Minnie Mouse Sighted in London, Ontario

Friends of mine were checking out the Masonville Mall in London, ON and came across a famous Disney personality:

How to Draw a Crowd 101

Apparently she was there with Mickey (not pictured) to help open a new Disney Store! This is good news for us as we live just over an hour away. Check out the news report here.

FUN FIND: How many Disney Store Cast Members can you see in the picture?

First Disney Cruise: Last Day – Evaluation

Just a footnote to Day Five: Because it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary, we were supposed to get a special anniversary dessert with our last dinner sitting, but we skipped it to enjoy more activities. We phoned and asked if we could have the desserts sent to our room so we could enjoy them later, but were told that they would only send them to the room during our rotation time. If we weren’t going to be in our stateroom during that time, then we couldn’t have the desserts at all. Happy anniversary to us!

Fortunately, we met one of the couples who sat at our table and they said they would get the desserts for us and we could swing by their cabin later and pick them up. Disney Cruisers are the best! The desserts looked like this, and were very tasty:

    

We had some more anniversary surprises, such as this nice one waiting for us when we first arrived in the room on Day One. It was from some good friends of ours:

We got sick before we could enjoy it, so have brought it home and are saving it for a special occasion. Disney also helped us commemorate the event by giving us a nice card and a bottle of wine on our anniversary day, and our Host left us this in our stateroom:

So onward with Day Six, or the last day of our vacation.

We woke up in the morning at 6:30 am and finished packing. By 8:30 am we were disembarking in Miami. This process went very well. Port of Miami has a very efficient customs service. We had hoped for a beautiful full day of sun and fun, but again, our little black rain cloud had found us! No blue sky for our last day of vacation.

Goodbye Disney Wonder!

We boarded our shuttle to the Hertz rental car facility and arrived just after 9 am, but due to a reservation mix up (not Hertz’s fault) we didn’t get on the road until almost noon! So most of our day in Miami was lost. Catching a break just isn’t our thing.

By now we are starving as we haven’t eaten all day, so we stopped at a Wendy’s and had some lunch. From there we hit a couple of Disney Stores and then drove to the house of Karen’s parents to repack and get a final night’s rest before flying home. The next day we drove to Orlando and boarded our JetBlue flight for Buffalo. We picked up our own car at the park and fly service and had lunch at Bob Evans. We hit two Malls on the way home and picked up some last Disney souvenirs, from a Hallmark store no less, and so ended the adventure.

F I N A L     E V A L U A T I O N

You might think that I would totally trash the Disney Cruise Line after such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad vacation. Make no mistake, we are planning to contact the DCL to complain and see if we can’t get some compensation. But in life one has to look at the pros and cons. So let’s do that now:

PROS

  1. Time away from our regular routine
  2. New experience, first time cruising aboard the beautiful Disney Wonder
  3. Met some really great people
  4. Enjoyed some excellent service from Crew Members
  5. Saw some amazing shows and performers
  6. Picked up some awesome souvenirs
  7. Were compensated slightly for the bad experience (thanks to Vacation Insurance)

CONS

  1. Got an onboard illness and were quarantined, losing almost 3 days of our cruise (out of 5)
  2. The food was substandard, an almost non-existent buffet, and few gluten-free options
  3. Some truly unhelpful experiences with Customer Service
  4. Missed one port of call and got rained out at the other, bad weather over all
  5. Missed the Pirate deck party, fireworks, and Toy Story the Musical, and 2 movies

We would give the cruise as it turned out only a 4 out of 10, which is very low considering the amount a Disney cruise costs! But in fairness, Disney can’t control the weather and getting sick is just the chance you take. But being as the service was generally poor in response to our troubles, and the food was generally average, and there was almost a total lack of variety in gluten-free options, we can’t give a better mark. However, if everything had gone well we still would only give the Disney Wonder a 7 out of 10.

Cruising is not for everyone!

We arrived home to a DCL commercial on the TV with the tagline: “When it comes to pleasing everyone, the difference is Disney!” I don’t believe the ‘difference’ they are talking about is what we experienced!

We’ve all heard that if you’ve never cruised before, you should start with a 5-day excursion to see if it’s for you. We are definitely glad we did this! For us, a middle-aged couple with no children, there just wasn’t enough to do on board with the majority of the time being at sea. A Walt Disney World vacation with something happening every minute is more our speed, whereas a cruise is more about slowing down and relaxing. Maybe even coming to a complete stop at times! Families would definitely enjoy the experience more.

And in fairness, I doubt anyone would have as many problems as we did! But even if all had gone right, the value just isn’t there when you cost out the fun-to-dollar ratio. And one last time, I just have to mention how terribly disappointed we were in the food. The Beach Blanket Buffet was actually closed quite often, and after everyone telling us you could eat 24/7 on a Disney Cruise, I found this to be unacceptable! And as I saw many other guests throwing up their hands in frustration outside a closed eating location I know I’m not alone in this. The same DCL commercial mentioned earlier touted a ‘Royal Banquet’ enjoyed while cruising. We never found where this was served on our cruise!

