A WONDERful first Disney cruise - San Juan to New Orleans - updates x2 - 6/18!

DisneyParkLover

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Day 3 - Checking out our staterooms

After a delicious lunch, it was late enough that our staterooms were open so we headed down to check them out. We had two connecting deluxe inside staterooms on the first floor. I wasn’t sure about being on the first floor, but it wound up being very nice and quiet and you feel very little motion from the ship down there.

I will also say I loved the deluxe inside stateroom. A view would have been nice, but the room itself was very spacious. It was actually a lot roomier than the oceanview room we had on the other cruise we had taken with the kids. The bunks worked out perfectly for our kids and we loved having the split bath. Here are a few photos from checking out the room.

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And one of my parents’ room. Since my dad was celebrating his birthday on the cruise, my mom had purchased the birthday stateroom package for him.

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And here’s one I took later that night before bed, but I’m adding it here since it shows the set up of the room with the upper bunk down.


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After checking out the room and unpacking the luggage that had arrived, we headed up to muster. I was surprised that with our reservations linked and rooms next door to each, that we were in separate muster stations. Our muster station was outside in direct sun, so the kids were hot and restless, but at least it was pretty quick. And before we knew it, we were heading to the top deck for....

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The Sail-a-Wave party!!! 🎉 🌊 🚢
 
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DisneyParkLover

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Day 3 - Sail-A-Wave Party

We really enjoyed the Sail-A-Wave party. The kids loved seeing all the characters and the dancing.

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One thing I was surprised by was how long it took to get moving. I assumed we would start moving shortly after the party started and then continue to party while we were sailing. But instead we didn’t start sailing until after the party was over which made for a little disconnect and disruption in the excitement level up on deck as a lot of people left after the party and didn’t wait to actually watch us sail away. 🤷‍♀️

Nothing wrong with this way, but I do think I prefer the way we’ve done it on other cruise lines where the party essentially starts at the sail away and continues on as we are sailing. I just think it keeps the excitement up. You can see in these photos of the kids that there was almost nobody left up on deck to watch us sail away.

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The nice thing about the crowds thinning was that it gave us a chance to get some photos without many people in them!

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DisneyParkLover

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Day 3 - Sail Away

I had really hoped that with the party starting at 4:45 that I would be able to watch us sail around the tip of Puerto Rico and El Morro, but unfortunately we hadn’t even started to turn when I had to leave to be able to make it to dinner on time. I was still able to get some beautiful photos of San Juan and the setting sun, though! 😍


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  • DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 3 - Our First Dinner

    Our dining rotation was TP-TR-TR-AP-TP, so we were dining at Tiana’s Place tonight. We were shown to our table, which was just the six of us. We would have been fine dining with others, but it was nice just having our group too. The restaurant was lovely and I enjoyed the theming.

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    We also got to meet our dining team. Our head waiter Jonathan was spectacular! He was very friendly and engaged with the kids. He kept us all laughing and was overall wonderful. Our assistant server was Gerda. She was very nice, too, but much quieter and more reserved than Jonathan.

    For my appetizer I ordered the calamari. I love calamari and this was perfectly done. Light, crisp breading and tender rings, not chewy.

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    For my entree, I ordered the pork wellington. I am not normally a big pork eater, but I had heard this recommended several times here on the DisBoards, so I had to try it.

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    And all you Disers were right! This was excellent.

    From the photos it appears DH and one of my parents had the pan-seared halibut. The other of my parents (likely my dad) ordered the strip loin. I have no photographic evidence of what the kids had. I think everyone was pleased with their choices.

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    For dessert I had the warm sticky fig and pecan pudding. This was wonderful. My parents had the creme brûlée and the great fruit sabayon. James and the kids had Mickey bars.

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    Overall, an excellent first night of dining!
     
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    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Bonus post - all things fish extender!

    I’m going to talk a little bit about fish extenders, so if that’s not something you are interested in, go ahead and scroll to the next post. Really. It’s okay, I won’t hold it against you. 🤣

    As I already mentioned, I really wanted to “do it all” on this cruise and that included participating in fish extenders and magnet exchanges and pixie dusting.

