Meeting Characters on the Disney Dream

One of the many great things about sailing on the Disney Dream is the abundance of characters you’ll find onboard.

Most characters make more than one appearance for meet and greets, and with a few exceptions, the lines don’t tend to get too long, meaning low wait times.

So how do you know when and where the characters will appear? A quick check of your Personal Navigator will reveal the times and locations for each character for that day. A screen in the lobby also displays meet and greet times for that day, or you can dial 7-PALS from your stateroom phone for a full schedule.

Along with individual character appearances, such as Mickey or Donald, characters also appear in groups all at the same time. On the last day, “See ya Real Soon,” is a group character event in the lobby, where you’ll find the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. At this meet and greet you’ll need to get in a new line to meet each character. But at the Princess gathering there’s just one line to meet all Princesses.

The Princess Meet and Greet is probably the most popular onboard. Normally held twice, once on Nassau day and once on at sea day (4-night cruise), around 9-9:30am. If possible, try to attend the one on Nassau day, as the at sea day meet can have waits of over an hour. Whichever you attend, check your Personal Navigator for the start time and try to arrive 30 minutes early. You could of course arrive earlier, but the greet area won’t have been set up and you could find yourself waiting in the wrong place. Several Princesses were out on our cruise – Snow White, Aurora, Tiana, Belle and Ariel. Cinderella should have been there too, but had “problems with her glass slippers!” As mentioned above there’s just one line, and once you’ve met the first Princess you’ll be next in turn for the next Princess.

Tinker Bell is another popular meet, especially on pirate night, but doesn’t get lines quite as long as the Princesses.

Main characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy appear many times during the cruise, and have several different outfits. So just because you saw them at one time, don’t dismiss going to meet them again as they’ll probably be wearing something different.

And then there’s Castaway Cay. If you can tear yourself away from the white sand beach or crystal clear waters, you’ll find a number of characters appearing around the island and in front of the ship at different times during the day.

Something different from the regular meet and greet are the character dance parties. You’ll find them onboard and on Castaway Cay. While you can’t get autographs done, you may get some great photos of dancing with your favorite character.

Characters also make special appearances at the Oceaneer Club and Lab. The Green Army Men may show up for Toy Story Boot Camp, and you might see Lilo and Stitch at the Aloha Luau. Little ones aren’t left out and get visits from various characters while they’re having fun at it’s a small world nursery.

Characters that may appear for meet and greet:
Chip and Dale
Snow White
Tinker Bell
Peter Pan
Mrs Incredible
Captain Hook
Mr Smee
Captain Jack Sparrow
Jiminy Cricket


You’ll normally find one of the ship’s photographers at each character meet, who will take your photo which you’ll later find in your personal folder at Shutters. If you want a photo of your whole party on your own camera, just ask the Crew Member who’s accompanying the character.

When you get your Personal Navigator each evening, check the character greeting times and mark off which you want to attend. At peak times, such as late afternoons, evenings and days at sea there will be several which overlap. If you plan it right you can go from one to another within a short space of time.

Some locations are designated as photos only. At these places, autographs will not be allowed, due to time constraints.

At the group greets such as “See ya Real Soon” first get in line for the most popular character (e.g. Mickey) whose line will be longest, then move onto the next most popular, and so on.

When you get near to the front of your line get your autograph book open at a blank page, your pen ready and camera switched on.

Face characters (Cinderella, Snow White, etc) can all speak and interact with guests, so don’t be shy about engaging them in conversation!

The Characters especially love it if you’re dressed up like them, or have a picture of them on your clothing.

Remember that most characters make more than one appearance onboard, so if you miss one opportunity, keep an eye on the Personal Navigators for another meet and greet.

Learn more about Disney Cruise Line here.


Disney Dream Embarkation Day

Following on from my last article about arriving at Port Canaveral, here I’ll cover what you can expect on your first day (or rather half day) on board the Disney Dream.

What you do when you first get on board will depend on a number of things. Firstly, what time you board will be a major factor in what you’re able to do. Also, if you’ve managed to book things like Palo, Remy, spa, etc online, and have the dining seating you want, you won’t need to go and book / change them.

The earlier you get onboard the better. The more you’ll get done on that first afternoon, and better chance you’ll have of getting the reservations you want. We took the DCL bus for the first time on our last cruise, and only got on board just before 2pm, which meant we’d missed out on a lot of things. So bear this in mind when deciding how you’ll get to port.

So let’s imagine you haven’t managed to book any of those things online and need to do them when you board. Times may vary, but on our cruise Senses Spa opened at 12pm; the Port Adventures desk (for booking shore excursions) opened at 12:30pm; and dining seating changes, Palo and Remy bookings began at 1pm. The earlier you get there, the better chance you have of getting the times you want, if indeed there are any at all left.

If you’ve never sailed on the Disney Dream before you might be interested in taking one of the tours of the ship, typically at 1pm and 2pm. It’s a huge ship, and takes some navigating, so an organised tour is a great way to get your bearings before sailing.

And now for one of the most important things – lunch! Your first meal onboard, and for many their first taste of Disney Cruise Line food. The earlier you board, the more choices you have available for where to eat lunch. Enchanted Garden was open from 11:45am – 2pm on our cruise, and served a buffet lunch. Cabanas, the food court, hosts a wonderful buffet offering a wide selection of food, with something to suit everyone. It’s open to around 3:15pm. For anyone boarding later or just wanting something lighter, Fillmore’s Favorites, Tow Mater’s Grill, and Luigi’s Pizza are open until the evening.

Of course you’re probably itching to see your room! Staterooms are ready from 1:30pm onwards, and if you’re a Castaway Club member (if you’ve sailed with DCL before) you’ll find a nice gift waiting for you on your bed.

At some point during today you’re likely to meet your Stateroom Host/Hostess who will be servicing your room, and providing any extras (cribs, highchairs, bed rails, etc) you may need. Your luggage will start arriving during the afternoon and will be left outside of your stateroom, it should all have arrived by 5:30pm. If you’re on the early dinner seating, you may want to take a change of clothes for dinner in your day bag just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive in time.

The Oceaneer Club and Lab are open for a set period before and after the lifeboat drill for you to register and pick up a wristband. Tween and Teen clubs, Edge and Vibe hold an open house during the afternoon.

Various events may be taking place, for instance a DVC Member Celebration, and a Port & Shopping Show, so check the Welcome Aboard sheet you got at check-in, and also the Personal Navigator which will be in your room.

Some guests choose to pack their swimwear in their day bag and head straight for the pool when they board. Food is available from Flo’s V8 Cafe in the pool area, and the line for the Aquaduck will probably be at its smallest during this afternoon.

Something which every guest on board MUST attend is the mandatory lifeboat drill at 4pm. Your muster station will be posted on the back of your stateroom door, and also as a letter on your Key to the World card. You no longer need to wear your life jacket for the drill, but everyone has to attend and those who don’t will receive a stern letter from the Captain. Wait in your room until you hear the announcement, and then make your way in an orderly fashion to your muster station. Once there you’ll need to hand your Key to the World card to the Crew Member who will scan it, thereby recording your attendance. After a brief talk from the Cruise Director (or another senior Crew Member) you’ll be free to go.

Once the drill is over, head up to the Deck Stage on Deck 11, or look down from Deck 12, for the Sailing Away Party. Featuring all your favorite characters, it’s a great way to start your cruise and the first opportunity you’ll get to hear one of the ship’s horns. The ship actually sets sail at 5pm, and you can watch Cast Members at the terminal building waving you off from one of the decks.

First dinner seating as 5:45pm, so if that’s your seating you may want to start getting ready for dinner. Some guests get dressed up each evening, others just wear the same clothes they’ve had on all day. You don’t need to get there early or wait in line, your table will be reserved each night and you won’t miss out on anything by arriving a few minutes late.

The show on our first night was Golden Mickeys, which is well worth seeing, and I’d recommend getting there 20-30 minutes before showtime (6:15pm & 8:30pm) to get a good seat.

Shops aren’t open whilst in port, and will open from 6pm on embarkation day. Some of the more popular merchandise, especially clothing in popular sizes, are liable to sell out towards the end of the cruise, so if there’s something you want to buy, don’t leave it until the last night.

There are loads of things going on all evening and into the early hours, for kids, teens, adults and families, so check out your Personal Navigator and make the most of what’s on offer!