"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
I always thought the "Happiest Place on Earth" was at a Disney Land or a Disney World amusement park. But, now I know it's also at sea on a Disney Cruise Line Ship. Disney has four different Cruise Ships: The Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, and Disney Fantasy. They all mix modern amenities with the grandeur of classic ocean liners.
Cruises from 4 nights to 14 nights are available. My family and I chose the Seven Night Alaska Cruise on board the Disney Wonder that embarks from Seattle. We were so excited to see the glaciers and all the beauty Alaska has to offer.
Although, I was a little nervous about going on my first cruise ever with our kids (2 & a half and 6), Disney quickly put my wife and I at ease. The moment we landed in Seattle, we were taken right to the embarkation point. We didn't have to worry about lugging our bags either! Disney takes care of that too, as they arrive at your stateroom on the ship shortly after you board.
As my family and I walked up the ramp to board the ship, we were in such awe. The ship was enormous! With ten floors of guest rooms, bars, restaurants, eateries, pools, sports areas, spa, gym, theaters and kid's clubs for little ones, tweens and teens. We spent most of the first day just checking everything out.
That is, after we went into the pool.
Do they have a pool? There are THREE of them! The children's pool, where we made our first splash, is in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head and has a bright yellow two-story waterslide that flows right into the pool. We had good weather conditions. But, even if it's not hot out, (temperature drops under 74 degrees) the pools are perfectly heated. During a couple of "chilly" days, there were many kids who, like mine, were blue-lipped and shivering as they are forced to "finally" exit the pool because they are having so much fun. Goofy's pool, for kids and adults, has two whirlpools and a 24-by-14 foot LED Jumbo screen showing classic Disney movies. They have an adults-only pool with a whirlpool spa as well.
If you're wondering, "What else is there to do on a ship"? There is so much to do on a Disney Cruise, it can be hard to do it all. Every night you get sent to your room a guide detailing what is going on all over the ship in 15-minute increments called the "Navigator". Plus, all the staff members know what's going on and are great at reminding you of what not to miss.
Live shows were one of the "not to miss" events. Broadway style musical performances you and your kids will love like "The Golden Mickeys", "Toy Story-The Musical" and "Disney Dreams-An Enchanted Classic".
The Deck Parties were super fun too, with The Sail-Away Celebration, Pirate Night and A Dance Party (with Chip & Dale). The whole family is sure to have a blast at these.
Current "Now Showing in theaters" movies can be seen in the "The Buena Vista" Movie Theater.
Nightclubs, Lounges & Adult Exclusive Dining where adults can enjoy some time away from the kids and have a more romantic and elegant experience during the vacation are perfect for every parent. Plus The Vista Spa & Salon & The Fitness Center are available with the best ocean view a gym could offer and an assortment of world-class treatments and salon services where you can treat yourself to massages or many different hair and beauty care offerings.
No need to worry about the kids. Kids Clubs & A Nursery are steps away for every age. Our kids hardly wanted to be around us because they were having so much fun in the clubs. They even got to perform with Minnie & Mickey Mouse on stage in the Large Theater near the end of the cruise. All the proud parents packed the theater filming their "Young Stars".
Dining - Oh yes! You can't seem to go anywhere on the ship without finding somewhere to eat or drink. In addition to the fine dining previously mentioned, there is Main Dining which include 3 distinctly themed restaurants which you rotate each night, while your servers follow you from venue to venue.
Disney Characters will come to your table at a special "character breakfast" so you and your family can take pictures with Mickey and his main cast and crew and, depending on which ship you sail on, other Disney characters are available at specific times in the lobby like Princesses, Chip & Dale, or our favorite "Pirate Stitch". Disney characters are also walking around on the ship throughout the cruise.
Professional Photographers are taking photos of all your moments with the Disney Characters at designated places with various backdrops throughout the cruise and then they display the photos for you to pick and choose at your leisure. You can also buy an entire DVD of all your family photos and when you get home, you can print photos whenever you want and of any size. A great way to get amazing professional photos you cherish a lifetime.
Other fun onboard activities include $5,000 Mega Jackpot Bingo, ActiviTrivia games, comedians, Theme dinners, hypnotists, hair braiding, and scavenger hunts.
Alaska: It was great seeing the beautiful Landscape and glaciers of Alaska. I know my family will always cherish the memories. Disney provides expert advice onboard with experienced Port Adventures staff with their Signature Adventure Collection that let you customize your time ashore with private vehicles or special experiences unique to Disney Cruise Line. We especially loved the whale watching boat ride where we also saw seals and sea lions with an amazing Baked Alaska Salmon for lunch.
How does Disney Do It All?
The Disney Cruise Line Crew Members and Staff make all the magic happen on the ship. Over the years, I have had great service at restaurants, gyms, spas, theaters or any other place you can think of. My children have had great teachers, coaches, baby sitters that they have loved too. But, my family and I never "Fell in Love", like we did with the Disney Crew Members. The Disney Crew Members and Staff were a part of our family almost instantly. We felt their hearts like nothing we ever experienced before. My kids cried, I mean sobbed, the first week we returned home whenever they thought of them. They made our trip the Magical trip it was. Disney Cruise Line is awesome! Don't miss out on experiencing a Disney Cruise sometime in your life. The sooner the better.