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Magical Vacation Planner

Magical Vacation Planner
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Top 21 Tips and Tricks for Port Canaveral Terminal and What to do Before Setting Sail

1. Get to Jetti Park around 5:30 AM and watch the ship come into port. Here you can feel sorry for those getting off the ship and get really excited that in just a few short hours, you will be taking their place. Once the ship came in, we went to Ron Jon Surf Shop (open 24 hours) and walked around, then parked near Fish Lips and got a few Z's (we drove straight there from Charlotte the night before).
5:30 AM

7:00 AM
2. Connect your phone to the Navigator App and get ready to turn it on airplane mode to avoid international charges. You can even check out the menus for dinner at your assigned restaurant for that night. Below is just an example of the menu at Enchanted Garden. It was actually 6 screens. As you can see, I also had a message.

3. Things to do in the terminal: check-in (past Disney cruisers AKA Castaway Club get lanyards, otherwise new cruisers bring your own...see below for Castaway Club benefits), check kids into Oceaneers Club and pick up magic bands (kids will use these to check in and out of the clubs), watch Disney shows/movies, meet and greet Disney characters, view a model of the ship, and walk through the mouse ears!
Magic Bands for Kids Club
Look at the model of the ship inside the terminal

Inside the model of the ship in the terminal
You will get to walk through the Mickey Ears too!

4. You will be issued your Key to the World Card (KTTWC) when you check-in at the port. This is your credit card, ID, and room key. Don’t lose it! No worries if you do as long as you report it asap! You can go to Guest Services and get a new one issued. You can give your children purchasing privileges or withhold them. Make sure if you don’t want them to be able to make purchases you tell them at the terminal.

5. Castaway Club: After you complete your first cruise, you are in the Castaway Club. Cruises 2-5=Silver, 6-10=Gold, 10+=Platinum. Members get a nice gift in your stateroom. Gifts are distributed based on your level. Here is our Gold Castaway Club gift. You can find a list of all the perks for each level below.
 *Top left picture is the newest CC gifts! The bag is very small, but perfect for smaller items to take with you to the beach. We used it for our WDW trip last week to keep ponchos and phones/chargers in. It is not waterproof, so keep electronics in a ziploc bag.

6. No cameras are allowed on in customs. You have to wait until you get to the terminal upstairs to turn them back on. This is a rule for security reasons. Once you are in the terminal, snap away! It’s fun to take pre-cruise photos in the terminal and then meet people on your cruise and see them in your pre-cruise photos.

7. Look for the hidden Mickey's! Our last sailing was the first time we actually looked for them. I'll post one here, but the rest you will have to find on your own.

8. Stop for pre-cruise photos before you board the ship. If you buy a photo package, they are included (all photos package). If you don’t want to take your photo, you can skip right by it and board a little sooner.

9. The magic continues beyond the terminal. Get your cameras ready for walking onto the ship. Disney announces your family’s name! I’ve been on two other cruise lines and Disney is the only one that makes a big production of your arrival!
Disney Dream Welcome's Aboard The Inch Family! Click here for the video

10. Decorate your door with magnets! It’s a great way for you and your kids to find your stateroom. I recommend you personalize your items in case of sticky fingers! Make sure you don’t put any adhesives on your doors. You will be fined for them because they could mess up the paint.

Hint: The walls in your stateroom are magnetic! Bring extra magnets to hang notes for your family you don't want the rest of the passengers to see (not a great idea to let everyone know you are out of your room, but OK to let your travel party know). I also hung artwork my daughter did on our cruise on the wall and the next day navigator with highlighted events.
Also, the wooden panels outside the stateroom doors are also magnetic. Sometimes you will be allowed to decorate those as well.

11. Review the Navigator (via app or paper copy) before you set sail (and each night you are on the ship). You will be given one when you check-in. You can pass time by looking over it while you wait for your boarding number to be called.

