Friday Five: 5 Reasons a Disney Cruise is the best family vacation!

 

Earlier this week, Disney released cruise details for summer 2017 sailings. With some new itineraries and the return of double Castaway Cay sailings, it’s sure to be an exciting year! BUT you don’t have to wait until 2017 to sail aboard a Disney Cruise! There is still availability for this summer, fall, or winter if the excitement is brewing and you just can’t wait (or what I like to call Melissa-itis) as the 3rd most impatient person in the history of the world (just ask my husband).

So why do I think Disney cruises are the best family vacations? There are too many reasons to count, but I’ll narrow it down to my top 5:

  1. Disney cruises were created with families in mind. Of course you understand this idea – Disney = family but Disney took all of the comments made by families who have traveled on other cruise lines and thought about how to plan spaces with families in mind so you’ll see split baths – meaning 2 guests can get ready at the same time – in MOST staterooms, family activities for all age groups – young children, tweens and teens, and adults only experiences, and staterooms designed to help make everyone comfortable – rooms that sleep up to 5 (so families don’t have to get split in many situations), what I would consider a significant amount of storage, and generally larger staterooms than other cruise lines. Disney cruises are also not “booze cruises” – you won’t see bar or liquor packages available. While alcohol is available for purchase and there is a wine package, it’s very different than what you will see on other cruise lines that don’t have family first.
  2. Kids Clubs/Youth Activity Centers. This falls into a similar category of “created with families in mind”. Disney offers some unique adult only experiences, but what do you do with the kids? The answer – youth activity centers! Kids from ages 3-17 can enjoy time “on their own” for FREE! It’s included in the cost of your cruise. All locations are appropriately staffed for safety. For moms like me with younger kids, as long as your 3 year old is fully potty trained, they can also enjoy the kids clubs (although they may only last an hour or so). That’s long enough for some quiet time at one of the adult pools, a quick spa treatment, or even enjoying one of the many “classes” available – mixology, wine tastings, and more! Adults can also enjoy a unique brunch or dinner at one of the fine dining locations on the ship while kids make friends and play as well!
  3. Character appeal! We love Disney World (this is not surprise to anyone who only knows me just a little bit) DCL Pirateand much of that is because of my 3 year old’s love of Disney characters. You can get ALL of this magic on a Disney cruise and save your feet from aching and limit your wait time. Your personal navigator will have all of the available character meet and greets for the day (and characters are also available on Castaway Cay for Bahamian and Caribbean cruises). It’s a great way to not worry about waiting in heat or trying for FastPasses and the look on your kids faces are the most priceless piece of the puzzle!
  4. It’s all inclusive. (Almost) Your cruise fare includes almost everything you’ll need or want as part of your experience. Disney includes all of your dining (including world class rotational dining each evening), daily entertainment, the aforementioned characters and youth clubs, and even most items on the room service menu! The few things not included are gratuities to the men and women who work incredibly hard to make your trip absolutely magical (standard cost is $12 per person per night – you may add more for exceptional service), alcoholic beverages, specialty coffee and smoothies, and bottled water, and of course, souvenirs. You can absolutely make your adventure all inclusive by not adding more whether it be port adventures, alcohol, or adult only brunch or dinners not included in your rotational dining. We are often happy to skip port adventures and remain on the ship for the most part.
  5. It’s a vacation for everyone! Everyone gets what they want. Mom gets what she wants because she has some time to be “off duty” with the youth clubs and doesn’t have to entertain everyone for every waking moment. Dad gets the amazing food and adults only events (which mom also loves, but she really wants some relaxation on vacation but for everyone to still be happy), big brother or sister isn’t “stuck” doing things that are “kid friendly” and can enjoy the tween clubs and make new friends and learn new things, and younger brother can enjoy the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab and have the time of his life playing and getting visits from his favorite Disney characters. Everyone can come together at meal time and for a family swimming adventure. Everyone gets a little of what they want but there’s still family time as well! And in the end, that makes everyone happy!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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Disney Cruise Line’s Piece of Paradise: Castaway Cay

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One of our favorite things about sailing the high seas on a Disney Cruise is Castaway Cay – your very own private island.  It is the ultimate destination for the Caribbean and Bahamas cruises.  I thought I would list just a few of the “need to knows” about the tropical paradise…

This exclusive 1,000 acre piece of tropical paradise is for Disney guests only.  Once you walk off the boat you are on the dock built just for you with easy access to where your beach towels are handed to you. (I love how the boat is docked right there for easy access to come and go as you please throughout the day.)  You then jump on a tram to the many different points throughout the island retreat. If you want to walk to the closest beach, this is only about a 15 minute stroll.  You might even meet Captain Jack Sparrow or Mickey and Minnie on this route for photos.

We Love Minnie!

We Love Minnie!

You can grab your complimentary beach chair and umbrella on Castaway Family Beach to splash in the water, ride bikes out to the look-out point or take a nap in a glorious hammock.  Disney always designs many unique activities for all ages  There are the kid’s club (Scuttle’s Cove) and the teen’s club (Hide Out) or the Serenity Bay Beach just for adults. There are two water play areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak.

The island has your choice of water toys and equipment for any water sport enthusiast!  Snorkel-gear, paddle boats, sail boats, kayaks, water cycles, and floats are all available for rent.  Fun excursions that Disney offer are such as fishing, sting-ray feeding (which was great!), para-sailing, and even the personal water-craft ski adventures around the island and through the fantastic mangroves!

Paddle Boats

Paddle Boats

The island has two BBQ all-you-can-eat buffet dining options: Cookies and Cookies II where there is no shortage of food!  It is a covered outside area with picnic tables and very informal but fitting for the beach.  The soft serve ice cream was my kids favorite and we also love the street dance party after lunch with many different characters.  There are bars for the 21+ crowd and private cabana rentals if you wish to truly pamper yourself for the day.

Lastly, Disney offers shops to cater to your every need whether it be sun screen, sand toys, or your favorite Castaway Cay souvenir.  If you would like to send a postcard back to the inland for your not-so-luck family and friends then you can at their very own post office with special Castaway Cay stamps – but cash is needed for these.  All other costs can be charged on your Key to the World card so sit back and enjoy!

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

Disney definitely knows how to do things right and they do not skimp of this perfect piece of paradise!  It is most certainly first-class entertainment, atmosphere, recreation, food, and great forever-memories as only they know how to do. So come relax on the beautiful white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. It is very safe to say that the island has Disney’s magic and fun for all!

Disney’s Special Cruise Offer until February 15, 2105:  if you book now through February 15th for any 2015 Disney cruise then pay only half of the deposit on the day you book.  The remainder of the deposit will not be due until your final payment.  Don’t let this great deal sail you by so contact us today!  Sailings are filling fast for 2015!

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay from our verandah

Pelican Plunge

Pelican Plunge

Hammock View

Hammock View

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

The Look Out Point by bikes ride

The Look Out Point by bike

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Ready to get started planning your 2016 or 2017 Disney cruise? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of time and frustrating trying to research the information yourself! The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!