Disney Dream – Midship Detective Agency

Midship DetectivesIf you’re sailing on the Disney Dream (or Fantasy) and you want to explore the ship and have fun at the same time, you cannot beat the Midship Detective Agency for providing you with an amazingly cool way to see the beauty of the newest Disney Cruise Line ships while sharpening your sleuthing skills.  This activity is fun for the whole family…or two grownups even or one grownup and her semi-reluctant co-detective husband.  I loved this activity!  Raymond….well, he was supportive if a bit unenthusiastic.  There is quite a bit of detecting involved.  (Recommended for guests ages 9 and above.)

Disney Dream – Midship Detective Agency

The adventure begins at Headquarters where you start your self-guided adventure by picking up your badge and selecting the case you’d like to solve.  Midship Detective BadgeWe chose a crime involving the Muppets and some missing show props.  Clues are located all over the ship and, by using your badge to unlock them, you’ll gather the information needed to solve the crime.  Midship Detective Agency Muppet CrimeThis is not an activity for wimps!  Use your clue map to gather details related to the crime, take notes and carefully eliminate suspects from the list provided – Logic, cunning, and analytical thinking will all be involved in exposing the true culprit. Midship Detective Agency Clue MapMidship Detective DirectionsMidship Detective Agency - Walt PictureMidship Detective Agency Missing Items

We took the stairs in the beginning, but after a while, if the number of decks between us and the next clue was more than four, we’d take an elevator.  If we’d been on a cruise longer than four nights, we  probably would have attempted solving more than one mystery (I’m using “we” liberally here – I’d have been solo on any subsequent sleuthing to be honest, but that’s not important now, is it).  Midship Detective Agency Door Clues Midship Detective Agency Muppet Mystery Midship Detective Agency Crime NotesAll of our efforts (and believe me when I say this took a lot of effort) paid off and we were successful in solving the crime and nabbing our bad guy!  I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment.  Raymond felt like a beer.  We celebrated our victory over the forces of evil by toasting our brilliance at the Bon Voyage bar.Midship Detective Agency Gonzo Midship Detective Agency Clues

The Midship Detective Agency is a very cool interactive activity with some pretty amazing technology – I highly recommend it for great exercise, ship exploration, and good family fun!

Have you solved a crime on the Disney Dream or Fantasy?  What did you think of the experience?  Yea or Nay?

 

Disney Dream – Dinner at Remy

Remy-TableOne of the best things aboard a Disney Cruise is the opportunity to enjoy adults-only dining.  I am not ashamed to say – dining without children around is sometimes a rare treat on a Disney vacation…One we’re inclined to take full advantage of!  When sailing on the Magic and the Wonder, our choice for this was Palo – which we have loved every single time we’ve been there.  On the Dream, we had two choices for grown-up dining and opted to try them both.  Palo as a tried and true favorite and Remy as a new and highly anticipated experience – so much so, we booked both brunch and dinner.  For today, let’s just focus on one particular meal…

Disney Dream – Dinner at Remy

If you’re interested in a night out sans little ones, Remy is an excellent choice.  We were delighted with our meal, in fact, and I have only glowing, positive things to say about it.  So, in the manner I so often employ, let me give you FIVE good reasons to enjoy a dinner at Remy.Remy-chair

