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Monday, February 3, 2014

Love Disney Cruises even with a toddler!

Right before Christmas my little family decided to take a Disney Cruise. Most people probably said behind our back "Her son is only 1, he won't remember it." or "Her son is not old enough to even participate in the activities". Well, both of these things are CORRECT but WE LOVED IT.
And here's why.......
I have been on many cruises. This was actually Jack's second cruise at the ripe old age of 16 months. We sailed on Carnival when he was 8 months. Carnival does do a good job. I have no problems with Carnival but Disney just does it better, as we all would expect right?
From the moment we arrive there are people there to help. Me, the travel agent didn't have my bags tagged or even my paperwork with me (this is par for the course) and did that matter? Nope! They found us on their list and tagged our bags for us. There were 2 check in lines. One line for regular joes and one for Disney Club members. The lady says "just go to the shorter one since you have him". Sweet.

Disney Cruise ship



Disney Cruise cabin. You can't sit on the couch with a pack n play in the room!
Pluto got down on the floor with the kids.

They had a Pack N Play in our cabin. It did make it tight. I don't think 2 infants/toddlers requiring Pack N Plays would be able to do a standard size cabin. The cabin steward knew our names and esp Jack's name. Little things like "Hi Jack!" when we came out of our cabin each day made us feel special (that sounded a lot sappier than I am normally). Another great thing is the cabins have 2 bathrooms. One is a toilet and sink and the other is a mini bathtub and sink. Normally cruise ships have 1 tiny bathroom that I joke you can sit on the toilet and wash your hands in the sink while leaning over to wash your hair in the shower. This made it possible to give Jack a bath instead of trying to hold him in the shower like on Carnival. Awesome!
Another cool thing they do is wave phones. There are 2 in your cabin. If you drop your kids off at camp they will text you with anything. Like "They want to be picked up" or "can they eat lunch early?" or whatever. You can bring it with you and call your room from wherever. It's pretty sweet. All cruises should have this.
Great waitstaff on the ship!
For dinner each night Disney has you move from dining room to dining room. Each one has a different theme so you get to experience them all. The cool part (and this is different from every other cruise line) is your waitstaff comes with you. We got to know our waitstaff, where they were from, one had a 5 year old daughter at home in the Philippines and they got to know us. They would have stuff out for Jack. His high chair all ready with crayons and bring him chocolate milk which was a big treat for him. Some people say they don't want an assigned dining time and I understand it but the experience and memories of making friends with the waitstaff totally outweighed any of that for me. We did go to Palo (the adults only fine dining which was soooo good. Imported balsamic from Italy and oh I could go on and on) one night and the next night they were like "We missed you!" and I felt bad. I wish we could go back and have the same staff!
They had Mickey ice cream bars for dessert for kids.
Disney had a show each night in the main theatre. They did a whole production of Toy Story which was really well done. I was a tad on the bored side and I heard other people say the same thing. Not Disney's fault but maybe Toy Story just wasn't suppose to be on the stage? They also had a magician which was great, very entertaining. They had a show at the end of the week called "Disney Magic" and it had little scenes from tons of different Disney movies. Cinderella, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin.....the list goes on and on. It was great. Jack loved it. They even made it snow.

One night and they do this on every cruise, was pirate night. Everyone dresses up. Adults, kids, the characters - everyone. Well except for us because I am horrible at my own vacations and did not read up on it before I left. People were having so much fun with it. At the end of the night they had a big dance party on the top deck with a little show and Mickey rides a zipline across the top of the ship and then fireworks went off. Pretty impressive. It wasn't until 10pm so Jack was falling asleep.

They had different fun stuff throughout the week at night. One night I made Jack stay up for the Donald Duck Salsa Dance Party. He wore a sombrero and danced with all the kids in one of the smaller theatre. Adorable. Jack was dancing and was so tired he was falling over so we didn't stay long.



Selfie with Mickey. Everyone has one, right?


There were adult comedy nights so always something to do. I didn't attend one due to lack of babysitter but I'm going to guess they were awesome. They had the comedian do family friendly during the day and I can only imagine.

One of my favorite parts was stopping at Castaway Cay. This is Disney's private island. They pull right up. Everything is right there. They even have a kid camp on the island for kids starting at age 3.
They served BBQ and burgers and had ice cream and fruit stands. Everything included. The beach was beautiful. They had specific places to snorkel and renting the equipment was $15 if you did it in advance or $25 day of. This was for all day. There were little shops with beach toys and t-shirts. If you do a Disney Cruise, make sure this port is on the list!
Castaway Cay had calm water which was perfect for kids!
 

Castaway Cay character photos


My husband said his favorite part (which I hope is partly a joke) is they didn't have someone in the dining room rationing out the bacon like on Carnival. They let you serve it up yourself and have as much as you want.


Here are my tips -
1. Bring pirate stuff for the family
2. There's not a casino so no worries about having a huge onboard account!
3. If you want to decorate your cabin door, bring magnetic stuff. People did this and it was way cute.
4. Any kids in diapers can only play on the splash pad - no baby pool
5. Bring an umbrella stroller to go around the ship in if you have a little, they don't provide these.
6. There are washing machines and dryers onboard if you need to wash clothes. Bring your own soap if you like the hypoallergenic kind like I do.
7. No babysitting in the cabins, you take them to the nursery which was a disaster cry fest for mine so maybe bring a babysitter :) It's now about $9/hr.
8. If you want a cabana at Castaway Cay - reserve as early as possible. They were full so we didn't get to have one. (about $500 for the day I think)
9. Wait until the end of the week to do pictures with the characters. The line was next to nothing by then.
10. Soda is included in the dining room and at the buffet but not if you order at a bar or at the theatre.
11. Eat as much bacon as you can!

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