Click here to read about day 7 of our Seven-Night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy.
If there were ever a bad thing about a Disney cruise, it’s having to get off the ship. It’ even worse if you have to fly home on the same day. This time around we thought we’d soften the blow by staying an extra night in Orlando, which was a good decision on our part. For our previous Disney cruise on the Magic, we flew out on disembarkation day, and it was sooooooo depressing.
For disembarkation morning, we actually were able to order room service breakfast. Typically, you are not allowed to do so for disembarkation, but it’s a secret perk that is offered to Concierge level guests. In order to take advantage, you need to request a room service order form from the Concierge hosts the day before disembarkation, and then you submit the form directly to one of the hosts (do NOT hang the request on the outside of your door as one would typically do, as Disney will not honor the request). It was nice to have a quick, light continental breakfast in our room without having to have a really early breakfast in the main dining room or deal with the chaos of Cabanas.
Around 8:00am, we were booted out of our stateroom (this is the time when they have to start preparing the room for the next round of guests). We went straight to the Concierge lounge, as another perk is priority disembarkation! That’s right – no waiting endlessly for an elevator to get off the ship. They whisked us straight to the lobby and helped us cut the line to disembark.
We were off the ship by 8:30am. Disembarkation was super-easy in Port Canaveral compared to Miami, which was where we disembarked on our previous Disney cruise. I love how Port Canaveral is way less chaotic and how they have a slew of luggage porters waiting to assist you.
We didn’t have to go too far for the next part of our journey. After clearing customs, we waited for a shuttle bus to take us to the National rental car center, just a mile or so away. Our next destination was the Kennedy Space Center. The one and only time I had visited was on a family trip when I was my son’s age (eons ago), so I was excited to see what we could experience there.
But, first, check out the “upgrade” we received for our rental car:
It was my first time driving a Mercedes! Woot woot!!!
Once we arrived to the space center, we went to the gate to purchase our tickets.
You actually can buy tickets in advance (and at a discount – e.g., AAA), but we chose to play it by ear and pay (almost) full price at the gate. In addition to our sweet rental upgrade, we also lucked out at National rental car when the desk agent gave us some coupons to use after she heard where we would be visiting. I think it amounted to about $5.00 off per ticket, which is worthwhile because we averaged around $50 per ticket (there are various ticket packages available, depending upon what you want to do).
Of course, it still was about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and 99.9% humidity on September 1, the day we visited. We were sweating our butts off, even in the shade, so it was imperative for us to partake in primarily indoor activities.
But, first, we had to visit the “Rocket Garden”:
It’s amazing what they can grow in Florida!
In pursuit of our mission to cool down, we visited various interactive indoor exhibits, including “Journey to Mars.” Unfortunately, my son was quite impatient (and a bit crabby!), so we thought an IMAX movie might distract him. We hightailed it over to the theater to watch “A Beautiful Planet,” narrated by Jennifer Lawrence. It was a 3D movie and was quite impressive. This 2016 documentary was recorded over the course of 15 months by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). It was absolutely fascinating to get a glimpse into daily life on the ISS and also to watch gorgeous footage of Earth, as viewed from space.
But, the 45-minute movie was not enough to satisfy my restless son (I think five minutes was enough for him). We decided that it was time for lunch, so we hit up the Orbit Café, which was one of many places to eat at the space center. We were able to order our lunch from a touchscreen kiosk, which I always find to be highly convenient. The food was decent, and we even witnessed a little science lesson: hydroponic lettuce! They use this lettuce in the salads.
After refueling, we braced ourselves for more outdoor exploration in the unbearable heat:
No visit to the Kennedy Space Center is complete without a visit to the world’s largest space shop:
My favorite thing in the store was this:
Anyone else a huge fan of the NASA logo???
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a Carl Sagan quote that I saw on one of walls to an exhibit entrance:
We only spent half a day at the space center and actually never took the shuttle bus over to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which is where all the REAL space rockets are. You need to allow at least several hours to visit this portion of the complex. We already were quite drained from the heat, short on patience with my son, and didn’t feel like waiting outside for a shuttle bus, even though there was a shaded waiting area. Oh well! Maybe next time, when our son is a bit older, and perhaps in cooler (i.e., non-summer) weather, we will visit again.
Our next stop was to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, our hotel for the night. We had an amazing stay there (hint: we got a little bit of an upgraded room) and were sad we had to fly home the next day.
Nevertheless, our Disney cruise experience was amazing (as usual), and we could not wait to cruise again!
This post may also be viewed on the Disney Cruise Mom Blog.