By Jenny Ziglin, April 26, 2019

As a child, I grew up loving all things Disney. From Snow White to The Lion King, I could repeat every line of every movie. In fact, I believed I was Cinderella (until I was 6)! Now that I am all grown and a parent, I get to share my favorite childhood Disney memories with my children.

My heart burst with joy when I heard that Disney Cruise Line would be bringing the Disney Wonder to New Orleans in February 2020. What a wonderful way to experience the magic while sailing along with Mickey, Minnie, and all of their friends! A huge bonus would be not having to share the magic with tens of thousands of other people while standing in line after line in the hot Florida (or California) sunshine.

Our little family was able to get a sneak peak of the magic on the Disney Wonder while on it's current course (five-night Baja cruise from San Diego) over spring break. Here are five fun facts that I learned while Cruising with Mickey.

1. Get ready to have the most fun — ever!

Seriously, there is not a moment to sit back and say "Man, I'm bored.” We visited all of the character meet-and-greets that were scattered throughout the ship, watched classic Disney movies on the Funnel Vision while soaking in the hot tub, and enjoyed the award-winning shows.

Speaking of, I highly recommend “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.” You will walk out singing "Let It Go," I promise.

We also enjoyed catching some of Disney's more recently released movies at the Buena Vista Theater. Our son even saw his first movie in a theater while onboard. Kids of all ages will find something to do no matter the taste.

Pro tip: Pack warm clothes. I was expecting the weather to be nice and warm during the day with a slight chill at night. I was wrong. The winds were so cold during the day that we stayed wrapped up in towels. And if you are brave enough to venture out at night, ask one of the deck attendants for a blanket.

 

2. Pack an extra bag.

Not only will you enjoy shopping at the ports of call, but the Disney merchandise on the ship is amazing. Many of the items are exclusive to the Disney Cruise Line and can only be found onboard.

Pro tip: Become a member of a Fish Extender group. This allows you to meet new friends on the ship and your cabin will receive fun surprises. You can do as little as a gift per cabin or as much as a gift per person. Just remember, you have to bring all the fun home. An extra bag will make sure your suitcases are not overweight at the airport.

 

3. Sign up for the Oceaneer Club or Oceaneer Lab if you have kids aged 3-12.

The two rooms are connected via a secret passage that allows the children to go back and forth and explore different areas such as Andy's Room, Marvel Universe, and Wandering Oaken village. My husband and I even wanted to stay and play. Note, children have to be potty trained to attend.

They will also enjoy making arts and crafts and science experiments while meeting many of the Disney characters. Each child receives an Oceaneer wristband, which is linked to the wearer and trackable while in the Club or Lab — meaning parents know exactly where their child is instead of having to hunt for them. Believe me, you would be searching for a while without this feature!

The Club and Lab allows your child to make new friends and gives parents a much deserved break. (Parents, head to The Cove, the adults only area on the ship.)

Pro tip: Parents with children ages 6 months-3 years can sign up for It's A Small World Nursery at an additional fee. The Nursery fills up quickly so make sure to sign up when registration opens. Another tip, download the My Disney Cruise Adventure Booklet, a printable book filled with helpful information about what kids can expect while cruising.

 

4. Get ready to eat!

As expected of any cruise, there are so many areas to eat while on board. From Daisy's Delights to Pinocchio’s Pizza, we never found ourselves hungry. We enjoyed the rotational dining concept, which allowed us to eat in the three main dining areas — Triton's, Tiana's Place, and Animators Palate — with the perk of having the same dining staff each night.

They really came to know us and our children. (No one can get my son to eat his dinner like Mr. Sutas and Mr. Patrick can!) The servers even cut our children's food for us! Animator's Palate was a wonderful tribute to the classic Disney concept, and we enjoyed watching the animations come to life during our meal.

A fun treat for New Orleans — Tiana's Place has a wonderful Mardi Gras celebration, complete with Louis the Alligator leading a second line around the restaurant while playing his trumpet.

Pro tip: Make sure you reserve one night at Palo's, which is the adult-exclusive speciality dining restaurant on board. Not only will the service amaze you, but the food is exceptional. Book your reservation during sunset for an incredible view.

5. The Deck Parties are a blast!

From the Sail-A-Wave Party to Pirate Night, each themed experience will get your kids moving and shaking. Mickey and the gang will keep you entertained while the cast hypes up the crowd and ensures everyone is on their feet and singing along.

Pro tip: Be prepared for Pirate Night! This is one themed night that screams "Go big or go home.” Not only do the kids have a blast, but the parents can join in the fun with Captain Hook and his pal, Mr. Smee.

There is so much more I could discuss - from the Spa and Salon, the sports deck, the pools, tons of amenities, and genuinely the nicest people all there to ensure you and your family are having an excellent time. Book your cruise today and enjoy all the magic the Disney Wonder will bring to New Orleans!

 

Disney Wonder Fun Facts:

  • There are over 2,400 signs around the ship pointing you in the right direction. Could you try and count them all?
  • The ship has over 100 different carpet patterns meant to help familiarize you with where you are on the ship.
  • After 9 pm, Deck 3 becomes an adult-only area. You can enjoy drinks at the proper English pub, Crown and Fin, or dance the night away at Azure.
  • Older kids (ages 14-17) can enjoy Vibe, an area exclusively for them. They can come and go as they please. Vibe is also the only area on the ship where you can get free fruit smoothies (they are for purchase in the dining areas).
  • Your dining time will always be opposite of the nightly showtime. Meaning, if you dine at an earlier time, you can enjoy the show after dinner. Later diners will enjoy the nightly speciality shows before dinner.
  • It's not on the menu, but room service will bring you warm milk and cookies each night if you ask.

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