A Magical Halloween on High Seas, 2022: PrePlanning

Yes, we are heading back on Disney Cruise Line, this time for 5 nights from New York City celebrating Halloween while visiting Bermuda. If this sounds familiar, yes- we have cruised this itinerary before back in 2018: A Berumdaful Cruise- Day 1, Embarkation and Sail Away Deck Party | What’s Up With The Mouse? (whatsupwiththemouse.com)

This time, it will only be three of us- my son, my husband, and I. We are booked in an ocean view balcony stateroom on deck 7. Mike has a whisky tasting booked already on our first night (he has begun this tradition recently), we have Palo brunch booked and we are still trying to decide which excursion we would like to try in Bermuda. We have two options we are seriously considering- one ais a sunset cruise before dinner and another would be after dinner- which could be unique as well, a glass bottom boat and we explore the ocean’s wildlife, and shipwrecks (this is the Bermuda Triangle!). Staying on the ship isn’t a bad idea either- we haven’t been on the Magic since 2018 and there is so much to see and do onboard. I am sure we will head to Horseshoe Bay Beach at least one day- we really enjoyed the pink sands and beautiful water there.

We are looking forward to slowing down a bit on this cruise. Our family’s Disney Wish 4-night sailing over the summer felt disjointed (new ship, etc) and rushed (only 4 nights), we have sailed on the Magic now 7 times- our most frequented Disney ship, and my favorite. We know our way around the ship, we have made so many memories onboard with family and friends- it has always felt like home when we were on board. We are definitely counting down the days…

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The Disney Wish: My Opinion…

As you can tell by the dates of my posts… I have been avoiding this.

Since the Enchanted Preview Cruise, I actually sailed again with my family three weeks later.

Castle Dreams Travel had 15 staterooms sailing on sailing in August, with four staterooms committed to the following sailing.

Upon arrival at our stateroom, we noticed a sewage smell coming from our water closet and informed our stateroom host. He could clear the smell, but nearly every day, the smell returned. The problem was never fixed.

That night, we arrived in 1923 for the second seating, and there weren’t any cast members handing out hand wipes- our family and table companions used our own hand sanitizer once we were seated.

Our first meal was the beginning of what we noticed as a failure in Covid protocols. We are used to constantly seeing Cast Members cleaning, mopping, painting, vacuuming, etc. So much so that we have had cruises in the past where we would count how many cast members we saw/bumped into simply cleaning the handrails at the stairways (as it was constant). None of us remember seeing anyone cleaning the handrails, doorknobs, or other high touch points in the elevators ONCE during our time on the Disney Wish. The carpets by the elevators are new and still shedding- and we never saw or heard anyone vacuuming. Post the Covid Shutdown, we assumed there would be more hand sanitizer stations in hallways and walkways, and we found none unless we were in the shops checking out or up on the pool deck getting food.

Because of this lack of cleaning, we avoided large crowds, especially indoors, when we could (in the main dining rooms, it was impossible). We didn’t experience the Sail Away Party or any entertainment in the Walt Disney Theater or either of the two movie theaters. We traveled with hand sanitizer and masks wherever we went. We wanted to be extra cautious as we all wanted to continue on the next cruise. We were maskless to eat, and in Marvel and Arrendale, we had to speak over the entertainment to communicate with our servers. Having to raise our voices to speak with the servers felt particularly risky as cruisers walked by Cast Members handing out wipes, and the tables were very close to each other in each of the Main Dining Rooms.

As I noticed on my first sailing, but it didn’t bother me as much as there were far less people to contend with in the hallways, etc- the ship’s layout is very different from the other Disney Cruise Line ships (many dead-end hallways). Cove Cafe is tiny and out of the way in a small adults-only area. Missing on the ship is an adult district at night, as there were limited spaces to spend time outside of our staterooms to enjoy entertainment or a drink past 11 pm. The elevators are small and confusing, especially if you go to The Rose, Palo, or Enchante, as only certain elevators go there. The elevator buttons were challenging yet too easy to hit if they were crowded- someone standing close to the buttons would accidentally press them with the proximity sensors. Then the elevator would stop on each floor. 

In addition to the precautions we took above, we took rapid Covid Tests in our staterooms Thursday night so that we wouldn’t be surprised in the port on Friday morning. Everyone tested negative, and no one had symptoms. 

