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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fourth of July on the Disney Dream!

Hey, guys - long time no see!  Now that I'm done with grad school (woohoo), I can finally resurrect Victoria on Vacation!

And what better way to start than with a trip report of our 5-night cruise on the Disney Dream?!

Disney Dream at Castaway Cay

We booked this cruise very last-minute (for a Disney Cruise, at least), just one month in advance.  My dad had actually booked a stay at the Margaritaville Resort in Pensacola Beach, Florida.  Then Rachel and I stumbled across a 5-night cruise on the Disney Dream with two stops in Castaway Cay and dates that aligned perfectly with her work schedule and a fare that seemed reasonable for Disney Cruise Line.  After some heavy persuasion, Dad agreed to ditch the parrotheads for some mouse ears.

Our Itinerary:

[Day 1] Disney Dream - Sail Away!
[Day 2 | Part 1] Castaway Cay 5K
[Day 4 | Part 2] Pirate Night at Sea!
[Day 5] At Sea

Dad called to book two Guaranteed Inside Magical Porthole Staterooms (rather than reserving online).  When he called, he requested that the rooms be near each other (we were just hoping not to be on opposite sides of the ship) - well, they gave us adjoining staterooms!  So if you have a family that needs two staterooms, you might still be able to get two guaranteed cabins next to one another.  I wouldn't recommend this strategy if you have young children that you're planning to put in one room by themselves just in case you aren't so lucky, but it could definitely work with teenagers or families that do a girls in a room / guys in a room sort of arrangement.

Since I was working on my final project in grad school and Rachel had a slow project, she actually did the majority of research and planning for this vacation!  She and Mom both re-read my trip report of our Disney Fantasy Cruise in 2014, which turned out to be really useful because they would both remind me of things things that I had learned from the last cruise and also reminded me to be sure to bring a costume for Pirate Night.  Rachel also learned a lot of useful information from Disney Cruise Mom Blog who has three adorable daughters and is able to go on Disney Cruises much more frequently than we are (#lifegoals).

You don't have to plan your Disney Cruise a year and a half in advance in order to reserve everything you want and have an amazing vacation.  With patience and persistent checking, Rachel was able to secure us reservations for Palo Brunch on Nassau day, Princess Meet & Greet, and Frozen Meet & Greet.  On the last day to make changes (which is when things start to open up), there was even availability for Private Cabanas at (Adults-Only) Serenity Bay.  I think the only thing you would be unable to reserve are the Private Cabanas at the family beach.

Also, the great thing about Disney Cruise Line is that the ships are amazing - in Nassau, we planned not to leave the ship at all and instead meet princesses, have Palo Brunch, and enjoy the Rainforest Room.  At Castaway Cay, we didn't book any excursions - there is really so much to see and do on the island that you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars for your family to go banana boating (if you're doing one of the Eastern/Western Caribbean sailings and have a strong desire to drive a jet ski or be pulled behind one on a yellow raft, I'd recommend reserving that at another port where it will be much more affordable, and you won't be missing out on time to enjoy the most amazing cruise line-owned private island).

So while Rachel researched and booked our reservations, the majority of my pre-cruise planning happened the week of departure when I put together my pirate outfit and made magnets to decorate our door.  EASY PEASY!  (Thanks, Rach!)

Now enough with this pre-cruise rambling... let's get on the ship!  Join me for Day 1 of our Fourth of July Cruise on the Disney Dream!

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