Starting with Disney’s primary audience, here’s a sample of what’s onboard to thrill and surprise kids and teens. The three organized, chaperoned programs are highly rated and the new facilities will not disappoint. The Small World Nursery is for ages 3 months to 3 years and the facility is equipped with cribs, rocking chairs, toys, books, changing tables and all the necessary items. For teens, 14 – 17, a lounge called The Vibe offers an indoor and outdoor area to chill, filled with computers, long couches and pillows, big screens, video games, soda fountain and snacks. I tried out one of the personal pod lounges where you can curl up and watch your own personal video screen. The Edge is a lounge area just for tweens, age 11-13 which has its own lighted dance floor for games, computers and video games. There is also a separate area in the spa for teens and pre-teens.
A far cry from the old Mickey Mouse Club, but a certain highlight is the Oceaneer Club and Lab for ages 3-11. These kids will be happy playing in the bigger than life movieset-like atmosphere with a submarine, toy story props, games and toys and then they can be fed in their own eating area with kid-friendly food. In the lab they can work on science projects, art projects or theater or play group video games on the in-floor screen.
Outside of the kids-only areas, there are many other surprises in store for the young ones. Obviously, there is the Aquaduck which encircles the whole ship on the pool deck. This mostly enclosed clear plastic tubing is filled with shooting water where kids and adults can ride on a raft through the whole thing while onlookers wave at the passing revelers.
Other water fun includes Nemo’s Reef and smaller water slides near the family pool. There’s the usual basketball courts and mini-golf in Goofy’s sports zone and various stations around the ship that offer scavenger hunts, ship trivia and games to kids when they swipe their “key to the world”. My favorite is the one that brings up all of the ship photographs that include you and your family. In the evenings, the D Lounge offers family oriented dancing and music that everyone will love. I’ll save for later, the fun kid features in the dining rooms and staterooms.
The large production shows were in rehearsal on Monday, so we did not get to see them or the 1300 seat art deco Walt Disney theater this time, but there are several planned for each sailing including “Villian’s Delight” a musical comedy, “Disney’s Believe” which is an original production with Broadway director, the “Golden Mickeys” (a Disney favorite) and the “Buccaneer Blast” which includes pyrotechnics (Disney is the only cruiseline with fireworks at sea). There’s much more to this ship and I will be featuring the dining venues and staterooms in future posts.