7 Reasons to Take a Disney Cruise and Why DCL Might be Better than the Parks
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
I was shocked when one of my kids said, "I think I like #DisneyCruises even better than trips to Disneyland." This seemed unbelievable to me because we take a trip to #Disneyland or #WaltDisneyWorld about once a year as a family and we are huge #DisneyParksFans (see other blogs for evidence, ha!) How can a cruise surpass the joy of riding a roller coaster or flying over Neverland? Well, my kids have given this a lot of thought and they have 5 solid reasons for thinking Disney cruises might be better than Disney Parks. I've added two bonus reasons from a parent's perspective that other parents will definitely understand.
#1 Reason My Kids Say a Disney Cruise is better: Unlimited, Delicious Food
If you have been on a cruise you know how amazing the food can be. The Disney Parks also have wonderful food but it's not included in your ticket price and it is a limited supply. The food on a Disney Cruise is unlimited, available day and night, and it is always delicious! On Disney cruises, all of the soft drinks, coffee, water, juices, etc are included in the upfront cost. Some cruise lines charge extra for a soda package. Alcoholic drinks are extra on Disney cruises so be prepared for that if you want to partake. Each day of your cruise there is a huge buffet meal for breakfast and another huge buffet for lunch. There is also a fancy dinner at a themed restaurant each night and you have unlimited access to food stands, soft serve ice cream and drink stations on the pool deck at all times. There is also room service available for free but tipping for delivery is encouraged. One thing we loved was that our wait staff was the same each night so they memorized our names and got to know us and our preferences. Our youngest son (4 yrs) told our head waiter the first night, "I want macaroni and 3 cookies!" The waiter was so sweet and brought him exactly what he ordered and she remembered his standard order of macaroni and 3 cookies each night. It's those personal touches that take a great experience and make it even better.
#2 – Reason My Kids Say a Disney Cruise is better: Amazing Kids Clubs and Activities
I don’t think it would be possible to overemphasize how great the Youth Clubs are on Disney Cruises. There are three unique clubs for three different age groups so every child has activities and fun that are designed just for them. The kids ages 3-12 are invited to the Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab. Each ship has different themes within the clubs but on the Disney Dream, the youngest club features Andy’s Room play space, Star Wars area, Pixie Hollow, Infinity Playroom, a craft room, science lab area, and the Oceaneer lab where the kids play games on a lighted and interactive floor. The Disney Youth Counselors are wonderful and seem to have endless energy and captivating activities for the kids of all ages to enjoy. Guests who are ages 11 to 14 are invited to attend the youth club called The Edge. The tweens at The Edge get to enjoy video games, trivia contests, Foosball, and interactive games led by the cool Disney Youth Counselors. The oldest teens, ages 14 to 17 are invited to attend The Vibe. Activities at The Vibe are similar to The Edge with a mix of video games and interactive activities. The Vibe also features its own private pool. My tween and teen kids enjoyed getting to hang out with other kids from around the world and they enjoyed every activity they did at the clubs from improv comedy to trivia to a game called Gaga Ball. The two tweens/teen clubs even joined each other at the D-Lounge to play some Edge vs Vibe games during our cruise. My oldest son also enjoyed a game of dodge-ball at midnight on the Goofy Sports Court with some kids from his club. None of my kids wanted to leave the youth clubs on the last night of our cruise. They were not ready for the fun of the youth clubs to end!
#3 - Reason My Kids Say a Disney Cruise is Better: Best Day Ever at Castaway Cay
It's hard to describe how exquisite Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, really is. Some of the highlights of the island include: the most amazing white sand that somehow is the perfect consistency to build sand castles on the beach with, taking a dip in the most beautiful aqua blue water and splashing around in the ocean or sliding down the big slide, all of the beautiful island decorations and photo spots, an adorable little splash park for young kids, meeting the characters on shore, eating at a delicious island BBQ restaurant for lunch and then heading back to the ship to prepare for pirate night. There are also shore experiences like feeding stingrays and renting bikes for a trek around the island. They even hold a 5K run in the early morning on your day at Castaway Cay. The folks at Disney have thought of everything! And they aren't paying me to write this blog. We honestly enjoyed Castaway Cay so much that we consider it a perfect family day and we talk about it often. I invented a travel hack for drying wet swimsuits faster that works great at hotels and it worked well on the Disney cruise too. Check out my video at the end of this blog to learn my secret for drying swimsuits fast.
