I Did The Unthinkable: I Went on a Disney Cruise WITHOUT My Kid!

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The Disney Dream at it’s home port in Port Canaveral, FL.

That’s right, folks.  The cruise line catering specifically to families.  The cruise line so dedicated to family travel they engineered the boats to be more family friendly (tubs in the bathrooms!)  Full disclosure: I absolutely intended to take my almost 4-year old son on this trip.  But as fate would have it, about 6 months prior to the cruise, we tried to spend one night with him in the same hotel room.  Whenever we’ve traveled with him previously, we always opted for a suite so that he could have his own sleeping space and we wouldn’t lose our minds.  But on this night, we opted to bunk together.  At 1:30 a.m. when our son was still bouncing off the walls, we very nearly got back out on the road after a long day of driving because we had no idea what else to do.  And right then and there, my son sealed his fate.

I booked this Disney cruise for two reasons: 1) I’d never been on one and I wanted to experience it for myself so that I could better inform my clients about Disney cruising.  2) My beloved hubby’s 40th birthday coincided brilliantly with a 3-night Bahamas cruise on the Dream and I thought that would be an ultra-nice way to celebrate.  So, my son stayed with his grandparents and Mama and Dada went cruising!

I posted this list on my Facebook travel page after we got back so I thought I would share that here and then elaborate on it a bit (the original list consisted of 10 bullet points that I have split into two blog posts).  These insights pertain to our time on the Disney Dream.  I am writing this with the assumption that you have at least a cursory knowledge of how Disney cruising works. I’m sorry that I can’t fully explain everything (you would be sending kids to college before I got done) but if you have specific questions about anything in this post, please feel free to comment below.

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Adults Only Pool Area

1.  Traveling without my child on a Disney Cruise was not weird at all. There were frequent exclamations of “Man, our kid would love this!” but otherwise we didn’t skip a beat. The Adults Only areas of the ship were quiet and relaxing.  On Deck 11 near the spa, there is a small area (seemed like maybe 1/3 of the entire deck area) that was separated from the main pools by a partition on both sides.  I was amazed at the lack of sound transfer as I don’t recall being disturbed by the main pool activities at all.  The loungers were comfortable, towels were plentiful, and bar staff were very accommodating.  There were families with children passing through the area so it wasn’t like it was a COMPLETELY kids free zone, but these families did not linger.

2.  The Adults Only dining at Palo was worth every penny of the extra $25 plus tip per person that we spent there. The food was amazing, the atmosphere was divine, and it was literally the best meal I’ve had in a long, long time.  Our server was friendly and attentive to our needs without hovering.  We received an appetizer plate, a soup or salad, an entree and a dessert.  I had a filet that you could cut with a fork.  There are plenty of reviews out there so I won’t go into specifics but I would highly recommend this experience, especially if you are celebrating something as we were. <It should be noted that both Palo and Remy recently instituted a price increase up to $30 and $85 per person>

3.  It is totally fine to skip a port if you’re not excited about it. I didn’t get off of the ship in Nassau and had a great time tooling around for the day. The shops are closed when the ship is in port though so don’t count on any shopping during that time.  I’ve been to Nassau before so I wasn’t compelled to visit and I really wanted to explore the ship. There are numerous activities available for all ages throughout the day. I participated in a Disney Trivia contest with a few other families (any guesses as to who won?), hung out in the spa, and just generally relaxed.

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Fruity Beverages are a must; there’s a different one featured each day!

4.  I enjoyed the early boarding time; we were able to secure our spa selections and change our dining rotation very early in the day.  We chose the earliest boarding time available-10:45 a.m.  I wanted to purchase Rainforest Passes in the Senses spa (you can only do so on board) and the early boarding time ensured that I got one as they only sell a small number of passes per sailing.  I also wanted to change our dining rotation as I noticed that we were assigned Animator’s Palette on the same night we had reservations at Palo.  Since I really wanted to experience Animator’s Palette, I went to the designated spot at the earliest available time to speak with one of the dining room managers about changing our rotation.  We were provided with a ticket with the new rotation printed on it and had to bring that with us at each dinner.  The only drawback to this process is that we did not have a designated table so we could not just walk in and sit down.  We had to wait each time for the manager to find us an open table. Not a deal breaker but it was mildly inconvenient.

5.  Rainforest Passes in the Senses Spa is a must do (I’ll do a separate, more detailed review on that in a later blog post).

That’s all for now, folks.  Part Two of this post will come to you in a couple of weeks.  Thanks for following along and if you have any questions or would like to talk to me about booking your own Disney Cruise (you can even take the kiddos; I won’t judge!), feel free to contact me at my Facebook page, Magical Vacations by Tracy or by email at tracy@magicalvacationsbyme.com.  You can also follow me on Instagram HERE.

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Mickey’s Crew Members can regularly be found in the main atrium!

Tracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent.  She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.

Take a Break at La Cava de Tequila

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It was just recently that I had my first experience visiting La Cava de Tequila, a quaint little tequila bar inside of the Mexico pavilion at Epcot. And after visiting, I definitely had to wonder what had taken me so long! I now call this place a hidden gem of Walt Disney World and make sure that I mention it to all of my clients as a “must do” especially if the bar/lounge experience is of interest to them. Although the location is not exactly hidden, it is very easy to walk right past this bar when wandering through the Mexico pavilion and never even know that it was there. There is some great shopping inside, a boat ride with the Three Cabelleros, and a dimly lit intimate restaurant experience so it is hard to believe there could be more to do.

