Think it’s impossible to plan a Kosher Disney cruise vacation on a budget? Disney expert Elana Maister is back today to share her best Disney tips.
If you’ve ever been to Disney World (especially with kids) you know that oftentimes you arrive home from your vacation feeling like you need a vacation! A Disney vacation is fast paced with a ton of walking and stimulation from morning to night. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, Disney Cruise Line offers something for everyone with all of Disney’s special touches and attention to detail.
Disney Cruise Line started sailing back in 2006 with two magnificent ships: the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic and since then they’ve added two larger ships to their fleet; the Dream and the Fantasy. Four ships means four unique vacation options: currently the Disney Wonder is in Alaska, the Magic is in Europe, the Fantasy is in the Caribbean and the Dream is in the Bahamas.
No matter which ship you sail on, Disney offers something for everyone: there’s a nursery for the youngest cruisers (for a fee), a kids club, a pre-teen club, and a teen lounge. If you check your kids into a club you’ll be given a pager so they can reach you when they need you. All kids’ clubs are supervised by cruise counselors who are there solely to make sure your kids are having a great time!
While your kids are at play, you’re free to enjoy some grown up time: all four Disney ships have adult only pool areas, spas, lounges, coffee bars and night clubs. And when the family is ready to play together, you have family lounges, pools, movie theaters, shows, and activities all at your disposal. The Disney Dream and Fantasy even have a miniature golf course on the top deck – and trust me you’ve never played mini golf with a view like this before!
All of Disney’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Just like the ship, Castaway Cay offers a family beach, a teen only beach, and an adult only beach! The adult only beach offers yoga classes or you can even book a massage in an open air cabana just steps from the sand.
If your family isn’t into lying on a beach all day, Castaway Cay has you covered too. There are two water play areas, a sports beach, and a kids area supervised by the same cruise counselors as on the ship. If you’re looking for classic family fun there are two game pavilions with shuffleboard, basketball, ping pong and more. For an additional fee you can pick from a whole host of excursions such as boating, parasailing, fishing, snorkeling, bike riding and the list goes on.
Just like all other cruise lines food is included in the price of your cruise, and kosher food is no exception. The kosher meals are the same pre-packaged meals served in Disney World but unlike a trip to the parks, you’ll need to request kosher meals when booking your trip.
The Disney ships have incredibly themed restaurants and you’ll be assigned to one each night for dinner. Each ship offers some unique restaurants ranging from a garden that changes from day to night as you eat, to a tropical paradise. They all offer an amazing dining experience; or if you’d rather, room service is available at no extra charge.
And of course a Disney Cruise would not be complete without your favorite Disney characters. Classic Disney characters have meet and greets in the ship’s lobby all day long and many of them visit the kid’s clubs as well. You’ll also find them in the evenings putting on a Broadway style show made exclusively for Disney Cruise Lines.
Many other cruise lines have formal night one night where everyone dresses up for dinner, while Disney has this on some of their longer cruises a highlight of every Disney Cruise is pirate night! Dress like a pirate for dinner (Disney provides the Mickey bandanas but feel free to go all out with your own pirate costume), and that night enjoy a pirate deck party complete with music, dancing with Mickey and the gang (don’t be surprised if Captain Hook shows up planning a mutiny), and spectacular fireworks at sea!
So now the part you’ve been waiting for, how do you take a Disney Cruise on a budget?
Your first step would be to avoid cruising during peak season such as the summer and holidays. The fall is a great time as long as no hurricanes hit while you’re sailing (although with today’s technology they are usually able to steer away from any storms.
This may alter your ports of call but should keep you dry.) January and February are great times to cruise as well since most people have just returned to work and school from a long holiday break.
The next step is to pick an older ship. In the past the Wonder and Magic have cost less than the newer updated Dream and Fantasy. However, this fall the Magic is getting a makeover and will make her debut looking very similar to the two new ships and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wonder gets a makeover in the nearby future. So take advantage of those lower prices while you can.
In general the best time to book a cruise is about a year in advance because the price only goes up as the ship fills up. However, sometimes if a ship isn’t getting filled Disney will release some great promotions about 3 months ahead of time such as Kids Sail Free (and since it’s a cruise that means not only do your kids get to vacation for free, they get to eat for free too!)
No kids sail free promotions are available at the moment but last year Disney started sailing out of Galveston Texas and unfortunately for them it wasn’t as popular a port as they’d hoped. Fortunately for you, that means they’re offering a great deal on cruises sailing out of Texas this fall.
In addition, if you book any Disney cruise using a Disney Visa you’ll get an onboard credit to use towards whatever you’d like (tips, alcohol, spa treatments etc).
Although planning your Disney Cruise might seem overwhelming if you work with a travel professional it can be pretty easy and once on board all you have to do is relax! Happy sailing!
Want more information on the Disney Cruises or Disney Resort hotels, kosher food, Disney’s good neighbor hotels, or anything else Disney related? Elana Maister is available to book and help you plan out in detail any Disney Vacation, whether it be Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, or an Adventures by Disney Vacation – all at absolutely no cost to you. You can reach her at Emaister@mmvagent.com or find her on Facebook.