Friday, August 18, 2017

Disney Fantasy


In June, C's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!  What better way to celebrate than to take a Disney Cruise?

While it was the third Disney Cruise for C and me, it was his parents' first time on a Disney ship.  C and I had previously been on the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, so this was our third ship in the fleet – the Disney Fantasy!










C's parents flew down to Orlando from Canada, while C and I drove down to Florida.  We stayed about an hour from Port Canaveral the night prior to our cruise, arrived at the port around 10:30 a.m., checked in, and waited less than half and hour to board.  Once on the ship, we immediately started exploring while we waited for C's parents to board the ship because they had a later check in time than we did, and then after they arrived, we went to lunch at Enchanted Garden while we waited for our room to be ready.

After lunch, we headed to our rooms to drop off our carry-on items and then wandered around the ship for the remainder of the afternoon.  I really wanted to go to the kids' clubs during the open house hours because they are inaccessible to adults for much of the remainder of the cruise and I wanted to check out the Toy Story area because I knew I'd find something Slinky related!



Our checked baggage was delivered to our rooms, so we got settled before dinner and we were ready for an exciting week ahead!

Instead of just detailing what we did each day, I've decided to organize this post into different categories with a little bit of text and corresponding photos…

Room

We had two ocean view verandah rooms – these were the same type of room C and I had on our two previous cruises.  The rooms are relatively spacious and having the verandah to enjoy is a bonus, although to be honest, we did not use it as much this time as we had on our two previous cruises – it was much hotter this time July/August) than either of our other trips (March).  Nonetheless, it was nice to be able to go out onto the verandah at night.






Our Door Magnet

Door Magnet for C's Parents










The Ship

The Disney Fantasy is absolutely beautiful!  Around every corner was a design detail; everywhere I looked, little Disney touches delighted me.  I took more than 2,200 photos during the cruise if that tells you anything!  The atrium alone is stunning!  I could have spent the entire cruise just roaming around the ship admiring everything!  And the horn was awesome as well – one morning they demonstrated the different horn tunes:  When You wish Upon a Star; It's a Small World; Be Our Guest; A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes; Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me; and Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. Adorable!


















































  















Restaurants

There are three main restaurants on the ship – Animator's Palate, Royal Court, and Enchanted Garden – in addition to Cabanas, a variety of quick service places, two adult-only restaurants (Palo and Remy), an ice cream shop, coffee shop, and several bars and lounges.  You will never, ever go hungry!  And there's also room service, where you can order a Mickey ice cream bar at any time, day or night!  The four of us ate brunch at Palo one morning, and then we also sent C's parents there for dinner one night to celebrate their anniversary; not only is it an amazing restaurant in terms of ambiance, but the food is beyond delicious!  C and I also did a champagne tasting class at the aptly named Ooh La La champagne bar, which was a lot of fun!

In terms of the three main restaurants, Animator's Palate was by far our favorite.   Because it was a seven-night cruise, we ate there twice and both times were very entertaining.  The first time was an interactive show with Crush (similar to "Turtle Talk" at Epcot), and since our table happened to be in front of one of the big video screens, we were able to interact with Crush and it was super cute.  The second time, guests are asked to draw character on a special piece of paper before the meal, and then these papers are collected.  Toward the end of the meal, guests are asked to watch all of the video screens and our creations were brought to life through a combination of Disney ingenuity and magic.  It was beyond cool to see the figures that we drew come to life!  We loved it!  Our server was pretty amusing; one night she asked C what he'd like for dessert and he replied, "Nothing," and that's exactly what she brought him!







































































Entertainment

There are character meet-and-greets, live musicians, games, trivia, clubs, movies, and shows – it is sometimes difficult to choose because there are so many options!  Disney movies are also on demand in the staterooms, which is amazing…C and I have been working our way through all of the animated classics in order (we started this two years ago, but life gets in the way sometimes!), and we were able to watch Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan, which was an amazing spurt of progress for us. One afternoon we went to "Disney Music Trivia" and I was feeling very confident that I would be able to do very well because I have spent my life listening Disney music.  My entire life!  The rules were simple: 20 song clips would be played, each clip was worth two points – one for the song title and one for the movie the song was featured in – and there could be no more than 4 people on a team.  Obviously C and I were a team, and I got 36 points and C added 1 point with a very lucky guess because that particular song was from "Camp Rock" and the only reason he even guessed that was because our goddaughter watched the movie once when we were babysitting!  In fact, the only two songs I didn't know were from Disney Channel movies ("High School Musical" and "Camp Rock"). When the scores were tallied, I was disappointed to learn that one other team beat our score by 1 point, but that disappointment turned to supreme annoyance when the winning team stood up and they had five adults on their team.  There aren't many things I'm competitive about in life, but Disney music?  You bet. It took everything in me to not complain to the cast member that clearly the other team had violated the rules!  That was the first and last trivia game we played on the cruise!




