Picture this—you and your whole family on an all-inclusive vacation to somewhere tropical, or maybe Alaska, or perhaps Europe, or the Mediterranean or Greek Isles. It’s your dream so you can decide where you wish you were. Ok, do you have it in your mind? You are on your way to your chosen destination, the whole family, relaxing, enjoying delicious food and Broadway entertainment, luxurious accommodations, impeccable service, not worrying about a thing!
But wait. How can this really be relaxing when you have to keep those kiddos entertained and don’t have a minute to yourself to enjoy the adult areas and spas? Disney already thought of that! One of the main things that sets Disney Cruise Line apart from other cruise lines is its dedication to the Kids’ Clubs. I’ve sailed other cruise lines and toured many ships, and I can tell you without a doubt, no one does Kids’ Clubs like Disney does!
First, Disney devotes massive amounts of space to their Kids’ Clubs. They accomplish this by doing away with the casinos you find on other lines. They also have placed the clubs in the most advantageous spots. Easy to get to and away from adult areas and bars. Another distinction is that the Kids’ Clubs are included in your cruise fare, with the exception of the nursery.
There are 5 different divisions of Disney Cruise Line Kids’ Clubs, ensuring that each child is in an age appropriate setting with age appropriate activities. I know your next question: Who is watching my children? Again, Disney has you covered! Each kids’ club is staffed by a corps of youth counselors who have undergone extensive training in not only working with children but also emergency situations. Each club has more than the minimum required number of counselors at any given time. To add to the security, children are not free to come and go on their own. They must be checked-in and out by their designated adult and you will even select a secret code word to add an extra layer of protection for your little one.
Now that you feel a little more confident about your child visiting the kids’ clubs, let’s take a look at each one:
- Disney’s Oceaneer Club & Oceaneer Lab
For ages 3-12, the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are where fun meets learning! Larger than life play areas, interactive opportunities, arts, crafts, movies, and even characters. Although theming varies by ship, one thing remains the same-your child may not want to leave! Disney Dream & Disney Fantasy: play with larger than life toys in Andy’s Room! Enter the fairytale land of Pixie Hollow for dress up, crafts, storytelling, and interactive experiences. Make the parents and older siblings jealous when you climb aboard the Millennium Falcon or your own X-wing for your turn piloting through this virtual reality opportunity! Play a game on the Disney Fantasy at your own interactive “holotable”. You will also find Magic PlayFloor, 103” movie screen, , Disney Infinity Game Room, and guided activities including the art of bookmaking, games with Mickey & Friends or Woody and the gang, and Jedi Training. On the Disney Fantasy you can also experience MARVEL Super Hero Academy.
Activities for the younger set include: Finding Captain Hook’s favorite dress hook, building race cars based on Disney’s Cars, working together to make chocolate-chip cookies, and doing some Super Sloppy Science with Professor Make-O-Mess. Kids can even opt to have lunch and dinner in the club. One perk, for those attending second dinner seating, is the Dine and Play program. With this program, families can still enjoy eating in one of the main dining rooms together. The program enables parents to have their child’s dinner served first while the parents are still on appetizers. Then when the children are finished eating, the youth counselors will come escort them to the club. This way the family can enjoy family dinner-time and then the grown ups can still enjoy a leisurely dinner just the adults. Parents wishing to utilize the Dine and Play program simply let their server know each evening.
Sound like fun? For the kids I mean. Registration is easy, and free! You can pre-register your children during online check-in or visit the Oceaneer Club or Oceaneer Lab once onboard the ship. Even if you pre-register, you must visit the club on Embarkation Day to fill out final paperwork and get your child’s DCL Youth Activities wristband. The wristband is similar to Walt Disney World’s Magic Bands.
Children must meet the age requirement (3 to 12 years of age) and be fully toilet-trained to attend Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab.
Adults 18 years of age and older are only permitted in Youth Activity spaces when picking up children. The Kids’ Clubs do hold daily Youth Activities Open House times, when all guests are welcome to visit. These open house times are listed in the Daily Navigator.
