Alana Met Christmas Characters Aboard the Disney Dream

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.

SAILOR FRIENDS

Mickey-Captain-2015-11-20-02-Disney-Dream

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.

Pluto-Sailor-2015-11-20-02-Disney-DreamWe did found Sailor Pluto later on the first day, but this was the last of the Sailor characters we would meet.

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.

Mickey-White-Sweater-2015-11-20-01-Disney-DreamFinding 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.

Minnie-Blue-Snowflake-Dress-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamMinnie Mouse in a cool snowman dress.

Goofy-Christmas-Pajamas-2015-11-22-01-Disney-DreamGoofy wearing what looked like Christmas Pajamas.  Alana was extra excited to meet him!

Donald-Green-Sweater-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamWe’ve seen this Donald in pictures, but very excited to meet him in person.

Pluto-Reindeer-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamReindeer Pluto is one of our favorite pictures from the weekend.  Pluto’s nose should have been red though!

Chip-and-Dale-Striped-Sweaters-2015-11-22-03-Disney-DreamWe’ve met Chip and Dale in various sweaters before, but never in these green and red sweaters.

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.

Mickey-Pluto-Green-Christmas-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamWe found Mickey and Pluto on Castaway Cay.  This particular day was extra windy and we’re lucky they still came out.

Minnie-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamMinnie in her green Christmas dress.  You can see our ship in the background.

Goofy-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamThe first meet on Day 2 ended up being Goofy in his green Christmas shirt.

Donald-Green-Christmas-01-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamDonald 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-Green-Christmas-02-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamChip 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.

Stitch-Poinsetta-Lei-2015-11-22-Disney-DreamStitch met in the afternoon after Chip and Dale.

PIRATE NIGHT

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.

Mickey-Pirate-2015-11-21-01-Disney-DreamPirate Mickey was our top priority and easily had the longest line – maybe 30-40 minutes.

Daisy-Pirate-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamWe missed Pirate Donald, but his line switched to Pirate Daisy, who Alana was just as happy to see.

Chip-and-Dale-Pirates-2015-11-21-04-Disney-DreamPirate Chip and Pirate Dale with Pirate Alana.

Stitch-Pirate-2015-11-21-01-Disney-DreamPirate Stitch was a very popular character to meet.  He met at 10:00pm when there weren’t many activities, so a lot of people came just to see him.

Captain-Hook-and-Mr-Smee-2015-11-21-Disney-DreamWe’ve met Captain Hook and Mr Smee together before, but didn’t have anything else to do at this time so we took the opportunity to see them on Pirate Night.

Captain-Jack-Sparrow-2015-11-21-02-Disney-DreamWe missed meeting Captain Jack Sparrow during Pirate Night, but found him on Castaway Cay with a five minute line.  Very cool location with Caribbean treasure and cannons behind him.

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.

OTHER CHARACTERS

While on the ship, we found some other cool characters – but the best was Princess Minnie.

Minnie-Princess-2015-11-20-02-Disney-DreamAlana was so excited to meet a real Princess on the cruise!

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.

Alana Met The Characters of Star Wars Weekends

Alana Met The Characters of Star Wars Weekends

We thought Star Wars Weekends would be a great opportunity for Alana to have fun finding some new characters, but never imagined she’d fall so in love with the event.  The final night was this past weekend, and yet Alana is currently watching Star Wars Rebels on TV so she can see all of her new friends.

We ended up attending every weekend of the five-weekend event at Hollywood Studios.  In the end, I feel we pretty much nailed every picture we wanted to take.  We discovered that many photo opportunities are not as easy as they seem – and yet, with a LOT of luck and some great friends with some good advice, we managed to nail every single picture we attempted over the course of this event.

Below is a collection of Alana posing with all of the different characters that can be found at Star Wars Weekends.

Luke-Leia-R2D2-C3PO-2015-06-06This picture is our home-run shot of the entire event.  Luke and Leia meet throughout the day, but only limited weekends had all four characters out together – and only for 20-30 minutes per day.  This combined with a 45-60 minute wait made getting at line at just the right time a real challenge.  We were the second to last family to meet them, so it worked out perfectly!

Cantina-Band-2015-05-16-01The Cantina Band is one of Alana’s favorite.  Each band member meets individually, but the band took a liking to Alana and pulled her aside for a quick group picture.  Alana will practice playing an instrument this year so she can be an official band member next year.

Darth-Vader-2015-05-16The force is strong in this little one.  In actuality, we spent 45 minutes in line convincing Alana that Darth Vader is really a puppy dog under the mask – that way, she wasn’t afraid to take her picture with him.  Unfortunately, Vader yelled at Alana the next week so she doesn’t like him again – and rightfully so.  Darth Vader is a jerk.

Darth-Maul-2015-05-23Darth Alana isn’t afraid of Darth Maul – plus it doesn’t hurt that we convinced Alana that Darth Maul is a kitty cat.  Made for some confusing conversations later when Alana would tell other guests.

Greedo-2015-06-06-04Greedo doesn’t meet in the park but does appear at a separately-ticketed character breakfast.  Alana found him leaving the restaurant and quickly used the force to trap him long enough to take a picture.

Stormtroopers-2015-05-23The Stormtroopers are very protective of their own!

Imperial-Forces-2015-06-06The Imperial Guard could tell that Alana was dedicated to the dark side by the way she would only wear her Darth Vader and Stormtrooper outfits.

