My first cruise on the Disney Dream brought along other firsts as well: my first time cruising with 10-year old step-son and my step-son’s first time on the seas!
I must say that the experience far exceeded my expectations and I’m certain I can’t tell you how how much it surpassed everything my step-son had imagined!
We took a tour of the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab on embarkation day, as an adult and parent here is what impressed me the most:
- The bracelet system the club utilizes is genius. Each child receives a hospital style bracelet band that holds a small wrist-size transmitter with all their pertinent confirmation that you provide upon registration. The transmitter simply gets tapped on the keypad at the entry of the kids club and it automatically signs the child in. The kids get this process down in about 2 seconds. The transmitter and wristband are incredibly sturdy and can be worn 24/7, they are even waterproof. I recommend you leave the wristband on your child for the duration of your cruise because if you lose or damage the transmitter there is a $50 charge.
- The check-in/out process: There are at least 4 people at both the Club and Lab desks at all times monitoring the check-in process. If your child is 10, you can elect if you’d like them to be able to check themselves in and out of the club or if you want an adult to do it (if you are traveling with other adult family members be sure to list all family members who are allowed to check your child in and out of the kids programs- if they aren’t on the list…it’s not happening!) In addition to your list of authorized family members, there is also a password (that you will provide at registration) that you must give each time you check the child out of the club. Worried about random adults just wandering around in the kids clubs? Disney has that taken care of too! There are blue landyards with a “pick up” tag on them that you must get before entering the club. This identifies you to the cast members as an adult looking to pick-up their child. If you don’t have one of those…you don’t get to be in the kids areas.
- The Oceaneer’s Club and Lab staff are the best of the best. These folks work tirelessly to make sure our kids are having a good time. There are plenty of them to go around and supervise and they also participate in so many activities with the kids. There is always a friendly face to welcome your child in and greet them by name and don’t be surprised if your child prefers them over you.
- Contact: If you are worried about your child not adjusting to the kids programs you have no worries. Each stateroom is equipped with 2 wave phones at no charge, these phones work everywhere onboard and can make and receive calls as well as text messages. If at anytime your child is uncomfortable or wants to leave the club a cast member will call and/or text both phones to let you know the child wants to be picked up.
- For some parents parting with their children is a traumatic experience, we make a million excuses…”He’s shy”, “I don’t want them playing video games all day”, “He doesn’t like strangers”…the list goes on and on. Disney has thought of all of this so you’re going to be hard pressed to find a reason your child CAN’T participate!
- Although there are certain video game challenges (A WII Challenge and a Mario Cart Challenge) the gaming systems are not left on all day and are only turned on for the allotted amount of time for the planned event. So don’t worry about checking your child in only to find them in a vegetative state in front of a TV or game console when you pick them up.
- There are various events going on throughout the day that appeal to each age group and interest. Among my son’s favorites were Super Sloppy Science (when we checked on him during this event he was wearing blue safety goggles and a white lab coat and was far too busy to be bothered by the likes of us!), Anyone Can Cook (inspired by Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille) and the Magic Play-floor (think 70’s disco with today’s technology and Disney’s imagination)
- Not sure what your child will be interested in and don’t want them to miss anything? The Personal Navigator you receive each day has a special section for the kids clubs activities, so you can simply find the events that interest your kids and see what times they are happening at. A highlighter comes in handy to mark those “don’t miss” events.
We still have yet to hear about all the adventures in the Oceaneer Club and Lab. Games, crafts, dance parties, Andy’s Room, Monster’s Inc playfloor, board games, video game challenges, trivia challenges, movies and more who can keep track?! I’m sure we’ll eventually hear all about what happened inside but onboard all we heard was “when can I go back?”
To book the perfect vacation for your entire family, contact Michele@PixieVacations.com for your free Disney Cruise Line quote and for more information. Check out my blog to hear more about my trip on the Disney Dream!
- First Timer Primer: Disney Cruise Line Planning (chipandco.com)
- New and Unique twists coming to the Disney Fantasy (chipandco.com)