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7 Tips for Your Disney Fantasy Cruise

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Disney Fantasy cruises are packed with activities and adventures for every age group and interest. There’s so much for everyone to experience on these memorable sailings. If you’re planning a cruise on Disney Fantasy, here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your vacation on both land and sea.

Connecting with characters is a Disney Fantasy cruise highlight

1. Reserve popular events in advance.

Disney Fantasy cruises offer a wealth of unforgettable experiences. It’s important to get to know the “My Disney Cruise” area on the Disney Cruise Line website while planning your voyage. On this page, you can learn more about the many experiences, shore excursions, and activities available on your cruise and decide what you’d like to do. Make sure to check ‘My Cruise Activities’ to see what’s offered. Popular activities and excursions can sell out quickly, so it’s important to reserve them in advance. These include events such as the Princess Gatherings, Frozen Meet and Greets, Character Breakfasts, appointments at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, dining reservations at Palo and Remy, and It’s A Small World Nursery babysitting hours for little ones. If you haven’t had a chance to pre-book these activities before sailing, check as early as possible after boarding on embarkation day to see what might still be available.

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2. Connect with characters by phone.

Parents and others can arrange free character phone calls in advance for an even more enriching Disney cruise experience. These fun pre-recorded calls are a great way to get the whole family excited about their upcoming Disney Fantasy cruise before leaving home. There’s a limit of two calls per reservation and character phone calls are available only for guests in the United States, Canada, (excluding Quebec) and the United Kingdom. Simply review the “Free Character Call – Request Call” section of your cruise confirmation page on the Disney Cruise Line website for more information. From there, choose your desired character and follow the directions provided in order to schedule your call.

3. Enhance your memories with character autographs.

Character Meet and Greets are popular on Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy guests can create their own personalized souvenirs free of charge with character autographs. Autograph books are popular, of course, but guests can also get creative. Feel free to bring along your own t-shirts, pillowcases, and other items to be autographed and get personalized signatures during Character Meet and Greets. Some guests even come with their own picture frame mats for characters to sign, which can then be used to make their framed Disney Fantasy cruise pictures even more special.

4. Make friends with your Personal Navigator.

Disney Cruise Line’s daily Personal Navigator is an important key to getting the most out of your Disney Fantasy cruise experience. If you plan to use the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, download it on your smartphone before leaving home. In addition to providing detailed cruise information, the Navigator app will also allow you to send messages to family and friends sailing with you once you’re onboard the ship. Character Meet and Greets on Disney Fantasy take place both at set times in designated spaces, and spontaneously throughout the cruise. Check your Personal Navigator to find scheduled times and then arrive at the spot 10-15 minutes in advance to get the most out of your experience. Lines for character greetings are often quite short on port days, so consider spending some extra time on the ship on one or two days to maximize your character interaction opportunities. In addition, don’t miss the Open House events in the Oceaneer Club and the “See Ya Real Soon” character farewell show. They’re truly memorable.

5. Relax over dinner.

Relax over dinner at Animator’s Palate

Cruise ship dining should be leisurely, so take the time to enjoy your dinner. There are a number of evening dining options available on Disney Fantasy. For those seeking a casual meal, buffet dinners are available at Cabanas from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every night except the first and last night of a 7-night cruise. Dinners at Cabanas feature dishes from the main dining restaurants plus a number of exclusive options. Parents can enjoy relaxing dinners as well. Families confirmed for second seating dining can take advantage of the Dine and Play program, allowing parents to check their children into Disney Fantasy’s Youth Clubs without leaving the dining room. Once seated, parents can simply let their server know that their children will be participating in the Dine and Play program. Kids will receive their meals first while the adults enjoy the full dining experience. Counselors will arrive in the dining room about 45 minutes after the seating begins to sign the kids into their groups in Disney’s Oceaneer Club or Oceaneer Lab and will escort them to the areas, allowing parents to relax and enjoy their dinner. For the ultimate in dining enjoyment, book a meal at adults-only Palo and Remy. The experience is truly exceptional and well worth the additional cost.

6. Get a great spot for fireworks.

One of the coolest entertainment events on Disney Fantasy is Pirate Night, complete with fireworks and a huge “Pirates in the Caribbean” show. Disney Fantasy’s fireworks can be easily seen from Decks 11 and 12, but top viewing spots fill up early. Deck 12 starboard is the best and most popular place to see the fireworks. Arrive about 45 minutes in advance to claim a prime spot.

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7. Fully explore Castaway Cay.

Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

Popular Castaway Cay has been named the “Best Cruise Line Private Island” by multiple travel publications and it’s exclusively available to Disney Cruise Line guests. With its white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why Castaway Cay fits many vacationers’ images of an idyllic Bahamian island. There’s much more to Castaway Cay than just beaches, however. Check out all the great activities and shore excursions offered at this port of call. One of the best ways to explore Castaway Cay is by bike. The island features a network of paved bike paths allowing guests to easily reach remote beaches and lookout towers. There are also a wide variety of adventures available here including diving, fishing, snorkeling, and other exciting activities.

Nancy Schretter is Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.

Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter

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Is Disney Cruise Line Building A New Private Island?

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Since it was first introduced in July of 1998, Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay has proven incredibly popular with guests and has been named Best Cruise Line Private Island in numerous surveys. And for quite some time now, there have been rumblings that Disney might be looking to open a second private island, with the big question being where. This week, new evidence seemed to indicate (and not for the first time) that the company might be closing in on a location.

Where Disney’s New Island Might Be Located

According to a Bahamian outlet called The Tribune, Disney Cruise Line has confirmed that it is interested in creating a new destination in the Bahamas… although very little information was offered beyond that. Disney spokesperson Kimberly Prunty said, via statement to The Tribune, that the cruise line didn’t have “anything to share about a specific location” but offered assurances that any future project would involve “a partnership with the community” and build on its commitment “to sustainability, protecting the environment, creating jobs and economic opportunity, and celebrating the culture and stories of the area.”

