1. Disney Magic Transatlantic Cruise: Day Nine – At Sea

    It was once again another early start as I woke up at 5:30am. Thankfully I was able to fall back asleep after a little while and when I woke up again, it was 8:30am – much better as it was due to be a long day as the Pirates in the Caribbean fireworks would be happening in the evening. When I went out to our balcony, it was grey and miserable outside and for the first time this cruise, it started to rain. After watching Muppets Most Wanted on the television with a cup of tea for breakfast, I had a shower and whilst getting dressed, I could hear thunder outside.

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    Once ready (and remembering to wear closed toe shoes as stated on the tickets), we headed to Preludes a little early to meet for our backstage tour of the Walt Disney Theatre which was due to start at 10:10am. There was a short line already waiting and small groups of people were departing every five minutes to start the tour. We only waited a few minutes before our tour started and we entered the back of the theatre via the sound, lighting and automation booths. No photography was allowed on the tour hence why there are no photos.

    After walking through the theatre and onto the stage, we were taken down beneath the stage using the stage lift which was pretty cool. It was also fascinating to see that there are crew cabins squashed into the backstage area too. As there are many shows performed on each cruise, we were shown all the sets which were stored ready for each show as well as the props, wigs and costumes. They explained about the costume changes and we were all given a chance to lift Cinderella’s dress from Twice Charmed which was heavier than my suitcase when travelling. We were also told that it was usually more cramped backstage but they had some extra room at the moment as the sets and costumes for the new Tangled musical had not been loaded onboard yet. The tour ended in O’Gill’s Pub which we entered directly from the backstage area of the theatre where a member of the technical crew explained how all the entertainment systems are controlled onboard.

    As we had not had breakfast yet, we decided to go up to Deck 9 to get some pizza. It was still raining heavily and the looks of misery and disgust on the people who usually sunbathed all day showed – it was the first time I had seen the pool areas as empty as that. A few people were sat under the covered areas by the Goofy pool watching Peter Pan on the Funnelvision. You could also tell how many people on the ship were bored because there was “nothing for them to do” in the bad weather as the Connect@Sea wifi was so slow due to the amount of people using it.

    I was keeping my fingers crossed that the rain would clear up later in the day so the fireworks would go ahead. There are no fireworks on the Alaskan sailings so this cruise was the first time we would be experiencing them. As they are weather dependent, I had been telling myself for ages that there was a chance that they might not happen – I always do this and then if things do happen, it’s a bonus and it avoids disappointment.

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    As we had a little bit of time before the pirate group character photo, we headed back to our stateroom where we had been left some pirate bandanas on the bed.

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    As we knew the pirate character group photo at Midday would be busy we joined the line on Deck 3 at 11:25am and at that time, the line was just around the corner from the lobby atrium along the corridor next to Lumiere’s. The ship was noticeably busier inside today due to the bad weather outside so getting in line early was the best thing we could have done. At 11:40am the line was back to the door at the back of Lumiere’s and at 11:50am, the line was through to the Promenade Lounge.

    One thing that completely shocked me was the amount of people wearing costumes not only for this one photo but for the rest of the day too – some people must have brought extra cases of clothes with them just for this one day alone. There were some elaborate, over-the-top costumes as well as some people wearing just a pirate t-shirt or the bandanas that had been left in the staterooms to some taking the “Slutty Pirate” theme a bit too far – way too much skin showing!

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    Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Captain Hook, Mr Smee and Chip and Dale arrived and the normal group photos rules of no autographs and only one photo per group applied once again. Lots of people were arriving in the lobby just after 12:00pm and were incredulous and quite vocal when they saw how long the line was. Just under ten minutes later, we got to the front of the line to have our photo taken before heading up to Deck 4 for a spot of people watching.

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    We watched lots of people unsuccessfully try to avoid the “only one photo per group rule” as well as others trying to get as much time with the characters as possible – this resulted in Stitch actually shooing people but especially children away which was hysterical to watch. Another family did not have their camera ready even after waiting in line for so long which caused Mickey to sit down whilst they were trying to get the camera working.

