Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 in Review

2020 has been a weird year.  The COVID-19 pandemic caused Disney and pretty much every other cruise line to cancel all of their cruises since March.  In normal years, severe weather like a hurricane is the only reason to cancel a cruise, so that first announcement of cancelations was a huge surprise for me.  So much happened this year, and to me, it felt like it went by really fast.  To end the year, I'm going to go over everything I posted about this year.

In January, I woke up from my four month blogging hibernation.  In 2019, I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to contribute to the 2020 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line, and my first post of the year announced that I was featured in that book.

My second post of January was an announcement of my upcoming cruise on the Fantasy.  After that post, I went on the Fantasy and I had an amazing trip.

After that cruise, at the beginning of February, I wrote about the maritime signal flags on the Fantasy, on Castaway Cay, and one in Cozumel.  I really enjoyed hunting for them and seeing their hidden messages.  In that post,  I said that I missed a few flags on Castaway Cay, and I said I'd get them next time.  Little did I know that there wouldn't be a next time, at least not next January.  My family still hasn't decided what cruise to use our 125% credit on.

After that post, I wrote about my time on the Fantasy the previous month.  It was a great cruise, even though we could only stop at half of our planned destinations.  The extra time on the ship gave me time to take over a thousand photos, and going through all of them took a while.  In the future, I probably won't be doing any massive posts about cruises.  Instead, I'll break them up into sections that are more manageable.

Later in February, I wrote about my experiment with the Midship Detective Agency.  In that post, I tested my Midship Detective Agency badge from an unfinished game on the Dream to see if my game progress was saved.  I also closely examined the Midship Detective Agency Headquarters and found some cool details.

After that, I wrote about Quacks, the confusing poolside store.  It's not on the Dream or Fantasy anymore, and it might have been removed from the Magic and Wonder in their minor dry dock renovations in France earlier this year.

I also wrote about the Vista Gallery on the Fantasy.  It was moved from Deck 4 to Deck 2 to make room for the new Tiffany & Co. store.  The new location isn't bad, it just doesn't feel as special.  As I said in that post, "it's more of a Vista Hallway now."

My first post of March was about Star Wars Day at Sea 2020, the day when I went to a show that explained the basics of Star Wars two times.  It wasn't a waste of my time, no way.

On March 14th, Disney canceled all of their cruises through the month of March.  At the time, I didn't think the suspension would be extended very far past March, maybe until the end of April at the most.  Now I'm thinking the suspension will go until the end of April 2021.  Later that day, Disney extended the suspension!

My next post after that was about White Caps, a store that used to sell essential vacation items like sunscreen, but now sells expensive goods like jewelry.  Well, it sold expensive goods before March.  Since March, business at White Caps has been pretty slow.

Later in March, we learned that the Wish's construction had started!  Not everything that happened in March was bad.

My penultimate post of March was about the Wonder and its Alaskan cruises in the summer of this year.  It turns out that I had nothing to worry about, since there were no cruises in the summer.

My final post of March was the announcement that all Disney cruises were canceled until April 28th.  Cruises on the Wonder were canceled until the beginning of July.

April started with some unfortunate news, some of the crew on the Wonder got COVID-19.  That was probably a result of the Wonder's most recent cruise, a 14-night Westbound Panama Canal cruise.

The next suspension extension canceled cruises until May 17th.  This is when I started to realize that the world wouldn't just go back to normal quickly, and I knew even more cruises would get canceled.

The following group of cancelations was only for the Magic, canceling cruises on the Magic until June 7th.

My next post was a bunch of random facts I've learned about Disney Cruise Line throughout the years.  Do you know who the room 5148 1/2 belongs to?  Which ship has a piano bar that's made to look like an actual piano?

After that, I wrote about something I wanted on the Wish, a more reliable DCL Navigator App.  Maybe during the suspension, Disney has improved the Wi-Fi connection on their ships so it reaches everywhere on the ship, not just some places.  If not, I just hope they make it work better on the Wish.

April ended with a really long cancelation announcement.  All cruises on the Dream and Fantasy were canceled until June 18th and all cruises on the Magic were canceled until July 2nd.  Cruises on the Wonder were still canceled until July because of the Canadian government's restrictions.

I started off May writing about the Wish again.  This time, I wanted it to have an improved pool deck.  In this post, I said that I preferred the way that the Dream and Fantasy have the poolside quick service restaurants laid out compared to the Magic and Wonder, but after writing a later post, I changed my mind about this.

On May 6th, the Magic, Dream, and Fantasy were together in Port Canaveral.  If you thought this was cool, wait until you see them in France!

In my next post, I tried to figure out why the Magic was heading to Europe.  The Magic was the first of the ships to go to Europe during the suspension, and eventually the other three ships went to Europe as well.

The next suspension extension canceled cruises until July 27th.  This announcement meant that most of the summer cruises were canceled.

After that, I learned that Disney removes their cruises from their website before making a cancelation announcement.  I found out that the Magic wouldn't be doing any European cruises and the Wonder wouldn't be doing any Alaskan cruises in 2020 before there was an official announcement.

Later in May, I found some cool 360° photos of various areas around the DCL ships.  Some of the photos even let you move around a limited area, which was nice.

At the end of May, I put my favorite DCL photos together into one post.  My favorite was the one of the person walking through the AquaDuck at 7:26 in the morning.

June started with the cancelation of all cruises on the Wonder until September 14th.  I had already known this was going to happen, since the cruises were previously removed from DCL's website.

I noticed that while the Dream and Fantasy were docked in Port Canaveral, neither of them were docked at the DCL terminal.  This was probably because the renovations to the terminal had started.

Soon after that, Disney finally made the official announcement canceling cruises on the Magic until October 2nd.  It's funny, I didn't think these cancelations would be extended.

