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Posts Tagged ‘Disney Cruise’

I’ve had several people ask me which I like more: a Disney Cruise Vacation or a Walt Disney World Vacation. I’ve already broken down my family’s favorites and why. We adore both. Your first thought about a cruise may be that there isn’t as much to do. But trust me, it’s not like you’re just sitting on a boat all day with nothing to do but lay out and eat. There’s actually a lot going on and so many things to do on a Disney Cruise.

Boogie down at a character dance party in the atrium

We’ve been lucky enough to do two Disney Cruises. A little over a year ago we did a 7-night cruise on the Disney Wonder from Galveston to save on airfare. Then this month, as a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration we went on a 3-night cruise from Port Canaveral on the now reimagined Disney Wonder. I wish I could say we did everything but I’d probably need a few more under my belt before I can say that.

First off, in order to make the most out of your Disney Cruise you’ll want to download the Disney Cruise Line app. Even without wi-fi the app alerts you to events happening during the day, character meet and greet times, and more. You can also use it to check out your room service menu (did I mention FREE room service?) and mark your favorites and “to-do” items. You’ll also get a Personal Navigator delivered to your room daily with an easy-to-read chart showing what’s going on each day and when.

While I know there is more, like Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea on certain sailings–this is a list of our favorites and some things I can’t wait to try… Here are 100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Check back in a bit for a printable checklist to see how many you can complete in one cruise!

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

1. Attend the Oceaneer Club and Lab open house
2. Sail away deck party
3. Eat soft serve ice cream
4. Enter your kid in a baby race (Diaper Dash)
5. All you can eat soft pretzels
6. Test your knowledge at Disney Tune Trivia

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

7. Belt some tunes at Disney Karaoke
8. Soak in the hot tub
9. Enjoy all you can eat at a lunch buffet
10. Play at the arcade
11. Watch a Disney movie at the theater
12. Watch a Broadway-Caliber live show in the evening before or after dinner
13. Watch a comedy show

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
14. Splash down a waterslide
15. Play the Magic Quest scavenger hunt game
16. Watch a magic show
17. Grab a burger (or chicken fingers) and fries by the pool
18. Play Disney Trivia
19. Catch a movie still in theaters
20. See what’s on TV in your room – Disney classics play around the clock

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.

21. Party at the Pirate Night deck party
22. Visit the adult-only pool
23. Sit back and enjoy the dinner-time entertainment
24. Run (or walk) in a 5K (on Castaway Cay)
25. Get a facial at the spa
26. Hit the gym
27. Enjoy a fireworks show

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.28. Meet your favorite Disney princess
29. Check out a Disney vacation club preview
30. Get character autographs
31. Play Family Feud
32. Dance at a poolside jam
33. Enjoy a dessert buffet
34. Take a walking ship guided tour
100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
35. Discover your towel animal of the day
36. Enjoy a live band
37. Test your Disney knowledge and play Mickey Mania
38. Get your groove on at a Club D dance party
39. Try your luck at BINGO
40. Meet Captain Mickey
41. Listen to a live piano serenade

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.
42.Dine at a Character breakfast or see Mickey at Animator’s Palate
43. Kids can enjoy super sloppy science
44. Take a late-night stroll around an empty deck
45. Play shuffleboard
46. Order a late-night room service treat
47. Play basketball
48. Get a massage

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
49. Take a picture with Minnie Mouse
50. Kids play capture the flag
51. Ask your waiter if the know any magic tricks
52. Pin trade with cast members
53. Pizza Pizza Pizza
54. Watch a game in the sports bar

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
55. Participate in a Disney Fish gift exchange
56. Boogie down at a character dance party in the atrium
57. Play mini golf
58. Run/walk around the track on the deck
59. Ride up and down the elevator
60. Check out the art gallery
61. Family pool and movie-watching
62. Order room service for breakfast

Participate in a Disney Fish gift exchange
63. Order 2 desserts
64. Eat lamb/steak/lobster and other fine delicacies
65. Enjoy a variety show
66. Take your kids in for fun kids club activities
67. Go clubbing while the kids play
68. Play Match Your Mate
69. Try a snorkeling excursion

100 things to do on a Disney Cruise. Not sure what there is to do on a Disney Cruise? Here's a long list to print and checkoff.
70. Talk to your room host or wait staff about where they’re from
71. Shop for souvenirs
72. Try a yoga or fitness class
73. Get a fruity drink
74. Attend a mixology seminar (21+)
75. Bring your toddler to the splash pad
76. Attend a craft session


