Our Disney Cruise vacation last week was our second time to sail the magical seas. Our first was three years ago when our oldest was 6 and our youngest was 10 months and we loved it so much, we couldn't wait to get back! This second time around, we were a bit wiser about some "secrets" to make our Disney Cruise even better than the first!
I'm sharing today 10 of those secret tips and how to make the most out of your Disney Cruise vacation. (Please feel free to leave me any questions or addition tips you may have!)
1. Get character tickets. When we first boarded the Disney Dream, we saw something on the schedule that we hadn't known of or seen before. For a limited number of people, tickets are given out for special character meetings with the princesses (Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, and Rapunzel), Elsa and Anna, and the Disney Jr. crew (Doc McStuffins, Sofia, and Jake). We knew we'd have opportunities to see most of these characters at some point on the cruise, but obtaining a ticket was basically like the "fastpass" option at Disney World to bypass long waits. Thanks to one of our friends, we got our hands on these HOT tickets and saved a LOT of time. And I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure Elsa and Anna didn't have any other appearances besides this one...totally exclusive!!!
4. Register your kids for the Oceaneer's Club/Lab online ahead of time. Doing this will expedite the process once you're on the boat when your kids are excited to be checked in. And if you're on the fence about leaving your child in these clubs, let me assure you that it's COMPLETELY safe and okay. The kids are given wrist bands equipped with GPS in order to locate them within the club...that's right, the counselors know exactly where your kids are in the club. At any moment your kid wants to leave, they text you immediately asking parents to come pick up children. My kids loved the Oceaneers Club/Lab this time, especially Andy's room and the character activities such as "Find the Hook".
5. Have a plan to maximize your cruise experience. While Disney vacations are the best memory-making experiences for families, they are not usually very relaxing. That being said and knowing that from the get go, make the most of your time on the cruise ship even if that means being quite busy. There are SO many fun activities, character meetings, shows, etc. that when taken full advantage of, can really enhance your cruise. This second time around, we learned to plan out our days so that we didn't miss anything we wanted to make sure to see/do. Our first cruise, we felt we wasted time somewhat...but that may have been due to napping schedules of little ones.
6. Take advantage of room service at night once everyone is back in the room. In my opinion, when else can you get free room service AND have Mickey bar cookie sandwiches at night?!?!?!?!?!? Never, that's when. These are the kinds of things that make a super cruise a super special cruise...it's what your kids (and you) will remember.
7. Bring your own sand toys. I thought bringing our own toys to the beach on Castaway Cay would be a big ol' pain in the butt, BUT it wasn't at all! On any other beach vacay you'd bring along sand toys, so this one shouldn't be any different. They don't take up much room, so make this a priority!