The fourth day of the Disney Cruise held us in much anticipation with a special character breakfast, a day in Grand Cayman at the Turtle Farm and the special animation night for dinner at Animator’s Palate, plus we felt more rested than previous days. Brooke’s clothes coordination called for navy and green today, so we donned our picture taking best and headed to the Disney Junior character breakfast. This ticketed event is bookable ahead of time on the Disney Cruise website once you have booked your cruise. We picked a day that was still available even though it was not our first choice and then attempted to change it at the Guest Services desk when we first boarded. They had nothing available for either of the at sea days, so we kept our original reservation. The breakfast includes sit down service and a few special menu items, along with visits from Disney Junior characters to your table while you eat. Caitlyn was most excited about the characters and we could not get Weston to take a picture with Jake the Pirate, but he did pose with a few other characters.
After breakfast, we headed to our next ticketed event, the Princess Gathering. On the way, we made some quick picture stops. The kids loved sitting in the large portholes and it was one of the few places we could always guarantee a smiling picture from them all.
When we first starting going on Disney cruises, the lines for characters were amazingly long and if you wanted to get a picture, you had to get in line early and wait. For the most popular characters, Disney has recently changed the process where they provide tickets to gatherings so that there is no wait. Again, Caitlyn was the most excited to pose with the Princesses, but we were able to get Weston involved for one family shot (which is an accomplishment)!
Because it was located nearby, we stopped by the Guest Services desk for a few items (like lost and found) and while in line, the Commodore came over the loud speaker to announce that we would unfortunately not be able to make port at Grand Cayman. We were expecting the announcement to let us know that the tendering boats were now ready to take us to the island, but the recent cold front had brought in a huge swell and the port had closed to all cruise ships that day. The Grand Cayman stop involved using smaller tendering boats instead of actually docking right to the port, so the swells caused an even larger concern for passenger safety. Unfortunately, we had experienced this same issue on our last Disney cruise aboard the Disney Magic, which also couldn’t make port at Castaway Cay. These two missed stops on our last cruise created us to pause on re-booking another Disney cruise all together. While we were disappointed to not make it onto Grand Cayman and to the Turtle Farm, we were more anxious that the same fate would await us in missing Castaway Cay, which is by far our favorite stop.
Determined to make it the best spontaneous day at sea possible, we quickly stopped by the room to grab a few things and then back to the Guest Services desk to pick up an updated Daily Navigator to pick out the best activities for the day. Weston and Lila immediately requested to go to the Oceaneer’s Lab, while Emily and Caitlyn decided to do some karaoke. Emily’s previous attempt at karaoke had not gone well and she left the stage during the song. She was determined (and courageous) this time around to sing her best the whole way through. Caitlyn only wanted to sing if Brooke would join her on stage. The all did great!
We didn’t stay much longer after they both sang and decided to explore parts of the ship that we had never set foot in before. During my jog, I noticed that the entrance to the teen club was sort of hidden on the 4th deck. You had to go out on the deck and around toward the front of the ship, ascend some metal stairs (they looked like crew type stairs) and then into the teen lounge. During each day, each of the children areas (the two younger kids clubs: Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, the tween lounge: Edge and the teen lounge: the Vibe) would provide an open house, allowing anyone to visit. We climbed the stairs, entered the area and the girls were amazed. There were still some teens hanging out, so we got some hardly interested but annoyed looks from them as we explored. The teens have it made here, with comfy lounge seats to watch tv or play video games by themselves, or a huge big screen to play together, and the main area turns into a nightclub during late hours. There was a small kitchen area where they make smoothies and other treats, along with a seating area for board games. The best part, however, was the teen only pool. Secluded, this pool was the largest on the ship and was sure to be the least crowded. We played a quick game of Yahtzee and then grabbed some pictures in the entrance hall (the only place we didn’t feel awkward taking pictures…).
