Let’s Seas the Day! This month we are talking about all things water related on our Bucket List adventure of 2020 as we seek to PowerfullyLive this year! Follow along with us as our PFF friend, Angela shares her magical Disney cruise adventure.
Last fall, my family and I had the pleasure of going on a Disney cruise in the Caribbean. We took the whole crew: grandma, grandpa, my husband, our twin seven year olds and our three year old. It was seven glorious days of nights of living in an alternate universe populated with princesses, mice, pirates and fairies, where we never had to lift a finger. If it so much as looked as though we were going to do something ourselves, a cast member (what Disney charmingly titles their employees) would be there in seconds to bus a plate, cut a kid’s pasta, or refresh towels. It was truly magnificent and I was utterly ruined for returning to my human life back on land.
“Is it worth it?”
One of the first questions people will ask, often after dreamily staring into space and murmuring “I’ve always wanted to do one of those…”, is “But is it worth it?!?” Because yes, all of that wondrousness does come at a staggering cost that the Mickey seems to raise every year. It’s a hard question to answer. All of us prioritize our spending differently. I won’t try to answer that definitively, but instead share my personal perspective with you.
Disney takes the cake.
Prior to having children, we had cruised with Royal Caribbean. When our twins were around 20 months we went on a Norwegian cruise. This is what I have to compare our experience with Disney with. While RC came close, if you have children or are a kid at heart, Disney takes the cake. It would be so thrilling to be walking around the ship and run into Cinderella twirling by the grand staircase, or Mickey doing laps on the running deck, or crowing with Peter Pan on Pirate Night. Our stateroom host not only created adorable towel animals, but she made up our girls’ beds with princess sheets instead of the usual white linens.
Their kids club is extraordinary.
My girls were all able to be together as my youngest was the minimum age and potty trained. For kids under 3 there is a separate nursery that does unfortunately cost extra. For kids 3 to 18 there are incredible spaces for the kids to play and explore, split into three age groups.
- organized activities,
- reading aloud,
- a movie room,
- art spaces,
- a dance floor,
- and plenty of opportunities for free play
All groups are in a heavily monitored environment that made us feel very secure.
Those three clubs are included in the cost of the cruise and they are open from around 8 in the morning until midnight. We used the club while we ate some meals, went to the spa, and even left the ship for a couple of excursions while in port. My girls are easily intimidated in these environments, but they LOVED kids club and would beg to go.
Other favorite kid activities were Mickey’s Detective Agency. This was a fun onboard game that involves running around the ship finding clues to solve mysteries. We were interacting with various pieces of art and decor, and the Aquaduck, the giant water slide that zips and dips all around the perimeter of the ship.
The shows are often touted as Broadway caliber, and while I wouldn’t go quite that far, they were extremely enjoyable and beautifully produced and performed. Meeting characters at the Disney parks entails a lot of waiting in long lines or fast pass wrangling. However, the opportunities for meeting favorite characters on the ship are nearly endless! Each day you can check your cruise app to see which characters will be where. We rarely waited more than 15 minutes for a precious meet n’ greet that inevitably made me cry.
Dining was an incredible experience.
The food was certainly some of the best we experienced on a ship and the wait staff goes to the ends of the earth to make your time enjoyable. The best evening was when we all got to create our own character on a placemat, which we then turned in to the staff. Twenty minutes later an entire dining room full of guests got to see each and every character turned into a dancing animation. My kids minds were blown, and even the adults were thrilled by the experience of seeing their own hand drawn character on screen!
Experience this adventure for less.
Truly, the only drawback I can think of is the cost. It’s just a fact that a Disney cruise is on the upper end of the cruise fare spectrum. But we did find some ways to make it a little more affordable.
- First, you can pay for everything with Disney gift cards. You can game the system a bit by purchasing them discounted through third party companies. For example, we bought quite a few cards from Target using our RedCard. This gave us 5% off the face value, resulting in a “discount” when paying our final bills.
- Booking well in advance will help you lock in lower prices.
- If you are military there are a lot of Disney travel agents who focus on military families. They will help find you discounted rates closer to sailing times if you’re able to be flexible with your schedule.
I love talking about our experience. While it was maybe a once in a lifetime splurge for us, I encourage you to explore it as an option for your family. Above all, it was a really spectacular vacation for all of us! Typically family trips still require a fair amount of emotional labor on my part. I felt I was able to fully let go and relax for seven days. This is worth every penny we paid to that money grubbing mouse!!
Thank you Angela for sharing your Disney cruise trip and insider details with us! Find more information about Disney Cruises here.
Want to follow along on other bucket list adventures we will explore this year? Join us! We are a #specialkindofcrazy community that loves to support each other and we’d love to have you with us!