It’s NO secret that our family LOVES all things Disney and today we wanted to share with you why we think the Disney Cruise is the bomb…. dot com!! When Linc was three, we decided it was time to for our first Disney family vacation! We packed ourselves up, flew down to Orlando and spent a week here visiting the Disney Parks and especially Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We loved it so incredibly much that we decided to move here! I mean, we also had life long friends living in Celebration so that was part of our visit and kind of sealed the deal on our choice to move haha! We’ve been living here for over a year and we’ve been around the parks a few times more than we can count, and I think it’s safe to say we have some tricks and tips up our sleeves! We decided back in March that it was time for our family to experience our first Disney cruise. We had been hearing so many amazing things about the magic on board and that once you go, you just become addicted! We were curious to try it for ourselves and let me tell you, addicted does not even cover it. Once you go once, you are hooked! The Disney Cruise line is phenomenal friends! It is every bit as magical as you can imagine and of course, every bit as amazing and magical as the Disney parks! I swore up and down that 3 was the magical age to bring your little one to Disney… but now I’m singing a different tune.
While we were cruising we learned a few things and one of the most important take away lessons that we felt personally was that if you have a little one the Disney Cruise Line is the way to go OVER the Disney parks and here are the 5 reasons why! (Now these are just our personal opinions and what works best for our family as well as others we know well! You have to figure out what is right for your family!)
- Absolutely Everything is Already Taken Care of for you! You don’t have to worry about where you are going to eat for dinner or where you will eat for lunch or what the days plans are going to be (except for when you are at port if you have an excursion planned) because the cruise line has that all planned out for you! It’s genius and wonderful and amazing! When you arrive on the ship they let you know when you will be dining and where and trust me, the dining does NOT disappoint! Your room is taken care of and it is immaculately cleaned and prepared for you every day. If you need a nap, you just go to your room and it’s OK! Your cruise director has a plethora of activities and entertainment for all ages at all times of the day! There is nothing for you to do except wake up, chose your activities and as the dining room requests “be their guest!”. When you visit the parks, it can be overwhelming with all the choices and activities and magic to choose from! It is still overwhelming for us and we live here! On the cruise, the magic is all around you and it will find you whether your little ones need to rest, or you choose to be incredibly busy! You will experience everything!
- Character Meet and Greets Without the Crazy Hot Lines: The characters are on board the ship as well and you know exactly where they will be and what time you need to be there to greet them. You can go early to avoid the “lines” and if you do have to wait, you will be indoors in the AC and out of any rain! There are also opportunities to meet special characters and you can choose to sign up for them early when you book! You can meet them every night you are on the ship or you can choose to avoid them if you know that is something your little one might not like. You can design the vacation that is perfect for you! Linc did not want to wake up early to meet any of the characters and on the day we decided to meet stitch he decided he would rather finish the movie by the pool! When I say movie by the pool, ya’ll it’s like drive in movie style. The movie screen is HUGE and you can swim and watch or lay out on the lounge chairs and watch, or as Tuck did… eat all the ice cream your stomach can handle and watch! The best part about the cruise line is that you are there and you can go and do as you please! We did get to met Tianna at her restaurant and she spent time at each table talking with every child that was there. Linc even received a special kiss which made his entire night! We also met Jake and Sophia at their pirate and princess party which was an hour and a half long dance party! That was awesome!
- Disney’s Oceaneer Club: Each ship offers amazing recreation for kids of all ages! They have the “it’s a small world nursery”, the “oceaneer club”, the edge tween club and the vibe for the teens! Since Linc was just old enough to go to the oceaneer’s club we decided to pop in for orientation thinking it would be fun for him to at least see it, but you know… it’s a family vacation and he wouldn’t be spending much time there. Boy were we wrong! The club was so incredibly fun and inviting (designed partially after Andy’s room from toy story, the wandering oaken from Frozen and something like a super hero’s lair from Marvel) that Linc refused to leave. We had to bribe him to come out and hang out with us! He woke up early on our first full morning on the ship and begged us to drop him off specifically for training and web slinging with Spiderman! Tuck and I had no idea what to do with ourselves for our free time! We enjoyed the adult only pool area on the serene deck and then tried to pick Linc up an hour later but he refused. It was training time with Captain America (seriously, THE Captain America was really there) so we wandered out and kept ourselves busy until lunch time when we forced Linc to come out and hang with us. You could honestly take two separate vacations if you wanted that’s how amazing the kids clubs are! You could have your own adult vacation with your spouse and your children could have their own time hanging out with the youth directors and all the fun characters! They will feed them in the kids club and they have on going activities from sun up to midnight! We kept Linc away the second day because we were afraid he would stay all day long and we wouldn’t ever see him again! I’m dead serious you guys, we avoided the club at all costs which was hard because our stateroom was on the same floor!
