I am not a morning person in general and usually need to set at least several alarm clocks when I have an early start so the fact that I was waking up every day before 7:00am before the alarm went off was really confusing my brain. I definitely was not complaining though as I would much rather have the twenty five hour days that the Westbound Transatlantic cruises have any day over the twenty three hour days in the other direction.
As we were going to Palo for brunch, we could have a lazy morning. We got some tea from Deck 9 and sat on the verandah with it – we did not get any other food as we did not want to ruin our appetites before Palo.
After getting ready (and remembering the dress code), we headed up the three flights of stairs from our stateroom to Palo on Deck 10. I had booked our brunch reservation for 10:30am exactly 90 days before our cruise when our booking window opened as Silver Castaway Club members and had a full choice of days and times.
We were given a fantastic table by the window and unlike the rainy weather we had had during our brunch on the Disney Wonder where we could not see anything outside, today was clear and you could see for miles around. We were introduced to our awesome server Mo from Indonesia who offered us a Prosecco, Mimosa or Kir Royale (we both chose the Kir Royale) before giving us the guided tour of the buffet.
Mo asked us about our cruise to Alaska and who had looked after us in Palo and I admitted that it was the one name that I had annoyingly forgotten. I am usually good at remembering names (I have a memory for the most obscure information known to man) but I’ve never been able to remember what his name was even though we had talked so much during brunch and dinner on that cruise. Mo suggested emailing Disney Cruise Line and said they would be able to tell us. They replied a few days later to let us know that Ashlie had looked after us in Palo back in 2013 on the Disney Wonder so thank you DCL for helping with my memory lapse.
As I was hungry, I could not wait to start eating – I absolutely love Palo Brunch as there is so much food and so many different things that even the fussiest eater could never ever starve. From the buffet, I had two “appetiser” plates of Shrimp, Crab Legs, Eggplant with Feta Cheese, Grilled Vegetables, Hoummous, Caprese and a Shrimp Bloody Mary.
I ordered both the Chilled Strawberry Soup and the Grape and Gorgonzola Pizza – the same two things I had loved on the Disney Wonder two years previously. I am pleased to say that they are just as good as what I remembered. I was contemplating ordering another pizza but the desserts had caught my eye.
Despite not having dessert very often, the desserts in Palo are just so small and perfect that you cannot help but save room for them. I had the Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Tiramisu, Strawberry Tartlet before finishing with the Mixed Berries in Champagne.
Since our last cruise, the cost of Palo has increased from $20 to $30 but in my opinion, it is worth every penny. If we can get a Palo brunch reservation on our next cruise, we will definitely go without hesitation. After eating all of that amazing food, we desperately needed to start working some of it off so changed back into some comfortable clothes and started walking laps of Deck 4.
We then headed to the Connect@Sea desk to sort out a problem with our internet package. We had purchased the 1GB package for $89 on the first day of the cruise which despite turning off every setting imaginable on our iPhones and iPads had disappeared within fifteen minutes of first use. I had only uploaded one photo to Facebook so knew that 1GB could not have disappeared from just that. There was a really helpful gentleman at the desk who after looking at our phones and checking the computer instantly recognised the problem. It seems that Apple devices when connected to wifi and plugged into power automatically download any new iOS software updates in the background without you realising – this annoyingly happens despite turning off automatic downloads and there is no way to turn this “feature” off. It seemed to be a common occurrence onboard (there was always people at the desk) so they automatically recredited all of the data that had vanished which was amazing and completely unexpected. So the moral of the story is when using Connect@Sea wifi, do not plug your iPhone or iPad to any power source and turn the wifi off when not using it or charging. Our 1GB internet package ended up lasting us until the final day at Castaway Cay.
We then headed towards the lobby atrium to join the line to meet Mickey and Friends at 3:00pm. There was a short line there when we arrived which we expected as these group character photo opportunities are incredibly rare – they tend to only happen on the Transatlantic and Panama Canal cruises – however the line at 3:00pm was quite long. Whilst you are in the line they let you know the rules for the group photos which are no autographs and only one photo per group so no switching people in and out which is great as it means the line moves incredibly quickly. Also have your camera ready when you are at the front of the line as one of the character handlers will still take a photo for you.
