Cruise review of Disney Dream

Over the past week, I got to see my cousin get married on a Disney cruise. I have not been on a cruise ship since I was fourteen and I have never been on a Disney one so I was super excited to go. Not only was my cousin getting married, but on a Disney cruise to top it?! I was not missing it for the world. I will break down my five day cruise based on the food, drink, and experiences I had. I will also note now that this boat had so much to offer that I did not get to, so when you go pay attention to the itineraries so you can do what fits you! Well lets get sailing.

The first day had a few steps. We went through parking, security, checking in, setting up a payment for our room and getting our key to the world card. The card gets you on and off of the boat and links to your room for payment. My fiance and I had passports and kept them on us at all times, but for Disney you really just need their key to the world to buy things and to explore.

By linking a payment to your room like gift cards or a credit card, it helps you check out on the last day because you do not have to settle up. They give you a bill that last morning and you are set! you can also watch your tab on the television each day as well. I would highly recommend it and make sure to not lose that key that they give you. I also would get a lanyard of some kind to carry it for easy access.

Once we were on the boat and got through the security, we went over to Animator’s Palate for lunch. Overall, this was the beginning to the solid meals we would have for the rest of the trip. We had salads and split an oreo cheesecake and had some coffee! Then, we checked out our room.

My aunt had our room decorated, but we had an interior cabin with a virtual porthole and it was not too shabby. Clean room and shower, two closets, a table that opened up and a desk with a mirror. For two people it was great and there was a pullout bed, however I would not put three adults in there just two adults with a child. They offer bigger rooms for bigger families though so everyone has an option to fit their needs.

After the muster drill we went for drinks at the evolution lounge with our family and saw the strip of club and bar options on the third floor. They are open all night and have individual themes to each of them and are fun to check out if you are an adult, and some for kids.

We ran to the six o clock show after that called The Golden Mickeys which was an homage to the Disney classic movies. They have concessions all around as well before the show to stock up on popcorn buckets and specialty cups and once you are in the theater, you can relax and enjoy the Disney magic. The second night was Beauty and the Beast which was amazing and possibly better than the broadway version, the third night was a delightful magician who was on board through the cruise which was fun and the final was Disney’s Believe which I did not catch due to packing, but has great reviews from others. Each show is worth watching, so try and catch them either before your dinner if you have the late meal or after if you are the early meal.

For dinners, you are either assigned to 6:15 or 8:15 for dinner and you have a table and a restaurant each night. If you look on your Key, it tells you. There is E for Enchanted Garden, R for Royal Palace and A for Animators Palate.

These meals are included unless you want to buy any alcoholic drinks. There is desert every night as well and on pirate night, they have a themed meal. Overall, you cannot lose and you have the same waiter each night who will do magic tricks.

They also have upscale restaurants that you can reserve tables at called Remy and Palo. You do have to pay and dress fancy, but they seem to be worth it and have great service. Palo also has an amazing brunch (with a chicken parm you must have!) Also, go to the buffet as much as possible and enjoy all of the options while there.

There are also other places to eat throughout the day. For breakfast there is Cabanas along with the other dinner restaurants that convert as well. On the deck there is ice cream and a Cars themed fast food area with burgers, pizza, salad and fries for the kiddos or for a quick bit in general.

Now when off the boat, you have two beautiful stops at the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. While I did not get to do much in the Bahamas because of my cousin’s wedding, I did get off of the boat and it was fun. We stopped at local shops and had some drinks and if we had time there were some awesome excursion options.

For Castaway Cay, this is Disney’s private island. You have the main beach thats available for everyone and has all if the shops and there is an 18 years old + beach called serenity bay which is where we sat around. We walked through the shops and used the trams to get around and had a great time. Serenity Bay was very calm and quiet and had waiters walking up and down and you could rent chairs and floats. Overall a very relaxing day.

When we get done with castaway cay, that it was pirates day. People dressed up in pirate costumes and the restaurants had a special dinner. At night though, we had fireworks which was fun! Leave it to Disney to always have fireworks to end your night.

On your day at sea, we got the chance to check out the boat and see the things we had not seen yet. There is the shopping strip with all sorts of mouse gear and a pirate gift shop too, theres other more expensive jewelry stores as well, and of course the pools. The adult only area has a pool with a walk up bar and an upstairs bar as well if you do not want to get wet and in the family area there is a mickey slide and a raft ride called the aquaduck.

