Showing posts with label Disney Dream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney Dream. Show all posts

Where to Eat on the Disney Dream

Breakfast at Royal Palace on Disney Dream
What's breakfast without Mickey Waffles on your Disney Cruise?

Cruising on a Disney Cruise Line vacation means there is magic around every corner. . .even when it comes to the food!  You are sure to find something for everyone (and then some!) when you are on the Disney Dream.  Let's take a look at where to eat while on the Disney Dream.

Main Dining Rooms on the Disney Dream


As you may or may not know, Disney Cruise Line features a unique cruising feature - rotational dining.  Rotational dining means that each night of your cruise you change restaurants, but your wait staff travels with you.  This means you get to have varying dining experiences each night of your cruise with the bonus of having your waitstaff remain the same.  Like other cruise line restaurants, you'll find appetizers, soups, main courses, and desserts available regardless of where you are eating. Want to try more than one thing - just ask!  They'll be happy to make your dining wish come true.  Each restaurant also features a kid's menu so the little ones will find their favorites even when they're away from home.  During booking, you'll select either main dining or late dining.  Don't worry - all of the shows in the theater are scheduled so guests on either seating can enjoy them.

Pool Deck Guide for the Disney Dream

Disney Cruise Line Pools and Slides

Can we just take a minute and pay tribute to the amazingness that is the pool deck on the Disney Dream??

OK.  Thanks.  

Seriously though, if you have never been on a Disney Cruise Line vacation, you may be wondering what all the hype is about. . .and if the price is worth it.  There are several areas where I feel like Disney has other cruise lines beat, but one of the most obvious for me is when it comes to the pool deck.  We recently sailed again on the Disney Dream and here's a quick recap of what you can expect to see on the pool deck with your family.

How to Meet Characters on Your Disney Cruise Vacation

Let's face it - kids (and some of us adults!) love meeting characters when we travel to Disney destinations.  A Disney Cruise Line vacation is no different and gives you a number of ways to meet & interact with characters while on board.  Check out these tips to make the most of your opportunities to meet characters while cruising with your family!

You can reserve some character experiences ahead of time


Just like FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked prior to a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests sailing on Disney Cruise Line can book some experiences ahead of their cruise.  Some of these include character meet & greets! While I'm sure the reservation options may vary - particularly on special sailings - you will definitely want to check them out on the "My Cruise Activities" section of your reservation.  For our cruise, there were a few Frozen meet and greets plus several Princess meet and greets.  The ONLY way to participate in these is with a reservation - and they do book up quickly!  Also, depending on your sailing, there may be character dining experiences too.  Be sure to log into your "My Cruise Activities" as soon as your window opens to have the best chance of getting what you want to book.

The Pirate's League on Disney Cruise Line

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. . .

Each Disney Cruise Line vacation in the Bahamas and Caribbean features a special Pirates in the Caribbean night where scalawags of all ages are invited to party aboard the ship.  For this special night, the usual Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the ship also transforms into The Pirate's League.  We had done this experience twice before in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, but not on one of our cruise vacations yet.  On our recent trip, we decided to make reservations for the whole family - yes, that's right - all 4 of us!

Before we start, let's go over some basic information you need to know.  This experience can be booked online in your cruise planning section on the Disney Cruise Line website.  We didn't have a problem getting a reservation and there were still some available even on Pirate Night itself, but for the best times and to ensure your reservation, I recommend doing it when your window opens if you're interested.  You can always cancel or change your reservation if needed closer to the time.  The cost is $44.95 (as of January 2020) for a variety of makeover options - 3 piratey options that are more for the boys (Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, and Captain Hook) and 2 options for the ladies (Empress and Redd).  For an additional fee you can also purchase a costume, but I recommend bringing one from home to save on cash.  Money Saving Tip - Check your local stores in the days following Halloween for deep discounts on costumes and accessories.  You also want to carefully pick your time during the day to schedule your makeover.  We chose to do ours at 4:45 because that allowed us all day in port to enjoy the beach and pool, but still have the whole evening to enjoy our new looks.

