Feb 17, 2013





It’s all taken care of! ….. well, sort of!


Given that we had only gone to bed past 1am we were up early again at 6am. The sun was about to come up and we watched it and after that we both had a shower, Tom brewed some coffee and we munched a Krispy Kreme doughnut or two. Then we went to unpack everything we would need for the cruise from the Owner’s Locker box and realized that we had forgotten something else, our travel plug. We had several things that needed electricity and there we were with no plug. Well, we knew that the hairdryer plug on the Dream would be okay, but we needed something for later too. So around 8.30am we headed down to the shops in the Contemporary to look for a plug, but didn’t find one. Back in the room we looked through all the drawers and finally made our way out. We had decided not to wait for bell services and to just carry our luggage downstairs on our own. It took a bit of organizing, but it worked. Tom got the car, we loaded everything into the trunk, waved goodbye to Bay Lake Tower and off we went to have breakfast at Wolfgang Puck’s Express. We drove past Old Key West and we talked about how much we were looking forward to stay there again. Soon we arrived at Downtown Disney and parked really close to Wolfgang’s. A few minutes later we walked through the doors and took a peek at the menu. Oh, wait a minute, there is a new menu.

Tom’s pocket was gone, but at least my breakfast pizza was still there. Then it was our time to order. The cast member manning the register looked up, took a second and said, “I’ve seen you around here before”. We all laughed, ordered our food and our drinks and then she mentioned that Maritza had the weekend off, which left us stunned as she really seemed to remember who we were. I showed her my AP for the discount and she told us that it was already applied and that the drinks were on her. We could not believe it, but when I later checked the bill at the table we had not been charged for our drinks and the discount had been applied. Since there was no one in line behind us we chatted with her for a short while until it was time to pick up our glasses, to fill them and head over to the dining room to find a table. The dining room itself was half empty and we decided on a table in a corner. Another cast member brought out some cutlery and napkins and we were set. A little later our Smoked Bacon Pizzas - scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mozzarella and cheddar cheese were served. They looked a little different from what we were used to, but they were delicious none the less. While we were enjoying breakfast we still talked about that Cast Member who had obviously recognized us and since she had told us that she was going on vacation a few days later we decided she deserved a little greeting from Europe.

So after we had finished our breakfast we headed back to the car and grabbed a bar of chocolate and took it over to the restaurant for her. Once that was done we strolled through Downtown Disney, stopped at Ghirardelli’s to taste a little chocolate sample and then headed back to the car. Once we got into the car we didn’t drive very far, just over to the Hess gas station. We picked up some Budweiser for Tom and Diet Coke for myself to take on the Dream. Purchases made we packed everything into our empty carry on and it was time to drive to Port Canaveral. It was a bit of stop and go but once we hit the motorway it was smooth sailing. Pretty quickly we had left the airport and the first few toll stations behind us. About an hour into our drive we caught the first glimpse of the ship.

We both were very happy to see the Dream again and soon we had reached the port and made our way over to Disney.We had to stop and wait for a few seconds before we were directed to one of the porters who took care of our luggage. We tipped him and off we went to head over to the parking garage. When we drove in we noticed the rise in the parking fee and were quite a bit shocked. Once inside we noticed that the structure was filling up quickly and we found a spot on the level where the walkway to the terminal was. Tom parked the car, stowed away the GPS and we took our carry ons and went over to the walkway. A woman looked us up in her computer and we were good to go. On the other side of the walkway we joined the line for security.

The line moved at a slow but steady pace and within 10 minutes it was our turn to go through. It was shortly before 12 when we finally entered the terminal. We were greeted by the DVC reps and received some lanyards, then we picked up a health form, filled it in and asked for the non-US line. Unfortunately there was no more non US line, so we joined our fellow Castaway Club Members. Again the line moved steadily and it only took us about 5 minutes to get to check in. We handed over our forms and soon were handed our keys and the last set of golden lanyards. We had had an early port arrival time and so we were ready to head on board right away. One more stop to pick up a Navigator and then our key cards were swiped and we were officially boarding. There were long lines for the photographers and we tried to pick a short one and once it was our turn we told the photographer that we wanted to skip the photo and were directed right over to the gangway to get on board. A Cast Member asked our name and announced us and we were officially on board. While we were heading towards the Royal Palace we were approached by another Cast Member to let us know that lunch was served at Cabanas and did we need directions to get there. No we didn’t, especially since we had something else we wanted to accomplish first. So we thanked him, looked at each other and quietly said – we’re heading towards Enchanted Garden anyway and headed off in a different direction. Our priority was to find out if we could be seated in our favourite server Ana’s section. So we went to the side entrance of  Royal Palace to have our dining rotation changed. There was only one couple ahead of us and we only had to wait for about 15 minutes. A few minutes before they opened the doors we could see them set up everything inside and were happy to see that Zan was doing the dining room changes. The doors opened, the first couple went in and were directed to the dining room changes table and we were right behind them. It was fun to see Zan look up, then jumping out of his seat and calling out, “Mr. Tommy! Welcome back.” We took a seat and asked if there was a chance to be seated in Ana’s section and they looked at the computer and typed something and then I even asked if we could have a table for two in Ana’s section.