    I made our fish extender and magnets and also a lot of the fish extender and pixie dust gifts. I had several different gifts for fish extenders. Here’s my final list of gifts:

    Family - nightlight, “Would You Rather Disney Edition” game, rocket pen, small magnet

    Young kids - coloring book, Mickey crayons, small stuffed animal

    Older boys - personalized water bottle and earbuds

    Older girls - manicure set and earbuds

    Men - anchor bottle opener

    Women - Mickey bath bombs

    Pirate night adults - Pirates’ Booty popcorn

    Pirate night kids - temporary tattoos, chocolate coins, and glow sticks

    I packed all these items in a large box in my suitcase. But delivering them was a huge PITA. First I had to find all the rooms on my list. Then I had to figure out if it was a magnet or fish extender room or both. Then at each room I had to review my list again and figure out what their room makeup (how many adults, older boys, older girls, young kids, etc.) was so I knew which gifts they needed. Then I had to dig through my bag to find those types of gifts. Plus some of my tags had names or room numbers, so I had to sort through them all to find the ones I had tagged for those specific people, and so on. And then I had to repeat the process since I had done more gifts to be delivered on Pirates’ Night. 😲😫

    This was just too chaotic. I made 4 or 5 trips trying to get things delivered all over the ship and spent a few hours total just delivering things. In retrospect, I would definitely do fish extenders again. Overall I’m glad we participated as the kids loved finding gifts in ours. But next time I would do things a little differently. I would put everything for a cabin in one bag together to be delivered at one time. And I would not have separate gifts for different days. I think that would really streamline the process. Worth noting if it’s your first time doing fish extenders.

    Here’s some photos of our DIY fish extender and some of our DIY fish extender gifts:

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    Fish extender

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    DIY Mickey crayons

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    DIY nightlights

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    Earbuds

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    DIY bath bombs

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    Minnie manicure set

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    DIY water bottles
     
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    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 3 - The End of Our First Cruise Day

    After dinner, we headed back to the room. We unpacked the rest of our luggage and the kids were excited to find our first fish extender gifts!

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    (In this photo, the ears, the lanyard, and the pirate Minnie t-shirt are all fish extender gifts! 😍)

    Next we were supposed to head up to watch the Super Bowl on the big pool deck tv. But Annie was being quite crabby, so we sent my parents on without us.

    Eventually, we got calmed down and joined my parents up on deck for a little football.

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    This was a very cool way to watch the game, but the kids were exhausted, so we left at half time.

    The kids got tucked into bed and I headed down to Shutters. I wanted to enter the drawing for a free photo package. Sadly, I didn’t win, but I happened to stumble upon Disney Cruise Line’s version of characterpalooza. For those who aren’t familiar, Kenny the Pirate coined the term characterpalooza for unannounced large gatherings of characters all at once.

    And that’s exactly what I stumbled across!

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    In a span of about 5 minutes, I saw Tiana, Cinderella, Ariel, Daisy, Chip and Dale, Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie. How fun! I only wish the kids had been with me - they would have loved this!

    After all that character fun, I was spent! So I headed back to the room to rest up for our first Disney day at sea!
     

    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 4 - Our First Disney Day at Sea

    We woke up excited after a good night’s sleep, because today was our first full day on a Disney cruise! We started off with breakfast at Cabanas. (No food pics, sorry. But you get a picture of this goofy kid! 🤣)

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    We ate at Cabanas for most breakfasts and lunches. While we really enjoyed our relaxing table service lunch the first day, we didn’t want to spend a lot of our limited time eating. Overall we were pleased with the selection and taste of the food at the buffet. And we were glad to see that they had cast members outside the doors making people wash their hands before entering. I don’t know if this was due to Covid-19 or if they always do this, but it definitely made us feel good knowing that Disney made such efforts to keep us safe. 👍
    After breakfast we wandered around the ship checking it out (and probably delivering some fish extenders).

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    After that it was time for the open house at the Oceaneer’s Club, so we went to check it out. This was such a cool space. The kids loved it, which bode well for future adult plans!

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    Toy Story slide

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    Marvel and video game area

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    Coloring with Gompa in the coloring area

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    Bowling

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    Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post

    This was definitely an area where Disney excelled compared to other cruiselines we have been on. The kids’ club was enormous (what you see in the photos is only half of it, because the Oceaneer’s Lab was not having open house at this time) and so well themed with so many different areas/activities. Well done Disney!

    I’m out of space for this post, so I’ll have to add more of our day at sea in the next post!
    I’m out of space for this post, so I’ll have to add more of our day at sea in the next post!
     
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  • DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 4 - Sea Day Part 2

    After our kids’ club tour, we headed back to the room to grab some fish extender gifts to go deliver. And we found fish extender gifts waiting for us!

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    Peg game

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    Door hanger

    I really loved all our fish extender gifts. They were so creative!

    We went and delivered some more of the fish extender gifts from us and explored the ship a little bit more.


