The single biggest thing that differentiates a Disney Cruise from a Walt Disney World vacation is that I come home RELAXED! Trust me, I am a Disney World lover and go there eagerly and often with my family. However, we always come home from a Disney World vacation exhausted (in a good way, but still exhausted). In contrast, we come home from a Disney Cruise rested and rejuvenated. The main reason for this – the kids’ clubs!
On Disney Cruise Line, there are different youth programs designed for each age group that together make up the collective youth clubs (commonly referred to as the kids’ clubs). The “it’s a small world” nursery is for children age 6 months to 3 years. The Oceaneer Club and Oceanear Lab are for children in the 3-12 year age range (children do need to be toilet trained). Edge is for the tween crowd ages 11-14 and Vibe is geared specifically to teenagers ages 14-17.
I’m focusing this article on the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab – really one large venue that can be split into two sections as necessary. While there are variations in the youth clubs on the four Disney ships, all follow the same age brackets and use the same names allowing familiarity across all ships.
Simply put the clubs are excellent! They have all the attention to detail, exceptional staffing, and magnificent customer service you have come to expect from Disney in a fun, contained, and supervised environment. Not only can you trust leaving your kids there, but they will love it. In turn, this gives you a chance to relax! Go swim in the adult area pools, enjoy a spa treatment, have a drink, or go to an elegant dinner with your spouse at Palo or Remy. The ship is yours to enjoy while your children are creating memories of their own.
The Oceaneer Club/Lab is filled with many different activities for children to choose from. The rooms are broken down into smaller areas to give children more personal attention from the youth counselors whether they are drawing in Animator’s Studio, perfecting their technique at Disney Infinity, playing on the interactive tile “Magic Floor,” or drawing in Pixie Hollow.
The youth clubs are included in your cruise fare. Also, no reservations are necessary for the Oceaneer Club/Lab – your children can come and go as you please! The clubs will never reach capacity and deny you entry because Disney will not allow a cruise to be booked once they reach the crew to child ratio specified for each club. (*Note: there is a nominal fee and reservations are required for the “it’s a small world” nursery aboard the Disney Cruise ships).
Upon entering and exiting the Oceaneer Club/Lab, your children will wash their hands in the coolest hand-washing station ever! Trust me, your kids will beg to wash their hands again and again. This is an example of another detail not overlooked by Disney – allowing kids to have fun while ensuring hands are sufficiently washed to cut-down the spread of germs.
Prior to your cruise and during embarkation day, you will complete all necessary paperwork for your children and they will receive an Oceaneer Band that is very similar to a MagicBand. This band allows access to/from the Oceaneer Club/Lab. In addition to the club access, the band allows youth counselors to monitor where exactly within the club your child is. While complimentary initially, the bands do need to be returned the last night of your cruise or a charge will appear on your stateroom bill.
If you, or your children, are nervous about trying the Oceanear Club/Lab, I highly suggest you visit during a scheduled open house. The open house hours allow adults and children to visit the club together, play together, meet youth counselors, and become more familiar with the area and offerings. On embarkation day, all clubs are open and allow visitors during the afternoon. At dinner time, the clubs become secure areas where only registered children are able to play. If you are interested in visiting together after the first day, the open house hours are listed in the Personal Navigator.
Each subsequent day of your cruise, the Oceaneer Club/Lab is generally open for secure check-ins throughout the day. Hours do vary on port days so always check the hours in your Personal Navigator. If your children are in the club during meal times, they are more then welcome to eat in the club. The counselors will encourage children to take a play break and head to the food tables, though it is an option and children are not required to eat.
As a special bonus, Disney characters oftentimes make unexpected visits to the clubs. These stories are among my favorite! Imagine my son’s reaction while he is aboard the Disney Dream, in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon on a special mission, flying through the galaxy only to pause for a moment and find Darth Vader standing at his side. Imagine my daughter’s joy when Tinkerbell sent her a special message and pixie dust after she lost a tooth in the club one afternoon. These memories and moments are still talked about years later!
While my children are creating these memories of a lifetime, I take pleasure in alone adult time to read a book, unwind in the sun, or cherish an anniversary dinner with my husband. These are all vital parts of allowing us to return home relaxed and with Mickey-sized smiles dreaming of heading back out to sea. If you haven’t before, I encourage you and your family to take full advantage of the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab on your next Disney cruise!
Get ready to set sail! Let’s book your Disney Cruise Line vacation today! Email me or use the form below to contact me for your quote. As a College of Disney Knowledge graduate and a Travel Planner with Key to the World Travel, I can help you with all aspects of your Disney Cruise vacation. In addition to Disney Cruise Line, I would love to help you book and plan your vacation to any Disney Destination including Adventures by Disney, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland. My planning services are free to anyone who books a vacation through me. Contact me today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Facebook.
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