The aquaduck is a two person raft ride that takes you all around the deck to check out the water and everyone below (make sure to look for hidden mickeys in the pool!) You definitely want to take advantage of all there is to do on the boat that day, and make sure you pack to go home and follow the procedures!

They made sure we had bag tags in our room that assigned us to a section to pick up your bag the next morning in customs. You must have your bag out between 8:30-10:30

On the final morning, they assigned us to eat breakfast at the restaurant we ate dinner at the night before at either 6am or 8am and while its optional, going helps you take a moment and eat before you have to go through the customs process and spaces everyone out. Once we finished, we got off the boat and through customs with ease. It took a moment but we did not have any issues.

As we got back to our car in the garage, it was a bittersweet moment getting home. I enjoyed my time and had some great experiences. While Disney cruises are more expensive, if you are a Disney fan I would definitely put it on your bucket list. The memories you will make will never be forgotten and they truly make it easy for you to have an amazing vacation.

Well I hope you enjoyed my review. Feel free to like and comment below if you have gone as well. Thanks so much for reading! Until next time, see you in the parks!


Passhole Announcements!

These past couple of weeks have had a few announcements and updates. Although I have been writing about Halloween Horror Nights and going on Motorbike Adventures, I have not missed them. Lets take a look at the parks and see whats been going on.

At Busch Gardens, they have made some announcements towards their Halloween event Howl-o-Scream. The event is running from September 20th until November 2nd and they have a ticket promotion going on until 07/21. Depending on group rates, single night or multi-night you can find a ticket ranging from $24-$59. This is very exciting and new and although there were rumors of free entry with a park ticket had circled around, this is still a very reasonable price and I cannot wait to go. Right now they have only announced two repeat houses “The Black Spot” and “Simon’s Slaughterhouse” but stay tuned as they announce more.

In the house of mouse, Disney has a lot going on too. Magic Kingdom is celebrating its 64th anniversary and the construction for Tron is going up fast. We also have announcements for when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open the second installment in the lands in California and Florida. Rise of the Resistance will open in Hollywood Studios in Florida on December 5th 2019 and in Disneyland in California on January 17th 2020. So while California got the whole land first, Florida will get the second installment first which seems fair. Overall it is an exciting time there too.

Last but not least, Universal has had some openings as well as their Halloween Horror Nights announcements. The first installment of the Endless Summer Resort called “Surfside Inn and Suites” is now open and has been getting good reviews for a value hotel. They also had a restaurant open in CityWalk as well. Bigfire American Fare is now where Emeril’s used to be and it has also opened to good reviews and I cannot wait to try it.

So as you can see there is quite a lot to do and explore in the parks and a lot of things coming up as well. Stay tuned here for more updates and reviews as I venture around the parks and try new things.

So that’s it for now folks. Thanks for reading and feel free to like and comment below. Let me know what you are looking forward too most or where you have gone that’s new and enjoyed! Until next time, see you at the parks!

This week in Passhole land…

The world of “passholes,” has had a busy few weeks. At Disney, California had the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, they announced a preview for the one in Orlando, and they also gave us an increase on all Florida annual pass-holder prices. Universal Orlando had Hagrid’s Magical Creatures motorbike adventure opening to amazing reviews, and they had to update their operating procedure for it. Busch Gardens has new animal encounters and Discovery Cove is offering a Florida resident discount now. Lets get into the details!

So for Disney, everyone loves Galaxy’s Edge in California. They had a system for return times for people staying on site and for people going to the parks during the first month that gave people four hours to explore the land. In Orlando, they announced they are going to schedule passholder previews for the top three tiers and will probably do something similar for the rest as well and announce it as we get closer to the opening date of August 29th. Personally, I cannot wait to see what we have in store. They also made an announcement that each pass had an increase overnight from between $9 for the water park pass to$225 for the Passport that covers California and Florida. The price change varies between what kind of pass you have, so go to Disney’s website and it will go into further detail about how much each pass increased.

For Universal Orlando, it has been a magical week. They opened to rave reviews on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. It has been opening with lines out to the Port of Entry and Seuss Landing with a 600 minute wait opening day. They had to make an announcement this week that they will no longer be opening Hagrid’s for the entire day and only opening it in the afternoon in order to make sure the ride maintains its performance because it is such sophisticated technology. Overall, people will have to be patient while they sort out the technical and weather factors for this coaster.

