All week I have blogged about our recent Spring Break cruise on the Disney Magic. I thought that it was fitting for today's Friday Five to be my five favorite aspects of cruising with Disney, especially since one of the Friday Favorites hosts, Erika, went on the same cruise the week before us. It is truly a small world (after all).
This is the third Disney Cruise for Team Skelley, with our first cruise on the Dream in 2012 and our second on the Fantasy in 2014. Although I am nowhere close to an expert, I have compiled some Disney Cruise Travel Tips and Lessons Learned on Our Disney Cruise from those cruises. But back to the Magic's Friday Five:
1. Donald Duck is my homeboy.
I am a Donald fan from way back. Exhibit A, from this cruise:
As you can see, the characters wear different outfits based on the events of the day. Little Kid was adamant that we get Cruising Minnie's autograph in addition to Beach Minnie and no, we cannot miss Fancy Minnie. I am almost embarrassed at how excited I always am to have my picture taken with Donald. Almost. Donald has been my favorite character as long as I can remember. I identify with his frustrations.
2. The attention to detail that is a Disney hallmark.
Check out the hands of the cast members waving us goodbye from Castaway Cay. It is the little things like Mickey hands that make a Disney Cruise special.
I have never had a bad meal on a Disney Cruise. From the buffet breakfast at Cabana's each morning...
... to the dinners in the rotating restaurant to the formal restaurants, I have never been disappointed. My husband said that our anniversary dinner at Palo on this cruise was his favorite part of the trip -- that is how good it was. The dinners are also an opportunity to try new and exotic dishes. The Engineer had snail and octopus at meals. I am a little less adventurous and stayed with the surf and turf varieties.
My all-time favorite dinner was on the most recent Magic cruise in Animator's Palate.
What I especially like about the dinners is that there is something for everyone. And if you have a picky eater (something that we know a little about), they are prepared. On the last night, Little Kid asked for pizza even though it was not on the menu. Our server Bomin didn't bat an eye. He even made her ketchup special.
Bomin and Anthony were made of awesome.
The shows are always so impressive with Broadway caliber production values and incredibly talented performers.
5. Last but not least, the Mouse of the House himself.
You can't help but smile when Mickey Mouse appears. Regardless of whether you are 6 or 60, there is truly something magical about meeting Mickey.
Now, to compare the ships.
The pro: Castaway Cay was much less crowded. The con: The Magic was missing a few of the features that we loved on our first two cruises. The moving paintings, which were part of the onboard mystery game, and some of the activities in the Oceaneer's Club.
I did prefer the pools on the newer ships, which were bigger to accommodate the larger number of guests.
As for waterslides, the Magic has the Aquadunk.
And the Dream and Fantasy have the Aquaduck.
Both were fun for tweens and adults, but the Aquadunk with its straight-down drop is more intense and might be a little much for younger Mouseketeers.
Other than those differences, since its refurbishment, the Magic had virtually everything its larger sister ships have. I would not hesitate at all to book a cruise on it or its counterpart, the Wonder. As for staterooms, dining rooms, entertainment and virtually everything else, they are equal.
Onto the four-night cruise versus the seven-night cruise. I went to the members of Team Skelley to gage their opinions. Little said that she liked our seven night Western Caribbean cruise better because, "there was more to do and more characters." It is no surprise that with more time onboard, you have more opportunities for character meet and greets.
***Note: Always take your camera to a character photo op because they do not always have a cruise photographer taking photos. On our last cruise we went to the Disney Princess meet and greet and watched several parents dash back to their staterooms because they did not bring a camera and no photographer was present.
Also on the seven-night cruise, there are more ports, naturally. We stopped in Jamaica, Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
But I will be honest, packing for a four-night cruise is tremendously easier than a seven-night because when cruising, you have to pack extra clothing for dinners. Disney Cruises are not as strict about dress codes as other cruise lines, but most people still dress up for dinner.
Speaking of other cruise lines, we have taken two cruises with Royal Caribbean and although they were fantastic and I have zero complaints, they do not compare to Disney. There is something truly special about walking through the ship with Mary Poppins piping through the speakers.
If you are thinking about cruising with Mickey, I am all mouse ears and would love to talk shop with you. We are currently talking about cruising the Wonder in 2018. The other night at the dinner table, we were discussing the two new ships that the Disney Cruise Line is building and we joked that Big Kid would be in college when they set sail. Big: "Haha, yeah I will tell all of my friends that I am spending my college spring break with my family on a Disney Cruise!"
Then he whispered: "I will probably still go."
Happy weekend and ...