Disney Cruise Line

Why This Disney World Regular Wants to Go on a Disney Cruise

by on March 25, 2015

DisneyCruiseLine_Dream

The Disney Dream

Disney World is my favorite place on earth and I love to visit as much as I can. There’s plenty to do with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and a number of incredibly themed resorts; but this Disney World Regular has her eye set on another Disney vacation for her next trip: a Disney Cruise! I have wanted to experience the Disney Cruise Line for years; but I must admit, I’m not much of a beach person and when having to choose between Disney World and a Disney Cruise, Disney World has always won out. But lately, I’ve learned a lot more about the Disney Cruise Line and have actually booked my first Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream for this summer! So keep reading to find out why this Disney World Regular wants to go on a Disney Cruise.

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay (Photo Courtesy of www.disneyworldenthusiast.com)

To Visit Castaway Cay: For anyone who knows about Castaway Cay, this should be an easy one. I mean, it’s Disney’s own private island! Who wouldn’t want to go there? The Disney Cruise Line ships are able to pull right up to the island and enjoy designated beaches: the Family Beach, Serenity Bay Beach for adults, and even a beach area reserved just for teens. There are characters, places to eat, shops, water play areas, and the chance to experience Port Adventures, otherwise known as excursions. Just a few things to do on Castaway Cay include biking, glass bottom boats, snorkeling, parasailing, and even the chance to run the Castaway Cay 5-K. Basically, Castaway Cay sounds like a real life Neverland where there’s something for everyone and every preference, but all with the Disney touch. Want to know more? Check out how to have the perfect day at Castaway Cay.

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Disney Cruise Line Wonder Summer 2016 Itineraries

by on March 24, 2015

TouringPlans logoCastaway Club Gold and Platinum members can book via phone starting tomorrow, March 25. The general public can book online and by phone on the 26th.

Continuing from today’s Disney Cruise Line announcements about the Disney Magic, we have more information about the Wonder’s itineraries for next summer.

The Wonder will reposition through the Panama Canal from Miami on a cruise that starts May 1, 2016.

14-night Westbound Panama Canal

Ports: Miami; Cozumel; Cartagena, Colombia; Panama Canal; Puerto Vallarta; Cabo San Lucas; San Diego; 8 days at sea.

 

The Wonder will then sail the California Coast out of San Diego.

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Disney Cruise Line Announces Summer 2016 Itineraries

by on March 24, 2015

Mickey Atrium Statue on the Magic

Helmsman Mickey returns to Europe Summer 2016. Photo by Laurel Stewart

Castaway Club Gold and Platinum members can book via phone starting tomorrow, March 25. The general public can book online and by phone on the 26th.

Disney Cruise Line announced Summer 2016 itineraries this morning. There are very few surprises, though the Eastbound trans-Atlantic cruise and British Isles cruises are new itineraries for Disney.

Disney Magic

Most of the news today concerns the Disney Magic, which will be doing Northern European and Mediterranean cruise summer of 2016. The 12-night British Isles cruise is a new itinerary for Disney Cruise Line.

The  14 night Eastbound repositioning cruise leaves Port Canaveral May 15, 2016 with the following ports and 9 nights at sea: Boston; Sydney (Nova Scotia), Canada; Dublin; Liverpool; Dover. Other than Dover, each of these is a brand new port for DCL.

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Advantages of DCL Port Excursion Booking Methods: On Your Own or Through Disney

by on March 18, 2015

If you’re like many Disney Cruise Line (DCL) guests, you’ve booked your cruise at least in part because of the ship’s itinerary. You’re excited to explore the ports of call and see the cultures of new lands.

Some folks will “wing it” at the ports, hopping off the ship without a specific plan and going wherever the mood takes them. But most guests will disembark at port with a pre-planned, reserved activity – an excursion or, in Disney parlance, a Port Adventure. There are two ways to arrange excursions, on your own or through Disney. Here are the advantages to each method.

Port excursions expose you to new perspectives.

Port excursions expose you to new perspectives.

