WOW! I'm fresh off the Disney Wonder for the 2019 West Bound Panama Canal Cruise and I'm here to tell you, it was EPIC! There is so much to share it's hard to know where to start so let me just highlight a few things for you.
There is nothing better than stepping foot on a Disney Cruise and being welcomed aboard and walking through the cast members who are cheering for you while hearing your name. But this time I noticed something a little different. I was greeted over and over with "Welcome Home"
I left "home" so far away, a place of comfort, a place with all my favorite "things" including my boys and darling daughter in law that were left behind. It was strange to be welcomed "home" when I had never stepped foot on this ship before but let me tell you, it was almost instantly, the feelings of home.
One of my first moments with a Disney Cast Member after walking on board was being served a glass of Mint Lemonade. He welcomed me "home" and handed me a chilled glass. I knew well enough to know that whatever it was, it was going to be good and I eagerly took a sip which quickly turned to a gulp.
Funny enough, this Disney Cast Members job that day was serving every guest as they walked on board, so later as I was walking through the atrium I stopped to tell him "Thank You" and tell him how much I enjoyed the drink. He was gracious and politely said in his thick accent "Ma'am, I didn't make the drink, but you are welcome" . I left him with a smile and went on my way.
The day is exciting as you explore the ship, grab a bite to eat and finally make your way to your stateroom. Of course you know basically what your room will look like, but it's super important to 'check it out'. It's also a time to meet your Stateroom Host. This is the cast member who cleans up after you over and over. Typically their work is done while you are gone and you have no idea how much they do. Do you know they even scrub the door jam with a bleach solution? Well they do, and so much more! Luis was our Stateroom Host and he worked so hard to please us. HE was amazing and even loaded me up with some H20 products which of course is amazing!
The day isn't over, in fact it's just beginning. Everyone must attend a Muster Drill which is the safety Drill where they teach you what to do should there be any problem where you need your life jackets and where to come to get on a life boat. Our station happened to be in the heat of the Florida Sun on deck 4 were we stood for 30 mins before we were able to start the drill. (Listen people, don't be late to the Muster Drill, it can' start until EVERYONE is accounted for) It was HOT! Our Cast Members did their best to keep it lively while still teaching us about the necessary safety. But once the Drill is over, the best is yet to come.
It's time for the Sail a way Party! YES! It is a total party with all the characters too. It a dance party and you are introduced to so many faces that will become part of your world during the voyage. It's super fun. The party of course ends with the ship shoving off and you are sailing away. This is when it all hits, your vacation is truly starting. You are truly Home, at least for the next 14 nights. Honestly, I love the feeling noticing you are moving, even though it's so slow. It's a magical moment where you just wonder what will unfold in the days to come.
Shortly after Sail away was time for 1st seating of dinner rotation. We started in Animators Palate, my favorite restaurant by far. When you arrive at the restaurant all the servers are lined up ready to escort you to your table. You are assigned a table with table mates and you will sit with them every night. You also keep your same servers throughout the cruise, even though you will rotate through each dinning room, so it' a BIG DEAL to meet them and begin your friendship.
I sat down at our table and quickly our server and assistant server came to greet us. Within moments our server says "Ma'am, it's you! You really liked the Mint Lemonade!" I'm often grateful that I tend to be overly polite because I just never know when I'm going to cross paths with someone and in this case, it could have been awkward! haha.. Fortunately he remembered me as the one person who came back to Thank him as so many others took the drink and kept walking. Zelton was a fun server and took such great care of us throughout the cruise. His Assistant Server Kleber from Brazil was a riot. He cracked me up with his teasing and jokes.
Over the two weeks you really get to know your servers, about their families and why they work for Disney. It's really fun to connect with them and build a relationship. These servers don't just serve you at dinner, you often see them during the day at Cabanas the buffet or on deck. Each time they will stop, ask about your day and take a moment to get you anything.
Depending on if you have early seating for dinner or late seating will determine if you go to the show before or after dinner. In our case, we would attend the show after dinner. Disney does it best with truly amazing nightly entertainment for the entire family but it doesn't end there. After the main show for the family, the adult clubs are lined up with talent. We love Disney's Adult Clubs all shows I would rate PG-13. Just good clean adult fun and let me tell you, the entertainment was top notch and often the clubs were filled to overflowing because of it.
With Dinner and shows behind us, you would think it's time for bed. It's about 11:00 - 11:30 and there is still more going on in the Piano Lounge or at the Pub. We often enjoyed a quick stroll on deck for one last Ice Cream cone..haha... true kids at heart.
Each night we would arrive back to our room to find a clever towel animal and chocolates. Our beds were turned down, lights dimmed and it was perfect to relax. The TV channels ran shows and entertainment of the day, of anything we might have missed which was super cool, although we didn't have time for much TV, on occasion is was nice though.
The Adventure is yet ahead with so many new experiences I can't hardly wait. Tomorrow is our 1st full day, a day spent at Disney's Private Island, Castaway Cay. We are getting up early for the 5k. Wish us luck!