DISNEY CRUISE LINE
210 Celebration Place, Suite 400
Celebration, FL 34747-4600
COMPANY OVERVIEW: Disney Cruise Line receives rave reviews from parents and kids alike, and provides an exceptional setting for a family cruise vacation. The Disney Cruise Line offers the best cabins for families and devotes the most space --almost an entire deck--to areas for kids. The Disney ships are sleek, art deco-inspired beauties, and the Disney characters onboard the ships charm the children. While Disney ships seem like a natural fit for younger children, they are also designed to please the teenage set. "Aloft" and "The Stack", Disney's dedicated spaces for teens, provide isolated, teen-only destinations with a wide variety of activities for kids ages 13-17. In addition, Disney is the only cruise line that provides fleet-wide onboard nurseries for children as young as 12 weeks of age. Parents with babies and toddlers will be thrilled with "Flounder's Reef Nursery", providing childcare and programming for kids ages 3 months to 3 years.
DESTINATIONS: Families taking a Disney cruise can package a 3- or 4-night Bahamas cruise, including time at Disney's private island, with the rest of the week at Walt Disney World. In addition, Disney Cruise Line offers 7-night cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. From May 28 to August 19, 2005, the Disney Magic will offer 7-night cruise vacations from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. It is a limited-time engagement in celebration of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. The West Coast cruises will be “book-ended” with two 14-night Panama Canal cruises. The Disney Wonder will continue its 3- and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral.
SHIPS: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder
KIDS/FAMILY PROGRAMS OFFERED: Disney Cruise Line offers creative, year-round programs for ages 3 months to 3 years, 3-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12, and a teen program for ages 13-17. Flounder's Nursery is a childcare facility for little ones ages 12 weeks to 3 years, and is available for limited hours during the day and every evening from 6-midnight on a reservations-only basis. The Oceaneer Club provides programming for the 3-4 and 5-7 age groups, while the Oceaneer Lab is the place for the 8-12 year old set. In the Oceaneer Club, the cruise line's programs feature innovative activities that are often related to Disney characters or movies. Some of the activities include dressing up in Disney character costumes, story time with Belle, dancing with Snow White, and a number of parties, arts and crafts and games. Activities for older children in the Oceaneer Lab are some of the most innovative on the high seas. They include making Flubber, making digital postcards and radio commercials, taking animation lessons, as well as a variety of games, contests, parties, and events.
Children over the age of three must be potty trained to participate in The Oceaneer Club. If they are not potty trained, they can go to Flounder's Nursery. Children in the 8 to 9 age group can check themselves in and out of program activities with a parent’s permission; while those age 10-12 and older can sign themselves in and out of program activities. Younger children are not allowed to leave the program until they are picked up by a parent. Only those certified to pick up children will be allowed to sign out a child. Parents with children up to age 12 are provided a pager for the duration of the cruise. On Castaway Cay, the pager has a range of two miles, which is enough to cover the entire island.
Family Time is available in the Oceaneer Lab or Oceaneer Club from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. each evening, except for embarkation. Family Time is a great option for children or adults with special needs to enjoy the programming areas; however, no structured programs are taking place during this time. A parent or guardian must accompany children in order to participate in Family Time.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: Disney offers a wide variety of special programs for kids and families. These include tea with Peter Pan's pal Wendy, character breakfasts (available on 7-night cruises only), storytelling by Disney characters, a build-your-own raft challenge for teens at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, a sunset celebration in Key West, animation workshops, and other activities.
CHILDREN'S FACILITIES: Disney Cruise Line provides dedicated children's facilities throughout their fleet. The ships have the largest children's rooms afloat with 15,000 square feet of space. The ships provide cozy nurseries with sleeping rooms for the little ones, separate playrooms for children ages 3-7 and ages 8-12, and dedicated teen facilities. Flounder's Reef Nursery is a reservations-only facility for children ages 12 weeks to 3 years, providing care at a cost of $6 per hour for the first child and $5 for the second with a two-hour minimum. The Captain Hook themed Oceaneer Club, designed for ages 3-7, has big rubbery fish to play on, barrels to climb through, and a two-story slide. In the Oceaneer Lab, designed for ages 8-12, Buzz Lightyear looms over the computer bank and a wall-size video game invites pairs of kids to play. The Oceaneer Lab is also split into two age groups: 8-9 and 10-12. Teens have their own space at "The Stack" (Disney Magic) and "Aloft" (Disney Wonder), a private New-York style hangout for the 13-17 year-old set.
