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2024 brings us to our family’s 3rd Disney cruise! This year, we went back to the East Coast to revisit the Caribbean, with a different port (Port Everglades), ship (Disney Dream), and itinerary (Grand Cayman) than our first… or so we thought! The itinerary was supposed to be:

  • Day 1 – Depart Ft Lauderdale / Port Everglades
  • Day 2 – Sea Day (Marvel Day at Sea)
  • Day 3 – Grand Cayman
  • Day 4 – Sea Day
  • Day 5 – Castaway Cay
  • Day 6 – Debarkation at Ft Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale

We flew into Miami (MIA) the afternoon before, to help ensure that we had plenty of time to make the ship! The last thing you want to do is miss the cruise! We took a ride to Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the “Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale 17th Street”. We had chosen this hotel, due to proximity AND a package deal with a shuttle to the port.

The hotel… is rundown and not something I’d recommend. The rooms were not in great shape, the breakfast situation was chaos. The breakfast food was largely undercooked if you could even get anything. If you read online reviews, you’ll find this is not an uncommon experience. We knew the risk going into it, but the package with the shuttle service was appealing

The shuttle… was run by a third party. They had a small shuttle/bus, with trailers for luggage. We had paid for the shuttle with the room, and a scheduled time. We went to the lobby at the appropriate time, and they split us off to other areas. At least 3 other cruises were gathering to take shuttles as well, so it was pretty busy. The shuttle took us to the port and didn’t have to touch the luggage! It was quite convenient, as the shuttle took the luggage off and handed it to the porters to take onto the boat. This was quite a bit nicer than our experience at Port of Miami or San Diego.

Port Everglades

Disney Cruise Line - Port Everglades

Our prior cruises were all at “normal” ports, while Port Everglades has a Disney-specific port. The experience was drastically better and more enjoyable than we had experienced yet. The port was all inside/covered, which made weather a non-issue and there were a lot of cast members guiding you on where to go.

Disney's Port Everglades Port waiting area
Disney’s Port Everglades waiting area

We were brought up to the initial check-in, followed by security, and to the general waiting area. It all went quite quickly and smoothly. We did have an issue with two of the Disney MagicBand+ we had purchased for the cruise. There was a dedicated desk to get help and solve these issues. Before we knew it, they were calling our boarding group to go on the ship!

Onboard the Disney Dream

Our boarding time was around noon, and that meant it was time for lunch! So, we headed to Cabanas to get some FOOD! While Cabanas might not be the most amazing food on the ship, it has a lot of options and is a welcome sight to these weary travelers.

Not much later, we were able to head to the staterooms, which were available ~1:30pm.


This sailing had us located in adjoining rooms 8658 and 8660. You’ll notice these are verandah rooms, near the aft elevators of the ship. Although we were very close to the elevators, the traffic and noise were never an issue for us. Becky was able to create some additional magnets for our doors, as we continue to grow our collection.

First Dinner : Animator’s Palate

Disney Dream - Animators Palate
Disney Dream – Animators Palate

Our dinner rotation started at Animator’s Palate. We were in the first seating, after being waitlisted and finally getting it! The Animator’s Palate on the Dream is quite a bit different than Wonder or Magic. When we sailed the Wonder and Magic, you would start by drawing a picture that was animated later in the meal. However, on The Dream, the entertainment is focused on Pixar’s Crush from Finding Nemo.

AppetizerBlack Truffle Pasta Purseittes
SoupBaked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup
Main CourseLemon-Thyme Marinated All-Natural Chicken Breast
Drink of the DayBahama Mama
DessertChocolate Fudge Cheesecake
My choices for dinner on night one


After dinner, we decided to walk around a little and take some character photos. Eventually, the kids were ready to hang out in the Oceanears Club for a little while. Becky and I took the time to go to “Pink”, a wine and champagne bar on-board. We had a tip from a friend, to check it out. It wasn’t our normal type of place to visit, but we had a great time! It ended up being our go-to spot at night when the kids were in the kids club.

We got back to the room to find our nightly towel animal, and a Marvel window cling/poster, because tomorrow is Marvel Day at Sea!

Stay tuned for more on our adventure!

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