Disney Wonder: A Family Cruise Review

Disney Wonder Review my Organized Chaos

When my family and I got the invitation to embark on a magical adventure aboard the
Disney Wonder, we shrieked with delight {as you can imagine}.

The itinerary for this repositioning cruise? Set sail out of Vancouver, with a port stop in San Francisco for two days, then onto LA where we’d spend a few days in Disneyland. *happy dance*

Pardon my manners, readers, have you met the incredible Disney Wonder?

Disney Cruise Line's Wonder

To take the lead in my series of posts on our family trip, I’ll start with a basic review of the marvelous Disney Wonder itself. An overview of what the ship offers to travelling families.

Family-Friendly Staterooms?

Accommodation is often the top concern/question when it comes to traveling families. I know the saying, ‘you don’t spend a lot of time in your room‘ all too well. While that is true, the little time spent there needs to be comfortable, welcoming and your home away from home {or in the middle of the ocean, in this case}.

-my-organized-chaos-family-of-5

For my family of 5, having a standard hotel room is a bit of a challenge, let alone a small stateroom aboard a ship. Yet, I have a ‘Disney does it right’ motto, and that doesn’t exclude the staterooms as they make use of every inch.

We had a dual bathroom, meaning that we had a toilet/sink area then a separate bath/sink area. Love this idea right off the bat because while one person showered, another could still get ready on the other bathroom. Many times each day I counted this design as a blessing, as I also did with our bathtub.

Many cruise lines don’t offer tubs in standard rooms, which is a pain when you are traveling with kids – we all know that. While I did bring a shoe organizer to hang onto the bathroom door to hold all our stuff, I hardly used it at all. In reality, there is plenty of counter and shelf space provided. There’s even shelves high up for those items you don’t want in your kids’ reach.

We had a full queen bed and the couch folded down into a single bed. Then, there was also a fold down bunk and another pull down bed next to it, close to the balcony doors. So, we had 4 beds for our family of 5 – wonderful!

Family of 5 Disney Wonder My Organized Chaos

There’s many cabinets and drawers, I easily put all of our clothes into them with tons of room to spare. I stacked our empty suitcases in the entry closet and out of the way.

A Disney crew member attends to each stateroom twice per day, full clean mid-morning and then an evening service {when you are away at dinner}. The evening service is turn-down style yet they also fold down the extra needed beds like the bunks {so they are out of the way most of the day}. It’s so nice to come back to chocolates on the bed, a towel-animal and a copy of the next days Navigator {what’s going on everywhere on the ship} on your bed .

Usually the kids are beat and it’s jammies, brushing and a bit of Disney-TV and they are out like a light. For privacy, there’s a curtain that can be pulled across the room to separate the queen-sized bed from the other sofas/bunks.

Security Measures?

Another concern for all traveling families is safety, for peace of mind. Let’s start with the balconies on exterior staterooms, since open ocean and climbing kids is enough to scare anyone. Let me ease some stress by telling you that there are 2 locks on the balcony doors, one usual and one very high latch.

I loved that the railing also had a glass wall, so that kids couldn’t climb. Phew! Each balcony does have a table and two chairs yet you can request to have them removed if you’d like to take that extra precaution. Yet, I just had a stern talk with my kids about the balcony and those doors were double locked at all times. No worries. When we did all go out to watch the sunset, sunrise or just to breathe in that fresh ocean air? Priceless!

For safety and security at the kids clubs, each child must wear a GPS wristband. They are brought into each room after scanning and no adults are allowed to enter the clubs, other than Disney Cast Members {unless getting your kids or during open house times}. I once spied my youngest daughter being taken to the bathroom one day, and noticed 2 cast members escorting just her alone. I cannot stress how completely safe I knew my kids were, right down to the secret codeword that my husband and I had to give the staff, before they’d release the kids to us.

disney wonder tiana

Communication is easy, by way of Wave Phones, there are two in each stateroom. Looking like cordless phones, they are actually old-style texters, and it’s your way to get info/updates from Kids Club Cast Members, friends or your spouse who’s by the pool while you take in the spa {heh!}. Take a wave phone wherever you go on the ship, these are so handy to use!

