In 2009 our family took part in our first ever Disney Cruise. We sailed upon the Disney Wonder for 4 days and 3 nights. We had taken advantage of a “Kids sail free” offer which saved us thousands of dollars on the cost of the cruise. My wife and I had sailed twice previously on another cruise line, but heard that Disney had the highest standards for children’s care and entertainment and we weren’t dissappointed in those areas.
Each day the cabin steward would bring us a Navigator that lists the shows and activities. Among those activities are scheduled character meets on the ship and at Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay. It was refreshing to know exactly which characters would appear, where they would be located and exactly what time they would be there for the meet and greet. The best part is there is no mention of the word “intermittently.” Here’s an example of a DCL Navigator. On a DCL cruise you might meet some of these great Disney characters with minimal waits: Hook & Smee, Minnie, Mickey, Princesses, Lilo & Stitch, Donald, Daisy, Chip n Dale, Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Goofy, Pluto and possibly others. We made a little schedule of the shows and experiences that we wanted to see and then penciled in any meet and greets that the kids wanted to experience.
My kids chose to meet Captain Hook first because he is one of their favorite characters. In 2009 Hook and Smee still met in the Magic Kingdom near the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, but this trip was 100% children’s plans, so we met the Captain.
Chip n Dale are always a lot of fun to meet because they like to compete with one another. My youngest offered a bag of nuts to the chipmunk with the biggest smile. We laughed for a few minutes over that one.
I’m beginning to think that Donald might need counseling. He always has to remind us that HE is number 1. Don’t mention the mouse though. We pointed out that Mickey appeared to outrank him on the ship and Donald seemed pretty upset. Daisy had to calm him down enough for the photo.
My little one’s favorite character is definitely Pluto. We aren’t allowed to take any type of Disney trip without meeting Pluto. Of course the best way to keep Pluto happy is to pet him on the snout. He goes crazy over that.
Goofy’s ears kept falling in front of my son’s face, so he lifted them up for this photo.
We gathered together as a family to get a shot with the Big Nautical Cheese. He was looking quite dapper for the evening meal.
We met Stitch a total of 3 times on this brief cruise because he has always been my son’s favorite character. We met him twice on the ship and once on the beach with Lilo. (Above)
We missed Minnie in her nautical outfit, so we lined up first to meet her the following night in her pirate gear.
Sitch is all ready for the Pirate’s in the Caribbean celebration!
Goofy is ready for our day at Castaway Cay!
We spoke to Captain Jack for quite a while on the island because there was NO ONE around. He talked about how he thought of commandeering the large black and white ship and wondered if it was any faster than the Black Pearl. We told him there were thousands of wannabe pirates aboard who demanded to be waited upon hand and foot. He chose to keep his exsiting ship.
The most amazing character experience we’ve had on a Disney Cruise was in 2010. My daughter and I had won a free cruise from the folks at disboards.com by having the highest score on Toy Story Mania at the Disapalooza. My daughter gave her portion of the prize to my wife. Part of the great Disney fan cruise was a terrfic concert with none other than Jodi Benson, the voice of the Little Mermaid. After the concert she was scheduled to sign autographs for one hour, but she was gracious enough to sign for everyone in our group. We were last in line and asked her to sign her favorite Bible verse in our autograph book for my daughter who had willingly gave up her spot. She took out a CD and signed it to her as well. What a sweet lady with a beautiful voice.