The next thing I wished for on the Wish was a larger variety of cruises in the Bahamas.  I'm sure Lighthouse Point will add some variety to the Bahamian cruises, when it is completed and ready for guests in 2022 or 2023.

On June 19th, Disney canceled all cruises on the Dream and Fantasy until September 15th.  This announcement didn't affect the Magic or Wonder, since cruises on those ships were canceled until October 2nd and September 14th, respectively.

Later in June, I looked really closely at a drawing of Lighthouse Point and thought about what it will be like.  I think Disney will announce more about Lighthouse Point in 2021 along with more Wish information.  Maybe we'll get a land plan, like a deck plan but for an island.  Wait, no, that's just a map.

I finished June detailing Disney's Cruise Date Flexibility Policy.  This policy is really consumer-friendly, and as the name suggests, flexible.  It lets people book a cruise and reschedule it up to fifteen days before that cruise with no penalties or fees.

My first post of July was a tutorial on how to leave a comment.  Nothing has changed about the commenting process, so it's still useful today.

After that, I took a look at the reopening practices and restrictions at Disney World and applied those to the DCL ships.  I'd prefer if there weren't any restrictions when cruises resume, but I know there will be some in an effort to make sure everyone stays safe.

Disney did another one of those remove-the-cruises-from-the-website-before-there-is-an-official-announcement things in July, this time with the remaining cruises in September.  Wouldn't it make more sense if they removed the cruises at the same time as they made the announcement?  It would be less confusing.

Next, I took a look at some of the potential restrictions on the dining options on the DCL ships.  One of my favorite activities to do on a cruise is to get an ice cream cone from Eye Scream before going down to my room or to dinner and eating it in the elevator.  It doesn't ruin my appetite.  Anyway, there will probably be designated eating areas on the ships when cruises resume, so I wouldn't be able to have an elevator snack.

On July 20th, Disney made the official announcement that all cruises on the Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy are canceled until the end of September.  The Magic wasn't affected by this, since Magic cruises were canceled until October 2nd in an earlier announcement.

At the end of July, Disney announced cruise itineraries for fall 2021, and I took a look through them.  When I first looked at these, I didn't think I would be going on any of them, but my family is looking through them and trying to decide on one, since our cruise in January 2021 got canceled.

During the first weekend of August, I watched Tangled:  The Musical at home with my family.  Disney posted it to the Disney Parks YouTube Channel to allow anyone with an internet connection to watch it.  It wasn't as good as it would've been if I was in the Walt Disney Theatre, but it was great, given the circumstances.

On August 6th, Disney canceled all cruises until Halloween.  I wasn't too scared by this announcement, I had a feeling that cruises weren't going to resume by October.

In my next post, I considered the potential restrictions that may be in place at the youth clubs when cruises resume.  There's so much to take into account when planning the reopening process, and I'm glad I'm not in charge of making the plan.

Later in August, my family and I went to a beach in North Carolina.  At our rental house, there were maritime signal flags on the wall of one of the bathrooms.  Of course, I figured out what they said.

My next post was about a video of someone riding the AquaDuck on the Disney Parks YouTube Channel.  Disney tried to make me think it was a video of the Fantasy's AquaDuck, but it was actually the Dream's.

Writing my next post, about the different classes of poolside quick service restaurants, made me realize that I prefer the poolside restaurants on the Magic and the Wonder over those on the Dream and the Fantasy.

At the beginning of September, the Wish was still scheduled to begin cruising at the start of 2022.  That was good news, since I was worried that it had been delayed due to COVID-19.

After making the post about the poolside restaurants in August, I decided to design my own version of the Wish's pool deck, complete with a deck plan.  I doubt my version is completely accurate to what the Wish's pool deck will look like, but I hope I'm right about some things.

Later that month, Disney delayed the Wish.  It was scheduled to start cruises in January 2022, but this announcement didn't give a definitive time of when it will be rescheduled.  

After that, I attempted to solve the mystery of why Disney unlisted the video announcement of the Wish's name.  We still don't know why it was unlisted...

On September 15th, Disney canceled cruises until December 6th at the earliest.  The four ships were scheduled to resume cruises at various times in December, but that didn't happen.

My next post was about Wave Phones, everyone's favorite outdated technology on the Disney ships.  I'm predicting that they'll be replaced by an upgraded DCL Navigator App when the Wish starts cruising.

The post after that was special, it was my 100th post!  To celebrate the occasion, I wrote about the updated cruise payment and cancelation policy.  Like the Cruise Date Flexibility Policy, this is more relaxed than the normal DCL policy as a result of the strange year 2020 has been.

At the end of September, I found a petition that was intended to stop Disney from building on Lighthouse Point.  At the time of writing, it had around 319,000 signatures, but now, it has around 440,000 signatures.  As I said in the post, I don't think this petition will work, since Disney already has everything planned out at Lighthouse Point.

I started October thinking about what Disney will name the sixth and seventh ships.  I hope the Disney Seagull never happens.

October was when I started to think that my cruise in January 2021 was going to get canceled, and having almost no activities listed on the DCL Navigator App made this seem even more likely.

On October 14th, all four of the Disney ships were together for the first time!  This may never happen again, and it's a shame Disney didn't do anything to mark the occasion.

The next day, Disney announced that the Wish will start cruises in summer 2022.  This could mean as early as June or as late as September.

Next, I looked through the early 2022 DCL itineraries.  I was hoping this announcement would include the Wish, but since it got delayed, it doesn't.  Still, there are some pretty cool itineraries.

It was unfortunate Disney didn't do anything with the four ships together in France, but that doesn't mean other people didn't do anything special!

I started November questioning why part of the Dream was gray.  We also got to see another video of the four ships together in France, which was great.