When you arrive, you'll check in at the front desk and roll the dice to find out your new pirate name.  After confirming your pirate selection, the buccaneers in your family will be whisked away to your chair for your swashbuckling makeover.  The makeover is quick - roughly 15 minutes - but the memories will last much longer.  The cast members entertain both the person getting the makeover and the family with jokes, stories, and songs.  At the end of the makeover, the newest pirate takes the pirate oath and officially becomes part of the league.

While it may be obvious that kids will have fun at The Pirate's League, the bigger question may be if adults can have fun there too.  Unlike the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults are welcome to participate.  The makeovers are the same as the ones offered for kids.  I didn't find my makeover to be overly impressive from the actual make-up side of things (could have been much bolder in my honest opinion), but I had just as much fun as my kids.  In my opinion, I think the male makeovers pack a bit more punch and thought my husband made quite the impressive pirate.

After you leave The Pirate's League, you will have a night to remember.  We used the remainder of the time before dinner to meet a few pirate characters including Pirate Mickey and Captain Jack Sparrow.  We then enjoyed our pirate themed dinner inside Animator's Palate.  Our night then continued with Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean Night Deck Party and the fireworks at sea later on in the evening.

Dressing up for Pirate Night makes the night even more fun for the whole family and I'm so glad we made the decision to book The Pirate's League on the Disney Dream.  Would we book it again?  I think I would definitely consider booking it again for our boys - at $44.95 I feel like it was well worth the price.  It's much more reasonable than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a fun way for the boys to  get in on the excitement.  Be sure to check it out on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!  Ahoy mateys!

Get Animated at Animator's Palate on Disney Cruise Line

We're gEARing up for our next Disney Cruise Line vacation and I'm revisiting some old favorites from previous cruise vacations! Disney Cruise Line is known for bringing the magic of Disney to the high seas.  Even a simple dinner can be turned into an extraordinary experience.  This is especially true at Animator’s Palate on the Disney Fantasy.  Disney Cruise Line uses rotational dining where guests rotate their nightly dinner service through three different restaurants.  During our 7-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise a few years ago, we had the pleasure of dining in Animator’s Palate three nights and each featured a unique dining experience.

The restaurant itself celebrates the animation that Disney was founded on and continues to embrace.  Mickey Mouse inspires the chairs and the wait staff wears shirts featuring classic Disney sketches.  The art throughout the restaurant is mostly digital and changes throughout the cruise as each night features a different theme.  Fun Tip: Did you know you can request a particular order for your rotational dining experience?  I love Animator’s Palate so much that I plan to request this again as the first restaurant on a 7-night cruise so that we can visit it three times again! 

Our first night in Animator’s Palate featured a special guest – Crush from Finding Nemo.  Throughout the dinner, Crush swims up to tables and chats with guests.  He asks questions about what life is like in the human world and then teaches everyone to ride the EAC just like our turtle friends.  Kids and adults alike will have a great time playing and interacting throughout the meal.
One of the sketches on Pirate Night at Animator's Palate

The second night we dined in Animator’s Palate was Pirate Night.  Disney Cruise Line hosts a Pirate Night on each of it’s Bahamian and Caribbean sailings.  On this particular night, all restaurants on the ship feature a special pirate themed menu and the wait staff dresses as “scurvy scallawags.”  Spending Pirate Night in Animator’s Palate was a nice treat as the art in the restaurant changed to reflect pirate favorites like Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Jack Sparrow. 

The last night of our cruise was also spent in Animator’s Palate and featured the show that is unique to the Disney Fantasy and perhaps the one that people look forward to the most.  When you are seated for dinner, guests are given a paper to draw their own cartoon.  The wait staff then takes all cartoons and, at the end of the meal, you get to see your animation come to life.  Each drawing is featured alongside Disney classics in a magical cartoon experience that you won’t soon forget.  Also, all guests will have their names featured in the credits of the cartoon for contributing animation.

Regardless of which night you dine in Animator's Palate, you will certainly be treated to delicious food! With so many great options on board Disney Cruise Line, don't be shy and definitely try new things.  As you would expect, the Kids' Menus feature family favorites that will make even the tiniest artists happy to dine here.  And while your little ones probably won't want to miss a minute of the action in Animator's Palate, you can take advantage of the Youth Clubs during dinnertime so the grown ups can enjoy a more leisurely dinner.


Animator’s Palate will certainly satisfy guest appetites and quench thirsts for an entertaining evening on your Disney Cruise Line vacation!

Talk like a Pirate on Your Next Disney Cruise Line Vacation!

Ahoy, Mateys!

Today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day," making it the perfect chance to highlight all the pirate fun that awaits on your Bahamian and Caribbean cruises.  The Pirates in the Caribbean night features food, entertainment and that splash of pixie dust which combine for a memorable evening where everyone in the family can take part in the fun.

You won't want to miss the pirate fun that awaits!
While you're out enjoying the day, your cabin host will deliver pirate bandanas to your room for the entire family which you're invited to wear that evening.  Some guests join the crew members and characters by bringing their own elaborate pirate costumes, but don't feel like you need to purchase costumes to enjoy the evening.  At dinner, each of the three main dining rooms will be serving a special pirate themed menu.  On both of our Disney Cruise Line vacations, we dined at Animator's Palate on Pirate Night which meant that the dining room featured pirate art from movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Planet, and Peter Pan on that particular night.

The pirate deck party is great fun for the whole family!
Following dinner, venture outside to the main pool area for a deck party unlike any other.  Pirates are about to take over the ship unless Mickey and friends can save the day!  Don't be surprised throughout the evening to see familiar pirate favorites such as Jake, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and Captain Jack joining in the fun.  The deck party  is followed by a truly unique cruise experience - fireworks at sea!

Fireworks at sea!
Of course, your Personal Navigator will have all of the important details for your particular cruise so be sure to check it out!

What to pack on your DCL carry-on bag

You've made your reservations, booked your excursions, planned your flights, and now the big day is closing in!  It's time for your Disney Cruise Line vacation.  As your packing your bags, don't forget to pack a carry-on that you can use for the first few hours that you are onboard the ship.  Your checked luggage may not arrive in your stateroom until around 5 and you could be on the ship around lunchtime depending on your designated port arrival time.  You want to make sure that you are prepared to enjoy the ship and the first few hours of your vacation with everything you need.  Here are a few suggestions of items to pack as you begin your cruise!

The cruise terminal in Port Canaveral.  Let your Disney Cruise Line Vacation begin! 
1.  Bathing Suit - Whether you are traveling with little ones, teens, or on an adult only getaway, one of the first places to head on vacation is to the pool!  And if the pool isn't quite your thing, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy feature a water ride called AquaDuck which sends you traveling out over the ocean.  If you happen to be cursing on the Disney Magic, you'll find AquaDunk - a waterside that sends you screaming down multiple stories before curving you out over the edge of the ship.  Both the water attractions and the pools are a perfect way to begin your trip.  Don't forget flip flops or water shoes to wear around the pool deck!

2.  Travel Documents - Very important!  Don't pack that passport or any of your cruise documents in a bag you check at the airport.  You'll need this important information for embarkation so make sure all of the documents you need are available for you and all members of your traveling party.

3.  Snacks - Once you board the ship, finding food won't be a problem - trust me!  However, you may find yourself with some downtime in the cruise terminal before boarding.  Especially if you're traveling with little ones, having a few snacks on hand can make the wait more manageable.

4.  Autograph Book - I always like ordering an autograph book online before my Disney vacation so that it's ready to go when we arrive.  This is true for Disney Cruise Line vacations too.  Mickey and Minnie are often in the cruise terminal posing for pictures during embarkation.  Having an autograph book available can help you start capturing those character signatures right away.

5.  Dinner Clothing - If you're like me, you dress pretty comfy casual on a travel day.  Coupled with relaxing by the pool when I arrive, I certainly would not feel ready for dinner in the clothes on my back.  Again, with DCL not guaranteeing your bags to arrive prior to dinner, you will want to have any change of clothing for dinner ready in your carry on.  Don't forget shoes too!  This is especially true if you happen to have a reservation at Palo or Remy on night one of your cruise as they do have a strict dress code.

Bon voyage and happy cruising on the most magical cruise line at sea!

Romance on the High Seas

When you think of a Disney Cruise Line vacation, a lot of people don't often think of romance.  However, while I love spending quality family time on the cruise, one of my favorite parts of a DCL vacation is having some "adult time" for my husband and I.  In honor of Valentine's Day, here are three quick tips to make your next DCL vacation a bit more romantic.

Tip #1 - Take advantage of the nursery and kids clubs - Kids will LOVE spending time in these bright and colorful areas of the ships where they can play and interact with the amazing Youth Team and some of their favorite characters.  You can enjoy a few guilt-free, child-free hours on board while you know your children are well cared for and having as much fun as you are.  There is a per hour charge for the nursery which is available for children under 3, but the other youth spaces are included in your cruise fare for all children over the age of 3.  The ship has plenty of adult only spaces to explore including pools and nightclubs that are often a lot less crowded then you would expect.

Playing in Andy's Room in the Oceaneer's Club on the Disney Fantasy


Tip #2 - Try out one of the adult only restaurants - Whether it's a brunch or a dinner, be sure to spend at least one meal (or more if you're like us!) at either Remy or Palo.  Palo features delicious Italian cuisine and is available on all four Disney ships while Remy serves French delights and is available on both the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream.  We have had the pleasure of eating at both Remy and Palo on our previous cruises and the food, service, and atmosphere did not disappoint.  Brunches are typically seres on at sea days only while dinner is available each night.  While, these restaurants do require an additional fee, they are a wonderful way to spend some alone time with your significant other.

Enjoying our date night on the Disney Fantasy waiting for dinner at Palo
Tip #3 - Don't forget about Serenity Bay - While on Castaway Cay, Serenity Bay is located on the backside of the island and is the adult only beach.  When we traveled on our last cruise, we spent time on Serenity Bay and were surprised about this hidden gem.  There were hardly any people on this side of island and we enjoyed some quiet time on the beach - along with a few cocktails!  And once again, you don't have to worry about the kids.  Scuttle's Cove is available on Castaway Cay for kids 3 and over to have fun with attractions and games just for them while you sneak in a little romantic time!

A view down the beach of Serenity Bay!
What's you favorite way to get romantic on a Disney Cruise??

Remy Champagne Brunch Review


When Dan and I traveled on the Disney Dream last April for our adult getaway to celebrate my 30th birthday, one of the "splurges" I was pretty insistent in experiencing was the Champagne Brunch at Remy.  Remy is one of two adult-only restaurants on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.  While Palo is known for Northern Italian cuisine, Remy is inspired by the Disney movie Ratatouille and serves primarily French dishes.  The Champagne Brunch was a $50 up charge per person and only included your initial taste of champagne.  For a full champagne pairing, there was an additional $25 charge per person.  I opted for the full experience, while Dan (not being a big champagne fan), worked with the sommelier to create a wine pairing for his brunch menu.

The champagne brunch is only offered on "at sea" days on the cruise ships which means that on our four day cruise there was only one serving of this unique experience.  Upon entering Remy, guests are escorted as a group to the wine room where you are surrounded by beautiful bottles of wine with Disney / Pixar labels - many of which signed by John Lasseter.  In this room, guests are given their first taste of champagne and meet with the chef who explains the menu for the brunch and then the sommelier reviews the champagne pairings for the morning.

Menu from April 2014
Guests then make their way to their tables and the dining extravaganza begins.  I always think that I should take pictures of each course AFTER I have finished my meal.  That is certainly true at a restaurant like Remy.  You are truly dining on a work of art - both from a taste and visual point of view.  I did however, remember to take a picture of the menu.  All I can say about each course is WOW!  I'm not shy when it comes to food, so the unfamiliar menu didn't scare me off at all.  Dan, however, is another story,  He was worried about so many "fancy" and "unusual" dishes on the menu, but he gave them a go and enjoyed them as well.