Hint: Bring highlighters (one color per member of your family) to highlight what you want to do the next day. It folds into a handy tri-fold. You can pick up extras at Guest Services. I’ve included a couple pictures of the inside of the navigator which indicates the activities schedule that you would fold and carry with you, or of course, you can just use the app.

12. Explore the ship as a family. Kids AND adults are allowed in the spa, workout area, kids clubs, and adult clubs/bars on embarkation day before the ship sets sail. This is a great way for kids to be able to see other parts of the ship they normally wouldn't. This is also one of the only times adults can take pictures in the Youth Activity Areas (there are other open houses where you can do so as well).

Become familiar with the ship. Luckily, Disney's ships are "classic" and very easy to get around on without getting lost unlike other cruise lines. Carry a ship map with you (free at Guest Services) or use the app to help you navigate.

13. As soon as your luggage comes, pull out your kids stuffed animals and toys. Leave them out and more than likely, your mousekeepers will do something creative with them when they turn down your room each night!

14. Speaking of luggage, watch for your luggage before the Muster Drill. It will be placed outside your room. You do not need to sit and wait for it, but try to remember to clear the hall before you head out to your evening events so that people in wheelchairs and scooters can get by. Ours has historically been delivered before the Muster Drill. If it is not all there, you can check back just after the drill or after the Sail Away party, but I wouldn't wait any longer than that, just so the walkways are clear.

15. The Life Boat Drill (AKA Muster Drill) is mandatory and begins at 4:00! All ships services will be suspended during this time. Take your KTTWC with you so you can be scanned in. Your muster station is the large bold letter on the bottom left of your KTTWC. There will be crew members directing you to the right place if you get lost. Please don’t be late or try to skip it. We all want our cruise to start. The quicker we get through the dreaded muster drill, the quicker we can relax and forget about reality for a while. After the drill, hurry up to the Sail Away Party with your favorite Disney characters.

Hint: Some people will be assigned inside, while others outside. If it is hot or cold, be prepared to stand outside for an extended amount of time and wear appropriate clothing. Look at the map on the back of your stateroom door before you go to the drill and know if you will be inside or outside.

16. Let your friends and family watch in envy as you leave port and sail out into the sunset. The Sail Away Party after the muster drill is on the pool deck. I find that if you go to the Starboard Side (right side) top deck and wave to people at Fish Lips you could be seen on the Internet because each sailaway streams live on Get your family and friends to watch you sail away!

17. Before you set sail, go to the Port Adventures desk (deck 5 on Dream and Fantasy) and sign up for the Princess Gathering and Anna/Elsa Meet and Greet, and register for the FREE 5K on Castaway Cay. You can also sign up for the Princess Gathering when you complete your online check-in prior to your cruise. There is also a character breakfast and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique (BBB) you can sign up for (both have associated fees and have limited spots, so try to get there early). You will get tickets, so hang onto them because you will need them at your event!

18. If you are Disney Vacation Club members, attend the FREE DVC reception. Here, there is free champagne and bottles of water, DVC gifts, and sometimes (not always) light snacks. Get there early, and you just might get a chance to meet one of your favorite Disney characters. 

19. Ride the Aquaduck and swim in the pools. If you get there early enough, there will be no lines and the pools will not be crowded. The pools will close for the Muster Drill so you don't have to worry about missing it. 

20. Eat lunch at Cabanas or Enchanted Garden. Cabanas is my favorite because we can eat outside or on the pool deck. If you like quieter, more intimate lunches, eat at Enchanted Garden. They have the same menu, but have different hours, so check the Navigator to see which will be open when you arrive.
My desserts at Cabanas on Embarkation Day.

21. Lastly, don't worry about getting your picture with the statue in the atrium early on. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the cruise where you can do so without having to wait. Don't worry about much at all. I've embarked before without any prior knowledge of the cruises or any prior planning and we still had an amazing time. Relax and enjoy your vacation from reality!

I hope you were enlightened with this blog post. If you liked it, please let me know and share this with all your friends and family! Also, subscribe for more posts like this!

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