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#4 - Reason My Kids Say a Disney Cruise is better: Unique On-Board Experiences
I have already talked about the amazing youth clubs that are available on Disney cruises but there are many more awesome activities for kids and families. One of our favorite extra activities was the Midship Detective Agency. We solved all three of the mysteries on our three-day cruise and my kids loved it! We didn't do the whole mystery at one time. Instead, we would bring the card and map with us whenever we walked around the ship and we would gather clues along the way. I might do a blog at a later date with more tips for the Detective Agency and other onboard activities. We also enjoyed the onboard movie theater where they show recently released Disney movies throughout the cruise. The nightly live shows were also a big hit with all of the kids and adults in our group. The Aqua-Duck slide and Nemo's Reef splash park were a lot of fun for everyone as well. One of our favorite things that we did on our second Disney Cruise that we hadn't noticed the first time was Goofy Golf (available on the Dream and Fantasy ships). Goofy Golf is a super cute mini golf course located on Goofy's Sports Deck on the back of the ship (Deck 13). You can check our our video of Goofy Golf at the end of this blog. It's free and fun! We played right after the sailing away party since we were already on that deck and it was still daylight. Another amazing onboard experience was the pirate night show and fireworks that took place in the evening after our day at Castaway Cay. The kids wore their pirate costumes and we all took a picture with Pirate Mickey before dinner that night. There we also many live musical shows and character greetings throughout the cruise. When you first arrive in your stateroom there will be an activity guide that lets you know what is happening and where the different activities will be during your cruise. I've also provided a free checklist of fun down below that you can download so you are sure not to miss any of the incredible onboard activities.
#5 – Reason My Kids say a Disney Cruise is better: We Don’t Go on Cruises as Often
We have only been on two Disney Cruises so far, but we have averaged once-a-year trips to Disney Parks since we became parents 16 years ago. That's a lot of Disney Parks trips! Most people think a Disney vacation is too expensive to take a trip there once a year. However, it's probably not as expensive as you think. One of the biggest costs is airfare, so if you live close enough to California or Florida to drive to the parks you can make the trip very affordable. For more tips on how you can afford a Disney vacation see our blog with 7 Ways to Pay Less, Wait Less, and Have Fun at All Disney Parks. We previously thought Disney cruises were way too expensive for our family but we found out the weekend cruises are surprisingly less than you might think.
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Bonus Reason #1 that Disney Cruises might Be better than the Disney Parks (from Mom and Dad) - Less Stress
A typical day on a Disney cruise is a lot less stressful than visiting one of the Disney Parks for a day. Boarding the cruise and having the right documents (don't forget your passports or birth certificates) is a little bit of work, but once you are on-board everything is taken care of. The meals, shows, and entertainment are all provided and easily accessible. There are very few lines on-board. The whole experience of a cruise is more relaxed. Don't get me wrong here. We love the Disney Parks! In fact, you can see other Disney blogs for more #TravelTips. However, if you are looking for a more relaxing vacation we, as parents, would recommend a Disney Cruise.
Bonus Reason #2 that Disney Cruises might Be better than the Disney Parks (from Mom and Dad) - Time Together
I already mentioned the amazing youth clubs and how our children did not want to leave the clubs when it was time to go. But I didn't mention that when the kids are in the youth clubs the parents are free to do whatever they want? For instance, the day our ship docked in Nassau we left our kids on the boat while we got off and strolled around. It was awesome! There are also some adult only restaurants, clubs and pools that parents can enjoy without their children on Disney cruises. We took several romantic walks around the ship together and had conversations that were not interrupted (LOL). If you are a parent you understand why this Disney Cruise advantage would be nice. We love our kids to the moon and back and miss them when we are apart but sometimes a kid-free outing can be romantic and lovely too.
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We made a fun little video of the sailing away party and goofy golf on our first afternoon on the Disney Dream. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more travel videos and check back for more cruise blogs coming soon!
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