In case you missed it, for the next few days I’ll be embarked on the Adventures by Disney Danube River Cruise and sharing my experience here. You can find my previous dispatches here as we dive into Day 4:
Today is our day in beautiful Vienna, Austria. Breakfast was once again served from 6:30-8:30 with Early Risers pastries from 5:30-6:30 and Late Risers from 8:30-9:30. We met our Adventure Guides in the lounge at 8, after picking our color coded tour codes and then walked to the buses for our tour.
Instead of heading straight to Schonbrunn Palace, we took a tour by bus of Vienna. We got to see the amazing architecture that seemed to be everywhere. From the Opera House to the Parliament to the City Hall, to the McDonalds, every building was beautiful. We then visited Schonbrunn Palace which is Austria’s most famous tourist destination. Our visit was done “Carousel of Progress” style, where the groups would rotate through the three different activities. I felt for the Adventure Guides as this was a difficult task, particularly given Austria’s pride of precision and timeleyness. That being said, they handled the experience like the pros that they are.
We started with the “Strudel Show.” As we entered one of the side buildings of the palace, we were seated at tables with strudel and coffee. We were shown how to make strudel with the show kitchen in front of us. This was more fun that it should have been as the instructor was lively and humorous. (Also the strudel was amazing.)
After a brief tour of the palace gardens, it was our turn to enter the palace. There is a 15 minute window in which you can enter, so timing was important. Our guide pointed guided us through 20 rooms of the 1,441 room palace. It was amazing to see the diversity of styles. Unfortunately, pictures were not permitted as they did not want to discourage guide book sales. While the tour was happening, the Junior Adventures were in the children’s museum trying on baroque outfits and going through maze gardens.
The final stop on our Austrian Carousel of Progress was the Marionette show. They did an abbreviated version of “The Magic Flute” (20 min compared to 2 hours). Their performance was amazing. Afterwards, we were able to take a look backstage as well as try our own hand at making the marionette walk. If you want to know what I want for Christmas…
After our tour we went back on the bus. Those doing to bike ride to Klosterneuberg Abbey and those that wanted to return to the ship, stayed on the bus, while those wanting to explore Vienna on our own, were able to get off the bus and explore. One Adventure by Disney difference was the guides were willing to let us leave our packages on the bus and bring them to the ship so we did not need to carry them around. I was amazed that even though I didn’t tell them my name or room number, there were waiting for me upon my return. There were shuttles from Schwedenplatz to the ship and vice versa every half hour. This dropoff location, was perfect for those wanting to explore the cultural center of Vienna.
As my grandmother was born in Vienna, we took some time to explore personal locations that meant something to her. I won’t bore you with those adventures, but we returned to the ship around 4:30 to rejuvenate for the evening.
Since there were evening activities, there was an Early Dinner Viennese Buffet at 5:45 served in the main dining room. There was not a Junior Adventurers option so everyone ate in the main dining room. I was happy to see that even with everyone on board eating, the dining room never felt crowded. The once exception to the buffet service was the schnitzel, pork or turkey, which was ordered through the waiter, and worth the wait. Of course there was strudel for dessert.
Classical Music Concert
There were two options for evening activities. The Heuriger Wolff Wine House of the Classical Music Concert. We opted for the Classical Music Concert, but here is the official description for the other option:
A festive, fairytale atmosphere awaits you at this marvelous family-run local wine tavern. Snack on finger foods, cheeses, and breads, and explore the many rooms and lush garden. Live music and entertainment from a local performer is also in store.
The concert was back at Schonbrunn Palace in a side room. That does not imply it is any less beautiful. They had some lightining that was well done, but the room was a bit warm as the palace is not air conditioned. Our Adventure Guides were prepared however. They handed us fans as we got our seats. The concert was open seating, but was divided by section. Our tickets were for the center section so we took our seats. The performance included two opera singers as well as dancers which would join in for some selections. The program was a mixture of Mozart and Strauss as was well received by the crowd. The whole experience, including intermission, was about a two hours. Photography was not permitted.
After the bus ride back, I was ready to crash. There was a Goulash and Sausages Festival being held in the lounge, but it was a long day with a lot of food, so I went back to my stateroom. After all, we did have to meet our Adventure Guides at 7:50 the next morning.