Day 1: Happy Birthday To Me! Our First Disney Cruise 2021! UK Staycation

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With the stateroom tour over, let me continue to tell you about our first day aboard the Disney Magic!

You may recall the teary state I was in as we boarded. This had escalated to a lot of anxiety, and I didn’t want to leave the room yet.

Steve went up to Deck 9 to pick us up some lunch – shawarma/gyro from the Duck-In Diner (which also serves other quick-service food like fries, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders) and pizza from Pinocchio’s Pizzaria.

The shawarma is essentially doner kebab and there was a choice between lamb and chicken. I had lamb, Steve had the chicken.

The meat was served on a flatbread and you could then choose from the toppings available:

Lettuce, Diced Tomatoes, Diced Onions, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Chili Mayonnaise, Pickled White Cabbage, Garlic Aioli, Tzatziki, Mint Cilantro Yogurt, Turmeric Yogurt, Sambal Sauce, Kachumber Salad.





The shawarma lived up to the hype and tasted really good, and the pizza was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!

Shawarma & Pizza Slice

While Steve was out grabbing food, I took a few photos from our porthole – the Bahamas it is not!

But instead, a “nice” view of Tilbury Docks, huge wind turbines, and a boat in the distance that looked like it had a face and I dubbed, what else, but Boaty McBoatface!

A Lego Minifig of Steamboat Willie was our little mascot for this trip and so he ended up in a few photos here and there too.

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Boaty McBoatface!
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Disney Cruise Line Merchandise

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I am a Disney merchandise fiend! As is Steve – we’ve spent more than I care to imagine on various collectible items over the years, from magnets and pins to decorations, plushies, mugs, and more!

As the UK Staycations started, people were sharing their vlogs and experiences in the Facebook Group, and as the weeks went by, there was a depletion of merchandise, and this was for a few different reasons. One was that Disney could not stock up due to the ship being here in the UK, the pandemic, and importing merchandise over from the USA. The other was guests buying up EVERYTHING they could lay their hands on – usually as “personal shoppers” or to resell online, which for many genuine collectors is a big no. Of course, people may be buying as gifts, but the volume of merch people was seen to be buying was beyond that.

Eventually, a purchase limit per guest was put on select items, but that didn’t seem to always be the case (with Facebook Group members saying they saw some people grabbing several single items and being allowed to buy them).

But that is all by the by at this point in the cruise timetable, because by mid-September most of the merch that had been available at the start of the cruises was now all but gone. In fact, for a Disney gift shop, it was really quite sad to see so many empty shelves.

Disney merchandise is serious business! Us collectors are pretty passionate about our merch!

Steve decided to go down to Mickey’s Main Sail – one of the gift shops onboard at around 5pm (the shop would be open at 6pm), to line up. At this point, there were 20 people in front of him and upon looking in the Facebook Group, it was mentioned that people had been lining up from 3pm!

Some items are highly coveted – mainly Loungefly bags, and Spirit Jersey tops, which for us isn’t an issue as we do not collect or buy those things. But anything specific to Disney Cruise Line was also going to be sought after.

We had a list of about 10 different things that we would like to get, mainly DCL items such as pins, fridge magnets, mugs, Christmas ornament, and a plush Captain Mickey and Minnie Mouse (which can only be bought onboard Disney ships.

After lining up for an hour, Steve came back to our stateroom with the last four pins available. And that was it. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t anything else! We were gutted, as we have a tradition of buying a fridge magnet and Christmas ornament from every Disney trip we do, but it was not meant to be.

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Disney Cruise Line Pins

Disney Magic Ship Tour

In the few hours that we were in our stateroom, we unpacked our suitcases and got settled in, before heading out to explore the ship a little. I will probably litter each day with ship tours, rather than putting it all on one day.

With passengers still boarding the ship, we headed back to the Atrium (which is on Deck 3) to see Captain Mickey and Minnie performing the welcome show again. You can view the atrium from Decks 4 and 5 and it’s lovely to welcome everyone on board as the crew introduces them onto the ship. There are also two glass elevators, which you must go on at least once!

The atrium is very pretty, with an Art Deco style. The grand staircase sweeps down from Deck 4 to Deck 3, next to the entrance to Lumiere’s.

At the foot of the staircase is a bronze statue of Helmsman Mickey, and the carpet has a huge seashell design with bubbles of the ocean surrounding it.

The large portholes around each deck are reminiscent of the golden age of ocean liners, which gives the Disney Magic a really elegant feel to it.

The gold-colored trim that goes around each deck features embossing of Disney characters, and 3 sparkling chandeliers hang from the ceiling.

One thing nice about (all the?) this Disney cruise ship is that the theming is really subtle, but you just know you are on a Disney ship!

The Atrium is where you’ll find some characters doing “Appear and Wave” (as opposed to Meet and Greet), because of the pandemic, but seeing the characters was still fun and there are still opportunities for photographs – either from the ship’s photographer or using your own camera. Although, the crew is not allowed to take photos for you (in these current times).

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Disney Magic Atrium
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Disney Magic Chandelier
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Porthole Seat
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Senses Spa Waiting Area

We still had a while until our dining time of 8:15pm, so ventured to the upper decks to take a look around.

On Deck 9 we stopped in the adults-only area of the ship to grab a cocktail from Signals Bar. As well as your usual array of cocktails, they also serve a Drink of the Day with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

Unlike our WDW holidays where I am often driving, being on a cruise meant I wasn’t and therefore able to drink! I’m not a big drinker, but I do love a cocktail or two!

Today’s option was English Rose and it tasted so good! I mean, if I closed my eyes I could have almost been in the Bahamas! But no, still views of a dreary UK and Tilbury Docks!

Drink of the Day

English Rose (Alcoholic) – White Rum, Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine – $6.50 + 18% Autogratuity $1.17 + Tip $3.33 = $10

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English Rose (Drink of the Day)

I think the easiest way to share our deck exploration is in batches of photos of/from similar locations.

This first lot is mainly of views from the top decks out towards Tilbury and the surrounding areas, and of the River Thames – which is where we actually start our cruise before sailing into the North Sea.

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