If you are sailing on the Dream or Fantasy, I would recommend trying Remy at least once.  I think Palo is more universally appealing to all taste palates (and is definitely cheaper), but Remy is something to experience.  Recently, the Disney Parks Blog released information about new dining experiences at Remy that may also interest you on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!  Bon Appetite!

2014 - The Year in Review

2014 was another whirlwind year for our family with much excitement and many blessings!  As we say goodbye to the past year, here are some of our highlights:

  • Started blogging and (somewhat) successfully maintained it - minus the summer hiatus.
  • Got back into running "for the first time in forever."
    What better than #runDisney to motivate me back into running for the first time in 8 years??
  • Celebrated Brody's 2nd Birthday.
  • I turned 30 and was lucky enough to celebrate on a Disney Cruise with Dan for a little "mommy / daddy time" at sea.
    With Captain Mickey on the Disney Dream!
  • Dan got a new job doing what he loves and does best.
  • We found out that we were expecting baby #2 - another boy. . .due to arrive February 2015!
    Waiting on Baby Caleb!
  • I got promoted to an Assistant Principal position in July.
  • The Orioles won the AL East for the first time since 1997 :)
    Enjoying a day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards!
  • I made it R2 of the Disney Parks Moms Panel application process, but alas, no R3 this year.
    Such a magical email to receive!  Hoping for more #DisneyMP fun next year :)
  • We put a contract on a new house and are planning to move in January.
  • Brody got to go on his 2nd vacation to Disney World - this time a 5 day trip in November.
    Brody was so excited to meet all of his favorites - and a perfect gentleman!

Nassau Port Adventure Review

When we visited Nassau on our 4-Night Bahamian cruise this past April, a beach day was not our original first choice.  However, when we found out that a lot of the food at the Graycliff Wine Luncheon was cheese and dairy based (not friendly to my husband and his food aversions), we decided to take it easy instead for the day and find a beach to chill on.  We ended up booking the Blue Lagoon Beach Day through Disney's Port Adventures page in the weeks leading up to our cruise. I was expecting Blue Lagoon to be "just another day at the beach," but Dan and I found ourselves having what can only be described as a fantastic experience that day.

We ended up leaving Nassau by boat to head to Blue Lagoon Island.  As you might expect from the title, Blue Lagoon Island is a private island that can only be accessed by about a 25 minute boat ride.  The boat ride was enjoyable and we even got to catch a glimpse of Atlantis as we zipped by on our catamaran.  When we arrived at the dock at Blue Lagoon Island, there were two options of where to go.  Some guests booked Dolphin, Sea Lion, etc. excursions and were directed to head to the aquarium side of the island to begin those activities.  We went to the beach area where there was ample seating spread out along the waterfront.  For an extra cost, you could purchase time in an inflatable water play area.  They also offered bars and stores to purchase drinks and goodies while at the beach.  Dan and I headed to the last beach chairs we could find at the end of the lagoon and enjoyed some peace and quiet away from all the hustle and bustle.




Lunch was included in the price of the excursion and the food was VERY good.  They had the typical burger / hot dog and fries as an option but also included a yummy teriyaki chicken with rice that I found wonderful.  While we were eating in the lunch pavilion, Dan noticed a trail on the other side that we decided to go explore after we were done.  When we followed the trail over the sand dune, we were treated to a fabulous surprise - a little private beach with absolutely NO PEOPLE!  This is like a hidden gem on the backside of the island.  We spent the next 4 hours on this beach and in that time only about 5 other people ever ventured over here and most of them quickly left.  For a couple looking to enjoy some private adult time - this was our own version of Heaven on Earth.

The view from our "private" beach.  Doesn't it look like a screensaver??

Overall Grade - A+:  We stayed in our own island oasis until the last boat back to Nassau.  This was an awesome day and far exceeded all of our expectations.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to enjoy a day at the beach on your next Bahamian cruise with Disney.  