At Discovery Cove, Florida residents receive a 30% discount of their ticket if they book for 2019-2020 between now and June 30th. Visit the Discovery Cove website to book now and get more details on pricing. Busch Gardens Tampa has new animal tours as well. You can see the “Sloth Encounter,” which is a 30 minute tour and “Rhino Encounter,” which is a 45 minute tour. They now have 10 experiences for you to get up close with animals now and these new tours cost $59.99/ person. Book on Busch Gardens website or call 813-884-4FUN (4386) to get more details.

So as you can see, all of the parks have a lot going on and there is fun to be had by all! Thanks for reading my post and getting the updates. I cannot wait to review the rides for myself very soon! Until next time, see you in the parks!

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

As we have 3 days until Galaxy’s Edge opens over in California, I decided tonight I would try and talk about what we have heard about this new land. I have not gone in to much detail about it before this, so now is a good a time as any!

Our backstory to this land is that we are along the galaxy’s outer rim on a planet called Batuu where explorers, traders and smugglers alike will have places they can hide out for a bit. Throughout the 14 acres the land encompasses, you will see a lot of familiar faces from the entire series and cast members will be dressed as Batuuans as well so they will be fully involved and immersed in the story. There will also be two rides, food, drinks, shops and your Disney parks app will have a part to play in the experience as well.

The first ride “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s run,” will have you taking control and flying the falcon and you will be interacting and based on how you respond, the outcome changes. You will have the chance to be pilot, flight engineer or gunner. The second ride “Star Wars: Rise of the resistance,” will be you joining the resistance and fighting the first order in a battle where you will go inside a star destroyer and full-size starships. In both cases for these rides, Disney says they have never done anything like this. Between the interaction and guest cooperation, they truly believe these will be fully immersive experiences.

Now lets talk food, drink and shops. For drinks, Black Spire Outpost Market has your Blue Milk at the milk stand and Oga’s cantina is where you can get your alcoholic beverages from the Fuzzy Tauntaun to the Yub Nub. It also will have non-alcoholic drinks like the carbon freeze and cliff dweller so everyone can go in and enjoy Oga’s, but be mindful of her rules! Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo will be where you can get food and a few drinks as well and Ronto Roasters will be your other option too for food.

For Shops, you can get a pet at Bina’s Creature Stall. Need a lightsaber? Savi’s Worshop has you covered with personalized features with kyber crystals in the core. You can even stop at droid depot for a droid of your own. Dok-Ondar’s den of antiquities is also where you can get all of the best black market merchandise. The den is an amazing museum as well in case you want to just see what he has.

You also cannot forget the Star Wars Datapad on the Disney parks play app. It will help you interact with droids, scan objects to translate messages and codes and even translate Aurebesh which all of this can help you hack into devices, control panels and even the droids you were looking for. It will work throughout the entire land so make sure you have it handy and ready when you go in for the first time so you get the best experience!

So there seems to be a lot to do when you are on the edge of the galaxy. I hope everyone enjoys the lands as they open and that it is as amazing as the previews seem to be making it. We will see it open on May 31st in Anaheim and on August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios so pretty soon we will have even more details as people go. May the force be with us as Disney gets all of us through to experience this.

That is going to be it for this week, so thanks for reading! Until next time, see you at the parks!

Epcot Flower and Garden 2019: Full review

Finally! I am sitting down to tell you all about one of the many annual festivals that Epcot holds: Flower and Garden. Now while it may seem rare to go to Epcot when there isn’t a festival going on, I do not feel that it takes the fun away for me honestly. With the new food, drink and topiaries each time you cannot lose. Now since this is a repeat event we tend to see a few novelty items always come back, so I will highlight the new things and some of my favorite classics. Lets dig in!

The topiaries are something I truly enjoy. Some of my favorites to check out are Simba and Friends over at Outpost and Figment in Future World. Plus, they added to one of my favorites this year too which is cool. In honor of the new movie Toy Story coming out on June 21st, Future World also has Buzz and Woody again but they have added Bo Peep and her sheep which is so cute! Another addition was in American Adventure where they added some sunflowers which are always pretty.

They also have the many gardens to roam around too. They added new ones like the Washed Ashore Penguin sculpture, Plant a Garden Perfect for Pollinators and Bo Peeps Playtime Training Grounds in Future World and the new Play Full garden between Mexico and Canada. So if you add these new pieces in with the few traditional ones that stayed, to say the Flower and Garden festival has tons of Flowers and Gardens to explore and take photos of is an understatement.

