Adventurer Kids | Disney Cruise Line

Kids Disney Cruise Line Review

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today the kids are answering the question, which Disney Park is the best?

Kids Disney Cruise Line Review
Adventurer Boy, Adventurer Girl and the Disney Wonder.

I love Disney Cruise Line. I wax poetic often. But after visiting Walt Disney World, surely the kids at least prefer Walt Disney World to the Disney Cruise Line. Right?


Turns out the little Castaway didn’t fall to far from the tree. When asked which Disney Park is the best, they both piped up with “Disney Cruise Line” without missing a beat. Hold onto your hats, because these little pirates took over the blog for the day!

(From here on Adventurer Mom’s comments appear in parentheses.)

Kids Disney Cruise Line Review
Seven years old and looking forward to her seventh Disney cruise. It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.

Code Name: Adventurer Girl

Name: Kylee
Age: 7 1/2
Specialties: Vegan Diets, Parkour, Swimming, Singing
Castaway Club: Gold Member
Dream Itinerary: I’d probably go with the Bahamas and Key West because of Key Lime jelly beans.


Top 11 Things To Know About Disney Cruise Line

  1. They’re tidy and kept well when you get there.
  2. It’s so much fun when you get to meet Cinderella. But you don’t have to be dressed up.
  3. Normally they keep up the Christmas decorations until like their first of second cruise in January. So if you need a late Christmas cruise, you can have one in January still. (Adventurer Mom note: They often come down just after New Year’s Eve. Check with Disney Cruise Line for the MerryTime Cruise schedule.)
  4. The beds are warm and comfy. Especially the bunk beds. *vigorous jazz hands*
  5. The waitresses and diners and room cleaner uppers are all very nice.
  6. The horn isn’t too loud it’s just *When You Wish Upon a Star hummed loudly* and pretty.
  7. The best part of a cruise is the  splash pads and the Mickey slide.
  8. The kids clubs are A.W.E.S.O.M.E. and there are slides and a big play treasure thing and lots of thingamajiggers. (???)
  9. It’s a big blue shimmery pretty ship. If you like ships. Not like the Titanic.
  10. The thing about the theatres is you never get bored. If they sneak up behind you in Villains Tonight! don’t get scared. It’s all scary but it’s supposed to be. It’s villains.
  11. You have to put magnets on your door unless you want it to be totally plain.

Why Disney Cruise Line instead of Walt Disney World?

You don’t have to walk around all day and there aren’t rides that make you throw up in a throw up bowl. (Says my daughter, the adrenaline junkie who has never been motion sick on a ride in her life.) Instead you have fun rocking away on a verandah on an island port view or with the sea in your ears all the time. (I think she means she enjoys the sound of the ocean and rocking in hammocks).

Favorite onboard activity?

The kids’ club! (Oceaneer Club and Lab.) The Club and Lab is the best because it lets kids interact and talk without parents telling them to shush. And they can play and play and do video games and run around down slides and you can talk to Stitch and sometimes even Lilo.

Tell me about your most unforgettable Disney Cruise.

When we went on the Fantasy with the little Mickey sprinkles, I can never forget. I had hot chocolate, we got Mickey sprinkles in them and they were so yummy. I was in the concierge lounge and the concierge-y Miss what’s-her-name (Miss Julia you mean?) gave it to us.

What words would you use to describe Disney Cruise Line?

Fun, Inspiring, Awesome, Cool, Relaxing, Sunbathing, Splashing, Fireworks, Strengthening (from running around in the kids club “like a maniac”), Patient because the patient waiters are patient for us and the chefs who make our food.

There is never too much Mickey.

Code Name: Adventurer Boy

Name: ChristopherChris
Age: 9 1/2
Specialties: Legos, Parkour, Programming
Castaway Club: Gold Member
Dream Itinerary: Pretty much all the way across the world. Like Europe. Britain.

Why is Disney Cruise Line the perfect vacation?

You can relax. I like looking at the ocean. It is pretty interesting to see water in a place where water isn’t that smacked up into a sea. I like having to walk up very little to get to a restaurant because at Disney World it’s like a handful of space between each. I like the water parks, going down the water slide. The Disney Cruise has interesting mechanisms to look at like the elevators. It is interesting to think about how it works.

What is your favorite port and why?

Galveston. It seems more friendly. It is closer to home. (Can’t argue him on that.)

Okay, but what’s your favorite port the ship visits?

Castaway Cay! Because I’ve never seen a beach in my life except for there. (You’ve been to the beach in Galveston; doesn’t that count?) No. (I hate to agree with him, but Galveston really can’t compare with Castaway Cay.)

