So you’re going on a Disney Cruise? That’s awesome. You’re going to have a great time. Everything you’ve heard from all your friends about how much fun it is on a Disney Cruise is all true – and it’s likely the trip will exceed your expectations.
Disney Cruises are indeed fun – but they are also expensive. Besides the initial cost of the cruise itself, there is the travel insurance, airfare, transportation, port parking, cost of excursions, gratuities, souvenirs, all the up-selling, and the many other ‘extras.’ It’s enough to drain a wallet… fast.!
In in this article, we’ll look at 10 Tips to create “Now Moments” on a Disney Cruise that will cost you… zero… zilch… nada.
Now that makes Mom and Dad happy, right?
What is a "Now Moment?"
A Now Moment is an instant in life when you pause and are consciously aware of what’s happening to you ‘in this moment’.
You can also think of this as taking time to ‘stop and smell the roses’ or “enjoying the journey,” or any number of other cliches that help you appreciate the present moment. After all, when we recognize that all we have in life is ‘this moment’ its important to enjoy the special moments of life while you are living them.
On a Disney Cruise, you’ll have lots of opportunity to enjoy special moments…
But only IF you actually pause and enjoy them.
There is a LOT to do on a Disney Cruise, but that can be a blessing and a curse – you can’t do it all in one cruise and if you try to pack in too much, you’ll be rushing around from one spot to the next and always thinking about making your next appointment without ever enjoying the activity you’re doing now. That’s a recipe for stress, not vacation. And because there is so much to do and so little time to do it, your Disney Cruis is sure to fly by – whether you like it or not, your Disney Cruise will be over before you know it.
If you don’t pay attention, all those special moments may pass you by before you really had a chance to enjoy them.
But this doesn’t have to happen to you. WIth a little knowledge and a bit of planning, you’ll be able to create lots of Now Moments on your Disney Cruise and you’ll be in the mindset to enjoy them – not worrying about what you might be missing out on, not worrying about getting to the next activity, just enjoying THIS activity, THIS Moment, YOUR life.
10 Tips to Create Now Moments on a Disney Cruise
1-Enter in Style
When you first walk on to the Disney Cruise the staff will announce your family’s name (or whatever you want them to announce) and then you’ll walk through a line of Disney Staff who will be clapping for you. It’s fun, exciting, and a great way to kick off your cruise.
But rather than just do the standard “Announcing The Smiths” – why not consider something filled with a bit more Disney Magic? How about going a bit crazy with your entrance? You could…
- Do a coordinated family dance (or even a quick flash mob).
- Wear funny/special costumes to commemorate the occasion.
- Sing a song and invite the crew to join you.
The possibilities are endless. What can YOU think of?
Whatever it is, just be sure you have someone to capture the Now Moment on camera because this event is ‘one and done.’
2-Play the Midship Detective Agency Game
The Midship Detective Agency is an interactive gaming experience on a Disney Cruise where you are asked to solve 3 different mysteries aboard the ship by visiting various locations throughout the vessel to uncover clues about the cases.
The Midship Detective Agency Game is:
- Good Exercise
- A great way to get you comfortable with the ship’s layout
DCL Insider Tip: Play the Midship Detective Agency game the first day you get onboard because you’ll not only learn the ship’s layout, but you’ll be able to enjoy the game without many other players vying for spots at thew various interactive portals – if you wait till the final day at sea (when most people try to play) you’ll have to battle the crowds.
3 – Take the Pelican Plunge!
The Pelican Plunge is a family-friendly water slide at Disney’s private island “Castaway Cay.” The Pelican Plunge is itself a mini-island since you have to swim out to it to reach out. There are TWO water slides to choose from – an open air one and a tunnel version.
DCL Insider Tips:
- The Tunnel version is much faster compared to the open air version.
- Ride this first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
- You end up in water over your head so you have to know how to swim and you can only ride single rider at a time so keep that in mind for kids. That said, my 4 year old was fine.
- Because you end up in overhead water, you’ll literally ‘plunge’ into the water – you might want to plug your nose to avoid getting a massive surge of sea water up it!
4-Don’t Miss the Interactive Magic at Animator’s Palate
If you’re on a 7-day cruise the Animator’s Palate restaurant will treat you to a special show. Check out this video to see this Now Moment…
DCL Insiders Tips:
- Sadly this show is not offered on shorter cruises.
- The show is only done on the FIRST night of your scheduled dine around on the ship so either be sure you attend dinner at The Animator’s Palate as per your schedule or arrange to dine with another group where the show is planned.
