I’m back!! Did you even know I was gone?? Dan and I just took all the kids, minus the babe, on our first Disney Cruise. It was a dream come true… seriously! Going on a Disney Cruise has always been at the top of my list, so it was amazing to finally go.
We booked the trip almost a year ago with my trusty friends at Get Away Today. Kim, an ‘Or so she says…’ contributor and travel expert, works for Get Away Today and knows all there is to know about Disney vacations, so between her and their cruise specialist, Jandy, I was able to put together the perfect package for our family. I’ve used them for all of my Disney vacations because they make things so easy, they offer great discounts, and they are true Disney experts.
Before we left on our cruise, I scoured the internet, looking for everything I could find about Disney cruises. I really wanted to know what they were like. What could I expect?? So, with that in mind, I took oodles of pictures for you and lots of notes so I can share a great Disney Cruise review, give you some tips, and an idea of what the cruise is all about.
Here we go!
We flew into Galveston, Texas a day early, to avoid any travel blunders interfering with our cruise. Good thing too! We were SO close to getting bumped from our flight because the plane overbooked. Eeeek! Get Away Today helped us find a hotel in Texas and transfers from the airport to the hotel and then to the cruise port the next morning.
As much as I loved getting a glimpse of Texas, we were anxious to get on our ship and set sail for the Bahamas! The check-in process was super easy. Luckily, we had all of our important documents on hand, like our passports, birth certificates for the kids, and cruise documents. Don’t forget those or you’re in big trouble! After we checked in at the port, we signed the kids up for the Kid’s Club. There are different clubs for different ages of kids. The kids all got their wristbands and we only had to wait about an hour before we boarded the ship.
Walking onto the ship, a handful of the Disney staff started clapping and announced, ‘Welcome to the Wangsgard family!’ We were guided up to a lunch buffet where we could eat and wait for our staterooms to be ready, with our luggage delivered.
Tip: If you’re a bottled water fan: Bottled water isn’t free on the boat, only pop, juice, hot chocolate, and coffee. Bottled water costs $2.50 a bottle. But, if you buy it by the case, from the lounge, right when you walk on the ship, you can save $.50 cents per bottle. If you are fine drinking the ship’s water, which many people are, some people like to bring a large cooler cup of their own to fill up with water at the stations. The cups kept at the stations are fairly small.
Once our luggage was delivered, we went to check out our stateroom. Actually, we had to get two because of the size of our family. You can fit four people in a room. So, we had two rooms right next to each other. We decided to opt for no window or balcony to save money. It would have been awesome to have a balcony, but it necessary to enjoy ourselves. I will say that our rooms were super-duper-duper dark at night and always, if the lights were off. So, we had to set our alarms every day to avoid sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Between the darkness and the subtle rocking of the boat, it was some awesome sleeping!
Here’s a peek at one of our staterooms…
Tip: Bring magnets to decorate your door. It’s fun for the kids AND it helps to easily identify your room in the long hallway of staterooms. Some people collect Disney magnets on their cruises and use those to decorate the doors. We’re newbies, so I brought magnet clips so the kids could hang up their coloring pages from the Kid’s Club.
Speaking of Kid’s Club, my kids LOVED it. We have been on one other cruise (a Carnival) and Disney’s Kid’s Club takes the cake. There are fun things going on all day long, clear up until midnight! You just have to look on the daily Navigator, the cruise itinerary that is left in your room each morning, to find out what’s going on, both for kids, family, and adults. There were scavenger hunts, craft projects, dance lessons from Disney characters, a mad scientist exploding volcanoes with the kid and making slime. There were cooking classes, lessons on detective work, you name it! My kids were constantly begging to go. What’s super cool is that in each stateroom you are given two cell phones. You are likely not using your own cell phone because of outrageous international service charges. The Disney phones are called ‘Wave Phones.’ It enables you to call anyone on the boat. So, when you drop your kids off at the kid’s club and they are ready to leave, the Disney staff will send you a text saying that your child is ready to be picked up. It’s so nice not to have to keep checking back to see when they’re done!
Safety is really important at the Kid’s Club. Kids are checked in and out by the identity band they are wearing. Whomever is picking them up must give a verbal password to be able to take them out of the area. Obviously, the kids in the older clubs don’t have to have the security restrictions. They are free to attend whenever they want and leave when they want.
Besides safety, Disney is BIG on being sanitary. Everywhere you turn, there are antibacterial wipes. All kids entering the Kids Club are given a squirt of soap on their hands and have to march straight to the bathroom to wash, before they can start playing. Any time you walk into a restaurant, there is a Disney staff member standing out the door, handing you an antibacterial wipe. Every time you leave the ship and get back on, you’re required to use hand sanitizer. It’s everywhere, and I’m glad! The ship’s comedians loved to make jokes about it. I even saw the staff sanitizing the elevator buttons. Hooray!
