Hi folks, itâs me the Traveling Designer. This excursion is something a bit different… itâs a family trip. Since we are right in the middle of spring break and summer vacations, I thought I would bring you a little insight into the magical world of Disney.
I just returned from my second annual trip to the Magic Kingdom with my family. But this year, we threw in a three day cruise on Disneyâs brand new ship, The Dream, before heading to the theme parks. So I have tons of insight and exciting advice for you just in time to plan your next trip. There is just so much to tell you that I canât even get it all in one post. So hereâs all my advice to help you hit the ocean with Disney and on my next visit, I will fill you in on all things Disney theme park related.
I have always heard rave reviews about Disney cruises, but this was my first time to set sail with Mickey and the gang, and I have to say it was a top notch adventure! Disney knows how to do things right and so every step of the way was great service and great fun! And for a designer like me, the interiors are a feast for the eyes.
The Dream is a kidâs delight, but I think parents are the ones who really come out ahead on this cruise ship. There are so many exciting things to keep little ones happy. There are character and princess sightings at every turn. There is no excuse for boredom on this fantasy ship!
On the pool decks, you can relax with a fruity drink while Disney movies run all day long on the Jumbo screen. Characters pop in and out all day for photo ops. And for lunch, excellent sushi and fresh seafood is a great pick from Cabanaâs restaurant. It is like they caught it all fresh that morning!
Youâll have a hard time keeping your kids (and spouse) off the Aqua Duck, Disneyâs giant clear water slide on the top deck of the Dream. The wait is usually 25-40 minutes for the slide, but you can watch a movie or dance along to the Disney Dance party on deck while you wait.
My little one wouldn’t stay out of Nemo’s Reef. The interactive water area with slides, sprays and rainfall made for hours of fun!
And if your kids don’t want to wait on the Aqua Duck, they can opt for Mickey’s slide that spins them right down next to the Mickey-shaped pool.
Dining is a fun experience on the Dream with three different family restaurants on board that you rotate through each night. The cool part is that your wait staff travels with you, so you move to new restaurants, but your servers stay the same. And you have dining guests that you are paired with that move on the same schedule as you too. So itâs fun to get to know your new friends over the next few nights. I guess this is Disneyâs way to ensure consistent service!
Our biggest surprise, and a pleasant one at that, was how much our daughter loved being in the Oceaneer club and lab. This totally interactive club for 3-11 year olds was so much fun we could hardly get her out of there. They have games, computers, character visits, activities, movies and a life-size replica of Andy’s room from Toy Story for loads of fun. Visits from Sleeping Beauty and the soldiers from Toy Story 3 were just a couple of the highlights for our little one.
Even if you are an over-protective parent like me, the security is so great in the kids clubs, you won’t worry a bit. With GPS armbands, passwords for checking in and out, and portable on ship cell phones called “Wave Phones” for the parents to have on hand, you will feel 100-percent safe and secure leaving your kids there for hours of fun!
If your kids are younger or older than 3-11, there are awesome options for them too. It’s a Small World Nursery works the exact same way as the Oceaneer club as far as security and is suited for infants 3 months through age 3.
If you have a pre-teen, there is a pre-teen club, no adults or teenagers allowed, other than the Disney cast members that work in it, of course. This fun âclubâ called Edge has dance parties, video games and all the things a pre-teen would love to do. They can make new friends or hang-out with their own all the while feeling grown up and independent from mom and dad. And there are safety precautions and chaperones for these guys too.
For the teenagers in your group, Disney has created a hip teen experience for those 15-17 year olds that is a mega success called Vibe. We hardly saw the 15 year old that was our dining mate as his parents couldnât even get him to leave Vibe long enough to have dinner. There are indoor and outdoor areas of Vibe that make it almost nicer than the adult spots on the The Dream. And when we got to Disneyâs private Island, Castaway Cay on Day 3, there were teen only activities all day long including games, jet skis, snorkeling and more. Again no parents allowed, just Disney Cast members. Parents of teenagers, I think this is your chance to take your teens on a trip they will really love and you get to have fun and relax too!
So now that all the kids ages infant through teen have so many activities, whatâs a parent to do you ask? Well Disney has thought of everything on the Dream. Just one floor down from the Oceaneer club and nursery, youâll find tons of adult fun. There are five bars including a great sports bar (we watched March Madness there), a champagne bar called Pink, a great martini bar called Skyline where a panoramic view of five major cities of the world changes every 15 minutes with cocktails to match, a comedy club and much more.
If your kids donât want to leave the Oceaneer club for dinner, you can opt for one of the 2 or 3 adult only restaurants for a relaxing, romantic and upscale dining experience.
Rather relax than eat? Then you can hang out at the adult only pool or head to the award-winning spa for a relaxing treatment.
There is even a teen-only spa on board if your divas need a pedi, mani or massage.
Not looking for time away from the kids, but rather more time together? Well there are lots of activities every day and the cruise director does a great job of keeping you informed of them. There is a nightly Disney show, very broadway-esque, but actually pretty darn good if theater is your thing. There is bingo daily in one of the theaters with real money to be won. The last night was a $1,000 pot, winner-take-all and kids are welcome to play.
One night on the ship featured a pirateâs party where guests dressed in their favorite attire, a la Captain Jack Sparrow, and partied on deck right up until the night culminated in a giant fireworks display. There is a movie theater on board playing some of the latest Disney movies still in theaters or not yet out on video. And there are lots of character meet and greets, parties and more scheduled each and every day.
I assure you, you will not regret the investment in a trip on the Disney Dream. When our three day trip was over, we hated to leave. Youâll have so much fun, you may need a vacation from your vacation. My family and I are already planning our next voyage. Disney is launching yet another ship and sister to the Dream that will set sail in Spring of 2012. And hopefully soon after, my family and I will be sailing away with Mickey and the Gang again. I highly recommend the Disney Dream for your family no matter how old your kids are. There is truly something for everyone!
I’ll see you next month with all my recommendations for Disney’s theme parks. Until then…Happy Travels and Bon Voyage!
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