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Reasons to Take a Disney Cruise with Kids
Disney Cruise Line is renowned as one of the best cruise lines for families. The activities, amenities, and service cannot be beaten. Those things do not come cheap. It is not uncommon to see Disney fares to be double that of any other line. There are ways to save money, but even with a discount, you will probably be sending your favorite kid to college. Despite the major investment, there are ten reasons you should consider a Disney cruise with kids.
Note: Although Disney Cruise Line is currently on hold, you can get great discounts on future travel. Make sure to contact me for more information after you read this!
1. Disney Cruises have great character interactions
Disney Cruise Line might have more characters than waffles. I didn’t do the math.
Disney Cruise Line has tons of scheduled meet and greets, and you can find some characters walking around the ship. You can get lots of great pictures with much shorter waits than you encounter at the theme parks.
The characters are spirited and deep in character. They make for special interactions your children will remember for a long time to come. While you might know Rapunzel’s hair is fake, it is fun to watch your children get so excited. They leave a lasting impression on some of the adult solo travelers as well.
You can meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, and lots of princesses regularly. There are also unique characters you don’t see very often in the parks, like Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Smee.
2. Pirate Night on Disney Cruiseline
Most Disney Cruise Line sailing have a themed night. Caribbean cruises offer Pirate Night. Dressing up is optional, but the vast majority of the ship participates. A family costume makes for a great photo.
There is a pirate menu at dinner, followed by an elaborate show on the pool deck. Pirates swing around on ropes, and an impressive fireworks display shoots off the side of the boat.
After the show, you can introduce your children to the equivalent of a 90s techno rave when the DJ drops some hot tracks. In other words, your kids can dance around for two minutes, then you will all be ready for bed.
3. Disney’s Oceaneer Club
Oceaneer Club is a club for children ages three through twelve. Children must be potty trained to go, but I found the term “potty trained” to be construed in a loose sense when we traveled. My son had an accident, and no one made an issue of it.
You can drop your children off at Oceaneer Club and get your daiquiri on as often as you want. It is included in your fare. Adults are not allowed outside of open-house hours, so you will have a great excuse to leave.
Oceaneer Club is typically open from around 9:00 a.m. through midnight. Your children can stay as long as they wish. Oceaneer Club will feed your child, free of charge. The expensive fare will start to feel like a steal if your children spend enough time there. Babysitters are expensive.
Don’t feel too guilty ghosting the kids. Oceaneer Club is awesome. It stretches the length of a good portion of the ship. Each ship is different, but all offer play areas, crafts, and screens as far as the eye can see.
In addition to free play, Oceaneer Club offers organized activities, some featuring characters. The schedule is posted in the Disney Cruise Line app.
Kids are separated by age at Disney’s Oceaneer Club
Before we sailed, I was worried about the three to twelve age range. One of my children was three. I could not imagine him roaming freely throughout the massive club with kids with braces and Fortnite addictions.
He was completely fine. In fact, he loved it. The space is large enough that the twelve-year-olds really never come in contact with the preschoolers. Even if they did, the counselors are amazing. They can accommodate special needs, and go out of their way to make sure each child feels comfortable. If your child wants to be picked up, they will notify you right away. We never got a call. I had to drag my kids crying from Oceaneer Club on the regular.
4. Disney has a private island
Castaway Cay is a private island owned by Disney in the Bahamas. No one lives there other than employees. The island is clean, beautiful, and free from pressure to purchase home woven handicrafts.
The cruise ships can pull up to the island. It is very easy to get on and off the ship with a stroller or wheelchair if need be. There is a free tram to take you around the island if you need it, but the island is very walkable.
The island features spacious beaches, a splash pad, water slides, characters, and activities, among other things. Excursions for an additional cost are offered but certainly not necessary.
Lunch is served on the islands, as is self serve ice cream. Plenty of servers take drink orders on the beach, so you won’t ever need to leave your chair. Castaway Cay is one of the best beach days our family has ever had.
5. Disney has incredible dining
Your bananas expensive cruise fare includes food, as it should. There are tons of options, and the vast majority of it is free of charge.
The restaurants vary, but all the ships have three main dining rooms. You visit each of the restaurants for dinner throughout your cruise. You are assigned one serving team that will serve you in each restaurant. The servers learn about your preferences and dietary restrictions quickly. It makes for a very pleasant dining experience.
For breakfast and lunch, you can eat in the main dining rooms. There is also a huge buffet. Breakfast in particular is a huge hit with kids who love Mickey waffles. The buffets can accommodate dietary restrictions.
There is a quick-service option by the pool next to self serve ice cream machines. The ice cream machines get a great workout during the cruises.
Specialty Dining on Disney Cruiseline
Finally, Disney Cruise Line offers specialty dining for adults only at an extra charge. You definitely don’t need to visit one of these restaurants to enjoy yourself, but they are worth a stop. The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy offer Palo and Remy.
Palo has a fancy buffet with crab legs and things less important than crab legs, like cheese, meats, and desserts. You also order off of a menu. As of the time of this writing, the cost is $40 per person.
