It may only be September, but I know all of you creative gift-givers are already scheming up some pretty wonderful holiday present ideas for your loved ones. A Disney cruise is always a popular gift, and I’ve heard stories from so many people about the special ways they’ve unwrapped this present for their family.
Whether you’re brainstorming ideas for Christmas morning, or for when you give the gift “just because,” I thought you may be inspired by how some of our current and former Disney Parks Moms Panelists have surprised their families with a Disney cruise …
“Once we surprised our kids with a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning with clues placed all around the house. Each clue was wrapped in a package with items needed for our vacation like bathing suits, sunglasses and even pirate costumes! With every clue found, the kids grew closer to the final package which was waiting for them on the front porch. When they opened it, they found “tickets” for a magical voyage on the high seas with Captain Mickey and a Disney Cruise Line Planning DVD!”
“One Christmas morning, after we exchanged gifts and ate breakfast, I suddenly “remembered” another present that we’d “forgotten.” I told the girls to look on the back porch, and when they opened the door, there were two suitcases with big Mickeys hand sewn on the front, mouse ears and giant Mickey and Minnie plush to greet them. I think my neighbors two blocks away could hear them screaming. “We’re going to Disney!” What they didn’t know (until they opened the suitcases) was that we were going on a Disney cruise! The suitcases were packed with new swimsuits, outfits and pillowcases monogrammed with our sail dates and the name of the ship.”
“We wanted to announce our surprise Disney Cruise Line vacation to the kids in a unique way, so we sent them on a scavenger hunt throughout the house and yard for clues. Each clue they found related to the trip, such as “Do you like warm weather?” and “Did you SEA that your bags are packed?”. The final clues were our itinerary for our Disney Magic cruise and their Magic Bands for our stay at Walt Disney World Resort. They couldn’t stop screaming to know we were leaving right then for a land and sea vacation with Captain Mickey!”
Have you ever given the gift of a Disney cruise? Tell us how you did it in the comments!
Earlier this year, I shared a video featuring some must-have souvenirs for a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. Recently, I visited the Disney Fantasy, one of four amazing ships from Disney Cruise Line, where I selected a few of my favorite souvenirs that will make any Disney cruise extra magical. The nice part is that you can order many of these products from our Disney Parks online store before your trip. After watching the video below, I invite you to visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/Cruise.
What is your favorite must-have item for a Disney Cruise Line cruise? Please share in the comments below.
Even though you’ve heard there is something for everyone on a Disney cruise, do you still wonder if that truly means for you, too? Of course you know your kids will love it, but as parents, will you enjoy it?
You know my answer is “absolutely!” But we also caught back up with Disney Parks Moms Panelist Dolly to get her take on this frequently asked question. Hear what she has to say in this video…
What’s your favorite way to recharge on a Disney cruise?
For more about cruising with Disney from a mom’s point of view, visit these posts:
Today, Captain Mickey and the Disney Magic arrived to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to kick off our brand-new Southern Caribbean sailings.
These 7-night voyages mark our first-ever itinerary departing from Puerto Rico. San Juan will be the homeport of the Disney Magic for the next four weeks until the ship returns to Port Canaveral for 7-night Western and Eastern Caribbean sailings.
To see some of the incredible locations Disney cruisers can visit in San Juan and our Southern Caribbean destinations, check out this video…
To learn more about our Southern Caribbean destinations and Port Adventures, visit these posts:
One of the perks of my job is getting to join you in sailing to incredible destinations around the world. From my experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about packing for a Disney cruise – most importantly that there are some must-have items you never want to forget. Six to be exact …
- Pirate attire - Arrgh mateys! Disney cruisers go all out for Pirate Night, and if you don’t bring your own costume, you’ll wish you had! Bandanas and eye patches are available onboard, but this night is the perfect excuse to pull out that Jack Sparrow wig and those pirate pantaloons.
- Smartphone or tablet – Our newsletter of daily activities, the Navigator, is available as a mobile app. You’ll have a list of what’s happening every minute of every day and a map of the entire ship in your back pocket.
- Wrist watch – This one is especially important if you don’t bring #2… Most people recommend you leave your watch at home during vacation, but on a Disney cruise, you won’t want to miss any of the planned activities! A waterproof watch is even better so you can leave it on at the pool and during our water ride.
- Day bag – Put a few essentials, like a swimsuit, sunscreen and medications, in a small bag to keep with you when you board the ship. Then you can check the rest of your luggage to be delivered to your stateroom later that day. It can also serve as a beach bag for Castaway Cay and extra space to bring home your souvenirs.
- Autograph book – The number of Disney characters onboard never ceases to amaze new cruisers. Bring a keepsake for them to sign, and make sure it’s large enough to hold autographs from all of your favorites.