- Dinners! The dinners on the cruise are phenomenal and unlike at the parks you don’t have to plan anything! When you attend your first dinner you are introduced to the wait staff that you will have the entire time on your cruise! This is wonderful because they really get to know your family. By the time our last night came our waiters would already have a coke waiting for me and milk waiting for Linc. They would have the wine we ordered already set out and waiting for Tuck. They would make us laugh and preformed the most amazing magic tricks for Linc! They always knew to ask Tuck if he would like to order 2 desserts! If you don’t like your order, it’s OK… you can just switch it up and try something different. Nothing on the menu that your little one might like but they loved the dinner from last night, great! It’s no problem, they will find a way! It’s always dinner and something extra magical! And hey… want to try a bit of everything?! Go for it. Want two appetizers and two desserts… of course! I sometimes still dream about our dinners on the cruise! They were some of the best meals I’ve ever had. Right after dinner, we would walk around the ship which was a nice time because there was often live music playing and kids dancing! I think I loved it so much because it was just full of children and families! Kids would be dressed up in costumes for dinner and there was just laughter and joy everywhere. At Tianna’s restaurant, they played jazz music and invited all the kids to dance wildly which Linc adored! It was a true family affair and it’s the way Disney should be!
- It’s Not Only Disney, It’s An Adventure to a New Place! Not only are you getting the Disney experience (meeting Mickey and other characters, watching disney movies while swimming in the pool,watching live theater shows every night) but you are traveling to a new place that is possibly a new country! It’s an adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life and your doing it Disney Style! We took a Bahamian Cruise so we ended up on Disney’s Castaway Cay which is just gorgeous. Linc had a blast swimming to the sunken ship in the middle of the island where he could slide down the waterslide! The water was freezing but that was not stopping him! Disney thinks of everything so even though we didn’t have an excursion planned, there was more than enough activities that we could do (and we are an activity driven family!) While we were there, a stormed rolled in and we decided to head back to the boat early. This was genius because while everyone else stayed on Castaway we met up with friends and sipped hot chocolate in the hot tubs, enjoyed ice cream and watched the Lion King by the pool before dinner! The kids even got to ride the water slide a few times without waiting in line!
- Bonus 6 Reason: MOVIES: If you happen to be cruising at the time of a new disney movie, you could be the first to view it before it opens! During our cruise we met new friends who were telling us about this! They are frequent cruisers and were able to watch Frozen before it even premiered and was released in the US!
We loved every moment of our Disney Cruise! Linc is obsessed and as soon as we got off of the ship, he asked when we could go back! In hindsight, we wished we had thought to do the Disney Land and Sea (which is both the cruise and the parks) before coming down for Mickey’s Not So Scary.
As a 3 year old, Linc wasn’t truly able to do much at the Disney Parks. We were really limited to the Magic Kingdom and even then, there weren’t a whole lot of rides that Linc wanted to do. He was in love with all the characters and for that I will forever be grateful because that experience was magical! It was one I will never forget! That is where I believe the true Disney Magic lives. There is absolutely nothing like seeing your child hug their favorite character and have a conversation and that character come to life! It’s still my most favorite part of Disney to this day and I hope it never gets old!
The cruise was a completely different experience and one that was magical for our whole family! There was soo much for everyone to do that we weren’t able to fit it all in! There is still so much left for us to explore on the ship and we already have ideas and experiences we are planning for our next trip in March!
So if you are planning a Disney trip soon and you have a little one, please take a moment to consider the Disney Cruise! The Magic Kingdom and the parks will always be here!
But speaking as someone who brought her 3 year old here and loved it…. in hindsight I wish we had taken the cruise first!
It’s much more magic for your hard earned vacation time and it’s something that truly EVERYONE can enjoy!!
Want a Bonus activity that we were shocked about and had us rolling in laughter that proves Disney Cruising is for everyone of all ages?! Head over to our instagram account and watch our instagram stories!! Trust me… you won’t want to miss this! 😉