7, 2006 — After
a final breakfast in Parrot Cay with our tablemates (a
multi-generation family of five, an aunt and her two nieces, two
young singles, and Mel and I, an "older" couple without
kids) we took a final look-see in the cabin to make sure we had
everything, and then it was time to debark and head home with a
week's worth of memories.
had some initial reservations about the ambiance of a Disney cruise,
but found it wholesome, fun for all ages, and one of the best cruise vacations
ever. Best of all, I got to connect with Alice, the character I
portrayed at Disneyland so many years ago.
Cay--land, and the ghostly ship from Pirates of the Caribbean,
6, 2006 —
The only thing better than spending the day at Castaway Cay (Disney
Cruise Line's private island) is spending TWO days there. Alas, that
two-day opportunity is only available to passengers on select
"Costa Maya" itineraries, but we crammed a lot of activity
into our single day. Upon arrival, we claimed bicycles to explore as
far as Serenity Bay, the tranquil beach area reserved for adults and
then explored the biking and hiking pathways until it was time to parasail. Not me
(I'm too chicken) but Mel loved the experience with Alonzo Johnson
and T.J. from Abaco as his 'flying' guides. From there we hit the beach
barbeque on our way to Castaway Ray's for a stingray adventure.
we'll always remember Castaway Cay
you, this was no ordinary stingray adventure. Yes, we swam with them
and, yes, we fed them... but the difference was that they enjoyed
their 'buffet' luncheon served on Mickey Mouse plates. Our trainer
introduced us to the tame stingrays, which all have names and swim
across a ramp for their feeding. We put bits of food between our
fingers and, with our hands flat on the plate, the rays scooped it
off as they passed by. In response to our petting their velvety
bodies, they seemed to delight in splashing us with their wings.
good things come to an end and we bid farewell to Castaway Cay, but
we still had dinner in Palo's to look forward to on our last evening
onboard. Our calamari appetizers were far more appealing than those
we fed the stingrays and the entire dinner was sublime, especially
the chocolate soufflé dessert. With only a $10 per person
surcharge, the adults-only restaurant is a great deal. Tables fill
fast so make your reservations the minute you board. You won't want
to miss this superb dining treat.
there was final packing.
5, 2006 —
You might wonder, like I did, how a Disney cruise would stack up
against other cruise lines. While the ships are large at 83,000 tons
and there are from 1,754 to 2,400 passengers on board, Disney
restricts the number of children in each age group to what they can
reasonably handle in the various program facilities. (Make your
reservations early to avoid disappointment.)
encountered very few lines throughout the ship, even when Mickey
Mouse makes an appearance for a photo op. I haven't had to wait at
the complimentary drink station for serve-yourself coffee and soft
drinks or at the pizza and ice cream parlors. When there are people
waiting, courtesy rules. Don't even think about cutting in a line,
the children will correct your bad behavior.
service staff meets or exceeds the quality found on even upscale
ships. Kids are catered to in the same manner as adults and they
love their own menu for meals. Clifford Clarke, who hails from
Jamaica, is one of the best cabin stewards we've had the pleasure to
meet. His specialty is "blanket animals" and he's
delighted us with nightly creativity. Our stateroom is always tidy
(with extra towels) and no request is too difficult for him to
fulfill. Briana in Cove Cafe makes an outstanding Mojito!
word about the accommodations—comfortable! Lots of storage helps
us keep everything neat and I love the sliding closet doors and the
bathroom doors that open inward, which means no door wars as in a
typical cruise cabin entryway. Fantastic design! We really couldn't
ask for more in terms of efficiency and coziness.
4, 2006 —
It was Wednesday, so that was St. Thomas out there, but before we could
go ashore we had to clear U.S. immigration, which meant a very
early wake up call. Oh well, I was hungry for some Mickey Mouse
waffles anyway. Once off the ship, the weather was hot, hot hot so
we re-thought our plan to take the tram up the mountainside
overlooking the port and just shopped instead. I happened to
meet Nancy from Miami who was a passenger on another ship. She
seemed surprised that Mel and I were cruising without children on Disney and said she
and her husband left their teen at home and didn't look forward to being
on a ship full of kids. In reality, her much larger ship probably
had more children on board than ours did. The look on her face when I
described the fireworks at our deck party was... well, can you say envious?
