A Disney Cruise: The truth, the whole truth and nuthin’ but the truth

IMG_5480

Wahhhhhh, I am SO mad at Disney. Like seriously pissed off. They have made coming back to reality after our cruise crazy hard. But Mama’s gotta bring home the bacon to pay for things… like another cruise. Anyways, we were cruise virgins before this one, so I’d be an a-hole not to share what I learned in case you’re thinking about taking one yourself. And in case you can’t tell from words like a-hole and virgin, this is not sponsored, so it will be very truthful. Here goes. Ten things I learned about taking a Disney cruise:

1. Pack a boatload of tissues (not really because they have some in your bathroom), but holy crap are you gonna need them. If you’re anything like me and embarrassingly cry the moment the music starts playing in Disney movies, do NOT wear mascara. Like the moment we boarded the ship, the staff lined up and called out, “Welcome, Alpert family!!” and I felt like we were royalty and I had to blink really fast to keep the tears from spilling over.

2. If you have a picturesque fantasy about lying beside the quiet pool and getting some rays, this is not the vacation for you. Don’t get me wrong, it is SUPER FUN and I would go again in a heartbeat, but the first time I walked out to the pool, I pretty much had a panic attack. Picture a mosh pit of rugrats. Like if I were an a-hole and was willing to step on kids’ heads, I could have walked from one side of the pool to the other without getting wet. But the good news is, Disney makes everyone get out of the pool about every hour to clean it so the water never actually turns yellow.

2B. And if you’re thinking, “That’s okay because I’m a mom I have the superhero ability to tune out the sound of children,” well, that’s good. Because then you’ll be able to hear the humungous jumbotron that’s constantly playing Disney movies outside on the pool deck. It was a kid’s dream-come-true. And since we came here to make my kids’ dreams come true, mission accomplished.

IMG_5575

Our ship had the most badass waterslide ever. It actually went out over the ocean. The lines were long and the lady in front of me was wearing a thong and I had to stare at her butt for like 20 minutes, but I would still say it’s worth it.

3. The kids club is AWWWWWESOMMMMME. But listen up, because this is probably the smartest thing we did the whole trip. Before we dropped the little booger-snots off at the kids’ club, we took them there during an Open House. Nahhh, not because we needed to check it out first. It’s Disney for Pete’s sake. They’re better parents than I am. But Holden would have had a shit-fit if I dropped him off in some random place he didn’t know at all, so first we took him there to see it with us. That way when we took him back to go without us, he was super excited to go back and see the magic floor and the submarine and Pixie Hollow and the Monster University area, etc. etc. etc., while we got to eat at an adult-only amaaaaazing restaurant without any annoying rugrats ruining our fancy dinner. Uhhh, I mean I swear we missed our kids a lot. Can’t you tell?

IMG_5810

4. The price is not the price you pay to get on the boat. Drinks and gratuity cost a shitload in the end. Like our bill after the cruise came to $1500. Is this boat rocking or am I about to pass out? I am fully in support of paying 20% to our servers and housekeepers because they TOTALLY deserved it, but still, minor heart attack. On the flip side, Disney makes sure that certain necessities like bottles of water and kid’s Tylenol and trips to the health center are actually very reasonable, which I think is awesome because these are not things you want to skimp on. Then again, blended adult drinks by the pool are also necessities you don’t want to skimp on and they cost like a million dollars. WTF, Disney?

5. The food is seriously all you can eat!! Like for realz. Hmmmm, should I get the stuffed lobster or the beef tenderloin? Bwhahahahaha, trick question because I’m getting BOTH. I shit you not. You can sit down to the dinner table and order everything on the menu if you want. Which is particularly awesome when the dessert menu comes.

WAITRESS: Would you like the molten chocolate lava cake, the crème brûlée (you know it’s a fancy dessert when it has all those accents!), or the banana split?

ME: Yes.

