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A Grandparents’ Guide to Cruising with Disney in 2016

posted on October 13th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Grandparents often tell us that the best part of a Disney Cruise Line vacation is seeing their grandchildren’s joy throughout the voyage. I recently shared the top five ways to spoil your grandkids on a Disney cruise – things you can do to make any getaway with us extra special.

Today, I have suggestions for specific cruises to take with grandkids for the ultimate grand-travel vacation. All are jam-packed with memorable experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Grandparents, here’s your guide to cruising with us in 2016…


Dream a little bigger aboard the Disney Dream. New experiences are coming to the Disney Dream in late 2015, including super-cool play areas in the kids club, one themed to Star Wars and another to Disney Infinity. Your grandkids may not want to leave once they enter these new worlds of fun, but grandparents can join the play during Open House. Another brand-new space both you and your grandchildren will love is Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats, a shop serving handmade gelato and ice cream, novelty sundaes, and more candy than you can imagine. The made-to-share signature sundaes are a fun way to satisfy the sweet tooth of the young and young at heart.

Disney Fantasy at Sea

Experience the Force in the Western Caribbean. On eight special sailings from January through April, the Force will be strong! For the first time ever, we are offering Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy, perfect for a new out-of-this-galaxy experience with your grandchildren. The day-long celebration features a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise. There will also be exclusive at-sea screenings of the Star Wars films and the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels.” Have the time of your life with your grandkids, you will.


Explore the magic of Disney on land and sea. Three of our ships will be sailing from Florida in early 2016, giving you the chance to extend precious time with your grandkids through a combined Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line vacation. Our home ports in Port Canaveral and Miami are driving distance from Orlando where you can experience Disney’s world-class resorts and four incredible theme parks. Pre- and post-cruise add-on options give you flexibility to enjoy Walt Disney World Resort before or after your magical voyage. A trip to Walt Disney World and a Disney cruise? You’re getting the Best Grandparent of the Year award!


Discover the grandeur and culture of Europe and Alaska. In the summer of 2016, we’re returning to exotic locales around the world and, once again, offering Port Adventures designed to entertain and inspire both children and adults. On the Disney Magic, you’ll have the chance to visit destinations in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean. Cruises to Alaska on the Disney Wonder offer family-friendly adventures like whale watching, gold mining, dog sledding and more. There’s no better way to share your love of traveling the world with your grandkids than in true Disney fashion, with an extra dash of pixie dust for both grandchildren and grandparents.


Seek thrills and chills during Halloween on the High Seas. Who says Halloween can only be celebrated on October 31? Weeks before the big day, you’ll enjoy Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate décor onboard all four ships. One of the best celebrations for grandparents and grandkids to enjoy together is Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, a costume party with Disney friends, games, dancing and lots of candy. Make sure you get into the fun by bringing a costume of your own! For this one, you’ll receive the Coolest Grandparent of the Year award!


Join Santa and his elves on Very Merrytime Cruises. Starting in November, our ships transform with a 24-foot Christmas tree, a life-sized gingerbread house, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more. Each voyage has festive events like a spectacular tree lighting ceremony, Santa Claus meet-and-greets and a tropical holiday deck party. Especially for grandparents who can’t be with their grandkids on Christmas morning, our holiday cruises are the perfect way to enjoy together the traditions of this special time of year.

Which of our special cruises in 2016 will your grandkids enjoy most?

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Disney Cruise Line Unveils Ports and Itineraries for Early 2017

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Today we revealed that in early 2017 we will return to popular destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Most cruises will feature a stop at Castaway Cay, our private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.

For the first part of the year, we’ll continue sailing from Port Canaveral and Miami, in addition to cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Galveston, Texas. Bookings open to the public on October 8, 2015. Keep reading for more details, and check out the Itineraries and Ports for 2017 page of

Port Canaveral

With three Disney ships in port and cruises spanning three, four and seven nights, you have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral in early 2017. The best part? Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay!

The Disney Fantasy will continue to sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, while the Disney Dream continues on three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Beginning January 29, the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries.


To kick off 2017, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with three-, four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus select five-night Western Caribbean cruises, through March 31.