77. Watch the sunrise/sunset from the top deck (or from your verandah).
78. Check out the VIBE lounge for teens
79. Tour the EDGE club for 11-14 year olds at their open house
80. Play in a Pictionary Challenge
81. Play Pixar Trivia
82. Have your photos taken by a professional photographer
83. Basketball free throw tournament

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 8: Ariel
84. Do a photoshoot
85. Play “So You Think You Know Your Family”
86. Watch (or play in) a ping pong tournament
87. Take a stab at some ice carving
88. Anyone Can Cook (attending a cooking seminar)
89. Learn new skills in an animation class
90. Attend an ice cream social


91.Watch your prince or princess get a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
92. Stay out late while your kids are at the kids club
93. Play Sports Trivia
94. Play Movie Challenge Poolside
95. Watch another amazing live-show
96. Make a sand castle and explore Castaway Cay (select itineraries)
97. Play Family Fusion

Things to do on a Disney Cruise
98. Buy your favorite photo you had taken during the cruise
99. Fly through the AquaDuck water slide (on the Disney Dream and Fantasy)
100. Book another Disney Cruise while onboard (and save!)

Have you been on a Disney Cruise? What were some of your favorite things to do on a Disney Cruise?

We had an absolute blast on our Disney Cruise family vacation earlier this month. We’re already talking about when we’ll take the next one, and I’m sure it’ll be just as fun as the last. But I’ve also been thinking of ways I can make it even better, and things I may do differently on our next Disney Cruise. In the third installment of our Disney Cruise vacation wrap up, I thought writing up a list could be helpful for people looking to book their first Disney Cruise. And in case you missed it, here’s Lil’ J’s Disney Cruise reveal and 10 reasons a Disney Cruise is better than a Disney Parks vacation.

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Things to do on a Disney Cruise

1. Have a potty-trained kid

Hopefully this will be a given next time since Big T is almost there. He was almost perfect on the cruise and only had accidents in his free and clear training pants when he was sleeping. Sadly he’s regressed since we’ve been back, but we’re working on that.

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

This picture sums up our experience with Big T on the cruise. Dressed up in the most adorable tux from Blacn N Bianco, all untucked and dashing away from us as fast as he can.

The thing is, if your kid isn’t potty-trained on the cruise then they need to go to the nursery instead of the Kids Club. Big T wasn’t 3 yet anyway so he wouldn’t have been able to go there this time, but being close to 3 and very tall, he towered over the other kids and was sort of in a weird in-between stage of being too young for the club, but bored with the nursery. Luckily the Flounder’s Reef Nursery staff were super sweet in keeping him happy, even when he wasn’t so happy at drop off. I know next time he’ll be happy to be in with the big(ger) kids alongside his sister. And I’ll be happy to not have to schedule nursery time and use the luxury of the kids club drop off.

2. Take a shorter cruise

12 Things I'll Do Differently on Our Next Disney Cruise. Get help planning your next Disney Cruise and family vacation without stress!

Now first let me explain. We went on this cruise right after spending several days in Utah for Thanksgiving. I think the two back-to-back trips are what exhausted us more than 7-days on the ship. However, I think a 4 or 5 night cruise would have been plenty sufficient. We’d be able to eat at all of the restaurants, see the best shows, and return home before missing too much school.

3. Take more pictures

12 Things I'll Do Differently on Our Next Disney Cruise. Get help planning your next Disney Cruise and family vacation without stress!

Even though I took a lot there are SO many more I wish I had taken. Photos of the fireworks, from the top deck, pictures of the ship at night. Lil’ J pin trading, more photos of the food. I also really wish I had a speedlight flash because a lot of the rooms didn’t have window light (which I’m using to using) and were pretty dim. I’m planning to use some Christmas money to order one and play with it before next time.

4. Check out their pro photos

12 Things I'll Do Differently on Our Next Disney Cruise. Get help planning your next Disney Cruise and family vacation without stress!

There are many pro photographers around the ship ready to take your family’s pictures with characters or in front of beautiful backdrops. I didn’t want to be tempted to buy several $25 prints so I didn’t give myself much of a chance to consider more photos. I did however buy two photos that made me smile so big when I saw them. Totally worth the 50-something dollars. Next time I may consider the full photo package for $200 to get all of the prints. It seems like a lot compared to the $79 deal at Disney World, but it could be worth it to take advantage of the family photo opportunities to get in more photographs.