6. If you pick a cruise that has special days like Pirate Day or Star Wars Day, pack costumes. People on Disney cruises are like total Disney geeks (including myself) and they get decked out (cruise puns!!). I wore a dinky Star Wars t-shirt from Tarjay, and I was one of the lamest people on the ship (technically I was already one of the lamest people on the ship before Star Wars Day). Plus, I’m pretty sure Zoey was picked to do Jedi training because she was dressed up. And that made schlepping her giant Padmé mask in the suitcase worth it. Kind of.

IMG_5873IMG_5891

7. You have the same two servers waiting on your dinner table every night the whole trip. Which is great because they get to know you and what you like (my wine filled to the brim every time I take a sip). We had Alexa and Marcelo, and I was seriously sad to leave them at the end of the seven days. Holy crap were they awesome. Alexa made the kids origami at the table and Marcelo did real live magic. And at one point my hubby was cutting Holden’s food, and Alexa literally sprinted across the restaurant hurdling tables like Flo-Jo to yank the knife out of his hand and do it for him. Now THAT is a vacation.

IMG_5957IMG_5586

8. Okay, guess what my favorite thing about this cruise was? No, not the piña coladas, not the all-you-can-eat meals, not the HUGE-ASS waterslide that totally rocked. It’s that it was a DISNEY cruise, so if my kid threw a tantrum and laid (lied??? lay???) down in the middle of the hallway floor, people just stepped over him and continued on their way. Yo, Disney, here’s your new tagline: where a kid can be a douchenugget and no one gives a crap. It’s for sale if you want it!

So yeah, there are like a boatload of other things I can tell you about (mostly awesome), but my fingers are tired and I’m still going through piña colada withdrawal so I need to take it easy. If you are a Disney cruise savant and have any good thoughts to add, feel free to leave them in the comments because chances are, you’re totally smarter than I am. And if you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it! Thank you and bon voyage!!

And if you need some good EASY reading for your trip, try my book I Want My Epidural Back!! Just don’t read it on the airplane or you will laugh your ass off and everyone will think you’re a crazy person. book_cover2

 

 



Subscribe to Baby Sideburns and laugh your ass off. Enter your email address and I promise to only send you funny stuff once in a while and nothing spammy.



63 responses to “A Disney Cruise: The truth, the whole truth and nuthin’ but the truth

  1. We had Alexa on our first cruise. She was awesome!

  2. BWAHAHAHA!!! Love it! We are now multiple-cruise schmucks and not ashamed. (Yes, Disney IS a better parent than me… and better babysitters, and better lifeguards.) Yep, our “family vacation” was really just my husband and I having drinks while the kids were…. somewhere else. And they loved it! 😉 Maybe we’ll see y’all on our next one!

  3. Terrific blog. Totally agree–our Disney cruise rocked!

  4. Which ship is that with the slide and star wars day, i need to book that one!

  5. We just took a Disney Cruise last week as well and it was AWESOME!!!!! Glad you had fun, we had a blast!

  6. So, it’s a little known fact that Disney is one of the few cruise lines that lets you BRING YOUR OWN BOOZE ON BOARD. Sure, you can pay a fortune for your lovely mixed drink at the bar, OR you can pack a bottle of rum and add it to your free all you can drink orange juice from the beverage bars. Or your all you can drink coke. Or anything you feel like mixing rum into. I think they limit you to either a bottle per family or a bottle per person, I can’t remember, but….yeah. You can bring booze on the ship. And you should. Because booze. It can seriously cut down on the expense of mixed drinks. If you want to feel fancy, pack your own cocktail umbrellas while you’re at it.

    So, keep that in mind for the next time.

    Disney, where everything really IS magical.

    • Disney changed the alcohol policy before our last cruise in October, 2015. No liquor allowed and only a small amount of wine or beer. Which is sad because I had the best FE gifts for the adults that contained rum. Doesn’t alcohol make the best gift? Check rules before cruising to be current. I will before our next cruise this October hoping this policy has changed.

