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What You Need To Know For Your First Disney Cruise

So here’s the thing: I swear we’re not crazy for taking three kids under the age of five on a cruise. There was a somewhat planned out method to our madness, and it started one day when I looked at my San Diego bucket list and remembered I wanted to go on a cruise while we’re stationed here. I thought about how fun a Disney Cruise would be, so I looked it up.

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Lo and behold, there were a few that fit the bill (not literally, though; I’ll talk about how much they cost in a bit). There were several traveling down to Mexico, and then one caught my eye that made me book a room on the spot.

Literally. I called Disney to talk to them about it, and about 15 minutes later I had a placeholder for not just one, but two rooms…without talking to my husband first or my mom first. (But I promise I’m not crazy).

How I Booked the Cruise (Without Actually Booking it First)

The voyage I found was a “repositioning” cruise from San Diego to Vancouver, BC. The Disney Wonder—that’s the ship we went on—was wrapping up it’s southern trips and heading up north to start its Alaskan trips, so it had to get up there somehow.

This was a one-way trip up the Pacific Coast, and it was absolutely perfect for us.

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We wanted to see as much of California as we could before we move again, and I’ve always wanted to visit Washington and Oregon, so like I said…it was perfect. So perfect that I called my husband after I “booked it,” filled him in on the magic we were getting ourselves into, and held my breath as I waited for his response.

“Go for it,” he said!

(I’m not gonna lie; I didn’t think that would be his response.)

And thus began our excitement for our Disney Cruise.

We actually had 48 hours to decide if it was really something you want to do. When you call Disney you can have a placeholder on a room(s) before actually booking it. No money down or anything like that—they didn’t even take my credit card number. They simply gave me prices and I gave them my name and email to hold everything.

Get this, we booked it through Disney, but then actually transferred our reservation over to Costco Travel, so we ended up getting Costco’s travel incentive (a gift card to Costco).

Party Of Six

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I mentioned my mom earlier, and she’s an integral part in this, because we have three kids under five years old, and cruise rooms are teeny tiny. Of course, we love having her with us, but it’s also always especially nice having extra pairs of hands and eyes for the little ones.

We booked two verandah rooms on our Disney Cruise, which is a fancy word for the fact that our rooms had balconies. We also made sure that they were connecting rooms so we could meander between both. Not only did they connect on the inside, but we could also take the partition down on the outside to make the balcony into one long deck instead of two.

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Another bonus to having a second room? The girls slept in my mom’s room, and then we had Logan in our room. It worked out perfectly.

Too Much Fun for the Kids

Speaking of the kids, they had a blast. I’m going to dive into what they did in a future post, but until then, here’s a quick look at the kids’ scene on board a Disney Cruise.

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We called it “kids’ club,” but it’s officially called the Oceaneer Club and the Oceaneer Lab, and it’s for potty-trained kids ages 3 to 12 years old. They do have really cool looking places for the older crowd, too (Edge for tweens, and Vibe for teens). Essentially, they can stay and play in there from 9 am until midnight, and they’ll even feed them lunch and dinner. This is all included in the cost of your cruise.

Beyond just playing in there, they have classes, activities, and even story time for them, and Disney characters make appearances often throughout the day.

Getting them in and out of their kids’ club is really secure, so it was like a breath of fresh air to have them play in there and not have to worry about them.

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As for Logan, since he was only a year old and definitely not potty trained, he stayed with us the majority of the time. Since there were three adults, this was never a problem. We still gave him naps in the room during the day (thanks for watching him then, mom!), and he went with us to different activities.

We used their “It’s a Small World Nursery” two hours every night after dinner for him to sleep there while we did the nighttime activities. They were delightful and so thorough with watching over little ones.

More coming on the kid’s scene soon!

How Much it Costs:

As for the cost, let me first share what’s included so that the sticker shock isn’t as jaw dropping.

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First: all the food you can eat. Seriously. With the exception of alcohol (which you can BYOB, by the way), and a fancy restaurant on board, everything you want to eat is free. Room service is free. Ice cream or pizza at all hours? Free and free. Three appetizers and dessert for dinner, or two main courses and all the dessert you want? Free, free, free, free.

You’re also paying for transportation and a place to sleep. Most cruises are round trip, so if you live near a port you don’t even have to think about renting a car or transportation. In this case, our Disney Cruise took us one way up to Canada, and then we rented a car and drove down the coast back home.

As for our room and board, we were there for five nights, so that was five nights of a “hotel” included in our price.

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And by the way, the housekeepers clean up your room twice a day, which was one of my favorite parts of cruising. They clean it in the morning, and then again for the turndown service before bed. Talk about a dream come true!  

If you go on a Disney Cruise your cost also covers entertainment like outstanding live, Broadway-style type shows, first-run Disney movies, classic and favorite Disney movies playing by the pool and on your stateroom TV all the time, and of course, all the Mickey, Minnie, and other favorite character signings. They also have all sorts of fun onboard to keep you busy and entertained: Towel folding classes, pub quizzes, dance parties, BINGO (but you do have to pay for that), fun tours and trivia games, and so much more.

