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WDW Radio # 762 – Seas ‘n’ Greetings: 10 Reasons to Take a Very Merrytime Cruise

Seas ’n’ Greetings as we set sail on a magical holiday journey this week, and look at 10 Reasons to Take a Very Merrytime Cruise. We share our recent experience on the Disney Dream and the new Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, and talk about why getting there really can be half the fun, and the unique holiday experiences, eats, treats, characters, shows, and much more. We’ll share a sack full of tips to get the most our of your Very Merrytime cruise, recommendations, and some helpful hints you may not have considered before. We’ll also discuss why considering a Disney cruise might just be the perfect holiday gift for you and your family!

Set sail with WDW Radio’s enchanting Episode 762, “Very Merrytime,” where host Lou Mongello and Disney aficionados Jeff Lange and Denise Preskitt embark on a yuletide adventure across the high seas aboard a Disney Cruise Line. Tune in as they invite you to deck the halls with boughs of holly and discover the magic of Disney’s Very Merrytime Cruises.

Join the trio as they delve into an elegant world of holiday celebrations at sea. From whimsical character experiences with your favorite Disney Princesses in their Christmas finery to enchanting live entertainment, including maritime carolers and the spectacular Mickey and Minnie’s Holiday Party show, this episode immerses listeners in the spirit of the season Disney-style.

Listen as the guests unwrap their unique holiday experiences, such as the latest DisneyBand+ technology, decorating sweet gingerbread houses, and toasting with warm mulled wine under a gingerbread-scented sky. Let the team guide you through enchanting tree lighting ceremonies and joyous menorah lightings, capturing the essence of diverse holiday celebrations.

More than just a holiday voyage, Episode 762 is a treasure trove of tips, from utilizing the Disney Cruise Navigator app for meeting beloved characters to selecting the perfect Disney cruise itinerary for a “Very Merrytime” with loved-ones. Discover planning essentials and the invaluable assistance offered by travel agents, particularly Mouse Fan Travel.

As you navigate through the group’s insightful recommendations for a festive Disney Cruise experience, sip on gingerbread coffee, and revel in touching stories of camaraderie at sea—you’ll be transported to a place where holiday dreams come true. Whether you’re seeking the serenity of an adult-only brunch at Palo or the thrill of seeing your children meet Santa Claus, prepare to be inspired.

Episode 762 is not just a podcast; it’s a holiday invitation to a very merry time on the high seas. This is your passport to creating heartwarming memories with Disney’s unparalleled holiday offerings. So grab your favorite holiday mug, fill it with steaming cocoa, and join us for a jubilant celebration only Disney can provide.

Pack your bags, don your Holiday Mickey ears, and get ready to set sail on a festive journey with WDW Radio. Magical memories await!

Thanks to my guests for joining me this week:

The key moments in this episode are:

  • 1. Brightline Train Experience
  • Ease and comfort of the train ride compared to flying or driving
  • Amenities like comfortable seats, food and drinks, Wi-Fi, and helpful attendants
  • Affordability of train fares
  • Hopes for future expansion
  • 2. Disney Cruise Character Experiences
  • Meeting Disney characters in Christmas outfits
  • Utilizing the navigator app for character locations
  • Character interactions and festive atmosphere
  • 3. Entertainment on Disney Cruise
  • Mickey and Minnie’s holiday party show and seating experiences
  • Live maritime carolers and tree lighting in the atrium
  • Special events and inclusive celebrations for children and adults
  • 4. Cruise Festive Offerings
  • Discussion of the gingerbread house and mulled wine
  • Holiday-themed merchandise and special discounts
  • Disney Band Plus features for cruise guests
  • Onboard activities like cookie and gingerbread house decorating
  • 5. Disney Cruise Technical Aspects
  • Challenges with rough seas and missed disembarkation opportunities
  • Menorah lighting ceremony and Hanukkah celebrations on board
  • 6. Personal Milestones and Collaboration
  • Jeff and Denise’s YouTube channel and social media updates
  • Future discussions and collaborations
  • 7. Cruise Logistics and Amenities
  • New terminal at Port Everglades with Finding Nemo theme
  • Ship embarkation process and travel from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale
  • Variety in “Very Merry Time” cruise options
  • Importance of using a travel agent for best experience and deals
  • Apollo Brunch as a recommended dining experience
  • 8. Additional Cruise Entertainment
  • Pluto and character appearances with holiday antics
  • Decor packages for staterooms and dress-up suggestions for themed photos
  • 9. Historical Aspects and Backgrounds
  • Jeff’s contribution to the GAF camera center on Main Street
  • Denise’s Disney park and site history
  • Jeff’s video and photo archives of Disney history
  • 10. Onboard Dining and Treats
  • Dining strategies and specialty coffee tips
  • Enjoying holiday-specific beverages like gingerbread coffee and mulled wine
  • Complimentary treats at various locations on the ship
  • 11. Holiday Entertainment and Viewing Strategies
  • Goofy’s holiday letter to Max and related show
  • Viewing challenges on the ship and video experience preference
  • Funnel Vision holiday movies and associated ambiance
  • 12. Special Cruise Experiences and Reminiscence
  • Observing Castaway Key Christmas tree from the ship
  • Desire to experience “Muppet Christmas Carol” in a unique way

Timestamped summary of this episode:

  • [00:00] Magical holiday experience on Disney cruise line.
  • [10:11] Excitement for cruise atrium decor and lighting.
  • [13:35] Look for Disney cruise line photographers, enjoy treats.
  • [16:08] Atrium decor, energy and entertainment on cruise.
  • [24:55] Enhance your room with Disney-themed decor.
  • [28:31] Solo cruise, decorating stateroom, Christmas at sea.
  • [37:05] Maximizing character encounters at theme parks.
  • [42:49] Focusing on video content at events affects experience.
  • [48:35] Disney Cruise offers holiday-themed merchandise discounts.
  • [50:16] Disney cruise: easy, convenient Magic Band addition.
  • [59:07] Comfortable train ride with seamless travel experience.
  • [01:04:22] Enjoyable embarkation experience from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale.
  • [01:10:21] Hanukkah menorah lighting, Disney cruise, joyful experience.
  • [01:11:24] Excited about future plans and sharing updates.

Have you ever been on a Very Merrytime Cruise? Is it on your bucket list?

Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.

Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello: If you've ever been to a Disney park during the holiday season, you know that there is something extra special about it. There is a magic in the air that I think is baked from a recipe of music. Decorations and twinkling lights and laughter of children in the background and just this overall sense of joy And I think that that feeling isn't just consigned to the park as taking a very merry time cruise on disney cruise line offers a truly unique and festive experience with the spirit of the holidays enveloping you in a warm ocean embrace.

From dazzling decorations to holiday themed entertainment, a very, very, very maritime cruise isn't just a vacation. It is an experience. And if you've ever thought booking this holiday adventure this week, we're going to share 10 Or maybe more enchanting yuletide reasons to take a very merry time cruise.

And whether you are a cruise veteran or it is your first Disney cruise line voyage, there's going to be insights and tips and a little bit of a sprinkling of that special Disney holiday magic. Thanks to. My very, very special guests who are joining me on this festive journey. They are long, long time friends.

And I still believe in ladies first, I want to first welcome for the first time ever, hopefully not the last Denise Prescott from mousesteps. com and the mousesteps YouTube channel, Denise, nice to see you.

Denise Preskitt: Thank you very much, Louis. Good to see you.

Lou Mongello: This is a long time coming. It's been

Jeff Lange: a long time since we've seen Lou.


Denise Preskitt: least a week,

Lou Mongello: over a week now. And the other sweet dulcet tones you hear in the background is from Jeff Lang, from jefflangdvd. com. And mouse steps, of course. Hello. Hey, look, of course, uh, guys, when I say that I've known you for a long, long time, I mean it like you, Jeff, specifically, you are the original O.

G. Disney content creator. Um, do me a favor for both of you share a little bit of your Origin story. Um, and how, and more importantly, when you got started, because I say that you've been doing this a long time, I don't mean since like 2014, um, Jeff, like I know you have hundreds, hundreds of videos and DVDs going way, way back.

I actually have many of them still that I bought before I even knew you. I'm going to have to box them up and schlep them over one day to have you autograph them all. I still love and remember your three disc. Horizons DVD set. Um, give me a little bit of the Jeff and Denise origin stories. Ladies

Jeff Lange: first, Denise.