On Friday morning, we disembarked, feeling confident we would be back on board shortly. My first antigen test administered by Inspire I was told came back inconclusive, and the second test was positive. I was in shock to find out I was positive, as this would be the first time I had tested positive ever for Covid-19, and I didn’t feel any different than when I boarded the ship. We were informed us that all three staterooms would be canceled on the following 3 night cruise because we were linked for dining on the 4 night cruise and were considered close contacts.

On the second sailing, we were looking forward to a group Mixology, a massage, and the Grand Family Cabana. We had pre-purchased a photo package for the second cruise as well. I will say, Disney Cruise Line did gift us all of the pictures we took as we didn’t pre-purchase the photo package on the first sailing- and for that I am truly appreciative.

The next few days were a whirlwind, for a planner having to pan the next few days on the fly and then get home safely while contending with everyone’s disappointment was the hardest part. I retested three days later and tested negative.

Since our sailing in August, a lot has changed with Disney Cruise Line and Covid protocols. We have had many families and friends sail on the Disney Wish since and they mentioned the cleaning had been now very noticeable. Fully vaccinated Guests are now not required to be tested between back-to-back sailings. (Everyone I was cruising with, was fully vaccinated and most of us were even boosted) Only guests ages 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated and traveling on back-to-back sailings will be required to complete a COVID-19 test between sailings, arranged by Disney Cruise Line. Beginning Oct. 14, 2022, for Disney WonderDisney DreamDisney Fantasy, and Disney Wish sailings and Nov. 7, 2022 for Disney Magic sailings, Disney Cruise Line will no longer require Guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of sailing, however, it is highly recommended. All Guests ages 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated (Unvaccinated Guests) will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 1-2 days before the sail date. Guests ages 4 years of age and younger do not require testing.

So, has this experience soured my desire to cruise again?


In fact, next month, I am sailing the Disney Magic to Bermuda (yes, one of the few sailings that still requires testing- as required by Bermuda specifically). Then in December, I will be attending the naming ceremonies for both the MSC Seascape and Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas.

All this said, I am hopeful to sail onboard the Disney Wish again. I think the Wish still had some kinks to work out, especially on a full capacity sailing- and maybe by now they have. It’s a GORGEOUS ship and we did make some amazing memories; Disney cruising is like no other and each ship is very unique. The Wish is absolutely special, and I am expecting to have a better experience on our next time onboard.

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise: Castaway Cay Day & Night

Welp, I was up early- no surprise.

I decided to take a stroll around the ship- it is truly GORGEOUS. Very different than the 4 other ships in Disney Cruise Line’s fleet, I cannot stress that enough. Not only is everything elevated as far as finishings, spa offerings, menus, etc but the entire ship’s layout is different, the staterooms are all very different, the restaurants are very different as well. It’s really hard to grasp it all in a 3-night sailing, I cannot even imagine being able to do it all within a 4-night sailing- but that’s what return trips are for.

Tricia met me at 1923 for breakfast, we wanted to try something different and this was a nice, quick surprise.

By 10am we had disembarked and decided we were going to spend the day at Serenity Bay, the adults’ section of Disney’s Castaway Cay, with our friends.

We spent the day lounging in chairs, in the water enjoying each other’s company. We headed over to the buffet for lunch around 1pm, and were headed back to the ship around 3:30pm. It was an incredibly relaxing day after the hectic day we had yesterday!

Tricia and I were meeting our Sales Manager once we were back onboard at 5pm, then we were headed to see the very first showing of The Little Mermaid in the Walt Disney Theater!

The show is again, very different than the typical shows you will enjoy onboard your Disney Cruise vacation. There is some interpretation you will need to do to follow as well as the story is obviously shortened. I enjoyed the show, but I can see where families with small kids might have a hard time with this show.

After the show we headed to Hook’s Barbery for a custom old fashioned, which was actually a very cool experience and this I highly recommend…

Dinner tonight was in Marvel…

Not going to lie, this wasn’t my favorite. My shrimp appetizer was AMAZING and if they brough me 2 or 3 more, this could have been my entree. I really didn’t get the best cut of steak and I didn’t enjoy the gnocchi at all. The chicken entree was good, not great- but the best of the three I tried. For dessert, they brought mini brownies, and I did enjoy my cheesecake.

During dinner, there is a storyline played out on the screens around the dining room and we did get visits from AntMan and The Wasp- thought they do not stop for pictures with guests.

As exhausted as we were, we decided to end the night at The Bayou with martinis- and we had a very quick Belle sighting on the way!

