Disney Fireworks Cruise ~ What To Expect
Around Walt Disney Worlds Epcot area, there are three Disney resorts situated around a lake and waterway. These Disney resorts are all so close to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, that you can easily walk to those parks. Also, the waterway is used as a transportation route instead of Disney buses. Friendship Boats offer complementary transportation, and have the right of way under bridges and in any congested areas.
We left for our Epcot Illuminations Fireworks Cruise with plenty of time to navigate leisurely to our destination. The captain actually took us for a loop down to Hollywood Studios, to enjoy a longer, relaxing boat ride. Unlike zipping along in a speed boat, the sound of the pontoon motor during the cruise is minimal, allowing for conversation.
Next we headed in the other direction to nestle into our spot to watch the fireworks. You approach the International Gateway back entrance to Epcot. The Disney World Fireworks cruise boats all appeared of the same size, and were lined up in a tight row underneath the bridge between France and United Kingdom.
In other words, you are floating right on the water on the edge of World Showcase Lagoon. Words cannot fully express what an exhilarating experience it is to watch Illuminations from this vantage point!
Oceaneer Club And Oceaneer Lab For Children Ages 312
All four Disney ships have amazing spaces for kids in the 3- to 12-year-old range in the Oceaneer Club and Lab. Here youre going to find things like video games, an indoor slide, fun programs with the staff, surprise character visits and so much more. Your kids do need to be potty trained to stay in this club, so use that as motivation for a kid approaching 3 years old before your next cruise!
Your kids dont need an appointment to pop in here, they can come anytime from open to close and it stays open pretty late.
There will be open hours on the first day and select times on other dates that parents can stay with kids and play, but most of the time it is kids-only.
Your kids will check in and out by scanning a special MagicBand that also tracks where they are exactly within the kid clubs.
Once your child turns 8, you have the option of giving them self check-out privileges. We did not quite feel comfortable with that at 8 years old, but it is a choice and youll get a notification on your Wave phone when your child checks in or out of the kids club.
While kids up to 12 are welcome in the main, large Oceaneer Club, they may start hoping to move up to the tween club by the time they are 10 years old.
You Can Take An Adventures By Disney Trip While Cruising
Instead of choosing just one port adventure in cities like St. Petersburg and Stockholm, the group travel company offers full-scale trips that overlay at each port, making for the ultimate vacation enhancement on Mediterranean and Baltic sailings. Expect to be whisked between Florences grandest sights or Romes famed monuments on European Disney Cruise Line sailings without planning a thing. Want to take it easy while sailing? Adventures by Disney also conducts shortened tours of major port cities like Barcelona and Copenhagen prior to setting sail.
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Is A Disney Cruise All Inclusive
Disney Cruise lines are mostly inclusive. There are a few restaurants and experiences that require reservations and added fees but you do not have to do these to enjoy your cruise.
You could easily pay for your cruise and not spend any extra money to experience the best of the cruise. If you would like to splurge you can add on special activities and dinners to your trip.
Gratuities are not included and should always be considered in your budget, the cast members on the ship work very hard to make sure you have an incredible experience.
The question I get a lot is: Is Ice Cream Free on a Disney Cruise? And the answer isYES!!! There are soft-serve ice cream machines on the ship that guests can use as they choose. My kids loved this!!
Getting back to basics, three meals a day are included. This includes access to a buffet style restaurant as well as a sit-down restaurant that you do not need reservations for. Also unlimited coffee, tea, and soft drinks are included.
Besides food a Disney Cruise also includes amazing top-notch entertainment and shows. We loved the Beauty and the Beast show on the Disney Dream.
Also included in your vacation are daily activities and the Disney Oceaneer Club. This is the on-site kids club. I go in depth on what to expect in this post: Disney Dream Kids Club: What Parents Need to Know for a Disney Cruise.
The Chance To Be A Castaway Club Member
After you sail once with Disney Cruise Lines, you become a Castaway Club member. The second time you sail, you will automatically be a silver member. This allows you to check in the Club member line when at the port and youll find a small gift awaiting you when you get to your room. On our last cruise, the gift was a very nice crossbody bag embroidered with the Disney Castaway Club logo as well as a Castaway Club.
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My Ultimate Guide To The Pros And Cons Of A Disney Cruise
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We recently returned from a 3-night Bahamas cruise aboard the Disney Dream. Our family had a blast, and it is a trip we will remember for a long time! Coming back though, I was reflecting on my Disney cruise experience and wondered, are Disney Cruises really worth the cost?
Lets not kid ourselves, these trips are expensive! There seems to be no such thing as a discounted Disney cruise or a Disney cruise deal. I found that our trip cost easily 2-3x the cost of other cruises! Im not sure if all the Disney extras were really worth the inflated price.
