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Anchors Away! The TCD Gang Has Another Dream (cruise)

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Woo Hoo!

The TCD Gang sailed away.

Before we get to the report- let's talk about the title.

My kid brother just retired from the Navy.  I know it's Anchors Aweigh!  Not Anchors Away!

But, there's a reason I did that.

Keep reading- I'll explain.

As you may know by now, the Disney Cruise Line is on the short list of the TCD gang's favorite things.

The only problem is that cruises are dang expensive.

Actually, that's not the only problem.  The other problem is that the TCD gang is currently spread throughout the State of Florida, and the TCD girls have school and job commitments all year long. So, finding time that we can all get together for a cruise is a problem too.

But, where there's a will there's a way.

So, when it looked like everyone's calendars would align, we pounced on a last minute cruise deal offered to Disney CM's (thanks to Twin #2), and on very short notice, we booked our 7th DCL cruise.

It was only a 3 nighter on the Dream, but we have to take what we can get.

We were all pumped.

I took this photo exactly one week ago- it's the TCD gang's DCL antenna topper in place on the TCD Big Blue Excursion.  If it looks a bit beat up to you, it is- it's 12 or so years old- a souvenir from our first DCL cruise.  I'm pretty sure Mrs. TCD has glued the ears back on it a couple of times now:


That photo was snapped right at 7:30 am, as we loaded up and prepared to head east.

For this leg of the journey, it was me, Mrs. TCD, our oldest DD, and Twin #1.  The girls had arrived at the TCD base camp the day before.  Twin #2 was over at her dorm at UCF, which was conveniently located right on our path to the port.  So, we picked her up on the way.

At 10:30 am, even after stopping at Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, and at UCF to retrieve Twin #2, we were speeding across the Indian River, about to catch our first glimpse of the Dream.

As we continued on, we noticed that there were a bunch of cars pulled over to the side of the road, and people were looking up in the sky.

What the heck was this all about?

I couldn't help but look too.

And this is what I saw:


It was a rocket launch!

We knew nothing about that.

But, that's exactly what it was:

Atlas rocket launches for 1st time since March grounding

June 24, 2016 by Marcia Dunn
Atlas rocket launches for 1st time since March grounding
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a U.S. Navy communications satellite lifts off from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Friday, June 24, 2016, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The satellite is designed to …more

America's Atlas rockets are flying again, successfully launching a communications satellite for the Navy.


The unmanned Atlas V rocket blasted into a brilliantly clear sky Friday morning. It was the first Atlas flight by rocket maker United Launch Alliance since March, when a fuel-valve problem popped up on a space station delivery for NASA.

The first stage of that rocket shut down six seconds too soon, but the second stage took control and put the Cygnus cargo ship in the proper orbit. United Launch Alliance grounded its Atlas fleet until it could fix the problem. Everything worked right Friday, according to the company, and the satellite reached its targeted orbit.

The launch was the fifth in a series of advanced Navy communication satellites for use by the U.S. military worldwide.

Less than two weeks ago, the company's Delta IV rocket hoisted a secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Atlas rockets have been launching for almost 60 years. John Glenn rode an Atlas to become the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. The considerably bigger, more powerful Atlas V will be used to launch Boeing's Starliner capsules with space station crews in another couple of years




How cool it that?

As mentioned, this was our 7th Disney Cruise, so we know the drill well when we got to port.  We dropped off our bags with a porter, parked, headed in, went through security, and checked in.

All of that happened with amazing efficiency, and was quite painless.

One new thing for us was DCL's new alcohol policy which was just implemented earlier this year.

The old policy was very liberal- in fact, I don't think they had any restrictions on the type or amount of alcohol that guests could bring on board with them.

The new policy is that each guest over age 21 is allowed to bring one six pack of 12 oz. beers or 2 750 ml bottles of wine.  No hard liquor is allowed in any quantity.

