How to find your best Disney Cruise Line travel agent

How to find your best Disney Cruise Line travel agent

Best Disney Cruise Travel Agent

Planning to sail on Disney Cruise Line is planning for the ultimate magical vacation, but let’s be honest – it can be a bit overwhelming.  There are so many things to consider for a regular family vacation, but when you add the complexities of a cruise it’s important you get it right!

Whether it’s your first time cruising or you’ve done it before, the best vacation is born from research and clear expectations.  That’s where a good travel agent can step in to make the magic happen seamlessly.

DCL pick up MCO

Finding the right cruise travel agent is a bit like finding the perfect hairdresser, accountant or therapist.  While you start as strangers, you begin building that relationship over time and with every trip.  They understand your needs and preferences and will be there as your family and travel preferences evolve over the years.  The best Disney travel agents are invested in YOU and and are there with you every step of the way.  They set your expectations and make sure that your Disney trip is everything you had hoped for.

So the question is – who is the best Disney Cruise agent? There isn’t one. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ model, but there is someone that is the best for YOU.  Not all travel agents are created equal and of course there are more experienced, professional agents than others, but this can be said about every industry.  The important thing is to find the one that works best for YOU and your family.

Castaway Cay Characters

In full disclosure, if you didn’t know – I am co-owner of Playcation Travel agency.  What I’m writing in this article is based on my 15+ years of experience in the industry.  I have had many conversations with clients over the years who shared what they loved about their agents and what they were disappointed in.  I have outlined some questions below that you can ask a potential agent to get an idea if they are the right fit for you.  This applies to ANY agency – not just mine.

Please ask the questions, but don’t have a bunch of different agents giving you a ‘free quote’.  Travel advisors generally do not get paid for any of the work until the client actually travels on the trip.  Everyone gets the same pricing from Disney and if you’re getting different prices, they likely didn’t include the same things.  Please be respectful of the advisors time and the hard work they put in to creating the quotes for you.

7 Questions to Ask a potential Disney Cruise Travel Agent

Pirate Mickey and Minnie

1.  What is your experience with booking Disney cruises?

It’s important to ask about their experience helping other guests plan their cruises.  It means that they understand the process, they have insight in to how things work on the ship and can guide you through it all.  A good agent asks their clients for feedback when they return so that they can build their practical knowledge around all different kinds of travel parties.  Those who cruised with multi generations may have a different perspective from those that are 2 adults with no kids.  When you pair that up with personal experience – it’s a match that can’t be beat.

2.  Are you a Disney focused travel agent?

Disney has specific training programs for travel agents (the College of Disney Knowledge) and completing those is just the first step.

An agent who specializes in Disney destinations will obviously have a little more insight in to the cruise line vs an agent who focuses on other brands.  Keep in mind this is really only applicable if you’ve decided you for sure want to cruise with Disney.  If you want to compare other lines – then this may not be a deal breaker for you.

Disney Fantasy DCL

Those that also say they are a Disney specialist should quantify for you if that includes cruises or just the Disney parks.  There are so many Disney destinations that they may not focus on all.

It is also a false sense of security when asking for a “Disney-certified” travel agent or an ‘authorized Disney vacation planner’.  The Earmarked designation that they are referring to applies to the agency and not the agent.  It has NO bearing on their capabilities as an agent.  (Just an FYI – most advisors at ‘Disney focused’ agencies are independent contractors and not employees).

Disney Dream Donal Duck

3.  How do you handle changes or cancellations?

Life happens when you’re busy making plans.  Find out how they work with changes and cancellations and if they have any additional fees associated.  It’s important to understand not only the suppliers terms and conditions but also what your agent will do if you need to make changes.  With Disney Cruise Line there isn’t generally a ‘new deal’ that comes out that is better than the original pricing requiring changes.  Keep in mind that with cruising the prices generally go UP over time as staterooms sell out, usually the best deals are only found when the itinerary is released.

4.  What is your availability and how can I contact you?

If I had a dollar for every post I saw with someone saying “my agent isn’t responsive” and it was because they didn’t discuss how they would work together.  Your agent might (and should) have office hours and boundaries for when they work.  You can’t expect replies to emails within minutes when you send it at 11pm at night.

A good travel advisor is handling multiple clients at a time and will also prioritize messages from clients who are IN the destination and need immeditate assistance.  Have them explain to you how they prioritize their time and responses.

DCL Towel Animal

A travel professional may also work through one mode of communication only, this allows them to keep things organized and set boundaries.  If they work through email only, sending text messages and notes via Instagram won’t work.  Find out how they work and then see if that works for YOU.

5.  Can you help with additional arrangements, like flights or pre-cruise hotels?

This is so important especially with cruising!  I would never tell anyone to fly in for a cruise the morning it departs – too many things can go wrong and if you miss the ship, it can absolutely ruin your vacation.  Does this agent book flights for you or just research them?  Not all agents will book flights and you should understand their reasoning if they do or don’t before you decide to move ahead with them.

Do you need reservations at a Walt Disney World resort before your cruise or after?  Do they help with an itinerary for the theme parks?  Are you sailing out of a different port and need a good hotel for the night?  Having someone who knows the ports and can recommend where to stay and how to get to the port easily is a huge help!

