Sunshine, Sleeping in and Ship Tours

So where did I leave off...

Day 3 of vacation, day 2 of the ship:

Oh yes. The next morning. SO much better than the night before! Once the ship cleared Los Angeles and San Diego, the waters were much calmer and everyone seemed to get their sea legs back. My appetite was in full force and I was ready for my vacation to start!

We awoke with our curtains open and the sunlight pouring into our cabin. Breakfast was typically offered one of three places on the ship: Triton's, Beach Blanket Buffet and Parrot Cay. We decided that since we missed dinner the night before, we would start our dining off with a bang and join 8:30am breakfast at Triton's the next morning. This is where my feedback to Disney goes a little south. Besides our experience at Palo's, we never had a good breakfast on the ship. This is okay for us because we are not huge breakfast people anyway, but breakfast was so mediocre that it just became a way to take away the hunger pangs but not a lingering, enjoyable experience for us (unlike the other meals the ship offered).

Here is a picture of me at breakfast that morning-- fully recovered from seasickness (but still looking a little green). Hooray!

One of the best things about the cruise (and also unfortunate when you think about it!) was that there was SO much to do while on board. I say unfortunate because part of me wanted to experience everything there was to do on the ship every hour, and part of me wanted to just sit back, lay out and relax with a good book for 90% of my time onboard. Timothy and I settled on a happy medium between the two.

After breakfast that morning, we decided that we were going to go on a full exploration of every area on the ship, so we found the gift shops

and perused their goods (and also bought a bathing suit because stupid rushed packing mistake #2 on my part was that I forgot my bathing suit- ugh), discovered the movie theatre, sat up by the quiet pool and then found our way back to Wave Bands for a little bingo action at 11:00. I normally LOVE cruise ship bingo (and ironically never win), but Disney's bingo buy-in prices were SO expensive compared to other ships that we didn't indulge this time. Minimum was $30 and it went up to $60. I couldn't justify losing that much money in one single go (at least draw it out of me in the slot machines or something--lol), so we just sat and watched the competition for an hour or so. There was some schadenfreud involved as we watched people drop tons of cash on bingo computers and then subsequently lose it all. Ouch. It made me want to stay out of bingo for the entire trip (which I did-- hooray!).

After bingo, we decided to head back to our verandah for some room service and quiet time because-- surprise!-- the sun was finally out. Ahhhh... glorious sun. We Oregonians had missed you so badly!! I forgot what healthy heat felt like on my pale skin. It was quiet marvelous.

After some delightful reading and vitamin D, we decided to embark on an "Art of the Ship" tour, to go around and hear the behind-the-scenes details of the specific and intentional design ideas that went into both the Wonder and the Magic. I HIGHLY recommend going on this tour if you ever sail with Disney. We met on deck 10 in a small group and it was led by a fabulous entertainment host named Sophie.

We first learned the history of the adults-only restaurant Palo, which means 'pole' in Italian. It got its name because the Wonder was crafted and built in Venice, and Venice is marked by several various gondola poles. In Palo, there are many different authentic Venetian masks and poles all around, which makes sense as to why the restaurant's primary cuisine is Northern Italian influence!

After that, we headed down to deck 5 and Sophie asked us to count how many different types of carpet we saw on the way down. This wasn't something I normally would have paid attention to, but of course now I did. When we made it down, I noticed eight different types of carpet between the corridors, the lobby areas and the stairs, and that was correct. Sophie said that the ship actually has around 250 different styles of carpeting and they all have a very specific and intentional theme to them. Other cruise ships have approximately 80 - 100 different types of carpet, but Disney has a purpose for all of theirs and replaces them completely every few years or so.

On deck 5, which is the children's area deck, Sophie noted that the ceilings are intentionally 1 - 2 feet lower, because it gives kids the feeling that they are more "in control" since they are often running around on the deck in their own clubs. It apparently gives them much more comfortability and confidence feeling "bigger" than on other floors. Kind of interesting!

We stopped by the Buena Vista Theatre where she told us that Disney is the only cruise line who shows first-run movies and in-theatre movies still, largely because they own all of them...

We also learned that there are over 28,000 different signs on board the Wonder alone... crazy!

We then made our way down to deck 4 where the Walt Disney Theatre is housed. We studied this picture for a minute... do you happen to know what is different about it?

... While this is a very famous picture, Walt's cigarette was photoshopped out of his fingers because the cruise didn't want to give the idea of endorsing smoking to kids... especially since he died of lung cancer... :(
Deck 4 is also the only place where the famous "WD" logo is found on the carpet!

While we were talking about the picture, none other than Daisy Duck comes strolling along the red carpet, no big deal! Only on a Disney cruise can you pass by a character and "chat" with them, without them being escorted away hurriedly by their entourage.

By the elevators of deck 4, there is a lobby viewpoint area where the beautiful (plastic) ceiling sculpture by Dale Chihuly hung from the ceilings. Sophie said that crew members hike themselves up with ladders every Sunday and dust that thing, and that the reason it is not actually glass (unlike his sculpture at the Bellagio in Vegas) is because of the danger of a rocking ship + frequent guests underneath. Smart move.

After that, we walked out to the running deck on deck 4 to note a few different characteristics of the outdoors. First, the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic are sister ships and are intentionally the same, except for the fact that the Wonder was built as a whole, and the Magic was built as two halves put together. There is a large seam down the sides of the Magic to signify this, so, even though the Wonder was built as a whole, it also has a large seam down the middle (re-created) in order to be identical twin sisters with the Magic. Crazy fun fact!

Sophie also told us that Disney wasn't cool with the ugly orange boats that the Maritime law (or whatever it's called) requires all cruise ships to keep on board and they didn't feel that orange meshed well with the colors of "The Mouse." They appealed to the coast guard and asked if they could test out the yellow color shown below. The coast guard obliged after some negotiations, and discovered that not only did the yellow color work, but it was actually more visible at night than orange! Fancy that...

Disney also wanted to design their ships not as cutesy Fantasyland-extensions, but as elegant, grand vessels similar to the Titanic or Lusitania. Because those turn of the century ships had the traditional shuffleboard games on the outside decks, of course Disney had to as well.

All in all, we learned a ton of valuable, "insider" information on this tour and I definitely didn't cover it all on this post. It took about an hour and a half, and the most amazing fact of all (for all of your Disney-afficionados), is that Mr. Dave Smith himself of the Disney archives was on our tour of ten! In fact, he was on the ship the entire week we were there and even led his own informational seminars about the Archives and Disneyland. It was fabulous! We so enjoyed meeting him and learning from such an amazing Disney legend. I was a bit star struck, as only true Disney fans might imagine.

Up next: Formal night and new friends


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