Fortunately for us, the TCD twins just turned 21, so we had the right to bring up to 5 six packs of beer or 10 bottles of wine.  The TCD daughters aren't big beer or wine drinkers, so we didn't even need to bring all of that.

In the good old pre-restriction days, I used a rolling duffel bag to carry the booze.  And I used the same bag this time.  I didn't know if each person had to carry his or her own alcohol allotment, or whether I could have it all in the duffle bag, and explain to the security folks that I was the designated alcohol pack mule for the TCD gang.  I decided that I would just pack the duffel bag, and deal with it at security if there was a problem with that.

There are several lines at security, and several scanners, and it ended up that we got separated and sent through different scanners.  All of the rest of the gang was through security and heading up the escalator when I heaved my duffel bag full of beer and champagne up on the belt to go through the scanner.  I had four guests' worth of alcohol in that bag, and the rest of my party was already gone.  I figured if the security guys stopped me, I would have to call everyone back and explain.  But, that didn't happen.  My bag with 18 beers and 2 champagne bottles when through the scanner, and no one said a word.  Off I went.  The guys at the scanners didn't know if I was the only person over 21 in my party or not.  I share all of this, as it might be useful information for someone who doesn't have 5 over 21 year old guests in his or her party.

I will also share this- there was a lady who went through security right before me who had a bottle of rum in her bag.  They security guys saw that, and confiscated it from her.  She was not a happy camper cruiser.  But, the rules are clear about no hard liquor being allowed.

In case you're not getting my point- I think you can bring more than a six pack or two bottles of wine.  They don't seem to be concerned about that.  But, the hard liquor ban is being enforced.

Anyway, all of that happened, and we were checked in and waiting to board at 11:18 am.

The Disney Cruise Line terminal was built when the only ships they planned to have use it were the Magic and Wonder.  Those ships hold a lot less passengers than the Dream and Fantasy, but the terminal wasn't expanded.  That means it gets kind of crowded leading up to boarding time:


We will eventually board the ship through the passageway under the big mouse ears you see in that last photo.  But, we had about a 20-30 minute wait until that was going to happen.  In the meantime, there are characters coming out for meet and greets- if you look carefully at that last photo, you might see Goofy there in the crowd.

I really don't mind the crowded terminal.  It's fun being in that space with so many excited people all ready to get on the ship.

Plus, we needed some time to get our traditional surprise mouse ear photos:


We weren't quite in the right spot to snap our mouse ear photos, but there was a group of people standing in our spot, so Twin #1 took that photo of me.  She did a good job lining things up.

I took this one, and didn't do as good a job:


As I told Twin #1, though, she had an easier job since I have a big fat head.

At this point, the boarding had already begun.

But we did not score as low a boarding number as we typically do.

That's on me.

Because I caved to the complaints of the TCD girls about how we always get to the cruise terminal too early.  They were right about that.  I always wanted to be at the parking garage for rope drop.  But, that also meant that we sometimes had to wait outside for the terminal to actually open, and we had longer waits inside the terminal after we checked in.  This time, we arrived a little later, and we had a shorter wait inside, but that also meant that the early birds all were boarding before we were.  Next cruise, I'm not caving.  I want a lower boarding number.

We had to stand and watch lots of guests board before our number was called:


The reality is that this really isn't a big deal- the process is quick, and we may, at most, have boarded 5 minutes later than our last cruise.

As they continued to call boarding numbers, I stepped outside on the observation platform for a look at the ship.  She's a beauty:



I think we have had boarding numbers as low as 2 before.  This time, we got 11's:


You can see our cabin numbers on there too- we had booked a "Guaranty" rate for verandah cabins.  That meant that we could be placed in any open verandah cabin, including some that have obstructed views, and we were not guaranteed to be near each other, or even on the same deck.  The trade-off for that is you get a lower rate.  We rolled the dice.  And we won.  Because we ended up with connecting cabins on Deck 10 Aft, which is a pretty desirable location.