DCL Pool Deck

6.  How do you personalize the planning process for us?

Your vacations should be as unique as your family.  Do they do phone consultations?  Video chat?  Are they willing to get on a call and speak about your individual needs?  Not everyone needs this level of support – but it’s important to know it’s available to you if you do.  Understand the entire process of how your vacation will come together and what the agent typically does as part of the planning with their clients.

7.  What kind of support do you provide during and AFTER my vacation?

It’s good to know if they’ll be available to help if you encounter any issues while on vacation.  This is always a hot topic on social media with guests not knowing where a travel advisor can and can’t help.  Generally once you have “checked in” for your vacation (the resort or cruise) the agent no longer has any control of your reservations.  That being said, an agent can offer advice and guidance to get the best results should any real issues arise.  The challenges with your family members though – you’re on your own!

Minnie Mouse Formal DCL

After your vacation is also the beginning of your relationship with this advisor.  If you are happy with their customer service and had a great time, you’ll probably want to use them again.  Make sure you ask if their agency books other destinations and cruise lines.  Yes it’s great if they’re a Disney expert, but find out how they could help you for the next trip!

After asking these questions, you should have a good sense of whether the travel agent is a good match for you.  Trust your instincts and choose someone who listens, understands your needs, and is as excited about your Disney cruise as you are.  Remember, this relationship is for the long haul.  So, take your time, ask the questions, and find your travel planning partner in crime.

Happy cruising!

Looking for a positive place online to ask questions?  Join our Facebook group here

If you need assistance planning your vacation contact my team at Playcation Travel


Disney Wish Penthouse At Sea

Disney Cruise Line just keeps “upping” the luxury available on board, and this new suite is no exception.

The newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Wish will have a suite that is 1,966 square feet.  It’s a penthouse, and it looks exquisite!

Disney Wish Suite

I splurged on a 622 square foot 1 bedroom suite on the Disney Dream, and we thought that was big – I can’t imagine walking in here!

This loft will sleep up to 8 guests and has a 2 story window wall.  This suite is located in the forward funnel (pictured below).  That location on the ship is going to allow for some spectacular views day or night.  I can just imagine me sitting on one of those chairs first thing in the morning looking out over the top deck with a cup of tea.

Disney Wish Funnel

The suite sleeps up to 8 guests with 2 master bedrooms, a children’s room and a library that will convert in to another bedroom.  With 4 and a half bathrooms, a dining area and a butlers pantry and bar – I have to wonder if they could have put anything else in here?

Disney Wish Suite Bathroom

They did – there will be ‘extras’ in this suite that only Disney can do including a hand-crafted porcelain sculpture that comes alive.  As described by Disney:

When guests arrive home to the Wish Tower Suite, they may discover the statue pulsing in myriad hues of green amid soft chimes that recall the film’s distinctive soundtrack, revealing itself as the heart of Te Fiti. The special lighting and audio effects will eventually fill the room to provide a truly magical, one-of-a-kind greeting.

The suite will feature artwork and materials inspired by the animated film “Moana”.  Remember the line from the song “See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me…” – I think this suite is calling us all.

Disney Wish Suite Bedroom

In a suite like this you will feel like royalty, especially with the personal concierge team and private elevator.  Could you ask for anything else?

Take a look at the video of the Wish and start planning your next getaway!  It may not be the suite, but I think ANY stateroom on a Disney Cruise is a good place to be!  

Do you have a cruise booked?  Have you sailed with Disney Cruise Line yet?

Dreams come true with the Disney Wish

The Disney Wish is the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line family that will officially set sail in 2022.  On World Wish Day – Disney released new and exciting details about the Wish that we have all been waiting for.

Here’s what has ME most excited:

The Staterooms

Disney Cruise Line staterooms are always beautiful – but these ones?   The new colors and art work make the rooms look so fresh and inviting.

That bed runner – I may need to buy one of those!

I have had the opportunity to sail in a 1 bedroom suite on the Disney Dream and that was an incredible experience, but let’s just say this new ship has some pretty spiffy concierge staterooms!

Concierge Stateroom Disney Wish

The Dining

Let’s face it, a big part of any cruise is the food – and Disney Cruises are no different.  All of the ships have fantastic food options and a variety of experiences on board.  The Wish will be building on the exisitng dining model and enhancing it.

Frozen dining where Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf are all in attendance and there will be musical performances.  I’m not sure I’m sold on how I will be able to sing along and eat at the same time – or maybe the point is they don’t want us singing?  😉

Frozen dining on the Disney Wish Cruise

While Anna and Elsa are entertaining in their restaraunt, there will be a Marvel experience going on in another dining room that is sure to embrace technology for a very unique experience.  There may be some Avengers at dinner, which means I need to get caught up on my Marvel stuff so I know who is coming to dinner!

I think the one that I am most excited about is 1923 that will “Evoke the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood”.  1923 is the year that Walt Disney Studios was founded and that history will be intertwined in this decor.  Full of sketches and props that tell the story of the early animation processes, this restaraunt is sure to be a favorite of the Disney fans who love the history of the company.  Based on the rendering below, 1923 is going to capture the charm of the era beautifully.

