By Cruisin’ Diva
When people ask me what is a good age for their child to go to Walt Disney World or on a Disney Cruise, I always say “as soon as possible” and for some reason, I get the strangest looks. I am a Disney Fanatic who has been going to Walt Disney World since I was an infant. I, in turn, have been able to take my children since they were infants. My twins were 5 months old on their first cruise, and this was their first Disney vacation. My newborn will almost be 8 months on his first cruise/Disney vacation. I understand that not everyone can go as often as we do, but the experience itself with new babies are second to none. Here are some of my tips if you are planning a trip on the Disney Cruise Line with infants and toddlers.
1. Dinner Seating – When planning your cruise, make sure to schedule your dinner seating around your babies naps and feeding time. If your baby naps during the 5:00 to 7:00 pm first dinner seating, then I would choose the 2nd dinner seating. If they are not old enough to eat table food, make sure they are comfortable because during rotational dining, you will be in the restaurant for at least an hour and up to two hours, depending on the quickness of service. Now, having a baby at the dinner table will normally result in faster service, no matter which dinner seating you choose. Make sure you bring toys and other things to keep them occupied.
2. Take it slow – A cruise is very relaxing in itself and with the vast amount of activities they have on board, you feel like you want to do everything! Plan some activities ahead of time, but take a stroll at a port, go shopping or just stroll around the boat. Meet some characters and watch a movie. Take the babies swimming in the splash pad area (you get wet more than they do). You receive a Navigator each night that details the next days activities. This is the perfect opportunity to plan the day ahead, around your baby, and enjoy each day!! You don’t have to worry about when and where activities are taking place because they are all at your fingertips!!
3. Meet the characters! – This is where the cruise differs from Walt Disney World. The characters on board Disney Cruise Lines are much more interactive with kids of all ages. They even hold your babies!! They seem to love babies and love to hug and cuddle them. Goofy and Max on Castaway Cay tried to keep my babies!!! It was so much fun and we have great pictures and memories that last for a lifetime. Not every character can hold babies due to their costumes, such as Captain Hook and Donald & Daisy. Princesses sit on the floor to hold them, but this all depends on the Cast Member that is playing the character too. Most will hold, some will not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! Take as many photos as you can and use the professional photographers on board!!
4. Take Time for Yourself – Disney Cruise Line has a nursery for a reason, to give the adults some adult time! Whether it be on a date night to Palo, or to take a dip in Quiet Cove (the adult pool area), pay the extra $9 an hour to have some adult time at least one night of the cruise. They treat your babies like princes and princesses, do crafts for mommy and daddy and just have fun with them! They love on them and play with them just like they were their own kids.
5. Enjoy being on vacation with your baby – So this may sound like an oxymoron to you. You might think taking an infant on a cruise would be stressful and hard to enjoy. I am here to tell you that it is absolutely not at all. You can enjoy this cruise, with your baby, as long as you have the mindset that you don’t have to plan a gazillion things with your baby to enjoy the cruise. If you are traveling with family members, aka hubby or others, take turns with the infant. Have hubby babysit while you go to karaoke (I have done this on many occasions). Have Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw keep the baby while you explore a new port (Done this too! We like to travel with my parents!). Lastly, take that baby to the beach!! There are character meet and greets on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island). They can play in the sand, supervised of course, and you can take them swimming in the water (you’ll have to bring your own flotation devices for them). There is also a splash pad area on Castaway Cay!!
Traveling with babies can be stressful at times, but just enjoying yourself and your baby will make the vacation that more magical. Take it from me, it is possible to do the impossible with a little Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust!