Posts Tagged ‘DCL’

Five Things I Learned on my First Disney Cruise Line Concierge Trip

by on September 11, 2017


My husband and I just celebrated our tenth anniversary. We wanted to do something special for this milestone, so we booked a concierge room on the Disney Dream for our anniversary weekend. I had actually booked the upgrade as a secret from my husband, so any researching done ahead of time about what to expect was all on me. In short, we had a fantastic time, but there were a few things that I learned on our first time in concierge.

There’s a Lot of Stuff Included


Bath robes, slippers, hangers of different sizes. There’s a lot of difference between concierge and non-concierge.

The price difference between the highest-end non-concierge and a concierge room is fairly steep. We booked a category T one-bedroom suite, which we knew would provide us with a lot of space, and we figured there would be some extras. There were quite a few nice touches that don’t often get mentioned, however. In the closet, there were kid-sized hangers and a couple sachets to keep the walk-in closet (yes, you read that right!) from being musty. In addition, there were bathrobes for our use and slippers for us to use and keep. The closet also had a shoe shine tray, in case we had shoes needed to be shined. Because it was our anniversary, we arrived in the room to find a fruit arrangement on our coffee table. There were canned sodas and bottled water already chilling in our fridge. Bagged popcorn for the shows is included. A small internet package (beyond the 50 MB freebie package), included. Sunscreen is available on the sundeck. DVD rentals are included. Beer, wine, some mixed drinks (depending on what the bartender had), better-than-average coffee drinks, snacks (including mini desserts and hors d’oeuvres) throughout the day, unlimited canned soda and bottled water–all included. That doesn’t mention the amazing staff who go well above and beyond.

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Tips for Meeting Characters on a Disney Cruise

by on November 21, 2016

Disney Cruise Line - Mickey

I recently got back from my first Disney Cruise, and as a character fan, meeting characters was a top priority. I ended up meeting 22 different characters, with 57 different outfits, and a total of 70 actual meets on our 7 day Disney Fantasy cruise. Each cruise (even on the same ship and same time of year) will be different, but here are some tips on having as much character fun as I did.

Make the Navigator your new best friend. Each night, you’ll receive a Navigator for the next day, which has the daily schedule for many activities on your cruise. You’ll find the characters listed in a yellow box on one page, as well as on a tv guide looking chart on a separate page. I recommend using the yellow box to plan your character hunting, since sometimes, there are too many characters in a given time to list them on the chart. I also found the yellow box easier to read and glance at quickly. I folded the navigator page each day so that I would only see the character yellow box (tip: pick up extra Navigators at the Guest Services to keep as mementos from your trip.)

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

by on November 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. November means we say goodbye to EPCOT’s Food & Wine – and surprisingly the “Burgy” Award winning Canadian Lumberjacks – but hello to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and while you were digesting all that turkey (or Tofurky) did you happen to notice there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX looking at what we theme park fans should give thanks for? Even better, this past weekend was also time for the Second Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year. Did your favorite make the list? 

Fear not, while you were out on Black Friday ripping items out of the hands of kids , Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

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 a Goofy’s Candy Company Gumball Machine. Who doesn’t like a gumball machine? It’s unAmerican not to!



For the first time EVER, Disney Infinity items were reduced for clearance at the Outlet. There had occasionally been a Disney Infinity figure here or there for sale, but always at full price. This month had a slew of  figures marked down, including everyone’s favorite Frozen sisters reduced to $14.99.


Disney Infinity.

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Video: 4 Must-See Disney Cruise Line Shows

by on October 28, 2015

must see disney cruise line shows

Pirates in the Caribbean fireworks, one of 4 must-see shows on the DCL Magic (videos by Seth Kubersky).

The Disney Cruise Line is famed for its live entertainment offerings, and the DCL Magic is no exception. Despite being the oldest ship in the fleet, the Magic has some of DCL’s freshest shows, which I was lucky enough to experience on my recent Transatlantic crossing. You can’t go wrong with any of the mainstage production in the Walt Disney Theater — I’m particularly partial to Disney Dreams, and am excited to see the new Tangled musical — but there are tons of other live shows around the boat that you shouldn’t overlook. If you are stuck on dry land dreaming of sailing the seven seas with Mickey, whet your whistle with these new videos of 4 must-see Disney Cruise Line shows from the DCL Magic.


Freezing the Night Away Deck Party

Ok, this first entry might be stretching the “must-see” moniker for most adults, but if your kids are still Elsa-crazed you aren’t going to want to skip this one. Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends is a relatively recent addition to the DCL deck party rotation, which debuted earlier this year on the Disney Wonder, and was subsequently added to the Magic. It serves as the capstone to a full day of Frozen-themed activities, including a chocolate scavenger hunt, maypole dance, and special Norwegian-inspired dinner menu.

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When “book early” saves money on a Disney cruise – and when it doesn’t

by on August 18, 2015

The conventional wisdom for getting the lowest price on a cruise is to book as early as possible.  But is that advice really true for all destinations? After all, there’s enough competition in the cruise industry to make a 4-night Bahamas cruise almost a commodity, but less competition for extended Alaska and Mediterranean cruises.

To answer this question for the Disney Cruise Line, we gathered more than 5 million prices from DCL’s website over the past two years, for every combination of family size, stateroom category, ship, and cruise. (Yes, that’s a lot of data. Try it out yourself on our DCL Fare Tracker page.)