      Even with this policy I LOVED our Disney Cruise experience. Can’t wait to take the whole family next time.

  7. Love, love, love!!!!

  8. Actually as of September 2015 you can no longer bring booze on board. You are allowed 6 pack of beer per person over 21 or 2 bottles of wine/champagne per person over 21 (Good news is this can be topped up at every port) No more hard liquor 🙁

    It would be nice if that due to these changes Disney offered drink package options but my husband and I are more beer drinkers so didn’t effect us too bad.

  9. Loved it!!! I hope you can make it through the day without your pina coladas 😀 I have a bottle on my fridge for those occasions 😀

  10. richard tingley

    We just did our 3rd Disney cruise a few weeks ago. Like yours, it was one with the Star Wars Day at see.

    What you said about the family pools is 110% correct. They are a madhouse for even the most patient and/or deaf parent. The kids love them, but I would rather get a root canal done with no Novocain then deal with that for more than a few minutes.

    What you might have missed out on since your douchenuggets are still little are the adult only pools at the front of the ships.

    That are a complete polar opposite of the family pools. They are quiet, relaxing and lack 30′ TV and stadium caliber sound system.

  11. If you want to get away from the kids and go to the pool, they have an adult pool also no kids allowed.

  12. Okay serious question. I have 3 girls, ages 7, 6 and 2. Is a Disney Cruise appropriate for my youngest? Or will she be tempted to jump? My husband and I wano to take them So Badly, but I’m Deathly afraid..

  13. The booze on board the Disney ships is way cheaper than the booze on board the other cruise lines.

  14. First, I am buying like 27 copies of your new book to distribute as Mother’s Day gifts to my friends, stepmom, and even my grandmother:) As a native Floridian and mom of two charming toddlers, I am a frequent flyer cruiser. Little known fact– Holland America cruise line is geared for retiree folk, which makes it great for kids. Why? Because if you cruise with another family you have built-in playmates for your kids and there are VERY few other kids on the boat. Translation– peace and quiet when your kids are at kid care. Granted, kid care is totally hum drum compared to Disney but still decent. And Holland America is half the price of Disney and has paired with Food and Wine magazine. But Disney is amazing, too, so thanks for sharing!

  15. To cut down on cocktail spending, save your cups! You get almost half off cocktails if you give them your cup when you order. First thing that goes in our luggage when we are packing for a Disney cruise!

  16. We just got back from our first Disney cruise and LOVED it too!!!
    We have a family of 4.. Myself, husband and girls 10 & 12. Disney’s new policy is you can carry on 6 beers per person or 2 bottles of wine. {bring your own corkscrew or you have to pay like $20 to have them undo it} My husband brought in 12 beers {6 for him, then I brought 6 for me, but he drank them} Then at each port you can buy beer and bring another 6 per person on too. We were on a 4 night and on our 2nd port he got more and was good. Plus they have the beer mug package for $15.00 and refills are like $6 and you get 24 ounces for the 16 ounce size. {all rough numbers off the top of my head} I have a 3 or 4 drink of the days {again buy the plastic cup and refills are at a reduced price} and we got suckered into those $15 each light up pirate non-alcoholic kids drinks..
    I am super thrifty and did a ton of research so I had set money set aside in envelopes for how much I thought we would need for specific things. I don’t feel like we scrimped on anything, plus ended up tipping our servers/host rooms more than I had planned IN ADDITION to the pre-paid tips we did when we booked, and we still came home with extra money. All our drinks and a $150 1 hour massage {yikes!} and our total bill was only around $400. I had figured on spending closer to $1000….

    We also chose a smaller ship, the Wonder and from what I have read that made a huge difference in regards to the pools and lines etc.. There were an abundance of lounge chairs and the pools were never crowded. Granted we didn’t have a water slide but there were so many other things to do my girls never really swam on the ship anyways..

