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The “Double Dip”

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For you non-Disney Cruise Line people, “double dip” refers to getting two stops/port days at Disney’s private island, on one cruise. We thought we might not ever get one of these. Now this is the 2nd in 5 months!

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Spoilers Alert: Today was much like Wednesday. A slightly later start meant a 7:30am alarm for a Room Service delivery of 7:30-8am. Kara was on the virtual queue, today getting #53 and an expected departure of 8:40-8:50am. It was right on schedule as usual.

Kara: We decided last night not to “rush” things this morning so we put a 7:30 - 8:00 wake up time on our room service order ticket last night. We were both awake before this as the sound of the ship docking is nearly always a wake up call.

A note on the 24 hour room service. The speed on this cruise was astounding. We use them a lot on all of our cruises and we could not get over how fast room service was every time on this cruise. That said, they made a slight error in the order as they only gave Gayle one piece of toast and gave me two croissants. My error was the bigger one in that G’s toast was wrapped up with a bagel and, as G said, I didn’t feel up the breakfast breads well enough so she ate half the bagel before realizing her toast was actually at least partially there.

As we disembarked to the island, there is a lovely couple ahead of us in line with someone we presumed to be their daughter. The older woman was wearing a Happy Birthday crown so I made sure to wish her a happy birthday. She giddily turned and informed me she was 90 years old!!! And, not to be outdone, her husband would turn 90 the very next day!!!. I hope I’m still Disney Cruising at 90 years old. #lifegoal.

For some reason Kara elected to stay on the Family side of the island (vs the adult-only) and picked the exact same spot. The shade of the building apparently won-out over likely dealing with the loud group again. It was just a touch warmer today, more likely from virtually no wind. (Also kudos to Kara who got me new swim shoes and swimmy cover-up for Christmas; both were perfect!)

The morning began lovely in the shade & under the umbrella each of us read novels. Then the sun came out, and with no wind, it got a bit stifling pretty quick. We again headed to Cookies Too for a slightly different lunch. This time I got a cold corn salad and honey-glazed salmon; both were great! (And more Big Island Cookies - shhhhh!)

The afternoon was tougher as the heat & sun remained, but the water was too “refreshing” for us to plunge into. On that note Kara originally said she would do a water slide on Pelican Plunge, but that was never realized. I was reading a magazine, but got too hot to concentrate, even on consuming my water.

Kara: We both stuck our feet in the water a couple of times today but decided those February nights were still making it too cold for us to get in and play (alas, I decided not to do Pelican Plunge today since I remembered we’d be back in September on the Wish when it will likely be sweltering and we may also fit in a May cruise when it will also be sweltering).

It’s a challenge to describe this, so far it sounds sweltering. However, before the sun was full-on, it was my perfect temperature day - but we have no idea what the temperature was!

From the first visit I really wanted a fruity drink. (Actually I just wanted a popsicle, but those aren’t an offering.) So Kara and I split a virgin strawberry daiquiri, which was perfectly refreshing! Soon we were a bit torn, not wanting to leave paradise, but the sun took its toll - & knowing all the tasks to still be accomplished. So we headed back to the ship just after 2pm.

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Kara: We both read and just laid in our chairs enjoying utter tranquility (My book this trip was Brene Brown’s “Atlas of the Heart”. This is definitely not a light beach read but an enjoyable book nonetheless if you’re interested in learning more about the language of emotions and feelings. Tranquility was one of my favorite emotions or experiences to read about in the book - especially doing so on Castaway Cay.)

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One note on food at lunch. We enjoyed lunch and I, stupidly, went back for more salmon and ended up with fruit and a brisket sandwich (I just wanted to try the brisket and didn’t realize it was on a sandwich). The brisket was not good - tasting almost slimy to me. I’m from America’s Heartland. My people know how to smoke a brisket. That was NOT IT. The salmon though was delicious and I felt absolutely stuffed after all that food.

We headed back to our beach spot and most of the beach had completely emptied out. We read a bit longer and then I could tell Gayle was getting too hot (her chair was a bit less shaded than mine was). We took another stroll in the water and then she decided to go find a fruity beverage of some sort - something she’d been talking about the whole trip. She came back with a single daiquiri split between two glasses which, for us, was absolutely perfect. As she said - a slush strawberry popsicle. I would NEVER have thought to ask them to split the drink between two glasses but it was absolutely the perfect sized serving. Thanks again Bestie!

Back onboard we headed to Guest Services (before it got crazy) to break some bills, put a Placeholder on my Disney Visa card (different than my onboard account charges), and for Kara to apply a gift card for extra tips. Back at the room I began the worst task ever on vacation - packing. I was steadily at work while Kara showered and then we switched. (Per the cookies I think there is a high probability my bag will be overweight. I told you the molasses in them is heavy; plus they aren’t called “Big Island Cookies” for nothing!”)

