Sail Away day is always so much fun, the anticipation building up to a Disney cruise literally bubbles up and spills over from the months of planning to waiting in the port terminal snapping photos of the giant ship from every angle to finally clamoring on board with hoards of other excited Disney fans to have cast members gleefully welcome “the Brown family” onboard with applause and cheers. I just love it!! This time around with it being such a short cruise, we booked the earliest possible port arrival time we could get so that we could maximize our time on the ship. I think we had a 10:45 or 11:00 arrival time, but of course they don’t actually start boarding until around 11:45 or so. The earlier arrival groups do get called first to board though. Staterooms are not ready until 1:00 or 2:00 so you have some time to kill before you can even get into your room. They recommend you bring a carry on with any essentials you may want. A TON of people wear or bring their swim suits and head straight for the pool. We prefer to enjoy our first meal on the ship right away at either Cabana’s or Enchanted Garden (Cabana’s opens earlier) and then wander around familiarizing ourselves with everything.
You always board the ship at the same location – mid-ship on Deck 3 where the Atrium is located. All four Disney ships have a similar Atrium lobby area with a grand staircase, beautiful chandelier, and a statue celebrating a classic Disney character – Admiral Donald Duck graces the Disney Dream in this case.
The Disney Dream is decked out in an Art Deco theme with this incredible crystal chandelier hanging from the Atrium ceiling.
The Art Deco chandelier was custom designed for the Disney Dream and measures seven meters in diameter. Decorated with Swarovski crystals, it’s covered with 24-karat gold plating and cascades four meters down from the atrium ceiling.
Cabana’s is the massive buffet option onboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. There are two sides that serve virtually the same options and at non-peak times, they may only have one side open (as a warning).
Totally beach themed to the max with palm trees, kites on the ceiling, clocks around the world, waves on the carpet and a Cabana entrance, it is located Aft on Deck 11 with Nemo’s Reef, the pools and Quiet Cove. This is also the deck where you will find 24/7 drink machines by the pool and some quick service, counter style food options for things like pizza and sandwiches.
The options are endless – fresh fish, chicken with Caribbean salsa, macaroni and cheese, a salad bar, a seafood bar with shrimp cocktail and oysters, soup, Asian dishes like lo mein, sandwiches, fresh focaccia bread, a carving station with turkey and beef roast. There is something to please every member of the family here.
After fueling up with lunch at Cabana’s we strolled out onto the pool deck and made our way around to the rest of the ship to get acquainted with the location of everything. The Dream is very similar to the Fantasy, which we’ve been on before, so it felt familiar and like home! Deck 11 mid-ship is where you will find the family zone with Mickey’s Pool, Donald’s Pool, and Funnel Vision where they show movies and trivia. They cover the pools at certain times to host events like the Sail Away deck party and Pirate Night here as well. The stage below Funnel Vision is always overflowing with your favorite Disney characters so that you’ll want to get a prime spot to view the stage during these events! In classic Disney fashion, they perform fun routines or dance numbers, sing or act and get the crowd involved.
The adults only areas of the ship are typically our go-to spots because we don’t have kids yet to travel with so it’s just us adults and we like to get away to the quieter areas of the ship. One of our favorite spots on both the Fantasy and the Dream is Satellite Falls. Forward on Deck 12, Satellite Falls is a stairwell away from the Quiet Cove adults area, has a sweeping view off the bow with ample covered seating and a refreshing splash pool grotto like area.
Grab a cocktail (or mocktail) from Currents bar on your way up and pull up a chaise lounge because it’s usually nice and quiet up here! We had to get a cruise worthy first drink before we sailed away! I had a virgin strawberry daiquiri since I was already pregnant when we took this trip!
The falls itself is a unique splash pool with rainwater style falls pouring off a shaded area. Under that cover is bench seating where you can get out of the sun and enjoy the cool water. Overall it’s just about waist deep, but for me, it’s just perfect for taking a quick dip to cool off for the day. It can get hot walking around those outdoor decks on the ship.
In addition to Quiet Cove and Satellite Falls, there is an entire section of the ship devoted to adults only entertainment with bars, clubs, and pubs called The District. Located aft on Deck 4, there are five themed out spaces in total for adults to enjoy. Not only is this area where they host nighttime entertainment and dancing, but throughout the day they have trivia and different alcohol tastings in the District. It’s also just another quiet spot to come and sit to get away from the noise in other areas of the ship. Yes, we’ve got cruising with Disney without kids down to a science. 😉 You will also notice that the carpet on the Disney ships is directional – you know you are in the adults-only district by the fairy dusted red carpet.
Upon entering the District, you’ll be in the District Lounge, reminiscent of a laid back piano bar.
The District Lounge features a full service bar that you can saddle up to and order just about any cocktail or even mocktail of your choice.
687 Pub right next door to the District Lounge is a classic sports bar with masculine touches like wood paneling, leather sofas and multiple large screen televisions showing different sporting events.
In direct opposition to the masculinity of 687 Pub is Pink – an uber girly, over the top pink champagne bar. Furnished with pale pink banquette sofas, velvet club chairs, and a bar reminiscent of ballet slippers, Pink is definitely a fun themed location to spend your evening. Pink also features sculpted light fixtures reminiscent of Champagne flutes and back-lit glass “bubbles” streaming up the walls.
The glass sculpture behind the bar even evokes champagne shooting from a bottle.
The largest space in the District is Evolution – a butterfly themed dance club! Situated on the ceiling over a large dance floor is a monarch butterfly whose wings fill the space with colorful changing lights. Surrounding the dance floor are gold and black chairs and sofas.
The pattern inspired by a monarch butterfly’s wing embellishes the walls, and swirling trails of light on the ceiling symbolize butterflies in flight.
One other bar – Skyline – which we did not get a photo of this time is also found hidden in the District. It’s a small space with an entrance leading into Evolution, but it feels very urban as if you are enjoying a drink in a bar found in a big city. In fact, behind the bar is a rotating image of different city skylines. This same bar is also on the Disney Fantasy.
After wandering through the District, we made our way back to the front of Deck 3 where the Walt Disney Theatre and most of the onboard shops are located. Walt Disney Theatre is where the Disney Cruise Line features fantastic Broadway style live shows each night, like Aladdin, Villains Tonight, Believe, and now Frozen. On the Disney Dream, they currently show Disney’s Believe (also on the Fantasy), Golden Mickey’s, and Villains Tonight! We went to all except for Disney’s Believe on the last night because we enjoyed a dinner at Remy for hubby’s birthday instead and we already saw it on the Fantasy.
And we’re off!! After touring most of the ship and attending the mandatory assembly drill at 4pm, we found a spot up on the Deck 11 to watch the Sail Away party! It can get hot and crowded, so we only hang out for a few minutes! Some other fun things to do during sail away – go up to Satellite Falls to watch as the ship leaves port, go aft to Meridian to sit on the verandah, enjoy an All Hands on Deck platter and champagne from your room’s verandah! There are always options to avoid the crowds on a Disney cruise and that’s one thing we love about them.
Until next time! <3 K&R