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise: Dinner in 1923, Hyperspace Lounge, & Pirate Night

Honestly, Tricia and I nearly forgot it was Pirate Night onboard until we walked to dinner and spotted a few characters in the Atrium. We did not receive the typical Pirate Night bandanas and chocolates the night before and we were so busy during the day, it absolutely slipped our minds.

We were really looking forward to 1923, the menu was most appealing to us, and the space is beautiful, but a bit tight.

You can see what we ate here, and even a preview of tomorrow’s breakfast 😉 :

I thought dinner was absolutely delicious, we tried so many dishes and not one was a disappointment. I really enjoyed the burrata appetizer, filet entree, and the apple cheesecake dessert.

After dinner, we had secured a reservation inside Hyperspace Lounge…. which, of course, conflicted with some of the Pirate Night festivities. On a short, 3-night cruise- you really have to decide what activities are most important to you and we really wanted to try this- so we went.

Now, I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and not knowing what to expect, I was not disappointed, but fans should know- this is NOTHING like Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Drinks here are VERY different, some even come with an amazing presentation. That said- it’s not to be missed for fans.

After Hyperspace, we did catch a pretty cool kiss goodnight- you can click below to see it as well as some of the characters we saw as well earlier in the night:

Once we got back to our stateroom, we were greeted by this…

I decided to go back up to deck 11 and grab a soft drink and still saw the Pirate Dance Party happening:

Whoa, it was a super busy day!

Totally earned a beach day at Castaway Cay tomorrow!

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise, A Busy Day at Sea

Well, I was up early today. When I have a lot to do, I tend to do that. I enjoy walking an empty ship. Helps me get my bearings, see where things are without the crowds trying to do the same.

I settled into Marceline Market for breakfast, where Tricia joined me before our incredibly busy day.

Today between 8am and 2pm there would be 7 staterooms available for us to tour and take any pictures and videos we needed. Between Noon and 2pm, the Marvel Superhero Academy would also be available. As we went from stateroom to stateroom, we also tried to take pictures and videos of the public spaces around the ship as well. We also had day passes for the Rainforest Room in the Spa, so we wanted to check that out (we paid for those). At 2:30pm we had a regional meeting with our Disney Sales Manager and a Cast Member from Disney Cruise Line Groups in Keg and Compass learning about a new program they are launching. An hour later we had a Sales Presentation in Luna Lounge with a few special guests including Miss Marvel, the voice of Goofy, and Jodi Benson. In between the tours, Tricia and two other friends had signed up for Champagne tasting in Nightingale’s at 1:30pm. We also needed to find time to squeeze in lunch…

I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a crazy busy day.

I am so grateful we did get some time in the Rainforest, we were able to relax n the loungers and then chat with a few other owners in the outdoor hot tubs…

All of the staterooms are so unique, the suites are amazing… we ate lunch at Festival of Foods and LOVED it. We had pizza that was made to order and INCREDIBLE.

After our last sales meeting, Tricia and I went back to Festival of Foods for “second lunch”- a perk of having the second dinner seating…. this time we had tacos!

Now, another perk of second seating? NO WAITS AT THE AQUA MOUSE!

We LOVED it & were able to ride THREE TIMES. It was AWESOME!

We aren’t done yet! It’s Pirate Night!

Tonight, we have dinner inside 1923, AND a reservation at Hyperspace Lounge! Stay tuned…

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise, Pre Dinner Drinks at The Rose and Dinner at Palo Steakhouse

So, how did we get a reservation at Palo during the Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise? Honestly, we were as surprised as anyone. The reservation appeared in our app, we checked with Guest Services, and it appeared we were invited by the director of marketing strategy at Disney Cruise Line. We were happy to go and took advantage of everything thing we could- we even got a tour of the main dining room and private dining room. Full disclosure, while we were hosted by Disney Cruise Line as far as our cruise fare- alcoholic beverages and our dinner at Palo were some of the items we paid out of pocket for.

We started the night with a drink at The Rose …

It is a GORGEOUS space with spectacular view. A great way to either start or end an evening.

We checked in for our reservation and took a quick tour of the dining room before settling in our space for dinner. Lots of subtle nods to “Beauty and the Beast”- nothing in your face. So much so, it can easily be overlooked.

