Be sure to read:
Part 1 General cruise introduction
Part 2 About the ship
Part 3 Semi-formal night
Part 4 The character breakfast
As you can tell from above, we had a wonderful time on our cruise. I highly recommend Disney cruises as a great vacation! This last part is just picking up some odds and ends.
First, there were a couple of things I didn’t like about the cruise, and one was the character appearances. I talked about this briefly before, but the characters were only out for a very limited amount of time, most days once per day for a single character, for a half hour. This caused a huge backup in getting character pictures and autographs. Since the characters only appeared at specific times, people lined up as much as a half hour early (except for the princesses) for their very rushed picture and autograph. I was actually so disappointed by this that I sent a Strongly Worded Email to Disney talking about this issue. I got a very sincere apology in return, so hopefully this policy will change. If the characters had been out more, the waits would have gone down. Honestly, I think characters should be roaming the boat multiple times during the day
The princesses, however, were insane.
They had all of the princesses out at the same time, and they only did it twice the entire 5 days. That big group of people is the line.
And that’s not even the whole thing.
I was walking around the ship at the time and an hour later, the line still looked like that. It made me really, really glad I don’t have a princess-loving child.
However, the pictures people got were really cute.
My other complaint was with souvenirs. And here’s my advice for Disney Cruise Line souvenirs–if you see something you like, buy it right away. We ran into this 3 times. First was when we were browsing the gift shop and they had small stuffed Mickey and Minnies dressed up in captains/cruise clothes. We couldn’t decide between Mickey and Minnie so we thought we’d bring Theo down to pick for himself. Well, the next morning we went back and Minnie was completely sold out with no plans to re-stock. Then I spotted one of those chains-by-the-inch you can buy that was super-cute–gold with small Mickey heads. I decided to get a strand as an anklet, but I had to go back to the cabin for a measuring tape. Things got busy and again I didn’t get back to the store until the next day. Guess what? The chains were a one day only promotion even though it never said that it was a single day product. Luckily some very helpful cast member found some in the stock room that hadn’t been inventoried yet and sold me an anklet. But wow, you’d think they could have marked it. And then I was sort of on the fence about buying Theo a cruise-specific t-shirt (one for just our Pacific cruise). Yep, you guessed it, by the end of the cruise they were out of XS, but they slashed the price and I bought a Small for him later. So my advice is to definitely grab what you like when you see it because you just don’t know if it’s going to be around or sold out the next day.
But enough complaining! Let’s talk about the pool. It was adorable.
There were 3 pools: this Mickey one, a rectangular “family” pool, and an adult-only pool. The only one we swam in was the Mickey pool. The dept was perfect for Theo as he could completely stand and touch the bottom, and it gave him some confidence in practicing his swimming (he can do a rudimentary freestyle and is working on pushing off and keeping his face in the water). The pool was nice and heated, but since the days were quite chilly you basically froze if you were wet and not in the water. We only went swimming twice. The second time was so cold Theo completely protested getting out even with a big towel hug, and insisted on “Daddy carry! Daddy carry!” back to the room for warmth.
The pool also had this:
How cool is that??? Unfortunately Theo was 2 inches too short for it. The water slides on the new Disney ships look even more amazing.
My one thing about the pool is that it seemed pretty small for the number of guests onboard. I can’t even imagine how crowded it must get when the weather is hot! But the Mickey design was really cool and Theo really enjoyed it.
And speaking of things Theo enjoyed…
The age cutoff for the kids’ activities was age 3 and potty-trained. Since Theo is neither, he didn’t qualify for the other programming, but was able to spend time in Flounder’s Reef Nursery. He had a blast there and went twice. Your amount of time in Flounder’s Reef is limited–on our cruise it was a 10 hour limit throughout the cruise, and there’s an additional charge ($6 an hour). We were so glad for it.
For Theo’s first stay, Kevin and I had a spa treatment–the exotic rassoul mud couple’s treatment. We got a little private room with its own shower and steam room and they left us a body and facial scrub, massage oil, full-body mud mask, and lotion. It was a lovely, relaxing treatment and I highly recommend it to any couple. I later went back an had an acupuncture session which was SO effective on my neck and shoulder tension.