Would we cruise again? NO! Should you? I think every Disney fan should keep it on their Disney Bucket List… but… don’t go into it with high expectations. It appears that the Disney Cruise Line may not always be able to live up to them.

I’ve always believed that good customer service isn’t always doing everything perfect up front, but more about how you fix a problem afterwards. Thanks to our having purchased Vacation Insurance, we were able to get a small financial refund and a DCL Embroidered Pillow for our troubles.

At first, Disney sent us a 10% discount coupon for our next Disney Cruise that had to be redeemed in a relatively short period of time. We turned that back over to them for the above item.

And that concludes our First Disney Cruise anniversary vacation. Do you think I’ve been fair in my evaluation? If you’ve cruised with Disney, how was your experience?

Thanksgiving

Kids Corner Preview

{Editor’s Note: My daughter Sophie joins us today with a preview of an idea that’s been bouncing around for a while — the Kids Corner.  Here’s her preview, I hope you enjoy! ~ Mike}

Kids-Corner

Hey Kids! I’m assuming you haven’t seen the “Kid’s Corner” yet. So here’s the scoop. My name is Sophie. My Dad, Mike, runs the blog. He’s also a travel agent, so if your ‘rents want to plan a WDW trip, he’s the guy to call. ;)

Thanksgiving

My big, happy, Disney Family!!!

As for me, you can probably tell that I’m a kid too. So if you have any questions about Disney for me, I can probably answer them. Questions like:

  • “How many times have you been to Disney?” I can answer that one off the top of my head. The answer is: I have gone to Disney 12 times, the tradition started in 2005.
  • “How many hidden Mickeys are in Walt Disney World?” That one may take some research… by the way, the answer is: over 1,000 (I Googled it).

But, yes. Ask me any Question, and when you get your answer, just call me “Miss Disney-know-it-all.” Just kidding, don’t call me that. That, you might say is “part one” of my Kids Corner intro. And it is! So check back later.

 

2014

2014 In Pictures!

2014

Happy New Year, everyone!  On this, the last day of 2014, I am taking a moment to share with you some of my favorite memories from the year — in picture format!  If you like looking at Disney photos like I do, this post is absolutely for you!  Have a peek, and thanks!  As always, a big thank you goes out to all of you for stopping by, for reading, for sharing, for commenting, and for choosing My Dreams of Disney as one of your places to go for your Disney fix.  Now, here is our Year In Review.  I hope you enjoy!  All of the images you see below are configured so that if you click on the picture, it will open the post that the picture is from.

Anna

January saw us looking fondly at loved ones that we had recently lost — in our case, Cindy’s Uncle Bob. Suddenly, the question “Do you want to build a snowman?” took on more meaning…


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In February, we had a post about our favorite Disney memories. In this case, we were looking at our favorite Disney memories from 2011!


In March, we started our 100 Days til Disney countdown – our look at 100 things we wanted to explore on our upcoming trip.


In April, I wrote one of my favorite Magical Blogorail posts — a comparison between New Orleans Square and Liberty Square, and which one I like best.


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In May, one of the things we counted down on was ways that we can celebrate Disney Magic.


Festival of the Lion King

In June, Sophie wrote a post about a special Circle of Life video that her band class did near the end of school. Have a look, and enjoy!


Disney Music Monday

In July, we started a short lived series called #DisneyMusicMonday, with a look at the incredible Julie Andrews and the music of Mary Poppins.


Robin Williams

In August, we, along with the rest of the world, mourned the loss of Robin Williams, who was the Genie in Aladdin.


MB-Green-Logo

In September, we wrote about the ways that Disney can help us deal with grief for the Magical Blogorail.


MB-Green-Logo

In October, we hit a bit of a blogging rut — the words just wouldn’t come out of the keyboard! Despite that, we wrote about education at Liberty Square for the Magical Blogorail.


Happy Birthday Mickey

In November, we celebrated the birthday of our favorite Mouse couple — Mickey & Minnie!


Walt-Disney

We started off December by remembering Walt Disney, who was born on December 5th, 1901.

Pirates

We continued the month by writing about 5 facts about the Pirates of the Caribbean that will impress your friends!

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Lastly, we wrote about how Pixar short films (and Disney ones, too) are the best thing since sliced bread!


I hope that our year in Pictures has brought enjoyment to you, and a good reflection on some of the things that we have done this year.  It has been a full year, full of joy, fun, laughter, exciting Disney memories, and wonder, but there has also been sadness.  My prayer for each and every one of you is that this year is better now than it was when the year started, and that your 2015 is full of happiness, joy, Peace, wonder, prosperity, and love.  Please be safe if you are traveling, and remember, if you enjoy some adult beverages, please do not drink and drive.

King ‘Mickey’ Kong Climbs New York’s Times Square

I’m always trying to find unusual things to photograph and this fun picture presented itself while I was visiting the Disney Store in Times Square, New York:

I wonder how many litres are in that Corona Light?

I wanted a shot that would show both Times Square and represent the reason for my visit which was, of course, the Disney Store. So this shot of a huge Mickey Mouse seemingly climbing the side of a building like King Kong was ideal.

Fortunately, I’m the only one who shot him!