Again, Castaway Cay awaits guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings! Other Bahamian ports of call include Nassau and Key West, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

San Juan and Galveston

From San Juan, the Disney Magic sets sail on four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean. Departing April 9, 16, 23 and 30, this limited-time engagement includes calls on Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts.

The Disney Wonder completes a season in Galveston with two seven-night Bahamian voyages to Key West, Castaway Cay and Nassau on January 6 and 13. From there, the ship embarks on a six-night journey to San Juan on January 20 with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.

On January 26, a three-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort – the perfect stop for a fairytale land-and-sea adventure.

As always, we’ll keep you posted on the Disney Parks Blog when new itineraries and destinations are unveiled. Stay tuned for more on where we’re headed in 2017!

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Eight Dining Indulgences Just for Adults on a Disney Cruise

posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing tips about dining on a Disney cruise. Today I’m turning the focus to adults, giving you a look at not-to-miss dining indulgences just for you. With two adult-exclusive restaurants on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Remy and Palo, there are at least eight ways aboard these ships to send your taste buds into overload …


1. Petites Assiettes de Remy: This culinary journey is offered on embarkation day at Remy to sample small plates of gourmet cuisine and fine wine. It is hosted by the Executive Chef who provides insight into the culinary creations and the Sommelier who presents specially selected wine to pair with each dish.


2. Brunch at Palo: During sea days and select port days, a spectacular Champagne brunch at Palo offers you a sumptuous buffet of international cheeses, fresh pastries, made-to-order entrées, desserts and champagne. It’s the perfect set-up for second (and third!) helpings of incredible cuisine.


3. Brunch at Remy: You can also enjoy an elegant Champagne brunch on sea days and select port days at Remy. The brunch features a decadent six-course French-inspired meal and a selection of Champagnes to perfectly pair with each dish.


4. Snacks at Cove Cafe: Cove Cafe is an exclusive area for adults to enjoy gourmet coffees, specialty drinks and lighter fare cuisine. Muffins, pastries and desserts are offered throughout the day, and a selection of antipasto is served before dinner.


5. Pompidou’s Dessert Experience at Remy: Offered on sea days at Remy, this six-course dessert tasting is hosted by Remy’s Executive Chef. As each course is served, the chef shares fun facts about the dessert, allowing for an intimate and in-depth culinary dialogue.


6. Dinner at Palo: Palo provides an unforgettable dinner experience at sea with a menu of delectable modern Italian cuisine, classic reserve wines and superior service. Palo’s nightly culinary journey starts with both cold and hot antipasti selections, followed by a main course of pasta, seafood or meat, and a sweet indulgence for dessert.


7. Dinner at Remy: With gourmet cuisine by two award-winning chefs, Remy melds classic and contemporary styles for a fine French dining experience. Dinner is a lavish and leisurely affair, starting with a signature cocktail made tableside, followed by eight to nine small courses complemented by a stellar wine list.


8. Late-night buffet: Even in the midnight hour, you can satisfy your hunger with snacks in the adult nighttime entertainment district. Those who work up an appetite dancing in the night club or want something savory to accompany their beer in the sports pub don’t have to go far.

Who’s hungry now? For all of your questions about dining on a Disney cruise, take a look back at the series, and then let me know if there’s anything else I can answer with regards to dining in my future posts:

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Tips to Add Variety to Mealtime on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 23rd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Last week I gave you a look at the many, many dining choices on a Disney cruise. And believe it or not, there are still additional options to satisfy your taste buds! Here are some of my tips to add even more variety to mealtime …


  1. Opt for dinner at Cabanas or Beach Blanket Buffet.

  2. You know that Cabanas (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic) and Beach Blanket Buffet (Disney Wonder) offer buffet-style dining for breakfast and lunch. But what you may not know is that in the evenings, the restaurant transforms into a table-service casual dining experience, where dinner entrees are cooked to order. No reservations are required, making it a convenient option when you aren’t able to make your assigned dinner time in the main dining room.


