5 Things My Family Learned on a Disney Cruise
By: Amy Baranek
April 5, 2018
We learned to make friends.
Yes, the heartwarming part of this goes to my boys who are normally more quiet and reserved. The first day they wanted to attend a meet and greet with our group from Facebook, within about 5 minutes they were running around and playing some game that had been crafted. We could not get them to leave. And we managed to meet some parents of the kids they were running around with. It was great to run into these people later in the cruise. I also found that on every excursion we went on, my boys were making friends. When I had to get them ready to leave on one excursion their new friends didn’t want them to leave as they were playing Star Wars in the pool. Then our next excursion they started making friends with another set of kids who they then played with the rest of the time. I watched this experience unfold, and they were initiating the interaction – it really was heartwarming to see. For the adults, the most fun interaction was the mixology class we took. We sat next to a great group of people with some amazing conversation and learned to make some great cocktails for back home!
We learned to be independent.
But wait, we’re supposed to be on a family cruise right? Yes, and trust me there is plenty of family time, however, it was great to see everyone taking time for themselves. One of my favorites was after dinner my husband and older son would go off on adventures exploring the boat. They would pop into a movie for a little while, get ice cream up on deck, and at one point stopped in a store to surprise me with a necklace that I received after the cruise. I know my son really appreciated this time as he kept recounting his adventures the next day. I loved when we would go to pick the kids up from kids club and they would sometimes want to stay longer, or that they would request to go there. As the boys became more comfortable on the boat, they would race the stairs to get back to the room, and half the time be back in our room before us slow adults could make it there! Independence went for the adults as well with adult brunch at Palo, a trip to Senses for a massage, or even a nap for grandma. I felt like everyone got to have a say in how they wanted to spend part of their vacation time and enjoy quality time with each other.
We learned about other cultures and countries.
This goes on multiple levels. At our ports of call we got to see what the islands looked like… some good and bad. It opened your eyes up a bit and got my boys talking. I think the best interaction for them was with our servers, who they loved. We would have conversations about what it was like where they live, about their families, and about working on the boat. My sons could not believe that they didn’t get to see their kids for 5 months as that is the length of time they work on the cruise before a break. It really opened their eyes to how lucky they are to have the opportunities they have living in the United States. It allowed us to have a great conversation with them and hopefully they gained a better global perspective on things.
We learned about compromise.
No matter how hard you try, there is just not enough time to do everything. As everyone started to understand the cruise concept, we’d start picking our must dos. Every night dinner and the show was a must. This left time during the day wide open. We’d look at the Navigator and see if there was a must do for anyone. For example, my son really wanted Stitch’s adventure in the Kids Club while the other wanted to play the Detective Agency. I think the boys really liked being involved in shaping their day. This also helped when my must do was to have pictures on formal night (much to my boys chagrin), when the boys wanted to complain about dressing up for pictures, a helpful reminder of their choices we accommodated earlier aided in squashing the complaints!
We learned about new career opportunities.
After the stingray experience, my son has decided his new calling in life is to work with stingrays. He thought they were so cool and gentle that when he grows up he would like to take care of them. Both my boys really enjoyed this experience, but here’s the comical part….they wouldn’t get into the water to feed them. Yes, both my boys were so excited to feed the stingrays, they listened to the entire discussion on how they have no stingers, shuffle your feet when you get in, how gentle the stingrays are, etc. My one son even had all snorkel gear on to check them out after. As we started entering the water to walk out to the feeding station and the curious stingrays started swimming around our feet, they both ran back to land and refused to come in the water. I was able to talk my one son in after the tears subsided, but my other son -the one who aspires to take care of stingrays when he grows up – never went in more than his ankles!
This was such a memorable family experience, it was my boys’ first cruise and they loved it. It is such a great change of pace. Sure some days were busy, but they didn’t have to be, there was no rush to see and do as much as possible. It was as much as we wanted to do, and we could take a time out for ice cream, pool, or a movie. If you are considering a Disney cruise, I’d love to answer your questions! Feel free to email me or visit my Facebook page for more pictures and a few videos! Know that you will make unforgettable family memories that will last a lifetime!