What’s this about Kids Clubs?

Ahh, got your attention, right? It’s a family trip, yet everyone needs some time apart {especially if the parents want to go to dinner alone}. There are options when it comes to the youth clubs:

  • The Oceaneer’s Lab {ages 3-12 yet geared more toward the older age group}: hands-on crafts and interactive activities like science experiments, cooking classes and computers
  • The Oceaneer’s Club {ages 3-12}: open play with dress-up, crafts, music, computer games, coloring and a huge fort!
  • Edge {ages 11-14}: Computer stations, Karaoke machines etc
  • Vibe {ages 14-17}: Video and board games, TVs and dance parties
  • *Flounders Nursery {parents have to stay or  is available at an additional hourly fee; ages 3 months to 3 years}: books, toys, games, and cribs for nap-time

disney wonder kids club

Open first thing in the morning until after midnight, you can utilize the kids clubs as little or as much as you want. If the kids are there during meal times, they of course will feed them. The daily Navigator lists what is going on in each club all day long {as it does with all on-board events}.

kids club disney wonder cruise

So, if there’s a certain dance party going on that your kids want to check out the next day, you know what time to book your massage! You could be a plan-the-day-before kind of person or just deciding as you go, either way the days are yours and can spend them how you want.

Dining Options?

Your choice of dinner service for the entire trip: 5:45 or 8:15 {I recommend earlier if you have younger kids}. Disney has an innovative “rotational dining” concept which allows you to experience all of the full-service restaurants aboard the ship.

Disney Wonder Review My Organized Chaos

During these meals, you get the same servers every time, so they learn your preferences and really connect with you. We ADORED our Claudius and Cindy {miss you both!}, they were like family right from the first day.

disney wonder cast members

They knew things like which child needs ‘eat your veggies’ reminders and which one liked two straws in her drink. Oh, and don’t even think about cutting up your kids’ meat or pouring the ketchup yourself, they do that. Ketchup complete in a Mickey Mouse shape on the plate, might I add. Awe! Again, Disney at its best with little touches of magic that really make a vacation, very personalized and specific attention to all details.

character breakfast disney wonder cruise

Keep in mind, thee’s also 24hr room service and many shack shops too. Yet, many readers have been asking about specifics on the restaurants and meals, so I’ll save ‘Disney Wonder Dining‘ for a separate post.

Ok, the Kids are Covered. What about Fun for the Adults?

Like I already said, it’s a family vacation yet we all need our space and time alone. A Spa? Yes! A modern and full-stocked gym? Yes! An outdoor track to run or walk? Yes!

What about adult entertainment? Well, there’s plenty all day long from comedy shows, bingo, scrapbooking, a full-sized theatre to watch movies… the list goes on and on. All listed in your daily Navigator!

Disney Wonder Walt Disney Theatre

The Disney Wonder even has an entire section {Route 66} devoted to the adult-crowd with three different pubs {a relaxing piano bar, an Irish pub popular for watching sports on TV, and a dance club}. Yet there’s no gambling/casino aboard the ship.

Disney Wonder Wavebands

Other things to do in your adult time include just exploring or sitting by one of the pools. I know the Disney Wonder makes you think of kids, kids, kids – yet they really have something for everyone, whether you are making memories together or memorizing the bliss of alone time.

Let’s Talk Pools!

Mickey’s Pool is the most popular and the busiest pool on the Wonder, as it’s for the kids. It has a small water fountain “splash area” for those wee ones still in diapers, and a fun Mickey Mouse shaped main pool. It has ‘hot tubs’ ears and a supervised Mickey’s Slide.

Close to snack shops, this mid-ship pool is also the windiest place on-board it seems. On a chilly day out on the Pacific, it’s a ‘wonder’ how kids can play as long as they do in that water {pun intended, bring your coat. no really}.

disney wonder waterslide

Not too far away is Goofy’s Pool, which is for everyone in the family. It has two hot tubs, and a massive aerial television above the pool area that shows movies all day and night. They also cover this pool and it’s the spot for parties like the embarkment party and the famous {and insanely fun} Pirate Party, complete with fireworks {Disney Cruise Lines offer the only fireworks display at sea}!

