Okay friends, here is the article that people have been asking me for ever since I mentioned on Instagram that we were going on a Disney cruise. But first…a disclaimer. We are not a Disney loving family. Sure, we love the Cars franchise and can recite most of “Finding Nemo,” but we aren’t crazy about Disney. Our kids don’t have any traditional character themed clothes or toys, and my boys didn’t know anything about Mickey Mouse until their friends at school introduced them to the magical (and slightly annoying) mouse. We don’t have any plans to visit Disney World with them, but I’m sure we will cross off that bucket list item at some point in their lives. But since we heard so many great things about Disney cruises from so many different people, we decided to take the plunge. And man oh man are we glad we did. Here’s why our non-Disney loving family loved the Disney cruise.
It can be as “magical” as you want
There are so many Disney themed activities including “meet and greets” with characters, shows, photo opportunities, etc. If you are into that stuff, you will be in 7th Heaven. If not, you will also be thrilled with your vacation. Why? Because you don’t have to do Disney themed things if you don’t want to. There are pools, play spaces, gyms, splash pads, water slides, gyms, game room–the options are endless.
The kid-first focus
You know that saying, “Happy wife, happy life?” Well, I really think they need one of those for kids on vacations. Maybe “If baby ain’t happy everyone cries?” I’ll work on a new saying, but for now let me gush over how relaxing our vacation was because the kids were truly catered to. Disney knows that kids hate waiting in lines, so they schedule things like boarding in waves (pun intended) so that there aren’t huge traffic jams. You can also preschedule character “meet and greets” so you aren’t stuck in a mile long line just for one quick photo. And when it comes to meals, even the pickiest eater will be satisfied—and at record speed! Disney wisely puts kid friendly fare at the beginning of the buffet and kids’ meals in restaurants are served first on adorable Mickey Mouse themed plates so they don’t get hangry. I’m not sure about Mickey and Minnie Mouse—but that is PURE magic.
The attentive and creative staff
I’m not sure if they are just paid really well or amazing actors, but each staff member we encountered on our Disney cruise was not just kind…they were all exceptionally friendly and caring. My kids were actually encouraged to be goofy in the hallways and were event entertained by magic tricks when restless at dinner. It is no surprise that most of the staff are parents themselves, and I thank them for all of their patience and hard work to ensure that we had a great vacation.
Adult only time
So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. At numerous times within this article, I have called our Disney cruise a vacation. That’s right, not a trip. A VACATION. And deservedly so. Why? Because you can have adult time. From the way your room is set up with a dividing curtain and swivel television to the childcare staff who will pick up your children and bring them to the kids’ clubs to play so that you can finish your meal in peace, a Disney cruise will allow you adult time on a family vacation that you will never have thought possible. And with the kids’ clubs hosting fun and innovative activities from sunrise to beyond sunset, your adult time can happen whenever you want it to. Pure bliss.
Opportunities for play
It is practically impossible to be bored on a Disney cruise, no matter your age or what the weather is like. There are pools, water slides, splash pads, and hot tubs if you love the water, a limitless vault of Disney movies if you are a film aficionado, as well as tons of opportunities to play sports, games, and have competitions with other cruisers. My boys enjoyed the physical play opportunities within the kids’ clubs and in the future I know they will enjoy all of the tech gadgets they also offer. The daily map of activities includes something for everyone throughout the entire day—even kid concerts at 11 p.m. if your child’s schedule allows it. For the older crew, there are many “teens only” areas with staff orchestrated scavenger hunts, dance parties, and more. The main highlight for everyone, no matter your age? Pirate Night, of course! Be sure to pack your best pirate gear so you can get all decked out and not have to spend too many gold doubloons in the cruise ship gift shop.
As much as we loved sailing on the Disney Magic, we especially loved getting off the boat at our tropical stops and enjoying the sandy beaches and warm ocean water. Cozumel was spectacular, but the crown jewel of any Caribbean Disney cruise is Castaway Cay. You see, Disney took a beautiful Bahamian island and sprinkled Disney magic all over it. The water is one of the most beautiful blue shades I have ever seen, there is ample room for you to relax under and umbrella or in a hammock, and there are tons of activities to choose from, from bike riding to tubing, splash pads, and water slides. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the delicious BBQ offerings (a nice change from the food that is typically offered on your cruise ship) and take advantage of the kids’ club on the beach so you can enjoy some time in the adults only area.
I hope my non-Disney loving family’s adventures showed you how a Disney cruise is an amazing vacation option for any and all types of families. Yes, it is expensive, but it is so stress free that the price is truly worth it.