Review of Disney Dream 3-day Cruise (Part 2 of 2)

(Note: A very photo-heavy report after the break!) 


Early the next morning, the ship docked at the private island, Castaway Cay. While the majority of people immediately went to shore, I spent half of the day on the ship, taking in the opportune time to try out the ship’s Aquaduck water slide multiple times thanks to the short (and sometimes nonexistent) line!

The Aquaduck is a water coaster built by WhiteWater West, and is the first water coaster to ever be put onto a cruise ship. After ascending the winding staircase, riders board a double-person inner-tube then are pushed onto the flume via a conveyor belt. From there, the slide does a small dip and enters the first glass section and performs a 270 degree helix to the left. Sliders then enter the first drop and are shot back uphill with water jets, cruise forward for a bit, then repeat it (along with an onride photo) before turning right and entering a enclosed starlight tunnel. After exiting the tunnel, riders make another right turn heading back towards the Aft side of the ship through a straight glass section. Once at the end, the slide dips again, makes a U-turn and comes to a close in the splashdown area where an lifeguard retrieves the raft to put in a lift to bring back to the top.

The slide itself isn’t anything overly thrilling, like those found on the Norwegian Breakaway ship, but the water coaster sections and the 765 foot length makes this slide pretty fun. If those aren’t enough, then the glass helix over the side and glass sections along the edges of the ship are enough to make it a pretty unique ride. Keep in mind that the height requirement for this slide is 54″ to ride alone, so those under that will have to find someone old enough to ride with them.
Soon, we ventured off-ship and onto Castaway Cay. A trolly took us on to the main part of the island where most people were around the beaches and in the water. Part of the beach includes the Pelican’s Plunge floating dock, which houses two body slides that require people to swim out to it (very deep water, but life vests are provided free of charge). The open flume slide has a longer course and consists of a few figure-eight turns, and the enclosed flume does a fast downward helix, both before dumping sliders right back into the water. The floating platform also has a miniature dump bucket and spray guns to aim towards targets placed on nearby rocks.

The main part of the beach was nice, with it’s white sand, free drinks and ice cream (like on the ship), and little touches of Disney theming here and there. There’s a lot of activities provided on the beach as well like snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, and even biking down trails that go deep into the island.

There was one part of the island that blew me away and required a separate trolly of its own. It took you down a lush trail before speeding down a long airstrip, coming to a stop at the opposite end to drop folks 18 years of age and older to a secluded corner of the island. This area included its own beach, plenty of cabanas and loungers, some hammocks, and a few stands to buy drinks at. What amazed me the most about this area was how the water was far more calm and somehow looked bluer than it did on the other location. For cruisers looking to get away from the crowds, this spot is definitely for them!

The next and last day was spent out at sea, slowly cruising towards Port Canaveral and not arriving until the following morning.


As I said in the first part of this review, this ship definitely impressed me with what it had to offer, plus the quality onboard the ship felt unmatched to any other ship I’ve been on. I felt that 3 days was almost plenty of time to take in what it had, but I wouldn’t mind doing the same cruise on a 4-day voyage so I would have more time to explore every aspect of the ship!

Ratings for slides ridden (N/A= Unavailable):
Aquaduck (Disney Dream Ship): 8/10
Pelican’s Plunge (Castaway Cay Island)(2): 7/10

Review of Disney Dream 3-day Cruise (Part 1 of 2)

Two days after my visit to Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach, Florida, my family and I made the two hour trek north out of Miami, Florida, to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Dream cruise ship for a 3 day voyage to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s Castaway Cay private island.

Disney Cruise Line is known for not only providing the magical Disney experience we’ve all come to love one way or another, but they are also known for being one of the highest ranked cruises in terms of quality, cleanliness, and overall experience compared to many other cruises. Part of Disney’s variety of large cruise ships include the Disney Dream ship, which was introduced to the lineup in 2011 and has been doing 3 and 4 day voyages to places in the Bahamas. Being that this was my third-ever cruise (previous two were the Norwegian Breakaway, and the Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas), I can say that I was definitely impressed by all that the ship had to offer for people of all ages, especially kids!