The Festival Passport will also help you as you roam around because it tells you about all of these amazing places and also some fun for kids and fun scavenger hunts too. Plus it does show where the shops are located throughout the park and the concert lineup so you can see who is playing that day. It also shows the tours you can go on throughout the different sections of the park which can be a nice break if you are looking for one. So if you are looking for things to do besides eat, drink and look at flowers, you have options and it will help you find them in the passport so do not forget to pick it up when you walk in the entrance.

The overall best part of any Epcot Festival is the food though, and it did not disappoint me. I went to the new “Arbor the gardens terrace” which was just inside the Odyssey center and I had the Cider Flight which was delicious. I did not try the food there, but was told the Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake was not bad. The Flavor Full Kitchen was another new stop on the way and it had some lighter food options and fun non-alcholic beverages. Also new on the menu was The Citrus Blossom which had a delicious Lobster Tail and Orange sunshine wine slushy and if you want the Orange Bird cup, you could order the orange cream slushy and get it here. The next and final stop was on the new list was Trowel and Trellis for the Grilled Street Corn on the Cob and it was very good and while I did not get any tea, they all looked good. I heard the blueberry lemon and ginger tea was the best though.

Of course though, I always have to stop at my favorites. The Honey Beestro was back with its honey cheesecake which you know I had a bite of that. The adult Dole Whip was the Pineapple Promenade as well. You had the Jardin de Fiestas in Mexico, Lotus House in China, Bauernmarkt in Germany, Primavera Kitchen in Italy, The Smokehouse in America, Hanami in Japan, Taste of Marakesh in Morroco, Fleur de Lys in France, Northern Bloom in Canada and Fresh from Florida all back as well with their classics for you to choose from. You had a good mix this year of new and old because of this and it made it cool.

As you can see, there are many things to see, do, eat and drink at Epcot. Also, if you are a passholder you can get your Pluto and Daisy magnet while supplies last. They said they would only give out Pluto until April 10th but as of the first week of May they were still handing them out. I hope you are able to find the time to get over and take in the fun of all the festival has to offer and feel like its a fun time for all because of all there is to do.

Well that’s going to be it for now everyone. Thanks for reading about Epcot this go around and until next time, see you at the parks!

Disney Updates park-wide and at Hollywood Studios

So this week Disney has unveiled a few new items and a few new rules that went in to effect. We learned that Hollywood Studios got a new logo and Toy Story Land will be getting a new restaurant which is exciting. Less exciting for some people are the bans that they put in to effect on May 1st. Lets dig in to these hot topics!

At Hollywood Studios we got a new logo for its 30th anniversary. Most people have been reviewing it as very plain and similar to a universal studios logo, which I can agree. It highlights Mickey Mouse which is nice and his art design is from the new ride coming soon called “Mickey and Minnies runaway railway,” BB8 from Star Wars which I am assuming is in honor of the new “Galaxy’s Edge,” and Woody from Toy Story which just had its land open in 2018. I think it is nice to go simple sometimes but perhaps they could have done more.

They also announced a new indoor restaurant in Toy Story Land called, “RoundUp Rodeo,” which had no official opening timeline yet. All we know at this point is that it will be air conditioned and will have a rodeo theme. It will also surround you with different toys and will have the same vibe as if Andy built it himself. I think it will be nice to have a place to get away from the heat while you are in there, but it will interesting to see how it filters crowds. Overall, we are just getting started so I am excited until I see otherwise.

Finally, we had 3 new bans go into effect on May 1st. Large strollers, bringing in outside ice in coolers and smoking are no longer permitted in any Disney parks anymore. Due to the safety and cleanliness of the parks for all guests, they felt these bans would make all guest more comfortable while trying to trek around the parks.

Personally I don’t smoke so that does not affect me though I can imagine the nicotine addicts having an issue and you can already see the out-pour of dislikes on this move throughout social media. The ice does not seem to be an issue really either and it is mainly so people cannot hide things under it, so I do not know many harsh responses to this and once again, I do not bring a cooler. Finally, the large strollers being banned makes me happy since people with them always run me over and I hated them, but people with big families are upset because they carried their kids and everything in them to survive the day. Its not all strollers, just the large ones where two kids could fit in them and they look like a wagon.

