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Disney Family Travel: Cruising with a Toddler – How To Have Fun and Be Prepared

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Disney Wonder Cruise Magic, Memories, and Family-Friendly Cruising 3

A Disney Cruise vacation is a way to make magical memories for the whole family. Disney offers activities, food and entertainment tailored to all ages. Traveling with a toddler can sometimes be a handful. Besides their routine and schedule changing, a toddler’s attention span is not as long as older children. Luckily, Disney knows how to plan a trip!

During my trip on Disney Wonder Cruise Multigenerational Travel: Magic, Memories, and Family-Friendly Fun With Grandmother, Daughter and Granddaughter!, I enjoyed fun and memories with my daughter and granddaughter. I will treasure each moment of joy Disney provided us. The look of excitement on my young granddaughter’s face was absolutely priceless.

Food

The luxury of taking a cruise vacation is the all-you-can-eat cuisine. Disney is popular for their fine dining on their cruises. Instead of only offering gourmet and fancy selections, Disney also provides toddler-friendly food such as corn dogs, spaghetti, mac and cheese, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers. There is a variety of fruit available at all times. Even for the pickiest of eaters you will find something to satisfy their appetite.

Youth Programs

Disney is known for their spectacular children’s entertainment. Outside of their movies, television shows and theme parks, Disney brings interactive programs to their cruise line. Disney Cruise Line offers youth programs that are for kids only. Instead of your child feeling like they are being left with a babysitter, they will be begging you to let them go! It is even cooler that no moms are allowed.

Disney Oceaneer Club is open to children ages 3-12.

Although subject to change, activities at Disney’s Oceaneer Club for children may include:

• Toy Story Boot Camp – Join Corporal Green and the Green Army Soldiers from the hit Disney•Pixar animated film series for a fun-filled, toy tour of duty.

• Do-Si-Do with Snow White – Kick up your heels and dance while you learn the “Dance of the Seven Dwarfs,” and then perform your steps with a special guest.

• So You Want To Be a Pirate? – Train to be a pirate and come face to face with Captain Hook!

• Mouseketeers in Training – Put on your mouse ears because it’s time for Mouseketeer training. Receive a special inspection from Mickey Mouse himself!

Disney’s Oceaneer Club includes:

• A computer lab with child-friendly computers
• A crow’s nest slide and rope bridge for exploring
• The Captain’s Closet dress-up room
• A dance floor
• A small stage for games
• Multiple televisions

Disney Oceaneer Lab is open to children ages 3-12.

Although subject to change, activities at Disney’s Oceaneer Lab may include:

• Ratatouille Cooking School – Join a specially trained cookie chef, and learn how to make chocolate chip cookies fit for Remy himself. Have fun helping friends, adding lots of different ingredients and, in the end, creating your very own cookies straight from the Ratatouille restaurant magic oven.

• Animation Antics – Kids explore the history of animation and learn animator secrets as they draw one of their favorite Disney characters and create their own flipbook to take home.

• Stitch’s Great Adventure – Help Stitch as he tries to capture Dr. Jumba’s experiments that were set loose in the Oceaneer Lab before they cause all sorts of trouble!

• Piston Cup Challenge – Drivers run a clean race as they build race cars using bars of soap, ensuring good clean fun and lots of laughs for all.

Disney’s Oceaneer Lab includes:

• A computers lab with child-friendly computers
• Science lab
• A reading area
• Lounge area
• Multiple televisions

Disney Cruise Line also offers Flounder’s Reef Nursery for ages 3 and under. Unlike the Oceaneer Club, the nursery does charge a fee for babysitting. The cost is $9 per hour for the first child and $8 per hour for the second child traveling in the family.

Disney Characters

You do not have to travel to Disneyland or Disney World to meet your favorite characters. On board the Disney Cruise Line you will see your best buddies from the classics – Peter Pan to the newly discovered princesses – Elsa & Ana. Each evening you will find a schedule in your cabin for the following day. This schedule will list which characters will be signing autographs and posing for photos on the ship each hour. Your favorite character is scheduled for autographs at the same time you have an activity planned? No worries, the Disney friends will be making appearances throughout each day during your entire vacation. Since the crowds are no where near as massive as at the Disney parks, the characters take time with each child and even give out hugs.

Disney Wonder Cruise Magic, Memories, and Family-Friendly Cruising

Castaway Cay with a Toddler

On Castaway Cay you are not left to fend for yourself or create your own fun. The excitement from on board the Disney ship disembarks with you. From live music, Disney characters roaming the island, games and activities such as crab races and hula-hoop contests – the possibilities are limitless.

Although most excursions at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, have a minimum age of 5 or older the Glass Bottom Boat Scenic Voyage allows guests of all ages, even infants. You can take your toddler on this beautiful boat ride around the gorgeous clear waters of the Bahamas. There are plenty of places to sit on the glass bottom boat or stand near the side for a better view. Look below your feet and try to point out all the various sea life and colorful corral you see. This excursion combines a relaxing ride with a taste of adventure and education.

Beyond the Glass Bottom Boat Scenic Voyage you can rent floats and tubes to play in the ocean with your little one. Since you have the luxury of being on an island with only the guests from the Disney ship there is plenty of open space to build sand castles. You are sure to find a place to relax. Plus, don’t forget the free ice cream – toddlers love ice cream!