Parents planning to use the facilities of "Flounder's Reef" during their cruise should plan to go there as soon as they board to make reservations, as there is limited space available. Facilities include a sleeping area with eight cribs and thirty mats for toddlers, as well as a large playroom with toys, swings, bouncy chairs and rocking chairs. A television plays Disney movies for little ones to watch. Counselors change diapers in "Flounder's Reef", but parents should plan to supply a diaper bag filled with diapers, wipes, pacifiers, sippy cups, baby food, and any other items that might make their child feel more comfortable. Parents may accompany their little ones down to "Flounder's Reef" at any time to play with the toys and enjoy the facility, and no reservations are needed when parents are there to care for and play with their children.
YOUTH COUNSELORS ONBOARD: The maximum ratio of infants to counselors is four to one, while no more than six toddlers are assigned to any one counselor. In Flounder’s Reef Nursery, there is one counselor for every four infants (12 weeks to one year) and one counselor for every six toddlers (ages 1 to 3). For 3-4 year olds, there is a ratio of one counselor to every 15 children. For 5-12 year olds, the ratio is one counselor to every 25 children.
HOURS OF OPERATION: Typically, the hours of operation for the children's programs are 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., both for days on shore and at sea. For Flounder's Reef nursery, on 7-night cruises the hours are 5:45 p.m. to midnight each night, and 6 p.m. to midnight during the 3- and 4-night itineraries. Daytime hours vary according to the day’s schedule, and are available only for certain shore excursions. If you’re planning on leaving little ones in the nursery when you go ashore, be sure to check ahead of time if the nursery will be open during the hours of your excursion.
TEEN PROGRAMS: Teens ages 13-17 on a Disney cruise can enjoy a program and a dedicated area created just for them. Some of the activities offered include hip-hop dance lessons, dance parties, pool parties, games, and other events. On the private island of Castaway Cay, creative teen activities are scheduled such as building a raft from poles and the Wildside, a teen water and land sports challenge. There is also a teens-only speedboat excursion offered in Nassau.
DEDICATED TEEN FACILITIES: With a cozy décor resembling a cross between a coffee shop and a college dorm, "Aloft" and “The Stack” on the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic respectively, offer a place for teens to hang out, dance, and meet other kids their age from around the world. Aloft is placed far away from the kids' centers and next to the activity pool. The Stack is located in the ship's forward funnel area on Deck 11, and includes separate spaces and activities for younger and older teens. Highlights of the two areas include flat screen plasma TVs and comfy, overstuffed chairs for watching the latest movies and TV shows, Internet access and a smoothie bar.
TEEN PROGRAM HOURS OF OPERATION: Aloft and The Stack are open every day of the cruise from 9 a.m. until midnight.
IN-PORT KIDS PROGRAMS: Castaway Cay is Disney’s very own private island. The ship stops here on all itineraries. Scuttle's Cove, the area just for kids on Castaway Cay, has a large tented area in which to operate. Kids are kept busy with a wide variety of activities, and a number of water misters keep kids from getting too hot. Some activities include scavenger hunt, a whale dig, wacky foam-noodle games and island-themed crafts. For safety reasons the kids' programs on Castaway Cay don't include swimming, so some children prefer to stay with their parents and go into the water. There is a teens-only Spring Break Beach party at 1 p.m.
FAMILY PROGRAMS: On Castaway Cay, there is a pavilion available for families to enjoy. It’s shaded and includes table tennis, giant checkers, basketball, shuffleboard, foosball and pool tables. These games and sports are offered both as scheduled, structured events as well as for free play. A water structure in the lagoon has climbing ropes, ladders, swinging bridges and floating barrels. The Getaway Package includes bicycles for one hour and snorkel gear and floats for the whole family for the day.