    Next we were headed back to the Oceaneer’s Club to drop the kids off. The check in process was very easy, we just scanned them in and verified our secret password. The kids were excited to go play and we were excited to go to the Anyone Can Cook seminar.

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    This was a lot of fun! The lobster ravioli was delicious and the glass of wine was a nice pairing. We really enjoyed watching this seminar.

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    After the seminar, we picked the kids up and grabbed a quick lunch at Cabanas. No photos, but there was a wide selection and everything was yummy. I usually judge a buffet by how much food is left on my plate at the end. I’m pretty good at taking small portions of things and only taking what I think I can eat. So if there is food left on my plate, it’s because it looked good, but was either cold or didn’t taste good. I believe my plate was pretty much empty each time we came here, so that’s a sign of a good buffet to me. 👍

    After lunch, we went to check out the pool areas. We spent some time in the family pool and quite a bit of time at the kiddie pool and splash pad area. Luke did the water slide a couple times, but found it a little disappointing. On our last cruise, the ship had 3 water slides, so the single water slide fell a little flat for him. I think if our ship had had the Aquaduck, he would have loved it. But as it was, this was one of the very few things that our kids preferred about our other cruise over Disney. 🤷‍♀️

    We still had a good time though. We stopped in Dory’s Reef, but they wouldn’t let Luke and Annie play together in there (Luke was just over 48”), so we only stayed a couple minutes. This would definitely be a great space for toddlers, though.

    On the Wonder, Luke really liked the family pool, but Annie felt more comfortable in the smaller kiddie pool. So we went back and forth between those two. My parents went and checked out the adult pool and found it to be the nicest of the pool areas, but James and I never made it over there. Guess we better go on another Disney cruise to check it out! 😉

    After our nice pool time, we went back to the room to get changed and for some quiet time. The kids rested for awhile, but then....

    Here is another time that my FOMO caused some issues this trip. What I SHOULD have done was just let the kids rest. It had already been a very busy trip. They were tired. But my FB group had set up a pin trading event for this day. Luke loves pin trading, so I knew he’d enjoy it. So I got the kids up and we all headed that way. I didn’t know where the lounge was, so we headed to the Azure/Cadillac Lounge area. We waited around and took some photos.

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    But after a few minutes we started wondering where everyone else was. So I looked at my screenshot I had taken from the FB page and realized that not only did I have the wrong place, but I also had the wrong time! 😩🤦‍♀️

    I had jotted down that it was at 2:30, but actually it was 2-2:30. Since it was only about 2:20 at this point, I thought if we went fast we might be able to catch the end. Unfortunately, Annie wasn’t having any of it. She wanted to stay and sit in the windows and when told she couldn’t, she just proceeded to have a massive tantrum on the floor. I told James I didn’t have time to rationalize with her, and told him to scoop her up and follow us. And then I quickly took off in the direction of Promenade Lounge. But James didn’t hear us and didn’t see where we were going. So he wound up getting left behind with a super angry toddler and no idea where to go. 😫

    When I got to the pin trading area and he wasn’t with us, I realized we had accidentally lost him.
    The pin trading event was over, but there were still one or two people that were still hanging around that had pins. So I left Luke with my parents to trade what pins he could, and I headed back to look for James. He wasn’t by Azure any more, so I tried checking our room and found them there. Annie was still mid-meltdown and James was understandably miffed at having been left behind with no idea where he was or where he was going.

    So all in all, this was a MASSIVE FAIL. The event was over, Luke hardly traded any pins, I was bummed at having missed it, James was crabby, and Annie was a total mess. 😭😫

    Lesson learned: with small kids, it’s better to let them rest even if means missing some activities.

    So after that, we decided that we all were just going to take it easy until dinner. I had plans to catch our first Disney cruise production and I needed everyone to be in a good mood!
     
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    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Disney meltdowns are real! Of course, I might be the one having the meltdown if my plans were frustrated.
    Annie tends to become very set on what Annie wants and then any deviation from that is met with...ummm....”resistance” is probably the nicest way to put it. 😂

    This morning she cried for 20 minutes straight because she wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to drive thru at Wendy’s. She had to be strapped into her car seat kicking and screaming. Then she cried all the way to Wendy’s and in the drive thru line. She insisted she wanted nothing because she wasn’t hungry. No more than 2 seconds after receiving our food, she decided she was hungry after all and wanted my breakfast sandwich. 🙄😩🤦‍♀️

    And one of my favorite Annie tantrum stories was the time she threw a 30 minute tantrum in the car because she was very upset that her McDonalds’ Happy Meal didn’t have any lemons in it. 🍋🤷‍♀️ We tried to convince her for a solid 15 minutes that Happy Meals have never had lemons in them (the other 100 times she’s eaten one!) and that the rest of the food was delicious and she should just eat it. But she wasn’t hearing any of it and had no interest in eating her lemon-less Happy Meal because she was so put out about it. 🤣🤣. (It wasn’t funny at the time but it definitely is now!)
     