Favorite onboard activity?

Swimming! It has a bunch of space to swim in. I like sliding down the water slide as I said earlier. It is like pretty fast for a water slide as I first imagined. The Mickey slide is meant for big kids because if a baby was in it, it would not good.

Tell me about your most unforgettable Disney Cruise.

My first cruise. It was like really different from how I imagined when I left. I thought it was going to just be a plain old ship that would plunk us into the sea then plunk us back on land. But I was wrong. We got to see multiple islands like Castaway Cay, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Nassau. We got to swim with stingrays, me and mom. They were pretty much like squishy flat surfaces with long tails at the backs. I couldn’t forget the water or that day.

What words would you use to describe Disney Cruise Line?

Awesome, Cool, Interesting, Delicious, Fun, Unusual (you don’t see it everyday), Unforgettable, as if I’m part of something big and important (what do you mean?) *shrugs* like I’m special, Adventurous, Curious

(Come back tomorrow to hear what the kids think of Royal Caribbean. How does it stack up from a kid’s point of view?)

Off on an adventure! BRB
Off on an adventure! BRB

For more kid reviews,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Kid Reviews | Why ____ Park is the Best Loop:

The Perfect First Year Homeschool Curriculum

Sonlight hosts a monthly blog link-up, in honor of their 25th anniversary. Find out how we decided to homeschool in the February hop and my best advice for new homeschoolers in March and in April shared a day in the life of my homeschool. We started May off with our summer reading list (so far) and in June we shared our favorite summer activities. In July we talked about how homeschool inspires my summer travel bucket list and in August I blogged about Narnia and theatre. I skipped September. (Oops!)

Now for October’s prompt:
What is your favorite Sonlight book or Core? Why?

Before our first year of homeschool, I knew that I wanted a robust curriculum. One with lots of books for my little bookworms. Something without gaps. (I’d read about gaps in curriculum. Apparently they are the kiss of death. Or unavoidable. Depends on who you believe.) One that was complete, but not overwhelming. Embraced my faith but addressed varying world views and cultures. Well-rounded but not filled with fluff.

In short I just wanted the “PERFECT First Year Homeschool Curriculum!”

Perfect  First Year Homeschool Curriculum
Is that too much to ask?

And I found it.
Sonlight Core B introduced my kids and me to world cultures, encouraged cuddling on the couch to Charlotte’s Web and left us with plenty of time for socialization. (Socialization seemed like a huge concern until I joined a local homeschool group that provides ample opportunity to play and our problem became striking a work/play balance.)

Perfect First Year Homeschool Curriculum

Somewhere between mourning the loss of Charlotte, building our own circuits and learning about different types of Greek and Roman architecture it hit me: the is the perfect first year homeschool curriculum for our family!

What makes a perfect first-year homeschool curriculum?

1.) Value
If you aren’t going to use large portions of a curriculum, the value is lost. Conversely, if a seemingly inexpensive curriculum requires large amounts of time or add-ons to fill it out, it is not a perfect curriculum.

2.) Convenience
Easy to use without excessive prep time. Easy to teach. Easy to learn. Easy to store. Easy to take on the go. Simple to implement.

3.) Support
A good network of local homeschool friends or online counselors who can answer questions and concerns in a loving non-judgmental way. Sonlight offers an online community to help bolster our family through our first year of homeschool, but nothing can replace the value of a good network of local friends.

4.) Flexibility
A good homeschool mom learns when to take a break and a perfect curriculum allows for on the fly customization. Sick days, repetition and reading ahead? No problem.

5.) Quality
The quality of the perfect curriculum exceeds the cost of the time I might spend to produce something similar for my children. Quality books and quality questions lead to quality results.

6.) Joy
If your curriculum doesn’t make you happy, communicating the joy of learning to your children becomes exponentially more difficult. Often a mismatch of learning styles to curriculum leads to frustration. When you and your child’s styles align with a curriculum, everything floats along much more smoothly. (Learn your homeschool style here!)

Sonlight Blog Party

To find out why Sonlight might not be the right fit for your family, check out “27 Reasons NOT to But Sonlight

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at Disney

Some rides scream Disney, make all the commercials (Dumbo, anyone?) and boast lines that make grown men weep. Then some rides fly under the radar. With short or no lines, undiscovered charm and pixie dust to spare, these top ten underrated attractions at Disney need to pop to the top of your next trip list!

1. Talk to the Cast Members and make friends!

You never know what kind of cool people you will meet.

