Land ho! Our Disney Cruise is pulling into Nassau, Bahamas. After a few fancy docking maneuvres and a rope or two thrown to the deckhand we’re officially docked in our first port of call. The big question is what should we do in Nassau. Let’s get our DVC Duo Disney Cruise Nassau, Bahamas port of call underway. Watch out for those sea legs when stepping ashore!
Put away the spreadsheet, Nate! We’re not talking Walt Disney World level planning, with Fastpassselections and more. On a Disney Cruise, a little planning goes a long way. Prior to boarding the ship, we like to determine whether or not we plan to do a shore excursion or not in every port.
When our plan calls for a shore excursion, you’ll find us booking it as far in advance as possible. It’s one less thing to worry about on your embarkation day. However, once aboard you can always call an audible and add on an excursion at the Guest Services desk.
Cruise Insights:The big advantage of booking your excursions through the ship is the guarantee that you’ll be back in time for boarding.
Our plan for our Disney Cruise Nassau day was to explore. More often than you’ll find us strapping on a backpack and heading out to find the local spots. Disembarking the Disney Magic was a breeze, should we say tropical breeze? All you need is your key to world card and a photo I.D. for guests 18 and older.
Exiting the port you’ll head through the Bahamas port-security at Prince George Wharf, this will be the same port-security you’ll pass through on your way back. Right outside port is an array of shopping options, everything from jewelry to handbags and the oh so delicious rum cake. Additionally, you’ll see the famous bar Carlos and Charlie’s off to the far right.
Cruise Insights: When leaving the ship we like to bring a photocopy of our passport with us in case of an emergency.
Should we go right or left? Our first stop on our walking tour on our Disney Cruise Nassau port day is the Queen’s Staircase. Yes, we said a walking tour. A mighty walking tour it was. There are tons of cabs and tour options when stepping out of Prince George Wharf as well.
Tucked away on the outskirts of downtown Nassau is a 102 ft staircase that was carved out of limestone in 1793. Them some old stairs. The coolest part was the small waterfall adjacent to the staircase. Definitely watch your step heading up, as the stairs can get a little slick from the waterfall.
A top the staircase you’ll find Fort Fincastle. Built-in the same year at the staircase, the fort has historical relevance as it relates to the colony time period of the island. With grand views of the island, you can see Price George Wharf and Paradise Island (home to Atlantis).
Cruise Insights: Locals recommend walking up, but not down the staircase. We unknowingly did both. It’s safe to walk down if you take your time.
No, we’re not talking about the new Pixar movie. Next stop on our Disney Cruise Nassau day is Paradise Island and Atlantis. Let the walking tour continue. Looking back we would recommend taking a cab to Paradise Island. It is walkable, but a longer walk than you may expect.
Paradise Island is known for Atlantis. The larger than life resort is a combination of a casino, water park (think Blizzard Beach), and small shopping area. If you’re looking to spend time at the water park, we recommend purchasing tickets on the ship. On our walking tour, we explored the beach, shopping, and resort. In our book, it was a good to see once type of thing. We’ve previously experienced the water park and it’s definitely enjoyable.
Wrapping up our time on Paradise Island we stopped off at Margaritaville. We’ll just leave it at. Next time, we’ll just head back to the ship for a snack.
Passholder Insights: On Paradise Island, there is only one public beach at the far end. Be aware people will say you have to pay, but you do not. It’s public.
It’s good to see once type of location. Our Disney Cruise Nassau day was enjoyable, how can you not enjoy 80+ degrees and sun in December. The island has limited things to do beyond the excursions. If you enjoy snorkeling or fishing definitely check out the options here. For us, the next time we pull into Nassau we may stay on the ship or look at a beach-related excursion. Oh, our ship is pulling away time for us to sail!
We’re so ready! It’s hard not to be excited about your Disney Cruise first day. In the second part of our first Disney Cruise, we’re setting aboard the Disney Magic. Our passports have been checked, our key to the world cards created, all that’s left to do is make our way down the gangway. Ready or not here we come!
The Warm Welcome
On your Disney Cruise first day, the magic starts the moment you set onto the ship. Most cruise ships welcome you aboard with a picture and warm smile. Disney Cruise Line does as well just with a little extra pixie dust. Setting aboard the ship guests are brought into the main lobby where the crew personally welcomes them aboard with the “Disney Cruise welcomes aboard the DVC Duo”. Crew members are spread around the lobby clapping, smiling, and saying hello.
Cruise Insights: When boarding the ship you’ll have the option to take a picture as part of your embarkation or you can bypass the picture.
Let’s eat! Where else would we go, you know how we love our food. Once onboard the Disney Magic you’ll have two options for a late lunch, the buffet at Cabanas or a sitdown lunch at Luminaires. We opted for the buffet.