I watched a video updating the Wish's construction, but I went overboard with speculating.  If you go back and read that post, be sure to read what me from the future said about me from the past.

Later in November, I found an old Arr-Cade card.  It's pretty much useless now, but it's a relic from DCL's ancient past (any time before 2017).  

In November, Disney delayed the sixth and seventh ships.  The sixth ship will now start cruising in 2024, and the seventh will start cruising in 2025.  In 2025, the Magic will be 27 years old.  I'm guessing it'll still look new.

After that, I wrote about the Dream's Disney Infinity room and how it will be replaced in the future.  It might have gotten replaced already, we just don't know.

Disney's next announcement canceled cruises until the end of January 2021.  This announcement meant that the cruise that my family and I were planning to go on was canceled.  We weren't too sad about it, since we knew it would either get canceled or be heavily restricted.

At the end of November, the Wonder came back to the US, and the others followed it.  The Magic is the only DCL ship still in Europe.

After that exciting update, I looked around the DCL website and found a hint that might mean the Wish's deck plans are coming soon.  

Next, Disney canceled cruises until the end of February 2021.  This is the latest general cancelation announcement, but I'm thinking it will be extended.

A few days later, I realized my mistake when I went overboard with speculating.  The big ship section I saw wasn't part of the Wish, it was actually the AIDAcosma.

The latest minor cancelation announcement came earlier this month.  Disney canceled three cruises that were longer than seven nights to comply with the CDC's Conditional Sail Order.  The Magic is still doing some cruises longer than seven nights in Europe in 2021, but this is fine, since the United States' CDC can't control what happens in Europe.

My biggest post of December was about the Disney Dream in Disney Infinity.  In this post, I explored all of the Disney Cruise Line content in the Disney Infinity game, unlocked with an Oceaneer Band.

After that, I looked through the updated Disney Cruise Line website.  Disney made some changes that are really helpful and convenient.  They also made their website prettier.

To celebrate Christmas, I got the entire Disney Cruise Line fleet together on my family's Christmas tree.  It wasn't quite as impressive as the real thing, but they looked great together.

To go along with that announcement, a website for the Wish was launched.  It doesn't reveal anything new, but it will be where new Wish information is first announced!

My last post of the year is this one, and you're already on it, so I won't link it.  I'm surprised that I managed to write 80 posts this year.  There was a lot of Disney Cruise Line news this year, and I'm expecting 2021 to have just as much or even more news than this year.  In 2021 we'll be able to say that there's a new DCL ship coming next year!

2020 was a great year for my blog and I, and I'm thinking 2021 is going to be even better!  I hope you have a fantastic 2021, and as my teachers said, "See you next year!"

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Wish Has a Website Now!

Following the recent announcement of the Wish's Grand Hall Statue, a website dedicated to the Wish was launched.  As of now, the website doesn't have any new information about the Wish, but it will probably be where information about it is first announced.

Upon opening the website, visitors are greeted by the Cinderella statue announcement video and the phrase, "A Wish Come True".  Under that, the website reaffirms that the Wish will launch in summer 2022, and below that is a button where users can enter their email address associated with their Disney account to get email notifications about Wish news.  I've already signed up for the email notifications, and if you haven't already, I recommend you sign up for them if you're looking forward to the Wish.

Lower on the page is a quote about the Wish from Laura Cabo, a Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering.  She says, "Daring to dream even bigger, our Imagineers are creating a breathtaking new world of enchantment aboard the Disney Wish. Upon arrival, families will step into the Grand Hall, a veritable castle on the seas rising 3 decks in height and literally shimmering with regal details. Inspired by classic Disney fairytales, this space will serve as the majestic heart of the ship, welcoming and delighting all ages and setting the tone for a magical voyage ahead."  Unfortunately, she didn't go into details about the "breathtaking new world of enchantment", so we'll have to wait to find out more about it.  

That's everything from the Wish's new website!  As I said earlier, this website will probably be where new information about the ship gets announced, so it can't hurt to check it occasionally.  Having this website operational might mean that new information is coming sometime soon.  Maybe the deck plans will be announced soon.  The fifth box is still there.  I'm thinking that 2021 is going to be a big year for Disney Cruise Line news, and I'm excited to see what happens!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Wish's Grand Hall!

Yesterday, December 25th, a video about the Disney Wish was uploaded to the Disney Parks YouTube Channel.  This video revealed the character statue that will be in the atriu- sorry, Grand Hall of the Wish.  We already had one rendering of the Wish's Grand Hall, but this revealed much more than that did.
This image is the older rendering, released in 2019.
It's Cinderella!  According to the video's description, this is a rendering of the Wish's Grand Hall, the new name for the Lobby Atrium on the upcoming ships.  It looks pretty similar to the other rendering, but this one is more detailed and more realistic.

The Cinderella statue is much different from the atrium statues on the current ships.  This statue is on the floor!  On all of the other ships, the statues are on pedestals, like Minnie on the Fantasy:
The Cinderella statue looks like it will be larger than the existing statues, possibly life sized!  It would be too big to go on a pedestal.  However, since it will be on the floor, the statue will probably have to be cleaned very frequently, since it'll be easier for people to touch it.  Interestingly, the older rendering shows a pedestal where the Cinderella statue is in the new rendering.  

Since Cinderella will be the statue in the Grand Hall, I'm thinking the restaurant right next to the Grand Hall will be Cinderella-themed.  On the Wonder, there's a statue of Ariel in the atrium, and right behind it is Triton's, The Little Mermaid-themed restaurant.  If they do the same thing with the Wish, the rotational restaurant by the Grand Hall will be Cinderella-themed.