So, for two rooms and six people (including tax, vacation protection plan, and tips for everyone on board), it came out to $10,000, which came out to $600ish per person/per day. Keep in mind this was for TWO balcony rooms. We had four in one room which came out to around $6,000, and the other two people were technically in the second room for around $4,000.

Can you go on cheaper cruises? YES. You can certainly find deals out there, and you can even get cheaper rooms on the Disney Cruise, but I also knew my kids would really enjoy this one. And they totally did!

You Can See The World

Another awesome benefit to cruising is that you can see the world. During our Mediterranean cruise I visited different parts of Italy, Greece, and Turkey, and I probably never would’ve visited there if it wasn’t for cruising.

This time we went to San Francisco and into Canada, and for our next cruise (spoiler alert: we booked another Disney Cruise for next year), we’re going to Mexico!

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Cruising is just such a fun way to travel, and I love that the majority of the planning is done for you. They have excursions planned for you that you can take (for an extra charge), or you can simply get off the ship and do your own thing.

More to Come From Our Disney Cruise

That’s a pretty brief overview for our Disney Cruise; I have several more posts planned and coming soon, but hopefully that’s enough to whet your appetite for the moment. If you have questions about specific things, let me know, and I’ll either write a post about it, or make a whole new post about it.

We truly had the best time, and I’m going through cruise withdrawal now that I’m back on land and don’t have the amazing Disney magic popping up around every corner.

A mom of three shares everything you need to know for your first Disney Cruise

Have you been on a Disney Cruise before? What was your favorite part? Do you have questions about cruising with Disney? Leave them below and I’ll answer them in a future post!

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29 Comments

  1. Wow! That looks wonderful! I can’t wait to read more about what you saw on the cruise. We live in S Florida, so we’ve done quite a few cruises as well, but never Disney, as it leaves out of Cape Canaveral. Speaking about the price, you also had two rooms, so that makes for a more expensive price. Was your ship a newer one? We like a newer ship because everything is fresh and clean looking. Great memories!!

    1. GREAT question about the rooms! So for our family (we had four in our room) it was $6,000, and then my mom’s room (we had one of my daughter’s on her reservation) was right around $4,000. I’ll update the post with that info. The Wonder was “born” in 1999, and had a huge overhaul at the end of 2016. They’re also unveiling new ships next year, I believe!

  2. How fun and brave of you to take your little ones. I’ve been working on my husband to do this, lol. My husband and I have cruised often, but never with the kids, I would love to take them on a Disney Cruise. Your post has inspired me, love that you can call and put it on hold. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Is it wrong that I hope I can say “we cruise often”? I love cruises so much! And it’s fun now that 2 out of 3 of my kids can go to the kid’s club, because that makes a world of a difference!

  3. My husband and I enjoy cruises, but we’ve never done a Disney cruise or one with kids! It’s on my list for when the kids are older. I love that it’s all inclusive! That really makes cruising such a simple vacation!

    1. My husband and I went on a cruise when our firstborn was a 1 year old, and then we swore we’d at least wait until they could go into whatever cruise line’s kids’ club they had. Lol it’s just so much more fun when you can enjoy pockets of time with your spouse. I love my kids, but they need a little vacation/break from us, too. DEFINITELY check it out when you feel they’re ready…so much fun.

  4. I have never done a Disney cruise yet. I think maybe if I had kids I would. It looks like a ton of fun!

    1. I was REALLY worried about how many kids would be on this one. I’m one of those people who only likes her own kids…too many other little ones running around makes me anxious. And honestly, all the kids always did their own thing. It was more like an adults cruise with handfuls of kids sometimes. God bless that kid’s club!

  5. I’ve been thinking of going on a Disney cruise, so I made sure to read your post with a fine-toothed comb. What a DEAL! While it is a little pricey (which I wouldn’t believe it’s Disney if it wasn’t), it includes a LOT of things. I would be more interested in taking the Mediterranean cruise, but either way, I’m coming to terms with getting over my cruise phobia.

    1. YES! you do get so much, and it’s like being in your own intimate Disney park for however long your cruise is. And oh my gosh, I can only imagine how amazing their Mediterranean voyages are. We did one with Royal Caribbean and it was AMAZING. I hope you can go on one sooner than later 🙂

  6. I’d love to do a Disney cruise someday. We just went to Disney World for the first time last year and it was a blast! I know the kids would love the cruise!

  7. My husband and I are obsessed with Disney cruises!! We’ve done the short Bahamian, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Alaskan. Next up is the Mediterranean and we can’t wait. They really are the best :-).

  8. I have always wanted to go on a Disney Cruise. I love Disney so much but have never really been on a cruise – at least as an adult. Thanks for the info!

  9. We love cruising! My 2 year old has been on 4 so far but not with Disney. Hoping/planning to cruise Disney in the future though. Thanks for posting!

    1. Oh my goodness, how cool that she’s been on four already! If you do the Disney one when she’s three and potty trained she can go to the kid’s club 😀

  10. This great I’ve never done anything by self planning an early surprise birthday for my grandson really excited but scared to I’m afraid I’ll get lost have any advice

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