Monday, March 30, 2015

Meal Time Monday - Crystal Palace

Looking for a character meal inside the Magic Kingdom absent princesses?  You will find it at the Crystal Place.  The Crystal Place is a character meal buffet located right off the hub of the Magic Kingdom.  

Inside you will find that you are celebrating Friendship Day.  

Friendship Day is celebrated by all the friends that inhabit the 100 Acre Woods.  The most notable is Pooh Bear himself.

The Characters rotate around to your table.  There is no standing in line to meet any of them.  You sit and eat and they will come to your table when it is your turn.   

Piglet visited.

Tigger hopped over.

Eeyore sadly made his way to our table.

This was my view out the window.  Proof that you are in the heart of the Magic Kingdom.

Special Pooh Shaped topiary.

Piglet is dressed for the holiday season.

On to the buffet  There is loads of options here.   I feel like their goal is to truly have something for everyone.

There is a kids area of most Disney buffets that include the standard mac and cheese as well as chicken nuggets.

Bread and rolls.

Salads and fruits.

Carving station with 2 choices of freshly carved meat.

A couple soups.

And of course deserts!  

Salad and fruit.

And a little of everything.

Crystal Palace is a meal that everyone can come away satisfied and full.  It is not fine dining, but it is a great location with good food, and a characters.  The Magic Kingdom does not have a ton of dining options which increases the value of this meal a little.  

The Crystal Palace is one table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.  

The Crystal Palace is located inside the Magic Kingdom and valid park entry is required.

For a complete look at the menu look here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Trip Report 2013 - #10 - Disney Dream 3 Night Cruise Day 3 - CastawayCay

Day three has arrived and we find our adventures in the port of Castaway Cay!

View zoomed in from Cabanas

Castaway Cay(pronounced Key) is Disney's private island in the Bahamas and it is the cleanest beach you will ever set foot on.  We love our days at Castaway Cay and were really looking forward to sharing it with the kids.    We started our day by getting to Cabanas nice and early and enjoying a Mickey waffle(or two).  This is a few from Cabanas zoomed in a bit.  As you can see we did not have great weather for our day.  

It is Samantha's 8th Birthday today so we had her wear her birthday button.  She was overly excited about this.  The year before her little brother and sister got to celebrate birthdays in the parks.  She was waiting for this for over a year.  We are "mean" parents and only let the kids wear birthday buttons on the actual day.  Lots of people wear their birthday buttons for their whole trip.  I feel like it is even more special when it is just on the day!

We were among the first to be off the ship. Yep, I even rope drop Castaway Cay.  There was a small crowd of people on the stairs heading to the gangway on deck 2.  As soon as you are off the ship they hand you towels and today as a special treat we got ponchos.  You can grab as many towels as you want but you do have to carry around what you take.  As far as I know this is the only place to get towels, so don't walk by thinking you will get them later.  We always like to walk rather then take the tram.  About half the people get on the tram.  If you are heading further in on the island the tram is good but we were heading to the snorkeling area and it is about the first thing you come to.  

If you need a stroller, wagon, or wheel chair they have beach friendly ones.  It is first come first serve so you may need to be there early.   

First official stop on Castaway is a photo spot with Mt. Rustmore.  You can see the Dream in the background.  Years ago you could see the whole ship. The vegetation has gown to block the view.

Jim with the kids.  He forgot to tell them it was a goofy picture.  

All the foot prints you see on the beach at this time are ours.  That is why you get up and off early.  The sand is sooooooo soft and Disney makes sure it is perfect for your day.

Getting geared up to snorkel.  We rented equipment from Disney.  You can bring your own but according to Doug I was already over packed.

Sam did not even make it in up to her waist.  Here Alden is refusing to listen to Doug on how to move in flippers.

Doug basically drug Alden about 100 yards out.  They finally started to see some fish and Alden got excited and tried to talk to Doug and swallowed half the ocean.  They promptly came back to shore.  Snorkeling is not our kids thing.  

Meanwhile the girls and I headed over to the Pelican Plunge area of the beach.  We got a good spot close to the water slides but not to close.

The water was warm even if the air was cool.  If you want a beach day with big waves then Castaway is not it.  They have breaks that stop the waves so you have nice calm water.

Pelican Plunge is the location of two water slides and some other features.  The open slide is slow the closed tube slide is super fast.  The kids did the slower one a few times.  They have to swim out to the platform to go on the slides.  There is no height limits but they have to be able to swim out there.  They have life jackets available  to wear.

Michelle took a picture of the navigator on the water proof camera before we got off the ship so she could keep track of character meet and greets on the island.  

Alden sharing his stories of adventure on the slides and just how brave he is. He may embellish a little but he is usually entertaining.   

Why not get sand in every crevice?  I am always amazed when you don't find sand allover the ship.  They keep the ship so clean and Ship Shape.(haha)

This is the entrance to the private cabana area.  You have to be staying in a concierge room or be a gold or platinum member of the Castaway Club to have a chance of booking one of these.  They are nice but pricey and we seem to be ok with just a couple of beach chairs.

