I had no idea what I was getting into sailing with Disney Cruise Line on our very first land and sea back in 2005. A couple of months before our land and sea vacation, which included a stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa followed by a four day cruise aboard the Disney Wonder, I received a Planning Guide full of pre-cruise information, no detail left behind, guidance every step of the way.
The Disney Cruise Line Planning Guide is mailed out to you well in advance of your cruise and was formatted directly after the Planning Centre online at the Disney Cruise Line website, The Planning Guide includes a complete Vacation Checklist with a list of what to do and when, the itinerary including flight and ground transfer information, the required documents, packing check-lists, authorization forms, embarkation information, and luggage tags. This guide is portable and must be brought with you.
If you are heading to Port Canaveral directly from Orlando International Airport, you need not worry about collecting luggage from Baggage Claim, instead, head directly to the Disney Cruise Line check in area, (right across from Disney’s Magical Express). You will find your luggage in your ship stateroom soon after you arrive. It’s that easy. If you are going to enjoy a land stay at the Walt Disney World Resort before your cruise, make sure you book Disney’s Magical Express from Orlando International Airport and also notify Disney Cruise Line that you will need a ride to Port Canaveral upon the end of your land stay. Below, a photo of a newer Disney Cruise Line motor coach equipped with seat belts and restroom. The entrance leading to the gangway at the Disney Cruise Line Terminal, Port Canaveral.
Larger staterooms aboard all the Disney ships, allow greater ease for families and the industry innovative first, split bath configuration allows for two people to get ready at the same time. The typical staterooms can accommodate from three to five guests and most of the staterooms provide ocean views, while many boast comfortable verandahs. The beds are raised allowing for the storage of luggage, creating even more space, with finely appointed Disney motifs adorning each stateroom. Ample storage closets, dressers and drawers, a cooling fridge, television set and the fabulous convenience of the complimentary Wave Phones are thoughtful touches. Two Wave Phones are provided in each stateroom, (more available from Guest Services for a fee) which allow communication between family members and the Youth Clubs. My favourite detail was the bedding, making sleeping so comfortable. Disney Cruise Line uses the top notch Frette bedding. Restroom personal care accessories are furnished by the product line H2O. Guests receive stateroom service twice daily, with the last being turn down. Believe me when I say that you get used to this quickly. Below you will see the typical verandah stateroom, ocean view stateroom and inside staterooms.
Magical Porthole windows are offered in some inside staterooms aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. This innovation provides those inside staterooms with an LCD screen which captures real time feed from the exterior of the ship, making guests feel as if they are in an ocean view stateroom. Inside staterooms aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder offer a large porthole mirror, giving the illusion of depth perception and space.
Rotational dining aboard all four ships with the innovative idea of the serving team following you on each rotation. This enables each guest a completely personalized service. Your serving team discusses any dining concerns and preferences with you on the first night of sailing and you need not repeat yourself again. Your preferences will magically appear. The rotation involves the three main dining rooms on each ship and includes both dinner seatings, the early and later. Guest on the later dinner seating have the option of the ‘Play and Dine’ option, enabling guests to dine with their children, but after approximately one hour, the Youth Counselors will come up to the dining room and escort the children to the Youth Clubs for exciting events and activities. This allows you to continue your dinner in peace and solitude.
Disney Cruise Line doesn’t charge extra for beverages, except alcohol and specialty coffees. The twenty-four hour Beverage Station, near all the main pools, is complimentary and offers soda, water, milk, coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. You can also order milk, coffee and tea free of charge through room service, while ordering soda pop in cans and alcohol does come with a charge. My favourite beverage on the ship is the pomegranate lemonade. Ordering specialty coffees from their coffee shops, Vista Cafe or Cove Cafe does come with a cost, but a reasonable one might I add. Don’t forget to pick up your Cafe Fanatic card as the sixth coffee is free.
Best of all, entertainment aboard the ship is free! Enjoy the live, Broadway-style Disney themed shows, first run Disney movies, character greets and experiences, the gym facilities, pools, games and most sports, all amenities at Disney Cruise Line’s private Bahamian island called Castaway Cay, all the restaurants aboard the ship and on Castaway Cay, and the youth clubs.
I can personally vouch for the peace of mind sailing with Disney Cruise Line. Our children have grown up sailing with Disney, which has allowed them the inclusive, life-long learning experiences sailing the different itineraries.
Have you sailed with Disney Cruise Line? Are you planning one soon? Share with us!