If you followed my previous posts about planning for our family’s first cruise ever on the Disney Dream, then you know how nervous I was. Let’s face it, a Disney cruise is not an inexpensive vacation. Plus, my husband really didn’t even want to go. So the idea of spending our family’s money on our one big vacation this year that my husband didn’t even want….well, I was determined that it would go smoothly.
So I’m happy to say, THE PLANNING PAID OFF!! In fact, I have never experienced a smoother start to a trip. Here’s the blow by blow recap of our trip to get to our trip.
You may have seen my post from the day before we left. That day I also packed and stopped by the bank to pick up $50 in $1 bills. These really came in handy for tips throughout our vacation. I checked in to our flights online, paid for our checked bags, and printed our boarding passes.
Then at 7:30am, our ride showed up in our driveway to whisk us off to Logan Airport. Right on time! By 8:15am we arrived at Logan and checked our bags at curbside check-in. We sailed through security – no lines! Our flight was on time and we had a little while to wait, so we moseyed on over to the Delta Sky Club and availed ourselves of the free breakfast pastries, coffee, and juice. (I have a credit card that provides this as a benefit.)
Our flight was on time and weather was great, our luggage made it, and our rental car was waiting for us at Avis in Orlando. We threw our bags in the back and headed off to Epcot to spend the day at the Flower & Garden Festival. (A blog post for another day…)
After Illuminations ended, we jumped in our rental and drove to the Country Inn and Suites at Cape Canaveral. The drive from Walt Disney World to Cape Canaveral was just over an hour. The hotel was basic, clean, and very crowded with others embarking on cruises the next day. Check-in was smooth, and we went straight to our room and passed out.
The next morning, we were up early for the free breakfast buffet, then packed our bags and hopped back into our rental car and headed to Avis to drop it off. A note regarding luggage. Don’t forget to bring your carry-on with whatever you’ll need for the day, like sunblock, bathing suit, book, medicines, etc. Also, put the luggage tags that Disney provides on your bags at this point.
On the way, we stopped at a little gas station and bought a couple of bottles of wine to take with us on the cruise. (Don’t forget the cork screw!) You can pop those into your carry-ons as well.
We got to Avis by around 9:30, but were told that they weren’t able to bring us to the port until 10:30am, after the prior cruise passengers had debarked. We chose to sit and wait. At around 10:10am they received the OK from the port to begin bringing passengers, so we hopped on our shuttle and rode to the port.
Now keep in mind, Disney told us to be at the port at 12:30pm. We arrived at 10:20am. They took our bags straight off of the shuttle bus and to the ship. (That’s why you put your tags on them earlier that morning.) Then we lined up near the gate at 10:20, and after 10 minutes were allowed to head into the terminal. We were one of the first families to enter the terminal, so there were no lines at all.
Once you pass through security (a breeze), head to the long row of agents at the check-in desk. Hand over your pre-printed and filled out documents (remember those?) and your passports. You’ll also need to fill out an affidavit stating that no one in your party has had a stomach bug for the past few days. Then they’ll take your picture and assign you an embarkation number. We were in group 14. So by 10:45 we were chilling in the terminal, and had our picture taken with Captain Mickey!
For parents with younger children (under 11), line up immediately to sign your child up for the kids’ clubs and get their bracelets. Trust me – this is so important to do right away. The line was HUGE by 11am. If your kids won’t be going to the Oceaneer’s Club or Oceaneer’s Lab, you don’t need to do this.
At a little past 11am the first group was called to embark. This process went quickly, and our group (14) was called by 11:40. We walked on up to the giant Mickey ears, and stepped into the line to embark.
Our picture was taken, and then we were welcomed aboard the Disney Dream!
By the look on my husband’s face, I think he was suitably impressed.
Oh…and remember how we weren’t supposed to show up to the terminal until 12:30pm? Yeah…we were on board before noon. Score!
Stay tuned for the next installment – our stateroom and the Aquaduck!
So let me know – did our super easy experience jibe with yours?
No experience yet, with a Disney Cruise, but so far I’m ready to leave tomorrow. Good to know as with most Disney attractions, you are rewarded if you show up earlier than “on time”.
I kept reading conflicting reports as to whether getting there early was worth it. Answer is YES!
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So great to read about this part of your trip. James and I are amazed by the difference of the lobby from your ship to the Magic. It’s SO SO SO HUGE. Eee! Hearing them announce your name just makes me want to cry and I love your daughter’s hat and super cute bathing suit. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more, and I’m thrilled the cruise was a success. When we used to go on the trips with my parents, we would get there so early and I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary but I would love to show up that early the next time. Eee. I want to book a cruise so badly right nowwwwwwwww. -estelle
Thanks, Estelle! I’ve never been on the Magic or Wonder, but the lobby of the Dream and Fantasy are truly magnificent. Hope you get to go soon!
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