Let me be honest for a minute; I miss Disney Cruise Line. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been just over a year since I last stepped foot on the gleaming, magical, red funnelled beauties. This time apart has had me thinking of all the little things that make Disney cruises the best place to be.
Everyone loves the unlimited food, the character meet and greets, the fun ports. But after spending three years living on the Fantasy and the Wonder (as a crew member and a guest), I have picked up a few small tips and tricks that can make your vacation even better! So, read on as I delve into some Disney magic and get ready, because one day our ships will be sailing again!
Anyone who has cruised before knows that wifi is hard to come by on the open seas. It can be expensive, slow, and to be honest, a waste of time. More so, most people sign in to have their automatic notifications and scroll through video playing suck up all their MB right away!
I highly recommend keeping your settings to their very basic forms; no notifications, no location and no automatic video plays. However, if you do need to get some wifi to check your emails periodically, this is the trick! On embark day only, DCL offers 50 free megabytes to use at any point during your cruise! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have, on many occasions, used that complimentary gift all week to check my text messages and emails. If used properly, those 50MBs can go a long way!
Do you feel you are constantly being turned away when jumping in line to meet those famous Disney characters? I have been told time and time again by cruisers that they always seem to just miss their chance.
Well, here’s the DCL character secret!
In an official meet and greet setting, characters will have advertised times for taking photos and signing autographs (make sure to check your DCL app for details). It’s as simple as this. As long as you are in line within that advertised time, you are guaranteed to see the character. Yes, even if you are the 97th family waiting to see Spider-Man, you WILL see him as long as you are there before the line closes. When this is done, people will be turned away, and Spidey will spend the next however long it takes, seeing everyone who was there on time!
Pro tip: If you don’t want to wait in line all cruise, dance parties are another great way to get candid photos. (I stress the word candid; posed photographs are not ideal when dancing up a storm!) After all, what picture could be better than your little one looking up at Goofy in awe as they dance together!?
Never ending antipasti. Fritto di calamari. Creamy butternut agnolotti. Hot chocolate soufflé. Need I say more? Palo is home to an adults only oasis on all four ships in the fleet. Chosen as a nod to the country where the Magic and Wonder were built, this Italian restaurant is a must for any foodie. I recommend booking a reservation in advance because it fills up quick.
My little trick? Go for brunch. Everyone knows how amazing a Palo dinner can be, but brunch is an experience of its own. A less popular choice, guests will be blown away at the insane selection, buffet and a la carte. Rows and rows of select European cheeses, breads and antipasti delicacies line the tables, the perfect pairing to a giant Mickey waffle or a scrumptious eggs Benedict.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that brunch is only served on sea days of voyages 4 nights and longer!
THEMED SEA DAYS
Available on select sailings throughout the year, the Magic and the Fantasy offer special themed sea days; an opportunity to delve into two of your favourite worlds: the Marvel and Star Wars Universe. Usually offered on the last sea day of the cruise, the entire ship is transformed as you say goodbye to Mickey and his friends and hello to Darth Vader, R2D2, Captain America and Loki (amongst many, many others!).
More so, after a day full of themed activities, head upstairs to join all the characters at the end of the night for a deck show unlike any other. If you’re lucky, you might see storm troopers swarm the deck, dazzling fireworks, or even a certain Marvel favourite scurry up the funnels at top speed!
Pro tip: The Fantasy hosts Star Wars Day At Sea while Marvel Day At Sea takes place on the Magic.
THE SECRET SPA TREATMENT
Senses Spa is a must for any cruiser who loves to be pampered. Located on deck 9 or 11 (depending on the ship), the spa offers a variety of services; everything from massages and facials to acupuncture and cellulite reduction. However, it can cost a pretty penny. So how can you have a day of pampering without spending a fortune?
My tip is this. Guests can buy day passes to the Rainforest room, a relaxation area that has different steam rooms (of various temperatures), saunas, heated loungers and open showers with different scented rain experiences.
More so, the Fantasy and the Dream also have two hot tubs over looking the ocean on a private balcony. These day passes can be used throughout the cruise and are available at various price points; the perfect way to spend a DCL day!
Pro tip: I always bring my own facial mask from home and a book to enhance the experience!
This tip is a quick easy fix for those popcorn lovers! If you are planning on spending most of your nights in either the Walt Disney Theatre watching the mainstage shows or in the Buena Vista Theatre, catching up on your Disney movies, this trick is for you!
The snack bar outside the theatres sell reusable popcorn buckets that allow you to refill your tub as many times as you want at a reduced price. If you buy popcorn more than twice on your cruise, it will be worth it! More so, you can bring them with you on any future voyage to continue enjoying this delicious perk!