Last year my in laws treated the entire family to 8 days of pure fun! A Disney Cruise! We were so excited to be taking our kids and joining our family on such a fun vacation. My sister in law is the queen of a finding the deals and so we booked the cruise 4 or 5 months before we were actually going to leave, making it more affordable for us to all go. She did a ton of research about what to expect on the cruise, in the ports of call and activities on the ship. We felt like we were super prepared for this trip, and were excited to have the best time!
Disney Cruise Tips
This 8 day cruise left from Galvaston Texas and had 3 ports of call: Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, Port Canavaral Florida to spend the day at Disney World, and Key West Florida. It was the perfect schedule to enjoy everything on the boat, and then change it up with some fun on land too.
My kids were 2 and 4 which is a good age for a Disney cruise. The only problem is that my daughter was a very mature 2 and wanted to go to the big club with her brother. They have a nursery for infants and toddlers 3 months to 3 years. Flounders Reef Nursery does charge an hourly fee if you want to put your kids in the nursery. It cost $6 an hour for one child. They have cribs, rocking chairs, high chairs and everything needed to take care of infants. Little Miss didn’t love going there, so we only took her there twice. She would just cry when we dropped off big brother at the Oceaneers Club. In order to go to the Oceaneers Club you had to be 3. That looked more fun to her. Big brother liked his club for awhile but would always want to go with his older cousins to the Oceaneers Lab. Parents have to drop off and pick up their younger children at the Oceaneers Club. Each child is given a wrist band when you register them for the club (more on that later) with all your information so they can reach you if there is a problem or if your child tells them they want to go.
My niece and nephew were the PERFECT age for a Disney cruise (8 years old). They were old enough to sign themselves in and out of the lab, they still liked running into the characters on board and were big enough to go do other activities around the ship (like play ping pong with Captain Hook).
Going on a Disney Cruise was on my bucket list, and it was a trip to remember. My son still talks about the Mickey Boat and would rather go back to the Mickey Boat than go to Disneyland. I’m sure we will go on another one once our youngest is a little bit older. I love to cruise and have been on 3 before this one. This cruise was a little different however, because I was almost 5 months pregnant. In fact when we were going to book the cruise I had just found out I was pregnant and we had to move our departure date up 2 or 3 weeks otherwise I was too far along in my pregnancy to be allowed on board. Here is Disney Cruise policy straight from their website:
Women who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy as of their embarkation date or who will enter their 24th week of pregnancy during the cruise will be refused passage due to safety concerns. Neither a physician’s medical statement nor a waiver of liability will be accepted. In addition, Disney Cruise Line cannot be held responsible or liable for any complications relating to pregnancy at any stage. Infants under 12 weeks old will not be allowed to travel aboard Disney Cruise Line ships.
20 Tips when planning a Disney Cruise
Next Stop Disney World: If your cruise has a stop for Disney World (which was totally awesome), book your shuttle from the terminal to the park as soon as you can. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Disney World. We wanted to be there as soon as the park opened and were surprised at how many of the early times were already booked when we booked our shuttle.
4 Parks – 1 Day: We knew we had one day at Disney World and we wanted to see as much of it as possible. About a month before leaving for the cruise, my sister in law went on line and printed off maps of each park. We decided which rides we wanted to go on at Disney World. We tried to pick the ones that we couldn’t ride at Disneyland. Once we decided on the rides, we planned our day at Disney World. The day before our port for Disney World, we mapped out our schedule. We had already booked the shuttle to take us to Epcot to start off the day. Once we hit those rides we went to the next park and then the next and so on. I couldn’t do all 4 parks in one day. I was only able to go to 3. But my sister in law and her family were able to ride all the big rides they wanted at each park because we had mapped out and had a plan ahead of time. We also packed 2 umbrella strollers that were nice to have when going around Disney World. We didn’t want to have to rent a stroller at each park so we brought our own. They folded up and we could store them under our bed in our cabin.
Baby Items: If you don’t want to pack baby items (diapers, wipes, baby wash, etc.) you can pay to have them delivered right to your stateroom. They do have to be ordered a couple weeks in advance. I didn’t need any of these items, but this is a good option if you are limited on space.
Dear Family: There is also a post office on the island that you can send postcards from. Each postcard will have a special postmark on it, from Castaway Cay. So bring some cash if you want to send some mail from the post office. They don’t allow you to use your ship card for the post office.
Friendship Rocks: At the end of the cruise, the children that have been attending Oceaneer Lab or Club have the option to participate in a performance for all the parents. They sing songs and it’s really cute. If they participate, they get a fun t-shirt.