We got to exploring much of the ship and enjoying the food offered for the first day of the cruise. Between the mandatory fire safety demonstration, there were already plenty of activities for people available to do; including the Aquaduck slide (with a 1 hour line on this day!) which I’ll explain more about in the second part of this review. At the time our ship was ready to sail out of Port Canaveral, The Carnival Sensation and Carnival Splendor ships joined us on the journey going to the same second destination.


By morning of the next day, our ship had pulled into port at Nassau, Bahamas, parallel and in-between the other two Carnival ships, all before a very large Norwegian Getaway ship showed up last and docked alongside as well! My family and I disembarked and took a look at a few parts of Nassau, Bahamas, before finally making the trek over to Paradise Islands to experience the Atlantis Resort’s Aquaventure water park for a couple of hours. (A separate review of this incredible water park will come soon).

After all was said and done, we ventured back to the ship and eventually sailed out of port. What awaited us on our beds when we returned to our stateroom were red pirate-themed bandanas that read “Pirated in in the Caribbean!” This was to prepare us, and all other guests aboard the ship, for a Pirates of the Caribbean themed show involving a visit by characters from the movie, including Jack Sparrow, and a ending with a spectacular fireworks show above the ship! 


Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach Review

Blizzard Beach Mount Gushmore Sign

The story behind this water park is that a snowstorm hit Orlando and allowed a ski resort to be built. Soon the sun came out and the snow started melting, giving the opportunity for management to find use of the water flowing down the chutes, pipes, and slopes. Long story short, it re-opened as a water park!

 

Blizzard beach Entrance Sign Blizzard Beach Alligator Building Crash
Blizzard Beach Overview Blizzard Beach Chairlift
   Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach water park is one large iconic artificial mountain containing dozens of heavily themed water slides and rides. Blizzard Beach is, of course, themed to a melting ski resort with snow and snow related scenery found everywhere, including a fully operational chairlift to the top. The park also features different sections of the mountain as “slopes” (Green, Purple, and Red slopes). The water park is hard to miss when you are driving near it since the mountain has an elevation of 90 ft., and one of the world’s tallest water slides sits 30 feet higher on top of it.

Blizzard Beach Mount Gushmore Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet
Blizzard Beach Summit PlummetBlizzard Beach Chairlift
Summit Plummet is the park’s most notorious water slide and can be seen from almost anywhere inside and outside of the water park. Summit Plummet is the United States’ tallest freefall body slide, and one of the tallest freefall slides in the world. Riders simply scoot themselves towards the edge until gravity pulls them up to speeds of over 50 mph. The slide experience is like any other freefall slide, but it’s height and the theming around this slide helps it stand out above others.

Blizzard Beach Slide Sign Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet
Blizzard Beach Green Slope Wait Times
 Beside it would be the Slush Gusher speed slide. This water slide isn’t as famous as Summit Plummet, but it provides a slightly bigger punch with it’s three drops that provide a comfortable amount of airtime. Depending upon how heavy you are and how fast you are moving will depend on if you actually come off of the slide on the third drop.

Blizzard Beach Downhill Double Dipper Blizzard Beach Purple Slope Wait Times
The Downhill Double Dipper water slide is a double-drop inner-tube slide. This water slide is mostly known because of the speed it picks up on the two drops and the splashes created at the pool area. The slide also uses a system where riders do not have to push themselves towards the edge to go, but instead rest on a stopper that releases that and the other rider at the same time so they can race. This ride is fairly popular and has a slower loading capacity compared to the other slides, so you can find yourself waiting about 30 minutes to ride.

Blizzard Beach Toboggan Racers Blizzard Beach Snow Stormers
Blizzard Beach Toboggan Racers Blizzard Beach Purple Slope Sign
Toboggan Racers and Snow Stormers are the park’s two belly mat water slides. Toboggan Racers is an 8-lane mat racer slide with three drops. The drops are pretty large so you pick up good speed, but they are not as steep as other mat racers. Because of the slide’s shortness, I wouldn’t say that the slide is as exciting as the other slides in the water park. Snow Stormers on the other hand is a little more exciting because of it’s slalom-style flume. This mat slide has three lanes that repeatedly go left and right and has a few small drops to help pick up speed. This slide is a little more exciting and usually has a shorter wait than Toboggan Racers.