Remy is a French dining experience with several courses. It costs $125 per person as of the time of this writing.
All of the above is great, but where Disney really stands out from other cruise lines is the accommodations it makes for dietary restrictions and food allergies. They are extremely careful with food served to guests with allergies. They also offer plenty of options. For example, you can find gluten-free bread, pasta, pizza, and desserts on the ships. Everyone can get the food they enjoy.
6. Water Play Areas
Disney Cruise Line’s water areas are a major draw. They are well themed and unique. Each ship is different, but they offer splash pads, water slides (some that circle the ship), and pools. The pools can get incredibly crowded, but the movies playing on the funnel vision while the kids swim may make it slightly more tolerable.
Swim diapers are not allowed in the pools, but they are allowed in the splash pads.
7. Top-notch entertainment
Each ship offers a different featured theater production. The shows are of a much higher quality than those on other cruise lines. The sets are elaborate and the cast can actually sing. They are stage versions of famous Disney movies with which your children are likely already familiar, so it will be fun for them to see them in person.
Disney Cruise Line also plays first-run movies in its movie theaters. If a movie is currently in theaters, it will play on the ship.
8. Reasons to take a Disney Cruise with kids over other cruise lines? Family-friendly staterooms
The staterooms are as family-friendly as you are going to get on a cruise ship. They are not huge, but they are larger than most.
The design is family-friendly. The bathrooms are split, so two people can use them at once. There is a bathtub, rather than just a shower. A heavy curtain divides the room in half, so adults do not have to go to bed with the children.
The configuration of the beds will depend upon the room you select, but most have a pull-out couch or pull-down berth that can be put away during the day for more space.
Some ships have free on-demand Disney movies. You are assigned a stateroom attendant who comes twice per day to clean, rearrange the beds, and leave towel animals.
There is no way to ignore the fact that you will be in very tight quarters during a cruise, but Disney makes it less painful.
9. Disney Service
The service on Disney Cruise Line is outstanding. Every employee you encounter is friendly, helpful, and willing to pretend your child’s temper tantrum is adorable. From the servers in the dining room to your stateroom attendant to random employees you only pass once, the service is beyond anything you will get on other family-friendly lines. The positivity is infectious.
10. The proximity of Port Canaveral
Port Canaveral, the terminal from which Caribbean cruises sail, is located in Cape Canaveral, Florida. You can be at Disney World in less than an hour. You already had to pick your favorite kid for college. Why stop now? That kid can pay for his or her own textbooks. Add on to your trip and extend the magic.
Reasons to take your family on a Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Line is expensive, but it makes for a great family vacation. The entire experience is amazing. Your children will look back on this trip fondly for years to come. Try Disney Cruise Line. You will not regret it.
Adriane is a blogger with Put on Your Party Pants (and Keep Them on Until 8 pm). She writes about planning and surviving family travel, including ways to save money using miles and points and Disney hacks. She also writes about gluten-free dining options. Her goal is to help people maximize their vacations whiles spending as little as possible. Photos are also courtesy of Adriane.
I hope you enjoyed this post with all the reasons to take a Disney Cruise with kids. If you’re thinking about a Disney Cruise, don’t forget that I am a Disney College of Knowledge graduate. That means that I am certified to book Disney (included Disney cruises) and keep up with all the latest Disney news. Prefer a Disney theme park vacation? I can do that too!
More Disney vacation ideas:
- 7 things to know about the Disney Skyliner
- Disney Secrets that may surprise you
- Yes, there are free things at Disney World!
- Disney World Tips and Tricks
- 5 reasons why you need a Disney Travel Agent
Booking your Disney Vacation
Now that you know more about why to take a Disney Cruise with kids, it’s time to start planning your next Disney vacation. Planning a Disney vacation is a lot harder than it sounds! In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest vacations to plan.
Did you know that during the health crisis of early 2020 customers who booked with Travel Agents were in the best scenario vs. those who had to wait hours, days, or even weeks to solve their vacation issues? Forbes even wrote an article about why you now need a Travel Agent more than ever.
One of the best Disney World Tips that I can give you is to book with a Disney Certified Travel Agent – like me! Booking with a Disney Travel Agent will save a lot of time and money. Here are the types of things that I do as a Disney Travel Agent:
- Itinerary Planning
- Helping figure out which dining plan is best for you (if any!)
- Helping with Advanced Dining Reservations
- Fast Pass Recommendations
- Tips on how to make the best use of the My Disney Experience App
- Making sure that you get the most current promotions to save you money!
If booking with a Disney Travel Agent sounds like the right thing for your family, make sure to contact me! Better yet, go ahead and fill out my custom travel request form and let’s start planning your epic Disney World vacation.
DIY your Disney Planning
If you plan to DIY your vacation, I understand that too! I highly recommend buying your tickets through Undercover Tourist if you choose not to use a Travel Agent. There are a lot of really scammy sites out there, so make sure you’re booking through an approved partner (like Undercover Tourist,) or an approved Travel Agent!
If you plan to stay off property, I recommend checking out Expedia to see what is available in the Orlando area outside of the Disney Resorts.
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