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Friday, December 17, 2021

[Day 2] Disney Wonder Test Cruise - At Sea

It's been awhile since I've had an inside stateroom, and the darkness was kind of freaking me out. I was worried that I was going to accidentally sleep the entire day away. Around 6 AM, I turned on the stateroom television to the channel that show's the camera from the bridge to give myself a sense of time. Also, we had turned our clocks forward an hour, but we were on the ship's Wifi, so I wasn't sure if our phone clocks would automatically update to be correct (they didn't). I had forgotten to ask our stateroom attendant to leave a bucket of ice in the room, and at some point, I started getting very thirsty, so I left the room with my water bottle in search of water.

Also, I brought my camera. Because I am Victoria on Vacation.

I went straight up to deck 9, figuring I could cross over to Cabana's for water. It was very quiet and lovely that morning. Not many people were up and about. It was pretty much just me and the cleaning crew, so I took advantage of the opportunity to take a lot of photos.




I figured out that it was around 8:00. And I was also able to refill my water bottle at the drink station set up outside of Cabana's. Pre-Covid, it was self-serve, but now they have it blocked off with tables, and a Cast Member fills a cup for you. They were happy to use the disposable cup to fill my water bottle, though.


Another Covid thing is the additional, more spread-out outdoor dining. There are now tables on the 10th deck, outside of Palo, for overflow seating from Cabana's. Really lovely spot to sit and dine.



Great view!




I also accidentally stumbled upon a smoking area. There were two people there, so I took this photo in attempt to act casual, rather than turning around and running away which was my first instinct.


I guess another Covid precaution is no more games. There weren't any balls for the foosball or ping-pong tables, so you couldn't play (we tried).


Also, no more basketball.


It was a great time for people-free photos, and I definitely took advantage.






After lapping the top deck, I figured I'd go down to Deck 4 to take a few laps.




I really love Deck 4. I'll probably say this several times throughout this trip report, but Deck 4 is just such a calm, relaxing spot to be. Love it.





I then headed inside because we had made plans to eat at Triton's for breakfast, but I remembered that they closed at 9:30, so I wasn't sure if the whole gang would make it. The hosts told me that Tiana's Place was also serving breakfast, and they would be open until 10:15.


The ship was already decked out for Halloween on the High Seas. There were jack-o-lantern vinyl stickers in the porthole windows:


And a large jack-o-lantern tree in the atrium.



I also did a quick photo walk through After Hours, the Adults Only area on the ship.





Was able to peek in the Cadillac Lounge. This is where they do the tastings and mixology, so it's often closed to the public throughout the day.



From this perspective, looking at the bar, notice the front of a Cadillac:


I headed back to the room to wake everyone for breakfast. We got ready and arrived at Tiana's place right before the cut off seating.

Tiana's place was vibing. Literally. It was vibrating an obnoxious amount. Dishes were clinking, the eggs were jiggling, your seat was vibrating. It was very distracting.

The breakfast menu is probably the least exciting of all of the DCL menus. We thought it was location-specific, but we later learned that the same breakfast is served in Triton's. I ordered the Southern Hash. It was fine. The carton eggs are not my favorite.


When we headed back from breakfast, we saw Tiana greeting everyone in the atrium.


We got dressed for the pool and headed up to the Quiet Cove, to find it packed and not at all quiet (party people on the test cruise!!). I suggested that perhaps there would be more seats available at the family pool, so we headed mid-ship.


Now is a good time to talk about the new safety measures in effect around the swimming pools and spas. Currently, the Family pool has a queue system in place for swimming and hot tubbing. The Starboard-side queue was for the hot tubs, and the Port-side queue was for the pool. I'm not sure what the capacity was for the pool because I never saw people waiting in that line - this is probably because it wasn't that sunny, and there also weren't that many kids on the ship. The line for the hot tub varied throughout the day. Guests are allowed to enter the hot tub only with their party. There are two hot tubs at the family pool, and the lifeguards kept time for each party in the hot tub - 15 minutes per turn (that's one jet session). However, if there was no one in line for a turn, the lifeguards didn't kick anyone out. Also, I say "kick out," but that seems inaccurate because these were the nicest lifeguards, and they just very nicely asked if you'd let the next party have a turn. Not at all aggressive, and no use of the pesky whistle.

Quiet Cove, however, has no rules. If you score the hot tub, you can stay in there as long as you want. We observed the turn-over of the hot tub in Quiet Cove many times during the cruise (it was very entertaining drama). From our observation, the best strategy to claim the hot tub is to get into the pool. Be in your swimsuit, ready to jump into the hot tub. Then, when you see the people getting up to get out, head over and enter the hot tub from the pool side. There will probably be other people running at it from on deck, but you're a lot closer in the pool, and you're already wet so the others are more likely to let you have it. But this is all anecdotal. We decided that for us, it was easier to just go wait in the line at the family pool.

The first time we went to hot tub at the family pool, Rachel and I didn't notice there was a line, and a teenage girl who was by herself invited us to join her. And the lifeguards saw it all go down but didn't say anything which was pretty cool. The hot tubs are TINY. Rachel and I stayed on the edge for the most part because it felt kind of invasive to be in there with other people.

The movie audio at the family pool was very loud, so after we got out of the hot tub, we decided to scout out the 10th deck for lounge chairs and found a great spot by the Sports Court (which also had lounge chairs).