1923 Disney Wish

The Kids Clubs

I don’t have children, but I feel the need to call out the kids clubs.  Honestly, the kids clubs on a Disney Ship are above expectations in terms of experiences.  I have done tours of the clubs and I have to say – they REALLY need a sailing where they allow the adults in the clubs.  #JustSaying

Anyway – as expected, Disney makes sure that the kids are having fun and the Disney Wish will carry on that tradition of having clubs that all the adults WANT to be in.

Kids clubs DCL Wish

One of the coolest places I think they are introducing is Walt Disney Imagineering Lab.  This is where the kids can dream and imagine LIKE an Imagineer.  In this space kids aged 3-12 will be able to design their own roller coaster and then virtually RIDE it.  There have been variations of this premise over the years with Disney Quest and the Sum Of All Thrills at Epcot, but both are no longer available.  It’s a shame because they were terrific experiences, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out on the Wish.

Imagineering Lab Disney Wish

The Adult Spaces

Disney Cruises aren’t just for kids you know!  On each Disney ship there are spots and experiences that are made just for the adults.  From a “Quiet Cove” pool district to lounges, the spa and fine dining, there are plenty of things to do while the kids enjoy the clubs.

The gourmet meals at Palo is something that I enjoy every time I’m on the Dream, so I’m happy to see it on the Wish.  With these experiences inspired by Beauty and the Beast, you know it’s going to be elegant.

But aside from all of that – there is one spot on the Disney Dream that is my favorite.  The Skyline lounge.

Skyline Bar Disney Dream Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Here we are in Skyline on the Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Skyline is on both the Dream and the Fantasy and offers “windows with a view”.  I have spent HOURS in the one on the Dream watching the skyline change every 15 minutes to see the gorgeous views of London to Barcelona, or Hong Kong to New York!  The details are incredible with lights coming on and off in the buildings and the cars on the road, it’s incredible.

With Skyline being my favorite bar on the Dream, AND I’m a Star Wars fan – the new “Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge” on the Wish is where you’ll find me!  In here we’ll be watching the galaxy go by as we visit Coruscant, Tattoine and Batuu!

Families are invited during the day, but in the evenings this will be an adult only experience.

Star Wars Bar on Disney Cruise Line Wish

It’s almost as if they called me and said “What’s your favorite night time spot on the Dream and how can we combine it with your love of Star Wars for you?”.  Ya… it’s going to be epic!

There are going to be SO many reasons to love this new ship that I can’t list them all here.  I think it’s safe to say this is a ship I want to be on!   I will do full reviews of everything once I get a chance to experience them all.  And yes – I will even make sure to experience the AquaMouse, I’ll have to try it once right?

Aqua Mouse Water Slide on Disney Cruise

This water ride is an ‘attraction at sea’… and you’re going to have to SEA it to believe it.  (see what I did there?, I know – cheesy!  But I’m so excited)

The maiden voyage will be a five-night cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay — on June 9, 2022.  After that it will have three and four night cruises to the same destinations from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Are you ready to book?  Contact my friends at Playcation Travel Ltd to get your no obligation quote!

See the full video from Disney below

All pictures © Disney

Disney Cruise Without Kids – 6 Reasons You Should Try It!

Disney Cruise Without Kids

I travel to Walt Disney World a few times per year, I am a Disney fanatic who would go every week if I could.   I have a couple of ‘non Disney’ friends who are now fans of visiting Walt Disney World once they realized how great it was for adults without kids.  Convincing them that a Disney Cruise without kids was a good idea was a whole other story!  They had visions of being ‘trapped at sea’ with hundreds of kids surrounding them screaming and crying.  I had to call upon my cruising experience to tell them the benefits of cruising Disney without kids.

Disney Cruise Line Sunset

1.  The Staterooms

These staterooms are larger than most I have seen on other cruise lines, but they also have a sense of elegance about them.   The split bathroom in most staterooms give you the ability for 2 people to get ready for dinner at the same time – something that is very valuable when you’re sharing a room!  We have had 4 adults in a stateroom for a few of our cruises and been VERY thankful for having that split bathroom when we were getting ready.  The Deluxe Family Stateroom was a TON of room for 4 of us.

 2.  Dining

The dining experiences on a Disney Cruise are spectacular.  Going to a different dining room each night and having servers that stay with you for the duration of your cruise is awesome. I told them on the first night what a picky eater I am and I got terrific recommendations catered to me each night that followed.  The servers did tell us that if we didn’t finish our bottle of wine at dinner that they would bring it the next night, but somehow that was never necessary.   The specialty dining in Palo or Remy is a full indulgence not to be missed!  Just look at some of the sweet treats from our Palo brunch!

Disney Cruise Palo Brunch

3.  The Adult Only Pool

This pool is an oasis at sea!   With a hot tub and bar near by, this was by far my favorite place to be during the day.
It’s quiet, inviting and relaxing. The crew is fantastic at replenishing my drink whenever I need it.  I sit by the pool reading on my iPad – with my biggest exertion being to get up and get in to the pool when I need to cool down.  There are no kids, no loud sounds – just peace.

Disney Cruise Adult Pool

There’s a pool part to swim, or just this lounge area to sit and relax in the water.