5-Snap a Pic of the UNDERWATER MICKEY on Castaway Cay
Snorkeling on Castaway Cay is a must-do – not only is it not that crowded but the area to snorkel is a lot bigger than you think, there are plenty of lifeguards watching over you, and there are numerous Disney-esque Now Moments to create under the water – perhaps the highlight of these is the ultimate Hidden Mickey – the Underwater Mickey!
DCL Insider Tips:
1. Mickey isn’t the only hidden treasure you’ll see – another crowd favorite is also waiting for you too.
2. Rather than rent DCL snorkeling gear, bring your own – this particular set is not only reasonably priced, it’s the absolute best, easiest to use mask for kids and adults to use who are novice snorkelers. You can breath through your mouth or nose with this mask. Check it out:
6-Engage with your Wait Staff and Host
Like some other cruises, your wait staff at the formal restaurants will follow you around each night and you’ll have the same Host for your stateroom. Be sure to take some time to engage with them on your Disney Cruise because, as with all things Disney, the crew goes overboard trying to make you happy and that includes this team too.
Numerous Now Moments await you when you make friends with your servers — we got treated to nightly magic tricks from Mr. Leo, table games from Santiago, and more. It was a blast – and they even cut our kids food for us (Bonus!). And of course the always fun ‘towel sculptures’ from our Stateroom Host (and his super helpful advice) were another treat.
7- Character Pics with your own camera
No Disney adventure on land or sea would be complete without a few pics with your favorite characters. Yet rather than pay $20 a pic or buy a three-figure photo package, just use your own camera.
DCL Insider Tips:
- Not only will Disney allow you to use your own camera, their staff members will also take the picture for you using your camera as well – so long as you let them snap a few pics with their official camera first (but you are not obligated to buy their pics)
- Dress for the occasion and take it up a notch – clearly we didn’t do that in this pic, but a world of possibilities await you when you gear up too – and you’ll delight the characters you’re interacting with as well.
8-Watch the Pool Deck shows from one level UP!
Regardless of your cruise, you’re sure to have at least one show on the pool deck. For the Halloween on the High Seas there are multiple shows – including the “Pirates’ Life for Me” you see here.
DCL Insider’s Tips:
- Rather than have to arrive an hour early and fight the crowds for a decent seat on the main level, just stroll up a level higher about 5-10 minutes before the show and you’ll get a front row seat right next to the stage!
- Bonus – numerous characters who are part of the show will enter on the steps right in front of you – you’ll be the first to see them and literally be within arms reach of them – can you say PHOTO OP?
9- Starboard Side Rules
If you’re blessed to be able to secure a room with a balcony, try to get it on the starboard side and you’ll treat yourself to numerous Now Moments.
DCL Insider Tips:
- You’ll be the first to see the islands.
- Castaway Cay will greet you as you enter and leave.
- The fireworks go on on the starboard side and you can watch them from your balcony!
10 – For Adults Only.
Disney knows where their bread is buttered and adults are more than catered to on a Disney Cruise. Besides being able to enjoy the benefit of dropping your kids at the incredible kids clubs (It’s a Small World Nursery, Oceaneers Lab, Oceaneers Club, The Edge, and Vibe) and enjoy some time without kids, adults will be pleasantly surprised at all the MANY things available to do that are specifically ‘adults-only.”
DCL Insider Tips:
Consider creating Now Moments at…
1. Enjoy a dip in the pool at The Quiet Cove Bar
2. Relax on the many chairs or giant waterfall hot tub at Satellite Falls
3. Watch the sunset from Meridian Lounge. Other Adult Only clubs and bars on a Disney Cruise include La Piazza, Ooh La La, O’Gills, Pink, Pub 687, Signals, Skyline, and The Tube.
4. Use the Steam Room at Senses Spa – although it doesn’t compare to The Rainforest Experience on Disney Dream, the steam room in the locker rooms for the gym and spa are FREE to use so enjoy.
5. Enjoy the adult only beach at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.
Bonus - Don't Forget to Ride The Aqua Duck!
Bonus Tip #11 is another must-do: Ride the famous Aqua Duck waterslide!
DCL Insider Tip:
Besides the cliche tip of trying to ride this as the fist thing you do on Day 1 after boarding to beat the crowds, instead ride this puppy at night. Not only will you avoid the crowds but you’ll get a whole new experience at night as you take the tubes with the stars overhead and ride it as many times as you like.
For example the average wait time during the day is around 45 minutes – my son and I rode the Aqua Duck 5 times in under 25 minutes riding at 8pm at night!
Disney Cruise Special Moments
Those are my top 10 tips to create Now Moments on a Disney Cruise. Others include participating in the many family ‘test your knowledge’ games, meeting new friends, playing cards on deck, and (fighting crowds to) swim in the pools, playing games on Goofy’s Sports Deck , along with so much more.
What are YOUR ideas for creating the next Now Moment on a Disney Cruise?