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at Disney
Cast Member for the Day?

Some steer you toward fun overlooked parts of the magic and some simply are magical!

2. Disney Student Seminars

Ever wish you could go to Walt Disney World instead of going to school? You can do both with the Disney Student Seminars!

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at Disney

3. Smashed Penny

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at Disney

Sometimes its the little things. Smashing pennies is simple but so fun.

4. Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom

Help Merlin. Foil the villains. Invent your own game with the cards…

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at DisneyYep. We do that.

5. Catch Em All

Ask any cast member in the transportation system. Monorail, bus or boat driver. Collect the Safety Smart cards and the Transportation cards.

6. Check out the famous footprints

R2-D2, Minnie Mouse and many, many others left their mark in the courtyard in front of the Great Movie Ride. How do you measure up?

7. Agent P World Showcase Adventure

Save the world and solve secret missions hidden in plan sight all over the World Showcase.

8.Swiss Family Treehouse

Overlooked? Yes. But this is one of my kids’ favorites!

It does help to have watched the movie, but even without that, it’s neat to imagine living in this greenhouse.

9. Space Base

There is a hidden air-conditioned indoor playground in the exit for Mission: SPACE!

10. Searching for Hidden Mickeys!

Bonus Overlooked Attraction?

Top 10 Underrated Attractions at Disney

Spelunking and forts and barrel bridges, oh my!

 What are your favorite underrated attractions at Disney?


Mommy To All Girls

Best. Day Bag. EVER! – Disney Cruise 101

Best day bag, ever!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite carry on bags.

Did you ever wonder what separates the average day bag from the best day bag ever? For Disney Cruise Line the best day bag ever boils down to three steps: planning, weight and minimalism.

Best Day Bag Ever!
Day bags for everyone!

1.) Minimalism and the Best Day Bag

Boarding afternoon on the Disney Cruise Line finds me in the cruise terminal with several hundred other guests. These other mouseketeers will be dragging such an assortment of purses, rolling luggage and duffel bags that a multi-week excursion through the wilderness seems within the realm of possibility. That’s no fun! Continue reading “Best. Day Bag. EVER! – Disney Cruise 101”

Top 10 Disney Songs (You Don’t Recall)

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday courtesy of Casey Kolb from Mommy to All Girls!
I own literally hundreds of Disney songs with several playlists devoted to them. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for the top 40’s of Disney.

10 Forgotten Disney Gems
The Top 10 Disney Songs (You Don’t Remember)

Many of my favorite Disney songs stand in the shadows of other awesome songs from the same movie, some hide in the credits and some shone brightly in unappreciated movies made for TV or direct to DVD sequels.

All are excellent.

Top 10 Disney Songs (That You Don’t Recall)

1. I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) (Hercules)
Vulnerable, honest and oh so true. This song got me through falling in love.

It’s one of those movies that my kids often forget has songs in it, but I love the score. This song is often forgotten while “I Can Go the Distance” is the go to among my #runDisney friends.

2. Out There (Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Longing and innocent hope paint Quasimodo as one of the most sympathetic characters in the Disney pantheon. I miss the old Disney Hollywood Studios stage show!

3. You’ll Be in My Heart (Tarzan)
Motherhood in a song.

4. Step In Time (Mary Poppins)
Feed the Birds and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious live at the top of best known Disney songs, but the dancing in this number stands alone. It’s a Jolly Holiday is worth a re-listen, too. Might as well just pull out the Blu-ray.

5. I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan)
Awesome song? Check
Workout montage? Check
Awesome parody reprise? Check

This song is funny, goofy and inspiring in the back stretch of a long run.

6. Falling in Love With Love (Disney Roger’s and Hammerstein Cinderella)
This Bernadette Peters song hides in the middle of a fabulous made for TV adaptation of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s classic. Snarky, worldly wise and cynical, it would’ve gotten really heavy.

In Peter’s hands it sparkles.

7. Perfect Isn’t Easy (Oliver & Company)
Very silly with all the charm of Bette Midler. Great for getting ready to go out, spa days or just slouching around the house in your sweats. Perfect isn’t easy. But. It’s. Me! For more fun getting ready, put on “When Will My Life Begin” from the extremely underrated Tangled.

8. I Wonder (Sleeping Beauty)
Poignant, lovely and overshadowed by the moments later song, “Once Upon a Dream.”

9. If I Never Knew You (Pocahontas)
Although this song seems like the normal pop hit over the credits, there is a whole lost scene with John Smith and Pocahontas that didn’t test well. I respectfully disagree with test audiences and love this song.