Senses Spa on DCL

During our most recent cruise on the Disney Dream, Dan and I took the time (and the money!) to pamper ourselves with a visit to Senses Spa.  My mom purchased a massage as my 30th birthday present and we decided to upgrade it to a couples massage for Dan and I to enjoy together.  We booked the massage for 4PM on the embarkation day.  Like other activities and experiences, these can be booked in advance of your cruise or you can take your chances to see what is available once you get on board.  In our minds, this was going to be the perfect way to start a dream vacation.




The spa is beautiful and well-maintained.  When we entered, we were checked in and escorted back to the locker rooms.  Once we were changed into our spa robes, we waited in a comfy room with water and were given a clipboard to fill out medical information that would be relevant for a massage therapist to know.  Our massage began right on time with two great therapists.

The hour was wonderfully relaxing!  We happened to be in the massage rooms as we sailed away from Florida so the view at first was just of the port but opened up to the waterways as we moved away from the coast.  This is hard to enjoy though honestly because your head is usually down and / or eyes closed throughout the massage.  The best part of the massage came at the end when they offered us a deal to come back for another massage.  They reduced the normal rate to $99 per person to return over our 4 days on the ship.  We took advantage of this offer and booked a Cabana Massage on Castaway Cay.  That was an even more amazing experience.  The cabanas are located on the adult-only part of Castaway Cay known as Serenity Bay.  This is a very quiet and serene part of the island.  Once you are situated on the table, they open up the large windows and you can hear all the wonderful sounds of island life surrounding you and feel the gentle, warm breeze.



In addition, we were also celebrating Dan's birthday while on the cruise so I bought him a men's shave package in the spa.  He enjoyed the experience and the price didn't seem as outrageous as some of the other spa services.  The one thing to be warned about with any spa service is that they will try to sell you very expensive spa products at the end of your appointment.  Each of our therapists though were very gracious and offered no pressure when we refused early on and made it clear we didn't want to hear anymore.

Overall, the spa experience on a Disney Cruise is worth it if you have the money to spare.  It's much more expensive then back on dry land, but is a fun way to indulge in relaxation while on vacation.  The spa also offers a Rainforest Room Pass which is a cheap way to check out the spa if you're just curious to see what the experience is like.  For more information on any of the spa services available, check out the Disney Cruise Line website and you can get prices and services offered on each ship.

Broadway in the Caribbean

One of the highlights of our past two Disney cruises has been the high quality entertainment we had the chance to experience.  Like other cruise ships, Disney offers a nightly show in the theatre.  Unlike other cruise ships - it's DISNEY!  When you think of Disney entertainment, many of you will probably think of the high quality first and foremost.  A Disney Cruise vacation will not disappoint.  Below you will find just a quick summary of some of our favorites from the Disney Fantasy (2013) and Disney Dream (2014).

Believe (Fantasy and Dream) - Let's start with my absolute favorite!  I was so excited to see this show a second time when we sailed on the Dream after falling in love with the story on the Fantasy.  This is an original production that includes songs from some of the best Disney musicals of all time while telling a heartwarming story of the love between a father and daughter.  I found myself crying during parts of this touching performance - perfect for the whole family!

Aladdin (Fantasy) - A condensed version of the Disney classic.  It includes all of your favorite songs and the Genie cannot be beat.  Unfortunately, I had to leave this show early with a fussy baby but my husband has nothing but high praises to sing for this performance.  

Wishes (Fantasy) - This was another cute original Disney performance.  The story follows siblings as they get ready to graduate high school, but learn what it still means to be a kid.  There's a lot of great Disney music throughout the show that will keep your toes tapping along the way!

Villains Tonight (Dream) - I really wanted to love this show.  In fact, when we were leaving for the cruise, this was the show I was most excited to see.  While the show was cute and family friendly, I was disappointed in some of the villains that they chose to highlight.  I felt that a good number of the villains were from more "obscure" Disney movies and I just didn't connect with the characters and the music the way I did in some other shows.  Don't worry about it being scary for young kids - there's lots of humor throughout that keeps the show light.