They played around on the computer, gave us back our key cards and with a huge smile we were told “It’s all taken care of.”We did the usual, said thank you and left the Cast Members some chocolate, before we left very happily. Now that that was out of the way we made our way downstairs to the Enchanted Garden. We were just signing in when we heard another familiar voice. Another great friend we had met through the DISboards, Katarina. We hugged and exchanged a few sentences, promised to meet again soon and then we were led to our table. We parked our carry ons under the table, ordered some drinks and headed to the buffet. Quick look and the right line seemed to be shorter, so we headed there. Soon enough we were handed some plates and started filling them.

Tom had some wraps, a lamb chop, a shrimp salad, some jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce and some crab claws, while I was still full from breakfast and mostly filled my plate with salads and some shrimp and cocktail sauce. We returned to our table, our Diet Cokes were already there and we enjoyed our lunch. When we were finally done it was past 1.30pm and our rooms were ready.

So we headed to the elevator to go up. No chance, they were all full when they got down to deck two, so we walked up one level and to the back elevators. No big problem there, we got onto the first elevator that opened its doors. The back elevator is closest to our stateroom anyway, so that was perfect. Tapped our KTTW card against the door and in we went. “Hello again, room 10626!! We are back.” It was nice to find two presents on the bed when we entered. One of them was the Castaway Club present, another lovely blue backpack, filled with two containers of Mickey head crackers and another key ring.

The other came from Dreams Unlimited. Last year we had visited the DIS Information Center at Port Canaveral and gotten to know Teresa from DU. She offered her services and even though we were very hesitant at first, we thought why not giving DU and her a try, since she offered quite a bit of stateroom credit. Then, once EVERYTHING there was to set for the reservation was set in stone, we handed it over. And while it was nice and everything had worked out fine, the stateroom credit is not enough to give away my reservations to a TA. She still has our summer reservations, but after that I am going to be my own travel agent again. The gift basket from DU was a nice surprise though. Lots of very useable things. Once we had peeked at our gifts we headed out onto the veranda, or so we tried.

The door was locked and it took me a few seconds to figure it out, but then we were out on the veranda and enjoying the view of the Disney Terminal and parking structure. Our luggage had not arrived yet, so we just relaxed and freshened up. When we looked out the door a little later, one of our suitcases had shown up and I started unpacking and Tom started to decorate our door. Time just flew by and it seemed like no time at all that we had spent in the room and we were on our way to the DVC meet. It was pretty full in there and we were lucky to find a seat. The presentation is pretty much the same every time, but it was still nice and informative. Once it was over we headed back to the room.

We completely forgot that there was a DISmeet going on at that time at the Vista Café. When we returned to our stateroom our second suitcase had arrived and we unpacked everything. Soon enough it was time for the Safety Drill.  We had to use a CM stairway and it was pretty steep climbing it down.  This time we knew what to expect and had brought our sunglasses as we had an outside location. After the drill we decided to have some coffee and headed to the Vista Café for one. There was only one CM manning the Café and it took ages to have our order filled and to make sure that our coffee would not be served in a Styrofoam cup. Once we had our coffees in hand we headed to one of the tables.

Tom picked up some baked goodies, a bitesize Pineapple tart, an Eclair, a piece of chocolate covered Chocolate cake and a Cake pop and we sat and enjoyed the coffee and our treats.

And while we were still finishing off our coffee Tom noticed that we were moving. Unbelievable, but we had missed the sailaway. So once we had finally sipped the last drop of coffee we headed up to our room and decided that since we were already on the way out we would just watch it from our veranda. There was lots of waving and we were waiting for the ships horn when we passed Fishlips. Fishlips has a webcam and usually the ships “test” their horns right there. We didn’t. Um, there’s a hint of who our captain was. It was definitely Captain Henry, who is using his Mickey whistles very seldom.