early start to the day called for lazing about after lunch and a mid-afternoon
nap. But first we took time to stop by Ocean Quest during family 'open
house' to watch a young Captain-in-training learn to steer the ship
through a challenging channel and out to sea on the Disney Magic
He was promoted from third mate to second mate and was visibly proud, as
was his father.
was back in Animator's Palate and we had more than just an excellent
meal. As it turned out, our servers have quite a sense of humor and
surprised Mel with a "special" chicken entree. Our
tablemate Georgina was presented with a birthday cake. Then it was
time to celebrate the 80s in Rocking Bar D where we rocked with the
band until well past my bedtime.
some sleep because I'm meeting Alice in Wonderland
3, 2006 —
We awoke this morning dockside in St. Maarten and went ashore to
enjoy a lovely Caribbean day. After a stroll through town and along
the "boardwalk" we stopped for tropical refreshments
before returning to Disney Magic and lunch at Pluto's Dog House.
Does that sound just too cute to you? To be honest, without children
of our own, I was afraid Mel and I would be overwhelmed by kids and
the entire kid-centric theme on board. That hasn't been the case,
though. The ship is stunning and there are quiet adult spaces to
retreat to when we're inclined, although it's a pleasure to be with
families who are obviously having a great time together. And, as I
learned from Wray and Carol Williams of Bradenton, Florida, their
four-year old daughter Cadie loves the children's program so much
that she doesn't want to leave. Wray and Carol loved the Spa Villa
for couples so much that they didn't want to leave either!
haven't encountered a single grouch onboard. There are smiles
everywhere, especially when Disney characters make an
appearance. Something Wray Williams pointed out that I hadn't
noticed—even the "villains" smile. Nowhere was that more
evident than at the Pirates IN The Caribbean deck party. Captain
Hook wasn't at all menacing as he led the dancing along with the
cruise entertainment staff. Of course, Chip and Dale were there
along with Goofy and Minnie Mouse. I won't spoil the surprise, but
Mickey Mouse made quite an entrance and the fireworks were
spectacular. Disney ships are the only vessels at sea that present a
fireworks show from ON board while at sea. It was quite a party and
now we're off to sleep to dream of pirates, fair maidens, and the
great time we had all evening. It was truly fun for "kids"
of all ages!
2, 2006 —
Talk about a "goofy" way to start the day... a character
breakfast on Disney Magic. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Chip & Dale,
and Goofy stopped by to help us begin the day. The kids at our table
had a great time. But so did we. There are four youngsters in our
small group and eight adults. It's hard to tell who's having more
breakfast Mel headed to the fitness center to ride a recumbent bike.
Instead of watching the mini-television, he listened to tunes on one
of the complimentary iPods. We then met up for a couples massage
treatment in a Spa Villa, a Disney Cruise Line exclusive. We started
on the Villa verandah with a foot exfoliation and some alone time in
the whirlpool for two before moving inside to adjacent tables for
hot stone massages. To wrap up our relaxing morning we had tea and
fruit back on the verandah. Available for one or two, it would be
impossible to find such nirvana at sea on any other ship (until the
Villas are installed on Disney Wonder this month).
absolute highlight of the day for this wannabe princess was
"Twice Charmed," the day's magical production show.
Landing the Prince and living happily ever after is certainly every
girl's dream, but what would happen if a wicked Fairy Godfather
stepped in to rewrite history? You'll have to take a Disney cruise
yourself to find out, but I will share this... Cinderella's inner
beauty prevails over the dirty tricks pulled by her nasty stepmother
puts on a show like Disney characters and I really love the timing
of mid-afternoon matinees in addition to evening performances. I'm
Magic's Bridge Simulator
1, 2006 —
So, just who IS driving the ship today? From the looks of it, the
kids are in control. When I stopped by Ocean Quest, the really cool
area for 'tweens, they seemed to be in charge. The niftiest video
attraction I've ever seen is the simulator with an actual feed from
the Disney Magic's bridge that allows young passengers to take over
the controls. (Sorry, parents, they won't let us big kids try it
well, there are adult things to do. Like the Disney Behind the
Scenes lecture and Q&A hosted by Kevin Neary, author of
"The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books." Before testing
passengers' trivia knowledge he shared Disney facts and answered
questions. I must admit that I didn't quite understand fans' Disney
mania until attending Kevin's talk. Disney embraces their company's
unique history and Disney creativity captures the imaginations of
young and old alike.
