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Disney Dream is Better than Ever

Family pool day Disney Dream

Story & photos by Liliane Opsomer

Inspired by the ocean liners of the 1920s, the Disney Dream, a 128,690-ton, 4,000-passenger vessel is a classic beauty. Equally classic are the entertainment, the delectable food, and the incomparable service. The ship just underwent an extensive enhancement and emerged with some quite impressive new features.

The Star Wars Universe and Beyond

The big draw is found in the Oceaneer Club. Based on the Star Wars films, Disney Imagineers have created what one can call, without hesitation, the coolest play area on any ship sailing the seven seas. The flagship of the new space is the Millennium Falcon, a console equipped with more than 1,000 LED lights, plus hundreds of buttons, switches, and special effects to make the heart of any Star Wars fan go wild. The Oceaneer Club is a tribute to Disney Imagineering, and it has surpassed all my expectations. 

Young Padawans can join the Rebel Alliance, learn the ways of the Jedi, pilot the Millennium Falcon, and partake in role-playing games. Next to the Star Wars universe, and also new, is a room filled with high-tech interactive games based on the Disney Infinity video games. Younger children will enjoy the activities offered in Andy’s Room, a colorful bedroom where the world of Disney·Pixar’s Toy Story comes to life. Next to Andy’s Room is Pixie Hollow, a whimsical space that transports kids to the magical world of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. Here, children can play dress-up, work on individual craft projects, use kid-friendly computers, and listen to stories.

Throughout the day kids and their parents can meet with different Disney characters. The daily Navigator lists all Meet and Greet locations and their times; however, you will need to secure a ticket to see some of your favorites. On the Disney Dream this is true for the Princess Gathering, as well as for the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet. Space is limited, and it is best to check upon boarding when, and where, to acquire the tickets. (The tickets are free of charge but go quickly.) 

Sports Deck. Disney Dream
Sports Deck.

Family Fun for All

Kids and grown-ups alike will love the Wreck It Ralph-themed Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats shop. Get ready for the Von Schweetz’s Race Kart Sundae served in Vanellope’s very own race car. Read: a whopping three-scoop, five-topping serving of gelato. In case you have a large family to serve, there is always the eight-scoop, eight-topping Family Challenge Sundae, presented in a trophy cup. Also new to the Disney Dream is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, welcoming young princesses and aspiring pirates for a makeover.

On the sports deck families can enjoy a nine-hole mini golf course, and the family pool and Aquaduck are big draws. The Aquaduck is an elevated water coaster located on Deck 12, Aft. The slide takes riders in a two-person raft on a wet-and-wild journey up, down, around, and off the side of the ship. The 765-foot ride through transparent tubes with views of the ocean is especially fun at night when the tubes are lit with multicolored lights.

A Quiet Cove for Adults

With so much fun for the kids, there are plenty of opportunities for adults to relax and enjoy the adult-only Quiet Cove on Deck 11, which offers a freshwater pool, jetted hot tubs overlooking the ocean, and plenty of chaise lounges for sun bathing.  New on Deck 13 is Satellite Falls, where adults can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a circular splash pool surrounded by a rain curtain.

The Senses Spa on Deck 11 offers typical spa treatments, such as massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, and much more. These treatments come at an extra charge. The use of the fitness center, however, is free. You can buy access to the Rainforest Room for as little as $16 per day. On the Disney Dream the Rainforest Room has a dry sauna, a hot steam room, scented showers, and heated loungers; there are also two hot tubs overlooking the sea. I love the Rainforest Room. For an extra $11, I purchased a Dot-It-Yourself scrub. Choices were Vanilla Orange Brown Sugar, Chocolate Peppermint, Lavender Herbal, or Tangerine. I went for Lavender Herbal and indulged for hours doing – nothing. Another novelty at the Senses Spa is the Senses Juice Bar, where adults can enjoy healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies made to order.

Family pool at night. Disney Dream
Family pool at night.

Meals and Entertainment Galore

The food on the Disney Dream was amazing. Every night I ate at a different restaurant, and my servers rotated with me. All meals, including snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, are free. Room service is also free and even includes the famous Mickey Mouse-shaped ice-cream bars. Not once did I have a bad meal.

On one night I decided to eat at Palo, a restaurant for guests 18 and up only, which requires a surcharge of $30. While the meal was delicious, the service was a big letdown and made me yearn for my kind and friendly servers from the regular dining rooms. Disney’s sit-down restaurants serve some really amazing food. While I consider myself a gourmet, I see no reason to spend the extra money on Palo and certainly not on the even more expensive and exclusive Remy ($85 surcharge).

Last but not least, there is also the buffet-style Cabanas for a more casual experience.

There is so much to do that keeping track of all the entertainment offered is simply impossible. Entertainment onboard is amazing, plentiful, and free. From Broadway-style shows to deck parties, there is something going on for everyone at all times. I sailed over Halloween, and the Halloween festivities alone were enough to keep me busy every day. There was trick-or-treating for kids, an adults-only party complete with costume contest, and every night a gathering with storytelling around the Halloween tree. The tree transformed mysteriously throughout the cruise and was a favorite spot for photos.

Disney offers several themed cruises, such as Halloween on the High Seas, Star Wars Days at Sea, and Very Merry Christmas Cruises. To book your next Disney cruise and for more information, visit Disney Cruise Line.

Check out the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016 for a complete review of all ships and port itineraries.

 Liliane Opsomer is a freelance writer and the co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, a guidebook that provides planning and touring tips for a family vacation.
Liliane Opsomer is a freelance writer and the co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, a guidebook that provides planning and touring tips for a family vacation.
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