    The food and servers were amazing! We also LOVED the shows and how there were so many things for everyone to do.. At one point I was getting a massage, my husband was in the adult only hot tub, my 12 year old was in the movie theater watching Zootopia {for the 2nd time.. It came out while we were on the ship} and my 10 year old was eating another ice cream cone and swimming. We talk about our cruise almost every day.. Even my husband who was huge cruise skeptic loved it!

  17. We want to go on a Disney cruise but hate to spend almost twice what a normal cruise would cost…..but the ships just look so awesome!!!

  18. My daughter and I did our first Disney Cruise for Christmas. And we loved it. She wanted to spend most of the time in the the Kids Club for age group. And using the WAVE phones made it easier.

  19. What is this rum mixing you speak of? (Did you read it in Captain Jack’s voice)

  20. Thanks for the info. I have thought about a Disney cruise but always wondered what they were truly like!

  21. Bahaha totally agree. We’ve cruised on 11 sailings because our second sailing was so amazing we took the kids! (1st was my husband and I only. How’s that for bad parents?!) At that time, parents were given a pager to respond when they needed to contact us. Find a phone thinking “this can’t be good” only hearing ” your child doesn’t want to have to have dinner with you (that’s the way I heard it) she would like to stay with the other children. D**n straight. We can pick her up at the end of the cruise if that works. Heads up, make sure she gets a lot sleep.😋 (Dreaming of the adult only quiet area.)”
    No such luck…..still amazing cruise!

  22. All 11 cruises were Disney.

  23. Your girls are PERFECT ages!!! My daughter (now almost 5) went on her first cruise at 18mo, she is quite the monkey and not one fear while on the ship. I have been on 9 Disney Cruises, they are truly made for families with kids of all ages! Railings are *just* high enough and such little openings underneath just for air to get through. Going to the pool during Days at Sea is busy but any other time is not terrible and there is plenty to do on board outside of the pools!

  24. Actually, they don’t let you bring your own alcohol on board anymore. You can bring 2 bottles of wine or a six pack of beer- per adult. But no hard liquor. It’s a newish rule:( Boo!
    Star Wars Day is for a select number of cruises, too.
    But yes, Disney cruises are the best!!

  25. I would love to go on a Disney cruise! Omg! I might even be persuaded to take the rug rats. I just wanted to say how much I love this blog and the new book. It makes me feel like I’m not the only mediocre mom on the block!

  26. I am beyond ecstatic that we didn’t have this in the UK when 16&almost13 were younger as it sounds like pure torture, but then back when they were younger I would be used to little kids and probably wouldn’t have thrown them overboard as shark bait…..😋

  27. As for the alcohol, I was able to take the small trial sized Bailey’s and Rumchata (personally took 4 for a 3 day cruise just a few weeks ago) just fine! Perfect for mixing in your free cup of ice cream and having a boozy shake!

  28. We depart on Disney Fantasy on the 30th! Someone in our FB cruise group posted this blog and you’re fricken hilarious! Cannot wait to get on the ship.

  29. Question. We are going on the Disney Dream in June just to Nassau and CocoCay. My husband and I both have valid passports. Our two minor children do not, but I have their original birth certs. Is that ok?

  30. We did the Disney Mediterranean cruise (Spain, France, Italy). Everyone was so busy at each port (sooooo much to see) that when they were back on board I think they must have just slept because the pools and slides and movie theatres and cafes were always very quiet. I think the busiest day had maybe 10 people in the pool at once. Made for a fantastic trip!

  31. Melissa Kellenberger

    Nail on the head… we were on the April 2nd Fantasy sailing and are not Disney geeks or Stars Wars, in fact we were a little concerned that we would be overrun with the Star Wars folks but had an amazing time. And not having to cut my children’s food was surprisingly magical!