Both of us were saying it over and over again, “Mickey whistle, please! Mickey whistle, please!” and finally we heard one of the fun ship’s tunes – A Dream is a wish your heart makes! Yeah! Captain Henry, isn’t it fun to “whistle while you work!” About a minute later we heard a second tune and that was it. It did not take long and we were out of the channel and going towards Nassau. We thought about going to the Golden Mickeys, but we have seen it quite often and we both didn’t feel like it, so instead we picked up the first Fish Extender gifts we had prepared and went to hand them out, or better put them on the stateroom doors. Once we were done, we explored the ship a bit more and checked out the stores. We were on a mission to find Oxana, a Cast Member who worked at the stores and who we had come to really like and bond with. And really, in the last shop we visited, there she was! Different hair colour, but it was nice to see her and, and this is something that really amazes me, once she saw us, she left her desk, came running over, hugged both of us and started to talk to us in German. How these Cast Members do it, to remember someone with so many different cruisers, is just beyond me. Knowing that she loved Milka chocolate, we had brought some with us for her and she was so excited, telling us that she was going to “hide” it right away.

There were a few guests waiting to pay for their goodies, so we let her go back to work and promised to be back with more chocolate, lateron in the cruise. We had passed the future cruise desk a few times and finally there was a sales rep. So we quickly took a seat and had him book our summer cruise in the Med for 2014. Since we knew exactly what we had wanted we were done in no time. Happy to have achieved our goal of being the first ones to rebook we headed back to our stateroom. And before we knew it, it was time to get ready for dinner. We were so looking forward to see Ana again, we had been in contact with her via email and when asked if there was something she craved, she had asked for a jar of Nutella.

So I had bought the largest one I had found here and now we prepared a bag full of Milka chocolates and her Nutella to take to dinner at Animator’s Palate. We were so excited when we were taken to our table for two and looked around, but didn’t see her. While we were still looking for her, a server came by and introduced himself. I didn’t pay much attention to him, thinking he was the assistant server and Ana would be here soon. But no, she wasn’t and the server who had introduced himself WAS indeed our server. Our mood changed when we realized that Ana was not our server. And while the server was still nice and tried hard, it was hard for us to get into the groove. But soon we were distracted by food. Our server filled the bread basket with Herb Foccacia and Ciabatta bread and put a small plate with Roasted garlic dip on the table.

The bread was nice and fresh and yummy with either butter or the garlic dip. I had been toying with the idea of ordering a drink, but since we were both disappointed about not having Ana serve us, we skipped the idea. Tom ordered the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup with bacon bits and chives, while I ordered my absolute comfort food, the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes - pasta purse filled with truffle scented cheese and coated with a delicate champagne sauce. We both enjoyed it very much and slowly got to grips with being seated with other servers. There was just something about the server. While he was nice, he was too nice in a way. It also took quite a while for the two of them to find the way over to our table again. Crush’s show started right when our main courses were served and it was loud in there. But none the less we had nice food on the table. Tom had ordered the Marinated Angus Beef Tenderloin carved to order on wasabi mashed potatoes with bok choy and a tamarind-barbecue reduction, which he enjoyed a lot, while I had opted for the Animator's Trio of Veal, Grilled tenderloin, pulled shank and tortellacci pasta with sun-dried tomato and sage reduction, garnished with a potato crisp, another favourite. We sat and enjoyed the food and were quite happy when Crush had to leave, as the noise died down.

 For dessert Tom got the Cookies and Cream Sundae, vanilla ice cream, chocolate wafer cookies, and whipped cream and I got the Lemon Mousse with mango coulis and dark chocolate. They were both really nice and once we had said our goodbyes we left the restaurant. On the way up to our room we talked about the upcoming dinners. Now that we were not bound to the main dining room, we were free to try Cabanas again for dinner and the next day we wanted to order room service, leaving the last night open, but we could always try to get a ressie at Palo. When we came back to our stateroom our Fish Extender was pretty full with presents and we took them all in and found out what they were. It was so much fun. We also found a fun bird towel animal in our room. Once we had taken photos of all the gifts we had received we took a drink out of the fridge and sat out on the veranda for a while. It was not as warm as we would have wanted it to be, but much better than at home. Around 11pm we were so tired, we called it a day.