Before 4pm we’d done as much as we could at this point, as we’d still have a clothing change from dinner to bed to add to the task. Kara also penned and organized the tip envelopes and we each applied the new luggage tags to our bags. We enjoyed our verandah until we left the dock just after 5pm. Again the temperature was perfect as we left the verandah door open as we went back and forth continuing to get things ready.

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Kara: The island crew did a wave off tonight which I mentioned being sad they didn’t do on our first day on the island. We talked a lot about how frenzied Castaway Cay has to be right now with all of these additional double dips the ships are doing since so many ports are still changing/closing as a result of COVID. I wondered but we’ve not checked if the send offs by the island crew can only really be managed on days when they don’t have another ship coming in the next day and therefore don’t have quite so much work to completely prep the island again before another ship comes in the next day.

Soon, we were underway at a very gentle cruising speed since we only have about 50 miles to travel to make it to Miami. Normally, the sail back to Port Canaveral is “brisk” but this will be a gentle overnight sail - even if it is supposed to rain a bit. Overall, these have been the calmest seas I’ve ever experienced on a cruise. Given all the first time cruisers on this ship they are not getting a realistic experience of cruising as there has been almost no motion at all throughout the entire cruise.

Gayle and I had packed, showered and readied ourselves for dinner and found ourselves just sitting and staring at the walls with a few minutes left to go before it was time to go to dinner so I asked Gayle if she wanted me to do a dance or wanted to go explore a bit. She opted for me dancing. She queued up Aladdin and I improvved a dance to it. Thankfully the music was on her phone so she couldn’t video record my silliness.

With that bit of fun out of the way we were off to dinner in Lumiere’s.

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We headed down to Lumiere’s for our final 5:45pm dinner. This is a meal we have virtually every cruise, as the menu is a staple for the Atrium restaurant: Chilled shrimp & lobster appetizer and pasta with lobster for our entree. The pasta sauce is a heartier (Kara says rustic) version of the Palo pappardelle, It is delicious to the point Kara and I both finish every bit of that dish; the issue is that it’s so filling! Kara also added a farmhouse salad.

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Kara: This is a pretty restaurant but of the four existing atrium restaurants it is the most plain of all of them. We had a table by the door which I was a little concerned about at first but it actually ended up being excellent (stay tuned).

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Ashley and Kemong took care of dinner service in excellent fashion. I like to cook and so indulge me here for a moment as I chronicle as much for me as for you a bit more about our dinner. Tonight is my favorite bread service - a simple French bread with an olive and caper dipping sauce. Until tonight, I’d not figured out the capers and have made just an olive and garlic version of this back home. I actually now know why I like my version better but I may experiment with capers or maybe just a little lemon back home. Additionally, this is a favorite appetizer/salad course. The appetizer is cold shrimp with a light olive oil/dill dressing and a piece of lobster. I’ve made this shrimp dish several times and put it on a salad back home. The farmhouse salad is also one of my faves - with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, a goat cheese crostini and more of that wonderful olive/caper dressing.

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During the appetizer/salad course it was clear that cast members were coming in to prepare for a little show with Mickey and friends. This is where our placement right by the door was a real win as we got the first view of all the characters including my main squeeze - PLUTO!  The show was cute and gave everyone in the restaurant an opportunity to see all the characters and get a little bit of interaction.

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Here is a quick video of the celebration:

For dessert Kara only got a Mickey Ice Cream bar, while this time I got both the Grand Marnier Soufflé and the vanilla creme brûlée. The issue is usually one of them is off. Last time the Soufflé was really under done; this time it was perfect! The sugar top of the crème brûlée was perfect, but something was off with the custard that possibly it wasn’t properly mixed or had separated.

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Kara: Have respect. There is no ONLY about a Mickey Ice Cream Bar with Mickey Head sprinkles.

We said our farewells and presented the gratuity envelopes to our serving team. The plan was to head to the piano bar, but the live entertainment didn’t start for another half-hour. So it was back to the room to change, finalize our bags to set outside the room to be taken down to the hold tonight, and write this. Thus, we won’t be going back out to the piano bar or to enjoy the air & sailing on an open deck. (It’s supposed to rain tonight anyway, and apparently we are moving through a cold front, so it’s only going to be in the high 50s when we dock in Miami!)

As usual we aren’t ready to get off the ship, but alas. While tomorrow is simply a travel day home, I’ll create a post about it and more so what is/might be coming up in the future! Stay tuned!

Kara: Our stateroom host, Saddam, was outside our room and said he’d prepared a special surprise for us. While neither of us are really fans of this particular animal, it was the first time we’d ever had this as one of our towel animals.

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Here is a video of us walking into the room as Saddam was outside our room when we arrived and he warned us of his special creation for us.

Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!

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