5. Try more food

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

My husband and I tried something different at dinner each night and every single meal was delicious. The rest of the day, however pretty much consisted of french fries (my favorite food). There is so much food you can order, either at a sit-down restaurant or in a quick-service line. I’m not sure how I could have pigged out even more, but I wish I had found a way to enjoy more of the variety.

6. Keep wipes handy

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

One thing I didn’t realize was that napkins aren’t readily available everywhere. You have to request one when you’re at the quick-service places, and if you need a tissue or something you’ll have to find a restroom. From runny noses to messy hands, we could have used a lot of handy napkins. About halfway through the trip I remembered I brought our Seventh Generation baby wipes and started using them as wet wipes, tissues and napkins. The Free and Clear Baby Wipes rock because they’re thick and strong but soft, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Next time I’ll keep a pack of these with my in my pool bag.

7. BYOC

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

Bring your own cup. We bought ours, but forgot them half the time we went up on the top deck. The cups available are pretty small so it’s nice to have a bottle or cup to fill up with your favorite drink and keep with you while you lay out or watch a show in the theater.

8. Hit up more craft activities

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

Lil’ J is a huge fan of crafting and there were daily activities. We only made it to a couple through the week and regretted missing some of them after seeing the crafts people left with. Specifically the cute door hangers. Next time we will mark those activities as priorities.

9. Try Palo brunch

We LOVED Palo dinner. It was so romantic and quiet compared to the family dinners we attended the rest of the week. However, there were so many fun things going on each night it was hard to schedule a dinner between it all. Frozen night got moved to our Palo night during our sailing because of bad weather, so we had to rush through dessert to get the kids and make it to the deck party. I think brunch could have been even more delicious and less rushed. Definitely want to try that next time.

10. Do more adult activities

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

People keep asking me if there are fun things for adults on a Disney cruise. YES! From comedy shows, dinner, sports bars, spas, clubbing and more. Also there’s an adult pool and hot tub that’s much quieter up on deck. There were so many adult activities around the ship. Sadly we didn’t make it to any of them. We made this trip all about the kids, but next time, they’ll both be spending more time in the kids club and we’ll enjoy more mom and dad solo time.

11. Try an excursion

We booked the trip and decided to just enjoy the included perks for the most part. We barely browsed excursions and the ones we did try were free. My husband ran in the Castaway 5k, and that was no charge. Next time I think we may take the kids (at least Lil’ J) snorkeling. I think she’d really enjoy it.

12. Visit the other side of Castaway Cay

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

While participating in the 5k race my husband got to see the entire island. The kids and I kinda just walked off the boat and plopped down at the nearest beach. I heard the other beach on the island has water slides and rope swings. No telling if we would have done that since it was rainy most of the day we were there, but on a great weather day, I definitely think we’ll try to explore more of the island.

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

So there you have it. A dozen things I learned that you can keep in mind to make your Disney Cruise even more magical. Despite having a list of changes for next time, this trip was truly a wonderful family vacation, and I’d do it all over again just like we did the first time in a second (and take more photos!).

Have you been on a Disney Cruise before? What tips would you have for first-timers?

Things to do on a Disney Cruise

A big thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, dish soap, and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

Last week we went on an Amazing Disney Cruise. We’d started planning about a year ago once we heard the Disney Cruise Line was going back to the Galveston port in Texas. Since it was so close, we’d save on flights to Florida and be able to have a Disney vacation for less.

FYI: Doing a price comparison including food and all of the extras, a Walt Disney World vacation and Disney Cruise vacation actually wind up costing about the same.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.
My husband and I have been on cruises before on Carnival and Royal Caribbean and Disney’s service and entertainment by far surpassed those experiences (as I would hope, because the price is much more).

I doubt I’ll ever be able to say this again, but this year we went to Walt Disney World, Disneyland (here’s my comparison post) and now, a Disney Cruise. At the end of this LONG post I’ll tell you where it ranks in our family’s opinion compared to the parks (you may be surprised).

Each trip was magical in their own way, and while I can’t say that a Disney Cruise is better than a Disney Parks vacation overall, there are 10 ways it does come out on top. This post is a doozie so if you need to, bookmark it and come back later!