    Quellman

    Donald Duck
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2014
    Interesting about your FE experience. We bag everything up before we even leave home. It has what each stateroom is going to get. I map our route before we head out taking the shortest path (sometimes it involves changing decks). But you are correct, it does take time from cruising to accomplish. The rope sign was amazing!
     
  • AussieDisneyfans

    Aussie Disney Fans
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    Really enjoying your trip report, it nice that you were able to travel with your parents. I live around the corner from mine and would love them to experience a Disney Cruise one day!
     

    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Interesting about your FE experience. We bag everything up before we even leave home. It has what each stateroom is going to get. I map our route before we head out taking the shortest path (sometimes it involves changing decks). But you are correct, it does take time from cruising to accomplish. The rope sign was amazing!
    This is definitely the way I’ll do it next time. I just didn’t realize how long it would take to have to sort and deliver the items individually. I loved all the gifts we received so much. I would definitely participate again! I would just do it a little differently.

    Really enjoying your trip report, it nice that you were able to travel with your parents. I live around the corner from mine and would love them to experience a Disney Cruise one day!
    Thank you! We travel with my parents quite a bit, but this was our first cruise together. It was definitely fun and a nice alternative to our park touring trips because it was more relaxed. Would love to do another.
     

    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 4 - Dinner and a show!

    When I left off, we were all having a much needed rest. After getting rested up, we delivered a few more fish extenders and ran into some characters along the way.

    Annie was so excited to meet Daisy, but Luke decided he was too cool to meet Daisy. 😭 (He’s only 6! Why does this happen so young?!?). He grudgingly hopped in a few photos at the end for his mom.

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    I don’t know what Annie said to make Daisy crack up, but I’m not surprised. She’s always keeping us laughing at home. 😂😂😂

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    Both kids were excited to meet with Goofy! I was surprised to see him out in his tuxedo since it wasn’t formal night. I’m not complaining though, he looked quite dashing. 🤵

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    After the meets, it was time to meet my parents for dinner. Tonight we were dining at Triton’s. Tonight’s menu was probably my favorite menu of the trip. I told Jonathan I wanted to try 3 different appetizers myself and not to judge me! 🤣. (If he did, at least he didn’t make it known.)

    For appetizers I tried the iced jumbo shrimp, the escargot, and the fried Brie. The iced shrimp was a little boring, but the other two were delicious.

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    Following more Dis recommendations, for my entree I ordered the Chateaubriand. As usual, my fellow Disers did not steer me wrong. This was excellent. Perfectly cooked and very tender.

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    For dessert, I ordered another dish I had read rave reviews on - the Grand Marnier Soufflé.

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    Yum-o! 🤤. I definitely left this meal stuffed and happy! But the fun wasn’t over yet. We still had our first Disney cruise line production to look forward to!

    Tonight’s show was The Golden Mickeys. Sadly, no photos are allowed during the show itself, but here’s one from Disney’s official website.

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    The premise of this show is a Hollywood-style Disney awards ceremony. It has lots of characters and familiar Disney music. We all enjoyed the show, including the kids. It definitely kept them entertained the whole show so they didn’t get restless (which I was worried about). Great ending and overall great day! But after the show we headed straight to bed so we would be well rested for a day we were all really looking forward to!
     
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    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 5 - Castaway Cay!!!

    If you guessed today was our Castaway Cay day, you’d be right! We’ve arrived at the Castaway Cay portion of the trip report! When trying to select our first Disney cruise, I only had a few things I was looking for. I was hoping for a 5-6 day cruise, at least 2 sea days, and a day at Castaway Cay! So when I found this cruise, I was delighted as it checked all the boxes and was a great price.

    I had read so many great things about Castaway Cay, so I was hoping it would live up to the expectations I had for it?


    “Did it?” you ask. I guess you’ll have to keep reading. 😉


    Our Navigator showed our “all ashore” time as being 9:30, so we decided we had time to run up to Cabanas for lunch. Here are the Navigators for this day and yesterday’s (since I forgot to include those with Day 4’s posts).

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    No photos from breakfast, but I’m sure it filled our bellies for a big day of fun. I grabbed a few photos of our approach into Castaway Cay.

