oneyEditor’s Note: Below is a first-hand account from the Disney Dream’s first U.S. cruise in more than a year, setting sail on August 9th. Please keep in mind, with this being the first reopening cruise, the experiences mentioned may change as Disney is constantly evaluating and evolving their policies. For more from the Disney Cruise Lines return, be sure to check out our other articles.

Our second day aboard the Disney Dream’s August 9 return cruise was a day at sea, which meant plenty of tasty food throughout the day coupled with plenty of pool time and some trivia as well. And did I mention fireworks?

My go-to cruise breakfast at Cabanas is smoked salmon, cucumber, red onions, tomatoes and cream cheese paired with a couple of hash browns and cinnamon rolls.

“C’mon, Dad, let me enjoy my chocolate chip pancakes without a photo.” But check out that beautiful blue ocean in the background. After our top deck breakfast we stopped by the Sarge Says (Simon Says Disney style) activity and the tween hangout Edge had an Open House. I’m grateful Disney has a space for younger teens as well as Vibe for the older ones.

After the Edge Open House, Gideon was back to the Oceaneer Club, which left us free to roam the ship. Later in the day Gideon let us know that he made Flubber, participated in a Toy Story themed boot camp with the Green Army Men, played some Magic Floor games, flew the Millennium Falcon and made his own Forky.

Inside Out Game – Playing with Your Memories in the DLounge features family members trying to guess the emotion their family member selected in connection with the described scenario. The cast would comedically act out the emotional reaction choices.

District Lounge was the site of numerous trivia contests and seemed to be the location that reached capacity for its events most frequently. Both Skyline Lounge and PINK were host to various tastings throughout the day. In fact Skyline Lounge didn’t seem open as a lounge except when it was hosting an event.

Learning to draw Goofy in the DLounge

Goofy himself stopped by after Family Game Night in Evolution. You have to match your family member’s answer to questions like “what item (not electronic) would your family want to have if stranded on an island?”

It felt like wherever we wandered throughout our day at sea we encountered Disney characters. If outside, you could take a socially distanced photo without a face covering while indoors face coverings were required.

We decided to stop by the Cove Cafe for a late morning beverage and snack. Then it was time for Disney Tune Trivia in the D*Lounge. I’m happy to report we got a perfect score.

Doobie's Cove Cafe favorite - Strawberry Mint Iced Tea

Doobie's Cove Cafe favorite – Strawberry Mint Iced Tea

Never ever forget, the sweet treats in Cove Cafe are included with your cruise fare

Never ever forget, the sweet treats in Cove Cafe are included with your cruise fare

40 out of 40!

40 out of 40!

Then it was back to wandering the ship including the shops. Lots of beautiful merchandise lines and a few new-to-me Spirit Jerseys were available in the shops. The hottest item seemed to be the Disney Cruise Line Corksicle, which had only one remaining on the shelf by the end of the cruise.

Picked up Gideon from Oceaneer’s for a lunch break. Doobie and I grabbed tasty items from Cabanas. While everything was tasty it did seem that the variety of items was reduced due to the need to provide adequate stations for social distancing. So I’d say there weren’t as many “adventurous” items as I recall from previous cruises but there was plenty to choose from. In addition the quick service venues with burgers, tenders, fries and pizza were open on the top deck as well.

I had a snack of goat cheese stuffed tomatoes, olive tapenade and a key lime cheesecake. Disappointed by the cheesecake I snuck off to Vanellope’s to pick up a couple of cupcakes to enjoy later back in the stateroom. While Gideon hit the Mickey Slide a few more times before drying off for his next reserved slot at the Oceaneer Club.

As Gideon enjoyed his kids club time, Doobie and I lounged by Satellite Falls. Doobie ordered the non-alcoholic drink of the day and made friends with others relaxing. Something I’ve noticed is Satellite Falls seem to be only “falls” when in port I’m guessing due to the ocean breezes when at sea. Also, notice the rolled up towels on each chair. This is to enable you to select a towel without touching a bunch of others. On previous cruises we would simply reach into a bin and select the towels needed. On this cruise those bins were locked and the staff was busily placing rolling and refilling empty spots with a towel so they were easily available in all the upper deck areas.

