Magical Mouse Schoolhouse is so honored to welcome back our very special Guest, Kim Deviese of 3D Travel Company! Kim was born and raised in Florida, and Walt Disney World has always been a part of her life. She is also an avid cruiser, having sailed several times on all three (and soon to be all four) of the Disney Cruise Line ships. Kim is not only a seasoned Disney traveler, but also a veteran homeschooler who, along with her kids, loves to learn while she plays when Disney IS school.
MMS: Kim, thank you so much for taking time to sit down with us for a little Q&A! You and your family have taken several cruises on a number of different cruise lines. What sets Disney Cruise Line (DCL) apart from the others?
KD: People mention the Disney difference all the time, which I can tell you is very real and shows on all of the Disney cruise ships. It starts with the magnificent Cast Members and ends with Disney’s attention to detail found throughout the entire fleet.
MMS: On which DCL ships have your traveled?
KD: So far I have sailed on the Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Magic. I will have the pleasure of sailing on the Disney Fantasy along with a few others on March 23, 2012.
MMS: We’ll talk more specifically about each ship later on. For now, can you give us a brief description of each fleet member?
KD: There are three wonderful ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet…soon to be four! The Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream and making its debut on March 31, 2012 will be the Disney Fantasy. The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have taken Disney Cruise Line to a whole new level. They are the first ships to have an actual attraction on board, the Aquaduck water coaster. Very cool! Disney Cruise Line has spared no expense when it comes to their ships.
MMS: Do you have a favorite ship on which to travel, or do you find them equally appealing? If you have a favorite, what makes it special?
KD: I think Guests pick a favorite ship based on their personal experience while aboard that ship. For me I would have to say the Disney Magic holds a special place in my heart. I spent seven wonderful nights with great friends and family. It was the most relaxing vacation I have ever experienced. It brings a smile to my face when I remember some of the great times we had.
MMS: Does the magic of a Disney cruise begin as soon as you step into port?
KD: Absolutely! I would say it even begins on the shuttle ride from the airport to the port or on the ride from a nearby hotel to the port. The excitement builds and by the time I step off the escalator I feel like I could fly.
MMS: Can you walk us through the greeting/boarding process?
KD: The greeting is so special. It brings tears to my eyes. As you enter the atrium of the ship a cast member will ask you for your family name. The Cast Member then announces your family by saying, “The Disney Wonder welcomes the Smith family!” It is just a great start to what is sure to be a magnificent cruise.
MMS: Do you follow a specific itinerary during the cruise? How is that schedule determined?
KD: The great thing about cruising is you can do as little or as much as you want to. Each night the Navigator (daily newsletter) is placed in your stateroom. In it you will find the next day’s activities laid out by age group and time. I recommend bringing along a highlighter so you highlight those must-do activities.
MMS: What are some of your family’s favorite activities to do on board?
KD: We love to watch the theatrical productions and the first-run movies in the Buena Vista Theater, and we love to dine in the restaurants. We love it all!
MMS: Have you cruised with young children?
KD: My son was 9 years old when we first sailed on Disney Cruise Line. My boys are now 13 and 20 and both never turn down a chance to sail on a Disney cruise ship. YES, even the 20-year-old.
MMS: What activities are available for kids? For teens?
KD: Disney Cruise Line makes sure ALL children no matter what their age have plenty of organized activities as well as free time to just play and be a kid. They can make flubber, enjoy dance parties, play video games, have computer time and the list goes on and on.
MMS: Did you feel confident about the level of security for kids’ areas?
KD: I feel very confident leaving my children in the care of the Cast Members in the children’s clubs.
MMS: Are there Characters on board? Do they make meet-and-greet appearances?
KD: Yes, there are a number of Characters on board. Disney Cruise Line keeps you informed by placing the Navigator in your stateroom each evening. Listed in the Navigator you will find all the meet and greet times. There are also unplanned Character moments that make the cruise all the more special. Imagine sitting by the pool and all of the sudden Pluto comes out of nowhere, or walking down the beach when Captain Jack Sparrow goes running by, or how Captain Hook paid a visit to the Oceaneer Club while your son or daughter was playing. The best character meets are the unexpected ones.
MMS: Are there any special surprises during the trip? (Gifts left in your room, impromptu dance parties on deck, etc.)
KD: Towel animals, chocolates, Castaway Club gift (for returning guests), a clean room, a turned down bed….what’s not to love! The Pirates in the Caribbean party is probably everyone’s favorite. You have lots of dancing, signing, Characters, fireworks and, of course, there is that moment when Mickey saves the day. Fantastic!
MMS: Are the ports-of-call appealing to kids/teens? Which ports are the most family-friendly?
KD: Disney’s private island offers a wide range of things to do and most are included in the cost of the cruise, so I would say that it is the most family-friendly port. Lucky for us, most sailings will stop at Castaway Cay at least once on the voyage. There is really something for everyone on Castaway Cay. However, I find that most ports-of-call are family friendly for the most part.
MMS: Have you traveled without your children? Is a Disney cruise appealing as an adult-only trip?
KD: I had the privilege of sailing on a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas without my family. It was wonderful! Disney Cruise has taken extra steps to make sure there are areas aboard all of their ships specifically for adults only.
MMS: How’s the food on board DCL? Do you have a favorite restaurant?
KD: Can I just say yummy and leave it at that? As for a favorite….I would say Animator’s Palate on all 3 ships. I may pick a new one on the Disney Fantasy.
MMS: Are the shorter cruises (three or four nights) as satisfying as the longer ones (seven or more nights)? Aside from duration, what are the main differences between the two options?
KD: I think the three, four and five night cruises are great! On every Disney cruise you are able to build relationships with the Cast Members that are working so hard to make this the best cruise ever. Your children will build friendships that often last for years. There are some differences between the sailings. For instance Guests on seven night sailings are offered a chance to dine with Characters at breakfast. Palo offers high tea and brunch on the longer sailings. While each ship has a special production number, the longer sailings will also bring in outside entertainment like comedians and ventriloquists. The quality and great service is present on all sailings no matter the length.
MMS: OK, now for your thought question of the day: If someone had the same budget to spend at either Walt Disney World Resort OR a Disney cruise and had never been to WDW or cruised before, which do you think offers “more bang for the buck”?
KD: This is a tough question. I love Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. I believe they both offer “bang for your buck.” When you pay for your Magic Your Way Vacation Package or your Disney Cruise you have covered the majority of the expenses. With both Disney vacations you will have a few additional expenses but it is great to board that ship or check into the resort knowing that you can sit back and relax.
MMS: And finally, do you have any last piece of advice you’d like to offer anyone considering a journey on Disney Cruise Line?
KD: Book early! By booking early you will get great rates and excellent stateroom selection. You even have the option of making payments along the way.
Thank you, again, for joining us today, Kim!
Disney Cruise Line certainly offers a unique experience where there’s something fun for everyone. We’ll be taking a closer look at each of the ships beginning next week. If you’d like more information about booking a Disney Cruise or other Disney vacation, you can get in touch with Kim here.
One of the activities for kids in the OceanEars Club is to make flubber. It’s really quite easy to do, and kids love to play with it! Here’s a great video tutorial and recipe.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Art, Science (if you want to explore the chemical properties of the mixture)
SKILL LEVEL: Preschool, Elementary