Here are some great travel tips I wanted to share, if you are considering booking a cruise on the Disney Wonder this year! I keep mentioning them to friends and to readers that have emailed me to ask questions, so here they are for you all!
1. Don’t over-pack!
There’s simply no need to overpack, with laundry facilities on 3 levels of the Disney Wonder. I only used the one on the 7th floor but there were 8 or 9 washing machines and 8 or 9 dryers in that area alone. Why pack 7 days worth of clothing when you can simply pack 3 and do one load of laundry instead? It’s cheap to do on the Disney Wonder: $1 to wash and $1 to dry. Detergent (Cheer in my case) is $1 and Fleecy dryer sheets come in a 2-pack as well for $1 – all available with a swipe of your “Key to the World Card”. If you want to save money, bring your own detergent and dryer sheets in zip loc baggies (though I’d caution you on bringing a white powder in a zip loc bag through airport scanners if flying to your port, I just purchased my detergent instead!)
2. Do attend the live theater shows!
The live theater shows are spectacular, heartwarming and fun! They also happen to run at sometimes-conflicting times. Many times the evening show is at 8:30 to give everyone enough time to have dinner first. If you see a day when there’s an afternoon performance added in – jump at that one! The theater doesn’t fill up as fast as many families are busy at the pool, or on port days – on shore, and the kids are not overtired.
3. There’s no need to pack mini-DVD players for the kids to watch movies in the room.
With tons of channels to choose from full of Disney movies and tv shows, along with interesting documentaries about all things Disney, your kids will have plenty to watch! I did see some parents with the portable DVD players at dinner but there’s so much to look at and do (and the staff is pretty entertaining and friendly themselves!) that I don’t think it’s necessary. You can also get your movie fix every day at Goofy’s Pool or in one of the theaters!
4. Take a highlighter in your purse!
The Navigator, sharing all the activities and events the following day, is delivered to your stateroom each evening. This details character appearances (who, where and when) as well as activities and stage shows among other things. I used a pen to circle what I was interested in, but I saw a mom with a highlighter and thought it was brilliant! If you don’t think you’ll need it, take it and thank me later when you are a super-organized mama with a beautifully highlighted navigator.
5. Try the cajun chicken burger at Pluto’s Doghouse!
Yes, the kids will likely get a hot-dog and french fries every day, but this burger is delicious for the grown ups.
6. OK fine, eat healthy while on vacation too.
If you can’t bear to have another plate of fries while sitting by the pool, check out the great selection of healthy, fresh, snacks at Goofy’s Galley. I was thrilled to find paninis, fresh fruit and wraps there.
7. Rum Cake. The End.
Still on the topic of food, a must-have dessert is the Rum infused chocolate cake on Pirate Night. You can thank me later.
8. Argh! Pirate Night!
This is an event not to be missed but plan accordingly! The Pirate Party kicked off at 9:45 pm on deck, well past my kid’s bedtime (plus we were 1 hour ahead in our time zone at home). We were busy on a port adventure that afternoon and couldn’t get naps in. So – my advice is to not book any port activities that afternoon (Thursday) so you can rest up for the Pirate Party, if you have little ones.
9. Check out the port excursions!
Dolphin Experience/Adventures are available at both the Puerto Vallarta and Cabo ports. Having been to both over the years, my favorite is Cabo. It’s right at the marina where the ship is anchored so no need to board a bus to get there. We walked with the stroller to the entrance, which was great as it gave us time to explore the shops and locals on our way!
10. Take advantage of the childcare!
Don’t be afraid to leave the kids at one of the “kid’s clubs”, as my son called them, on the ship. My oldest 2 went daily, and sometimes several times a day. They get to make new friends, try different things (lava explosion, anyone?) and get a break from boring mom and dad. You get some adult time at one of the adult’s only areas of the ship, or just a chance to snooze back in your room without interruption. Or…whatever else strikes your fancy at the time. 😉