  1. Order room service whenever your stomach desires.

  2. Breakfast in bed, afternoon nosh or midnight snack – cravings can be satisfied any time of day with 24-hour complimentary room service. You can feast on fresh, made-to-order food in the comfort of your stateroom around the clock. This convenient service comes in quite handy when your little one is taking a nap during lunchtime or when you can’t pull yourself away from that gorgeous view on your personal verandah.


  1. Eat a delicious barbeque lunch on Castaway Cay.

  2. The chefs you love onboard also grill up specialties like Cajun mahi-mahi, ribeye steaks and chicken on our private island, Castaway Cay. The “all-you-care-to-eat” island barbecue is offered in three spots under the shade of covered pavilions and umbrellas. Two family-friendly locations are steps from the Family Beach, while adults have a dining area all to themselves at the far end of the island next to Serenity Bay.


  1. Try the local cuisine out in port.

  2. Exploring a destination is always a great opportunity to try new cuisine and taste the local fare. I know you’ll miss what the Disney chefs are serving, but don’t miss your chance to eat in port. Do some research before your cruise to determine the best spots, or ask around to get suggestions from other Disney cruisers who have been there before. Even better, choose a Port Adventure that includes a lunch of authentic dishes prepared by locals.


  1. Join the party at a themed buffet for families.

  2. A great party isn’t complete without tasty grub! After our Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, head over to the pirate buffet for a late-night snack on fiesta favorites like fajitas, tacos, rice and beans. There’s also a huge selection of desserts and a made-to-order crepe station with ice cream. In Alaska, our midday barbecue feast of wild Alaskan salmon and other special seafood dishes celebrates the momentous occasion of sailing through the breathtaking Tracy Arm Fjord.

Any tips to add? In my final post of this series next week, I’ll tell you about dining indulgences onboard just for adults you won’t want to miss!

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Five Things to Know Before Your First Disney Cruise

posted on September 22nd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

How do you know if a Disney cruise is the best vacation option for your family? There are many things to consider when choosing how to make memories with your loved ones. As you explore whether your next family adventure will be with Disney Cruise Line, or if you’ve already decided “yes” and aren’t sure what to expect, here are five things to know before your first Disney cruise:

Disney Dreams… An Enchanted Classic

1. Meals and entertainment are included. And we make sure everyone can enjoy them! Our innovative rotational dining concept ensures you won’t miss out on a meal at any of our three family dining restaurants. We reserve your table and serving team, so all you have to worry about is showing up hungry. Plus, we offer a different show every night in the Walt Disney Theatre. Since the nightly entertainment, including live musicals, is shown twice each evening, you can go ahead and promise your kids they’ll get to see their Disney friends on stage before or after dinner. All of this is in addition to our famous Pirate Night where cruisers of all ages party like swashbuckling pirates!


2. Kids of all ages have activities just for them. Traveling with a baby, preschooler, teenager or all of the above? We’ve got you covered! Our youth clubs are supervised by specially trained counselors and cater to specific ages, meaning the care and fun is tailored to their needs and interests. Up on deck, we have different water-play areas so you can have splashtacular fun even with your smaller swimmers and littlest ones in swim diapers. On the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, teenagers have a pool to themselves, supervised by youth counselors, at the ultra-cool Vibe teen club. No matter the ages of your kids, you can cruise in confidence that they are having the time of their life!

After Hours - Keys

3. Adults have plenty of things to do, too. You aren’t assuming a Disney cruise is only the vacation-of-a-lifetime for the kids, right? One of the best parts about having super fun kids clubs on the ship and at Castaway Cay is that parents can look forward to time for themselves. Some of the onboard areas just for adults include a relaxing pool, tranquil spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and specialty coffee shop. After the sun goes down, adults have the nighttime entertainment district to themselves to enjoy live music and shows by comedians and other performers. Also just for adults, our fine dining Italian restaurant, Palo, is on all ships, and our exquisite French restaurant, Remy, is on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.


4. Castaway Cay is your own private island paradise. Only Disney cruisers can visit Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, making it a truly special experience with touches that are sure to “wow” you. The island has areas for every age group, including a beach for families and one exclusively for adults. There’s everything you need for a perfect beach day, such as chairs and umbrellas, towels, an all-you-care-to-eat lunch buffet, places to get cold beverages, and even cabanas you can rent for privacy and royal treatment. Your time here is worry-free, and you don’t even need to bring a watch since the ship’s horn sounds when it’s time for you to come back aboard. Speaking of, getting on and off the ship throughout the day is easy, as we’re the only cruise line with a dock at our private island.