BOOKING PORT EXCURSIONS THROUGH DISNEY

  • Convenience of selection. To book a Port Adventure through Disney, just head over to the DCL website. For each port you’ll see a menu of options, it’s a one stop spot for information including activity descriptions, age/height/weight restrictions, costs, and related data. If you find an excursion appealing, you can have it booked with just a few clicks.
  • Convenience of billing. When you book your excursion through Disney, the fee appears on your stateroom bill, which you can pay using any of the acceptable DCL methods, in US dollars, British pounds, or in Euros. As an added bonus, you don’t pay a deposit and you don’t pay until you sail. If you’re booking an excursion in another country on your own, you may have to pay a large deposit, you may have to pay in another currency, or you may be limited to use of a particular credit card or other form of payment. And remember if you’re using Disney Gift Cards as a payment method on the ship, you may be able to have an effective 5% discount if you’ve purchased your gift cards through Target, or other discounts when purchasing through Sam’s Club, Costco, or another retailer.
  • Safety. Of course, whenever you’re on a port excursion, you’ll want to exercise and abundance of caution, but if you book a Disney-vetted excursion, you know that they’ve done some of the work for you. Disney verifies that the excursions they offer are via legitimate businesses. They make sure that the transportation used is safe and that the guides are accountable for your whereabouts. If you book an excursion on your own, the onus is on you to do the research.
  • Communication with the ship. When you book an excursion through Disney, they know where you are. If something unforeseen happens, they have representative who can contact your group and vice versa. If you book your excursion on your own, cast members on the ship will likely have no idea where you are. And they’re not going to wait for you if you don’t arrive back at the dock prior to sail-away time.
  • Language issues. Booking your excursion through Disney means that the transaction will take place in English. If you’re booking an excursion on your own for a port in another country, the website or phone representative may use another language.
  • Cancellation policies. Disney Cruise Line’s Port Adventure cancellation policy is clearly stated on their website. If you book on your own, you may be subject to an entirely different set of policies, which may or may not be clearly outlined, or fair.

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The 10 Best Disney Cruise Line Tips

by on March 18, 2015

I am often asked for tips or helpful hints for an upcoming cruise on Disney Cruise Line, and there’s no short answer to that! I’ve learned a lot of helpful things over the years both from obsessive reading about Disney cruises and experiencing Disney cruises (the latter being the most fun of course). I thought I’d share my 10 favorite tips. Share yours in the comments!

1. Rebook Onboard It may sound a little funny spending time on your current vacation planning the next one, but do it. If you think you will ever cruise again on Disney, stop by the booking desk and book another one. Even if you have no idea when or where you want to cruise again, book something. Currently you will save 10% on the published fare (a few blacked out dates notwithstanding), you will get 50% off your deposit on cruises of 7-nights or longer, and you will get a nice onboard credit for your new booking. If you book something and change the dates, those benefits will move to the next date as long as that date is within 24 months of booking. You can move the dates as many times as you need to in those 24 months! So rebook onboard! It’s worth a few minutes of your time. (But, don’t wait until the last night of the cruise to rebook. The desk will be VERY busy at that time!)

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Best Space Coast Beaches for Disney Day-Trips

by on March 13, 2015

Adding a beach day to your Disney vacation? Cocoa Beach bills itself as Orlando’s closest beach, but in reality, it’s just one municipality in two dazzling stretches of coast-line. There are plenty of other beaches within a 60-90 minute drive-time of Disney World. How to choose, besides just getting in the car and pointing it east or west?

My family and I took on the arduous task of exploring the best Space Coast beaches, all so that you can choose the right beach for your family! For each one, we’ll look at a few factors that might play into your choice: like convenience, facilities, and quality of the beach. For the purposes of this article, we’re keeping the drive from the Disney area to under 90 minutes. We’re going to start in the south, at Satellite Beach, and work our way north towards Port Canaveral, in Cape Canaveral.

A quiet shoreline in Satellite Beach.

A quiet shoreline in Satellite Beach. You won’t find this in Cocoa Beach.

Peace and Quiet in Satellite Beach: For true peace and quiet, drive south to Satellite Beach. You’ll find a 50s-era beach town along A1A, just south of the Pineda Causeway and Patrick Air Force Base, home to charming houses, inoffensive low-rise condos, and some basic shopping and dining. The quiet beaches and tropical dunes are the draw to Satellite Beach. Public access beaches with free parking, a basic shower, and a boardwalk over the dune are pretty easy to find. There are also a few public parks, some with restroom facilities. Interestingly, even the bare-bones public parks fill up, while public access lots just a few hundred feet away sit empty. Try public access unless you’re staying all day and want restrooms close at hand.

Recommended Public Access:

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Eight Ways a Disney Cruise is Like Summer Camp

by on March 6, 2015

For the past ten years, my daughters have spent their summers at an idyllic sleep-away camp for girls in the central lakes region of Maine. Think Camp Inch from The Parent Trap and you’re pretty much in the right ballpark. The girls have now aged out of their camp and won’t be able to return. Instead, this summer we’re heading out to sea for a bunch of Disney cruising.

