“A Dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep…”
The magic of this song came to life with the sound of the horns as we departed the port. Instantly the party started and we were on our way to cruisin’ 7 days with Disney. It was truly magical and Disney did their part to make sure every detail was met with perfection.
We are lazy luxury travelers. Meaning, a typical family holiday comprises of sitting on a beach at a 5 Star resort, playing in the sand and swimming in the beautiful ocean. The Disney Cruise at Christmas is as opposite of that as you can get. Needless to say, I was busy...very busy.
Of course, I was busy, but I chose to be that busy. I wanted to do it all! How could I miss Mickey’s Dance party on Christmas night or a Royal Tea party with the Princesses?! It was so magical and partnered with Christmas, I thought I was going to explode with excitement! Lucky for me, I had the energy (Day 1 – 4, by day 5 I was losing steam), to take my 5-year-old daughter, 5-year-old nephew and 7-month-old son along for the ride. My husband was a good sport and would tag along from time to time, but lucky for him, he often stayed back at nap time. My mom who brought my nephew also lucked out because he wasn’t interested in the Princess stuff, so off to the kids club he went.
I definitely think that 5 was the perfect age and would wait if any younger. Under the age of 3, they have to go to the “Small World” nursery and they charge per hour. My 7-month-old son loved it there and they loved him, but the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab were one of the highlights for my daughter and nephew. Both are open to children ages 3 – 12, and it’s FREE! They would beg to go there and in our free time – or when we were having a fine dining dinner night we dropped them off and they had a blast! Also, Children that aren’t potty trained can’t swim in the pools – No swim diapers allowed! They do have some adorable splash pads, but the pool and water slide were the highlight of the sun deck!
Disney has also perfected their cruise app. It assists in timing the character meet & greets, Movies and Live Shows, Your Itinerary, texting between family and friends and much more! Because wifi costs an arm and a leg, this allowed us to stay in constant communication.
There was so much we did to prepare for this cruise and so much we learned once we were on it. I’m a list kinda girl, so here ya go…
We book all of our travel with Virtuoso travel agent Addie Bell who owns Jetsetandtravel.com. Usually Virtuoso offers TONS of perks, but Disney really doesn’t offer much. As an incentive to book with her, she took care of a lot of the details and shhhhhhh – she gave us some cash back.
Before you Sail:
We booked a concierge level suite – it definitely cost more, but you have so many perks that come with this level. Including booking reservations and excursions early, as well as zero lines when embarking and disembarking. Also, If we couldn’t get a reservation, our concierge somehow always pulled it off.
· Book Castaway Cay Cabana – This is the fastest “excursion” to sell out and was the absolute best! It was the best stop of the entire trip. In fact, if we ever did it again I would only get off at Castaway Cay.
· Book your Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique reservation – they go fast and everyone wants Pirate Night, especially the boys!
· Book your fine dining restaurants. My husband is a major food snob and he loved both. In fact, he said Remi (Ratatouille) was his favorite fine dining French restaurant (and we’ve been to the best in the world).
· Order Door Magnets – A lot of the stateroom doors were decorated, and ours was no different! There are so many rooms on the ship, and it’s easy to get lost, so this helps with locating your room. Etsy is the main place to order your door décor!
· Book your princess and Frozen gathering - You must book your time well in advance because space will run out. It is the best way to guarantee your little princess sees her favorite Princesses. We sailed the Fantasy and she was able to meet Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, and Tiana. We also booked a separate meet & greet with Anna and Elsa!
· Book your character breakfast – This was no additional cost and we booked ours for Christmas morning. A definite change to the normal Christmas morning tradition, but we rolled out of bed in our matching Disney Pj’s and greeted Doc McStuffin, Vamperina, and Mickey Mouse.
What I learned on the ship:
Fish Extender and Fish Exchange– A Fish Extender is basically a vertical banner with pockets and goes hand in hand with a “Fish Exchange”. A Fish Exchanges is a gift exchange that is organized months before you sail. This allows you the opportunity to purchase enough items for everyone that is participating. You place your gifts in the Fish Extender. The women that explained this to me found her group on Facebook. Sounds like a lot of fun and I would definitely do this next time!
Pixie Dust – small gifts that you give to guests aboard the ship.
I was absolutely exhausted, but it was all worth it. There are definitely some things that I would do differently next time or suggestions for a first-time cruiser.
Shorter cruise length - I think my max is 4 days
Won’t schedule as many activities - With Christmas and Disney, I tried to fit everything in
Wait until my son is 4 or 5 and perhaps book a Marvel cruise
Book more fine dining restaurants
Relax a bit more and enjoy the adult sections
From what I learned most people do Disney World for a few days and then a shorter cruise, that sounds like fun!
We have been back a month and the other day my daughter turned to me and said, “Mommy, the Disney cruise was the bestest thing I’ve ever done!”.
I hope this helps you plan the most magical Disney trip ever!