  32. Carrie-Anne Hunter

    Ahhhh I loved reading this 🙂 we did a 10 night Disney cruise around Europe in 2010 and what we got to experience of it was exactly as you describe!! However on the 3rd day my oldest daughter (then aged 4) came down with chickenpox and we were quarantined to the cabin. For the rest of the cruise. I disembarked in one of the Italian ports to find a pay phone so I could make an international call to my Mum to cry and tell her how awful it was. Unfortunately we didn’t receive any refund for loss of enjoyment either from Disney or our travel insurance. We also had no idea we were expected to leave large tips for our servers and nearly died from shock when we realised … we did not have anywhere near that amount of money left and had to leave without tipping. All in all a horrendous disappointment 😩

  33. Disney Cruise Momma

    You can bring your own beer and wine on! There are limits but it helps lesson the blow when you get your tab! 😉

  34. That is the Disney Fantasy. They are offering Star Wars sailings again Jan-April 2017. They are 7 night sailings and are kinda pricey.

  35. Disney Cruise Line recently changed that policy. No more hard alcohol can be brought on the ships. You can bring 2 bottles of wine or 1 six pack of beer per adult now.

  36. Lindsey Wilhelm

    Do u have any tips on how to get any sort of deals on your cruise ticket?

  37. When we went, we would tell our kids that if they didn’t behave, they couldn’t spend the afternoon in the kids’ club. Then we’d look over their heads at each other and silently laugh, thinking, ‘The hell they can’t!’ Win-win for us – they behaved because they wanted to go and we enjoyed relaxing afternoons alone. 🙂

  38. We just returned from our Disney Cruise with our 2 & 8 year old. I felt 7 nights was a bit much for my 2 yr old but he enjoyed it. I utilized the nursery on board. It cost extra- up to age 3, but it was totally worth it and they were wonderful. I just made sure my 2 yr old got his nap in and for the most part, he did well. My 2 year old had no urge to jump overboard and loved meeting the characters. I also would take him to deck 4 and let him run. Seriously, Disney thinks of everything! Don’t forget diapers as the ship only has limited sizes. Also, if they are not potty trained they are not allowed in the pool. They have their own water splash n play area. Just a small tip, prepay gratuities was the way to go. 🙂

  39. Nope. They need passports as well

  40. Simple solution to the booze problem: pour booze into water bottles, put water bottles into ziplock bags. Seriously! Save the $ and worry of breakage.

  41. I love, love, love that you talk/write like a real person! It just feels more genuine.

  42. No one has mentioned the secret.. The couples mud room and massage in the spa! My husband and I still giggle when we remember that treat! ( and our babies are now 20 and 22-)think how long ago that was! Plus their private island. Beautiful!

  43. We went about a month ago and it was AMAZING!!! Our kids are 3 & 11 and loved the kids clubs so much we barely saw them!

  44. Welcome to your new addiction. We were on the Fantasy Star Wars cruise last week. This was our 20th Disney Cruise. Our d-nuggets were 7 and 9 on our first DCL adventure 16 years ago. Our youngest got married on the Dream last month. It is a lifestyle!

    My friends and co-workers always ask me why we keep going back to Disney. We are not Pixie Dust covered pin-trading figurine collectors. We honestly hate that s**t. But we love DCL. We have met many dear friends who we continue to cruise with every year. And DCL keeps the kids out of the adults-only areas, which is AWESOME.

  45. Where you just on the April 2 Star Wars cruise? I saw a girl in a costume like that after the 2pm kids costume parade. My kids were the tauntaun and darth vader with the bald cap.
    We had Marcelo doing magic tricks for us too.
    I was very disappointed with the cruise. Not enough Star Wars, not enough movie times or events. Dinner was good but I wasn’t impressed at all with breakfast or the 11th deck food for lunch.
    The kids club was awesome and my boys favorite place. But I won’t go back on another Disney cruise just for the kids club. The price wasn’t worth the experience. And the additional fees were a killer even with paying the tips before we went. It was just too expensive.

  46. Krystal Mehrhof

    My first cruise was Disney as well. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I tell my husband all the time that it’s my favorite of all of the vacations we’ve taken!

