We just got home from Alana’s first cruise. We sailed on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, and it just happened that sailing in November means we boarded Disney’s Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise. Many of Alana’s Disney friends would be wearing their Christmas best, so this was a perfect opportunity to do some new character hunting.
Overall, we were extremely successful. We met 27 characters, including 24 that were brand new meet-and-greets.
Before I start, here are a few tips:
- Before boarding, download the Disney Cruise app. Once you sync with the ship’s WiFi, you’ll be able to access an itinerary that lists all character meets, times and exact locations.
- Start early. Lines were much shorter on the first night than the last night.
- Attend all character events. Many of the events seemed like nothing, but there would be surprise meets after the event. We missed a few characters because we didn’t realize this in time.
- Focus on rare characters. There’s many common characters on the ship, but it took a lot of time to meet all of these characters. We made time for all formal dinners, all three stage shows (which were amazing), pool time, beach time and more – but there wasn’t any time for resting.
We started by meeting Captain Mickey in the cruise terminal before boarding the ship. This was a lucky break, as we didn’t see Captain Mickey doing meets anywhere else on the ship throughout the rest of the cruise.
During the Sail-Away party, we saw all the core characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale) wearing their nautical/sailor uniforms. These are the regular character meets through the year, but not during Halloween and Christmas – and again didn’t see most of them on the ship.
FORMAL CHRISTMAS CHARACTERS
Besides meeting White Christmas Sweater Mickey on the first night, we didn’t find any formal Christmas characters until the third and final day of the cruise. In the afternoon, Mrs. Claus read a story and invited the children to make a wish. Their wish came true when these formal characters came out for a 10 minute meet-and-greet. Later in the night, during the Going-Away party, the characters appeared but again only for 10 minutes. The last meet was extremely busy because all the families were around for their formal pictures, but we managed to meet a few friends before they had to go away.
Finding Mickey in his White Christmas Sweater was a real treat. We found him on the first night, so when he appeared again on the third day, we were able to skip him and focus on other characters – and avoid his line, which was the longest of the last day.
We also saw Santa Goofy and Mickey in a Christmas Tuxedo, but these are characters that we’ve met previously at Walt Disney World, so we passed to focus on new meets.
GREEN CHRISTMAS OUTFITS
I was surprised to find that characters met in multiple Christmas outfits, doubling the number of meets we were able to do. In addition to the formal outfits above, we also met a variety of friends wearing green shirts/dresses covered with poinsettias.
Donald in his green shirt met with guests at Castaway Cay just outside the ship first thing in the morning. Daisy also met outside, but was wearing her formal Christmas outfit. Not sure if she has a green Christmas dress like Minnie.
Chip and Dale in their green Christmas shirts. Also just outside the ship at Castaway Cay, but in the late afternoon while guests were returning to the boat. We were already on the ship, so we had to leave again to see them.
The end of Day 2 was Pirate Night on board the ship. Alana went to the newly-opened Bippity Boppity Boutique to get dressed as Caribbean pirate “Charlotte Goldstealer”, a name given to her by the Boutique. We seized the opportunity to meet as many pirate characters as we could.
I also saw pictures of Pirate Goofy and Pirate Minnie, but had to miss them. The cruise schedules activities so no one misses 5:45pm dinner or 8:30pm shows, so they pile up a lot of characters at once, forcing you to make some decisions. This is where the app comes in handy. Not only can you plan your time, but you can also choose your activities and your app will plan your itinerary out and send reminders.
While on the ship, we found some other cool characters – but the best was Princess Minnie.
In addition to the pictures above, we saw many other characters. Kids areas had dance parties with Jake (of the Neverland Pirates) and Sofia The First. Donald in his Green Christmas Shirt led a “Shake Your Tailfeather” dance party in the kids’ area. You could meet princesses in the lobby of the ship, but needed to get free tickets on the first day before they were gone. We saw Belle (in her yellow gown), Cinderella and Rapunzel. The schedule also said there were tickets available to meet Anna and Elsa, but we never saw them on the ship. We also chose to skip characters we’ve sen before, like Santa Goofy and Christmas Formal Suit Mickey.
Overall, we had an incredible time. It was exhausting and busy but worth the effort and the photos turned out even better than I could hope.
To check out all of our photos, make sure you follow our Instagram account (filled with Alana’s meets with friends in Disney and Universal) at www.instagram.com/alanaexplains.