Disney Cruise Line Stateroom Details

We were so excited on our first few Disney cruises, we barely noticed anything about our staterooms except the basics. Our biggest takeaways from the accommodations on those trips was, “The beds were so comfortable!  The split bathroom was so convenient!”.  Occasionally these days, Raymond and I travel alone on Disney Cruise Line and we’ve adopted a more leisurely attitude.  This has given us ample time to notice and appreciate the special touches that make Disney Cruise Line magical.  I spent extra time taking lots of pictures so I could specifically share with you…

Disney Cruise Line Stateroom Details

Plenty of Storage Makes Unpacking a Breeze – Even our biggest suitcases fit under the bed, so there’s absolutely no reason not to make use of the ample drawer and closet space. Unpacking completely makes us feel more at home and keeps our cabin looking much neater overall.

Lots of Signs Keep You Safe and Informed – The number of signs around a Disney stateroom is almost comical. The one I appreciate the most is the one that reminds me to step UP to enter the bathroom.  I still stub my toe sometimes, but that’s because I can’t see the sign in the dark.

Clever Disney-on-the-high-seas Touches – The towels, shower curtain and room décor are always in keeping with the theme. Those H2O bath products always bring on that official “I’m on vacation” feeling.

Lampshade Map – I can’t believe I just noticed this one on our last cruise. It’s clever and adorable and SO Disney!  Seriously, if you haven’t taken a moment to admire it, you can’t appreciate its absolute perfection.

Stateroom Host’s Magic – We almost always see our stateroom host in the hallway (and they call us by name!) and never in our stateroom, but no matter how long we’ve been gone or what time of day it is, our cabin always looks fresh and clean. Room service dishes placed in the hall disappear almost immediately.  At the end of a long day on shore, it’s incredibly nice to return to a room that looks as good as it did on arrival day.   Every evening without fail, a new towel animal awaits with chocolates and Personal Navigators for the next day’s activities.

There’s a lot of magic aboard Disney Cruise Line and staterooms are no exception!  Have you sailed on a Disney cruise?  What did you like most about your stateroom?

Rum Blossom in Pandora’s Pongu Pongu

— By Joseph Green

When Mom asked me to try out some new Walt Disney World food and beverages and write some reviews for her blog, I agreed.  Enthusiastically!  I mean, win-win, right?  I get to eat and Mom gets to pay for it…what’s not to love?  She emailed me a list and I got busy.  What I didn’t expect on the list (Mom knows me and loves me and wants me to be happy) was a cocktail.

Rum Blossom in Pandora’s Pongu Pongu

This was the one item on Mom’s list that sounded unappealing to me.  I’m a craft beer and dry red wine kind of guy.  Occasionally, when I’m especially flush (or Mom and Dad are buying), I like a good single malt scotch.  A fancy, fruity cocktail is never on my radar.  Ever.

I thought I was taking one for the team.

Mom’s list is pretty long and my time at Walt Disney World is limited, so I dove right in by choosing the one thing I knew I’d like the least (to get it out of the way).  Billed as “Bacardi Superior Rum with layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls” – this drink was nothing I’d order on my own.The Rum Blossom proved me wrong!  It was incredibly delicious.  It was both sweet and tart, much like Sweet Tart candy.  The Boba Balls were just as tasty!  I loved it and would definitely recommend it.  This drink was very refreshing after having worked outside all day.  Let’s hear it for trying something new!  Okay, okay…I admit it was under duress, but still.

So far, this taste testing thing is working out even better than expected!  Next up?  D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs!  If you’ve got any Disney food/beverage suggestions (hint-hint), I’m sure my mom will pay for me to try them and report back.

Thanks for reading…Joseph    

Visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom

Yesterday I shared some highlights from our last trek on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.  Today, staying with the Animal Kingdom theme, I want to give a shout-out to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  Our family once tended to ignore this section of the park, but lately rumors have been swirling about possible changes (including the potential  demise of Rafiki’s area) which prompted us to give it another visit.  Turns out, there’s a lot to love!  If you’ve never been or if it’s been a while, here are five great reasons to…Rafiki's Planet Watch

Visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom

Relaxing Train Ride – Getting to Rafiki’s Planet Watch involves one of the coolest modes of transportation at Walt Disney World.  The Wildlife Express offers an open-air train ride in outward-facing seats which makes for a relaxing and scenic ride to and from this area of the park.  Since this section typically opens later in the morning, mid-morning and mid-afternoon are great times to visit (between FastPasses).Wildlife Express to Rafiki's Planet Watch

Rafiki Himself – Sometimes there’s a queue to meet this wise sage of Africa and sometimes you can have your picture made with Rafiki with no wait at all.  He’s one of the more entertaining and playful characters in Animal Kingdom and will gladly teach you the art of meditation or give you an autograph.Rafiki's Planet Watch - Meeting Rafiki

