Our 3 Day Disney Cruise Experience Aboard the Wonder
Our 3 Day Disney Cruise Experience Aboard the Disney Wonder
As a birthday gift to our Disney loving girl we decided to take a Disney Cruise after much consideration. Up until about age 7, we had always thrown our girl a birthday party which always resulted in wasted food, a messy house and the countless no shows. Since then it has always been a day at Disneyland, just me and my girl to celebrate. Looking to change it up, I started pricing a stay at one of the Disneyland Hotels. I got to thinking let me just look and see what a cruise costs, one can dream right? I was happily surprised at how it actually compared with staying on property.
The pros for us when considering the Disney Cruise were the ship sailed out of San Diego, it was only a three day excursion and when looking into staying on the Disneyland Resort properties we found the cost comparable, so a cruise it was and birthday dream come true for our girl!
Planning was a breeze: There are travel agents, booking direct, AAA and then there is Costco. I ended up booking our trip via Costco. We got a better price for a better room plus cash back via a Costco cash card. The site was super easy to navigate and the trip very simple to book. We decided to make payments for our trip, after all it was booked 6 months in advance so I saw no reason to pay it off in full upfront. Payments for the trip we pre arranged by amounts and dates. I just added payment amounts I agreed upon along with the dates and card info for each payment, it was then taking out of the accounts automatically.
Our cruising papers and instructions were all sent to us from the Disney Cruise Line after our last payment was posted. TIP: Be sure to fill the documents out and register ahead of time to make checking in at the terminal the day of your trip faster. Driving to the cruise terminal, here's what you need to know about self parking. Once you have your date set, go ahead and reserve your parking/shuttle service unless you are being dropped off and picked up by some other means.
Packing: If you are doing a themed cruise like the Halloween one we did, there are a few things to consider beyond the norm.
There were several parties and trick or treating both of the nights we were on board so we took 2 costumes. There was also a Pirate party the first night so think along the lines of dual duty if you are looking to keep your luggage to a minimum on a themed cruise.
Day excursion, check local weather and pack accordingly
Swimming, pack a suit, goggles and swim cap if necessary the ship has 3 pools
Dining for the most part calls for casual wear
Looking to workout during your stay, remember your gear.
We had no clue really what to expect on our trip. Let me just say they really have it down to a science! From the moment you board service is number one. They make a grand announcement of your family right as you board, really fun! Our room attendant was phenomenal! I think he was in our room more than we were, his attention to detail was very impressive and he catered to our every need.
We stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom Verandah since it was our first cruise and wanted an oceanview from our room and have a bit more stretching room. It had a “split bath” with a vanity, sink, shower and tub and a half bathroom with a vanity, sink and toilet which was a nice bonus. The Wonder has Four main room categories with 10 different room types—or different deck locations within those types giving you many options in size and cost.
Dining is also very well thought out, you sit at the same table with the same server between the different restaurants. By doing this you have timed seating, your server knows your likes and needs and there is no waiting to be seated with the rotational dining plan. I will say my girl eats pretty healthy and the options on the kids menu were not to her liking. This is not an issue as you are free to order what you want and whatever you want off the menus. The food was good, not great but not horrible either. FYI, Alcohol is not included in the cost of the trip.
Here is some other general info to know.
Check in at the terminal is smooth, have your boarding docs ready along with passports or other acceptable proof of citizenship. Here you will place a CC on file and get your room keys as well as having your picture taken for security measures.
You will go through a security check point upon pre boarding as well as on the return side through US customs. Be sure to follow the guidelines as to banned items.
You will have the option to choose 1st seating or 2nd seating for your meals at booking
Self check out or having your bags taken down for you
You are allowed to bring your own alcohol on board: Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call. These beverages must be packed in carry-on (not checked) bags or luggage.
Bags are delivered to your rooms door upon boarding* Note this might take a while so wear something comfortable and have snacks and change of clothes in a carry on if you want.
Internet, either get a package or be aware when you go online it will be an international location and most likely out of your service area, check with your carrier.
Pictures via the photographers: They have photo opps everywhere and special kiosk that you can view all your photos at and make purchases if desired.
Since this was our first cruise, we didn't know if we would get sea sick. We have been on many boats but not out on the high seas. My daughter had no issues, my husband and myself both felt a little off. Not wanting to take pills we opted to try Sea Bands and it worked like a charm. TIP: I would recommend getting them ahead of time to be safe (and to save some cash) but if you forget, they sell them on board as well.
Entertainment was top notch on the ship, just what you would expect of Disney. TIP: If planning on seeing a show just know they line up ahead of time. They also sell concession goodies inside so if you forgot to get some they can bring drinks and snacks right to you. The Oceaneer Club’s will have your kids entertained all day if you like! What is the club? It's a fleet-wide children's activity center where kids 3 to 12 can play in magical themed lands, enjoy games and meet Disney characters. Best part is they are secure within the Club with a 2 step check in and check out procedure. TIP: Check the schedule and plan accordingly so you don't miss out, activities change from one day to the next.
On a side note, there are people who are hard core cruisers I found. People decorate their room doors with their family names, and all sorts of fun stuff Disney themed magnets. They also do neat gift exchanging by leaving little whatknots in special pouches on peoples doors. It's looks quite fun and perfect I would think for longer cruises.
Since we cruised during their Halloween Time they offered trick or treating, an amazing Halloween Tree (unique to each ship) that was a cool focal point and where the entertainment, special meet and greets with photo opportunities were held among other locations.
How long to cruise? That is totally up to your budget, time available and what you are looking to get out of it. Disney Cruise Line offers trips from 2 days to 7 days sailing out of San Diego to Mexico and Vancouver select months of the year as well as a 14 day trip to the Panama Canal. You can find all of the 2018 itineraries, destinations and sailing dates HERE Would I do another Disney cruise? Absolutely. It was a dream come true for my daughter and if it's in my power you bet I'm going to make it happen again! Would I recommend a Disney Cruise, sure would!