Aaron and Rachel had filled their mugs, and I decided I wanted to get a beer as well, so I headed down to Signals bar at Quiet Cove. And it was popping. I waited and waited. I even hopped up on a barstool, but I kept getting overlooked. Enough with this! I left the bar and as I was headed back to the lounge chairs, I ran into a bartender who was walking the deck and placed my order with him - much faster than going to the bar. Ordering from the walk-around bartenders instead of at the bar continued to be faster throughout the cruise.



Also walking around were the photographers. We ran into a bunch this cruise! We figured what the heck, and took a pool-side photo. We were awarded with this gem:


We then decided to go grab a bite to eat at Pete's Boiler Bites. I got the chicken schwarma. One thing that was pretty annoying was that they didn't have napkin rolls readily available near Pete's Boiler Bites. I think they used to set them out on the tables? I recently had oral surgery, so I needed to knife and fork my food. I headed to Pinnochio's Pizzeria... no cutlery there. Finally, I spotted the napkin rolls over at Daisy's DeLites and was able to get a server to just hand me one from the pick-up side of the queue so I didn't have to wait in line.


After lunch, Rachel wanted to get in one more hot tub session. Unfortunately, this time, there was a very long line. We probably waited 45 minutes to get in the hot tub, but at least we were able to watch Cars which was playing on the Funnel Vision.


It was getting chilly, so we decided to head inside and clean up. Aaron really wanted to see Shang-Chi which was playing in Buena Vista Theater during the cruise, and the first showing was this afternoon (Rachel had no interest in watching Shang-Chi and would be reading her book on Deck 4). We had some time to kill, so we decided to spend it in Crown and Fin.



I ordered the Gin Tea Tonic, fully expecting it to be like a Long Island Iced Tea or something. Not actually... Tea!! In a teapot!! This was not what I had in mind, and I'm not good with hot beverages (a side-effect of the oral surgery).


So I'm unable to drink my tea because it's too hot, and then suddenly it's almost time for the movie. I didn't want to bring the whole teapot with me, and I wasn't about to abandon that fancy expensive drink! So, I sucked down the tea cup and poured the rest in to take to the theater.

We arrived at Buena Vista Theater, and there was a lollipop sign posted that the theater was at capacity. I didn't believe it, so I walked past the sign and sat down on an empty row in the back. Well, I guess I opened the floodgates for other people to do that, too. Also, it's been years since I've seen a movie in a theater, and..... don't hate me.... I'm a movie talker. Shang-Chi was action-packed with very impressive stunt work. So there were a lot of, "Wow! Woah! Oh no!" gasps coming from me. I was into it. Anyway, halfway through the movie, I have to leave to go to the bathroom, and Landon followed me. While we were gone, I guess the lady in the row in front of us to the side was pretty annoyed (probably at me for being an obnoxious movie-talker), and was saying something along the lines of, "They aren't even supposed to be in here! They snuck in after the doors closed!" It was enough to make Aaron feel like he shouldn't be in the theater, so he got up and left, and we all went out to deck 4 and interrupted Rachel's book sesh.



Aaron and I indulged in an impromptu model sesh.





Dinner that night was in Animator's Palate. We were pretty excited for this menu.


And we coordinated with a black and white color scheme - perfect for Animator's!



Ordering two of each appetizer to share worked out well on the first night, so we continued the tradition!

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes:


The Smokes Salmon Tartar at Animator's is one of my favorite appetizers:


Tomato Tarte:


For the main course, I went with the Grilled Tuna Steak:


Rachel had been dreaming of the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin. And despite her typical bad luck with steak temperatures, this was to perfection:


Bout time Rachel got her medium-rare steak!!!


The Cookies 'n Cream Sundae is very good. Don't snooze on this sundae.


Lemon Icebox Pie - this is a dessert that my Memaw used to make, and one of my favorites. However, I think this should have been served at a colder temperature. It was more on the side of room temp, which I believe contradicts the purpose of the lemon icebox.


Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake, very decadent:


Animator's Palate is on every DCL cruise ship, but I much prefer the black and white version on the Wonder, compared to that Finding Nemo, "IT'S A SHARKKKK! A SHARKKKK!" interactive version on the Dream and Fantasy. Also, I really like the Animator's menu.

Once again, we were among the last in the restaurant and given a very strong hint to PLEASE LEAVE as they started bussing tables and turning over the dining room around us.


I almost left my blazer in Animator's. Thankfully, Aaron noticed and even wore it out for me...


After dinner, we headed up to the top deck for the Mouse-Querade. This is a deck party entertainment offering with the "Halloween on the High Seas" cruises.


The Mouse-Querade is freakin' adorable. Mickey and pals are dressed in Halloween costumes, busting serious dance moves. In my opinion, this is more "funky" and party-like than the Pirates stage show they do for Pirate Nights.


All of the characters got their own solo dances which was adorable:


Rachel LOVED the Mouse-Querade. At one point she said, "That's the most fun I've ever had!" To which an acquaintance not in our travel party responded, "Really? That's the most fun you've ever had?" Way to kill the moment. Really, though, it's a good time!


After the Mouse-Querade, we headed to Azure where they had karaoke. Rachel had been saying that she really wanted to do karaoke and sing "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid. It turns out, we should have been in the D Lounge where they were having Disney Family Karaoke. If only we'd known!!


Once again, Azure closed promptly at midnight, and we all raced to our staterooms to order room service. Actually, this was the first time Aaron and I had ordered room service - for some reason, we hadn't thought of it the night before, but Rachel and Landon gave us the good idea. I don't think they were quite prepared for the sudden boom in room service orders because we were on hold for awhile, and it was around 30 minutes before they delivered the food. Room Service on DCL is free of charge, but it's kind to tip the person who delivers it to your room.

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