Camp Inch, the classic summer camp experience. @Disney

Camp Inch, the classic summer camp experience. @Disney

While they are, of course, exited for new adventures and grateful to be able to cruise, they are also more than a bit melancholy about leaving their beloved camp experience behind. In an effort to boost their spirits, I challenged them to come up with all the ways in which a Disney Cruise is just like summer camp. Below is a list of eight of their suggestions.

1. It’s a great place to meet new friends.

One of the best parts of camp for my daughters is that they got to spend time with similarly aged girls from all over the country. They got to find out what they all had in common, as well as learn from each other’s differences. They shared their music preferences, school traditions, fashion choices, hobbies, and silly stories, and made fast friends with people they might not otherwise have encountered. The same thing happens on a Disney cruise, particularly cruises of seven nights or longer. When visiting the onboard Vibe teen club, they’ll again meet kids from a variety of home locales. The convivial atmosphere and cheerful guidance of the kids’ club staff will have them chatting and in no time. And also like camp, the condensed timeframe and physical proximity to a core group of peers speeds up the bonding process. They’ll likely leave the ship with a lengthy list of new Facebook friends, and probably more than one real friend as well. As an added bonus, mom and dad won’t be around when they’re in the kids’ club, just like we weren’t a camp. They’ll get to be themselves, unfiltered.

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Menu Monday: Mixology Class aboard the Disney Magic

by on March 2, 2015

Sailing aboard a Disney Cruise offers an ocean of opportunity to indulge. There are so many wonderful experiences waiting for you to enjoy, especially on 7 night or longer sailings. A series of adult beverage seminars is one of the more popular experiences offered on longer sailings. These seminars are a fantastic way to explore new tastes or learn more about a favorite beverage. On my recent cruise aboard the Disney Magic I finally decided to experience a beverage seminar for myself. After experiencing the seminar, I can safely say it is a good value and I am here to tell you why.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! February 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on February 28, 2015

MMM positiveIs February already over?! What a month. We got the inevitable yearly ticket price hikes, got the first details on both Star Wars Weekends and the holiday hard ticket parties, saw Big Hero 6 shock the world and take home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, found out Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (YES! YES! YES!) and – most importantly – found out Duck Tales will be returning to TV! It’s a good thing this month is only 28 days because we don’t think we could handle any more (especially since we wasted an entire day on Llamas on the loose and that ridiculous white/gold blue/black dress meme.) We know a lot of you have had a rough month in the area of weather, and we can certainly sympathize. In fact it almost got down to 50 degrees one night this month and we had to pull a blanket out of the closet to stay warm.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

First up is an item I have wanted for a long time and almost cried seeing it at the Outlets. A Polynesian Luau Bowl! Originally marked $49.95, this was reduced to $24.99.

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I think by now most people know how much I love the Marketplace Co-op at Downtown Disney and a big reason for that is the many Adventureland/Polynesian inspired pieces they have. I’ve also seen these Luau bowls at the actual Poly whenever I go to ‘Ohana, and behind glass cases at the Art of Disney store. This bowl is something I’ve always wanted but never thought I would actually own.

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Easy Florida Eco-Adventures on the Space Coast

by on February 20, 2015

Did someone say adventure? Well, it’s out there, and it’s right outside of your favorite Disney destinations.

We all know by now that Florida is way more than theme parks, right? And the great outdoors is finally getting its due, with animal encounters and adventure parks all over the place these days. Even within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests have the opportunity to get out of the ride vehicle and right into the animal exhibits with the Wild Africa Trek. Zip-lining, close encounters with wild animals, hanging bridges — just in case the Kilimanjaro Safaris are too tame for you.

Disney Ship Manatee Park - Natalie Reinert

A Disney Cruise Line ship peeks over the mangroves at Manatee Sanctuary Park in Cape Canaveral.

But maybe you’re not so into the swinging rope bridge over the crocodile pond. Maybe you’d just like to get a good look at the native flora and fauna. After all, Florida’s a unique place. Well, there are quieter, gentler adventures you can find on your Florida vacation. And if you’re staying at Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral, even just for a day before or after your Disney cruise, you can get easily out there and explore Florida’s wild wonders — without even getting out of your car, in some cases. There are easy Florida eco-adventures on the Space Coast that will open up your eyes to Florida’s wealth of wildlife, wetlands, and true wild spirit.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – Black Point Wildlife Drive is an easy way to get a taste of Florida wetlands. From saltwater marsh to pine uplands, from alligators to eagles, the Black Point Wildlife Drive was designed to show guests the remarkable number of ecosystems that exist along Florida’s shorelines. And it does so against an unforgettable backdrop: the rocket launch and production facilities of Kennedy Space Center. 

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