Veterinarians at Work – Last month (January, 2018) we had time to spare and decided to either see Festival of the Lion King or visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  Raymond, Joseph and I were shocked when Megan piped up in favor of Rafiki’s.  We know how much she loves the Lion King show, but she’d had such a great experience on her last visit to Rafiki’s, she wanted to go again.  Joseph’s always up for anything that involves science and animals and that day, we were not disappointed!Rafiki's Planet Watch - Veterinarians at Work

A warthog was on the operating table when we arrived and a knowledgeable Cast Member was on hand to answer questions about what we were seeing.  The warthog’s immediate need was a broken hoof that needed to be shaved down/reshaped after a mishap cause a piece to break off.  Secondary to this was a known dental issue, so a dentist had been called in to cap a bad tooth.  Rafiki's Planet Watch - Warthog DentistryWe were fascinated and could, thanks to a strategically placed camera, watch the dentist at work.  Not every visit involves such cool veterinary care in action, but we lucked out that day.

Cast Members Have Time to Talk – The Cast Members at Rafiki’s Planet Watch seem to have more time to answer questions and explain scientific displays, animal behaviors, and veterinary treatments than they do in other Animal Kingdom areas.  Outside at the Affection Section, Cast Members can tell you individual animal’s names and histories as well as fun details about a particular animal’s personality.

Science and Live Animals Abound – There are tons of great learning opportunities all over Animal Kingdom, but Rafiki’s Planet Watch offers a unique opportunity to see, hear, and touch live animals while learning about both the animals in Animal Kingdom and those in the wild who benefit from Disney’s conservation and research efforts.

For as long as it lasts, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will remain one of our favorite places in Animal Kingdom.  It’s usually less crowded and much more slow-paced than just about anyplace else in the park.  The interesting displays, animals to pet, and veterinary work make every visit interesting and educational.

Are you a fan of Rafiki’s Planet Watch?  What keeps you coming back?

Animal Kingdom’s Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – Add it to Your Plans!

I just realized something…It’s been way too long since I showed some love for the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!  There’s never been a better time to visit this amazing area of the park.  Let me tell you why.

Animal Kingdom’s Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – Add it to Your Plans!

Since Kilimanjaro Safaris is an absolute must on any visit to Animal Kingdom, think of Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail as an extension of the Safari, but on foot.  It’s super convenient as you’ll find the trail’s entrance close to the Safari’s exit.  While the trail’s many animals might not be viewable at all times, on our most recent visit (January, 2018), we saw some very entertaining sights!

First we stopped for a minute to check on the Colobus Monkeys.  They were relaxing where we had a great view of their awesome hair and curious faces.

Then there was an Okapi who was much closer than the one(s) seen on safari.  She looked so sweet with her beautiful shiny coat, big eyes, and huge ears!  Something about those ears above that cute face make this one of my favorite animals to see.  I was thrilled she was walking around a good bit, but stayed in front of us for quite a while.

Moving on, we went into the research center for a quick peek at the Naked (or, as I say, nekkid) Mole Rats (totally disgusting in the coolest of ways).  We also saw some cuddly looking mice and a few other small animals and insects before we headed out to the aviary.

Not long ago I talked about how, if you give it a few minutes, the aviary is way more interesting than it first appears.  We took a few minutes to watch a pair of Pygmy Geese having a great time in a small pool.  Those Taveta Golden Weavers never disappoint and I watched one, in the early stages of making a new nest, carefully weave in a long piece of grass.  Fascinating!

Next we saw a giant napping hippo in the hippo pool’s underwater viewing window and we watched some Meerkats doing an awful lot of serious zebra-watching.  Those guys are as keyed up as the hippo is relaxed and all if it is so interesting!  But nothing is as great to see right now as what we enjoyed the most…

Gorillas!  Right now, there are two 3-year-old males and their 7-year-old sister/half-sister who completely steal the show!  In the gorilla family area, we watched the little ones wrestling and playing as hard as they could go while Dad kept a watchful eye on the action.  The moms and sister were completely uninterested in getting involved.  In the case of big sister, this seemed to be a huge disappointment to the boys who kept trying to entice her to join the fun.

I could have watched all day.  Those two little ones were absolutely hilarious!  They threw hay on each other, they chased, grappled, fought, and even bit each other!  They seemed tireless and this went on so long, I though surely they must be exhausted.  They made all of us laugh hysterically and I cannot describe here the silliness that ensued when one of them suddenly…well…uhm, pooped in the middle of a wrestling match, much to the surprised fascination of them both.

If you haven’t had the chance to explore the Gorilla Falls trail, I highly recommend you add it to your next visit to Animal Kingdom – you never know just what you’ll find and that makes it all the more exciting!

What’s your favorite part of the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail?  What’s the best thing you’ve seen there?