Let me preface this post by stating that I had never been on a cruise before sailing with Disney. So, I don’t have any other reference for my statements or recommendations. Also, I am not profiting from this post in any way. I just thought you guys might like to know how my Spring Break went as well as a little info about what to expect if you ever take a Disney cruise.
Now, let me just say that this was definitely worth the money! We had a great time and everything went very smoothly. All of the staff on board were fantastically helpful. We sailed out of Galveston, TX bound to Cozumel, Mexico on a four day cruise aboard the Disney Magic. My husband and I brought our 2.5 year old daughter and stayed in one of the cheapest rooms which was an inside stateroom. So, we didn’t have a porthole or balcony but, we did have a handicapped room so it was quite a bit larger than a regular room. (none of us are handicapped it just worked out that way) Our cruise cost $1,700 for all three of us (they discount children so she only cost an extra $300) and I booked it only two weeks before sailing so it was a really good price.
The Disney Magic is the oldest of the four Disney ships but you wouldn’t know it from being on board. Everything was well kept and looked basically brand new. The ship has 3 pools, 3 main restaurants which you rotate through for dinner each night, 4 open restaurants meaning that they are open the majority of the day and you just walk up to the window to order and 1 fancy restaurant for adults only. The adults only restaurant costs extra per person but the others don’t cost any extra. The ship also has a jumbo tron type of T.V. overlooking one of the pools that plays various films throughout the day as well as a movie theater and a performance theater that hosts several award winning Broadway-style shows. The ship also has multiple areas devoted to kids only. There are two areas for kids ages 3-12 as well as a daycare which costs $6 per hour for ages 3 and under. There area also several bars and a couple places for teens only.
The ship always has something going on for you to do. Each evening when the housekeeping people straighten up your room and get your beds turned down for you as well as leave a fun towel animal and some candies. They also leave you a “Navigator” that has a grid displaying all of the events for the next day. I recommend bringing a marker to mark which events you plan on attending so you can plan out your day. (The pen provided in the room did not write on the paper of the Navigator very well.) We took advantage of the 3-12 kids areas as well as the daycare. My main issue was that they have a serious prejudice towards diapers/pull-ups. Children must be fully potty trained to play in the 3-12 areas and they are not permitted to wear pull-ups. The staff will call you on the “wave phone” which is a cell-phone of sorts provided to all passengers aboard the ship so you can communicate to members of your party as well as ship staff. If you child has an accident and you will have to go and retrieve them ASAP. My daughter is fully potty trained but does require prompting at times, especially when she is having a fun time and doesn’t want to leave to use the bathroom. So, I would of course feel more comfortable with her having a pull-up on just in case. We went ahead and dropped her off wearing one each time and only got called for an accident once. We also used the daycare because we didn’t want our event to get cut short. At the daycare they will change diapers so there is no need to worry about your child having an accident and having to run to fetch them. It is also more one-on-one and functions more like a daycare. The 3-12 zones were pandemonium and most kids were only slightly monitored which allowed for my daughter to have a blast but also came out a little crazy because she was free to run around and do whatever she wanted. They will feed them in all of the kid zones as well. I felt more confident in her care at the daycare but it was definitely not as much fun. You can tell just by comparing the two areas. The daycare is about 5 times smaller. However, Lilly was able to finger paint with one of the caregivers and play with toys she was familiar with like a play kitchen and baby dolls. They even sent the art that she made to our room on our last night for us to take home.
Again, there are limitless things to do on board the ship. We took photos with the princesses, Minnie, Donald, Captain Hook and Peter Pan. (There were pictures with all of the other characters that you can think of but we didn’t get to them all.) We went to a couple family dance parties with various Disney characters. We saw fireworks, went to a mixology class (it cost extra but was TOTALLY worth it), saw a movie that was just released in theaters “Oz the Great and Powerful”, swam, sunbathed, relaxed in a hot tub, ate delicious food, ordered room service (for free!), saw a live show and of course went to Mexico for a day. It was a lot of fun! In regards to the mixology class, it was an extra $15 per person but we each got 6 full sized drinks. We were pretty hammered. They taught us how to make each drink and it was really fun. Then we went up to grab some food and watched a movie while we sobered up before picking up our daughter from the daycare. If you get the opportunity to participate in one of the drinking classes (they also had wine, beer and tequila tasting) then you should definitely do it.