Finally, they called for guests with boarding numbers of 11 or lower, and we stormed the ship.

We headed straight up to Cabanas on Deck 11, and I headed to the back where they keep the good stuff, which most newbies don't know about.  I found this fellow ready to cut me a big slab of beef- I took that photo at 11:54 am, which means that seemingly long wait in the terminal was really nothing at all:


We love the boarding day buffet in Cabanas.  The ladies all headed off to their favorite stations, and we found a table right by the window in "our" area of the dining room.  We had a great first meal together.  This was the first time we were all back together since Memorial Day weekend, and it was fun to catch up, and to talk about our plans for the rest of the day and the cruise.

We had turned over the editing and updating of the TCD Gang List of Fun to Twin #1, and after we finished eating and the plates were cleared, it was time for the big reveal.  Here it is:


A lot of things on the List of Fun are repeats from prior cruises, but there are some new ones on there.  Like, "Don't get Termed."  That's something that the twins say.  It refers to their status as Disney employees.  If you do something bad, you get termed, or fired.  That item on the List of Fun was a reminder that we were now cruising with a Disney Castmember and Twin 1 hopes to be a CM again, and we didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that.

If you've seen Finding Dory, you will recognize that Gerald and Becky were honored with places on this year's List of Fun.  If you haven't seen Finding Dory, I strongly urge you to reconsider.

This was our view at lunch- you can't see them in this photo, but there was a small pod of dolphins playing in the water just off the bank of the roadway in the back of this photo:


One of the things on the List of Fun was to get a family photo- this is something that we have neglected on prior cruises, and we didn't want to overlook it again this time.  So, we stopped for one right after lunch:


Have you ever seen that much Lilly Pulitzer gear in one place?

Even my shorts are Lilly.  I received them as a gift from the girls prior to our last cruise.  I think this was only my second time wearing them.  At this rate, I reckon they will last me a while.  Lilly gives clever names to all of its fabric patterns.  The pattern on my shorts is called Anchors Away.  And, that's why I spelled it that way in the title of this trip report.  In case you want to read more about Lilly pattern names, or if you want confirmation that Lilly says Away instead of Aweigh, you can read more about it here: http://www.nauticalbynatureblog.com/2014/02/favorite-lilly-pulitzer-nautical-prints.html

After the group photo, I ducked into a restroom and changed into my swimming gear, and found Mrs. TCD and I a spot up on Deck 12 where we could overlook the pool and Funnel Vision- one change from our last cruise is that I see that they built a cover over the stairs that lead up to the Aqua Duck slide- that's a nice addition.  Speaking of the Aqua Duck, you can see a couple of guests are already riding through that tube at the top right of the photo:


There's one more cool thing you can see in that last photo.  I'll zoom in on it and use my purple crayon to make it easier:


That's the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center.  Where they used to build Space Shuttles.  I guess they built that Saturn V rocket we saw launch today in there too.

Here's a look at the other pool:


You can see that they're showing Castaway Cay up there on the Funnel Vision.  Also, note that there are lifeguards on duty at both pools.  That's something new.  I never understood why they didn't have lifeguards at the pools.  They do now, and that's a good thing- the pools are a lot less crazy now. And, they also will get everyone out of there if they spot a Baby Ruth bar floating in the pool- that's a very good thing.

As you can see, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day.  But, boy was it hot.  After sitting up there on Deck 12 for a while, we went and found the new Satellite Falls water feature up on the front of the boat, and we enjoyed that very much.   The twins had their first official alcoholic beverage on the Disney Cruise, and we loved that. There's a lot of splashing water involved at Satellite Falls, and I also had a cocktail in my hand, so I didn't get any photos of that area on the first day, but I'll have some for you later.