5. The Disney Difference is what you’ll remember most. The destinations you visit with us will no doubt be memorable, but it’s the magic in the details that are sure to be unforgettable. We offer family-sized staterooms that include a sitting area, plenty of storage and a split bathroom with two separate sinks. The all-you-care-to-eat dining is hosted by a personalized serving team that travels with you to each of our elaborately themed restaurants. Plus, with Wave Phones that let you call and text fellow cruisers while onboard or at Castaway Cay and entertainment like only Disney can do – you can count on your experience with us to be different from any other vacation at sea.

Stay tuned for my top 10 tips for first-time Disney cruisers. In the meantime, tell me, what surprise did you enjoy most on your first Disney cruise?

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A Peek at This Year’s First Halloween on the High Seas Cruise

posted on September 8th, 2015 by Darren McBurney, Cruise Director, Disney Cruise Line

Ready, set, boo!

We’re off on our very first Halloween cruise of the season! It’s day four of Halloween on the High Seas aboard the Disney Fantasy, and it’s no surprise cruisers are having a wickedly good time. It’s always fun to see the creative outfits guests of all ages wear throughout the voyage, especially at yesterday’s costume parties.


In the afternoon, families joined Disney friends at Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party for dancing, and, of course, lots of candy. Then later that night, adults had their own fun at a costume party just for them. As always, it was highly entertaining and a great way to end the night!


On the first night of the cruise, we kicked off the fun with an interactive movie experience in the Walt Disney Theatre, A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Cruisers watched this classic holiday film like never before with 3-D and 4-D effects. A special sing-along was even part of the action. Plus, at the end of the movie, families were treated to a surprise meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington and Sally.


We’re only halfway through this cruise, so there’s a lot more fun to come! Halloween on the High Seas began yesterday on the Disney Dream and starts early October on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. To see more of the excitement that will take place on all of our Halloween voyages, check out Jonathan’s post, Top Five: Halloween on the High Seas with Disney Cruise Line. We hope to see you onboard!

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Animation Artist Dazzles Disney Vacation Club Members

posted on August 26th, 2015 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

To see artwork materialize right before your eyes is to appreciate a craft like never before.

That’s the experience Disney Vacation Club Members just enjoyed during their Member Cruise charter voyage aboard the Disney Dream ship. As part of an exclusive show titled “Artists at Work,” Walt Disney Animation Studios Visual Development Artist, Lorelay Bové, swiftly created (and later gave away) a character painting while sharing stories of her blossoming career live on stage.

Lorelay interned at Pixar Animation Studios before transitioning to the Visual Development Department at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where her credits now include work on the theatrical features “The Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled,” “Winnie the Pooh,” Wreck-It Ralph” and “Big Hero 6“; the shorts “The Ballad of Nessie,” “Tangled Ever After” and “Frozen Fever”; and the hit holiday series “Prep and Landing.” Up next for Lorelay is “Gigantic”, the recently announced 2018 Walt Disney Animation Studios feature set in Spain, where Lorelay was born.

The painting Lorelay created for Disney Vacation Club Members on stage reflects the distinctive style she employed in her classically conceived cover art for Walt Disney Records’ The Legacy Collection, an ongoing series of 12 albums celebrating milestone anniversaries of some of Disney’s most cherished creations. Lorelay’s illustrations honor Disney’s rich heritage while creating a unified look for the entire collection, which features beloved original soundtracks along with insightful documentary content that tells the story behind the music.

As Variety magazine recently named Lorelay one of the “10 Animators to Watch” – and as we at Disney Vacation Club always do what industry magazines tell us – we focused our camera on Lorelay’s on-stage work to give you this unique, time-lapse view of an extraordinary artist at work. Enjoy!

