Taking a cruise with kids for the first time requires a different level of planning than an adults-only trip. Searching for information about the youth clubs on the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) website gives you a great overview of the programming available and the registration requirements. However, the overlap of information between clubs may cause some initial confusion. This is especially true with the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.
These are categorized on the DCL website as two separate entities with unique activities and schedules. A closer look reveals that the two are physically connected. One registration applies to both, and kids have the ability to move between the two under most circumstances. Following is a breakdown of the most pertinent information about the clubs.
Age Requirement – The Oceaneer Club and Lab are open to children ages 3 to 12 who are fully toilet-trained. Kids who do not meet these requirements may visit with their parents during Open House hours.
Open House Hours – There are several Open House hours each day for families to enjoy the Club and Lab together. These hours are alternated so that one area is always secured and available only to registered children.
Fee – None
Registration – You may pre-register online, register at the port terminal, or register on board. A final check-in is required on embarkation day at the desk of either the Oceaneer Club or Lab (hereafter referred to as “the clubs”).
Security – Children receive a wristband (similar to a MagicBand) granting them access to both locations. Kids will scan their bands as they enter and exit the clubs. Parents may grant permission for children age 8 and over to exit on their own. In addition, the bands contain a chip allowing youth counselors to locate them if necessary. Adults and those not meeting the age requirements may only enter the secured club areas during Open House hours.
Communication – Each stateroom is equipped with two Wave Phones that allow communication on board the ship and on Castaway Cay. Parents should keep these with them any time their kids are in the clubs so youth counselors can reach them. Guests are also encouraged to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App, which allows messaging on board.
Offerings – Each ship and sailing offers a wide variety of activities and themed areas for free play. While some are similar across the fleet, there are also unique offerings. Refer to the DIS information page for pictures and more information about the clubs on each ship. While there are age recommendations for certain activities, kids are free to participate in any of them.
Meals – Lunch and dinner are offered in the clubs at set times each day, as noted on the Personal Navigator. The counselors will announce the meal to the kids but not require them to eat.
Dine & Play – On select evenings, guests with the second dinner seating may notify their server upon arrival that they would like to participate in this program. The server will deliver the child’s meal promptly, with the counselors arriving an hour after dinner time to take registered kids to the clubs. The adult guests remain to enjoy their dinner.
The intricately themed youth activity areas on Disney Cruise Line offer a variety of options to keep young cruisers entertained. Knowing the logistics of utilizing these areas will ensure smooth sailing once on board!