About Disney Cruise Line
Disney offers one of the most distinctive cruise experiences available. What Disney Cruise Line does best is provide and experience that is “elegant” and “family friendly”.
The four Disney ships are family-friendly, offering elaborate and distinct features and design. Each of the ships has its own, but they’re all basically modern luxury ocean liners in the style of Art Deco or Art Nouveau. As you walk around the ships you will notice that the ambience is casually elegant with may “Mickey” features, from the etched-in-pewter characters bordering the atrium to the hidden mini Mickey’s in the adults-only restaurant’s china pattern.
The details are stunning, from gorgeous chandeliers to handrails, the design of these ships is very thoughtful and meticulous
If you’re thinking of doing a cruise during Holiday or Spring Break weeks, you’ll need to book your cabins as soon as space is made available. Disney Cruise rates and availability are usually published about 1.5 years in advance. In addition families looking for adjoining cabins, sell out FAST!
Disney Podcasts, Trip Reports and Guide Books
Podcasts: We really enjoy planning our Disney trips and begin by checking the message boards and reading about other people’s experiences on the Disney Cruise Line. You will encounter all types of people who are happy to help you make your cruise the best trip ever. You can find trip reports on most podcasts and on Disney Travel blogs. They are detailed, include lots of pictures, and you get to see/hear the excitement about a family’s Disney vacation.
Guide Books: There are many books available about Disney Cruising, but we like “The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line book.” It is a great resource in the planning process and provides detailed descriptions of the restaurants, what there is to do on board the ship and Castaway Cay and suggestions for excursions.
Use A Travel Professional
Joan and I have spent hours searching the web, reading the countless books about Disney Cruises and making us both crazy with the details. REMEMBER…this is suppose to be a vacation. Work with experts that know the details and best options, and are willing to help you for FREE! They will help you find the best discounts and shipboard credits. If Disney comes out with a sale after you book your cruise, they will adjust your reservation so that you can still get the sale price. Some Disney Travel Experts offer vacation layaway payment plans. ASK.
Planning a cruise around the Christmas holidays, Spring Break, and the summer will be the most costly, but planning for a cruise during the fall and in January and February will save you a ton of money.
Off Season Deals
Are you willing to travel when everyone else’s child is in school? If your family has Pre-K children or home schoolers, ask the Disney Cruise specialist if there are any last minute deals. Best months are in September, October, early December, January and early May.
Saving Money for Your Cruise
If you book your cruise with an Authorized Disney Travel Agency, most will offer you incentives for booking with them. They can offer onboard ship credits or sometimes Disney Gift cards or even discounts on rooms and park tickets. They are amazingly knowledgeable and can help you with any aspect of booking your vacation.
Another way to earn shipboard credit is by paying for your cruise using the Disney Chase Visa credit card. You will get a $50 shipboard credit, but you also earn 1% cash back on all purchases in the form of Disney gift cards. You also get 6 months of interest free financing when you book a Disney vacation with their card.
Save $$ – An Inside Cabin-
The best way to save on the Disney Cruise is to book an inside cabin. Disney has added some extra magic to their inside cabins making them bright and FUN! “Magic Portholes” allow you to enjoy real-time views of the outside of the ship that reflects the actual stateroom’s location—port or starboard.
A live video feed is sent to an LCD flat-screen monitor disguised as a porthole. We were unpacking and “Goofy” popped up on the “Magic Porthole” It was so much fun to discover your favorite Disney Character as they make cameo appearances in the portholes. You never know who might pop by!
A Suite or Two Cabins
Many of the ocean view and verandah staterooms on board a Disney cruise ship will sleep families of five. Suites can sleep up to 7 passengers. It is often far cheaper to book two adjoining staterooms in your preferred category than to pay for a stateroom that will allow for additional occupancy. By booking two adjoining staterooms, you also get an additional bathroom as a bonus.
Register Online for the Kids Club
This way you can simply pick up their wrist bands at embarkation and save time waiting in the registration line. If you have a child under 3, you can register for each night or day of babysitting.
Each passenger over the age of 21 may bring onboard one unopened bottle of wine or Champagne or six bottles or cans of beer per person. The alcohol must be hand-carried in a day bag and/or carry-on luggage. We usually purchase our wine in port and it may also be used on board. Restaurants will charge a $20 corking fee for wine consumed with dinner.
Disney’s Oceaneer Club
Spanning nearly an entire deck, Disney’s Oceaneer Club is a supervised program for children aged 3 – 7, spilt into age groups of 3 – 4 and 5 – 7. The Oceaneer Lab is split into groups for kids aged 8 – 9 and 10 – 12, and offers high-tech interactive programs, hands-on science experiments and ship-wide treasure hunts. Kids 11 – 12 can compete in a marine biology knowledge game show and send digital postcards to friends.
On-Line Check In & Carry-On Bag
Save time and check in on-line and if possible request and early boarding time. This allows you to visit the pools, relax and make early Palo or Remy reservations. Your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom sometime around dinner time. Be sure to take a small carry-on with you, with a change of clothes for dinner, your swim suit and any prescription medications you may need.
Decorate your Door
Disney fans LOVE to decorate their doors whether for holidays, special commemorations or just for fun. All of the doors to staterooms, are metal, which means they’re the perfect place for decorative magnets! Do NOT use adhesive decorations. Magnets are easy to make yourself. Check the Web for free designs to print. Print directly on to magnet paper and then cut them out, or print on cardstock and then attach magnets to the back.
About Dr. Howie:
Married to my beautiful bride Joan, for 49 years, we have 2 kids, Mark, and Jenny, six Grand Kids, Jonathan, Christian, Brock, Ava, Luca and Ben. One Great Grand Daughter Evelyn. I was a classroom teacher for 20 years, owned and managed a retails computer store for 10 years in Arizona and then a CIO (Chief Information Officer) in Durango, Colorado. Retired in 2007, I now travel the world instructing educators and administrators on how to bring Disney into the classroom. I have a Disney Themed Office, and anyone that enters must take off their shoes and rub “Mickey’s” head (LOL) Graduate of Florida State University (BS), Northern Arizona University (MA), Western Pacific University (Ph.D.). Follow Dr. Howie on Twitter @hdiblasi