The Golden Mickeys (Dream) - This production screams classic Disney.  The setting is an awards show where tribute is paid to some of the best of the best in the history of Disney.  Great songs and characters throughout from across the generations will keep everyone in the family entertained.  A really cool feature of this show is that you get to "walk the red carpet" into the theatre with the "paparazzi" taking pictures and maybe even interviewing you.  This is all being shown in the theatre on a live video feed which adds an element of real Hollywood to the evening.

In addition to these, your cruise will have other shows depending on the length that you are on the ship which may include magicians, on board entertainers, and your cruise director sharing highlights at the end of the week.  Shows are nightly in the theatre at 6:15 and 8:30.  On days at sea, they also typically offer a matinee performance at 3:00.  

Castaway Cay 5K

As many of you know, I used the excitement of a runDisney event to get myself off the couch and back into running shoes.  Even though the Castaway Cay 5K is not an official runDisney "race" it is an official runDisney "run" as evidenced by the bib and t-shirt :)  Here is my recap of the race for both my running friends and those of you who also suffer from a mild (or major) Disney obsession!

I read a lot of blogs about the race and the experiences of others before leaving for the cruise so I was well prepared on what to expect.  The biggest piece of advice that I heard time and time again was that running this 5K rivals what it must be like to run on the face of the sun.  The Bahamian heat and humidity is brutal and everyone recommended hydrating well before the run.  I packed gatorades in our suitcase and used those and bottled water the day before the race to begin preparing.  The other thing to know going into this run is that (as of right now at least) it is a free event.  They do ask that runners pre-register at the Port Adventures desk and all runners are given a ticket and bib for race morning.  The night before the run, I laid out my things so I'd be ready to go in the morning!



Run Morning
We were supposed to meet at Evolution at 8:15 so I set my alarm for 7 and was at breakfast by 7:15.  After a breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, half a bagel and a gatorade, Dan and I made our way to Evolution.  Even though Dan wasn't running, he was able to gather with the runners at check-in and disembark the ship with our group.  Once runners were all checked in, the cast member in charge went over a map of the route and gave instructions to parents who had little ones to drop off at Scuttle's Cove when we were on our way to the starting line.  We got the all clear from the captain to disembark around 8:30 and our group quickly exited off the aft gangway (look at me being all nautical!)  The starting line is about a 10 minute walk from the ship which provides a great warm-up!



The Run
By 9:00 we were ready to begin.  Jamesy (our fabulous British Disney cast member) reviewed the route map one more time and then away we went!  The course is very flat and follows a bike route that is on the island.  The bulk of the route is inside a bike loop that has tall shrubs on both sides.  This helps provide a little shade for the run, but also makes it a little boring at times.  However, you miss the shade of the bike loop when you turn onto the air landing strip that is miserable hot and sunny.  During the run, you pass a water station 4 times which is helpful during the run.  You will find everyone from kids to grandparents, experienced runners to walkers on this course. . .and everyone is having fun!  I felt surprisingly good during the run and was pleased with my pacing considering the heat, humidity, and the fact that it was my first 5K in about 8 years.  





Post Run
When I crossed the finish line, my plastic bling was waiting for me!  The Mickey medal is simply plastic that says Disney Cruise Line - not even a mention of the race - but I know what it was for and that's all that matters :)  And in true Disney fashion, the race finishes next to a gift shop that sells Castaway Cay 5K t-shirts, which of course I had to buy.  Over the next 3 hours I drank some gatorade and water to replenish.  I felt good throughout the rest of the day. . .but then again, how can you not feel good in this paradise??  And the couples massage Dan and I had in a beach cabana after lunch probably helped a lot too!  



I absolutely LOVED my experience with the Castaway Cay 5K and would highly recommend it to anyone on their next Disney Cruise.  On a personal note, this really motivated me to get back to running and I plan to now use this to propel me into some of the larger runDisney events in the years to come!