than wait until after dinner to attend today's "Golden Mickeys"
production show, I went to the afternoon matinee (lots of good
seats!) and thoroughly enjoyed the show. A celebration of Disney
Studio's classic movies in song and dance, I was surprised at how
many characters and how much of the music I recognized, being an...
ahem... somewhat less than youngster. What's my favorite? The one
that grabs my heart is "Beauty and the Beast."
how's the food? Wow, the pizza is terrific! Dinners in Lumiere's and
Animator's Palate have been quite good, with a lot of variety. It's
difficult to choose what to order and I'm trying to watch the
calories... but tonight in Animator's Palate I threw caution (and
calorie counts) overboard and had one of the best desserts of my
life. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Vanilla and Coffee sauce. The
biggest WOW, though is the restaurant's setting that changes from
stark black and white to warm and wonderful color. Naturally, Mickey
Mouse made an appearance. I love the surprise character appearances
and look forward to our Character Breakfast in the morning.
September 30, 2006 —
If it's possible to experience a more efficient cruise
embarkation, I have yet to come across it. Much like at Walt
Disney World, once you reach the cruise ship terminal, you are in
Disney's capable hands and "cast" members guide you
effortlessly to drop off luggage and park right across the street.
They then efficiently walk guests through the check-in process once inside. We aren't new to cruising, but
even to us (novice Disney passengers), it was a joy to encounter no stress and
no lines when we arrived at 11:30. With boarding card number 8, we
were greeted at the entry to the ship's lobby and heard our name "Coffman family"
announced at 12:30 when we stepped on board.
couldn't go to our cabin to drop off carry-ons until 1:30 (and they
are very strict about that, with stateroom corridors closed off) so
we headed to Parrot Cay for a relaxing and casual lunch. On board
Disney Magic the first afternoon was fairly typical of any ship with
unpacking and the muster drill. Then two other ships left port and
anticipation built for...
sail-away party! Everyone gathered on deck at the Goofy Pool beneath
the huge outdoor movie screen while the entertainment staff led
dancing and singing until it was time to introduce Captain Mickey,
Minnie Mouse, and their friends. The Disney Magic's horn sounded
"When You Wish Upon A Star," streamers exploded from
overhead, and we were on our way. Following the frenzy, we now have
two sea days to look forward to (and lots of food and fun).
September 29, 2006 —
only a day of exploring the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, my feet were
complaining, but it was certainly worthwhile. The entire resort is
wondrous, but the highlight came Friday night as the sky over Epcot
lit up with the most spectacular fireworks display. Afterwards, it
was time to pack up in preparation for the drive to Port Canaveral
and our Disney Magic cruise.
a real pirate ship, but close enough. In 1960-something Cruise Diva
posed at the wheel of Disneyland's Chicken of
the Sea Restaurant.
September 2006 —
Do we every outgrow our childhood dreams? I remember mine and
they haven't faded over the years.
I dreamt of being a
princess. Cinderella would do, but I preferred Sleeping Beauty (she
didn't have to scrub floors to earn her glass slippers). Yet I grew
up to be Alice—as
nothing was as it seemed.
constant throughout my growing up years was the magic Walt Disney
created. I barely remember a day that I didn't attend the Mickey
Mouse Club (okay, it was television, but I knew Annette would be my
best friend if only she knew me).
The moment Sleeping Beauty's castle rose over the nearby orange groves in
Anaheim, California, the dream was real and I began badgering my parents to take me there.
finally relented and I've spent many happy hours at Disneyland...
a working day as well.
My earliest Disneyland
memories include driving the mini-cars around the Autopia, being
wowed by the House of the Future in 1958 (all plastic, with a futuristic
kitchen featuring a microwave oven!), and the thrill of
being scared silly during the jungle cruise. My husband missed out
on those childhood thrills so we're both looking forward to
embarking on a Disney Magic cruise. Join us on October 1st for the
first Disney Magic Blog installment. Mouse ears are not required,
but wear 'em if you've got 'em!
© M.D. Coffman
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© Linda Coffman
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