  1. The atmosphere – I’ll do my best to describe the setting, but Remy’s ambiance will need to be experienced in order to truly appreciate every detail.  The restaurant is named for the famous chef from Ratatouille and there is no shortage of Remy references and tributes throughout the dining room.  The  hostess, Maître D’, and servers are French and their pride in the restaurant and the service delivered is obvious from the moment of arrival until the final au revoir.  Remy-displayThe tables, chairs, lighting, windows…so much attention to detail is incredible.  There are even little padded footstools near each table in case a guest should need a place to set down a handbag.
  2. You like a culinary adventure – Remy boasts two world-class chefs – one French and one American – Chef Arnaud Lallement of L’Assiette Champenoise restaurant (two-Michelin-stars) located near Reims, France and Chef Scott Hunnel from Walt Disney World’s Victoria & Albert’s.  The two chefs present two different six-course meals and guests may choose one of those to enjoy OR meals can be built of separate, individual menu offerings.  Remy-menuI chose the six courses presented by Chef Hunnel and Raymond preferred to build his own meal from the a la carte menu options.  Both meals are accompanied by “surprises” (amuse-bouche) from the kitchen sent out by the chefs during the meal.  Remy-amuse-boucheOur first surprise was a tiny brown ball that looked rather like a small hush-puppy, but was instead a delicately wrapped “bite” of tomato soup!  The second offering was a foie gras foam with macadamia nuts topping a bit of salted caramel.  Remy-foie-gras-foamThis sounded so ridiculous, but was, in fact, absolutely wonderful.  The rest of the courses would take many hundreds of words more to describe (ask me if you have any questions), but included things like shrimp, duck, sablefish (personally my favorite part of this meal), Kobe steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, and more.  Dessert for both of us included a lot of chocolate.Remy-plate Remy-sablefish Remy-duck Remy-presentation Remy-dessert Remy-dessert2
  3. The exquisite service – Alexia was amazing!  Remy-AlexiaShe helped us through all our food selections (with her gorgeous French accent) and as our courses kept being presented and we gradually got fuller and fuller – we were confronted with a real dilemma – the cheese course.  Had this surprise on a cart arrived bearing anything other than cheese, we could have resisted, but it was full of CHEESE!  Remy-cheese-cartAlexia understood that we were quickly running out of intestinal real estate but wanted to taste all the cheeses, so she prepared tiny samples of 12 different cheeses with their dried fruits and honeycomb accompaniments for us to try.  Remy-cheesesShe placed the cheeses on the plate in a particular, circular order and explained their presentation from hard and mild to softer, to the most strongly flavored.  We were even presented with a list of the cheeses to take with us!  Remy-cheese-listIf you love cheese like we do, this alone was worth the price of admission (see #5).
  4. Romance – There’s a dress code at Remy.  There’s candlelight and lovely china and table linens.  We like dressing up from time to time and acting like mature human beings, plus, we enjoy each other’s company.  26 years of marriage is not something that happens by accident.  Remy was the perfect combination of delicious dining in a romantic setting – exactly right for spending the evening with your favorite person in the world.
  5. You have an extra $400 lying around.  The up-charge to dine at Remy is $85 per person.  If you don’t want to pay for water with your meal (there are a staggering number of pricy options), specify TAP WATER.  If you opt for the wine pairing offered with each course, add $105 per person.  We (having learned our lesson about wine-pairing-perils at Jiko) opted for a single bottle of wine – one of the more economical offerings – with help from the sommelier for $187.  Remy-wineOnce gratuity was added…well, we’d spent much more on this meal than we’d intended.  Was it worth it?  YES!  Raymond and I both gave this experience a resounding two thumbs up, but for sure it needs to be accurately budgeted!

What about you?  Have you dined at Remy?  What did you think about the experience?  If you’re planning a Disney cruise in the future, is this something you’d splurge on?

Disney Cruise Line – The Dream

Disney-Dream-Castaway-CayTwo adults, four nights on the Disney Dream…did we love it?  Yes, indeed!  Was it different from our previous cruises on the classic ships, the Magic and the Wonder?  Yes, quite a bit!  I was worried about the ship being too big and un-cozy.  We’ve always thought the size of the original two ships was perfect.  There was enough similarity on the Dream for us to feel the Disney-ness – we were definitely experiencing all the elements we love most about Disney Cruise Line – the stateroom size and layout, the rotational dining, the amazing service, character meet-n-greets, and those beloved Disney details, big and small, all around us.

Disney Cruise Line – The Dream

What does the Dream have that the Magic and Wonder don’t?  Well, THOSE differences struck us right away!  Besides being bigger and newer, here are the differences we loved the most:

  1. The Artwork – I noticed this immediately after we boarded the ship.  As we took the stairs up to our stateroom on deck 6, I fell in love with the pictures on the walls!  Every deck had different artwork and all of it was fantastic!  Disney-Dream-Art-Sketch Disney-Dream-Art-Silly-SymphoniesWalking around on the different decks, I felt like I was in an art gallery (and there IS an art gallery (The Vista Gallery) with art for sale on deck 4.  Disney-Dream-GalleryI noticed some of the pictures throughout the ship had a metal plate on the floor in front of them.  If I stood on the plate to look at the picture….well, magic happened!Disney-Dream-Interactive-Art
  2. The Interactive Elements – Some of the pictures on the wall come to life!  Because they’re all so different and unique, it’s worth taking yourself on a walking tour of the ship to see every single one.  If you’re going to do that, you might as well solve a mystery with the Midship Detective Agency while you’re at it!  Use the “art of deduction” to solve a crime and discover all the clever interactive pictures at the same time!  I loved this activity!!!Disney-Dream-Midship-Detective-Agency Disney-Dream-Minnie-Lisa
  3. Remy – Adults-only dining of the very fine variety!  We’ve always loved Palo on the Magic and Wonder, but could not wait to try brunch and dinner at Remy, which offered completely different and unique experiences.  Disney-Dream-Remy-AlexiaIf you can fit Remy into your schedule and are willing to pay the higher up-charge ($85 per person dinner, $55 per person brunch before any wine or champagne pairings), we think the luxury, service, and delicious, creative menu are not to be missed.
  4. Adults-Only Areas – They are roomier, fancier, and more comfortable than on the smaller ships.  Disney-Dream-Pool-DeckWe parked ourselves late one morning after a visit to the fitness center (also awesome) on a couple of lounge chairs for a little rest and relaxation; grabbed a couple of beers from the Cove Bar, then spent the next little while lulled by the sunshine and the quiet surroundings.Disney-Dream-Lounge-ChairWhen our idyllic little spot in paradise was rudely interrupted by our stomachs growling, we reluctantly headed inside to clean up for lunch.
  5. The Bon Voyage Bar – On the left side of Deck 3, across from Guest Services and on the way to the ship’s shopping area and Walt Disney Theater, there’s a bar.  Disney-Dream-Bon-Voyage-BarKind of right out in the middle of everything.  We found ourselves stopping there every afternoon for a cold beer or a glass of wine.  It was the perfect place for a beverage, we thought, for these two reasons:  Bartenders, Ryan and Flavio, were great! and the people-watching was primo.  Disney-Dream-Bartender-RyanWe talked with fellow bar patrons while watching other cruise guests, including pirates and princess, go by.  When I first saw the Bon Voyage, I thought, “What a weird and ridiculous place for a bar!” until we bellied-up and discovered the absolute charm of this gem of a spot in the middle of the action.