For us, the buffet is where it’s at. With our port of call being Miami, we were fortunate enough to have stone crab claws for lunch. Yum! Throw in a little outdoor patio dining on the back of the ship and you got a couple of happy cruisers. Beyond the crab, the buffet was filled with delectable options from prime rib to salmon and every you could imagine in between.
Cruise Insights: If you’re planning on enjoying an adult time out your Disney Cruise first day is the only opportunity to pre-purchase any drinks at a lower cost.
Let The Fun Begin!
Right away you’ll be faced with a variety of choices. What do on your Disney Cruise first day? There are tons of activities to enjoy from the word go. After enjoying a fantastic lunch (we’ll elaborate on lunch in an upcoming Foodie Friday article), we were off to our champagne tasting (full review coming soon). We’re kicking off to first Disney Cruise in style. Off to the Afterhours lounge.
Cruise Insights: A lot of activities can be booked prior to boarding the ship through the Disney Cruise website, which is similar to My Disney Experience.
Wave goodbye! After completing your muster drill, or as Nate likes to call it the mustard drill (all that’s missing is a hot dog), you’ll want to head to the top deck for the sail away show. Spots fill up fast, so we recommend heading straight up. For us, we like to go to the top-level to get that bird’s eye view of everything.
By far of the best things on Disney Cruise Line is the entertainment. The shows are fantastic and the tone is definitely set with the Sail-A-Way Party. Who knew Mickey had those types of moves!
Cruise Insights: On the stage level there is an area for kids only. It’s a fantastic location and they also get to dance with the characters.
Wrapping Up The Night
To cap our Disney Cruise first day, we headed off the show, dinner, and a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) welcome party. Depending on what you selected, you’ll either have the show or dinner first, then switch. We chose the later dinner, so we headed to the theatre.
On our Disney Cruise first day, we also had a DVC welcome aboard party. The party included free drinks, DVC updates, and special offers. You had us at free drinks! The special offers are very similar to the offers DVC members receive outside of the cruise around purchasing additional points, with the main difference being an additional onboard ship credit. For our cruise, the onboard credit was $500.
Overall it’s successful Disney Cruise first day, next stop the Bahamas!
Don’t call it a comeback! How about we call it a continuation. We’re back talking about Disney Vacation Club benefits. After our last Disney Vacation Club perks article, we uncovered a few more lesser-known benefits. Let’s unearth more benefits or as Darth Vader would say “You cannot hide forever”!
Tickets, We’ve Got Tickets
It’s all about the tickets, you cannot enjoy Walt Disney World without them. One of our new favorite Disney Vacation Club benefits is around ticket discounts. Walt Disney World offers Disney Vacation Club members a variety of ticket discounts throughout the year, from a discount on special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to After Hour Events and our favorite is the annual pass discount.
With this Disney Vacation Club benefits, all members have the opportunity to purchase annual passes at the Florida rate.
Passholder Insights: Only one member of your group has to have an annual pass to take advantage of the benefit like Memory Maker.
To the high seas, we go, right Jack? One of the newest Disney Vacation Club benefits is a discount around select Disney Cruise Line (DCL) sailings. Beyond the regular member cruises, DCL offers cruise a great discount on cruises. We’re talking 30% off!
The benefit offers vacation club members 30% off the cost of a cruise for both points and cash. How the promotion works is one guest would have to book the cruise with Disney Vacation points (at 30% off) then the rest of the group can pay 30% off the cash rate. Heading into 2020, Disney Cruise Line is already offering this Disney Vacation Club for 19 different sailings.
Passholder Insights: Disney Cruise Lines tends to have its lowest rates when the cruise schedule is released. You can lock in your price with a fully refundable deposit.
It’s the benefit that keeps on giving! Our all-time favorite of the Disney Vacation Club benefits is Membership Magic. You may know membership from the DVC Moonlight Magicevents in the parks. What is lesser-known is how membership magic extends beyond these events to other special experiences.
For example, in the winter of this year, one of the membership magic experiences is the Seven Seas Tasting Cruise. New this year, members and their special guests will head out on a 3-hour tour (oh no, we know how this ends!) around Seven Seas Lagoon. The tour takes guests to each of the Seven Seas Lagoon resorts where you’ll enjoy a beverage (adult and non-adult) and appetizers.
Passholder Insights: A great spot outside the Magic Kingdom to watch Happily Ever Afteris from the Polynesian Resort beach.
The Disney Vacation Club benefits keep growing every year. It’s the small things that Disney does that keeps us coming back. Becoming a Disney Vacation Club is a big decision and one we look at for a while. Looking back it was a great decision and the little benefits like these are icing on the cake!
To swing or not to swing? Let’s swing into another DVC Duo “What-If” article, this time around George of the Jungle. In the second installment of the series, we’re looking back at what Walt Disney World Imagineering had in the works if the movie was successful. Well, let’s grab that vine and get swinging!
