Now that I’ve documented the surprise and reveal to Alex, I can finally share all of the exciting details of our trip and use this blog to plan and impart some of my Disney wisdom and top tips! If you’re interested in more Disney content then follow my new Instagram (minimsandmagicxo) dedicated to all things Disney so I can post to my hearts content without clogging up my personal/generic blogging account (meg_trinder).
I did mention this is a previous blog, but just a brief overview of Disney and I. I have been visiting Walt Disney World for my whole life with my first trip being at the tender age of 2 years old! My grandparents are Disney Vacation Club members which means that they purchased some time share many moons ago for the first ever Vacation Club property – Old Key West – which is our family resort. However, as Disney has expanded and evolved you can now use your timeshare for anything Disney related, including Disney Cruise Line and any Disney property as the whole thing uses a points system where you get some many points a year etc. It’s all really complicated to explain but basically that’s why I have been lucky enough to go so often and this upcoming trip will be my 10th visit! I’m thinking I might do a post all about my history with Walt Disney World so leave a comment if this is something you’d be interested in!
Now onto our upcoming trip! Like I said in my last post, I won’t be sharing any specific information about pricing purely because this trip was a gift to Alex and I think it’s nice to leave cost out of it when presents are concerned. However, I will say that I got an (I cannot stress this enough) amazingggg deal for this trip and didn’t have to use any of my grandparents timeshare points for it! I basically waited and constantly checked Disney’s website to see what offers were available until I came across something called a ‘land and sea’ package which is a combination holiday of a stay at Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise in one trip.
The deal they had advertised was for a 7 night stat in WDW at Coronado Springs and a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise and the price was ridiculously low (baring in mind I had previously looked at just a 7 night cruise for 2 people which was in the double figures and this wasn’t even a quarter of that). I ended up ringing Disney direct which is something I would always recommend when booking a Disney holiday as they are so helpful and can often throw some extra pixie dust or deals your way. I wanted to know if there was any lee way or variation on the deal advertised as I knew after 5 years since our last trip that we would need longer than 7 days in the parks.
As if by magic, the lovely gentleman named Sebastian reeled off a deal that had me lost for words. I think the first thing I asked him was “are you sure that’s right” and he replied with “yes ma’am.” He then informed me of something I had missed on the website which was a further 10% off when you book a Disney cruise and stay which was what this package was and thus our 14 night stay in Walt Disney World followed by a 5 day/4 night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas was born!
Who is going?
I don’t think there is a world in which I could book a Florida holiday and my grandparents not tag along and I wouldn’t have it any other way! They asked me if it would be okay if they came along and I was thrilled, it’ll be so nice to spend some quality time with them and Alex. They were really clear that it would be our holiday and we could do as we pleased and they would join in here and there as they like to be a bit more chilled than Alex and I who will be running around like excited kids! All of our rooms and staterooms were booked as two parties of two so we have the perfect balance of inclusion and privacy – I just wish my mum was coming along too as this will be my first time in Florida without her.
When are we going?
We fly out to Orlando International Airport on Monday 31st August 2020 and return to London Gatwick on the 18th September 2020 meaning our holiday is just under three weeks long! We will also be heading up to London Gatwick the night before as we always do and staying in the Hilton, London Gatwick hotel which is attached to the terminal. This means that we haven’t got that mad rush in the morning and our holiday can begin a day early! We will then be getting Disney’s Magical Express for the first time to get to our resort (the below photograph belongs to Disney and can be found on the Walt Disney World website).
Where are we staying?
During our time in Walt Disney World, we will be staying at Port Orleans Riverside Resort which will be a first time for us all. My grandparents have stayed in various resorts over the years, but Alex and I have only ever stayed at Old Key West Resort so this will be a different and exciting experience! We have a garden view room for each couple which includes two queen sized beds, a bathroom, a table and chairs, a flat screen TV, fridge, coffee machine and basically everything you need for your stay. I don’t own the below pictures as they belong to Disney and can be found on the Walt Disney World website.