10. He Lives in You (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and the Broadway musical)
Deeply moving and meaningful. The song echoes Mufasa’s lesson from the original and takes them forward into the next generation of the pride.

Not enough for ya, super fan? Here are ten Disney songs that never made it into the movies!

Mommy To All Girls

Top 10 Disney Characters

Welcome Top 10 Tuesday blog hoppers!Mommy To All Girls

This week Casey from Mommy to All Girls asked us to compile a list of the Top 10 Disney Characters.
Tall order?

Perhaps. With a few rules of my invention, I set to work. I allowed only original Disney animated characters and no Pixar and no adopted characters. (Sorry Dory, Ahsoka Tano, Mary Poppins, Eve, Obi Wan Kenobi, Indiana Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Tigger! I guess I need a bigger list next time.)

Consider yourself warned.
Consider yourself warned.

The Top 10 Disney Characters!

10.) Ralph and Vanellope. Von Schweetz

“There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
I am so excited that a sequel is in the works!

9.) Hiro and Baymax

“Those who suffer, a loss, require contact from, friends, and or, loved ones ”
Hiro and Baymax are a beautiful pair of unlikely heroes.

Fist Bump! Ba-Ah-La-La-La
Fist Bump!

If you loved Big Hero 6, check out its spiritual successor, the wonderful Pixar movie, “Inside Out.”

8.) Flynn Rider and Rapunzel

“I know not who you are, nor how I came to find you, but may I just say… Hi. How ya doin’?”

Which scoundrel willingly lays down his life to rescue his princess? That’d be Eugene Fitzherbert, better known as Flynn Rider. Smooth? Not really. This is a hero in the tradition of Han Solo. He’s happy putting his shallow foot forward and riding on his smoulder, but when his life is on the line, he willingly trades for Rapunzel’s freedom. Rapunzel herself is enthusiastic and irrepressible. She is irrationally optimistic and irrepressible. With the two of them together, Tangled ushered in a renewed round of Disney Princess films destined to join the classics.

If you loved Flynn, watch Chuck.

7.) Aladdin

“Uh… I wish for the Nile.”

"Riffraff, street rat. I don't buy that. If only they'd look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No, siree! They'd find out there's so much more to me."
“Riffraff, street rat. I don’t buy that. If only they’d look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No, siree! They’d find out there’s so much more to me.”

One of my favorite all time character interactions involved Aladdin sneaking up to talk to my son on the side while Kylee cozied up to Jasmine. Pure magic.

“Genie, I wish for your freedom.”

6.) Belle

“That girl is strange but special.”

What can I say, I’m a bookish girl with brown hair who always felt a little out of place. I practically *was* Belle when this movie came out. Thankfully my mother understood and took me to see Beauty and the Beast in theatres three times in the first release.

5.) Prince Phillip

Did you know that before Sleeping Beauty none of the princes earned a name, let alone hardly any screen time or character development. Prince Philip changed all that and with more complex heroes came more well realized princesses. It doesn’t hurt that he’s battling the most perfect Disney villains ever created. #TeamMaleficent

4.) Tinker Bell
Faith, trust and something I forgot…

Pixie Dust!
Pixie Dust!

That she is so widely viewed as a classic Disney character but never spoke a word (until the Tinker Bell movies in 2008) is a remarkable tribute to the skill of the animators of Peter Pan.

For more silent yet awesome characters, watch WALL-E or the opening sequence from Up!

3.) Cinderella

"When there is kindness, there is goodness. When there is goodness, there is magic."
“When there is kindness, there is goodness. When there is goodness, there is magic.”

The original animated movie raised the oft overlooked Perrault fairy tale (later adapted by the brothers Grimm) from a dark tale to an almost instant classic in the same line as Snow White.

“Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done!”

After Cinderella Castle welcomed guests to the Magic Kingdom for well over four decades, Disney decided to release a brilliant live action remake of Cinderella. This beautiful and unique retelling set Cinderella as hero in her own right.

“Have courage and be kind.”


2.) Snow White
“True love isn’t easy but it must be fought for because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

"Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing."
“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”

Frankly before Once Upon a Time, I was kind of over Snow White. She’s a very underdeveloped character. Once I journeyed through the enchanted forest with Snow for a season or two, she became my new favorite princess and the reason my daughter wanted archery lessons.

1.) Mickey

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

Sorcerer Mickey

Thank you to Mommy to All Girls for hosting!

Who is on your “Top 10 Characters” list?

