NOLA & Disney Cruise: Day 5 - A Day at Sea
February 15th, 2020
Today was my absolute favorite kind of day on a Disney ship- a day at sea! A whole day just sailing on the Wonder enjoying all the events and activities offered to us onboard.
We started our day with having to wake up the kids. How amazing is that? We actually had to wake up the kids to start our day. Normally at home the kids are waking us up but not on the ship! I’m pretty sure it’s the combination of the dark room (we had an inside room so no windows), the subtle, gentle swaying of the ship, and all the activities the kids were a part of in the kids clubs until late in the evening the night before that causes this amazing miracle of late-sleeping children on board the ship. I wish I could somehow bring that kind of magic home but alas it’s just an added bonus I can only look forward to when cruising.
This morning we were headed to the character breakfast at Animator’s Palate, one of the three main dining rooms on the Wonder (where we had dinner last night). The character breakfast is only offered on sea days and you have to pre-reserve tickets for it ahead of time as it “sells out” on most cruises. It is the Disney Jr. character breakfast and includes music and some of the characters from Disney Jr. (obviously) as well as some traditional characters. The best part is, like most things on Disney Cruises, it’s included in your cruise fare so no extra fee! I worked hard to reserve those tickets weeks before our cruise so, YES, we did the unthinkable and woke up sleeping children.
Benjamin always wakes up great but Vivian, on the other hand, needs a vat of toddler coffee to get her in a somewhat tolerable mood in the mornings. Doesn’t matter how much sleep she’s gotten, when she wakes up her general grumpiness hits like a punch to the face.
Speaking of a punch to the face, when Vivian woke up this morning we were shocked to see her rocking a very large and very noticeable black eye! We had no idea where it came from. We asked her if she hurt her eye the night before in the kids clubs, but she said no. Days later, we remembered two days before she had caught the corner of Matt’s chair at dinner one night in New Orleans and cried pretty good, but there was only slight redness, so we never imagined two days later it would turn into a black eye. The poor thing looked pretty pitiful but it didn’t seem to bother her at all. It was much worse for Matt and I who had to walk around the ship getting looks from fellow cruisers and staff at the sight of a three year old with a shiner- a shiner, still at that point, that we couldn’t explain. #funtimes
We arrived to our character breakfast just in time. The ship was rocking a bit more than normal during our overnight last night. I loved it for when I was sleeping, as it rocks you to sleep so nicely, but this morning it was still a little more noticeable than usual. Vivian has suffered with car sickness since she was just one year old, but thankfully cruises have never bothered her… until today. She hadn’t said anything about feeling sick but she had only been awake for like 10 minutes so we didn't know what lied ahead of us.
Our room was only one flight of stairs away from Animator’s Palate so we didn’t wake the kids until 10 minutes before our breakfast and still made it with time to spare- another perk of being on a cruise ship, short commutes! We were seated at our own table but unlike at dinner our waiters were not our normal waiters that we have at dinner each night. The waiters alternate between all the dining locations during breakfast and lunch and then have their same tables each night rotating with the guests between each of the restaurants. So our waiter for breakfast introduced himself and tried his best to act like he didn’t notice Vivian’s black eye.
Matt nearly immediately made things even more awkward by passing on breakfast all together. He was still so full from his room service binge followed by his four course dinner from the night before that he was trying to be sensible and skip breakfast. The waitstaff on Disney Cruise Line literally live for you to be happily eating basically every second that you’re in their presence otherwise they think they’re not giving you excellent service so Matt’s “hard pass” on breakfast nearly sent our waiter into a nervous breakdown. It took quite a few explanations as to why Matt was on his temporary hunger strike before our waiter finally made peace with it and left us alone.
It was just about the time that our breakfast, and Matt’s water, arrived that Vivian got a look on her face that I unfortunately know all too well and yelled, “Mommy! Throw up!!”. I just looked at Matt, dead face, since he was sitting there not eating and I’m about to take my first precious bite of breakfast, so Matt, being the wise husband that he is, grabbed her and ran out of the restaurant to the nearest bathroom. I mean, I was not about to miss my breakfast or make Benjamin miss it so I figured Matt could handle it. He’s an amazing, hands-on dad but there are some areas where he just gives me a slightly panicked-looking blank stare and lets me take the lead… Vivian’s motion sickness is usually one of those times. So like a good momma bird that I am, I pushed Matt out of the nest and went about eating my breakfast while wearing my “Minnie Mouse Bow”. No one gets between me and my gluttony! So Benjamin and I were left at breakfast in peace with our friends, Pluto, Goofy, Doc McStuffins, and Vampirina.
The waiters make everyone cute "hats" out of napkins.
Matt had Goofy ears, I had a Minnie Mouse bow, Benjamin had Peter Pan's hat, and Vivian was a...uh..."princess". Not seeing it, but she loved it. Look at that shiner!
While Benjamin doesn’t suffer from motion sickness, he does suffer from stage fright and since his loud, outgoing sister (and dad) was gone, leaving him on his own with the characters, he was not feeling it. Awesome. So we stuck around just long enough for me to eat my eggs and then he wanted out of there. So we were off and running out of the restaurant while still chewing my eggs. We did manage to get pics of Vivian with Pluto before she made her grand exit and he seemed to have a lasting impression on her as she ended up choosing a pirate Pluto as her souvenir at the end of our cruise. As I came out of the restaurant there was Matt and Vivian seeming totally normal. It ended up being a false alarm, so Matt was thrilled to not have to deal with THAT kind of fun.