1. Free character calls (and other superb entertainment)

This is sorta minor and we actually didn’t even use this feature because we had our own surprise. But you can get a free character call from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, or a variety of other characters before your trip giving your child an exciting surprise.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

And that’s just the beginning. Once you’re onboard you’re announced (and applauded) by name and before you know it you’re booty shaking next to Mickey Mouse, watching fireworks over the ocean and snow fall inside the cruise ship. There were so many experiences that had me in awe, looking back I wish I had my camera out for more, but I caught myself just soaking in the moment.

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation? This should help you decide which is better for you and your fa

2. A Disney Cruise Is Extremely Relaxing

When you visit Disney Parks it’s wise to arrive early, beat the lines and ride space mountain over and over before 9am. On this cruise we rarely even emerged from our room before 9am. My husband was easily able to sneak away after a morning by the pool and take a nap with Big T in our room while Lil’ J and I explored and had more fun.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

If we needed a break our room was only an elevator trip away. After a Walt Disney World vacation you might come home feeling like you need another vacation. You don’t feel that way after a cruise. There’s just a lot less hustle and bustle.

3. Free Kids Club

If you want childcare while at the Disney Parks, you’re gonna hafta pay up. Not on a Disney Cruise. For kids over three there are multiple kids clubs for kids up to teens. For kids under 3 there’s a nursery available for a fee.

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation? This should help you decide which is better for you and your family

The clubs have their own activities from scavenger hunts, pajama parties, character visits, science projects and dance parties. After the first visit Lil’ J was in heaven and said she wanted to stay there. But this trip her brother couldn’t stay with her.

Since he’s not quite 3 (and not quite potty trained) he was in the nursery which is $9/hr. Originally we thought we’d use this daily, but we wound up canceling his nursery hours and letting him hang with us because he was good company. He went to a few open houses at the kids clubs and played with Lil’ J. After that there was no going back to the nursery for him. He lost it.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

While the nursery was very cute and accommodating, he wanted to hang out with his sister and the big kids and I’m SO looking forward to both of them hanging out in the kids club together on our next trip so the hubs and I can enjoy some more alone time together. YES there are adult-only areas on the ship including a pool, some bars (as well as a sports bar) and a restaurant. There’s also adult comedy shows and clubs.

4. Shorter Lines

One of the obsessions we had visiting the Disney Parks was meeting all of the characters. Thing is, at the parks you’re going to either want to get their early, eat at a pricey (but worth it) character meal, use a fastpass or wait in a hefty line to meet many characters. On the ship, there are multiple opportunities to have character interactions.

The lines to meet the characters are shorter on a Disney Cruise than they are at Disney World.

If you miss Mickey the first night in his captain’s clothes, you can catch him the next night in formal wear or the night after in pirate gear, and so on. I think the longest line we had to wait in was maybe 10-15 minutes. We spaced out the meetings and waited until the middle of the week for a majority of them hoping others had gotten their autographs out of the way.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

A tip: You can meet all of the princesses on the ship at once with minimal lines if you get tickets to the princess meet and greet. The tickets are free and you can get them right away when you board the ship. Oh wait, I take it back, this was the longest line I waited in. Probably about 45 minutes. But we got tickets to the princess meet and greet, the Disney Jr. character breakfast and a special Christmas Time gingerbread house making activity. Have one person wait in line for the tickets and it’ll save you a lot of waiting later.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

Here’s a quick rundown of everyone we met: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sophia, Belle, Elsa, Anna, Olof, Goofy, Pluto, Stitch, Jake, Doc McStuffins. I’m probably missing someone. We met plenty more at the parks, but for a cruise ship I was thoroughly pleased with the amount of famous Disney friends onboard.

5. All You Can Eat Food

A Disney Cruise has unlimited food which is something that Disney World does not have.

I really should have stated this sooner. The food. The FOOD. Not only is it delicious, it’s all you can eat. Not just the buffets. You’re out at the pool and craving some chicken fingers? Go grab some with a side of fries. Just walk up to the counter and ask for some. You go back and get more. Then you try the pulled pork sandwich. Then you hit up another restaurant for some fruit and tuna wraps. Later that night you have a four-course meal and try all of the desserts–Why not? It’s included!

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

Lil’J enjoyed the unlimited fries and ice cream, which was exactly our diet at Disneyland. Luckily here we could have all we wanted for no additional cost.