We then headed to both Mickey’s Mainsail and Sea Treasures to do a little more shopping. We had already bought quite a few bits and pieces in the first few days but there was some other things we wanted to buy. One word of advice on the long cruises is if there is anything you really want to buy, get it as soon as possible as they do sell out. I’m so happy I got the two Christmas decorations I wanted as well as the Animator’s Palate butter knives on the first night we boarded as these quickly disappeared from the shop. I did see a hoodie which I liked however I was unsure when I tried it on so decided to think about it.
Our next stop was the Oceaneer Lab for the Open House – the only time adults are allowed into the kids clubs. Before our cruise, an equally Disney-mad friend had told me about the Lab and how it is connected to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers who are also represented in Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland and Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea. This time it’s Captain Mary Oceaneer’s collection of artifacts and treasures that are on display for you to enjoy.
One little detail that I always remember from doing a guided tour of Disneyland Paris years ago was to add 100 years to most dates you see and that new date will mean something. It proved true once again as a photo and plaque showed the Maiden Voyage of the Oceaneer Lab on 30 July 1898 – add 100 years to make it 1998 and the new date was the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Magic.
I will admit I was slightly geeking out as I love when all these different attractions from around the world all link in to one story and completely loving the fact that as I had been to these places. There were newspaper cuttings about the Grand Opening of the Hightower Hotel as well as a photo of Lord Henry Mystic and Albert the Monkey.
Harrison Hightower has Shiriki Utundu, Lord Henry Mystic has Albert the Monkey so of course Captain Mary Oceaneer would have to have a trusty companion so we are introduced to Salty the Parrot. I loved seeing the photos of Mary Oceaneer and Salty searching for treasures however my favourite thing in the whole room was Salty’s diving suit on display – it was so cute!
As it was now quite late in the afternoon, it was a perfect time to head outside to the pool for a little while. This to us was really the best time to be out as it was peaceful, most of the sunlounger hoggers had gone inside for the day and the sun was nowhere near as strong so you did not have to constantly worry about getting sunburnt. We got some pizza to eat and for the first time ever, we saw one of the hot tubs was empty so ended up sitting there for a while just relaxing.
Once again we missed the show as both of us had absolutely zero interest in seeing “Junnk” – again not our thing. Before dinner we headed to the lobby atrium as we’d been told the day before by one of the Cast Members that the characters would be out in their tropical outfits. Mickey was out before dinner whereas a lot of the other characters were due to be out much later that evening.
Tonight’s dinner was in Carioca’s and it was the rotational South American menu. As is standard I ordered a Mojito de Casa followed by the Deep Fried Lobster Croquetas and the Jalapeño Tomato Soup which was heavenly. For my main course I asked if they would be able to do the Lobster, Shrimp and Salmon Skewer without the Salmon which they could do. I did not have anything for dessert as there simply was not anything that I liked or caught my eye. I thought I would struggle to eat at Carioca’s before the cruise but they had changed the menu since I’d looked online so there actually was more choice than before. I am glad I did have the pizza by the pool though.
At the end of the meal, Minnie Mouse made an appearance in Carioca’s to show off her salsa dancing skills. Once again the show was over quickly (still not as quick as Lumiere’s the night before) but I did love that she danced to Minnie, Oh Minnie as once again it brought back some happy Tokyo Disneyland memories.
After our meal we waited to meet Chip and Dale, Goofy, Donald and Minnie – the lines were definitely a lot shorter compared to the start of the cruise. Also the number of people wanting various random items autographed had also gone down which definitely helped how quickly the lines moved. One thing I love about the longer cruises is the better character interaction that starts to happen as the days go by.
As we were waiting to meet Donald, Goofy saw me as he walked past on his way back in and quickly grabbed me and signalled for my boyfriend to take a photo. This happened quite a few times during the cruise and that photo I have is hysterically funny due to the absolute look of death I’m getting from the woman behind me in line. It wasn’t any special treatment but the fact that we had been chatting away most days to one of Goofy’s friends since the cruise started.
Back in our room our latest edition to our Towel Zoo was waiting which was a snake. They’re not my favourite things in the world but it definitely deserved to be in our zoo. We had another note to remind us to set our clocks back another hour – another hour in bed! Before falling asleep, I studied the Personal Navigator for the following day – we had the Freezing the Night Away deck party due to take place and I was definitely looking forward to that.