For the DVC Duo “What-If” series, we’re looking back at movies that Walt Disney Imagineering had concepts or plans that would incorporate the movie into the parks, that were later filed away. Nothing at Disney Imagineering is thrown away, it is filed away for future consideration. Oh, how we would like to peek into that file cabinet.
Passholder Insights: Johnny Depp almost had two attractions at the Magic Kingdom if The Lone Ranger was a success.
George Of The Jungle, Huh?
In the summer of 1997, Walt Disney Pictures released their remake of the Tarzan parody, George of the Jungle. Based on the success Universal Studios had with The Flintstones remake, Walt Disney Pictures looked to bring its own version of a 1960’s cartoon to the big screen in the form a live-action remake.
The movie leveraged the comedic talents of Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, and Thomas Haden Church. With a solid comedic line-up, Disney believed it would have a summer blockbuster.
What-If George of the Jungle was a homerun of a summer blockbuster? It’s why we are all here. Thanks to a little insight from Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, we have an idea of what Walt Disney Imagineering had in the hopper. Let’s just The Jungle Cruise may look a lot different than it does today.
Over the years, The Jungle Cruise has transformed into the tongue in cheek comedy based attraction that we know and love today. With jokes and comedic styles that would marry very well with the tone of the George of the Jungle movie. Disney Imagineering planned on adding aspects of the movie to the ride that would have included the hippos tearing part George’s luggage, and some of the animals wearing his clothes. The part that would have put the transformation over the top would have been a live-action gorilla (Ape, from the movie) at the end of the ride trying to “joke-scare” you.
A couple of things led to the retheming of The Jungle Cruise to a George of the Jungle ride experience being put on hold. The first was the overall success of the movie. Compared to The Flintstone remake the movie only made half the box office total. Secondly, was the pending release of Disney’s Tarzan. The animated movie was set to release two years later and Disney World did not want to distract from the release of the movie. Based on the projected timeline to change the attraction and the opening date of the ride would have been too close to the release of the movie.
Passholder Insights: During the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom The Jungle Cruise transforms into The Jingle Cruise.
We’re always up for more punny jokes! It would have been great to see additional comedic scenes added to the ride. However, in lieu of not getting a George of the Jungle version of The Jungle Cruise, we may see an updated version of the ride based on the new movie. We’re looking at you, Mr. Johnson. Or, should be less formal, Rock? Either way, we are left again wondering what-if?
There’s more than one way to experience Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Building on our review of Boulder Ridge, we’re discussing the second Disney Vacation Club Resort (DVC) to come to the resort, the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins. Opening in the summer of 2017, the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins is the fifth DVC resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Strap on your hiking boots, we’re blazing a trail to find the creek for our DVC Duo review of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
West we go! Themed after the Pacific Northwest, the Wilderness Lodge brings together Native American elements and natural aspects of the national parks found in the northwest. The lodge is designed as a nod to the Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. With geysers, hot springs and of course creeks spread around the property, you feel as if you’re stepping into a picturesque lodge from the movies. The chic rustic feel is carried through the resort, from the moment you step through the lobby door you’re met with rich wood in every direction you look and the themeing carries all the way through to the docks on Bay Lake.
Passholder Insights: If you have a package or groceries (via amazon) delivered to the resort, you’ll want to head to bell services in the lobby to pick your package.
With 158 guest rooms Copper Creek Villas & Cabins is the larger of the two DVC resorts at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The majority of rooms are located within the south wing of the main lodge with the standalone cabins located along Bay Lake. To make way for the DVC units, Disney Imagineering converted the original hotel rooms in the south wing into the DVC style rooms. Below are the room options:
Deluxe Studio – Similar to your normal hotel room with one queen-sized bed, one double-size sleeper sofa, and a bathroom. There are two types of studios, one variation has a walk-in shower and the other with a tub/shower. Sleeps 4 people.
1 Bedroom Villa – Similar to 1 bedroom apartment, as these rooms have a kitchen, laundry facilities, living room and large master bedroom with a jacuzzi tub. One bathroom with a standup shower. The living room couch can convert into a pull out queen bed. Sleeps, 4 people.
2 Bedroom Villa – The 2 bedroom villa is made up of a deluxe studio and 1 bedroom villa. The only difference is the addition of a walk-in closet in the deluxe studio portion where the entrance would normally be located. Sleeps, 8 people.
3 Bedroom Villa – A single-story “house” that has the same facilities as the 1 and 2 bedroom villas with the following additions, a larger dining room, 3 total bathrooms, and total 3 bedrooms (1 king bed, 4 queen beds in each bedroom). The couch in the living room converts to a queen bed. Sleeps, 12 people.
Cabin – A standalone building along the shores of Bay Lake that includes a kitchen, laundry facilities, living room, and larger deck with a private hot tub. The master bedroom is made up of a king bed, jacuzzi tub, and walk-in shower. The second bedroom consists of a queen bed and a pulldown twin bed. In the living room, you’ll find a queen pull out bed and a pull out sleeping chair. Sleeps, 8 people.