The Joy of Concierge | Disney Cruise Line

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing what you need to know to start planning your Disney Cruise.

For my first cruise, a quick three night getaway while Mimi watched the babies, we stayed in a inside standard room. With the kids along we moved up to a secret porthole room and after several more years and celebrations, we’ve stayed in nearly every category of stateroom from inside standard stateroom to the Walter E. Disney suite. I enjoyed each and every cruise. I loved each stateroom for different reasons and our next cruise (a big family reunion) will be in a non-concierge stateroom with a verandah.
Frankly, I’d be happy if they let me sleep on deck!

Cruising with Mickey!

So why cruise concierge?

Why concierge is magical!
Why concierge is magical!


Let’s dive in and find out!

Anything from anniversaries to birthdays to family reunions makes an excellent excuse to try concierge. Concierge is addictive, consider yourself warned. After our first concierge cruise, we intended to go back to the simple life, but the perks brought us back!

Concierge offers many, many worthwhile perks while you soak up the sun and enjoy the suite life at sea. While some cruisers enjoy the royal suites and the square footage and amenities that those entail, the majority of the concierge rooms are comparable in size or only slightly larger than other verandah staterooms onboard.

Onshore Perks!

The concierge benefits begin before you ever set foot onboard. Shoreside concierge contact cruisers around 125 days before sailing to see what magical touches they will add to your vacation.

Hakuna matata in your own private tropical paradise.
Hakuna matata in your own private tropical paradise.

Everything from a romantic dinner at Palo, to massages or a private beach cabana can be pre-arranged through your concierge. If you’d like to try any of the port adventures or book anything through spa, dining, stateroom gifts, the shoreside concierge set the wheels in motion.

Embarkation Day!

It’s finally here! your countdown is done. The bags whisked out of sight at port and you’ve passed through security without a hitch. Where’s your concierge? Your concierge experience begins as soon as you reach the concierge check-in desk.

The Royal Treatment
On checking in, they may treat you to a surprise or two.

The concierge team swiftly verifies paperwork, fits your children with MagicBands for the kids clubs and shows you to a lounge. Short lines and reserved seats? It gets better. Before embarkation begins by boarding group, concierge guests are among the first shown onto the ship.


On the classic ships, you’re instructed to arrive at the deck three forward lounge during the early afternoon to meet your personal concierge. Until then, you’re free to pop over to the restaurants for lunch if you’re feeling hungry or explore the ship at your leisure. On the Dream class ships on arrival in the atrium, cast member escort your family straight to the Concierge Lounge to meet your team. In both cases, snacks and drinks flow plentifully in the lounge while your concierge reviews your itinerary for the week, arranges for any ticketed events (meet and greets, wine tastings, tea parties) and then visits a bit to get to know your family.

 A few days in, your concierge lets you know that there will be a reception for the concierge guests. Don’t miss this!

Our family really quacks me up!
Quick meet and greet on the concierge sundeck. Disney Fantasy 2014

Yes, there is food everywhere on deck. This isn’t just a buffet. Save some time for this happy hour/meet and greet. We’ve seen Donald and Daisy each host, though any of the classic characters are possible.

Exclusively on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

There are a couple extra perks for concierge guests staying on the Dream class ships:

Exhibit A:

Boarding Day
Concierge Sun Deck

Exhibit B:

Puerto Rico
Private Concierge Lounge

Concierge Cast Members

Words fail me when describing the concierge. If you crossed Mary Poppins with Genie and threw in a dash of Tinker Bell, you’d be in the right ballpark. Each detail of your vacation is important to them and they’ll bend over backwards to try to knock your socks off.

Plenty of other magic waits in store! I didn’t even touch on complimentary sodas stocked in your room to the amazing staterooms themselves to just plain old heaping doses of pixie dust which vary from cruise to cruise. I wouldn’t want to spoil all the surprises!

Is a concierge cruise on your bucket list?

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disney Cruising 101 Loop:

Wild Rides After Dark | Wordless Wednesday

Welcome Wordless Wednesday Blog Hoppers!
This week Deb at Focused on the Magic invited us to share our favorite Wild Rides, Wordless Wednesday style. Given that my kids just crossed the 44″ mark, our definition of wild rides is a bit different than most people’s.

Magic Kingdom ALLLL day long.
A Very Merry Unbirthday to You!

Magic Kingdom ALL DAY
When I see an elephant fly!

Magic Kingdom ALLLL day long.
A dream is a wish your heart makes.

Thank you to Focused on the Magic for hosting!

Focused on the Magic