- Camera – There’s no shortage of picture-perfect selfie spots onboard and at Castaway Cay! Plus our crew members are always happy to snap a family photo for you on your personal camera.
What else has your family learned to always brings on a Disney cruise?
With fall arriving in just a few short weeks, I stopped by the Disney Cruise Line merchandise showroom at Disney Theme Park Merchandise headquarters in Florida. Fall is one of two times during the year when a variety of new merchandise is introduced both at Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line. Here is a look at some new collections you will find the next time you are sailing.
The first program is called “Ahoy Minnie” and features a stylized Minnie Mouse in red, white and blue. The artwork was created by Disney Design Group artist Susan Foy. I like the use of the anchor and Minnie Mouse’s iconic polka-dot covered bow on several items that you can mix and match.
Knotted nautical rope is the foundation of design for the second collection called “Mickey Knots.” This program uses Mickey Mouse’s silhouette outlined with rope on apparel and home goods. I love the coffee mug that uses rope for the handle.
Falling into the category of “long overdue,” the team designed some Captain Mickey Mouse T-shirts. They remind me of the classic Mickey Mouse T-shirts that have been at Disney Parks for years. I love simple designs!
The team also designed a chalkboard-inspired art program that reminded me of the artwork created for Disney Centerpiece in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.
The last stop on our 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises is Basseterre on St. Kitts, a small, volcanic island in the West Indies. White-sand beaches, sapphire waters and a vibrant green rainforest are the perfect backdrop for adventures your family will enjoy here. Check out some of my favorites…
St. Kitts Scenic Railway and Sail Cruise – If scenic views are what you’re after, this is definitely the tour for you. It starts with an hour-and-a-half catamaran voyage along the island’s southwestern coastline where you’ll enjoy views of small fishing villages, sugar plantations and historical sites, including the first British settlement at Old Road and the Brimstone Hill Fortress, the British “Gibraltar of the West Indies.” The second half of the tour is a two-hour railway ride along the Atlantic north side of the island with sweeping views of sandy beaches and pounding surf. Be prepared to take a ton of photos!
Rainforest Hike – Those of you who want to get your blood flowing with an active adventure will want to join the this two-hour nature hike in St. Kitts’ breathtaking rainforest. Before your hike, you’ll also enjoy a visit to the picturesque Romney Gardens at Wingfield Estate, along with a photo stop at Carib Rock Drawings, a volcanic rock with inscriptions from the first inhabitants of the island. Your transportation for this adventure is an open-air safari vehicle, perfect for checking out the coastal views, picturesque valleys, sugar cane fields and lush green mountains.
4×4 Island Safari And Beach – This adventure also takes you into the rainforest on a safari vehicle to explore the flora and fauna and possibly even see green monkeys. Your destination is a private, mountaintop property, 1,000 feet above sea level, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views over the island’s rainforest, coastline, the capital city of Basseterre and the sister island of Nevis. The journey continues to the opposite side of the island, past quaint villages, farmers’ gardens and the windswept Atlantic coastline to your final destination – a beautiful beach for swimming, relaxing on the golden sand and savoring your last moments ashore in the Southern Caribbean.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. If you’re joining us on our brand-new adventure from San Juan this fall, let me know in the comments what you’re looking forward to most. As I always say, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!
For more about the available Port Adventures during the 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises, visit the posts below:
Any Disney cruiser will tell you all about the magical memories they are making on their voyage, complete with fun family activities, delicious dining and awesome entertainment. But as much as there is to talk about, there are some things you’ll never hear anyone say aboard a Disney ship …
- “I’m not sure a worry-free vacation is right for our family.”
- “One ride on the AquaDuck is enough for me.”
- “I don’t want any free ice cream.”
- “There’s not enough space to store my luggage!”
- “I’ll just wait to see that new movie back home in a theater.”
- “I totally didn’t cry at the end of Disney’s Believe.”
- “But I like to pay for room service!”
- “I wish the serving team wasn’t so good at keeping my kids happy during dinner.”
- “There aren’t enough fruity drink options.”
- “It’s Castaway Cay day? I think I’ll stay in my stateroom.”
I know you can relate, Disney cruisers! So tell me, what would you add to list?
Boasting unique geological formations, pristine beaches and rich mix of cultures, Barbados has something to suit every taste. It’s sure to be one of your favorite stops on our weeklong Southern Caribbean cruises! During our call on Bridgetown, here are just a few of the many incredible adventures your family will love …
Harrison’s Cave and Scenic Drive – Harrison’s Cave, undoubtedly one of the most spectacular natural attractions in the entire Caribbean, is a stunning cavern formed from a particularly beautiful type of crystallized limestone. This tour includes an underground journey on a tram to see thousands of gleaming stalagmites and stalactites. You’ll visit several areas of the cave, including its 150-foot Great Hall, along with its lowest point where a waterfall plunges into an emerald pool. Located near the center of the island, your visit to this magnificent natural phenomenon includes a scenic drive through the countryside.
