Who doesn’t love a little extra pixie dust?
Now as magical as a Disney Cruise is in its own right, a bit of insider knowledge can uncover a boatload of hidden perks and features that add magic to an already incredible vacation.
Here are a few little extras available on the high seas that Disney doesn’t advertise in the planning DVD.
Look for Officer Pin Trading events once per cruise in your Personal Navigator. Almost all the cast members who hand out sanitation wipes wear pin lanyards. If you ask in the gift shops, they often have a pin trading book behind the counter.
Make a Cast Member’s Day or Even Year
Treat them respectfully, thank them and be polite. Many of the cast members are fascinating to talk to if you go to the trouble of striking up a conversation and generally well-travelled. Above all, if a cast member goes out of their way to make your trip magical, mention them BY NAME on your guest survey. These surveys and feedback influence that cast member’s recognition around the crew, raises and even promotions.
If you head to the forward of the ship on one of the upper decks, you can watch the crew on the bridge wing as they work to dock or pull away from port.
The maritime signal flags around the ship do spell out words. Early elementary kids get a kick out of decoding the secret messages. The signal flag alphabet is available widely on the Internet. For example here on Wikipedia. Our kids loved having their names spelled out in flags for part of their notebooks.
Shipboard ABC’s make for a fun photo scavenger hunt. Bonus points if you use nautical terms like starboard, muster, berth, hawser, gangway, etc.
Adults should try to attend the Art of the Theme Show Tour. Fascinating and educational inside look into the design of all the little Disney touches. You may never look at the ship the same way again. Missed it on your vacation? My review of the tour on the Disney Magic is here.
Many times the servers can get a copy of a recipe to you if you’d like to attempt to recreate your favorite ship board delicacy at home.
Book tastings at Guest Services on boarding.
Feeling trusting? You can get surprisingly good results in Palo by telling the waiter that you’d like to order whatever the chef would like to send for each course. If you say you’re adventurous and willing to trust the chef, they might surprise you with off menu individually prepared items.
|I haven’t got a clue what this is, but it was scrumptious.|
If your toddler or older child wants to try something on the adult menu, they won’t bat an eye at fetching them escargot or anything else on the adult menu. Order what you will.
If you are an adult who prefers not to pretend they are a foodie, yes, you too can order off of the kids menu. If you get the fries, they’ll even make you a mickey ketchup to go with it. No age limits.
Like a little ambient lighting? If you leave the stateroom television on the “View from the Bridge” channel on mute. Low lighting for quick trips to the restroom as well as knowing whether it is morning without checking your watch. Two birds, one stone.
No need to drag the pack and play or bed railings. You stateroom host will happily put up and take down whatever your family needs. If you need them arranged for naps as well, just talk to your stateroom host.
If you’re stuck in the room with an early to bed baby, there’s no need to miss the evening stage shows. While not live, they do broadcast that evenings scheduled performance for many of the Walt Disney Theatre musicals to your stateroom television.
Run the FREE runDisney fun run offered for adults on all cruise itineraries that stop at Castaway Cay. Remember to bring your running shoes and check your navigator for the meeting location before disembarking. For running, you receive a bib and a medal. A run shirt is available for sale near the finish line.
Deck Four jogging track directs traffic counter-clockwise. 3 laps to the mile on the Magic and Wonder, but only 2.5 on the Dream and Fantasy.
Treadmill lovers rejoice, the fitness center can accommodate your love of the stationary run! Be aware that some days many runners hit the treadmills at the same time. Since many of us runners tend to first thing in the morning running, sometimes I find it difficult to get a treadmill first thing on sea days.
Castaway Cay offers free baby joggers for use on the island. First come, first served! If your ship doesn’t go to Castaway Cay, strollers sit ready for first come first serve use. To borrow a stroller on other islands contact Guest Services (they refund a $200 deposit on returning the stroller).
Castaway Cay features its own back story legend. Ask around or listen up during the tram ride to learn about the original castaways.
Several ports have nearby Starbucks (Yay!!! Free WiFi!!!). Many of our fellow cruisers use these to check Facebook and sip a latte before going back to sea. Just be careful about roaming charges, cellular data and know how to not get charged for cell service you don’t intend to use. If this seems confusing, there’s always leaving your phone in airplane mode or better yet, in your room safe.
Although not necessary on all itineraries, I would not leave the United States without my passport. Be prepared!
Cove Café punch cards! Buy five coffee drinks of your choice and get one free.
Feels to warm for a coffee? The menu doesn’t list Frappuccinos, but I’ve yet to meet a barista on deck who couldn’t whip one up.
Order a carafe of coffee from room service before bed and leave it closed. The carafe will keep it warm until it’s time for your morning cuppa joe. Alternatively, you can pre-order coffee delivery as a wake up call for the following day (fill out the door hanger found in the desk drawer before retiring and leave it hanging from the outside of you stateroom door.)
Uh Oh! I Forgot…
Don’t worry, Tinker Bell has you covered with lots of freebies and workarounds if you left your pixie dust at home.
If you forget a nightlight leave the closet door open for a little extra light.
If Dad forgets his shaving kit (or the kids crowd him out of the restrooms) the spa carries premium shaving essentials as well as larger showers than offered in the staterooms.
If you forgot a book or magazine to lounge by the pool, Cove Café stocks a small selection in a lending library.
If you forget to bring Tylenol, Band-Aids, feminine hygiene supplies, Ibuprofen and the ship is in port (when they close the sundries shop), Guest Services gives away free singles to tide you over. Check outside the ship’s Health Center for single doses of Dramamine in a pinch during these times.
If you literally forgot to pack undies and socks, ask at the shop. They don’t leave these out on display and they don’t carry a large variety of styles or sizes, but they carry limited supplies for purchase.
Off Menu Free Snacks
The beautiful Cove Café confections in the case?
Included and yours for the taking.
Feel free to load up.
|Cove Café Goodies.|
The sports club on each ship offers chips, salsa and other snacks every afternoon. Enjoy some chips while you borrow a board game.
Coke floats on deck. Take a soda cup from the fountain over to the self-serve ice cream. If you aren’t into coke floats, you can just use the cups to rectify the tiny dishes they have at the soft serve ice cream station.
Uncrustables (packaged frozen peanut butter sandwiches without crusts) can be ordered through room service and occasionally in the main dining rooms.
In the mood for a free milk shake? They offer milk and soft serve. With a spoon, you’re in business!
Order warm cookies and milk for room service for a bed time snack. If you specify warm cookies, they will heat them, otherwise you’ll probably get cold or room temperature cookies. There’s just something so “slumber party” about warm cookies.
Or if you want to be the coolest mom ever, order cookies and a Mickey Bar from room service for the worlds best dessert, the Mickey Bar chocolate chip cookie sandwich. I’ll file this one under “I wish I’d thought of that” and pass it along to you. All credit for this marvelous idea comes from Keith Lapining and his vlog of his Dream cruise below:
Skip to 10:41 to see his construction of this midnight room service DIY confection.
Yep. That’s a pixie dust worth sharing.
Anything that’s a little off the beaten path that you loved on your last vacation?
Let me know in the comments!