“Venture outside your comfort zone, the rewards are worth it.” -Rapunzel
Where do I begin? I have decided to break our vacation into multiple posts because I knew one massive blog on our Disney Alaskan Cruise was going to be way too much information. So I have decided to share tips and experiences from our ship life and then later I will share all about our port adventures in Alaska. I also plan to share about our quick stay in Vancouver, Canada, where we boarded the ship.20 tips for traveling on the @disneycruise you don't want to miss!! #disneymom #disneycruiseline Click To Tweet
So lets dive in (no pun intended).
Boarding the Disney Wonder in Vancouver Canada:
Tip #1 Pack one bag full of items that you may need right away once boarding the ship. Your bags that are tagged and headed to your room may take a while to get there. We put bathing suits, sunscreen, change of clothes, some toiletries all in one carry on suitcase. As soon as we boarded, which does take some time going through all the different lines and security, we changed into our suits and headed to the pool. I knew this would be our warmest day since our cruise went to Alaska.
Tip #2 If you are going on an Alaskan cruise it is worth the money to book a room with a verandah. The views from our balcony were absolutely breathtaking. It is like nothing you have ever seen before. I was literally in awe of all of God’s beauty. You do not want to miss out on being able to step out on your deck to see the sites of Alaska. Also, having that area is awesome if you have small children that nap or go to bed earlier, that way you can go outside to enjoy the view and still be able to hear when they wake.
We also had a pleasant surprise of a bottle of champagne waiting for us from the Disney Social Media Team, which seemed to fit perfectly out on our balcony with all the stunning views.
Tip #3 Order cookies and milk from room service before you go to dinner and they will deliver it as soon as you get back into your room. This was such a special little treat and doesn’t cost anything, unless you want to tip the server. Room service in general doesn’t cost anything extra, so if you are leaving early for a port adventure just place an order tag on the door the night before and they will deliver it anytime you need. This definitely came in handy a few times.
Tip #4 Unpack right away. The first night after we got the kids to bed we spent a little bit of time and unpacked all the suitcases, then put them under the bed to give us more room. Once we did that we felt like we had plenty of space. We did have an option to have a crib for our daughter, but we ended up doing the bunk beds with rails. The kids loved it!
Tip #5 There is always somewhere you can eat at just about anytime of day. There is a buffet called “Cabana’s” open for breakfast and lunch, plus a few cafe’s on the pool deck level serving faster food options (sandwiches, hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, etc). There is a soft serve ice-cream you can help yourself to at anytime, which might have been the kids favorite. For dinner you have a seating time at one of the nicer restaurants (“Triton’s”, “Tiana’s” or “Animator’s Palate”), we were able to get the “main dining” so we ate at the 6pm. I highly suggest making sure you get this dining time if you have little kids, otherwise your dinner time is not until 8:30pm.
Tip #6 There are formal and semi-formal evenings, which I thought were fun. I always love a good excuse to wear something nice. Packing tip: I was able to bring one pair of nude heels and wore them with every dress. You really don’t need 3 pairs of heels to go with every dress, pick one pair that will go with everything. Our formal night was at “Tiana’s” and the kids had a blast seeing her all dressed up dancing with a live band.
Tip #7 Book the Adult Only restaurant Palo and book it ASAP because they book up fast! We did not do it on our first cruise, but I am so glad we got to experience it this time. First of all, there are no kids so it is a nice, quiet, romantic setting. Second of all, the food is amazing! There is an additional fee for this, $30 per person, but it is so worth it. We went for dinner, but I have heard Brunch is amazing too.
Tip #8 See as many character as you can. This was so fun for our kids! Even though they have met most of them at Disneyland at some point, it was still super exciting to see them on the cruise in their special outfits. I made a little autograph book before we left and the kids loved having each character sign it and then I plan on adding photos to it later. You especially don’t want to miss Minnie in her oh-so-fabulous Alaskan fur coat and boots!!
Tip #9 DOWNLOAD THE DISNEY CRUISE LINE APP!! I can not express this enough! Even if you don’t have cell service you can still access the app and it gives you all the information you need everyday. From toddler times, super hero training, character meet and greets, work out classes, napkin folding (I’m not kidding), it is all on the app and easy to use. You can “heart” the activities you like before you go to bed for the next day, then 15 minutes before that activity you will get an alert on your phone reminding you it’s almost time for your karaoke. This is also a great way to text other passengers on the boat without cell service.