My drink of choice has always been the wonderful delicious amazing margarita. So it was only fitting that I needed to cross this off my Disney bucket list as soon as possible. And cross it off, I did! Not only did I manage to get there and try one of their delicious specialty margaritas, I got to try five different specialty margaritas! Slow down, before you stage an intervention, I did not drink all five and it wasn’t in one setting. My family and I were able to make it to La Cava twice during our trip (and got a seat both times). Each adult in my party made sure to order a different flavor both times so we could then in turn taste the different flavors.

So if are you wondering if a $14 margarita is any better than a margarita from Applebees for $5? The answer is an enormous …. HECK YES!!!!!
Ok so yes I agree, these margaritas are a tad overpriced so it certainly deters you from heavy alcohol consumption. And it’s difficult to justify it when you can get a frozen one outside for considerably less. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed every single one that we tried, and the atmosphere just could not be beat. If you can get a table, order some queso or chips and salsa and take a break from the crowds and the heat, it can be a really great memory on your already memory-filled magical vacation. Now that I am in on the secret, I will be returning on each and every trip. I liked it that much.So if you are looking for suggestions and an idea of their offerings, here are the drinks that we tried and my ranking from 1 to 5 in terms of my favorites (1 being my favorite, 5 being my least favorite).

1. Blood Orange – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart mix of blood orange juice and hibiscus syrup, topped with wild berry foam served on the rocks with hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

2. Wild Passion Fruit – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, passion fruit, mango nectar and fresh lime juice, topped with mango foam, served on the rocks with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

3. Cucumber – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, caramelized pineapple juice, fresh basil, cucumber and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim

4. Pineapple – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, caramelized pineapple nectar, fresh lime juice and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim

5. Avocado – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar and fresh lime juice, served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

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Cucumber Margarita pictured

The Blood Orange was hands down my favorite and just delicious. The addition of the wildberry/mango foam gave it such a unique taste and the salt used on each drink really makes a difference as well. At first glance at the menu I wasn’t so sure about the salt, but it had a hot spice to it that really gave a nice kick to the flavors. I contemplated asking for regular salt because I honestly thought I would hate it. I loved it and could not get enough. Cucumber was middle of the road for me. It had more of a refreshing taste than the others and I think the oddness of the flavor choice makes it a must try. Pineapple and Avocado were last for me. Pineapple only because although delicious, I feel I have had drinks of similar taste before at other places and for the price it was not really worth it. Lastly Avocado due mainly to the fact that it was frozen and not on the rocks. I need my margaritas on the rocks! But again, how many places do you go and see an Avocado margarita on the menu? It almost makes it a must try!

La Cava de Tequila is a must do for all Walt Disney World fans, especially those who like to drink tequila. Margaritas are not even the half of it! The bar offers over 200 different tequilas, Mexican beer and wine, and you can even order a tequila flight if tequila tasting is your thing. I can’t be more thrilled that I finally got to experience it after years of traveling to the World. The snacks, drinks, and cozy atmosphere make it such a fun way to get away from the crowds and heat and have a little relaxation.
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Katy Maxwell – Travel Specialist
katy@magicalvacationsbyme.com
http://www.facebook.com/magicalvacationsbykaty

What Lucinda would do without her kids at Walt Disney World!

Bay Lake Tower, WDW monorail, Disney monorail, Epcot monorail

By Lucinda A.

I love my kids. I love going to Disney with my kids. But there are a few things that I would love to experience without my children.

If I had another chance to spend an entire day at WDW without my kids, I’d hang out on the Monorail resort line all day. I’d start out with breakfast at Kona Cafe, browse Wyland Gallery, stroll the grounds with my camera then lay claim to a hammock on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon with a nice fruity adult beverage in hand.
Grand Floridian, Grand Fkloridian Resort and Spa, Disney's Grand Floridian, Disney hotels, Disney resorts, Seven Seas Lagoon
Next, I’d take the Monorail over to the Grand Floridian for a little spa time at Senses. I want to try the Aromatherapy Massage Experience, a Rejuvenating Citrus Facial, and a Mani/Pedi combo. I’d stop in at Basin and pick up some of my favorite soaps to take home then jump on the Resort Launch to the Magic Kingdom.

All the personal time and pampering puts me in the perfect frame of mind for some shopping on Main Street USA. I really do “need” a new tiara from Arribas Brothers and a mid-size Dooney & Bourke. I think I should pick up a couple souvenir shirts while I’m at it. And to help me deal with the guilt I’ll surely be feeling, I’d buy a few things to take home to the kids. Before leaving the park, I’ll grab a hot dog from Casey’s and take a ride through the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Maybe they’ll let me stay on for a second pass.

100 Contemp fb pinI’ll walk over to the Contemporary Resort for the next part of my journey. I’m planning to have a nice dinner at The Wave. I’m not really sure if I’m having the grilled fish or the curry vegetable stew. I guess I’ll decide when I get there. After dinner, I’ll probably be pretty tired, so I’ll hop back on the Monorail and return to the Poly where I’ll settle in on the beach for one last cocktail while I watch Wishes.

Ok…to summarize….the one thing I would do at Disney without my kids…is spend an entire day on the Monorail Resort line.

LucindaMomsKidsChipDaleLucinda is a work-at-home mother of five, with a strong passion for family, photography and Disney. She incorporates her loves into her Disney fan blog, Without a Care in the World  and enjoys meeting other Disney bloggers through it. She and her family are currently planning to relocate to Central Florida and as you can imagine, they’re all very excited to be residing near the Mouse and his World in the near future.

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