Port Orleans Riverside is what is called a ‘moderate’ resort where as Old Key West is a ‘deluxe villa’ but everything I have read about PO suggests it is up there with Deluxe resorts and is only separated by its lower price. I have read tonnes of comments about the quality of theming which is based on Port Orleans and the Princess and the Frog films. Regardless, it doesn’t matter to us where we stay as every part of Disney is magical and amazing.
So aside from our stay at a WDW Resort and Cruise (which I’ll get onto later), included in our holiday is the following;
Upgraded Disney Dining Plan – this entitles us to 1 quick service meal, 1 table service (sit down meal) and 2 snacks per person, per night of our stay along with an unlimited refill resort mug. This means we don’t have to worry about buying food when we are there and we can book our table service meals for anywhere on Disney property 180 days before we fly. This can include character dining, 5*/signature restaurants, themed dining you name it! We had the dining plan in 2013 and it was honestly incredible and I can’t wait to get some new dining experiences this time (and yes it is a ridiculous amount of food). We particularly love meeting characters so comment below your favourite character dining experiences!
14 Unlimited Park Tickets – this means we have unlimited access and park hopping between all 4 theme parks and 2 water parks in Walt Disney World alongside Disney Springs and Disney’s Boardwalk for the duration of our stay.
FastPass+ this means we can book our FastPasses (basically book to skip the queue on 3 rides per day) up to 60 days in advance.
Memory Maker – this means that any photographs we have taken by Disney photographers (that are literally everywhere around the parks) we automatically get for free, including the novelty ones from rides.
$100 Disney Gift Card – they threw in a gift card for us to spend on anything we like across the trip at WDW and on Disney Cruise Line.
Where are we going on the cruise?
From the 14th September – 18th September we will be on a ‘Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise’ on-board the Disney Dream Cruise Ship! We will get our luggage taken from us at Port Orleans Riverside on the evening of the 13th September and it will magically appear in our stateroom onboard the ship. The below photos belong to Disney and can be found on the Disney Cruise Line website.
I have only ever done one Disney Cruise before which was on the same ship but probably about 10 years ago now so I am basically a newbie too. The Disney Dream is one of 4 Disney Cruise Line Ship and is joint largest alongside the Disney Fantasy.
Our itinerary for the cruise is as follows;
- Embark at Port Canaveral, Florida
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay (exclusively for DCL guests)
- Day at Sea
- Disembark at Port Canaveral, Florida
I am so excited for Alex to experience the luxury and first class service you experience on Disney Cruise Line. I’m also thrilled to be back at Castaway Cay! How many people can say they have been to Disney’s Private Island which is exclusive to DCL guests?
Where are you staying onboard?
Each couple will be staying in their own category 5D ‘Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah.’ This was only about £60 more expensive than the standard Oceanview option so I thought why not! This will make a nice change from the last cruise (non Disney) Alex and I took around Europe where we had an inside cabin and no windows!
We are mid ship on Deck 6 – 6070 and 6072 and our room will include a split bathroom (one shower and bathroom alongside a separate toilet and wash room), a queen sized bed, a sofa, TV, all the amenities we need and an outdoor balcony. The following pictures belong to Disney and can be found on the DCL website.
What’s included on the cruise?
I will write a separate blog post going into more detail as I am aware that this blog is getting pretty long (well done if you’ve stuck with me). An overview of what is included;
- Full board rotational dining in the three main dining rooms
- Unlimited access to buffets, quick service food, snacks, ice cream, soft drinks, coffee and tea.
- 24 hour complimentary room service.
- Broadway calibre shows at the Walt Disney Theatre – Disney’s Believe, The Golden Mickeys and the reimagined Beauty and the Beast
- Fireworks at Sea (the only cruise line to do this in the world)
- Deck Parties
- Themed Nights (pirate night and halloween)
- Character meeting and unique character opportunities
- All of the entertainment
- So much more than I am able to list
There you have it! A (pretty lengthy) whistle stop tour of our upcoming trip! I am so excited to document all the planning an excitement of this as we count down the days until September.