Further down is the Quiet Cove Pool area with two hot tubs, a large pool, cozy loungers and shaded tables. This is where adults go when their kids are at kids club!  It’s very quiet and relaxing, the perfect spot to nap or sunbathe.

disney wonder adult pool spa

PHEW!!

You still with me? Unless you are packing your sunhat and autograph book right now, I know you are!

It may seem like a ton of information yet for you to understand just how remarkable a Disney Cruise is, I must give you a glimpse of all it’s features and offerings, complete with many photos of happy faces.

belle disney wonder

I guess I should have started my post with the following Disclaimer:

C’mon it’s Disney. Right off the bat you should know one very important thing: Disney does it right. Whether you are in your room, at the pool, checking out a kids club or having dinner, one thing is true – no detail is overlooked.

When we returned home many asked if hubby and I were completely and utterly exhausted from cruising with 3 kids … not at all!! I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again … and again. It really was a very memorable, magical and unforgettable trip.

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Comments

  1. trina n. says:

    That is incredible, I’m stunned by the service! Sending your review to my Mom, she wants us all to take a family cruise in 2013 and I know this would suit my boys. Did you see many large parties or family reunions there?

    • I seen a ton of large groups, even a wedding! Actually, they all ate at Tritons one night when we were there as well. So, technically, we were at the reception! lol
      The wave phones is a perfect thing to remember if you are traveling with such a large group, they make communicating so much easier. You could all go to a show together, tour at ports … cruising for a reunion would be so much fun, I love the idea more and more as I think of it!

  2. Rachel Knutson says:

    you take such stunning photos Tammi! Did you get sea-sick? Thats what Im afraid of!

    • Thanks so much Rachel! No, I was afraid of that as well, but we were all just fine. I’ll touch on it in another post. If you have any other questions, please send them over – I have a bunch that I’m using from others for another post.

  3. A Disney cruise is definitely on my family bucket list.

  4. lmc1971 says:

    Sounds lovely! Now for the magical questions, how much would this type of package cost? Are all those extras, turn down service, 2 bathrooms, kid’s club etc. available to a “Standard” Stateroom booking or only for the Family Staterooms?

    Thanks, Lisa

    • Tammi says:

      Hello!

      Well, the turn-down service and kids clubs are free for all guests, regardless of room booked. Great, right? On the Wonder, most most outside staterooms have the split bath, yet some of the suites have 2 full baths {even 2.5!}. Yet, the Standard Inside Stateroom, which has no verandah, has one larger bath with tub and shower. I talked to a couple that was traveling with just 3 people and they said the space in their room of this type was fine. They didn’t want a verandah, so it worked for them. Everyone has different needs, right?

      Anyway, we had the Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah, which is like the ‘standard’ oceanview stateroom, yet it has that second pull-down bed between the couch and verandah. {so, it sleeps 5 and not 3-4}

      All the staterooms , descriptions, floorplan and photos are found here: http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ships-activities/ships/wonder/staterooms/

      And, of course pricing depends on ship/destination/stateroom. You can go to the website and search for a vacation package, it’ll display the price!

      And, let me know if you have any more questions!

  5. When we went on the Magic boat, parents were allowed into the clubs. They barely checked to make sure you were a parent, they just opened the little gate up, and let us in to find our kids.

    We also had a very bad incident with safety on our boat with the wristbands.
    They put two children at risk with what they did at the Oceaneer’s Club on the Magic boat out of New York in July of 2012.

    And when giving them the password, anyone could have seen what it was on the screen on the computer. We were standing behind the desk with the computer screens out, so I could have read our password right off of the screen, with no problem at all.

    My advice is to stay on top of EVERYTHING if you put your little ones in those clubs. Not everything is as safe as they have you believing.