We had a beautiful view as we decided on what we would have for dinner. Dinner has changed a bit at Palo since either of us had been here before- there is a price fixed menu as well as an ala carte menu. We decided on the price mixed menu (and there are choices within that menu to make) and added a dish or two from the ala carte menu as well. The price fixed menu costs $45 per person. Typically, Platinum cruisers (both Tricia and I are Platinum cruisers) are given a meal at Palo as one of their Castaway Club perks, but during this cruise- there weren’t any Castaway Club perks available for redemption inside the upcharge restaurants.

Here is a quick view of our night-

Dinner starts with Mushroom Amuse Bouche- which basically tastes like a very crispy tator tot.

The bread service also AMAZING- it paired really well with one of our appetizers- the Heirloom Tomato, Burrata Mozzarella Caprese. We also ordered the Fritto di Calamari e Gamberi. HIGHLY recommend both.

Next, we had the Crisp Romaine Hearts with Caesar Dressing, Toasted Ciabatta Croutons, Gorgonzola and we asked for them to not serve the Quail Eggs with our salad.

We also ordered the Agnolotti which has Butternut Squash, Buffalo Mozzarella, Amaretti,
Sage-Brown Butter, Basil- for an additional $12. This was INCREDIBLE!

For our entree, we both ordered the 6oz Grilled Choice Angus Beef Tenderloin- again- OUTSTANDING!

For dessert, I ordered the Chocolate Soufflé… how can you not?

Tricia was looking for something lighter and ordered Gelato- you have a choice of three and she chose Pistachio Stracciatella, Blueberry Crumble, and Hazelnut. This dessert option is additional $10.

Can you recognize food coma? I can honestly say, dinner was perfection. One of the absolute best meals I have ever had at sea, and Tricia agreed.

After dinner, we took a tour of Enchante- an upscale (and upcharge) Frensh Inspired Restuarant onboard…

Then we decided to stroll the pool deck for a bit and then met our friends inside Luna to watch the “Match Your Mate” couple gameshow before heading to bed….

but not without a kiss good night…..

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise, First Day Onboard

We woke up early, got ready and headed to breakfast back at Rix with friends, it was amazing. This is seriously an underrated gem on Walt Disney World property.

Tricia’s Avocado Toast
My Breakfast Burrito

We checked our bags before breakfast and then headed to the buses. We were on one of the first buses to leave around 11:30am, and as exhausted as we were- we were still so excited.

It’s takes about an hour to get to the port from Walt Disney World, maybe a bit longer on a bus. By 12:40pm, we caught our first glimpse of the Disney Wish!

Disembarkation was uneventful, everyone we were traveling with had already tested- so we just needed to show our passports, go through security and head onboard! We were headed into the terminal by 1pm. And who did we did we see once we got up to the terminal?

Ariel herself, Jodi Benson!

We were walking onto the ship just after 1pm…

Honestly, it was super overwhelming when we first got onboard. It is just so different- light, bright, white… very different than what Disney Cruise Line die hards are used to.

Our first objective was to secure a Hyperspace Lounge reservation and then go check out our rooms…

Our room

Once we were settled and happy with our new space, we headed to Marcelline Market for lunch, and it was really delicious. Far more upgraded than what we are used to on Disney Cruise Line. Great variety, like you will find at Virgin Voyages’ buffet equivalent space- but far more food here, which makes sense as Disney is catering to families & adults.

After lunch we took some time to explore a bit a stumbled upon …

We were able to explore a bit more, as the Sail Away was cancelled due to rain. So many new spaces and we were really trying to get our bearings as three nights on this huge ship just didn’t seem like enough…

After a drink at the Bayou, we headed back to our stateroom to prepare for dinner, we had a Palo dinner reservation and were really excited to check the newly reimagined Steakhouse out…

Hurricanes at The Bayou

Next up… Pre-Dinner drinks at The Rose and an amazing dinner at sea inside Palo….

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise, Resort Pre-Day

Any good Travel Planner will tell you to arrive the day before your cruise vacation. Especially in this travel climate, with delays, cancellations, long wait times, it’s all a real possibility. Then factor in the stormy summer weather… ya, arrive a day early.

My flight took off from NYC around 7:45am after a slight delay but was already headed to pick up my bags by 10:30am and was driving under the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign by 11:15am.

I arrived at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at 11:20am, checked my bags and headed to the Event Check in to grab my credentials for the next day.

I didn’t intend for my nails to match so well!

By 12:30 I had hopped on a bus and arrived at Epcot. My one Epcot objective was to try Connections Cafe for lunch, and I was STARVING. I mobile ordered and then went to Creations (right across the way) while I waited for my food to be ready. I had read all about the chicken sandwich and I really wanted to try it and it was REALLY good. Seating, I assumed would be a hassle as the restaurant was packed- but I was able to find a table and could eat comfortably. When I was done, a Cast Member helped me clean up my dishes and I headed back out to the heat.

