This Year’s Adventure: Going Cruising With Disney! (The Pre-Trip Post)

(featured photo taken by Janice Tillman Brady with An Open Suitcase)

Summer is FINALLY here and

Well, I’m not going to lie to y’all.  It has not exactly started off on the greatest “foot.”  As I noted on the blog’s Facebook page, it seems that our family footprints are more stuck in quicksand these days than they are making tracks on the beach. Of course, there’s no denying some great things have happened (our son graduated, is going to his first choice college, everyone made it out of school alive, etc.), but, all in all, it’s been a rough year and the hits just seem to keep coming (I’ll leave that for another blog post).  In the midst of the stress and headaches, however, as a momma, I knew we needed something this summer to which we can look forward (and taking my son to college is NOT going to be one of them).  I always work hard at trying to create at least ONE big event during the summer that gives us a reason to smile, a reason to look back and memories to cherish as a family.  So, this year, we are doing something new…something our family has NEVER done before.

We’re going on our first Disney Cruise!!!!

The Disney Wonder ~ photo taken by Gayle Feldman Turner with Disney Gals

While many of my Disney friends are either shaking their heads right now because they believe we should have done this years ago or chEARing us on because, “YES, THEY FINALLY TOOK THE PLUNGE,” I admit I’m embarrassed to say that, as frequent Disney vacationers, this will actually be our first off-land magical Disney adventure.  Our normal annual vacations usually include a jaunt down south to visit the Big Cheese himself, mainly because this is the only place I trust when it comes to my son’s food allergies (no big secret, if you know us well enough).  Last year, however, our oldest son, the one who was entering his senior year of high school at the time, had a special request, one that deviated just a bit from our normal family trips.  He had been wanting to go on a cruise for years (so, no, the entire idea is not mine to own).  Unfortunately, it has just not been feasible and, to be quite honest, I have always been terrified of two particular things:

  1. My getting sea sick (I’m the mom who can’t enjoy Star Tours, Mission Space or Mad Tea Party ~ but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror)
  2. And our youngest suffering the consequences of an ill-informed dining staff.

Nonetheless, hubby and I took our soon-to-be college-bound son’s request into serious consideration and we pondered…and pondered…and pondered…for nearly the entire year.  This was a tough decision in some respects and we could not find ourselves ready to commit.  We certainly wanted to give this to him (I mean, at least he was asking to go with his family and not friends – right?), but financially we were not seeing how it would work.  Of course, I was also having a difficult time trying to get over the poignant fears preventing me from agreeing to this.

Photo taken by T.M. Brown

It came right down to the wire….graduation was about a month away and we had no clue what we wanted to give our son as a congratulatory gift, nor had we planned our annual vacation!  I found myself beginning to play around with prices again.  I started doing some research and talked with hubby quite a bit, working out various scenarios. Fortunately, we do have the Chase Disney Visa Card, which allows six months 0% APR when booking something like this….so, that option made it a little more tempting. We had also made a few recent financial decisions that seemed to free up a little vacation money.  So ~ the potential for this to happen was gaining momentum once again.

Finally, we just came to the ultimate conclusion that, “Heck, we only live once and this would certainly make his (our) summer before college memorable!”

So……WE DID IT!!!  We booked our first cruise with Disney Cruise Line!  We sail the Disney Dream in just a few weeks!

The Disney Dream ~ photo taken by Lisa DiDomenico Cameron with Adventures in Familyhood

Okay, so many ask – why Disney Cruise Line?  Why not any of the other options?  Well, it really all came down to comfort, familiarity and peace of mind.  As noted above, we vacation at Walt Disney World nearly every year and are very proud Disney Vacation Club members.  They take such great care of our son and we experience so many pixie-dusted moments when we are there.  We have even made some tremendous friends among Cast Members through the years and look forward to seeing them each trip we take.  I also have oodles of Disney sisters and brothers who have raved over sailing on the Magic, Wonder, Fantasy and Dream ~ every single story leaving me with a stronger desire to sail.  So, it was a no-brainer that, if I wanted to plan a magical first time cruise for the family, Disney Cruise Line would be the way to go.

I have also read many a post that talked about all the precision and attention paid to those who have food allergies, no matter the severity.  For instance, I read that your dinner server stays with you throughout the cruise, carefully noting and accommodating any dietary restrictions each and every night.  I’ve heard stories about special treats being delivered to staterooms and meals being specially prepared for kids’ club or port excursions.  That’s the kind of magic I hope we see on our trip.

In addition to the careful meal preparation, I keep reading about the various and numerous activities and events offered onboard, giving every member of our family ~ no matter the age ~ something to enjoy on a Disney Cruise.  I mean, how could we go wrong?

In conclusion, this was THE ONLY cruise line I truly believe my heart would be willing to trust and my family appreciate…especially for a first time cruising family.