In the video, look behind Cinderella.  One of the rotational restaurants will probably be there.  Look at the section slightly to the left of the statue.  There's something that looks like a person holding an oar, and next to that is a smaller person holding what looks like a hook.  It's Moana and Maui!  To the left of Moana, there's something that kind of looks like a chicken, and that's probably Hei Hei, the chicken in Moana.  I can't tell what the rest of the small maybe-statues in that section are, but they're probably all related to Moana.

To the left of the Moana maybe-statues is another group of statues.  One of the larger maybe-statues here looks like a woman in a dress, so it's probably another Disney princess.  It looks like these maybe-statue groups line the entire wall behind the Cinderella statue, the exterior wall of what may be a restaurant.  So, will this restaurant be princess-themed?  I think so!

The video gives us another look at the Wish's grand staircase, and yup, it's pretty grand.  It will go two decks above the Grand Hall's main floor, which will probably be on Deck 3.  Assuming it's Deck 3, the staircase will go up to Deck 4 and Deck 5.  

It doesn't look like there's another grand staircase going down to Deck 2 like there is on the Dream and Fantasy.  The main reason for that staircase is Enchanted Garden on Deck 2.  Since the Wish won't have a fancy staircase going down to Deck 2, there probably won't be a restaurant down there.  The Wish's Deck 2 will probably be exclusively staterooms.  The Wish will probably a restaurant layout something similar to what the Magic and Wonder had, two on Deck 3 and one on Deck 4.  Deck 3 and Deck 4 don't have any staterooms on them, so they're better for a restaurant, a place where hundreds of people go every day.

The carpet of the Grand Hall looks like it has a floral design, so you can expect to see flowers hidden around the Grand Hall.  The carpet looks more like blue than in the older rendering, where it looked more like purple.  The design even continues on the bottom of the grand staircase!  I'm not sure if this will be painted or light, but from the rendering, it looks like light to me.  

The current DCL ships have colors that are common around the main areas of the ship.  For example, when I was on the Fantasy in January, I noticed a lot of green.  You can see it in the photo of the Minnie Mouse statue above.  With that in mind, the colors blue and white are probably going to be common around the Wish.  

There are some really comfy-looking couches to the left of the Cinderella statue, and I hope to sit on them one day.  They were shown in the older rendering, but they look more comfortable in the video.

Looking up on what are probably going to be Deck 4 and Deck 5, the railings appear to have colored glass inserted throughout the design, shown in both the older rendering and the new video.  I don't see any Hidden Mickeys on the railings, but this is just a rendering, so there may be some in the railings of the real Wish.

On Deck 4 directly above the Cinderella statue, there's a large painting of what looks like Cinderella and Prince Charming at a ball.  This art goes well with the colors of the Grand Hall.  There might be another one on the other side, but the grand staircase is in the way.  On the right side of Deck 4, there's a nondescript desk.  It's right in front of a porthole, and it may be either the Future Cruise Planning desk or the Disney Vacation Club desk.  Or, maybe it's the Port Adventures desk.

In the center of Deck 4, it looks like there's an entrance to another area.  This might be the Vista Gallery, since that's where it was on the Dream and Fantasy before they sadly got moved.  Deck 2 just isn't the same as Deck 4.

On Deck 5, there's a pair of doors.  This might be the entrance to the D Lounge or another attraction like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the nursery.

It's not shown in the video, but there will likely be a piano in the Grand Hall.  Live music is one of my favorite features of the atriums, and it would be a shame if the Wish's didn't have a piano.

Also not shown is the Grand Hall's chandelier, but we already know what it might look like, thanks to the older rendering.

Earlier in the month, I squeezed a lot of information out of a 39-second video.  This video was 38-seconds and I managed to squeeze even more out of it!  The 3D rendering of the Grand Hall got me thinking:  Does a 3D rendering of the entire ship exist?  It would be so much fun to explore a new ship without having to wait until summer 2022.  Since the Wish's construction is under way, there probably is, along with a physical scale model.  I doubt we'll ever get to see either of those, though.  If we could, it would be amazing, but I think I'd prefer to be surprised on the real thing instead of finding everything in a virtual version.  As we've all learned in 2020, seeing things in person is so much better than on a screen.  Finally, the renderings are not the final design of the Wish, so there may be some minor changes on the real ship.  The Wish is scheduled to launch in summer 2022, and for DCL fans like me, that can't come soon enough!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The DCL Christmas Tree Ornament Fleet

Back in 2017, when I was on the Dream, I bought an Disney Dream Christmas tree ornament from Mickey's Mainsail.  All four ship ornaments have been available in the Disney Cruise Line section of at times, but currently, they aren't listed.  

Since that Dream cruise, I've increased my collection until last year, when I got the last one!
On the tree, the Magic is at the top, the Wonder is below it, the Dream is below the Wonder, and the Fantasy is at the bottom.  These ornaments are pretty detailed, but they aren't completely accurate.  Let's take a closer look.
The Magic
The Wonder
The Dream
The Fantasy

The Dream and Fantasy have their names on the sides, but the Magic and Wonder don't, probably since on the real ships, their names aren't in the same place that the names on the Dream and the  Fantasy are.  I really like these ornaments, but something that bothers me about them is that the Magic and Wonder ornaments are larger than the Dream and Fantasy!
The explanation I have for this is that the Magic and Wonder ornaments were designed before the Dream and Fantasy launched.  Then, when the Dream and Fantasy ornaments were designed, the Magic and Wonder ornaments weren't used as references.  
With my problem with the ornaments out of the way, let's look closely at them.  Since they're bigger, the Magic and Wonder ornaments are more detailed.  The top decks of them are more colorful and even have the decks textured.  However, these ornaments are outdated and don't show the changes made in their reimaginations, like the AquaDunk (on the Magic), the AquaLab, or the Twist n' Spout.  I don't have a problem with this, since it's not very noticeable unless you look at them super closely, like I did.