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    They kept the line for the characters open until 12:30pm and the characters stayed out until everyone in line got their photo which was about 12:50pm – much longer than they normally would be out for. Just before 12:50pm we saw one family run into the lobby atrium and try to get into the line. Thankfully they were told no as this would not have been fair to all the other people who had turned up late and were refused – if they had looked at their Personal Navigator then they would have known what time to turn up like so many people had done. The mother even tried a crying fit to get some sympathy and was still told no and that the characters would all be out individually later in the day – the Character Manager did really well by standing his ground and dealing with her pathetic “meltdown”.

    Once the characters had disappeared, the lobby atrium was empty so we used the time to get some photos of the Helmsman Mickey statue with no one in the background. I have read that this statue is based on the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial in Massachusetts which also makes sense as to why there is also the same Helmsman Mickey statue in the Cape Cod area of Tokyo DisneySea.

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    After only having a slice of pizza each for “breakfast” that morning, we were both starving by this point so we headed to Cabanas to get some lunch before another chilled afternoon of exploring the ship.

    The rain had stopped and it was much brighter outside than earlier in the day. Once again the sun lounger hoggers were back out in force – they had probably been waiting to grab their favourite spot since the morning. The wifi speed had also improved massively as people were now back outside happily frying themselves in the sun instead of sitting inside being miserable.

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    They were also working on the lifeboats and you could see inside them from the windows along Deck 5.

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    After visiting the Oceaneer Lab earlier in the week, we thought it would be fun to also visit the Oceaneer’s Club. There was an Open House most of the afternoon and when we arrived there, it was empty. After using the amazing hand washing machines, we headed to Andy’s Room to go down the Slinky Dog slide – great fun!

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    We had noticed on the Personal Navigator that Pirate Mickey was due out at 4:45pm followed by Pirate Chip and Dale at 5:00pm and Pirate Minnie at 5:15pm. They were all scheduled to be out three times each that evening but we decided to go and see them early as the lines would be busy nearer dinner time and we also wanted to see the show that night when the other time was.

    Whilst we were waiting for Pirate Mickey, I saw something that I had never seen before. One of the families in front of us did not seem to trust anyone to take a photo of them so took their time setting up their massive tripod with a tiny camera on top before pressing the self timer button and running to join their family and then waiting for the picture to take. I could see the screen of their camera from where I was standing and it was not a great photo at all – the cropping and picture quality looked awful. As we waited our turn, the character handler even commented how strange it was and that she had never seen that happen before. We have no issues with the character handlers taking our photos with one of our SLR’s – I still have not purchased a single photo onboard from Shutters on either of our cruises as our own photos have always been wonderful.

    We were going to meet Pirate Chip and Dale however when we looked up at Deck 4, a long line had already built up so we decided to wait for Pirate Minnie as we would be one of the first in line and see Chip and Dale later on in the evening just before dinner.

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    After having a shower back in our stateroom, we headed to the Walt Disney Theatre to see a show for the first time during this cruise. The show was “An Evening of Song and Dance with Gavin Lee” and as I am a huge musical fan, I had been looking forward to seeing him since I saw it listed in the Personal Navigator a week beforehand when we boarded in Barcelona. He sung songs from musicals including Top Hat, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast. I loved the slight lyric change at the end of Master of the House from Les Miserables to make it “Disney friendly” – glass and arse was changed to flash and cash. The show was incredible and I loved every minute of it. I’m hoping that Gavin Lee will still be in Les Miserables on Broadway when I see it over Thanksgiving weekend later this month.

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    Just before 8:00pm, we made our way down to Deck 4 and ended up being first in line to meet Pirate Chip and Dale. Captain Hook and Mr Smee were still meeting people and once again, we saw a family completely ignore one of the cast members who said the line to meet them was closed and push past to get a photo – disgusting behaviour. There was also a lot of commotion on Deck 3 where a group of what can only be described as attention whores in a crazy, over the top costume were waiting to meet Minnie. We saw them again a few minutes later when we were in Mickey’s Mainsail – they were so loud and you could hear them a mile off.

