Setting Sail on the Disney Wonder: Our First Cruise as a Family
Setting sail on the Disney Wonder was an unforgettable experience for our family. Embarking from San Diego, we had the pleasure of staying in a two bedroom suite aboard the ship and experiencing all of the amazing activities the Disney Cruise Line had to offer. From spending time at the pool to watching shows at the theater, our family had an incredible time on our first cruise together!
Check out a recap of our sailing HERE
Why We Chose the Disney Wonder
While hubby and I are avid cruisers, when it came to planning our family's first cruise together, there was only one option for us – the Disney Wonder. We wanted to ensure that our kid's first cruise experience was a magical one, and the Disney Wonder seemed like the perfect choice for creating lifelong memories.
The Disney Wonder is a beautiful, mid-sized cruise ship with all the amenities of a luxury liner. It offers world-class entertainment, dining experiences, and activities designed to appeal to both adults and children. We knew our kid's would have plenty of fun on this floating resort!
Beyond just being great for kids, the Disney Wonder also offered plenty of features that appealed to us as adults. This included comfortable staterooms with plenty of space to relax, five amazing pools, a variety of bars and lounges, and an incredible spa. With so many options to choose from, we felt like we were getting the best of both worlds with the Disney Wonder.
We chose the Disney Wonder for its unbeatable combination of luxurious amenities and kid-friendly entertainment. We knew that no matter what age our kids were, they'd be having a great time on board this magnificent ship. And after our first cruise together, we can definitely say that we made the right choice!
What to Expect When You're Embarking From San Diego
Embarking from San Diego on a Disney Cruise is quite different from the ports in Long Beach, CA. While there is no ample parking available at the San Diego port, you will need to reserve parking for your vehicle ahead of time and arrange for an Uber or taxi to drive you to the dock. It can be a little hectic, so it's important to plan ahead and stay organized. Be sure to check-in online in advance of your Disney Cruise and have all the necessary documentation ready in order to board quickly. Once you have arrived and checked-in, you'll have time to explore the port before boarding your Disney Cruise.
What Our Two Bedroom Suite Was Like
Our two bedroom suite aboard the Disney Wonder was the perfect luxury accommodation for our family travel adventure. The spacious suite had a queen bed in the master bedroom, with an on-suite bathroom, walk-in closet, and large window and door onto the balcony. The second bedroom had two twin beds and two twin beds that could come down from the ceiling, as well as its own bathroom and walk-in closet.
The living room was also comfortable and spacious, complete with a sofa and armchair, a large dining table, and a guest bathroom. All three rooms had TVs, so everyone in the family could enjoy their own entertainment.
The second bedroom was on the interior of the suite, without windows, but the living room and master bedroom both had balcony access for stunning views. With ample room for a large family, or even taller family members, the Disney Cruise two bedroom suite provided the perfect combination of luxury travel and comfort.
Check out the room tour HERE
Concierge Level Perks
When you book a two bedroom suite with a Disney Cruise, you get special Concierge Level perks to make your luxury travel experience even more magical. With Concierge Level, you get anytime ship boarding rather than the long lines and hassle of assigned time boarding. So no more waiting in line for hours to board the ship! In addition, the Concierge Lounge is available at all hours of the day and comes with wifi, special treats and complimentary adult beverages. It's a lovely place to enjoy a different sort of sailing, and get a little work done. To top it off, a 5pm beverage/dessert card stops by the suite every evening to serve your party treats before you head out for the evening. The kids especially loved this cart because of all of the fun juice drinks the staff made for them.
Concierge Level provides priority access to all of the broadway style Disney shows, so you can enjoy front row seating without waiting in line. And the most important perk of all, while everyone lines up with luggage and kids in tow and waits in hour long lines to exit the ship at the end of the sailing, your Concierge Level Gold Card will allow you to exit the ship without any lines. With these amazing Concierge Level perks, your Disney Cruise experience will be truly unforgettable!
What We Did on Our First Day at Sea
We started our first day on the Disney Wonder with a bang! After snacking in the Concierge Lounge while our room was being prepared, we were ready to explore the ship. We settled into our room, which was spruced up with specialty bedding for our kids - a great way to add a special touch to their first cruise experience.
Pro Tip: You can order specialty bedding on the Disney Cruise app and it runs around $100 per set. The sets come with extra soft and warm throw blankets, pillows and welcome banners. (You can see the bedding we chose HERE).
We then met up with our friends, took pictures with Mickey and Minnie and headed to the Welcome Party at the main pool. The party was just the perfect way to get our kids excited about the rest of the trip. They danced and sang, enjoyed some snacks and really got into the magic of what was to come.