Blizzard Beach Runoff Rapids
Runoff Rapids are three normal inner-tube water slides that sit behind Mount Gushmore. Two are open-flume slides and one is an enclosed-flume. The slides are just like any other inner-tube slide, but these slides last longer than average because of it’s higher starting area. The open-flume slides can only be used with double tubes and the enclosed-flume can only be used with the single tubes, so you will need a partner if you want to ride the open-flume slides.

Blizzard Beach Inner Tubes and Raft Mickey Blizzard Beach Overview
Blizzard Beach Teamboat Springs Overview Blizzard Beach Teamboat Springs Sign
Teamboat Springs is a very long family raft slide that also acts as a slalom with it’s long left and right S-bend turns into a final U-turn into a small lazy river section. This water slide also starts at the top of Mount Gushmore and works it’s way to the bottom. One great fact about this slide is that the rafts are large enough to fit 6 people at a time, and the slide’s loading capacity is very fast because of it’s continuous conveyor belt moving the rafts at the top.

Blizzard Beach is an amazing water park that is known in many places around the world and attracts people from around the world as well. But with this much popularity, you can expect lines to be pretty long for many slides. I myself had to wait well over an hour to get on Summit plummet and couldn’t bother getting in line for Slush Gusher because of the limited time I had in the park. Fortunately, this was the only problem I saw with the park. Everything else about the water park was great, especially the fact that there were sprinklers placed all over the water park to cool the hot ground from scorching people’s feet in the hot Florida weather.

Blizzard Beach is one of the many must-dos if you are visiting Walt Disney World for a few days. It is one of the amazing parks to be experienced with your family and friends. The next time I return, I’ll be sure to pay a visit to Walt Disney World’s other water park, Typhoon Lagoon.

Blizzard Beach Slope Sign
Sign pointing to different slopes.

Water Slide Ratings (N/A= Not Available)
Downhill Double Dipper (2): 7/10
Runoff Rapids (Enclosed): 7/10
Runoff Rapids (Open)(2): 6/10
Slush Gusher: N/A
Snow Stormers (3): 7/10
Summit Plummet: 9/10
Teamboat Springs: 7/10
Toboggan Racers: 6/10
Ski Patrol Training Camp (Area contains multiple unnamed water slides): N/A

Other Rides/Attractions

Blizzard Beach Cave
A cave leading towards Purple and Red slopes.

Chairlift: N/A
Cross Country Creek (Lazy River): 8/10
Melt-Away (Wave Pool): N/A
Tike’s Peak: N/A

Overall Water Park Rating: 9/10

Click here to view more photos of Blizzard Beach

http://www.youtube.com/p/ACD82B4895963469?version=3&hl=en_US&fs=1

Sea World’s Aquatica Review

Dolphin Plunge is the first water slide you will see when you enter.
First, I have to say that this is a water park with excellent water slides and theming. The colors in the water park are very photogenic and the whole water park has a sort of tropical Australian feel to it.

 

   The Dolphin Plunge water slide is the most famous slide in the whole water park, it’s the water park’s water slide icon. Dolphin Plunge isn’t a speed slide, but it does move you at a pretty fast pace. Unfortunately because of that fast pace, you might not have the time to even look around the dolphin tank and see dolphins. Overall, the water slide is fun, but it has one of the longest waits in the park and might not be worth riding in a 1 hour line.

   My favorite water slide has to be the new Omaka Rocka which is one of the few new Proslide Topsy-Turvys out there. The slide may look gentle in the videos but it packs a larger punch than it seems. Water splashes everywhere and has many surprising elements like making you go backwards and the bumps along the slide before you enter the three elements. The slide’s line isn’t as bad as it might look when you go to the park, I recommend anyone to try this slide before they leave.

A slide structure containing Whanau Way and Omaka Rocka.

   Whanau Way inner tube water slides are fast and thrilling, mostly because of the hills on the slide.
   Taumata Racer doesn’t have an very fast helix, but it makes up by having the steepest and largest drop on a mat racer I’ve ever experienced.
   Walhalla Wave and HooRoo Run are two fun raft slides, Hooroo Run being more intense because of it’s three drops that produce a good amount of airtime pops.
   I unfortunately dd not have time to ride Tassie’s Twisters because of the wait, but it seems like a very interesting slide.