Since they aren't up to date, the Magic and Wonder ornaments still have Mickey's Slide and Mickey's Pool, in addition to Goofy's pool, the Quiet Cove Pool, and the crew pool!
The Dream and Fantasy ornaments feature the AquaDuck, Mickey's Pool (but no Mickey's Slide), Donald's Pool, and the Quiet Cove Pool.  There's no Vibe sundeck pool, but there is a silhouette of Mickey's head at the front of the ships.  Remember when it was gray?  Don't worry, I won't waste any time today speculating about an ornament.

The bows of all four ships.
The sterns of all four ships don't have the characters on them like the real ships do, but making tiny character models and painting them would be a challenge.  They do have tiny versions of the name art that the real ships have on their sterns, but they're below the gold line instead of part of the line.  This is understandable, since the ships are so small, which probably makes it nearly impossible to get everything exactly right.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a Very Merrytime!  If you don't, have a great December 25th!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Updated Disney Cruise Line Website

 The Disney Cruise Line website was recently updated.  There weren't any major changes, like adding the Wish's deck plans, but they did remove "finder.deck-plans.facet-bar.ship-wish".  It was replaced with an empty box:

Besides that, the site mainly received a minor visual update.  However, there were a few things I found that were changed, and some of them are pretty nice features.  Let's take a look!

Starting out on the website's homepage, the cruise finder bar has been changed.

This change may appear to be just a minor cosmetic change, but clicking on the search tabs reveals that there was a substantial change made.

The cruise date selection used to just be a list of months, and users could click on the months they wanted to see cruises for.  Now, though, it's much more friendly, as it asks a question!  "When would you like to sail?"  It also changed the look and size of the month boxes, which makes them easier to select, especially on a mobile device.

The next tab shows the destinations that the DCL ships sail to.  Like the previous tab, it now asks a question.  "Where would you like to sail?"  Also like the previous tab, this tab used to just have a list of destinations, but now, it shows photos of them.  

The next tab is the departure port tab.  The question here is "Where would you like to depart from?"  Like the destinations, there is now a photo of each departure port.

This is the tab to select how many people are going on the cruise.  This question is "Who's sailing?"  Online, you can book up to five people per room, and four rooms per one cruise.  If you want take over twenty people or book more than four rooms on a cruise, you can make multiple reservations, contact a travel agent, or call DCL.  This policy has not changed with the new website update.
The last tab, for other search filters, has some miscellaneous search filters.  Keeping with the friendly question theme, this tab asks, "Would you like to experience a Themed or Holiday Cruise?", "How many nights?", and, "What ship would you like to sail on?"  I don't know why there's a "14 or More" option, since the longest DCL cruises are 14-nights.  Maybe once the Wish starts sailing one of the existing ships will occasionally do longer cruises.  I don't think this will happen, though, because the 14-night Panama Canal cruises don't sell as well as other cruises because they're so long.  

If you select a filter in one tab, the filters in the other tabs will update to show this change.  For example, if you choose January 2022, you can't select Alaska as a destination, because there aren't any Alaskan cruises in the winter.  This feature was here before this update, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  

This cruise ends exactly one year from the date I wrote this post, so I chose it to show the other updates to the DCL website.  Next to the cruise date, it says that this cruise starts on a Thursday and ends on a Monday.  This is super helpful and a great addition.  Now, I don't have to waste time looking on a calendar to see what day of the week the cruise starts on and ends on!  Another helpful change is the addition of the "Sailing on..." text on the right side.  It said the name of the ship before this update, but having the name of the ship in the font that's actually on the ship makes it more obvious.  

This doesn't have anything to do with the update, but for some reason, there are two different photos for Very Merrytime cruises.  I don't really know why Disney would do this, but it does add some variety to the cruise selection page.  I guess that's a good thing.

This update didn't include anything mind blowing, but the small updates that were made were nice.  Having a pleasant user experience while searching for cruises may get more people to decide to book a cruise, so this update is good for both users and Disney.  As the Wish gets closer to completion and more is announced about it, there will probably be more interest in DCL, so it's good their website was improved for the potential new guests!  When more gets announced about the Wish, I know I'll be using the DCL website a lot.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Disney Dream in Disney Infinity