Weston and Lila were still happy in the Oceaneer’s Lab, so before picking them up we attended a Disney Trivia Challenge in La Piazza, one of the adult lounges (it shifts to adult only at night). This section of the ship is amazing for lounges and bars, and though we did not get much time to explore, it serious made us consider going on another Disney cruise without the kids just to have time to hang out in these areas. The Disney trivia was extremely difficult, I believe we score 11 out of 20 or so, but with questions like “What is Remy’s brother’s name?” (Emile), “Exactly what time did Cinderella arrive at the ball?” (8 PM) and “How many stones were used to build Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom?” (0, it is made out of fiberglass), we knew we would be outclassed by the hardcore Disney fans. I ventured up one deck to pick up Lila and Weston while Brooke took Emily and Caitlyn to a family game show. By the time I returned, however, the contestants for the game show had already been chosen, and the requirements for being chosen included having the entire family present. The game show was still entertaining and we watched until hunger kicked in for everyone and we grabbed some food at the quick service area (fruit, burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza and, of course, ice cream).
Our next highlighted activity was the Mickey 200, which was noted on the Navigator that participation may be limited. Not knowing what to expect, and wanting to make sure we could participate, we arrived a few minutes early and secured our spot. It turns out that the Mickey 200 is a race car competition, where the cars are created out of potatoes, carrots and wheels. It is amazing how much effort Disney puts into activities even as inconsequential seeming as this, but there was a branded racetrack, a logo and other decorations. We were provided our vegetables, a knife, some toothpicks, a cutting board and some wheels and told to get started making our car.
We did our best to create something with enough weight to make it down the track, aerodynamics to be quick about it and Disney design to appeal to the judges. We were in the first heat of the races and the kids all gathered around to watch the results.
Unfortunately, one of the other cars toppled into our lane, obstructing our path down and we did not place first in our heat. We had still had a great time, however.
Nursing our defeat, we decided the best remedy would be grab some desserts at the buffet (which did help). After Weston’s difficulty at dinner the night before, we proactively sought out nap time for him, during which the rest of the kids went back to the Oceaneer’s Club to play and Brooke and I took a quick nap as well. After resting, we all got ready for dinner, to which we had been looking forward all cruise. Tonight, we would be dining again in Animator’s Palate, but would be designing our own characters for a special animation show. You are asked to arrive 5 minutes early and provided a drawing sheet with instructions how to draw your character to be animated. Emily and Brooke are our best artists and we all quickly set to work.
Disney then takes these drawings and incorporates them into an animation show that is played at the end of dinner. It is very cool to see your drawing moving around and dancing in full coordination like it was intended to be there. The kids really loved seeing their names and their characters on screen.
After the show, dessert was brought out and the kids ordered Design Your Own Cupcakes that was presented like an artist’s paint palate; so cool (and really good too).
After dinner, all the kids except Emily wanted to go back to the Oceaneer’s Club and Emily wanted to play some Bingo. Disney cruises do not have gambling areas like most cruise lines, so Bingo tends to attract a large crowd (and provide large winnings). We grab our cards and some digital boards and pressed our luck.
We weren’t so lucky this night, but were looking forward to the Broadway style show playing as that evening’s entertainment called Wishes. All of us attended, and only five of us left awake, Lila falling asleep during the show. I believed that to mean that one of us would have to stay in the cabin with her for the rest of the night, but we decided to see how she would do for a fun family night out while still asleep. We made our way over to a party hosted by Donald Duck, followed by another family game show and then family karaoke; all in the D Lounge. Lila slept through the entire night’s activities until the last song at karaoke.
She was still tired, as was Weston, and they returned to the cabin with Brooke while Emily and Caitlyn spent the last few remaining minutes available back in the Oceaneer’s Lab. Lila was rewarded for waking up by ordering a Mickey bar from room service, which she enjoyed in bed (Weston got one too).
We capped off the fun-filled, whirlwind day by picking up the girls and quickly falling asleep. We had big plans for our next day in Jamaica.
This was Day 4 of our Disney Cruise. Be sure to check out the entire Western Caribbean Disney Cruise on the Disney Fantasy in January 2017.