After breakfast Matt and Benjamin headed to the animation lesson being offered in French Quarter Lounge. Throughout the cruise, they offered drawing tutorials which Benjamin loved since he’s our little aspiring artist. At this session they learned to draw Mickey Mouse. While they were off playing Picasso, Vivian and I decided to hit the pools and hot tubs… and I mean all of them. Since it was only 9:30am on the first morning and the weather wasn’t the prettiest looking, everyone else on the ship were either still sleeping or exploring the indoor activities on the ship so Vivian and I had the entire pool deck to ourselves- two pools, two splash areas, two hot tubs, and a slide (not including the adult only pool & hot tubs, of course). Vivian had me pool hopping all morning but finally settled on swimming in the main, family pool while watching A Goofy Movie on the giant screen above.
At just about the time that Matt and Benjamin met up with us to swim, so did the bright sunny, blue skies… and nearly every other child on the cruise ship. We swam for about another hour all together as a family and in that time Benjamin conquered the waterslide that he’d been looking forward to riding for weeks.
At about the time we were done with the pool we realized it was lunchtime so we fed the kiddos lunch and then we got them dressed and dropped them in the kids clubs so that Matt & I could enjoy some time at the adult only pool area, Quiet Cove. This amazing little slice of heaven is reserved for adults only and offers a pool with padded loungers, two hot tubs, pool bar with waiter service, a wonderful coffee bar (the specialty coffee here comes with a charge but the delicious snacks are “free” and so is coffee onboard anywhere else), and adjacent to Quiet Cove is the spa and fitness center. Talk about heaven. I was especially in heaven since I was on a classic ship (Disney’s smaller, original ships) and I much prefer the layout of the adult only pool area on these ships than the newer ships. I could have stayed there forever and we kind of did.
At around 4:30pm we headed down to get the kids from the kids clubs- it was almost as if they forgot about us since they never asked for us! On a Disney Cruise they provide each stateroom with two “Wave Phones” (cell phones) per room for you to carry to contact each other, as well as the kids clubs to contact you if the natives are getting restless. Disney Cruise Line also offers an app that works in the same way where you can text through the app as well as view dining room menus and look at daily activities on the Navigator, among other things. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line offers free iMessage usage while on the ship so we were able to text home and brag about all our adventures. We of course never even dreamt of bragging or teasing our family at home. *wink*
Tonight we were eating at Tiana’s Place, from The Princess and the Frog. This is a new addition to the Wonder since I sailed on her last so we were pretty excited to eat here, but no one was as excited as Vivian, as Tiana (and Aurora) is her favorite Princess. Vivian, of course, had to wear her Tiana dress this evening to go eat at Tiana’s so getting her to leave the kids clubs to get dressed was no battle at all when I reminded her of where we’d be eating later. Once back to our room we, of course, continued our regular tradition of ordering some “free” (aka included in your fare) room service to snack on while we got ready since we weren’t eating until 8:15pm- our preferred seating time.
Once we were all dressed and ready to go we headed down to the main theater to watch one of Disney Cruise Line’s most popular broadway caliber shows, Golden Mickeys. I absolutely love this show and hadn’t seen it in years, not to mention Matt and the kids had never seen it. We aren’t allowed to take any pictures or videos of the stage shows so you’re just going to take my word for it- it’s awesome!
After watching Golden Mickey’s we did a little shopping where one of the ship’s officers saw our very own little “Tiana” and requested her autograph and gave her a pin in exchange for the autograph. That made Vivian’s night and I, of course, got teary-eyed at the magic of Disney Cruise Line and their employees.
FB Disney Foodies, any guesses who took the first pic that's all thumbs?
The shock and awe of Disney’s level of awesomeness continued as we headed to dinner at Tiana’s Place. Disney Cruise Line really hit a homerun with this one! The level of detail in both the new restaurant and the adjacent lounge, The French Quarter Lounge, was amazing! I took some pictures but they just don’t do it justice, especially at Tiana's Place where the lighting is less than stellar for pictures. In addition to the design and theme that really was top notch, the live jazz band, The Creole Crooners, that sang and played throughout our meal, not to mention Tiana making an appearance and visiting each table really knocked it out of the park for us. When Tiana got to our table she was so fun to begin with but then Vivian told her, “I’m wearing your dress” Tiana reacted in a really sweet way taking extra time with her and even twirling her in her dress. I was just a puddle of mush and emotions on the floor at that point. After Tiana left our table Louis the alligator from Princess and the Frog stopped by real quick as well. It was such a fun restaurant to eat in… and so memorable!
Disney Wonder's French Quarter Lounge
Tiana's Place on the Disney Wonder
Finally, after eating way too much amazing food and enjoying all the sites and sounds of Tiana’s we headed back to our room real quick to change the kids into play clothes and then drop them in the kids clubs. While they were happily playing in the kids club, Matt & I headed to the adult only area of the ship where they have a few bars/lounges and offer entertainment for us the parents to have some fun on our own. We felt zero guilt since while in the kids clubs, Vivian was being read to by Cinderella and Benjamin was attending a Spiderman meet and greet followed by participating in a volcano experiment. Needless to say, I don’t think we were missed.
Another WONDERful day on the Disney Wonder. #cheeseballalert