This morning we had a little time to explore before our port arrival time of noon. We had free breakfast in the hotel (we love a free breakfast, even though they are never great, they are FREE, and managed to fill up on yogurt, fruit, and toast) and then walked down to Mardi Gras World. This place is owned by the Kern family, which is several generations of artists that have been making Mardi Gras floats for 73 years now. This place is an amazing history and present day collection of Mardi Gras floats and props, and Aly was excited to check out the process of making these larger than life creations. Many of the props are made from sheets of styrofoam, covered in paper mache, and then painted. They use a variety of tools to shape the styrofoam, including kitchen knives, curry combs, and robots!
It was fun to walk around the warehouse and see various projects in different steps along the way, until we got to the end where there were several large props that have been repeatedly used through the years (I’m looking at you, now retired King and Queen Kong!), as well as a 3 trailer long float. We learned that there are restrictions to the number of floats per parade, so the krewes have gotten creative, and made some of the floats longer than one trailer to accommodate more people. We also got to watch a short movie on the history of Mardi Gras, as well as try some local king cake. No, we didn’t get the baby, so don’t ask us to host the party next year!!
After Mardi Gras World, it was a short free shuttle ride back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and walk to the cruise terminal. As this is the inaugural Disney Cruise out of New Orleans, there are still a few kinks to work out. Disney was operating out of the very end of the terminal, but there was only one walkway we knew of to get across the street, and we had to walk through all of the Norwegian Cruise Line traffic as well as all of the construction worker traffic to find our area. Whew!
Once we made it down to Disney, it was actually not very busy, and being repeat cruisers, we got to go into the shorter line. We then got to walk straight onto the boat as our group had already been called. I love that when you get on the Disney boats, they announce your family name as you get on. Just one of the special Disney touches to make you feel welcome. Chris took one for the team and stopped in the lounge to try and get our Palo reservation changed, while Aly and I headed up to grab lunch in Cabanas (the buffet). Aly was pumped to have cooked cauliflower and carrots (yes, really) and we took a lamb and beef gyro down to Chris.
After the mandatory muster drill, we did the always fun sail-a-wave party on deck with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, and the entertainment crew. Aly had a great time dancing all over the place!
It was way too windy and cool for us to hit the pool as we had originally hoped, so we hung out in the Kid’s Club (Oceaneer’s Club) open house for a while and then went back to unpack the room and get ready for dinner. The Disney Wonder is set up exactly the same as the Disney Magic, that we were on in 2018, so we were pretty familiar with the the layout. On the Wonder, the themed restaurants are Animator’s Palate, Triton’s Restaurant, and the one we are all excited to check out, Tiana’s Place.
Chris and I had changed our dinner reservation to Palo for tonight, so we took Aly to dinner on the pool deck, watched the boat finally pull away from the dock and meander down the Mississippi, and then dropped her off at the Kids’ Club.
We quickly got ready for dinner, which for us typically just means an outfit change as we are not fancy people, and then went to Palo, the Italian-themed 18+ restaurant. We ate brunch here on our Med cruise and it was phenomenal, so this time we decided to try out dinner. The dinner was also amazing, but the brunch is better! We had salads to start (Caprese for Chris, arugula for me), a bread basket, and then Chris opted for the Osso Bucco and I had filet, and we split some gnocchi with a creamy pesto sauce. The Osso Bucco was definitely the best of what we tried and was falling apart with the fork-yum! We also had some of their signature dessert, the chocolate soufflé, but were awfully full by then.
We swung by the Oceaneer’s Club to see if Aly wanted to come hang with us, and we all went to the Ventriloquist show in the main theater which Aly found HILARIOUS! After our looooooong day, it was time to hit the hay!