Disney Cruise Line - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews
Disney Cruise Line

Disney Wonder
By Jodi
January 29, 2006

Our cruise group included five people (two adults, three kids) in two inside cabins on the Disney Wonder. We sailed from Port Canaveral on January 29 for a four-night cruise.

Early Arrival
We arrived in Orlando on Saturday and took a shuttle to Port Canaveral. We paid $240, including tip, for a round trip shuttle (from Orlando to our Cocoa Beach hotel, and then from the cruise terminal to Disney Resort for a post-cruise stay). The shuttle service was extremely prompt at the airport, and she was very friendly. I found her online through a Google search; Busy Traveler is the name of the shuttle company. The hotel in Cocoa Beach was wonderful - we stayed at the Hilton on the beach. The beach was not a swimming beach, but very beautiful for taking pictures. The waves were incredible, and the kids saw a jellyfish on the beach. We were all exhausted from the flights, so we had a relaxing lunch and just hung out at the hotel. The kids swam in the heated outdoor pool. We had drinks at the pool bar. Very nice.

Sunday morning, we called for a taxi to the port. We ended up having a private shuttle (Art's Shuttle) come and get us and our seven pieces of luggage plus five carry-on bags for $20 plus tip. I gave him a $12 tip since we had so much luggage.

This was our first Disney Cruise. We have been on four previous cruises, all on Carnival. Embarkation was a snap, the best ever. This is one of the pluses for spending the extra money on a Disney cruise. We arrived at 11 a.m. at the port. There were about 20 other people there. We went through security, showed our ID's, birth certificates, and got checked in with in 30 minutes - for both cabins. Once you check in, you can purchase bottled water, snacks, soda, and coffee in the terminal with your "Key to the World Card."

The kids were watching Disney cartoons on TV in the waiting area - a very nice, comfortable waiting area. We were in Group 4, and were invited to board the ship around noon. We were very excited to walk through those giant Mickey ears!! We got on board and were directed to the Parrot Restaurant for lunch. We were not ready for lunch, so we decided to explore the ship. Wonderful - everything is very clean and well kept. My kids found the Quartermasters arcade, so we purchased a $30 game card and they played a few games (we bought another game card later, so we spent a total of $60 on game cards for three kids for this cruise). We got into our room at 1:30 p.m. The rooms are very nice and clean. The beds were very comfy, although my son slept on the sofa bed, and that was a little hard - but that was expected.

The kids put their suits on and went swimming after a quick buffet lunch at the Beach Blanket Buffet. This buffet had some good choices, but the same choices were served every day. My kids preferred the Pluto's Doghouse hot dogs, chicken strips, burgers, fries, nachos, bratwurst, etc., - excellent choices. Although the Mickey Mouse waffles at the buffet were yummy, and the kids loved them...so we had breakfast there every day (except debarkation morning).

After swimming came the muster drill, and then a sail-away party that puts Carnival's to shame -characters dancing, and the staff all dancing on the deck with the kids. It was great, and everyone was involved and having fun. After the sail-away party, we went back to the room to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was wonderful. We had a PTTA rotation, so we started in the Parrot Cay Restaurant, then Tritons for two nights, then Animators Palate the last night. We purchased a wine package for $89 (it came to $105 with tip). This gave us a bottle of wine each night, and we were able to share with the other people at our table. I enjoyed all of the dining on board, but the food is definitely better on Carnival. The service on Disney, however, couldn't have been better. Our assistant waiter knew the children's names before she even came to the table to meet us. I don't know how she did that...but it was a nice touch. She impressed them immediately with that magic.

Beach Day
We paid $65 per adult for the Atlantis beach day and $47 for each child. This shore excursion was worth it. They took very good care of us; we were loaded onto buses and driven to the Atlantis resort. Return buses started at 1 p.m. and continued every 30 minutes until 5 p.m. We were led to a quiet beach, where we enjoyed the sun and ocean. The kids got to swim and we got some sun and relaxation. We had vouchers for lunch at the Shark Bites restaurant at the resort. We decided not to use them, and we got lunch after we were back on the ship. However, we did take advantage of the resort -- we toured the aquarium and the rope bridge over the shark pool. We wandered through the casino, and we could have used the water slide and pools too, but we were tired so we decided to go back to the ship around 2 p.m. for lunch and a nap.

That night was formal night. I felt very overdressed in my cocktail dress and sequined shoes and bag. We had the 6 p.m. dinner seating, and it seemed like I was the only person dressed in formal attire. I even saw people wearing jeans and t-shirts. I guess the later seating dressed up more, but very few did so at the early seating. I saw a few ties, that's it - definitely different from Carnival. I don't like dressing up much, so I would have preferred to know this in advance. I could have just worn my casual dining attire and no one would have noticed.

At Night
I missed the casino on this ship; they don't have one on Disney cruises, and the night life is pretty lame. The kids liked going to the kids' club after dinner every night...and we didn't have much to do while they were there. I should have spent more time in the adults-only pool area, or at the spa, as these areas were both wonderful! I wish every ship had this; you would never know you were on a Disney cruise while you are in the adult pool area. They enforce the age restriction. I loved it.

Castaway Cay
We ended up spending two days there because of rain, so our 'at sea' day was changed to another day at Castaway Cay. The Cookies barbecue was great, and we had a lot of fun - a beautiful beach, tube rentals for $6, lots of activities for the kids. I just wished the tram came all the way up to the ship...we walked a lot.

We woke up very early and had breakfast at 7 a.m. in the Animators Palette. It was a wonderful debarkation process. Almost immediately after we finished eating, they announced that anyone who had finished breakfast could leave the ship. I couldn't believe it, and I thought that was a mistake, but it was real. Wonderful. As a final touch, the Luggage was arranged by deck! Not only that, but a crew member was ready to help you find your luggage and gather it!

After we left the Wonder, we surprised the kids with an extra three days at Disney World. The same shuttle service picked us up as promised and drove us to our hotel -- the New Orleans Riverside Resort. The scenery of this resort is wonderful, but the rooms are just OK - it had an outside entrance, and felt like a Holiday Inn at best. However the scenery surrounding the main dining area and gift shop, and the ferry boat ride to downtown Disney, were all worth it. We spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and napping. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom. (If you get the chance, go on the Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster at MGM; it is an awesome coaster.) We flew home Sunday.

Overall, this was a wonderful trip aboard a great ship. However, to do it all over again, I would go to Disney World first, then get on the ship and relax. We did it backwards. But it was still worth every penny spent.