It is lunch time.  The storm looked like it was heading in so we packed up and headed to eat at Cookies II   They have a buffet lunch in 3 different locations on the island.   We got our drinks and a table as they were opening up lunch.  We got the basic burger, hot dog, and some sides.  They also have ribs and chicken.  There is soft serve ice cream as well just like on the ship.  

About 10 min after we sat down to eat the rain came and people came flooding in to escape the storm. It only poured hard for about 20 min.  So we stayed out of the bad weather and all our stuff stayed dry.  

We were done with the beach so we went to check out the other things on the island. 

Clair played for a little bit in the splash park while Grandpa watched her.

They have a couple maps posted along the way in case you get lost.

A little beach soccer.

Some more shuffle board.

This is the In-Da-Shade area.  Alden attempted to shoot some hoops.

This is the main family beach area after the storm.  It cleared out lots of people.  This beach is closer to the ship so it fills up first.  We like to head down by the slides because there is less people and you are closer to the slides.  

We timed our heading back to the ship so we could catch a dance party.

Who doesn't like a dance party with Mickey and Minnie on the beach.

The kids outside the post office.  If you want to mail a post card from Castaway you can.  Ours took a couple months to make it to friends and family.

Along the path back to the ship we had lots of photo ops of the ship.


Sometimes when you are on the ship you forget just how huge it is.

Debbie, Mike, baby Lila, Greg, John, and Sandy got off the ship later.  In time for lunch.  Greg and John snorkeled some and I think they all did the slides.  They all had great things to say about the beach.

Once back on the ship we went to the pools and Nemo's Reef.

They were fairly empty.  It was windy up on that deck so we did not have much company.

All alone.  

Still alone.

The only annoying kids in the pool were my annoying kids.

Doug and Jim road the Aquaduck a few times with each kid.  

A couple people finally joined us!

When there are very few people ridding the Aquaduck it makes getting this picture easier.  

The view from our balcony after a full day of water and fun.

Back in our stateroom we found the worst thing the stateroom host could have possibly left, the disembarking information.  The customs form and special luggage tags for the customs area.  Our bags will be in the Daisy area of customs.

Once we were cleaned up from our day on the beach we hit the princess gathering.

Samantha got lots of attention from all the princesses because it was her birthday.

Snow White took lots of time with the girls since they were wearing her outfits!

Pretending to sleep.

Sam's bow kinda blends in with the Christmas decorations.

Tiana got the spot in front of the grand stair case today.

Ariel taught them how to curtsy properly.

Doug and Alden looked on from above.  Where else can you meet 5 princess in a row like this? Nowhere.  This is why we love our Disney Cruises.

To do something special on Samantha's birthday we set up a special hair and pixie dust thing in one of the shops.

They put her hair back with several special little hair clips and then dusted away.  I think we may find glitter on her head until she turns 10.

Clair got to have the special treatment as well.  

Tonight dinner is at the Royal Palace.  The Royal Palace is the most upscale of the Disney Dinning halls.  The waiters wear very formal attire. 

The kids menu is so cheaply made it did not even come with color. (haha)

The bread arrives in a neat little carriage. 

Clair showing off her sparkly face and make up.  

Doug and Alden got the escargot.  They ate it so fast that I didn't even get a picture of it.

Some tasty Prime Rib.

Happy Birthday was sang to Sam from the whole dining crew.

I got a strawberry shortcake off the kids menu.  Feel free to always order what you want and as much as you want.

After dinner we skipped the show.  Doug and I have seen it before and the kids really wanted to supper sloppy science in the Clubs.  They made flubber!  They really barely spent any time in the clubs.  While they were in the club I got our bags packed and in the hall with our special Daisy tags. 

About halfway though the science experiment we got a call on our wave phone letting us know Clair wanted picked up.  Clair did not want to do the flubber thing and was just playing on her own.  She found a friend to play with and when that kid got picked up she decided she wanted out as well.  This is her "resting" on the floor.

Soon the see ya real soon meet and greets started and Clair and I meet a few while Doug waited to get the other after Flubber.  

You will notice Clair is free of her wristband for the kids club.  When you check out the last time they take it from you.

Chip and Dale were up to their usual tricks.

Daisy and Clair by the elevators.

The sloppy science kids had now joined.  They got little bags for doing the experiment.  

Now Sam and Alden made the rounds.  Alden is still concerned about Donald's lack of pants. 

We were the last ones to meet Captain Mickey before the show started.

That worked out great because it left us right in front.  It is kind of a crazy sort of time waiting for the show to start because you really can save a spot for the show because it is where all the lines are for the characters.  

After words they shoot off confetti Mickey Heads.  Alden joined the clean up crew.    Now it is off to bed.  We were totally exhausted.