4.  The Spa

Senses is the ultimate relaxation!  From Spa treatments to salon services – there is plenty to choose from for an afternoon of pampering!  I haven’t had the opportunity yet to get the pampering – but I did try acupuncture on the ship after I pulled a muscle, they had me feeling great in no time. Next time I’m checking out the spa in more detail!

5.  The Bars and Lounges

There are so many adult only bars at night to explore that I missed the 687 pub on a ship I had sailed on 3 times!  My favorites on the Disney Dream are Skyline and Pink.  Skyline has a huge ‘window’ that changes every 15 minutes showing you the skyline of a different city, it really is spectacular.

Skyline Bar Disney Dream Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Here we are in the Skyline Lounge on the Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Pink is themed to look like the inside of a champagne bottle with bubbles everywhere.  Keep watch in some of the bubbles during your stay – you may just see a pink elephant appear!

Pink Bar Disney Dream

When you see the elephants, maybe you’ve had too much to drink!

There are comedy clubs, sports bars and dance clubs – something for everyone!

For some extra fun for adults, they often have mixology classes or champagne tasting in the afternoon.  These were a great value and a lot of fun.  We discovered Rosa Regale at one of these events and often have it at Walt Disney World when we visit.

Rosa Regale on Disney Cruise Line

Some Rosa Regale on the verandah at night is so relaxing!

6.  Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) is home to Serenity Bay, the adult’s only part of the island.  It is the most relaxing and beautiful beach I have ever been to. The sand is soft, there are plenty of umbrellas for shade and the water is clear. Need a drink?  They have cast members walking the beach to take your order. Feel like snorkeling or bike riding? They have that too… there are plenty of activities if that’s what you enjoy!

Castaway Cay Pixie Dust Cruise

Castaway Cay has a little shopping too!

We like to make the most of our day when visiting Castaway Cay and rent a private cabana on Serenity Bay, it’s our little piece of paradise. We have our own hammock and inner tubes, a fridge with cold water and pop, and a button to call our cabana host if we need anything.  It really is the ultimate day of bliss.

Castaway Cay Cabana Serenity Bay

Whether you travel with children or not, Disney Cruise Line has something for everyone.  With all of the kids activities and clubs on board, parents can indulge in some of these adult activities while the children having a ball in their own clubs with the new friends they’ve met.

 Once I had shared the highlights with my friends, the question was ‘when do we go?’  We decided that the ONLY way we could do our first cruise together was in style, so we splurged on concierge. If you’re ever looking for luxury – this is it!  Make sure you check out my review of the concierge experience and stateroom!

Have you done an adult only Disney cruise?  Would you recommend it?

If you want some details from a cruise ship insider – listen to our Podcast episode 29 where we chat about cruising Disney with a former cruise ship engineer!

Disney Group Cruising – It’s More Fun With Friends

Castaway Cay Fantasy
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to cruise with a group? Well I can tell you, based on our experience, that it’s fun!

Carol and I have cruised a few times on our own; we’ve cruised with a few friends several times and we’ve cruised as part of a large group four times. Our experience has been that the larger group adds a new dimension to the cruise experience. We really like it!

La Piazza 2

A group cruise is simply a cruise vacation which is organized by a person or company and is then offered to people with common interests. The organizer often arranges group activities which individuals can elect to participate in if they wish. There is no pressure to participate, it is purely voluntary.

What are the advantages of a group cruise?

The diversity of the group. Carol and I enjoy the opportunity to mix and mingle with old friends we see on the ship and we like to meet new people as well. The group cruise gives us this opportunity.

Photo Walk 5

You can be as involved and active as you like or you can just kick back, relax and ignore all the group activities. There is no truant officer!

So what are some of these group activities? Let me give you some examples from one of our group cruising adventures. We sailed on the AllEars Disney Fantasy Cruise which took place in May 2012. The group activities were all arranged by There were 125 cruisers in our group and we occupied 52 staterooms on a seven day eastern Caribbean cruise.

Group Cruise

The whole gang!

On Saturday we boarded the Fantasy and one of the first stops was the AllEars registration desk where we registered, picked up our AllEars Navigator (schedule of events) and our scavenger hunt questionnaire. We also received our “Welcome Gift” . . . a backpack full of a variety of swag! Disney Cruise Line gives some pretty nice swag to returning cruisers, members of the Castaway Club, but not nearly as nice as the AllEars swag we received. It was a high quality AllEars backpack full of trinkets and treasures.

After settling into our stateroom and attending the mandatory lifeboat drill we headed up to deck #12 for the sail-away party. Our group all met in the same area for a ‘meet & greet’ while the sail-away festivities were in progress. This was our first chance to mix and mingle with others in the group.

Ice Cream Social 1

There was a scavenger hunt which required cruisers to answer some very challenging trivia questions about the Disney Fantasy. The door decorating contest ensured that some of the stateroom doors were quickly transformed into lavish art displays!

Each of the three “sea days” founder Deb Wills invited everyone to join her at 8:00 a.m. for coffee and chatter at the Cove Café. These meets were always well attended. Even Carol attended a few times and she is not normally a ‘morning person’.

Cove Cafe 3

Cove Cafe Meets

Sunday afternoon there was an Ice Cream Social. We met at Eye Scream Treats on deck #11 and everyone helped themselves to a self-serve ice cream treat. Yum! Everyone enjoyed it!