At the end of the day, my Disney Cruise advice to others is to wait until your kids are older to splurge on Disney! It seems the best age for a Disney cruise is likely between ages 5-12 when Disney mania is prime, and kids are more independent!
Although we did REALLY enjoy the awesome infant babysitting service on our cruise, Im not sure we got out as much as we put in.
Every family is different though and every family values different things on vacation. When I was researching Disney dream cruise reviews I read a lot of blogs and I hope this review of the pros and cons will be helpful to others.
Here is my list of the pros and cons of a Disney Cruise:
What Makes A Disney Cruise Line Photo Package Worth It
If you are the type of person, like me, that just NEEDS to make sure you have all of your amazing PhotoPass photos forever, then it is very likely the Disney Cruise Line Photo Package is for you! With several packages to choose from, there is something that will work for everyone and their needs.
There are many photo opportunities on board including dinner photos, character photos, and even photo sessions you can schedule. If you are doing a themed cruise like Star Wars or Marvel, then you really do not want to miss out on the chance to keep these unique memories. All you have to do is hand a photographer your Key to the World Card and your photos will go right on your account.
The photographers on board are professionals, and extremely talented, just like the PhotoPass photographers a the Disney Parks. This means you can trust them to capture your cruise memories perfectly.
As a mom, I love this because I am always the one taking the photos, and not in them. With these packages I can take advantage of every photographer I see, and ensure that I am in our family vacation photos!
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Getting A Disney Cruise Line Discount
The best way for a return guest to get a discount on the Disney Cruise Line is to book while you are already on a sailing. Youll have two options.
You can either book with the dates that you want to sail, and can choose your exact dates and room. For this, youll need to give a deposit.
Alternatively, you can book a placeholder for a $250 fee. This can be applied to a cruise booked within the next two years. I typically book a placeholder, even if I dont have another cruise planned because its valid for a while.
Depending on the sailing, youll get a discount as well as stateroom credit. To do an onboard booking, youll want to visit the desk on the ship as soon as possible. It can be very busy by the end of your sailing and there is typically a line to talk to a cast member.
Other discounts can sometimes be available for Canadian residents, Florida residents, and members of the military. The Disney Cruise Line special offers page has more specific information on this. They arent always available so youll have to check for details and eligible sailings.
Attention To Detail And Service
This really boils down to why people pay more to travel on Disney Cruise Line. The question of how much does a Disney cruise cost may not matter to you when you receive such a high level of service. While on the cruise, you are catered to by Disney staff members and your kids have smiles from ear to ear. Guests must understand that if you want impeccable attention to detail and service, you will have to pay up, and many do.
I love the idea of themed sailings, like the Halloween on High Seas and Very MerryTime Sailing. Our family enjoyed the Halloween sailing immensely. The decor was stunning and made you feel as if you were transported to Main Street at a Disney Park. I was able to compare since I had been on other sailings before, that the Halloween cruise is meticulously crafted. There are so many small details that Disney alters to make this cruise feel extra special. Although I have not sailed on one, I hope to enjoy a Marvel, Pixar or Star Wars Day at Sea in the near future.
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How Much Is A Disney Cruise For A Family Of Four
While Disney cruises arent just for kids, far from it actually, its fair to say that most people taking Disney cruises are families. So lets take a closer look at Disney Cruise Lines family prices
The price of a Disney cruise for a family of four ranges from $2,313 for a two-night cruise from San Diego in an inside cabin, to $27,383 for a 14-night Christmas cruise along the Panama Canal in a concierge stateroom with a verandah.
The average seven-night Disney cruise for a family of four costs around $8,087 for a room with a verandah.
On a Disney cruise, the price for a family of four depends on the ages of your children.
- Children aged 13 and over are charged the full adult fare
- Children aged 3 to 12 are charged the child rate
- Children aged 0 to 2 are charged half of the child rate
Whilst most other cruise lines show the prices per person, Disney Cruise Line shows the total price per stateroom. This can make it almost impossible to know how much youre paying for the adults and how much the child rate is.
Disney Cruise Lines pricing also depends on how many people are sharing a stateroom. All prices are based on two adults in the stateroom So a single parent with one child will pay the same as two adults. Solo cruisers also pay the same as two adults.
Plan To Exchange Your Currency Onboard
Not only does Disney Cruise Line take no commission for exchanging bills, but theyll actually honor the transactions rate of exchange for any leftover money. Simply present your receipt prior to the end of the cruise, and theyll convert your foreign currency back to your preferred denomination at the same rate, even if the exchange rate has since changed.
