1. Your Kids are Going to Love the Kids Club-
Okay… I know some people may think this is obvious
(duh… thanks for the tip). However, I have spoken to fellow parents who were also taken a back by their kids willingness to be dropped off at the Kids Club (free day care people!!! FREE DAYCARE! Well… maybe not free but no additional fees- ha!). For a young couple this was very welcomed news. Let’s face it vacations can be exhausting between all the planning, packing and taking care of everyone. I had read reviews that talked about the kids club but I assumed our kids would gasp over the idea of being left at a daycare on vacation. Boy was I wrong. We practically had to beg them to leave each time we went to pick them up. They could have stayed in there A.L.L. day if we let them. They loved it SO much that the kids club actually turned into a bargaining tool, “Want to go to Goofy’s Pajama Party tonight… okay well everyone needs to be on their best behavior today then.” How great is that??
Should you feel bad about dropping off your kids? Heck NO! With all we do for the munchkins we deserve a break. This is our vacation too. So, don’t be shy. Sign up your kids pronto. Don’t delay. Take them the first night to the open house where you can explore the areas together. They will likely meet friends and be begging you to be dropped off in no time.
2. You Need a Whole Day in Castaway
We LOVE Castaway Cay… in fact whenever we see the cruise that plans on stopping in Castaway Cay twice my hubby knows he can talk me into it. But, on our first cruise I think we foolishly waited to get off the boat bc it didn’t seem that intriguing. Don’t make that mistake. Get up and get off the boat early.
Why?? As soon as you hop off the boat there are strollers you can borrow, towels and jugs of water. You can walk or take the tram over to the beach areas where you are greeted with characters and white sands. The water is crystal clear, warm and gorgeous. There are slides and activities for the kids in and out of the water. *The kids club actually moves off the boat and there is an adult beach… although we’ve never tried it.
There are also excursions you can book. We enjoyed the bike rentals equipped with helmets, training wheels and baby seats. There were very easy, flat routes around the island which I highly recommend. The bike package also came with tube rentals and snorkels which were perfect for cooling off after the bike ride. Another cool experience that our boys LOVED was the manta ray feeding.
Plus, there is SO much going on… character dances, crab races and plenty of food and drinks.
It’s just so nice to be off the boat with all the amenities of being on it. Don’t get me wrong we love to explore different cultures with the kids. However, when we travel with Disney we expect to relax, have fun and bond as a family. Some of our other travels… as amazing and educational as they may be- tend to exhaust me. So… get excited about going to Castaway!!
3. Dinners can still be long
Dinners are L.O.N.G. no matter what on a cruise with all of the scrumptious courses they serve. Disney does a great job of training their servers to really engage the kids with coloring pages and magic tricks. However, plan on your kiddos still ending up bored. Especially, if they are 5 and under. Luckily, Disney does offer Kids Club pick up at dinner when you have the late seating. They served the kids very quickly and they took their time on the adult courses. We enjoyed the time with the kids. And, then just as they were winding down the Kids Club staff was there to whisk them away. Then me and the hubs could enjoy the rest of our dinner sans munchkins. It was blissful!!
4. They are SERIOUS about Pirate Night
You could spot us newbies from afar. I thought I was prepared. I bought a few novelty items for the kids to dress up plus on pirate night Disney leaves some goodies in your room to help you get into the pirate spirit. What I didn’t realize was that MOST of the cruisers go ALL OUT!! They are in full costume… parents, grandparents… babies… I mean everyone! I actually felt foolish having not participated. Crazy! But, for whatever reason it works on that boat.
I can’t believe I am saying this… but I actually recommend you packing pirate themed apparel and not just for the kids. And, probably more than you think you need.
5. Character’s are EVERYWHERE!!!
Make sure you have an autograph book because there are characters EVERYWHERE on board the boat. It was like a dream to our munchkins… they were so proud of the number of autographs they got on that first cruise. The characters are very interactive and really took their time with the kids. Something that they can’t always do at the parks. The kids really got a kick of finding the characters just walking around the ship. That was something we hadn’t expected, but were pleasantly surprised by. The munchkins conversations on whether Hook shared a room with Peter Pan or Chip & Dale cracked me up.