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Disney Cruising as a First-Timer: Part 2 – Research

Disney Cruising as a First-Timer: Part 2 - Research disney-magic-011-1

*DIS Contributors review cruises that they have paid for as part of their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and special offers if they are available to the general public. They receive no additional compensation for cabins, dining experiences, events, or entertainment so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.

Following the booking of our Disney Cruise Line adventure, it was then time to start figuring out what to expect from our cruise. Our cruise is a 5-Night Merrytime Bahamian out of Miami on the Disney Magic. (Wow, what a mouthful.) In this article, I’ll be going over all of the research I’ve done to best prepare myself for my upcoming trip. There’s a lot of information here, so grab snack or two and get comfortable.

Let’s start with the ship! The Disney Magic is the first cruise ship Disney ever put out. As you can imagine, it’s a little old, but got a huge renovation and from what I’ve seen and read, it has made a world of a difference. While this is one of the smaller ships, it still seems huge! The fact that it has so many staterooms and other amenities stuns me.

There are locations for every age range on the ship! From imaginative kids’ clubs to serene adult-only areas, everyone will be able to find something to do. All the Disney ships have character meet-and-greets as well, with photographers ready to capture your magical moment. Speaking of photographers, Disney works with a third-party company for photos which you have to purchase. I know they have print options, but it seems that the best deal is the all-digital package, which comes with every single picture that was taken of you on a USB. Buying the package beforehand also gives you a discount, and if you are unsatisfied with your pictures, you will get a full refund.

We. Love. Food. For my boyfriend and I, food is everything! To say we are excited for all the food Disney Cruise Line has to offer us on our voyage is an understatement. They have so many options: There’s a quick service area, bars, a café, a buffet, room service, and amazingly themed main dining rooms. And the best part? They’re all included! And who can forget those beloved self-serve ice cream machines.

What seems to excite me the most are the main dining rooms. I adore Tangled so my excitement for Rapunzel’s Royal Table is through the roof! Another dining room I’m excited for is Animator’s Palate. This is the restaurant I would see in commercials and specials and I told myself one day I would experience, and now I finally get to — I already know Mickey has some magic in store for us when we go visit!

The only thing in the back of my mind is that I’ve read mixed reviews about the food on Disney cruises. I’ve read that it’s the best food ever and I’ve read that it was just okay. I’m hoping for the best.

Disney Cruising as a First-Timer: Part 2 - Research Cabanas-0011 Cabanas-0011

There are also a ton of activities to do on the ship. There’s trivia, variety acts, musicians, karaoke, baby racing, movies (both on the funnel vision screen and in the Buena Vista Theatre), crafts, drawing, and so much more.

We’re looking forward to riding the AquaDunk, a water slide that will definitely have me screaming from terror the entire ride. Most activities do not need a reservation; however, there are some that do. My boyfriend and I are wanting to do a wine tasting and/or champagne tasting on the ship, and those are an extra cost. The ship has one restaurant that has an upcharge called Palo which serves brunch and dinner. We are really hoping we’re lucky enough to snag a reservation for the Palo brunch because everyone raves about it. Since we are first-time cruisers, we’re the last people to reserve certain activities and excursions, so wish us luck in getting the reservations that we want!

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One of the things I’m most ecstatic about are the Broadway-style shows. I’m about to graduate with a BA in Theatre Arts. I’m a stage manager, a singer, a dancer, an actress, a costumer, and a scenic carpenter, so I can confidently say that theatre is my specialty. While I really know nothing about two-thirds of the shows that play on our ship, the one I do know of I’ve been waiting to watch ever since it was announced. As stated before, I love Tangled, so seeing it live on stage will be a dream!

Of course, we are going on a special cruise, a Very Merrytime cruise. We absolutely love the holidays so we’re extremely excited to see all the decorations, extra holiday magic, and activities like gingerbread people (hey, it’s 2019, can’t be assuming gender) decorating Disney Cruise Line has to offer!

Let’s talk ports! Originally, our cruise itinerary was: Miami, Nassau, Castaway Cay, At Sea, Key West, Miami. A couple of months after booking we received an email from Disney saying we were no longer going to Nassau. To be honest, we were a little disappointed to the point that we were thinking about switching our cruise. However, after asking around, we were reassured that another day at sea was great, since we really are paying for the experiences on the ship.

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Our ship leaves from Miami, so we won’t be spending too much time there. I’ve actually been to Miami before and explored South Beach and Calle Ocho. Since we’ll be tired from the flight, we’ll most likely just venture out for some Cuban food and then start our vacation by relaxing.

Castaway Cay is, according to many, a perfect paradise. To me, a perfect paradise is Cancun, so we’ll see how I feel about that afterwards. But anyways, they have beaches, kids clubs, a water slide, more character meet-and-greets, and buffets (yay more food!) that are all included with your cruise price! While they do offer snorkeling, bikes, parasailing, jet skis, etc. at an extra cost, I think we’re going to skip all of that and force ourselves to relax for once (college and work made us forget how to relax). The one activity we will be participating in is the Castaway Cay 5K that is included in our cruise. My boyfriend and I have been trying to get ourselves to work out and be more active, so setting this 5K as a goal has really got us moving!

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I wasn’t sure if we were going to get off of the ship in Key West, but after some research, we’re going to get off for at least a little bit. My boyfriend really wants to visit Earnest Hemingway’s house and I want to try some Key lime pie. Other than that, we may just head back to the ship after walking around for a bit. We really didn’t find taking a picture at the Southernmost Point very appealing to us.

Wow, that was a lot of information, but I know it was extremely helpful for me and I hope it is helpful for you too. As of writing this, we still have 269 days left to go (oh man, I remember when we were in the 400s). In my next article, I’ll let you know all about how I keep myself busy to calm my extreme excitement for our very first Disney cruise!


Want to get to know me more? Follow me on Instagram (@princess_iliana_of_avalor and @princess_iliana_cosplays) or Twitter (@Disney_Iliana).


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