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Creating Magical Memories With Your Little One Aboard a Disney Cruise

posted on July 22nd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Are you ready to take your little ones on their very first Disney cruise? I’ve given you a look at some of our spaces and activities created especially for them, and I’ve shared ways we cater to families traveling with young children. Now, let’s take a look at some of the very special ways for you to create magical memories with your little one …


Meet Favorite Characters
Kiddos will love meeting some of their favorite Disney characters while at sea. Found in special spots and during surprise appearances, these friends are always ready to share a hug, take a photo or give an autograph to their littlest fans. Opportunities to meet Disney characters are scheduled throughout every sailing, and other intimate and spontaneous character moments happen every day.

Spend Priceless Family Time
On a Disney cruise there are so many unique ways to bring the family together both onboard and in port. Deck parties and other family activities like game shows, talent nights and dance parties are just some of the fun ways to play onboard with your little one. And of course our family-friendly swimming pools, splash zones, sports decks and Port Adventures add fun to any day.


Enjoy Kids Club Activities
Little ones can enjoy themselves and meet new friends at whimsically themed youth spaces onboard. During Open House, parents can join their children in these immersive areas filled with fun games and interactive play. From Flounder’s Reef and It’s a Small World Nursery to the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, kids have plenty of places to take their imaginations to new levels.

See Favorite Disney Stories On Stage
With some of the most elaborate original musicals presented at sea, little ones will be thrilled to see some of their favorite heroes (and villains) take the stage in the Walt Disney Theatre. Extraordinary singing, dancing, costumes and special effects bring Disney stories to life in a whole new way, keeping the entire family entertained from start to finish.


Talk with Crush at Animator’s Palate
In addition to enjoying a delicious kid’s meal at Animator’s Palate, little ones on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will love when Crush, the animated sea turtle from “Finding Nemo,” makes a surprise appearance. The restaurant transforms into a shimmering undersea world where Crush swims around the room and spends some time “turtle talking” with them!

For more on cruising with little ones, check out these past posts:

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QUIZ: How Well Do You Know the Disney Cruise Line Ships?

posted on July 21st, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

It’s time to see how well you know the Disney Cruise Line fleet – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy! From stem to stern, there are tons of cool details that make each ship unique. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge …


How Well Do You Know the Disney Cruise Line Ships?

All of these movies inspired spaces aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship except:
The anchor on the Disney Magic weighs nearly the same as how many full-grown elephants?
Combined, the chandeliers on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have nearly how many Swarovski crystal beads?
A dazzling chandelier glistens overhead in the expansive, three-deck atrium lobby on the Disney Dream. Descending more than 13 feet from the ceiling, and spanning more than 22 feet in width, the illuminated masterpiece sparkles with thousands of hand-crafted crystal beads. Reminiscent of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners, contemporary design and Art Deco style grace the grand lobby to exude splendor and sophistication throughout. (Kent Phillips, photographer)
Nautical flags on the carpet of the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream spell out what?
Pepe the King Prawn, the Muppet who stars in the Midship Detective Agency game, has his very own stateroom on the Disney Fantasy. What is his stateroom number?
Pepe the King Prawn and a cast of Muppets make their debut on the Disney Fantasy in “The Case of the Stolen Show,” a new Midship Detective Agency game. In the game, guests help the Muppets find their missing props for a big performance. Guided by a map and a unique game card, guests take an interactive adventure quest around the ship, uncovering clues via more than a dozen pieces of Enchanted Art and physical “evidence,” such as Pepe the King Prawn’s Muppet-sized stateroom door.
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Get Ready for the Next Castaway Cay Challenge with Disney Cruise Line

posted on May 14th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

After this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, I had the awesome experience of cheering on Disney cruisers competing in our inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge. I had a blast chatting with the runners before and after the race, hearing their stories about how far they’d traveled to be there, how many runDisney medals they had collected over the years and what inspired them to be a part of this first-ever challenge.


For many, it was their first Disney cruise vacation, and they couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it was to relax onboard the Disney Dream after their action-packed Marathon Weekend. Those few days of rest recharged them for their run through paradise, where they returned to lounging on the warm sand of Castaway Cay after the race.

I also caught up with Cruise Director Christiaan later that day, who told me more about what runners were enjoying during the voyage. Take a look at this video, and let me know in the comments if I can expect to “run” into you at our next Castaway Cay Challenge!

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