We sailed on Disney Magic for 3 nights to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. We waited over ONE YEAR for the Disney Cruise to finally happen! We booked it in January 2014 and even then, many of the staterooms were gone. The earlier you secure your spot, the better, because prices tend to only go up. Also, it gave us plenty of time to save up for the cruise and collect Disney gift cards- read my travel hacks and tips. Our stateroom for two cost us a total of $1,148 (excluding gratuities).
This was the first time David and I have sailed on a cruise. After watching Titanic, I grew up with a fear that I would suffer the same fate. Not to mention, I thought I would dread the feeling of being “stuck” and claustrophobic. We were both also scared of getting seasick. Hence, we booked the lower level, second floor with a room right in the middle. While we did feel the strong motion of the boat and waves, we were luckily okay. Disney’s guest service also gives you free meds, so no need to bring your own.
There are 10 decks on the Disney Magic. We were in awe of the details immediately when we got on board. It felt quite overwhelming at first though – can you imagine 2,500 people on one boat, all entering around the same time!? Disney was extremely organized, so no issues there; but because everyone went to grab lunch at the 2 open buffets, it became a huge cluster headache. Good thing their amazing chicken tenders were a good (and satisfying) distraction. Our rooms were ready for us after lunch. So much cuteness. Many families even personalized their doors!
Adults only sections were a breath of fresh air. The adult pool was pretty empty most of the time with a poolside bar right next to it. Tip: bring a tumbler with you so you can discretely fill it up with your adult beverage. Disney allows 2 bottles of wine/champagne OR a 6-pack of beer per person. If you’re a mimosa-type-of-gal, you’ll be glad to know that there is an orange juice dispenser. Otherwise, drinks cost around $7-12. Disney does a good job in taking away the stress and making sure there’s something for everyone. The large porthole in our room made for a gorgeous breathtaking view of the sunset.
Every night, there are dinner rotations at three different restaurants, each with a unique theme. If you’re traveling with a group, remember to link your staterooms as one unit in advance by calling the Disney Cruise Line. My favorite of the three restaurants was Animation’s Palate. The room is so cool. Sketches and colors come to life in here! Since everything aside from alcohol is all-inclusive, no one stops you from ordering multiple appetizers, entrees and desserts. Our group took advantage of that all 3 nights.
On Saturday, we paid an extra $30 per person to dine at Palo, an upscale Italian restaurant for adults. Our server brought us several plates of pasta for a family-style meal…to avoid seeing the pain of us ordering 2 individual pastas on top of our 2 entrees probably. The butternut squash ravioli was a standout for me. The scallops, with the tiniest baby carrot ever, were delicious too. Although my favorite is still the Grand Marnier soufflé from Victoria and Albert’s, this chocolate soufflé was also to die for (and I’m usually not even a big chocolate fan).
In the middle of dinner at Palo, Katherine and I dashed out to catch the fireworks. While we were in our dresses and heels, everyone else was in pirate attire for Pirate Night on the ship. Mickey Mouse zip-lined in the air across the deck before the fireworks exploded. It was a short-lived moment, but pretty awesome to see private fireworks in the middle of the sea. Theatre shows are also lined up for guests after dinner. Not going to lie, I teared up the first night when we saw Tangled. Beautiful lanterns were floating around the room, right above our heads, to the”I See the Light” song.
The itinerary for our voyage included time ashore every day. By the time we woke up, the boat was already docked. Our first adventure was in Nassau, Bahamas. We didn’t book any Disney excursions (Atlantis, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, tours, etc.) because surprise, surprise, they cost a fortune. Instead, we explored Nassau on our own. People tried to hustle us left and right with tour packages, but we kept saying no and walked towards our set destination: The Tiki Bikini Hut Bar. Katherine found this place on TripAdvisor – it was a good idea for cheap drinks on the beach. The owner, Byron gave us many freebies, including drinks and food samples that were supposedly guaranteed “to make the guys feel horny after 30 minutes.” So many jokes were thrown between us and the bartenders. I mean, seriously, look at Katherine’s love for BIG nuts!
Castaway Cay, the private island owned by Disney, was my favorite part of the trip. This place so magical that even the clouds are shaped into butterflies. We hung out at Serenity Bay, another area designated for adults only. There were hammocks hanging on palm trees, plenty of beach chairs, so much good food at the BBQ buffet, souvenir shops and even special Castaway Cay postcards/stamps. Lena brought float tubes for us to relax in the crystal clear blue water. The weather was perfect too with a gentle breeze. I really felt like were in paradise and didn’t want to go back on the ship.
As a family, we had a blast on the Disney Cruise and we were never bored or hungry. Lena won a spa gift certificate and Katherine won a BINGO game. All Disney team members take their role seriously…we couldn’t have had a more perkier BINGO host (that we had to listen to for 3 days straight by the way). Example: “Everyone repeat after me, I-AI-YAI” and “Shake it up, Betty!” He even ended up spraining his arm because he was dancing too hard. For After Hours at night, we hung out at the 21+ lounges. There was a couple game show that changed my view of Disney songs forever. The host asked each of the wives on stage to reflect back on their “first night” together. Was it…. a) A Whole New World, b) Almost There! or c) It’s a Small World After All?
Time went by quickly. On our last morning, we caught the sunrise. We ate breakfast and disembarked the ship by 8am. We were on a mission to start our Epcot and drinking-around-the-world challenge as soon as possible. It was a happy goodbye. As much as we loved our stay on the Disney Cruise, I think 3 nights was enough for me. David and I personally prefer all-inclusive resort vacations in Mexico, where we feel more “free.” Someday, when we develop strong parenting skills, when our future potty-trained and well-behaved children are old enough, we’ll most certainly sail away with Disney again. That will be a whole new chapter.