We’ve stayed in all the room types at various resorts, except for the cabins. For us, what makes the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins stand apart from other DVC resorts is how you’re so close to the Magic Kingdom, yet feel completely separated. The Wilderness Lodge transports to a tranquil place, where you cannot help but relax. If you have multiple families or a group sharing a 1 bedroom villa we recommend looking at Bay Lake Tower, as their 1 bedroom as two bathrooms.
Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for a studio on a higher floor, you’ll want to book a room with the walk-in shower, as 95% of rooms without a walk-in shower are located on the first floor.
Whether arriving at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins by the Disney Magical Express, car, taxi, or rideshare you’ll be dropped off at the Wilderness Lodge lobby area. You’ll be greeted by bell services for any of your luggage needs. Making your way through the lobby doors your see Whispering Canyon Cafe immediately to your left, on the opposite side of the lobby is the check-in and guest services. Additionally, you’ll find a gift shop with a limited selection of groceries and “grab and go” items just beyond the concierge desk. Making your way deeper into lobby you’ll find cozy couches and rocking chairs that are so welcoming you’ll want to curl up with your favorite book. It’s the perfect place to recharge and relax, especially during the holiday season.
Unique to the Wilderness Lodge is the creek that travels from within the lobby down to the pool area. You can find the creek straight back from the main entrance.
The Pools and Recreation
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers a couple of choices when it comes to pools. On the backside of the Boulder Ridge portion of the resort is the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. A tranquil oasis tucked into the boulders encasing the resort. Walking into the zero-entry pool you feel as if you’re stepping into a swimming hole you discovered while hiking around Yellowstone National park.
Looking for a little more action? Head over to the Copper Creek Springs Pool. Fed by the lobby creek, the pool has a 67-foot water slide that is built into the rocks. You can relax by the pool or in one of the whirlpools, choose carefully as there are both hot and cold options. Nestled off to the right (when facing Bay Lake) of Copper Creek Springs is Geyser Point Bar & Grill, a great place to grab your poolside food and drinks.
Beyond the pools, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins offers up a variety of recreation activities. At Teton Boat & Bike rental you can rent both motorized boats and sailboats, as well as bikes to explore the grounds. Off the boat dock, you can also book a fishing trip where a Disney cast member will lead you on a fishing excursion around Bay Lake (fees apply).
Passholder Insights: By the Copper Creeks Springs Pool is the geyser that goes off every hour. You’ll always know what time it is when you’re by the pool!
Who’s Hungry? We Are!
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins has a wide variety of options for food, and one of the most relaxing quick-serve locations in Geyser Point Bar and Grill. With grand views of Bay Lake, Geyser Point Bar and Grill is a great place to unwind and recap your Disney day. Unlike most Disney resorts, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins has a second quick-serve location in Roaring Fork, a great place to enjoy the hearty wilderness breakfast offered.
Whispering Canyon Cafe – Located in the main lobby is a rootn’ tootn’ good time restaurant serving up your western favorites. You may or may not want to “ask for Ketchup”. You’ve been warned. Serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner (buffet), Whispering Canyon Cafe is a single meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. We’ve heard the hearty breakfast is a must-try.
Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White – Located in the back left of the main lobby is a Signature Character Dining Experience with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Evil Queen. Sit back for a royal feast theme around the Disney classic. Open for dinner and one meal credit on the Disney Dining Plan. We would recommend making an advanced dining reservation, as character dining books up quickly.
Outside of the restaurants, Boulder Ridge has one of the DVC Duo’s favorite lounges for an adult time out, Territory Lounge. Step into that cozy lodge lounge, fully equipped with bear totem, and enjoy your favorite beverage of choice!
If hiking around the resort and Walt Disney World isn’t enough for you, head over to the Sturdy Branch Health Club. The facility has all the basics for a vacation workout. If running is more your speed, stop by the front desk for a jogging trail map.
Passholder Insights: The Sturdy Branch Health Club is located on the first floor of the Boulder Ridge portion of the resort.
The Copper Creek Cabins & Villas is a peaceful resort that delivers that wilderness escape feel. It’s the perfect resort if you’re looking to be near the Magic Kingdom, with having the ability to step away to quieter resort at days end. The addition of the Copper Creek Cabins to the properly really enhances the overall look while touring the resort and from a boat. For us, we prefer to a resort a little more in the “action” where we can easily walk to a park. We would definitely recommend the Copper Creeks Villas & Cabins if you’re looking for a trip with a little time at the resort. With tons of activities and great onsite dining, it’s the perfect resort for anyone looking to spend a lot of time either the Magic Kingdom or plan for a few “resort days” in their trip.