BABYSITTING OFFERED: Flounder's Reef Nursery is available during specific hours of the day and evening for kids ages 12 weeks to 3 years. The hourly fee is $6 per child; $5 per additional child per hour, with a two hour minimum. Since the children's programs go until 1 a.m., no group or private babysitting is offered. Parent pagers are given to all parents with children up to age 12 in the Disney children's programs so they can be contacted at any time.
TEEN SHORE EXCURSIONS OFFERED: Teens have a powerboat tour available in Nassau, as well as a kayak, biking and hiking adventure at Castaway Cay, and a nighttime catamaran cruise party in the port of Cozumel on Western Caribbean itineraries.
KIDS/TEENS SPA SERVICES: No.
SPECIAL KIDS RATES: Children under the age of 3 pay $119 for a three-night cruise and $139 for a seven-night cruise. Children between 3-12 years of age pay a discounted rate for being the third, fourth or fifth person in the cabin.
SINGLE PARENT RATES: No.
SPECIAL PRICING FOR FAMILIES IN MULTIPLE CABINS: No.
CRIBS AVAILABLE: Yes, request at time of booking.
STROLLERS AVAILABLE: Yes, inquire at time of booking. Parents can rent strollers and kids’ bikes on Castaway Cay.
SPECIAL FAMILY FEATURES: Disney Cruise Line’s well-designed cabins are the best spaces for families on the sea. The cabins are spacious (about 25% bigger than the industry standard), with plenty of storage and, except for the inside cabins, each stateroom has two bathrooms-one has a toilet and sink and the other has a shower/tub combo with another sink. Outside cabins also feature a sitting area with a couch that serves as a bed, while deluxe staterooms include a bed that pulls down from the wall. A curtain separates the areas, so parents and kids can each have some privacy. Many outside cabins also have balconies.
DINING OPTIONS: Each evening, families aboard a Disney ship go to a different restaurant, rotating through three different themed restaurants throughout their cruise. Lumiere's (Disney Magic) and Triton's (Disney Wonder) offer casually elegant fare and decor, while Parrot Cay's menu and surroundings are based on an island theme. The third restaurant, Animator's Palate, definitely keeps kids' interest. To a background of Disney show tunes, the walls and paintings change from black and white to color during the course of the meal. Parents may also choose to dine at Palo, an adults-only restaurant serving excellent northern Italian cuisine. While parents dine alone, kids can either choose to eat in the assigned dining room or participate in a youth activity. There is also a limited room-service menu with some hot items, an ice cream parlor and a pizzeria. Full service casual dining for breakfast and lunch is available at Topsider Buffet and Beach Blanket Buffet on the Magic and Wonder respectively. The menu includes items such as soup, salad, appetizers, entree, and dessert. The menu items are not the same selections served in the main restaurants. Lunch fare is also offered at Pluto’s Dog House. Character dining is also offered on seven-night itineraries.
MINIMUM AGE TO SAIL: 12 weeks
COMMENTS: No description of a Disney cruise would be complete without a discussion of their programming and facilities for adults. An entire entertainment district is available just for adults on each ship: Beat Street on the Disney Magic and Route 66 on the Disney Wonder. Adults-only nighttime entertainment includes a high-energy dance club, a cozy sports bar, and a stylish jazz club piano bar. Palo, the adults-only restaurant, provides a romantic dining destination for a "parents’ night out." The Quiet Cove pool and the adjacent Cove Cafe offer quiet, adults-only seclusion. Champagne brunch at Palo is offered on sea days of four- and seven-night cruises and the Key West day of seven-night western itineraries; afternoon high tea at Palo is also offered just for adults on sea days during seven-night cruises.
As one might imagine, Disney Cruise Line’s entertainment offerings are excellent. Disney's nightly entertainment, including their brand new Disney musical The Golden Mickeys, have received rave reviews from parents and kids alike.
©Copyright, The Beacon Group, Inc., 2005. All rights reserved.