Some people really enjoyed it!

And of course they traded pins and Sorcerer Cards!

Pin Trading 1

Pin Trading

Sunday evening we met for cocktails in La Piazza on deck #4, a few impromptu photo-ops ensued!

Pin Trading 2

Monday morning, after coffee with Deb in the Cove Café, we gathered in The Tube on deck #4 for some pin trading. Carol was busy manning the pin board for the full 90 minutes and answered a lot of questions for some newcomers to pin trading. Once folks had done a pin trade (or two or three) out came the cards and the traders spread out all over The Tube.

While we had great weather, a brief rain Monday afternoon dampened plans for the Mini Golf meet on deck #13, Goofy’s Sport Deck. Maybe next time . . .

Most of our group selected the early dining option and we were all seated in close proximity in the dining rooms. This gave yet another opportunity to see the new people we met and was especially fun on Pirate Night when we got to see everyone’s costumes! Argggh!

Pirates 2

Thursday morning, after coffee with Deb in the Cove Café, we gathered in the atrium on deck #3 for a photo-walk. Barrie Brewer was our leader and expert photographer. She explained what a photo walk was all about, then we broke into two groups and got started. We simply walked around the ship taking pictures. I led one group which stayed in the atrium and did our best to capture some interesting images there. Barrie Brewer and Linda Eckwerth took the other group and headed to Europa, the adult entertainment area on deck #4. My group rejoined them there and the larger group swarmed Europa taking pictures. The mosaic murals of toreadors and flamenco dancers in the restrooms were an extremely popular subject!

Photo Walk 1

Friday at Castaway Cay many of us convened for a group lunch at the Serenity Bay barbecue. It’s funny but even with all the fine dining available on the ship, this barbecue on Castaway Cay is always one of my favourite meals!

Then came the grand finale! The AllEars farewell party on Friday afternoon. The cruise was coming to an end, we debark tomorrow. Dang! We met in The Tube on deck #4. A slide show of pictures from many of our meets was playing on three large screens behind the stage and we were treated to complementary beverages and snacks!

Farewell 8

Deb Wills thanked us all for joining her on the cruise and for participating in so many on-board events. These events were scrolling behind her in the slide show so we relived them as she spoke.

Soon the prizes were handed out for the scavenger hunt and the door decorating contest. Then the raffle tickets were drawn. Every time you attended any of the events or meets during the cruise you were given a raffle ticket. There were over a dozen prizes and some very happy winners.

After the prizes were all awarded we had a surprise visitor, Captain Mickey came and posed for pictures with all of us! What a treat!

Captain Mickey 2

So that’s what a group cruise is all about. There is always a nice variety of activities which you can elect to participate in but they do not interfere with other things you want to do. We attended almost all the group activities but we were still able to see every show in the Walt Disney Theatre. We spent plenty of time lounging around the pool, enjoyed shore adventures and did all the other things we enjoy while cruising. The bonus was we met some very nice people and made some new friends while we were doing it!

Sail Away 5

So if you think a group cruise might appeal to you why not take a look at the Pixie Dust Fan cruise coming up soon ?  Francine assures me that it’s going to be great!

Have you done a group cruise before?  Are YOU booked on the Pixie Dust Fan Cruise?

Gary Cruise

Gary Cruise

Gary is a retired banker who lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He first visited Walt Disney World in 1977 and has returned many, many times over the years. Since retiring he and his wife Carol enjoy the parks a number of times each year. They especially like staying at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with their Shetland sheep dogs.

Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Disney Dream ShipJoin us on the Disney Dream for the FIRST EVER Pixie Dust Fan cruise January 20, 2020!  I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of Pixie Dust Fans on the same sailing!

Sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida – this 4 night itinerary has something for everyone!

Day 1 – Depart from Port Canaveral Florida 

Day 2 – Nassau, Bahamas

Day 3 – Disney Castaway Cay

Day 4 – Day at Sea

Day 5 – Disembark – Port Canaveral 

If you have ever thought about going on a cruise and you’re a Pixie Dust Fan – this is the one for you!  Experience all of the fantastic things that Disney Cruise Line has to offer, and sprinkle in some new friends from the community you belong to online.  

I can’t wait to see you on board!  Should we meet for soft serve ice cream first?  Or a drink in the lounge?  These decisions… they are hard ones!


Want to join us? 


5 Things You Need To Know Before Your Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise StackPlanning a Disney Cruise is an exciting time, but it’s important you don’t overlook the finer details in that plan!  While I know that some travellers will say ‘of course’ when they read this, I can tell you that I have heard a lot of experienced cruisers who have made some of these mistakes.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Here are the 5 things you NEED to know before you sail.

1.  Proper Documentation.

You MUST have all of the documentation required to sail.  When in doubt – more is better.  I have read a few posts lately of people planning their cruise, asking their Facebook Group what identification is needed and showing up at the port without the right stuff.  Guess what?  No cruise for them… and their Facebook Group couldn’t help them.

Visit Disney’s site – read it thoroughly.  Cruise security is like Airport security – they don’t ‘overlook’ things.

I know you don’t want to consider it, but if you are sick or injured while on the cruise, you may not be permitted to fly without a passport.  While you *may* be on a cruise that does not require you to have a passport – it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Avoid the hassle – have a passport.


