Have you ever been on a cruise before? What about a Disney cruise? I can tell you right now, that they are two very different experiences.
My first cruise was actually my honeymoon trip. It was a 7-day adventure with 3 stops in 3 different countries. Over the last 13 years, I’ve cruised 5 more times but our dream was to always do a Disney Cruise.
Last week, I was given the opportunity with Disney Social Media Moms to experience their first Land and Sea Adventure. It’s an invitation only conference, and this year for the first time we spent 2 days at the Disney Resort Port Orleans and 3 days at sea on the Disney Wonder.
Please come back soon because I have more to tell you about what’s new at Disney for 2017, but right now I just can’t hold back my excitement for the Disney cruise.
One thing I have come to learn about Disney, is that they don’t do anything halfway. It’s done in excellence, or not at all.
As I think back to my experience, here are 8 things that no matter what I say – you will have to experience them for yourself.
1. The Greeting – getting on the ship was very easy. If you have all of your paperwork and/or documents ready, you’re good to go. As you walk down the long walk-way to enter the ship, you’re greeted by a crew member who ask your name.
Honestly, inside I wondered why does she want to know our last name, we already registered! Out of nowhere, we walked into this beautiful ship and we heard over the loud speaker, “Disney Wonder, please welcome The Knighten Family!”
Everyone started to scream and clap. I felt like they were expecting us. It’s such a great way to start off your vacation.
2. The Decor – When you first walk onto the Disney Wonder, your neck may start to hurt. You will not be able to stop looking up and around at the amazing decor. It felt like I was in a fancy hotel. The entire ship is simply art in motion, with no detail left out.
3. Kids Clubs – Not only did my children not want to leave the kids club, I wondered if I could stay and play awhile. They have different clubs for different ages and don’t close until midnight. Club Odyssey was a 6 room kids adventure. Each room was different, equipped with tablets, games, slides and more.
My 11 year old found his new tribe in Club Edge. It was for tween & teens ages 11-14 which made him feel like a “big boy” with independence. He didn’t want to spend any more time with us after he experienced Edge on day 1.
4. Shows – Each night on the cruise we experienced a show after dinner in the Walt Disney Theatre. The 3 shows were:
- The Golden Mickeys – all the big Disney Stars come out to welcome you with great singing and story telling.
- Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic – a young girl learns to make her dream come true if she just believes, as she revisits her favorite Disney movies at the same time.
- Frozen, A Musical Spectacular an amazing re-enactment of the movie. You will be singing along and experience a big COLD surprise at end!
5. Restaurants– On most cruises you eat at the same place every night. On the Disney Wonder, each night we dined at a new place on the ship, but always had our same staff. We are a family of 5, and dined with another (same) family of 5 each night & became fast friends!
- Tiana’s Place – If you ever seen Princess & the Frog, you definitely get that New Orleans feel. It’s a live band playing & singing while you eat. Princess Tiana visits each table and has a big party in the middle of dinner. You will find yourself dancing around the dining room toward the end of the night.
- Tritons (Pirate Night) was a tad bit upscale. It was pirate night so we were all dressed up in our pirate attire.
- Animator’s Palace – the most amazing themed restaurant I’ve ever experienced. It cost 4 million to actually create. The entire restaurant is black and white with portraits all over of the Disney Characters as pencil sketches that come to life while you eat.
6 .The Adult Area– that’s right, Disney Cruises are not just for children. I saw many children-less couples enjoying the perks of the Adult Only area. This included it’s own pool, hot tub, sun bathing area, restaurant, beach area, and club! It’s a beautiful transition because the decor goes from fun to mature.
7. Castaway Cay(pronounced KEY) – We learned that a CAY is an island 3 miles or less. It’s pronounced KEY because it’s Spanish for Small Island. Castaway Cay is Disney’s Private Island in the Bahamas. Disney’s Castaway Cay was recognized as the Best Cruise Line Private Island in Cruise Critics Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.
The island had fun things to do for children – the clubs came to the island too! Restaurants in the island were ready to serve! We even did an excursion on a glass water bottom boat and fed the fish in the ocean.
8. Picture Kiosk – Inside of going to a deck and standing around trying to find your picture on a wall in between hundreds of others, Disney has a Kiosk location where all your pictures are digitally housed! AMAZING! You scan your key card and your pictures appear. This way they save money by not having to print paper when people don’t buy their pictures. GENIUS!
Here are a few things that made a great difference for me (attention to detail)
1. Clean, super clean: With flu season being a top priority nationwide, Disney made sure we washed our hands before entering the buffet area. There was an actual hand washing station. In other areas on the ship, staff gave you wipes for your hands as you entered a restaurant. Even the kids club had a state of the art hand washing machine that did all the washing. I would love to have that in my house. With a ship that has over 3,000 guest, its important to keep the germ spreading to a minimum.
2. The Staff – every single staff we came across treated us like Royalty. They remembered our names and spoke to us daily like we were old friends. By the end of the cruise, you feel like you really are friends!
3. Food/Drink – there were great food choices on the ship, as well as gluten free if you so desired. There were also around the clock room service, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, gyros & chicken tenders. They had their own smoothie shop that made healthy juices!
4. Our room – Cruise rooms are not necessarily the biggest spaces. On our cruise, they made sure our children each had their own bed when it was time to sleep. However, during the day, they made it look like a suite.
They also got creative on the infamous towel decor and used something different than a white towel. Disney, I tell ya!! Can you guess what this is? A snake.
If you like to cruise and have never experienced a Disney Cruise, you have to put one on your list.
They have 4 boats:
- Disney Wonder
Pick one and enjoy a grand experience!