Disney Cruise With Kids – Raving or Regrets?
We just got back from the 4 day Disney Dream Cruise.
One word sums it up. WOW!
WOW- The boat itself was the most beautiful cruise interior and exterior I have ever seen
WOW- Non stop entertainment every hour of every day for everyone!
WOW– That was the biggest, most fun movie screen playing Disney movies ever on the pool deck.
WOW– The characters are all there, accessible and full of fun!
WOW– The food is SPECTACULAR.
WOW- The nursery is absolutely fabulous and the best I have ever utilized on ANY vacation!
WOW– The rooms are so comfortable and clean and spacious and the service and attention to details was amazing!
Needless to say, ihelpmoms.com is always searching for the best experiences and resources to help moms make motherhood easier and the Disney Cruise is a spectacular experience! I am in awe of how amazing Disney is to accommodate that many families with all different needs, wants and desires!
Now here are the things I think moms will definitely want to know about Disney Cruises!
BEFORE THE TRIP:
1. Check in online before and have your signature page printed out atleast 72 HOURS BEFORE!
2. Make sure to book the nursery EARLY to get the nap times reserved. It is AWESOME to drop your child at the nursery that has amazing care, clean, sanitized beds where your child can get an amazing nap in and they give them LUNCH…so you can enjoy yours in peace:) Don’t stress too much if the exact times you want are not available they will help accommodate you when you board if they have space.
3. Get all of your passports in one place for EASY ACCESS. For my 3 and 1 year old I used their original live birth certificates. Keep all of that available upon check in/embarkation.
4. Pack a day bag for the day you board with swim diapers, swim suits, change of clothes, sun tan lotion, hats, and snacks. (I packed a back pack cooler with apple sauce squeeze packs, veggie sticks, cheese sticks, morning oatmeal squeeze backs, blueberries, and PBJ sandwiches). I was grateful for a fridge in our room. THERE IS NO FOOD AT DISNEY TERMINAL!
My girls are allergic to all sunscreens except Baby Ganics and they are allergic to regular laundry detergents, so I made SURE to pack those in my day bag as well. I also brought a clean crib sheet for the pack in play!
5. Request a pack n play, bed bumpers for toddlers AHEAD OF TIME. Stock is limited once on ship.
6. Get an early board time! And then arrive 30 minutes before to park and unload luggage. My husband dropped the kids and I off and then went to park the car AND HE NEEDED HIS PASSPORT after parking!
7. They provide a pirate head scarf for the Pirate Show, so I don’t recommend going overboard on buying/bringing stuff to dress up. It goes from 7:30 to about 8:05 pm, and they do have a great photography background that night for family pirate photos! Make sure to get to the main deck for the show!
8. I did 5:45 early dinner seating and I am glad I did as with a 1 year old and 3 year old, we put the 1 year old to the nursery to eat, as she goes to bed around 6:30pm, had a great dinner with our 3 year old and then took her to the shows. It worked great! I also think it would have worked great to do the early show and do room service for our 3 year old to eat dinner…I do wish they had a matinee 3 pm show though:)
UPON GETTING ON THE BOAT:
**Take a deep breath as you see the crowds. It dissipates once the cruise gets underway. I had to remind myself this was about the kids having an amazing time and not get overwhelmed by the amount of people at the beginning. ALL of the families we encountered were beyond nice and so friendly. It was awesome!
1. Go straight to guest services, pick up a navigator newsletter and look when the character appearances are. The princesses are SPECTACULAR and require a ticket for their special appearances.
2. Go to the nursery if you have a little one to reserve your times EARLY. I loved putting our 1 year old in for nap time and while we ate dinner as she got great rest and was recharged for an excellent day the next day. We always brought the stroller with us at night to transport her back to the room and it worked smoothly!
3. Enjoy the AMAZING food. There is something for absolutely everyone and it is awesome quality!
4. If you have older kids take them to the Oceaneer Club and let them play/see the area early on to get acclimated during open house time. I needed to pay more attention to the specific activities going on in this older kids club so I would have timed it better for my 3 year old to enjoy it more:) They do need to be fully potty trained to be in that area.
5. The Castaway Cay day is by far my favorite day! The island is absolutely spectacular with everything we could have wished for at our finger tips. We brought our stroller which worked great as our 1 year old took a nap on the beach. They do have wagons available once you arrive on the island too! We also brought a small sand pail, sand toys and blow up toddler pool ring which saved us money from buying those things on the island. The beach is perfect, the water calm and the food and drinks are perfect for the beach!
6. The speciality restaurants versus the regular restaurants…my husband and I are total foodies. The Cabanas Buffet and the regular restaurants are delicious. Truly there is everything you could need or want. On our final night we did choose to go to Remy. After traveling the world, it is definitely a culinary experience I will never forget and the ambiance is gorgeous. My only suggestion is to be aware it is a looooooong, luxurious dining experience. But completely amazing!
HIDDEN TREASURES ON THE BOAT:
1. The Cove Cafe coffee bar up in the adults only part of the ship is my happy place. I wish I had found it sooner. It is a little oasis of paradise for coffee lovers and moms that need just a few minutes of uninterrupted peace. The croissant is the best croissant I have ever had and the Illy coffee served is spectacular!
2. We checked both kids into the nursery during nap time and went to the ADULTS ONLY SWIM area on Saturday afternoon. It was AWESOME! Deck 12 13, 14 are true jems for a little adult time. It even started to rain and we just went in the adults hot tub that was under cover.
3. For our 1 year old, I looked at the kids splash pad thinking it didn’t look like anything special. But our little one had SO MUCH FUN in it! It is easy, fun and entertaining. Just watch out for that little slide as it is harder than it looks and very slippery and I saw a lot of kids get injured on it…
4. There are best Disney movies on your cabin TV! My little one would be asleep in the pack n play, we would pull the curtain over to separate the room a bit and my older one and I would cuddle up at night to watch many of the Disney movies that are in the ‘vault’! It was a nice way to end the long days and unwind!
This cruise is spectacular! The food, the cleanliness, the activities for kids, the customer service…everything combines for a wonderful family vacation and lasting memories. I really started to LOVE the experience when I took a step back to view the experience through my daughters eyes as we raced from character appearance to character appearance, we danced with Jake and Sofia, we ate huge Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and treasured the moments!
I think my biggest piece of advice to maximize your time, is to get a lay of the land (what level has the different child care, fun spaces, theaters) and explore the ship early first day and make sure if characters matter that you figure that out ahead of time in your day just so you don’t have disappointed kiddos!
And finally since I always vow to be honest on ihelpmoms.com, I think the cruise would be absolutely ideal for kids 3+. From the shows to the swimming to the kids club activities I think it will be even more fun when our kids are both older. It is fun for the little babes, but I did spend quite a bit of money on the nursery for naps and night time for my 1 year old. There were a lot of moms with little babies and infants doing awesome things though toting around in the Ergo or sitting in a quiet place while the baby slept! Just wanted to give my honest insight here:) I think it is a lot more work with little babies, which can impede on overall enjoyment of everything the ship has to offer, and as kids get a little older i think the ease of their self sufficiency, ability to stay up later, being potty trained opens up limitless fun aboard the Disney Cruise:)!
Kudos to you Disney for expanding your magic to Disney Cruises! ihelpmoms.com loves helping moms connect to high quality family resources and this is one of the best family vacations we have ever done! Next time we are going for longer!