Denise Preskitt: Well, Jeff's is much more interesting. But I mean, I started going to Walt Disney World in 1977. Um, and I was interested in Disney certainly before that with the Mickey Mouse Club and everything. And then, um, in the 90s, I really got interested in being online in the 90s. And, like, I was on AOL Hometown and I posted photos from, you know, Animal Kingdom opening and, uh, Winnie the Pooh opening and, you know, various things.

Whatever. Oh, um, when Epcot had its millennium, I, you know, I posted about that. Um, so then I started the site in 2007, which was the same year, uh, that I slept in Cinderella castle. So,

Jeff Lange: yeah, you need to set that up. Of course, you don't sleep in Cinderella.

Denise Preskitt: My stepfather, one, then. The year of a million dreams.

And he really, really didn't want to, he didn't want it. He said, no, no, no. But my brother was like, yes. And eventually, you know, they had to kind of like my stepfather was definitely not going to be in the parade. He didn't want anything to do with the parade or anything. Uh, so, you know, there was a little bit of.

Back and forth. And then they called me and you want to sleep in Cinderella castle. And I said, okay, yes. So Jeff can talk.

Jeff Lange: Okay. Well, for me, my parents took me to Disney world when I was four in 1971 in November. So I have never missed a year of experiencing Walt Disney World as it evolved from the very beginning, so I've kind of seen it over the years.

I don't remember a lot when I was four, but that's when I started. I started documenting the parks, though, in 1990, so that's 34 years of video. My goal was I wanted to record every ride, show, and attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I started that in 1990. And somehow I'm still kind of doing that now.

Denise Preskitt: And Jeff and I both were on the Disney magic separately in 1998. So we both, uh, you know, have been cruising Disney cruise line since, since, you know, the first year.

Lou Mongello: We, there's a good chance we passed each other in November of 71. I was three. I was the, I was that kid was dressed really, really poorly with bad hair. And I remember you

Jeff Lange: wondering all these

Lou Mongello: years, but you have, you know, we've talked about this, this offline, um, because I've, I'm literally in awe with how much You have been able to document, you know, you have things that we just can't find elsewhere, you know Probably in your archives that you have compiled really not just to share with others but just your your personal love of Documenting and recording all that history and I even I we were talking on the cruise about how you've been able to Catalog and organize such an incredible rich video history of Walt Disney World that I don't know That anybody, maybe even Disney doesn't have as much as you probably do.

Jeff Lange: Yeah, I don't know. I'm, I'm sure Disney has, has more, but also photos too. I have quite a photo archive from all those years. So even back in the seventies, I was, my parents gave me the little, the little camera, you know, there's little, I don't know what it's shaped like the, what are the, what are those old cameras called?

And he's helped me out. I don't know.

Lou Mongello: Not a

Jeff Lange: Polaroid. No, Lou might know that it's, it's shaped like. Instamatic? Yes. Well, not instant. I don't know. Anyway, I took pictures way back.

Lou Mongello: It was so old. It didn't even have a name. It was just called a camera back then. It was a camera. There's film involved. And it was like the one 10, you know, like the one 10 camera with the little cartridge that you stuck in and the little cube.

That's what it was.

Jeff Lange: Go ahead and tell the story about going through the, uh, metal detectors back in the day. Oh,

Denise Preskitt: you mean you had to have your film checks?

Jeff Lange: Yeah, I would bring a little baggie of 30 rolls of film, and I would have to bring them to the metal detector at the airport, and they would have to open every one, because I didn't want them to go through, because some of them were high speed, and it could, you know, affect the picture, so a lot has changed over the years.

None of that anymore.

Lou Mongello: Jeff single handedly kept the GAF camera center on Main Street open for years, because he was the only guy still walking in. film and, and eventually, um, videotapes, but let's move forward. Right. You said that you have both crews before we have cruised together before in the past. And I want to talk about some of the reasons specifically to take a very maritime cruise.

We've talked a lot on the show about why we love cruising in general, but there is something really. Special, I think about very merry time, especially this year when there's been some additions and enhancements, and we were all invited by Disney to experience a very merry time cruise together on the Disney Magic out of Fort Lauderdale, um, which just screams her.

What is it?

Jeff Lange: We're on the


Lou Mongello: Dream. What did I say? The Disney Magic? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what I meant. I meant the Disney Dream. We have a group cruise planned on the Disney Magic. We have a Halloween on the high seas cruise on the Disney Magic coming up. So yeah, so we're on the Disney Dream out of Fort Lauderdale and Have you what?

So what other cruises have you done? Just so contextually, have you ever done a very merry time cruise before? Once?

Jeff Lange: Yeah. We did one on the Disney Dream. Yep. On the Disney Dream. That's right. And we did a Star

Denise Preskitt: Cruise in 2014. I think Cruise too. We did. We've done like, I've done the Disney Magic a couple times and the Disney Dream three or four times and Disney Wish and I did the Blender once.

But we only did the very maritime cruise one time. And I think that that was like in 2014 or or so.

Jeff Lange: How many very merry times have you done, Lou?

Lou Mongello: So I did a group very merry time this past last December on the Disney Wish. And I believe I had done one before that, maybe on the. I'd have to look back and see, but we did, we did just do one relatively recently on the wish.

And we'll talk a little bit about sort of comparing and contrasting this cruise and the Disney dream versus some of the others. But I want to sort of get right into it. You are my friends. You are my guests. I'd love to get into your list first in terms of what. In any order that you feel you can count it up.

You can count down. You can just bounce all around What for you sort of comes to mind first when you think of a compelling reason to want to take? Your first or your next very merry time cruise on disney cruise line. Well,

Denise Preskitt: I mean for me Like, I like seasonal activities. It doesn't matter where they are, the Disney parks, um, but to be able to walk on board and see the tree and smell the gingerbread, uh, you know, it just to have it sort of envelop you from the second that you walk on and they are welcome, uh, welcoming you, uh, to me, like, that really sets the tone.


Jeff Lange: guess that would be atmosphere and I have, uh, I have written down atmosphere so we kind of have the same, uh,

Denise Preskitt: I loved going in the atrium. I loved going, you know, in the atrium and it wasn't lit, remember?

Jeff Lange: All right, you had to go to the tree lighting for all that so that made it even more magical.

Lou Mongello: I love the fact that there's the buildup to that, right?

You don't just sort of walk in that there is, there is sort of an event that has to take place. And then that really starts to sort of usher in the, the, because I think the, the atrium separately was on my list as one of the reasons why. I love the very maritime cruise. I think the atrium specifically on the dream is spectacular.

Um, I love the theming. I love the decor when it's decorated with the, the garland swags along the railing, it sparkles even during the daytime. But I think really it's sort of shines at night. And then when you have that tree lighting ceremony on that first night, that HGM takes on a completely different life.

And if you're a photographer or videographer. I think there's amazing photo opportunities in that decorated atrium, especially if like me, I'm a, I'm a late night snacker kind of guy, which also means I get sort of wander the ship late night, going through that atrium, both on deck three. And I like actually going up to deck four and deck five and then shooting down, seeing how beautifully it's lit, especially when it's dark outside those twinkling lights really sort of literally and figuratively shine.

And I think that the atrium is just like, I can, I can and did. Spend a lot of time just sort of soaking in the atmosphere of the atrium itself. Yeah,

Jeff Lange: I definitely agree. And as you said, off times, like when Castaway, it was daytime, but there was not a soul in that lobby. And it was so nice to take pictures of it lit, you know, not lit because of

Denise Preskitt: the sun, like guests got off early.

And so we went and had breakfast and we came out in the atrium and it's like, you know, almost 10 a. m. and there's like nobody in there. And it was just such a lovely time to. You know, to be there before we headed out to, to Castaway Key. Right.

Jeff Lange: But nighttime is, is of course, more magical sneaking down at one or two in the morning.

And like Lou said, seeing it from the various decks is

Lou Mongello: spectacular. And sneaking is a bit of a stretch. Usually I have a plate of chicken. More like, um, I'm waddling down to take three or four to take, um, some photos. I don't know if you had this as part of. Your fear agent, I sort of I lumped a lot into the atrium, but maybe they should almost be broken down individually because walking in the atrium, like you said, Denise, it's not just what you see, but what you hear, um, what you smell, right?

Because there's also the smell of that. huge. It's like a loose size. It's I could actually move into the gingerbread house because it literally is built to lose size. But there is a huge gingerbread house on deck three that took like 250 hours or so to create. Let me quickly look at some of the stats.

750 pounds of gingerbread dough, 3500 Gingerbread bricks with an additional 1900 on the roof, 160 pounds of sugar and took them 10 days because every brick had to be individually aligned and stuck to the frame with icing. It's decorated on the outside. It's decorated on the inside. It's an amazing photo opportunity.

It adds this another layer and level of, of holiday atmosphere to The, um, to the atrium. And again, you can get, you can get great photos on your own, but throughout your cruise, uh, pay attention because they're off. There will often be Disney cruise line photographers there. Um, especially if you do like the photo package, a Disney cruise line photographer can get some great photos of you.

If you check the navigator app, you can find out when the photographer is there. And, um, Also, during certain times of the day or night, there's actually, there's, there's a table out front with hot cocoa and cookies. Like, I'm not a sweet guy, but man, oh man, free hot cocoa and cookies in front of the gingerbread house with music in the atrium.

Um, that, that's a pretty good time right

Denise Preskitt: there. And it wasn't Swiss miss. I mean, they gave you a little bit, but it was like really thick, good chocolate. And also I just want to mention sometimes that door that that to that loose size gingerbread house. I don't think it was open was open and I had 1 little girl come up to me and she was like, can I go in?

And I said. Oh, and I got a cast member really quick. And you know, because I don't, I'm not, you know, I'm going to, I'm just, I can't just tell her no, because I'm a guest myself. So I let the cast member do that. But, you know, like, sometimes I think there were. People, you know, kids probably who made it and that's definitely

Lou Mongello: because if you look inside, it's decorated like there's a chair.

I saw Mr. Potato Head and there was a little fireplace inside.

Jeff Lange: There's a TV. That's yeah, there's all sorts of decorating like

Denise Preskitt: a place you would go if the doors open, right?

Jeff Lange: And there's trees. I mean, it's not just the gingerbread house. It's like the forest around it too. And I should mention when we were looking at the gingerbread house, we're going to segue to something.

Very important. Right next to, to the right of the gingerbread house, there is a bar and that bar has a sign that says mulled wine. Yes. And I believe mulled wine is on all three of our

Denise Preskitt: lists. I, I got it three times. I love mulled wine. I can't wait to get back to Paris next month because, you know, there'll be mulled wine there as well.

Nothing says

Jeff Lange: the holidays like gingerbread and mulled wine.

Denise Preskitt: And hot chocolate. But they should have sold gingerbread, which they did. I did not see. Okay. Did they not sell gingerbread?

Jeff Lange: I don't think so. That's surprising. It would have been nice to get a gingerbread piece there.

Lou Mongello: That's why Denise wanted to tell that little girl, yes, you can go in and just rip one of those gingerbread pieces and bring it to me so I can dip it in my hot chocolate.


Jeff Lange: a, that's a good idea. That's a great idea.

Lou Mongello: Um, all right. So, so the, you know what, I'm going to continue to sort of piggyback a little bit on. Your atrium a little bit because I think there's the atrium decor. There's the tree There's a lot one of the things in the atrium that I really really enjoyed on this cruise because I think there's You know, for me, what I, what I sort of felt specifically on this one is there's, there's this incredible energy in the atrium throughout the day and night.

There's always something going on as opposed to the, sometimes the quiet that the atrium has late at night, but especially right before dinner time, um, both early and second seating, there's entertainment in the atrium. And I absolutely fell in love. Specifically two. There was, there was the sister, sister that was a, a duet, uh, a pianist and a guitarist.

There was a violinist who was, yes, the violinist was great. Spectacular. But you had me at the maritime carolers . I thought this acapella maritime Carol Carol. Group that sang both classic and vintage and modern and, and, um, you know, current Christmas tunes that I think appealed to everybody in the audience, no matter who you are or where you were from, what was a really beautiful and lovely aspect of the atrium that I found myself sort of just standing there.

Not just to, to record them for, for social, but to enjoy them and just sort of take them in on my own. Yeah,

Jeff Lange: they were tremendous. And we were all, all of us had a chance to see them at a little, uh, get together, a media thing earlier on in the cruise. And that was great to have watch a full set. from up close and I recognize a lot of them from the shows as well.

So they're doing double and triple duty also.

Lou Mongello: Yeah. Working on, working on any cruise line, your chances are you're, you're not just doing one job, you're doing multiple, uh, to say the least, but yeah, I, I really, really, really enjoyed. I mean, I always enjoy the live entertainment on board, but there was, there was, um, the, the, the carolers in the atrium, no matter where you stood, whether you're standing on deck three or four or five, sort of maybe waiting to get in, in line for a picture with the character.

The, the echoes of that acapella music was, was I think a really beautiful touch and they're new this year. They were a new addition this year. One of the things that I really, really enjoyed. Well,

Jeff Lange: another new addition, they've upgraded, updated the tree lighting. We should talk about the tree lighting in the atrium on the first

Lou Mongello: night as well.

Yeah, tree lighting was, was on, the tree lighting event experience was on my list as really sort of a separate entry because it is, and it's, it's something that is, it's new and I think it's a must do.

Jeff Lange: It's definitely a must do. It only happens once. So it's a get there early must do if you really want to want to get a good, you know, a perfect spot to see it and enjoy it and to take pictures and everything.

And we all did that. I remember seeing you at dinner and it's like, all right, Lou, you ready? Let's get down to that atrium. Come on. And we all, we are all, uh, ate our food. Never faster that night to, to get a perfect night. Well, then we did it again the next night and the night after that, that was the first time for

Lou Mongello: that.

Jeff and I would like coordinate before meals. All right. All right. We're going to tell our waiter, this is what we want. We need it fast because we need to be out by seven Oh three. And we're cause you're right. It is. You know, quote unquote, everybody is trying to get there at the same time, and it does get very, very crowded.

The nice thing about the atrium is you can watch on the ground on deck three, or you can be on the periphery on deck four or five and still be able to take in a ceremony that is more than just kind of the, you know, ceremonial lighting of the tree. There's a lot more to it. And I should mention

Jeff Lange: they have a section up front just for littler kids, which is great because , you know, otherwise if everybody was standing, they wouldn't be able to see anything.

So this is really nice that for Littler kids, they have that specialist, unlike you. Well, not just, uh, kids ,

Lou Mongello: I wish say, had a little, they just have a literal little littler adult section too, like put the kids first. Then me and everyone because I, I got a little bit late and I was sort of, I was way up on deck four and, and not the best angle, um, in order to, to see or record it because there is, there's a lot, like I said, there's a lot that sort of happens in this thing that I think is, is such, you know, the sail away deck party is great, but I think this for me sort of kicked off the very merry time aspect of the cruise.

Denise Preskitt: And it has Disney characters, which is another one of the items on my list, right? So, you know, singing Christmas carols and, you know,

Jeff Lange: that's Snow is involved and Santa and Mrs. Claus make

Denise Preskitt: a special appearance. Well, not really snow. I mean, Pluto. Pluto has

Jeff Lange: Well, Pluto makes it snow with his bucket of snow, like the Globetrotters, kind of.

But, uh, it was really

Lou Mongello: cool. Thank you for not making a yellow snow joke with Pluto. You get, you know, you get the, the mini Mickey and Pluto and Goofy where there's a special spoiler alert. There is a special surprise appearance from the clauses who are very, very busy this time of year, but they also perform a number of, you know, musical sections.

There's the happy holidays and Goofy sort of. adds this kind of ceremonial present to the bottom of the stairs. There's a little bit of a sing along with Like and by sing along, I mean I love the fact that kids and kids at heart are Singing along jeff doesn't because he's recording but everybody else is is for the most part singing along when you It's like when you come to magic kingdom, where you start, you sort of let all your inhibitions go, you don't worry about sounding or looking ridiculous because everybody else around you is doing it as well.

And there's this wonderful, like there's a sense of community. I think that's instantly sort of formed between you and the people around you, just enjoying the simple pleasure of singing Christmas carols with, with Disney characters on the deck of the ship as you're, as you're leaving for, um, you know, a multi day adventure.

Jeff Lange: And after the tree is lit, the whole atrium is lit and it's lit from then on until you leave the ship. So it's, you know, it's kind of a, as you said, it sets the

Lou Mongello: tone. Yeah. Yeah. But you, like you said, pro tip, you definitely need to, to sort of get there early, especially when it be sort of Up against the railings, even on, you know, if you want that unobstructed view, even on deck four or deck five.

So, uh, I really, really, really liked the Mickey and friends tree lighting ceremony and sort of how they've plussed it up on the, the very maritime, very maritime cruises going forward.

Jeff Lange: So, you know, we've been in the, in the atrium this entire talk. So let's, let's move on to the state room and talk about the great surprise that we all had.

And I think this is one of the higher things on my list. What is the official name of the, uh, I

Denise Preskitt: forgot to write it down. I didn't write it down.

Lou Mongello: Of course he does. It's the season's greetings roomed in an

Jeff Lange: article.

Denise Preskitt: Yes. But I didn't even write down, like, I just wrote down like thoughts, but I really enjoyed that.

I heard though, like some people, when I wrote the article said they didn't have it going out of Port Canaveral on the Disney wish. And they really,

Jeff Lange: I think you need to, you need to order it early as I think, or when it's available, right? But I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning when I opened the door and the whole room was decorated with all those, uh, special, special goodness there.

So it was

Denise Preskitt: a nice treat. And I do know it's 118. That part I remembered and, um, you know, included quite a bit. I thought for the


Lou Mongello: Yeah, it was a wonderful surprise. Uh, I've seen. The room decor packages done in the past for birthdays. Um, a couple of years ago we did a group cruise and, and somebody was nice enough to sort of send a birthday.

Of course it was supposed to be, there was something that lost in translation. Cause I think they were supposed to put in like a Marvel birthday thing. And instead they put in like. Something for little kids. So I had this like Pluto sash that I had to wear It still hangs over my door it's like celebrating my special day and it's like this big Pluto Said

Jeff Lange: when we went on a cruise last year on Denise's birthday and celebration and Becky had said that And, and we have that plu, that Pluto thing, that sash, which is hanging up in our bedroom.

I didn't

Lou Mongello: wear it. Like, especially if you're traveling, like, you know, with your family or with your loved one, or someone you want to be your loved one or just a bunch of friends when you walk into the room and it is decorated, you know, look, it's exciting for the first time when you open up that door anyway, right?

But now you have these. Things that really sort of transform your room, right? There's a, a little goofy, uh, a plush. There is this very cozy, which is now downstairs on my couch holiday with some of your favorite Disney pals on it. There's a, a really big. Mickey shaped pillow that has this sort of, it's like a sewn in advent calendar, a candy cane to help you sort of mark the date as you count down, which I really, really liked.

And these wonderful, sorry, I think there were like two or three foot. Ceiling banners again, although the walls and your ceiling in your stateroom are magnetic note to self Go to amazon get magnetic hooks But these are hanging from the ceiling that have these removable felt ornaments and they also gave you this.

Um, This storage bin to put all the things in to make it easy for you to bring it home and take off the ship note to self. They do take up a lot of room. So in your luggage when you're returning home, so either be prepared to carry it off or make sure you a lot extra space. Or bring an extra duffel bag or small piece of luggage when you go on a dizzy cruise, because chances are you're coming home with more than you came with, but, uh, I really, really liked this decor package.

And if I was to do a maritime cruise again, especially with my family, I think this is a really nice way to, to make it even more special. And

Denise Preskitt: the, and I was going to say the storage bin is festive as well. I mean, it's decorated the same as everything else. And it, that goes flat. Right.

Jeff Lange: I mean, everything you can, you know, X unspanned.


Lou Mongello: I think the technical term is you can smush it all down. And, uh, that's why space saving bags are those, those. Those airtight bags are a great way to, to bring stuff on and off. Um, I'm going to, I'm going to piggyback on this, this idea of. Decorating your stateroom and because it makes me think about sort of expanding away and another reason.

And so this is something you can do, I think, to enhance your own very merry time experience, because one of the things I saw a lot, both on embarkation day and through the cruise pirate night, quote unquote, formal night. I think if you bring and pack some holiday themed apparel and accessories. You can help sort of plus up your own experiences.

I saw people in formal wear, you know, lining up for family photos with the, the Disney Cruise Line photographers, people in ugly Christmas sweaters, Christmas pajamas, coordinated holiday t shirts, a lot of different outfits to wear. And I loved seeing that. I loved seeing families or even individuals really sort of getting into the spirit of it.

I brought my ugly Christmas sweater. But it was so hot. I never just got a chance to go ahead and wear it. And this idea of decorating your room and going with your family or going with friends and making and bringing some of your own magic, right? I love decorating my door. Um, whenever we do group cruises, we have door decorating.

Um, but I even, you know, I cruise by myself. And I still brought things to decorate my door with. I have those magnetic hooks. I put Christmas lights out there and it made me think about, you know, taking a Disney cruise and using a Disney cruise as your Christmas gift. And what I mean by that is instead of gift giving with your family.

Use the Disney Cruise as your gift to one another, spending the holidays, maybe the actual holiday, whether it is Christmas at sea and you make your stateroom your home. And I, and I know some people that do that, like they have sort of started to transition to, instead of being home for the holidays, they go away for the holidays and they bring a little Christmas tree and they decorate their room.

And I really love that. Um, and I think having the room decor package and bringing a little bit of stuff on your own really sort of helps to give a sense of being almost home away from home in your four or five, seven days in your stateroom. And you gave

Denise Preskitt: the gift of stickers. We didn't even know it was your door.

Jeff Lange: Yes. The gift of stickers from the door.

Denise Preskitt: We , we stopped by a door. It showed Lou on it, Lou's face on it door. It wasn't the only, it wasn't the only one with the Walt Disney World Radio on it. That's true. It was not the only one. So we stopped, we saw stickers and we took a couple and then we found out it was your door

Lou Mongello: I always like having like little giveaways and things like that on my door, so.

Denise Preskitt: So look for Lou's door's on your next cruise.

Lou Mongello: Stickers are easy to pack. So, which is, which is why I like, uh, which is why like bringing stickers

Jeff Lange: the apparel though. I mean, I think that really adds to it. We, we brought a bunch of, uh, Christmas Hawaiian shirts and things like that and tried to dress for the occasions that always adds

Denise Preskitt: to it. I bought a couple of red, you know, just red women's shirts because I didn't want something that was just Christmas that I could only wear for, you know, a few weeks.

I wanted something that maybe I could wear year round and I found it very festive. And then you can add a little flourish to it, you know, a little green flourish. Flare. A little flare. Like an office

Lou Mongello: space. All right, what else? What is next on your list? All right, let's talk

Jeff Lange: about holiday treats. I wrote holiday treats from Vanellope's, is that what, is that what it's called?


Denise Preskitt: did write that, yeah. You wrote it? Vanellope's Sweets and Treats. Yes, because I was very surprised how many How much different how many different items that they had and we were, you know, gifted a couple of treats. I wish if we were in port Canaveral, I would have brought a few items for home. You know, like, they're really good.

And there were so many items. And of course you're not eating anything on a Disney cruise. You don't get any kind of sweets. There's no ice cream,

Jeff Lange: no hot chocolate. You're starving all the time. So you really need some

Denise Preskitt: treats. No, but I mean the quality, I thought of the treats were really good and the amount of different items and it was busy in there almost

Jeff Lange: all the time.

The biggest challenge is just finding that extra room in the, in the stomach. I don't know if Lou has that problem, but it was, it was so good. It was just, we were all full from having

Lou Mongello: great food. Yeah, you have to sort of listen. Here's a pro tip. You need to dine strategically on Disney cruise like because you're going to have multiple meals throughout the day.

I like to sort of spread them out, you know, first practice for breakfast, second breakfast, then lunch. Then you get a little snack up on deck. There's a method to my madness. It's sort of like eating nine or 10 times, but On the Disney Dream, Vanellope's had, I counted nine different holiday special sweets and treats to eat.

They had shortbread cookies, a gingerbread Mickey cookie, chocolate dipped strawberry gnomes, I mean they're not actual gnomes that are dipped in chocolate, but, uh, merry marshmallow sticks, a Christmas Oreo cookie, Which is a three layer Oreo with dulce de leche filling, a Maritime Popsicle, Happy Santa cupcakes, Merry Christmas shortbread cookies, a huge Rice Krispie, uh, Christmas tree, chocolate brownie, and they all run between like four and six dollars.

Like, they're not crazy expensive, which I think is really nice, so you can try and sample and share them out. Um, I will see your Vanellope and I will raise you Cove Cafe. We did not.

Jeff Lange: But we saw it.

Denise Preskitt: We did see it, but we, we

Jeff Lange: did not. Yeah,

Lou Mongello: we, we, this is why I'm, I'm a giver. I do this for you. I do. I took one for the team and went to Cove Cafe, which is the adult only coffee bar that is in the adult only section of DECO, which is a wonderful little sort of.

Place to sort of get away, sit inside, have a nice quiet cup of coffee, read a book, do some work, but they had, um, they had two different specialty coffees. Um, I had a gingerbread coffee. I did a, a, an Instagram reel and story about it, which is still on my Instagram to see. It was this tall warm gingerbread coffee like almost like with this, um pistachio crumble on the side It was delicious, um cove cafe You do pay for for the for the coffees, especially the the specialty coffees But it for me like that was a nice little treat to myself Um, the other thing too if you go to cove cafe, they have a little like sweet um, like a sweet and savory like, uh display And they have little treats that you can only get and those are complimentary.

So it's a real, like I had a, like I had a business meeting while I was there. So I sort of made, I turned my little business meeting into a gingerbread house, um, coffee meeting, which was, which was really, really nice. And, um, yeah. And we also mentioned to the, the hot chocolate and the cookies that you can get.

I think that late afternoons and early evenings, um, starting on the second day on deck three near the gingerbread house, which is a nice way to sort of, if you're waiting in line for characters, if you're waiting in line for. Uh, some of the entertainment it's again, it's like a little pre dinner sweet treat a little dessert before dinner Which is fine because you're on vacation again,

Jeff Lange: maybe the mulled wine would go with the treats I'm,

Lou Mongello: just looking for any excuse to have a mulled wine at this point Actually,

Jeff Lange: that's more of a denise thing.

I do like it.

Denise Preskitt: I am the mulled wine person,

Jeff Lange: right? I am but it's it's something that's only probably offered during christmas. It was a

Denise Preskitt: good price. Like it was like 6. 25 plus tip You know, so I thought that was really nice.

Jeff Lange: Yeah, it was reasonable. You know, I can't believe we got this far and we didn't talk about characters.

Denise Preskitt: We did. I mentioned

Jeff Lange: them briefly. But there's a lot to say. All new outfits this year. I, I loved meeting all the characters in their new Christmas

Denise Preskitt: outfits. And you did get in line for all of them. And I saw almost all of them.

Lou Mongello: Because Jeff is thorough in his research. Uh, he gets in line very early. I'm not saying there's a lot of pushing and shoving on Jeff's part, but, um, any

Jeff Lange: of the characters, I know you met Mickey and Minnie up on

Lou Mongello: deck.

I did. You know what? And Jeff and D like, I'm not, not normally a wait in line for a character kind of guy. I also say I'm not a sweets guy yet. Here I am on myself. Enjoying and wanting to get in line to meet the characters here, not just because they have exclusive holiday outfits that are new for this year, but I think because, because of the, the festive atmosphere and the decor and the music and everything else, I found myself really enjoying wanting to see and meet and greet.

And because. The other thing too, you know, the characters are so wonderful because each, they don't have to say a word, but they, they demonstrate such a unique personality, like Daisy was extra sassy and I loved her little outfits. And I'm like, I'm here. I am a somewhat grown adult by myself on this cruise, waiting in line for characters.

And I was loving every second of it and, and never felt, you know, weird about doing it because certainly I'm not the only one. Plus Jeff was first in line. And Belle

Denise Preskitt: was in her holiday outfit as well. Oh yeah, so

Jeff Lange: we also, we should mention we did the, what is it called? Princess Gathering. Princess Gathering, which you have to book early and in advance.

Denise Preskitt: Well you have to book like when you get on the

Jeff Lange: ship. Right, but that, we took that opportunity to ask all the princesses what they wanted for Christmas. So that was really flippant. You asked. You were associated with it. But it was fun to have all their answers, you know, that were themed to them. So I thought that was very nice.

And Belle was in her Christmas dress also,

Lou Mongello: just there not to make it weird when Jeff is asking Bella, what she wants for Christmas. I understand. You're a good wing man, Denise, but this is where your, your navigator app comes into play because there's a tab on the navigator app to show you what characters are meeting where.

And, you know, for some people. You know, trying to get all the characters as part of the fun, like it's the quest, like it's the scavenger hunt to see how many questions they can, uh, how many characters they can get or seeing characters. And it's why the theme cruises are so great because you see them in costumes that are different than what you'd see them on a normal cruise, whether Mickey is dressed in his Marvel best in his star Wars gear, or like I said, for the, the holidays here, um, and the other thing I found too, and somebody else told me this, is that.

When you are seeing and meeting characters, it's a, it's a great opportunity to talk to some of the character handlers to find out who is going to be where and sort of position yourself accordingly. So you can be as efficient and effective in your character meeting and greeting and photographing as possible.

And you also make

Jeff Lange: friends in line because, as you said, there's a lot of guests that are big character fans and you'll see them moving from line to line with you, you know, because they all kind of go in order. So if you want to meet. Let's see, Donald. And then you move over to the daisy line and you'll see the same people kind of following you or are in that same area.

So that was kind of nice for us to make some new friends while we were waiting in line

Denise Preskitt: for the characters. And also you can find them in their regular outfits and also their castaway key outfits. Right. So it's not like they're only, In holiday costumes, and if you don't want to wait in line, they're still in their holiday costumes during some of the events

Jeff Lange: like the story time with Mrs Claus.

At the conclusion of that, the characters do a little meet and greet. They won't really, really fully pose, but they'll do a quick selfie, but they won't do autographs and things. So there's a chance to get a quick picture

Lou Mongello: that way. I loved, I found myself watching from the, the perimeter on deck four when we saw you,

Jeff Lange: Lou, we were in the midst of all those people and I was smart up there,

Lou Mongello: but I loved looking down and watching Jeff with camera in hand, but adults and kids just sort of mixing and mingling and dancing and the characters dancing and sort of free roaming around the.

There was this, this wasn't the energy that I was talking about earlier. I love the energy of the atrium and you don't have to worry about sort of standing in line to sort of meet or dance with goofy. Yes. You can't get a single picture or an autograph or have a quote unquote conversation, but I loved the, the atrium character interactions during some of these sort of.

Freeform events with, with Christmas music playing in the background. And we

Jeff Lange: should, I guess this is a good segue to talk about the other new show. The, uh, Mickey, Mickey, no, no, no. Yeah. Mickey and Minnie's holiday party, which is the deck show. No, it's

Lou Mongello: almost like you're reading my mind or my notes. I I'm not just weirder, but you're, I agree with you a hundred percent.

That's exactly where, where I wanted it to go. Again, a new show on Disney cruise line for very, very time this year, we had a chance to. You know, again, Jeff and I wanted to get the early Jeff because he wants to get the good angle for video me just to have a be able to place to see. So I'm not up to trying to look over tall adults in front of me.

Uh, tell me your thoughts. Tell me a little bit about the holiday party and then your thoughts about it. You can take it.

Denise Preskitt: Oh, you mean, so I'm just going to say, like, I recommend unless you're no, I recommend going on an upper deck because I think that is a better location. It's a little bit of a challenging show to watch from where we

Jeff Lange: were.

I thought because what was new for this show, at least for us, what. With, uh, with it is you had this, but the special spot for all the kids up front, but all the adults behind them have to sit the entire time. So that's a bit of a challenge for, for some of us to sit for 45 minutes total. And, uh, and I think viewing, I think for adults.

I would agree with Denise up on the, on the side deck would be a better view. But once, I mean, wherever you see the show, it's very infectious. As far as the, uh, the music you'll, you'll have that song in your head after. And I

Denise Preskitt: watched the video because I couldn't see as well as I would have liked. Um, while we were there and, you know, what it's about is like, um, Max writes Goofy a letter and, you know, You know, just a holiday letter.

He goofy. He's not gonna be there for Christmas. He's not. Right, right. He's not gonna be there. And that, and then, you know, Mickey's like, oh well that's okay. You know, we're all family here. And then they break out in a song and dance. But Max was untruthful a

Jeff Lange: surprise, a parent, goofy young son. I mentioned this to goofy and passed away the next day.

Yes, I'm sure he would. But, uh, I'm sure he was impressed. But, uh, max did make a special appearance, surprising, goofy, and then snow happens. Well, we're not giving any spoilers at all, by the way. And, uh, you know, it's a big song and dance with all the characters. And it's a happy Disney. We're

Denise Preskitt: at the end of the, of the seasonal, you know, holidays, the very maritime cruises anyway, at this point, but you should check out, you know, either our video or somebody else's video.

You can watch it, you know, and, um, I don't know what watching it on the video, you know, it was a lot more fun. That way. In person it

Jeff Lange: was a challenge. It was a little challenging. Because once again there's only one performance in the entire, most, you would think most of the guests want to see it. So it gets very

Denise Preskitt: crowded.

And it was a full ship. So.

Lou Mongello: Right. We, we, especially you, because you do, you do, you know, video is your, is your primary medium. When we attend a lot of these things, we're, we're, we're watching it through a literal and figurative lens because we're in the mode of capturing content. For sharing in the future as opposed to it's difficult almost to be present sometimes right to be present in the show and sort of Take it all in because we're thinking about you know the kid that's screaming the guy that's jumping up in front of you and the angles and the lighting and the sound and all those things but there was a um I did the same thing.

I went back and I watched the video of it again at the mouse steps, YouTube channel, of course, because you're the best, but it's this high energy show. And there's this emotional rollercoaster of a story. I was thinking about like Jim coach. Pro cheese cats in the cradle. Like the kid goes off, he's not coming home.

And I'm like, why am I getting weepy about stupid max, not coming home to see, because I'm thinking about my kids not coming home for Christmas one day. But, you know, spoiler alert. Um, it would have been a very non Disney show of max. Didn't go come, come back for the holidays. But, um, to your point, Jeff, to getting there early.

I think if you, if you have young kids, that sitting children's section in the middle is a great idea. Kudos to the crew members who have to try and remind kids, listen, there's characters in front of you. They're singing and dancing, but please just sit down and don't move. It's

hurting. It's the reverse of herding cats trying to keep, but the kids were great. And, uh, and then obviously there's, you know, the dance parties and stuff like that afterwards, but I agree with you. Denise, I think for the best overall viewing experience, I think a great tip is to not try and be front and center on deck 11, but be right on the corners near the stage on deck 12.

There's, there's really no bad angle to see it from, but being close to the stage is important. That's probably where I would go and watch in, in the future.

Denise Preskitt: They play to the center. They do not play to the sides really. So, you know, I, I, you know, but I still would, I still would go up, you know, up ahead, uh,

Jeff Lange: up above and that advice goes for the pirate, the pirate care, Mickey's what is the Mickey pirates in the Caribbean, Mickey's pirates in the.

That's another great show, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about very merry

Lou Mongello: time They did it they did it for the the tree lighting ceremony too, right? There was the kid section up in front too So I like the fact that they're making sure that you know kids are able to to see as well. So usually you'll find kids The kids section, the Jeff section, and then everybody else right behind it.

Jeff Lange: I am very much for the kids section. It's just, if you have to sit behind the kids section, that's when it can be a bit of a challenge. As we're getting

Denise Preskitt: older, sitting on a hard surface and trying to get up from it, it's a little harder, right?

Lou Mongello: I'm going to buy you those little pop up chairs for Christmas.

You can just start carrying them with you. Those would be

Jeff Lange: illegal, sir. A sit. On the ground,

Lou Mongello: Um, let's let's stay up on deck for for a second, too, because one of the things I love about Disney Cruise Line during the holiday Disney Cruise Line period is Funnel Vision. I think Funnel Vision is such a great addition and Especially during the holidays.

I love how the, the holiday, you know, there's no sort of theming per se, but that holiday festive atmosphere extends up onto the pool deck. Um, there's movies playing throughout the day, but at night, especially when it's nice and cool and it's quiet up there, you can go to funnel vision and they're playing a huge variety of holiday specials.

It was Mickey's once upon a Christmas. Twice upon a Christmas, thrice upon a Christmas, maybe the Santa Claus movies. I have three words for you and they are Muppet Christmas Carol on Fox Vision. I just like, I, one day I want to go like when we, next time we do a group cruise, I want to do like a Muppet Christmas Carol, like meetup.

But go there and do it like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and recite, because we know all the lines, you know, like the lamp, not the rat, like the lamp, not the rat. I want to do that while we watch, um, Funnel Vision. Grab some chicken tenders from, um, Flo's in the back. And yeah, I really, really liked I found myself, you know, some nights just standing up there off on the side, just watching, snacking and watching the holiday movies.

But it's a nice addition. And, you know, again, sort of. Free entertainment, you know, we've seen these movies before, but it does hit a little bit differently when you're, you're watching it up on deck.

Jeff Lange: Well, not to mention, uh, you talking about movies, we saw Wish for the first time, uh, on the cruise. So that was great.

I enjoyed it. So, I mean, you can see first run, like brand new movies, and as you said, the Final Vision.

Denise Preskitt: But no Time Warp. No Rocky Horror. No. Not yet.

Jeff Lange: At least on the case, though. We'll have

Lou Mongello: to go with that. I would watch The Muppet Christmas Carol over Rocky Horror any day, but it was sort of a metaphor of the type of experience I'd like to have.

All right, let's move, let's move on from Funnel Vision to what is next on your list.

Denise Preskitt: I mean, I only have one more thing and for me, um, being able to see the castaway, uh, key Christmas tree from the ship.

Jeff Lange: You're stealing all my, that was

Denise Preskitt: my last. When we went on the last, uh, the one other very maritime cruise, we didn't get to dock.

It was rough. Rough seas. The seas were rough. We saw the Christmas tree. It looked really nice, but we did not get to go in, you know, off the ship. So to be able to see it and then actually get off the ship, um, and get to, to be up on the ship. Yeah. Yeah. And getting photo ops with it was very

Jeff Lange: nice. And there are some castaway at the beginning is decorated as well.

So that was a nice surprise

Lou Mongello: to see. Yeah, I like the little sort of, um, holiday makeover that that castaway gets and the, the, the sandman up front instead of the, uh, instead of the snowman. I have a couple other. Quick ones on my list and then one that I know that we definitely want to talk about together One if I'm again, not a sweets guy I'm also not necessarily a merch guy but there is a variety of holiday themed merchandise from shirts and mugs to services and ears and and A lot of different trading pins at all.

Um, for some people, the merch is a big thing and some items actually sell out. So if there's certain stuff that you want, get there early, um, and check out the stores on the first night of your cruise when you set sail. Uh, if you are a Uh, I believe if you're a Platinum Castaway or a Disney Visa card holder, you get a 10 percent discount in the merchandise locations.

Even gold is a 10 percent discount. The gold is a gold too, yeah. Um, and the merchandise, it's sort of my segue into something that I did for the first time ever. On a Disney cruise or anywhere. I'm not a sweets guy. I'm not a merch guy. I'm also not a magic band plus user. When I go to the Disney parks, um, I'm old school.

I still have the card in my wallet where I use, I just prefer really to sort of tap on my phone, but I was able to get a, it's not called a magic band, it's called a Disney band plus to use on the ship and dare I say. I'm a Disney cruise line that Disney band convert because from boarding the ship on embarkation day to accessing your stateroom, charging specialty food and coffees and merchandise on your stateroom folio, the Disney band plus is a very easy, convenient, um, addition to the cruise.

You also don't have to worry about wearing. Your lanyard. Where do you put your key card? Hey, you know, how do you, you know, do you keep it in your bathing suit? Do you keep it in your pocket? You keep it on a lanyard and disney cruise line has their own selection of nautical theme bands that you can purchase Um only by guests who are sailing on disney cruise so you can buy them on board But there's only a limited number so you can actually purchase them in advance if you want to sort of see the full variety of available bands if you have a Magic band plus already.

You can attach that to your state room, but in addition to the convenience of it, um, and just the, the, the ease of having it on your wrist at all times, especially like going to cast away, I loved how. The band interacted with the lights and the haptic vibrations during the in the dining rooms and the fireworks and in the atrium and even Supposedly they work in the kids clubs as well.

I really really especially for disney cruise line I found the the disney band plus to be Not just fun when we were sort of in the atrium. I did a couple of quick, you know, videos and reels showing how to interact, but I really, really appreciated the convenience and not having to worry about having my key card with me at all times or where I was going to put the key card when I was going.

Denise Preskitt: I don't have any experience of that. I use my key. I am old school. Yeah, you

Jeff Lange: had the lanyard. I have a MagicBand Plus that I use around the parks here. So everything Lou just said, I'm used to, you know, the interaction with it. When you're seeing a show, a firework show, or in the Haunted Mansion, you know, it'll react to the, uh, the heartbeat and everything.

So, yeah, I'm sure it would be great on the cruise. And were you able to enter the room with it, Lou? You can. Oh, yeah. So that and you can pay with it. Of course. So I

Lou Mongello: want you to picture this. I want you to picture, you know, hypothetically, this is not I'm saying this or a friend say you're coming down from deck 11 with a tray full of chicken tenders and french fries and your water bottle and you're trying to sort of get into your room when you You don't have to take it out.

Just tap in and you're in and the chicken tenders arrive safely. Um, so I really, I really found that I enjoyed it just even for the ease of access to the stay room. Yeah, we'll

Jeff Lange: have to check it out. I wasn't even aware of that. Yeah,

Denise Preskitt: I did. I, I, I don't really wear magic bands, so I don't even think about it.

You have a magic band. I know. I have

Lou Mongello: several. I have several. Wait, I was the same way, Denise. I didn't, you know, I didn't. And if you can, you can actually order them. on board. Once you're within the 45 day window, you can order it from Disney cruise line online only to U. S. Residents. And once your reservation is obviously fully paid and it'll be already set up and linked to your stateroom.

When I got on board, when I was first checking in, I gave the crew member my magic band, he was able to, um, connect it to my account right away. And as soon as I got on board, everything was working perfectly fine. So it was really seamless, um, really seamless experience. Um, the last thing I want to say before the, the one thing I think we both want to touch on is that, you know, we know about activities in the kids clubs and, and things for adults, but there was also a lot of different holiday activities on board.

For kids and adults alike, um, there was cookie decorating gingerbread house, decorating other little fun activities scattered throughout the ship and throughout the day. Uh, if you check the navigator app, it shows you all the different daily activities. Many of which are included, not necessarily at an extra cost.

Um, but you know, one of the things that. You know, again, we left on the Disney dream out of Port Canaveral and the number one thing that I put on my list. Was that getting there was half the fun and what I mean, we, um, we, again, we were, we were invited by Disney who arranged with Brightline, uh, for us to take the Brightline from Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale.

Um, and the Brightline station is actually at the Orlando international airport in terminal C, which is beautiful. Terminal A and B must be very, very jealous because terminal C is gorgeous. Um, from the design to the openness, to the light, to the amenities they have inside, but the Brightline experience from beginning to end, even before we got to the terminal, just sort of having the app, choosing your seat, whatever it might be, um, was.

Wonderful and seamless and Jeff and Denise, we rode down together and we kept on looking at each other like, this is wonderful, this is great,

Jeff Lange: I can't believe how great this

Lou Mongello: is. We could have taken the bright line down, turned around and came back and would have had a wonderful day. Yeah, I know, that's totally

Denise Preskitt: true.

Well, I mean, we were, we were put into the premium. So it's like we had a first, you know,

Jeff Lange: premium lounge. The very first person we see is a smiling Lou, I think with a plate of food thing in the morning, no, no chicken tenders, it was breakfast

Denise Preskitt: time. But, you know, I just thought, you know, we love the train, like in Europe.

I love a high speed train and it's it's not as high speed of a train. Um, it's not exactly a train, but it's really, it's a really nice. It's a really nice clean experience. And the nice thing is, I mean, we could have flown or, you know, I mean, we could have driven also, but. You know, they offered to fly us in it.

The nice thing is, and I couldn't, the hard thing is when we were on the way to the airport, wrapping my mind around the fact that I could have my drink, I could drink on the way. I don't have to worry about the, you know, having it like an hour where I can,

Jeff Lange: you know, he's talking about non alcoholic drink, right?

I know about having to go to the bathroom. You don't have to say it like that. Well, because Lou might be thinking. It's too early in the morning.

Denise Preskitt: No drink. No, you know, I can, I can have my tea. I don't have, I don't have to have just a little water. I can have my tea and just the thought you're, you can get on the train and yes, the restrooms there, there's going to be food within like two minutes, you know,

Jeff Lange: it's so much easier and better than flying.

If, if you can take the train close. I would always take the train, especially

Denise Preskitt: after this. I just wish that we had the bright line all over Florida. I wish that it was something I could go to Tampa. You know, you can go down to Miami. But you know, if you want to go down to Fort Lauderdale, and you're flying into Orlando, or you're at Walt Disney World, and you want to go back to the airport and then take the bright line down, it's really nice.

I really loved it.

Lou Mongello: I'm like you, I am a trained person. I love the train experience. I had never experienced anything like this, right? You walk into terminal C, which at least right now, I mean, there's, there's really not a lot of people there. When you go to the bright line area, it's almost cavernous about how big it open is security, quote unquote, you know, you sort of drop off your bags at this.

at, at the, um, at the desk, right? The, the bright line attendants were very, very helpful security. I mean, when I say there was nobody there, there was nobody there. I mean, he sort of walked in security, took 30 seconds, right. To go into an area where there is a little merchandise shop. There is a lounge.

There's a bar that has bar food. There's like a little tech lounge is a meeting room in there. If you need to sort of get some quiet space or have a meeting before or after you get on. The train, if you're in premium, there is a premium lounge that has food and drinks and access to this cool, uh, sort of self service like auto bar.

If you want to get a little cocktail from the, the train itself. Which was beautiful the seats are comfortable. There's they're wide. There's a lot of space There's food. There's wi fi. It was clean smooth relaxing the uh, the train attendants were incredibly helpful right Denise she said They were coming by constantly.

Do you want something to drink? Do you want, you know, a towel for your hands? Do you need something else to eat premium?

Jeff Lange: And they offered to put premium. Can we help you put your bag or not? Can I help? Can I put your bag up? Were bring your

Denise Preskitt: bag down. Offered. We offered that on the way, the other way. Never experience anything like that.

I mean, it was really a first class to me experience. And

Lou Mongello: I, I did walk into the, I walked into the, the regular seating area seats are a little bit smaller. I don't think there's as many amenities in terms of food, but that too was looked like a very, very comfortable type of experience. I know for me, I was able to get some work done, you know, otherwise I would have driven the nearly four hours to drive down, which.

It's great, but for me, it's not productive, right? I feel like it's almost a waste of time. I got so much done on the train ride, but more importantly, I would start to, you know, I have a very tough time relaxing, but I started to, you know, sort of mentally prepared for the cruise and start to wind down a little bit.

As I was winding down my work, I was able to get up and walk around and talk to you and the process itself from embarkation to disembarking to when we were returning and I wanted to switch to an earlier train was so seamless and so smooth via both the app and then dealing with the customer service folks in the terminals.

It was amazing. Um, and then once you get to Fort Lauderdale, it's a 10 minute Uber ride to either a hotel or if you're going right to the cruise port, um, and coming out even sort of, so coming out of When we were disembarking, you walk out, you get an Uber or Lyft, you're 15 minutes to the Brightline station.

You don't need to get there two hours before, like you do the airport. I mean, I showed up 20 minutes before the train I wanted to switch to, to an earlier train to. I was able to switch, they took my luggage, and it was no problem. And really, really, really, um, I love, love, love the Brightline experience. And you,

Denise Preskitt: you can in the regular coach seats, if that, I think that's what they'd call them.

Uh, you can purchase food, like the sandwiches were 12, at least 12. Um, and when you went to Terminal C, the one thing is, when you hear about Terminal C, like, I, I didn't realize I, like, I wanted to see Wine Bar George and such too ahead of time. But I think you need to get a pass to do that. So

Jeff Lange: next time we The train station isn't really in that part of Terminal C?

Right, it's in

Denise Preskitt: a So, um, it's a relatively limited amount of food and drinks and such that are easily accessible. So, like, to me, like, if we were going down normally, if we wanted to take the right line, I would rather take the, the premium because you're, you know, otherwise you might be paying all this money anyway.

For the, the sandwiches and, and drinks and they had alcohol on board as well. They had wine and beer, um, as part of that. And I thought it was, uh, you know, if you're already doing Brightline, I, I thought it was, you know, reasonable for the bump

Lou Mongello: up. Yeah, so I, the fairs do vary depending on the time, how busy it is.

It does sort of, um, sort of like flex fairs, but for a regular fair from Orlando to, um, Fort Lauderdale starts at 39 each way, which you're going to spend that more, more than that in gas. And then for premium, it starts at about one 49 can certainly vary. Again, depending on a number of factors, but I absolutely felt, um, it was worth it.

And it only took two and a half, right? Maybe three hours. It does stop in, um, West Palm, Boca, uh, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and then eventually ends in Miami. But it was a very, very, very Um, pleasant experience, you know, like you said, I'm with you, Denise, I want and hope Brightline to expand to places like Tampa to go down to Naples and other parts or go up to Destin and other parts of Florida because I love that experience so, so very much.


Jeff Lange: Yeah. The whole country,

Denise Preskitt: really. It was, it was, I was looking forward to, honestly, the Brightline as much as the cruise because it was a whole new experience and I love trains.

Lou Mongello: Yeah, and and as long as we're going to talk about sort of the the cruise experience and sort of getting there half the Fun too.

I want to sort of mention the new terminal which is part of Uh the in in port everglades down in in broward county. Um, This is a brand new terminal which opened just a few weeks ago. It's about 140 000 square feet it's themed inside has this like Beautiful sort of Finding Nemo theme that was actually designed by Imagineering, which is a wonderful sort of transition from going from whether it's the Brightline or Uber, however you're getting there into the embarkation experience, which I also found to be incredibly seamless and very, very fast, like from the time I stepped foot Into the terminal to the time I walked through the iconic, you know, Mickey shaped entrance portal was maybe 10 minutes.

And that's, and that's being generous. I mean, it was very, very fast, um, extremely, extremely efficient and. That whole, you know, those kind of things can help sort of set the tone for what is to come next. Right. If you have a non pleasurable embarkation experience at the port, sometimes you're a little getting on, but I was, you know, I had a smile on my face the entire time.

And I really, I really, really like that terminal. And the fact that you can now. Go from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale that easily, easily, especially not having to worry about renting a car. Where do I park? How much is it going to cost? You go. You can spend a couple of days in Disney world, go right to MCO, get on the bright line, go down to Fort Lauderdale, have your crews either leave from the Fort Lauderdale or Miami airport, or just take the bright line back and you're at MCO and ready to embark on your flight.

Um, I think the, the, the combination of the bright line experience at MCO down to Fort Lauderdale and the new port at Fort Lauderdale really, really made this, um, A very enjoyable experience. And now when I start thinking about Disney cruise line, I'm not just restricting my search to, well, let me see what's leaving out of Port Canaveral.

I'm now very easily doing that search and expanding it to what's leaving out of lauderdale as well. Yeah agreed. I agree I want to do it again just so we can

Jeff Lange: Doing it again lou, I think somehow we're all doing it

Lou Mongello: again So, um, and you know, that's the thing too about you know, specifically the very merry time cruises.

They are available on um, I believe four out of The five ships, right? The dream is, is doing four and five nights out of Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas. The wish and fantasy are sailing from Canaveral to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. And the magic is going to be selling to the Baja and Mexican Riviera from San Diego.

And then later. to the Western Caribbean from Galveston. So whether you want to do, you know, a three or four night, you know, from the wish at a Canaveral or a four or five night on the dream out of Lauderdale, or you want to do a six and seven night, you know, out of, out of, you know, Galveston, there are a lot of different options, whatever works best for you and, or you and your family to sort of celebrate the holidays while visiting all these great ports on these beautifully designed, um, and decorated ships.


Jeff Lange: what a wonderful experience. It was. And I didn't even think of it. Everything we did was new. You know, you had a new terminal, new trains, uh, a new cruise terminal. Right.

Denise Preskitt: And just some news, you know, very merry time

Jeff Lange: aspect. So there was a lot of

Lou Mongello: newness involved. Any, um, any last minute, um, tips or tricks or words of advice that you're, you're sort of.

Pro tips or recommendations for somebody who might be thinking, or maybe it's on the fence about booking a very merry time cruise for next year. I know,

Denise Preskitt: I mean, I think that if you've never cruised, probably using a travel agent, right, would be a good way to do it. I know of a good

Jeff Lange: one. Yes, a great one is right.

Denise Preskitt: You know, uh, to be able to use somebody like, you know, I mean, I mouse found travel, right, is to, I was a travel agent for seven years and, um, I think it, to be able to utilize somebody, if you book with them and, and get their, uh, tips and tricks and, and help is, is very helpful. You know, I think that would be for somebody who's never been,

Lou Mongello: I think, even if you have been, I think using, you know, so I think for some people, Denise, it's, it's getting over that humble.

I like, you know, Disney fans. I want to do it myself. I'm used to doing the spreadsheets. I think, especially for something like a Disney cruise, where if you've never cruised before, there's a lot that goes into it, right? There's a lot of logistics. There's lots of things to think about. Especially if maybe you're going to a port like Fort Lauderdale that you've never been to before.

Plus they can also help you to, you know, what is the best way to get the best deal, whether it's booking early or looking for some of the last minute deals, sometimes booking well in advance or looking to see what sort of remainder stuff might be available. You know, say, Hey, let's just see what's available in the next couple of weeks.

Disney specialized travel agency. We both work with and partner with mouse fan travel. We've both been working with, with Becky and her team for more than a decade. Right. So that, that trust is there, but I also see, you know, if something happens, if something goes wrong to sort of have that, that. Safety and insurance policy and somebody to reach out to if you need somebody sort of boots on the ground is always helpful as well.

Plus their services come at no cost to you and they're always there to help answer any questions. A couple other quick tips I would give, I have two words for you and they involve Paulo and brunch. Do it. Yes. Tell your mouse fan travel agent to get you Apollo Brunch. Um, it is an absolute must do. It is for adults only, but it's absolutely worth it.

I think it's 45 now for Apollo Brunch. Um, it is, it is a wonderful, wonderful experience, especially on here. Sorry about this. Sorry, go ahead. I was saying,

Jeff Lange: so it was the most relaxing part of the trip for us, a three hour plus extravaganza. I don't think it was more than that. But I remember we walked in, Lou was there, and we were there for like three hours, we did all this, and we walked out, yes we were, it was three hours, we walked out, Lou was still there, not even done with dessert.

Lou Mongello: I'm thorough in my research, Jeffrey.

Jeff Lange: He was, he was really thorough that

Lou Mongello: day, I'm sure. Was it you? Was it one of you who told me? And I did not know this, and I have not tried it myself, that you can actually order in advance vanilla peas for dessert and have it brought to your dinner table? I don't know anything

Jeff Lange: about that, no.

It was not us, but I like the thought of that. Why don't you certainly don't need it after Apollo brunch. I'll tell you

Lou Mongello: that I need it, but you know Someone else told me We were there. I think right just at the beginning That's during Hanukkah. There is a menorah lighting ceremony held at sunset on every night during Hanukkah, which I love as well one little tip if you are going on one of the very first very merry time cruises There is a possibility that some things are still going to be under construction, like the gingerbread house, because they have to sort of turn over, um, relatively quickly.

So, um, no one advanced, you know, just to make sure that everything is going to be, so your expectations are set appropriately. Um, I absolutely. Had such a wonderful time. Uh, I was traveling solo, but I was never alone. Thanks in large part to Jeff and Denise and just the way that you feel when you are on Disney cruises, like what you feel when you go to a Disney park, um, you are not alone and you are surrounded by like minded friends who are all there just having, um, such a wonderful time.

And I really, really, really enjoy this one. And I'm looking forward to, uh, maybe doing another one next year. Maybe I'll bring my family this time. We'll see maybe I'll bring my family or just the three of us will go We'll figure it out. It'll it's fine

Denise we're working so

Jeff and Denise, please do me a favor tell everyone where they can find you and some of the stuff that they can find on on mouse steps and on our YouTube channel and everyone else that they can find you on social We have exciting

Jeff Lange: news as far as the YouTube

Denise Preskitt: channel. Well, we have just over a thousand to go till we have a million subscribers.

So, um, that's

Jeff Lange: very exciting to get that million plaque there. Hopefully, hopefully by the end

Denise Preskitt: of the year. So we have, um, you know, the YouTube channel and then on some of the social media is not tick tock. I've never, I don't have time to do everything. Uh, so, um, and then the website. You know, I posted a number of articles today already.

And of course,

Jeff Lange: Facebook and Twitter and Right, that's

Denise Preskitt: what I was saying on social media and such. Yeah.

Lou Mongello: I'll link to all of that stuff in, uh, in the show notes. And listen, I don't know why it's taken us 15, 18, 19 years to do this for the first time, but I had a lot of fun today and really appreciate your time that we spent together on board and the time today.

This was a lot of fun and we should definitely do this again.

Denise Preskitt: And if we do, if we wait another 15 years...

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