Turtle Shipwreck & Snorkel Adventure – Water and wildlife lovers won’t want to miss this adventure! An exhilarating powerboat ride takes you to one of Barbado’s most beautiful beaches, in addition to two fantastic snorkel spots – a historic shipwreck teeming with marine life and a spot frequented by sea turtles. Swimming with these gentle creatures is something your family will never forget! For a more luxurious experience, consider the 5-Star Catamaran and Turtle Encounter excursion, which also includes a chance to swim with the sea turtles following a catamaran cruise and all-you-can eat-and-drink lunch.
Discover Barbados – Often called “The Little England of the Caribbean,” British roots are apparent in the island’s many historical sites. This tour gives you a chance to explore some of these locales, including St. John’s Church and St. Nicholas Abbey. The Abbey, built in 1660, is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere. This well-preserved mansion is actually a sugar plantation, so a visit here lets you see the traditional way of making rum using handpicked sugar cane. Our Beautiful Barbados excursion also includes a stop at the unique St. Nicholas Abbey, and both tours offer an adult-only departure in addition to one for families.
In the final post of this series, next week I’ll share my picks for what to do in St. Kitts. Don’t forget, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!
For more about the available Port Adventures during the 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises, visit the posts below:
It’s almost time to kick off the holiday fun aboard all four ships! Whether your favorite holiday is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, we have something special for you on either our Halloween on the High Seas voyages or Very Merrytime Cruises.
If this year is your first celebrating onboard with us, you’ll definitely want to read on. We asked our fans on Facebook and Twitter for their best holiday cruise tips, and we got some pretty awesome responses! I read through all of them (hundreds!) and pulled out my favorites.
Here are the best tips you gave for first-time Disney holiday cruisers:
- Dress for the occasion… Who says you can only dress up on October 31? Bring a different Halloween costume for each night of your cruise. Pack that tacky Christmas sweater and the family’s matching flannel pajamas. And as always, go all out for Pirate Night!
Stacy: “If you’re going for a Halloween cruise, make sure the adults bring costumes! The contest is for the adults and not the kids!”
Nichole: “Excited about dressing up for Halloween this year! Don’t forget your pirate clothes for pirate night!”
Colleen: “Bring costumes…even Christmas themed ones.”
Lorelei: “Bring your Christmas pajamas for holiday photos by the tree!”
- Get in the spirit and decorate… We’ll have the ship decked out from bow to stern, but you can never have enough decorations! Most stateroom doors are metal, so magnets are the perfect accessory to dress up your space. Just remember to follow the guidelines for decorating on disneycruise.com.
Tina: “Don’t forget the decor for your room… It really makes a difference!”
Suzanne: “For Christmas we decorate the door with Mickey and Christmas magnets. We also get a miniature Christmas tree and miniature ornaments for our room.”
Yvette: “Show your Disney spirit! Don’t forget your Mickey magnets and all things Disney to decorate your cabin door!”
- Join the festivities… From trick-or-treating to costume contests on our Halloween voyages, and the atrium tree lighting ceremony to meet-and-greets with Santa on our Very Merrytime Cruises, the celebration never ends! Plan to attend as many holiday-themed activities as you can for non-stop fun.
Lorie: “Read the Navigator so you won’t miss anything!”
Gail: “If there is more than one age group in your party get a couple of extra navigators at guest services. There’s so much going on every day you need to co-ordinate your activities and highlight the ones you don’t want to miss.”
Katie: “Sign up for free gingerbread house decorating as soon as you can. Fresh baked gingerbread houses! Tasty and make your room smell delicious!”
- Pack light… Swim suit, sunscreen, dinner attire, costumes and camera… You won’t need much else! We even provide toiletries in your stateroom and towels for the pool and Castaway Cay. Less stuff in your suitcase means more room to take home souvenirs and gifts you purchase for loved ones back home.
Traci: “Don’t over pack. Is the number one error of first time cruiser. Save room for the souvenirs.”
Salvatrice: “Half as many clothes and twice as many bathing suits than you think while packing!”
Bev: “Don’t overpack, you can do laundry onboard easily and it’s great to come home with clean clothes”
- Just relax and have fun… It is a vacation after all! The busyness of the holiday season will be waiting for you when you get back, so until then, take the advice of these very smart Disney cruisers …
Laura: “Just relax and be a kid again”
Anabel: “Have lots of fun take plenty of pictures.”
David: “Bring yourself, bring your imagination, tell your inner child he or she is coming out for some exercise and enjoy!!! Never, never (really never) be without the camera!!!”
Gene: “No matter the holiday, go ALL OUT! Dress up, sing louder, be merrier (or scarier). Holidays on a Disney Cruise are the best!!”