Overall, I think the parks are having some good growing pains. I like the idea of having a air conditioned section in Toy Story land and the logo may be mediocre but it ushers in the new era of Hollywood studios so I can deal with it. As far as the ban on ice I am okay with it and I feel for the big families on the stroller ban, but just pack differently and understand that its a safety concern when those huge things are lying around everywhere. Lastly on the bans, while I never felt like I smelled smoke outside of passing a smoking section, I am sure there were always a few people that went outside and perhaps other parks have a worse issue with this than ours. I feel for those with this addiction and I am sorry, but I think its just one more step in a cleaner Disney direction (along with the paper straws).

Well that is going to be it for this now. I am planning to do a review on Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2019 next week, so unless some news is released that trumps that, be on the lookout for that next Sunday. Until next time, see you in the parks!

A week in review: We have got a lot going on!

As a pass holder, there is no better time than when all of the parks have a lot of announcements to tell us about. This week, we had a coaster open at Busch Gardens Tampa, Universal announced creatures we will be seeing in their newest Harry Potter addition (Hagrid’s Magical Ccreatures Motorbike Adventure) and their christmas festivities, and Disney announced an update to the rivers of light show at Animal Kingdom and it is called: ‘Rivers of Light: We are One.” With so much going on, its hard to keep up!

As of April 19th, 2019, Busch Gardens Tampa now has Florida’s tallest launch coaster. With Tigris being officially open, it gives a unique experience for its riders. It launches you back and and then shoots you more than 150ft forward forth through the gate and takes you through its loops and twists at over 60 mph. I personally cannot wait to go tackle Tigris and feel the power and adrenaline coming from this coaster.

Now at Universal, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure has announced what creatures we will be introduced to. They have told us so far we will have Centaurs, Cornish Pixies, Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog, Devils Snare and also revealed what a Blast-Ended Skrewt looks like. The teases and information the teams at Universal are releasing just make it that much harder to wait until June 13th.

We have the dates for Universal holidays going on from Nov 16th to Jan 5th. Christmas in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” will be transformed again into a wonderland of magic with the Christmas lights show in Hogsmeade and all of the christmas performances in Diagon Alley. We will also once again have Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s and everyone’s favorite mean one The Grinch will be back in his Who-liday spectacular; and of course Manheim Steamroller will be back to perform their amazing hits.

We also have Disney updating the Rivers of Light show to “Rivers of Light: We are One.” It will debut as an update tying in the original music score and some new themes to create a new arrangement. They are trying to go for a more emotional story that brings together the story of man and human. It is planned and set to release Memorial Day 2019.

As more things are revealed, I will keep you posted on all things new. As this busy week comes to a close, I appreciate you reading and look forward to my weekend at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! I will review it next week and give you “the dish” on all things food and drink there. Until next time, see you at the parks!

Solo trips to the park: a do or don’t?

Today I decided that I did not want to go in to work because it has been a stressful week and I wanted to get away and chill for a bit. For me, the parks help me with that. So I requested the time off, got up and got dressed and made my plans. I decided to go to Epcot because I had not gotten my Pluto “Passholder” magnet yet and today was the last day.

When I told my fiance my plans, he looked at me like I was weird. He does not see how anyone could possibly have fun in the parks by themselves and thinks it would be lonely. Here is what I told him how I felt about going solo in the parks.

Prior to today I have gone to the parks by myself 4 other times. In every single case, I managed to have a good time and today was no different. There are many pros and cons to going alone every once in a while and I see mostly pros.

Yes you are alone so you mostly do not have anyone to talk to, but if you are outgoing like me and not afraid to strike up a conversation with someone then you will occasionally meet new people and talk about stuff. It can be fun and sometimes cool. If you are the type of person who cannot do this, then either do not go solo to the parks or plan on a day of silence and bring your headphones and listen to music. I myself did a mixture of both talking and headphones and listened to Disney music so it was fun.

The other fun part of it is that you get to decide the day. When you go with a group, you end up having to make sure everyone is happy. Whether it be the rides that someone “must do,” or “won’t do” to I want to eat “this,” but not “that.” When you go alone, there is no compromise or conversation needed when deciding where to go, eat or do.

I do have to say one con for me is driving alone. I live in Tampa so to go to the parks is a one and a half to two hour drive, and obviously with no one else there, the drive is all you. If you do not have that drive, then I can see this being something very easy and fun to do.

So overall, unless you have a fear of being alone which happens and is totally understandable, I think this is something that people can do and is nice every once in a while. While I will always prefer going with my fiance first or friends, until you’ve gone alone don’t knock it until you tried it.

Thanks again for reading, and until next time, see you at the parks!