Gearing up for your first Disney cruise? Get the scoop on amazing experience you need to have on your Disney cruise with kids!
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A Disney Cruise Line vacation is totally Disney. However, it’s also totally unique. As with other Disney vacations, the Disney Cruise Line is all about family fun.
Yet there are so many exciting activities and clubs that are meant to be enjoyed by kids and adults separately. There are even port adventures exclusively for kids, teens, or adults. That aspect of individual entertainment is unusual for a Disney vacation when the goal is usually to bring everybody together.
On the other hand, Disney Cruise Lines have plenty of awesome experiences that are meant to be enjoyed together as a family.
These are some must-do experiences for the family when taking a Disney cruise with kids, keep reading for all our recommendations!
6 Experiences to Have on a Disney Cruise with Kids
1. Pirate Night
First off, we have to talk about Pirate Night. Don’t miss out on Pirate Night, because it is so much fun. Make sure you are prepared and pack your costumes for the event.
The evening comes in three stages and it starts with an elaborate pirate-themed dinner. The experience includes a special pirate map menu that you will want to keep as a souvenir and a party bandana to wear even if you don’t have full-on pirate attire.
After dinner, there is a wild Pirates in the Caribbean deck party. The party is full of characters, dancing, and theatrics. After which there is a stunning fireworks display.
Cruisers really get into Pirate Night. Don’t hesitate to pack pirate attire for the occasion if you are taking a Disney Cruise with kids. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board the ship also offers a Pirates League makeover complete with makeup/face painting.
There are character photo ops on the themed nights as well as pre-party activities for families and kids clubs. Pirates Night is an event held on all four cruise ships.
2. Live Entertainment and Character Dining
The Disney Magic offers a unique Rapunzel experience. A stage show adapted from Tangled includes vibrant sets and puppetry. There are even three new and original songs from Alan Menkin and partner Glen Slater.
In addition to this exclusive Tangled musical there is Rapunzel’s Royal Table. That is a character dining experience that also includes live entertainment and participation.
The Tangled themed entertainment and dining is only one example on one ship, but similar experiences are offered on the Dream, Fantasy and Wonder as well.
The Disney Dream has Beauty and the Beast in a reimagined stage show adaptation. The Wonder and the Fantasy each have a live musical adaptation of Frozen. The Magic and the Wonder also have a Frozen deck party.
3. Have a Movie Night…
or day. Every Cruise Ship has a Buena Vista movie theater midship on decks 4-5. You can view first run movies on the cruise ship at virtually any time of day.
No matter what your schedule is, there is always time to take in a movie at the luxurious Buena Vista theater. The comfy seats and Art Deco surroundings are part of the appeal of having a theatrical movie experience on the Disney Cruise Line. The movie is included in the cruise, but the concessions are an additional charge.
For a schedule of show times and films consult your Disney Cruise Line Navigator app.
On our February 2020 cruise, they offered Frozen 2, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, and Call of the Wild.
Besides entertainment, lounges and clubs, there are plenty of things to do in sports and recreation. One of Disney’s best features is that they will often incorporate interactive recreational activities into the experiences in parks.
The same as true on the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. The two newest and largest ships incorporate a game suitable for all ages that is ideal for families.
Midship Detective Agency is an interactive, self-guided whodunit that you can repeat again and again. At a kiosk on deck two or five, you’ll receive your instructions. A badge with a unique barcode and a casebook will help you rule out suspects as you track down clues all over the ship.
These interactive quests are fun for kids and a really neat way to get to know the ship you are sailing on.
5. Themed Days at Sea
There are a lot of characters and live entertainment on Disney Cruise Lines.
There is even more character fun during your Disney cruise with kids with Marvel Day at See and Star Wars Day at Sea. The celebrations include character meet and greets and pop up restaurants that feature themed menus exclusively for the events.
Jedi training is available on Star Wars Day at Sea as well as a live Star Wars spectacular, costumed fun and epic character encounters.
For Marvel Day, there is a movie marathon as well as character meet and greets and an awesome Marvel stunt show. Doctor Strange will train kids in the mystic arts.
6. The Animator’s Palate
If there’s one restaurant that the whole family should enjoy together on the Disney Cruise Line, it’s the Animator’s Palate.
This unique animation themed restaurant is on every Cruise Ship, but it is constantly reinvented with each new ship. So, the experience will be different depending on what cruise you take.
What doesn’t change is the fun and creative tone of the restaurant and the celebration of great animated Disney classics.
Depending on whether you are on the Magic/Wonder, or the Dream/Fantasy there are totally different dinner shows. Drawn to Magic on the Magic and Wonder is a story of the evolution of animation, during which the black and white interior of the restaurant spring to life with vibrant bursts of color.
On the Fantasy and the Dream, Crush from Finding Nemo interacts with you in Undersea Magic. And you can draw your own creation and watch it come to life on the big scree. Any version of this restaurant and the incorporated dinner shows is amazingly fun for families to experience together.
There is so much for families to explore and discover together on a Disney cruise ship when you are not separated by age.