6. Less Walking

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

While some people do bring strollers onboard, you really don’t need one. Your stateroom is just a couple minute walk away. I easily clocked miles and miles of steps at the parks with few places and times to sit down for a break. On the cruise there are lounges, deck chairs, and your bed all just down the hall.

7. Free Room Service

This may sound silly but one of my favorite parts of the day was curling up in bed with a cup of hot chocolate while watching Disney Animated classics that are playing around the clock on the TV. (This was after I stole the remote away from my husband to change it from ESPN.) Being a Disney Animation fanatic I loved that they had dedicated channels for the classics, new animated films, and Pixar films.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

Some people ordered hot chocolate room service for their morning wake up calls. I’ve had other friends tell me they ordered Mickey ice cream bars each night. Or you could go with giant delicious cookies, or even order and eat any of your meals in your room. There are so many options and all are free (though don’t forget to tip your server)!

8. Castway Cay (pronounced key)

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

When else do you have the chance to visit a private island in the Bahamas? Our ship was the only Disney Cruise ship to dock at this beautiful Disney-owned island that day and thought it was slightly rainy, it was still a blast. We saw crab racing, had a delicious (included) BBQ lunch, played in the sand and ocean. We didn’t pay for any excursions this time but I didn’t really felt like we needed to. The kids had a lot of fun on the beach, and my husband ran in the free 5k that morning (and got the cool medal I wanted).

Next time I’ll probably buy a snorkeling package though cause that did look pretty fun and I think Lil’ J would really like it.

You don’t get a huge beach and crystal clear ocean water at the Disney Parks.

9. Less Hassle and Planning

When planning for a Disney Parks vacation like I do, you’re up at midnight 6 months before your trip to book dining reservations. Then you’re up at midnight a month before making fastpass selections, you’re scouting out what you’re going to hit up first and last during your day. Or you’re using a travel agent to help do all this for you… But I’m crazy like that.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

On a Disney Cruise EVERYTHING is planned for you. You don’t have to worry about where you’re eating dinner. Your restaurant changes each night so you’ll automatically get to try it all. All of the entertainment is planned, you just have to show up. The shows are broadway-caliber and the parties are spectacular.

It was almost annoying how I couldn’t plan anything before the trip. I tried to hit of forums and facebook groups for the scoop but things change once you’re on the boat anyway.

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation? This should help you decide which is better for you and your family.

You’ll get a personal navigator each night with a schedule of events and activities going on (which is also available on your Disney Cruise app). Each day Lil’ J and I would note the things we wanted to do: Karaoke, Disney Tune Trivia, craft group, Disney Charades, pin trading, meet the princesses, etc. We even got to watch movies in a huge theater. I finally saw Ant Man and Daddy and Big T finally got to watch The Good Dinosaur.

There’s SO much to do and all you’ve gotta do is show up when it’s time.

10. Fish Extender Gift Exchanges

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation? These 10 tips will help you decide which is better for you and your family.

This isn’t something put on by Disney Cruise Line but a really fun gift exchange between cruise guests who sign up. You hang a “fish extender” on a fish hook outside of your stateroom door then others put little goodies inside. Lil’ J was SO excited to deliver our gifts to the other cabins on our list, and every time we went back to our room she had something to look forward to. I’ll share more about our fish extender gifts and what they’re all about here and here’s a little I’ve written about it already.

The Verdict

All of this said, my husband hands down says Disney Cruise line is far better than the Disney Parks. The less walking, easy access for a break, a place to ditch the kids won him over. Everyone can do their own thing, yet be disconnected from the world and close together.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

Lil’ J also votes Disney Cruise as her favorite Disney vacation so far. The pools, beach, character dance parties, friends she made at the kids club stole her heart and she has non-stop been asking to go again.

For Big T, this trip was the most memorable so far. He was not even 2 yet when we went to Disney World in February. Now he’s an official Mickey fan (especially a Mickey waffle fan). While I know he would enjoy the rides at the parks much more than Lil’ J, I think he’d be down for either trip again.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

And finally my thoughts. To be honest, as much as I loved the Disney Cruise, and as magical as it was, to me it still just didn’t compare to the magic of a Disney Parks visit. This isn’t to say that the parks are better. I’ve given plenty of reasons why the cruise can win for many, but there’s nothing like seeing the characters in their own lands, riding the elaborate rides and really feeling like you are immersed in the magic of Disney in a whole new world.

Even if a Disney Parks vacation is a little more chaotic, less relaxing and more exhausting, it’s so worth it to me. That said, I’m outnumbered in my family so I think we’ll be seeing a lot of both in our futures.

Comparing a Disney Cruise vs Disney World Disney Cruise vs Disney World Vacation. 10 reasons a Disney Cruise may be better for your family.

I’m planning to write more about what I learned, share some of our awesome videos and our favorite parts as well as answer some of your questions (this post has gotten long enough). Let me know if there’s something else you’d like to know and I’ll try to answer in my next post!

Have you visited a Disney Park or been on a Disney Cruise? How did you enjoy it?

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise vs Disney World vacation? This should help you decide which is better for you and your family.

After months and months of holding in the biggest secret, the hubs and I were finally able to surprise Lil’ J with the Disney Cruise she’s been dreaming about.

waffel-morning

We drove down to Galveston the night before and told her we were taking a fun trip to a hotel. She loved the hotel room and the next morning, as we ate our Texas shaped Belgian waffles she exclaimed “This is the best hotel ever!! Can we please stay here two more days?”

I told her no, we had other plans.

We went to the store to kill some time before it was our time to meet at the port. Did a little shopping.

To be honest, at this point the kids were driving us nuts. Big T kept trying to run away in the store. Lil’ J was getting moody. We all had to sit in the parking lot for a moment to collect ourselves before we drove over to the ship.

We put in the directions and as we got closer I spotted the Disney Wonder first. Lil’ J was in the back playing a game on my iPad but dropped it as soon as she saw what was ahead. Her Walt Disney World  and Disneyland surprise reveals were a little anticlimactic, but this Disney Cruise surprise reveal is a little better. Still not the “OMG I’m freaking out and so happy I’m going to cry!!!” reaction I was sorta hoping for but what can you expect from a 5-year-old?

There’s a funnier part I didn’t catch on this video that my husband and I will forever tease her about but we’re keeping that between us.

The cruise was a TON of fun and so relaxing but I’ll get into more of that later including tips and comparisons between the Disney Parks and Cruise. I’m dying to tell you all about it and share a million more photos. If you have specific questions you want me to answer let me know in the comments so I can make sure I address it in an upcoming post.

For now I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos of my little girl on our trip taken from the beautiful Castaway Cay!

Disney Wonder Cruise Ship Surprise Reveal

See you real soon!

I mentioned we are making fish extender (FE) gifts for our cruise. Although the cruise is a surprise, Lil’ J loves to craft, so she’s happily participating in helping me make different things for this gift exchange she has no idea about.

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

So yes, first, more on the details of fish extenders. You can read all about it here. But long story short, it’s a gift exchange between Disney Cruise cabin members. People hang decorated pockets outside their cabin door on little “fish extender” hooks and them people deliver gifts to one another.

I’m not much of a crafter so I immediately thought I’d just order all of the gifts off Etsy.

It started that way, I ordered mini Disney tote bags to collect seashells or other goodies in, and some Mickey soap. But then I joined a Fish Extenders Facebook group and kept seeing other great ideas that seemed easy enough to try and add to our little gift bags.

I starting with these DIY Disney Mickey Magnets. They’re inexpensive, and super easy, Lil’ J made these with me with little assistance.

What you’ll need:

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

-Scrapbook paper we found ours at Hobby Lobby in the single sheet section (way less than buying a whole book) but if you want variety you can get a full book of paper.
Clear glass gems/ mosaic circles. Mine are about 1.5in but the smaller 1” ones work well too.
Modge Podge
Sponge brush
Small round magnets
Hot glue (or E6000)
-Scissors

Step 1

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

Position the glass bead over the scrapbook paper and trace it around the spot you’d like to be the center of your magnet.

Step 2

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

Cut the paper out.

Step 3

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

Barely tip the edge of the sponge brush into the Modge Podge. Add a thin layer to the back of the gem. A little goes a long ways.

Step 4

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

Place the piece of paper face down onto the modge podge. Press firmly and smooth out any bubbles. Let dry.

Step 5

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

Add another thin layer of Modge Podge over the back of the scrapbook paper. Let dry.

Step 6

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

Trim the extra paper off around the edges. I found it easier to do this holding the bead right-side up.

Step 7

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

Glue a small round magnet to the back of the gem, using just a dab of E6000. I tried using hot glue at first but it didn’t stay. Pressing firmly with E6000 did the trick.

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

And you’re done!

Adorable Disney magnets to make as stocking stuffers, add to gift bags, or use as fish extender gifts! Get your little crafters involved and make some magical memories together as you create these!

Mickey Mouse Magnet Craft Idea

Are you ready for this easy DIY Disney Mickey Magnets Tutorial? An easy fish extender gift idea for kids that they can help make as well.

What do you think? Did we do ok?

If I’m being totally honest right now, I’m checked out. Mentally I’m off in la la land, planning our family Thanksgiving and Christmas, ready to get away and play with the kids and have our first-ever family vacation with just the four of us. I wish I could take the rest of the year off and soak up all of this holiday goodness.

My daughter is counting down to our Utah trip. She’s packed herself already. Every morning she exclaims how we’re one day closer, how she can’t wait to play in the snow, ride the train and sing Christmas carols.

I’m SO excited for my kids to see snow for the first time. I hope they freak out (in a good way), and that we can take some fun pictures in it. I’m excited to see family, and for the kids to be entertained by grandparents and my husband’s little cousins.

And then, after a week of bundling up against the cold winter temperatures my kids have never experienced in their little lifetimes, we’ll be heading to the Bahamas.

Lil’ J has been watching Disney Cruise videos on YouTube and begging to go.

“Maybe someday,” we tell her. Giggling underneath our breath.

Unable to contain a part of the surprise, I let her open a mermaid tail I ordered her. We’ve talked about her wearing it for Ariel pictures, but she doesn’t know we’ll be taking them on a beach near Goofy and friends, in a couple weeks.

Little Mermaid tail Ariel tail

“I’m finally a real mermaid!” she exclaimed as she wiggled her way into it.

That tail was the last thing she mentioned before bed and the first thing she talked about when she woke up.

“Can I wear my tail when I get home from school?” She asked. “Promise?!”

She was in disbelief for her Walt Disney World surprise. And though we were leaving just a couple hours after we told her, she asked non-stop when we were going.

Before Disneyland she had a birthday surprise and we had a countdown to our trip.

I’ve been doing back and forth trying to decide how to let the kiddos in on the surprise this time. A phone call from Mickey? A video message from Ariel? Ultimately we decided we’re gonna drive right up to the port in Galveston and yell SURPRISE as soon as she notices the Disney Cruise ship.

My husband won’t admit it, but he is starting to get excited too. I told him about the Castaway Cay 5k I want to run (ok walk) in for a metal and he said HE wants to do it, and even offered to let me have his metal.

Then when I mentioned I saw Disney music trivia on a sample schedule he said “Oh man, that could be fun! [Lil’ J] would love that. It’s on!” I can tell this will be fun for us all.

Disney Cruise Ship

Planning for this trip has been quite different than planning for our other Disney trips. Mostly because there aren’t a lot of decisions you can make beforehand. I have learned a lot already, but one thing I’ll share right now is to have an experienced Disney Cruise friend handy. Here are a few tips for finding one:

1. Facebook groups. I found a Facebook group with people sailing the same time as of and it’s been SO helpful. Around the clock people are asking and answering each other’s questions, and sharing tips and info about your sailing. Check out this page for a list of sailing groups.

2. Our Disney travel agent Matt from Wish Upon a Star is awesome as well and happily answers my plethora of emailed questions and gives recommendations. Travel agents don’t cost anything and can make seemingly overwhelming Disney Vacation planning a breeze.

3. Disney Moms Panelists. You can search the website for cruise questions, or make friends with an experienced applicant for their personal tips. Search using the hashtag #DisneyMP. I have a friend Lori, who is like my personal expert. She has been on 7 Disney Cruises and knows the answer to every single question I ask her. From ideas on what to wear for pirate night, if there are penny squishing machines at the port, how to use gift cards on board. She has been so sweet and generous in sharing her Disney love and wisdom. Follow her blog and check her out on Twitter and try to stump her! I bet you can’t.

In a few short weeks I’ll be free. Sans internet, emails, work. Away with my family on our first ever vacation as a family of four.

Until then there are a few more deadlines, fish extender gifts to make (more on that soon), packing to do, and more surprises to plan.

What was your first family vacation? Have you been on a family cruise before?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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