Theo’s second stay was when we got reservations at Palo, the special restaurant. The food at Palo was very good and the chocolate souffle was AMAZING. I love getting a souffle (I try to order things in restaurants that I can’t/don’t make at home) and this one was the best I’ve ever had. Definitely a must!
The nice thing about Flounder’s is that it was open until 10:00 which gave us plenty of time to enjoy our meal. Also, Theo was there over lunch one day and dinner the next and they fed him. They got the food from one of the other kids’ club choices, so it was really nice to not have to get something and run it over to him.
And there’s our cruise!!! So fabulous, and I can’t wait to go on our next one!
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I’d say you nailed my one concern about our upcoming cruise. My daughter is every bit the Princess loving child and I’m probably going to have to plan that a bit better. Do they announce in the daily newsletter where the characters will be appearing so people can at least schedule these time blocks and nothing else?
Yes, they do announce in the newsletter when the characters will be out. I think you can probably ask at Guest Services the first day of the cruise for a complete list of the princesses. I would recommend arriving about 30 minutes early for the princesses.
Theo was allowed in the pool in swim diapers? On our Disney cruise, they said no swim diapers, all kids must be potty trained. We tried sneaking them in in thin plastic pants (poop catchers, I call them) under their suits and the employess still spotted us and made us leave :(. We had to stay in the lame-o splash zone.
We happened upon a princess just before a show. We ended up being the 2nd in line somehow, but that was the one and only princess we saw. Our lines didn’t seem as crazy as your picture, maybe we didn’t have a full cruise? Although we were frustrated with the limited character times. Apparently that is an ongoing problem that Disney just doesn’t seem to fix.
For autographs, I got the tip to leave whatever you want autograph at the Concierge desk. They will get it for you by the end of the cruise. I had a mat autographed for a picture from our cruise. Some people get pillowcases, t-shirts, etc. It’s free, although they will accept tips!
Oops–failed to mention that we snuck Theo in with his California Health Department-Approved swim diaper. I get why they don’t allow disposable swim diapers (although let’s be real, older kids pee in the pool all the time). Theo’s swim diaper is a reusable swim diaper that is very tight around the legs and waist. When he gets in the water he actually has a bubble butt from the air trapped in this swim suit :lol:. Plus he has peed in his swim suit out of the pool and I’ve never found a puddle or any leakage. So basically yeah, we broke the rule :oops:.
And we got a mat autographed too! Thanks for the reminder–I totally forgot to blog about it! I’ll add it to the entry when I get a chance.
We had those too! But since our kiddos were only 1.5 yo, I think they “knew” they probably weren’t potty trained. It was such a bummer of a rule. It wouldn’t have been too bad if the splash zone weren’t so incredibly lame. Added to that the annoying big kids who would come over and run all over it and splash the little kids really made it suck!
I also thought the characters could have been out more. It was a Disney cruise! We didn’t mind, but my cousins that loved the characters were a bit bummed. Just an FYI, the characters did go through the kids zone “Adventure Club” thing during regular hours. We have 2 Mickeys in captain outfits. Maybe a trade is in order?! 🙂
Oh that’s good to know that they went through the kid’s club so at least the kids got to see them a bit more than just the appearances. But seriously, I would have thought they’d been swarming the ship, you know?
Jill says that there have been loads of people that complain about the amount of character time and it hasn’t changed. Our thoughts are that it’s to keep it fresh and exciting. Would you wait in anticipation for 30 minutes if you knew that you could just see the character an hour later walking? I don’t know. Seriously though about the Capt. Mickeys… we have 2. Offer is out there. 🙂
We had the opposite experience with the characters. On our last night, after the second seating all the princesses were standing around and since most families were anxious to put their little ones to bed, we practically had the princesses to ourselves. My husband also spent a lot of time standing in the back of the theater with our 6 month old daughter during the shows because she would get fussy. As a result she got to know a lot of the actors in the show. Which became very evident when that last night she was recognized by many characters and they actually came over to her, rather than us going to them.
That is AWESOME! Were you on the same repositioning cruise last year that we were on? I did write a letter of complaint regarding the character availability. If they’ve changed that, that would be so cool. Meeting the characters is so much fun with little ones.