While up top, and before heading down to check out our cabins for the first time, I snapped a photo of the DCL terminal, which is a beautiful building:


That's the DCL parking garage over there- there are many alternatives to parking here, and they are cheaper, but I always park in that garage.  To me, it's not worth the hassle of parking anywhere else and having to use a shuttle:


After hanging out on the upper decks and starting in to the beer stash, we had to go to our lifeboat drill.  This is a serious affair, and I didn't take any photos during it.

Then it was time for the sailaway party.

We headed up for that:


I had moved over here behind this guy with the USA shirt because he kept on showing up on the Funnel Vision, and the List of Fun required me to make an appearance on the big screen:


That trick worked, and I made it on the screen.  The girls all saw me.  But I don't have a photo because my back was to the screen at the time.

This sailaway party drags on a bit more than it needs to, but finally the characters came out- you can see Donald and Daisy up there on the Funnel Vision, but our view from where we were on deck was blocked by lots of Kids on Shoulders (KOS's are a TCD pet peeve):


After Donald and Daisy, they roll out the big guns, and the stage was crowded with Chip and Dale, Goofy, Minnie and even the Captain himself:


As you can see, we couldn't see much of anything from where we were.

But, still, we love the sailaway party.

My favorite part of it is where they do a countdown, and then shoot off streamers ,and we hear the ship's horn for the first time while the engines simultaneously rumble, and the ship shudders and begins to slowly move.

We got none of that.

Nope.  We were standing there looking at all the KOS's and Twin #2 said "Hey! We're moving!"  And we were.  No countdown.  No streamers.  No horn. 


I don't know if someone goofed, or it that's how it's done now, but to me it's not the same without that first horn blast to signify that the cruise has really begun.

Since we were moving, we abandoned the sailaway party, and headed up to the front starboard side of the ship so we could watch land disappear.

That big tower thing was under construction the last time we were here- it looks like it is finally finished:



It's fun to watch the land pass by:


It was about here that the captain sounded the horn for the first time.  He went through the whole repertoire, and we got to hear the new Frozen inspired horn for the first time.

There's Jetty Park.  We've seen much bigger crowds here on previous cruises, but it was a really hot day, so maybe that kept the onlookers away:



If you're ever looking for a nice beach to visit on the Atlantic side of Florida, this one looks pretty sweet:



There's the jetty from which the park takes its name:


After the sailaway, we headed down to our cabins and got unpacked and settled in.

Here's our last view of Florida from our verandah:


The water is so blue- this photo doesn't really do it justice:


We all hurried and made it to the theater in time to catch the Golden Mickeys show.  We've all seen it many times already, but it has been a while, and it was good to see it again.

After the show, we had a pre-dinner cocktail in the Skyline Lounge:




That's a rare Mrs. TCD photo for you, along with me and our oldest DD.  The twins were off doing something else when that photo was taken, but they did meet us here before long.

After that, it was off to dinner.

Our rotation on this cruise began with Animator's Palate.  That was a fun way to start the cruise.

After dinner, we roamed the ship, and checked things out.

It wasn't a late night for us.

We had to be up kind of early in the morning.

That pretty much covers day 1.


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Wow, so much hate.  Black shirts matter, too.  

Oh darn.  And I'm usually so politically correct.  

Woo Hoo! The TCD Gang sailed away. Before we get to the report- let's talk about the title. My kid brother just retired from the Navy.  I know it's Anchors Aweigh!  Not Anchors Away!

1 hour ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

My favorite part of it is where they do a countdown, and then shoot off streamers ,and we hear the ship's horn for the first time while the engines simultaneously rumble, and the ship shudders and begins to slowly move.

We got none of that.


This sounded like the best way to start a cruise and totally gave me goosebumps thinking about experiencing it some day. What a let down that they didn't do it!

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So exciting you got to do another cruise!

A couple things... They did the streamers on our cruise, so it was either a good, malfunction, or a new cut back.

Love the family pic!

And the lifeguards... Disney started those when a near drowning happened on one of their ships. None of the other lines followed. There was another near drowning on a RCCL ship this week. I would like to see the lifeguards go industry-wide.

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