Have you sailed on the Dream?  What did you like best about this particular ship?  Are you thinking about sailing on Disney Cruise Line in the future?  Where do you think Disney’s ships should visit next?

Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap (Part 2)

DCL-Bus (2)When I left off in Part One, I’d finished the Glass Slipper Challenge and enjoyed Sunday afternoon at Disney Springs.  Raymond and I had decided weeks earlier that it would be best to have a quiet dinner near our Bay Lake Tower studio and make an early evening of it on Sunday.  We could sleep in, pack up, and be ready to board our Disney Cruise Line bus by 11:30 am.

Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap (Part 2)

Disney's-Wave-Entrance

We chose The Wave in the Contemporary Resort for its proximity to our room and the fact that while we’d enjoyed wine and lunch in The Wave’s lounge, we’d never eaten in the dining room proper.  Our dinner was very nice and the service was notably excellent.  I felt so drowsy by the end of the meal, I ordered coffee and determined to stay awake long enough to watch at least a little of The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 that was airing on ABC that evening.  I managed to stay awake for about 3 minutes.

Monday morning felt glorious!  No early alarm!  No running!  We’d gotten nine hours of sleep and felt like new people.  Plus, we still had the entire second half of our vacation ahead – four nights on the Disney Dream!  We packed in record time and decided to hit Kona Café for breakfast before shopping the resort loop boutiques.  Polynesian's-Bou-tikiWe ended up back at the Contemporary when I realized that I’d forgotten to pack any stateroom door decorations.  I couldn’t stand the thought of a plain white door, so Raymond helped me find some magnets, a magnetic clip and Minnie and Mickey postcards we could use to set our door apart from our neighbors’.  Total rookie mistake, but I think our door turned out alright in the end.Disney-Dream-Door-Decor

We knew we were going to miss our kids like crazy on this trip.  This would be our seventh Disney cruise, but the first one without Megan and Joseph.  We’d had such a spectacular time on the Disney Magic on the Norwegian Fjords cruise in 2015, it was hard to imagine what it would be like for Raymond and I to be all alone.  We decided to do things on this cruise much differently than we had on any cruise in the past with the hope that it would make sailing without them easier.  And it did…a little tiny bit…maybe.Disney-Dream-Sail-Away

First of all this cruise was short!  In 2010 we sailed on a Castaway Cay 5-night double dip and the next three cruises after that were all 7-nights.  We couldn’t believe how fast the trip went by even though we packed in a lot of activities while still making time to relax.  The ship was new (to us) and much larger than we were used to, so everything was different and a little bit foreign (but absolutely beautiful!).Disney-Dream-Royal-Seating

We’d booked dinner and brunch at Remy as well as a dinner at Palo.  This meant we planned to eat in our regular, rotational dining restaurants only twice and we wouldn’t be getting off the ship at all in Nassau.

Mostly our plan worked well.  Very uncharacteristically, we skipped all the evening shows on this cruise in favor of either special dining experiences, exploring the ship, or relaxing.  If you’ve never been on a Disney cruise before, I DO NOT recommend missing the shows!  They’re excellent, spectacular, amazing (and many other glowing adjectives as well)!Disney-Dream-Sail-Away-Selfie

After we attended the lifeboat drill and Sail Away Party, we ate the first night at Animator’s Palate with our assigned tablemates – a couple from Pennsylvania celebrating their 25th anniversary.  DCL-Server-OldairOur servers, Oldair (from Colombia) and Merrick (from Jamaica) were excellent and, except for the butternut squash soup I ordered (after Oldair told me not to), our food was good.  The special effects in Animator’s were completely different from what we were used to on the Magic and the Wonder, but still fun.  That meal ended up being the only time we saw our tablemates, Oldair, or Merrick (except on the last night when we stopped by to leave tips).