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Disney Infinity room in the Dream's Oceaneer Club.  In that post, I mentioned that the game has Disney Cruise Line content in it that can only be unlocked by scanning an Oceaneer Band on the Disney Infinity base, where the figures go.  I can't imagine the DCL content in the game is very well known, so I decided to explore it to show you what it has to offer.  Much like on an actual Disney cruise, I took a ton of pictures to make this as detailed as possible.
This is the thumbnail of the world, and it shows Mickey Mouse in the (game) Dream's atrium.
I played as Anakin Skywalker for this post.  Once the world loads, you start out in the Dream's atrium.  The DCL content unlocked with the Oceaneer Band includes special Disney Dream-themed items like the chandelier, portholes, the Donald Duck statue, and the flooring.
The doors in this area lead to places you'd go on a cruise on the Dream.  One goes to the DCL terminal, one goes to the Dream's pool deck, one goes to Nassau, and the last one goes to Castaway Cay.
Let's start at the Disney Cruise Line terminal in Port Canaveral.  The DCL cruise terminal was renovated earlier this year, so this version of it is outdated.  
Right inside the front entrance is the security area.  Conveniently, you can just go right through it and up the stairs into the main area.
This is the main area of the DCL terminal.  I'm not sure why there's a hole in the floor.  For some reason, there are a few missing pieces throughout the entire world.  I think they might have been loading errors.  They're strange, but not a huge problem.  Anyway, right behind the missing square is the model of the Magic.  The "model" is actually a rideable mini DCL ship.  Beyond that is the large Mickey ears guests walk through to board their ship.  If you get close to it in the game, it'll ask you if you want to get onto the ship, which is a nice touch.
Here's the check-in counter where you get your Key to the World card, lanyard (if you're a Castaway Club member), and Voyage Navigator.  The Voyage Navigators are still printed and passed out, and they're fun to look through to get an overview of your cruise while you wait for your boarding group to be called.  I think these will continue to be printed out, even though Disney has been encouraging guests to use the DCL Navigator app instead of the paper Personal Navigators recently.  If you try to connect to the DCL-Guest Wi-Fi network in the terminal, the app will tell you that it's being prepared for your cruise and to check it again when you're on the ship.  This means that the cruise's activities are not visible through the app in the terminal, so the paper Voyage Navigators will probably live on.
I really like how the creator of this area included minor details like the bathrooms.
Well, the bathroom doors at least.
Here's the seating area on the right side of the building.  It's nice to see that whoever made this didn't forget about the old TVs.  I'm guessing they were replaced with modern TVs in the recent renovations.
Next, let's take a look at the parking garage.  Looking at the parking garage, you may notice a few things.  For one, the garage isn't directly across the street from the terminal in real life.  Also, as of January 2020, there is only one walkway from the parking garage to the terminal in real life.  I doubt many kids playing in this area would care about those minor details, so I'll let them go.
Here's the view of the imaginary walkway from inside the parking garage.
The walkways aren't connected to the actual parking garage.  Despite what the name suggests, Disney Infinity has limitations, and it was probably difficult or impossible to connect the parking garage with the walkways.
Here's the view of the street from the walkway that really exists.
This is the roof of the terminal.  A few years ago, the roof on the real was repaired and renovated, so these holes must have been fixed. 
Every area in this world has some sort of game to play.  There's no reward for winning these games, but they're fun ways to explore the areas.  In this section, players were tasked with finding the crew as fast as possible.  
The crew, Mickey and friends, were scattered inside and outside the terminal building.  The crew is all ready for the cruise, so let's go to the first port of call, Nassau!
If I'm on a cruise that goes to Nassau, I usually just stay on the ship, but I'll make an exception here, since there's not a ton to do on this Dream.
You can jetpack up to the top to get a better view of Nassau, though, which you can't do on the real Dream.  I love how this world's creator made the buildings here colorful, much like the buildings in the real Nassau.  They also included the Nassau Container Port, the area with the crane on the right side.  In real life, the Nassau Container Port is on Arawak Cay, an island pretty close to the cruise piers.
Near the town is a castle.  I think this is Fort Charlotte, a fort built by the British in 1788, when the Bahamas were still British colonies.  According to Wikipedia, they never used it in battle.
That would explain why it's still in such good condition today.  Maybe those cannons are still loaded.
This lighthouse is probably the Hog Island Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in the Bahamas.  I've seen this lighthouse quite a lot, especially on the Nassau port camera.
This area's game, or Port Adventure, is a race around Nassau.  Did you see the water running around the island?  That's the race track.  Players have to carefully drive around the island through every ring.  This isn't a race against others, unless you have someone to play with.
Fittingly, the race uses the mini DCL ship I mentioned earlier.  It's actually one of the faster vehicles in the game!  The first part of the race is pretty straightforward, until you get to this cave.  
Inside the cave, the track goes down and you get here.  This adds variety to the course so it's not just sand and trees for the entire thing.
Speaking of variety, after the cave, you get to the colorful town.  Similar to what happened at the terminal, there's a hole in the ground.
After going by the town, there's a giant Bahamian flag, but part of it is missing.
After going by the flag, the course goes under a bridge, through the Nassau Container Port, and past the Dream to the finish line.  I enjoyed this race, it was more fun than waiting an hour for an inner tube at Atlantis, something I've done in Nassau.
Before I get back on the ship, here's the view of the town and Fort Charlotte from the Nassau Container Port.
Next, let's explore the Dream's pool deck.  This is the most detailed area on the ship itself, and there's a lot to find and do.
This is Mickey's Pool.  This doesn't really look like Mickey, but as I said earlier, Disney Infinity is limited.  I'm sure it was the best the creator could do.
This is Donald's Pool, the deeper family pool on the Dream.   This pool is the best pool to watch movies on Funnel Vision from.
Speaking of Funnel Vision, it was playing a very interesting map of the world, minus Antarctica.  The ability to record your gameplay and put that on a screen in the game would've been an awesome feature, and it might have been added if Disney Infinity hadn't been discontinued.
The pool deck features a rideable Mickey's Slide, and the best part was that there was no line!
On the real Dream, Nemo's Reef is near Mickey's Slide, and that's no different on the Disney Infinity Dream.  Is it just me or does Nemo look a little more green than on the real Dream?
Off to the side, under Deck 12, are the tables and deck chairs.  It's too bad Disney Infinity doesn't have any chairs that look more like the blue DCL pool chairs, but you can't actually make your character sit down in the game, so chairs aren't a very important feature in the game.
Cabanas, the door with the blue awning over it, is on the starboard side of the ship, close to the Aft, much like where it is in reality.  The other door, with a pirate sign over it, is the Arr-Cade!  I told you this was outdated.  Unfortunately, both Cabanas and the Arr-Cade are not accessible.
The windows here really nail the DCL look, and they aren't even part of the DCL content!  Even though they're not transparent, it's like they were designed to look like the windows on the pool decks of the DCL ships.
Let's go to Midship to Flo's Café, the Cars-themed poolside restaurant.  This section was detailed, even the "road" on the floor was included!  I liked how there were the different foods in their respective locations.  The pizza slice is Luigi's Pizza, the hamburger is Tow Mater's Grill, and the apple is Fillmore's Favorites.
On the other side of the ship are Frozone Treats and Eye Scream.  Like at Flo's Café, the details of the ice on the floor is a nice touch.  It's tempting, but don't touch the right ice cream cone.  I touched it and it crashed my Wii U, what I was playing Disney Infinity on.  This is what happens when you eat too much ice cream, kids!
After loading back into the pool deck, I decided to go to the port side and I found this staircase.  The worst thing that could happen is that the game could crash, so let's go up it.
This is the AquaDuck!  It doesn't go quite up to the top of the funnel, but it is rideable, which is always a good thing.
There aren't any inflatable rafts in Disney Infinity, but there's no point in complaining.  Disney's an imaginative company, so I can imagine that I'm on the real AquaDuck.
This area has two games.  This one is a hunt for ten fireworks hidden across the area I explored earlier.
The other game is a bit more exciting.  It's Pirate Night!  This game has you find and defeat the pirates that have taken over the ship.
It definitely wasn't as fun as the real Pirate Night, but I did like how the sky around the ship changed to a darker theme.