  47. Courtney Schwartz

    We took our family of 5 on their 1st Disney cruise a year ago. We loved it and would do it again. We went with friends and felt very comfortable letting the kids run around and check themselves in and out of the kid care. It was an awesome experience and in my opinion definitely worth the money over the other cruise lines.

  48. Yes, TOTALLY 100% appropriate! They will have a wonderful time, therefore so will you! I see lots of strollers on board. PLUS many times during a melt down, the characters (if nearby) will stop by, or a cast member or someone like ME will pop in to try to help the little guy settle down just a wee bit.

  49. Our first Disney Cruise was waaaaaaay back when it was The Big Red Boat! Our youngest at that time was 9 mo’s and oldest was 6. (we have 4 kids, our youngest is now 24….) Such a great cruise! Now with the actual Disney owned and designed boats, we’re about 90% exclusive DCL’ers AND we cruise Disney by ourselves. The best way to go 😉 !!! We finally relented and took our daughter and her husband on the Alaska DVC Members Cruise! Best cruise EVER, and this after we had just gone on a “regular” DCL to Alaska 6 months earlier!!! There’s always going to be those who have a hiccup on their cruise which adds a bad taste, which is too bad, and very sad. But the majority of DCL cruisers have a wonderful time, feel they get what they pay for, and go to sleep with tinkerbell fairy dust dreams. Then you get off the ship back in to reality and BAM that proverbial 2 by 4 slams you upside the head…… and off you go swearing and saving up for the next cruise!

  50. While DCL has changed their policies to limit liquor brought on board, you can bring beer and wine. Also, if you stick to the drink of the day and TRADE in your “hurricane cup” for a new one each time, drinks are surprisingly affordable…as are 2 for 1 drinks during happy hour!

  51. how much does a cruise like that cost?

  52. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. We’ve been on 3 Disney cruises and I’m nervous that another cruise line won’t measure up to Disney’s excellent level of service. I’m totally stealing “douchenuggets.” That was freakin’ hysterical. Keep writing, keep sailing!

  53. You are a flippin’ genius and SPOT ON! That is all…and Disney on!

  54. I have been on 2…I am Miss Mouse…a Disney vacation planner. Missmousetravel@yahoo.com. NO CHARGE TO PLAN YOUR AMAZING CRUISE/VACATION!

  55. The Fantasy! We just got back from the Star Wars cruise and it was amazing!

  56. DCL is the best! I am an Authorized Disney Travel Planner with an Disney Earmarked agency and I would be happy to answer any questions or help plan a DCL cruise for your family! My services are FREE, we offer payment plans and booking incentives!! Chrissy@camlandtravel.com

  57. Lauren DiMattia

    It’s the Fantasy!

  58. Brillant blog. Going with my granddaughter in Koct.Great info.

  59. The rugrats around the pool – hell, there were so many IN the pool you could probably walk across using their little heads as stepping stones and not get wet – made it a not-so-nice place to relax.

    That’s why you put the kids in the club and head for the serenity deck and drink your frozen drinks in peace. (I start buying up Disney gift cards with every target trip about six months in advance. If you shop at Target like I do, and drink like I do, the drink bill is covered with the cards when you get there. )Yay Target addiction to pay for my rum fix.

  60. Disney cruises are fantastically expensive. We took our kids, then 6 and 9, on a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Fascination (one of their smaller ships) to see if they’d like it. They had a BLAST. We priced out a Disney cruise and it was literally 2 1/2 times the price of what we paid. Insane. I’m sure Disney does a better job (they’d better for almost triple the price) but don’t hesitate to try Carnival if you don’t want to spend your entire IRA on a cruise! Took our kids for a 7 day on the Carnival Magic last October (2015) and they loved it just as much. And we got plenty of time to ourselves because they have Camp Ocean for kids and they begged to go there!

  61. Hillarilous! Your book is now in my Amazon cart for our upcoming cruise. Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

Leave a Reply