it all as a family.
But by the end of “Wishes”, the kids were cooked. Back to #5152 for a quick battle over the top bunk (again) and bedtime – except for Bub. I’m not sure if it was the late nap or the excitement of the evening (probably a combination of the two) he was spun, and would not settle to go to sleep. Back to Deck 4 for some laps (I really didn’t mind doing this – felt the exercise was good for me!) but even with his woobie and the fresh night air, sleep was not coming. We headed up to Deck 11 for the Pirate Party, where in spite of the sometimes scary imagery (he finds all the skeletons a bit freaky, and we tell them they’re silly so he laughs) Bub enjoyed the stage show. The fireworks off the boat? Amazing. Not exactly conducive to settling a toddler at bedtime, but amazing.
Eventually he did go down, and then my husband and I finished our beer from the previous night (yes, we’re lightweights now) and slept. Hard. The (slight) rocking of the boat and the supreme comfiness of the bed meant I had probably the best sleeps on vacation in a long, long time.
Stay tuned for the final installment – a recap of our Day 3, but first a few more tips:
- If you’ll be enjoying the beach at Castaway Cay, apply sunscreen before you disembark. The kids will run straight for the water (trust) and it’s hard to put lotion on wet, sandy, and squirming kids.
- In spite of wanting to keep luggage to a minimum, pack a few costumes and accessories for your kids. Everyone makes an effort for the themed parties, and this way you can avoid pricey trips to the gift shop. These fun themed parties might be a good excuse to hit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, however…
- Be prepared for your baby or toddler sleep routine to get a little screwy. There is A LOT going on and Bub’s naps suffered. Luckily he was too busy to be too grumpy and he was so tired by the end of it he was right back on track. They always find their routine again, anyway. With some (and some trips) it just takes a little longer.
And now on to our Disney Fantasy Magical Preview Cruise, Day 3