That's it for the pool deck!  Unfortunately, there was only the area between the funnels in the Disney Infinity version, so there was no Goofy's Sports Deck or Quiet Cove.  Let's move on to the final port of call on the Disney Infinity Dream, Castaway Cay!
Before I explore the island, here's what the ship looks like on Castaway Cay.  At some point between Nassau and here, it must have gotten much bigger and more detailed.
Here's the side of it.  This is the best version of the entire ship, not just a section like the pool deck.
Welcome to Castaway Cay!  This image makes me remember what looking up at the ship from on the island feels like, like in the picture below:
It feels somewhat similar, doesn't it?  If I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the real Castaway Cay,
Let's start out at the Post Office.  Here, two Olafs welcome players to the island.  As you may have noticed, Disney Infinity has some glitches that'll never get fixed.  When I came back into this area later, there was only one Olaf.  Anyway, here's what he had to say:
The game on Castaway Cay is to find the collectibles hidden at various points of interest.  Every collectible comes with a fact about Castaway Cay.  These facts range from very obvious to little-known, and to make this as complete as possible, I found all of them!
The first one was next to the post office.  Mailing a postcard from here takes a long time, but hey, there's a special postmark!
This is one of the very obvious facts.  If someone's been on a Disney cruise, they probably would know that Castaway Cay is Disney's private island, and only DCL ships dock here.  Something less people know is that Castaway Cay was the first private island owned by a cruise line where ships are able to dock and don't have to tender.
I've sailed around the island's clear blue waters twice on the Wild Side excursion for Vibe members.  It's a lot of fun!
I've never been on a glass bottom boat, but from photos I've seen online, they look really cool, especially at a place with clear water like Castaway Cay.
If you've been to Castaway Cay, you've probably gone across this bridge on a tram or on foot.  In real life, this side of the sign has the Castaway Cay logo on it.
This side says "SEE YA LATER, MON!"
This is the Marge's Barges tram stop.  Every Disney Infinity world a player creates has limits on how much can be placed in the world.  It's not a definite limit, but the game will just refuse to place any more when you reach the limit.  To bypass this limit, Castaway Cay is divided into four sections, cleverly based on the tram system.
Let's go to Tram Stop 2: Scuttle's Cove.
Scuttle's Cove is right after the bridge I mentioned earlier.  In the real island, this wooden board is the map of Castaway Cay.
To the left of the map is Mount Rustmore, which, here,  is a few of the air conditioning vents you see on buildings.
Mickey was at Mount Rustmore, let's see what he has to say.
There are seven collectibles hidden around the Scuttle's Cove area, and of course, I found them all.
The Mount Rustmore collectible was the one Mickey was referring to.  If this collectible wasn't here, I probably wouldn't have realized what the air conditioning vents really were.  The elevation it has listed is probably accurate, though I'm not sure about the population.
I've never been on Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure.  There's so much to do on Castaway Cay, it's hard to do everything it has to offer.
Scuttle's Cove is the equivalent of the Oceaneer Club and Lab on Castaway Cay.  I came here a few times when I was younger, it was fun.
I've always wanted to try riding one of those water tricycles.  If I go to Castaway Cay again, I hope to finally try it out.
In Da Shade has a variety of fun activities.  Notably, it has billiards, which none of the ships have.  I guess you can say there's a pool on Castaway Cay, just not the kind you'd expect.
Contrary to what this image suggests, In Da Shade has more than just basketball.  
In Da Shade is near Cookie's, which brings us to the next collectible.  Next time you go to Cookie's or Cookie's Too, you should try the spicy chicken sandwich.  Maybe it was because I was hungry from snorkeling, but the one I had in January was awesome.
One of the shops on Castaway Cay is She Sells Sea Shells...and Everything Else.  I rarely go shopping on Castaway Cay, since there is so many other things I could be doing to make the most of the day.
It's a good thing I decided to go shopping, because there was a collectible inside!  If you buy a magnet here, try sticking it to your stateroom wall and see what happens.
Surprisingly, the water playground did not have a collectible at it.  Maybe whoever created this area forgot about the water playground, put in all of the collectibles, then remembered to add it but never put a collectible at it.  That's too bad, I would've liked to learn something about it.

