Friday, July 26, 2013

Thanksgiving at Disney: A Trip Report - Day 4 - Walking the Plank!

Final Photo of the Disney Dream - I'll explain why there aren't any other photos in this post
a bit further down. 

The final day on a cruise ship is one that starts far earlier than you want it to. Not only are you bummed that the cruise is over, but you have to be off of the ship at what feels like the crack of dawn. Today's post is going to take you through the disembarkation process. As a first time cruiser, I was quite confused about all of this, so perhaps this post will set some of your minds at ease.

The night before we had the opportunity to leave our bags in the hallway to be taken off of the ship for us. At first I was really uncomfortable with this idea. I hate letting my suitcase be out of my control. At the start of the trip I was worried my luggage would get lost on the flight to Orlando, and I'd be cruising in the outfit I was wearing. Thankfully that didn't happen. Putting my bag in the hall made anxious that something would happen, and I'd have to spend the rest of the week at Walt Disney World in my pj's and the outfit I was wearing! Writing this I realize that I might have a bit of an irrational fear of lost luggage. I just googled it, and I can't find what this phobia is called, but I did find Nomophobia which is the fear of losing one's cell phone!

Bottom Line: if I gave into these lost luggage fears, I would have to take my luggage with me to breakfast the next morning. That would mean I'd have a backpack, a rolling suitcase, and a rolling carry-on to keep up with, and I didn't foresee my family having mercy on me and helping since they'd have their own carry-on type bags to keep up with, so into the hall my precious suitcase went! Spoiler alert: I was able to find it again with no problem the next morning!

Moving on... since we had late seating for dining that meant we had an 8 AM breakfast time. (Main dining time had a 6:45 AM breakfast seating I believe.)  8 AM wasn't bad, but we had to be completely out of our cabins by then, so any bags we had went with us to breakfast and were "stored" in the entry of the restaurant. For breakfast, passengers can visit Cabanas for the breakfast buffet or the dining room they had dinner in the night before. We wanted one last sit down meal on the ship, so we went to Animator's Palette. Breakfast was a limited menu but had something for everyone.

After eating we made our way to the atrium. It was FULL of people waiting to get off of the ship. LaRae, Randy, the kids, and I were heading to Walt Disney World after getting off the ship. Mom and Dad were going to spend time with a friend of theirs who lives in Florida. We were all eager to get going to the next leg of our vacation, but there's really no speeding this process up.

As you leave the ship, you enter Customs where there are tables and tables of luggage. This part is EASY. The night before tags are left in your room to place on your luggage.  Tags have a Disney character on them.  When you enter Customs, you go to the area with that Disney character and find your bags. Porters with carts are all over the area asking to help you with your bags (for a tip), but rolling luggage has made them much less necessary. There are also signs posted ALL OVER the area saying "NO PHOTOGRAPHY," so in a push for self-preservation I decided this post would just have to be fairly photo-less.  So sorry.  I just wasn't willing to get tackled by Customs Agents! ;-)

Once you have your bags, you get in a long queue. Honestly though, it was just prepping us for queues at Walt Disney World, so it was fine. It moves super quick. You go to a Customs Agent who asks a couple of questions, checks your passport, and if everything is ok, sends you along your way. From there we took our shuttle to the hotel for our cars (be ready for curbside to be CRAZY!), said quick goodbyes, and started driving to Orlando to go straight to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Overall Impressions of Disney Cruise Line 
The big question is always "As a single, adult woman, would you go back on a Disney Cruise again?" Quick answer: I have a Disney Cruise booked for 7 nights on the Disney Fantasy with my sister, brother-in-law, kiddos (in my room again), and a couple from church who we all love for Thanksgiving week 2014!  I found that even as an adult sans kids DCL just does it right. Their service and ships are superior to the competition, and there's always plenty for everyone to do.

"What would you do differently next time?" 
  1. While our lower level rooms with the Magical Porthole were absolutely fine with us, we decided that this next time we wanted to pay a bit extra to get bigger rooms with an actual porthole. Our room will have window seat portholes, and our friends will be next door with an extended verandah that we've requested they share. The larger rooms have a split bathroom with a toilet and sink in one and the tub/shower and another sink in the other. That will be nice for us. 
  2. A 3 night cruise is not even remotely long enough even with WDW on the end of it. We decided to skip WDW next time and spend 7 nights on the ship. We didn't feel we had enough time to explore, and we missed sections of the ship.
  3. Since we'll be on the ship longer, we want to do Palo Brunch next time.
  4. Let the kids spend more time in the kids club if they want to.
  5. Do earlier dining since late dining had us finishing dinner so late that we wanted to go straight to bed.
  6. Find the Pirate Night Buffet!
  7. Enjoy the Adult Pool.
  8. Take MORE photos!
  9. I only plan to see the shows that I haven't seen before.
  10. I'm not sure I'd spend the money on bingo again.
"What would you do again?"
  1. The Rainforest Room is a must! Get some day passes and take advantage of them!
  2. If you haven't done it before, do the rotational dining. It's yummy!
  3. Snorkel at Castaway Cay - see the posts before this one. 
  4. Get on up in the mornings instead of sleeping in. The decks are practically empty in the mornings. Enjoy the peace!
  5. Take time to just wander around the ship.
  6. Ride the AquaDuck.
  7. Cruise during "peak season." A full ship feels much different than a full park at Walt Disney World. Cruising on a full ship is still relaxing. Meals can be a bit crowded, but we never had problems getting to food quickly and finding a table at buffets.
I've cruised Carnival before. Disney is the only way I want to go now. The decor is subtle Disney without being in your face. Characters are around and fairly easy to get to meet. Food and service are amazing! It's the way to cruise!

Next post: We make it to Disney's Hollywood Studios and try a new place to eat. See you in Walt Disney World!


  1. Great recap. I have lots of single friends that have had the same question. I will definitely be pointing them in your direction!

    1. Thanks, Mary! Great to have you stopping by & sharing! :)