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How Much Does A Disney Cruise Cost
Magic aint cheap, and Disney cruises are expensive. They arent the priciest voyages out there, but they will cost more than family-friendly competitors such as Royal Caribbean by a noticeable margin.
For a family of four, the cheapest Disney cruise currently available in 2021 or 2022 is just over $2,000 but both of the cheapest options are for two-night cruises on the West Coast. The cheapest price for a family of four on a three-night cruise from Port Canaveral to Nassau and Castaway Cay in an inside stateroom is currently about $2,500. An ocean view will add about $70 and a verandah will add about $200.
On these shortest cruises, concierge-level staterooms and access start at about $5,000 for a family of four.
Those sorts of prices will only be available during the offseason, such as in mid- to late January and early February. That same cruise during spring break can cost double, so the more date flexibility you have, the better.
A seven-night cruise, such as one going from Cape Canaveral to the Western Caribbean, or from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera, will likely start around $5,000 for a family of four. Expect Alaska and European cruises to start at $5,000 to $6,000 for inside cabins for a week, and go up in price for longer sailings and upgraded staterooms.
Tips For Saving Money
Did you know that you can book another cruise while you are on the ship and receive a discount? This way your next Disney cruise vacation can be a longer, pricier one with possibly a less expensive pricetag.
Disney Cruise Line offers 10% off the price of your next cruise if booked onboard, which can add up to a significant discount! I like to scope out the upcoming cruise itineraries before sailing so I have an idea of what I would like to book onboard.
If you decide not to take the cruise you booked onboard, you can cancel it and get a refund on your deposit as long as you are inside the cancellation window. So, its really a win-win situation!
There are a few restrictions on this deal including that you must sail within 24 months of the onboard booking. If you arent sure which cruise to book on board, you can purchase a placeholder for $250. This holds the onboard booking deal until you choose the cruise to apply it to.
Also, you may receive a discount on TWO staterooms as long as you put down a deposit on each.
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Disney Cruises Include Food
All you can eat for a family is no small deal. If youre wondering if Disney cruises include food, the answer is YES! Just like other cruises, Disney includes all meals and beverages, just not alcohol. Dinner is never just a dining experience on a Disney Cruise. Of course, the food is delicious with plenty of options for various dietary needs/restrictions, but its also packed with live entertainment that elevates your vacation into the most wonderful family memories. From dancing with Tiana to learning how to draw your favorite characters, do NOT miss your dinner rotation! Rotational dining splits your dinner meals into three different restaurants and your wait staff comes along with you to each different one so the kids get to know them and hear their storytelling.
Our favorite restaurants on the newly re-imagined Disney Wonder were Tianas Place and Animators Palate.
Coffee Shops And Snack Shops
Whats interesting about a Disney Cruise is that the snacks and pastries youll see in the coffee shop or kiosk are all included, but the specialty coffee will cost a little extra.
Drink prices are roughly similar to Starbucks, if not a notch lower. Be sure and ask for the Cafe Fanatic card if youre a regular as your sixth drink will be free.
In addition to the included ice cream, your ship may have some shops with ice cream that costs extra. This can get confusing to kids, so I want to warn you a bit ahead of time. On the Dream youll find Vanellopes, which is stuffed with candies, gelato and ice cream all for an extra charge.
Theres a juice bar on the Dream and Fantasy, but know that it also costs extra.
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Each Cruise Has A Secret Community Of Friends Hiding In Plain Sight
Ever seen those homemade decorations hanging beside neighbors doors? Theyre called fish extenders, and theyre used by a network of families who have packed small gifts, treats, and trinkets to exchange with each other throughout their trip. To get in on the fun for your next sailing, visit the DisBoards Cruise Meets forum or CruiseCritics Roll Calls.
Ticketed And Unique Character Experiences
Just try traversing a Disney cruise ship without bumping into a character to interact with . If youve ever been frustrated by expensive character dining and using valuable fast passes on character spots in the parks, I promise you will not have to work so hard on your cruise. DCL offers a great mix of opportunities for both impromptu and planned character meetings. Your daily Personal Navigator and the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App detail the scheduled character meet-and-greets that happen more or less continuously throughout the day. Our cruise included two ticketed character meeting opportunities, the Princess Gathering, where we met Tiana, Ariel, Cinderella, and Belle one after another with zero wait, and the Frozen Gathering, another no-wait meet-and-greet, with Anna and Elsa. Beyond the ticketed gatherings, youll almost never wait more than 10 or 15 minutes to meet a character on the ship. The best part? Frequent character wardrobe changes from port to port mean you can grab lots of different photos with Mickey, Minnie and the gang that are unique to your itinerary.
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