We recently sailed away on our very first Disney Cruise, the Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise…….and we're sharing our favorite parts for adults (and kids).
Thanks to Disney Vacation Club for providing this vacation to my family for free. All opinions are my own.
Are you a cruise family? Before this summer, none of us had ever been on a cruise ship. Well, the minute everyone heard we were going on a Disney Cruise……I got them same reaction. “You'll be sold, and cruise Disney forever.” Needless to say, our family was pretty excited for this magical experience. We flew into Orlando two days early, and kicked off the magical adventure with two days at Walt Disney World (we stayed at the Art of Animation and the Copper Creek Villas). We'd never been to Disney World, so this trip? Was a big one for us all…..I'm a little embarrassed to admit I spent a month planning what to pack for a Disney Cruise.
Disney Cruise: A Family Review of the DVC Member Cruise
Spoiler alert: WE LOVED IT. This was literally the PERFECT Disney Cruise to start with. The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise is the ultimate cruise for Disney fans. The Disney Vacation Club spends all year arranging special programming that is offered ONLY on their Member Cruise. From presentations by Disney artists to TWO days at Castaway Cay…..the programming was phenomenal (you can see more about the amazing Disney Vacation Club agenda and special experiences in our article for Disney Family HERE).
I wanted to share the top four things I'd known before heading on our first (and definitely not our last) Disney Cruise.
Even the shyest child will LOVE the Oceaneers Club: I got a lot of questions about how we prepared Lydia for the kids club. The Oceaneers Club and the Oceaneers Lab are the children's areas for Lydia's age on any Disney Cruise (she's 4 1/2). I'm not going to lie, I was a little apprehensive about her willingness to GO. Well, I can admit how wrong I was. By the time we got to our second day on the ship……she told us to “leave her in the Oceaneers Club all day”. You have to laugh, she'd even memorized the hours it was open. As a teacher, I was extremely impressed with both the Club and the Lab. They were beautiful environments (all Disney themed of course — my favorite was Andy's room from Toy Story), with a great variety of activities. From character story times to art projects……there were wonderful options for the children to choose from. Since the Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise has a TON of special programming, I was really excited to attend some of it while Lydia played in her new favorite place. From hearing Disney composer Michael Giacchino speak to learning all about Ralph Breaks the Internet, I love that the Oceaneers Club gave us the option to enjoy a little adult time on our Disney Cruise.
Castaway Cay Might Be Heaven on Earth: My version of heaven involves blue water and unlimited ice cream. Add in Disney Magic, and you've got Castaway Cay. From character meet and greets to the famous 5k……there is a TON to do!
Character Magic is Real, and So Is the Magic of Disney Customer Service: You'd think that Lydia would be sort of immune to the magic of the character meet and greet (I mean, we're annual passholders and visit Disneyland all the time)…..but somehow, the characters were even MORE magical on the Disney Cruise ship. We did a special meet and greet with Anna and Elsa, and she was OVER THE MOON. The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise also kicked off the 90th Birthday of both Minnie and Mickey with a special Member Mouse Party (read more about that HERE). But want to know what amazed me? The phenomenal customer service. We rotated different dining locations each night (between the Royal Palace, Animator's Palate, and the Enchanted Garden)…..and our servers rotated with us. Each night they remembered what we'd ordered the night before, and Lydia loved seeing them each evening and updating them about her day. They were fabulous, and added an extra layer of Disney magic to the whole experience.
Adult Programming Is a Must Do: From the Beauty and the Beast show to the D'Cappella performances (a special feature of the Member Cruise) to the amazing Disney Broadway Stars performance (also a special Member Cruise only show)……the shows and performances were top notch. Be sure to make time to attend one (or all) of them. Lydia loved seeing Beauty and the Beast with us, it's definitely appropriate for preschoolers, especially princess fans.
If your family is considering a Disney Cruise, I HIGHLY recommend it…..and my top suggestion? The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise is phenomenal and truly elevates the experience.
In 2019 there will be TWO Disney Vacation Club Member Cruises.
The Disney Wonder will sail from San Diego for five nights, stopping in San Francisco and Victoria, British Columbia before disembarking in Vancouver in May.
The Disney Magic will sail from New York City for seven nights, stopping in Boston and enjoying a two-day visit in Bermuda before returning to New York in October.