When you think about indulging on a cruise, food is usually the first thing that comes to mind. And while the Disney Fantasy does have fantastic dining options, the entire cruise experience is an indulgence for each member of the family.
This is Disney’s strategy – everyone should feel like they’ve had a vacation when it’s time to go home. “We [Disney] entertain one person, one group at a time. The experience needs to feel personalized”, said Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
AquaDuck water coaster is a blast for all ages
I cruised on the Disney Fantasy with my 6-year-old daughter and my sister. While many of our experiences were shared, some were different yet at the end we all felt the same. Indulged.
Disney Cruise Line staterooms are built for families. There’s a privacy curtain, split bathrooms and beds that literally pull down, swing down and come out from the ceiling and wall – all very exciting if you are a kid.
Families with babies and toddlers will love the upgraded shower/tub which now has a circular bottom and little bench area – it’s perfect for little ones. And for the big kids, there is a large rain shower head for a little decadence when you choose.
According to Tom Staggs, the Disney Fantasy was designed knowing it would be operating 7-day cruises with two full days at sea where guests would need additional activities to keep them busy. There is already so much for kids to do on the ship that you will never hear an “I’m bored”. Highlights include the AquaDuck water coaster (get in line when it opens to minimize wait time which can be 20-30 minutes), the exceptional youth clubs, the new AquaLab water spray area and Broadway quality shows.
Mickey water slide
New for the Fantasy are the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Muppets interactive adventure game using Disney’s enchanted artwork. I have to admit that I purposely avoided the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique because I didn’t want my daughter begging for a makeover but in hindsight I would have brought a costume for the pirate party and let her get a pirate makeover (the boys were getting these too).
The new interactive Muppets game is fun, but be prepared for at least an hour of zigzagging around the ship following clues. Each “detective” has a numbered badge which they hold up to the enchanted artwork to activate the game and find their clue. At the end you solve the crime. There are three different adventures and we saw tweens, teens, small kids and grandparents doing these. My daughter thought it was “pretty cool”.
And the Disney characters always bring a smile. Even to the big kids.
A welcome-aboard hug from Pluto
It’s a fact – tweens and teens like Disney Cruises.
According to Leslie Ferraro, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales, Disney Destinations, “Some of the highest guest satisfaction surveys come from families with teens”.
With onboard Wave phones provided complimentary to guests, parents can contact their kids and the kids have freedom to roam the ship and slip in and out of the youth clubs; Edge for tweens and Vibe for teens. At Vibe, teens even have their own pool deck.
With youth clubs that kids ask to go to, parents can enjoy the adult amenities without worrying about their little ones who are being entertained by a multitude of activities.
There are many adult areas on the ship including the spa, adult dining (additional charge), night life zone, pool area and on Castaway Cay, the adult beach. One thing you immediately notice is the lack of Disney characters in these areas. There may be some hidden Mickeys or Remys but nothing obvious – this is your time.
Relaxing on the adult beach at Castaway Cay
It’s hard to choose between so many options but a morning at Serenity Bay, the adult beach on Castaway Cay and an adults-only dinner at Palo or Remy are my top picks. Palo is Italian and Remy is very fine French dining and takes a minimum of two and a half hours. I had the opportunity to dine at Remy and our course dinner with wine pairing lasted four hours!
This is Disney island vacationing without the bugs. The adult beach here is fabulous and the island’s kids’ club is a sandy beach dream with lots of water games. The sting ray experience (book in the morning when the water is the calmest) and Pelican Plunge water slides are highlights for families but there is also a multitude of water sports, biking and even a 5k run to keep busy. New family cabanas have added another relaxing option to the island.
Family cabanas at Castaway Cay
Creative towel art greets guests at turndown
We always expect a lot from Disney because their level of service is so high so it’s especially fun to to be surprised. My three favorite surprises: our towel art elephant wearing sunglasses, a note and box of chocolates on my bed from the Remy staff after my dinner and the amazingly creative animator’s experience at Animator’s Palate – don’t miss dinner here!
Editorial Note: Kristi received complimentary airfare and cruise accommodations from the Disney Cruise Line. They did not ask her to express any particular point of view.
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