Senses Spa

The ship has a spa that has all kinds of amenities, but we were most interested in the Rainforest Room because a friend who has sailed on many Disney cruises had recommended it.  He was absolutely correct!  What a great place to relax!  They have awesome showers, saunas, jacuzzis, and heated chairs, and we bought a pass for the entire week and took advantage of it throughout the trip.







Ports/Excursions

There were three stops on this particular cruise: British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Castaway Cay.  In terms of the British Virgin Islands, C and I did an excursion to The Baths, and the beaches were just beautiful, and we had an excursion planned (sailing and snorkeling) for USVI, but it ended up being cancelled due to "mechanical issues."  While we were initially kind of let down, we quickly realized that it was almost like a snow day – unexpected and exciting – because we had the whole day ahead of us with no plans but to enjoy the time!  We went swimming, rode the AquaDuck, went to the spa, and had a very relaxing day.  It was fabulous!  I'm sure the sailing and snorkeling would have been fun, too, but this was probably my favorite day of the entire cruise.












Castaway Cay fell on the last full day of the cruise and we had a fantastic day of swimming and snorkeling.  Unfortunately, despite my excessive application of sunscreen, I did not reapply often enough for the amount of time I spent in the water and I ended up with the worst sunburn of my entire life on my chest, back, and arms. It was absolutely terrible.  I didn't feel it during the day, but by the time dinner rolled around and we were back on the ship, I knew it was going to be bad.  Even though the day ended with me in a lot of pain, the memories of all the fun we had on Castaway Cay remain crystal clear!












Final Thoughts

This was our third Disney Cruise, but our first on one of the two larger ships (the Wonder and the Magic are smaller than the Fantasy and the Dream). Make no mistake – the Fantasy is beautiful.  Every inch of it is amazing.  But I prefer the smaller ships.  There were just too many people on the Fantasy – over 4,000, according to one cast member we asked.  That's a lot of people.  And 1,500 of them were kids.  Clearly, I love kids…but 1,500 of them on one ship?!?  Overwhelming!  And actually it wasn't just the sheer number of them, but the lack of supervision and overall out-of-control behavior some of them displayed (running everywhere, bumping into people, stomping and jumping up and down the staircases) that really bothered me.  I know it's a Disney Cruise, but still! Get it together! We made a point of staying in the adult-only areas as much as possible, which certainly helped.  But there was an enormous difference between our first two cruises and this one in terms of the ship and the number of people.

Finally, the service was stellar…our servers, our room host, the cast members around the ship…I could go on and on about them! Nothing short of spectacular!





Walt Disney World

When we left the ship on Saturday, August 5, we dropped C's parents off at the Orlando airport and then headed over WDW.  We knew our room wouldn't be ready, so we went to Disney Springs to do a little shopping and grab some lunch at Blaze Pizza.  It was about 1:00 p.m. when we headed over to Polynesian to check in.  They told us we would get a text when our room was ready, so we just hung out in the lobby and got Dole Whip floats.  I was in a lot of pain from the extreme sunburn and didn't really want to move, but we ended up heading over the Grand Floridian to look around.  And by look around, I mean sit as still as humanly possible in a chair.  I said to C that I wish we could just go home, and he kindly went back to Polynesian to plead our case so they would refund the room charge, which they did.  He came back over to GF to get me, and we took the monorail back to Polynesian, went to our car, and began the 12+ hour drive home.  When we were in the car, I cancelled our dinner at California Grill, so that should really tell you just how much pain I was in, to give up not only a stay at Polynesian, but also dinner at California Grill!  It was undoubtedly our shortest visit ever to WDW:  six hours!

Moana & Maui














C drove all the way home and as long as I was sitting still, the pain was manageable, but I have never been so relieved to get home in my entire life.  That sunburn ruled my life for nine days.  NINE DAYS.  I was already not a fan of the sun and we are no longer on speaking terms.

But even that sunburn couldn't dampen the amazing trip we had! And I cannot recommend a seven-night cruise enough because it was a nice mix of days at sea and ports of call!




Happy Tails to you!