Know that feeling that you get when you first walk through the gates to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and see all the happy people milling around and enjoying themselves in the happiest place on earth? Well, that’s the same feeling that you get when you and your family first step aboard the deck of one of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. You will no doubt be met by Disney characters as you board. They seem to turn up everywhere onboard a Disney Cruise Line ship.
Family Fun At Sea
Disney has proven that they are the masters of all thing family. Their cruises are not an exception. Children from the ages of 12 weeks and up will have a wonderful experience. When you are cruising with kids, you want to choose a cruise line that takes their needs, wants and likes into consideration. Disney is the only cruise line that has a reputation as a cruise line for families.
Disney Cruise Lines offer dining venues to satisfy all members of the family. There expertly created foods are created fresh and available 24 hours/day. You will receive a dining ticket in your stateroom and a “Personal Navigator” which will help you figure out the times and places for meals.
• Main dining
• Casual dining
• Adult exclusive dining
• Quick service/foot court
Restaurants such as Paolo and Remy are adult dining venues which exclude children. Serving Italian and French cuisine in an elegant setting, this dining venue allows the adults in the party to enjoy haute cuisine in an atmosphere of elegance.
Casual Dining can be found in several different venues.
1. Beach Blanket Buffet is found on the Disney Wonder. It is an indoor/outdoor restaurant where the food is served buffet style. Food is served at breakfast and lunch. At dinnertime it becomes a table service restaurant. Casual dress.
2. Cabanas are an indoor/outdoor restaurant on the Fantasy and the Dream that serves made-to-order and food station breakfasts and lunches and table service dinners. Casual dress.
3. Topsider Buffet is indoor/outdoor service on the Disney Magic. Casual dress is the code of the day.
Main Dining utilizes the shipboard rotation system where you and your own personal wait staff will “rotate” from one to the other of 3 main dining rooms.
1. Animator’s Palate is an exciting venue that also provides a dinner show that stars Disney Characters. Dress is not casual so don’t arrive in a tank top. You will need to check each day to see what the dress code du jour actually is.
2. Enchanted Garden serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Fantasy and the Dream. You can dine to a background of the gardens at Versailles.
3. Lumiere’s serves contemporary American, French and continental cuisine at breakfast and lunch in a background reminiscent of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast movie. Onboard the Disney Magic.
4. Triton’s is aboard the Disney Wonder. Decorated to remind diners of the Little Mermaid movies, this venue is American contemporary breakfast and lunch and continental food for dinner.
Quick dining service is easily accessed at any time. There are quick service restaurants all over the ship.
1. Pluto’s Dog House is a quick service venue for hot dogs and hamburgers on the Magic and the Wonder.
2. Goofy’s Gallery is quick service for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Magic and Wonder.
3. Pinocchio’s Pizzeria on the Magic and Wonder serves pizza all day long.
4. Room service on the Magic and Wonder is available 24 hours/day except on the last night of the cruise when it closes at 1:30 A.M.
One of the major things that sets Disney Cruise Line apart from all others is the character interactions. Each day in your Personal Navigator you find the listings for all the character greetings. You may find it overwhelming to try to see all of the characters and get autograph books signed. Disney Cruise Line has come up with a great alternative to standing in lines to get those all important signatures. Did you know that on your day of embarkation you can drop off two items per stateroom to be signed by characters? All you have to do is go to guest services when you first board the ship and drop off the item that you want signed. There are two different categories of signatures. One is the Classic characters, which includes The Fab Five, Daisy, Chip and Dale.
The other is the Princesses. You can specify one group, or have the cast member get as many signatures as possible on the item you are dropping off. I have seen shirts, pillow cases, autograph books and my personal favorite, Vinylmations. A cast member will drop the item off in your stateroom on the last night of your cruise. This will save you so much time as far as character interactions. Now that you know you will get all of the signatures you want, you can just pick and choose the characters that you really want to get pictures with and enjoy the rest of your cruise. On Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island), you can dance around with the characters at a dance party held on each stop.
Another character interaction that is popular that Disney has brought from the Disney Parks to the Disney Cruise Line are the character meals. On cruises of 7 days or more there is a character breakfast that you can attend. Just like at the Disney Parks, the characters come around to your table as you eat to take those pictures and create those one of a kind memories that Disney is known for. Also don’t be surprised to just find random characters walking around the ship. On a recent Disney Dream cruise I was on, Chip and Dale were just hanging out by the elevator on one of the decks taking pictures and greeting guests. Just another one of those hidden Disney extras that makes taking a Disney Cruise a great choice for family vacations!
Being on a Disney Cruise is just like being a guest on one of the totally inclusive resorts all over the world. When you are cruising with kids, this is the cruise line you should choose.