Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Events: Disney Cruise 2015 (Day 1)

Woohoo! I'm thrilled to finally have the time to share highlights from our recent Disney Cruise vacation with you. During the week of November 29th through December 5th, my wife Brita and I, my parents, my siblings (plus their spouses) and all 13 of my nieces and nephews were aboard the ever so magical Disney Fantasy. For me and Brita, it was like coming home (as we were on the same ship for our honeymoon in 2012); but for the rest of my family, it was a brand new experience.

After over a year and half of planning and anticipation, the day finally arrived. We left very early on Saturday (November 25th) to catch our flight from New York to Orlando... and boy was the excitement in the air! Once we landed, we made our way to the Disney Cruise Line motor coach and it wasn't long before we were off to Port Canaveral. Phew- lots of steps, but well worth it!

Brita holding our niece Kami
Our nephew Noah- you'll be seeing lots of him

I always love riding Disney's coaches (whether it's for Disney Cruise Line or the Magical Express to the parks). From the pre-recorded narration to the promo videos they play during the drive- there's something so classic and magical about it to me!

And of course it's always exciting when you can see the cruise ship from a distance! That's when things get real.

Check in time! We got our key cards, the first of our daily "Navigators" and a lanyard given only to those who have cruised with Disney before. Apparently, Brita and I are part of the "Castaway Club" now since this was our second Disney Cruise! We got a few cool benefits from that during our trip.

Everything was especially pretty, given that the port (and the ship) were decorated for the holidays. Since we cruised during the summer last time, it was fun to mix it up by having things decked out for Christmas this time around! It was such a perfect way to kick off the season.

Welcome aboard!

The rest of our first day was a pretty standard, yet glorious, first day at sea. We got ourselves reacquainted with the ship (once we walked around just a little bit, it was like we never left), had some good food, relaxed in our room, attended the mandatory drill and so on. 

As we were walking around, I spotted Nigel from Finding Nemo! I absolutely love how much Pixar there is on the Disney Fantasy. Almost everywhere you turn! A Nemo themed buffet ("Cabanas"), posters for Pixar films, Pixar movies playing by the pool almost constantly, a Nemo splash area, a Cars themed poolside cafe, a Monsters Inc. themed ice cream area, a Toy Story/Nemo/Monsters Inc. themed kids club, a restaurant (Animator's Palate) decorated almost entirely with Pixar, a gift shop filled with Pixar items, Pixar character meet and greets, Pixar music playing throughout the ship...the list goes on! In the coming days, I'll be sharing with you all of the above mentioned.

Speaking of that, something cool that we were able to do on that first day was attend an open house for the "Oceaneer Youth Club." We weren't able to do that last time, so it was really neat to explore that place- even though we aren't four years old. Check it out below! One of the sections within the club is a Toy Story play area modeled after Andy's did I wish that was in my own house! How cool right? Future basement goals.

We visited Andy's room again later on during the trip (when it was less crowded), so stay tuned for more pictures. Lets just say my little two year old nephew Noah (the world's biggest Toy Story fan) was in Heaven.

There's also a Finding Nemo Oceaneer computer lab (where kids can play little games) and a whole play room dedicated to Monsters Inc. there in the club! I was probably having more fun in this place than the little kids running all around me.

In the evening, we had an amazingly delicious dinner at the Enchanted Garden restaurant and attended the "A Fantasy Come True" welcome show. It was an overall great start to our vacation!

And there were still plenty of magical times to be had. Stay tuned tomorrow for my day two write-up! The adventure continues...

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