We all know tweens are too cool to be in Oceaneer Club/Oceaneer Lab! They aren’t quite ready for the teen club, Vibe, though. So, Disney Cruise Line has created something just for them! Enter Edge! Designed specifically for ages 11-14, Edge is a special place with high-tech equipment, guided activities, interactive experiences, and no “baby stuff”. Activities include That’s Hilarious, where tweens learn the art of improv, photo booths, karaoke challenges, gaming tablets, and movie and pirate trivia games. They form teams and search the sip for clues in the Heroes and Villains challenge. There are even DJ lessons, featuring the Descendants.
Dear all teens reading this, I am sorry I called it a Kids’ Club. Vibe is anything but childish! Vibe, for guests 14-17, is the teen lounge on board each ship. Here your teen can kick back, relax and just chill or participate in the many activities offered. Vibe is packed with activities and experiences teens will love, under the guidance of the coolest chaperones (youth counselors) around. Activities include making movies, games of Gotcha, and even Teen Only port excursions on Castaway Cay—including The Hideout, a teen exclusive beach clubhouse. While all cruise lines offer teen clubs, Disney Cruise Line gives teens super cool spaces. Onboard, Vibe features a coffee bar serving nonalcoholic beverages, for a fee. A special treat on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy Vibe clubs is the Teens Only private sundeck, complete with hot tubs, pool, and loungers. The biggest difference between Tween and Teen Clubs on Disney Cruise Line and the Tween/Teen Clubs on other cruise lines is not just amazing spaces but that parents can rest easy knowing their Tweens and Teens are still supervised at all times.
- “it’s a small world” nursery
The only kids’ club that is not included in your cruise fare, “it’s a small world” nursery, is for ages 6 month to 3 years of age (ages 1 to 3 years old on Transatlantic and Panama Canal sailing). The nursery includes 3 separate areas, such as a play area and quiet room. Nursery counselors are highly trained in working with this age group and staffing is carefully controlled to ensure there is adequate supervision of the tiniest guests. While the nursery is closed like the other clubs, for safety purposes, parent can peek in anytime through the special window. Activities are not regularly scheduled and are dependent on each child’s preferences and mood but experiences available include movies, story time, age appropriate arts and crafts, and a soft-surface floor play area.
Daily operating hours may vary, and reservations are required as space is limited. Reservations can be made online or onboard on a first-come first-served basis. Advance reservations may be made online:
- Up to 120 days ahead for Concierge and Platinum Castaway Club Guests
- Up to 105 days ahead for Gold Castaway Club Guests
- Up to 90 days ahead for Silver Castaway Club Guests
- Up to 75 days ahead for all other Guests
Childcare at “it’s a small world” nursery! is available at the following rates:
- $4.50 per half hour for the first child
- $4.00 per half hour for any additional children in your family
- Minimum reservation time is one hour and cancellations must be made at least 4 hours prior to reservation time.
In-room, private babysitting services are not available on Disney Cruise Line.
- Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs are welcome in Disney’s Kids’ Clubs, including “its’s a small world” nursery. Participation in the Youth Activity programs does require children to be fully toilet trained (except the nursery), able to individually participate within the counselor-to-child ratio groups, and able to interact socially and comfortably with peers of their own age and physical size. Disney Cruise Line Kids’ Clubs are unable to provide one-on-one counselor care, a counselor with specialty training, or counselor-assisted medical attention. Children who can self-address their personal medical needs will be able to store their medical supplies at the Youth Activities desk.
- Youth Activities Open House
Open House hours are also available so the entire family can join the fun and participate together. Open House is an opportunity for Guests of all ages to participate in a variety of exciting activities hosted at Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab throughout the cruise. During these Open Houses, both facilities will still be available for those looking to check their children into care. You can check the Personal Navigator newsletter or Disney Cruise Line Navigator app while onboard the ship for specific dates and times. Then check out the Kids’ Clubs for yourself. It’s a great time to see what your kids have been raving about!
Are you ready to experience the magic of Disney Cruise Line with your family? Contact me via email or submit the form below for your free quote! As a College of Disney Knowledge graduate and Senior Travel Planner with Key to the World Travel, the official travel partner of Disney Addicts and Chip & Co., I am your best resource for a stress free, magical trip! I am here to help you with all Disney destinations worldwide, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line as well as all theme park vacations, all cruise lines, and more! Best of all, my concierge planning services are FREE to those who book their vacations through me! Contact me today and follow me on Facebook and Instagram for travel related news–Disney and beyond!
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