To simplify this discussion, we’ll looked at the prices for 2 adult/2 child families in Disney’s Deluxe Family Ocean View Stateroom with Verandah staterooms, for sailings in July and August 2015 as follows:

  • 4-Night Bahamas cruises on the Dream
  • 7-Night Alaska cruises on the Wonder
  • 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises on the Fantasy
  • 7-Night Mediterranean cruises on the Magic

Disney charges different prices for its Deluxe Family Ocean View Staterooms with Verandah (DFOVSV); staterooms on higher decks usually cost more than the same room on a lower deck. In the charts below, we show the price trends for the highest- and lowest-priced staterooms in that category, along with the average price of all DFOVSVs on all decks. We’re using a 20-day rolling average for the prices, to smooth out tiny variations in price over time.

For Bahamas cruises, “book early” is a great strategy, as shown in the chart below. Our typical family would save about 13% – over $600 – by booking 8 months in advance or more, versus booking 90 days out. And because the price goes  up consistently the closer you get to the cruise date, it’s always cheaper to book this kind of cruise as soon as you can. And that’s true regardless of whether you’re booking a stateroom on a high deck or a lower one.


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FAQ Dining with Kids on Disney Cruise Line

by on June 24, 2015

A common refrain on Disney cruises is, “If you see it, eat it.” It’s no secret that, for many guests, a key attraction of cruising is the food. This holds true for kids as well as adults. Just the thought of the unlimited ice cream available on the pool deck is enough to send some kids begging you to book another voyage. Here’s everything you need to know about dining with kids on Disney Cruise Line.

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy


What type of restaurants are on board the Disney ships?

Much like the Disney theme parks, there are five main classifications of dining venue on board the Disney ships.

  • Counter Service. This is the equivalent of the quick service venues in the parks. You walk up to a counter, ask for your food, a cast member hands it to you, and you take it yourself to a table. The counter service restaurants are primarily located in a cluster on the main pool deck of each ship. Typical offerings include pizza, small sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit, chicken fingers, etc. You’ll also find fountain soda dispensers and soft serve ice cream dispensers nearby. All these items are included in the cost of your cruise. There are additional counter service windows located near the theaters on each ship. These counters offer packaged snacks like M&Ms, fresh popcorn, and canned sodas. These items are not included in the price of your cruise.
  • Rotational Dining. This is the equivalent of the standard table service restaurants in the parks. You are seated at a table and presented with a menu, a server takes your order, brings your food, and clears it when you’re done. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise. There are three rotational dining venues on each ship. These are also known as the main dining rooms (MDRs).You will “rotate” through the three main dining rooms on different nights of your sailing. The longer your voyage, the more times you’ll experience each restaurant. But don’t worry about getting bored, the menus change nightly.
  • Buffet. While the buffet-style restaurants in the Disney theme parks hew closely to the table service model, the buffets on the ships are more like a cross between a food court and a school cafeteria during the breakfast and lunch hours. The buffet location will operate as a table service location for dinner service. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise.
  • Cafe and Lounge. This is the equivalent of a Disney World hotel bar, or the in-park Starbucks (though they don’t serve Starbucks coffee). Each ship has several cafes, offering specialty coffees and teas, and lounges offering primarily adult beverages and soft drinks. None of the beverages here are included with your cruise, but there are snack-size food items at these venues which generally are included.
  • Adult Dining. This is the equivalent of the fancy signature dining restaurants at Walt Disney World. On the Disney Cruise Line ships, these restaurants are restricted to guests ages 18 and up. The adult dining venues are Palo on all four ships, plus Remy on the Dream and Fantasy.

Additionally, you’ll find that room service (in-room dining) is available for all staterooms on the Disney ships.

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FAQ: What to Wear on A Disney Cruise

by on May 15, 2015

You’ve booked a Disney Cruise Line voyage, yay! One of the first things many guests ask (after “How am I going to pay for this?”) is “What should I wear?” This simple question is a hotly contested topic in some circles. I’m here to talk you through what you need to know.

What should I wear to dinner?

Disney Cruise Line ships each have three main dining rooms (MDRs). You will be assigned to eat at one of the three MDRs every night of your cruise.

One version of semi-formal.

One version of semi-formal.

The default dress code at the MDRs is “Cruise Casual.”

The MDRs may also have any of several possible other dress suggestions depending on the specifics of your sailing. These might include formal attire, semi-formal attire, pirate attire, tropical attire, Pixar attire, Frozen attire, or Star Wars attire. In the main dining rooms, everything other than cruise casual is simply a suggestion and is completely optional. I repeat EVERYTHING OTHER THAN CRUISE CASUAL IS OPTIONAL.

What does cruise casual mean?

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Should I Take My Young Child on a Disney Cruise?

by on May 1, 2015

Cruises, and Disney cruises in particular, offer many wonderful activities for children and families. Parents of elementary-age children, tweens, and teens typically leave the ship raving about their children’s engagement in the onboard kids’ clubs, their independence on the ship, and their enjoyment of various port excursions. They had a fabulous time! Many families with smaller children, preschool age and younger, also have a grand time on board; however, a significant subset have a more neutral, or even negative experience while cruising. Typically, the negative reaction comes when there is a disconnect between expectations and reality.

Some families with younger children find the ship pool areas overwhelming.

Some families with younger children find the ship pool areas overwhelming.

When considering what to expect from a Disney Cruise, first remember that travel with small children is almost always more challenging than travel with older kids or grown-ups. Adults who are used to traveling as, well, adults may be surprised at the difficulties posed when traveling with young children. If the Disney Cruise is one of your first travel experiences as a young family, remember that many of the issues you will encounter are not specific to Disney or to cruising, it’s just par for the course with travel at that stage.

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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.


  • 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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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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