For more information about Castaway Cay read our full write-up here on Tourist Meets Traveler.

There are so many ways to enjoy your Disney Cruise vacation as a family. From playing in the pools and watching Broadway style shows to meeting your favorite characters and being part of an interactive game show at the family-friendly lounge,, you are sure to leave smiling. Your toddler will never have trouble sleeping at night after all the excitement they experience.

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29 Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says

    Disney cruises aren’t for me, but we do go to Disney World every year with the kids. We are always prepared when we go to the parks.

  2. Terri Ramsey Beavers says

    Thanks so much for your valuable information and I wish I had found this post before we took Abby on vacation. I was not prepared to travel with a toddler as it’s been many years since my kids were her age. I’ll be prepared for the little grand stinker next time though.

  3. Alli says

    My grandsons would love to train to be a pirate and meet Captain Hook. We’ve already got our vacation plans for this year, but I would love to go on a Disney cruise with my grandkids next year.

  4. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    This sounds like such a good time for the whole family. I love the Oceaneer Club. What a great way to make sure the kids have a blast!

  5. Liz Mays says

    The programs they have for the younger ones do sound great. They’ve really thought of everything you could want!

  6. Sandy SK says

    That sounds great for the whole family. I would love to go on one of those cruises.

  7. Nina Say says

    Toddlers are very particular people, indeed. Their demands may be super long, but I wouldn’t travel without them ever. Thanks so much for the great tips, they will be put to good use.

  8. Ann Bacciaglia says

    A Disney cruise would be an amazing way to go on a cruise with kids. I have always wanted to go on a cruise. They look like so much fun.

  9. Tiaras & Tantrums says

    I have heard the disney cruises are amazing! I would love to take my kids but I suffer frm terrible vertigo!

  10. HilLesha says

    It is always a trying experience, at least for me, traveling with a toddler. However, I do hope to go to more places like that when my daughter gets a little older. 🙂

  11. Rebecca Swenor says

    It sounds and looks like you had an amazing time indeed and I love that is a cruise for the whole family. The pictures are so adorable. I love that they have the Disney’s Oceaneer Lab. That would be so much fun for the kids. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Jeanine says

    I would LOVE to take a Disney Cruise. We’ve never ever been to even a Disney and I’ve never been on a cruise so why not tackle both at the same time ?These are great tips! Seems we always have a toddler, so this would be perfect for me!

  13. Jenn @TheRebelChick says

    I think that you can cruise with a toddler and have a ton of fun as long as you plan ahead! It’s even easier if they are potty trained, they can go to the cruise camp!

  14. Jenni E. {Sweet Pennies from Heaven} says

    I’ve never been on a Disney cruise but I think it would be SO much fun. I have friends who have been and absolutely loved it because they have so much to do for the kids, obviously…but the adults always enjoy it too. I think our little guy would love that Toy Story Boot Camp!

  15. Tonya C says

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing this as I have never even been on a cruise myself and would love to take the family on a Disney cruise but didn’t have any idea how that would work. Thanks for the info!

  16. lisa @bitesforbabies says

    I’ve never been in interested in going on a cruise however, I think it would be so fun with the kids in tow!

  17. Donna Ward says

    You all look like you’re having a wonderful – and it sounds wonderful – A Disney Cruise vacation always appealed to me – I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

  18. Bonnie @ wemake7 says

    This is some really great information. It is always so hard on us when we travel or go somewhere away from home with 5 kiddos. Next time I will be prepared.

  19. lisa says

    Disney cruises sound like so much fun! If I could get my husband on open water I would love to take the family on one!

  20. Fi Ní Neachtáin says

    I would love to take a Disney cruise with my toddler. We’re actually looking into this for his 3rd birthday, I hope it all works out 🙂

  21. Yona Williams says

    I’ve heard of a lot of cruises, but I don’t think I’ve come across a Disney cruise before – looks like a lot of fun for all ages.

  22. Cherri Megasko says

    I can’t wait until my grandsons are old enough for me to take them on a Disney vacation. I bet that skyrockets me into favorite grandparent status immediately.

  23. rochkirstin says

    Wow, I wonder how the food looked like in the all-you-can-eat cuisine in the cruise. Did the food come with characters of Disney as well? That would be cute!

  24. Lynndee says

    Visiting Disney World in Orlando is on our bucket list. We would love to experience the cruise too. Bet it’s super fun to be on a cruise.

  25. Kelly Hutchinson says

    I am so glad my kids are past this stage, because traveling with a toddler can be tricky. Great tips and I would love to travel via Disney Cruise Lines one day.

  26. CourtneyLynne says

    hubby and I are huge cruise fans!!! We cannot wait to take my daughter in her first Disney cruise! It’s going to be a blast 🙂

  27. Cara (@StylishGeek) says

    Oh I am envious! I have always wanted to go on a Disney cruise (I think I am more excited about it than my daughter!). Hopefully someday! Thanks for sharing your awesome post!

  28. JoAnna says

    These are some great tips! I don’t have any kids (yet! ;D), but I know that they can be quite the handful sometimes. A friend of mine is going on a Disney cruise this summer, I’ll forward this post to her! Thanks for sharing!

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