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Living the Disney Dream: Day Three

It’s the third and final day of our Disney adventures – and we’re saving the best for last!

When Team GEM last checked in, we had just finished a divine meal at Animator’s Palate and enjoyed a relaxing soak in the hot tub as our ship, the Disney Dream, continued to make its way to our tropical destination, Castaway Cay. My mom kept commenting on how smooth the ride was and she was right. Not once did I feel the ship rock (I have been on enough cruises to know I don’t like that feeling).  The other thing I noticed – the ship’s engines. Smooth and quiet, the perfect combination.

Out little rag tag gang split up that morning. My producer Richard and I had official business to do, and unlike the other times where we said we had official business (which meant drinks with tiny umbrellas in them) we really did have work to do. Meanwhile Roger took mom ashore to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. Mom was dying to join a yoga class on the beach (in the hot sun), so who was I to argue?

After we wrapped up a few things, Richard and I ventured ashore. Disney owns Castaway Cay exclusively and the Disney ships – the Magic, the Wonder and the Dream – all make stops there. The Cay has several beaches that cater to every age group, including Serenity Bay for the over 18 crowd. I’ll give you three guesses as to where we planted our butts in the sand and the first two don’t count.

Disney has somehow managed to balance a rustic feel with all the convenience you want on vacation.  From the island facilities to the shopping (you can buy everything with your stateroom key card, no need to carry cash) and the transportation, it’s all a no brainer. The lunch buffet was outstanding as were the cocktails. Then again everything is just a teeny bit better under the sun now, isn’t it?

To be honest, after mom’s Yoga we didn’t do much more (well, Roger rented a snorkel and took a peep under the sea) but that’s what vacation is supposed to be. You are supposed to be able to do what you want, to rest, unwind and recharge.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-rOdgVuSRw[/youtube]

Finally we headed back to the ship (we were among the last to leave of course!) That night we ate at The Enchanted Garden, which has a lovely park feel with scenes from the gardens of Versailles (if you have a chance to go, watch the overhead lights and notice how they differ from morning seating to evening). Our wait staff was courteous and knowledgeable but also fun. Check out the desert they brought mom when she said she didn’t want anything

Of course, I had two:

The night ended with a bang; fireworks lit up the night sky, illuminating the pirate party in full swing!

Richard and I had a little more business to attend to (yes, cocktails) so we went to the Skyline bar where the scenery constantly switches between five major city skylines.  One minute we were in Chicago, the next, Rio. Unreal.

We sailed through the night, arriving at Port Canaveral by 6:00 am. Our wait staff met us in The Enchanted Garden for one last meal and then it was time to disembark. Now anyone who’s ever taken a cruise knows what a grind this part of a trip can be but even this transition was seamless. Overall I was thrilled with our trip. There was something for everyone, even me, who took the trip with adult companions leaving the kids behind (yeah, Good Enough Mother in action).

Let me veer off into the touchy feely part now. I just want to say thanks to the fine folks at Disney who allowed Team GEM to experience the Disney Dream up close and personal. We loved the sun, cocktails and food but the trip gave us so much more. See we’ve been working really hard (REALLY HARD) trying to turn our own little dream into a reality. We’ve had a lot of doors slammed shut, been let down by a lot of people and sometimes wondered how we could keep going (okay, the last part is just me). But Disney is in the business of wishes and dreams and I’m in the business of buying and believing. For a company as big as Disney, to still be able to connect with people on a level so basic and real and to help us remember a time when we weren’t so jaded by life I find truly remarkable.  A little pixie dust goes a long way. So here’s a special message we recorded in the middle of paradise for all you GEM’s out there!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25VR2wJ7w1g[/youtube]

Thanks Disney!

Disclosure: Disney covered the costs for Team GEM to experience The Disney Dream but you can be assured that these are my honest opinions and recommendations about the trip. I always tell it like it is!

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