    • Tammi says:

      Oh yes Staci, you always have to stay on top of safety wherever you are with your kids. I guess I compare it to other kids clubs, kid drop offs – where they don’t have the bracelets or the code. They do have extra steps in place for safety. How long ago was this? Maybe they changed things around? I recall the computer screen facing the kids club {and details are on it, yes, they’d have to be for them to verify}…

      • The screens were in full of ME. So anyone could have seen my password to take my kids out of there. But that’s nothing compared to what happened there.
        The full story is on my blog, which has all the details of them cutting off her wristband and replacing it with a completely different child’s bracelet.
        The bracelets are useless if they are on the wrong child, which is a huge security issue as far as I’m concerned. All the info for your kid is attached to that bracelet.

        It was on the JULY 2012 sailing out of New York. It was the Magic Boat. And it was anything but Magic. What we went through, and are still going through, is very difficult, because Disney Cruise Line believes they are so big, no one will care if a couple of kids were put in harm’s way. I also believe they think I’ll just fade away, and all will be forgotten.

        However, my voice will be heard, for however long, until they change how they deal with the situation we were involved in.

        • I really believe this is an unfortunate isolated incident. We were on magic and they were fabulous. People make mistakes and it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure your child’s safety! !!

  6. I can’t decide which part of this sounds the best! The security features, the service or the fact that the kids actually get their own bed. Knowing that each child would have their own space could really make all the difference in your vacation! Amazing!

    • Tammi says:

      Yes, and that’s why this first post is so lengthy! They offer so much, I had to touch on it all!

  7. Your photos really give a great glimpse of what the cruise was like. It looks dreamy.

    What was your must-pack item for the trip for you and/or the kids?

  8. Carole M says:

    Tammi – thanks for your post! We’re going on the Disney Dream next year (not until October 2013) and to Disney World – so your Disney posts have been so well timed for us! I was just showing my husband some of the stuff you were sharing here. I might pick your brain about Disney World closer to our trip. Thanks!

  9. lmr78 says:

    great post, we’re debating between disney and another line for a family trip for 2013. I just sent you an email with dining questions, can you touch on them in your next post?

  10. Dreena says:

    Glad you had a great repositioning cruise on Disney. I love cruising, though I have never sailed with the Mouse!
    Cheers.

  11. Sounds amazing.

  12. Cathy C says:

    I have so many friends that rave about Disney cruises. (One who’s going again and her son was 16 on the first cruise and will be 18 on the next one. Clearly her 10 yr old and her 18 year old both love it too, so lots to do for everyone. Everyone I know who has gone goes back. I have never seen the pictures like this and now I know why they go back. Rooms look fantastic as does everything else. Great review and great set up Disney. I have been to and stayed at Disney World many times but maybe I am due for an off shore Disney vacation.

    • Tammi says:

      Thanks Cathy!
      Happiest place on water! lol
      I understand why they go back so many times, I met people that went year after year, even a couple times a year. Indeed something for everyone with such wonderful service.
      Do they have a favorite Disney Cruise Line?

  13. Sara F says:

    This entire post made me smile, thank you. I can only imagine what it feels like to go. I wanna go now!!!!

  14. Holy cruise ship, Batman! I am so glad I read this because I had always envisioned small rooms but the stateroom looks incredible! I would totally feel at ease sleeping in a room that size with enough beds for the kids to have their own place to sleep. The size of the room would definitely be a deciding factor if I ever choose to take the family on a Disney Cruise. I can’t even show the picture of the pool to my kids or they will flip out over that water slide.

    My friend at work has a son who used to work as a techie on board a similar Disney cruise ship. She went on it a couple of times and commented on how much stuff there is for the kids to do and how well-trained the staff are. She gives it two Mickey thumbs up!

    • Tammi says:

      Great feedback from your friend, it’s true!
      From what I hear, most other cruise lines have super-small rooms, so this is one huge factor to consider. And I mean small, I can’t imagine how frustrating that would be!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] hadn’t cruised before sailing on the Disney Wonder, yet remarks from others centered hugely around ‘the food’. I knew my family and I were [...]

  2. [...] going to Disneyland. But, why fly when you have the fortunate opportunity to sail and dine on the Disney Wonder {first timers!}. So sailed we did, right down the West coast from Vancouver to California, in [...]

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