2.  Know what can you bring on board.

Sounds simple and common sense, no guns, no bicycles, no underwater scooters (that’s a thing?), but not all things prohibited are common knowledge.  Did you know you are not permitted to bring an extension cord on board?  Heating pads and musical instruments aren’t allowed either.  Make sure you check Disney’s page of permitted items before you pack your suitcase.  I’m not listing them all here as they can change at any time – but you can find the official list here.

Disney Cruise extension cord

3.  Make sure you have the proper currency for where you’re going.

On board all charges are in US Dollars.  However, you need to be prepared for the ports you visit and what currency they accept.   You also need to notify your credit card company before you travel if there’s a chance they might flag it for unusual activity.

4.  Departure Times.

Cruise ships wait for no one.  It’s imperative that you book your arrival time at the port with plenty of buffer for unforeseen issues.  Flight delays or traffic can cause you to miss your sailing.  When booking your port adventures, it’s the same rule – make sure you have PLENTY of time to get back to the ship after your adventure.  I think we’ve all seen the video of the couple running down the dock as their ship sails away.

Woody Pixar Apple Watch

5.  Contact information while on board.

It’s never a fun thought, but if you have people at home that may need to reach you while you’re sailing, it’s important to provide them the contact information before you sail.  When you receive your booklet from Disney Cruise Line, there are cards inside with instructions on how to reach you.

While most of these things are not the ‘fun’ side of planning your cruise, they are a necessity.   Once you’ve dealt with all of this stuff – you can enjoy your magical Disney Cruise!

If you want to see some other first time mistakes – check out this post First Time Mistakes

Have I missed anything you think is important?  Leave a comment and let me know!


Disney Cruise Line Sailings Cancelled

Disney Dream Hurricane IrmaDue to the anticipated path of Hurricane Irma, Disney has issued emails to guests notifying them of the cancellations of their cruise.

In an email sent to guests (see below), Disney Cruise Line has cancelled the September 8th and September 11th, 2017 sailings on the Disney Dream.

Disney is offering guests a 25% discount on a future sailing if the call to rebook between September 18th and October 18th.

While I can imagine that this decision did not come lightly, Disney has made the decision to put safety above all else – and that’s what they do best.

I was scheduled to be sailing on the Dream on September 11th and will be rebooking my cruise for another date.

DCL Cancellation Irma


Disney Fantasy Mechanical Issues

May 172017 I set sail on a 3 night Disney Cruise on the Fantasy. The Fantasy had just been in dry dock and I was looking forward to all of the enhancements they had made. It was the only Disney ship I hadn’t sailed on, so I was excited.

The voyage was great, all of the things you would expect from Disney Cruise Line (more on that later), but the last night we hit a bit of a snag.  Something broke on the ship.

We were sitting at the late seating for dinner on the last night when one of my tablemates said they felt a big shudder. We weren’t sure what it was, but continued to enjoy our dinner.

On the last night of the cruise, you leave your luggage outside of your stateroom before 10:30 so that the crew can take it off the ship for you. Some people hold on to their bags because they’ve got early flights to catch and want to make sure they can walk off the ship at 7am with their bags. Since we were spending another week at Walt Disney World, we weren’t in a rush and put ours out. Then we headed to O’Gills pub to meet some friends for a drink.

We were enjoying the live entertainment and some good conversation when Commodore Tom made the announcement – trouble in paradise! He let us know that there was a mechanical problem – we were going to be delayed getting in to port the next morning. He didn’t provide many details except to say that we would arrive at approximately 10am with the earliest time to disembark being 11.   Anyone who had flights before 1pm needed to change them.

While I didn’t have to worry about flights, I had friends on board that did. One spent an hour on hold with Delta trying to get her flight changed. Thankfully she managed to get it done without a fee for an 8pm departure from Orlando the next day. It was a big relief for her; she didn’t have to worry if we were delayed further.

Other people weren’t so lucky. I spoke to people who spent $800 to change their flights due to the delay. Without insurance, they are out of pocket for these costs unless they had insurance. Not something they expected to have to spend after getting their onboard ship charge bills!  

The next announcement came at 8am saying that no one would be off the ship until 12:30. We were chugging along; you could see how slow we were sailing just by looking at the water.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I'm not an engineer, but it looks to me like the starboard engine isn't running. cc <a href="">@TheDCLBlog</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Deanna (@deefordisney) <a href="">May 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>


Another friend had a 2pm flight and was originally a little worried that it was cutting it close, now had to change them. She called Westjet and they had no later flights to put her on.   She had to book a night at Walt Disney World and fly out the next day.

When we finally made it close to land – there were tugboats along side of the ship. It was hard to tell from the decks, but it looked like they were pushing or pulling us at different points throughout the last stages of our arrival.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Aft tug is pulling. Forward tug is chilling. <a href="">#DisneyFantasy</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Deanna (@deefordisney) <a href="">May 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>


I decided to wait on the ship and let the masses leave. We had a nice lunch and took our time. I felt terrible for those who were rushing to catch flights – I can only imagine how stressful it would have been, especially those with little ones.