Now that I’ve told you a little about the fun that we had I will tell you about some of the things that I brought upon the recommendation of other sites/blogs that I ended up not needing and some things that I wish that I had brought. First of all, I brought waaaayyyy too many clothes. I didn’t change my outfit as often as I thought I would and I wore a swim suit for a good majority of the trip. So, pick one nicer looking outfit to wear to dinner every night (that equals 4) and pick one comfy outfit to wear around during the day (that equals 4) I didn’t need any more than that but, I would definitely bring two swimsuits so you can wear a dry one if one is wet. Also, a nice cover-up to wear over your suit so you don’t have to walk through the ship half naked. I also wish I had brought more sunscreen. I brought one bottle for my husband and I to share and one bottle for my daughter. Hers was a cream and ours a spray. We still have plenty of hers but we ran out. Sunscreen on board was at least double the cost that it would normally be so we ended up having to use hers for the rest of our trip. So, if you are using spray bring extra. I also wish I had brought my own hairdryer. They do provide you with one but, it is not a normal hairdryer. Let me just say that I am usually fine with hairdryers in hotel rooms. I have a lot of hair but it is relatively fine and as long as it gets hot and has some good air flow it’ll work o.k. However, the one they provided didn’t get hot. It stayed cool and had very little air pressure. I ended up blow drying my bangs a little so they weren’t crazy looking and then just let my hair be wavy and air dry. So, bring a hairdryer! Trust me! Also, bring a large water bottle so you can have water in your room. The rooms do not have cups in them like most hotels. There is a drink station on deck 9 with cups and drinks but the cups are small. So, bring a large water bottle so you can fill it up with water in your room if you want or at the drink station and actually still have something to drink by the time you get back to your room. Also, you can easily toss the water bottle in your bag and bring it with you to the theater and movies so you don’t have to spend extra money on the beverages that they sell at the entrances. And, on that note, we brought candy to eat in the theater. It was a good idea and we definitely ate it. Some things that we brought that we didn’t need but other sites recommended were: clothespins (There is a clothes line that comes out of the wall in the shower for you to hang your clothes we didn’t need the clothes pins and just laid them over the line.), a set of colored markers/sharpies (You can bring a photo frame mat to the customer service desk for the characters to sign. A recommendation I read said to also bring pens/markers in different colors for them to use. I didn’t leave the markers with the mat because they said they could just sign it with a pen and each would probably use different colors anyway. It’s up to you but it was an unnecessary item to carry.), bath products (The ones they supply are SUPER nice! I loved them!) and gym clothes (I exercise at least 3 times per week and thought, “yeah! I’ll exercise!”, yeah right! There is so much to do you won’t find time to make it to the gym so skip the gym clothes and tennis shoes it was a waste of space for me.)
So, to break down what to definitely bring and what to skip:
– water bottle
– extra sunscreen
– 1 marker/sharpie for planning your day
– page protector/folder (for storing papers that you want to keep for a scrapbook)
– ziplock bags for collecting sand and seashells
– a squirt bottle for collecting ocean water for that wavy hair effect
– candy for the theater
– two swim suits + a cover-up
– a book to read while you sunbathe
– ipad/iphone for kids to play with when bored at dinner (we used this often because we had the late dinner)
– too many clothes (1 outfit for dinner and one for the day)
– colored pens/markers (if bringing a mat for signatures)
– gym clothes and tennis shoes
– bath products
– alcohol (unless you’re a real booze hound it was really heavy to carry-on and we ordered drinks more than we drank the stuff we bought)
I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or comments!