Tip #10 Do book some activities BEFORE getting on board. We were able to book a character breakfast, a princess gathering and a Frozen meet and greet all before boarding at no additional charge. I also booked one mixology class for the hubby and I before boarding, which did cost an additional $20, but it was a really fun class about the science of mixing drinks. Just be sure to go on the computer as soon as activities open up and book fast! If you missed something keep checking back because sometimes people will cancel and then there is an open spot.
Tip #11 My first initial instinct is to tell you not to go on the cruise with children under the age of 3 and here is why; A LOT of activities and the cool Oceaneers Club is only for kids ages 3 and older. And even if your child’s birthday is only 2 weeks away they will NOT make any exceptions. I was a bit disappointed that our daughter was so close to her 3rd birthday, potty trained and had even started preschool already, but they did not budge on their rules. BUT the bonus to having a child under 3 is that some port adventures she was either very discounted, or even FREE. So, you have to weigh it all out. They do have a nursery for babies ages 0-2, but there is a small fee per hour for this care. Once they are age 3 they can enter the Oceaneer’s Club at no additional cost.
Tip #12 Do visit the kids club as a family during their “open house” times. Since our daughter couldn’t go into the Oceaneer’s Club on her own, we decided to visit together so she could experience the fun that her brother got to do. There are so many cute places to play and run around, this was definitely a good spot on a cold sea day.
Tip #13 If you are on the Alaskan cruise make sure you hit the pool on day 1 or 2 otherwise there is a very good chance it will be too cold to go any other day!! We were able to hop in the first day, but not for as long as we had hoped. Then we got distracted doing other things on the second day so we missed out on really experiencing the pool and the cool water slide. I would say this was my only regret after getting off the ship, just wishing I had the chance to go down the slide! I suppose it gives me a really good excuse to book another cruise!;)
Adult Only Area’s:
Tip #14 There are plenty of Adult Only area’s for those traveling without kids or for those that want to take their kids to the kids club and enjoy some quiet time. There is an entire pool/deck area, the entire spa and work out facility are all kid free as well. There is also an adult only bar and restaurant; Palo, that I spoke about earlier. You definitely don’t have to have kids to go on a Disney Cruise. We actually did a Mediterranean cruise with Disney Cruise Lines before kids and had a great time!
Tip #15 The performances on the ship are awesome! There is a variety of musical theater, magic and comedy. Of course our kids love musical theater, I might have some small influence on that, so we made sure to get our seats early for any musical shows. There were three main musicals; The Golden Mickey’s, Frozen and Disney Dreams. By far Frozen was our favorite; the costume changes, the amazing voices and all our favorite characters coming to life on stage. So make sure to head to the theater right after dinner to get a seat.
Tip #16 Do take the time to bring some decorations for your door. I printed out a sign telling people what we were celebrating and had a ton of photos to place on our door. It’s magnetic, so you can really get creative with how you want to decorate. It also helps to find your door really quickly if you happen to forget your number (that never happened to me). LOL!;)
Tip #17 Get dressed up for the themed night. Sometimes it is a Pirate theme night, on our ship it was a Frozen theme, so we fully committed. The kids had fun and everyone loved our outfits.
Tip #18 We weren’t able to take advantage of a few activities because of my daughters age, BUT we did walk over to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and it was so magical. They were nice enough to let her sit in the chairs and sprinkle both her and our son with fairy dust, making them feel very special. There is also a princess tea party that my nieces did and highly recommend to any little girls (or boys) who love princesses. We can’t wait to try both of these once we are old enough!
Tip #19 Plan at least one day to wear matching shirts. I had some shirts made from my friend Kristina over at Mouse Vibes and we wore them the first day we boarded and the last day we got off the ship. Everyone loved our shirts, especially the back which said “Daddy Mouse,” “Mommy Mouse,” “Brother Mouse,” and “Minnie Mouse.” It definitely makes for some cute pictures. Use code “PRINCESSMOM” to get a discount.
Tip #20 And last, but not least, try your best to enjoy every second. It sounds like 7 nights is a long vacation, but it went by so fast!! I felt like we were just getting into the swing of things and then it was time to go home. So, try to soak up every moment while you are on board the Disney Cruise Line, it really is a magical place.
*A HUGE THANK YOU to the Disney Social Media team for supplying me with an internet package while on board the ship so that I was able to stay in touch and post a few pictures of our trip along the way.*