Dining and The Disney Shows
We chose the later time for dinner because we wanted to begin each evening with a new Disney Show, which is perfect for family travel and traveling with kids. Two things to keep in mind, there are plenty of places to stop to eat if your kids simply can't wait until dinner. This helped a lot with our kids who are constantly snacking. The second, it's easier to watch an early show with kids who are not tired or whining after a nice dinner, than it is to watch a late show after dinner. However the option is yours.
The shows are simply magical. So well produced. It's like being on Broadway. Definitely not your ordinary cruise show. So we highly recommend.
What we loved about the dining experience is that you are simply assigned a table number, but the restaurant you visit is different every night of the cruise. So you walk in and go to your table without hassle. The same wait-staff join you every evening at every restaurant, so by the end of your Disney Cruise, they know your likes and dislikes, they know what your children like and can even get them to eat their vegetables.
Our kids are literally asking to go back on the same ship, just so they could "hang out" with the same waiters because they did fun magic shows for them if they ate their veggies.
Not to mention, of course, all of the Disney style dining. Every restaurant had its own kind of magic. One of the restaurants had a black and white sketch art theme. The walls were adorned with sketches of all of the wonderful Disney characters. Scenes from various movies. At one point, the walls came alive and all of the scenes played out and sang.
At Tianna's it was a New Orleans style party, with live music and even Louis the gater came out to dance with the patrons. It was truly fun for the whole family. So when people ask us what is so special about a Disney Cruise, we tell them it is the fact that they know how to do family travel right.
For us parents who travel with kids, the secret is happy kids. Happy kids mean happy and easy travel for the entire family. So for this, we are grateful.
If you are looking for a full-on kid experience, the Disney Wonder is the place to go. From toddler playgroups to tween dances, there is something for every age group and interest. The club staff are incredibly friendly, caring and organized. With an entire team of "mousekeepers" to help keep your kids safe, entertained and having fun all day long.
Each night they offer a variety of activities, like movies under the stars, dance parties, game shows and more. During the day, the club is broken into separate age groups, giving each kid the opportunity to interact with their peers. There are tons of activities for all ages – from arts & crafts, to virtual reality games and interactive shows – the list goes on and on! Plus, there are special events happening all throughout the cruise, like character meet & greets, cooking classes and interactive scavenger hunts.
The thing we liked best about Disney Wonder's Kids Club was that our children felt truly at home there. They ran around and had fun with their new friends as if it were their own backyard playground. It was amazing to see our boys take part in activities they wouldn’t normally do while at home. Our family had a blast exploring all that the Disney Wonder had to offer. We loved the sense of community the staff created in the kids club, but I do have to say we kept our kids by our side most of the trip. After all, the entire point of family travel is to be together.
We did enjoy a nice grown-ups only lunch with out friends while all four of of kids were at kids club and that was a lovely option to have.
Disney Groups on Facebook, Fish Extenders, Pinning and More...
A very important tip we received from our friends over at monicaplus2.com was to join a facebook groups for our specific sailing. This was the tip of all tips for a Disney Cruise.
We joined a group and met friends before we even got on the ship.
We joined a fish extender gifting group, where every night we dropped off gifts to a group of families and received plenty of special, personalized gifts back. Every morning out boys woke up to some extra special prizes at their door. It was so sweet.
We also joined a pin trading group and hung a pin board on our door, set with pins we hoped folks would walk by and trade. A few evening on the cruise, I walked around just pin trading by myself after the family went to sleep. It was the best, and I got some really cool pins.
There's also something called the Disney Ducks. Rubber Duckies that people place around the ship for others to find and keep or hide again. These little touches created by the people on the cruises are just so special. We loved taking part in all of these extra activities.
What We Thought of the Disney Wonder
We had a fantastic time on the Disney Wonder! The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating, and there was plenty to do with our kids that kept them entertained. We loved the atmosphere of the ship – it was so festive and fun.
The food was excellent – the buffet lines were always full of delicious options. The restaurants had wonderful menu choices, and we particularly enjoyed the adult-only restaurant Palo. The onboard activities were great as well – from aquadunk challenges to character meet and greets, there was always something to do.
Finally, the entertainment on the Disney Wonder was top-notch. From the Broadway-style shows to the movies under the stars, our kids (and us!) were thoroughly entertained. And while hubby and I would choose different cruise lines for cruising without the kids, overall, we had a wonderful time aboard the Disney Wonder and would definitely recommend this cruise line for families looking for a magical vacation experience.