January 29, 2006
Our cruise group included five people (two adults, three kids) in two inside cabins on the Disney Wonder. We sailed from Port Canaveral on January 29 for a four-night cruise.
Sunday morning, we called for a taxi to the port. We ended up having a private shuttle (Art's Shuttle) come and get us and our seven pieces of luggage plus five carry-on bags for $20 plus tip. I gave him a $12 tip since we had so much luggage.
The kids were watching Disney cartoons on TV in the waiting area - a very nice, comfortable waiting area. We were in Group 4, and were invited to board the ship around noon. We were very excited to walk through those giant Mickey ears!! We got on board and were directed to the Parrot Restaurant for lunch. We were not ready for lunch, so we decided to explore the ship. Wonderful - everything is very clean and well kept. My kids found the Quartermasters arcade, so we purchased a $30 game card and they played a few games (we bought another game card later, so we spent a total of $60 on game cards for three kids for this cruise). We got into our room at 1:30 p.m. The rooms are very nice and clean. The beds were very comfy, although my son slept on the sofa bed, and that was a little hard - but that was expected.
After swimming came the muster drill, and then a sail-away party that puts Carnival's to shame -characters dancing, and the staff all dancing on the deck with the kids. It was great, and everyone was involved and having fun. After the sail-away party, we went back to the room to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was wonderful. We had a PTTA rotation, so we started in the Parrot Cay Restaurant, then Tritons for two nights, then Animators Palate the last night. We purchased a wine package for $89 (it came to $105 with tip). This gave us a bottle of wine each night, and we were able to share with the other people at our table. I enjoyed all of the dining on board, but the food is definitely better on Carnival. The service on Disney, however, couldn't have been better. Our assistant waiter knew the children's names before she even came to the table to meet us. I don't know how she did that...but it was a nice touch. She impressed them immediately with that magic.
That night was formal night. I felt very overdressed in my cocktail dress and sequined shoes and bag. We had the 6 p.m. dinner seating, and it seemed like I was the only person dressed in formal attire. I even saw people wearing jeans and t-shirts. I guess the later seating dressed up more, but very few did so at the early seating. I saw a few ties, that's it - definitely different from Carnival. I don't like dressing up much, so I would have preferred to know this in advance. I could have just worn my casual dining attire and no one would have noticed.
After we left the Wonder, we surprised the kids with an extra three days at Disney World. The same shuttle service picked us up as promised and drove us to our hotel -- the New Orleans Riverside Resort. The scenery of this resort is wonderful, but the rooms are just OK - it had an outside entrance, and felt like a Holiday Inn at best. However the scenery surrounding the main dining area and gift shop, and the ferry boat ride to downtown Disney, were all worth it. We spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and napping. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom. (If you get the chance, go on the Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster at MGM; it is an awesome coaster.) We flew home Sunday.
Overall, this was a wonderful trip aboard a great ship. However, to do it all over again, I would go to Disney World first, then get on the ship and relax. We did it backwards. But it was still worth every penny spent.