There are kid club activities going on all day and night, but there are also a lot of family activities and adult activities, as well. There is a theater that is continuously showing recently released Disney movies, and some still in the theater. We saw Thor, Avenger’s, and Brave. But, there were several more. Every night, there is some sort of big production in the Walt Disney Theater. One night we saw Toy Story, the Musical. Another night we saw one called The Golden Mickey’s and one other one… forgot the name. They are all really good and professional.
By far, our favorite entertainment on the boat was the comedians and the ventriloquist. They were sooo talented and super funny. We were all cracking up! The kid’s even bought Magic Dave‘s book because they were so impressed. That guy is seriously hilarious. I could have watched his show every night! The ventriloquist was also excellent. I believe they said he was a runner-up on America’s Got Talent. Pretty cool.
Something I especially loved about the entertainment on the Disney ship was that everything was appropriate and family friendly. Even everything on the TV is suitable for kids. It was refreshing. It was also nice just to be in the company of other passengers who aren’t there for trashy entertainment and getting drunk. There were plenty of shows and activities for adults only, and they were always entertaining and excellent, without being gross.
Tip: If you have a little princess, sign up for the Princess Tea Party right when you get on the boat. I was bummed that I found out about it and went to sign up too late. It was still the first day, but not soon enough!
Every night when we would come back to our room, the stateroom host would have our room clean and leave us a fun towel animal on the bed, with chocolates, and the Navigator itinerary for the next day. The kids loved seeing the animals, then punching their lights out. It was always a race to see who could grab the chocolates first and then kick the animal’s butt. I was always like, ‘Wait, wait!! Let me take a picture first!!’ Aghh! Darn kids.
Eating is a big deal on cruise ships. Everyone has a scheduled dinner time. You either attend the early session or the later one. Then there are several restaurants on the ship. You are assigned a certain restaurant for each night you are on the ship. Your waiters will serve you each night, by rotating restaurants with you. It’s fun to get to know them. We loved ours!! They would spend lots of time chatting with us, cutting up my kid’s food, and we always looked forward to seeing them.
I’m not a steak or seafood eater, so I must say that dinners weren’t my favorite thing. The menus have lots of fancy-schmancy food, which I don’t usually go for, but it was fun to try some new things. I could usually manage to find some sort of chicken or turkey dish that would make me happy. It’s fun to be able to order whatever you want. My boys loved being able to order the swordfish, lobster, or prime rib… something I would rarely let them do, otherwise. Sometimes we would order two desserts. Naughty!!
My three year old, Joey, ordered the same thing every single night. Macaroni and cheese, french fries, and ‘Mickey Mouse Ketchup.’ It was so imperative that he get his ketchup. The last night, he tried asking for Mater ketchup, but it was a no-go. However, he got Mickey Mouse Pirate Ketchup, which was almost as good.
Tip: The dinner service can be pretty long for toddlers, up to 2 hours. I brought along my iPad to keep my little one occupied while waiting for the food.
Here’s a little look-see at the ship. Oh, did I say we were on the Disney Wonder?? We were. Here’s one of the pools…
The gym. You should try running on a treadmill while the ship is going over choppy waters… trippy.
The lobby. This is the best place to find and take pictures with Disney characters. You could look on the Navigator to see which characters would be in the lobby and at what time. There were tons and tons of characters on the boat. I was expecting just a few, but nope…
Another pool on the top deck…
I missed getting a picture of the basketball and soccer court that we loved to frequent. We got a pretty good game of family soccer going on. I also wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the Kid’s Club or during the shows. So, you’ll just have to imagine those.
Cruising is all about guilty pleasures, right?? We made good use of the endless pop, free ice cream, made plenty of midnight runs for pizza, and we even splurged on a couple’s spa treatment, while the kids were playing in the club. Ahhh…. One of my favorite moments on the boat was when the littles were in the Kid’s Club and Dan took the boys to see a movie. I stayed in the room by myself, read my book (I got through 3 novels that week!), and ordered room service. Room service!?! I love that service. You just order whatever you want on the menu and all you have to pay is the tip… granted, you did pay lots to get on the ship, but it kinda feels free. You know what I mean. 🙂
With everything going on on the boat, we were always pooped by the end of the day. And, that’s not even talking about the ports where we get off the ship and venture around… we’ll talk about that tomorrow. Little Joey could barely handle all of the stimulation, as you can see…
… I love that bed he made in the bathtub out of toilet paper and tissues! And, sleeping at the dinner table, so funny!
We loved our Disney Cruise and I would totally go again, especially if I was bringing kids! If you’re wanting to go, I highly recommend working with my friends at Get Away Today.
Like I said earlier, come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about our port adventures in Key West, Castaway Cay, and Nassau!
If you’re interested in reading about other Disney vacations and tips and tricks, be sure to check out my Disney Everything! page where I save all Disney and travel posts (lots of Disneyland tips there!)
CHECK OUT PART TWO OF THIS POST HERE: Our Disney Cruise Review, Part 2