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    Then we went back to the room and packed our beach bags. For those interested, I packed hats and sunglasses for everyone, sunscreen, goggles, a few sand toys for the kids, waterproof camera, and sail and sign cards. I dressed the kids in their swimsuits with clothes on top, so I also packed them some dry underwear. (There might have been a couple other small things, but that’s the main stuff.). I didn’t bother packing towels or life jackets since they have them to borrow on the island.

    I will also mention that I bought each kid an inexpensive wetsuit. We have been to the Bahamas in December and the water was frigid, so I wasn’t sure what to expect the first week of February. And I knew the kids would want to swim no matter how cold it was. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. The water was definitely chilly, but not nearly as cold as I expected. But since the kids stayed in the water pretty much all day, I’m glad they had them.


    After packing our bags, it was time to get off the ship. I expected an announcement, but when one didn’t come, we just headed that way and saw they were letting people off.


    We stopped for a couple photos in front of the ship.

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    The kids aren’t unhappy in this one, the sun was just really bright!

    And then a couple just of the beautiful Disney Wonder.

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    After the photos, we headed over to the tram stop and waited less than 5 minutes for a tram. I knew Luke would want to be close to Pelican Plunge, so we got off at the Pelican Point stop and had no trouble selecting a group of several chairs together. (We picked four loungers since the kids wouldn’t be using them anyway.)

    Our day was just getting started, but I’m out of photo space, so you’ll have to wait until the next post to hear more about our Castaway Cay day!
     

    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 5 - Castaway Cay (continued)

    So we set up camp near Pelican Plunge. Here’s a photo I took from our chairs that shows our location. (You can see Pelican Plunge there behind the trees.)

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    This wound up being a really great location! There weren’t many chairs over here since it was off to the side so it felt very secluded. And it got a lot of shade throughout the day.

    After dropping off our stuff, the first thing Luke wanted to do was check out Pelican Plunge (as expected 🤣).

    Having read that the water was deep, we got him a life jacket. They have several stations of them all over the island. So I swam over to Pelican Plunge with him to check out the slides.

    I couldn’t help but use the vantage point to take take some photos.

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    Pelican Plunge as viewed from the slides

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    The rock barrier behind Pelican Plunge

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    The beautiful Disney Wonder as viewed from Pelican Plunge

    After taking a few rides on both of the slides, we spent some time just relaxing on our loungers, playing in the sand, and wading in the shallow swimming area next to Pelican Plunge.

    (continued in next post)
     
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    DisneyParkLover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 30, 2013
    Day 5 - Even More Castaway Cay

    After a couple hours of sliding and lounging, we had worked up an appetite. My parents wanted to check out the adult beach and I had read that the buffet there had steak while the other two did not. So they headed for the tram while we headed to Cookies Too.

    I don’t have any food photos, sorry. The food was basic cookout grub, but it was good. My kids are easily won over by burgers, hotdogs, and unlimited ice cream, so they were pretty happy with this food. After the 3rd or 4th ice cream cone each 😂, we were happily stuffed and headed out.

    (My parents enjoyed the food as well, and they liked the addition of the steaks.)

    Since we were right by Spring-a-Leak, we decided to check it out. My kids love a good splash pad, so we spent awhile here splashing. We had it pretty much to ourselves the majority of the time we were here. I’m not sure people realize it’s over there.

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    Sorry for the blurry photos! These were taken through my phone’s waterproof case, which was pretty wet and sandy at this point.

    After the splash pad, we went to the other family beach and play area. I didn’t take any photos on this side, so here’s one from Disneycruiselineblog.

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    This play area had a couple rope bridges and some monkey bars. It was fun, but definitely not as exciting as Pelican Plunge. The kids were bored of it after about 10 minutes. 😂

    So we went back to our loungers and found my parents had made their way back too. I grabbed a couple drinks from the bar. I had a Mai Tai and a house strawberry daiquiri which were both delicious.

    Then we spent the next couple hours just sitting in the shallow area of the family beach. The kids searched for seashells and waded. It was really nice. Just some good, relaxing family time. ❤

    After a couple hours, we were pretty chilly and our all aboard time was starting to draw near. So we packed up our stuff and returned the life jackets and towels.

    The sun was at a better angle for photos, so I couldn’t resist taking more ship photos!

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    We checked out She Sells Seashells and I purchased a Castaway Cay pin before heading back to the ship.

    Such an amazing day at Castaway Cay, but we didn’t have much time to rest because we had a full evening of fun ahead of us!
     
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