Once the decision was made, I booked through a Disney friend of mine who is a travel agent.  She did a great job getting us in at the last minute and into what appears to be a great room (I was insistent on a veranda room).  Even with using a travel agent, though, I still chose to do a lot of footwork myself afterwards this time around.  I’m the mom who has to make sure that everything is taken care of for her little guys (no matter how big they get).   I sent emails, made phone calls, filled out forms, you name it.  I wanted to be prepared.  We chose a three-day cruise to keep it simple, but long enough to get our “feet wet” with the new experience.  I’m actually still a little nervous about getting sick at sea myself, but I’m more confident as time goes on that our youngest is going to have an amazing and SAFE time.

The Disney Wonder ~ photo taken by Patty Maro Moliterno with A Mother’s Random Thoughts on Disney, Homeschooling & Autism

As a family, we have already agreed to do a show, a movie (everyone is hoping Spiderman: Homecoming will be playing), miniature golf, the AquaDuck and meals together.  We also have one excursion booked for one of our days at port.  I’ve been reading and reading about opportunities on board, how to schedule your day, what we should not miss and what is okay to forego.  Three days is really not going to be enough in the long run, but it will be a good start.  I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m working hard at trying to make this one of the most amazing and magical vacations our family has ever taken together!

Photo credit for the above goes to: Carrie Hurst with My Favorite Finds (Castaway Cay sign) and Kelly Carlson with The Main Street Moms (the two pools) 

So ~ that leaves me with questions for you!  I’d love to know, from those of you who have cruised with Disney before (to be more specific, the Disney Dream), the following:

  • What recommendations do you have regarding character meets?
  • What would you consider the top recommended activities onboard?  In Nassau (we have never been)? On Castaway Cay?
  • What are your recommendations for potential seasickness?
  • Have you had any experience with the medical staff and, if so, how were they?  Easily accessible?  Great bedside manner?  Capable and understanding?
  • Do you have a cast member I can say hi to for you? (I love making connections!)
  • Talk to me about the Rainforest Room (I have a pass!!  Thanks, Karen!)!
  • For my older teens, talk to me about Vibe.  Will my 17 1/2 year old be bored?
  • For my friends with littles who have food allergies, what has been your experience with the kids’ areas (namely those that include 11 year olds)?
  • What other amazing and magical tips can you share for our maiden voyage?

See?  Now, I’m getting even more excited about our upcoming trip!  I can’t wait to hear what you have to share (which doesn’t have to be limited to answering the questions above) and then I’m anxious for the day I get to share with you everything that happened during our own Disney Cruise adventure!!

The Disney Wonder at Castaway Cay ~ photo taken by Kami Allen with The Momma Diaries

In the meantime, enjoy making lots of footprints in the sand this summer, my friends!!

~ T

The Disney Wonder ~ photo taken by Crystal Benedict

HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thanks to all my Disney Social Media Mom friends who offered up some of their own favorite pics from their own Disney Cruise experiences.  When I didn’t have any of my own, they were more than willing to share theirs and I am bursting with excitement to soon see all of these images with my own two eyes!!  Thanks again to:

 

42 thoughts on “This Year’s Adventure: Going Cruising With Disney! (The Pre-Trip Post)”

    1. We are pretty excited! I’ll be posting about the trip, keep an eye out. Lol! What’s your favorite part of being on a cruise?

    1. Lol – while I’m sure you meant “cruise” and not “curse,” (love crazy keyboard mishaps, right?) I hope your dream comes true! Keep an eye out for my follow on posts after the cruise…you may just find yourself checking itineraries once you hear about all the excitement and magic.l (can you tell we’re excited?). Thanks for the read, Stephanie!

        1. Awesome!!! I’d love for you to follow along!!! We are a family of five, as well! What ages do you have, if I may ask? We have two teens and a preteen.

  1. wow that is amazing ! I went for one cruise before but traveling with Disney must be so much fun! So jealous! Have lots of fun!

    1. I’m a little nervous about that myself, Gina. I have tons of friends who have been in the “same boat” and did very well in either big cruise ships or simply on a Disney cruise because it is so big. Keep an eye out and I’ll be posting more after our adventure. I’ll be sure to comment on that topic because it’s one of my big things, too. Thanks for the read!!

  2. I am so excited for you and your family! I bet you will have a blast! When it comes to Disney I am obsessed with it. I live two hours away from WDW. Disney cruises are amazing, but for sea sickness I would go by your local Wallgreens, CVS, or Walmart they have these bands called Sea bands and you wear them around your wrist and its suppose to help, they also have some stores on the ship that have some different things for you but are normally a little more expensive then on land. Disney always has separate food for those with allergies so you definitely will be good there. As for the teen , I think he will have an amazing time, Vibe is awesome and they always have plenty of stuff for them to do. The Disney cruise ships are always amazing! I hope you enjoy and have a blast!

