We brought home so many memories from our week at sea aboard the Disney Magic, I’m not even sure how to start cataloging them all. I already wrote about our first few days at sea and our exciting shore excursions, so it’s time to share with you some of the magic we experienced on board.
Being a cruise and all, the first thing I need to talk about is food.
Disney is unique in that they use rotational dining, meaning each night you eat dinner in a different restaurant (there are three on board). We rotated through Parrot Cay (a Caribbean-themed restaurant), Animator’s Palate (a restaurant that is entirely black and white at the beginning of dinner but is a sea of bright colors by the time dessert rolls around – and it even includes a fun show performed by the wait staff with an appearance by Mickey Mouse), and Lumiere’s (a more traditional restaurant). During our seven-night cruise, there were two “formal nights” and one “Pirates IN the Caribbean” night, in which everyone received a Pirate bandana and was encouraged to dress up in their finest pirate attire, AARRGGHH!
And a quick note about restaurant dining – Disney takes dietary needs very seriously. My only “need” is that I’m picky, but if I had a real concern, like a food allergy or a gluten-free diet, Disney is absolutely able and willing to accommodate (in fact, they stay up-to-date on current diet trends and medical needs so they always have delicious choices on board for everyone!).
Cruises are renowned for the amounts of FOOD on board, and this cruise was no exception. However – there were so many healthy choices available that I barely dipped into the bad stuff (this wasn’t necessarily intentional, though – I wanted the kids to eat healthy-ish and ended up eating off their plates quite a bit). Along with the standard healthy fare – melons and bananas and grapes and oatmeal, to name a few – there were more exotic options, as well (like spinach and tofu wraps, turkey and cranberry sandwiches, and tons of vegetarian meals).
Not only was there plenty of fresh fruit on board, but there were also plenty of relaxing places to sit and eat. It was such beautiful weather, we wanted to sit outside whenever possible. There was plenty of room to eat outside and enjoy the ocean views.
One thing I regret about our trip? I didn’t get a picture of us with the amazing wait staff. Seriously – Best. Customer Service. Ever. Disney prides itself on stellar customer service, and nowhere is this more apparent than on a Disney cruise! Every staff member we met was kind, happy, and sincere in their efforts to make our trip perfect. From interacting with my kids to answering a call for help at 2 AM after Jack had puked all over the bed to cutting up Claire’s chicken at dinner when my hands were full with a squalling child – they were always a step ahead of me and willing to help. I miss them!
When not eating, we spent a lot of time at the pools.
There are several pools on board – one for adults only (so peaceful…), one for everyone, and one for the smaller kids (in the shape of Mickey’s head and just a couple of feet deep). There is even a splash area for the littlest cruisers (if your child is not potty trained, they can’t go in the pools and must stay in this area).
We ended up spending a couple of hours each day around the splash area. Jack could pop into the Mickey pool just on the other side of the water slide (which is the yellow thing you see in the picture above) and then join us for a water fight. Each day, the awesome staff from Flounder’s Reef Nursery would bring toys (buckets and shovels and blocks) to the splash pool for the kids to play with, and this was a huge hit with Claire (who spent about ten straight minutes filling up a bucket and then dumping it on herself and laughing in delight).
My kids needed a nap every day, and luckily our stateroom was a really nice place to be. We stayed in a Deluxe Family Ocean View State Room with Verandah, and it.was.awesome.
There was plenty of storage in our stateroom, which we needed (not only did we have to bring clothes, but I also needed a place to stick the stroller, diapers, wipes, etc…). When it was time to wind down, I turned on the TV and picked from the plethora of Disney programs available (there were so many choices…but Jack asked to watch Bolt each night and the old/original Disney cartoons before naps).
And speaking of entertainment, there was so much stuff going on every day (and even late into the night) that it would have been impossible to be bored! Disney is, after all, an expert (maybe *the* expert) in entertainment.
Our favorite form of entertainment was, without a doubt, meeting the Disney characters! This was probably the highlight of Jack’s trip – he was so excited to meet everyone, he didn’t even mind the lines (which moved quickly, anyway). In fact, I thought he might burst from happiness when he met his heroes, Chip and Dale.
Even Claire got in on the fun. Although nervous at first, she squealed with delight when Minnie Mouse sat down to visit with her.
We tried to spend as much time as possible enjoying the ship and all it had to offer. For Jack, that meant spending a few hours in The Oceaneer Club. The Oceaneer Club is for children 3 years and older (children 3 months to 3 years will enjoy Flounder’s Reef Nursery, for a minimal cost of $6/hour) and wow, this was a big hit!
The most common question I’ve had from parents since our return is, “Did you feel okay leaving the kids in childcare?”
The answer, my friends, is YES.
I never did end up leaving Claire due to an unexpected vomiting episode that occurred right around when she was scheduled to attend, but I would have. And I did send Jack, twice…and not only did he love it, but I was 100% comfortable with it, as well.
Kids wear a bracelet the entire time they are in the Club. This bracelet gets scanned when they arrive and when they leave (and, you need a password to pick them up). In every room, and free of charge, you’ll find a “wave phone” – basically, a cell phone that works on board and can be used to communicate with other wave phones. They can contact you on your wave phone should your child need you at any time. The staff was caring, kind, and clearly had experience with children. Two thumbs up for The Oceaneer Club, for sure!
With all of the stuff going on, we were busy. But one of my favorite activities was just walking around with the kids and experiencing the ship itself. There were so many little details, so many things to look at, and so many little surprises hiding around every corner!
We had an amazing time. I’ve cruised with the kids before (on another cruise line), and to be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d do it again. And then I went on a Disney cruise, and you know what? I’d go again in a heartbeat. It was clear – from the outstanding service to the food choices to the on board activities to the stateroom sleeping arrangements – that this vacation was created with families in mind.
And you know what? That was my favorite part of the whole trip.
Spending time with my family.
Want to know more about Disney cruises? You can check out the Disney Cruise Line website here. Or, you can read my posts about Disney Cruise Line sailing out of Galveston, all the fun I was having during the cruise, and our exciting on-shore adventures!
If you’re thinking about booking a Disney cruise, you might want to check this out…for a limited time, KIDS SAIL FREE on select cruises out of Galveston! You can’t beat that deal.
Also – if you have any questions, I would love to answer them for you! If I can’t answer it, I’ll direct you to the Disney Moms Panel (I browsed through the Disney Mom Panel forums before our trip and found answers to questions I hadn’t even realized I had!).
Disclosure: My expenses for this cruise were paid by Disney. However, I was not told what to write, and the opinions and experiences are 100% mine!