    We were halfway to Carioca’s before I remembered that we were in Lumiere’s for dinner that night. Just as we turned around to use the stairs by Shutters, we bumped into Captain John. We were able to talk for a few minutes about different things and I got my answer to the question that I had been wondering about a few days beforehand which is he definitely would not have gone down the Aquadunk if he had lost the Wii Bowling Challenge – in fact, he has never been on it.

    On our cruise to Alaska, our server Sunil had told us that if we ever wanted a curry for dinner to let him know. We did not take him up on the offer back then however on this cruise, neither of us had been looking forward to the Pirates in the Caribbean menu. We had spoken to our Head Server Sudhir a few days beforehand and he was more than happy to arrange a curry for both of us for dinner. This also worked out well as for the first time ever, we wanted to eat quickly because of the deck party and fireworks afterwards.

    The curry we had for dinner was absolutely incredible – that as well as the paratha bread they had made was delicious and a hundred times better than anything on the Pirates in the Caribbean menu. On our next cruise, we will definitely be asking for a curry again on Pirate Night.

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    After our amazing dinner, we headed straight to Deck 10 ready for the Pirates in the Caribbean deck party. There were only a few people waiting already and we got a great spot close to the Aquadunk so we could watch the show with no obstructions and see the fireworks without having to turn around.

    Unfortunately it had been raining again on and off all night so the crew were trying their best to try and dry the stage. It was also quite windy so at this point, I was thinking that there was no way that the fireworks were going to happen.

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    Both Decks 9 and 10 started to fill up very quickly and thankfully the rain was holding off for the time being. There was definitely more people out than what there had been for the Freezing the Night Away party a few nights beforehand. Before the party started, some of the cruise staff were playing The Challenge of Davy Jones on the Funnelvision.

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    Before we knew it, the party was underway with Mickey letting us know that no matter what happened, he was on our side. The music started, the characters appeared and Minnie slipped on the wet stage and fell. Thankfully the show carried on and Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale danced to I Love It, Call Me Maybe, Birthday, What Makes You Beautiful, Moves Like Jagger, Timber, Locked Out of Heaven, Can’t Hold Us, Shake It Off and Happy.

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    Captain Hook and his crew took over the party and danced to I Wanna Rock, I Love Rock and Roll, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, You Give Love a Bad Name, Living on a Prayer and The Final Countdown. I could not help it but during this time, I admit I was looking out for Mickey on the second funnel waiting to make his entrance to the party.

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    Mickey arrived to save the day before the fireworks started. With all the wind and rain that we had had that day, I could not believe that the fireworks were actually happening. The fireworks are launched out over the sea from the starboard side of the ship so there are many places you can see them from if you do not want to watch the party.

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    Once the fireworks had finished, we only stayed out on deck for a few minutes as the Club Pirate party started on Deck 9 and the music was incredibly loud. The Cabana’s Pirate Buffet had just opened however the line was insane so we decided to go back to the room and come back to the buffet later. Waiting for us in the room was a towel monkey – the latest addition to our zoo.

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    As well as the Personal Navigator for the next day, we had been left our tip envelopes and another note to tell us of the last time change of the cruise.

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    After fifteen minutes back in our stateroom, we headed back up to Cabanas where the long line from earlier had disappeared. Sadly there was nothing I wanted to eat on the buffet as the selection was not good – the only few vegetarian things I saw were some baked potatos, bananas and taco shells. Thankfully Pinochio’s Pizzeria was still open so I got two slices of pizza to eat instead.

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    One of the most memorable things however on this evening was the Total Lunar Eclipse of the Supermoon also known as the Blood Moon which was clearly visible to the whole ship. It was incredible to see – especially from the middle of the ocean with no light pollution to ruin the view – and I’m so happy that the skies were so clear so we could see it.

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