    1. I love that you took the time to read and answer a lot of of my specific questions!!! Thank you so much!! I am definitely going to look into sea-bands and I get more and more excited for the possibilities for our youngest. We watched YouTube videos last night of Vibe and the boys are psyched now. Huge, huge thanks!!! Stay tuned for the follow up posts!!

      1. Ditto the Sea Bands- you can find them at CVS. I wore them so much during my first two pregnancies (lots of morning sickness) and I will swear by them. They are also excellent for motion sickness. Can’t be without them!

  3. Oh wow! This sounds like it will be a blast. Disney always goes above and beyond. I’m sure their cruise lines are awesome. 🙂

  4. Disney has a cruise? Wowee! We miss out on so much here in Australia. I am just hoping they open a Disneyland/world here in the near future. Have an absolute blast on your cruise!

    1. They do, Leah!!!! They have four ships at the moment with multiple itineraries around the world, adding adventures on a regular basis! I have friends who just did an 11 day cruise ~ which is a long way off for me, to be honest. I am just excited to be getting my “feet wet” with the three-day adventure and then we will see where to go from there. LOL. PS – I think Australia would be an FANTABULOUS place to have a Disney kingdom built!! Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for follow-on posts regarding our excursion!

    1. This will be our first, so stay tuned to see how it works out, Nazrin! Sounds like you enjoy being near or on the water (taking that from “right up my street” ~ correct assumption?), so I hope you get to cross this off your bucket list at some point in the near future! Thanks for the read!!

    1. We’ve had it on our bucket list for some time, too, so we’re pretty psyched to cross it off this summer. Keep an eye out for my updates as the trip unfolds. Maybe it will get you just that much more excited (though I’m sure you are already pretty eager) and you’ll be able to cross it off your list in the near future, as well! Thanks for stopping by, Amanda!! Much appreciated! (PS – I haven’t been to Disneyland since 2003….I am sooooo eager to go back!!!)

    1. Oh, I’m so glad to hear you’ll be following, Tina! Disney actually has four cruise ships with a variety of different adventures. Check out disneycruiseline.com and just have fun playing around. That’s how I got started. Hmmm….Sounds like you may have a new bucket list item – lol!

  5. Oh wow, this looks incredible! I’ve never been on a cruise or to Disneyland, but I bet the combination of these two is amazing! We live in Sydney, Australia so fingers crossed one day we can take our boys on such a wonderful adventure as this.

    1. Keep that on your bucket list and never stop dreaming about it! It would be a fantastic trip ~ whether to Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, any of the other parks around the world or even on a Disney cruise! Keep your eyes open and keep researching for special packages and one day you will get to share that magic with your boys! I was telling another friend who commented that I think it would be a fantastic idea if a Disney kingdom landed in Australia. What a beautiful country for anyone to visit (and one I dream of visiting one day myself)! Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for follow on posts about our trip.

  6. We’re going on our first Disney Cruise next year! I wanted to wait till my youngest was at least 6. Man they’re pricey but I hear they’re sooo worth it. Happy for you!!!!

    1. Yeah!!! I bet you guys are beyond excited! Which adventure are you taking? Yes, it is a little pricey, but I hear the memories made are priceless! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you keep your eyes open for the follow on reports – lol!

      1. We’re going to do the 4-day castaway, Bahamas trip…start small lol. You’re right I’m looking to make more memories 🙂

        1. Now that I’ve done the planning, I wish we had done the four day…but the three day will certainly get our feet wet and give us the experience we have been craving. I’m sure it will have us eager to book the next adventure. LOL. I cannot imagine the excitement and anticipation of having to wait until next year, though! How are you going to doing it?

          1. I have mini trips planned. We’re doing Rehoboth Beach next month, we did Wildwood last year. I just came off of vacation myself to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands so it’s not bad. Also the kids will not know till it’s just about time to go lol. I’m not about to be annoyed for a year

          2. LOL!!! I hear you. Mine are too heavily involved in the process, so we have never been able to do a “Disney reveal.” Kudos to you, though! Wow! Sounds like you have the a great travel history under your belt, too, with lots of memories already made – sounds exciting! Enjoy Rehoboth Beach and Wildwood! With a calendar like that, I’m sure next year’s trip will come very quickly.

    1. Thanks, Sue!! I’ll definitely give that a look. Always good to have some tricks up my sleeve just in case. I love what your #lifegoal is!! LOL! I can’t wait to see it with my own two eyes! So excited! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Awww, my pleasure, though I should be thanking you for taking the time to stop by! Here’s hoping you DO get to go on that Disney cruise next year and that you have the most magical of times ever!! Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be sharing more as the adventure happens. Stay tuned!

  7. We’re going on our first cruise Aug 7-11 on the Dream and I’m so excited! I also have a teenage son who has food allergies. I enjoyed your blog and look forward to hearing how you like it!

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