It’s all about the details with Disney Cruise Line.
From ketchup Mickey ears to fireworks at sea, Disney has you covered. Everything is thought out to enhance the guest’s experience.
Here are 11 takeaways from a first-time Disney cruiser:
1. Disney is definitely different than other cruise lines
You know this cruise will be better than the rest from the moment your family crosses into the ship – you’re announced as though you’re royalty. And then the ship itself is beautiful. Some artwork you find is actually an interactive, multimedia screen. Even the faux woodwork has flourishes of Disney characters. Everything is spic and span as though Cinderella’s team of mice, birds, and fairy godmother used a magic wand to make it so. It feels… rich. Rich in details.
2. Your living quarters will be fantastic
The staterooms are, well, roomy and a curtain divides the bed from the bunks or pull-out couch for more privacy between kids and parents. Balconies have tons of space and access to fresh air at all times. Inside cabins have magical portholes that showcase Nemo and Tinker Bell, among other characters, as well as a video feed of the outdoors, so one never feels like they are actually in an inside cabin. They even got the bathrooms right – with a separate shower area from toilet area, and a place to wash small children that isn’t a shower. Everything appears to be plush and top of the line.
3. Jump right into the fun
Bring your swimsuits in your carry-on bag so the kids (and not-so-little kids) can dive right into the slide ride and pools, after a round of mini-golf with the family.
If you arrive at or after lunch time, you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the water while others are exploring the ship. They won’t be crowded, and this is a relaxing way to get the lay of the land and relax as your vacation experience begins.
4. You’ll go to a different restaurant each night
This is actually super fun. Your wait staff will follow you from restaurant to restaurant as you enjoy each of the themed restaurants. Pay attention to your Disney Cruise Line app and the printed activity agenda in your stateroom each day. Our crew particularly enjoyed the animation studio dining room. All the food is fantastic – and you can order as much as you want. It’s included. The wait and kitchen staff also really get kids – they completely understand your excited, tired, hyper, hungry child needs food and wants it now. The kids get their food first, and quickly. This eliminates a whole lot of table angst for families after long days of shore excursions.
5. Excursions will be top-notch
From swimming with dolphins at Atlantis in Nassau to snorkeling down to see Mickey at Castaway Cay, fun and magic is guaranteed. Disney knows how to make everything fun, and take the burden off parents by paying attention to what kids need and desire. If you stick with Disney excursions, you also take the worry about of, well, pretty much everything. They’ve seen it all, and from blisters to broken flip-flops to tuckered kids, they know how to make it better.
6. Watch the shows
Seriously, watch the live shows. Every night. These are Broadway-caliber shows, on the high seas. Every single show is beyond impressive, easily topping all other cruise lines on the entertainment front. Beauty and the Beast was particularly remarkable. All the shows feature costuming, acting, special effects, music and lighting that make all other cruise lines look, well, generic.
7. Enjoy the latest flick
All Disney ships offer first-run movies – Disney and Marvel – so make sure to pick up some popcorn and soda and settle in for movies in the air-conditioned theater on those delightful days at sea. They’re included, and when you get home, you’ll already have taken the family to all the latest shows – all included in the cost of your cruise.
8. Interact with characters
In addition to all the dance parties and events, there are also special character sighting and photo opportunities all throughout the cruise. You’re more likely to get those precious photos of your kids with their favorite characters on this ship than you will in one of the parks. It’s simple math – there are fewer people to compete for the characters’ time. It’s easy to do – just make sure to plot out your day with the ship app or with the printed activity agenda. Line up and say… Disney!
9. Get away from the kids
You’re not a bad parent if you decide to enroll your kiddo in the Disney club for their age group. It’s a free perk of the cruise. The kids will no doubt have a blast, with all their needs attended to, and you and your sweetheart will be able to relax in the adults-only area of the ship, watch a show or movie together, or hang out on the adults-only beach at Castaway Cay. There are lots of options – including dinner reservations in the up-charge restaurant or a couple massage in the spa. Reconnect, recharge.
10. Pack for Pirate Night
While your (awesome) cabin steward will deliver a pirate Mickey bandana for everyone in your stateroom, this is a special night that everyone should consider before arriving on the ship. Pull out your kiddos’ best pirate outfits and patches, and you, should, too. Pack them and then go all out because this will be a night you’ll remember – likely with many photos.
11. Let your worries melt away
While Disney cruises are more expensive than other cruise lines, they are worth it in so many small, detailed ways. The goal of every crew member is to ensure you and your family have the time of their lives. They want to see you smiling. They want you to remember the magic. So let them help you put all your landlubber worries to the side as you embark on this journey. It is guaranteed to be magical.