What Disney did right:

  • Made alternate flight arrangements for those who booked their airfare with Disney Cruise Line
  • Handed out calling cards to those who booked their flights on their own. This allowed them to call their airlines for free from their Cabanas Disney Fantasystateroom to make alternate arrangements
  • Offered an additional 50MB of data free to those who needed to get online to arrange their travel plans.
  • They added additional events and activities while we were waiting to dock. This included a showing of Beauty and the Beast in the theatre and a character dance party on Deck 11. Entertainment was a great distraction.
  • They served lunch. They opened up Cabanas, the ice cream station and the burger/sandwich windows on Deck 11. People who are hungry can be cranky – this helped alleviate that!

What Disney could have done better:

  • The communication was sparse on what the actual problem was. There was a sense of panic from some of the guests about what ‘mechanical issues’ meant and some conversations referenced the Carnival Cruise that was stuck at sea with no power. I didn’t worry that we would end up like that because we had power, it just seemed like we were short on engine power.
  • After dry dock you expect some issues. There were reported issues with Air Conditioning and toilets in the staterooms. Disney accommodated by moving people to other rooms where required, but that was an inconvenience on only a 3 night sailing.

With everything considered, I think Disney handled the situation very well. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a flight to catch that I thought it went well. After reading some of the boards and comments, I know there are plenty of people who won’t agree with me. I can’t think of what more they could have done, they made the very best of a bad situation.

For those who were boarding the Fantasy, they received emails asking them to delay their arrival to the port. Reports say they were told they would get a $25 per person stateroom credit to pay for their lunch while they waited. Their itinerary was changed and it was almost 11:30 PM before they left the dock. I can’t imagine what it felt like when they arrived full of anticipation for their cruise, only to experience delays. I’m sure Disney was going out of their way to make sure they were happy, but it’s still something that no one wants to have happen.

I think my big lesson from this is that I won’t book those early afternoon flights to go home after a cruise.  Make sure you’re flying in the day before – and you’re not trying to catch a noon flight on the day you leave.

Were you on the Fantasy or boarding? What was your experience?


First Disney Cruise Mistakes To Avoid

Disney Dream DeckPlanning your first Disney cruise can be exciting and stressful at the same time. There are so many options, categories, rules and regulations – what if I chose the wrong thing? Am I going to ruin my vacation?

Some mistakes are minor, while others CAN ruin your Disney cruise vacation.

Here are 5 big mistakes that almost every first time Disney cruiser makes

  1. They Don’t Understand The Stateroom Categories

I don’t care how much you google it, you don’t know what it’s like to sleep in a tuna can unless you’ve done it. Do you know what it’s like to wake up and wonder if you’re at sea or docked? Do you love your family enough to hug them as you walk to the bathroom because there’s nowhere else to go?

Disney Cruise Dream 1 Bedroom
I have stayed in a variety of staterooms on Disney Cruise Line from an inside cabin to a 1 bedroom suite and they range from “pretty small” to “I can fit a piano in here”. Each one had it’s own pros and cons, especially when working with a budget. How much is a split bathroom worth for an inside cabin?  What about when you have 3 women getting ready for dinner? Trust me, it’s worth every penny!

Depending on the number of people in your stateroom, your budget and your need for personal space – these ALL have to be factors in your decision making. If you’ve spent all this money on a vacation, you want to make sure you enjoy it.

  1. Not Considering The Stateroom Location

You might not think this is a big deal, I mean how different is it to stay at the back of the ship? There is a reason the staterooms are different prices depending on location. Did you know that you can feel the motion of the ship more in certain locations? What about the dance bar – do you want to have your room right next to it or under it? Location is definitely something to consider.

  1. Underestimating The Amount Of Activities On Board

I have heard people plan a cruise primarily for the itinerary – what ports of call they are going to see and considered the ship as just a means of transportation. They didn’t realize how many things they would want to experience on board and hadn’t planned time to enjoy them all. From Character meetings to movie premiers, the kids were too tired after their full days on land to partake in the festivities the cruise had to offer.

  1. Flying In The Morning Of Your Cruise

This is a BIG one, and any good travel agent will tell you, you MUST plan to arrive the day before! Freak storms, problems with the plane or being bumped from your flight – they are all things that will cause you to miss your ship. Make no mistake, cruises wait for no one…

  1. What Documentation Do I Need?

I see this question a lot on Facebook – can I just use a driver’s license? Do I need a passport? That all depends on where you’re sailing from and to. While the well-meaning people in the Facebook group will give you all sorts of advice, do you really want to trust Dan from Iowa that you just need photo ID? I mean, the worst thing that can happen is you aren’t allowed to board the ship and forfeit the price of your cruise.  Don’t trust random people on the internet to advise you on these things.

A Disney cruise is one of the greatest getaways for adults, families and solo travellers. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t enjoy their cruise when they planned it properly.   When you’re ready to book, find a reputable Disney travel agent that can help you with the specific needs for your family.  You can modify the questions I have listed here to help you find the right travel agent to help you, or just call my friends at Playcation Travel Ltd to book your cruise!





Castaway Cay Cabana Rental

Cabana Guest Sign

When sailing with Disney Cruise Line, I like to make sure my itineraries are such that I get to visit Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. I have rented a cabana at Serenity Bay a few times, and I have to say… it’s spectacular.