That's everything I did in the Scuttle's Cove tram stop area.  Next, let's go to Tram Stop 3:  Pelican Point.
There wasn't anyone telling me about collectibles at the Pelican Point Tram Stop which was pretty disappointing.  I still found them though.
Here's a better look at the buildings around the tram stop.  I remember looking at these buildings while I waited for the tram once.
This is Summertime Freeze, a Frozen-themed restaurant where you can get various cold refreshments.  I've actually never gotten anything here, I've just stuck to the soft-serve ice cream by Cookie's and Cookie's Too.
On my first cruise, there was no Summertime Freeze, since Frozen had not released yet.
This is the other main store, Buy the Sea Shore.  I'm pretty sure it sells the same items that She Sells Sea Shells...and Everything Else sells, so the biggest difference is the location.
This building did not have a collectible at it, but I believe it's Flippers and Floats.  Last time I went to Castaway Cay, I got snorkeling equipment here to swim in the cold January water.
I somehow got inside the roof.
Like Flippers and Floats, this did not have a collectible at it.  I'm pretty sure this is the Heads Up Bar.  There isn't much for a kid to do at a bar, so it's understandable why there's no collectible here.
This is the bike rental area.  Disney Infinity doesn't have bikes, but it does have bike racks, because that makes sense.
This is the beach sports area behind the bike rental lot.  Last time I came here in real life, I got hit in the face with a tetherball.  I haven't played tetherball since.
This area doesn't have a flashy, interesting name.  The map of Castaway Cay just says, "Beach Sports".  It gets the point across, but Not In Da Shade would've been way more memorable.
I've associated the beach sports area with Hideout, even though the beach sports area isn't part of Hideout.  In real life, there's a water cooler near Hideout that is so nice on a hot day.  How does it keep the water that cold?
The next collectible, in Spring-a-Leak, isn't completely accurate anymore.  Spring-a-Leak isn't new anymore.  I remember it being there on my first cruise in 2012, and this world was made in 2015, so was this ever accurate?
There's no collectible here, but this is Cookie's Too.  Cookie's Too was added to the island after Cookie's was, around the time when the Dream launched in 2011.
This is the seating area next to Cookie's Too.  I remember it being shadier.
Did Pelican Point have a different name before Pelican Plunge was built?  Or was Pelican Plunge named after Pelican Point?
Like Spring-a-Leak, Pelican Plunge isn't new now and it wasn't incredibly new in 2015, either.  Maybe the descriptions were written when these areas were new.
Like the Heads Up Bar, Sand Bar doesn't have a collectible since bars aren't made for kids.
The Snorkeling Lagoon isn't near the cabanas.  It's actually on the other side of the Heads Up Bar.  Well, at least they put the collectible near the ocean.
I like how the cabanas are colorful and have little doors on them.  My family has never rented a cabana, partially because there are so many other things to do on the island.  To me, relaxing at a cabana seems like a waste of valuable time.

That's everything from the Pelican Point tram stop area.  Let's move on to the final area, Tram Stop 4:  Serenity Bay!
This tram stop doesn't start players off near the actual tram stop.  Instead, it allows them to explore the airstrip and its surrounding area.

Jack Sparrow was by the airstrip, and he talked about the collectibles in Serenity Bay.
The first of four collectibles was on the Bike/Nature Trail.  I'm not really sure what the trail had to do with loggerhead sea turtles, but it's good that Disney is helping them.
This is the Observation Tower.  If you haven't been in real life, I suggest you go on your next trip to the island.  Castaway Cay is flat, so you can see the entire island and your ship from the tower.
The description agrees with me!  You can see a lot from the tower.
This signboard is probably representing the Castaway Air plane.  It would've been awesome if the DCL content in Disney Infinity had a pilotable Castaway Air plane, but unfortunately, it didn't.  I love the hidden lore and story of Castaway Cay, and I hope Lighthouse Point has a fictional background like Castaway Cay does.
Further down the airstrip is Serenity Bay, the adults-only area on the island.  The only time I've been here is when I've biked through it on the Wild Side excursion.  In January, we stopped here for a few minutes because someone's bike tire was flat.
This area is the Castaway Air Bar and Cookie's Too and a Half.  There's a smaller restaurant in Serenity Bay that serves food similar to the Cookie's restaurants, but the Castaway Cay Map doesn't give it an official name.  Let's call it Cookie's Too and a Half.
I love how this section of the island embraces the old airstrip theme.  Even in Disney Infinity, it looks like a run down and weathered airport, but of course, it's just made to look that way.  Keeping with the theme, the float rental building in Serenity Bay is called The Windsock Hut.
Here's a better view of the Castaway Air Bar.
The cabanas in Serenity Bay are very similar to the normal family cabanas.  These just don't allow kids.
"plenty of other adventures to be had!"  That is so true.  Making this post has made me realize and appreciate the large amount of things to do on Castaway Cay.  Guests can eat, walk around, run, swim, play in the sand, ride a boat, ride a water tricycle, kayak, paddleboard, parasail, explore, play a sport, shop, snorkel, slide, dump water on others, and do so many other things I didn't mention!  When designing Lighthouse Point, I hope Disney keeps what makes Castaway Cay special in mind and makes an even better destination for their guests.  It'll be a challenge, but it's possible.
The final collectible in this area is an overview of the trails beyond Serenity Bay.  These trails lead to a secret, beautiful beach that isn't accessible to guests, except those on the Wild Side excursion.  Seeing the sand without any footprints in it is pretty awesome.

That's all of the Disney Dream content in Disney Infinity!  A common theme here was that the Disney Infinity version wasn't as good as the real version, but you can't beat the price of the Disney Infinity version, provided you have a copy of the game and an Oceaneer band lying around.  It's a fun, mostly realistic recreation of the Dream, Nassau, and Castaway Cay.  The Disney Dream world does not mention a creator, which is too bad.  Whoever created this knew what they were doing and spent a lot of time making the Dream and Castaway Cay as realistic as possible.  Nassau isn't too realistic, but if it was, it would be pretty boring and have a Diamonds International store.  I really enjoyed playing through the world, and it's a great hidden surprise for DCL fans that happen to own Disney Infinity!