Queen-Amidala-2015-06-06-02Queen Amidala spent some great quality time with Alana in her private garden.

Chewy-and-Logray-2015-05-23Alana loved getting hugs from Chewbacca and Logray.

Wicket-2015-05-24Alana was really excited about meeting Wicket, so imagine her excitement when Wicket invited her to walk together hand-in-hand through the park.  An absolute joy and such a special moment for Alana.

Disney---Jedi-Mickey-and-Leia-Minnie-2015-05-16Alana really likes the Star Wars characters, but her heart is always with Minnie Mouse.

Disney---Stormtrooper-Donald-and-Darth-Goofy-2015-05-23Stormtrooper Donald took a strong liking to Alana’s Stormtrooper costume.

Jedis---Mace-Windu,-KIt-Fisto-2015-05-16She might not have the hand sign mastered, but Alana really enjoyed her time visiting Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Kit Fisto.

Jedis---Shaak-Ti,-Anakin-2015-05-16 Shaak Ti and Anakin Skywalker also helped Alana with her Jedi training.

Ezra-and-Sabine-2015-05-14Finding Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels was a real treat because they don’t do meets in the park.  Alana found them wandering on the last day, but promised she’d keep their location a secret…

Bounty-Hunter-2015-06-14But deep down, Alana is a Stormtrooper at heart and quickly ratted out her Ezra and Sabine to this bounty hunter.

Boba-Fett-2015-05-30-01Alana was initially scared of Boba Fett but appreciated him by the end of the event.

Jango-Fett-2015-05-24Despite her love for Boba Fett, she never quite felt the same way towards Jango Fett.

Jawas-2015-06-09Alana’s absolute favorites of the entire event at the Jawas.  It’s sad thinking that she won’t get to see these new friends for another year.  They carry a basket of trinkets, so Alana always made sure to bring beads and pins to trade with them.  One Jawa gave her an R2D2 statue, while another gave her a Boba Fett pin, and yet another gave her a small stuff puppy dog named Ati Koki.  It wasn’t just the toys though, as Alana LOVED talking to them, hugging them and overall playing with them.

Disney---Chipwoks-2015-05-23Alana loved seeing the Chipwoks – Chip and Dale dressed as Ewoks!

Clonetroopers-2015-06-14The Clonetroopers didn’t have formalized meets, but rather would choose guests from a crowd to approach and take a photo.  Alana was excited when she’d get chosen for her turn.

Ahsoka-Tano-and-Asajj-Ventress-2015-05-24Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress from Clone Wars were happy to see Alana.  Funny story about this picture.  A random guest took a photo from the side and posted to her Twitter – which was then retweeted by the official Star Wars account.  Next thing I know, people are letting me know that hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are talking about Alana on Twitter.  Seeing as we only use Instagram and Facebook, it was quite the surprise to see the conversation going on.

Captain-Rex-and-Commander-Cody-2015-05-30Captain Rex and Commander Cody, also from Star Wars Clone Wars.

Bith-Pilot-2015-06-10-01While not a member of the band, this Bith is a pilot that would hang out in the Rebel Hangar – a Star Wars Lounge event.  We were lucky that we got a photo with him, as not every character would stop for photos.

Rodian-Mechanic-2015-06-10We also met this Rodian Mechanic at the Rebel Hangar.  He’s not Greedo although he is the same species.

Aurra-Sing-2015-05-24Aurra Sing is a little intimidating, although she was kind enough to sign Alana’s Stormtrooper mask.

Zam-Wessel-2015-05-30Zam Wessel is also a little scary, but Alana eventually warmed up and started calling her Purple Princess.

Tusken-Raiders-2015-06-06-02It took four weeks to convince Alana to take a picture with the Tusken Raiders – but once she found one who made goofy noises and played with her, they suddenly became her best friends.  In the final weekend, she asked every Tusken Raider to take a picture with her.  Needless to say, Alana is no longer scared.

Gamorrean-Guard-2015-05-24Alana never quite warmed up to the Gamorrean Guard, but I don’t blame her.  Those pigs are pretty scary.  This particular weekend, Alana was coloring on the floor when the Guard snuck up from behind.  Alana fled for her life while I snapped a picture that clearly counts as a character meet.

And that’s it.  Five weekends and Alana had a blast finding all these new characters.  It was a great time and Alana is already excited to see everyone again at next year’s Star Wars Weekends event.

Characterpalooza Report for March 1st – Alana found Robin Hood, Evil Queen and More

Characterpalooza Report for March 1st – Alana found Robin Hood, Evil Queen and More

We had an extremely successful visit to Characterpalooza on Sunday, March 1, 2015.  The gates were busier than ever but once inside we had plenty of time to meet everyone we wanted.  And the event was filled with more rare characters than usual – in fact, the only princess available was Snow White!

Pinocchio-and-Geppetto-2015-03-01-640x480Meeting Pinocchio and Geppeto individually is special, but both together is really a treat!

Robin-Hood-2015-03-01-640x480Robin Hood is one of the most rare characters we ever met at Charaterpalooza!

Evil-Queen-2015-03-01-01-640x480The Evil Queen was not impressed with Alana’s attempts to cast magic with her “wand”.

Donald-Blue-Sailor-2015-03-01-640x480Finding Donald in his blue sailor outfit is much more rare than you would expect!

Snow-White-2015-03-01-640x480After meeting the rare characters, Alana always finds time to tell Snow White about the bears living in the woods.