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by Michelle from MouseEarVacations.com. (archives)
February 12, 2002
An expert on the Disney Cruise Lines gives a general introduction to what you can expect.

DisneyMagic.jpg (9220 bytes)
The Disney Magic, sister ship to The Wonder
(c) Disney

Sail Along with Disney

A gentle ocean breeze on my face while sitting on my balcony on a beautiful ocean liner... Disney characters darting around, ..."When you wish upon a star" playing in the background, the sounds of giggling kids and happy parents and grandparents....These are just some of the images of my cruise onboard the Disney Wonder.

I have sailed before but not ever can I remember enjoying it this much for myself and through my children's eyes. I have 3 kids ages 10, 7, and 4 and really got to see how much fun they could have on a ship, with Mickey and Minnie, and just loving the all inclusive nature that cruises offers. Disney, Disney, Disney. They have great attention to detail everywhere you look. All the Cast Members (international staff) on board were fresh, friendly and always willing to help us out. We even learned how to "pin trade" thanks to one of them. Truly you felt like you were on an old-fashioned ocean liner with the twin smoke stacks (one is fake but used onboard as an ESPN adults bar) and all artwork depicting that old era in time. Yet it was brand-new and state of the art.

The staterooms are large and nicely decorated. Many rooms for four have pull-down bunks that the stewards put away for you during the day. The sofa converts to a twin bed at night also. There is ample desk and drawer space. Definitely get a stateroom with a spilt bathroom (Categories 10-1) as this is a great advantage to have with families. Also if you truly want a memorable time the staterooms with private verandahs (Categories 7-1) are really enjoyable with see-thru Plexiglas on most, chairs and a table and privacy walls. Their bathrooms have Disney toiletries, and a bathtub shower -- great for small kids.

The Kids programming offers more than any other cruise line anywhere and Disney dedicates an entire deck to these rooms. They are broken down into age groups with about 40 counselors in all. They are well trained, energetic and young and they even have an infant babysitting room They made crafts, had water gun fights, made Flubber, practiced and performed in a show, and played, played , played. The nicest things is we are issued a beeper for the entire cruise, so we knew we would be summoned if needed, and we could really relax and enjoy our time as a couple, too. The kids program was open almost the whole time. Disney works very hard to ensure the kids have many things to do and are having fun and meeting friends.

Entertainment was all over the ship. The Characters come out to sign autographs and take pictures many times throughout the cruise which is wonderful for the kids. The Goofy and Mickey pools were great fun.

Several adult venues are available for those without kids and we did not miss having a casino with loads of other things to do. The Movie Theatre played current and older Disney movies all day and night, as did our T.V. in the stateroom. Hercules, A Muse-ical Comedy," and "Disney Dreams" are the two shows we saw at night. They are performed without a live orchestra, though lighting and staging are excellent. The performers are top notch and you want to cry just watching it. This was one of our family's highlights of the sailing.

Dining is as unique on this ship as many of their other features. Disney offers 3 main restaurants on the Wonder and each night you dine in a different venue taking your serving staff with you. Adults who are traveling without kids are set up for dining with other adults, so they often commented that they did not see as many kids around as they had thought they would. Again, dining is a big part of cruising and this rotational dining makes it very untraditional, fun and worth experiencing!

My kids loved room service (complimentary, and open 24 hours) and the non-stop hamburgers, chicken, fries, ice cream and pizza they all seemed to live on. Buffet style breakfast was very ample in choice of foods for breakfast and offered a casual and easy way to wake up every morning. We opted for coffee, tea and muffins in our cabin on our private balcony most early mornings, too.

The highlight of the sailing for us was Castaway Cay. It is an outstanding private island, with its own pier. There is a post office with its own Bahamas/Disney stamp, a large, adults-only beach, complete with massage huts, teens beach, children's programming tented area, snorkeling area, permanent food court with picnic tables, bars, shops, a DJ's booth and fixed climbing structures in the water. A beautiful property that we thoroughly enjoyed. Again, they had an adult’s only beach for those who wanted to be away from the kids.

This ship is suitable for anyone who uses a wheelchair, with excellent access to nearly all-public areas of the ship. Cabin numbers and elevator buttons all have Braille-and there are numerous cabins with handicapped accessibility.

Many repeat clients sail because it’s Disney, they love the family oriented theme and cruise, and it is just happy to be there. For a 3 or 4 day sailing the prices are a little more than other lines but you get so much in the way of service it's far worth the price. Plus having the kids programming, good food, Disney attention to detail, Castaway Cay all add up to a memorable experience for anyone who truly loves the Disney product.

I saw many adult grand-parents sailing with their children and grand-children and it just goes to prove that all families still love Walt Disney and what his legacy of family oriented theme parking and vacationing has to offer any family.

I certainly wished upon my star...and got a cruise with Disney to afar...I hope you too can live your dream...and sail along with this great Disney team!

Michelle from MouseEarVacations.com.

PS: Feel free to email with any questions at michellec@cruisingco.com

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-- Posted February 12, 2002