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When it debuted, Castaway Cay was the first cruise line-owned private island at which ships could dock so passengers did not have to take tenders.

At least part of Prunty’s comments caught the attention of The Tribune staff, who noted that they seemed to almost directly reflect the recently and repeatedly expressed concerns of a group of residents from Eleuthera, who hope to prevent Disney (or any other cruise line) from developing the area.

The specific property referenced, Lighthouse Point, is a private property which is currently for sale. Despite it being privately owned, a petition has circulated on Change.org which states in part that “the biodiversity of the ecosystem and the hugely important cultural and historic resources are irreplaceable and should be preserved for the enjoyment and education of the entire community and not just for a select few.”

The Tribune also claimed that a local politico had, as the outlet wrote, “used at least one party-branded function to ‘extensively sell’ residents on the pros of a potential Disney-led Lighthouse Point development.”

The property in question, currently listed with Bahamas Realty, is described as “an ideal setting for a grand vision, with exceptional beachfront acerage, colorful coral reefs and a breathtaking landscape.”

Would you like to see Disney Cruise Line open a second private island? What features would you most want to see featured? 

 

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Booted Pregnant Cruiser Speaks Out

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The mom who was was told she couldn’t board a Disney Cruise Line ship because she was too far along in her pregnancy was surprised by just how much attention her story got… and now, she wants to set the record straight.

“I Didn’t Think There Was Any Concern”

Vlogger Emily Jackson garnered more attention than she anticipated after posting a video detailing the circumstances under which she says she was not only prevented from boarding the Disney Magic but that her entire family was treated badly by Disney cast members and members of the Port Miami security team. Now, she has posted another vlog in order to answer criticisms leveled against her. Not surprisingly, the question asked most often was how the mom-to-be didn’t know that Disney, like most major cruise lines, has a policy stating that women who have passed the 25-week mark in their pregnancy are not allowed on board.

“I first want to start off by saying I was not the one that booked the cruise,” she insists. “That’s all I’m going to say. I had no reason to be… concerned, just because I’ve never had any babies early or anything like that. I was just now 25 weeks. I didn’t think there was any concern. My doctor had told me two days before I was fine to travel.”

Although Jackson’s family could have gone on the trip without her, they made the decision that if she was not able to board the ship, they would all return home together.

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Clearly upset by some of the more negative feedback, Jackson says, “All these people are making it like I knew Disney had this policy and I was going on there thinking I was going to get on  anyways.” Insisting she wouldn’t have made the trip from St. Louis with her two small children if she’d thought there was even a chance of the family not getting on the ship. “I thought I was going on a vacation, so this was a huge surprise to me!”

Jackson’s real issue, however, had nothing to do with being unable to board. “Forget the policy,” she says. “That is not my issue.” Instead, she says their problem was “how they treated us after that point.”

Jackson’s original post claimed that she and her family were escorted out by security guards armed with AR-15s and forced to wait in the heat while their luggage was retrieved. “I’m mad because they made my two babies, under two [years old], wait outside with no water in the heat and get red-faced. I’m mad about all of those things. The fact that they felt they needed AR-15s to escort us out when they knew we had no weapons because we had been through security.”

Jackson claims she was not trying to get attention.

The vlogger goes on to say that she never wanted the kind of attention this incident has created, although it’s worth noting that her two cruise-related vlogs have garnered far more views than has anything previously posted on her YouTube channel. The family did receive a refund for their cruise fare, although they still had many additional expenses — including flights and rental vehicles — associated with the cancelled trip.

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Disney Magic Debuts Rapunzel-Themed Restaurant

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photo: Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic has emerged from dry dock, and is full of exciting renovations and new features.

Highlights include:

Rapunzel’s Royal Table

Here, families will enjoy an all-new dining experience inspired by the story of “Tangled.” The table service restaurant is part of the ship’s main dining rotation, where guests visit three restaurants – one each evening – on a rotational basis throughout the cruise.

Guests are invited on a delicious trip to the faraway kingdom of Corona, where King Frederic and Queen Arianna are celebrating Rapunzel’s birthday and the anniversary of her return home. Inside the royal ballroom, glowing lanterns illuminate your path and the walls are decorated with colorful drawings reflecting Rapunzel’s artistic endeavors.

Throughout dinner, patrons are treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d’, a merry band of musicians, the Snuggly Duckling Thugs, and Princess Rapunzel herself.

Photo: Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line

The fun is complete with special activities, a lively parade, and themed menus. The enchantment of “Tangled” in Rapunzel’s Royal Table is the perfect pairing to “Tangled: The Musical,” an original production that guests can enjoy on each Disney Magic sailing.

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Read More: You can view the whole menu here.

Teen Retreat

Vibe, the space for teens ages 14-17, has been transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. There, teens will enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and enjoy other activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making.

Adults-Only Cove Café

Adults can relax at ad adult-exclusive retreat that’s been redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style – Cove Café. It’s the perfect place to sip a specialty iced tea or coffee during the day, and enjoy cocktails and light bites in the evening hours.

In this peaceful setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, alcoholic beverage tastings are also available at select times for a fee. Nearby, the Signals Bar has been transformed with a similar look.

Other Enhancements

Club Disney Junior has been added to Disney’s Oceaneer Club for kids, and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy has been added in the Senses Spa for adults.

The renovations debuted on March 9, when the ship returned from dry dock to resume its schedule of sailings from Miami. The four and five-night voyages visit Key West, Nassau, and Disney’s private island Castaway Cay.

Beginning on May 14, 2018, Disney Magic will reposition to Europe for the summer season.

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