Disney Cruise (DisneySMMC: Part 2)

A Disney Cruise was the second part of our Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  (Be sure to check out Part 1 at Disney World HERE).  We got to climb aboard and sail away on the newly renovated Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

Disney Cruise DSMMC

I am officially ruined for going on anything other than a Disney Cruise after this experience. I absolutely fell in love with it.  And the even bigger miracle was that my husband loved it too!  He hasn’t had any desire to go on a cruise ever since we went on one (with a different cruise line) when we were first married and didn’t have a great experience.  But going on a Disney Cruise was a night and day difference for us and we both can’t wait to go on another one!

 

Let me explain a few reasons why we LOVED our Disney Cruise:

The Family Friendly, Clean, and Magical Environment
We were treated like royalty by the staff (aka cast members) the entire time we were on the ship.  Maurice took care of our room and was always so kind and there to help with anything we needed.  He left us lots of fun surprises and treats.

All of our servers at meals were fantastic, but I am going to go into that in more detail below.
I don’t know if you have been on other cruises but it can quickly turn into a drunk fest.  We just didn’t see that on this cruise.  Not to say that you can’t purchase alcohol, you absolutely can!  But it seems to stay in some of the areas that are adult only, like the adult pool and lounges.  And a lot of people are there with family so they aren’t interested in getting completely wasted.  Having our two girls with us, it was nice for us to not have to expose them to that.  Theres no casinos on the boat and, with the family setting that it is, people generally watch their language and are courteous.
Everywhere you look is so clean and well taken care of.  Everyone washes their hands at stations going in and out of the dining areas, and they have hand washing stations for all the kids going in and out of the kids clubs.
And best of all is there is just Disney magic everywhere.  Disney is amazing at its attention to detail. There are three themed pools, one with a giant waterslide, one with a giant screen that play Disney movies, and one that’s just for adults.  There are fun hidden Mickeys, beautiful decor, and fun things like the musical notes from “When You Wish Upon a Star” chiming in whenever the captain made an announcement.  You can’t help but just feel happy all the time in that atmosphere.

The Kid and Teen Clubs
We could not drag our girls away from these clubs!  They were so much fun!  Our 7 year old could hang out at both the Oceaneers Club and Oceaneers Lab, which connected to each other by a secret hallway.

Oceaneer Club – photo credit: Walt Disney Co.

We felt so safe checking her in to this kids club.  She had a wristband that she wore the entire cruise that locked on so it wouldn’t get lost.  There were always 2 cast members at the entrance with a gate that would check kids in or out.  To check your kid out was a 3 part system of them scanning their wristband, the adult scanning their card, and also knowing your families secret password.  It was great too because they could tell by their wristband exactly where they were in the club.  There were a bunch of other cast members that worked in the club that were helping the kids do all kinds of fun activities.  And randomly Disney characters like Marvel heroes and princesses would come visit the kids and hang out with them.  So so cool!  There were fun areas too like Andy’s room, and the trading post from Frozen, and a Marvel Hero area.  You can see why my daughter never wanted to leave!
My 13 year old loved her club too.  She was in the Edge, which was for kids 11-14 years old.  This was perfect, because they weren’t stuck with the little kids, or thrown in with 16 and 17 year olds, which we were happy about.  Our daughter made instant friends and loved the cast member counselors that ran the group.  They could come and go as they pleased as long as they had their Edge sticker on their key card.  This club has video games and board games and designated times for fun activities and competitions.  And they had their own reserved area for some of the outdoor parties on the upper deck.  My daughter especially loved that the Edge was right by the soft serve ice cream machines and I’m pretty sure she had a record number of ice cream cones those days.  It was also right next to the pool with the big screen TV that played Disney movies all day and sometimes they would all hang out by the pool and watch movies together.  She was begging us every night to stay out late with her friends.  They all got each others phone numbers and have had a big texting group that they have continued long after the cruise.  My daughter thinks its so fun that she now has friends from all over the country.
Older teens also have their own club called Vibe.  On the Disney Wonder cruise ship their club is hidden with a secret green stair case leading up to it.

The Restaurants
This was one of my FAVORITE parts of doing a Disney Cruise.  The Wonder has 3 main rotational restaurants and 1 adult only restaurant (Palo, by reservation).  Since we had three nights on the ship we got to do one of each of the main restaurants.  And your same servers rotate restaurants with you which makes it so nice because you really get to know them and only have one set of servers to tip at the end.
The first restaurant we went to was the new Tiana’s Place!  The menus were just like the ones in the Princess and the Frog!  It was so fun and a taste of New Orleans.  Theres live music and a fun atmosphere and amazing food.
The second was night was Tritons, this is a French/American cuisine with an Under the Sea atmosphere.
Last, and my personal favorite, was Animator’s Palate.  This dinner was so much fun!  The room starts in black and white and slowly the pictures on the wall begin to be drawn, then filled with color, and then they eventually come to life with scenes and music from your favorite Disney animated movies.  We had a lunch there for the conference and got to draw an animated figure that came to life up on the screen and danced with Disney characters.  It was awesome!
Our servers were the best and so accommodating to my gluten allergy.  It was so nice only having to explain it once.  I had a different gluten free dessert every night, which is impressive!  The head server at the restaurant visited our table every night to make sure we were always happy.
Our girls were completely smitten with our assistant server Yoshi.  She learned their favorite drinks and would have them ready before we even got to our table.  She made little paper hearts on top of our straws and would make them origami animals.  She would grab my seven year old and have her come dance with her.  She was just the cutest.
There are also free quick service restaurants that are open all the time and unlimited soda fountains and soft serve ice cream.

The Shows / Movie Theaters
Each night there were two showings of a big nightly show.  You could attend which ever one worked best with your dining time.  The shows on our ship were The Golden MickeysDisney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic, and Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.  These were all amazing broadway style productions with singing, dancing, and impressive special effects.  We loved all three!

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular – photo credit: Walt Disney Co.

We also loved that current Disney movies were playing on the ship!  We could see Moana in 3D, or Dr. Strange, or Rogue One.  Or like I mentioned before, you could watch a classic Disney movie that was playing outside by the pool.

Pirate Night
Pirate night on the Disney Cruise was such a fun party.  You can bring your own pirate garb, or purchase some at the store on ship, or wear the bandanas that they gave everyone aboard.  Theres fun dancing and games and desserts on the upper deck.  Then some of your favorite Disney characters put on a show followed by fireworks out at sea!  Our 7 year old went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that day and got completely fussed over and dressed up like a pirate girl.  She refused to go to the pool because she didn’t want to mess up her pirate makeup, haha.

Castaway Cay
The only problem with Castaway Cay is that we only got one day there, I didn’t want to leave!!  Castaway Cay (pronounced Castaway Key) is definitely the happiest island on earth.
There are all kinds of fun excursions that you can book on the island, private cabanas you can rent, and kids and teen beach clubs!  Our 7 year old wanted to go play at the kids club, so me and my husband and our 13 year old went out snorkeling.  It was probably the funnest snorkeling I have ever done.  We saw underwater sunken ships, and a submarine, and even a treasure chest, and lots of beautiful fish.  Our friends even saw a sea turtle while they were out.  Every morning they do a Castaway Cay 5k on the island and you get Disney medals for completing it!  We also went on a bike ride around the island and out to a look out point.  Then we played on the beach and on the waterslides on the beach and just soaked in the beautiful Bahama weather.
There is a beautiful beach off on it’s own corner of the island that is for adults only if you are looking for a quite place to relax.
There are two barbecue dining areas on the island, and the food is all included with the cruise!  And free soda fountains and soft serve ice cream too.
I loved the music that played on the island all day and the fun island shops, it was like being at a Disney park.

 

Disney Social Media Conference Out At Sea:

We had an incredible line up of speakers during our Disney Cruise conference aboard the Disney Wonder.  It was so fun learning about animation and media and news from these experts in their fields.

Dave Mullins, Pixar Animation Studios, Animation Supervisor/Short Film Director
We got to be the first audience outside of Pixar to see his new Pixar short that will be playing in from of Cars 3 this summer!  I’m not going to ruin it for any of you, but you are going to LOVE it!  It’s one of my favorites.

Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director on the Disney Parks Blog
We got to learn a lot about what goes into the content of the Disney Parks Blog and their huge team of writers.  The Disney Parks blog is the best place to go to keep up on everything happening at Disney.

Chris Ostrander, Disney Parks Synergy Director
Chris talked to us all about the incredible move line up that Disney has for 2017, and we even got to see some scenes from Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean!
Before we got on the ship we got to watch a early screening of Born in China, the new Disney Nature film coming out in April.  I’m writing a post about it soon so be sure to check back!  There’s also Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Cars 3, Thor Ragnarok, CoCo, and of course Star Wars – The Last Jedi!

Amy Smeed, Disney Studios, Head of Animation on Moana
I adore Amy Smeed, I had the pleasure of listening to her speak back in August about Moana before the movie was even released and hearing some of the back story made me love Moana even more, you can read more about Amy Smeed in my August post HERE.  I’m so excited for Moana to come out on digital next week (February 21)!!

Chris Sonnenberg, Disney Channel, Executive Producer/Supervising Director of the new Tangled Series
We got to see some scenes from this new show coming to the Disney Channel and it’s so cute!  All the main voices are retuning to do the show, it’s going to be awesome.

Alex Ruiz, Disney Parks, Digital Marketing Director
Alex had some great advice on social media and gave us some good ideas on some new apps to try out for work.

Ginger Zee, Good Morning America, Meteorologist
A team from Good Morning America was actually on the ship with us and we got to go on the upper deck one morning while they were broadcasting live.
That afternoon Ginger Zee talked to us about how she balances her career and family and passions and how we need to not get so caught up with being perfect and just work at being present in the moment you are in.  I love how she followed her passion with weather and opportunities that she never dreamed of have also come in to her life.  She had great advice for handling criticism with grace.

 

Thank You Disney!

I have to give a shout out to the amazing Disney Social Media Moms team for all the hard work they put into this conference on Land and Sea.  It was an experience that I will never forget and I am so grateful for the invitation to attend.  The people at Disney truly work to carry out the vision of it’s founder Walt Disney, to give families something better and transport us to another magical world.  I saw this quote in the park and had to snap a picture:

Walt Disney Quote

 

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a conference by invitation for Social Media Influencers.  I paid a conference fee to attend and received some discounted and complimentary items from Disney Parks, the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Media, and their Sponsors.  We were not required to write about our experiences and all opinions are my own.

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