If you’re contemplating whether or not to plan a Disney Cruise, I’ll just get straight to the point – you should do it. They can get pricey but are worth it in every way.
To start off, I think it’s important to talk about our unique situation. We originally booked a three night, four day cruise on the Disney Dream. The plan was to stop in the Bahamas and at Disney’s island, Castaway Cay. We ran into a crazy situation that resulted in us finding out (the day before we left) that our cruise was extended to five nights, six days due to Hurricane Dorian’s path. The itinerary was changed and we ended up visiting Cozumel and the Cayman Islands.
So, that happened… and then on Day 4 of the trip, our captain made an announcement that it would be extended another night because of the storm. So long story short, we spent six nights on a cruise that we paid three nights for. Not to mention all of the cancellations which resulted in there being 1,000 less people than they were originally expecting. So no lines for anything, you could find good seats at the pool and live shows… definitely the cherry on top.
So, about the boat. We sailed on the Disney Dream. It was very clean and felt new. Friendly, attentive staff… great service… and the food was delicious. Not only was it packed full of fun things for the kids, but there were a lot of fun activities and areas for adults to relax.
It’s a Small World Nursery // This area was perfect for babies and young toddlers. At $9 an hour, you can have your little one stay in an adorable, safe space that is equipped with soft toys, a little table for coloring, a TV, and a “quiet room” that is located in the back. The “quiet room” has cribs, rocking chairs, and an overhead sound machine running so your baby can rest. Ford (our almost 2 year old) loved to play in here and fell asleep on two different occasions. One night, we dropped him off in there about halfway through the Beauty & the Beast show because he wasn’t feeling it. The nursery is super convenient (and fun!) for little breaks during the trip.
Oceaneer’s Club ($9/hour) // This area was geared for kids ages 3-10. When you first enter, you walk into a central area where they host dance parties, group activities, etc. All along the perimeter of the space, it’s divided into a bunch of different themed rooms: Andy’s Room, Star Wars, Tinkerbell’s House, and a Pixar-themed room where kids can play video games. They have toys for kids to play with, crafts, iPads with games on them… most of the time, Drake didn’t want to leave when we picked him up. Should I mention that they’ll feed your kids lunch and dinner? I read that a lot of kids LOVE playing here and almost prefer to spend their days here – they weren’t wrong! Although, the outdoor areas were so much fun too… keep reading! We’ll get to that. 🙂
Oceaneer’s Lab ($9/hour) // Another area for kids ages 3-10. Our oldest (Drake, age 3) wasn’t a big fan of this room but I think it’s because it’s definitely geared towards older kids. This room was definitely more about creating, less about play – hence the name. They had some really cool experiments going on when Drake was there (DIY Volcano that actually erupted), but it was just a little too old for him. I think this club would be perfect for a third or fourth grader.
Nemo’s Reef // An adorable splash pad that was located on the main deck where all the kid pools and slides were. It had a bunch of fun water activities and a mini slide. Ford Man spent a lot of time in here.
Mickey Slide & Mickey Pool // There were two Mickey-shaped pools on the main deck. One was shallow enough for Drake to stand in, which was perfect – and it was right next to the yellow Mickey slide that he went down repeatedly. This particular slide was for kids ages 4-14 but as long as they were tall enough, they’re allowed to go down. Drake went down this thing for 2 hours straight everyday. There were multiple pools on the ship but this is where we hung out the most.
There were also pools towards the front of the ship that were just for adults. Can’t forget about the AquaDuck – a clear, enclosed slide that went around the outer perimeter of the boat. The kids were too little, but Nate and I went on it (after a few cocktails) which made it even more fun. If you’re bringing a teen on the trip, chances are they’ll live on that slide.
Goofy’s Sports Area // On the highest deck, there’s an area with a bunch of sports stuff – a basketball court, table football, a really cute mini golf course, etc.
Bars // There were a ton of bars. Most of them were located at the front of the ship (on multiple levels) and inside in a large area called The District. One of our favorites stops was at a coffee/liqour bar that made a variety of cocktails with espresso in them. There was also a pool bar where we spent our doses of kid-free time. 🙂
This list doesn’t include the teen clubs. We briefly checked them out when we were walking around the ship on the first day and they actually seemed pretty cool. I figured they would cheesy… most of the time they are on cruise ships… but these seemed pretty fun. Just trying to think ahead for when we become DCL (Disney Cruise Line) people and are going when the boys are that age. 🙂
If you’ve been on a cruise before, you know there is always a ton of stuff to do. There are options for every age group at almost any time of day. On this cruise, there was an itinerary pushed out through the DCL Onboard App everyday. The app made it really easy to plan our day and communicate with other people onboard – including notifications for when your kids were in the nursery or clubs.
Some of our favorite activities included:
- Pictures with the boys’ favorite characters. We never waited for more than 5 minutes.
- Live shows. We went to Beauty & the Beast and a juggling show. Both were so entertaining and impressive!
- Live music. There was almost always something going on. Characters would show up and dance with the kids. Those were some of my favorite nights. Post-dinner dance parties with Mickey… that’s where we most felt like it was a magical trip for the boys. Their faces said it all.
- FOOD. Besides the scheduled sit-down dinners at the three family restaurants (we were assigned a dining rotation), there was a buffet and a Cars-themed walk-up area where you could get bar food throughout the day. There’s also an ice cream station that’s open 24/7.
- Sweets. Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats is a candy/ice cream shop that’s located by the main pools. The entire shop is based on Wreck It Ralph. It was adorable.
- PIRATE NIGHT! I’m not sure if they do this on each ship or not. On The Dream, they had an entire Pirate-themed performance that included the characters dressed up in pirate stuff and an act that included Jack Sparrow. That night, dinner was also pirate-themed. They ended the night with a firework show and a dance party. I wish we would’ve gotten better pictures of all of us in our gear. We went all out and got costumes on Amazon – everyone was dressed up. Loved this night!
There were SO many activities going on the entire time. These were just a few of the most memorable ones for us!
We eventually want to take the kids to Disney World, but this was an amazing trip that we truly felt was so special for the boys. It’ll be even better when our youngest, Shay, can actually join us next time (babies under 6 months can’t cruise on DCL). The boys loved meeting the characters and taking part in all the fun activities that they offered. There was no booze package or casino 😛 but we had a blast with our babies and have already started planning our next cruise with Disney in 2 years.
Now we’re trying to decide which ship and route to take next. By the time we go again, the newest ship (The Disney Wish) will be sailing so we might have to try that one out. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down below!