   The Roa’s Rapids fast river isn’t as intense as the Atlantis resort’s Rapid Rivers, but the water is fast flowing which makes it pretty fun to swim in.

The other side of the water park with Taumata Racer,
Walhalla Wave, and HooRoo Run.

   Having said the good things, there are a few down-sides to this water park. The water park can get quite quite crowded making lines soar up to 1 hour 30 minute waits. The longest lines in the park seem to be Tassie’s Twisters and Dolphin’s Plunge. I waited 1 hour to ride Dolphin’s Plunge and didn’t wait in Tassie’s Twisters’ line because I didn’t have time to find out how long the wait was. The other water slides seemed to have less than fair lines, but they can be around 20 to 40 minutes. Your best bet for visiting this popular water park with shorter lines is to visit around May, June, or early July. Anther good thing to do is to arrive early before the park opens.

Overall the water park is great, and it is very popular among Orlando’s many Attractions.

Water Slides Ratings (N/A= not available):
Dolphin’s Plunge (2): 6/10
HooRoo Run: N/A
Omaka Rocka (2): 8/10
Tassie’s Twisters (2):N/A
Taumata Racer: 6/10
Walhalla Wave:N/A
Whanau Way (4): 7/10

Other Rides/Attractions:
Cutback Cove & Big Surf Shores: N/A
Kata’s Kookaburra Cove: N/A
Loggerhead Lane: 6/10
Roa’s Rapids: 7/10
Walkabout Waters: N/A

Overall Water Park Rating: 8/10

Adventure Island Review

Adventure Island Water park in Tampa Bay, Florida is a nice water park with plenty of water slides to slide on. The water park’s floor is clean and so are the sandy areas. The water slides in the waterpark are excellent and range from easy inner-tube slides to speed-slides that aren’t too steep.

   The 4-lane Proslide Octopus Racer “Riptide” was fun with it’s fast helix that produces a good amount of G’s, and the double-dip finale into the shutdown lane.

   Everglides is one of my favorite slides because of how you ride a sled down a drop, then skid across water a certain distance until you stop and sink.The sleds are pretty heavy to carry, but at least you don’t have to carry them to the top thanks to a system that does it for you.

   Key West Rapids is a very open spaced waterslide and looks like it was originally built for large family rafts, but uses single-rider inner tubes instead. The stairs to get to the water slide can be a little unnerving because of how high it is situated over a lake and how there are no risers behind every step.

   Wahoo Run is the highest slide in the park because of how it is situated on top of a hill.It is a very fun family raft ride that has dark tunnels and waterfalls to soak you during the slide.

   Runaway rapids are 5 slow open-flume body slides. These body slides are interesting due to the rock theming that the slide is situated around, and for the multiple flume choices. It is very easy to get lost trying to walk to the slide, so it is recommended to check the park map before venturing to it.

   The tallest bodyslide in the park, Gulf Scream, is also fast but not as intense as the steeper speed slides found in other water parks; just be prepared when you hit the pool at a fast speed.

   I did not get to ride Water Moccasin or Caribbean Corkscrew that day.

   The Caribbean Corkscrew are two purple interlocking tunnel speed body slides that wrap around each other until they reach the end.

   Water Moccasin are three aqua green colored speed body slides: one is simply a drop and the other two makes one large helix, all three end in a pool.

   The only problem I faced with my visit is that it had rained, which caused the water park’s floors to become extremely slippery. Be sure never to run in this or any water park because doing so could be very dangerous.
Other than that, the entire water park is great and if you are visiting Busch Gardens amusement park next door for a couple of days, be sure to include Adventure Island as well.

Mango Joe’s Beach Cafe

Water Slide Ratings (N/A= not available):

Aruba Tuba: 6/10

Calypso Coaster: 5/10
Caribbean Corkscrew (2): N/A
Everglides: 8/10
Gulf Scream: N/A
Key West Rapids: 5/10
Riptide: 8/10
Runaway Rapids (5): 5/10
Wahoo Run: 6/10

Fabian’s Fun Port

Water Moccasin (3): N/A

Other Rides/Attractions:

Endless Surf: N/A
Fabian’s Fun Port: N/A
Paradise Lagoon: 7/10
Rambling Bayou (Lazy River): 6/10
Splash Attack: N/A

Overall Water Park Rating: 7/10