Here’s how the rest of our cruise went…

Tuesday was Nassau day.  We started with breakfast in Cabanas before hitting the fitness center where we intended to spend about an hour, but actually spent two.  We ran on treadmills (with awesome views!), worked out with weights, I had a foot/posture consultation (yes, I did buy the shoe inserts they were selling) and then it was time for spin class, so we stayed around to participate.  Disney-Dream-Fitness-Center-Spin-ClassSophie was her name, I think, the spin class instructor, and she was a pretty young lady from Australia – very deceptive!  Sophie was a devil in disguise!  I thought I was going to die.  The only thing that kept me going was thinking about the calories I was burning and the food I would be eating later.  After all that, we found a couple of deck chairs and drank recovery beverages called beer.  Feeling much better, we decided to get cleaned up and see about some food.Disney-Dream-Royal-PalaceDisney-Dream-Key-Lime-Pie

We had a nice lunch in a gorgeous restaurant called the Royal Palace (delicious key lime pie!!!) and then decided to solve a mystery with the Midship Detective Agency (an interactive ship-wide adventure that deserves its own post later).  This was lots of fun (to me…not sure Raymond would agree).  After successfully executing our super-sleuth assignment, we reported to the Senses Spa for our 4:30 appointment – the massage for two.  Very relaxing and tranquil, but we had to hustle once the appointment was over to get ready for our dinner at Remy.  Disney-Dream-RemyAgain, this experience deserves its own article, so I’ll just say we enjoyed our meal very much.  After six courses ordered from the menu, a cheese course, and at least three “surprises” from the chef, we were done for the day.  So full and sleepy, we headed to bed looking forward to spending the next day on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay!  Raymond and I had registered for the Castaway Cay 5K, so we got up, ate at Cabanas, and met in the assigned location (Evolution lounge).  The Cast Member issuing race bibs and instructions was overwhelmed with the number of participants (over 300) and declared it to be the biggest turnout for the race EVER.  Raymond and I had a great time!  I even made a friend along the way.  Her name’s Julie and she’s from Cape Canaveral…Hi Julie!Castaway-Cay-5K-Finish

After the run, we headed for Serenity Bay (first time for us at the gown-ups-only beach!) and found it to be indeed quite serene (and a bit surreal with the complete absence of children).  The weather at the beginning of the day was very windy with occasional sprinkles.  When we arrived at the beach, the wind had calmed and the sun was shining.  We found lounge chairs and ordered fancy drinks before settling in for some serious relaxing…at least I tried to relax.Castaway-Cay-RelaxingI’m not good at sitting still, so I made friends with Tammy and Stan (sitting near us) and spend most of the time wading around in the water until lunchtime.  Tammy, Stan, Raymond and I hit the beach-side buffet before heading back to the bay for more wading and “relaxing”.  Castaway-Cay-BeachThat didn’t last long…I was getting sunburned and was ready to go back to the ship.  Raymond and I  stopped at the Conched Out Bar for a few minutes and enjoyed a Guinness to break up the walk back.  We were supposed to go to the Royal Palace for dinner that night but opted instead for room service and called it a day.

Last Day – Sea Day!  To start the day, we grabbed a quick bite at Cabanas before letting Sophie torture us again in spin class.  We then enjoyed a champagne brunch at Remy for which I will write a complete review, but let me say now that this was an especially excellent experience.  Disney-Dream-Sea-Treasures-ShopAfter brunch we browsed the ship’s gift shops and watched a cooking demonstration for lobster ravioli.  Disney-Dream-Cooking-DemoThen we attended a reception for gold and platinum Castaway Club members (Disney Cruise Line’s repeat guest rewards program).  Disney-Dream-Castaway-Club-ReceptionSomewhere during all that we also visited the future cruise desk to book a placeholder cruise (to keep the onboard booking discount without selecting a specific sail date) and we also bought the only pictures taken of us by a Disney photographer – our post-Castaway Cay 5K photos.  We ate dinner at Palo that night and were very pleased to find the restaurant exactly the way we wanted it to be.  Disney-Dream-Palo-Place-settingWe’d enjoyed Palo on both the Disney Magic and Wonder and hoped Palo on the Dream would be just as good – it was perfect.DCL-Goodbye-Sign

Watch for more reviews on the restaurants, the running events, activities, and the Disney Dream itself coming up in the near future.  If you have any questions about a Disney land and sea adventure, I’d be happy to help.

Have you sailed on the Disney Dream?  How was your experience?