Disney Dream: Top (Not Quite) Ten Tips to Making the Most of Being Onboard

I was hoping to be able to offer a top ten list of some really great tips I learned through my own experiences on board the Disney Dream, but like when it came to paying my stateroom bill, I came up a bit short. So here’s hoping some of what I learned the hard way can help some of you.

Outsmart Your Smart Room
Hopefully they’ll tell you at check-in, but in order to make your stateroom lights, television and air conditioning/heating operational, you’ll need to insert your Key To The World (KTTW) into the slot next to the door. This automatically returns those elements to their last on/off configuration. It’s meant to be an energy saver but can also be less than desirable sometimes. So rather than just leaving your KTTW inside the slot, use any (credit-card size) card that fits into it. Even the slip of paper on which they write your stateroom number at check-in is reported to do the trick!

Get to Know Your Bath/Shower
One of the coolest (and hottest!) elements of the Disney Dream staterooms is the combination bathtub and shower. It’s also one of the strangest to learn how to operate (this is where having a photo would really come in handy). In the absence of a photo, here’s my attempt at explaining just how to make most of the innoventive bathroom appliance:

There are three controls to the bath/shower: The temperature knob, the water valve and the drain control. The drain control is by itself and will be right below you as you look into the bath/shower. Simply flip the square knob on the top from side to side to open/close the drain.

To turn the water on/off, use the lower lever below the temperature knob. Pull it out to turn on the water, push it back down to turn the water off. To switch between bath, overhead/’rain’ shower and the removable/adjustable showerhead, turn the lever between left, right and center positions.

The temperature knob is the easiest to understand, but has an additional feature: a child safety temperature control. With the lock engaged, the water temperature goes to a very warm and comfortable level. If you wish to get the water even hotter, press the tiny button on the top of the knob in and continue to turn in the heat direction. Warning, it can get VERY hot.

You spent how much!?!
Although you can go to guest services to get your current balance statement, you can also use the MENU button on your in-room television remote and select the Guest Services option to view your current statement (although it can be a bit confusing). While you’re there, check out the on demand services where you can choose from many on-demand films, even non-Disney ones, if you ever get tired of the live ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN and CNN offerings. And they’re all at no additional cost!

The AquaDuck Always Has a Minimum Wait of 20 Minutes Posted
Yes, you read that correctly, it always at least 20 minutes posted. This is simply because the wait time is on a wheel whose times start at 20 (and subsequently go in five minute increments to 60). On the Maiden Voyage, I never even saw the number go higher than 20, although I’ve been assured it has, at least on earlier cruises.

So how do you know if the wait time is really 20 minutes? You can just ask the crew member at the ride’s entrance. One crew member told me an easy way to guess is the staircase that’s out in the open. If passengers reach the lowest platform on the stairs, it’s 40 minutes. When you can barely see someone at the top of the steps, right before it goes inside, it’s about 15-20 minutes. If you can’t see anyone at the top, it’s a 15 minute wait at most.

Midship Detective Agency (the Enchanted Art Game)
If you followed all the Imagineer previews of the Disney Dream and read initial trip reports, you’re already familiar with this interactive game which uses augmented reality technology to take you on a ship-wide tour of the enchanted art to solve a whodunit mystery featuring several Disney villains. Here’s your tip: Other than two decks, the enchanted art you need to visit alternate between the Forward and the Aft of the ship as you move up and down decks. Don’t make that journey for each deck, but simply do every other deck at one time. So for example, if you go to 5 Aft, just continue to 7 Aft, 9 Aft, etc., then cross the ship (maybe even on one of the mid-ship levels) and do the same on the Forward side. Also note that the game is only operational from 9 am – 9 pm as a courtesy to fellow passengers (it does get a bit loud).

You can only see each show once.. unless…
Known for its amazing staged performances, Disney Cruise Line has three amazing shows on board the Disney Dream with one (and a half) exclusive to just her. Each show is performed three times nightly so that all passengers on board have the opportunity to see the show. As a necessary precaution, you will have to check in for your show with your Key to the World card to ensure you’re going to only the show you’ve been assigned to. But there is still hope if you wish to see a show more than once: the standby line. Five minutes before each performance, passengers in the standby line will be permitted to enter the theater on their non-scheduled times, available seating permitting.

Some shopping lines can get very long, but not all of them!
If a line in one of the shops (I’m looking at you, Sea Treasures) is too long for your tastes, you’re actually allowed to simply walk to one of the many other open shops and complete your purchases. Don’t believe me? Ask a crew member!

Elevators are not your friends (sorry)
This is a couple of tips rolled into one, especially since the first part applies to all ships, but especially the Disney Dream where there are many more passengers to share them with. Try to avoid using the midship elevators as much as possible since they are the most popular and you’ll be waiting the longest for them. Instead, go forward/aft depending on your destination and choose the elevators less traveled [in]. Also note that if you’re planning on hitting deck 12, you won’t have much luck doing so via the Aft elevators (not sure about forward). This is because 12 Aft is where you’ll find Palo, Remy and Meridian and no exit to the deck. Instead you’ll have to go to either 11 (through Cabanas, which keeps its doors open all night) or 13 and walk down/up the steps. If 13 is your deck of choice, be forewarned that only the first elevator car on either side of the bank goes to 13. The other pair top out at 12.

One of the best spaces on board is the least obvious
Those lucky, lucky teens. Even if you aren’t one, I encourage you to explore Vibe on the first day when it has its open house (don’t forget the Oceaneers Club and Lab too! (you can skip Edge)). The ‘problem’ with Vibe is that despite the ship maps at the elevators showing it on deck 5, its entrance is actually on deck 4. To get to it properly, go to deck 4 forward, go outside on the port side (that’s left for you landlubbers) and go under the jogging track where you’ll find steps leading up to it. There is a wheelchair only access point in deck 5 forward, but use that at your own risk/reward/discretion.

Since I couldn’t get to ten, anyone else have some special Disney Dream specific tips to share? I’d love to hear them.

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