The Secrets to Preparing for Your First Disney Cruise are here, packed into one big post for your viewing pleasure!
Secrets to Preparing for Your First Disney Cruise!
My husband, daughter, and I are getting ready to go on our first Disney cruise! There is so much to think about when preparing for a cruise, especially when it will be our daughter’s first one at age seven. For this cruise, we have decided to leave our six month old at home with grandma, so that we can get the most out of our trip. Although we know we will miss her, we are so excited about this cruise and we have been researching like crazy. During my research, I have learned so much that I want to share with you.
Picking Your Dates
My first bit of advice is to figure out what length of travel makes the most sense for you and your travelers. Because we are leaving our little one with grandma, we have decided to go with a four night stay so that we are not gone too long.
If you are looking for a budget friendly rate, then look at dates that do not coincide with school holidays or vacations. I recommend dates such as the beginning of December for a holiday cruise, or an early spring sailing date. In my research, I have found these dates to be the most economical time to travel on a cruise.
Which Ship to Pick
The second thing you want to do is look at your proximity to the location of the ships departing ports. Disney departs from numerous ports and for most people, choosing a cruise that is close to home is the easiest. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the amenities and programs offered on each ship to help you determine which one is the right choice for your group.
Type of Room
The third thing you want to do is view the stateroom types and determine how much space will help you feel comfortable. Staying in a stateroom is very different from staying in a hotel room, so it is important to look at size and cost to determine what is right for you. One of the things you can count on with a Disney cruise is more space in the staterooms as compared to other cruise lines, starting with a standard inside stateroom. Disney Cruise Line also offers staterooms with a bathtub, which is unique to the industry.
Cost Effective or Not?
Although there is much discussion about the cost of a Disney cruise versus other cruise lines, I am going to share the reasons why I feel there is much value in a Disney cruise. I am also going to share times of the year where your trip can be very cost-effective, if you have flexible travel dates.
One of the things I love about Disney cruises is that they offer free “wave” phones which allow members in your stateroom to text or call each other from anywhere on the ship. If I decide I need a spa morning and my husband and daughter want to play on the Aquaduck water slide, it will be easy to find them when I am finished. I can then easily meet up with them without having to use cell phone service or hunt them down. This allows us more time as a family which is what our vacation is all about!
Disney Kids Club
Another reason Disney Cruise Line is a great value is the Kids Club. I love the idea of being able to take advantage of the Disney kids club, which is free for ages 3 and up. I feel confident in the Disney name and feel safe letting my child experience the magic of Disney for a short time on board. This allows me some alone time with my husband to explore the adult activities, such as a wine tasting or the adult only pool deck. I recommend letting your child view videos of the kids only areas so they can know what to expect if you will be taking advantage of this amenity.
Another exceptional part of Disney cruising that I cannot wait to try is their signature Rotational Dining, which allows families to eat at a different restaurant every night. The best part of this is as your go from restaurant to restaurant, your same wait staff stays with you. This means that they learn all about your likes and dislikes, as well as any allergies that might be important in preparing meals. I feel that this is very important for any family traveling with food allergies and a relief knowing they will not have to explain their allergy needs to a new person every night! For an additional fee, you can take advantage of an elegant adult only dining experience.
Live Shows and Characters
I am also very excited to experience the onboard Disney live shows. I have cruised with other lines before, but as far as entertainment goes, I would much rather see a live performance of Tangled or Cinderella! Disney is known for great entertainment and I know they will deliver. Best of all, I feel good knowing I can take my daughter to a safe show! I also cannot wait for her to meet her favorite Disney, Disney-Pixar, and Marvel characters while on board the ship.
I cannot wait to experience my first Disney cruise. I will be sure to let you know about all my first hand experiences once we return.
Have you ever traveled on a Disney cruise? What is something else I should look forward to? Let me know in the comments or join the Disney Express Lane Facebook Group to discuss cruising and many other Disney related topics.
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photo credit: Towel Brontosaurus via photopin (license)
photo credit: Princesses and Mickey Mouse – Disney Dream Christening via photopin (license)
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