Cruise to the Caribbean on the Disney Magic. It was truly magical. I grew up watching Disney movies and visiting Disneyland in California when I went to visit my dad. I have fond memories of the tea cup ride and making my dad turn green from the spinning. Of course, I love Cinderella and Snow White and dreamed of living in a castle as a little girl. The Disney Cruise for my family really had everything we were looking for when it came to a fun family vacation for both the children and parents.
Tips & Thoughts On The Disney Cruise
They Are Organized
When being dropped off for the cruise we had everything ready to go but it was chaotic at first with the children, bags and tags. The kids were excited and I did not want anything lost.
Everyone was helpful and organized our bags, tags and family items with directions for next steps in just seconds. It was nice to see hundreds of people so quickly organized but in a fashionable way. We really felt no stress because of their boarding process being so smooth and organized. The lines were not long, the forms were quick and each step of the way we were given instructions and kindly spoken to – no rushing or feeling confused.
Everyone aboard the Disney Magic was helpful. The helped carry the children’s trays of food, asked if they could get us a drink or point us in the right direction. The waitresses and waiters were wonderful at remembering what the children and adults like to eat and drink. Each crew member seemed to really care about all of our wants and needs.
Hot Tip: Utilize the Disney World Moms Panel before your cruise to get your questions answered! This is a very helpful service!
We were never bored! From adult entertainment at night with Bingo, comedy, dancing and movies to the children having character times, dance parties, face painting, crafts, games and more.
We were always busy and loving the ship activities and options both off shore and on board. In fact there were many times that we could not make up our mind what we wanted to do!
The live shows each night were like seeing Broadway musicals and my daughter will forever remember these shows!
Safety and Childcare
We loved the childcare options for the children and how they each had to wear a band with emergency information 24/7. Each child could attend the childcare whenever they want but and call the mobile on-board phones when they needed us.
We would check them in and they had to immediately go wash their hands. They asked to attend the childcare they loved it so much! From character visits, movie nights, slimy experiments, games and crafts – the kids could not get enough of the Disney Magic childcare!
We could not check the children out without a secret password and ID – it made us feel very secure. My children actually cry because they miss the boat and going to the daycare!
Hot Tip: You cannot use cash on the boat so your daily charges can really rack up. Keep tabs on what you’re charging so there are no surprises on the last day!
For those who wanted to eat fresh salads, lean fish, fresh fruit and juices the options were there. Sure, they had burgers, ice cream, cake, pizza and fried food but there was plenty of healthy options for anyone wanting smarter choices to watch their waist line.
This helped me and because of the fresh sliced fruit, green salads and soups I managed to only gain 5 pounds! I should have utilized the ship gym or walked the deck! I did unwind at the spa and that was amazing and highly recommend it!
Hot Tip: Pack small thank you gifts for your crew members. This will save you “extra” tipping money but it will be a personal touch too and really say thank you from the heart.
The cruise was perfect for our family and I’ll never forget getting off the elevator with my five year old and her running into Snow White, her favorite Disney character. Her face was full of surprise, delight and excitement! I cannot wait to cruise again with Disney!
We Were Not Home For Christmas
Because of when we went on the cruise, we were not home for the holidays.
This meant no big Christmas tree at home, just a little one. No decorating and going all out. Fewer gifts bought and lots of planning for how Santa would deliver gifts to the kids. Before booking the trip, we made sure the kids were okay with not being home for Christmas. They were. We made sure they understood that on Christmas day, they wouldn’t get big gifts from Santa because we had to pack light. There isn’t a lot of room in a state room when cruising. They were okay with this too. We made sure they understood that our gifts to them wouldn’t be huge either. Our gift was the trip and the excursions. They said they understood.
Making Sure Santa Came
That was months ago and when the questions were asked but on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, it was another story. We had to remind them so they weren’t disappointed. We had to still have stocking stuffers and make sure that Santa came. This was no easy task in a small state room where little ears can hear everything.
To make it possible, I had wrapping paper pre-cut for the three gifts we bought them. I had Small gifts that I wrapped when the children were swimming with dad and Christmas bags for Santa stocking stuffers. Each child had a small bag with little stocking stuffers from Santa (gum, Disney survivor, candy) and note from Santa that explained that when they got home their 3 Santa gifts were under the tree. The note explained to the kids that “mom” (me) had sent an email explaining that we had to pack light. The kids thought it was cool and loved that they had something to look forward to when they got home. This took a lot of planning and organization on my part so be prepared if this is something you do with your family and your children believe in Santa.
All was good in the world.
I pulled it off without a hitch, hiding in a small bathroom to put the bags together while sipping a cocktail.
All was good in the world.
The Disney Magic cruise was again, fabulous. The children were entertained and busy with Gingerbread house decorating, meeting princesses, exploring Mexico, enjoying delicious meal, swimming, resting in hammocks, building sand castles, fishing and the list goes on. Though it didn’t really feel like Christmas the way we’re used to, it was special. I attended mass and sang Christmas carols, while the children dreamed of sugar plum fairies.
Would I book a trip and be away for Christmas again?
No and not because it was a bad experience. It was fabulous and I love sailing Disney. It had its pro’s and con’s. For starters, I had a break from the entire cookie decorating, baking, cooking and cleaning up after meals and holiday decorating. That was a big pro for me because it’s a lot of work but I found that I missed it. Yes, I missed the baking and decorating my home. Of course the other positive was we gave our kids experiences for Christmas and made new memories on Christmas day. That was very special and we’ll forever remember our Christmas 2014 because of this.
For me, the biggest con was missing my sister’s and family because I always host Christmas day and plan the meal and gathering. It was hard to not even talk to them on Christmas day. The cost to call home was over $6.00 a minute and my family would talk for far more than one minute! Not seeing my niece open her gifts and have us all together on such an important holiday was tougher than I ever imagined. I found myself crying over it in private but then wiping my tears thankful for the sunshine, warmth and having a safe and magical trip with my husband, kids, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece.
I think if we ever travel during the holiday season again, the gift will be a Christmas morning gift and we’ll leave after Christmas. I lost a week of holiday shopping. I wasn’t able to see my family, decorate, bake and enjoy celebrating Jesus with my church. Though I went to mass on Christmas Eve I missed my own church family.
Have you ever traveled over a Christmas holiday with your family? How did you handle the gifts, Santa, missing your family and everything in between?