Part 1--Getting There
Part 2--Embarking the Disney Fantasy
Part 3--First Sea Day
Part 4--Second Sea Day
Part 5--St. Maarten
Part 6--St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Part 7--Royal Court Royal Tea
Part 8--Day at Sea
Part 9--Castaway Cay
Part 10--Bloopers, Tips and Favorites
Bloopers:Let me assure you that we were not always as happy as we appear in the video or in the photos. Most of the time, yes. But with 3 kids, there is sure to be some arguing multiple times a day.
Brian thinks I should make a vacation video someday of the tantrums, meltdowns and arguments. But that's not how I want to remember our vacations. Over time, we forget about that stuff and remember the good times.
When I'm on vacation, I delete photos as I go to ensure I have enough room on the camera's memory card, so I don't have too many "bloopers" to share. Here are a few:
|"Get your hand OFF my shoulder!"|
|"Check out my new glasses!"|
|"Is it time for dinner yet?"|
|"Dinner has lasted way too long--we are gonna stir up some trouble!"|
|"I will not look you in the eye, Captain Jack Sparrow."|
Tips:* Talk about what you want out of your vacation before your trip, and work to make it happen. Do you want to see all the characters and shows? That could keep you busy every day with not much time to relax, but that might be fine for some people. Do you want to relax and reconnect with your spouse? Then skip some things and make it happen.
* Read the daily Personal Navigator (especially the one on embarkation day), and pay attention to events that require a ticket or signing up in advance.
* Don't show up to dinner early; you will just be waiting in a big crowd until the doors open. Arrive a minute or two later, and you can just walk right in to your table.
* Skip an evening show and go to the pools and Aqua Duck at night! Or go on a port day. Avoid the pools on sea days in the afternoon.
* Ask DCL crew members to take a family photo with your camera in addition to the professional camera at character greetings. It's much cheaper than buying a ton of professional photos. (This service is not available at the professional photo backdrops).
To get more tips, visit www.disboards.com or a Disney Cruising Facebook group.
Favorites:I asked each member of my family what their favorite thing was about our vacation on the Disney Fantasy.
Nathan (age 10): The pools and the Aqua Duck.
Joshua (age 6): The pools and the Aqua Duck. (Both boys were also very fond of the hot tubs near the family pools that had a view over the ocean).
Alyssa (age 4): Meeting the characters.
Brian: Disconnecting from technology (phone, email, etc.).
Nancy (me): The moments of tranquility (eating at Palo, casual drinks at the Vista Cafe, reading on deck, the Rainforest Room, our entire day at St. Thomas)
Least favorite thing about our vacation:
Nathan: Alyssa's tantrums, waking up early in the morning because of his siblings.
Joshua: The long dinners.
Alyssa: Arriving very late the night before our cruise (she didn't say that specifically, but I am saying it on her behalf).
Brian: The sleeping arrangements (kids woke everyone up early).
Nancy: Getting sick!
We have sailed on the Disney Dream, the original Disney Magic, the re-imagined Disney Magic and the Disney Fantasy. The only one we haven't sailed on is the Disney Wonder (which is very similar to the original Disney Magic). It's really impossible to pick one favorite Disney Cruise Line ship. They all have great things to offer. So my family talked about which ships were better in some areas. This is totally subjective and based solely on our experience.
Best Kids' Club:
The re-imagined Disney Magic. Everyone in the house agreed on that. The Avengers' Academy is spectacular, and the new Andy's room with the slinky slide is a lot of fun. Since the ship is smaller than the Dream and Fantasy, our kids seemed to participate in more of the programs in the kids' club on the Magic.
|Andy's Room on the Disney Magic|
|The Avengers' Academy on the Disney Magic|
Best Pools and Water Features:
The Disney Fantasy. It has 3 additional pools/water features that the Dream does not have--the funnel puddle pool, Satellite Falls (for adults only) and the AquaLab splash area. My 10-year-old said he prefers the Aqua Dunk (on the re-imagined Magic) over the Aqua Duck (Dream/Fantasy) because it is more of a thrill slide.
|Satellite Falls on the Disney Fantasy|
The Disney Dream. Totally subjective, but I liked the red and blue nautical colors in the atrium. On the Fantasy, the carpet and chandelier are decorated to look like a peacock. Just not my taste.
|Disney Dream Atrium|
|Disney Fantasy Atrium|
The re-imagined Disney Magic and the Disney Fantasy, only because these ships have the Animation Magic show at Animator's Palate restaurant. This is the show where all guests draw a character and then see it animated on the screens at the end of dinner (but it's only available on 7-night cruises).
Best Adult Nightclub Area:
The Disney Fantasy. Not that we've spent a lot of time in this area (maybe on a future cruise), but the Fantasy has a bar that looks like a carousel! And one that looks like you're on the London Tube. And bathrooms modeled after some caves in Spain.
|La Piazza on the Disney Fantasy|
|The Tube on the Disney Fantasy|
The Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, just from our perspective of a family of five. These newer ships have lower category cabins that fit 5, whereas the classic ships do not. Cruises are usually cheaper for us on the Dream and Fantasy because of this.
|Category 8 Stateroom on the Dream/Fantasy--room for 5|
Best Ship Size:
The Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. They are smaller and easier to navigate. However, it's a trade-off, because they don't have as many amenities as the larger ships.
The Disney Fantasy. Our recent cruise had the most number of characters on board. I compared the navigators from our cruise vs. the Magic (7-nights the same week), and the Fantasy had 31 characters vs. the Magic with 22 characters. (I didn't compare the Wonder and the Dream because right now they are sailing shorter cruises which would have fewer characters).
That is the conclusion of my Disney Fantasy trip report. Thanks for reading. We will not be going on a Disney Cruise next year (shocking, I know!). We hope to go again in 2016, because at this phase in our lives a Disney Cruise is a good fit for our family.
Please let me know if you have any questions.