Not going to lie, it slowed me down.

I had originally planned to try to hit Disney Springs today too, but I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to last as I was up at 3am.

Just before 2pm, I headed to the front of Epcot and hopped on a bus headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

I needed a break from the heat already- so It’s Tough To Be A Bug is always fantastic for that!

The Finding Nemo show was recently reimagined and reopened and I wanted to check it out. It was a favorite of my family’s and I wanted to see the changes. It’s much shorter than it was, but still adorable and a GREAT refuge from the heat. The talent in that show is incredible and never seems to get the recognition as Lion King does, which is a shame. Both shows are amazing in their own right.

After the show, I headed to back to Corondo Springs. Tricia was waiting for me at Rix Sports Bar & Grill with a Diet Coke and Nachos. It was perfect to cool down and relax after the heat of the day. I wasn’t out too much but the Florida heat is no joke.

We also ordered some pot stickers and loaded fries- AMAZING
Why not a round of Margarita Shots?
Our Room, Tricia gives the tour

We were meeting friends later for dinner in Epcot and by 7pm, we were back at Epcot- but it was STORMING and just not letting up. We decided to board a bus headed to the Beach Club for dinner where we were able to meet another good friend before enjoying dinner at Beaches and Cream.

Who doesn’t get ice cream at Beaches and Cream? Ya, that would be Tricia and I, LOL!

It was a late night with an early wake-up call…. but it was great to be back at Walt Disney World…. even if only for a day.

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The Disney Wish Enchanted Showcase Cruise, Pre-Planning

It is truly humbling to be invited to any event, personal or professional honestly.

But to be included in an exclusive travel industry event after the tumultuous years following Covid, it’s truly hard to describe.

Invitations to Disney Cruise Line’s Wish Enchanted Showcase were VERY limited, travel agencies were invited (from what we have been told) based off of sales with Disney Cruise Line both pre and post pandemic. Selling cruises post pandemic, hasn’t been easy- lots of mandates and protocols, but Castle Dreams Travel has firsthand experience cruising since Covid literally stopped cruises from sailing in 2020 and experiencing those protocols- and we can best advise our clients how cruising has changed and what to expect. We are able to reassure our cruise clients about the safety of sailing and answer many of their questions or concerns from our firsthand experience. Personally, I will have cruised five times since August 2021 before stepping foot on the Disney Wish.

This one will be special, my first-time onboard Disney Cruise Line since August 2019…

Before boarding the Disney Wish, Tricia and I will both arrive the day before, spending the night at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. I have plans to head to Epcot for lunch at the new Connections Cafe, hop over to Animal Kingdom to see the newly reopened Finding Nemo show, then hop over to Disney Springs as they celebrate summer during Flavors of Florida presented by CORKCICLE! through August 14. At 7:30pm I have dinner reservations with Tricia & a few friends back in Epcot to watch Harmonious from La Hacienda de Angel.

The next morning, our bags have to be ready to board a bus by 7am to head to Port Canaveral.

Onboard, we aren’t entirely sure what to expect. We are both Platinum level Castaway Club members (DCL’s highest level) and are excited to see the upgrades- but part of what we have grown to love so much is the familiarity of their fleet- and the Disney Wish is truly unique in every way. Something that will remain- the highest level of customer service and dedication Disney Cruise Line has become known for. Entertainment that exceeds expectation from the shows, character meet and greets, even just stepping onboard is a mini production for every cruiser… just check out the Atrium, your first view when stepping on the Disney Wish:

Less than three weeks after the Enchanted Showcase cruise, I will be helping to escort a group onboard the Disney Wish with Castle Dreams Travel. I am so excited to be able to bring my family, our friends, and so many CDT loyal guests onboard to experience this brand-new ship. We have been preparing since May of 2021, and to be this close is just beyond any excitement I would have anticipated.

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CDT sails on the Anthem- Day 8, Debarkation and… what’s next?

Day 8 we begrudgingly headed to the main dining room for our last breakfast- a Key Guest exclusive, & a perfect ending to our amazing Spring break cruise vacation & beginning of our Easter Day celebrations

One last look…

Soooo…. what’s next?

Well, during the cruise- we were sent a pretty incredible invitation….

Stay tuned!

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