Then it was time to pick up Gideon from Oceaneer Club and tackle the AquaDuck a few more times and swim in the Donald pool by the FunnelVision where they play various classic films. We saw portions of Tangled, Tarzan, and Hercules over the course of our cruise. Along with a few shorts including several of the “As Told By Emoji” series.

While the pools restricted capacity there were not a lot of times where we found people queued to access them. The highest demand seemed to be late morning to mid-afternoon on the sea day and later afternoon Castaway Cay days. When they did reach capacity, they would permit groups to enter in 15 minutes cycles. Guests waiting to enter the pool would physically distance on the markers around the pool, entering from one side of the pool and exiting on the other. The Mickey Slide and AquaDuck adapted their queue area to mark off waiting spots to ensure distancing between parties.

We stayed long enough at the pool that most guests were either at the show or their early dining so Gideon enjoyed swimming laps around the Donald Pool.

Meanwhile Doobie took in another trivia contest – this time TV themes – and spent a bit more time on his beloved Deck 4.

Before too long we all met up in Evolution for the tail end of Family Time Game Show, which concluded with a surprise visit by an incredibly well-dressed Goofy.

Gideon with Goofy (waaay in back)

Gideon with Goofy (waaay in back)

Our assigned dining location for this evening was Animator’s Palate with the show element Talk with Crush.

Bread service was a Garlic and Herb Foccacia with a Roasted Garlic Dip

Tomato Tarte with Glazed Goat Cheese and shaved radish

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup garnished with chives and drizzled with sour cream

Sesame Halloumi Parcels with sweet potato tahini mash and roasted tomatoes (Vegetarian)

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin served on Wasabit mashed potatoes with bok choy and a tamarind barbecue reduction

Seared Tuna Steak with fingerling confit, caponata, sun-dried tomato pesto and aioli

When it was time for dessert Enrique from Vanellope’s arrived with a tasty sundae. Apparently he and Doobie bonded when he spotted Doobie’s Hamilton facemask. This led to quite a few performances from the popular musical in the top deck ice cream parlor and in the restaurant.

After dinner, Gideon was back to the Oceaneer Club leaving Doobie and I to wander the upper deck. We found a delightful spot at the very front of the ship. Looking out over the ocean we could see several other cruise ships, perhaps even the Disney Fantasy. We had a bit of fun pulling out the compass app to confirm our suspicion the ship was turning. We also used the time to attempt to book our Castaway Cay rentals but as was typical to our frustrating app experiences throughout the trip we got an error message and made an appointment with Guest Services to resolve the issue rather than seek assistance through chat.

As we continued to stroll we soon discovered that it was nearly time for the first presentation of Disney Ever After, the new Disney Cruise Line fireworks presentation. The show would be presented over two nights to ensure opportunity to view while social distancing. The first evening presentation was intended for the early dining and the second evening for the late dining. Glancing around the upper deck there were still plenty of markers open for viewing so we found a place and enjoyed the new show’s public debut.

Brightly colored fireworks launched from the starboard aft area as an arranged medley of songs – You Can Fly, How Far I’ll Go, Whole New World and When You Wish Upon a Star played.

Then it was time to pick up Gideon from Oceaneer Club again and we ordered Room Service. It's hard to pass up the All Hands on Deck cheese plate, but honestly I was more excited to have the chilled water easily available. And our bodies were still on Pacific time so having a small snack before bed made for a better night’s sleep.

The next day when we wake up we should see Castaway Cay out of the window. I’m so excited. We rented snorkeling and biking gear. I’m eager to explore the island a bit. Hoping to get Gideon to give snorkeling a try and perhaps even a go on Pelican Plunge. You’re not permitted to jump into the ship’s pools so he’s eager to jump into the water, but I’m not sure he’ll feel that way once he gets the salt water in his nose.

Stay tuned for more from our experience upon the Disney Dream’s return.

Laughing Place recommends for all your Disney Cruise travel planning