Friday, May 27, 2011

Disney Dream Dissapointments

Hope you enjoyed the previous post on the things I really liked about the Disney Dream. Before you think I'm just a negative nelly, I LOVED the Dream. I can't wait to sail next year on both the Fantasy and the Dream. But there were just some things I was not crazy the things I was a bit disappointed in.

Animators Palette Technology
I’ll preface this by saying that although I think the Turtle Talk with Crush exhibit at Epcot is kind of cool, it is not one I have gone too after the first time. So for me, although it is kind of cool that they brought this technology into Animators Palette, I didn’t find that it wildly enhanced my experience. Our table wasn’t near a screen. And the screen we were nearest, I found it hard to understand who Crush was talking to. And the random swimming of characters that you would see the exact same thing on 2-3 screens at a time was far from magical. Fingers crossed that the new technology show for the Fantasy is more entertaining!

Layout of Quiet Cove Pool
I cruise Disney without kids. And those who know me know that I’m not particularly fond of kids for the most part. And of course I know there are a kids on a Disney ship. Though I would say because of how well Disney does entertaining kids, it never feels like there are nearly as many kids on the ship as there really are. And to the people who say that you should go on a Disney Cruise if you don’t have kids – well that is just ridiculous. Is there a rule that says only people under 18 can have an incredible love of Disney? Anyway, back to my point. One of the things I love about Disney Cruise Line are the adult only spaces and activities. On the Magic and Wonder, families would sometimes walk through the adults only Quiet Cove pool – but always on the outside of the pool behind the railing. The layout of the Dream, and where the Forward elevators lets out, make this near IMPOSSIBLE. So most kids step out from the elevator bank directly into the middle of the Quiet Cove pool. Seriously, look at this post and you’ll see the door on the left letting out right into the heart of the pool deck. Although they could make a sharp turn in either direction to walk on the outside of the area – the obvious way to walk is straight. RIGHT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE QUIET COVE POOL. How STUPID. What were you thinking Disney? I’ve seen some parents say they tried to make their kids only go up at midship, or get off at deck 12 instead of 11 and then walk midship. And I appreciate those parents. I’ve seen many say the adults should just get over it and not sail Disney if we don’t like kids walking through their pool. Again – is there a rule that says you have to be under 18 to love Disney? But I must admit, while I appreciate the folks who do try to avoid having their kids walk through the pool – I’m not sure its reasonable to expect everyone with kids to avoid it altogether. Disney would be very well served to re-evaluate the layout/traffic flow on the Fantasy to avoid this issue.

My complaint here is very specific. Before I get into it I’ll say that the bar itself is beautiful inside. Truly lovely. And there were a great number of interesting looking cocktails on the bar menu. My complaint – is that they serve those yummy cocktails in special glasses that you cannot remove from the bar. They don’t TELL you this when you order them. So if you go into Pink without plans to stay for long, be sure to ask for your cocktail to be in a glass you can walk with. I joined a group that had been in there for a while and were thinking about moving on. I ordered a drink, received it right about when the group decided it was time to move. The waitress promptly told me I could not go with my glass and would have to have them switch it out for a different glass before I could leave. This is just ridiculous to me! In my case, I downed the cocktail and moved on. But honestly, this policy is just silly and rather annoying.

Smaller Sofa Beds
One look at the Dis Boards Cruise Line Forum will reveal several threads with people complaining about how the bed in Dream staterooms would not split into two twins – as they do on EVERY OTHER CRUISE SHIP including the Magic and Wonder. Personally, this did not bother me. In 3 of our first 4 cruises mom slept on the queen bed and I slept on the couch. Although its referred to as a sofa bed, its not a traditional sofa bed and I’ve always found it exceptionally comfortable. On one of the first 4 cruises we did ask for the beds to be set up as the two twins. I found the room very crowded this way. If we’d had a room without a balcony and the two twins were against the back wall I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt this way (that’s how Pride of Aloha was configured when I sailed and it was fine). But on the Disney classic ships one sailing this way had me back to sleeping on the sofa. So when everyone was going crazy about how the Dream beds couldn’t be split I didn’t mind – I fully planned to sleep on the sofa anyway. However, I found the sofa far less comfortable on the Dream then on the Wonder and Magic. I wasn’t thrilled with the bedding, but a request for an extra blanket helped me stay warm. But the real problem – I swear the bed was shorter in length than on the Classic ships. I thought was just me, but while we were cruising we had an opportunity to see a Deluxe Family Ocean – and the couch in that stateroom looked longer – more like the Classic ships. We have a Deluxe Family Oceanview booked on the Fantasy next April. That cabin will hopefully have the old size couch. Or better yet, there’s a chance it will have a Murphy bed. This is what I’m actually hoping for. I like the location of the Murphy bed in the pictures I’ve seen and mom likes the idea that the couch can be used even when the beds are made up for nighttime.

Virtual Portholes
I actually wrote a lengthy post about this for Dana and her website, The Dragyn’s Lair back in March so for full details go check out that post (and more of Dana’s blog while you are at it). To summarize, with Virtual Porthole cabins now costing more than Oceanview cabins – I recommend the Oceanview. Virtual Porthole is not worth the extra money.

Crowdedness of Dining Rooms
The Disney Dream is 40% larger than the Classic ships. So one would think that even though there are more passengers, there is also more room for them. This was not apparent in the dining rooms. Usually we were trying to squeeze between tables to get to all the seats at our own table. And our neighbors were just a few inches away (the fun part was that is how I met Dana in person for the first time, even though she was next to us at Animators Palette she was so close we might as have been at the same table). To make matters worse, in Enchanted Garden we were smashed up against a wall. And at Animators Palatte we were in the aisle the servers used to get the kitchen. It almost felt as though our table was placed there as an afterthought when the powers that be realized there were not enough tables in the dining room. I was in constant fear of a huge tray of plates being dropped on us as servers rushed past us that night. I’m not sure where that extra 40% is, but it does not feel as though it is in the dining rooms.

Location of Aft Elevators
Our cabin on the Dream was located behind the aft elevators. We’re typically midship, though I have been all the way forward on the Pride of Aloha and pretty far back on the Navigator of the Seas. The issue was not our cabin’s proximity to the aft elevators as much as where the aft elevators did and did not go. If you wanted to go up to deck 11 the aft elevators let you out in the middle of Cabanas. You had to walk through Cabanas to get between the pool area and the aft elevators. The doors were kept open so you could do this when the buffet was actually closed and then it wasn’t horrible. But if Cabanas was open it was generally fairly crowded and THIS was an annoying time to have to cut through the restaurant.

Additionally, if you were taking the elevators down, perhaps for dinner at Enchanted Garden on deck 2, you CAN’T! The furthest down you can go in the aft elevators is Deck 3. If you had dinner at Enchanted Garden you would need to take the elevators to deck 3 and walk over to go down one more flight of stairs, or walk to midship and then take the elevators down to 2.

Personally for me, since I spend so much time at the Quiet Cove Pool and the Buena Vista Theater, my preference on these ships in the future will be to stay midship or forward. This way I can avoid having to cut through the restaurant and be closer the venues I spend the most time in. After a couple of days I found myself often walking to midship to catch the elevators (or stairs) anyway and staying midship or forward would save some time and walking.

The New Shows
I was super excited about Believe and Villains’ Tonight. I am a huge theater fan, and have always really enjoyed Disney’s productions. I did not particularly enjoy either of these shows. I must say, in large part I believe this was because of one “actor”. I put the word actor in quotes because I don’t believe this person was a true actor. The person I’m talking about was the reporter in the theater during the Golden Mickey’s, Hades in Villains’ Tonight, and the Genie in Believe. His schtick was cute in the Golden Mickey’s – but he played the other two characters EXACTLY the same way. No matter the show, this “actor” played the character he was doing in the same way. I don’t mind actors making a role their own within reason. But I found this guy incredibly annoying and he really ruined the two new shows for me. I know not everyone felt that way, if you google it there are article saying the guy made the show. I just disagree. Maybe it was a strange week and some of the regular's were sick so this guy did all three parts and he doesn't normally. Who knows. But I was not a fan. Beyond just that the stories didn’t wow me with either show. I did still enjoy the music, as I always do. One of my past cruises one of the evening shows was just the cast singing many loved, and lessor known Disney songs. I would have rather seen that expand to the other ships!

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