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Family Cruise on The Disney Dream: Animator’s Palate and the Aquaduck


After an hour-long drive from Orlando, we arrived in Port Canaveral to embark on the Disney Dream.

Prior to checking in, we grabbed a bite at Fish Lips – I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone taking a cruise out of Canaveral. Checking into the ship was a cinch – other mass market cruise lines could learn a thing or two from Disney’s efficiency and ease. It probably took us 20 minutes, whereas the normal boarding time on other ships of this size have taken well over an hour.

We quickly explored the ship, but last night’s cold snap has made it nearly unbearable to go outside. Try telling that to the children onboard – despite the 50 degree weather, kids were swimming in the pool and happily enjoying the Aqua Duck, the famed water coaster onboard the Dream. The slide snakes around the entire pool deck and families  can watch their loved ones as they glide across the glass-paneled coaster overhead.

As we rushed back inside, we were greeted by a swarm of kids chasing down Mickey and Minnie, who were making their appearance on the pool deck. Disney definitely knows how to make every family vacation a magical one. I’ve heard the argument that the Disney cruise line is “just too expensive and not worth the price” – I couldn’t disagree more. If your kiddos are the right age, TAKE THEM on a Disney Cruise before they’re too old! Now is the time – don’t wait another year. You will never see your kids’ eyes light up like you will on this cruise ship! Plus, if you’re able to take your children out of school during one of the less popular travel times, you’d be surprised at the rates available. Just ask me and I’ll help you find the best prices and recommend the best times to go!

I am 22 years old and wrote an article just yesterday on how I’ve outgrown Disney World. I need to make an amendment to that statement: I have certainly not outgrown the Disney brand (maybe just the park). Tonight’s dinner at Animator’s Palate confirmed that. I went on both the Disney Magic & Wonder when I was younger and vividly remember Animator’s Palette as my favorite restaurant. The bare, black and white room was brought to life before our eyes and, by the time dessert was served, we were eating in a bright, colorful dining room.

The Disney Dream takes a different approach to Animator’s Palate – when you enter into the dining room, 2-D sketches of Finding Nemo characters adorn the walls. After you’ve taken your seat and begin to review the menu, the sketches come to life and interact with the guests, calling them by name and carrying on entire conversations. Just watch this video to see exactly what I mean:

Then there’s the show – tonight’s show, “The Golden Mickeys,” reenacted memorable scenes from everyone’s favorite Disney movies, such as “Tale as Old as Time” from Beauty and the Beast and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. The show made me want to go back and watch every Disney movie ever made, which is saying a lot coming from me. I do NOT usually like children’s movies. The only reason an animated film brings out my inner child is because I’m usually pitching a full-out fit in opposition to seeing one. Seriously. I might have had a small conniption in Where the Wild Things Are. There’s just something special about seeing your favorite Disney characters and singing along to your favorite songs – I can only imagine doing so alongside my children (If I had any. I’m just saying, future me will really enjoy that special moment).

In conclusion to my “Disney Cruise is worth every penny” argument: you’re not only paying for your child’s once-in-a-lifetime memories, you’re paying for your own. It is truly magical, no matter what age.

Lindsey Epperly

My name is Lindsey Epperly and I’m a travel consultant and owner of Epperly Travel, a national affiliate of Century Travel. I’m most passionate about building lifelong relationships with my clients and suppliers, discovering the globe in a way that makes me a better agent, and celebrating with my team when we reach a new milestone. One of our core values at Epperly Travel is to create fun and celebrate constantly – and I’m fortunate to be in a career that allows me to do just that. I’m proud to announce my recent achievements: landing a spot on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List as their Caribbean expert, being nominated for Virtuoso’s Rising Star Award and receiving a place on Jezebel Magazine’s Trailblazing Ten list.

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