Here are 5 reasons you should consider renting one:

  1. Fridge

Each cabana comes equipped with a mini fridge. Inside you will find pop, water and fruit – all included in the rental. Also inside are some cold towels that are wonderful for patting down your face to cool off in the hot sun. Bags of chips are also included, just not in the fridge.

  1. Safe

Having a safe nearby just makes everything easier. While it’s never been a problem on the beach for me, it was nice to have somewhere to lock up my cameras, stateroom key and ID while I was in the water.

  1. Cabana Host

A cabana host that is only a ‘buzz’ away is awesome! There’s a button on the wall, if you need the fridge restocked or a lift to lunch – justpush the button. If you need some alcoholic beverages from the bar, they’ll bring you those too! These guys are great and work really hard, we make sure to tip them at the end of the day.

  1. Shade & Sunscreen

There are plenty of umbrellas on the beach, but having your own little ‘hut’ with comfy chairs is a great place to get out of the sun. It’s also some welcome shelter if there is an afternoon shower. With the cabana you also get a selection of sunscreen included – make sure you put it on!

  1. Toys

Rafts and floats are included along with a hammock next to your cabana. I must admit, the hammock was more difficult to get in to than I thought!

Renting a cabana at Castaway Cay has been a luxury we have splurged on a few times. We love the convenience and all of the things I’ve listed above, but I won’t be renting one on my next cruise. There is only one reason not to rent a cabana and that’s price. At $798 on the family beach and $493 on the adult beach, it’s a little too much to splurge when it’s just my sister and I. I can think of some other goodies to buy in the shops on board where that $500 could go a long way!

If you’re looking for ways to splurge, concierge may be for you!

Check out our video below for a tour.  Would you rent one of these?


Sailing concierge on a Disney cruise, is it worth it?

Sailing concierge on a Disney cruise, is it worth it?

DCL Concierge Check InI really believe that having over 40 years of personal experience visiting Walt Disney World is one of the things that makes me qualified to give advice about Disney vacations.  When it comes to Disney Cruise Line, I have had experience sailing in various categories of staterooms, but I hadn’t sailed Disney Cruise concierge.  How could I tell people if concierge was worth it if I hadn’t tried it?  My mind was made up, I needed to sail concierge in a 1-bedroom suite on the Disney Dream – for research purposes of course.

Research is key when you’re a travel blogger

My sister, our two friends and I left Walt Disney World after 8 days in the parks and drove down to Port Canaveral. Being concierge meant that we did not have a specific boarding time and we could check in at the concierge desk (where there was no line).   After checking in, we were able to relax in the lounge area in the terminal reserved for concierge guests.  Once the ship was cleared – we were led on board and up to the lounge on deck 12.

What is inside the concierge lounge on the Disney Dream?

In the concierge lounge we were treated to mimosas and some nibbly treats.  We met our 3 hosts who had a custom itinerary printed out for us that included our Palo brunch and Castaway Cabana reservations that were booked by the pre-arrival team. They told us about the 2 happy hours that were hosted each night in the lounge offering drinks (alcohol and non) as well as what kind of food and snacks were available throughout the day. We were told that if there was anything we needed, we only had to ask.

DCL Mimosas

We enjoyed the conversations (and the mimosas) but were so excited to go and see our stateroom!  We left the lounge and were thrilled to see our stateroom was right across the hall which turned out to be super convenient for getting tea in the morning and bottles of water throughout the day.

I had the chance to look in the 1-bedroom suite before, but walking in to that room knowing it was mine for 4 nights was an incredible feeling!  When we opened the door there were gasps from all of us, I believe the word “wow” was used about 67 times in the next 10 minutes while we explored.

DCL 1 Bedroom Suite Living Room

The living room

How big is the 1 bedroom suite on the Disney Dream?

The suite was larger than I remembered and I hadn’t realized there were 3 closets in that hallway.  There was a dining room, living room area, desk, bedroom and 2 full bathrooms.   The master bathroom was like something out of a magazine with a TV in the mirror, separate shower stall and a bathtub so large I could have practiced my backstroke!

We decided it was time to check out the concierge sun deck to see where we might spend our time if we ever left our room during the cruise!  We went back through the lounge to grab some bottled water and headed upstairs – that’s when the ‘wow’ word was used another 14 times!  There were sun loungers, comfy chairs, sunscreen and a hot tub – all for concierge guests only.  I knew we would be spending some quality time in this area!

Before the sail away party started I knew I was in trouble.  We had been on the ship for only a few hours and I had already decided that cruising concierge was worth the cost.  I spent the next 4 days enjoying all of the benefits of cruising concierge.  From the fabulous table locations in the dining rooms to the parting gift they left in our room, they really treated us like royalty.

Now that I’m home (and my Visa bill has come in!), I am able to look back with a more practical view to determine if I would do it again. In my opinion, sailing concierge is definitely worth it if you put a high value on convenience, luxury and service.  The Disney Cruise Line has exceptional service for everyone, but sailing concierge felt like it had some extra pixie dust for me.

If your budget allows for it, I would highly recommend it.   There is only one thing that I have to caution you on – once you sail concierge, you may not be able to sail any other way!  Contact Playcation Travel to book your next cruise!

Have you sailed concierge?  Would you do it again?

Check out our video review here: